For myself, the end of the Silver Age of comic books was when I graduated from high school. At this moment I can’t think of a comic book title that was introduced during what is, for me, the Bronze Age of comic books, that interests me all that much. Which means that I’m not much of a fan of Wolverine or the Punisher, hugely popular Marvel Comics characters that were introduced in 1974, while I was in college. Alan Moore’s “Watchmen” series for DC in the 80’s is an exception, but those characters were all based on Charlton comics from decades earlier. Speaking of Charlton, I really enjoy E-Man, and he makes the cut because he was introduced before I started college.
Vigilante justice has always been present in comic books, although Superman dropped that approach very quickly, and even The Batman let go of his angst after becoming just Batman and picking up a sidekick. What came about in the 70’s, when vigilantism was reintroduced, were extra helpings of violence to go along with the justice.
In “The Punisher”, now streaming on Netflix, I see more than a little borrowing of elements from the TV series “Person of Interest”, which wrapped up a year-and-a-half ago. There was plenty of obligatory shooting of bad guys, but being a network TV series it never reached the level of ultra-extreme violence that is seen in “The Punisher”. I can’t say that I actually enjoyed all the blood and gore, but one thing for sure is that Jon Bernthal is perfect in the role. He says he wanted the challenge of putting across a sympathetic character that isn’t likeable, and Bernthal pulls it off, as long as you can stand watching him when the Punisher is in “killing machine mode.”
There is one truly great line in the Punisher script — “Pissed off beats scared, every time.” I agree.
Jacob Kurtzberg — aka Jack Kirby — was born the same year as JFK, 100 years ago, in 1917. At the first link below you will find a collection of items about he who is the King of Comics. That’s “comics” as in books, and not comedians, as Johnny Carson once incorrectly interpreted the meaning. You’ll find something about that at the second link.
Before finding some small success as a cartoonist, Charles M. Schulz began his career as one of the instructors at the Art Instruction School in Minneapolis. But the greatest of correspondence courses for illustration and cartooning was The Famous Artists School in Wilton, Connecticut. Among its faculty was my favorite classic illustrator, Jon Whitcomb. As stated in the video, he specialized in drawing pretty girls, which is probably why he is my favorite classic illustrator.
As a kid I rode my bike countless times to buy comic books at a shopping center that was two miles away, in Wilton. As a teenager I came to realize what, and who, I had left behind by moving to Massachusetts. I had been living in the midst of many cartoonists and illustrators! With absolute certainty, I can say that if my family had remained in Norwalk, Connecticut, I would have pursued an art career, most likely starting as an assistant to an established cartoonist or comic book artist.
An exhibit of original Spider-Man comic book art is currently on display in New York. It’s only a mile from Steve Ditko’s office at 200 West 51st St., so is there any chance that the co-creator of Spidey will drop in and check out the display? It’s safe to say, absolutely not!