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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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Oddity 2: Neal Adams

6 Mar

by Alex Buchet

Neal Adams (1941–      ) is one of the most famous and influential superhero cartoonists of all time; it thus comes as no surprise that, in the 1975 celebratory compendium The Art of Neal Adams, the cover shows a face-off between the superheroes of Marvel Comics (left) and DC Comics (right):

But who is that funny-animal in a cape playing the peacemaker between the two camps? Just a parody Adams dropped in to deflate the pretention of the set-up?

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Also a cartoonist(2): Xavier Cugat

3 Feb

This is part of a series on people who, renowned for other accomplishments, have also been cartoonists– some professional, some amateur

Francisco de Asis Javier Cugat Mingall de Brue y Deulofeo (1900–1990), better known by his stage name Xavier Cugat, was the prime big-band maestro of Latin American music: rumba, mambo, cha-cha.

He was also a professional cartoonist and illustrator all his life.

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“The human race, to which so many of my readers belong…”

3 Feb

Gilbert Keith Chesterton (1874-1936) was one of those prodigious artistic polymaths the last two centuries brought forth. He was the author of 80 books, 200 short stories, over 4000 essays, and several plays; today he is chiefly remembered for his ‘Father Brown’ stories, still widely considered to be some of the greatest detective tales of all time, and his Christian apologetics; his novel The man who was Thursday is a masterpiece of fantasy, hailed by writers ranging from Jorge Luis Borges to Neil Gaiman.


However, his original training was as an artist, at London’s prestigious Slade school; and though he shifted his ambition to writing, Chesterton continued to produce drawings for the rest of his life.

Chesterton was a large, imposing figure in his great overcoat and  floppy hat, a favorite target of caricaturists — the latter  including himself, as the next four drawings show:

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Oddity 5: Jack Kirby

9 Dec
Pencils by Jack Kirby; inks, Mike Thibodeaux; colors, Craig Yoe. Copyright Walt Disney Company

The late, great cartoonist Jack Kirby (1917-1994) is chiefly remembered for his epic superhero  and awe-inspiring science fiction creations. But over his long career he dabbled in every known popular genre — often to surprising result.

What to make of this, for example?

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Oddity 1: Albert Uderzo & Edgar P. Jacobs

31 Oct

by Alex Buchet

The Frenchman Albert Uderzo attained international fame as the cartoonist half of the team that produced one of the most successful comics characters of all time: Asterix the Gaul. Prior to drawing Asterix, however, Uderzo had spent some 15 years drawing other characters — most of whom are presented in this montage:

Wait a minute… up there in the right-hand corner…that blue-clad superhero looks suspiciously like an American character, Captain Marvel Jr., as published by Fawcett Comics in the U.S.A.

What gives?

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Oddity 4: Steve Ditko & Eric Stanton

31 Oct

The above bit of ribaldry may disconcert certain comics fans. Its style of drawing evokes that of Steve Ditko, the creator of Spider-Man and of Dr Strange — wholesome comic-book superheroes for kids. Is there a secret side of Sturdy Steve we don’t know about?

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