Friday, April 06, 2012

80s Flashback: Stephen DeStefano does BEAT COMICS!

In the 1980s, I published a fistful of my own comics, two issues of a superhero book entitled THUNDERSTORM, followed by six issues of an anthology book called BEAT COMICS. I've never posted anything from any of those comics on my art site, TOUGH GUY Goods & Services because they're really, really... old. At some point, I may put samples from some of the better stuff on here, but for now I wanted to share one of the nice side benefits of making your own comics back in the day.

Through my friend Amy, I got to meet Stephen DeStefano, a cartoonist whose DC Comics book, 'MAZING MAN (with writer Bob Rozakis) was one of the few whimsical highlights of the dawn of the Dark Age of Comics. I sent Stephen copies of my stuff and we became sorta pen pals for a while. The highlights of Stephen's letters were drawings he included of some of my characters. It was as big a thrill to me as when George Perez drew my character Lumino for the cover of ADVENTURE COMICS #485.

Below are two of Stephen's drawings, the first being Thunderstorm with Stephen's own character, Jibby th' Nob. The second is a character created by my sometimes writing partner Nathan Pease named Homunculus. Homunculus was a secondary character in a BEAT COMICS "reboot" of our high school comic book, THE DISINTEGRATOR. Homunculus was a wannabe hero who would ride the subways of Washington DC, punching anyone who committed infractions such as smoking or littering, then giving a dollar to anyone who may have been inconvenienced. Nathan and I never finished our Disintegrator story (we should team up to wrap that up someday), but Stephen thought Homunculus was a pretty funny character.

Stephen's expressive linework is more than evident in these lovely pieces (which put anything I ever drew to shame). He's one of those rare comic books artists who doesn't think "cartoonist" is a pejorative term.

These days, Stephen and I live in the same town (well, neighboring towns) and I see him every once in a while. Like most friendships these days, we primarily communicate via Facebook. Stephen does storyboard work for animation and the odd comic job now and then (he's also the official artist for most pieces of Popeye merchandising you see). You should pick up LUCKY IN LOVE, a perfectly lovely tome he illustrated for George Chieffet.

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