It just can't be--or can it?! Famed Golden and Silver (and even Bronze) age artist Frank Robbins seen inside an air-tight "claw machine?!" Well, his artwork was, certainly! Dig these pics of a swell and super-snazzy new pillow, sporting the mind-bending FR art from the front of GIANT-SIZE INVADERS #1, from 1975! It does my Bronze Age heart good to see such classic art cropping up on modern shirts, room dressings, and toys! A nice contrast to today's angst-ridden, over-baked comic sketches! There is just no end to the amount of odd items you can get in these machines! Click to enlarge!
Monday, October 31, 2011
Sunday, October 30, 2011
The Kingpin! That oversized master of crime! His covert machinations always mean big trouble for Spidey! But, it seems that he may have something more sinister, daring, and subtle in mind this time! Yet another fabulous comic art masterpiece by Stan Lee and John Romita Sr.! Click to enlarge this great 1977 color Sunday newspaper strip installment!
Friday, October 28, 2011
Right! Dig this 1973 issue of ASTONISHING TALES #18, from 1973! 3 years before King Kong decided to take a leisurely stroll up the sides of the (late and lamented) World Trade Center buildings in his rambunctious re-make, the Marvel swamp monster Gog (once a slave of the evil Kraven) shoots right to the top, with an angry Ka-Zar in tow! Seems the mindless muckster teleported himself there, taking a quick escape route from our jungle hero, before vanishing from Earth itself! Can't believe it? Click below to see it for yourself, Marvelitte!
Thursday, October 27, 2011
You read right! More recently unearthed art, pictures, and ads from the early 80s heyday of Laurinburg's own BIGLEY TIRE! Click below to see more of my comics-styled artwork for ads in the local North Carolina newspaper (my first published work)! Plus: Rare ads spotlighting my dad, Don Bigley, and a young me (age 17) and my work from that period! What more can any Big Glee! fan ask for in this life?! Click here to read earlier posts about the tremendous "Tire Man" and his tireless (heh) mission!
Wednesday, October 26, 2011
Face Front! Another titanic piece of Marvel history unveiled! Here are the roughs and finished cover illos for the memorable front of SPIDER-MAN # 96! The rough layouts, below left, are by master designer Marie Severin, with the finished inked art (center) by Gil Kane! This issue is also noted for being published without the then-ubiquitous "Comics Code Authority" seal (usually seen in the upper right corner of each cover), since it featured a daring focus on drug use and its ill effects on the urban community. Publisher Stan Lee forged ahead without Code approval, since he believed the message was more important than decades-old rules! He was rightfully heralded for this move, too! Click images to enlarge!
Monday, October 24, 2011
Wow. I just had to draw like Neal Adams if it killed me! Almost did. Here is a companion piece to this artwork, both drawn by me around 1976 (age 11)! I was so trying to catch that all-encompassing Neal vibe that dominated comic art then, so I ladled on tons of lines, scrapes, shading, and solid black areas to my figures and faces! But, what I got was a mess. What is Robin's problem, anyway? Is Batman goosing him? Why is Batman so darned happy? Maybe you can provide the answers, Big Glee-phile, so click to enlarge!
Sunday, October 23, 2011
Yow! Just when Spidey decides to turn his back on the crime-fighting schtick, he realizes that he must swing into action one last time! But--at what cost?! Will a fickle public ever take the wall-crawler to it's heart? Will sweet Mary Jane ever understand what a seemingly disinterested Peter Parker is really up to? And, what concern has the evil Kingpin in all of this deadly drama, anyhow? More staggeringly great 1977 Marvel wonderment, from Stan Lee and John Romita Sr.! Click to enlarge! Click here to see the incredible original art for this installment!
Friday, October 21, 2011
Wednesday, October 19, 2011
Can it be? Do you dare to dream? More ultra-rare pics and Bat-goodies from the famed 1966 BATMAN TV show? Yes! Click below to see little-seen on-set pics (with pilot co-star Jill St. John)! Burt Ward's pre-BATMAN high school yearbook pic! Ads for the great Corgi die-cast Batmobile toy! The Batusi dance! Even many post-BATMAN convention appearance pics of Adam West himself! Click each to enlarge, Bat-fans!
Tuesday, October 18, 2011
What more can be said about DC Comics' main cover maven, Nick Cardy? He designed and drew hundreds of covers for DC in the early 70s, each one a mini-masterpiece of mood, composition, and drama! From superheroes to romance, horror to western, Nick turned in a home-run cover for every book, every time! His work even appeared on a great deal of comics-related merchandise! Note, on this SUPERBOY # 184 cover, how he sets up the "split" composition,between the main hero and his evil double, with the source of his woes (and her evil instrument) smack dab in the center! A real attention-grabber! This original art sold for a handsome $2,250 during recent eBay auction action! Click to enlarge!
Monday, October 17, 2011
Yep. Another one of my golden oldies! This time, it's one starring the "Golden Avenger" himself, Iron Man! At this time (1979, at age 14) I was experimenting with paints of all kinds, including oils, acrylics, tempera, and (as seen here), watercolors! I tried to get a real metallic sheen effect on ol' Shellhead's armor, and did OK...I was inspired by the tremendous then-current work of artists John Romita Jr. and Bob Layton, during their memorable run on the IM book for several years in the late 70s, and well into the 80s! Click to enlarge!
Sunday, October 16, 2011
Wow! Things should be all wine and roses for Spidey after his won-by-a-hair victory over the rebellious Rattler, right? Wrong! This is a Marvel character, so get set for tons of self-loathing, examination, and moral ambiguity (sounds like real life, huh?)! Just as Peter Parker licks his wounds and ponders his (and the witty Web-Spinner's) future ventures, the voluminous Kingpin sets his new sinister schemes into place! More Marvel 1977 comic strip magic from the Marvelmania masters, Stan Lee and John Romita Sr.!
Friday, October 14, 2011
Ah, the 70s. Before the days of style guides, corporate group-think, and pre-arranged packaging design and product tie-in campaigns! Only then could we get such wonderfully bizarre and odd toys, art, and concepts as you see here! Never mind that Captain America normally doesn't carry a gun (at that time), or spend his day off engaging in archery (can't he depend on his buddy Hawkeye for that?) or using his "magic flash-lite," here are some toys using Cap imagery that any young fan in the "Me decade" had to have! The "art" on such items was crudely traced from comics artwork done by real Marvel artists such as Sal Buscema, Jack Kirby, and John Romita, Sr.! Hooboy! Click to enlarge!
BONUS! Click below to enlarge this grand-daddy of all off-model toys! It's a mid-70s casting (by the kings of off-model junk, AHI) of the Batmobile, from the 1966 TV show, but with positively dreadful (but eye-catching) graphics! They even lifted the Joker image directly from the cover of a famous Batman comic book!
Thursday, October 13, 2011
Wow! Sure, we've seen some great finished and preliminary comic art by the great John Romita Sr., but there exists little of his color composition work! Here we see his color scheme prelim for the front of AMAZING SPIDER-MAN # 79, from 1969! John is very unsung for his color work, including his fantastic paintings for many Marvel novel and collection covers (such as the 70s "Origins" books), but also his color design work, as seen here! This scheme served as not only a rough for the overall cover art itself, but also as directions for the final color printing of this bombastic cover, which tops an ish that features the debut of the new hero/villain, the pugnacious Prowler! Click to enlarge!
Wednesday, October 12, 2011
The great artist and caricaturist Jack Davis has drawn about anything and everyone, during his long stint as not only one of MAD magazine's main artists, but in his work illustrating record album covers, toys, posters, books, comics, ads, and paperback book covers and interiors! Which brings us to this gem--LOVE LETTERS TO THE MONKEES, a 1966 Signet paperback, published to capitalize on the then-burgeoning Monkeemania boom taking over the world! You can tell Jack was given only a few stills of the group, but managed to capture the Monkees' look, personalities, and frantic feel! Lots of fun, and the actual fan letters are a real scream, too! FUN FACT: Famed Marvel Comics artist Jack Kirby drew the Monkees once, too! See it here! Click images below to enlarge! And, no, I have no idea who "Beth Eakes" is or was!
Below: Notice Jack's MONKEES work that was used for the initial NBC ads, concert appearances, and other publicity purposes!
Want to see the similar FAN'S FUNNIEST LETTERS TO BATMAN book? Just click here!
Tuesday, October 11, 2011
Another fabulous article from 1978, the big debut year of THE INCREDIBLE HULK CBS-TV series! In this TV WEEK article, we hear Bill Bixby discuss how carefully the cast and crew followed those early ratings returns, city by city! This is no generic "by the numbers' interview! Bill gets down to candid specifics, including overcoming his initial reaction to being offered the project, the many "sci-fi" shows that came in the wake of the HULK, and the level of writing for the show! Click to enlarge!
Monday, October 10, 2011
Hoo! Another early piece of art created by me, at age 8! Drawn (in red Flair marker?) in 1973, here is my moody version of the Dynamic Duo (in the Batcave?) in thoroughly thoughtful repose, before certainly leaping into mind-bending action! I was existing on a steady diet of afternoon reruns of the 1966 live-action BATMAN ABC-TV show, and you can see its influence in this piece! I sure had a loooooong way to go! And, what's so wrong with making your signature bigger than your subject matter in an illustration? I should bring that back! Click to enlarge!
Sunday, October 9, 2011
Spidey should be jubilant over the defeat of his newest foe, the riotous Rattler! But, in typical Marvel fashion, a wave of moral ambiguity, uncertainty, and vague depression settles over him as he unknowingly enters a new, deadly, and mysterious era of danger and drama! More examples of the 1977 (the inaugural year of this 34-year old strip) ground-breaking adventure strip by Stan Lee and John Romita Sr.! Click to enlarge!
Saturday, October 8, 2011
Take a good gander at these two titanic covers from the late 60s! Marvel Comics and their captivating characters were in full bloom then, capturing the attention of everyone, as they branched out to appear as or on best-selling toys, shirts, cartoon shows, fan clubs, posters, figures, and even paperback novels! These two covers are great examples of rare superhero painted art (now ubiquitous) from the day! The CAPTAIN AMERICA cover is (possibly) by artist Lou Feck, and depicts Cap as sorta a cross between James Bond and a standard superhero! The AVENGERS novel cover was created by artist Robert Maguire (1921-2005), and showcases a ton of oddball Marvel heroes, many of whom had already departed from the group by 1968! That novel was also penned by long-time DC Comics (Marvel's rival) author, Otto Binder, best known for his scripts on the SHAZAM (Captain Marvel) comics! Wouldn't both images make great t-shirts or posters? Click to enlarge!
UPDATE! Long-time comics painter Joe Jusko states that the CAP novel cover was executed by Mitchell Hooks, a renowned artist who worked illustrating movie posters, SATURDAY EVENING POST and REDBOOK magazine covers and illos, and tons more!
Friday, October 7, 2011
Another blast from my past, trotted out for your entertainment and mirth! Here is my full-color re-interpretation of the classic Silver Age 1964 slug-fest we all recall! That's right, its a hapless Hulk fighting the evil Humanoid robot! As any hardcore Marvel fan can remember, the Leader, that deadly high-hat super-genius, sent his indestructible (even Hulk can't put a dent in them) Humanoids to rob, plunder, and create general mayhem in his name! I was (at age 14 in 1979) digging such adventures on the afternoon MARVEL SUPERHEROES cartoon reruns, and, once the episodes were over, wanted to memorialize each mind-bending scene in my art, in those pre-VCR days! Seems like that summer I did nothing but daw inspiration from mid-60s HULK tales, as you can see here! Click to enlarge!
Say, wanna see the actual MARVEL SUPERHEROES cartoon episode that inspired the above senses-shaking scene? Sure ya do! Just look below, True Believer!
Thursday, October 6, 2011
Another great look inside the famed 1976 SUPER DC CALENDAR! Here is the Superman page, with stellar art by "nefarious" Neal Adams! Neal was known then for his very human and realistic version of Batman, making him look lithe and alive, but note how he brings much of those same qualities to the Man of Steel, also giving him a real sense of weight and power and majesty! Neal was doing mostly advertising and commercial artwork at this time, but that still meant we'd see him draw the superheoes for a number of items, including stamps, action figure sets, stickers, shirts, puzzles, and so much more! Click image to enlarge!
Wednesday, October 5, 2011
Back in the early, stumbling, fumbling days of this very blog, we covered the frankly fabulous 1976 DC and Marvel Comics stamps sets here. But, now, feast your eyes on the chaotic and colorful order form that came packaged in each set! You could order custom "blocks" of your fave stamps and characters, even the nice gold-foil sets! A nice overview of the magnificent Marvel sets can be seen on the forms! Notice how the manufacturer even used a coupon to get you to order more sets! The bad part of that deal? You had to deface the front of each power-packed package to use said coupon! Imagine desecrating those great masterworks by Neal Adams, Gene Colan, John Romita, Sr., Herb Trimpe, and Dick Giordano! These high-quality embossed stamps were a very unique attempt to cross-breed two collector groups: the rabid comic fans and detail-oriented stamp collectors! I never ordered the stamps sets from the comic book ads, but acquired all the sets from a "five-and-dime" store near Pinehurst, North Carolina, in 1977! My 7th grade school book covers were never the same! Click to enlarge images below, phi
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