Tuesday, 27 May 2014

The Art of Diving with Modesty - Jim Holdaway

I don't know if Peter O'Donnell ever dived but he featured scuba-diving a number times over the 38-year run of the Modesty Blaise daily strip. These examples are by the original artist, Jim Holdaway.

The earliest example was in 1965's Uncle Happy where a spear-fishing Modesty disturbs an underwater photographer.

In the 1968 story Bad Suki, Modesty's sidekick Willie Garvin gets to show off his navigation skills as our intrepid duo observe some naughty drug smugglers at work.

Jim Holdaway was born in 1927 in London. He attended Kingston School of Art although his time there was interrupted by his national service. He worked in advertising and for publisher Scion Books before moving into the world of comics, working for titles such as Comic Cuts, Tit-Bits Science Fiction Comic, Mickey Mouse Weekly and Swift.

In 1957 he started work on the humour/adventure strip Romeo Brown in the Daily Mirror. This saw him working with Peter O'Donnell for the first time. In 1963 O'Donnell was asked to produce a new  strip for the Daily Express and created Modesty Blaise, Holdaway was always his first choice to be the artist. The Express ultimately turned down the strip and it appeared in the Evening Standard instead. They worked together on Modesty Blaise until Holdaway's untimely death in 1970. He was only 43 years old.

Sunday, 25 May 2014

L'Art de Plongée - Jacques Cousteau

This entry features scuba pioneer Jacques-Yves Cousteau.

In May 1971 he was the subject of Valiant's long-running "Who Is It?" cover feature, drawn by Mike Western.

This 1960 Time cover is by Boris Artzybasheff.

 I'd like to thank Phil Rushton over at the Comics UK Forum for this marvellous 1967 Eagle cover which shows the intrepid captain's novel way of dealing with an inquisitive shark (the same incident is also shown on the Valiant cover). Phil thinks the artist might be Alex Oliphant.

Google used the following logo to mark the 100th anniversary of Cousteau's birth.

In 1998 Malta produced a set of four stamps which included this portrait by Isabelle Borg.

Finally, here are two children's books about Cousteau.

Manfish is by Jennifer Berne with illustrations by Eric Puybaret.

The Fantastic Undersea Life of Jacques Cousteau is written and illustrated by Dan Yaccarino.

Friday, 23 May 2014

The Artt of Diving

This post features a Jughead page by Samm Schwartz. He seems to have done a bit more research than fellow artist Dan DeCarlo (whose work will feature in future entries) who often just drew hoses coming straight out of the cylinder with no obvious regulator in sight!

Samuel Schwartz was born in New York in 1920. Known as Sam, he added the second m to his name to make it more unusual. He joined publishers MLJ in 1942, shortly after the creation of Archie, the character that would eventually give his name to the company.

Schwartz was the main artist on the spin-off comic Jughead through most of the 50s and 60s before joining Tower Comics where, in addition to editorial duties, he created the humour title Tippy Teen. After Tower ceased publishing he spent a year at DC, working on their teen character Debbi, before returning to Archie Comics where he once again worked on Jughead.

Schwartz had a looser, simpler style than contemporaries such as DeCarlo and he liked to play with the design of the pages. Characters would be drawn in silhouette, panel borders would be omitted and a favourite trick was to have heads, arms and feet extending into neighbouring panels. You can see an example of two of these in the first panel of the page below which comes from Archie Giant Series Magazine #157 -  The World of Jughead, published in 1968. This is actually a reprint from Archie's Pal, Jughead #99 (1963) and Veronica's hair has been subtly changed from the original, with a curl added to the ends.

Samm Schwartz died in 1997 aged 77.

Wednesday, 21 May 2014

The Art of Diving

What better place to start than the image that inspired me to create this blog in the first place.

Valiant was a boys' adventure comic published by Fleetway (later IPC) that ran from 1962 until 1976. "Is It True?" was one of a long line of features that appeared on the front cover. Artist Mike Western provided the artwork for hundreds of these covers, including the one featured here. His long career saw him illustrating No Hiding Place and Biggles for TV Express before working on various strips in Buster including The Shrinker, The Frozen Summer and Dome of Doom (all later reprinted in Valiant). In Valiant he drew The Wild Wonders from 1964 - 1974 before moving to Battle where his work included Darkie's Mob, The Sarge and HMS Nightshade. He also drew Billy's Boot's in football weekly Scorcher (and later in Roy of the Rovers) and the Roy of the Rovers daily strip in the Daily Star. He died in 2008 aged 83.

Oh, for those wondering, the story is true and happened to diving pioneer Hans Hass.