Masterful Marks pays tribute to the pioneers of comics using the very medium they’ve elevated. These are the men who’ve forsaken conventional thinking to turn their passions into careers. These are the oddballs who channeled their quirkiness via their work and gained a following from other oddballs. Sadly, these are also the unsung heroes who got screwed over by their superiors. All of their lives are complicated and fascinating reads, brought to life by a variety of award winning artists.
Editor (and writer of a few segments) Monte Beauchamp gathers a small group of comic book artists and has each create a brief biography for one of 16 legendary illustrators. There are some well-known comic book legends including Superman creators Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster, Peanuts creator Charles M. Schulz and Manga/Anime legend Osamu Tezuka (Astro Boy, Kimba the White Lion). But then this book also focuses on legends who’re more illustrators than comic book artists, including Caricaturist legend Al Hirshchland, Dr. Seuss and Walt Disney. The strangest inclusion is Hugh Hefner, who may have tried to start a career as a cartoonist but isn’t known for his drawings. Arguably, the truest pioneers are comic strip creator Rodolphe Topffer and Lynd Kendall Ward, the father of the graphic novel. Continue reading