Friday, March 6, 2015

Making a Splash: Bob Brown's Daredevil

Dig it, Groove-ophiles! Young Groove was not a fan of Bob Brown's Daredevil (issues 107-109, 111, 113-115, 119-135, and 142-143, 1973-1977). Dunno what it was, but for some reason, I thought nobody but Gene Colan or Gil Kane could draw The Man Without Fear properly. As I matured, I realized that I should have enjoyed Brown's art more. The man was an incredible storyteller, able to create bold action scenes that carried nearly the impact of those of the Brothers Buscema. Bob was also able to use body language, facial expressions, and even hand contortions with a facility many of his peers lacked. I think the problem may have been that Brown's pencils were of the rough-hewn (though seemingly detailed and complete) school--scratchy and/or etchy, which to me, needed smooth and/or cinematic inkers like Sal Buscema or (how ingenious were these pairings?) Paul Gulacy or Keith Pollard, or best of all Klaus Janson.  Check out some of those action splashes with DD swinging and leaping among the rooftops. Mind-blowing, baby! Anyway, Ol' Groove has grown to truly dig BB's DD! What do you think, Groove-ophile?



























13 comments:

  1. I've never read any of these DDs drawn by Bob Brown, so based on these pages alone, the ones that look best to me in general are those inked by Klaus Jansen and then Jim Mooney. However, my single favorite is the splash to DD #133 (the one where's he sitting atop a skyscraper in a rainstorm) - inked by Colletta of all people.

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  2. Sorry, Groove, but I respectfully disagree. Bob Brown was a mediocre talent at best. He was a Silver Age DC artist who looked out of place in the Marvel Groovy Age. But when they rapidly expanded their line in the early 70s he filled a growing need for warm bodies. The only time I found him bearable was under the magnificent inks of Klaus Janson.

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    1. Somehow I knew there'd be folks who disagreed with me. Wonder how I knew that? ;D And it's cool, baby! If we all agreed that everything in the Groovy Age was the most far-out, imagine how many mags Marvel, DC, and the smaller publishers would still be churning out today! And imagine how broke we'd all be trying to buy 'em all!

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  3. I really enjoy the scans so that we can compare the impact different artists or inkers make. I often find myself wondering if the inker is more valuable than the artist. Perhaps the most interesting scan, though, is the one with Don Heck's inks. I'm wondering did Marvel give him extensive inking work after removing him from Avengers, Daredevil, etc.? Any more of Heck's inks you can scan, on different artists? WOuld really enjoy the trip.

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    1. Good idea, Charlie! I'll keep that in mind...

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    2. One other thing that always grabbed me was the number of artists and inkers who adopted Neal Adams' style. I might argue that KJ above has an Adamsesque flair... Perhaps a future Diversion?

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    3. Yes, the influx of inkers that added so much to early 70s comics (McLeod, Austin, Rubinstein, Janson, Wiacek) came out of the Adams/Giordano Continuity Studio and very much reflected their style.

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    4. Thanks for the info! I was not aware of that. It makes sense... Maybe we could get Groovy Agent to compare some pages of each, to see the similarities.

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  4. Dudes, call me crazy but don't 111 (Sword...), 117 (Mindtap), and 123 (Holocaust...) look like Heck's artwork, at least a bit? I mean it looks more like Heck than Brown, based on the Brown samples???

    Am I imagining things???

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  5. I'm with you on Bob Brown, an artist with amazing storytelling clarity who gets short shrift from fans who prefer bells and whistles to straightforward and well paced action. I though he got a bit more dynamic at Marvel and another fine steal by Marvel when DC lost interest in some of its veterans. It's too bad Marvel never landed Irv Novick, an artist I often think of in connection to Brown, his style would've worked well on Marvel's horror books and even superhero stuff like Iron Man.

    Rip Off

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    1. Irv Novick at Marvel would have been interesting, perhaps at Team-Up or Two-In-One. Provided he had a good inker.

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  6. Bob Brown was truly underrated RIP!

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