Friday, February 10, 2006

Wonder of wonders!

What would be more appropriate than to have this particular Comic Art Friday dedicated to WonderCon, the San Francisco comic book and fantasy convention, seeing as how that's where I'm spending my day today?

And since I'm off to WonderCon, what would be more appropriate what a bit of Wonder art? So let's crack open the archives and see what Wonders we can unearth.

We might start with Wonder Girl, depicted here in uncharacteristically voluptuous fashion by penciler MC Wyman and inker Keith Williams. For the record, this is the original Wonder Girl of the comics, also known as Donna Troy — not the current Wonder Girl, a blonde named Cassandra "Cassie" Sandsmark, or the bogus Wonder Girl of the 1970s Wonder Woman television series, whose name was Drusilla and looked remarkably like a young Debra Winger. Donna Troy long ago shed her Wonder Girl persona in favor of her own name (which is not, in fact, her real name, but that's a long story for another time) and a more dramatic costume.

Artist MC Wyman is something of a mystery figure. I've met plenty of people who admired his brief career in the mid-'90s, but almost no one (including his former art representative) seems to know much about him — including his whereabouts these days. Too bad, really, because I like Wyman's art quite a lot. His style reminds me of one of my favorite artists from the Silver Age of comics, John Buscema.

Keith Williams, by contrast, is one of those inkers who has worked on almost everything in comics at one time or another. In fact, just last week I picked up the preview issue of the new Buckaroo Banzai comic from Moonstone Books, and there's Keith Williams, striving mightily to spin gold out of some plug-ugly pencil art by some no-talent named Stephen Thompson. For more than a decade, Williams has been the regular inker on the long-running Phantom comic strip for King Features.

Where there's a Wonder Girl, there must surely be a Wonder Woman. The Golden Age-styled rendition above is the work of the amazing Ernie Chan. One of the many outstanding comics artists who hail originally from the Philippines, Ernie has created several fantastic commissioned pieces for me during the past year. This year, he is one of the artists in residence at WonderCon, and I'm looking forward to at long last meeting him in person to thank him for all of the beautiful art he has contributed to my collection, and to my comics-reading memories.

A funny story about Ernie Chan: For several years in the early '70s, at the beginning of his American comics career, Ernie's work appeared under the byline "Ernie Chua," apparently due to a typographical error on his immigration papers. Brian Cronin, over at the exceptional comics blog Comics Should Be Good, tells the complete story of the Chan/Chua debacle, and quite a story it is.

But enough stories. I'm headed for WonderCon, from which I hope to bring back an interesting story or two of my own to share with you.

What better way to spend a Comic Art Friday, than surrounded by comic art and the people who create it?


0 insisted on sticking two cents in:

Post a Comment

<< Home