Author Archives: Todd

Pulled From My Files #39: BLACK CONDOR LOGO

BlackCondor1

Images © DC Comics.

I have very little on this logo in my files, just two marker sketches. I like the Condor silhouette on this one, but the R looks too much like a B. That could have been fixed, but Curtis King and the editor must not have liked this direction for the revamp of the 1940s character in 1992.

BlackCondor2There must have been more sketches, but this is the other one I have. the triangle in the background is part of the character’s chest symbol. I don’t know where the idea for the rest came from.

Black_Condor_1Nor do I have a copy of the finished logo, but here it is on the first issue, and it looks like an exact tracing of the second logo sketch. Not one of my best efforts, but not bad.

And Then I Read: A KNIGHT OF THE SEVEN KINGDOMS by George R.R. Martin

KnightSevenKingdomsCover art by Larry Rostant.

This hardcover collects three novelettes about the hedge knight Ser Duncan taking place in the land of Westeros about 100 years before the beginning of Martin’s “Game of Thrones” saga. Dunk, as he calls himself, had been taken from the slums by an older hedge knight, Ser Arlan, as his page. Ser Arlan was well past his prime, but had plenty to teach the boy, who grew into something of a giant in his apprenticeship, nearly seven feet tall and strongly built. Size does not help one in the knightly skill of jousting, however, and when Dunk enters a tournament at Ashford Meadow, he knows he has a tough road to victory. First, he has to sell one of his two horses to get enough money to buy armor, and if he should lose, he will forfeit both armor and horse. It’s a big chance he wants to take.

Dunk is helped more than he expected by the boy Egg who attaches himself to the novice knight as his new squire. Egg is small, slim and bare-headed, but he does seem to know a great deal about knights and the landed families of Westeros. When Dunk lands in hot water at Ashford Meadows, Egg helps him find a way to escape prison and punishment through a trial by combat. And Egg turns out to be much more than the peasant boy he seems.

Two other adventures take Dunk and Egg south as hired sword to an elderly land-owner, Ser Eustace Osgrey, who is in dispute over water rights with his more powerful neighbor. Then Dunk and Egg are enticed into another tournament that is a secret gathering for a group of knights plotting against the king. All three adventures are wonderfully written. Martin seems to have absorbed medieval culture so completely he can write about it as if he lived it. More than that, Martin excels at showing what that culture could really be like when human nature found the cruel side of chivalry. This is not the uplifting tales of King Arthur I grew up on, but it’s much more real, and Dunk and Egg do find some good in the people they meet as well as bad.

GianniEndpapersI’m not too fond of the cover art seen above, but the art inside the book by my friend Gary Gianni is very much to my liking! Here’s the beautiful endpapers painting by Gary that depicts Ser Dunk’s shield much more correctly for one thing.

GianniArtThroughout the book are 160 of Gary’s wonderful line drawings that are nearly as important in bringing the story and characters to life as the writing. Gary is the perfect choice for this type of story, especially after eight years on the “Prince Valiant” newspaper strip. Kudos to Martin for bringing Gianni to the project, it makes it all the more excellent.

Highly recommended!

And Then I Read: SWAMP THING #4

Swamp-Thing-4-2016Image © DC Comics.

Alec Holland’s old friend Matthew Cable has returned with a way to let Alec regain his human form. To do it, Matthew and Alec will change places, making Matthew the new Swamp Thing. They accomplish this with the help of Zatanna, and a powerful magical object Matthew has discovered. The exchange is made, and at first Alec is delighted to be human again. Then he begins to see what Matthew has in mind for his role as Swamp Thing, and it’s far from benign.

Write Len Wein and artist Kelley Jones continue to entertain in this mini-series which kind of takes Swamp Thing back to simpler days and a small cast, but still delivers lots of interesting events and amazing art.

Recommended.

And Then I Read: SURVIVORS’ CLUB #5

SurvivorsClub5FCCover illustration by Bill Sienkiewicz.

This issue kicks things back to the larger story of a 1980s video game that has twisted the lives of a group of young people who played it back when, and is returning to mess with them again. Some have gone off the deep end, others are already strange enough in their own ways to apparently hold their own. The pair of sisters who are somehow more than human are creepy and fascinating as they interrogate one of the less lucky folks. Another escapes from a mental hospital to wreak havoc in a hospital. Meanwhile, two men in Portland who seem to have resurrected the hellish game are making their own plans, and somebody has a really nasty neck bite with something hidden in it. I don’t quite know what to make of this book, but it has me in its grip, even though I have no interest in video games. The characters, the writing and the art are all good reasons!

Recommended.

THE DANNY CRESPI FILES Part 5

Crespi17Images © Marvel.

To recap, in 1984 letterer Phil Felix put together a large collection of photocopied cover lettering while working in the Marvel Bullpen alongside Danny Crespi, the Production Manager at the time, and a fine letterer himself. Most of the lettering is by Danny, as on this page, #17 in the collection, and it comes mainly from 1974-1978 when Danny was lettering most of Marvel’s covers. I’ve found many of the covers where it was used, and I’ll show them after each page. This article covers pages 17-20 of the Phil Felix collection. Note that the original lettering in black and white often looks better than on the printed covers where it sometimes gets lost in color and surrounding art. Continue reading