Thursday, May 1, 2014

Legendary "Mad" man


Al Feldstein Legendary EC Comics, writer/artist, and Mad Magazine editor died yesterday at 88...

I had only discovered EC later in my comics reading life. Like discovering jazz or classical music as you get older, when people begin looking for something more than the juvenile mainstream they've seemingly outgrown.

For the last decades or so, I've been on the lookout for those cheap EC reprints. Some were comics size, some almost treasury size, others were bound together under new covers. I spent many a happy Saturday over the years cleaning out more than a few bargain bins, until the local comic shop owner at the time noticed, and put them up on a better display and marked up the price.

Now that I'm a little older I tried collecting the various hard cover editions. I got a few of the Gemstone editions, very very nice but expensive. But, I liked best the series by Fantagraphics, each featuring a particular artist/writer. I have the books featuring Al Williams, and Johnny Craig. A little while back, I picked up the volume featuring Al Feldstein, ("Child of Tomorrow and other stories by Al Feldstein"). I had set it aside until just recently, when I ran across an illustration by Al Feldstein, in a trade collection of classic western stories done by contemporary artists, (Western Classics: Graphic Classics Volume 20). It was just a single page illustration but it reminded me to pick up the EC collection. Happily this past week I had just finished reading it, so Mr. Feldstein's work is still quite fresh in my mind.

These editions are my favorites not only because they focus on one artist/writer, but because they are reprinted in B&W. Some people don't get it or prefer to replicate the original reading experience, but I think you can better appreciate the art without the color. The line work, the compositions are clear and crisp, without being muted by the color inks over the blacks or in some editions you see the bleed through from the page art on the other side, as the pages have been improperly scanned. And I've really enjoyed reading this volume, studying every page, Al Feldstein's art and writing were what comics should aspire to.

Al Feldstein, was a wonderfully talented story teller.