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Sunday, November 15, 2009

THE RETURN OF MELVIN? - Marie and John Severin show us how it's done

I promised you, and now it's officially really time to begin showing off some of the coolest comics ever made by our Comic Book Artist Of The Week...Marie Severin! And inking her pencils today we have another superb artist, Mr. John Severin! Hmmm...are they related in some way? Just kiddin'  -  of course they are! You already know they are one of the most talented pair of siblings ever to draw comics. You will notice a dedication to Harvey Kurtzman at the beginning of the story. Now, before Marie was drawing comics, both she and John worked for EC Comics, Marie as colorist. She also worked closely with Kurtzman, and learned a lot about comedy and timing by looking over his shoulder while he edited 'MAD'. John had worked for Kurtzman (and Bill Elder) since his discharge from the army, and joining the 'Charles William Harvey' Studio, and drew his first comic in 1947. At one point John Severin was the sole artist on the Kurtzman edited TWO-FISTED TALES, one reason being their mutual attention to details and accuracy in depicting the historical events often featured in TFT. For 'MAD', Severin had illustrated two Tarzan parodies written and layed-out in meticulous detail (as was his way) by Kurtzman -- 'Melvin Of The Apes',  and it's sequel.

Fast-forward to 1972. Marie has become Marvel's top humor illustrator, and Big John was top-'dawg' over at CRACKED magazine, where his incredible artwork was featured prominently. Brother and sister Severin were at this time working together on KULL THE CONQUEROR to rave reviews, and for this story in the 2nd issue of SPOOF, they got together to create hilarious images to add to Roy Thomas' very funny written words. In the story, Tarz, who is living with Jane in London , finds himself forced to return to the jungle, but he finds things have changed just a little bit since he left! You are going to like this one  --  my favorite thing in it? It's so hard to choose, but I love Tarz's monkey sidekick!

Check out that last panel...every actor who played Tarzan is represented there, drawn in perfect recognizable parody ( a skill which both Severins excelled at like no other artists could). I don't remember all the names, but I can recognize Elmo Lincoln, Johnny Wiessmuller, Buster Crabbe, Ron Ely, Jock Mahoney, etc...! It is so easy to take both Severin's for granted because they are able to draw these beautiful parody images so effortlessly and therfore so often, we the reader become spoiled! Wonderful stuff! Well, my stack of comics is callin'! See you next time, comic lovers!

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