Category Archives: Creating Comics

A Milestone

TriumphKlein

Image © DC Comics.

For those of you who don’t follow me on Facebook, I have a series of posts and photo albums there called “Logo of the Day.” Above is the one I posted today, with this comment:

Logo of the Day #1310: TRIUMPH designed by Todd Klein for the first issue dated June 1995. Photocopy of original logo from my files, image © DC Comics. I consider it a minor triumph to have reached age 65 today while still doing the work in comics I enjoy!

It does seem odd to me that I’ve managed to find a career in comics, or even in art at all, when that seemed so unlikely to me when I was growing up. It wasn’t even on my radar, to be honest. As a kid I loved to read, draw, play music, and lots of other things. If I looked ahead to a career back then, I thought I might possibly become a writer, but couldn’t foresee that as a secure living. In grade school, a vocational test decided I should become a forest ranger. I thought that sounded okay, I loved the outdoors. In grade school I did well in math and science, but less well in high school with more competition. I didn’t head in the Art direction until senior year when I finally realized art class was my favorite, and had been all four years. I went to art school for two years, then ran out of money and had to get a mundane job to support myself. I worked at several paperwork jobs, and at one was able to use some of my art training to design air conditioner user manuals.

In 1977, on a whim, I put together an art portfolio and applied for jobs at Marvel and DC. The Marvel job was for Art Director in the magazine division, and I wasn’t close to being qualified for it. At DC, my portfolio was looked at by Vince Colletta, who told me I didn’t have the skills to draw comics, but he must have seen something in those air conditioner manual paste-ups. He introduced me to the Production Manager, Jack Adler. Jack liked my portfolio, and he needed someone to fill in for a vacationing production staffer for two weeks. I was thrilled to accept! I took those two weeks as vacation from my current job, and had a wonderful time working at DC with people like John Workman, Bob LeRose and Bob Rozakis. At the end of the two weeks, the vacationing employee gave notice, he’d taken another job, so I was offered the position. I took it, and have been in comics ever since.

And here I am at 65, and still doing it! What a strange and wonderful thing.

DC COMICS’ 1945 CHRISTMAS PARTY

DC Comics Christmas 1945BlogImages courtesy of DC Entertainment, except as noted. Uncredited photos are mostly from the Julius Schwartz collection at DC, some of which were published in “75 Years of DC Comics” and later volumes published by Taschen, written by Paul Levitz. A larger copy of this photo is HERE.

On Dec. 17th 2015, the DC Comics Twitter feed had an unusual entry. It featured the photo above (slightly cropped) with the text: #TBT (Throw Back Thursday) to DC’s 1945 holiday party. The guest list included Joe Kubert, Jack Adler, Harry Donenfeld and many more.” Fans of DC Comics history took notice and wanted details, and A DC Publicity contact soon added, “Our archives team recently uncovered the photo along with a handwritten guest list. Pretty cool.” Comics reporter Heidi MacDonald alerted other comics historians, including myself, and I was soon able to get in touch with DC through my contacts there and get details directly from a DC archivist/librarian , who graciously agreed to send me copies of the documents with the idea that I and my fellow comics historians would identify as many people in the photo as possible and give that info to DC. I also would be able to write about it on my blog, and here it is! Continue reading

Drawing and Inking Like Will Eisner

WECFCImages © Abrams ComicArts and Will Eisner Studios, Inc.

Some time ago I was asked by Charles Kochman of Abrams and Paul Levitz to provide a title and chapter headings for Paul’s upcoming book about Will Eisner. They were looking for work done in Eisner’s own style or styles, and as I’m an Eisner fan, I was happy to agree.

The project was to be a large art book with lots of Will Eisner art, handsomely produced like all Abrams products, and it was only when I started working on my small part of it that the realization hit me: I had to produce work that would stand up to all the brilliant Eisner art around it. In other words, I had to draw and ink like Will Eisner! Or at least close enough that my efforts would not stand out as sub-par. As Charlie Kochman, Abrams Art Director Chad Beckerman, Paul and I began to trade ideas about what was needed, I began to think I’d taken on more than I could handle. Yes, they wanted title lettering in Eisner’s styles, but more than that, in some places they wanted actual artwork to go with it. I’ve done some drawing, but have never been good at figures. I thought if I could avoid that, I might make it work. Continue reading

New Address for Early DC Comics

NBComicsBlogComics images © DC Comics

Last July at the San Diego Comic-Con I was looking at a glass showcase containing some very early comics published by Major Malcolm Wheeler-Nicholson, whose company was later taken over by Jack Liebowitz and Harry Donenfeld, eventually becoming DC Comics. NEW BOOK OF COMICS #1 was published in 1936, and reprinted five previous Wheeler-Nicholson magazines, NEW COMICS 1-4 and MORE FUN COMICS 9. It was essentially the first comics annual, a second number came out in 1938. I was initially looking at the logo, which I’ve written about HERE, but then I noticed something below it. Continue reading