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Monthly Archives: May 2010

Portrait of the Artist as a Young Neurotic

This quasi-autobiographical strip is same vintage as Gerry’s Comix and Super-Cat. The “hang-up” (what a knowingly loaded double meaning for something done in the ’70s) in the back is oddly self-pitying. I think this one might predate the others. The art isn’t as good. It’s from ’75, again, though. The Jaws reference was very topical.

Super Cat, anyone?

Here’s another “classic” from my larval stage, same vintage as Gerry’s Comix.

Yes, Gerald Ford

While other budding comics artists were probably practicing their takes on Spidey and Doc Doom, here’s an early example of what I was doing. Presenting my 1975 (I’m guessing) Gerry’s Comix. I was ten. The Gerry caricature is blatantly stolen from Robert Grossman. I was enamored of his comic in New York Magazine. Maybe I’ll scan and post some more of my childhood comics.

And yes, that’s Nixon reading an issue of Playboy.

Frank Frazetta, RIP

Frazetta
My first summer job was working for a pet supply store called Ruffs Meow on Queens Boulevard. The owner was a guy named Dom who popped in from time to time to use the bathroom to smoke pot. He’d check on sales with the manager, a Jim Belushi-esque guy name Matthew, then disappear. I was fifteen and it was a good experience.

During my lunch breaks I’d usually go home for something to eat, but on payday I’d take the money and run nearly a mile from the store to Walden Books in Forest Hills and my first purchases with my hard-earned money were the Peacock Press/Bantam Books trades of The Fantastic Art of Frank Frazetta and its follow ups. I savored each page of his work. I couldn’t imagine what it would be like to have that much talent. His work had so much power and vitality. His women had big asses and hips and even dimples on their thighs. They were fleshy and hot as hell. I admired his composition and palette.

Many years later the Alexander Gallery on Madison Avenue had an exhibit of Frazetta’s work and seeing many of those canvases in person was mind blowing. As in the case of Norman Rockwell, seeing the originals blew any reproductions away. I was surprised at how small some of Frazetta’s paintings were, but though they were modest in size the art was barely contained in those frames. The colors and textures were unreal.

My own art never aspired to be like Frazetta’s. There was no way I’d ever come close and fantasy wasn’t really my bag, but he was, is and always will be an inspiration. I hope all the matters of his estate are resolved amicably and ethically. His legacy and work should be in museums to be enjoyed and admired for the ages.