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Friday, January 31, 2014

A couple of cool upcoming books.

So just to make it clear, my blog is not "monetized" (is that a real word?). I am not trying to sell anything to anyone, but I think there are some wonderful artists who are finally getting their due and more and more collections of their work are being reprinted. It would be a shame if the new publications went unnoticed, so lets help spread the word :)

All are available on amazon for pre-order.

Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez: 
Showcase Presents: Jonah Hex Volume 2 TP Paperback – March 25, 2014
There is only about 5-6 issues of his work in this upcoming collection,
but each one is a gem and will be printed here in black and white. I am truly
looking forward to this volume of western adventures!

Cinder & Ashe Paperback – July 8, 2014
It is just a crime (a real crime!) that this series has been out of print since it's original
publication. I would love to see a hardcover collection of this modern "crime noir"
story with extra pages devoted to sketches and character studies, but alas...I
might have to wait another 20 years for that :)

Howard Chaykin:
Satellite Sam Volume 1 TP Paperback – February 18, 2014
I have seen individual floppies of this series. Black and white murder mystery in the
middle of Hollywood is a perfect setting for Chaykin and Matt Fraction seems to
be on the same wavelength with Chaykin writing this as a crazy ride through
blackmail and plunging TV ratings.

Katsuya Terada:
Dragon Girl and Monkey King: The Art of Katsuya Terada - August 5, 2014

A long time ago I went to Japan. I was really looking forward to going to bookstores and buying some cool books (this was all before the explosion of the internet). My dreams were destroyed when I realized that ALL books were shrink wrapped. It was funny to see, how the Japanese, who are so proper, had no problem sitting in a bookstore for hours and reading books that were available...and how the store owners kept trying to kick them out and re-shrink wrap the books. But not being able to read Japanese, I had no idea what was the content of the books. All the covers look great, but I did not want to spend $20 on a nice cover and 300 pages of text in a foreign tongue. So I gambled and bought only one book, "Monkey King" by Terada. I lucked out because I loved it. Later on Dark Horse reprinted same volume (and vol 2) and I could finally read it. Now Dark Horse is putting out a collection of this fantastic artist. No idea what will be inside, but I already pre-ordered a copy :)

Corrado Mastantuono, Disney, and Tex...all in Italian!

I sort of stumbled on the art of Corrado Mastantuono by accident. I was looking through a website that catalogued French comics and saw a cover for a comic book called "Elias Le Maudit" ("Elias the Cursed"). The cover was drawn by Mastantuono and reminded me a bit of Liberatore.

My search lead me to find out that Mastantuono is an Italian artist who was working for Disney at the time, but he did some western stories for the Italian market. I needed-up purchasing some of the French reprints of his Tex comics and I highly recommend them. All stories are over a hundred pages long and are printed in gorgeous black and white. They are done in a looser style than the above cover and have a cool John Buscema/Frank Frazetta vibe to them.

I also found a bunch of images on the web featuring his designs for Disney. They looked great! His "cute" stuff had real structure to it and was very expressive. But his stories were always part of some Disney magazine with just a few pages at a time, available only in Italy, and costing a more to ship to US than reasonable. I kept looking for a collection of his Disney work but could never find it...until about a year ago.

Le Grandi Storie: Bum Bum Ghigno is a black and white 222 page collection that got published in 2002, but I only saw it last year. It was a bit pricey, but I picked up a copy on e-Bay that, after shipping, cost me $55. It's well worth it. I enjoy looking at it and seeing the wonderful way his characters move around the page.

So does it mean if you live in US you have to shell out $55 to enjoy this? NO!

Just a few months ago a new collection has been published. "Disney D'Autore: Corrado Mastantuono".

It's 520 pages (!). Full (wonderful flat color) color! Includes a few sketches and a few roughs, but mostly all comics. It reprints the previous collection and an extra 300 pages of material. It is in Italian, but has such wonderful storytelling that it is enjoyable even if you don't speak Italian. For example, the episode where Mickey goes back to find his old boat "Steamboat Willie" is both charming and nostalgic.

And here is another good news: it is available on for $27 plus $4 shipping, or you can buy it on for 14 euro plus around 10 euro shipping, or e-Bay for something in between those two options.

Monday, January 27, 2014

The full story!

And the English version.....

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Michael Kaluta drawing Flash Gordon ?!?!?!

I stumbled on a few pages of Kaluta's artwork featuring Flash Gordon...beautiful pages! I have never heard of any Flash Gordon storylines done by Kaluta!

 Does anyone have any ideas?

Saturday, January 04, 2014

Jim Starlin Returns to Thanos in an original Marvel Graphic Novel in 2014!

There was the "Death of Captain Marvel" that was incredible and now Starlin is returning to Marvel with a new graphic novel centered around Thanos called "Thanos: The Infinity Revelation". Here is what Starlin had to say in a recent interview: "'s mainly Thanos' and Adam Warlock's story...I think Warlock is the closest thing Thanos has to a friend. Warlock has always approached him after they've gone through a few things, saying, "How can I minimize what he's going to do?" Thanos at this point has come to the realization that he is insane. He's working on a whole different level of reality than anyone else, other than perhaps Warlock. Warlock is also out of the norm. Death doesn't have a real heavy sway on either one of them. They tend to be cast as players in cosmic dramas that are way beyond their plane of existence. Both have learnt to expect the unexpected, to try and let as little damage be done by what we're doing as possible. That's not always a consideration for Thanos, but certainly for Warlock. This is a story of undefined obsession, mostly on Thanos' part. I know that's obscure, but I'd rather not go any farther than that." Can't wait! More on

Friday, January 03, 2014

Howard Chaykin, Lee Child, Tom Cruise, Jack Reacher, and ... I

Howard Chaykin has recommended Jack Reacher books to me. The above statement makes it sound like Howard Chaykin actually knows who I am, but thats not quite true. We are "Facebook friends" and we once in a while exchange messages recommending books to each other. Through this friendly exchange I have discovered Alan Furst, Lee Child, Amor Tower's "Rules of Civility", AND Richard Price (whose "Samaritan" is the best crafted crime fiction book I ever read...thank you Mr. Chaykin!). I am actually pretty amazed at the range of Howard Chaykin's reading interests and his ability to absorb information. I believe my only contribution was recommending Bernard Cornwell, Mary Renault, and Erik Larson's "In the Garden of Beasts". So anyhow, I started picking up Jack Reacher novels at the library, either as regular books or as audio recordings. I think I got through 5 or 6 different books. Some I liked more than others, but on the whole I enjoyed them all. In fact I enjoyed the genre enough to pick-up a few Jesse Stone books as well (and I watched all the Tom Selleck movies based on Jesse Stone character). And just about as I was in the middle of this crime fiction serial book phase, I read that Tom Cruise will be Jack Reacher on the big screen. I don't know who I expected to play Jack Reacher, but it definitely was not Tom Cruise. Jack Reacher (in my mind's eye) was big, ugly, and looked more like Robert Mitchum (with a broken nose). Tom Cruise is trim, compact, and graceful...he looks more like a ballet dancer to me. I did not make it a priority to see "Jack Reacher" when it first came out in the theaters, but just last weekend I saw it at the library and I picked it up. Got to watch it over the holidays, and I have to say Tom Cruise did a great job. In fact I liked the angle that a lot of big guys did not take him seriously because he was shorter. Also this movie definitely tried to underline the fact that in a gun fight, your height is not the deciding factor. This was not a perfect movie, but it was enjoyable and some parts of the novel were perfectly adopted to suit the strengths of film and some were re-written to fit the new medium better. There were one or two scenes that made me "stumble" as a viewer, but over all (just like the books that inspired the movie) I enjoyed the film. I think I would have also enjoyed Howard Chaykin graphic novel adaptation of one of the Child's books :)

Thursday, January 02, 2014

Frank Frazetta ... Russ Cochran ... Artist Edition

In the last 3 years I have been caught-up in the “Artist Edition” frenzy that got started by IDW with their reprinting of Dave Stevens’ “Rocketeer” from the original art boards. I already have an entry on this blog about my opinions about the origin of this trend (posted back in 2012), so I won’t repeat myself about that but I would like to write about a recent “discovery” on my part. Three weeks ago I was flipping through a Frank Frazetta book called “Icon”. Just getting inspired to try to push myself and try to do interesting art, and on one of the biographical text pages in the book, I saw a little insert reproduction of a cover for a publication called “Untamed Love”. Oh, sure "Untamed Love", I have a copy, published by Fantagraphics almost 30 years ago, reprinting Frazetta’s romance comics. Three or four stories, drawn by Frazetta in the 1950, that just blew my mind when I first read them. It is one of the few comics that I keep in an easily accessible drawer next to my drawing table. Incredible stuff for sure. But funny enough, the cover does not look familiar and as I read the text I realize that this is something different. A quick search on the web and…it turns out Russ Cochran, back in 1970s produced two oversize black and white Frazetta reprints. First, “Untamed Love”, collecting four Frazetta romance stories from the 1950’s shot from the originals that Frazetta had (stored in his closet no less). Second, was the collection of all the Thunda stories drawn by Frazetta also shot from originals (also stored in Frazetta’s closet). Both editions are oversized, bigger than modern magazines (but regretfully not the full size of the original artwork). Years later, Fantagraphics used these editions to produce comic book sized colorized versions of the same stories that I am familiar with.
I thought that these must be obscure, limited print runs that are impossible to find and must be worth hundreds of dollars at this point. Right? Wrong! Just for the fun of it, I went to e-Bay (but of course) and searched for them to see if maybe I can find a ripped-up copy without a cover for a decent price. I was greeted with a pleasant surprise. After about a week of looking through different listings I was able to purchase both, “Untamed Love” and “Thunda”, collections for about $30 each. Both have arrived and they are in great shape with no missing pages, coffee stains, or ripped covers. $60 is nothing to sneeze at, but considering that this is as close to a Frazetta Artist Edition that I am likely to ever come…I am very happy I found these, and I recommend for anyone who is into Artist Editions to check them out!
Another interesting note. In an art book called "Frank Frazetta: Testament", there is a wonderful reprint of another Frazetta romance story. It is also shot from originals and is reproduced in a wonderful gray scale that shows every brush stroke. Regretfully the last page must have been lost because it is clearly NOT reproduced from the original artwork. This must have been the reason why it is not included in the original "Untamed Love" collection. If I could find a cheap copy of "Testament", I would be happy to rip the pages out and hard bind my own copy with all 5 stories in one book :)

Kristo ... soon!