John R. Parker
Defining Runs & Sticking To His Guns: A Birthday Tribute To Peter David
Born September 23rd, 1956, Peter David has enjoyed a long and illustrious tenure as one of the most respected writers in comics. His resume includes several long runs that have defined or redefined major characters, many of them considered classics. David has been one of the most divisive and controversial writers in superhero comics, as well-known for his willingness to speak up for his convictions as he is for his writing.
Negative Space In Greg Smallwood’s ‘Moon Knight’
Greg Smallwood is one of the most fascinating artists to have emerged in the last five years. His breakout book Dream Thief showcased his innovative approach to page design, classic figure work, and the clever incorporation of sound effects and simple iconography into his layouts. He's not just a comic book artist; he's a sequential artist, designer, and storyteller, and in his fantastic second run on Moon Knight, he's been doing some very exciting things with negative space.
Father Of The Adventure Strip: A Tribute To Hal Foster
At a time when the syndicated newspaper strip was one of the biggest sources of entertainment in the world, Harold "Hal" Foster was its reluctant, undisputed king. Born in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada on August 16th, 1892, Foster's work on Tarzan and Prince Valiant narrowed the gap between fine art and cartooning, and paved the way for generations of artists to follow.
The Influence Of Alex Toth On Chris Samnee’s ‘Black Widow’
Chris Samnee is one of the best artists working in comics today. His stock has risen steadily since 2010 as he went from Thor: The Mighty Avenger to The Rocketeer: Cargo of Doom, to a long, esteemed run with Mark Waid on Daredevil, winning both a Harvey and an Eisner award along the way. Now on Black Widow, again with Waid, he continues to develop his craft and turn heads, so much so that "one of the best artists working in comics today" doesn't seem to describe just how good he actually is. One of the reasons he's so good is that he's picked up tricks from some of the greatest artists to come before him, and one in particular stands above the rest: Alex Toth.
Righteous Fury: Celebrating Warren Ellis and Darick Robertson’s ‘Transmetropolitan’
Imagine, if you a can, a world where charismatic leaders and would-be messiahs take advantage of people's basic need for hope, and soulless corporations run by greedy little monsters squeeze every last dime out of their consumers even if they end up killing them, and elected officials care more about whatever they stoop down and squat out than the people who need their help. If such a scenario is too hard to imagine, then you're just not paying attention, and you need a crash-course in the realities of human sewage and the power of truth. Begin with Warren Ellis and Darick Robertson's Transmetropolitan, which got its start on July 9, 1997.
The Enduring Influence Of ‘Watchmen’
Stories set in an alternate history or reality are built from a "point of divergence," a moment at which the fictional reality veers off from our own. Germany wins World War II, Kennedy survives the assassination attempt, etc. In Watchmen that point comes in 1938. Shortly after the publication of Action Comics #1, costumed heroes begin appearing in the real world, the "factual black and white of the headlines," as Hollis Mason puts it, and history changes course. In our reality, comics books experienced their own point of divergence on June 5, 1986, with the debut of the first issue of Watchmen by Alan Moore, Dave Gibbons, and John Higgins. Ever since then, the entire medium has been permanently altered by its startling vision and precise execution.
Master of the Multiverse And Legend Of The Justice Society: A Tribute To Gardner Fox
Gardner Fox is one of the most prolific and eminent comic book writers in the medium's history. Born May 20, 1911, Fox had a career that spanned five decades. It's estimated that Fox wrote around 4,000 comic stories for National, All-American, Timely, Columbia, Marvel, and EC, and scores of prose stories and novels. But he's best-remembered as the man who gave the DC Universe its soul
Beginning At Aardvark: The Extraordinary And Controversial Career of Dave Sim
No other comic artist's legacy is as tough to nail down as that of Dave Sim, born on this day in 1956. As the creator of Cerebus, Sim is one of the medium's biggest champions for creators' rights, a patron saint of self-publishing, a contender for the title of greatest living cartoonist, and a visionary who achieved something that seemed both both crazy and impossible. Simultaneously, he's a lightning rod for controversy, the holder of a litany of contentious opinions that he's made one with his work, and he's often dismissed as a kook at best, disgusting at worst. Yet no matter what one thinks of Sim as a human being, there's no denying the white-hot sequential brilliance that emanates from one of comics' most controversial creators.
The Dynamics Of Fear: Celebrating The Infamous Johnny Craig
Even among a roster of talents that includes several industry legends, Johnny Craig's work with EC Comics stands out. An artist who usually wrote his own stories, he produced clean and lively pages that brought his shocking, poetic yarns to life, and as the premier cover artist for the publisher, Craig's jolting imagery for Vault Of Horror, Tales From The Crypt and Crime SuspenStories frequently provided a fitting introduction to the taut, disturbing tales that laid in wait inside. Unfortunately, it was his brilliance on those covers that led to his widespread vilification. Born April 25, 1926, today we take a moment to appreciate the work of the late, great Johnny Craig.
Today In Comics History: Bill Gaines Fights The Good Fight
On April 21 1954, William M. "Bill" Gaines, publisher of Entertaining Comics, spoke at the Senate Subcommittee on Juvenile Delinquency to defend his comic books against accusations of indecency and the perversion of minors. Some say as a direct result of his testimony, comic books were irreparably damaged. But no matter the result, Bill Gaines should be applauded simply for being willing to stand up and be counted.