Interview

Going Beyond the Blurb to Navigate Comic-Con

Poor CoreyBlake.com. Neglected for so long. I’ve been busy bringing in an awesomely eclectic line-up of columnists at The Comics Observer, in addition to my shows with the Magic Meathands, an improv comedy troupe (show this Saturday!).

And the comic-y goodness doesn’t stop because this weekend it’s Comic-Con: the biggest comics event in North America! My friend Cindy Marie Jenkins is always interested in how different industries reach their audiences, as well as interactive entertainment and media, so she decided to tap me for a special Navigating the Arts interview about Comic-Con for her innovative Beyond the Blurb live interview series. That will happen this Wednesday night at 8:30 PM Pacific time. You should be able to watch live right here.

I’ve also got a special editorial about Comic-Con appearing later this week, so I’ll post about that once it goes live.

Thank you all for your support!

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Interview: Stan Goldberg

Archie Marries... (click to buy from publisher Abrams ComicArts)

Speaking with comics artist Stan Goldberg was an honor, and I’m very grateful for his generosity with his time. I definitely did not expect this to go 45 minutes but he had a lot to share, and it’s worth it to hear him talk about all of this. His love for his work comes across quickly. He really loves what he does. It’s clear that this is a man still enjoying and exploring his craft and the process of storytelling despite already being a master at it.

I was also struck with how unfortunate it is for someone who has lived and breathed the Archie characters for the last 40 years, who has been the artist on their most commercially successful and buzz worthy books (for good reason), now finds himself with some uncertainty. Fortunately he’s still immensely talented. His abilities not only haven’t diminished, but may be stronger than ever. And he remained classy throughout, with not a bad word to say about his former employers. Already plans are in the works for the next phase of his career, and that to me is exciting. With over 60 years in the biz, he still has a lot of creativity to give.

Here’s the audio of our interview:

MP3 Download

Here’s a breakdown of what he talked about:

  • His 40-year career with Archie Comics, characters he clearly loves and respects, and his recent departure from the company.
  • Creating the color designs for Spider-Man, the Fantastic Four (the Thing is colored like “a wrinkled orange”), the Hulk (his pants were meant to be magenta, not purple), and the rest of the Marvel Comics universe, including the villains like Dr. Doom.
  • Being asked by Marvel to draw the Fantastic Four 50 years after coloring the first issue in 1961.
  • His work being reprinted in prestige hard cover books: Archie: The Best of Stan Goldberg [Amazon link] and Archie Marries… [Amazon link]
  • Being mentored by Stan Lee the art director in the ’50s
  • Using the Marvel Method for Millie the Model
  • Creating Kathy the Teenage Tornado (reprint this, Marvel!)
  • On the comics industry during the Senate hearings of the 1950s and the industry’s response: “It almost destroyed the whole industry.” He says the Comics Code Authority, the industry’s content watchdog, went overboard: “They made some corrections, but I guess they had to show what they were then getting paid for.” Marvel even lost their distributor for a time, which resulted in Stan having to go freelance.
  • His work on Millie the Model influencing women in fashion design and magazines like Cosmopolitan, McCall’s and others.
  • Collaborating with Michael Uslan on last year’s “Archie Marries…” story starting in Archie #600, which sold 50% better than Marvel & DC comic books at the time. His pure penciled artwork for the covers of those six issues was reprinted in IDW’s recent Archie: The Best of Stan Goldberg
  • The story of the surprise debut of Archie Meets Punisher and the plans for a sequel that never came to be.
  • And perhaps most exciting of all… teasing a future project he’s creating with a writer.

Archie: The Best of Stan Goldberg (click to buy from publisher IDW)

(Also a cameo by my cat Cleo climbing up the back of my chair if you listen carefully. I should also apologize for the volume disparity between his voice and mine. Fortunately once we get started, it’s mostly him. Ah the joys of technology. I’ll try to work that out for the next interview.)

FF #1 variant cover by Goldberg (50th Anniversary of Fantastic Four #1, Marvel Comics)

Interview: Ben Dickow of Spectacular Superhero Variety Hour

Spectacular Superhero Variety Hour

I had the pleasure of speaking with Ben Dickow, director of the Captured Aural Phantasy Theater, about their new show the Spectacular Superhero Variety Hour performing for 2 Fridays at the Bootleg Theater, April 15 and April 22. The show uses vintage comic books to create a vaudeville-style show performed like old radio plays. They have used all kinds of comic books in the past, such as horror, romance, and war comics. This is their first time taking on superheroes.

Here is the audio of our interview:

MP3 Download

More about the Secret Origin of Captured Aural Phantasy Theater, written by Ben Dickow:

The origin story of Captured Aural Phantasy Theater begins decades ago, when my friend Ben Ziola started performing his comic book stories for his family when he was a kid. He quickly roped in his friend Wes Bailey and the two would perform stories at parties for friends. They both moved to Chicago in the late 70’s and collected my friend Billy Bullion and then me over the years. I began producing the show in 1999 with all of us on stage in the finest dive bars around Chicago. The show moved with me to LA and has evolved a lot since the early days,  going strong with a fabulous company of performers ever since. However, both Ben Z. and Billy, who remain in Chicago, have come out to be in a few “special” shows in LA.

CAPT can also be found on Facebook, Twitter and MySpace.

Ben’s favorite Southern California comic book stores for finding those rare comics from the 1940s, ’50s and ’60s: