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One-of-a-kind British writer Peter Dickinson died in December at age eighty-eight. His work cannot be easily categorized: a prolific author, he wrote everything from adult detective novels to speculative YA science fiction to heart-stopping adventures to intriguing almost-fantasies. The protagonists in his work for children range from an American-missionary boy who finds himself trekking through Tibet during the Boxer Rebellion (Tulku) to a blind teen who finds himself swept up in a plot by environmental terrorists to hijack a North Sea oil rig (Annerton Pit) to a human girl who finds herself transplanted into a chimp’s body (Eva). His books were wholly original, brimming with ideas, often concerned with the nature of religion and/or what makes us human — and also unfailingly compelling and masterfully plotted. Yet he did not consider himself an artist, but a craftsman: “I have a function, like the village cobbler, and that is to tell stories.”
Peter Dickinson’s 1993 Horn Book Magazine article “Masks“
Horn Book Magazine reviews of select titles by Peter Dickinson
“A Defense of Rubbish” by Peter Dickinson
The post Peter Dickinson, 1927-2015 appeared first on The Horn Book.
Over the weekend news of Alvin Buenaventura’s passing was confirmed. Buenaventura was 40 and as the publisher of first Buenaventura Press then Pigeon Press was one of the indie publishers who helped change the landscape of comics forever with his passion and devotion to detail, with such Cartoonists as Vanessa Davis, Lisa Hanawalt, Matt Furie and […]
RIP Alan Rickman – more Hans than Snape to me. But always great, no matter the role. watercolor 17×24 lanaquarelle cp Posted by Bill Sienkiewicz on Thursday, January 14, 2016 We lost another great today. Bill Sienkiewicz post his tribute on FB and I wondered how he could have done one so fast. I […]
Shigeru Mizuki, one of the all time great cartoonists of Japan (and the world) has passed away at age 93. Mizuki-sensei popularized the “yokai” monster genre with GeGeGe No Kitaro (to be reprinted early ext year by D&Q), as well as his award winningg Showa history of Japan. His latest work in the US is […]
Word going around on Facebook that master inker and comics technical innovator Murphy Anderson has passed away at age 89. Anderson was one of the great DC inkers of all time, providing crisp clean lines that defined the look of Hawkman, Superman, and Adam Strange, and, indeed, the whole DC line of the Silver Age, inking over Carmine Infantino, Gil Kane and most notably, Curt Swan. He was inducted into the Jack Kirby Hall of Fame (precursor of the Eisner HoF) all the way back in 1988, a tribute to his statue in the industry.
We were saddened to hear about the death last week of legendary children’s book author and illustrator Vera B. Williams. It’s a loss to our field; she was, truly, unique. Her groundbreaking picture books celebrated children and family and communities — all kinds of children, all kinds of families, and all kinds of communities. Both A Chair for My Mother and “More More More,” Said the Baby were Caldecott honor books (in 1983 and 1991, respectively), and they stand out among their fellows for their contemporary, unglossy settings, their sense of inclusiveness, and the forefronting of the loving relationships they portray.
Williams was also a two-time Boston Globe–Horn Book Award winner — for A Chair for My Mother in 1983 and Scooter in 1994 — and was a three-time BGHB Honor Award recipient (for Cherries and Cherry Pits in 1987; Stringbean’s Trip to the Shining Sea, written by Williams and co-illustrated with daughter Jennifer Williams in 1988; and Amber Was Brave, Essie Was Smart in 2002). Again — who can forget Bidemmi’s face shining out of the exuberantly colorful pages of Cherries and Cherry Pits; or the unforgettable sisters (unforgettable in both the poetry and the pictures) in Amber Was Brave, Essie Was Smart, one of the first children’s books to portray a family coping with the absence of a parent in prison.
In 2001 she wrote about “Childhood, Stories, and Politics” for The Horn Book Magazine. Here are a few salient quotes from that brief but important contribution: “I began to create my books just at a period when children’s books were becoming somewhat more open and more accurate about the range of family life in America, about color and class and ethnicity, about what girl characters could do and be.” And, “it is of solemn import to tell stories that involve us in the energies, talents, and great-heartedness of children and other not-so-powerful people.”
In 1992 she did a series of lovely covers for us. As with so much of her work it’s an image that looks reality right in the eye, messy laundry basket and breast-fed baby and all, and filled with love, closeness, and “not-so-powerful people.” Click here to read Horn Book Magazine reviews of select books by Williams.
And when it came time for Horn Bookers to talk about their favorites, Ms. Williams got even more love:
My favorite BGHB winner, reviewer edition: Robin Smith’s choice
The ones that got away: Leonard and I choose Vera B.
The post Vera B. Williams (1927–2015) appeared first on The Horn Book.
Long time comics colorist and con organizer Ken Feduniewicz has passed away.As a colorist Feduniewicz coloed Captain America, Dreadstar and many more as seen here. In 1976 he was among the first class of students at the Kubert School in 1976, going on to work in the Marvel Bullpen and with many companies, including Archie, […]
§ Condolences to Matt Fraction on the passing of his father. Dennis Fritchman attended several HeroesCon with is family and clearly he was a man who loved life. In lieu of flowers the family is requesting a donation to The Hero Initiative. § Marmaduke creator Brad Anderson has passed away at age 91. Anderson created the […]
Actress/dancer Yvonne Craig has passed away at age 78, following a battle with breast cancer. Her official site has her obituary. Of course, she will always be known for playing Batgirl in the Batman TV series, but she was also a dancer (as shown by her role as the Orion slave girl Marta in Star Trek) and a lovely person who made many appearances at conventions over the years. Reading her obituary makes it clear that she lived a very full life.
Comics artist Alan Kupperberg passed away last night at age 62 after a battle with thymus cancer, as reported on FB by his brother, Paul Kupperberg. Emerging from Neal Adams’ Continuity Studios, Kupperberg pencilled everything from the X-men to Spider-man, and several issues of What If, but he had a reputation as someone who could handle things with a humorous bent, as his solo book, Obnoxio the Clown vs. The X-Men showed.
In later years he worked on comic strips including Howard the Duck, Spider-Man, Little Orphan Annie.
Prolific cover artist and painter Earl Norem has passed away at age 91 as reported on Facebook by family members including his daughter:
As my son has so eloquently posted, it is true that my father, Earl Norem, a member of the greatest generation, has passed on. He was a true super hero to me and to all who knew him. A kind gentle, modest soul, his legacy will last a lifetime. We thank all of his fans far and wide who have meant so much to him throughout his career.
Norem’s work best known in comics circle for his work on Marvel’s magazine line of the 70s and 80s, including Dracula Lives, Tale of the Zombie, Savage Sword of Conan, Hulk, Amazing Spider-Man: The Big Top Mystery, The Deadly Hands of Kung Fu, Moon Knight, The Silver Surfer and many many more.
Norem attended HeroesCon a few years back, as shown in this photo by Denny Caswell, and definitely enjoyed meeting fans of his work. Although retired, he was said to be working on some new Mars Attacks paintings, a subject particularly suited to his style. While Norem was’t as well known as some of his fellow pulp cover artists, its hard to think of anyone who attacked the boomer obsessions—aliens, robots, monsters and scantily clad girls being menaced by the same—with such vigor.
If it was possible to be cheerful and lurid at the same time, Norem had the patent on it. His understanding of color theory may have lacked subtlety, but served to burn images into your brain, like this classic Planet of the Apes piece. While color grading today likes the relatively discrete aqua/tan contrasting color scheme, Norem went all the way with acid green on orange, which also worked on a bunch of Hulk covers. Here’s just a few examples of his work/
By: Matthew Cheney,
Blog: The Mumpsimus
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Over at Press Play, I have a brief text essay about and a video tribute to Christopher Lee
, who died on June 7 at the age of 93. Here's the opening of the essay:
Christopher Lee was the definitive working actor. His career was long, and he appeared in more films than any major performer in the English-speaking world — over 250. What distinguishes him, though, and should make him a role model for anyone seeking a life on stage or screen, is not that he worked so much but that he worked so well. He took that work seriously as both job and art, even in the lightest or most ridiculous roles, and he gave far better, more committed performances than many, if not most, of his films deserved.Read and view more at Press Play.
According to several social media postings, Michelle Wrightson has passed away. Wrightson contributed as a colorist on several Marvel, Heavy Metal and Milestone comics, and was a cartoonist in It Ain’t Me Babe, the first all-woman comics anthology. I don’t know too much of her life story, but she was married to cartoonist Roger Brand and then Bernie Wrightson and was very much part of the whole Studio scene of the 70s. I’ve taken two photos of Wrightson from Facebook, and I hope the posters aren’t offended. The above is from the page of Linda Lessmann Reinhold, a Marvel contributor from that era, and here’s an older one of Wrightson and Jim Starlin from back in the day, as posted by Ralph Reese:
Scott Edelman has a look at Wrightson’s underground comics, which will hopefully be included in that Wimmens Comix reprint I mentioned the other day.
It’s being reported that Michelle Wrightson has died suddenly, apparently of natural causes. And though I did know her last by that name, I first became acquainted with her when she was Michelle Brand, and not in the flesh, but rather through her groundbreaking underground comics work.
Worth a look.
It is with tremendous sadness that I share news I received this morning from my friend David Beronä's family: David passed away peacefully at home last night. He'd been fighting a brain tumor for about a year and a half, and so while the news is not quite a surprise, it is a blow.
I interviewed David
for Colleen Lindsay's blog The Swivet
in 2009, where we talked about his Wordless Books: The Original Graphic Novels
, which had recently been published by Abrams. I knew very little about graphic narratives before meeting David, and he gave me an extraordinary education over the years, as his knowledge was vast and his passion was thrilling.
Eric Schaller and I had the honor of publishing what David told us was the last piece of writing that he completed before getting sick, the essay "Franz Masereel's Picture Books Against War"
, which appeared in last year's issue of our magazine The Revelator
. David, Eric, and I did a bunch of work together, beginning with the Illustrating VanderMeer
exhibit at Plymouth State University, where, until he got sick, David was Dean of Library and Academic Support Services.
The last time I saw David was at a retirement reception for him where the University dedicated a gallery wall of the library in his name. It was a bittersweet moment — so nice to see David being celebrated, so sad to have to say goodbye. Soon, he and his wife moved to Ohio to be closer to David's family. I didn't do a good job of keeping in touch, though I've thought of David frequently since he moved (which is no excuse for not being a better friend, but is the truth).
This past term, my last term of classes as a PhD student, I took a marvelous seminar on graphic narratives, and so David was constantly on my mind, and again and again I found myself returning to things he'd taught me, writers and artists whose work he'd introduced me to, ideas he had shared. I presented at the Dartmouth Illustration, Comics, and Animation Conference
, a conference David always attended when he could. That I had any confidence at all presenting in front of a bunch of comics scholars and enthusiasts was very much because I'd been able to talk about so much with David over the years. It would have been fun to have been there with him.
In the short notes he was able to send out to friends after beginning treatment, written against the aphasia the tumor imposed, David exhorted us to cherish our health, and especially our brains. (His life had changed completely over the course of a single weekend.) He spoke of the anger he felt at first when he realized how much he'd lost, and then the peace he found in accepting the vagaries of life, the good and bad, the love of friends and family, the little things and the everyday moments — the things that, in the end, linger longest. (The irony was, I'm sure, not lost on him that he was a man who'd written much about wordless books, and then had lost his words.) He returned to painting, and he was glad to find a good comics shop in the town he moved to in Ohio. He went for long walks in the woods. He spent his last year with family, and he knew that he had friends around the country and, indeed, around the world who were thinking of him.
He lives on in the knowledge he shared with us and the joy that he inspired. My life has been tremendously enriched by all he taught me, but, more than any of that, what I will carry as a memory of him forever is the memory of his smile. He never lost some of the wonder of childhood, and you could see it in his smile.
It's hard to smile today, but for David, I will try.
|Lynd Ward, from God's Man|
Photographer/writer/creator Seth Kushner passed away yesterday after battling leukemia for a year. He is survived by his heroic wife, Terra, and his son Jackson and a host of friends whose lives he touched and enriched.
His struggle was well documented, not least by his own Facebook postings. His disease was not abated by a bone marrow transplant, but a secret, experimental treatment left him leukemia free and allowed him to live his last months at home with his family.
It’s a cliche to talk about fighting for life…but Seth’s fight enriched us all with his fierceness and commitment and reminded us all why we fight. I’m so glad I got to see him one last time at MoCCA just past, and he was planning projects and continuing to work. You can read a review of Secret Sauce #1 his MoCCA debut in the link. Seth did headshots for many comics folks, among them my husband, and they were more than just attractive photos—his eye was for the spirit below the surface. His photos for Leaping Tall Buildings, a book of profiles of comics creators, will surely remain the standard for capturing a certain era of cartoonists in iconic, distinctive images.
Seth was kind, sweet, decent, immensely talented, and one of the bravest people I’ve ever known. I am devastated to hear of his passing, but send my love to his family and his close friends who are surely more devastated. And I’m sure his family can still use some help for his medical bills.
Life is unfair and capricious, and that’s why every minute of it is precious. Good night, Seth. You will never be forgotten.
Above, a drawing of Seth by Molly Crabapple.
Artist and teacher Glen Orbik passed away yesterday after a battle with cancer,. He was either 51 or 52 (Wikipedia says he was born in 1963.) Orbik was well known for his modern-day pulp-styled covers, and some striking work on several Marvel, DC and Vertigo titles, including the original run of Howard Chaykin’s American Century.
Orbik was well regarded as a teacher at the California Art Institute, where he himself went to school, studying under Fred Fixler. I have a big soft spot for pulp art and I was always a fan. Orbik’s covers were throwbacks to a less subtle era, but added elegance. You can find much more of his work at his website.
We were saddened to hear about the death of author-illustrator Marcia Brown this week at the age of ninety-six. The winner of three Caldecott Medals — for Cinderella in 1955, Once a Mouse in 1962, and Shadow in 1983 — she was also recognized with a whopping six Caldecott Honors (including her indelible Stone Soup in 1948). She was awarded the Regina Medal in 1977 and the Laura Ingalls Wilder Medal in 1992.
Writings by and about Brown frequently appeared in The Horn Book Magazine. Here is a sampling:
“Distinction in Picture Books” by Marcia Brown (1949)
1955 Caldecott Medal Acceptance by Marcia Brown
“My Goals as an Illustrator” by Marcia Brown (1967)
Letter, with illustration, from Marcia Brown to Bertha Mahony Miller (undated)
“Marcia Brown and Her Books” by Alice Dalgliesh (1955 Caldecott Medal profile)
“From Caldecott to Caldecott” by Helen Adams Masten (1962 Caldecott Medal profile)
“Marcia Brown” by Janet A. Loranger (1983 Caldecott Medal profile)
The post Marcia Brown, 1918-2015 appeared first on The Horn Book.
Helen Eustis has died. She was 98 years old.
Eustis’ son, Adam Fisher, announced his mother’s passing on his blog. Eustis became well-known for her Edgar Award-winning novel, The Horizontal Man. In addition to writing, she also served as a translator and worked on projects from French authors Christiane Rochefort and Georges Simenon.
Here’s more from The New York Times: “Ms. Eustis wrote for Harper’s Bazaar, Cosmopolitan, The New Yorker, and other magazines in the 1940s. She published the short-story collection The Captains and the Kings Depart in 1949. A children’s story, The Rider on a Pale Horse, which first appeared in The Saturday Evening Post in 1950, was later published as a book titled Mr. Death and the Redheaded Woman.”
Brett Ewins an influential artist for many features in 2000 AD artist has passed away. He was known for his collaborations with Peter Milligan, Brendan McCarthy and Steve Dillon, including work on Future Shocks ABC Warriors, Bad Company, Judge Anderson and Rogue Trooper. He co-created the important alternative comics anthology Deadline, home of Tank Girl, with Dillon, and drew Johnny Nemo for the title. In later days he was beset by mental troubles, and had serious run ins with the police, after being diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia. 2000 Ad confirmed his death on their FB page.
We are very saddened to hear of the death of artist Brett Ewins.
Throughout his years of working for 2000 AD, Brett was responsible for some truly unmissable art – from Judge Dredd and Anderson Psi Division to Rogue Trooper and his incredible work on Bad Company with Peter Milligan and Jim McCarthy.
He was also a hugely influential figure in British comics thanks to his founding of Deadline with Steve Dillon in 1988, something that changed the face of the industry forever.
Our thoughts and deepest condolences are with Brett’s family and friends.
The Forbidden Planet blog has a tribute to Ewins
with some photos of him in his happiest days.
Ewins, left with Peter Milligan and Jim McCarthy in 1988, photo by Steve Cook.
Author Bertrice Small has died. She was 77 years old.
Throughout her career, Small (pictured, via) wrote more than 50 books. She become well-known for her historical romance, fantasy romance, and erotica novels.
USA Today reports that “her O’Malley Saga and Skye’s Legacy series are especially beloved. Her most recent release, Lucianna, part of her Silk Merchant’s Daughters series, came out in October 2013.”
After being taken to the hospital complaining of chest pains a few days ago, actor Leonard Nimoy has passed away at age 83. He’d been suffering from COPD in recent years.
Nimoy portrayed Mr. Spock in the original Star Trek series and became the first mass media nerd icon, a symbol of SF via his pointed ears, Vulcan salute and Vulcan Nerve Pinch. Images of Spock were shorthand for early nerd culture, and Nimoy’s sensitive portrayal of the emotion-repressing half-human Vulcan was one of the best things about any and all Treks he appeared in.
Nimoy the man was generally loved, and held a gentle philosophy that carried him well through life. He wrote a book of poems called “I Am Not Spock” published in the 70s as a protest against his best known role, but later on fully embraced his part in pop culture history. He retired from conventions in 2011 although he appeared in Fringe and Star Trek: Into Darkness.
Although he and William Shatner had a sometimes testy relationship, in their twilight years, they became good friends, and NImoy was best man at Shatner’s most recent wedding. The two reunited for a car commercial last year.
Nimoy also made an album, and even among bad album aficionados, this was one of the worst. I won’t speak ill of the dead, but google Ballad of Bilbo Baggins.
Twitter is pouring out it’s remembrances now.
Manga pioneer Yoshihiro Tatsumi has passed away at age 79, according to a letter received by Paul Gravett. Tatsumi had been battling cancer for several years.
Tatsumi is best known as the pioneer of the “gekiga” style of manga (a term be invented), true to life stories of ordinary people. He own work featured haunting adult themes of alienation, dread and obsession. His autobiography A Drifting Life, depicting his struggles as an artist, won the Eisner award for Best Reality Based Work in 2010. He also won the World Outlook Award at Angoulême and the Osamu Tezuka Cultural Prize.
While Tatsumi’s work was influential in Japan he was mostly unknown in the US until Adrian Tomine pushed to get his work published in English, Drawn & Quarterly took up the call and put out several collections of his short stories and A Drifting Life. His other works include Midnight Fishermen, Fallen Words, Black Blizzard, Good-Bye, The Push Man and Other Stories and Abandon the Old in Tokyo. The attention from the US led to more recognition in his homeland and worldwide, attention that was much deserved.
Tatsumi and his wife came to the US and Canada in 2009 for several events including TCAF. I was fortunate enough to see him on a panel at the PEN America Literary festival, and was invited to a dinner with him and his wife later on, a privilege I ‘ll always be grateful for. It was very clear that the pair were enjoying this new found attention and respect with a joy was that was incredibly gratifying to behold. D&Q’s Peggy Burns recalls her own experiences with him in a touching FB post:
I found a few pictures from the PEN event and signing. Wish I’d taken more.
A movie based on his work came out in 2011, and he was said to be working on a second part of his autobiography up until his death, which would end with the premiere of the Tatsumi film at the Cannes Film Festival.
Tatsumi’s work is universal in its message and artistry. If you’re not familiar with his work, I urge you to seek out some of his work. It’s powerful, unique and a lasting legacy of a man who lived his life with dignity and kindness.
Word is going around on Facebook today that Dondi co-creator Irwin Hasen has passed away at the ripe old age of 96. Hasen was best known for Dondi, a comic strip tale of a WW II orphan who brings joy to the live of those around him. The strip was turned into a movie in 1961. He was presented with an Eisner Award last year.
Born in 1918 New York City, Hasen studied at the Art Student’s League and then drew comics for the Harry “A” Chesler Studio, with art on titles including The Green Hornet and The Fox. He also worked for DC before the war, creating the character Wildcat along the way. An Army veteran, Hasen ran the newspaper for the Fort Dix army base. Upon returning to domestic life, he took up comics again, with work on the JSA, The Flash and Green Lantern, before getting in to the syndicated comics Dondi, which was co-created by Gus Edson.
Hasen was a very familiar figure at conventions over the decades, his signature ascot and safari jacket giving him a boyish air despite his age. In 2009 he published a memoir called Loverboy An Irwin Hasen Story PB which depicted him as quite the ladies man in his prime—and perhaps a bit beyond it.
Hasen was a gentle sweet man much liked by those on the con circuit. My condolences to his friends and family.
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Lobo co-creator and Bronze Age comics writer Roger Slifer passed away over the weekend. Slifer was badly injured in a hit and run accident two years ago, suffering traumatic brain injury that left him in a nursing home for the remainder of his life. Although he had been making some recent progress in speaking, he died en route to the emergency room. He was 60.
Slifer was best known for co-creating Lobo in The Omega Men, which ws drawn by Keith Giffen, but in the 70s he was part of The CPL Gang, a group of comics enthusiasts who put out fanzines, a group that included Roger Stern, Michael Uslan, Bob Layton, John Byrne, Tony Isabella and Steven Grant. In his career he worked as an editor, a sales manager and later in animation as a writer and producer on series including Jem and the Holograms, Transformers and G.I. Joe Extreme.
Former DC publisher Paul Levitz recalled Slifer in a Facebook post:
Roger Slifer died yesterday, victim of a random hit & run a couple of years ago who took his time dying slowly. Roger was an old friend–we’d crashed on each other’s couches, played poker, and plotted ways to make comics a better place. He came to comics from a small town whose geography he defied to become part of the CPL Gang that also gave us Bob Layton, Roger Stern, Duffy Vohland and John Byrne. In NY he was an early Marvel associate editor, DC’s first full time Direct Sales guy, a DC editor, the writer co-creator of Lobo, and an advocate for creators’ rights, helping found one of the field’s first not-profits, the Narrative Arts Alliance, alongside more established folks like Steve Gerber and Gerry Conway. For a while supported himself on occasional coloring gigs and his poker winnings (in our game that was a real challenge given the low stakes). And after he was done with comics, he became an animation writer and producer, working on a string of impactful series.
But in between all that, he published the first attempt at a DC graphic novel, a Manhunter edition we licensed him around 1978. He took the Archie Goodwin/Walt Simonson collaboration and assembled it in one volume for the first time in a format modeled on French albums. Can you say ahead of his time? But important enough it came up at lunch today with a groundbreaking artist in the field remembering it as how he discovered Walt’s genius. And that was before we heard of Roger’s death.
Take a minute and remember him. Or just think of the innumerable fans, creators and even business folk who helped make comics the much more vibrant field it is today. Most are anonymous names lost to history, but their work lives on. And so does Roger’s. Thanks, pal.
Mark Evanier also remembered Slifer
He was born (in 1954) and died in Morristown, Indiana. He loved comic books and in the late sixties and early seventies, contributed to amateur publications. This led to professional publications in the mid-seventies, writing for Marvel comics and later moving into editorial work there. As far as I could tell, he was unanimously liked and respected. In the eighties, he moved over to DC, working in both the editorial and sales divisions. He didn’t have as much time to write as he would have liked but did manage to co-create and script the popular comic, Lobo.
Roger was a tireless advocate for creators’ rights and it was squabbles on that topic eventually drove him away from the New York comic book industry. He relocated in Los Angeles where he began writing animation and becoming a producer of many shows including G.I. Joe, Transformers, Jem and the Holograms and Bucky O’Hare.