Wednesday, April 29, 2009

IT'S BACK!! Huckleberry Hero Hump-Day!

Captain Caveman
Miracle Man

Hey Folks, Me and Huck are back! After a break our Hound-Dog Hero portrays two very different super-heroes, one from in house (at Hanna-Barbera) and one from Jack Kirby's Forth World Saga.
First Ol' Huck picks up a club and presents that prehistoric hero, Captain Caveman.
Next he portrays that escape artist extraordinaire Scott Free, Miracle Man.

I hope to be back on schedule every Wednesday with a new Huck Hero. Thanks for your patience.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Captain Marvel by Jack Kirby

This sketch of Cap was drawn in pencil by Jack "King" Kirby and inked by myself. I believe that the original piece appeared in the 100th issue of the Comics Reader. The Comics Reader was a great old and one of the original comic book fan-magazines. I miss it greatly.
Jack Kirby, along with his Golden Age partner Joe Simon, wrote and drew the first issue of Captain Marvel Adventures.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Captain Marvel Jr.

Great poster of Captain Marvel Jr. by his co-creator Mac Raboy.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Marvel Family Painting

Here's a painting by C.C. Beck that was originally the cover of Captain Marvel Adventures #18. This issue introduced Billy Batson's twin sister, Mary.
Mary, like Billy could shout the magic word Shazam and change into a female version of Captain Marvel.

Captain Marvel

OK, here we have The REAL World's Mightiest Mortal, Captain Marvel. Cap is one of my favorite super-heroes and I always love reading his adventures from the Golden Age of Comics to today.
Here is Cap by three artists I think drew him best.
Above is by Don Newton done in the style of his co-creator.

Here is one by Jerry Ordway done for his great revival series of Captain Marvel "The Power of Shazam". In my opinion Ordway is the only writer/artist to handle Captain Marvel with the respect and dignity this great character deserves.

And this one is by C.C. Beck, The Captain's Co-creator. Beck had a great clean line style that appealed to many children (and adults) during the Golden Age of Comics.
He was one of the Masters of the art form.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Prime Time Rocky and Bullwinkle

Tonight on the WGN Cable Channel, they are playing a two hour block of the Classic "Rocky and Bullwinkle" show from 8:00pm to 10:00pm.
This was one of the best written TV shows EVER! So check out Mr. Peabody, Dudley Do-Right, Fractured Fairy Tales, and a Moose trying to pull a rabbit out of his hat!

"And now here's something we hope you'll really like!"

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Huckleberry Hero Hump-Day on Hiatus

Hi everyone, if you're a regular reader of this blog you know every Wednesday I post a drawing of Huckleberry Hound as one of the many super-heroes that appear in comic books. I'm putting this feature on a short hiatus. I picked up a part-time job (Believe it or not, I'm playing the Easter Bunny at a local mall) and a couple weeks before that I had a bad flu. Hopefully next week I can get caught up with the art work and start posting every Wednesday again.

Thanks for your support.

Friday, April 3, 2009

My Golden Age of Marvel

My first Marvel Comic Book, Marvel Tales #74.

1976 - This was the year I discovered The Amazing Spider-man and The Marvel Universe.
In September of that year one of Pittsburgh's independent TV stations, WPGH started playing the original Spider-man animated series from the late 1960's. At this point in time, the comic books I'd been reading were humor, funny animal and based on TV series. I've read some Superman, Superboy and other DC titles, but I did not really get into hero based titles (except for Super Goof and Mighty Mouse).
Now in the afternoons at 4:30pm, WPGH started playing the Spider-man Show and because there was nothing else on, I decided to give it a shot. I had a rough time at first getting past the name - Spider-man, it sounded a little weird to me. Plus being an arachnophob, I doubted a super-hero based on a bug I hated would have any appeal to me.
The first episode they played was the "Origin of Spider-man". This actually was the first episode of the second season. It told the story of how shy science student Peter Parker (who we learn is not the most popular student in school) while attending a demonstration in radioactivity, is bitten by a spider who had been bathed in radioactive waves and through some weird happenstance, transfers its powers and abilities to young Parker. Peter then discovers that he can walk on walls, jump incredible distances, have an amazing sense of balance and finds out his strength has increased beyond belief.
Peter decides to use these new abilities to earn some money to pay back his Uncle Ben and Aunt May for taking him in after the death of his parents. He invents an amazing adhesive liquid that acts as a web line and a pair of "web-shooters" to fire the liquid. He then puts together a costume of red and blue with a web pattern design and calls himself "Spider-man".
After appearing on some local variety shows, The Amazing Spider-man becomes a big hit. Peter's ego grows as he becomes a celebrity in demand. One night after a performance, a burglar who is being chased by an elderly security guard, runs past Spider-man back stage. Peter lets the crook run past him and escapes down the elevator. After being chastised by the guard, Peter tells him, "It's not my job, Mister. From now on I'm looking out for number one, and that means me!"
A few nights later as Peter arrives home after a performance, he sees a group of police cars surrounding his home. As Peter runs up to the house he is stopped by a policeman who tells him that is Uncle Ben has been shot. Overhearing that the police have the shooter trapped at the old Acme Warehouse, Peter thinks to himself, "I've got to go! I've got to get him! I know that warehouse. That crook could hold off an army in there, but he can't hold off SPIDER-MAN!" He then changes into his costume and takes off after the crook.
When Spider-man arrives at the warehouse, he crashes through a window and confronts his Uncle's murderer. Peter plants a right cross on the crooks chin and sends him flying across the room. Picking the criminal up, the moonlight shines through the window and Peter sees the murderer's face. Peter goes into shock as he recognizes that this man is the same crook that ran past him and let go at the TV studio. He wraps the criminal in his web and lowers him to the waiting police below as he says, "Because of my ego I let him go and and he got away to kill Uncle Ben. So in a sense I killed him. I forgot the most important lesson that Uncle Ben taught me, that with great power their must also be great responsibility." The episode ends with the narrator reading the final paragraph from the comic book origin, "And thus a legend is a new name is added to the roster of those who make the world of fantasy the most exciting realm of all!"

Needless to say I was totally blown away by this great morality play. The lesson of Peter Parker resonated to me like nothing I had ever seen before. Pete could have been a very rich and famous performer, but he had to learn the hard way that responsibility must come with power(s) so he dedicates the rest of his life to fighting crime and righting wrongs in the name of of his beloved, murdered Uncle. In my opinion, this is the greatest origin of a super-hero ever told and having read practically every other one since, I still hold this belief.

So after a couple of months of watching the show, I decided to buy a Spider-man Comic Book. Looking over the comic book rack at Zern's Newstand in Wilkinsburg (my hometown), the first one I bought was Marvel Tales #74, cover dated Dec. 1976. (The comic book at the top) I bought the book home and read it and enjoyed it very much. Written by Stan "The Man" Lee, it was my first taste of "The Mighty Marvel Manner". Stories told with great excitement that seemed to talk directly to me. In the captions Lee called me a "True Believer" and "Marvelite" and let me in on the secret world of Peter Parker, aka The Amazing Spider-man. Lee (and the other writers of Marvel Comic Books) never talked down to me and challenged my vocabulary by using words I would have to look up in the Dictionary. (Not to mention the new ones he made up.) I LOVED IT!
What I also loved about the comic was that the story was also driven about the private life of Peter Parker, his ups, his downs, his love life, his struggles with college and work. Peter had bad luck and nothing ever came easy to him...Boy, could I relate to that.
The artist was the great John Romita. I loved (and still do) his clean line style that was illustrative as well. He made the characters leap out at us and made them seem very real. And the way he could draw a woman, VA-VOOM! Seriously when Gwen Stacy or Mary Jane Watson looked at us with their gorgeous eyes, it made me melt.
Needless to say, reading this comic was very eye-opening to me. I'd been reading comic books since I was four, but this was like nothing I've ever read before. The characters (even with great powers) were human, the action very exciting and the artwork, WOW!
The only thing about this was in my naivety, I did not know that the comic book was a reprint issue. At the time Marvel had many titles that reprinted back issues of their popular titles so this issue was a reprint of Amazing Spider-man #93. I'll write more about these reprint titles in future posts.

The first current comic book (in 1976) that I bought happened to be the first issue of a new Spider-man title. Peter Parker, The Spectacular Spider-man (#1 Dec. above) was the fourth title to star the Web-Headed Wonder and it was to center more on the life of Peter Parker, but not skimp on the adventures of Spider-man.
The story was written by Gerry Conway who had a very successful run on the Amazing Spider-man title. (Conway wrote one of the most important stories of Spider-man's run, The Death of Gwen Stacy) The art was supplied by Sal Buscema (pencils) and Mike Esposito and Dave Hunt (inks). Sal Buscema became a very big influence on the way I draw, I love his style. He has drawn practically very super-hero in the Marvel line-up and done them all in his exciting, action packed style. I love his Spider-man work, but I think his best work was on The Incredible Hulk.

My first issue of The Amazing Spider-man was #169, cover dated June 1977. 30 years ago, comics were released 4 to 5 months before the date on the cover. So this means that I probably bought it in February or March. The cover is what made me buy it, ol' J. Jonah Jameson revealing the secret of Spider-man. Don't worry - thanks to some fast thinking from Pete, he throws J.J.J. off the scent by showing him the photos were faked.
The story was written by Len Wein, penciled by Ross Andru and inked by Mike Esposito. It was here I read the current adventures of the Web-slinging Wonder and bought every issue up until a few years ago.

Now according to the cover date on the above comic, I purchased this issue a month after I bought The Amazing Spider-man. (Is this true? I wish I could remember) This is the third title to star Spider-man, Marvel Team-Up. As you can see this is issue #60 and what I remember most when I bought this is how much I liked the artwork. This was my first exposure to John Byrne who at the same time providing the art for this title was working on his historic run on The Uncanny X-Men. I've always been a huge fan of Byrne who had his own illustrative style, but could also capture the style of the artist who created a certain character. (He is also a great writer) The issue was written by Chris Claremont who was also the writer of The Uncanny X-Men. Claremont always wrote great character driven stories and on this book he got to stretch his talents on many of the Marvel Super-Heroes. This book was inked by the very talented Dave Hunt.

So this is the beginning of what I call "My Golden Age of Marvel". From 1976 to 1981 was a great period of discovery for me. Cosmic rays, gamma rays, unstable molecules, Uru Hammers, transistorized armor and Fantasti-Cars became part of my vocabulary. The alien races of Krees and Skrulls became part of my four-colored world. I learned that mutants with special abilities walked among us because they looked JUST LIKE US! Asgard, The Baxter Building, Avengers Mansion, The Great Refuge and Wakanda were places I wanted to visit.

This was when I became a "Marvel Zombie" and even though I've read other company's comics later on, in my heart, I still am.