Thursday, June 18, 2009

Tyler James Interview/ How does he find the time?

Here is a interview I did with Tyler James. I first noticed his work as artist/writer of Super Seed in Zuda (and voted for it), since then he has gone on to do even more projects. Over, Tears of the Dragon.... -I'll let him tell you all about it. :)

1. Superheroes, fantasy, adventure, romance, humor do you consciously want to have a go at every genre to see what you can do?

Good question! I was thinking about this myself the other day. A quick glance at my various projects and you'd think I was paranoid of being typecast. Not that I should be can't be typecast if you haven't built a name for yourself yet! I am enjoying taking a stab at various genres, however, and I think it is a reflection of the fact that my tastes in comics have expanded. 15 years ago, if it wasn't a super hero book, I wasn't buying it. But over the years, I've expanded the scope of books I read. Frank Miller's Sin City stuff was probably the first non-super hero books I really got into. Now, a good portion of the books I'm most jazzed about don't have any guys in tights pounding each other. (That doesn't sound right.) But books like Scalped, The Walking Dead, and Y: The Last Man have really proven to me how capable the comics medium is at tackling all sorts of stories.

Don't get me wrong though. I don't want to stray too far from the super hero genre. In fact, it's taking a lot of restraint to not jump into a new capes idea that I think will probably be my most marketable project yet. Plus I still need to finish up Super Seed's fourth issue. But the big goal for me over the past year was to expand my brand, and start collaborating with some great artists to create new properties. When I was conducting my search for art talent, I played the "match the artist to a story" game. For example, when I first saw the work of Koko Amboro, it just screamed fantasy book, and forced me to dust off Tears of the Dragon, a story I had in the back of my head for years. Because I do teach some younger students about creating comics at one of the local middle schools, it was important for me to have an all-ages story in my portfolio, so it just clicked that now was a great time to do Tears. It's not a conscious effort to do a little of everything, but sometimes you just have to follow your inspiration. The cool thing is, by the end of this year, I think I'm going to be confident that no matter what type of comics reader passes my table at a con, I'll have something they might be interested in checking out.

2. Any concerns being a 'romance' strip might limit the audience of Over?

Actually, quite the opposite. While the summers are known for blockbuster action (and lately super hero) movies, every year there's at least one romantic comedy that hauls in $150 million. The rom-com is a genre that's here to stay. Granted, they aren't very well represented in your typical comic book shops. But that's okay. Because I think the target audience for Over is actually broader than your typical LCS goer. Over touches on some universal themes that could appeal to a very broad audience. Hell, everyone has had their heart broken. And a lot of people end up doing some pretty ridiculous things in the process of trying to get over a bad break up, so I think Felix's plight is very relatable. Because I made Felix a comic book writer, there are still plenty of inside jokes and comics industry references that I think the average comic book fan is really going to find funny. The biggest question I have is whether or not there's a market for a romantic comedy with a comic creator protagonist NOT written by Kevin Smith. Hope so.

And additionally, Over is an ONLINE graphic novel, and there are plenty of examples of successful webcomics that blend romance and comedy successfully (Girls With Slingshots, Anders Loves Maria, etc.) While I certainly think my story is unique, I don't think I'm doing anything groundbreaking here. Just telling a story, and hoping people will show up.

3. You wrote on the site you made an effort to identify and eliminate typical genre cliches. I tend to think of genre cliches as short hand that makes it easier for readers to follow a story. You don't want to go overboard of course, but they do have a purpose and to a extent are expected. Would you expand on what cliches you red lined out of the script, and what others (besides waking up) you left in Over?

[RKB], you make a great point about cliches. I've heard it said that what people want when they open a comic book, crack a novel, or plop down in a movie theater seat is something "the same, but different." An oxymoron, for sure, but it's true. When I read a Bendis book, I know I'm in for some sparkling dialogue and a few twists and turns I won't see coming. Now, the specific banter and particular plot twists are going to be different every time, but the general reading experience is usually the same. And that's why I'm willing to plop down $4 for his books.

After an initial false start with a story approach to Over that just wasn't working, I found a new direction, and crafted a beginning middle and end that I was happy with. However, the story I had didn't fit neatly into any one genre. If it was a romance, it wasn't romantic enough. If it was a dark comedy, it wasn't funny enough. I decided I wanted to tell a romantic comedy, and then really studied the structure of the genre. I read screenplays, watched flicks, and picked up the excellent book "Writing the Romantic Comedy" by Billy Mernit. And I realized that there were some rules of the rom-com that could be bent, and some that couldn't. So, over the course of several drafts, I feel I've managed to produce a story that hits all of the major beats expected in rom coms, but does so in a unique way with my own point of view. The same, but different.

Now, cliches...Generally, I think writers fall prey to the scourge of cliche when they go with the first idea that comes to there head. For example, in Over, I had a story beat, one every rom com needs, "the cute meet." You know, that romantic chance meeting that kicks off the love affair. So, I wrote what I thought was a funny little scene where Felix and Faith meet for the first time. It was the first scene that came to mind and it took place in a bar. Unfortunately, you can't get much more cliche than "man and woman meet in a bar." And there were some other elements that were too familiar to other movies. This is what happens sometimes when you go with the first idea in your head, what may seem like "your idea" is just a mish mash of stuff you've already seen or read. To a certain extent, that's okay, but do it too much, and it's trouble. I recognized I could do better than the scene I had written, and a few drafts later, I changed the setting of their "cute meet" and created a scene that I haven't seen before. And I think it's funnier as a result.

4. You don't just have your comic on the site, you have a great deal of extra content, parts of a film script/ play lists and the like. How important is it for you -and web comics in general- to reward readers like this?

I think it's very important. To build an audience and grow readership for a webcomic, you need to create a habit in the reader of visiting your site. The average white collar 9-5er might have 5-15 "non-essential" sites they visit as a part of their daily routine as a break from the daily grind. As a webcomics creator, the goal is to make your site one of those destinations. This is why the number one rule in webcomics is to establish an update schedule, promote the update schedule, and STICK TO the update schedule. The best update schedule is a daily one. This is part of the reason for the success of PVP, Sheldon, Evil Inc, etc. A reason to visit a site every day is an effective way to build that habit in a potential reader, and turn them from a reader to a fan. Think about the early days of Zuda. Despite having the backing of DC/Warner Bros. and a tremendous amount of interest and coverage, when they launched it was great for the first day, and then it was a ghost town for a month, waiting for new content to show. Now that they've built up their offerings to offer new content every day, I expect we'll continue to see Zuda's readership grow.

While I'd love to update Over every single day, I simply can't draw that fast. Even though I've stripped down my art style to a more cartoony, minimalist style than I'm used to, and abandoned color for gray-scale with tones, three pages a week is about all I can produce. Every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday is an ambitious, but achievable update schedule that I can stick to. But, learning the lesson from other successful webcomics, I still want to provide a reason for people to visit the site every day. That's where the extra content comes in. All of it is tailored to the theme of Over, and while I'm sure some readers will ignore it, others might end up being just as interested in things like Felix's Playlist than the actual comic. We'll see how it goes. They say content is king, and I'm trying to provide a reason to for my readers to put my site in their rotation and give me 15-30 seconds of their time each day.

5. With Over/ Tears of the Dragon/ Counter Terror/ a comics related column/ and I believe still set to teach another course on comics creation, how big of a worry is it for you that they're not enough hours in a week for all this work your doing?

Busy is good, [RKB]! Better than the alternative, anyway. Now is my time to give this comics thing an honest try, and that's just requiring me to put my head down and bust it for a while. I don't have any kids yet, and the only woman I'm beholden to is Sallie Mae, so now is probably the best time in my life to try to get some traction with my creative endeavors. The Creating Comics! classes are just a once a week thing, and a ton of fun, so I hardly even count those.

6. What other projects might be in your future readers could expect to see?

June was a big month for me, with the launch of both Over and my Creating Comics! The Art + Craft column at Comic Related. But July...July is going to be nuts.

Tears of the Dragon kicks off it's run online on July 14, and will update weekly on Tuesdays. Tears is my all-ages fantasy tale, and it's been a blast to work on. I'm writing it, it's drawn by Koko Amboro and colored by Paul Little. And though I'm hardly objective, Tears will be one of the prettiest damn comics on the internets. Hope you'll be checking it out.

I'll also be running the "Poster Child" storyline of Super Seed on its website for the first time starting in July. This has been the most popular story arc of the series, and it'll be good to have it on the site for all to read. I will also start posting some pages of CounterTERROR, an action/horror mash up I worked on with artist Stefano Cardoselli, another former Zuda contestant, as well.

Over will continue it's thrice weekly updating and the story will really get moving. And every Monday, my column will continue to run over at CR. The best way to keep up with all of these projects is to check out my website or to follow me on Twitter @tylerjamescomic.

And you know what the cool thing is? I haven't even mentioned the BIGGEST thing I've got cooking comics wise in July...but my lips are sealed on that one, and not even a waterboarding by Dick Cheney could get me to talk.

I want to say thanks again to Tyler for taking the time to answer some questions, and doing the title banner to this very blog. You should really check out all his various projects regardless of what your go-to genre is, you should find something to entertain you. You may even find a new appreciation for a genre you have over looked.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Over by Tyler James Review

Over is a new comic on the web done by Zuda vet Tyler James that updates on Monday's, Wednesday's and Friday's. It's a romantic comedy about an artist named Felix who is dumped by his girlfriend Faith, and the graphic novel of 'angst' he did as a result. Felix's best 'self denial is a coping mechanism' defense of the book, doesn't necessary win anyone over. He will still have to deal with his publisher/editor Tony wanting those pages already. It begins at the "this is the best thing for both of us" I'm dumping your ass speech we've all given and taken. Felix response is to do a graphic novel about it, which will be a huge hit in sales, win back his girlfriend, and maybe get him a spot on Oprah -in his mind. [Apparently he has no regard for the KFC grilled chicken/A Million Little Pieces Harpo hex.] Some might be concerned that a comic about a comic artist might be too inbred thematically. Actually the 'artist does a story about a artist' is a great hook that provides plenty of chances for 'inside the park' humor. If you have actually had to deal with a editor in real life, an extra layer of story there for you. If not, you can still appreciate dead line pressure and the situations that result from that. I had the chance to take a sneak peak at upcoming events and the story just hums along at a great pace. They're some sight gags, and even more interesting characters coming as we meet more of the cast. We impressed me the most is the excellent dialogue doesn't diminish in quality, and the art continues to serve the story so well. Tyler is the artist and writer so doesn't that go without saying? No it doesn't. Too often solo creators end up working against themselves with the words/pictures, but it's a almost perfect marriage here. I don't like the dog named Stan Lee, but I'll get to that later...

You know what helps a comic more than anything? Everything!

No, that's not a Zen koan. What I mean is I enjoy Tyler's art style it's clean, and easy to follow. It's not a old school Jae Lee chiaroscuro Rorschach test in every panel, and thanks for that. It is very expressive in the characters faces, you can see how fucked up in one way, or another Felix is from page to page. The dialogue and Felix's interactions with the people he knows has some funny lines and real feelings in just the first few pages. What puts Over over the top with me is the color scheme, and the letters. The tonal coloring matches the moments in the story. Getting dumped it's all kinds of shades of blue, the outside world is golden. It's gray, gray, gray for Felix's home life and work. On screen 7 we see the color transition from happy golden outside to Felix's gray to match his mood face. The next screen is gray, back to his combo graphic novel/ self pity wallowing. It's color coded for ease of/increased enjoyment. I have a thing about letters. It's not just picking some typography -it's also how you use them. The balloon panel placement doesn't get in the way of the art. I know some people feel the same way about sound effects, that I do about text boxes. I love a good sound effect though, can't help it. Over is filled with sound effects, that to my minds ear only aid the story. It also provides a important set-up to a kick ass scene I'll be getting to after the bold. On screen 5-6 a car alarm is used for screen transition, and a nice little dramatic moment. If I'm crazy -I'm crazy, but I can 'hear' the sfx: in comics. Maybe I just have a better than decent imagination. The comic also has a number of extra content items. A screen play that goes along with the story, a play list that gives you a hint how pissed Felix is. You get your time's worth from the story, extra's are a cherry on top.

Sometimes you shouldn't listen to the critics -that includes me and everyone else

I agree with Tyler 'the boys' Troy, Matt, and Sootch (along with Tony) are my favorite characters in the story. The 'playing football by a car/we all know how this goes' scene is one of my favorite parts of the story. My next favorite part is Felix's interaction with Tony. I don't know if Hollywood knows this, but it's obvious Tyler does: Romantic comedies have got to have good friend chemistry. In a story like this you expect cool interaction between the ex love interest, and the possible new flame. What puts a story like this above the rest is how good the poor guy, or girl lead interacts with their friends. Previous kick ass writing continues to kick ass. The boys in this story serve as a voice of reason. They make reality real by reminding Felix not to be a [expletive of your choice fill in here], and also the world isn't over, just your relationship is. The comic relief part of it works out well too. Every rom-com needs any number of 'snap out of it man' characters. This story has the boys already, and in a upcoming funny/get your shit together scene with Tony the same feelings are expressed. Only thing I really didn't like is the dog Stan Lee. The name gives me a slight cringe, and I don't like animals in general. Dogs, cats, rats, or bats -it makes no difference to me. I don't know how big a role Stan Lee is going to play in the story, and my view could change -I guess- depending on his hi-jinks. As of now the dog is just kind of there, as a addition to the furniture/ sight gag.

Cool as hell!!!

I give it 5 stars, a fav, and a vot-- Sorry old habits die hard. ;) The best thing for me about the story is the 3-D characters I'm seeing on my flat screen. I have no idea how this story is going to end. Will Felix get Faith back??? I doubt it, but it could happen. Will Gwen become a new love interest for Felix? Will Sootch become a quaterback in the NFL??? Will Tony ever get those pages of 'Fire of the Pendragon'? The fact I care about what happens to all these characters (not just Felix), is proof Tyler did a amazing comic you should be reading.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Charles Biro/ I'm a big fan of whoever he/she/they were!?!?! (part 2)

Crime actually paid a fortune/ thank Marx for socialist profit sharing

It will be a damn shame if Charles Biro never gets the collected Fletcher Hanks treatment. It amazes me (and no doubt it does Greg Sadowski) the number of collection's of fantastic Golden Age stories that are available. I'm not just talking about Marvel, DC, and EC's 'sell your first born to afford it' hardbacks. You also have the complete Fletcher Hanks making its way, a collection of Frankenstein stories, various artists, and genres getting the collected treatment. So why no love for Charles Biro? Saying Biro/ a ghost writer did superheroes, and crime comics doesn't cut it. Biro and Bob Wood invented the crime comic genre with publisher Lev Gleason's Crime Does Not Pay. Like the horror and romance genre's for a time later on, it kicked everyone's ass but Superman's and funny animals in sells. Every other company tried to glum on to their success (Lev Gleason even put out a spin-off -Crime and Punishment) including EC with their Crime Patrol which would morph into Tales from the Crypt after another name change along the way. [That's the subject for some other blog post.] Mr. Crime was created as the host of Crime Does Not Pay -possible comic book inspiration for the hosts EC used? I'm guessing yup. How much respect does Biro's Crime Does Not Pay get these day's? The Mammoth Book of Best Crime Comics has 2 or 3 reprints from this title, it's a damn shame it didn't have more. I noticed no author was listed for the Fred Guardineer who dunnit? (this was a common feature in the comic), Charles Biro (whoever that was) wrote those stories but the editors of Mammoth couldn't/wouldn't give the credit. 'The Button' by Bill Everett was either written by Everett, or Biro -but not anonymous. When I saw that was on the contents page my initial verbal reaction was "anonymous my ass" then I flipped off my computer screen. The book is in the mail from Amazon, when I get it I'll see if their is any editorial comment about this. It seems like a pretty obvious snub to me though. A common problem reviewers have with Mammoth is the Spirit story chosen for inclusion is average at best. I have the same problem with a 'who dunnit?' making it in. I love Guardineer's art work, but 'who dunnit' is the least entertaining regular feature in Crime Does Not Pay, and not representative of the whole. The quality of content is there for a solo crime book reprinting just stories from the Lev Gleason published titles that Biro ran. Luckily many of the more stand out stories are available for download/ on-line.

He had the ball's to kill Meatball

My two favorites in the Golden Age are characters Airboy, and THE REAL DareDevil. In Air Fighters comics #2 Biro (or at least someone going by that name) created the Airboy feature. That first story/art was the only work he did on the character, but it set the ground work for an amazing run to come. With DareDevil Charles Biro had the opposite effect. He took over from Jack Cole who had already revamped DD, and went in a different direction. DD was a springboard character to tell whatever kind of story Biro wanted to tell. Usually it had to do with crime, and the crumbling ruins of a damage persons psyche. Fletcher Hanks had his hang-ups one of the most obvious was he had a thing for bodies floating in the air. One of Biro's repeated themes was a bad seed/black sheep betrays his family, and karma treats him like a circus freak does a chicken. Family betrayal happens as much as fighting gangsters, or fighting fascist's for DareDevil in the WW II era. It definitely made for some of DareDevil's best stories. In Daredevil comics # 13 Biro introduced The Little Wise Guys. In issue #15 Biro killed off little wise guy Meatball in a kid gangs story, I doubt many would of had the courage to do. The impact of that on these characters, and the opportunity for some truly impressive artwork, is something more people should take note of. As time went on, and superheroes faded, The Little Wise Guys would take over the book, DareDevil's last appearance being in issue #80. Biro wrote morality tales which didn't feature DD that much, but were still intriguing stories. He wrote those bad seed stories with the kind of murders Wertham tried to save you from. DareDevil fought the Nazis too, and did a damn good job at it. Biro even had DD give up his costume, and become a publisher, it didn't last but made for a interesting story arc.
DareDevil's throwing his trusty boomerang and taking out the bad guys is always a memorable image. DareDevil did most of his crime fighting in the daytime, which only served to make the villains/stories Biro wrote even darker. It's pitch black on some lonely street you can kind of figure the kind of characters Batman will cross paths with. If the evil deeds go down in board daylight, it reinforces the idea bad things can happen to anyone, at anytime. DareDevil was used by Biro as a gateway to a number of different types of genre stories in a 'cries out' to be collected amazing run. Superhero, romance, morality, crime, humor -whatever you go-to genre is you can find it in DareDevil comics.

But wait, theirs more!

Boy comics featuring the young hero Crimebuster who had some of the best villains of the Golden Age. The Joker ain't shit compared to Iron Jaw even by today's even more evil Joker standards. You also had the Rodent who was interesting on a number of levels. He/she was half man/half woman, the kind of character Grant Morrison would piss his pants in delight over because of all the story-telling possibilities. Lastly you have the one-shot villain to end all one-shot villains in Boy comics #19. Their are no words to do this story justice, but I'll try. Bad guy has crippled man killed, then has his own legs cut off to try to collect on a will bequest. No it doesn't end well at all, except for Crimebuster, Squeeks, and the readers of course. Must have been inspiration for the people behind EC later on.

Zip comics features some of Biro's early work on Steel Sterling: doing the art, and maybe writing. It has very nice design elements in the layout of the stories, and Steel has one of the most interesting secret identities around. When not doing the superhero thing Steel pretends to be his non-super powered twin brother. I know you probably think that as a secret identity is limiting. It actually read as more interesting to me than someone wearing glasses, changing their hair style, and acting like a uber-coward to protect their identity.

Charles Biro is an
outsider artist!

I wish we could see Charles Biro get the TPB book treatment. 2o pages or less on his history, and the various controversies surrounding him, and the rest of the book dedicated to reprints. [I'd do it for comp copies should anyone from Fantagraphics be reading this. :)] Whatever the 'truth' is someone under the Biro by-line did some amazing work that should be remembered and read. Their is no reason Biro couldn't become a critical darling, and fanboy favorite like Fletcher Hanks with sales to match. The story surrounding 'his' work has as much drama of a different sort than Hanks to be a captivating read. If you call someone a 'outsider artist' they could get away with horrible actions/ or just unpopular ones, but still get great acclaim. Who is Biro??? -could be the title. Who do you go to if you want to pitch a mini-bio/reprint collection idea???

Here is a short reading list:
[Most can be found for download here.]

Air Fighters :
#2 First appearance of Airboy

Daredevil Comics:
#13 The Little Wise Guys
#15 meatball dies
#18 new pygmy in Australia origin done by Biro
#23 In a later era it reads like anti-psychologist propaganda
#31 Instead of Cain and Abel, you get a story about Cain and his evil twin
#35 Great superhero type story with DD fighting some weird villains
#39 Another Cain and Abel type story, but with a awesome cover
#48 EC again could have got inspiration from this. Insane doctor tries to do major operation on himself
#49 Another kid gang story, that starts to show DD getting edged out

Crime Does Not Pay:
#22 first issue that started it all
#48 Great artwork/ impressive stories
#52 "The woman who wouldn't die" among others
#57 "The wild spree of the laughing sadist: Herman Duker" among others

Boy Comics:
#3 Origin of Crimebuster
#9 fights he/she
#11 Iron Jaw
#15 Rodent/Iron Jaw battle
#19 You have to read it to believe it 'nuff said.

Zip Comics
#1 Steel Sterling origin
#3 Secret identify created

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Charles Biro/ I'm a big fan of whoever he/she/they were!?!?! (part 1)

Charles Biro is known as a comic book artist, writer, editor. He started out drawing (and maybe writing) Steel Sterling for Zip comics. He created Airboy for Hillman. At Lev Gleason he was mainly a cover artist (after DareDevil battles Hitler #1), along with being the primary writer and co-editor of their comics line.If you read Ten Cent Plague by David Hajdu you get the impression he had ghost writers/ ghost artists. He was the driving force along with Bob Wood at Lev Gleason comics back in the Golden Age. He revamped The Real DareDevil yet again after Jack Cole pulled the character from the brink and made him even more original. He created The Little Wise Guys as side kicks who eventually took over the entire comic when super heroes went out of fashion. He created Crime Buster for Boy comics. Charles Biro had a pet monkey who sat on his shoulder when he drew. Imagine that visual. People said you could tell what kind of mood he was in, by the way the monkey was acting. Crime Buster got a pet monkey side kick named Squeeks, who was popular enough to have imitators. Biro and Wood also created the crime comic genre with Crime Does Not Pay which spawned a legion of imitators as well.
It's also alleged/charged that George Tuska ghosted covers from him, and a woman named Virginia Hubbell was his ghost writer. The story he told about how he came up with the idea for Crime Does Not Pay: "One night Biro and Wood were sitting in a bar discussing ideas when Biro remembered the time he had been approached by a man who offered him a “indiscreet rendezvous” with a woman. Biro declined. The very next day Charles spotted the man’s picture in the paper...he’d been arrested for kidnapping the woman! He told Wood about the incident and suggested a comic book dealing with gangsters and murderers, real and imagined" [] was almost certainly fiction. Was he a great talent, or the first incarnation of Greg Land???

So why did David Hajdu shit all over Charles Biro?

In Hajdu's book Ten Cent Plague Jerry Robinson and Maurice Horn had some good things to say/quotes about my Golden Age idol. Rudy Palis in this book said: "I never saw anything worse than his stuff, really." [I have, maybe he just isn't as well read as me?] Rudy says Biro used a pantograph to replicate images his whole life, including during his comics career. Pete Morisi gives him the most hell, but he does have his own personal grudge so you can't take him at his word. Morisi wanted to use the DareDevil character at Charlton, Lev Gleason had no problem with it, Biro wanted a share of the profits if it became a success. Morisi wasn't down for fortune sharing so he created a stand in Dave Sim style in Pete Cannon...Thunderbolt. Which truth be told is what he should have done in the first place, and was the better for it. He had his own character, now owned (at least in part) by his estate. The pen's a long arm from the grave, and a pissing match between spectres something ghastly. Morisi no doubt felt pissed on that he didn't get DD, so decided to return the favor to Biro. Hajdu weighed in with this comment about Biro's skills as a writer: "He also applied the creative technique he learned as a child: he cheated." This is what David Hajdu had to say about his ghost writer: "As several artists who worked closely with Biro would recall, many if not most of the scripts for which Biro took credit were ghost written by a woman he had met at MLJ, Virginia Hubbell."[Ten Cent Plague] As far as any of the sources for ghost writing go, I have no way of knowing if theirs a cat among them without a dog in the fight.

Take a issue of Ambush Bug, or a Legion of Superheroes from the late 80's early 90's. I figure every collector should have at least one. Compare the art work of Keith Giffen to the art work of George Tuska found in 2 stories in Crime Does Not Pay #48 just for a example. If your a member you can down load it here. You might not agree, but to my untrained eye Tuska is definitely Giffen's biggest influence before the ink on paper/Trencher days. Biro and Tuska on the other hand don't draw a like. In comic art styles it all comes down to the way people's faces are drawn. That's where you really see their style expressed, just like in real life with people's personalities. Biro's faces have that 'same hand made me look' from Steel in Zip throughout so many of The Lev Gleason covers signed Charles Biro. I thought in my junior detective mood, I was really onto something here. Then I remembered Al Capp switched to drawing his characters heads and hands, and let back ground me like Frazetta do the rest. So it's possible something like this went down, or out and out ghosting. The more damning charge of ghost writing is of course the harder to prove. If Biro did write some of his own stories which ones, and how many? I don't know how much/any of the good, or the bad is true. I do know whoever, however many that wrote, and drew all those stories under the name Charles Biro -I'm a fan of him/her/them.

[Which stories in particular? Find out in part 2 of this blog post coming soon!!!] ;)