Sunday, September 18, 2016

Strange War Tales Sunday with Joe Kubert

I know that I really shouldn´t start another post before finishing the Elvira / Cassandra Peterson birthday post but since I already had most of the material in one folder I wanted to use the opportunity of Joe Kubert´s birthday to pay tribute to one of the greatest artist who ever lived.

Now I have to confess that I was not always such a big fan of Joe Kubert. I knew that he existed and I had seen some of his artwork but it did not exactly grab me. He was one of those old comic guys and I was much more interested in hot and coming artists. Ah, the sweet innocence of youth.

Well, that all changed in 1994 when I visited the International Comic Salon in Erlangen for what must have been the third time. The first time I went there was in 1990 and I was still doing my apprenticeship as a car mechanic at the Deutsche Bundesbahn at that time. As a Bundesbahn employee you got some perks, like they paid your monthly season ticket which came in quite handy once I had found out that they sold american comics at the newsstand of the main railway station in Stuttgart. You also got one free ride a year to any destination within Europe which I used for my yearly vacation in Spain. You also got eight free rides every year to anywhere in Germany and since most of my relatives lived in Spain using those was more difficult. Because if you didn´t use them they were just gone.

So the first year I found out about Erlangen I used at least three of those eight rides to go by train in the morning, look at some stuff but mainly buy some comics and then ride the train back home in the evening. Now the second time I knew how big the event really was and I went there for the full four days with my brother who drove us ( I didn´t have a driver´s license ) and because we were still young we slept in a tent at the local camping ground. That was cheaper then renting a hotel room but there comes a time when your body has to pay for sleeping on the ground.

Anyway, I already had a pull list at the Sammerecke which back then had its main shop in Nürtingen and since I knew most of the employees pretty well I agreed to stand in line to get sketches for one of them. What can I say ? I´m a nice guy and I wanted to see the artists draw. To make a long story short - or at least skip one boring part - after Erlangen was over I decided to get some of those nifty sketches for myself since it DOES take quite some time to stand in line. So in 1994, when I went to Erlangen for the third time I bought a small book with empty pages ( in hindsight I should have bought a bigger one ) and did the rounds at the booths and down artist´s alley to get some sketches for myself for the first time.

Like I said, I had done this the year before but that had been different since I was sent to get specific artists and this time I had no plan. What I wanted to get were as many sketches as possible so a lot of the decisions where to stand in line were based on luck or opportunity. With most of the artists I had no idea which comic they had done and I mostly found out if I had any good ones afterwards. Which bring us back to Joe Kubert.

I had already gotten some sketches and had to wait for the next sketch session I wanted to attend to begin when I cam across a booth where he was doing sketches. Now to american comic book fans and convention attendees I probably have to explain something because right now they might wonder where I got the money for all those sketches. Well the thing is in european comic conventions - at least I can speak for those in Spain and Germany - sketches you get at comic conventions are free. Not always totally free because sometimes the people who man the booth expect you to buy some of their comics to break even but you don´t pay the artist.

Which is why when you plan to go to Erlangen you should stop buying german comics three or four months before the event. Because you never know which comics you might have to buy there to get a sketch and also because you might get some at a bargain price. So when you go to a booth where an artist is doing sketches you don´t have to pay anything and even is some of the booth people are giving you the evil eye you can ignore them. Sometimes they are very strict and upright tell you that you don´t get a sketch if you don´t buy a comic but that´s not a problem.

Again, back to Joe Kubert, he was doing sketches and since there was no product at the booth that meant you didn´t have to buy anything to get a sketch. Like I said, I had some time to kill so I got in line because at least I knew who Joe Kubert was. I didn´t get the reverence some of the older comic readers I knew had but there wasn´t anything else important that I had to do. So when it was my turn he asked me what I wanted him to draw and I asked for Ghost Rider since I thought he had done some of the art in the GHOST RIDER books as that was around the time that the whole GHOST RIDER franchise blew up big with all the spin offs like MIDNIGHT`S SONS and such for which both of his sons were providing some of the art.

Well, it seems my memory was not as good as I thought since he informed me that he hadn´t done any of the GHOST RIDER books so he said he was going to do a devil for me. Now I have dabbled in drawing myself and I have seen a lot of other people draw but I had never seen somebody draw like Joe Kubert. Because if you have drawn something yourself you know that generally you start doing a light sketch, then you out in heavier lines and then you might get a pen or a brush or a marker to do the blacks.

That´s what normal people do. What Joe Kubert did was skip the first step, skip the second step and just take out your markers and do the drawing without any ledger lines or construction lines. Just get the fine marker to do the head and the face lines, get the thicker marker to do the outward lines and the shadows and the get the thick marker to add the blacks. And the finished drawing was perfect. I have never seen anybody draw like that since and I have seen a lot of the greatest artist draw. In any case from that moment on I started to look at his art differently. Which is why I always say that you should watch other artists draw.

Okay, this story has become longer than I expected so to make up for that a little bit here are just a few examples of Joe Kubert´s lasting legacy.  

Like always I have to give thanks to the websites out there which have contributed to making this post. The colored double page spread from Ragman 1 was provided by our trusty link partner DIVERSIONS OF THE GROOVY KIND who has a post where you can read the whole issue as well as Ragman 5 and a silent five page back up that ran in Ragman issue 5.

Also the colored double page spread from Ragman 3 is from THE SUITS OF SOULS, the website about DC´s Tattertermalion Of Justice which has lots of posts about Ragman including the ones I came across for issue 1 , 3 and 4 . For more on the jewish superhero the PENCIL INK blog has also posts on Ragman issue 1 and 4 as well as on issue 5 and on Rima issue 1 , 2 , 3 , 4 , 5 and issue 7 which include some nice art by Nestor Redondo. Speaking of artist Nestor Redondo there´s a post about him on THE GEEKSVERSE by Zedric Dimalanta and if you want to know more about the Rima comics check out Jimmm Kelly´s post about the series on MY FAVOURITE FUNNIES.

We start the birthdays with Barrett Foa who turns 39, best known for his role of Eric Beale on NCIS : Los Angeles which was just on tv a few hours ago. There are not many shows I still watch on the boob tube but one of the exceptions is the Sunday triple feature of NCIS, NCIS : Los Angeles and Scorpion. I always wondered why they have two nerd tekkies on NCIS : Los Angeles who basically do the same thing ( even if the female one is much nicer to look at ). I guess they wanted another character to play off on. Anyway, the only reason why I still watch the show is the whole Kensi / Deeks thing - don´t get me wrong, Daniela Ruah is hot but Deeks is the only interesting character on the show. All the others are just too perfect.

James Marsden celebrates his 43rd birthday who is best known for playing Cyclops in the X - Men movies. Although I don´t know if we will see him in that role in any more movies since they are rebooting and recasting the X - Men ad nauseum. Anyway, most people know how the Dark Phoenix Saga played out in the movies but how about getting some knowledge about how it really happened in the comics ? And if you like these videos spread the word, we have to make Comicbookgirl19´s epic X - Men videos go viral. I need more of these videos, we all do, and the best for all parts concerned would be if she could do this full time. So please support her.

Up next we have Jada Pinkett Smith who turns 45. She met her husband on The Fresh Prince Of Bel Air which introduced her to the audience.

Of course a big part of that show´s success and continued appeal around the world ( there are probably only a few people on the face of the planet who can´t recite the lyrics to the title song in their sleep ) is Tatyana Ali who grew from a cute little girl into an incredible sexbomb over the course of that series and who got to show her musical skills.

Much to the chagrin of the show´s producers she really bOObed all out in later movie appearances like The Clown at Midnight or Fall Into Darkness .

While being on The Fresh Prince Of Bel Air Jada had her first big role in A Low Down Dirty Shame, written and directed by Keenan Ivory Wayans.

What´s more important is that she was in Tales From The Crypt : Demon Knight, the first movie where they went away from the anthology format of earlier films and told an autonomous story. The movie also featured Baywatch babe Traci Bingham ( or like I like to call her Traci Banghim ) and her big 36D floating devices as well as sexbomb Brenda Bakke whom you might have seen strut her stuff in Hot Shots 2 or American Gothic.

Jada then appeared in the Eddie Murphy vehicle The Nutty Professor, which also featured Athena Massey famous for her role in the skin flick classic Undercover Heat and Lisa Boyle who also regularly took her clothes off in erotic movies besides starring in episodes of Married With Children.

Jada Pinkett Smith also starred in Set It Off, Scream 2, Matrix Reloade, Matrix Revolution and she´s currently on Gotham where her character Fish Mooney is the only good thing about that train wreck of a show.

Since I just can´t post any videos from Gotham ( even mentioning the show is already giving it more attention than it deserves ) here is one about the adaption of the original Tales From The Crypt comics to tv.

We´re staying with the horror theme ( and when I say horror that includes Gotham ) with Veronica Carlson who celebrates her 72nd birthday and is best known for her appearance in many Hammer Studio movies like The Horror Of Frankenstein which also could have been the topic of Today´s post. Because I already had prepared all the necessary GIFs for a post months ago and the only reason why I didn´t do it is that I still have to finish up the Elvira post. But don´t fear the post is not scratched, only postponed so you won´t be deprived of Miss Carlson´s charms forever.

No longer with us is James Gandolfini best known as the family head in The Sopranos. Now I spend some time to find out the name of Bernadette Penotti, who played the sexy nurse in the first episode but the only GIFs I found were NSFW. Thankfully one of James first roles - even if he was uncredited - was as Marcone´s henchmen in The Last Boy Scout where Halle Berry does her erotic dance ( it is most often referred to as a striptease but it´s not because she doesn´t take any of her clothes off  ).

I also have to give a shoutout to Jack Warden who was on all tv screens in Germany when I was a kid as Morris Buttermaker on the hit tv show The Bad News Bears. It wasn´t easy to get this information because as always the show was billed in Germany under a different title, The Bears Are Loose ( Die Bären sind los ) - don´t ask. Anyway, Jack Warden was a familiar face growing up as he also appeared in All The President´s Men, Heaven Can Wait, the Problem Child movies and The Great Muppet Caper.

I want to end this post with a video I bookmarked quite some time ago.

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