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So Cute

Irwin Hasen, the Dondi and golden age comic book cartoonist, has passed way. Steve Ringgenberg has our obituary.

Hasen’s earlier experience depicting boxers would stand him in good stead when he teamed up with Batman co-creator Bill Finger to dream up Wildcat, a heavyweight boxing champ who moonlighted as a costumed hero, initially to clear his name after getting entangled with organized crime, and whose only superpower is the cat-like “nine lives” power he had bestowed on him by magic. He also possesses extreme strength and vigor even at an advanced age. Although he has no real superpowers, his toughness and boxing skills enabled him to survive many perils in the pages of Sensation Comics (debuting in issue #1 alongside Wonder Woman, eventually becoming the second-most popular feature in the title) and All-Star Comics, where he was a member of the Justice Society of America. Wildcat trained Batman, Black Canary, and even Superman in the pugilistic arts. Wildcat was Hasen’s best-known creation in comic books, though during this period, he also did stories starring The Green Lantern, succeeding original artist Martin Nodell.

We will publish a recent and candid interview with Gary Groth very soon.

And Doug Harvey reviews The Sculptor by Scott McCloud.

Having somehow acquired two university degrees in Painting and spending the subsequent 20 years as a professional artist, curator, and critic, I am as sensitive as the next artworld insider to the ways in which art schools, gallery scenes, and the state of contemporary art are depicted in popular narratives. They usually get it embarrassingly wrong.

The medium of comics seem particularly susceptible, riddled as it is with whining fanboys traumatized to learn in their art school foundation year that the drafting chops that kept them from being beat up since the third grade haven’t been considered relevant since 1837. Even brilliant social satirists like Dan Clowes and Chris Ware can miss the mark by aiming at straw men patched together from sitcom stereotypes anhat I approached The Sculptor, Scott McCloud’s first substantial foray into graphic narrative practice after decades devoted to graphic narrative theory, with his inescapable Understanding Comics and its sequels.

Elsewhere:

Nicky Wheeler-Nicholson remembers Hasen.

Sarah Boxer on the Charlie Hebdo - Charlie Brown connection.

Matt Groening and Lynda Barry take New York.

The David Boswell renaissance continues with a documentary.


One Response to So Cute

  1. Max West says:

    I hate to see yet another from the Golden Age of Comics pass away. It’s hard to believe that we’ve lost so many legends.

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