Tuesday, 18 August 2009

paul Gravett recently posted an appreciation of cartoonist Bob Lubbers that he wrote in 2003, with a nice selection of illustrations from the late '40s.
So much for Warhol’s ‘fifteen minutes of fame’. Comic characters may be world famous and seemingly immortal, but their creators, when not made anonymous, have gone virtually unknown to the public. Within this despised, or at best underappreciated medium, thankfully some of the masters, and a few of the mistresses, of comic art have found a measure recognition while they’ve been still been around to bask in the glow. But others have had to wait for their posthumous epitaph and obituary as almost their only praise for their achievements. Even a lifetime of fame can be erased after death, once tastes change and memories fade, until hopefully some enthusiast rediscovers and restores their reputation.
Bob Lubbers is not the celebrated cartoonist he should be, but thanks to a legion of Italian admirers, he is now getting his day in the sunshine in his 80th year.
Bob Lubbers in his maturity was always attached to titles that either belonged to someone else or had a very short life. Long Sam is perhaps his best thing. It ran from 1954 to 1962. Here's a very early page from 1954 from my own collection (photographed with a hand held camera, so it's not in perfect focus. sorry):

Later ones lack the pizazz that Long Sam had at the beginning. here's one from 1959:

Fom 1962 to 1967 Lubbers drew Secret Agent X-9 under the pseudonym 'Bob Lewis,' for reasons unknown to me. WWW.ART4COMICS.COM (there's an individual behind this, but I can't find his name) has a gallery Of Lubber's Secret Agent X-9 daily strips from the early '60s (before Al Williamson took it over and changed the title to Secret Agent Corrigan). He continued it in the craftint technique used by his predecessor Mel Graff,

who picked it up from Roy Crane way back in the day,

but he had his own very delicate way with the stuff (allowing for my zooming in close on the previous two for the purpose of showing what Craftint does exactly):

After which point Lubbers became an anonymous art-ghost for Al Capp on L'il Abner.



Blogger Faff said...

Bob Lubbers was a favourite of mine from his work on Human Fly and The Invaders for Marvel in the 1970's when everyone else was worshipping John Byrne. I loved the wonderfully loose and elastic artwork of people like him, Frank Springer, Don Heck and other older artists compared to the very solid and blocky work of the newer generation of artists.

Over the years I've parted with virtually all my superhero comics but I still have my Human Fly. If Mr Lubbers is finally getting some appreciation I can only say, about bloody time.

19 August 2009 at 13:31:00 GMT-5  

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