Featured Columns

May 14, 2010

From Friendly Ghosts To Gamma Rays: Remembering Frazetta, Re-Evolution, Jetta and Josie!

Hiyah! Kiyah! Wah-cha!!!!!!!!!!!!! Now that we’ve all practiced our ninja-noises, hello and welcome to this week’s From Friendly Ghosts To Gamma Rays! We have a jam packed week here for you, so lets just jump right into it:

Frank Frazetta (Feb.09, 1928-May.10, 2010)

Earlier this week, illustrator Frank Frazetta left this Earth after 82 years, falling into eternal rest after a stroke at a residence in Florida. Frazetta’s paintings and art were of legend in the sci-fi/fantasy world. The impact he has had on numerous artists is publicly acknowledged and undeniable.

One of Frazetta’s first professional jobs was a parody painting of Ringo Star for MAD Magazine, which lead to him getting discovered by movie studio United Artists, which brought him to start painting movie posters. Frazetta would do this and at the same time, move into multiple lines of illustration, including comics for horror magazines like Creepy, Eerie and Vampirella, and what he would best become known for- doing cover illustrations for fantasy novel series like Conan and Tarzan of the Apes. He also worked as character designer on the Ralph Bakshi cult-film Fire and Ice (the DVD for Fire and Ice contains an amazing documentary all about Frazetta and his work called Frank Frazetta: Painting With Fire, check it out!).

In recent years, he opened up a museum near one of his residences in Pennsylvania that showcased his art work over the years, and Image published several one-shots inspired by characters in his paintings. His loss is one that will be strongly felt, fondly remembered and irreplaceable to the comics community. Rest in peace Frank Frazetta.

Surf This: RE-Evolution
Zuda Comics (DC)
Gus Higuera and Juan Felipe Salcedo

I believe comic books/strips are the highest art form one can achieve. A single person can be the director, writer, editor, actor and artist: all with a single pen. One can tell any type of story here in the world of comics! This means from adventure to romance to the western, its all been done. This also means a lot of similarities happen and tales get told and re-told, again and again. When something comes through that gives us a fresh take on a story-type that has been tackled several times, it’s refreshing and we embrace it (example: that’s why Watchmen took us by storm years ago).

I am happy to say RE-Evolution is one of those times.

RE-Evolution at its core gives us something played around with from Strange Adventures to Planet of the Apes, which is the concept of the future where humans seem to fall out of the picture and groups of animals take over the world. The way RE-Evolution has decided to tackle this concept is mostly through the originality of its characters and their comparisons to historical figures like Che or the Dali Llama, has provided us with a fresh, wonderful take on this classic type of story.

Created by Gus Higuera and Juan Felipe Salcedo, RE-Evolution can be found on DC Comic’s ZUDA comic website (which means you can read it for free, playas!). RE-Evolution spins the tale of a future where as mentioned, humans disappear and animals take over…or more specifically, armies of Apes and Gorillas take over. However the other animals (who have begun to slowly evolve into more advanced forms, thanks to lack of humans, etc;) and the other animals are sick of the Gorilla-dictatorship across the lands. There is one animal though who stands against them, and his name is Che, a rebel-leading Chihuahua with an attitude and some great fight moves.

I had a total blast when I finally had a chance to read RE-Evolution the other day and immediately had to toss it in this week’s column. Do yourself a favor and read this title at Zuda!

Collection of Awesomeness: The Good Girl Library: Jetta
Publisher: IDW/Yoe
Writer/Artist: Dan DeCarlo

Dan DeCarlo was known by everyone in the comics world for creating some of the most visually perfect women, from Millie the Model to his famed work on Betty and Veronica, everyone from Stan Lee and beyond sung him praise. DeCarlo, aside from working on big titles, would constantly try out new ideas. One of these ideas was Jetta, which ran for a rare 3-issue run, and is highly sought after today. Our friends at IDW and Yoe have collected all 3-issues and bound’em in a nice hard-cover, which includes a massive pin-up section by numerous artists of today. To kick off their Good Girl Art Library series, and with Jetta, there wasn’t a better place to start.

Jetta tells the future tales of the title character and her life at high school. She’s a very Judy Jetson-esque character (although predating The Jetsons by a number of years), and the stories all tell the typical high school tales of dates, dances, her love interest Arky (which sounds suspiciously like Archie) and more, however like The Jetsons, it’s all in the future. (Yes, this may leave you asking “Where’s my jet-pack?“, cause I admit, I am pissed we have not received our jet-packs yet. Get on this Obama.)

DeCarlo’s work on this series is nothing-less brilliant and was him at his best, given the room to play with a sci-fi based setting but still doing that timeless DeCarlo art style (which Archie Comics adopted as their official in-house art style after he began working there) and fun everyday tales. And for the price of this beautiful book, $21.99 retail, and cheaper online, you cannot beat taking a gamble if you never heard of it before, or finally adding these long sought out issues to your collection.

Much praise and looking forward to what else will be moved out in the Good Girl Art Library after this.

Something To Watch: Josie and The Pussycats

Yes, they wear long tails and ears for hats.  Going off the work of Dan DeCarlo, in 1970, Hanna-Barbera animation produced a TV series based off the Archie Comics comic book Josie and the Pussy Cats. DeCarlo created the comic series for  Archie in 1963, naming the character after his wife, which told the teen-adventures of the all-female rock band. Being Filmation had a hit with The Archies based off the Archie comic, Hanna-Barbera also needed something along the same lines to compete and picked up the rights to Josie.

The animated series has more of a Scooby-Doo feel in terms of plots and differ slightly from the comic. The animation was standard for the time, villains and always fun adventures and of course it has one of the most memorable theme songs of all time. The show did so well, it received a spin off in 1972 titled Josie and the Pussycats in Outerspace! For your Something to Watch in this weeks column, I recommend picking up Josie and the Pussycats on DVD. Speaking of cool DVD bonuses, as mentioned the Fire and Ice DVD has a great documentary on Frazetta, well the Josie and the Pussycats DVD has a stellar documentary on DeCarlo and his work, which is worth checking out in and of itself.

See you in 2, folks! And for non-related comic fun, check this out!

Drew McCabe



  1. Billy

    Cool write-up Drew.

  2. Dude, I had such a crush on the Pussycats as a kid.

  3. Frazetta was a great artist and of course as a young guy (8 or 9) when I first saw his work the first thing that caught my eye besides the women and the mystical monsters but it was also how lifelike everything was. The guy made some of the most brutal and horrific battle scenes just look beautiful and if you don’t own one of his books which showcase his talent then you definitely need to pick one up.

  4. Drew McCabe

    Agreed, Frazetta is unparalleled in his art, I’m sure someone will rise to, but until then, it will be a sad loss. He did a handful of great John Carter/Princess of Mars paintings I love.

    As for Josie, Andy, I’m there with you (and hey, they were just a lot cooler than the band Jabberjaw had)

  5. The last image you attribute to Frazetta of the man cocking the spear with the arrow in his leg holding the woman is NOT a Frazetta painting. It is a compositite of a Frazetta painting of Gollum in the background with a Boris Vallejo paiting placed on top. It dishonors Frazeta’s talent.

    • Man, that´s what I was about to write here. Please, Mr. Drew McCabe, TAKE THAT MOCKERY OFF THE POST. That is crap.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Website Protected by Spam Master