Tuesday 31 May 2016

The Art of Diving with Mantas

The Art of Diving is currently on holiday in the beautiful Maldives.

Yesterday, after 18 years of waiting, I got to dive with Mantas and I thought I'd mark the occasion with a couple of paintings.

Mort K√ľnstler painted this Adventure cover in 1955 and it appeared on the February 1956 edition. If I was the unlucky diver I'd be more worried about the clam holding onto my leg than the harmless Manta Ray swimming overhead but, sadly, they seemed to get some bad press back then.

Limited edition prints of this artwork are for sale on the artist's website.

Two years earlier in April '54, things were equally unenlightened as this John Floherty Jr Cavalier cover shows.

To balance out these negative depictions, here's a photo I took of one of these majestic animals.

Saturday 21 May 2016

The 100th Art of Diving

Two years ago today I launched the revamped Art of Diving here on Blogger and, by a happy coincidence, here we are with the 100th post!

There's no special theme today, just a random selection.

I couldn't let the occasion go without some Dan DeCarlo Archie artwork. This pin-up appeared in a 1963 Betty and Veronica Summer Fun.

I usually feature Mike Western's Valiant covers but here's some earlier work -  a lovely colour Biggles page from a 1961 TV Express.

This wonderful Viz cover is by regular artist Simon Thorp.

Don't look now mate but I think that Hammerhead wants your fish! By C.E. Monroe.

I'm afraid I don't know who painted this piece from the 1962 Lion Annual but it's very nice!

I look forward to the day when we can ditch our conventional scuba gear in favour of this wonderful Jack Kirby Mini-Cruiser!

And finally, here's Russ Heath's cover to Showcase 27 (1960) that saw the first appearance of the Sea Devils.

Friday 20 May 2016

The Familiar Art of Diving - Stag Wars

Tom Palmer, probably best known for his work as an inker for the likes of Neal Adams, John Buscema and Gene Colan, appears to have used Art of Diving favourite Mort Kunstler's 1959 Stag cover as the inspiration for issue 74 of Marvel's Star Wars from 1983 (Click for larger images).

Thursday 19 May 2016

The Original Art of Diving - Modesty Blaise

I recently became the owner of some Modesty Blaise originals, two of which are from stories I've featured in previous Art of Diving with Modesty posts. I bought them from The Book Palace/Illustration Art Gallery in South London and they still have plenty of nice pieces for sale.

The first example is from The Scarlet Maiden, drawn by Neville Colvin. (Click for larger images).

The second piece is by Patrick Wright from Brethren of Blaise.

Saturday 14 May 2016

As if by magic, the Art of Diving appeared!

David Mckee's Mr Benn first appeared in the book Mr Benn - Red Knight which was published in 1967. Further books followed at irregular intervals, some of which were adapted for the TV series which first appeared in 1971. McKee and Ian Lawless produced 13 episodes which have been repeated many, many times over the years. Each story saw Mr Benn, who lived at number 52 Festive Road, visit a fancy dress shop. Inside the shop, the fez-wearing shopkeeper would appear "as if by magic" and help Mr Benn choose his costume. After donning the outfit, he would leave the dressing room and find himself transported to a place befitting his choice where he would have an adventure.

Several episodes have now been turned into storybooks and one of these is The Frogman (aka Diver). Here are the covers to a couple of editions of the book.

I'm not quite sure how Mr Benn manages to see without a mask but, as there has been much speculation about the nature of his adventures and whether they were hallucinations, it's probably best not to think too much about it! And I'm sure it hasn't bothered the countless children who have enjoyed his magical adventures over the last 40+ years.

David McKee's other creations include King Rollo and Elmer, the Patchwork Elephant. He has also illustrated some Paddington Bear books as well as work by his wife Violet and son Chuck.

Sunday 8 May 2016

The Archie of Diving - Sunday Funnies

This time last year I was regularly checking the blog's stats to see if I could reach 10,000 page views before the first anniversary (as it happens, I missed by a couple of days). As the second anniversary approaches I'm pleased to say that we've already broken the 30,000 barrier with a couple of weeks to spare! As the blog covers quite a niche area of interest I'm delighted with the stats and hope I can continue to provide items of interest.

As I'm writing this on a Sunday, for today's entry I'm featuring a couple of Archie Sunday pages by Bob Montana, sadly only in black and white. Click for larger images.

August 19th 1962

July 7th 1968