Tuesday, May 13, 2008

William Messener-Loebs

Journey is one of the best comic books every published. This comic was published years ago, it tells the story of a different Wolverine, Wolverine MacAllister, a frontiersman during the 1800s in the Middle American Wilderness. Mr. Loebs both wrote and drew the comic.

Lately Bill and his wife Nadine (it's hard to talk about Bill without Nadine, the two come as a unit) have fallen on hard times. Bill lost his right arm while an infant. After producing comics for Marvel and DC Bill found his talents no longer sought after. Changes in management meant changes on the talent. Bill found himself without work. Through some bad times Bill and Nadine ended up living in a Salvation Army shelter. Recently there have been some efforts made to help them out and from what I've read things have improved some.

But where are the new Bill Loebs stories? Where is new issues of Journey? Why have the past issues of Journey not been collected into trades? I've read recently that Fantagraphics was thinking of publishing a phone book edition of the series and more recently I've read that IDW is supposed to be doing a collection of the first twelve issues this summer. I'm not sure which is true, but I hope that there is a collection coming out from someone of this landmark comic series.

Bill or Nadine won't remember me, but some of my past comic book history is intertwined with them. My first published work was in the back of an issue of Journey. It was titled "The Duel" and was drawn by Sam Kieth. I would call and talk with Nadine about the story and she would offer advice before the story was done.

Years later when Sam Kieth was asked to contribute to the newly created Image Comics he came up with his character The Maxx and asked Bill Loebs to script it for him. At that time Bill said no. Sam came to me (and he might have asked a few others inbetween Bill and me) and asked if I wanted to help him with the scripts. It didn't take me long to say yes. At the time I think a lot of writers were seeing Image as an artist's company, most of the original founders were using friends and people that no one knew to write the series they were creating. I wasn't worried. This was the big time for me. I was doing a lot of short stories for a lot of small publishers, but nothing that was bringing in any real money.

Well, anyone that has read The Maxx knows my name was nowhere to be found on it. Sam was able to convince Bill to give it a go and decided to use Bill as the writer. I'm sure Bill has no idea that I was ever involved with the series, however briefly.

The first San Diego Con I ever went to I met Bill Loebs. It was the year that Sam Kieth, Wendi Lee and her boyfriend (I can't remember his name but he drew a few things for Eclipse) and I shared a room at the convention. Bill has always been a great guy.

Someone get JOURNEY in print. Let's collect those old issues and even better yet let's get some new issues of a JOURNEY comic out there.

Monday, May 12, 2008

New Creator Blog Added to Side Bar

I just added David Lapham's blog Fantastic Life! to my sidebar. David Lapham is the writer/artist/creator of Stray Bullets, one of my all time favorite comic series. He is currently writing and drawing Young Liars for Vertigo. I'm still on the fence on this series. I wasn't that thrilled with the first issue, but the second one was much better. Since it's David Lapham I'm willing to give him the benefit of the doubt and stick around for awhile.

And does anyone know where I can get the rest of the Stray Bullets paperbacks? I have the first three but missed the remaining ones. Or I should say get them for something less than outrageous money, I've seen them listed on Amazon.com for a lot more than I really want to pay for them.

But everyone should check out his blog, I've been enjoying it. And give Young Liars a chance.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Gene Colan in Poor Health

It's being reported that Gene Colan is in poor health at the moment. According to a release from his wife:

My darling, sweet, handsome and brilliantly gifted husband’s liver is failing. The complications are very nasty. This week it’s fluid retention and encephalitis. He’s on powerful meds now to diminish the symptoms. He sleeps a lot and has very little energy.

When I first started collecting comic books my favorite character was Daredevil. The first comics I can remember collecting were the Barry Smith drawn ones with Starr Saxon, but shortly it was Gene drawing the hero.

Gene's art was like nothing else out there. I loved his art. His characters always looked more real to me. His panel design was not always the standard. Gene was not afraid to try something different.

I grew up with Gene's artwork. To me he was probably the first artist that I followed. And for most of Howard the Duck's run he was the artist. How much better can that be: Howard the Duck, Steve Gerber and Gene Colan?

I hope I won't have to be writing about Gene's passing soon. We just lost Steve Gerber, I don't want to lose Gene too. For more about this and for something to do go check out this page.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Iron Man Movie

I went and saw the new Iron Man movie last night. In comic book movies there are two levels, the first being the Spiderman movies that are the top of the list, the best ones. The last Batman movie would fall in here. Than there is the bottom of the list, where others movies fall, like the last Superman movie. Iron Man belongs in with Spiderman. For the longest time Marvel used to have problems with their movies based on their comic characters. It seemed like they could do nothing right, while DC had the first run of Superman movies and than the Tim Burton Batman movies. While Marvel had movies like the Punisher. Now the situation seems to be reversed. Except for the recent Batman movies DC seems to be having trouble getting their characters on the big screen.

This movie keeps all the best from the comic and updates it so it plays in today's world. But what makes
this movie work is Robert Downey, Jr. This man takes the role of Tony Stark and makes it his own. Actually all the actors in this movie do an exceptional job. Iron Man is a fun movie from the beginning to the end. What was suprising were the humor bits in the movie. There were a few times I laughed really hard at what was going on. But the humor wasn't forced or a tongue in cheek bit done to let the viewers know that they really know how silly superheroes are. The humor came from the characters and the situations.