Author Archives: Todd

And Then I Read: FRENCH LESSONS by Peter Mayle

Cover illustration by Ruth Marten.

Like the other two Mayle books I’ve read recently, this is a collection of essays on a theme. The theme here is food and drink, and the connecting thread is the author’s treks around France to various festivals, activities and events celebrating some of the more unusual items on the French menu. Accompanied by French gourmet friends, and occasionally his wife, Mayle investigates frogs and their edible legs, chickens with blue feet, very smelly cheese, snails, French Riviera bistros, a marathon through wine vineyards, an intoxicating wine auction in Burgundy, a gourmet health spa and more. All the adventures are told in Mayle’s very entertaining and witty style with plenty of humor directed at himself as well as those he meets. I have now decided that Mayle’s writing will please and delight me no matter what topic he tackles, as in a few here that normally I would not want to read about! I will look for more Mayle books at future book sales.

Recommended.

And Then I Read: MISTER MIRACLE #10

Image © DC Entertainment. Written by Tom King, art and coloring by Mitch Gerads, lettering by Clayton Cowles.

Unlike the last few issues, this one takes place mainly on Earth, in the continuity where Scott Free, Barda and their infant son Jacob are living a mundane existence in a nondescript apartment in an anywhere, USA neighborhood. Scott continues to be torn apart by the decision he’s been asked to make: he can halt the current war between Apokolips and New Genesis, thereby saving millions of lives, if he is willing to give his son Jack to Darkseid. Scott and Barda grew up on Apokolips, so they know full well what that would mean for Jack. Barda is understandably against it, but Scott is wavering, haunted by the choice. Not much happens physically this issue, but a great deal happens emotionally and between the characters. It’s an issue that shows how powerful good comics writing can be. Oh, and how did I not notice before that the baby has the same first name as his parents’ creator?

Recommended.

THE DANNY CRESPI FILES Part 16

This and all images © Marvel.

Continuing my exploration of the cover lettering work of Danny Crespi at Marvel Comics from about 1974 to the early 1980s, with some examples from others. Photocopies of saved cover lettering from Danny’s files were compiled into a collection by letterer and friend Phil Felix during the 1980s when he worked with Danny on staff at Marvel, and Phil sent me copies. This time I’ll look at pages 61-64. Page 61 is above, all lettered by Crespi except Ultron Undying, which is probably by Jim Novak. Sources below.  Continue reading

And Then I Read: GREEN LANTERNS #49

Image © DC Entertainment. Written by Aaron Gillespie, art by Roge Antonio, colors by Hi-Fi, letters by Dave Sharpe.

In the second part of “Rebel Run,” Jessica’s GL partner Simon catches up with her and throws his support behind her. Though he’s supposed to be retrieving  Jessica for Hal Jordan, instead the two of them investigate the strange fit of rage that overtook her, causing injuries to many, that Jessica has no memory of. The answers lie with Accampo, a criminal that Jessica was supposed to be making a deal with to secure incriminating evidence on an important trader, Obazaya V’Sheer. She has no memory of that either, but when they catch up with Accampo, they’re soon headed for V’Sheer’s private pleasure planet.

On the one hand, this story feels like a fill-in between epics. On the other hand, I like the smaller mystery and crime-solving feel. And when Hal Jordan shows up on the wrong side for our heroes, I was actually a bit outraged, so I fell for it all completely. Well done.

Recommended.

Pulled From My Files #91: MORE X-MEN LOGOS

This and all images © Marvel.

Late in 1994 I was asked by Marvel to design a new CHRONICLES tagline to go with an X-MEN logo I’d already done for them. This is the first of four marker sketches for that tagline. What I’d do in a case like this is make a few photocopies of the main logo, draw the tagline in pencil and ink it with markers. These sketches were either photocopied again and mailed to Marvel, or I might have been using my first scanner at this point. The first sketch mimics the ragged X, which itself mimics the first X-Men logo by Sol Brodsky and Artie Simek. Continue reading