Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Tuesday... Uncle Slam Hits Tomorrow, and Gene Colan and Johnny Freaking Craig!

Whew... been working like a bastard the past several days. The good news, for me, is that I've been doing some writing. Writing is harder for me than inking these days, but also more rewarding. I'm enjoying getting back on some projects I've been neglecting for too long.

More about those projects later. For now, I should mention that UNCLE SLAM FIGHTS BACK should hit stores tomorrow! Please, please, please, check it out! It's got fun, corn dogs, and robots!

Now, on to the art scan of the day. This panel isn't really spectacular, and it doesn't come from a spectacular page, but I do love it for a number of reasons. First, it comes from the final issue of one of my favorite Silver Age comics, Tales of Suspense. I discovered Tales of Suspense back issues when I was first getting back into comics, when I was in Junior High. I'm not sure which came fist- my discovery of Takes of Suspense, or my love of the book's two leads, Captain America and Iron Man. Either way, it's a book made for me... aside from the fact that I didn't discover it until long after its demise.

This image also showcases two of my favorite artists, Gene Colan and Johnny Craig. Craig we have spoken about here before. He is a true artist's artist, and an underrated genius. I have not spoken about Colan on these pages before, but he is a unique talent that I also have a ton of respect for.

This issue, Tales of Suspense #99, came out just as Colan was really hitting his peak, in my opinion. His work from this era is amazingly inventive, but still solid as hell. He would become more cinematic... more experimental later in his career, but the structure would sometimes suffer. At times, I love his later work. At other times, not quite so much.

Ironically, some people feel just the same way about Johnny Craig's work at Marvel, and I disagree. I guess I have to concede that his EC work is stronger, but I really love a lot of what he did for Marvel, particularly on jobs like this one, where he was inking another strong artist.

I know this is a panel without a ton of stuff going on, but I think there are things to learn here. Colan was not an easy guy to ink. There were a lot of grays in his pencils, and that can send a weak inker to the madhouse. Tom Palmer was probably the best at converting Gene's grays into line art. He did it brilliantly for many years. I think Craig does a very credible job here, though. He has created the effect of speed here with amazing facility and efficiency. I love the way the bold, brushy shapes of the car blend into the speed lines.

We also have a lot of depth in this simple panel, which is due, in large part, to how Craig handled his line weights. The car in the foreground pops nicely, even though it's barely in the composition. The car in the background recedes nicely, thanks to Craig's delicate work there.

I'll show off more of this page soon. That's enough outta me for now, though. Enjoy the genius, and come back for more Thursday!



Mad Ernie said...
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Mad Ernie said...

Agree with your comments about Colan and Craig. For Gene Colan, I have been of the opinion that he hit his peak in the early 70's with Tom Palmer on Daredevil and Tomb of Dracula. As the 70's wore on, Colan's pencils seemed to become looser until they were a shadow of what they once were (see his Batman work in the 80's as a comparison). Yet, he still could tell a story with pictures better than most artists of any decade. More, more, more!