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  • Graphic NYC
    www.nycgraphicnovelists.com
  • Back in 2008, photographer Seth Kushner and I teamed up to produce a photo/essay book on comic book creators that would give them the "rock star" treatment that prior scholarship hadn't, documenting them as living creatives through my interview-based essays and Seth's stunning portraiture.

    Graphic NYC was a huge success for us, spawning two books (one, an artist spotlight on cartoonist Dean Haspiel, the other our Leaping Tall Buildings: The Origins of American Comics) and gaining us a steady following--even when we don't have a new feature to post.

    All graphic design was done by Seth Kushner and is TM and (C) Seth Kushner.
  • From Frank Miller: Dames, Dark Knights, Devils, and Heroes:

    A dead cat greets me at the door to Frank Miller’s studio, a long-haired white feline standing majestically in his living room, flanked by a bookshelf populated with DVDs. 

    I look away for a minute, and it is gone.

    Miller sits behind the drawing table in his studio, sporting his trademark black fedora and a black pinstripe blazer over a black t-shirt, his hawkish profile making him look like a modern-day Shadow. His studio is lined with metal display cases bearing everything from old comics memorabilia to souvenirs from his movies—Sin City, 300, and The Spirit. Leonidas’ shield lays on a worktable against the far wall, and Frank points my gaze to the top of one shelf, where Miho’s sword sits in its scabbard.

    Back at his desk, the lanky artist lights up a cigarette and invites me to shut the door and cut my recorder on. To refer to Frank Miller as just a cartoonist or personality would be an understatement: where most artists have one defining period in a long career, Miller has had about three or four, switching styles, and even approaches, in a ballsy and always successful way. Miller has not only redefined comic book genres by combining them in a pastiche-fashion with the hard-boiled world of the Mike Hammers and Sam Spades, but also redefined the general perceptionof comics through successful film adaptations of key works Sin City and300.
  • From Stan "The Man" Lee: 'Nuff Said!

    “I was ready to be a media star when I was twelve years old,” Stan Lee says with his usual gusto. “It just took all this time for the world to discover me.”

    A month before, Stan Lee was honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, a first for a comic book personality. It was just the tip of the iceberg for the personification of the footloose and fancy free comic book creator and all-around media personality, a comics pioneer who put a new spin on the threadbare and static genre of the superhero and made comic books—dare we say it—hip and cool? 
     
    But Stan Lee, born Stanley Lieber, is more than just a comic book visionary, the first self-made man of the comic book industry whose chutzpah sometimes eclipses his earlier struggles in the unforgiving comics world of the 1950s, then an industry hanging on by its fingernails as distributors went belly-up and crusading Senators sparked company-wide censorship. 

    Now in his late 80s, Stan exists as a cross between an ambassador for the medium, his distinctive moustache and glasses spotted in Marvel Comics superhero movies everywhere. It’s not just that Stan may have helped save the struggling comic book in the 1960s, with the Marvel line of troubled superheroes forged by him and a group of artists that earned him a star—it’s his clever use of cementing himself as a personality that has kept him on the collective radar. In an industry overpopulated by introverts, of his contemporaries who were often ashamed to work in comic books, Stan’s rise to a fame borne out of kitsch and hero worship is to be just as admired as his distinctive and catchphrases.