Sunday, December 07, 2008


God, I love comics.

This cover from a 1940 comic book is not so much a drawing as a riot of the themes inside the heart of an adolescent boy.

Anyone who ever learned to draw will recognize their first few faltering steps here: how to hide the feet you don't quite know how to draw; the temptation to squeeze in every cool trick you've learned-- a skull, a punch, a broken wall, an axe-- whether it fits in the drawing or not; and of course, a girl in a slinky dress, perfected during those agonizing years when it was easier to invent your own girl than talk to a real one.

The drawing, just like an adolescent boy, is an awkward jumble of overlapping themes with no perspective or coordination.

There may come a day when these childish impulses are no longer so benign-- the boy grows up, and the sweet patriotism of that Uncle Sam may lead to narrow minded jingoism; the infatuation with a punch may lead to pointless violence; and the tied up girl may lead to who knows what. But for now, it is perfectly innocent.

This is clearly not a well executed drawing, but if you promise not to tell anyone, I think its sweetness and purity still qualify it as a lovely one.


Blogger Gerard said...

Great drawing and a great summation in the copy as well.

12/07/2008 11:55 PM  
Blogger Mark said...

It's also Fun!

12/08/2008 12:40 AM  
Blogger peacay said...

It seems to me that you are conflating two considerations. Sure, it's no keeper in terms of technical virtuosity and its overall design is fairly mish-mash, but in the editorial or advertising sense, it's a successful drawing no? It appeals - just like the internet! - to a young mind that wants to take in a whole jumble of imagery all at once and entices them to buy the comic to see all that amazingness(!!) locked inside. I would say that means it's a well-executed drawing.

12/08/2008 1:52 AM  
Blogger Li-An said...

It's an interesting drawing. As you said, it's about teenage fantasies but it works nice.

12/08/2008 6:45 AM  
Anonymous giulia said...

and i want to know more about this marvellous drawing
for ex. the author,...the cetera...and so on...and so fort...

12/08/2008 7:58 AM  
Blogger dfernetti said...

Well, the girl sure looks hot!

12/08/2008 8:31 AM  
Blogger Dominic Bugatto said...

I assume this is Lou Fine ?

Regardless of it's creator, It's a stunner !

12/08/2008 9:45 AM  
Blogger Steve Epting said...

It is indeed Lou Fine. After a little research, it appears he was probably 25 years old when he drew this. It would be interesting to see if an older, more cynical artist would have had the ability to tap into the adolescent themes you've described here.

12/08/2008 11:47 AM  
Blogger Piya said...

It makes one think: what's better, a piece of artwork that is technically lacking but honest and sincere, or a wonderfully rendered piece with no heart? I hope my work displays more of the former than the latter. Of course, the ideal is the best of both worlds: technical virtuosity and something that comes from (and goes straight to) the heart!

12/08/2008 12:38 PM  
Blogger David Apatoff said...

Thanx, Gerard and Mark!

Peacay, you raise a fair point. I suppose I used an overly narrow definition of the term "well executed."

Li-an, at least no one can say the drawing conceals its intentions.

12/08/2008 6:29 PM  
Blogger frank gressie said...

it looks like something frazetta could have done in the early years..

12/08/2008 6:36 PM  
Blogger David Apatoff said...

giulia, some of the other readers are correct, this is Lou Fine working in a simpler era. Thanks Dominic and Steve!

dfernetti, I know you are both an artist and a guy, so I suspect you are intimately familiar with that girl-drawing syndrome I mentioned. For such people, there is usually a period of a few intense years when being able to design your own girl is the greatest thing about being an artist.

12/08/2008 6:37 PM  
Blogger David Apatoff said...

Piya, I tend to trade off between the two, depending on my mood. I'm grateful that art offers the range of alternatives. But as you can tell from this post, I am a sucker for purity.

Frank, I agree. Given where Frazetta ended up, it's always a little surprising to go back and look at his early work that was a clumsy patchwork quilt of favorite gimmicks, flawed anatomy and bad perspective.

12/08/2008 8:17 PM  
Blogger dfernetti said...

Ah, the girl drawing syndrome! I'm still at that stage, I must confess! Anyway, I'm not in a hurry to get a medicine against that particular syndrome, being a quite happy illness! Anyway, drawing girls challenges the artist with some interesting problems: natural poses which show what you intend, line rythm, anatomy, sometimes a scorzo... in a way, and hopefully the women out there won't get me wron, to draw a beautiful woman is as taxing and precise as drawing a horse.
Of course, I won't tell that to my models. Who wants to draw an offended horse?

12/09/2008 4:55 AM  
Blogger rodge said...

Starring Uncle Sam. The greatest comic of all time!
Great line!

12/09/2008 6:15 AM  
Blogger Dolf Van Sprengel said...

Don't we all love comics? This one is great, i like the expressions and the monochomatic of it!

12/09/2008 6:30 AM  
Blogger David Apatoff said...

dfernetti, "drawing girls" is one of those topics that I started to write about, then decided that I'd better wait until I am ready to shut down this blog and leave no forwarding address. I hope when that day comes, you'll still be reading so you can jump in and participate. I'd love your further thoughts.

12/09/2008 7:18 AM  
Blogger dfernetti said...

Thanks Dave! I love your blog and look forward for each new post. Yes, drawing girls -being artistically honest- is one of those subjects that may raise some er... pungent comments, so to speak.
Geez, how I would have liked to ask Dave Stevens about this!
And I have to confess that all my thoughts are further, and beyond.

12/09/2008 4:58 PM  
Blogger David Apatoff said...

dfernetti, Stevens, Cho and Hughes are all excellent examples of artists who learned to draw through the prism of pretty girls. It is quite obvious that the pleasure of drawing the lines of the female figure is what motivated them to sit at the drawing board day after day, learning their craft. But I find it especially interesting when a male artist's eyesight fuses with his desire to transform the objects of his passion. Frazetta obviously loves ample bottoms on women, so his women come out with tiny waists and superhuman butts. Robert McGinnis loves long, skinny legs, so his women end up looking almost like human spiders. They may look unnatural when measured objectively, but I'm sure these distorted pictures of women look perfectly normal to the artists as they are drawing, just as El Greco saw people as extremely tall and thin.

12/10/2008 8:21 AM  
Blogger David Apatoff said...

Rodge, yes I agree that Uncle Sam business is pretty darn cool.

Dolf, I agree.

12/10/2008 8:23 AM  
OpenID said...


12/11/2008 5:30 AM  
Blogger benton jew said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

12/11/2008 2:26 PM  
Blogger benton jew said...

It's interesting for me to see how LITTLE times have changed. During the Golden Age, we had guys doing work that was not necessarily well drawn well, but tapped into that emotional, adolescent boy.
During the Silver Age, there seemed to be a short-lived swing towards strong drawing skills. Some of the better guys ( Adams, Kubert, Toth, Thorne, Romita, Buscema, Cardy ) seemed to be able to tap into BOTH sides. However, after the mid-70's, it seems the illustrative side seemed to die off. We've had mostly bad drawing to this day. It would be great to see a balance achieved. Guys like Hughes, Bernet, Cho et al, offer rays of hope for those of us who like strong drawing, but their numbers are few and far between.

12/11/2008 2:28 PM  
Blogger dfernetti said...

Jordi Bernet sure looks like having big fun with each project. And returning to drawings of the female form, he has done some wonderful work with the series "Clara, de noche"

12/15/2008 8:42 AM  
Blogger kenmeyerjr said...

Yeah, I thought that was Lou Fine when I saw it, but it did look crude, compared to what I knew of his stuff...figures that it was done so young. At 25 though, I would not have been able to be in the same galaxy as this.

As for drawing the female form...geez, I dunno if I am EVER gonna grow out of loving that subject matter!

12/15/2008 3:55 PM  
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