And Then I Read: DREW FRIEDMAN’S HEROES OF THE COMICS

HeroesofComicsImage © Drew Friedman

This large, attractive hardcover collects 83 of caricaturist Friedman’s portraits of (mostly) comic book creators from the earliest days through perhaps the 1970s, depending on how you figure it. Most are known names to me, but I’m not familiar with the visual appearance of about half of them. Drew’s caricatures usually feature a head larger than the body, and some exaggeration, but they are also very detailed, and give the impression of realism, an interesting combination. Most of them worked for me, but the portrait of Jack Kirby on the cover above did not — I had no idea who that was until I came to his page in the book.

HeroesofComicsOrlandoOn the other hand, many seemed spot-on, like this portrait of Joe Orlando, who I worked with at DC Comics for a few years. In general, Drew works from photographs, and likes to bring out every last detail on his faces. This can be a little less than flattering at times, but it does add to the feeling of a true portrait.

The 83 color portraits in the book each have a facing page of text about the subject. There’s also a foreword by Al Jaffee of MAD fame and an informative introduction by Drew. One page of text is only a brief summary of some careers, and a pretty detailed synopsis of others, depending on the subject. I saw a few errors, but it seems well researched in general. It’s a fun collection, and one I enjoyed reading and viewing. Another volume is in the works.

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