Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Loomis, Bond And American

When I first had the urge to draw at a young age I was at a loss as to how to get started. I loved comic books and wished I could draw the human figure and head as well as my favorite cartoonists.

One day I visited a local art/office supply store and came across a rack of oversize, thin, paperback books about how to draw, paint, etc. I immediately gravitated toward the figure drawing books, specifically a nude figure drawing book (I was a young man after all) and was fascinated by the beautiful illustrations inside. The art was by the legendary figure artist Andrew Loomis and his style and approach to drawing the human figure has had a huge influence on my own art.

In Figure Drawing For All It’s Worth by Andrew Loomis, and published by Titan Books, selected art from each of the oversize paperbacks (along with several new illustrations) and combines them into on oversize hardbound book.

Loomis not only takes you step-by-step on how to draw the human figures, including faces, clothing, etc,) he also offers some sage advice on how to approach art, what techniques fit particular projects and helpful hints on how best to approach said projects.

This is an indispenseble book for any artist. Its practical approach and how-to instructions makes drawing figures fun and surprisingly easy. Even now, in the latter years of my career and am delighted that I can still learn new things just by flipping though its pages.

As much as I enjoy James Bond movies I enjoy the original Ian Fleming books more. There was something raw and energetic about the stories. Gadgets were kept to a minimum and James Bond was portrayed as a no-nonsense, get-the-job-done secret operative who was often as nasty and violent as his adversaries.

The charm and sophistication were still there but Bond himself was more primal, almost animal-like in his dogged pursuit of the bad guys. Bond was also portrayed as a much more fallible and fragile human being. In one book he was even brain-washed!

The James Bond Omnibus 002 gathers many of the classic Bond tales into one large book. The collection consists of reprints of the James Bond comic strip that followed the format of the novels much more closely than that of the movies. Look for classic stories such as You Only Lie Twice, The Man With The Golden Gun, The Spy That Loved Me and other well-known Fleming Bond stories as interpreted by Henry Gammidge, Jim Lawrence, John McLusky and Yaroslav Horak.

The Golden Age of superhero comics ended not long after World War II. Tired of violent, patriotic themed stories the public wanted something different so the superhero genre all but disappeared.

In the early 1950s an attempt was made to reintroduce readers to the number one patriotic hero: Captain America. Without the guiding force of the series’ original creators, Jack Kirby and Joe Simon, the book floundered after only three issues.

When the new series was introduced the original creative team decided to introduce their own patriotic super hero: Fighting American. At first serious and overly dramatic the comic book soon found its own voice: slightly offbeat, filled with humor and featuring some of the most oddball selection of villains ever created.

Fighting American, along with his kid sidekick Speedboy, fought such wacky characters as Von Feygel, the Handsome Devils, Doubleheader, Square Hair Malloy, Rhode Island Red and many others. Fighting American, with foreword by Joe Simon, collects each issue of the famous comics into one large paperback. It’s pure Simon and Kirby action as only they can deliver.

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