Thursday, January 29, 2009

In Praise Of: Art & Fear by Bayles & Orland

Fear. Frustration, Anxiety, Love, Excitement, Longing, Trepidition. And these are just the emotions that course through me, depending on the day, when I'm about to sit down to draw. You should hear the list that comes up after I've been at it for an hour.

This post grows out wanting to review the book Art & Fear and describe, at the same time, why this book helped me. It turns out that the post starts to look more like I was tagged with the internet "25 things that we didn't know about you" meme.

I used to sit down and put my head in my hands and not know where to begin. Did this for years. It was why I got into the industry as an inker, since I was comfortable as a craftsman, but not as an artist. Too many years getting slagged off by art teachers who had nothing but contempt for illustration, especially comic oriented illustrations, too many bad critiques by assistant editors who would give blatantly contradictory advise in one on one sessions, too much damn second guessing on my own part.

Being a craftsman was easy. Once I knew where i was going with the brush, it was taking the pencils and making them make even more sense for print. I learned how to do that, and do it fairly well. It also presented me with actual working pencils from guys who barely knew how to draw to guys who knew how to draw way too well.

And therein lies the a bit of the problem that I faced 8 years ago. Trying to bridge the gap between what I knew how to do, and get the inker in me to stop hating on the penciller. After all, the inker was used to working over J. G. Jones, Paul Gulacy, Alan Weiss. The penciller was completely new to the gig. And pretty damn shaky.

Its a double edged sword really. There were precious few opportunities to see professional pencils back in the '70's and '80's, not like now, so one of the real detriments of aspiring to become a comics professional at that time was not really knowing what you were shooting after. To my mind, the artists were like magicians, waving magic pencils and brushes and having page after page of comic art rolling out of their studios. It did not inspire confidence when sitting at my own drawing table and working on the same damn panel over and over and over.

What you rarely saw was the page that got thrown out, and you certainly never saw the sweat of the artist working late into the night to meet the deadline, or the discarded drawings along the way. For the ten or so people in the world who like my work I say this: I never find it easy, but I can do it better now than I did ten years ago.

Art & Fear certainly works to address some of the layers of built up frustration that have built up and hold us up from making art. As they say in the introduction:
This is a book about making art. Ordinary art. Ordinary art means something like: all art not made by Mozart. After all, art is rarely made by Mozart-like people - essentially (statistically speaking) there aren't any people like that. But while geniuses may get made once-a-century or so, good art gets made all the time.
And they do a good job of puncturing the romantic notion of the lonely genius who is ahead of his time, while at the same time methodically destroying the reasons that many of us as excuses to not make our art.

For me, I've learned to believe in the process. Have faith that if you work with what you know, methodically applying the construction to figure and then applying the lighting and overlaying clothes, that while the figure may not appear at first to be genius, it may be right. And that drawing that you didn't think you could do will start to happen. you're right, its not genius, but it exists, and occassionally you get that one that happens to come alive. You do it, you move on. I have faith in the process, and it enables things to happen beyond just staring at the blank piece of bristol.
...the separation of art from craft is largely a post-Renaissance concept, and more recent still is the notion that art trascends what you do, and represents what you are.
There are many deaths that happen, the big one that we have, but the little ones as well, the death of belief that we can do these things, the death of belief that what we're saying matters somehow. As children, many of had refrigerators magneted with art for years. Magnets that, paradoxically, have much other things to do as we get older and we actually get more skill. Why is that? What is it about art that is so difficult to appreciate?

My grandfather had a collage of covers of that I inked while in the mainstream comics industry. I didn't know this for years. My own mother doesn't have a single piece of art that i produced after the age of 7 in her house.
... most artists don't daydream aobut making great art - they daydream about having made great art. What artist has not experienced the feverish euphoria of composing the prerfect thumbnail sketch, first draft, negative or melody - only to run headlong into a stone wall trying to convert that tantalizing hint into the finished mural, novel, photograph, sonata. The artist's life is frustrating not becasue the passage is slow, but because he imagines it to be fast.
Came up with a great concept last night for a graphic novel. Can already see it in my head, and i'm wondering just when I'll get the time to work and craft and draw and complete the 120 pages that I see happening right now? How to convey that much in your head down to paper in the tediously slow process of actually drawing? Kid sis in hollywood cut through the bullshit the other day in her post here and made me laugh as well. She's good at that.

Think about all this as I'm about to launch my new webcomics portal at and maybe you won't see the sweat behind that ink, but its there, bouyed by frustration and held in place by some craft. Love my trusty photocopier, scanner, brushes and nibs, they can, sometimes, be my friends.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Correction to the Top 5: Swamp Thing #27

Upon further review, I have to take away the Avengers #162 and put, in its place, The Saga of the Swamp Thing #27 and i have to list the reasons why: Etrigan the rhymer, Alan Fucking Moore, Abby Arcane, the dead-but we didn't know it yet Matt Cable, Steve Bissette, Alan Fucking Moore, "Momee needent know", "Evil, though grown small, still has a taste all its own.", John totleben, the Norfulthing, Alan Fucking Moore.

Soon we would be down amongst the dead men. And so would Abby, she just didn't know it yet. But Etrigan tried to warn her.

Alan Fucking Moore.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Movie Posters that Don't Lie: The Happening

i can't get the two hours that i spent watching this film waiting for something to live up to the title, and then the three plus hours that Kid Sis and Todd and I spent trying to figure out if the movie was supposed to be that bad.

This is just a little something that cracked me up.

Stolen from a site that has their image download disabled so they don't get a big call out. C'mon guys, get with it.

Gearing up for WonderCon in San Francisco. I'll be there Saturday and Sunday in Artist's Alley. Stop by if you're a fan of the blog and check out some new artwork!

Sunday, January 25, 2009

5 Favorite Single Issues: The Comics Reporter

I missed answering Tom's Friday Question: "Name Your Five Favorite Marvel or DC Comics Single Issues, Nothing From The Same Series Twice." This is how I would have responded:

Master of Kung Fu #39

Detective Comics #475

Captain Marvel #29

Fantastic Four #49

Avengers #162

This isn't a bad little collection of artists and writers here: Doug Moench Stan Lee, Jim Shooter, Steve Englehart, Jim Starlin, Jack Kirby, Marshall Rogers, George Perez, Paul Gulacy.

Some of them are the beginnings of the story, some the end, some the middle, what matters here is that each of the issues is pitch perfect, from splash page to final panel, and each one presents characters that we grown to love at their peak.

I'm not parting with these fer nuttin'.

Edit: amended two days later, but in a post above, original post not edited for clarity of thought process.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

In Review Of: Jews and American Comics by Paul Buhle

Given the shady nature of comics beginnings here in the states, you have to marvel (no, that's not a pun) about the wealth of material that is now available on those self-same humble and rather less murky origins.

Well documented now by a multitude of sources and fictionalized by Michael Chabon, can there be anything left to go over from the 1930's or the 1940's? There are multiple books that focus on Jewish identity as well, (Danny Fingeroth's inparticular, which I will review soon) something that i've blogged on a number of times already, and how that identity came to influence their art.

Buhle was active in the comics world, and could count among his friends other creators, Art Spiegleman among them, so his writing is clearly on the idea of looking out, rather than looking in. The book is short on essays, given a large number of the pages to examples, but Buhle scores on the one involving the 1950's, EC and the power that Mad and Kurtzman had over him. Here is where the true gems of this book lie.

Those of us that grow up reading comics, at one time, will find that four-color voice that speaks to us and we follow under their spell. It will likely be a voice that will guide us, and we will return to it when we find our love of comics waning. In my case, it was the lights of the early '70's at Marvel, Jim Starlin and Paul Gulacy among them, that rewrote the neurons in my brain. In Buhle's case, it was the guiding light of EC, Mad and the genius himself, Harvey Kurtzman.

For all those who have already gotten a decent history lesson about Eisner and Quality, Siegle and Shuster and Cleveland, Buhle moves on to give us a great over view of Will Elder, Bernie Krigstein and the rest of the motley EC crew. With Gaines leading them, we all know how the comics turned out. They turned out so well that the horror comics genuinely horrified people, and the redoubtable Gaines volunteered to testify before a congressional committee. As we all know, it did not go well.

Further on, Buhle does well to bring the modern comics historian up to speed, with discussions about the 1990 MoMA exhibit "Modern Art and Pop Culture", Ben Katchor and Harvey Pekar. All told, well written and with some interesting thoughts along the way. I'm not sure that this isn't a bit of a time capsule, since many of the artists whose work he discusses in the last article have yet to have their story finished. Katchor will certainly add any number of works before his story is finished. I'm just not sure that i needed a hardcover of this to add to my book shelf. Still an interesting collection of material.

For the interested party, there are any number of annotations, and reading through them at the end of the book is fun as well. I think that I might have preferred to perhaps have the annotations at the bottom of the page as footnotes, easier to digest and retain the flow of the reading. A small quibble.

A New Press, publishers of the volume, deserve props and support for their publishing the book. In this day and age, lets give thanks that certain publishers decide to take a chance with books that straddle the line between popular culture and academia.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Happy Birthday to Me!

Out celebrating another birthday, and a few more grey hairs. I'll post some new art later.

In Praise Of: Chandler - Red Tide by Steranko

The images are fuzzy, a remnant of poor 4-color printing circa 1976, yet, should one have known where to look in the far off days of the bicentennial, one could have found the first graphic novel for a single $1.

Armed with a hard boiled tale that could have flowed from Hammett’s or Cain’s typewriters, Steranko went about a new format, on a new page size, for a new publisher, and was met with staggering indifference by the world at large.

What a shame, as the book itself is a corker.

The illustrations are laid out two to a page, with text underneath allowing Jim to both play with the page format yet separate the two pieces as different graphic elements. Given that the eye tends to track better left to right than up and down, the illustrations are all vertical, and in full color, or what passes for color in those days.

Rumor has it that the illustrations were never inked, but refined pencil work, then colored at the plate level, and my eye tends to agree with this, although I’m willing to be told differently. Has any of this original art turned up?

Set in the 1940’s, the book is just about what you would think: a private eye taking on a case that he really doesn’t want, a dame that can’t be trusted with a body that would stop a truck, a nervous client whose story lacks in credibility what it makes up in dead bodies. It doesn’t end well, they never end well.

I suppose that you could get all huffy about Eisner’s Contract With God being the first true graphic novel, and we could go on and on about what constitutes a graphic novel til we’re niggling about tiny details. I tend to go with a broader definition, one that allows the artist to play with the words and pictures, the defining feature being that they were thinking of an adult audience, one that wouldn’t be reading FOOM. Red Tide has literary pretensions, genre ones certainly, but is aiming at adults as sure as Eisner was with A Contract With God. Rather than argue, I would love to point out that two of the industry’s greatest lights were both, to an indifferent public who believed that comics could only be juvenile and purile, to book stores that didn’t have a section to put them in, against a printing process that hadn’t the slightest chance of doing their artwork justice, fighting to create a new product that was beyond much of what had been done since the graphic narrative of comics had been invented.

Good for them.

In doing some research, it appears that Dark Horse might have been in negotiations to reprint Red Tide in an updated edition back in 1999. Clearly that never happened, and it’s a shame. It would have introduced a whole new audience to the work. An audience already used to and accepting of Sin city would have no problem diving head first into Chandler’s world.

If you can find a copy, and they’re out there, pick one. It’ll be the little digest gem hiding in the collection. I’m looking for one of the larger ones, with a much more limited print run right now.

Said steranko in a later interview:
When the book appeared it was not embraced by the comic-book community because it didn't have word balloons or captions. Believe it or not, they found that shocking! Red Tide ran about 130 pages with two panels per page and text underneath. I used Golden Sectioning, a mathematical formula to arrange elements in a unified structure, to create an image-to-text relationship that readers would be very comfortable with. The text on any given page related only to that page. It was like film, where dialogue, sound effects, and music relate specifically to the scene on screen. I doubt there's been another book published like it since. What may also have had an alienating effect on comics readers was that the book was created as an homage to such noir films as The Maltese Falcon and The Big Sleep.

I developed a different way to tell a narrative story that was more related to film than comics and perhaps that was too radical for the existing comics audience."

Thursday, January 15, 2009

RIP: Patrick McGoohan, The Prisoner

Sampled to death, trampled on, discussed, diatribed, made into an Ayn Rand-ian statment of purpose, the antithesis of the conformity digitized and made relevant and irrelevant many times over: "I will not make any deals with you. I've resigned. I will not be pushed, filed, stamped, indexed, briefed, debriefed or numbered. My life is my own. I resign."

Patrick McGoohan is dead. The Prisoner is gone.

Arguably, in the pre-HBO era, The Prisoner was one of the most ambitious, and perplexing shows ever created for television. Perplexing only, however, those who like their answers spoon fed to them in easy-to-handle doses of prepackaged blandness. McGoohan laid all his themes out there for everyone to see, even wrapped in the thin blanket of genre fiction: the effect of modern society on the individual, the loss of freedom, the oppressiveness of government, authority figures, schooling, modern psychology, the role of the individual in society. They’re all there. And as for answers, you’ll get about as many as people you ask.

The whole point was to get people asking questions, to make them think, and they could provide some extremely fascinating stories along the way. Is there a better shock than watching the dream No. 6 walk back to his body on the television monitor (an early flat screen) in A, B & C? Or his complete psychological destruction of the No. 2 in Hammer into Anvil? Perhaps complete helplessness of the protagonist himself in Free For All, a brutal condemnation of the modern electorate and electoral process?

The Prisoner was a beautiful, fascinating, infuriating idea that McGoohan droll says, “spun out of boredom”, which is his way of perhaps making light of the near nervous breakdown that he suffered trying to over-control all the different aspects of the production. The idea was brilliant. Sheer brilliance.

The show itself was of its time, and has been analyzed and dissected and picked apart from just about every single angle, but it hasn’t been assimilated. Its too open ended for that. You can dismiss it, criticize its effects or costumes or hairstyles, but the very nature of the story is that if you start to think about the questions it raises, you can’t ignore it. It has had a way of staying with a lot of people for a long time.

McGoohan himself was powerful actor who often would use elegant timing and sheer force of character to play equally memorable heroes (John Drake and No. 6) and villains ("Escape from Alcatraz", "Silver Streak"). If you’ve made it this far into this post, I’m sure that you’ve seen him. If not, you should go rent the DVDs and immerse yourself in the series.

I discovered the series back in the 1980’s on public television here in the Bay Area, concluding each episode with a “Prisoner Wrap Session” with a number of local writers who loved the series. Most of what I got out those wrap sessions in the heady pre-internet days, was that other had already scratched below the surface of the series that I was becoming sucked into, and all they found for all their digging was more questions. I was the beginning of the belief as a creator that not all questions needed answering, not everything needed to be shown, and that psychological understanding of people was more important than anything else. If you understood people you knew how to use them for good or for bad. McGoohan made a believer out of me; a believer in questions, questioning easy answers.

A brilliant man has died, one who could never escape the inevitable questions about The Prisoner for years after, so much so they must have seemed like Angelo Muscat’s butler following him back into the London flat at the end of Once Upon a Time. The irony is inescapable. Later in his life he commented, “I guess I’ll always be a number.” Which is, of course, a wry statement on the last line of the opening, “I’m not a number, I’m a free man!”

To me, you’ll always be a free man.

Willingham, Grant and Superhero Decadence

Whither my decadent superhero? With Bill Willingham decrying the state (and social ramifications) of the current superhero, in a post that has raised a huge amount of internet dust, Steven Grant now weighs in with a post heavy on the history lesson that raises a few interesting points.

If we strip these gaudy costume fantasies back to their core, we end up with a fairly uncomplex series of wishes being fulfilled. But whose wishes are being fulfilled here? The readers or the characters? Batman and Spider-Man arising out of guilt as the character’s prime motivation, yet I see Batman’s true fulfillment as a character (and this is at his roots, not the endless revisions that time has saddled him with.) is as the revenge of the little man. An off shoot of the pulp fantasy of the Shadow, Batman exists as catharsis for the average Joe who had his life (and savings) destroyed by Enron crashing, or by Milken or Madoff’s elaborate Ponzi schemes. We harken back to the last Great Depression and we have the entire financial world collapsing, organized crime running rampant and at his core, the Shadow existed to bring some closure to the pulp readers by being willing to ventilate with his 45’s the gangsters and Madoffs of his day. The Batman exists as a moral, vengeful force as well.

The reality is that we need the origin stories to get the heroes up and running and fulfilling their jobs of providing fantasy and escape. Later day, and more advanced writers have decided to further the characters by using the foibles of the origin story as a springboard for later stories, but then you run the risk (ala Ditko and Lee’s falling out over Spider-Man’s evolution as a hero/character) of furthering the character too far, which is bad for business.

I want the Shadow to go out and run into a mess of bad guys and fight his way out. Don’t mind if they’re a thinly veiled attempt at social commentary as long as you give me a good story. In fact, I might enjoy it further if it has some relevance to current headlines.

What Vietnam/Watergate pounded home for most people is what a complex world we live in. Not binary at all. Not black and white. Gray. Traditional superheroes don't do well with gray, or complexity.

True, unless you buy the Englehart enforced theory of his Batman that “his Batman is right”. Just like you have to buy into the concept that the cool looking cape insn’t a hindrance to fighting, you have to sign on the dotted line that when Batman says someone is guilty, the he or she is guilty. Your other characters, to a one, can live in a grey world, and their choices will enrich that decisions made around the hero, but the hero has to have a stronger moral center allowing them to move within that fabric with a straighter line. Traditional superheroes, as Grant correctly notes, always look for solution A or B, which is the failure of the writer to explore C-Z as options. A lack of creative thinking on the writer’s part tends to limit the character’s thinking as well.

Steven comments that the do-gooder heroes of the 40’s and 50’s looked further and further out of place in the late ‘60’s and that the camp Batman show was really the only way to attempt to sell superheroes to that audience. Noting the next generation:

That's what was really behind the ill-fated "relevance" trend of the early '70s, an attempt to make superheroes not irrelevant. Which was a doomed cause; what it mainly proved was that superheroes and real world complexities don't mix. Part of the problem was that those trying to do "relevant superheroes" wanted both worlds, they wanted to have superheroes face off against real world issues (see GREEN LANTERN/GREEN ARROW) yet maintain the core values of the traditional superhero. That led to some bizarre permutations, because one core value of the traditional superhero – and the main selling point of the genre c. 1972 – was that all problems could be solved by physical intervention. Not all problems can be solved by physical intervention, and not many at all by climactic battle. This presents a problem for the superhero, since in order to be a "real hero" he has to ultimately prevail, and the sooner the better.

In that classic Dennis O’Neil Green Lantern story, with the older black man regaling Hal about all the stuff that “he’s done to save the pinks and the blues, why hasn’t he helped the black man?”, I would love to pay Denny enough money to write the follow-up scene where Hal goes, “The last time I stopped Starro or Sinestro from enslaving the entire planet, I wasn’t just saving the white Americans, I was saving everyone regardless of skin color.”

But getting back to Willingham stir-up: Superhero decadence which is very much a reflection of the audience’s decision as to what is relevant as their fantasy entertainment. Do we buy the argument that video games which show shooting everything as the answer to all our problems is the cause of the real life Columbine massacres? I see the rise of the first person shooter video games as the same sort of power wish fulfillment as simple superhero comics. This is the simplest sort of story that we can tell, one in which a bullet, or a single punch, will solve all the particular problems of the story.

What we need are fantasy figures that work to satisfy a particular social itch. Then you’ll get a lionshare of viewers or readers to put down their money and stay a while. Did we really care about Bronson’s character’s motivations in Death Wish to name yet another wish fulfillment revenge character. Not really, just like the Punisher, he just needed to have a reason to pick up the gun and start blowing away the “bad guys”. Superheroes are relevant when the are able to do the things that we wish we could do. Is the current James Bond any different than the current Captain America? Isn’t Jason Bourne a reincarnation of the Captain America story? Found floating in the sea, left for dead? A capable superspy with abilities that look like what we think we all could do with more training and just a little more toughness? (In fact, Bourne’s moment of revelation when asked to assassinate the rebel leader on the boat in the first movie is very similar to Cap’s realizing who the leader of the Secret Empire is.) As much as I might be tired of the “Decadence”, I’m more tired of having a supposed multi-dimensional hero in a cardboard world. Seems a bit backward that way.

Willingham has created a universe in Fables of decently well rounded characters who operate in a very complex universe. And that equation works. There is no character in Fables that compares in complexity, in my opinion, to any of Gaiman’s in Sandman, yet I enjoy the hell out of Fables, so don’t get me wrong. I’m just saying that he has already excelled at creating some traditional ideals in a realistic world that have carried the weight of the stories very well. In all likelihood, his JSA may do that as well. I’ll pick it up and take a look. But the strength is world building, and in that, he’s done a great job.

Monday, January 12, 2009

What Hath I Learned: The Mighty Thor #213

All the comics are spread all over the floor last night, reorganizing them the same way at the tender age of 43 that I did at 9 years of age. I put my 8 year old to the task of "organizing" the Supermans, and the Avengers just so that she had the chance to flip through some new comics that she's never seen. And, of course, I run across The Mighty Thor #213, the very first comic that I ever read. I decided to re-read the issue, to see just how it holds up. Just what did I learn from the experience of reading Thor #213?

Well, I learned that the All-Father is a whiny bitch. Odin spends what few panels he has in the story telling everyone not to fight and to give up. I learned that Gerry Conway and Len Wein can knock this sort of stuff out before lunchtime: The Golden City has been overtaken by slave trading giant Lizards and they have sold the Lady Sif off in the gap between issues. The destruction of the secret drug processing plant that is the crux of keeping the aliens docile takes place on a small panel. The drug plant is so secret that John Buscema and Don Perlin never even end up drawing the damn thing. I learned that the plot makes little sense. Thor, the godling who stood up to Magog, gets knocked out by a chunk of masonry dropped on his head. I learned that Wein and Conway decided NOT to use the evil lizard race that they already have in the Marvel Universe, the Badoon, but instead make up an entirely new race, typo-ridden Vrellnexians, whose main claim to fame must be the unpronounability of their race's name.

I learned that a Starlin cover is a Jim frikkin' Starlin cover, regardless of being touched up by Romita. I learned that there is actually a guy dressed like a Greek fisherman who is travelling space and time with the Asgardians and he never even gets a caption, let alone a word balloon. I learned that the Living Zombie was about to debut in "Tales of the Zombie", appearing wherever fine magazines are sold. I learned that John Buscema either got sick or behind the deadline or simply so bored with the plot that it fell to Don Perlin to finish the last 2 pages... and since Vinnie Colletta inked the isssue, its pretty difficult to tell.

I learned via a full page house ad that Gwen Stacy had died by the Green Goblin's hand and Spider-Man is PISSED.

Mostly I learned that this was one damn confusing issue to start reading comics with. At least the next two I bought, Iron Man #64 and Marvel Feature #12 were easier on the storylines: Doctor Spectrum and the Blood Brothers were attacking, and someone named Thanos was in the background. Who said Marvel in the 1970's was easy to read?

Friday, January 02, 2009

In Review Of: Bruce Timm - Modern Masters

One of the joys of the Modern Masters series is the knowledge that while you won't actually get the full on, comprehensive, be-all, Gary Groth digging into the garbage for all the details, end-all interview, you will get a damn good overview.

Such was the case with Bruce Timm, creator of the most distinctive animated look since the Fleisher's put their fingerprints on the Man of Steel (or, at least, since Hanna met Barbara and rented a floor in my late grandfather-in-law's building). Reading this Modern Masters issue was the opportunity to finally get that overview, since it appeared, to me, that Timm just came out of nowhere. As usual, in comics as in most art, it is a overnight success story punctuated by long years of hopelessness and working at K-Mart between gigs. Typical.

What else do I like about the Modern Masters series? Loads of early art, art before the iconic images that we're used to seeing, art that needs a lot of work. Timm himself makes the comment that while doing his drawings in the late '80's that he had no idea who he really wanted to be with his art. And it took, probably with his work in animation, tens of thousands of drawings to start to distill things down to point where he can nail that one Batman drawing with five lines and a number 6 Windsor-Newton.

Some great early art, including a couple Etrigans, a Colan Dr. Strange with the mask, and two bizarre Batman try-out pages that look a lot a like more like Rick Veitch that Bruce Timm. And a story of perseverence that should be required reading for most people trying to get into the biz.

Is it possible that the entire Modern Masters is nothing but Eric Noel-Weathington deciding to spend some time with some of his favorite creators?

TwoMorrows Publishing has certainly done a great job of publishing a tremendous amount of comic related material well beyond the Kirby Collector, which is something that I have spent many hours reading and collecting and I doubt that I have spent any time blogging on. I don't quite know where to start actually, given how many damn Kirby issues I have in the files in my studio.

This is a better volume that the Michael Golden one, which I thought didn't cover the breadth of a creator as innovative and as influential as Golden, but Timm's seemed to be the right balance of art, overview and interesting facts.