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So whenever I think of Star Wars comics, just, you know, as a general concept, and not as something specific I’m staring at on a rack or processing for the back issue bins, this is the cover that I picture:
The Star Wars
comics were young Mike’s first regular exposure to the work of Carmine Infantino, and though in the past I’ve poked a little fun here once or twice at the somewhat off-model stylings of the Star Warriors in that series, they still remain some of the most memorable of my youth…almost certainly because
of the work of Mr. Infantino.
Of course, I would come to learn and love his work on the Flash, especially in this wonderful issue that I read so often since buying it off the stands that I ended up having to buy a replacement copy a couple of decades later:
…And of course there were his Batman comics, Detective Chimp, Adam Strange, Elongated Man, and much more than I can easily list here.
Carmine Infantino passed away yesterday at the age of 87. So long, Carmine, and thanks for all the swell comics.
• • •
Another notable comics passing is George Gladir
, one of the industry’s hardest working writers, having worked for both Archie Comics (cocreating Sabrina with Dan DeCarlo) and Cracked
. To be frank, his was not a name I immediately recognized, but boy, did I read a lot of Cracked
when I was a kid in the ’70s (the Nineteen
-Seventies, you wiseacres) so certainly I must have been exposed to plenty of his work. My condolences to his family, friends, and fans.
And I would be remiss if I did not note the passing of Roger Ebert. The loss of his great wit and intelligence is a sad one, but thankfully he left behind no small amount of writing that will continue to entertain and educate us for a long time to come. It was he and his longtime reviewing partner Gene Siskel that introduced Young Me to the idea that film criticism was even a thing, and perhaps, even more generally, the idea that one’s entertainment can be thoughtfully considered and not just passively absorbed.
He was also a supporter of the silliness my friends and I perpetrated on Twitter, and his agreement to write the introduction to our book is one we are still infinitely grateful for.
Thank you, Roger, for everything.
So Errol had been coming to the shop for years, popping in about once a month to pick up his holds, and calling me the next day with his Previews order. He had a health condition that slowly robbed him of his motor skills…early on he could still walk into the shop with the use of a cane, but in later years he was mostly wheelchair-bound: he was able to stand for brief periods of time, but certainly not walk.
However, he was always cheerful and friendly, and we’d chat for quite a while during his visits, and he wasn’t shy about what he thought was good or bad about the directions the industry was heading. He loved Golden Age comics and Marvel’s Masterworks reprint volumes, and DC’s Archives and classic newspaper strip collections. He didn’t care for DC’s New 52 reboots at first, but was slowly trying out some of them as the collections began to be released.
He would pull out his typed list of books he’d preordered, and we’d go through it together and figure out which items were delayed, and which items were so delayed maybe we should just give up on them. We’d just kind of shake our heads at the scheduling issues, with a “so whaddaya gonna do?” bemused resignation.
He remembered me once mentioning that my mother was a big Betty Boop fan, and during one of his visits to our shop, he brought me a Betty Boop Monopoly game to give to her.
He would also regularly call me between visits, just to get shipping updates and to make special item requests outside of his usual Previews orders. He’d usually end the call with “I’ll see you next week, God willing” or something similar.
A couple of weeks back I noticed that I hadn’t heard from Errol. Previews orders were due and he almost never missed turning one in. I called and left a message, suspecting that maybe he was back in the hospital again. I let him know that I hoped everything was okay, and that if he needed to turn in his order a bit late, that shouldn’t be a problem.
I called him again last week and left another message, simply to check up on him.
Earlier this week, suspecting the worst, I did a little Google searching, and found out Errol passed away about a month ago.
The Roy Thomas Presents the Phantom Lady hardcover came out this week. Errol was really looking forward to that. Mickey Spillane: From the Files of Mike Hammer is coming out next week…he’d been really waiting for that.
I suspect there will be several new releases in the foreseeable future that I’ll wish Errol could have been around to read and enjoy.
So long, Errol.
Another comics legend passes: Joe Kubert died Sunday morning at the age of 85.
We recently acquired at the shop a good handful of classic Our Army at War comics, all featuring Kubert’s wonderful cover work. I think this was my favorite of the bunch, with such a great collection of character portraits on a single cover:
Mr. Kubert was a huge talent and a definite inspiration to many folks in the field. He was a teacher for my pal Tom Foxmarnick
and for many other of my favorite artists, including Steve Bissette, who has his own memorial here
A year or so ago, I wrote up a little thing about Kubert’s never-released Redeemer series, though it appears we may see a bit of it in the (hopefully still) forthcoming Joe Kubert Presents anthology, which will now be bit of a bittersweet memorial to one of the industry’s finest.
So long, Joe…you were one of the great ones, still doing significant and impressive work right up ’til today. You’ll definitely be missed.
I have no idea where I got this book, a 1976 hardcover of Long After Midnight:
It’s been sitting on my bookshelves for well over thirty years. Did I pick it up at a yard sale? Did my Nana (never “Grandma,” only “Nana”), who always gave me books, give this to me as well? I honestly have no memory of its origin. But I do know I read through it plenty as a kid, and I realize now it’s been a long time since I’ve last perused it. I think it’s time again.
Now, this next book, Dinosaur Tales from 1983:
…might as well have been titled Mike, Grab This Book off The Shelf And Buy It Immediately
, because dude, it’s stories about dinosaurs by Ray Bradbury (yes, including the most famous one of all
), with illustrations by Bill Stout, Moebius, Steranko, and Gahan Wilson, among others. This is such a great package of wonderful words and pictures. And dinosaurs.
So long, Ray, and thanks for all those wonderful words, in these books and so many others.
I’d been aware of the work of Moebius before coming across The Incal
as it was being serialized in Heavy Metal
back in the early ’80s…but there was something about the art, the weird things happening in the story, the nearly dreamlike quality of the whole endeavor, that grabbed my attention.
For whatever reason, I didn’t get all the chapters as they were serialized, but a few years later I certainly snapped up the three volume Incal series Marvel published. Finally getting the whole story together…well, didn’t make things any more clear, but it’s still beautiful and interesting and just plain strange. And that’s fine with me.
Thanks, Moebius, for this and your other wonderful works.
(Here is the L.A. Times obituary, which is a lot more eloquent than I am. EDIT: And here is a much more thorough obituary from Tom Spurgeon.)
Peter Bergman (pictured on the right), one of the four or five guys from the Firesign Theatre
, passed away Friday morning.
The Firesign Theatre site has a memorial page that you can visit right here.
You were a funny guy, Mr. Bergman. Thank you for all the entertainment and laughs you’ve provided over the years, and I, along with all your family and friends and fans, are grateful that you’ll continue to live on in the work you’ve left behind.
So long, Peter.
1. So it would appear to be that the mystery caricature on the cover of Spoof #3 is apparently Tom Jones, based on some of the images I’ve been sent, and the fact that the editor of the book, Roy Thomas, seems to think it’s him, too. Close enough for horseshoes, my friends.
And anyway, we ended up selling that copy of Spoof on Saturday. The mystery was exchanged for about seven bucks.
2. Lost a couple of big names from the comics/sci-fi world just recently: Golden Age great Sheldon Moldoff, and the man who gave Star Wars its look, artist Ralph McQuarrie. My condolences to their families and friends.
3. Pal Dave gives you the latest installment of This Used to Be The Future…funnybook sci-fi, 1960s-style!
4. Pals Dorian and Ken unleash another installment of In A World, their monthly review of the newest movie trailers. This is one of my favorite things. Also [SPOILER] The Lorax appears to be an unholy abomination.
We’ve lost some fine comics folks recently…Batman artist (and man credited with creating the Joker) Jerry Robinson, Captain America cocreator Joe Simon, and fine comic book and comic strip artist Eduardo Barreto. There’s a lot more to those folks than my too-brief intros above, so I suggest reading the linked articles. Or Google around.
In particular, whenever I think of Barreto, I immediately associate him with two things. One, I remember him as the guy who took over from Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez on Atari Force (and did a swell job, by the way); and two, I remember him as the artist, both covers and interiors, for this two-part Kryptonite Man story:
To this day, that Superman
issue remains one of my favorite examples of a real attention-grabbing comic book cover.
So long, Jerry, Joe, and Ed…my condolences to their family, friends, and their fans.
• • •
In entirely unrelated news, I’ve been informed that there may again be a glitch in the RSS feed for this site, and new posts may not turn up as “new” in the feeds. If you’re not seeing new posts from me in your readers, unsubscribe then resubscribe and see if that fixes things. I’ll test things from my end over the next day or three and see what I can determine.
…If you’re not having problems getting new posts from my site in your feed, please disregard everything I just said. If you don’t read my site, you stink. So there.
So long, Gene.
from Sea Devils #13 (September-October 1963)
Dwayne McDuffie, comics and animation writer/editor, and cofounder of Milestone Media
, passed away earlier this week
. While I’ve enjoyed many of his works – in particular, Milestone’s Hardware
, as well as his work for DC Comics’ animation unit (including the screenplay adaptation of All Star Superman
, just released this week) – I think his multiple Damage Control
mini-series, about the folks who clean up after superhero battles, may be my favorite.
He was a strong and unique voice in the comics industry, and he was taken from us too soon. My condolences to his family, his friends…and to all of us.
Pals Kevin and Chris have more insightful things to say about the man…especially make sure to check out Chris’s article, which includes a particularly-pointed series pitch written by McDuffie. And Dr. Polite Scott links back to his coverage of McDuffie’s Canadian anti-drug comics.
• • •
A beloved figure from science fiction television has also passed away this week: Nicolas Courtney, whose portrayal of the Brigadier on Doctor Who
has spanned decades, has died at the age of 81
. My best wishes to his family, friends, and fans.
• • •
Just two reminders to appreciate people while they’re still around for you to do so.