Born on August 21, 1929, Marie Severin is one of the true multi-faceted treasures of comics, an artist equally adept at delineating humor and high adventure, whose keen eye and innate feel made her one of the industry's preeminent colorists, and whose gift for expressing emotion with a few quick lines led to a three-decade stint as one of Marvel's top artists and designers, working on everything from Doctor Strange to the Muppet Babies.
Patrick A. Reed
It seems like whenever we start to become desensitized to the mix-and-match mash-up nature of popular culture, something new comes along to shock us out of our doldrums. Whether it's Phineas And Ferb crossing over with Star Wars, Hello Kitty teaming with KISS, Archie's hometown of Riverdale getting devoured by zombies, or Minions advertising in the produce aisle of your local supermarket, mainstream society has adopted a comic-con mentality where all things coexist and cross-promote at all times, whether or not the combinations make any logical sense.
But even so, I don't think any of us foresaw a world where the stars of Toy Story would be reimagined as giant mecha-warriors, joining together to save earth from the kaiju threat of a mutated Trixie The Triceratops.
Born on this day in 1956 in New York City, New York, John Romita Jr. is one of comics' most distinguished artists, whose multi-decade career has seen him take on many of the medium's most iconic properties, collaborate with many of the finest writers the industry has to offer, and lend his distinctive visual sensibility to a vast number of best-selling storylines. He's defined many of Marvel's best-known characters, and helped reinvent the DC Universe for a new generation of readers.
Jim Lee is a businessman, a superstar artist, the talent behind the best-selling single issue of all time, the figurehead of the indie revolution, and the co-publisher of the oldest established comics company.
Lee went from struggling artist to industry-topping fan-favorite, he co-founded Image Comics, and he helmed many of Marvel and DC's highest-profile projects. His hyper-detailed, fine-line technique has inspired legions of imitators, and influenced generations of creators, making him one of comics' best-known and most recognizable creators. And today is his birthday.
This week the world of comics was saddened to learn of the passing of legendary cartoonist Jack Davis. Over the course of a career that spanned nine decades, Davis became one of the world's most recognizable visual stylists, rising to fame with his work on EC's horror and science-fiction titles in the '50s, then solidifying his status as one of the most beloved members of Mad Magazine's "Usual Gang Of Idiots".
Davis was a one-of-a-kind original, and it's our pleasure to commemorate his passing by presenting this hand-picked selection of his work --- fifty of our favorite images, showcasing all aspects of his artistry.
On this day in 1959, issue #22 of DC Comics' Showcase appeared on newsstands. Three years earlier, in issue #4, the anthology series had introduced a radically new take on the company's super-speedy Flash character, and in doing so, laid the groundwork for a full-fledged revival of the superhero genre. In the time since, Showcase alternated through a variety of new features (Manhunters; The Flash; Challengers Of The Unknown; The Space Ranger; Rip Hunter, Time Master; Superman's Girlfriend, Lois Lane; Adam Strange), but with #22, it once again returned to the well of iconic properties, taking the name of a Golden Age hero and lending it to an all-new character.
The original Green Lantern of the 1940s was a guy who channeled mystical "green flame" powers through a talking lantern (and a ring made from metal that he cut out of said lantern), and wore an eye-popping multi-hued outfit that looked like it was assembled by a color-blind tailor on his last day before retirement.
Ralph McQuarrie is one of people whose name may not be known to the public at large, but whose imagination gave rise to some of the most indelible, incredible imagery in all pop culture. He was a designer, a concept artist, and a creator who could take fantastic ideas and give them form, serving an essential role in the making of classic films and TV shows.
Born on this day in 1929, McQuarrie designed the spaceships seen in Steven Spielberg's Close Encounters Of The Third Kind and E.T., he conceived the look of the original Battlestar Galactica, he was responsible for a central image in Raiders Of The Lost Ark, he production designed Cocoon, and he worked as visual consultant for Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home. But inarguably, his major achievement was defining the look of the Star Wars universe.
He's one of the most recognizable figures in all of popular culture. He's amazing, he's spectacular. He's been the subject of countless animated and live-action adaptations, starring in everything from Saturday morning cartoons to public television educational shows to big-budget motion pictures. He's been a nebbishy student, a professional wrestler, a schoolteacher, a fugitive, a technological entrepreneur, an intrepid photographer, and an Avenger. He catches thieves just like flies, he's got radioactive blood, and he does whatever a spider can.
But on June 5th, 1962, Spider-Man was simply a crazy new character vying for space on newsstands, and by any conventional measure, the odds were stacked against him.
Today in 1940, newspaper readers in Philadelphia, Chicago, and a handful of other major US cities opened their newspapers to find something unusual --- a new color comic supplement that, rather than appearing in the usual tabloid dimensions of the Sunday funnies, was effectively a comic book unto itself. A dapper gentleman in a blue suit grinned out from the first panel, his visage floating over a graveyard and a distant cityscape.
The story that followed was a quick read, the tale of Detective Denny Colt who is apparently killed by the villainous Dr. Cobra, but cheats death thanks to being soaked in some mysterious chemical, and brings the evildoer to justice as the mysterious Spirit.
Over a career that spanned seven decades, Herb Trimpe compiled a singularly impressive CV and earned a reputation as one of the medium’s most distinctive and reliable professionals. He was one of Marvel's first-string creators for many years, he was the first person to draw Wolverine for publication, he launched Marvel’s iconic G.I. Joe series, he pencilled long runs of offbeat titles like Godzilla and Shogun Warriors, and he defined the look of The Hulk for a generation of readers.