Author Archives: Todd

Incoming: BATMAN NEW GOTHAM Volume One

Image © DC Comics.

Recently I’ve been receiving a lot of trade paperbacks reprinting old lettering work of mine that I don’t care for much. When you’ve done as much as I have, it can’t all be top notch, and sometimes it’s a matter of bad reproduction or paper choice, but it can also be lettering that could have been made better if I’d had more time or given it more effort. I’m happy to say that the above collection, which I received today, is bucking the trend by reprinting work of mine that I mostly like a lot, having just paged through it. The book reprints issues #742-753 of DETECTIVE COMICS from 2000-2001. This is fairly near the end of the time when I was doing mostly hand-lettering for DC. All the balloons and captions here are hand-lettered, though some of the signs and titles are produced on my Mac and probably then pasted on the art either by me or at DC. The book is printed on glossy bright white paper, and both the art and the lettering look quite good on it. The stories by Greg Rucka are excellent as I recall, the art, mostly by Shawn Martinbrough, is deco and stylish, and the limited palette of colors, often close to duo-tone, are particularly appealing. There’s also an issue and a half of fine lettering by Bill Oakley: an issue I couldn’t finish for some reason (perhaps I was away on vacation) and another complete one. I love Bill’s lettering, and it’s great to see it here. If you want good examples of my work at the time, or just a fine read, I’d recommend this one. Looks like it goes on Sale May 24th.

And Then I Read: THE FLASH #12

Image © DC Comics.

In the concluding third part of this storyline, Flash, Kid Flash, The Shade, Iris West and Shade’s girlfriend Hope are all trapped in a Shadow Dimension. The women have been taken over by an evil but unspecified shadow force, and the men (and boy) are being attacked by their army of shadows. Wally West and Barry Allen are still working out their relationship and finding a way to act together, even under these trying circumstances. Wally is still learning to use his powers, and some of them frighten him, like the potential to vibrate right through solid objects. Shade does not seem to be much help in this realm which supplies his own powers, and is soon carried off by the shadows. Hope and Iris are struggling mentally with the dark force inside their minds.

This storyline seemed promising to me initially, but it has developed into a rather predictable hero vs. villain escapade in which the characters are moved like pawns around the plot devices. There are a few character-building conversations, but mostly it’s all about escaping or fighting. The art by Davide Gianfelice is a mixed bag, working well in some places, looking rushed and unfocused in others. Script wise, Wally West has the best lines, but even they don’t do much to elevate the effort.

Mildly recommended.

Pulled From My Files #53: CYCLOPS LOGO

This and all images © Marvel.

In 1993 I was asked by Marvel’s marketing department to design a logo for the X-Men character Cyclops, which I was happy to do. I sent in six sketches inked in markers over pencils. This first one was a fun idea, with a suggestion of the Cyclops eye-beam creating a reverse across the center, and might have worked in color, but was hard to read in black and white, and probably too tricksy anyway. Continue reading

And Then I Read: CAVE CARSON #5

Image © DC Comics.

Cave and his crew are in the underground kingdom of the Muldroog, the people from which Cave’s wife came many years ago. Cave’s daughter, Chloe, is here too, and both of them are learning new things about the history of the Muldroog, the ancient evil force known as The Whisperer that they imprisoned and guard, and why that force is about to become a threat again. Cave and Chloe are rejoined by their wife and mother, who had returned long ago to her people. Also here are another crew of underground explorers from the EBX company, bent on freeing The Whisperer and destroying the Muldroog, as well as capturing Cave and his team. When the two groups meet up, trouble happens.

I liked this issue better than the last one. The back story and characters have me interested again, even though I’m still not loving the art. It’s full of cool effects, but very abstract at times and sometimes hard to “read.” Perhaps it will grow on me. I don’t yet know why Wild Dog is in this book, but at least he fights well, so that may be it.

Recommended.

And Then I Read: THE BEE AND THE ACORN by Paula Susan Wallace

Cover art by Emily Isabella.

This is a non-fiction book, an account of the conception, founding, and development of the Savannah College of Art and Design by the woman who conceived it, was one of the four founders, and is its President today. SCAD, as it’s long been known, is one of the largest and best colleges in the world for education and career-training in arts of all kinds, with over 100 degree programs and over 12,000 students. In addition to their home base in Savannah, Georgia, they have satellite schools in Atlanta, Hong Kong, Lacoste, France, and online. The reason I read it? Ellen’s nephew is a freshman there, and next week she and I will be visiting SCAD along with Ann and Dave, the parents of student Zack. We’re looking forward to the trip, and Ann gave us this book to read about the school and the people behind it.

Paula Wallace’s story is, indeed, inspiring and amazing. She was an elementary education teacher with a big dream: to start a school for the arts. One that would be different from every other art school and university program out there: it would focus on the students, not only developing their skills and talents, but teaching them how to sell themselves and find careers. There would be no giant lecture halls, no teaching aides drawn from the student body. Classes would be small, and each taught by full professors. It would be inclusive rather than exclusive, it would spread the classroom out to the larger world, and help the community as much as the students.

Paula shared that dream with her family, and her husband Richard as well as her parents, May and Paul Poetter, agreed to help. With little money except May and Paul’s retirement nest-egg, they bought a derelict Armory in downtown Savannah in the late 1970s, a time when that part of Savannah was itself derelict and dying. They were beset with many serious difficulties: a hurricane that struck the town a few weeks before they planned to open, skepticism and distrust from some locals, doubt and disbelief in their dream from the accrediting groups that needed to approve them, and lots more. Somehow they made it work, and this book is a testament to that effort through Paula’s memories and stories. Yes, it’s slanted toward their successes, but also explains the ideas and attitudes that made the school attractive to students and successful in the long run, even with many roadblocks.

It’s a great story, and if you have any interest in the topic, or perhaps know someone who might be thinking about an arts education, I highly recommend it.