Cartoonist Basil Wolverton was known for his grotesque drawings, fantastically odd creatures, spaghetti-like hair, smoothly sculpted caricatures and insanely detailed crosshatching. His career in the golden age of comic books lasted from 1938 until 1952, after which his illustrations and caricatures extended into such publications as Life, Pageant and MAD magazines. Stylistically, he has been regarded as one of the spiritual grandfathers of underground and alternative comix.
Less well known and understood is his work for the Worldwide Church of God, headed until 1986 by radio evangelist Herbert Armstrong. From 1953 through 1974, Wolverton, a deeply religious man, was commissioned and later employed by the church to write and illustrate a narrative of the Old Testament (including over 550 illustrations), some 20 apocalyptic illustrations inspired by the Book of Revelations, and dozens of cartoons and humorous illustrations for various Worldwide Church publications.
Compiled and edited by Wolverton’s son, Monte, the 304-page Wolverton Bible includes all of Wolverton’s artwork for the Worldwide Church of God corporation. Recording artist and noted EC authority Grant Geissman (Tales of Terror: The E.C. Companion and Foul Play!: The Art and Artists of the Notorious 1950s E.C. Comics!) provides an insightful foreword, while Monte Wolverton delivers commentary and background in the introduction and in each section. This volume is authorized and commissioned by the Worldwide Church of God and endorsed by the Wolverton family.
Many of the illustrations in this book are regarded as Basil Wolverton’s finest work. Still others have never been published, and some of the humorous drawings printed here rival Wolverton’s work in MAD magazine.
(While supplies last, all orders for The Wolverton Bible will also receive, FREE, a set of 10 Wolvertoons Postcards!)
Sam’s Strip was ahead of its time when it debuted in 1961. Mort Walker and Jerry Dumas’ offbeat creation took the inside joke of breaking the “fourth wall” to a new level, playing with the basic elements of the cartoon form, experimenting with different art styles and featuring famous characters from other strips. Sam and his cartoonist assistant owned and operated the comic strip they inhabited. The Yellow Kid, Jiggs, Krazy Kat, Dagwood, and Charlie Brown were among the many familiar faces who made walk-on appearances. Sam and his assistant discussed the inner workings and hidden secrets of life within the panel borders. This type of self-referential humor, called “metacomics” by scholar Thomas Inge, had been explored previously by Al Capp, Ernie Bushmiller, and Walt Kelly and has been used on a more regular basis by such contemporary cartoonists as Garry Trudeau, Berke Breathed, and Bill Griffith. Sam’s Strip, which never appeared in more than 60 newpapers, was too esoteric for most readers, and was terminated by its creators in 1963. It is considered a cult classic among comic-strip aficionados today.
This collection features the complete 20-month run, almost 510 daily strips, of Sam’s Strip. Mort Walker and Jerry Dumas provide first-hand accounts of the creation of the strip and other rare, behind-the-scenes material, including unpublished sketches, original artwork, photographs and sales brochures. Take a trip beyond the fourth wall and rediscover this unique behind-the-scenes look at the world of comic strip humor.
The Spring 2009 edition of MOME is anchored with Lilli Carré's (The Lagoon) new, 32-page graphic novella, "The Carnival." Gilbert Shelton is back with the second part (of three) of his new graphic novel, "The Last Gig in Shnagrlig," and both Olivier Schrauwen and Laura Park are back with their sophomore Mome efforts. 2008 comics darling Dash Shaw delivers "Scenes from the Abyss," while Mome regulars Derek Van Gieson, Ray Fenwick, Jon Vermilyea, Sara Edward-Corbett, Conor O'Keefe, Émile Bravo, and Josh Simmons all return. To wrap it up, Ben Jones, Frank Santoro, Hernán Migoya and Juaco Vizuete all pop their Mome cherries this issue as well (the former two with a Cold Heat-related story).
And in this week's installment of Steven Weissman's in-progress pages from "Blue Jay," an epic 32-page story from Chocolate Cheeks, the next collection of the Yikes! gang's adventures: the best laid plans...
The tri-fold signature plate shown above (front and back -- click here and here for better views) that comes with Humbug: Limited Signed Edition is currently winging its way between Jack Davis, Al Jaffee and Arnold Roth as they apply their signatures to it. (While they're hard at work, you can reserve your copy today.)
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