Sunday, September 14, 2014

The Batman and Mr. Finch

David finch has been a fixture and a mainstay within the comic book industry for more than a few years now. He is too with some certain consensus one of the most popular, prolific and persuasive talents to grace the covers and pages of said books dating from the mediums inception to this; the modern day. Publishers including Marvel, DC and independents have all benefited from Finch’s output of phenomenal product and material. Take a pinch of Jim lee, a dash of Brian Bolland mixed with David’s own originality and edginess and you have what is a treat to all aficionados of the form.

Just a few years ago the cover of the September 2010 issue of Wizard magazine would announce a new beginning for Batman. It was graced by what is possibly the single most compelling rendering of Bob Kane’s creation since Detective Comics #27 many years previous, “way back” in May 1939. The five chapter single issue inaugural run “Batman: the Dark Knight” would prove to be some of Finch’s most remarkable and collected works. Finch would take on the writing credits along with penciling on the landmark title. 

Highlights of the featured novel “Golden Dawn” would include appearances by Bat-villains; The Penguin and Killer Croc along with guest–star Jack Kirby’s creation The Demon.  The books would be the last published by DC linked to the original line of comic books. This was achieved before the complete revamping of the entire collective DC titles dubbed by the company “The New 52.” Without losing a step Finch would relaunch his title this time solely as penciller with Paul Jenkins writing a truly bizarre Scare Crow tale both sweeping and entertainly disturbing. The very thing we expect a Scare Crow story arc should be.  

David Finch’s tenure as Bat-Artist/Writer would produce a number of iconic covers; panels and chapters. The graphic story-telling form is much enriched by Mr. Finch and his talents; particularly his artistry. He has moved on from the Batman and is currently developing; along with his wife Meredith, what promises to become a classic version of Wonder Woman. A husband wife team of co-creators is a first for the field and is deservedly and eagerly anticipated.  

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Michael Zulli TMNT

Eastman and Laird’s Ninja Turtles are back; this time in a new hit movie. It’s not their first time on film but this is the best version to date; a solid entertainment. Since their 1980’s inception they have appeared in every incarnation; form and genre imaginable. Their cross-over success from film to animation to graphic novel and merchandising has varied greatly from medium to medium and from style to style. There is no definitive look or genesis of The Turtles. Their importance also remains largely to the degree ascribed by any viewer or selective non-participant in the phenomenon.  To date my personal favorite TMNT look and effort is by artist Michael Zulli and writer Stephen Murphy. Their first work as scribes was a single issue short story featured in Volume One Book 31 July 1990 “Souls Winter.” It ranks among the great works of comic book art. It is in form and fashion possibly the most unique and amazing work created by any artists working in the field of graphic story-telling. In particular it is Zulli’s drawing that takes the tale beyond illustration into the company of the world’s great art; high or low.

Zulli was first noted and responsible for a graphic series “The Puma Blues.” It was a post-apocalyptic vision of man kind’s obligation and place in the natural world. This experience gave Zulli a unique and distinctive vision to apply to the Eastman/Laird project. Zulli excelled, as he took the series to an unexpected place beyond the comic, beyond anything expected or seen before in any graphic book. “Souls Winter’ remains a bench mark. 

Nominated three times for Eisner’s Zulli is respected and admired by his peers and followers. He has worked on DC Comic’s Swamp Thing and Sandman with Neil Gaiman. He is current working on a personal project; “Fracture of the Universal Boy: Right Here and Now.”  “Fracture” consists of Zulli’s thoughts on life, love and art. What is essentially survival in our misanthropic times is a large part of the theme of the book. Click on the graphic below to see Michael Zulli’s own blog as his artistic life’s journey continues.

Monday, September 1, 2014

Dorothea Lange

Dorothea Lange was the first photographer I fell in love with. It was and remains a total infatuation. Her Iconic and brilliantly honest work, her mastery of her chosen instrument and the decisions, journalistic and artistic are representative of the vision sublime.

Lange’s camera and eye were drawn to those on the fringes of society. The Invisible American’s; those numbering among the forgotten or ignored became her subjects of choice. The results are remarkable in their simplicity and directness. She was a serious photographer. Her works date her to a time when life was many times more brutal and devoid of the excess and glitz of our times.  Her prime years depicted many of America’s most trying: the Great Depression, The Dust Bowl Era, Japanese Internment Camps and the early Plight of the Migrant Worker. Her eye sought out the universal and commonality of all Americans like no other photographer. She is from a time before the “selfie.” Lange was looking out into the world as she discovered beauty and truth among the pains of human existence, suffering and trials. Lange was a beautiful woman of heart, mind and spirit. She has given the world much through her activism and journalistic works.

The photographic compositions of Dorothea Lange speak so eloquently for themselves they need little embellishment or definition. I have included a selected portfolio of some of her best and moving treasures. I have also included a link to the documentary; “Dorothea Lange: Grab a Hunk of Lightning” from the PBS series “American Masters.”  It centers on Lange’s preparation for her MoMA retrospective and covers many aspects of the photographer’s life in intimate detail. The life was amazing, indeed. You be the judge.  

“The camera is a powerful instrument for saying to the world: this is the way it is…

Look at it!        Look at it!”

Dorothea Lange

“Dorothea Lange: Grab a Hunk of Lightning”