Al Williamson · Bernie Krigstein · Frank Frazetta · Gahan Wilson · Heads Up! · Jack Davis · Joe Kubert

Heads Up: A selection of new books coming soon from Fantagraphics!

Every once in a while, I like to use the Amazon “Advanced Search” to find out what I have to look forward to in the coming months from my favourite publishers. Sometimes the information published in the Amazon catalogue is not precisely accurate. Sometimes a book will be credited to the wrong publisher. Often the books are listed without descriptions or cover images. Often the publication date that is listed turns out to be wildly optimistic. I think you get the picture. Anyway, today I was looking for forthcoming books available for pre-order from venerable comics publisher, Fantagraphics, and I just thought I’d share with you some of the titles that caught my eye. I don’t know if I will be willing or able to purchase all of these books if and when they finally are released, but they are all titles that I, and perhaps you, will definitely want to consider. So, without further ado, here’s my very tentative shopping list:

[NO IMAGE — that’s not an error; that’s my way of letting you know that there’s no image yet in the Amazon catalogue.]

Problematic: Selected Sketchbook Drawings 2004-2011 [Hardcover]
Jim Woodring (Author)

  • Hardcover: 300 pages
  • Publisher: Fantagraphics Books (October 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1606995944
  • ISBN-13: 978-1606995945

[NO DESCRIPTION — but it doesn’t matter; for me, it’s a must have!]


The Love and Rockets Reader: From Hoppers to Palomar [Paperback]
Marc Sobel (Author), Los Bros Hernandez (Illustrator)

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Fantagraphics Books (October 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1606995928
  • ISBN-13: 978-1606995921

[NO DESCRIPTION — I want to know what this is before I pre-order, but they’ve got my attention.]


The Love and Rockets Companion: 30 Years (and Counting)< [Paperback]
Neil Gaiman (Contributor), Marc Sobel (Editor), Kristy Valenti (Editor)

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Fantagraphics Books (September 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1606995790
  • ISBN-13: 978-1606995792

[NO DESCRIPTION — again, I want to know what’s in this!]

DAL TOKYO [Hardcover]
Gary Panter (Author, Artist)

  • Hardcover: 212 pages
  • Publisher: Fantagraphics Books; 1 edition (Jun 12 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1560978864
  • ISBN-13: 978-1560978862

Product Description

“Dal Tokyo was a monthly comic strip, drawn in Panter’s groundbreaking “ratty line,” about a future Mars that is terra-formed by Texan and Japanese workers. In 1983 the L.A. Reader published the first 63 strips. A few years later, the Japanese reggae magazine Riddim picked up the strip, and Panter continued the saga of Dal Tokyo in installments for over a decade.”

About the Author

“GARY PANTER (Brooklyn, New York) is the author of Jimbo in Purgatory and Jimbo’s Inferno.”

[There’s some of Panter’s work that I like and some that I don’t. Dal Tokyo, however, is one that I will definitely consider purchasing. I won’t pre-order, though.]


Love and Rockets: The Covers [Hardcover]
Los Bros Hernandez (Author)

  • Hardcover: 200 pages
  • Publisher: Fantagraphics Books (November 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1606995987
  • ISBN-13: 978-1606995983

[NO DESCRIPTION — but an easy decision: a must have!]


Weird Horrors & Daring Adventures [Hardcover]
Joe Kubert (Author), Bill Schelly (Editor)

  • Hardcover: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Fantagraphics Books (September 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1606995812
  • ISBN-13: 978-1606995815

[NO DESCRIPTION — but very tempting nonetheless!]


Messages in a Bottle: Comic Book Stories by B. Krigstein [Paperback]
B. (Bernard) Krigstein (Author), Greg Sadowski (Editor)

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Fantagraphics Books (March 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1606995804
  • ISBN-13: 978-1606995808

[NO DESCRIPTION — doesn’t matter, I want it!]


Gahan Wilson Sunday Comics [Hardcover]
Gahan Wilson (Author)

  • Hardcover: 184 pages
  • Publisher: Fantagraphics Books (February 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1606996126
  • ISBN-13: 978-1606996126

[NO DESCRIPTION — Do I need another collection of Wilson cartoons? Nope. Do I want another one? Yep. Will I be able to afford one? Time will tell.]


“‘Taint the Meat…It’s the Humanity!” and Other Stories [Hardcover]
Jack Davis (Author), Al Feldstein (Author), Gary Groth (Editor)

  • Hardcover: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Fantagraphics Books (January 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1606995782
  • ISBN-13: 978-1606995785

[NO DESCRIPTION — but probably part of Fantagraphics’ new EC Comics Library, and therefore a must have!]

“50 Girls 50” and Other Stories [Hardcover]
Frank Frazetta (Author), Al Williamson (Author), Gary Groth (Editor)

  • Hardcover: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Fantagraphics Books (January 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1606995774
  • ISBN-13: 978-1606995778

[NO DESCRIPTION — again, if it’s part of the new EC Comics Library from Fantagraphics, it’s a must have!]

Notice that I haven’t linked to any of the books listed above at Amazon or any other bookseller. That’s deliberate on my part. I’m not trying to make money by enticing you to buy things via RCN. My sole interest is to promote the kind of books that I enjoy so that those books will sell more copies and (maybe) publishers will keep producing the kind of books that I enjoy.

Al Williamson · Book/Magazine Covers (All) · Book/Magazine Covers (Jones) · Connections · Illustration Art · Jeffrey "Jeff" Catherine Jones · Look Here

Connections: (Jones vs. Jones?) vs. Williamson

The cover of The Three Faces of Time, which I bought yesterday at a used book store in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, is uncredited, and no signature is visible, but it sure looks like the work of Jeffrey Jones, circa 1968-69, to me.

ABOVE: Jack Williamson, Seetee Shock (New York: Lancer, 1968), with cover by Jeffrey Jones.
ABOVE: Frank Belknap Long, The Three Faces of Time (New York: Tower, 1969), with cover by Jeffrey Jones.

UPDATE (24 July 2010):

This just in: reader Patrick Hill points out in the comments section of this post that Jones informed him ten years ago that he (Jones) swiped the pose of the main figure in Seetee Shock and The Three Faces of Time from “H2O World,” with story by Larry Ivie and art by Al Williamson and Roy Krenkel. Here’s the ocular proof:

ABOVE: Al Williamson and Roy Krenkel (artists), first page complete, "H2O World," Creepy #1 (1964), page 10.

ABOVE: Al Williamson and Roy Krenkel (artists), first page detail, "H2O World," Creepy #1 (1964), page 10.

If nothing else, the above news should make Maroto fans smile.

Keywords: Seetee Shock, The Three Faces of Time.

Al Williamson · Archie Goodwin · Comics · Connections · Here, Read · Jeffrey "Jeff" Catherine Jones · Look Here · Sculpture (Jones)

Look Here, Read: “Relic” by Archie Goodwin and Al Williamson

This story from Epic Illustrated #27 (December 1984) not only is “dedicated to the memory of Roy G. Krenkel” but also includes a lovely tribute to Jeffrey Jones, whose girl sculpture — according to comic-book creator, film-maker, and friend of Al Williamson, Kevin VanHook — sat behind Williamson at his drawing board around the time the story was created.

It is also interesting to note that Williamson based the character of Kirth on British actor Stewart Granger (1913 – 1993). Williamson has made Kirth’s nose somwhat shorter and more rounded than Granger’s, but Granger is definitely Williamson’s model here. Enjoy!

Al Williamson · Heads Up!


Forthcoming from Flesk Publications, publisher of Al Williamson’s Flash Gordon: A Lifelong Vision of the Heroic:

Al Williamson Archives

Introduction by Angelo Torres
Over 100 illustrations
64 pages, 9 x 12”
ISBN: 978-1-933865-29-4


The beloved illustrator’s private work, revealed for the first time.

Revered by his fellow craftsmen, critics and fans alike, this living legend boasts a storied career spanning fifty years. He has produced a body of narrative fiction that continues to provide endless hours of entertainment and inspiration to this day.

Now, the Al Williamson Archives will grant unprecedented access to this master storyteller’s unseen work. Culled from the artist’s extensive private files, every themed volume of this ongoing series will feature unpublished sketches, preliminary artwork and pieces the artist created for his personal enjoyment. Williamson’s fondness for fantasy and SF is showcased in this first volume. It collects work created throughout his career: impeccably rendered dinosaurs, barbarians, spacemen and their craft–even a few sexy maidens. It also features a partially inked Xenozoic tale, previously unpublished newspaper strips and unused Western comics pages from the ’50s.

Every page will be printed in full color to best capture the subtleties of the source material and Williamson’s prodigious skill with pencil, pen, ink and brush. And the entire Al Williamson Archives library will be presented with the same exacting attention to detail and obvious obsession for faithful reproduction that readers can always expect from Flesk Publications.

Obviously, the promotional copy above was written before Al Williamson’s death last weekend. But, although he’s no longer living, Williamson will always be a legend in the field of comics.


Retro Randy: Al Williamson Archive, by Randy Dahlk — “a progression of cover designs for the new Al Williamson Archive [sic] book from Flesk Publications.”

Al Williamson · Comics · Connections · Here, Read · Look Here

Look Here, Read: “Out of Phase,” with art by Al Williamson

Continuing my little tribute to Al Williamson here at RCN, here is a story from the farewell issue (#34 [February 1986]) of Epic Illustrated, with story by Archie Goodwin and art by Al Williamson. The story includes a number of references to other artists and their work, including an homage to Frederic Leighton’s Perseus and Andromeda (1891) and a swipe from a publicity photo of Sophia Loren that was taken 35 years before “Out of Phase” was published! I’ve posted JPEGs of both of those swipes, dear reader, just because I think you might enjoy seeing them:


The Golden Age: Al Williamson: March 21, 1931 ~ June 12, 2010, posted by Mr. Door Tree — includes the story “Food for Thought” from Incredible Science Fiction #32 (Nov.-Dec. 1955), with suitably incredible art by Al Williamson and Roy Krenkel

Mr. Media: Mark Schultz on Al Williamson’s Flash Gordon: A Lifelong Vision of the Heroic, interview by Bob Andelman

Al Williamson · Obituaries

Rest in Peace: Al Williamson

Al Williamson
1931 – 2010

The Official Statement from the Williamson Family

Al Williamson, who for over fifty years drew for both comic books and comic strips, died June 12, 2010, at age 79. In recent years he suffered from Alzheimer’s disease. He is survived by his wife of thirty-two years, Cori, his daughter Valerie and his son Victor.

Williamson was born in New York City in 1931, but spent his first thirteen years primarily in Bogota, Colombia. In 1941, his mother took him to see the science fantasy movie serial Flash Gordon Conquers the Universe, an experience which, combined with his love for comics storytelling, set his career course at an early age.

Williamson, who first and foremost considered himself a cartoonist, excelled at illustrative science fiction, adventure and western stories, pulling inspiration from both classic comic strips and motion pictures. He is highly regarded both popularly and critically for his excellent draftsmanship and dynamic storytelling. Most notably, Williamson was extraordinarily accomplished at rendering the human figure in motion. His classically proportioned characters twist and leap with a startlingly vivid illusion of movement in part evolved from his study of motion picture action choreography.

Williamson began his professional career in 1948 and achieved popular recognition in the early 1950s as the youngest and one of the most talented contributors to the legendary EC line of comics. Beyond EC, Williamson drew superior work for many comic publishers, including American Comics Group, Atlas/Marvel, Charlton, Classics Illustrated, Dark Horse, Dell, Harvey, King, Prize, Toby and Warren. From 1967 until 1980 he produced the art for the King Features Syndicate’s daily Secret Agent Corrigan newspaper strip, and from 1981 to 1984 drew the daily and Sunday Star Wars newspaper strip.

Beginning in the 1980s Williamson reintroduced himself to a new generation of comics readers as an inker for DC and then Marvel Comics, enjoying memorable stints finishing the work of other artists on Superman, Daredevil and Spidergirl.

The single comics character, however, with whom Williamson is most identified would be Flash Gordon. The science fiction adventurer, created in 1932 by Alex Raymond for King Features, engaged the lifelong imagination of Williamson. He produced a much beloved series of stories for King Comics’ Flash Gordon comic book in the 1960s. He returned to the character in 1980, drawing a comics adaptation of the contemporary Flash Gordon motion picture. In the 1990s, he produced a Flash Gordon mini-series for Marvel Comics and later contributing to the original Sunday strip. In addition to the stories, he produced countless other Flash Gordon images for uses in advertising, merchandising and the fan press.

He gradually retired from the professional ranks in the early years of the new century as one of comics’ most admired and influential creators. Over his career he received numerous professional awards, including multiple Harvey and Eisner Awards and the National Cartoonists Society’s 1967 Award for Best Comic Book Cartoonist.

Beyond his remarkable accomplishments as an artist — the works mentioned above represent only a sampling — Williamson deserves recognition as a veteran who often opened professional doors for many others starting their careers. An impressive number of comics contributors owe at least part of their success to Williamson’s willingness to recommend and promote new artists and writers to his editorial contacts.

Williamson was also an avid collector of comics and illustration art, valuing the beauty of original drawings produced for comic books and strips long before the physical art created by commercial artists was popularly appreciated. He will be fondly remembered by those you knew him for his generosity, his indefatigable sense of humor and his great enthusiasm in sharing his love of comics, illustration, movies and music.

Al Williamson took inspiration from a legion of cartoonists, illustrators and motion pictures from the first half of the twentieth century and created works of timeless appeal — and then he passed that inspiration on to new generations of comics creators.

The family requests that, in lieu of flowers, a donation in Al’s memory be made to either:

The Joe Kubert School
37 Myrtle Avenue
Dover, NJ 07801
Attn: Al Williamson Scholarship Fund


Yesteryears Day Program
2801 Wayne Street
Endwell, NY 13760

[SOURCES: The Comics Reporter: Al Williamson, RIP, posted by Tom Spurgeon, and
John Fleskes’ Blog: Al Williamson (1931-2010), posted by John Fleskes]


The Comics Reporter: Al Williamson, 1931-2010 by Tom Spurgeon

The New York Times: Al Williamson, Illustrator of Comic Books, Dies at 79 by Dennis Hevesi


Bags and Boards: Al Williamson, 1931-2010 by Tom McLean

The Beat: Al Williamson: 1931-2010 by Heidi MacDonald

Blog@Newsarama: Legendary Al Williamson: 1931-2010 by Lan Pitts

Booksteve’s Library: RIP — Al Williamson by Steven Thompson

ComicMix: Al Williamson: A Personal Reflection, MEMOIR by Mark Wheatley

Comics, Beer, and Shakespeare: Al Williamson – One of the greats by Lance Christian Johnson

The Comics Journal: Al Williamson Interview, conducted by Steve Ringgenberg — part 1 of 2, reprinted from TCJ #90 (May 1984).

The Comics Journal: Al Williamson Interview (Part Two of Two), conducted by Steve Ringgenberg — reprinted from TCJ #90 (May 1984).

Fried Egg Comics: R.I.P. AL WILLIAMSON by David Robertson — this tribute is more extensively illustrated than most.

Listen to Jimmy: AL WILLIAMSON: R.I.P. by Jimmy Palmiotti

News from Me: Al Williamson, R.I.P. by Mark Evanier

Parkerspace: Al Williamson — I Went Backstage by Jeff Parker Meeting Al Williamson by Rick Veitch Meeting Al in the Flesh by Rick Veitch My Friend Al Williamson by Rick Veitch

Robot 6: Legendary illustrator Al Williamson passes away by Kevin Melrose King of Pen & Ink, Prince Among Men: Being a Remembrance & Sketch of the Late Great Al Williamson by Steve Bissette

Super I.T.C.H.: Al Williamson 1931-2010 by Craig Yoe Al Williamson, 1931-2010 by Michael Kaluta

Ty Templeton’s Art Land: Al Williamson R.I.P. by Ty Templeton

BONUS LINKS: Blade Runner Comic, with cover by Jim Steranko and interior art by Al Williamson — read the whole thing online.

Easily Mused: The Success Story, with story by Archie Goodwin and art by Al Williamson, from Creepy #1 (1964)

The Fabuleous Fifties: Al an’ More, posted by Ger Apeldoorn — includes “Outnumbered,” “Gambling House,” and “Fear,” all by Stan Lee and Al Williamson

Golden Age Comic Book Stories: Frank Frazetta & Al Williamson — a handful of their collaborations, posted by Mr. Door Tree — includes “Captain Comet, Space Pilot,” Danger is Our Business #1 (Dec. 1953); “Why They Call Them Mavericks,” Western Fighters #11 (Oct. 1949); “Demon of Destruction,” Forbidden Worlds #1 (July-Aug. 1951); “Chief Victorio’s Last Stand,” Chief Victorio’s Apache Massacre (1951); and “Fired!,” Crime SuspenStories #17 (June-July 1953).

Grantbridge Street and Other Misadventures: Posts with Label Al Williamson — includes three complete stories: “Now You See It…” by Bruce Jones and Al Williamson, from Creepy #83; “And Miles To Go Before I Sleep” by William F. Nolan and Al Williamson, from Alien Worlds #8; and “The Few and the Far” by Bruce Jones and Al Williamson, from Alien Worlds #1.

The Horrors of It All: The Return of the Werewolf, with art by “Harold Williams” (Al Williamson, apparently, working under a pseudonym), from Out of the Night #1

The Pictorial Arts: Helpless! with art by Al Williamson, from Battle #55 (November 1957)