While not a household name to most, Mary Blair's star looms large in the fields of animation, illustration, comics, and character/scenic design. She's an "artist's artist", someone whose designs for Walt Disney reached countless millions -- yet she worked in relative anonymity through most of her lifetime.
Blair's first major assignment for Disney was as supervisor and concept artist for Saludos Amigos and The Three Caballeros, and she went on to produce designs, concepts, and color stylings for many of the studio's best-loved films, including Cinderella, Peter Pan, and Alice In Wonderland.
If you were to pull a random sampling of professionals from across the comics industry and poll them on their favorite modern-day creators, Mike Mignola's name would doubtlessly rank near the top. Since he burst on the scene at Marvel in the early 1980s, pencilling an obscure limited series about a talking space raccoon, he's matured brilliantly – from his seminal work at DC Comics (pencilling books including World Of Krypton, Cosmic Odyssey, and Batman: Gotham By Gaslight), to his work at Topps, Marvel, and other companies in the early '90s (on Ironwolf, Bram Stoker's Dracula, various X-books, and many other titles), to his move into creator-owned comics with the mighty Hellboy, he's maintained a unique voice and an immediately recognizable art style, bettering himself with each successive project, evolving and refining his voice at every opportunity.
Whether it's baby Hellboy eating a forbidden breakfast, a snake and a magician flying kites, or a robotic super-spy with a detachable head in the employ of President Lincoln, there's a dry-yet-absurd tone to Mignola stories that drips with the glee of innovation and possibility, yet manages to keep it all contained within straight-faced third-person storytelling. And so, today, a few days after his 54th birthday, we're excited to celebrate Mike Mignola's career with a few fellow fans (who also happen to be notable comic-makers in their own right).
Sergio Aragones was born in Spain in 1937, moved to Mexico with his family in the early 1940s, and after attending the University Of Mexico, settled in the United States in 1962. His cartoons first appeared in Mad Magazine at the end of that year, and he quickly became one of the publication's most popular contributors. In the years since, he's become well-known to comic readers as the co-creator and writer of DC Comics' western hero Bat Lash and a contributor to countless other titles (including Plop!, Fanboy, The Mighty Magnor, The Simpsons, and Actions Speak); he's continued his association with Mad (appearing in 452 of the 453 issues published since his debut); he's produced a number of bestselling paperback books; and, of course, he continues to produce comics telling the stories of his best-known creation, the bumbling barbarian with a weakness for cheese dip, the inimitable Groo The Wanderer.
To mark the occasion of his birthday (September 6), we've reached out to a few of our favorite modern-day creators to join us in paying tribute to Sergio and celebrating his life and work.
To celebrate the centennial anniversary of Superman co-creator Joe Shuster's birth, some of the men and women who've benefited from his tremendous artistic influence have paid homage to and shared their impressions of Shuster's work, his legacy, and his signature character.
C.C. Beck was born on June 8, 1910, attended art school in Chicago, and started his career in pulp magazines with Fawcett Publications in the early 1930s. When the popularity of pulps began to fade, he moved over work on Fawcett's line of comics – and in 1939 he co-created a character that originally bore the name "Captain Thunder", but was re-dubbed Captain Marvel shortly before the release of his first adventure. In that initial story, young newsboy Billy Batson meets a great wizard, and is given the power to transform into "The World's Mightiest Mortal" when he says one magic word...Shazam!
Today, one day after what would have been his 104th birthday, w've reached out to a few of today's best comics creators to ask for their thoughts and impressions on Beck and his creations.
Though he's hardly a household name here in the United States, even among the majority of comics fans, Hergé is a serious contender for the title of "all-time most influential comic artist". He created the globe-trotting boy reporter Tintin in 1929, and until his death in 1983, spun an ever-expanding saga that found the the intrepid lad and his supporting cast exploring the deep sea, landing on the moon, tangling with a yeti, and doing battle with an endless assortment of thieves, scoundrels, and ne'er-do-wells.
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