Monday, 12 July 2010

Tony Salmons with check list added

In honour of this months "The Strange Adventures Of H P Lovecraft" from Image.

Around twenty years ago I bought the above G.I.Joe comic when it was seriealised in the the back of Transformers weekly. It was hands down the ugliest comic I'd seen at that point. Unbelieveable. Off model, ugly girls and a pretty good story which always makes bad art feel worse (imagine if it was drawn by Ron Randall!!?!?!?!).
I was also disappointed when Mignola drew X-Force 8. Were I a little older I probably would have hated Bill Sienkiewicz on New Mutants.
A few years later when I realised that people like Kevin Nowlan, Bret Blevins, Mike Mignola, Klaus Janson were great and had all kicked off their careers working at Marvel under Jim Shooter I ended up digging through titles like Marvel Fanfare, Marvel Premier etc which you could always find cheap.
I came across this great Hulk story in Marvel Fanfare. Kirby lines with Frazetta ballet, strange colours but really a lovely little strip.

He did a five issue mini called Dakota North which was fine but I came to realise that he'd done very little over the years.

James Robinson and Archie Goodwin until recently had managed to get the most work out of him between the almost four issues of the EXcellent Vigilante mini (with Mark Chiarello on colours, also recently collected by DC after more than a decade) and a stand-alone issue of Batman: Legends Of The Dark Knight. He had worked on Bruce Timm's Batman Adventures so has been busy and when you follow his super fluid storytelling you understand why.

According to an article I read with/by Toby Cypress, Salmons has burnt a lot of bridges over the years and many won't work him which is a sin. Below are first a Thor/Iron image which shows what we might have had if his early Avengers series had come off. Following that is a story from Penthouse Comics (the only two I own, I hasten to add...). Ninteen pages in a smutty comic so I guess not too many have seen it. Enjoy and check out the Lovecraft book at 160 pages, first issue free here

In my opinion, the Tony Salmons books worth tracking down are:
Dakota North 1-5 though not a great read!
Doctor Strange 2nd Series 64
GI Joe 69
GI Joe Yearbook 3 from 1986 or thereabouts
Captain America Red White and Blue
Adventures Of Lovecraft
Vigilante Miniseries 1-4
Legends Of the Dark Knight 85
Batman Gotham Knights 4 (Batman B&W collected in Batman B&W Vol 2

There's also a characteristically unfinished website

Monday, 21 June 2010

All too Beautiful

Like Batman, Black Canary is a character for which Toth is famous for defining in very few pages. This two part 16 page story from Adventure Comics has Toth down as a definitive Black Canary artist.
For me he also manages to to completely nail Green Arrow in either one of the two panels below. He just brought some swashbuckling Errol Flynn love to it and there you go. I assume this is also what lent to Trevor Von Eeden's great version of the character in the 80s Green Arrow mini.

Also, how amazing is penultimate panel below...!?!?!?

And below, Photoshopped into black and white to highlight the amazing composition of the page...

Wednesday, 9 June 2010

Bogota Second Time Around Part 1

So I'm back in on and off sunny Bogota. At 2,600m above see level weather's weird here. No seasons to speak of and erratic temperatures.
We're here for a month again and so once again I was challenged to divine what I might want to read for the next four weeks.
This time I managed to resist bringing Batman Year One or Daredevil Born Again which are my usual go-tos though Frank Miller made the list as well as trying to finally finish Catch 22 and get novel reading again.
Thus far I've read:

Solo 12 By Brendan McCarthy. Inspired by the great Spider-Man/Doc Strange love letter to Ditko currently coming out from Marvel, I thought I'd have another go at this which disappointed on the first read. It's gorgeous, if you like Brendan McCarthy, which I do, but the stories are a mixture or stream of consciousness rambles which perhaps you've got to be in the mood for. I think I was much more in the mood for it this time around and loved, particularly, the Robbie Morrison written Batman strip about a fictional classic Batman artist adapting a story which our narrator never knew was a dream or perhaps some forgotten comic from his childhood. It's really a vehicle for McCarthy, the whole thing, but like a vehicle for Moebius or a vehicle for Darrow, who would complain.

Solo 3 by Paul Pope. Reading the Strange Adventures in the Wednesday Comics HC which came out a couple of weeks back really put me in the mood for some great Paul Pope. This isn't as easy as I'd have thought, considering how much of it I have. Strange Adventures has this great open quality, taking advantage of the scale of the thing. It reminded me a lot of some of THB and some of the strips he did in Dark Horse Presents and some of Jeff Smith's work. Generally speaking Pope's work is kinetic and can be claustraphobic. So I opted for Solo as one of my holiday re-reads. The first strip "The Problem In Knossos", a retelling of the story of the Minotaur and Thesus was as great as I remembered. Again it left me wanting more of these stories from him.
The Omac strip is a great and faithful re-telling of the first issue of Omac with great Dave Stewart colours. A little autobiographical strip, a very Paul Poe how cool is New York with a bit of Spanish dropped in and a great Robin strip with colours by James Jean with a great Joker appearance, whited out moustache included.
Great stuff.

Deadman Mini by Andy Helfer & José Luis Garcia Lopez. Also inspired by the Wednesday Comics HC. Andy Helfer comics are a strange thing. They're always a bit like hard work and I always need to psych myself up for it but It's generally worth while (The Shadow, Justice Inc, Atari Force). This series is one I've read a couple of times as it does have I think the best Garcia Lopez work I've seen (along with Twilight). I think working on a book that Neal Adams pretty much defined the look of set a goal for him in terms of effect and layout. The use of grey tones combined with a with a great late 80s colouring job with lots of great colour holds makes the very best of his great draftsmanship and beautiful finish.

Wintermen by Brett Lewis & JP Leon. The last book of those I've read thus far is the collected Wintermen which, much as though I enjoyed it as it was coming out, really benefits for being under two covers. The dialogue had me laughing out loud and the art is just fantastic. The story comes to a stop quicker than originally planned, due to sales, which one really felt in the "monthlies" but in one book it's less jarring and almost fits the storytelling of certain issues. I think anyone who enjoys Punisher Max, Planetary, The Wire, Scalped should read this book.
Next...more holiday reads...

Wednesday, 21 April 2010

Mas del Chango

A difficult book to post from as I don't want to damage it but I'll do my best once in a while.

Check out this bad boy!! Lovely

Sunday, 18 April 2010

God Bless Photoshop

A beautiful splash from a not too often seen strip, The Mask Of The Red Fox.
The line work on Cain's clothes is amazing. The more you look at Toth it's interesting to note how much like Pratt it is at times.



Monday, 5 April 2010

I wish They All Could Be Alex Toth

How Toth managed to achieve grace on evey panel of every page and still never be happy is unbelieveable.

Saturday, 6 March 2010

All in a day's work

What a nightmare. Awful 80's quality printing of a great story.
Borderline un salvagable.

Can but try.

Halfway there.



Sunday, 21 February 2010

Two More

Splash from a great Robert Kanigher story...

Had to get rid of the clutter on the original published version of this even though there're probably lines missing.
Most unecessary blurb I've ever seen. As if someone would see that on the fence "should I, shouldn't I" and then realise "Oh my God "Thrilling Adventure Stories", "Final Three Stories", now I've gotta have it".

Saturday, 6 February 2010

Toth Splash 1

As a creative diversion from a nice, good job that doesn't let me flex any creative muscles, I'm retouching my Toth collection page by page.
I'll paste the splash of each strip as I do it and here's the first.