Sunday, August 10, 2008

My South American Project... and JOHNNY CRAIG!

Monday's post... a day early (because I'm trying to figure out coding this blogspot page!)!

Art scan coming up, but first, please check out this promotional blather:

Along with the previously mentioned UNCLE SLAM FIGHTS BACK!, I'm working on a couple of more serious Original Graphic Novels (OGNs) for Oni Press. Today, I'll mention my South American Kidnapping Book. It's in the early stages, still, but it's a really exciting project. Unlike UNCLE SLAM, there will be nothing light or satirical about this project. It's a grim, street-level book set in a very dark place. Not always as much fun as SLAM, but rewarding in its own ways. I can't name anyone yet, but the folks I'm working with on this book are really amazing. Details soon, I hope.

And now, today's art scan- a classic panel by a real artist's artist, Johnny Craig. I've heard a number of guys I admire express their admiration for Craig, from Frank Miller to Jerry Ordway. Still, Craig is not often listed as one of the field's true greats... and that's a shame. Even among the EC class, he doesn't get as much respect as he deserves. I put his EC work right up there with Wood and Davis. He also did some amazing stuff in the early days of Marvel comics, particularly on Tales of Suspense and Iron Man.

I am lucky enough to own two consecutive pages from a Craig story that was published in the latter-day EC title, EXTRA. This is panel one of the second page, which is also the last page of this story. As I recall, Craig got to write some spy stories himself toward the end of EC's non-Mad output. This story isn't especially memorable, but it's solid enough, and the artwork is spectacular. Craig was such a bold artist... everything he did exuded confidence. I love his compositions, and the way he spots blacks. I think the limb under the foreground guy's arm here is brilliant... it crowds that character's enviroment simply and effectively. Almost no one in comics today can draw guys in suits like Craig could. God, I wish I could ink hair like that.

This page is twice up, as are all the EC originals I have seen. You can make out the blue lettering guides, which were printed right on the boards. I don't know, off the top of my head, who lettered the EC stuff (that which was hand lettered), but the lettering here is fantastic.

Enough of my spouting! Enjoy the genius! I'm sure we'll see more Craig down the line someday.

Anj



This just in... my buddy Todd Klein says this job was lettered by the great Ben Oda!

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