Tag Archives | Comics

Illustration Giant Frank Frazetta (1928–2010)

A giant of 20th Century illustration has sadly passed. The Beat has more about the artist:

50-frank_frazetta

Frank Frazetta was born February 9, 1928. His early artistic career consisted of years of exquisitely drawn comics work, including contributions to the EC line of comics, assisting Al Capp on L’il Abner and later drawing several years of the strip, and working with Harvey Kurtzman on Little Annie Fanny.

In the ’60s Frazetta turned to cover paintings for the thriving pulp paperback industry and created one of the most recognizable illustration styles of all times.

His covers for Conan, Tarzan and other rough hewn heroes created a visceral, violent, erotic yet somehow still nuanced visual style that has been endlessly imitated but never surpassed — Frazetta’s imagery of brawny, relentless swordsmen, seductive, fleshy sirens and hellfire breathing monsters had a gut level impact because it came from the gut — his many followers were just tracing without the passion of the originals.

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North Korea’s Comics

An article from The Diplomat examines North Korean comics and animation, produced and sold by the government for the purpose of teaching lessons to the nation’s children:

The books are designed to instill the Juche philosophy of Kim Il-sung (the ‘father’ of North Korea)—radical self-reliance of the state. The plots brim with propaganda, featuring scheming capitalists from the United States and Japan who create dilemmas for naïve North Korean characters.

In almost every cartoon, those who stay faithful to Juche have happy endings; the others aren’t so lucky. The villains fit outlandish stereotypes. Americans are usually depicted with big noses, German Nazis as wearing swastikas and Japanese with glasses and buck teeth.

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The Real Tarzan

Tarzan_ComicChris M. writes on the Black Sun Gazette:

Tarzan is the creation of pulp fiction superstar Edgar Rice Burroughs and the prefect blend of two archetypes the feral child and the wild man. His name means “Skin Boy” and he is the son of English aristocrats who were marooned in the jungle after a mutiny at sea. Tarzan’s mother dies from an illness and his father is killed by an ape.

The orphan seems doomed until adopted by Kala, another ape, and taught the ways of the jungle. When he matures he discovers he is John Clayton, Lord Greystoke and returns to England to claim his title only to reject his inheritance and return to his true home in the wilderness.

He joined the comic book world in 1931, having series by both DC and Marvel, and even become a manga star in Japan (not to mention his appearance in Alan Moore’s League of Extraordinary Gentlemen).

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The New Bubble: Superman Comics

Superman ComicFrom MarketWatch:

Forget gold, Chinese real estate or Greek debt derivatives. A new champion in the asset-bubble wars has emerged: Superman comics.

A sale of the first Action Comics issue, from 1938, drew a winning bid of $1 million, according to an auction site called ComicConnect.com.

That’s three times what a copy of the premiere comic cost just last year. To be fair, last year’s sale was of a slightly lower-quality copy, so the appreciation over the past 12 months may be somewhat less — say, double. Still, compared with a lot of other investments over the past year, that’s not too shabby.

Returns over the longer term are only slightly less dramatic.

For a buy-and-hold purist who put money into the comic 70 years ago, the return works out to an annual compounded rate of 25.8925%.

Put another way, if you’d bothered to buy the first edition when it came out, you could have gotten 10,000,000 times the original investment of 10 cents…

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‘Obscene’ U.S. Manga Collector Jailed For 6 Months

MangaDavid Kravets writes in Wired’s Threat Level:

A U.S. comic book collector is being sentenced to six months in prison after pleading guilty to importing and possessing Japanese manga books depicting illustrations of child sex and bestiality.

Christopher Handley was sentenced in Iowa on Thursday, (.pdf) almost a year after pleading guilty to charges of possessing “obscene visual representations of the sexual abuse of children.”

The 40-year-old was charged under the 2003 Protect Act, which outlaws cartoons, drawings, sculptures or paintings depicting minors engaging in sexually explicit conduct, and which lack “serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value.” Handley was the nation’s first to be convicted under that law for possessing cartoon art, without any evidence that he also collected or viewed genuine child pornography.

Without a plea deal with federal authorities, he faced a maximum 15-year sentence.

Comic fans were outraged, saying jailing someone over manga does not protect children from sexual abuse.

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Captain America Attends a Tea Party, But He’s Not Welcome

Dave Gilson writes on Mother Jones:

President Obama may be secretly plotting to declare martial law, but the Tea Partiers now face a more immediate threat: Captain America. Conservative blogger Warner Todd Huston has checked out issue 602 of the long-running series and concludes that Marvel Comics is “making patriotic Americans into [its] newest super villains.”

Captain America Attends a Tea Party

The offending storyline finds Captain America and his African-American sidekick the Falcon in Idaho, where they encounter a Tea Party rally. They then scheme to infiltrate the antitax protesters as a way to get to their real target, a militia group known as the Watchdogs. The Falcon is skeptical: “I don’t exactly see a black man from Harlem fitting in with a bunch of angry white folks.” It’s not the first time the Star Spangled Avenger has revealed his secret identity as a big-government liberal. Back in the ’80s he battled Ronald Reagan when the Gipper turned into an underpants-wearing lizard man.

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