Left: Steve Ditko - Right: Jack Kirby
In this episode, artist and pop culture historian Arlen Schumer comes aboard to share his thoughts on Stan Lee, Jack Kirby, Steve Ditko and the creation of Marvel superheroes like Spider-Man, the Hulk and the Fantastic Four. To most civilians, Stan Lee created all these legendary characters himself, but is that the real story? What role does the artist play in shaping comic book narrative? Arlen argues that the artist is actually more like a film director- the auteur of a comic book, creating the magic in what is essentially a visual medium.
But Kirby and Ditko were more than artists, they were writers themselves, responsible for the lion's share of the plotting on the most memorable Marvel Comics adventures. Was Stan himself a writer or was he in fact a true editor, generating germs of stories and polishing dialogue in much the same way a TV producer works with his creators? Arlen delves into these mysteries with the depth of a scholar and the passion of a lifelong fan.
With comics and superheroes playing an ever more central role in our culture, these are issues that can't be swept under the rug of history. This is one you're not going to want to miss.
Arlen Schumer is a member of The Society of Illustrators, creating comic book-style illustrations for advertising and editorial usage, and one of the foremost historians of comic book art—his book The Silver Age of Comic Book Art won the Independent Publishers Award for Best Popular Culture Book of 2003. He lectures on these and other pop culture subjects he is a recognized expert in, Rod Serling’s The Twilight Zone and the music of Bruce Springsteen, at universities and cultural institutions nationwide.To find Arlen and his work online check out these links.
For an interview with Arlen on his own work, click here.
To support the Kirby Museum and get The Auteur Theory of Comics 16-pager & the Kirby Silver Edition 32-pager, click here
To get Arlen's Superman/Weisinger 16-pg verbal/visual essay in Alter Ego #112, click here.
To get his "ComiColumn" essays on Auteur, Weisinger/Superman and Joe Kubert, click here.
For more info on the AIGA-Los Angeles lecture on Wednesday 11/7, "The Graphic Design of Comic Book Art", click here.
For the Art Center College of Design (LA) lecture on Thursday, 11/8, "Illustration & Comic Art", click here.
And of course... www.arlenschumer.com