Artists Assemble

23 Dec

AVENGERS-058-029The Vision; art by John Buscema and George Klein, caption by Roy Thomas

May 2015 will see the release of the film Avengers: Age of Ultron, Disney/Marvel’s sequel to their wildly popular 2012 blockbuster, The Avengers.

These films are, of course, based on comic book characters; and it behoves us to remember that the latter did not arise spontaneously from some corporate swamp, but were created by flesh-and-blood artists and writers.

We give these creators their due credit below.


cover art by Jack Kirby and Dick Ayers

The Avengers were created in The Avengers 1 (September 1963) by Jack Kirby and Stan Lee.


cover art by Jack Kirby and Joe Sinnott

Thor was created by Jack Kirby, with script by Larry Lieber, in Journey into Mystery 83 (August 1962).


cover art by Jack Kirby

The Hulk was created by Jack Kirby, with script by Stan Lee, in The Incredible Hulk 1 (May 1962).


cover art by Jack Kirby and Don Heck

Iron Man was created by Don Heck (art) and Stan Lee and Larry Lieber (script) with a costume design by Jack Kirby, in Tales of Suspense 39 (March 1963).


cover art by Jack Kirby

Captain America was created by Jack Kirby and Joe Simon (both sharing script and art) in Captain America Comics 1 (March 1941).


cover art by Jack Kirby and Chic Stone

Quicksilver and the Scarlet Witch (at far right in the cover illo above) were created by Jack Kirby with Stan Lee on script in X-Men 4 (March 1964).


cover art by Don Heck

Hawkeye was created by Stan Lee (script) and Don Heck (art) in Tales of Suspense 57 (September 1964).


cover art by Jack Kirby and Paul Reinman

The Black Widow was created by Don Rico (script) and Don Heck (art) in Tales of Suspense 52 (April 1964).


art by John Buscema and George Klein

Ultron was created by Roy Thomas (script) and John Buscema (art) in The Avengers 55 (August 1968).


cover art by John Buscema

The Vision was created by Roy Thomas (script) and John Buscema (art) in The Avengers 57 (October 1968).

black-panther-jack-kirby-scans007The Black Panther was created by Jack Kirby with Stan Lee script in Fantastic Four 52 (July 1966). The same team introduced the Panther’s homeland of Wakanda in the same issue (see below illustration).


art by Jack Kirby and Joe Sinnott


cover art by Jack Kirby and Frank Giacoia

Nick Fury, agent of S.h.i.e.l.d, was created by Jack Kirby with script by Stan Lee in Strange Tales 135

And, finally:


cover art by Jack Kirby and George Roussos

Baron Strucker was created by Jack Kirby with Stan Lee scripting, in Sgt.Fury and his Howling Commandos 5 (January 1964).

Obviously Jack Kirby deserves the lion’s share of creative credit…but the unjustly forgotten Don Heck also merits plaudits.

See you at the multiplex!


Wertham interviews Hitchcock: the Redbook Conversation

30 Oct

In the April 1963 issue of the magazine Redbook, the celebrated film-maker Alfred Hitchcock (1899-1980) sat down for an interview with the psychiatrist Fredric Wertham (1895-1981). Hitchcock was famous for his crime movies; Wertham was well-known for decrying crime in the media, most famously comic books, but equally film and television. Below is a complete transcript of their conversation.

Dr Wertham: I didn’t see Psycho, I’m sorry to say, but many people have commented on the act of violence in that movie. Was it a little stronger than you would have put in formerly — say, ten or fifteen years ago?

Alfred Hitchcock: Well, I don’t know. I have always felt that you should do the minimum on screen to get the maximum audience effect. I believe the audience should work. Sometimes it is necessary to go into some element of violence, but I only do it if I have a strong reason. For example, in Psycho there was this very violent impressionistic murder in a bathroom, you see, and it was montaged by little pieces of film giving the impression of a knife stabbing a victim, and so on and so forth.

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So little time, so many TCJ covers!

9 Oct

Since 1978 I haven’t missed a single isue of The Comics Journal. I won’t go into the many reasons for my devotion, but I’m sure many fellow readers will agree that one of its little pleasures were the numerous lovely, often witty covers it commissioned from some of the best cartoonists and illustrators worldwide.

Below is a small gallery of some of my favorites…



This merry drawing by Brian Bolland for #122 graces what is is easily my favorite TCJ cover. Impeccable execution and fine humor, contrasting boozy reveller John Bull with tight-assed Uncle Sam. The British do often like to mock American puritanism; however the illo also comments on the welcome shake-up of U.S. comics brought about by the artists and writers of the early ’80s “British Invasion”. Try to find a copy; the interviews are some of the most entertaining you’ll likely read. The Kevin O’Neill conversation made me laugh out loud.

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Sherlock and the Women

3 Sep



To Sherlock Holmes she is always the woman.

The above must be one of the niftiest opening sentences in pop literature. It defied anyone who’d read the novels A Study in Scarlet and The Sign of Four from eagerly continuing with the very first Sherlock Holmes short story, ‘A Scandal in Bohemia’ upon its first appearance in the June 1891 issue of The Strand magazine. It goes on, in the voice of Holmes’ friend Dr Watson:

I have seldom heard him mention her under any other name. In his eyes she eclipses and predominates the whole of her sex. It was not that he felt any emotion akin to love for Irene Adler.

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Found in Translation

9 Aug
 280px-Dürer-Hieronymus-im-GehäusSaint Jerome, the patron saint of translators; engraving by Albrecht Durer (1514)

In a recent article posted on the Hooded Utilitarian, Marc-Oliver Frisch had cause to quote the philosopher Theodore Adorno:

“Not only does democracy demand freedom of criticism and require critical impulses, it is effectively defined by criticism. […] The system of checks and balances, the two-way control of executive, legislature and judiciary, says as much as: that any one of these powers may exercise criticism upon another and thereby limit the despotism to which each of them, without any critical element, gravitates.” (Translation by me) [i.e. by Frisch]

In the comments, one “oh please oh please” (sic) posted a rather personal and acerb reaction to Frisch’s article, containing the following statement:

In this way “Hater” is a useful term of art pointing to criticism as an act of status anxiety rather than engagement of the work (for example inserting a bland Adorno quote as a means of boasting one has translated it oneself).


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Grim Picts, grimmer picture

14 Mar


1960, and I am 6 years old; I leave the New York Public School system for my first day at the Lycée Français de New York, the city’s French school. (I’m half Yank, half Frog.)

At the end of the day, my mother rewards me with a comics album; it features a hero I’ve never heard of, in his first adventure — Astérix le Gaulois. It was the start of  a love affair that lasted until the death of the comic’s writer, the brilliantly funny René Goscinny (1926-1977).

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Who Guards the Guardians?

25 Feb

This August 2014, Disney is releasing a major feature film based on a comic published by its Marvel subsidiary, Guardians of the Galaxy. The spacefaring supergroup is a hodgepodge of characters coming from all over Marvel’s last five decades, and from many different artists and writers.

As these last are often denied proper credit, below we present an illustrated list of the main creators involved.

The Guardians

Groot was created by Jack Kirby, with Stan Lee (script) and Dick Ayers (inks) in Tales to Astonish 13.


cover art by Jack Kirby and Steve Ditko


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