Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Waiting for Kane



Fans of Robert E. Howard's other heroes can finally see something besides Conan the Barbarian. 2009's Solomon Kane is apparently actually getting a theatrical release in the United States, this month. After years of decent reviews from both European critics and fans, and years of rumors of a stateside opening Howard's Puritan Swashbuckler has finally found a US distributor. And should be in theaters, according to my Fandango App, on the 28th, but not to any theaters near me yet, it's only a limited release, only to major cities, so I'm going to keep my eyes open or  just settle for Netflix!

Fingerprint

"Bill, the Boy Wonder: The Secret Co-Creator of Batman"

by Marc Tyler Nobleman and Ty Templeton

I ordered this book a while back, to at the very least, support the book. It's an important story, for comic book fans, and the book is worth reading. And it's a quick read too. But it's format falls short on giving the subject matter the appropriate dignity. Don't misunderstand me, I liked the book, the story itself is of great interest to me, but it's design undermines it's credibility. It's the size, thickness and feel of a children's book. Hardcover too. It's not comic book size, it's pages aren't designed to look like a classic Batman comic. The pages and book are indistinguishable from a children's book.

I don't mind the idea of telling the story through illustrations, but maybe in a format and style that would be more appropriate, like a comic book, drawn in a style similar to Dick Sprang's iconic artwork which graced The Batman comics, at the same time as Bill Finger's writing. It may have been more appropriate than the children's book style page layouts. And maybe the illustrated story didn't need to be the sole content. I would have loved to see this designed with more substance, more variety to the image usage, and some of the actual source materials included. Used alongside the comic strip story telling elements, it might have been a more engaging, and more mature looking work, more like Art Spiegelman's and Chip Kidd's Jack Cole biography, (Jack Cole and Plastic Man: Forms stretched to their limits).

This is not a children's book story, it is a the story of a creative man and how his greatest achievement is credited to another man, a more ambitious man who was able to manipulate circumstances to his favor. It's a story of one man cheating another and of one man unable to do anything but let him get away with it. A story we can all relate to on some level. But harder to relate to in such a format. I liked it, and I suspect other old timey Golden-age comics fans will like this book, but I suspect some might find the format a little off-putting.
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Wednesday, September 19, 2012

King auteur

In the current issue of The Jack Kirby Collector there is the usual assortment of Kirby greatness but also an interesting article by Arlen Schumer, examining "The Auteur Theory of Comics." (The Jack Kirby Collector #59 from Twomorrows publishing).

The article examines the misconceptions of the artist in the role of creator in comics as it has been recently applied in many court cases. The idea being that comics are just as collaborative a medium as film, and in fact like film, the Director(artist) plays a much larger role in the creation of the piece than the writer.

The article cites the recent court case where the Kirby estate over copyright ownership of the Marvel characters. In which Stan Lee's testimony became one of the deciding factors, which amounted to the misconception the he, NOT Kirby was the true author of the Marvel Universe, by the simple fact that he was the "author." A premise that is central to the documentary "With Great Power: The Stan Lee Story."

I highly recommend this issue, for this article alone which makes the case for the artist, in cases like Kirby as the auteur. (Join our discussion on the League boards).

Click here to download a PDF preview from the publisher!


Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Old school

Fresh from the newstand, one of my favorite magazines, doing what is obviously one of my favorite themes. I just picked up the most recent issue of ImagineFX magazine (Issue no. 86 September 2012), even though according to their website it's two months ago. This issue is their tribute to "The Golden Age of Pulp Art." 

There are all the usual great features, and free disc full of awesome photoshop tools, but all with a pulp retro twist. Lots and lots of cool video demos and extras, free textures and photoshop brushes all with that tattered, aged, cover, or antiqued look. I've only just begun to play with them, but I love 'em already.

Plus there's a nice interview with one of my favorite illustrators, Mark Schultz, the creator of Xenozoic Tales. And a history of pulp magazine cover art. And much more pulp art goodies. Plus, a four star review of John Carter on DVD! I knew it didn't suck. (Join our discussion on the League boards).

Check out their website, ImagineFX magazine (Issue no. 86 September 2012)


Wednesday, September 12, 2012

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Welcome to the League of Nostalgic Gentlemen's completely superfluous (and as of now, completely empty), companion news blog to the official League of Extremely Nostalgic Gentlemen message boards.

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