Seventy Five years old! Great Rao!
I have a lovely essay that I wrote on the occasion of Superman’s 70th Birthday, and rather than rethink it, I’ll just link to it below. Click on the image and you’ll be taken to a much larger and readable version of the article. When you’re done (or once you’ve ignored the article and scrolled below it), you can rejoin the regular blog, still in progress.
What I said still holds true (unless the upcoming movie REALLY sucks).
I’ve had a long and unexpected association with Superman through the years, and I consider it quite an honour to have contributed to the great character’s legacy. Working out of the Superman office in the late 80s and early 90s gave me the whooping-giggle thrill of collaborating with some of the legends of this comics industry. I got ink over such childhood heroes as Jim Mooney:
And John Byrne…
…and the definitive Superman artist for a generation: Curt Swan.
…as well as a dozen other artists working out Mike Carlin’s Superman office. My single favourite image I contributed to while I was a Superman inker was this cover for Superboy: The Comic Book #4…penciled by Kevin Maguire and rendered by your humble blogger. I rarely put my own artwork up on the walls of my house, but I consider this a Kevin piece anyway, so it sat on my wall for years.
Superman was on hand the first time I co-wrote a story with my pal Dan Slott. Though we’d worked together as a writer/artist team a few times, this was our first collaboration as co-writers, and our little tale featured Krypto and his big flyin’ master. Go find a copy and read it, you’ll let go of a few honest tears when it’s done. I’m proud of this one.
I got to work with Jerry Seinfeld because of Superman. I was asked to design the look of Superman for a series of Seinfeld/American Express animated commercials, as well as creating some odd Jerry and Superman scenes for billboards and print ads.
The original photo is Jerry grabbing at “no one” in the air, and I had to draw Superman to fit where Jerry’s hand was. Kal-el is supposed to be saying “this guy’s crazy”, but it looks equally like he’s tickling the comedian.
Is there any better job than being paid to illustrate Krypto starting a bromance?
Working for Superman offered me to opportunity to design collectable action figures:
and crayon boxes, and puzzles and t-shirts and colouring books and darn near anything with an S on it. Of the many many images of Superman I’ve drawn for DC Comics over my career, this is my favourite:
I know there’s other characters on this JLU cover, but there’s something about the Superman figure that sits just right with me. His proportions, his expression, even the colours of his costume, all came together in this image and I didn’t screw any of it up. I actually don’t hate this cover and my wife will tell you how rare that is for me. I might be wrong, but I think it’s the last time I drew Superman for the mother corporation…once I get it correct, I scoot off and don’t do it again.
So happy birthday Mr. Cape. You’ve been a delightful character to read as a child, to work on as a young adult, and to come back to every few years like a comfortable trip back home. I hope I get another chance at him someday…and I treasure the time we spent together.
I’m always a little jealous when he dates someone else.
Ty the Guy OUT!
Here now, your BONUS Superman Moment- You knew this one was coming.
That IS a great article.
One of the first comics I ever read was a Spanish reprint of Man of Steel #6, which I guess needed to fill some extra pages at the end because they printed a whole bunch of pin ups, including your wonderful “bizarros of the far future” one. I had no idea what it was referencing so I probably stared at that drawing for a couple of hours every time I read the comic.
Wait….that wasn’t created for DC Comics. That was a commission from a completely unrelated source. The company that printed it didn’t have permission! Holy cow! I would love to see that!
Ha! As I recall, it was translated and in color. I’ll look for it this weekend and take a picture.
I would appreciate that. It was done for Fantagraphics’ annual swimsuit issue (Bizarro isn’t at the beach, he’s in a parking lot, see?), and a DC licence holder wouldn’t have had the rights to print that image without my permission. I’m amused by this.
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