Friday, October 28, 2011

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Hal Foster's Tarzan

Edgar Rice Burroughs' most famous creation Tarzan of the Apes came in many forms: books, movies, radio and in the comics. I discovered Tarzan through a wonderful book my father had and passed onto me. The reason the book is so great is not just because of Burroughs' plot, which includes Tarzan's origin, but because of Hal Foster's drawings.

Foster (August 18, 1892 – July 25, 1982), who later became famous for "Prince Valiant", first drew Tarzan in January, 1929 for the comics section. He left the strip but came back In 1931 to draw only the Sunday episodes. An expert draughtsman and storyteller, Foster's panels read like storyboards for the best Tarzan movie never made.

Subsequent Tarzan artists (most notably Burne Hogarth) left their mark, but I never liked them quite as much.

Unfortunately, as in so much of the culture of the '30's, there are elements in these strips that I thought unconsciously racist and for that I apologize in advance. One hopes these elements will not hamper your enjoyment of Foster's line too much.

Years later I saw a copy of a Conan comic in which John Buscema inked his own pencils. There it was- that great Hal Foster look. Obviously John loved Foster's run on Tarzan as much as I did!

John Buscema channeling Hal Foster in Conan # 39

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Goodbye, Mr. Jobs

Stephen Jobs (February 24, 1955 – October 5, 2011): inventor, visionary, innovator, master showman, cancer survivor, cancer victim.

I've never owned a computer that wasn't an Apple. I still have, somewhere here in the chaos that is my basement office, one of the Macintosh models pictured above. I've kept it. It's not worth anything, and the software to run it is long gone, but I kept it because I felt that it was an important machine, and I'm not all that fond of machines. Yet there it is, sitting on a bookshelf, looking just like the ones in the picture.

My tiny I-Pod is in my car, waiting until I go to the gym tomorrow, when I'll plug it in my ears to ease the psychic pain of the elliptical trainer. I'm typing this blog on my wireless Apple keyboard, into my latest Mac: OS 10.6.8. It's about the size of a square paperback book.

Of course, I could go on and on. 

Steve Jobs has touched the lives of billions around the world. His machines and inventions, like Pixar, have enriched society in such a global way that his name has become synonymous not just with commerce, but with the narrow world that embraces creativity and commerce, ideas and production, financial and aesthetic success. 

Steve Jobs was somehow able to marry creative thinking with commercial success, beautiful design with titanic application. He was able to take on every challenge and solve them in the most elegant way possible.

Except the last one. He wasn't able to live long enough.