B.K. Taylor is probably best know for his strips "The Appletons" and "Timberland Tales" done for National Lampoon magazine in the late 1970's to early 1980's. Taylor has drawn and written for a wide range of humor publications and other trading cards, including the Odd Rods series. Below are some samples from his Zero Hero sticker set produced in 1983.
James Montgomery Flagg (1877-1960) is probably most famous for his depiction of Uncle Sam (left)for a WWI recruiting poster. Flagg created this poster 20 years into a productive career as an illustrator. At the age of 15 he was working for both Life and Judge magazines. Flagg had little formal art training, he studied for a short time at the Art Students League and later in Europe. In addition to his patriotic posters during WWI, during his career Flagg published in all the leading magazines of the day: McClures, Colliers, The Saturday Evening Post, Redbook, and Ladies Home Journal. Below are some illustrations Flagg did for John Fox Jr.'s story "Christmas for Big Ame." The illustrations were published in the December 1910 issue of Scribner's Magazine.
Michael Kaluta has been drawing comics and science fiction and fantasy illustration since the late 1960's. He is probably best know for his work on DC's The Shadow and his illustrations for the novel Metropolis.
In 1987 he illustrated and drew the covers for a set of young adult novels in the "My Name is Paris" series. The novels were issued in paperback, but three of them were issued in hardcover for libraries. Below are scans of the covers from the three library editions.
William B. Van Ingen (1858-1955) was a noted mural painter and stained glass artist. He did his preliminary art studies in Japan. Van Ingen later studied at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts. He produced murals for the Library of Congress, the Pennsylvania and New Jersey State Capitols, and the University of Albany. He is probably most well known for his murals depicting the construction of the the Panama Canal. They hang in the Administration Building in the Panama Canal Zone. Below are images of these Murals taken from the March 1915 issue of Scribner's Magazine.
I first encountered Dave Stevens in 1982. I went over to my friend Scott's house and he said something like “Comics are good again. Kirby's doing something for a company called Pacific and check out this backup story in this Mike Grell comic.” I looked at that six page story in Starslayer #2 and saw an instant newness and familiarity in Stevens' renderings of Cliff Secord and the supporting cast. Like the best songs by Bob Dylan and Neil Young, Stevens' art was both new but at the same time it felt like something that always existed and was waiting to be plucked out of the air if the right artist came along to see it. That day began about ten years of waiting patiently between episodes of The Rocketeer, anticipating each new cover Dave did for Pacific and Eclipse comics. Usually when we bought a new Pacific Comic, the first thing we did was flip it over and see if there was a Stevens cover in the “Coming Attractions.”
Brush with Passion: The Art and Life of Dave Stevens collects all those covers, some wonderful examples of Rocketeer art, and much, much more. In addition to Stevens' published and familiar work this book has a generous sampling of Stevens' early samples, animation work, commercial art, and commissioned pinups and other drawings. Almost every page is a visual treat, offering something you haven't seen before or a familiar Rocketeer page reproduced from the original art as you never seen it before.
Stevens provided the often illuminating narrative for the book. We learn how Stevens kind of stumbled into doing the Rocketeer and what was supposed to be a quick fill-in job grew grew into something that defined Dave Stevens for many of readers, who always clamored for more. But the conditions of the comic market at the time, and Stevens' drive for doing the job right made his output seem sporadic and never enough for his eager fans. Brush With Passion details what Stevens was doing all that time: working with the Rocketeer movie, trying to do jobs that would earn him a living and challenging himself as an artist. And toward the end, taking oil painting classes and battling leukemia.
I got to meet Dave Stevens once in the early 1990's at one of John Hitchcock's comic shows in Greensboro. I probably asked him when the next Rocketeer was coming out and he patiently and graciously answered my questions. I bought a couple of prints from him and as he signed them I commented how his cover for the Sheena in 3-D comic was one of my favorites by him. He commented, “Apparently someone else liked it too, it's been stolen.” There's a happy ending to that story in this book.
One more Stevens story. The drawing on page 181, “Charity.” I was over at a friend of mines' house who sold original comic art. He had a Polaroid of that piece he passed around. At this time, Dave was “just teasing” with his Eclipse covers and just seeing a full on nude by Stevens was something. Even though I was an adult, seeing that drawing brought some of that some thrill one got when viewing their first Playboy magazine at the age of 12 or 13. That's what Stevens' art always did for me, whether it was a drawing of the Rocketeer, the Shadow, or one his pretty girls, it always felt like seeing something new, but something you always wanted to see but just didn't know it yet.