Sunday Review: The Great Comic Book Artists Volumes 1 and 2

Last Christmas I participated in the The Third Annual 11 O’Clock Comics/Marvel Noise Gift Exchange. It’s pretty simple and anyone can do it. The only “rules” are that you supply a gift to someone and someone else gives you a gift. There is no limit and from what I gathered everyone had a good time.

What I received was truly exceptional:

  • Speed Racer complete manga set
  • X-Men Files
  • The Wizard King by Wally Wood
  • some Looney Toon toys for the kids
  • and an original Batman sketch

(this is what I gave away to Travis aka Night Nurse)

Also included, to me, was a nice reference book that I had never heard of: The Great Comic Book Artists Volume 2 by Ron Goulart. I have, just this past week, tracked down Volume 1 on eBay and I can’t tell you what an indispensable pair of books they are.

I readily admit I had no idea who Goulart was but I found out he is a writer of many science fiction and fantasy novels. He was the ghost writer for William Shatner’s Tek War books and he even did some scripting at Marvel in the 1970’s and for you DC Archives collectors, Goulart did the introductions to Superman Volumes 2 and 7, Plastic Man Volume 2, and The Spirit Volume 5.

But here, we get the historian in him. The two volume set (by now there should be a volume 3 or 4!) is quick and concise 2 page spread of the artist and his black and white illustrated work. This includes a short, well written biography and background. I’d go so far to say that it’s a wikipedia before there was wikipedia. Don’t be fooled either, these are not just Goulart’s “favorite” artists – these are the best, from as far back as the 30’s and 40’s with Will Eisner and Mac Rayboy up until the 80’s with Frank Miller, Bill Sienkewicz and Howard Chaykin. Everyone is covered and you’d be hard pressed to list what “great artists” are missing – well, perhaps Gray Morrow.

If you are into history and reference like me, then you want these on you bookshelf. I can’t thank Thermite on the 11 O’Clock Comics Forums enough for giving me this book. I have no intention of ever giving away to anyone other then my children.

The Great Comic Book Heroes Volume 1
by Ron Goulart
Special Thanks to Jerry Bails, Mike Barson, Jerry DeFuccio, Don and Maggie Thompson, Bruce Hamilton (Another Rainbow), Russ Cochran and Steve Saffel (Marvel Comics)
128 pages, $12.95, 1986, St. Martins Press
Also includes a selected informal bibliography of all artists listed in the book

Artist profiles:
Neal Adams, Matt Baker, Carl Barks, Dan Berry, C.C. Beck, Charles Brio, Dick Briefer, John Buscema, John Byrne, George Carlson, Howard Chaykin, Gene Colon, Jack Cole, Reed Crandall, Jack Davis, Steve Ditko, Will Eisner, Lee Elias, George Evans, Bill Everett, Lou Fine, Frank Frazetta, Fred Guardineer, Paul Gustavson, Bob Kane, Gil Kane, Walt Kelly, Jack Kirby, Bernard Krigstein, Joe Kubert, Harvey Kurtzman, Joe Maneely, Jesse Marsh, Sheldon Mayer, Mort Meskin, Frank Miller, Bob Montana, Klaus Nordling, George Perez, Wendy Pini, Bob Powell, Mac Rayboy, Jerry Robinson, John Romita Sr. Alex Schomberg, John Severin, Joe Shuster, Bill Sienkewicz, Walt Simonson, John Stanley, James (Jim) Steranko, Frank Thorne, Alex Toth, George Tuska, Ed Wheelan, Barry Windsor-Smith, Basil Wolverton, Wally Wood, Bernie Wrightson

The Great Comic Book Heroes Volume 2
by Ron Goulart
Introduction by Ron Goulart
112 pages, $12.95, 1989, St. Martins Press

Artist profiles:
Arthur Adams, Murphy Anderson, Segio Aragones, Steve Bissette, Brian Bolland, Wayne Boring, Carl Burgos, Jack Burnley, Nick Cardy, Paul Chadwick, Johnny Craig, R. (Robert) Crumb, Bob Davis, Mort Drucker, Will Elder, Billy Ely, Ken Ernst, Creig Flessel, Gill Fox, Bob Fujitani, Joe Gallagher, Dave Gibbons, Jean Giraud (Moebius), Jerry Grandenetti, Mike Grell, Milt Gross, Chad Grothkopf, Irwin Hanson, Russ Heath, Graham Ingels, Al Jaffee, Mike Kaluta, Fred Kida, Bob Lubbers, Russ Manning, Norman Maurer, David Mazzuccehelli, Tarpe Mills, Ed Morre, Paul Murry, Bob Oksner, Carl Pfeufer, Fred Ray, Pierce G. Rice, Frank Robbins, Boody Rogers, Fred Schwab, Howard Sherman, Dan Spiegle, Dave Stevens, George Storm, Curt Swan, Frank Thomas, Jimmy Thompson, Ogden Whitney, Mary Wilshire

Recommended reading:
Star Hawks The Complete Series By Ron Goulart and Gil Kane (Hermes Press)

3 thoughts on “Sunday Review: The Great Comic Book Artists Volumes 1 and 2”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>