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Jul 1, 2015

Wanna give your eyeballs a real treat? Pick up a copy of Arlen Schumer’s The Silver Age of Comic Book Art – which was recently released in a revised edition – and turn to any page. And I mean any page. Wherever your eyes go, they will discover a stunningly well curated tour through the DC and Marvel pop art of the 1960s -- the word balloons now filled not with superhero dialogue but with fine art narrative and discussion from Schumer and the artists themselves.

ARLEN SCHUMER podcast excerpt: "Why did Gene Colan make the cut over some other artists? Gene Colan, in his short Marvel career in 1966, does pretty definitive versions of three major characters: Sub-Mariner. Iron Man and Daredevil -- and you can even add his Doctor Strange -- the only Doctor Strange that can be spoken about on the same level as Steve Ditko's. And that's high praise."

Here’s Steve Ditko on his ethereal Doctor Strange images: “Style is not what you do, but how you handle it... Whatever I draw doesn’t have to look like anything that ever existed.” Think The Flash looks pretty cool as depicted on The CW TV series? Check out Carmine Infantino’s take on the Scarlet Speedster in the 1960s and hear about him in the artist’s own words: “Movement – that’s what The Flash was all about, that’s what made the character! He was tough to do because of the constant speed! Every page, I’d have constant motion! Even when it was quiet, you’d need motion!”

ARLEN SCHUMER podcast excerpt: "What the book is about is me paying homage to these great artists, the period, and trying to do the only book of its type. My feeling is that this is the only way to do it because comics are words AND pictures. The fact that all history books before mine were word-heavy with little reproductions -- that's not true to what comics are themselves!" 

Speaking of TV, would ABC have ever invested in “Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” if Jim Steranko hadn’t made Nick Fury so damn cool? “When I took S.H.I.E.L.D. on,” Steranko says, “Fury was simply an older version of his wartime persona: rumpled, cigar-chomping, unshaven... I cleaned him up, gave him the kinky, black leather zipsuit rippling with clips, buttons, cartridge belts, and the shoulder holster – so he could compete visually with Marvel’s superheroes. I gave him a personality and a sex life.” I’m telling you, True Believers, you gotta get this book. So who is Arlen Schumer? He’s a graphic designer, a comic book historian, and a member of the Society of Illustrators, one who makes his living creating comic book-style illustrations for advertising and editorial usage.

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