Posts tagged Black Canary
From the family…
Hall of Fame artist John Severin, one of the last of the legendary EC artists, has died at age 90. Severin—whose sister Marie was also a famed artist and colorist for Marvel—was among the greatest draftsmen of the EC crew. He was especially well known for his Western comics, which were meticulously researched and elegant in their line. [,,,more at The Beat]
Never had the opportunity and privilege to meet John Severin. I had started a portrait of him some days ago to fill a missing Wikipedia biography image. But with the news, that page has been polished in the last while and a relatively recent photo has been uploaded. Heartfelt condolences to the grieving family. John is a giant among his peers.
A few recent images
It’s actually a convention sketch that a fan paid for in 1978 at the San Diego Con. He wanted a sketch but I didn’t have time before having to take a flight, so he decided to pay for it anyway and I promised I’d mail it to him. Well, I lost his contact info and flew out to the Middle East soon afterward. Neither of us could find each other since. But he found me recently, after waiting 33 years. Good to finally close such a big circle.
It was commissioned by someone who has accompanied me and my career since we first met some 30+ years ago at a convention. He asked that I not mention him by name if I can help it. Well, it’s not easy because this good friend and avid supporter of my art since way back when, has waited patiently for years for this sketch. What’s more, and just like any other encounter we’ve had at conventions, he’s always stayed near, listening and talking about comics, the arts and artists . He is one of the more perceptive of the people I’ve spent time with and eschews the mad rush for artist popularity advanced by mainstream publishers because it ends up working to the detriment of most creators. In knowing all this, he strives to reward artists he admires far more handsomely than what the art market suggests. It’s an honor and privilege to call such a man my friend.
Here is the commission, my first inking on paper in ages. His art gallery can be seen here:
Maybe it’s just me, but it seems there are more and more sites and blogs uploading entire stories of comics from back in the days. Comics that might be hard to find today, if you didn’t collect them when they were published. Though it seems such sites have been around for some time, it’s only in the last while that I’ve run into the phenomenon. Most of the ones I’ve seen focus on the Broze Age of comics, from the early 1970′s into the mid ’80′s, and carry a wealth of comics stories from that era. Young readers who haven’t yet seen these treasures would be greatly enriched by them.
My first encounter with such a site was a few months ago when I stumbled upon Diversions of the Groovy Kind, which after snooping around I discovered is one of several sites produced by Jonathan A. Gilbert. The site, full of wonderful treasures and commentary is maintained by The Groovy Agent (not Jonathan, and keeps his civilian identity well concealed). There, he reviewed an origin of Doctor Fate story that I inked over Joe Staton in DC Special Series #10, 1978, Secret Origins of Super Heroes. The Groovy Agent had a few good words to say about the art, and specifically the inking:
The coolness factor was ramped up about 6,000 notches when Mike Nasser (now Michael Netzer) stepped in to ink the tale. His psychedelic-yet-realistic inking style perfectly complemented Staton’s cartoony style to create a truly unique visual that perfectly suited the mood of Levitz’s script. Dig it, baby!
Today’s comicbook creators take note of how faithful Levitz, Staton, and Nasser were able to stay true to the source material, and yet give it a new shine and gloss that fit the era it was created for. That’s how ya make good comics!
Well, that was enough for me. First, there was the reality that this is the first time I’d seen the completed story in print since around the time it was published. Throughout my wanderings from that time, I simply haven’t held on to or maintained a comics collection to speak of, especially a collection of the comics that I drew myself. The internet remains the best source for me to see my old work, including convention sketches, commissions and anything else. So when such web sites upload entire stories, it’s a big treat and very nice way to see the work again – and finally at least have a digital copy of it. Secondly, that was a very nice comment, of the type that isn’t often heard about my work from a time many people prefer to characterize me as an Adams clone. Not that they don’t have reason to, mind you, but it seems to miss the point about whether the work possesses a notable independent quality as good comics that are fun to read and worthy to collect. So, that was enough for me to thank the Groovy Agent in the comments to that post, where he responded in kind, and also invited me to contribute some reminisces from my career to his blog, if I was inclined.
Some time later, The Groovy Agent uploaded the entire issue of World’s Finest Comics #244, which also included the first of the 3 issue mini-series of Green Arrow and Black Canary I penciled, that was inked by Terry Austin. Again The Groove chimed in with a few nice words.
And man, did Teen Groove flip for that hip Nasser/Austin art!
So I sent out an email thanking him again and said that reminiscing about that era at his site sounded like a good idea. Upon hearing the enthused response, I tried to summarize those early years in a short piece that has now become published in a Groovy Guest Post:: “Reminiscing” by Michael Netzer and carries the first ever professional comics work I did for DC Comics, a back-up in Jack Kirby’s Kamandi.
Ol’ Groove is proud and honored to have none other than one of my favorite Groovy Age artists, Michal Netzer (known back in the Groovy Age as Mike Nasser) as today’s Groovy Guest Poster. I’ve written about Michael’s prodigious artistic talents a few times, and each time the ever-gracious Mr. Netzer has responded with nice things to say about the articles in particular and the Diversions in general. As a way of thanking him for his generosity, I had the gall to ask him if he’d be interested in doing a guest-post, can you believe that? Thing isthat Michael actually responded in the positive–and below is the proof! I truly believe that you’re going to be blown away by Mr. Netzer’s first-hand memories of a magical time in comicbook history. Enough yakkin’ from me! Ladies and gentlemen…Michael Netzer!
If you’re inclined, do the jump and read this reminiscing about a magical time in the comics. A few web friends have already chimed in with nice words about it, including Steven Thompson, keeper of Booksteve’s Library and John Mundt, Esq., keeper of The WOMP blog, both of whom I became friends with through similar circumstances, here and here respectively. Another nice comment comes from blogger Joe Bloke:
Mike, you are a legend, mate. and you, Groove? well done, fella.
Joe has also recently uploaded a couple of stories of mine into his blog, which likewise sports a very groovy name:
Chock-full of good old time treasures maintained by Joe Bloke. I’ve spent hours reading through a lot of fabulous comics there that have slipped under my radar. Back in May, 09, Joe uploaded the entire Batman/Kobra story I penciled for DC Special #1: 5 Star Super Hero Spectacular, written by Martin Pasko and inked by Joe Rubinstein.
But the real caveat at Grantbridge Street was a post from about two weeks ago, carrying a B/W story I penciled for Warren Publishing’s 1984 magazine: The Box, written by Len Wein and inked by none other than Filipino legend Alfredo Alcala. This is a very special story for me, which came at a time that I’d somewhat slipped away from the comics scene and was experimenting with other approaches, mainly driven by the overall experience I was endeavoring into, and which demanded its own presence in the art. Though, I can’t remember the text being so “pointless”, as Len Wein writes in the story itself (I likely worked “marvel style”, from a plot, and never actually saw any finished text while drawing it). More so, I’d never seen this story published before and never actually saw Alcala’s finishes, though I knew he was slated for the job. This is a wonderful treat for me and might surprise anyone not familiar with it, so do have a look and spend some time perusing another great archive of good ol’ time comics at Grantbridge Street & Other Misadventures.