Showing posts with label Captain America. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Captain America. Show all posts

Wednesday, March 11, 2020

RIP Allen Bellman

by Bruce Guthrie

Allen Bellman has died.  The 96-year-old worked on Golden Age comics in the 1940s like Captain America, The Human Torch, Jap Buster Johnson, At the time, he worked for Timely Comics.  Many of the characters were later relaunched by Marvel Comics in the 1960s.

I met him in 2016 when Mark Evanier talked to him for two panels at the San Diego Comic-Con.  Captain America was especially huge back then -- it was Cap's 75th anniversary -- and I couldn't even get into one of panels.  I'm sure he enjoyed the attention for something he had worked on 60+ years before.

Mark Evanier and Bellman

Drawing in Guthrie's sketchbook

Some other pictures....  The massive crowd waiting to get into the Captain America @ 75 panel -- the one I gave up trying to get in.   
His hand with Captain America ring and nail polish. 

And his wife Roz.

Wednesday, November 07, 2018

Steve Geppi's collection goes on display at the Library of Congress

by Mike Rhode (more photographs here)

The Library of Congress put a small fraction of items from Steve Geppi's donation on display on Election Day. The timing was probably a coincidence, and not an attempt to remind Americans of their shared love for popular culture including icons Superman, G.I. Joe, Mickey Mouse, Captain America, and Popeye, that brings the country together and drives the economy.

As previously noted here throughout the summer, Geppi's Entertainment Museum (GEM) closed in Baltimore and the Library was offered a choice of items from it. Exhibit director David Mandel introduced Geppi at a press preview, noting "Steve has donated over 3,000 items from his personal collection of comic books and popular art, the largest donation of its kind in the Library's history. The multi-million dollar gift includes comic books, original art, photos, posters, newspapers, buttons, pins, badges and related materials."

"It is really an honor to donate this collection because quite frankly it belongs here," noted Geppi as began his remarks. He continued, "Going forward this is not a matter of me donating my collection, dropping it off and saying goodbye. I have plans to be involved going forward because who knows what evolves from this one event?" Geppi continually invoked nostalgia and childhood memories as the reason he collected, and that people visited his museum. "We don't know what triggers our memories. And yes, these comic books are valuable, but what the Library of Congress represents is the recognition and acceptance of them as fine art."

2018 is the 90th anniversary of Mickey Mouse, and Geppi owned the storyboards for the cartoon Plane Crazy. "These are the first drawings of Mickey Mouse. in 1927, Walt Disney was on a train with [animator] Ub Iwerks and Lindbergh had just crossed the Atlantic. Walt said, 'You know the whole world is plane crazy right now. We need to do a cartoon short.' Most people when asked what was the first Mickey Mouse cartoon say Steamboat Willie, but that was the first cartoon released. There were two before it. The first one was Plane Crazy. They chose to release Steamboat Willie first because talkies were coming out [and it had whistling and music].
The original art on display for another first appearance is of Captain America. "Martin Goodman, who owned Timely Comics, which is now Marvel Comics, said to Joe Simon, of Simon and Kirby, "Go draw me a character called Captain America." The inscription on the drawing reads, "Martin - Here's the character. I think he should have a kid buddy, or he'll just be talking to himself all the time. I'm working up a script. Send schedule. Regards, Joe." The original model for G.I. Joe, the first action figure is also included in the exhibit's Patriotism case.
When asked if there's anything he's hoping to find and donate in the future, Geppi said, "In comics and animation, things were thrown away. I doubt seriously that the original art or cover to Action Comics #1 exists, but every time we say that, we find something that no one thought existed. As they say, it's the thrill of the hunt. I think from the Library's perspective, it will encourage more people to donate material that they think belongs. In addition, it will probably spook more stuff out of attics and hopefully whatever ends up here will be the best of the best. I still have a few more secrets that I have yet to give."

Obviously the entire GEM display, a full museum with multiple galleries, couldn't be replicated in the Library. Initially, five small cases of material are on display in the historic Jefferson building, although Geppi repeatedly mentioned that a room would be forthcoming, presumably similar to the Bob Hope or Gershwin galleries. The cases are organized thematically by Patriotism, Early Comics Materials and Marketing, Mickey Mouse, Exploration, and About the Geppi Entertainment Museum. Early Comics features an 1818 comic magazine, The Idiot, or, Invisible Rambler as well as other nineteenth-century material including a printing block for the Yellow Kid, and oddly enough, boxes for Quick Mother's Oats and Kellogg's Rice Krispies which have no characters on them (and seem more appropriate for the National Museum of American History's food exhibit). Exploration has science fiction themes including a Superman Krypto-Raygun. About GEM ranges all over including a Captain Marvel Club code letter, a ticket to Woodstock, Pac-Man cereal, the packaging for McDonald's Star Trek Meal (1979), and a toy Beatles guitar.

At the conclusion of the press conference, Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden, the former Baltimore librarian who agreed to accepting Geppi's collection, stopped in and the two posed for pictures.

 The following is material that will not be on display including a Maud the Mule comic strip by Opper, a Cathy comic strip by Cathy Guisewite, Big Little Books, buttons and pins, and more pages from Mickey Mouse in Plane Crazy.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Steve "Captain America" Rogers' "Dear John" letter

Steve "Captain America" Rogers' "Dear John" letter has been spotted on Old Dominion Beer's Candi cartons (thanks to ComicsDC reader Chris Ingram)

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Exhibiting the gold in the Golden Age at the Jewish Museum of MD

101_5094 posterThis past weekend I was able to attend the members' preview for the exhibit "ZAP! POW! BAM! The Superhero: The Golden Age of Comic Books, 1938-1950." The exhibit has arrived at the Jewish Museum of Maryland in downtown Baltimore and it's well-worth visiting.Curated by the late Jerry Robinson, this exhibit was put together in 2004 by the William Breman Jewish Heritage Museum in Atlanta, which published a catalogue of the same name.

 Robinson had multiple careers in cartooning including writing a history of comics, being an editorial cartoonist, and starting a syndicate, but he began as a young man in comic books. As a seventeen-year old he began working on Batman as a letterer and inker in 1939. Eventually he became a penciller for the character, and as an employee of what became DC Comics, he met a lot of artists. And thankfully he saved examples of their work, at a time when that behavior wasn't very common.

101_5085 Simon and Kirby
Simon & Kirby cover to Adventure Comics #78
The exhibit is full of original golden age artwork. It contains art by Mort Meskin, Lou Fine, Robinson, Will Eisner, Marc Swayze, Simon & Kirby, Charles Biro, Fred Ray, CC Beck, Fred Ray, Will Eisner, HG Peter, Sheldon Modoff, Bob Fujitani, Lee Elias, Irwin Hasen, Arthur Peddy and Bernard Sachs, Dick Sprang and Charles Paris, Joe Kubert, Reed Crandall, Al Alvison, Carmine Infantino and Frank Frazetta. Many of these are prime pieces.

And many of the writers and artists were Jewish. As comics historian Arnold Blumberg noted in his remarks at the preview, "'s a joy to see the exhibit come to a facility like this and to take a look at it from our unique perspective of what our culture, what our heritage, has given not just to itself, but to the world. The world owns Superman and Batman and all these characters now. Many of them may not have a clue where they came from, who were the kind of people who sat down and created them, but they are now owned by the entire world. They're heroes for everybody and they came from us."

101_5092 Siegel and Shuster autograph
Siegel & Shuster drawing dedicated to Robinson
The exhibit gives a basic history of comic books and characters and biographies of the creators, interspersed with now-priceless art and comic books. Particular attention is paid to World War II of course. Pages of an original Batman script by Bill Finger can be seen - Robinson's estate donated other examples of these to Columbia University this month. Historic highlights include Robinson's artwork for early Batman covers, his original Joker playing card sketch, and a Siegel & Shuster drawing of Superman dedicated to Robinson. A few cases examine the merchandising of Captain Marvel (aka Shazam) and Superman.

This version of the exhibit does have a tricky dichotomy to it. The uncolored, unfinished single pages of comic book artwork will appeal to a mature (elderly, if they bought the titles originally) viewer, while the idea of a superhero largely is aimed at male teens and younger children. This version of the exhibit caters to the very youngest viewers, with a set of tables, chairs and supplies for making cartoons, a replica of Superman's telephone booth with costumes set alongside it, a Batmobile kiddy ride, a newsstand with comics to read on it, and a piece of "Kryptonite"with a recording that warns one not to get to close.

101_5058 newsstand

 I was fortunate to be able to visit the exhibit with local cartoonists. Barbara Dale (of Baltimore), known for her humorous cartoons, fixated on the original Spirit page by Will Eisner and the Frank Frazetta that was next to it, and thought those two pieces made the entire exhibit worthwhile.

101_5070 Eisner
The Eisner Spirit page that impressed Barbara Dale...

101_5071 Frazetta
...and the Frazetta cover that Dale also admired.
101_5090 Lou Fine
Note Wrightson's debt to Lou Fine.
Rafer Roberts (of Fredericksburg) pointed out several things to me - Moldoff's use of gouache to give white highlights on the legs of a monster on Moon Girl #4's cover for EC Comics, Bernie Wrightson's debt to Lou Fine (look at the skeletonized figure on the Hit Comics cover, and Bob Fujitane's use of the traditional iconography of Japanese monsters.

101_5066 Bob Fujitane
Bob Fujitane uses Japanese iconography.

I had seen a previous version of this exhibit in New York at the Jewish Museum there, but it was reworked as an addition to the massive "Masters of American Comics" show. Any fan of comic book history should take the opportunity to see this version of the show at the Jewish Museum of Maryland. The catalogue can be bought in the gift shop, along with Superman toothbrushes, Batman lunchboxes and hand-painted superhero yarmelkes. The Museum has produced two curriculum guides for schools and plans lectures throughout the exhibit which runs from January 27 - August 28, 2013, and costs $8 or less. More of my pictures can be seen here.

Friday, January 14, 2011

A mom on 'Cars' and a for the record item

Today's Express also has an article about a two-year old's love of Pixar's Cars, -
Kristen Page-Kirby
Express January 14, 2011, p. 29
Yesterday the Post ran a wire story on a Captain America educational comic -
Moore, Matt / Associated Press.  2011.
Suicide help is comic's aim.
Washington Post (January 13): C6

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Truitt and USA Today on comics

Mission creep alert!

On the assumption that USA Today is based in northern Virginia, and it's reporters probably are too, I'm going to expand to listing all their comic articles, and not just the ones by ex-Washington Examiner reporter Brian Truitt.

Captain America puts focus on suicide prevention
By John Geddes, USA TODAY January 12 2011

Take a trip to alternate realities with 'The Infinite Vacation'
By Brian Truitt, USA TODAY January 12 2011

Archie to go day-and-date digitally with titles in April
By Brian Truitt, USA TODAY January 12 2011

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Marvel posters at National Library of Medicine

Some times you're looking for something in a library (alcoholism posters) and up pops a surprise like these six posters from Marvel in 1987 on the dangers of drinking to excess.

Here's the links to the images and the catalogue information:  - Storm - Iron Man - Firestar and Iceman


Thursday, December 24, 2009

Captain America coopted


Christmas eve in DC. These political stickers are on a sign outside Smithsonian's Hirschorn Museum. Note the modified Captain American in the "Out of Iraq" sticker. He's 'fighting for non violence'.


Sunday, August 09, 2009

DC Comic Book Examiner features local vampire reader club

See "Comic Books 101: What comic book Meetups are in the DC area? Part 1," August 9, 2009, by DC Comic Books Examiner Mark Ruffin for details. The group is all-female and just beginning to add comics into their mix. Just for the record, my favorite vampire superhero comic is the run of Captain America by Stern and Byrne where Cap went up against Baron Blood. Paul Grist's current series, Jack Staff from Image, has some good stuff in it too.

Monday, April 27, 2009

OT: Rather offensive Marvel PR

In "Captain America: Where Were You? We conclude Captain America Week by asking Marvel creators and editors to recall where they were the day Steve Rogers died," (Posted: 2009-04-24 Updated: 2009-04-27), Kevin Mahadeo opens with:

It was a day that will live in infamy.

Television news stations, talk show hosts and comic shops across the nation broke the shocking and unimaginable news: Captain America—the symbol of hope and freedom, the embodiment of the American dream—was dead.

No, actually it was a comic book, as opposed to the opening of a World War... December 7th 1941 may not live in infamy forever, as Franklin Roosevelt would have it, but real men died that day as opposed to a comic book character.

Saturday, April 04, 2009

Zadzooks reviews comic books!

It's been a while, but Zadzooks reviews actual comic books this week!

See "Zadzooks: Reviews of Marvel Apes and New Brighton Archaeological Society," Joseph Szadkowski, Washington Times Thursday, April 2, 2009.

Zadzooks also reviews Monsters vs Aliens videogame .

Captain America and Morrison's Sea Guy are "Bennett's Best for the week of March 29," By Greg Bennett, Zadzooks Blog April 02 2009.

Sunday, May 04, 2008

Post's Style and Arts section goes to the cartoons

Three! articles in one section on comics:

1. Reggie Hudlin and BET with glances at Boondocks and Black Panther - "Channel Changer: Three Years Ago, Reggie Hudlin Came To Save a Troubled BET. But Has He?" By Teresa Wiltz, Washington Post Staff Writer, Sunday, May 4, 2008; M01.

2. A glance at Oliphant's sculpture of Rumsfeld on display in Woodley Park - "Capturing a Hero for Posterity," by John Pancake, Washington Post May 4, 2008

3. Quesada on Marvel - "Now here we are. We're going to be producing our own stuff.": There's Nothing Mild-Mannered About Joe Quesada's Marvel Comics," by David Betancourt, Washington Post Sunday, May 4, 2008; M02.

and not on comics, but on visual art is this fascinating piece on the true colors of ancient statuary - "Correcting a Colorblind View of the Treasures of Antiquity," By Blake Gopnik, Washington Post Staff Writer, Sunday, May 4, 2008; Page M01.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

OT: The philosophical implications of Captain America

I was in a Borders recently with our man RT*, and saw the British magazine to the right and immediately scooped it up and rushed to the cash register. "Popular Culture and Philosophy" - who could resist? Inside is Major Todd A Burkhardt's article "Operation Rebirth: Captain America and the ethics of enhancement,"
Philosophy Now (November / December 2007). Major Burkhardt, who teaches at West Point according to his bio blurb, asks, "...What would be the moral ramifications of creating a real Captain America? Is the intentional creation of super-soldiers by cell engineering morally permissible?"

After a review of the concepts of freedom and supreme evil, Burkhardt concludes that the creation of a super-soldier was moral for 1940. He leaves aside the issue of whether it would be today.

*Richard Thompson, cartoonist and bon vivant