Tuesday, August 31, 2010
Friday, August 27, 2010
Sunday, August 22, 2010
Thursday, August 19, 2010
A ginchy (to use the Groovy Agent's word) Gray story from a 1977 HOUSE OF MYSTERY turns up over at DIVERSIONS OF THE GROOVY KIND today.
Wednesday, August 18, 2010
Vanguard Productions' J. David Spurlock has long since become the go-to guy for information on many of my personal favorite comic book artists including Wallace Wood, Gray Morrow and Jim Steranko. Here's a piece, reprinted by the author's permission, that Mr. Spurlock posted today on Facebook. It sheds some light on the unexpected and little known connections between all three of the above-mentioned artists and animator Ralph Bakshi.
The animated Canadian science fiction series Rocket Robin Hood was produced by Steve Krantz with Shamus Culhane (formerly of Paramount Pictures animation in New York) as supervising director. The theme is an early example of Filksong.
Ralph Bakshi left TerryToons for Paramount Pictures animation in New York where he soon replaced Culhane. Culhane had optioned Steranko's Secret Agent X for a Saturday morning cartoon. Steranko and Bakshi got to know each other working on Super Agent X shortly before Steranko started at Marvel. Wally Wood, Jim Steranko, and Gray Morrow were favorites of Bakshi's and helped occasionally on projects from Paramount Pictures animation to the founding of Bakshi Productions (all circa '66-'68).
By late-67, Paramount unexpectedly closed the New York animation office dropping all projects including the Steranko Agent X. Bakshi found out Krantz fired Culhane in Canada at the end of the first season of Rocket Robin Hood. Bakshi and background artist Johnnie Vita headed to Toronto where Bakshi took over as Rocket Robin Hood primary writer and director. They commuted between Canada and New York, where artists such as Morrow, Steranko and Wood helped with ideas, storyboards, etc. from the United States.
By the late second and third seasons, of Rocket Robin Hood, Bakshi was involved with the Saturday morning Spider-Man cartoon show. Rocket Robin Hood started to share a lot of animation and background music with Spider-Man. Two episodes of the series ("From Menace to Menace" and "Dementia Five") had almost all their animation recycled for episodes "Phantom from the Depths of Time" and "Revolt in the Fifth Dimension" of "Spider-Man" (1967) by simply substituting Rocket Robin Hood with Spider-Man on the animated cels. The dialogue from these episodes was reused too with Spider-Man saying the same lines and Rocket Robin Hood and his supporters.
If you're on Facebook, check out Vanguard Productions at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Vanguard-Productions/127661820833
Monday, August 16, 2010
Sunday, August 15, 2010
Here's a cool two-fer: Gray's MY LOVE story, IT HAPPENED AT WOODSTOCK (with Gary Friedrich) from Marvel in 1970, followed by Steranko's legendary sole romance story from a month later.
Saturday, August 14, 2010
Saturday, August 7, 2010
Thursday, August 5, 2010
The Fantagraphics magazine AMAZING HEROES was a longtime favorite of mine back in the eighties and, in fact, the place where I was first published. For awhile, in imitation of the famous annual SPORTS ILLUSTRATED SWIMSUIT ISSUE, they put out their own swimsuit specials. These one-off titles utilized fan and pro artists alike, all offering either straight, pin-up style renditions or cartoons featuring comics characters in swimsuits. Here's Gray with a NSFW Wonder Woman in one of the former.
Tuesday, August 3, 2010
Here's Gray's contribution to the massive and wonderful art jams that superfan Marty Greim (COMIC CRUSADER, THUNDERBUNNY) solicited from various comics artists back in the late seventies/early eighties. The rest can be viewed here:
Monday, August 2, 2010
Here's another story from Gray's run on Red Circle's CHILLING TALES OF SORCERY back in the seventies.
Sunday, August 1, 2010
From 1986, here’s one of Gray Morrow’s most interesting projects. All indications make it look as though this was originally meant to be a 4 part LOIS LANE mini-series but that the four issues were ultimately combined into two. That said, for all intents and purposes, it is a 100 page graphic novel that was obviously as much of an obsession for writer Mindy Newell as the story’s subject becomes for Lois.
This is not your father’s Lois Lane, falling out windows, turning into monsters and having Superman save the day. Oh, Clark is around. Not Superman, though. Lana Lang is there, too, but not as a rival for the man of Steel’s affections. The first thing you notice, thanks to Gray’s ultra-realistic art, is that this is an adult tale about young people being forced to deal with adult issues in a very adult world.
In the story, Lois becomes obsessed with a child kidnapping and as she finds out more and more of the sleazy underground world out there where that sort of thing can happen, it puts her through some unexpected changes.
Gray’s work is sincere and serious here and it helps drive home the atmosphere of the piece. I met Mindy Newell once a few years later and she came across as tough and issue-minded, reminding me very much of her version of Lois Lane in this story.