All Hallow's Eve. Halloween. The Day Of The Dead. Samhain. No matter what name one uses to refer to it, October 31 is the craziest, spookiest, creepy-crawliest evening of the year – a night of costumes, trick-or-treating, ghosts, goblins, monster movie marathons, and of course, comic books!
So today, we've reached out to some of our favorite modern-day creators to ask for their takes on the scary comics that they found inspiring, and to get their riffs on the critters and characters that have influenced their work. Happy Halloween!
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.
Steve Gerber was one of comics' most individual talents – an acclaimed writer whose career spanned four decades, an outspoken voice for creative rights, and, of course, as he's inevitably known today, the man who made an ill-tempered cigar-smoking duck into one of Marvel's most unforgettable characters.
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).
Jack Kirby is very probably the single most influential figure in the history of American comics. He produced countless stories in a career that spanned seven decades, inventing and re-inventing genres and styles every step of the way. He inspired generations of artists and writers; created and co-created thousands of characters; defined the visual vocabulary of superheroes; and believed in the potential of comics to be both entertainment and art, long before most people imagined these stories would be remembered past the four weeks that they sat on newsstands.
This week would have been Kirby’s 97th birthday, so to celebrate, we asked some of our favorite creators and other comic pros to contribute their impressions of his characters, life, and legacy – and the response has been overwhelming. Yesterday, we posted the first set of these all-star tributes, and here's the second, even more expansive selection!
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