The dual cover of Comic Book Creator # 13 shows what is the meat of this issue, namely interviews with artists Ramona Fradon and Michael W. Kaluta, which tends to make light of the other material contained. Not being American, I’m not really that familiar with ‘The Wacky Pack’ stickers and an excerpt from the Otto Binder book by Bill Schelly, that I’ve already reviewed.
So it is with the interview by Jon B. Cooke with Ramona Fradon that my eyes shined. Her father, Peter Dom, was a font creator and you can find samples of these on-line. When you bear in mind that outside of Marie Severin at Marvel, Ramona Fradon at DC Comics was the only other woman working in a creative capacity in comicbooks in the 60s, her significance should be apparent. Cooke explores her life and thoughts of the political situation at the time and how she drifted into certain types of jobs. With comicbooks, from what Fradon says she was more a storyteller then good penciller, which is one of the prime ingredients for success. With National Periodicals, she was raised from generic to Aquaman and Metamorpho. Even after a seven year break to raise her daughter, Fradon returned to comics and although took a while to get started again, more from lack of practice, she did some of these before taking over the ‘Brenda Starr’ newspaper strip. Although now in her early 90s, she still draws. I found this interview delightful because she has seen so much of American history and a lot of people who became famous in passing. This interview alone is worth more than the cover price.
The extensive Michael W. Kuluta interview is no less absorbing. It was interesting to discover he found horror films and comics disturbing when young and had a preference for Archie Comics and standard war comics although he read across the board. In many respects, although a good artist, he fell into the comicbook industry by association with Berni Wrightson and Jeff Jones and later, with Barry Windsor-Smith, formed ‘The Studio’ as a place of work for three years. I might not have hit all the material he was on, but I certainly recognised his cover work and the eye-catching Madame Xanadu and The Shadow. His notes on the Hollywood creative system when it concerns artist contribution will show just how tough it can be. His apartment sounds like a geek’s dream and I wish someone had taken photos of some of his collections.
This issue of ‘Comic Book Creator’ is one of the most engrossing yet because not only do you hear about both people but about their lives as well which dimensionalises them in an extraordinary way. If you have an liking for 60s or modern, then you will find both to please you here.
(pub: TwoMorrows Publishing. 82 page illustrated magazine. Price: $ 8.95 (US). ISSN: 2330-2437. Direct from them, you can get it for$ 7.61 (US))
check out websites: http://www.twomorrows.com/ and http://twomorrows.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=98_132&products_id=1248