Monday, November 27, 2006

Uncanny X-Men #145

We conclude our Cockrum tribute by posting this beauty from his second run of X-Men in the mid eighties. I always thought he was the quintessential X-Men artist due to his unique character design and dynamic action scenes. It made quite an impression on me as a kid and it continues to be some of my favorite stuff. He was also very nice to me when I met him around the time this issue came out. He was the first comics professional I met and he was great. A super guy all around. He will definitely be missed!

Blackhawk #251

This is one of my favorite Cockrum covers. He did several covers for DC's Blackhawk revival in the 80's. This was actually a pretty good book. Written by Mark Evanier and drawn by Dan Spiegle, the revamp attempted to bring the Blackhawks back to what they were in the Golden Age. Cockrum really loved the characters and it showed in this gorgeous cover. Cockrum was arguably the best super team artist of all time along with people like George Perez and Dick Dillin.

Superboy #200

The first major series work Dave Cockrum did was Superboy And The Legion Of Super-Heroes. He was well known for creating new costumes for several of the heroes that brought them up to date with the times. One of Cockrum's greatest strengths was costume design. He got the Legion job when Murphy Anderson, who Dave was assisting at the time, didn't want to do a backup Legion story because there were too many characters. Murray Boltinoff, who edited the book, liked Cockrum's work and offered him the job, which he gladly took. This issue, from February, 1974, was written by Cary Bates and featured the first Legion wedding between Bouncing Boy and Duo Damsel. Cover by Nick Cardy.

Dave Cockrum R.I.P.

I was really saddened to learn of the passing over the weekend of one of my favorite artists, the great Dave Cockrum, after a long illness. I was first exposed to his work on Uncanny X-Men in the early 80's. I loved his clean and very futuristic style. That style was very well put to use on his own creations, The Futurians. They were initially published in a Marvel Graphic Novel and then Cockrum published three issues through Lodestone Publishing. This first issue, cover dated October, 1985, featured a 27 page feature length story. Although it only lasted three issues, the entire series was reprinted a few years later with the "missing" fourth issue included. It was a cool series and it's well worth checking out.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

PS Magazine

For the past several years, the famous Joe Kubert School has put together the monthly Preventive Maintenance Magazine for the U.S. Army. The magazine showed soldiers the proper way to take care of their equipment using comic book style drawings and scripts. Joe Kubert himself would do the covers and his students would do the interior pages in his style. Before the Kubert School took over, comic legends Will Eisner and Murphy Anderson took their turns putting out this very cool magazine. My friend who's in the service sent Joe several copies of PS to sign a few years ago and gave me this beauty from May, 2001. It's one of my favorite autographed pieces.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Our Fighting Forces #13

In honor of all of our veterans past and present on this Veterans' Day, I've decided to post this great Jerry Grandenetti cover from Our Fighting Forces #13 from September, 1956. Our Fighting Forces was one of the DC Big Five war books and at this point just featured generic war stories mostly set in World War II. But when you have art by the likes of Grandenetti, Joe Kubert, Russ Heath, and Irv Novick, no DC war book was generic. This particular issue contained three stories by Bob Haney, "Hickory Foot Soldier", "Compliments Of", and "The Green Pigeon" plus "Beach Party", written by the most prolific chronicler of DC war comics, the one and only Robert Kanigher. So crack open some DC war comics today to celebrate our fighting forces.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Laff-A-Lympics #1

One of my favorites cartoons growing up was Scooby's All Star Laff-A-Lympics, which featured different teams of Hanna Barbera characters facing off in Olympic style competition. You had the Yogi Yahooeys, featuring the 1960's HB characters like Yogi Bear, Huckleberry Hound, and Quick Draw McGraw. You had the Scooby Doobies, with 70's characters like Scooby-Doo, Blue Falcon, and Dynomutt. And you had the Really Rottens, the villians who would try and mess things up for the other two teams. The show was great and to capitalize on its success, Marvel Comics produced a 13 issue series featuring the all the show's characters. Written and edited by former HB writer Mark Evanier and using HB model sheets as the basis for the art, the book captured the feel of the show very well. This issue features interior art by Jack Manning and Scott Shaw!. From March, 1978. For a lot more info on Hanna Barbera and comics in general, visit Evanier's excellent website www.newsfromme.com. It's a treasure trove of info on all sorts of great things. Be prepared to spend a lot of time there.

Harlem Globetrotters #3

Here's a book featuring one of my favorite childhood obsessions. For a period of about five years or so in the mid 1970's, I was totally into The Harlem Globetrotters. My five year old mind couldn't get enough of Meadowlark Lemon, Curly Neal, and the boys. I'd wait with breathless anticipation for their every appearance on ABC's Wide World Of Sports. They were absolutely hysterical every time they were on. I was lucky enough to see them on a couple of occasions when they would come through Kansas City. Anyway, to coincide with the early '70's Hanna-Barbera cartoon, Gold Key produced a 12 issue run of Globetrotter comics based on the show. It was pretty standard kiddie fare for the time but it had the Globetrotters in it so that made it better in my eyes. Issue #3, from 1972, features a cover by Tony Tallerico and appearances inside from such Trotter stalwarts as Meadowlark Lemon, Curly Neal, and characters from the show Geese, Pab, PJ, Granny, and Dribble the dog.