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Tales of Syzpense #8
A Syzpenseful preview, comic logo destruction, and Marie Severin on Marie Severin
Initial pre-orders for our Tales of Syzpense #1 comic close this week. Tales of Syz, the namesake comic for this newsletter, is the split-book comic series that Ashley Wood and I (along with Ash’s collaborator TP Louise, and artist/co-creator of my story, Nelson Daniel) are launching through our Syzygy imprint at Image.
As with all comic series, especially in a market that has a plethora of good material and an ever-more-fractured audience, it’s good to let comic shops in advance if you’re interested in anything, to ensure they order it and get you what you want.
To make ordering it a bit easier, below are the four covers we’re doing for issue 1 — two by Ash, two by Nelson — and under each is the distributor’s order code that makes it even easier for retailers to fill in their orders. If so desired, I offered a look at the interiors of both stories a few weeks back, too. Happy that the book will soon be in stores, it’s been a long time coming for all of us (how how long is something I detail in an added feature in the back of the issue).
Because we’re playing off of an old title, and an old split-book format, Nelson is doing an homage to a classic cover each issue, which I showed in an earlier newsletter, and directly above. If it’s not immediately obvious, this Jack Kirby cover is the comic we’re paying tribute to:
Spinner Rack Theme of the Week: Logo Destruction
This theme is one that could quickly overrun an entire spinner rack — it’s maybe the most prevalent recurring theme on comic covers throughout the past 90 years, and it’s still always fun to see. Here are a few I particularly like:
Not all off those covers are still in my collection — the Batman and Iron Man never were — but enough of ‘em remain to pull off the theme when needed:
If you want even more examples of destroyed logos, this column features a whole lot of ‘em.
Comic Self-Portrait of the Week: Marie Severin
Marie, a mainstay in the Marvel Bullpen throughout their Silver Age peak and beyond, was the kind of artist who could do it all: she could draw big superhero battles and handle the powerhouses like Hulk and Sub-Mariner; she could draw the best parodies and humorous interpretations of superheroes this side of Mad magazine (as she proved in humor mags like Not Brand Echh), and she could ink, fix, and otherwise improve just about every comic she worked on.
Marie wasn’t always given the same level respect as other artists of her time but more and more over the years, her contributions have been singled out and are certainly worth seeking out.
And here’s a young Marie in a great piece she created to showcase the publisher and entire creative staff of EC Comics, the publisher where she got her start in comics in 1949. Her artist-brother John, who brought her into EC as a colorist on one of his stories, once produced a similar EC bullpen shot that I’ll showcase down the line, since I’m also going start showcasing some of the great comic jam pieces that I’ve gathered along the way, too. Maybe the only thing that makes me happier than artist self-portraits are the jam pieces featuring work by multiple artists.
The Great Unpublished
Every comic publisher has a drawer full (or hard drive full) of unpublished comics, covers, and great treatments that for one reason or another, never came to pass. Here’s one of mine.
In 2006, not long after we relaunched The Transformers comics in more straight-forward fashion, I also wanted to launch a companion series, Transformers Evolutions, that would offer creators space to tell very different kinds of Transformers stories. Out-of-continuity, time-displaced, and standalone tales similar to DC’s “Elseworlds” comics.
Overall, the approach never quite came to life like I wanted — it was probably too soon in our handling of the license to throw odd and off-model versions at Hasbro — but we did get a first series out in the world. It was set during the Industrial Revolution, and featured ‘bots that reflected the technology of that era. And it was competently drawn, if plagued by a couple artist changes over the course of the miniseries.
But it was originally going to be drawn by Metropol artist Ted McKeever and every time I come across this amazing piece of art he produced, I think about what coulda been. But so it goes.
Finally, director Kevin Smith recently announced he’s going to screen the extended version of his 2004 movie Jersey Girl — which he’s calling Jersey Girl: the Snyder Cut — on May 28 at his Smodcastle Cinemas theater in Atlantic Highlands, New Jersey. Which means it’ll be the first and most likely only time that my so-brief appearance in the film as wedding guest will be shown on the big screen. But here’s hoping it leads to a streaming release of the extended version so my kid will finally believe that I was in it…
Here’s the Eisner Awards ballot application for anyone who might need it. Voting is open now.