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Diabolu Meets The Naked Artist
Comics
Written by MN   
Thursday, 20 December 2007

Frank Lee Delano's Blogger profile tells that he began blogging there in August, this year. One of his two blogs, NURGH! No! Nerd! Ugh! Argh! delves into cultural absurds with a focus on comics related news. Frank's fictional discussion there between Marvel marketeers regarding propositions for a new Captain America costume is particularly amusing:

    "Wait, we've got licensing to consider. We should keep most of the basic mask design, the wings at his temples, the gigantic "A" on his forehead..."

    "NO! That totally ruins the streamlined uniformity of his, like, uniform. That's like when they took the Legion of Super-Heroes out of their wicked sweet 90's gear a couple years ago and made them all retro and distinctive."

    "We've got to compromise here for market identification. Tell you what, we can give him floppy Superboy gloves and finally cover his ears. He could totally fit into Youngblood with gear that rockin'."

    "I guess. Can we at least get Alex Ross on covers, to turn all the flat colors all metallic and shit, like he always does."


His other blog, The Idol-Head of Diabolu, covers the life and times of J'Onn J'Onzz, DC's Martian Manhunter, a character I had the pleasure of drawing, albeit somewhat briefly, in a fondly remembered 3 issue Adventure Comics back-up series, way back in 1976. In the following example from his blog, Frank analyzes J'Onn J'Onzz' comics moments and stories from across the DC Universe spectrum, while offering insight and information on the cultural evolution of the green skinned manhunter from the red terrained planet.

    The Bronze Age wasn't much better, such as it was, with the violent reactionary take of Denny O'Neil. Thing is though, anyone or anything you come to truly love is an all-in proposition. That pretty young girl you married develops lines on her face and droops on you. You put on weight and hair disappears and reappears where it may. The love sees past that, not just to the person loved underneath, but into the "flaws" that become additional points of affection. Its not that Jack Miller scripts suddenly become literate, but you can't help but develop an affection toward even the lousy bits as a part of the tapestry.


Having recently noticed that I was mentioned there as a possible artist of a 1986 DC subscription ad which included a Martian Manhunter image, I left a comment in that article, explaining that I wasn't involved in producing this particular art and suggesting that it might have instead been Ross Andru.

Frank Lee Delano's regard for the Martian Manhunter and his histroy moved him to reciprocate my comment with a new article at his blog, Michael Netzer Makes My Day. In it, he expressed gratitude for my comment and suggested, more correctly than I did, that the artist on that ad might be another creator entirely.

    ...my second guess would have been Jose Luis Garcia Lopez inked by someone unusual (like Klaus Janson in his prime.) Now I've got to figure out the where and why of Ross Andru drawing J'Onn J'Onzz, because unlike Netzer's three issues of Adventure Comics, this is not a thing I possess. Any help would be appreciated, and I'd like to take this opportunity to thank one of the Manhunter From Mars' greatest (if briefest) artists for taking the time to inform us all. That, and thanks for the snazzy [1976 Manhunter from Mars miniseries] logo, obviously a favorite of mine.


Frank's right about Jose Luis Garcia Lopez being the penciler. His comment, however, on that MM logo being a favorite of his, began raising a notion within me to produce a new logo for his own blog. Not that his logo, which also incorporates the old MM logo I designed in '76, is lacking anything. Quite the opposite, it's very charming actually. But knowing that most bloggers don't come from a graphic design background, and how they struggle to piece together such headers for their blogs, I thought it would be nice to give Frank an early Christmas present in appreciation of his kind words, and hinted at it in a comment I left in this new article.

So off I went to work for a couple of hours and produced this new blog header, employing most of the elements in his original and incorporating into it a new Martian Manhunter drawing and an Oreo cookie, one of J'Onn J'Onzz' vices in a 1990's story arc, as a cameo. However, as I was about to email the new logo to Frank, I realized that there's no such email address for him available anywhere on his blog or any other web presence he maintains. It appears that in this age of electronic spam spiders, searching the web for every way to litter our lives with advertisements, bloggers like Frank prefer not to allow them an entry by posting their email addresses. Even his comment module is secured by filtering comments before they're posted.


Meantime, Frank posted a new article at his blog, imparting of his impressions of artist Bryan Talbot's rather hilarious recent book, THE NAKED ARTIST: Comic Book Legends. This is a wonderful re-telling and compilation from decades of "back room" stories about comics creators that have circulated in and around the comics scene over the last several decades. Besides the good review at the Amazon.com, seen through the link in the book's title above, a few more reviews can be read here, here and here. I had a manuscript of the book some time before publication because Bryan had contacted me about including the story of my trying to commandeer an airplane at NY La Guardia Airport, back around 1980. Bryan's treatment of this story is direct, down-to-earth and unpretentious, as is the entire book.

    Mike wanders through the mostly deserted terminal till he sees a corridor signposted as being off-limits to the public. Lifting the barrier, he goes straight on in there and finds himself passing dreamlike through a maze of empty corridors and unlit offices till be opens a door and enters a large, garish, florescent-lit staff cafeteria, where airport workers sit around drinking coffee and arguing about football games. Nobody pays a blind bit of notice to the spaced-out prophet ambling through their midst. "Lo! He walked among them and they knew him not."

    Emerging from the cafeteria exit, he's now in a massive hanger, the open runway visible at the other end. Between him and it stands a jet plane, its lights on and a stair leading up to the tail door. Up he goes, into the plane and down the aisle, stepping over the vacuum cleaner of the guy cleaning the plane, who carries on as if nothing's happened. Arriving in the cockpit, Mike plonks himself down in the captain's seat and starts dicking around with the levers and switches.


Here's what some pros have said about The Naked Artist.

    "This book will do nothing to alter the general public's perception that many of those working in and around the comics medium have not merely been touched by the gods but have been comprehensively groped by them." -David Lloyd

    "It had me guffaw out loud, something this jaded observer rarely does these days." -Dennis Kitchen

    "OH MY GOD! Factor: ten out of ten. Buy this book now!" -Glenn Fabry

    "Write whatever the hell you like and Iíll swear Iíve said it!" -Will Eisner

    "Bryan Talbot...super!" -Harvey Kurtzman

    "Heroes! Villains! Action! Suspense! Humor! Alcohol!" -Dave Gibbons


Frank Lee Delano is thoughtful and particular about the material he posts, making perusal of his blogs a pleasurable and intellectual journey into his world. His profile at Blogger gives the following outline of the experiences that have shaped his views:

    I've worked in the sports, comic book, and sex industries. Guess that means I'm livin' the dream of every red-blooded American male. Yeah. Right. Sure.

It's no wonder then, that he opened his article on The Naked Artist with this witty excerpt from Bryan Talbot's book:

In one of his later comment replies, Frank offered the following closing thoughts, in response to my noting the plight of comics creators left behind by the corporate wheels at DC and Marvel:

    Have you seen what DC's done to J'Onn J'Onzz lately? With the head and the scowl? They clearly don't know what they're doing over there, or else they'd have you doing it. I'm thinking you'd work better on Grant Morrison's return to the "sexy" Batman than either Kubert or Tony Daniel, for instance.

    Marvel seems to be somewhat kinder to the Bronze Age creators, but only by so much. Maybe after a few months writing Legion of Super-Heroes, the publishing bug will bite Jim Shooter again and we'll get another company for ya'll to work at out of the deal. If nothing else, I've got to start making more money so I can look into commissions. Dream big, I do.

    Speaking of which, between all the old school writers and artists knocking out blogs and such, you'd think more people would mix the chocolate and the peanut butter and get new web comics out of it all. Maybe if www.comicmix.com goes over?

    I'm sure I'll get around to working Oreos into a new banner eventually. That one was done on the quick with "charming" crudeness, but I'll inevitably want to gussy things up.

    Merry Christmas to you, Mr. Netzer! I got through Hanukkah unscathed, but Lord knows these last couple weeks of the year are liable to be eventful. Anyway, it's been a pleasure talking with you, and I'm proud to have you dig on the digs. :)


And a Merry Christmas to you also, Mr. Delano, and thank you for the splendid blogs and very kind words! Santa has come early and a new logo header for The Idol-Head of Diabolu awaits in the stockings. Contact me through the site contact form for full-size and double-size versions.


Comments
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Frank Lee Delano  - The Idol-Head of Diabolu: A Bl     |2007-12-21 06:58:30
Simple gratitude just doesn't do it. I feel like prostration of some sort is in
order. I need only a basin of clean water with which to bathe your feet. The
logo is so beautiful, I can't stop staring at it. I could have never imagined
such a thing. I was already over the moon with your comments, and now I rate a
blog entry and the greatest logo in blog history? I'm not worthy, I assure you.
This is just overwhelming. I'm supposed to be up for work at 5:30 tomorrow, but
I don't know how I'm suppposed to get to sleep tonight. I'm like a kid on--well,
you know...

I love my father, but if he'd only called after this banner was
posted, I could have just blissed out for the 273 minutes he kept me on the line
(and off the net.) What use is a high speed wireless network when my stinkin'
cordless phone punts me off it, I ask you?

I'm actually starting my 12 Days
of Crisis blog series tonight, which in Didio fashion, leads into a new
"status quo" for the blog come the new year. Your timing couldn't have
been better to really start things off with a bang. My precious...my
precious.

God bless you and keep you, Mr. Michael Netzer...
Frank Lee Delano  - I'm a puddle...   |2007-12-21 07:24:58
Seriously, I'm a quivering mass of ecstatic flesh with a toothy grin tattooed
across its pasty mug. This is a life high, my friend! I covered much of this in
my comments, but I forgot a few...

Thank you!

"Mike Netzer...
Super!" -Harvey Kurtzman.
That should become the next internet craze. It
could, in fact, break the internet in half. "Harvey Kurtzman... Super!"
-Harvey Kurtzman. It's like an Escher.

Thank you!

I actually received
Portugese spam from a pseudo-sister site on one of my blogs, back when I used no
safeguards on the comments. I had to delete and repost that day's blog to get
rid of it, something I couldn't do if others had arrived after. Since I
personally hate Blogger.com's irratic word verification system, I went with
comment moderation, with the side benefit of immediate notice of new comments.
Best compromise for all, I hope.

Thank you!

In all honesty, I must confess
that "Frank Lee Delano" is a pseudonym, as might be surmised from
********. Basically, I loved and represented the surname "Delano,"
meaning "of the night," and I'm known to speak frankly. The obvious pun
and the need for a new email address did the rest. The name worked better for me
than any of my other internet aliases, and I just kept rolling with it. The
dedication was a thing of wonder, so that's perfect as is, but I felt the full
disclosure of my being ******* was an obligation at his point. Thoroughly
uninteresting family name: ******. Really, not so far from the most generic
handles on Earth, like, oh Johns Smith or Jones.

Thank you. Best. Gift.
Evar!

Oh, and when I tried to send this via your contact link, it kicked me
in the grinner. Some contents altered in the transition to public display.
MN   |2007-12-21 15:23:26
You're an articulate and good spirited man and what I did shouldn't be so
extraordinary, considering the goodwill you poured out for me. It's all well
deserved and I'm glad you're happy with it.

I've lost several forums and two
years of comments in a module I had to remove because of spam. I'm not
delusional about the security in place today, hackers will certainly work out a
way to breach it and we'll likely see new mechanisms to circumvent the new
hackers of tomorrow.

The alias is always a good thing to have, like a secret
identity. Never know when you'll need one. But be careful to remember which one
is which.

The last contact attempt came in fine and I've sent you an email with
the images.

Thank you again for the nice work and good words.
Ben Herman   |2007-12-27 19:10:31
Very nice illustartion of J'onn for that banner, Michael. Did you do the
coloring as well?
MN   |2007-12-28 07:29:33
I'm guilty of the entire affair, Ben. Thank you.
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