Saturday 20 December 2014

The Festive Art of Diving

With the 25th fast approaching, what better time to present these three images of Santa. Merry Christmas from the Art of Diving!  (Click on images for larger scans).

With 2066 still some way off, who knows? Perhaps this could happen! Art by Mike Western.


Tuesday 16 December 2014

The Art of Diving Goes to the Movies

This week I'd like to share some posters from a selection of diving-themed movies (You can click on some images for a larger version).

The Phantom From 10,000 Leagues hit the screens in 1955 as part of a double-bill with The Day the World Ended. For the poster artwork, artist Albert Kallis achieved the impressive feat of making the radiation-spawned monster look even dafter the it does in the film!

The director didn't waste any time introducing the monster as you can see here:

Undersea Girl (1957) saw a detective, a navy lieutenant and a reporter (the girl of the title) teaming up to track down some stolen navy money. The main figure in this poster looks to me as though it might be painted over a photo - what do you think?

In 1962, The Underwater City was filmed in just seven days on a completely dry soundstage. An entertaining account of the making of the film by producer Alex Gordon can be found here. In the first poster it looks to me like another case of the figures having started out as photos.

1975 saw the release of The Treasure of Jamaica Reef which featured the big screen debut of one Cheryl Stoppelmoor. She married her co-star, David Ladd, and shot to fame when she replaced Farrah Fawcett-Majors in the TV series Charlie's Angels. Here's the cover from the VHS release of the film (presumably early '80s) which you'll note gives top billing to Cheryl Ladd.

In 1976 the film was re-edited to add some murders and some shark footage in an attempt to cash-in on the success of Jaws. It was renamed Evil in the Deep and artist Joseph R. Musso painted this dramatic poster:

1977 brought us another Jaws wannabe, the British-Mexican Tintorera which centred on attacks by a 19ft Tiger Shark (in reality the shark, which appeared in stock footage, was only 5ft long!). This German poster is the only one I've found that features divers.

Sunday 7 December 2014

The Archie of Diving - Bob Bolling

It's feast or famine here at The Art of Diving. I was too busy to post anything last week but today I'm bringing you three new posts to make up for it!

Today's third and final post features a story from Archie Giant Series Magazine #150 -  Archie's Christmas Stocking which was published in 1967. As with many Archie stories, it centres around the eternal triangle of Archie, Betty and Veronica (click for larger images).

Interestingly, artist Bob Bolling gives Betty a single hose set-up in contrast to the twin hoses of the others. However, in the second panel of the page below, Betty, seen from behind, seems to suddenly have twin hoses.

Bob Bolling (b1928) began working for Archie Comics in 1954. It was felt his style was better suited to drawing small children and, after some time working on Pat the Brat, he was asked to write and draw a new feature called Little Archie featuring the regular Archie cast in their younger days. In the late sixties, after receiving tips from fellow artists Dan DeCarlo and Harry Lucey, he began working on the regular Archie titles, usually working with writer Frank Doyle. In 1979 he returned to Little Archie as writer-artist and a few years later took over Archie and Me, a book centred on Archie and the school principal, Mr Weatherbee. His later work included new stories for the range of Archie digests.

It's Behind You!

It's feast or famine here at The Art of Diving. I was too busy to post anything last week but today I'm bringing you three new posts to make up for it!

As panto season is approaching, I thought my title was appropriate for this wonderfully atmospheric piece which is actually called Exploring Lake Loch Ness.  It's by a talented young artist called Kella Martin, aka CoconutMilkyway (click for a larger image)

You can see more of her work over at Deviant Art.

Choose Your Own Art of Diving

It's feast or famine here at The Art of Diving. I was too busy to post anything last week but today I'm bringing you three new posts to make up for it!

First up we have some covers from Bantam Books' Choose Your Own Adventure series. They published over 180 books in the series from 1979 to 1998, in addition to numerous spin-off series.

From 1979 comes the second book in the series, Journey Under the Sea.

As a bonus, here's a later re-issue with a new cover.

1983 saw the publication of The Phantom Submarine. I've seen this cover attributed to artist Ralph Reese.

The following year saw Treasure Diver which includes one ending where, overcome by nitrogen narcosis, the reader takes out their regulator and drowns! I wonder how many kids read that and were put off the idea of diving!

Book 78 from 1988 was Return to Atlantis but this cover is from a later re-issue where it was number 18.

For more information on this series and others visit Demian Katz's comprehensive website here.


Monday 24 November 2014

Octopus Attack!

I'm a sucker for a good octopus picture and I hope you too enjoy the following selection.

First up is an issue of Men from 1953. Unfortunately I don't know who the artist is, nor am I able to share that 25-point check-list!

Jumping back a few years to 1928 we have this issue of Science and Invention. Frankly I'm not quite sure exactly what's going on in this picture but it features a wonderfully pop-eyed octopus and that's good enough for me!

The next cover is from a book originally published in 1942. This paperback cover dates from1954 and is by John Floherty Jr. who was a combat artist at Iwo Jima and Okinawa during World War II.

In 1964, Valiant's Tim Kelly had the following encounter with a giant octopus. The marvellously moody artwork is by one of the most prolific artists to work for Fleetway/IPC in the '60s and '70s, Francisco Solano Lopez (1928-2011).

I've featured some covers from La Domenica Del Corriere in previous blogs. This one dates from 1927 and presumably is based on a true story.

In 1965 the Sea Devils ran into this fella at, I'm guessing, forty fathoms (although they appear to be at the surface on the cover). Artwork by Howard Purcell. You can expect to see more of the daring quartet in future blogs.


Monday 17 November 2014

L'Art de Plongée - Tintin magazine (1955)

The first issue of Tintin magazine, which starred Hergé's famous reporter, appeared in1946. By the mid-1950s it was well established and had grown from 12 pages to 32. It was also published in separate editions for France, Belgium, Switzerland, the Netherlands and Canada. Most strips in the magazine would occupy a single page and would later be reprinted in album form. I've found a number of examples from 1955 where scuba-diving was featured and I'll be sharing some of them here (Rest assured I'll be searching through other years to see if I can find more goodies to share in future blogs).

During this period the magazine would begin with a four page story, usually historical, that also featured on the front cover. Here are the covers from two such stories illustrated by René Follet (b1931) and Jean Graton (b1923) respectively.

The second example features an incident that had happened to Italian racing driver Alberto Ascari only a few months earlier. During a race in Monaco he lost control and crashed into the harbour. Although he survived on that occasion he was killed four days later in another accident at Monza in Italy. Artist Jean Graton is best known for drawing the adventures of his own racing driver Michel Vaillant.

Next up is an advertising strip for Helva Watches. The young diver wonders why the fish are staring at him before realising they're looking at his watch.

Dan Cooper was a Canadian test pilot and The Blue Triangle was the first story in his 50+ year history. Over 40 albums have been published and the strip was written and drawn by Albert Weinberg (1922-2011). Here we see Dan searching for wreckage from a recent crash that occurred during tests of a new plane, the Blue Triangle. As often seems to happen in comics, a pesky shark comes along!

Our final examples come from the long running adventures of Suske en Wiske although here they are known as Bob et Bobette (They were also known as Spike and Suzy in Britain and Willy and Wanda in the United States). Created by Willy Vandersteen (1913-1990) for the Flemish newspaper De Nieuwe Standaard in 1945, their popularity soon grew and Vandersteen was approached by the publishers of Tintin in 1948. The characters appeared there for the next 11 years. At Hergé's request Vandersteen adapted his artistic style to follow the Ligne Claire (Clear Line) style that he had pioneered and was adopted by many others.

As the exploits of Jacques Cousteau would have been well known at the time it's perhaps not surprising to see M. Lambique (aka Ambrose) using the three-cylinder system used by Cousteau.

Monday 10 November 2014

The Art of Dive! Dive! Diving!

Something a little different this time as we look at submarines of all shapes and sizes.

This panel from Captain Scarlet doesn't feature any divers but artist Mike Noble is a favourite of mine so I'm putting it in anyway! From a 2068(!) issue of TV21.

Click on this image to see the complete cover in all its glory.

This illustration by Ronald Simmons is from the 1958 Lion Annual.

I couldn't feature submarines and not include an issue of Charlton's Submarine Attack. This 1958 cover is by Charles Nicholas and Vince Alascia.

One of the most famous subs from the world of film and TV is of course the Seaview, seen here in a 1966 comic from Gold Key.

This Ken Riley painting, which may look familiar, is from a late 50s Saturday Evening Post.

Hmmmm! Yellow wetsuits and pink chariots - not exactly the butchest bad guys around! (I'm assuming they're the baddies as I haven't actually seen the story this cover illustrates).

The Sea Devils attempt to learn the Secret of the Sunken Sub in this 1964 issue. Art by Russ Heath.

A two-man sub from 1958.

Despite the magazine name, I guess this 1964 one-man sub wasn't popular or we'd all be using them today! Cover by Robert McCall.

Saturday 1 November 2014

Grimm's Art of Diving

Here's a day-after-Halloween bonus for you (Click for larger scans of all the images).

Grimm's Ghost Stories was published by the Western Publishing Company Inc. under their Gold Key imprint. Many Gold Key comics featured painted covers and issue 15 of GGS from 1974 featured this wonderful example by George Wilson.

Not much seems to be known about Wilson but we know he served in Normandy in World War II prior to his career as an artist. He was a prolific contributor to Gold Key as well as working for paperback publishers such as Harlequin and Avon. He died in December 1999. Here's a scan of his original painting for this issue.

The story that the cover illustrates was drawn by Frank Bolle.

The son of two artists, Frank Bolle was born in New York in 1924. He served during World War II and then attended the Pratt Institute. His comics career began in 1948 drawing westerns for Magazine Enterprises. At Gold Key he worked across a range of their titles and he also had a parallel career in newspaper strips. He worked on the syndicated Sunday feature Children's Tale and contributed to numerous daily strips including Rip Kirby, The Heart of Juliet Jones and Little Orphan Annie.