Sunday 29 June 2014

The Art of Diving with Modesty - Enric Romero

Our second look at Modesty Blaise and Willie Garvin's underwater exploits features the work of the artist who drew more stories than anyone else, Enric Romero.

In The Bluebeard Affair (1972), Modesty saves Willie from a watery death. Being the 1970s their training had obviously included buddy-breathing. I wonder if they belonged to their local BSAC branch? While Jim Holdaway had drawn single-hose regs in Bad Suki, Romero always featured the old twin-hose style.

In The Wicked Gnomes (1973), Modesty, Willie and their friend Maude Tiller are trapped in an old mine with a submerged tunnel standing between them and freedom. Using an inverted barrel, Willie manages to get out and fetch some scuba gear and then more buddy-breathing ensues.

In 1975's The Reluctant Chaperon, Willie uses a thermic lance to sink a Mafia yacht. Hmmmm, I wonder if PADI would approve a Thermic Lance Distinctive Specialty?!

By 1990's Walkabout, Modesty was so comfortable in the water she could take on speargun wielding divers without even needing scuba gear. With a little help from Willie of course.

Enric Badia Romero was born in 1930 in Barcelona. A self-taught artist he began working for local publishers in 1947 and later started the magazine Alex. By the sixties his work was appearing in many countries, including work for UK publisher Fleetway. Sometimes it can be hard to tell his UK work from that of his brother Jorge who had a very similar style. In 1970 he beat other artists including the great Frank Bellamy to the job of artist on Modesty Blaise, taking over mid-story following Jim Holdaway's untimely death. In 1978 he quit to begin work on his own creation, the science-fantasy heroine Axa. The Sun stopped publishing Axa in 1986 which coincided with Neville Colvin's retirement and Romero returned to Modesty Blaise, remaining as artist until Peter O'Donnell ended the strip in 2001.

You can visit Romero's website here.

Tuesday 24 June 2014

L'Art de Plongée

For no other reason than I happen to be in Paris this week, here are some images with a French connection.

I'm not sure what this 1950 lottery poster is saying so I'll assume it's something about not taking your money diving with you! Wise words.

This ad for Gibbs SR toothpaste is also from 1950.

These stamps from two French territories appeared in 1968 and 1971 respectively.

The painting by A. Fedin from this 1963 Tout L'Univers cover first appeared in the 1960 US publication, The Golden Treasury of Knowledge.

As far as I can tell, this ad not only claims that Perrier is wildly sparkling but also that it's crazy and they like it!

Friday 20 June 2014

The Inaccurate Art of Diving

This blog features the work of many talented artists but sometimes they don't get things quite right when it comes to diving.

I'm a huge fan of Archie artist Dan DeCarlo but he had a habit of drawing hoses coming directly out of cylinders as shown on this 1964 cover.

This 1965 example risked incurring the wrath of instructors everywhere by referring to flippers instead of fins!

Steve Dillon must have used some old reference material when drawing The Punisher back in 2003 - no BCD, no octopus, no gauges - but the reason these panels are featured here is that mask. Ouch! Mask squeeze!

I know she's not wearing scuba gear but that's no excuse for Marc Silvestri drawing Lara Croft with her snorkel on the right. What do you mean, you didn't even notice the snorkel?!

Now I don't want to upset any Americans reading this but can I just point out that it's aluminium!

Finally, everyone knows that large, green monsters have five digits on each "hand", not the four shown here! (Okay, this was just an excuse to show this gorgeous Wally Wood cover from 1967).

Tuesday 10 June 2014

The Refreshing Art of Diving

Today's entry features three ads for 7-Up, dating from 1957, 1958 and 1961 respectively. Unfortunately I don't know the names of any of the artists. Please follow the example of the orange diver in the third ad and only drink alcohol when you've finished diving!

Monday 2 June 2014

The Monstrous Art of Diving

This entry contains paintings of divers encountering monsters of the deep produced by three well-known fantasy artists.

The cover to Warren Publishing's Eerie magazine issue three, published in 1966, is by the late Frank Frazetta.

Born in Brooklyn in 1928, Frazetta began working in comics as a studio assistant aged 16. He worked in a variety of genres for a number of publishers including National (later to become DC) and the infamous EC Comics. He also worked on various daily strips including Al Capp's L'il Abner.

In the 60s he moved on to film posters and book covers. Film posters included those for What's New Pussycat?, The Night They Raided Minsky's and Clint Eastwood's The Gauntlet. His book covers included such famous characters as Conan, Tarzan and John Carter. He also produced covers for Warren's range of magazines as well as illustrating a few stories. He later worked with animator Ralph Bakshi on the 1983 film Fire and Ice and his work appeared on album covers for various bands including Molly Hatchet and Nazareth.

Frank Frazetta died in 2010 aged 82.

Nightmare was the first of several magazines produced by short-lived 70s publisher Skywald. The cover below, from 1971, is by Peruvian artist Boris Vallejo.

Boris Vallejo was born in Peru in 1941. He was already working as an artist when he emigrated to the United States in 1964. He became a popular cover artist on books featuring the likes of  Tarzan, Conan and Doc Savage. He used extensive photographic reference for his figures, often posing for the male characters himself. His first wife, Doris, posed for many of his female characters. He now works with his second wife Julie Bell and you can buy prints of his work from their website.

Demon of the Deep was painted by Ken Kelly in 1992.

Born in 1946, Ken W Kelly is the nephew of Frank Frazetta's wife Eleanor. Like Frank and Boris, Ken has painted Conan and Tarzan but he's possibly best known for his album covers for heavy metal giants Kiss. He also painted the iconic cover for the album Rainbow Rising. You can purchase Ken's work here.