Friday, March 23, 2007

WonderCon addendum

Given that I only have time and synaptic energy to generate an abbreviated Comic Art Friday, let's dedicate today's post to the late Calvert DeForest, who passed away this week at age 85.

The diminutive DeForest became an American cultural icon as geeky, brassy-voiced Larry "Bud" Melman on David Letterman's NBC late night show. I'm not usually a fan of gimmick performers, but DeForest's gimmick worked — I always got a kick out of the guy.

RIP, Larry "Bud."

As remarkable as was the haul of newly commissioned comic art that followed me home from WonderCon three weeks ago, said haul wasn't officially completed until this past weekend. Brent Anderson, cocreator (with writer Kurt Busiek) of the postmodern superhero reimagining Astro City, completed this Black Panther drawing on the third day of the convention. Brent, who lives right here in Sonoma County, generously arranged to hand-deliver the finished art to my local comic shop last Saturday. The results more than make up for the brief wait.

I chose Brent to create the latest addition to my T'Challa gallery because my earliest recollection of his work stems from his stint as the artist on Marvel's jungle action series Ka-Zar in the late 1970s. As you can see, he hasn't lost the feeling.

In the late '80s, Brent also drew one of the most unusual superhero series ever published by either of the Big Two: Strikeforce: Morituri, the bizarre yet intriguing saga of a project to turn human volunteers into superheroes — a process which, unfortunately, also made the volunteers terminally ill. (The motto of the project was the Latin phrase Morituri te salutant -- "We who are about to die salute you.")

And that's your Comic Art Friday.

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1 insisted on sticking two cents in:

Blogger Janet offered these pearls of wisdom...

I've always had a special affection for Larry Bud Melman. My pop pop who died in 1987 looked exactly like him. That's where the similarities ended, but that was enough for me.

5:29 AM  

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