As the Sally Forth Halloween story kicks into high gear this week, I have something kinda cool to help promote it. A promo piece with art by none other than horror master Stephen Bissette!
Stephen Bissette is an award winning cartoonist, teacher and publisher. He’s most notably known for his iconic run on Swamp Thing, Tyrant and the comics anthology Taboo.
And how did this creepy collaboration come about you may ask? Well earlier this month I posted a Sally Forth panel that I had drawn that had a wall full of demons (as sometimes happens).
The panel being part of writer Francesco Marciuliano’s Halloween story where weird things are happening inside the Forth home.
I also mentioned online that the inspiration for the panel came from a Stephen Bissette/John Totleben comic book page drawn during their award winning run on Swamp Thing (in collaboration with writer Alan Moore).
Shortly after that post I got the following message.
Followed by my reaction.
I immediately gave a thumbs up and then sent Stephen a rough of Hillary in the foreground with a demon doll and horrific creatures slithering in the background. In short order I was sent the following inks.
And THAT in a nutshell is how Francesco and I ended up with a very cool promo piece for the current Sally Forth Halloween story.
I want to give a special thanks to Stephen Bissette for taking time out of his busy teaching schedule at the Center for Cartoon Studies to do this – Greatly appreciated!
And with that said – Hope everyone stays tuned as our Sally Forth Halloween Story continues…
With SWAMPMEN out this week (from Jon B. Cooke, George Khoury, TwoMorrows, 2014), it’s time to remind everyone in the community that the painted cover art to SAGA OF THE SWAMP THING #34 and the final page of that issue (“Rites of Spring”) are STILL STOLEN PROPERTY.
These belong to John Totleben and yours truly, Stephen Bissette—only they don’t, because they were stolen right out of the DC Comics offices in 1984-85. These are STILL STOLEN PROPERTY. Anyone owning, trafficking, trading, or harboring this original art—SOTST #34 cover painting and the final story page—is involved (knowingly or unknowingly) in criminal activity.
John and I also have children; mine are now adults. They are looking, too. Even after we’re dead and gone, this will be sought-after STOLEN PROPERTY. This is not going to “go away.”
– Stephen Bissette
Note: Comic book writers and artists who work for companies like Marvel or DC are required to sign work-for-hire contracts which seriously restrict the income they can earn from the properties they work on and characters they create for those companies.
An important source of revenue for artists is the sale of their original art. Stolen art takes away a vital means of support for the artist that created it.
If you have any info on the artwork shown, Stephen Bissette can be reached though his Facebook page or on Twitter.
At the same time in 1987 that Steve Bissette was wrapping up his groundbreaking run on Swamp Thing, this little gem was published through Dark Horse.
I’m including the credits page here as well so that all that were involved are cited.
What follows are a few sample pages. Page 1, 2-3 (double page spread) and page 20.
Page 20 in particular is pure Bissette – you can almost feel the weight of Godzilla’s foot by how he renders the folds in the creature’s massive hide.
The comic also included an immensely informative two-page text piece by Bissette entitled “Thirty Years of Godzilla” – along with Godzilla pin-ups by Paul Chadwick, Alan Moore, Charles Vess and others.
If you can find a copy of this back issue I highly recommend it!
But don’t just take my word for it…
Joe Kubert legitimized drawing comics/cartoons as a career.
Graduating High School I had no direction. I grew up inspired by comic book artists, but saying you wanted to draw comics was as remote in the late 1970’s and early 80’s as saying you were going to be an astronaut and go to the moon. Sure, people did it – but there didn’t seem to be any clear path to actually doing so. My first step was a local art school called Atelier Lack (Now The Atelier). Founded by local Minneapolis artist Richard Lack, the school focused on traditional skills and techniques starting with figure drawing and charcoal studies leading up to oil painting. I took a summer course there, which was a great foundation, but my goal was not to work in oils. Next up was the Minneapolis College of Art and Design. At that time the instruction I received veered away from the traditional and was more conceptual. The disdain I got regarding comic art from teachers and students alike at that time had me bowing out after one semester.
I had actually stopped buying comics in High School – they were not conducive to getting dates – but started picking them up again around this time when Stephen Bissette and John Totleben’s artwork started to appear in Swamp Thing (teamed with a new writer by the name of Alan Moore). This is when comics were still on the newsstand, not hidden away in specialty shops away from the prying eyes of the general public. The artwork and storytelling FLOORED me.
The Comics Journal hit the newsstand with Swamp Thing on the cover and I snatched it up. In it Bissette and Totleben mentioned a new school they had attended founded by a veteran comic book artist – Joe Kubert. Seeing a copy of The Joe Kubert School presents: 1st Folio, I picked that up as well.
Reading Joe’s introduction on the inside front cover I felt like he was almost talking to me personally…
It seemed a long shot, but I eventually got up nerve to apply. After a portfolio review and interview by Joe Kubert himself (done long distance as I was out of state) there followed the anxiety that my work wouldn’t be up to par. Time past and I eventually received my letter of acceptance – I still have it, and reading blogs and Facebook postings after Joe’s death, I’m finding out many others saved theirs as well.
My parents were always supportive of my aspirations to be a cartoonist – as long as I was actually pursuing it. The Joe Kubert School legitimized that career track. With Joe at the helm, the school actually nurtured this love of comic art and storytelling WAY before “graphic novels” starting seeping into the general public’s lexicon and acceptance.
Recently I moved back to Minnesota and taught at the Minneapolis College of Art and Design. They now have a whole department devoted to Comic Art headed up by Barb Schulz. Steve Bissette now teaches at the Center for Cartoon Studies in White River Junction, Vermont. These schools – along with SVA in Manhattan and SCAD in Atlanta – are among the growing number of colleges that recognize comics and cartooning as a legitimate art form.
But the first school solely devoted to Comic Art was Joe Kubert’s. He lit the way for me and SOOOOOOO many others.
That the school will still thrive with his sons Andy and Adam at the helm is a testament to the hard work, spirit and love of the craft that Joe and his wife Muriel put into it for over 30 years. I’m proud and honored to be counted as an alumnus.