Monday, December 28, 2009

Dr Mystic the Occult Detective

Sorry about the lack of posts. It has been a little bit hectic and there is a lot going on, but I am disappointed that I couldn't post more. I've neglected my twitter-chums somewhat as well, but hopefully that will all be forgotten in the new year - new beginnings and all that. I have been pretty desperate to get at least one last post up for 2009, and this is it. It's a short post, but it is interesting, I think, and has some lovely drawings.

One of the things I like to look at is the development of a style of drawing, or writing, over time. The development of Herge's style, for instance, is fascinating, and studying his early work really aids a beginning cartoonist; because frankly, it doesn't look that hard to equal Herge's early pen work. Some people though, are ridiculously talented straight from the get-go, and that certainly seems to have been the case with Superman creators' Jerome Siegel and Joe Shuster.

It must have been quite a culture shock coming across the work of Seigel and Shuster back in the day, especially if you were a kid who wanted to become a cartoonist. Their creation, Dr Mystic the Occult Detective, which can be found in The Comics Magazine, Volume 1 No 1, published in 1936, alongside other adventure strips like W.M. Allison's Captain Bill of the Rangers, Major Lord, and Tom Cooper's The Black Lagoon, looks to me even today, like it was drawn decades later and faxed back into the past.

The character Zator, battling the Clark Kent-like Dr Mystic above, bears a number of similarities to the bald telepathic villain, The Superman, who appeared in 1933 in Siegel's self-published short story, The Reign of the Superman. Further refined over the following 12 months into the heroic figure now recognised all over the world, Siegel and Shuster then began their five -year battle to get The Superman published, and although Superman was created before a number of their other creations, it appeared in print after many of them. It's for this reason, that looking back at the "Super qualities" of the work that was created post-Superman, but was published before it, is so rewarding.

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