Tag Archives: Curt Swan

Another Swan Song Bun Toon. Not So Yay!

This keeps happening.   I think this whole "mortality" thing is just awful.

This keeps happening. I think this whole “mortality” thing is just awful.

No preamble.  The Bun Toon says it all.

you had to be there websize

Okay, I did end up with Ringo’s signature, but it was at the insistence of a friend, not me.

Ty the Guy OUT!


The signatures...

The signatures…

Rather than just looking at the artwork, let’s consider the man we lost this week at 89  years old….


That’s Murphy Anderson, looking dapper in the ever-present suit.

My middle name is “Murphy” by the way, so I had an EXTRA fondness for the only other person I’ve ever met who shares that moniker.

I really do think that these two comic books have more influence on me than any two comics ever published…

superman 244

This was the first time I saw the “new” Superman of the 70s…Clark and Lois worked for a TV station, and Lois was starting to dress in modern clothes (Jimmy, not so much.)  The story (by Denny O’Neil) seemed more “grown-up” than the previous Superman stories I read.  This seemed like it was “mine”, and not the old fashioned stuff my older brothers used to read.

action 409

I still have my copies of these two issues, though they have long ago lost their covers (and I purchased nice new copies at a convention).  This one also introduced me to my life-long fondness of Nick Cardy (quite a cover, no?)…as it had a Teen Titans reprint found within.

These two comics started me down my path of obsessive collecting, which led to me learning to draw them (like Curt and Murphy if I could), which led me to working in the biz…

…Which led to me eventually taking Murphy’s job after he retired.

swan templeton legion

Yup.  I became Curt Swan’s inker about two years after I met them.  Did it for a while, and it was like nothing I can describe to wake up every morning working your dream job.

Curt Swan and I even co-created ARM FALL OFF BOY, the greatest comic character of all time.

swan templeton arm fall off boy

But enough about me.
Let’s finish off looking at some Swanderson artwork in their prime…from Action Comics #410.  One of those first issues I ever bought, back when I was nine years old….

410 pg 2

410 pg 3

Damn.  Look how good that stuff still is!  Every drop of ink is in the right place.

Thanks for the fantastic ride, Curt and Murphy.  You were both unimaginable treasures of my youth, and you are both unimaginably missed.


For last week's nostalgic and yet, futuristic Bun Toon, click here.

For last week’s nostalgic and yet, futuristic Bun Toon, click here.

For the increasingly un-updated Bun Toon archive, click here!

For the increasingly un-updated Bun Toon archive, click here!

Happy Birthday Big Red S!


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:

mooney superboy

And John Byrne…

Superman Splash 598

 Dan Jurgens…

jurgens superman

…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.

I dare you to tell me that isn't a great cover.

I dare you to tell me that isn’t a great cover.

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.

Superman Jerry 1The 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.

Superman and Jerry bond over their dogs.

Superman and Jerry bond over their dogs.

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:

JLA 31I 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.


SOMETIMES, THE ROUGH…and another of the increasingly late Hoverboy Fridays!

Clearly, I’m mad, I tell you.  MAD.

batrobinadv sketch 11

I’m one of those guys who spend their lives liking the rough sketch better than the final art.  It’s a curse.   I have a fondness for the scribbled, eccentric, humanistic and unembarrassed linework of a rough sketch.  There’s a lovely connection to movement and thought in the first contact with the image to muscles and paper,  often softened unbearably by turning it into a final illustration.   As a professional drawer-boy, I’m always fighting between “cleaning it up” and “letting it live”.

The Batman sketch from an old, old Adventures cover, (which I just found in a box yesterday, and hence this post) is less than three inches high.  It’s drawn in pencil and a thick pentel marker which was clearly drying out, as the background becomes less dark to the right. But the sense of danger, the monster, and the expressions on everyone’s face works for me in a way the final doesn’t.

harvey pekar rough to finishMy Pekar’s AMERICAN SPLENDOR work last year did the same thing to to me.  I was going for a very sedate, “realistic” Curt Swan type of storytelling for Harvey, since that was the basic feel of this particular script…but the rough layouts had a Kirby-like energy to them, with a lively and playful sense of proportion that I wish had fit the story.

( for more Harvey online, click here)

Again, these layouts are about three inches tall, and the final art is fifteen inches high…so the movements spideytorch 2 1 roughof your hands vs. the movements of your shoulders are going to be different.

I just got through reading an issue of Marvel’s new “STRANGE TALES” comic, with folks like Peter Bagge, and James  Kochalka doing very indy looking work on Marvel super-heroes.  Astoundingly great fun, and some of the pages have the same feel as my rough pages do…before I clean myself up.

If only I hadn’t seen so much Harvey Kurtzman while growing up.  I could rid myself of this demon of liking the roughs.



hovermuppetHoverboy Fridays continue to wander the calendar, and we find one barging into Sunday.  I’m only making this rare exception to move Hoverboy Fridays from its regular spot on Tuesdays, to this weekend, because the most recent update is topical!  It has to do with Hoverboy’s very tenuous connection to Sesame Street, which celebrated it’s 40th, or 45th anniversary this week, I wasn’t paying enough attention when Wolf Blitzer mentioned it.

Go to the Hoverboy museum and read more about this astounding connection between Kermit the Frog and The Boy Who Hovers.

www.hoverboy.com (for those who don’t hyper link well).

Ty the Guy.  AWAAAY!

Piles of Paper

Ty is going through piles of pages, sorting through his career.  Quite the retrospective.  He’s trying to decide what stuff to scan for this site.

Every now and then, one of us will check eBay to see if any of Ty’s stuff is on.  Sometimes, we’ll see a bunch of pages Ty’s inked over a particular penciller.  About eighteen months ago, someone was trying to sell a bunch of Jim Mooney pages, as Jim needed the money for medical/living expenses (he died early last year). Ty had inked Jim on Superboy pages.

It took Ty aback a moment as he tried to remember the issues:  as I’ve mentioned before, with such a wide and varied career it can be hard for Ty to remember what work he’s done, let alone who he’s inked over, or who has inked him. It can be easier to remember the big ones (Ty inked Curt Swan), and/or a tragic story (Ty drew two issues of Batman Adventures, when Mike Parobeck was unable to finish them not long before his death).  Sometimes, Ty will talk to a penciller or inker, through email or facebook, and will be confused when the other artist refers to their mutual work.  This sends Ty off through his pile of pages (or off to the Grand Comic Book Database!).

And, of course, even though Ty has been doing a lot of work on his own in recent years (pencilling and inking Simpsons’ stories which he has written), he’s still busy collaborating.  He was immensely pleased to work with Stephen Molnar on Revolution on the Planet of the Apes, and on Hoverboy, having first seen Stephen’s work in a portfolio review at a local convention.  And the artist for Moonstone’s upcoming Johnny Canuck and the Guardians of the North is David J. Cutler.  David was in Ty’s classes when Ty taught at Max the Mutt Animation School in Toronto.



A page from Superboy #6 (1990) Jim Mooney pencils, Ty Templeton inks