Monday, February 21, 2011

A short film about original art to Spider-Man's 1st appearance

Click HERE to download a short, 3-minute film from the U.S. Library of Congress website (scroll down their page to stream it without downloading) featuring curator Sara Duke chatting about and showing the original art to the Amazing Spider-Man's first appearance in the comic, Amazing Fantasy #15 (1962). The artwork is by Steve Ditko, story by Stan Lee. The artwork was gifted to the Library a couple of years ago and anyone can go down to Washington, D.C. and check it out for themselves.

Organizing the ToC for Bill Everett Archives v1

With my Steve Ditko Archives series (volume three out this November!), we've been publishing the stories from Ditko's pre-Spider-Man career in chronological fashion (literally in the case on volume two onwards; by story # versus publication date). Because the stories are just random genre tales, the value is in seeing the progression of Ditko's style versus Charlton random publishing efforts where a story could sit on a shelf for over a year before seeing print.

But we have a unique opportunity with our two volumes of the Bill Everett Archives (which reprints Bill 1938-42 non-Marvel work). Virtually all stories feature Everett's action/superhero creations. One concern of mine, with the way the Table of Contents (ToC) would play out chronologically over two volumes, is that all the Amazing-Man stories would fit into volume one and all the Hydroman stories would fit into volume two. So what we're going to do is group the stories of each hero together regardless of publication date. We will, however, spread out the "biggies", like the two aforementioned heroes, over the two volumes. We're also going to do that for Skyrocket Steele and Sub-Zero. Some heroes will only be featured in each volume, since they don't have enough stories worth spreading over two (e.g., The Conqueror, Rex Reed).

This way, people who pick up both volumes will be assured that they get great value in each volume, and that each volume shows Everett's style progressing over the four years. That was another concern, that doing it chronologically would split his stylistic advances into what one could argue would be two distinct phases.

The other good news about this approach is that, if those who are sending a story or two come through for me, then I only need one more story to have all the visuals for volume one in the can. I'll detail out tomorrow what we still need for both volumes, but the one story that no one's come forward yet with is in Blue Bolt v1 #6 (Nov '40), the Sub-Zero story. If you have this and can contribute scans, please contact me privately first before scanning. You'll receive a free copy of the first volume. Thanks to everyone so far for your contributions! It's looking amazing, folks!

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Cover image chosen for "Amazing Mysteries: The Bill Everett Archives v1"

Back in December, we opened our second contest related to my next book, "Amazing Mysteries: The Bill Everett Archives v1" (reprinting Everett's 1938-42 non-Marvel Comics work) - choose the cover art and be entered into a draw to win a copy, the book being released at the San Diego Comicon in July '11!

The choices came in on my Blog and on my Bill Everett Facebook Page. The submissions then went to the publisher, Fantagraphics, who made the final choice and it is what you see to your left; Victory Comics #1 featuring Everett's The Conqueror! Co-publishers Kim Thompson and Gary Groth thought this cover emphasized numerous aspects that would appropriately market the book. First, it had a Golden Age feel to it (versus a lot of Everett's illustrative work), representing the mad chaos of action that was synonymous with that era's books (typified by Everett's peer, Alex Schomburg) and, second, that it emphasized that this volume was filled to the brim with Everett's superhero creations (versus some of the other cover choices that lacked a central, heroic figure on which to focus).

Two contestants had chosen this image. Their names were entered into the draw, and a third party picked out the winner (without even seeing the two names)...Jamie Coville! Look for your copy, Jamie, when the book is released.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Title for "The Bill Everett Archives v2" revealed!

Awhile back, I opened the "Name the Bill Everett Archives" contest, where people could suggest prospective titles to the first volume on the series reprinting (Sub-Mariner creator) Bill Everett's non-Marvel Comics work from 1938-42. Suggest a great title, win a copy of the book that will debut at this year's San Diego Comicon in July.

As we revealed yesterday, the title chosen is "Amazing Mysteries: The Bill Everett Archives v1". True story: Fantagraphics co-publisher, Kim Thompson, is the one who's literally landed the title of (now) all five of my books published by Fantagraphics. I've suggested a bunch for each and he comes in from the bullpen in the ninth inning and closes it out for us!

For volume one, I sent him all the names and he came up with his own, based on "Amazing Mystery Funnies", the comic that featured Bill Everett's first work back in 1938 with his creation, Skyrocket Steele. Kim thought this had a "Golden Age"-type feel that would promote that aspect of the volume (doesn't get much better or older than never-before-reprinted comic-book material from 1938!).

Because no one chose that title, what we're going to do is throw all the names of those who suggested title into a hat and pick a winner. To maintain objectivity, the picker of the winner will be a non-Fantagraphics/non-Blake Bell person, and we'll announce the winner here on the blog.

In looking at the titles for volume one, we also landed on the title for the second volume - "Heroic Comics: The Bill Everett Archives v2" that will debut at the San Diego Comicon in July '12 (a year after volume one). What makes these two volumes so much unique is the vast amount of superheroes that Bill Everett created in a short time and they really have his stamp of fun all over them.

Tomorrow, we'll reveal the cover image for the first volume...and who won the contest for picking the cover image (yes, ladies and gentlemen, we do have an actual winner!...and will the above image be the cover for volume 2? Time will tell...).

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Amazing Mysteries: The Bill Everett Archives v1 out in July!

The first volume that reprints Bill Everett's non-Marvel Comics work from 1938-42 will be titled "Amazing Mysteries: The Bill Everett Archives v1" (revealed here for the first time. It will debut at this year's San Diego Comicon, July 2011. Tons of never-before-reprinted material featuring many of Everett's fantastic creations while working for the Funnies, Inc. shop. - Amazing Man, Hydroman, Skyrocket Steele, Dirk The Demon, Skyrocket Steele, Sub Zero and so many more!

Over 200 pages in restored, full color (just my Steve Ditko Archives series)! The majority of the work in what will be a two volume series was being produced at the same time that Bill was drawing the Sub-Mariner for Marvel Comics (known then as Timely Comics) so you know it's high quality material. Stay tuned for tomorrow when we reveal the title for the second volume on the series, to be released July 2012.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Listen to Wendy Everett discuss her Dad, Bill Everett

As we are but weeks away from completing work on volume one of the Bill Everett Archives (reprinting Bill's non-Marvel work from 1938-42), we present for the first time an audio treat for all EverettNation! Back on Saturday, September 25, 2010 in Toronto, The Beguiling book store hosted a launch party for my "Fire & Water" Bill Everett biography / coffee table art book. We were blessed to have Wendy Everett, Bill's daughter and first child, fly up from her home in Cambridge, Mass. to participate in a discussion about her Dad's life and career as one of the first-generation comic-book creators.

Click HERE to start downloading the mp3 (70 MB) where I spend 16 minutes recapping Bill's career and life, and then just over an hour of me and Wendy Everett discussing her Dad. The audio is crystal clear, recorded by the people at Innis College Town Hall. Wendy is such an articulate and classy lady, so her ability to convey her emotions about her Dad's passion for comics, and the impact of her Dad's alcoholism on his career and on his family, is very vivid (thanks to Jamie Colville for hosting the audio).

Chris Butcher, Manager of the store The Beguiling who hosted the event, tweeted this during my on-stage chat with Wendy Everett: "This presentation is utterly amazing. The story of Everett's battle with alcoholism coming from his daughter... Heartbreaking." Wendy also talks about how her growing up legally blind was the influence for the character Daredevil that Bill Everett and Stan Lee (Wendy's godfather) co-created. She also shares her thoughts about pursuing an ownership claim on Daredevil.