Thursday, June 28, 2007

More Monsters from the 70's

In 1976 Marvel took a group of some of their B class monster characters and created The Legion of Monsters. This is the ultimate integration of supernatural and superhero. A common theme in many of these monster-hero stories is that the intentions of the creatures are misunderstood. Even when monster meets monster, the result is usually a fight, until some greater mutual enemy or catastrophe forces the creatures to work together.

I rarely read the books I collect. I buy them because the art attracts me. For me, the writing has always been secondary to the images. I think that is a common thread with older comic book fans. If I do find a comic that is written well and the art is good, that is a treasure. Unfortunately, it is not the case with this book. The art is much better than the story. The art for the interior story to this comic is by Frank Robbins and inked by Steve Gan. Comic book artists, like Robbins, from the early beginnings of the media can usually be classified as either being influenced by one or more of the great adventure newspaper comic strip artists. The three strip cartoonist that are usually mentioned are Hal Foster (Prince Valiant,) Alex Raymond, (Flash Gordon,) or Milton Caniff, (Terry and the Pirates and Steve Canyon.) Robbins took Caniff as his model.

I like the gritty almost dirty look to Robbin's art. Things appear to be a bit squashed and wrinkled. That is an unexpected style for superheros; but it works well for an oddball band of monsters. This page from my collection was not inked by Robbins. Here is a link to some scans of work he inked himself. You can see how he uses spots of black ink to model his forms. The play of dark and light gives a lively animation to the work.

art @Marvel Comics

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