Thursday, January 28, 2010

Top 10 Issues of The Comics Journal: 38 Conclusion

INTERVIEW:
"An Interview with Gil Kane [April 6, 1926-January 31, 2000]" conducted by Gary Groth at Boston Newcon (October 20-22, 1976) and New York Creation Con (November 19, 1976). Transcribed by Mr. Groth, and edited by the same, with Mr. Thompson and Gil Kane.
[I don't believe this conversation has been reprinted in that Hermes Press book of Gil Kane interviews, so here's a paraphrasing of topics covered in this interview: The failure of HIS NAME IS SAVAGE and Adventure House; HIS NAME IS SAVAGE connection to "Conan" and Glenn Lord; Distribution and success (and failure) in the comics industry; Martin Goodman and Atlas/Seaboard; DC Comics and lack of a creative editorial viewpoint; "Comics is an incestuous business;" Adult comics content; Comics fanzines (John Benson mentioned) and fans at conventions; Influences: "Scorchy Smith" by Noel Sickles and "Tarzan" ("The Egyptian Period") by Hal Foster; Storytelling in comics; What he would do in comics if no commercial, content, or format restrictions; Jean Giraud (Moebius) comic artist he says is the "best comic strip artist going now;" Films and critical standards for evaluating comics; STAR HAWKS and Ron Goulart; EXCALIBUR book with John Jakes; Comics don't create they duplicate success until the characters are exhausted creatively; Views on: Harvey Kurtzman, Bernie Wrightson, Jim Steranko, Barry Windsor-Smith, Frank Frazetta, Jenette Kahn, Jack Kirby, Roy Thomas, Alex Nino, Ross Andru, Robert Kanigher, Neal Adams, Mike Golden, and others; Comics and content vs. format; and, more on films and parallels with comics.]

FANDOM REVIEW:
"Hogarth & CRIMMERS: An Excercise in Academic Futility" (pages 47-48) by Paul Dushkind [Mr. Dushkind takes over the "Fandom Review" column from early JOURNAL contributor Doug Fratz, who went on to edit the science-fiction magazine THRUST/QUANTUM. The following issue (#39 April 1978) the column passes on to Marilyn Bethke and her series of critiques of the JOURNAL'S comics press contemporaries!]

SCIENCE FICTION ANTHOLOGY:
"Growing Up Weird" (pages 49-50 55) by Mel Gilden. Ron Wilber: "Captain Video" illustration [I'm considering this the second (and last?) in a series of unpublished articles from Frank Catalano's defunct SIRIUS XIV science-fiction newsletter although I could be mistaken, the first (appearing in the previous issue of the JOURNAL) was "You, too, need protein for a smoother glissando (Or, food for thought)" by Greg Bear. This essay is a well-done slice-of-life done from the viewpoint of a science-fiction author growing up on science-fiction books and telelvision, and pondering how these inspired his writing career and life in general.]

REVIEW:
"The Kingdom and the Power of Jack Katz" (pages 51-52 54-55) by Bill Sherman [Mr. Sherman reviews the first six volumes, focusing somewhat on volumes 5 and 6, of Jack Katz's self-published THE FIRST KINGDOM, an anomaly in the 70s outside of the underground comix and far to individualistic to be considered mainstream.] [Preview page from the then upcoming THE FIRST KINGDOM Volume 7 on page 54]

PRIME-TIME SUPERHEROES:
"Greenskin, Webhead, and the Boob Tube" (pages 56-57) by Kim Thompson. Bob Aull: illustration [This was a bit of a surprise, a review of the pilots of the "Amazing Spider-Man" and "The Hulk." Since Mr. Thompson is now bringing us those amazing Tardi translations, I think I'll refrain from quoting any passages from this one!]
sidebar: "News Update: Marvel TV Movies" [Stan Lee said these movies were in development Human Torch, Captain America (released in 1979), Howard the Duck (released in 1986), Ms. Marvel, Dr. Strange (released in 1978), and Sub-Mariner. Also mentions Marvel considering buying their own animation studio, which I seem to recall them eventually accomplishing in the 1980s.]

ANIMATION:
"Allegro Non Troppo: Fantasia With a Vengeance" (pages 58-59) by Gary Groth [review of Bruno Bozzetto's animated movie, particularly the sequence adapting Ravel's "Bolero" which can be viewed below.]
part 1
part 2











via
"The Hobbit: A Rich and Colorful TV Adaptation" (pages 59 62) by Steve Clement (1953-1981)
sidebar: "Doonesbury" [a review of two animated television releases from 1977, the latter titled fully: "A Doonesbury Special."]

THE CREATIVE EXPERIENCE:
"The Outer Limits of the Imagination" (pages 60-61) by Jim Wilson. Judy (Judith) Hunt: illustration. [a review by then-television-producer Wilson of Ted C. Rypel's THE OUTER LIMITS: AN ILLUSTRATED REVIEW Volumes 1 and 2. I believe this is Mr. Wilson's last column for the JOURNAL as he does not contribute to the next issue, he was a contributor beginning with THE NOSTALGIA JOURNAL 27, the first Fantagraphics issue.]

COMIC STRIPS:
"Howard the Duck" (pages 63-66) by Steve Gerber and Gene Colan. [Three Sunday pages of the short-lived comic strip incarnation reprinted in black and white. 7/3, 7/10, and 7/17 with the first being printed twice just because it's TCJ!] [link via Journalista]

BACK COVER:
montage of ASTERIX, "Close Encounters," STAR HAWKS, and an original illustration by Joe Sinardi.

ADVERTISEMENTS:
(page 2) OMNIVERSE 1, Fall 1977, Mark Gruenwald/Dean Mullaney editors [Pete Poplaski cover, reprinted along with ad]
(page 3) subscription ad
(page 4) ROCKET'S BLAST COMICOLLECTOR 139, James Van Hise editor [Star Wars-themed issue. contributors: Ralph Fowler, Morris Scott Dollens, Steven Fabian, Kerry Gammill, Ron Wilber, Don Rosa.]
(page 6) Greg Tuliebitz sale list
(page 11) READER WRITTEN COMICS 2 [contributors: Steve Vance, Max Giguere, Dave Sim, Bill Kent Jr., and Bruce Shane.]
(page 12) 1977 Comic Art Fan Awards - Nominating Ballot [administered by Don Fortier]
(pages 16-17) Monkey's Retreat/Well News Service ad
(page 19) OUTER LIMITS NEWSLETTER, Steve Streeter editor
(page 23) Abel Mills 35mm film clips sale
(page 24) Pikes Peak Book Exchange, SCAN magazine ad
(page 31) Bud Plant ad [ASTERIX]
(page 32) Camelot of Houston, TX ad [THE GOLDEN AGE OF TARZAN 1939-1942 by Burne Hogarth.]
(page 33) Camelot of Houston, TX ad [this page has a "Drake Vader" t-shirt design by Newsome advertised.]
(page 46) 1978 COLLECTORS SHOWCASE auction catalog ad [painted cover reproductions by: Alex Schomburg; Sheldon Moldoff; Fred Ray; Dan Zolnerowich; Alfred Avison; Dick Briefer; Creig Flessel; C.C. Beck; John Celardo; Mike Sekowsky; Alex Kotsky; Paul Reinman; and, Bill Ward. Wow, here's what your favorite golden-age comic book artists were doing in 1978!]
(page 50) MR. KISS KISS BANG BANG 2, Mike France editor [James Bond movie fanzine]
(page 53) Bud Plant ad [FIRST KINGDOM]
(page 55) Sanford L. Jones E.C. Comics sale list
(page 57) BIZARRE THRILLS 1, Bill Black editor [High quality early Bill Black publication (still in print digitally). contributors: R.C. Harvey, Marc Hempel, Tom Lyle, Clifford Neal, Bill Pearson, Joe Staton, Steve Vance (he gets around), and Wallace Wood. partial cover illustration of "Phantom Lady" by Joe Staton and Mr. Black reproduced with the ad.]
(page 62) classified ads from: CEG, Star Gallery, Ernest Whitaker, Stan Timmons, Ward O. Batty, Dwight Decker, Charles Lawrence, Old Radio Warehouse, Howard Rogofsky, Larry Collier, Peter Crosby, Fry's, Christian Haerle, Mark E. Ernst, Harland Ronning, Clifford Meth, Chris Lareau, Bill-Dale Marcinko, and Masthead: AJFTHWON.
(page 67) Bill Cole ad

AFTERWORD:
Coming to a final top ten out of 274 issues of THE NOSTALGIA/COMICS JOURNAL without going crazy required dividing up the long run into rough periods and special issues. The first period (or "era," if you want to get pretentious) I label the "pre-lawsuit" halcyon days which ran from 27-52. While there were many individual highlights among these efforts (discounting all the tabloid issues which I've never seen), I picked #38 for the exhaustive Dwight Decker article on "Asterix" (which still stands up today as a history of the early years of the series) and Gary Groth's interview with Gil Kane which stretched the boundaries of comics journalism in touching on the artist's life and interests outside of comics rather than the worlds on paper he created (that some comic fans mistake for "real" life). There are also some quality shorter pieces like Bill Sherman's analysis of the early issues of THE FIRST KINGDOM, an unjustly forgotten pioneering work. Having reviews by both Mr. Groth and Mr. Thompson in the same issue would seem to push this one over the top, however I'll just say they got a lot better material to analyze in future issues. -GU

THE COMICS JOURNAL (c)2010 Fantagraphics Books, Inc.

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