Sunday, March 29, 2015

Pop Focus: The Aquaman art of Jim Aparo

Just a simple tribute this week to one of my favorite comics artists and his work on a perpetually underrated character.

Yes, Aquaman is a pretty silly concept - an underwater king who can command sea life with telepathy. On "Entourage," he became a running joke. And he's frequently the target of jabs by comic fans and other pop culture fans, as well.

But, in comics, he's enjoyed some great, nicely illustrated runs. Ramona Fradon and Nick Cardy were among the SilverAge greats who penciled his adventures. But the Aquaman I grew up with in the 1970s was portrayed by the great Jim Aparo.

Also one of the all-time best Batman artists, Aparo drew Aquaman in Adventure Comics, World's Finest and, for a time, the character's own series, throughout much of the 1970s and into the 1980s. Most of the time, he also inked and lettered his own work. Aparo's art was at its best when he did the complete job. At the same time, he was drawing Batman and myriad guest stars in the great Brave and the Bold team-up title.

Combing the sharp line of Milt Caniff in his faces and figures with dynamism required in superhero comics, Aparo's art was intense and dramatic, always clearly conveying action and moving the story along. Here's a look at some of that work.

Jim Aparo

Friday, March 27, 2015

James Bond "Spectre" - first trailer

Pop culture roundup: Women and comics; Alan Lomax; Pvt. Snafu; special effects cloud magic

The Guardian has an excellent piece on the growing female readership of comics and how comics are changing as a result.
The success of Ms Marvel and Captain Marvel has little to do with identity politics and everything to do with great storytelling. When Carol Danvers had her first solo book as Ms Marvel in 1977 (“This Female Fights Back!”), she was burdened with being Marvel’s token feminist role model: a superpowered Gloria Steinem. The new Ms Marvel, however, is an ordinary adolescent wrestling with parents and school as well as the responsibility of superpowers. Fifty-three years after Stan Lee created Spider-Man, it’s hard for a straight, white man like Peter Parker to represent the gawky underdog. Like the half-black half-Latino Miles Morales, who became a second Spider-Man in 2011, Kamala Khan is a modern take on a classic archetype.


The online archive of musicologist Alan Lomax field recordings from around the world now includes more than 17,000 items from around the world. You can listen, for free, here.
“For the first time,” Cultural Equity Executive Director Don Fleming told NPR’s Joel Rose this week, “everything that we’ve digitized of Alan’s field recording trips are online, on our Web site. It’s every take, all the way through. False takes, interviews, music.”

Read a history of this Private Snafu World War II propaganda cartoons.
The talent roster behind the Snafu cartoons reads like a pantheon of animation icons: Chuck Jones, Friz Freleng, Bob Clampett, Frank Tashlin, and the “Man of a Thousand Voices” himself, Mel Blanc. Into this mix, add Theodor Geisel (a.k.a. “Dr. Seuss”), then working as a political cartoonist for the leftist New York newspaper PM, and the merry mashup is complete.


Every wonder how pre-CGI special effects masters created those wild cloud effects in "Close Encounters of the Third Kind" and other films? It starts with paint, water and a fish tank.

Fab Friday: Vintage Beatles lamp

More Beatles posts at The Glass Onion Beatles Journal.