Saturday, January 05, 2008

Men of Letters

If you've ever seen any of my original artwork, you'll find that my signature for drawings is generally a C linked through an R. I only sign my name to drawings when requested, and even then I do the linked letters and then print arles utledge beside them. The CR is my signature. And here's why.
Back in 1972 or so when I first started seriously reading comic books, my first "favorite" artist was a guy named Jim Aparo. Aparo drew the Brave and the Bold, which was DC's Batman team-up book. In every issue Batman would team up with a different member (or members) of the DC universe. For some reason he was constantly teaming up with Green Arrow, Black Canary, and Wildcat, but other guest stars would include everyone from Hawkman to Wonder Woman, from Jack Kirby's The Demon to Jack Kirby's Kamandi the Last Boy on Earth. And no matter who guest starred in that issue, Aparo would draw them beautifully, often better than the artist in the characters own comic book.
Aparo's style has always struck me as a cross between Milton Caniff and Neal Adams. His brushwork had the same sort of heavy outlines and black shadows as Caniff (Terry and the Pirates/Steve Canyon) but then he would go in with a pen and do all kinds of feathering and lighting effects much like that of the king of realistic comic art, Neal Adams. Just beautiful stuff.
And the best thing is, you too can now marvel at the artwork of Jim Aparo as DC's Showcase series just released a second Volume of Brave and the Bold Batman team-ups, which features some of Aparo's earliest art on the book. Aparo came on board with issue 98 and would draw most of the issues from there until the comics eventual cancellation in the 1980s. His first story teamed the caped crusader with The Phantom Stranger, another signature character for Aparo. B&B Showcase 2 also features some fantastic art by Nick Cardy and the aforementioned Neal Adams, two artists deserving of their own posts here at Singular Points. I'm sure I'll talk about them eventually. This volume, which ends at issue 108, doesn't quite reach the point where I started reading the title (issue 111), so I'm eagerly looking forward to a volume 3.
Anyway, Jim Aparo was my favorite artist when I first began to learn to draw and so I based my signature on his. To this day, I'll scribble a quick CR on a drawing when I finish it. Now you know my secret.

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