Monday, August 22, 2005
We thought Jim Steranko was just THE coolest comic book artist in the late sixties! There was one point where I had to trade five JOURNEY INTO MYSTERY Thors (and a JIMMY OLSEN as I recall) to get a copy of NICK FURY, AGENT OF S.H.I.E.L.D. number one! It was more than worth it.
In 1971, I was standing in front of a bookstore waiting for a bus when I saw Steranko's wordless cover for the first printing of THE STERANKO HISTORY OF COMICS, volume one. It was purchased immediately and became my absolute favorite book.
A year or two later, ads for a volume two appeared in Marvel comics and I dutifully ordered one, naively presuming that the book was already published and sitting in a warehouse ready to mailed on request to my house. I forget how long it was before I finally received the book but I had fired off several letters to Steranko's Supergraphics in the meantime threatening legal action if I didn't get my book or my money back!
When it did arrive, however, I was not disappointed. In fact, the very envelope in which the long-awaited book arrived featured the above eclectic collection of super heroes as envisioned by the great artist himself! Batman, in particular always struck me as a very unique view of the character. In fact, years later when I finally met Jim Steranko at a Columbus, Ohio con, I spoke to him about that impression rather than about my threatened teenage lawsuits.He kindly signed another version of HIS Batman, from his MEDIASCENE newspaper, to me. Today, though, it's the envelope picture that's still prominently displayed in the Library. I've only once seen another copy (San Diego, 1988) and have never even found an on-line scan...so I scnned it myself. Comics writer extraordinaire Mark Waid pointed out to me recently that the poster-- and particularly the Torch --is similar to Jim's more or less contemporary poster for Marvel's in-house fan club, FOOM.