The Nerds of the Roundtable return with a discussion about which creators they miss the most!
In Outhouse Roundtable, Royal Nonesuch gathers the writing staff of The Outhouse to get to know where they stand in the landscape of comic book fandom. The formula is simple: one questions, a joyous multitude of answers.
This week's question: Which comic book creator no longer working in the industry today (whether it be due to death, retirement, getting swallowed whole by another industry, or some other reason entirely) do you miss seeing new work from?
I'm assuming that most people will say Jack Kirby, but unfortunately there are a lot of names that could fill out many lists. For me, I think it's a shame that we no longer have Harvey Pekar around. Also, while I'm glad that David Mazzuchelli worked on ASTERIOS POLYP for so long, since it came out so beautiful, I do wish there was some way we could rush his genius and see more from him on a more regular basis. I'm not sure if Paul Chadwick has more CONCRETE (or anything else) in store, but I certainly hope so. I don't think there is any earthly force that can get Bill Watterson to take up CALVIN & HOBBES again, but with newspaper comics no longer having the cultural prominence they once had, I wonder if he'll ever return to cartooning again. Steve Ditko is one of my favorite comic book artists ever, but any work he does do nowadays is intended for only the smallest circles and is too damn hard to get my hands on. Lastly, I often wonder what other mad designs we would have seen from Seth Fisher had he not died so young. There's a guy whose career ended just as it was taking off.
Okay, I'm sure i will get some hate for this but, i really miss Joe Maduriera and Jeff Matsuda. I really enjoy their styles, and since they started when I was realy getting heavily into comics.
I also miss Brian Vaughn. I really wish he'd come back to comics, and write Runaways again.
As far as dead creators, one I really truly miss is Mark Wieringo. I really miss his work, more and more everyday. He died way too early.
Mike Parobek - he died way too soon (30 years old). JSA, THE FLY, ELONGATED MAN, DR. LIGHT and BATMAN ADVENTURES, etc. If he drew it, it was damn near perfect.
Don Newton - another too soon (49). His BATMAN, CAPTAIN MARVEL & NEW GODS were magical. But it's the stuff that should have been that is missed most. His dream gig was AVENGERS and apart from the ARSENAL Annual (and one stand alone issue a few years later) he never got the permanent nod. He was tagged to take over INFINITY INC., but his first issue also contained the news of his death.
Bill Mantlo - He's still alive (if you can call it that). Oh the stories he must have playing in his head and no way for him to express them. Just tragic.
I agree with Amoebas. I would love to see Don Newton at work. His style was maturing on BATMAN in the early '80s and it would have been interesting to see what he would have done had he lived longer.
As a hardcore Gil Kane fan, I would have loved to see him continue working indefinitely. In my opinion he did some of his best work in the early '90s, on THE RING. He was doing phenomenal work on fantasy-themed illustrations, and it would have been awesome to see him continue to work on sword-and-sorcery and sci-fi stories. I would have also loved to see how contemporary inkers would have handled his pencils. I'm thinking, in particular, of Dexter Vines, who has done such a great job on Steve McNiven's work.
I'd also love to see Mike Zeck get back into comics. I'm not sure what he's doing now, but I sure wish he would consider doing some cover or interior art. At the very height of his comics career, when he was doing the lavishly detailed covers for the "Ten Nights of the Beast" arc in BATMAN, Zeck was producing truly indelible images. I bet his stuff now would be even more powerful.
Wow...I'm really not too sure how to answer these questions as a lot of my favorite creators are still in the business. I suppose I can say Gene Colan, who's artwork never fails to amaze and absolutely excite me. I'm also going to mention Charles Addams, the creator of the Addams Family. I collect whatever book I can find that has any of his strips. They're hilarious and filled with so much dark humor that I find myself laughing out loud. He's definitely an artist that always brings a smile to my face and I'm sadden he went before the time I even discovered his work or even get to meet him.
OH! Christopher Priest! Where the heck are you, Mr. Priest?!?! Comics need you!!! I don't care what book it is, please just write a new comic book!!!
Well first and foremost is my favourite writer Brian K Vaughan. After finishing off Y: THE LAST MAN and EX MACHINA, he's apparently focusing on his screenwriting career which makes sense as he was a film student before getting into comics. He was very communicative with his fan base and his total withdrawal from comics is as disappointing as any I've seen. As an aside, it would be wonderful to see BKV's RUNAWAYS co-creator Adrian Alphona back in comics. While Alphona was never as visible an online presence as Vaughan, he seemed to have a bright future and his disappearance is a big loss for comics.
Not entirely gone but certainly MIA for now is Steven T Seagle whose output has never been enormous but his work with Man of Action studios has seemingly left him little time for gems like AMERICAN VIRGIN, CRUSADES, and SUPERMAN: IT'S A BIRD.
Completing my trinity of creators I'd love to see more from is the artist Marcelo Frusin. He worked on HELLBLAZER and LOVELESS at Vertigo but vanished midway through the latter and hasn't been seen between the covers of a comic since. I have no idea what happened to him and while his replacements on the title were fine artists in their own right, Frusin was a major draw for me on the book and his art is something I'd love to see more of down the line.
John Buscema is one of the first names to come to mind. His work on the THE AVENGERS and SILVER SURFER (among lots and lots of other comics) is INCREDIBLE. The good news is there are tons of Buscema comics I have yet to read. The bad news is there aren't any more coming. One of the greats.
I'll echo many of e_galston's picks. Joe Maduriera and Jeff Matsuda did some great work back in the day and I'd like to see them again. Joe Mad's last work on ULTIMATES 3 wasn't the most stellar performance but get him an inker and I bet the results are more impressive.
Mark Weiringo is missed. He had some great work in his career but was taken far too soon.
This counts as both someone who hadn't done any work for a long time, and now also someone who is unfortunately dead, my pick is Dave Stevens, the creator of THE ROCKETEER. He was just a fantastic artist, with a classic style,who managed to draw sexy women without being creepy, and managed to create a classic character in the Rocketeer. Strangely, his death kind of inadvertently led to his return to the industry, with IDW reprinting the small amount of ROCKETEER stuff available in a variety of different hardcovers, and a new anthology mini-series with contributions from many comic book luminaries, but it won't be the same, I would give my left leg to see more ROCKETEER from Stevens, I mean, it ended on a cliffhanger!
Honourable mentions also go to Mike Wieringo, Jack Kirby, Alan Moore, and the real James Robinson and JMS, not the Skrulls impersonating them at the moment.
I'd also love to see Steve Ditko unleashed again, because he's fucking mental.
Adrian Alphona - His work on Runaways was superb and it's a shame that he's no longer drawing comics regularly.
James Jean - Sure, he mostly worked on covers, but they were amazing. I'm glad that he's digging his current output, though.
Seth Fisher - I gather that not a lot of people remember him, but he was a great artist. Lively. Creative. Surreal. Seth's was an artistic beast, but death had other plans.
Since all the popular ones are taken, I’d like to see more from ChrissCross. He’s still around but doing single issues here and there. His style was very fun and I always wished that he had gotten a chance to draw the last She-Hulk ongoing series.
And speaking of artists doing sporadic work, Ryan Sook. His work on the SEVEN SOLDIERS: ZATANNA mini and X-FACTOR blew my socks off. He does back ups occasionally but I’d like to see him buckle down and do a mini series or an arc on an ongoing.
I'll echo the others who have named those who are no longer with us - Mike Wieringo, Mike Parobeck, Don Newton et al are deeply missed and were taken from us far too soon.
On a far more hopeful note, I've just heard that someone I have missed for a very long time is returning soon: Steve Moncuse. For those not in the know, his late-80s-early-90s book FISH POLICE was a true gem. Initially published in black and white by his own Fishwrap imprint, it was reprinted in colour by Comico, and concerned a police officer who woke up one morning to find that he had been transformed into a fish. A fish policeman, in fact, called Inspector Gill. Anyway, IDW will be reprinting the book in trade next month and these reprints will be followed by an all-new FP series. I'm looking forward!
The people that I miss the most in the comic book industry are technically still working in the industry. They are just not doing the job in the industry that I wish they were still doing.
Take Todd McFarlane for example. I really miss the days when he was working as a Penciler, especially at Marvel. Yes, I know he co-plots HAUNT with Kirkman, draws some covers, and does a little inking on the book when he can. Even that’s a lot to ask of some one that has to run multiple companies and find time for his family. Though the self absorbed, greedy, fan-boy in me wish he was still drawing AMAZING SPIDER-MAN.
Even when I look at those old books today, the art still pops of the page. The dynamic action yet slightly cartoony (but not too cartoony) style was the closest you could get to 3D without putting on glasses. There were a lot of people that tried to copy his style. Todd even made some videos with Stan Lee teaching people how to do it, but no one was ever really able quite do art the way he did it. They were either to realistic or to stylized. Their styles led them to careers in their own right, but there was never any one that penciled the way McFarlane did better than McFarlane did it.
Steve Gerber (1947 - 2008)
I don't know all the facts behind his various battles over his work and creations, what I do know is that his initial run, and even the 2002 limited series, on HOWARD THE DUCK was nothing short of fantastic. Gerber could make an angry and cynical protagonist into some one that the reader not only rooted for, but relate to. In comparison to last year's horrible "Back in Quack" Gerber's work for Marvel not only stands the test of time, but highlights his ability to make what he did so well look so easy.
If HOWARD THE DUCK was not enough, there was also the short lived, underrated, and under read HARD TIME Seasons 1 & 2 from DC's short lived DC Focus line of books, where Gerber created a 15 year protagonist who is introduced to the reader in the process of participating in a fake (or so he thought) Columbine type attack on his school and is sentenced to life in prison for his crimes. HARD TIME, a PG-13 cross between HAWKMAN and Oz, made Ethan Harrow a sympathetic character who made the best of his sentence and new found powers (find and read the damn books if you want more).
Written or Contributed by: Royal Nonesuch
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About the Author - Royal Nonesuch
As Senior Media Correspondent (which may be a made-up title), Royal Nonesuch tends to spearhead a lot of film and television content on The Outhouse. He's still a very active participant in the comic book section of the site, though. Nonesuch writes reviews of film, television, and comics, and conducts interviews for the site as well. You can reach out to him on Twitter or with Email.
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