Monday, May 12th, 2014

Sites for Sore Eyes

canwellposted by Bruce Canwell

It's been awhile since I've occupied this space. Not by choice—y'see, I started the month of April being called out of state to deal with a family issue. Where I was hanging my hat for a few weeks brought me reasonably close to Dean's home, close enough to allow us to get together one day for a Real High Level LOAC Strategy Session (well, as high level as we ever get, anyway!).

On the personal front, the good news was that the results of my familial visit were all positive. I got to return home feeling my time away from hearth and home was well spent. The bad news was that once I returned, I had to run like mad to get caught up on all the things that had been given short shrift while I was out-of-pocket. I looked and, *blink!*, April was gone, baby, gone.

I took a couple days here in early May to catch a figurative breath and while I did, it occurred to me that, as hip-hop happening as this site may be, it's not the only site that may be of interest to LOAC readers. Here are some other places you might enjoy visiting:

As we get ready to close out our definitive Flash Gordon/Jungle Jim "Champagne Edition" series (and prepare to shift gears for the Alex Raymond Secret Agent X-9, a project slated to go into production later this year for a 2015 release), this entry in noted comic strip historian Allan Holtz's blog-site caught my eye. I quoted a portion of this piece in my essay for the upcoming Flash/Jim Volume 4.

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One of the joys in my LOAC duties is reading through old newspapers and magazine containing articles about the cartoonists and series we're re-publishing. These periodicals are real-life time machines, transporting me to the time period in question the way no modern-day, special-effects-laden movie or TV show can ever do. Those 21st Century confections are like Cool Whip, but the from-period material I study is like pure whipped cream—I not only get to see the articles of interest, I see the ads, the photographs, the names of the men and women making news at the time. Even the typography and page layout is vastly different from what we experience today. This is a pursuit that's probably not for everyone, but fortunately it's right up my alley.

Another LOAC release coming soon is our third Alex Toth volume, Genius, Animated. (Dean and I have each seen advance copies from the printer and, well, we're pretty happy with the results. We hope you'll feel the same!)

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One person we consulted for the book was the estimable Floyd Norman (Google him or check his bona fides at www.imdb.com if you're unfamiliar with his work). This Disney Legend worked with Alex several times throughout their respective careers. When I recently spoke to Mr. Norman, he said he'd been so busy doing publicity for Disney he had forgotten what he had said to whom!

He had only interesting and meaty things to tell us about Toth, as you'll see when Genius, Animated goes on sale. Meanwhile, here's one way to see what Mr. Norman said at one stop during his tour:

Thanks to our good friend Bill Peckmann for passing along that link to us and making sure we didn't miss it! Bill has a distinguished animation/advertising career of his own (those of us who fondly remember ABC's Schoolhouse Rock cartoons owe Bill a debt of thanks for his work on that fine series, and if you've ever seen the Honey Nut Cheerios Bee, guess who created him ...?).

As they say on the late night infomercials, "But wait, there's more!" readers of our prior Toth volume (Genius, Illustrated, currently nominated for two Eisner Awards) may recall seeing examples of Alex's Conan pin-ups produced at the behest of editor Louise Jones (now Louise Simonson) for Marvel's Savage Sword of Conan magazine.

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You can see nine Tothian takes on the iron-thewed Cimmerian here.

Finally, zooming away from individual titles and thinking at the total-LOAC level, are you aware the IDW website maintains a message board devoted to The Library of American Comics? It tends to be one of IDW's livelier boards, with a thoughtful and articulate group of posters (I sometimes appear there, though I wouldn't use terms like "thoughtful" or "articulate" to describe myself!). The site is easy to navigate, so if you're curious about what goes on there, feel free to swing by sometime.

Speaking of swinging by, I plan to be back here more often going forward—though I do have to make another familial trip for five days from the tag-end of May through the first few days of June ...