Friday, April 8, 2011

MoCCA Comic Arts Festival 2011

Just wanted to mention that the Museum of Comic and Cartoon Art festival 2011 is this weekend, April 9 - 10, at the Lexington Avenue Armory, 68 Lexington Ave (Between 25th & 26th Streets), New York City. More info HERE.

The "festival" is really a comic book convention which acts as a fundraiser for the Museum of Comic and Cartoon Art. Hours: Saturday April 9th and Sunday April 10th 11am-6pm.

I don't have my own table this year, but I'll be sketching at the MoCCA table from 12 - 1 pm both Saturday and Sunday. All proceeds go to the MoCCA gallery.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Too Organized

From 1957 to 1965, John Romita worked for DC Comics. Although he dreamed of working on any of their more recognizable adventure titles, he found himself stuck in DC's romance comic department. Years later, of course, he would become the architect of the "Marvel style" and go on to have some 35 successful years, working on characters like Daredevil and Spider-Man.

Editors at DC were very territorial. They had their own stable of creators whom they never shared with other editors. A freelancer could lose their job if their editor found out they were working with someone else.

Freelancers who needed more money, or who wanted to work on different types of books, took to using fake names to avoid the backlash. A lot of these, like Romita, were artists languishing in DC's romance department. They all began to quietly seek work from Stan Lee.

Says writer and former Marvel Comics EIC, Roy Thomas:

"Gil Kane was "Scott Edward," and Werner Roth was "Jay Gavin," both named for their kids. "Mickey Demeo" was Mike Esposito, and Frank Giacoia was "Frankie Ray." Stan [Lee] and I would chuckle about how DC had had all these great hero artists buried in their romance department. It wasn't that DC was disorganized. It's more like they were too organized to utilize their artists well."

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Joe Maneely

"[My first story for Stan Lee] had some weaknesses, especially in the inking - Stan calls up [Timely artist] Joe Maneely and tells him, "I'm going to send this guy out to spend a day with you. Give him as many pointers as possible." And the next day, I think, I went out to Flushing, probably from 10:30 in the morning until about 4:30 in the afternoon. I watched Maneely; and while he's talking to me, giving me pointers, he turned out like two or three pages, one double-spread with an entire pioneer fort in Indian country with Indians attacking from the outside, and guys shooting from the inside.

"He didn't need reference, he didn't need anything. He just sat there, and between 10:30 and, say, 12:30, he had penciled this double-spread in, very roughly. After lunch - I think I just went out and got a hot dog - I come back and he's starting to ink it, and he finished the damn double-spread before we finished the afternoon session! He was just a staggering talent!

"[He] died when he was 38 years old, I think. I jokingly said once that, if Joe Maneely had lived, half of us would have been out of work!"

-John Romita
from an interview with Roy Thomas

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Making The Cut

"Stan [Lee]'s secretary would call me. She'd tell me that things weren't going well and ask me if I'd take a $3 rate cut. Well, what could you say? I needed the work because I was raising a family. And the other companies weren't doing much better. Places like EC had folded up.
"About three months later, she'd call again and ask if I'd accept another cut ... I was up to $46 a page for pencils and inks and that was a good rate for 1956, when the decline started. I was down to $21 a page when Timely stopped hiring me. And they expected the same quality of work.

[Later on, in 1959 ...]

"I got a call from Vinnie Colletta, who wanted to know if I was interested in penciling romance stories for [Charlton Publications]. I must have done hundreds of stories for Charlton. I could really knock them out ... I got paid $8 a page, and then it went to $7 a page, which was like a dollar a panel."

- Joe Sinnott
from and interview with Jim Amash
Alter Ego fanzine #26

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Ben 10!

I should mention that CARTOON NETWORK ACTION PACK #58 is out now, featuring a full-color cover by me and 17 interior pages that I penciled, inks by Dan Davis, story by Marc Bernardin.

It's the first time I colored my own work on one of these stories, other than the covers. I thought it all came together pretty well.

It's common sense...

"I was aware of everything Jack [Kirby] did from the time I was eleven. I'd tell my buddies, "This guy is great! Look at this stuff that's popping out of the pages. Look at how he does that!" They thought the comics were some kind of tricky photo technique. They would say, "Aw, you're crazy. Nobody's going to do all those drawings by hand."

- John Romita
Interview by Roy Thomas

[Hilarious. I agree -- what kind of lunatic would do all those drawings, day-in-and-day-out, for years and years???]