Monday, June 28, 2010

Vintage comics on the web -- Joe Maneely

Poking around the web, one can find all sorts of sites where folks are posting scans of complete vintage comics and selected stories. I cringe when I see recently published works posted for download (seriously folks -- don't be doing that -- people are trying to earn a living here -- don't give their comics away for free!) -- but I'm thrilled when the posts present long out of print comics that have little chance of ever being collected for print again. The top cartoonists (Kirby, Wood, Ditko, etc.) are being reprinted all the time -- but many of the less well known -- but still interesting -- artists are never going to get the deluxe hardcover reprint treatment they deserve. So, copyright issues aside, I'm glad to see people sharing the more obscure material.

Now if only those who are scanning the stories would just take a little time to clean up the images. A few minutes in Photoshop adjusting contrast and color and cleaning up stains, etc. can do wonders. Simply darkening the blacks and brightening the picture a little can make for a much more appealing image.

Here are two vintage stories drawn by Joe Maneely that I found on the web a while back (sorry, I forget where -- and my apologies to whoever originally scanned and posted them). I did some work on them in Photoshop to better showcase Maneely's artwork.

No copyright claimed here -- just sharing some great work with my fellow fans of cool cartooning.

I love the splash panel with the Peter Lorre lookalike in With Intent to Kill. The Stan Lee-penned tale of greed and revenge is not exactly the greatest thing he ever wrote -- but the Maneely artwork makes it well worth your time. His drawing seems at times to be an odd amalgam of Severin, Davis, Kurtzman and Elder -- but ultimately has its own unique look. Lee has been quoted as naming Maneely as his favorite cartoonist -- and looking at these pages, I can see why.

Maneely's Milt Caniff influence is quite evident in the drawings of "Wanda Jones" in this weird little tale of a "creep" obsessed with a beautiful model. This short story is downright goofy -- but I'll take stylish and strange comics like these over most of what's published by the "big two" these days. These are wacky and fun and display a high level of craftsmanship (and clarity of storytelling) that's all too often missing in today's offerings.

1 comment:

Booksteve said...

I definitely know what you mean about cleaning up the images! Only takes a few clicks a page and almost all of them look much better.

I've been a Maneely fan since discovering his work with the Black Knight reprints in the sixties.I often hear people speculate as to how the Marvel Universe would be so different had he lived but no one seems to concentrate on what he DID accomplish. Thanks for this post, sir!