Artist Profile: L.B. Cole (1918 — 1995)

L.B. Cole, who was born Leonard Cohen in the Bronx, New York, ended his formal education when he was 13 years old.  That was when he dropped out of school and went to work in his uncle’s cigar factory.  It was while working in the factory that Cole first noticed all of the work that went into designing the labels and the packages of his grandfather’s cigars.  This was the start of an interest in illustration that would lead to L.B. Cole becoming one of the busiest and most prolific artists of both the pulps and the Golden Age of Comics.

Cole left his grandfather’s factory in 1936 and, at the age of 16, joined the art staff of the company the designed the factory’s cigar box labels.  Cole spent three years working as an apprentice and learning the ins and outs of graphic design.  By the time that Cole turned 21, he had already begun his career as a commercial artist.

Cole apparently did his first paperback covers in 1942, for Phoenix Press.  He would go on to work in both the paperback and the comic book industry, dabbling in every genre and making a name for himself with his bold and colorful work. Cole even briefly made the transition from artist to publisher when, in 1949, he founded Star Publications.  L.B. Cole was also one of the few commercial artists of the era to sign his name to almost all of his covers.

Cole worked regularly through the mid-60s.  After his retirement, he was rediscovered by collectors and continued to contribute occasional illustrations to fan publications.  After his death in 1995, Cole was posthumously inducted into the Will Eisner Hall of Fame.

Here’s some of his work:

Star Wars: Rise of Skywalker D23 First Look

Star Wars Rise of Skywalker

This past weekend saw Disney’s own convention called D23 come and go over at Anaheim, CA. Everything Disney-branded were announced and talked about. We got more news on Disney’s upcoming streaming service, more Marvel Studios news from Disney+ shows to information on the MCU’s Phase 4 plans. There were even some news about the fallout of the Marvel/Sony issue which has taken Spider-Man out of the MCU proper. Yesterday saw the release of the latest theatrical poster and a special First Look at this upcoming holiday release of Star War: Rise of Skywalker.

The final installment in what’s being called as the Skywalker Saga, the first look trailer shown at D23 yesterday has now been released for general audience consumption and from what I can see it bears some resemblance (at least from some of the images shown) from the old Dark Horse Comics Star Wars: Dark Empire (now just part of Star Wars Legends).

From the very ordered battle formation of Imperial Star Destroyers, to C3PO with red, menacing eyes to Rey in black Sith Robes that echoed Dark Empire’s Luke Skywalker also donning the black Sith Robes and becoming an apprentice of Sith Lord Palpatine.

While much of the stories and ideas from the comics and books of the 1990’s up until the sale of Lucasfilm to Disney has been made moot with the release of the latest films, the Star Wars creators have been mining the so-called Star Wars Legends for ideas and characters to create a new canonical universe.

This latest trailer for Star Wars: Rise of Skywalker does seem to have some influence from that comic book series from Dark Horse and I think that should make for an interesting conclusion to this latest film trilogy.

International Weirdness : “Suburban Coffin”

Trash Film Guru

As a general rule, when a movie’s IMDB summary is scant on details, you know something’s up. I mean, whoever makes a film can go in there and write whatever blurb about it they want, and yet writer/director Benjamin Rider — the guy behind 2018 UK production Suburban Coffin — submitted only a cryptic, one-sentence description of the fruits of his labor (and 2,000 pounds of his money). Verbatim, it reads : “The devil, disguised as an insurance salesman, appears in the suburbs of London.”

Which, fair enough, is what this flick is about — but surely that can’t be all it’s about, can it?

Actually, uhhhmmm — yeah, it can. Clocking in at just over an hour, this is nevertheless a bit of a slow burn, and probably features a few too many characters for its own good. Alasdair Melrose turns in pretty solid work as Old Scratch himself…

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Music Video of the Day: Half Life by Spector (2019, dir by Callum James)

I like the mix of glitz and ennui that’s present in this video.  When I first saw this video, I have to admit that I mistakenly thought the video had been filmed in several cities in the United States, one of which was I was sure was Las Vegas.  I’m really glad that I actually bothered to google “Where was Spector’s Half-Life video filmed” before I wrote up this post because it turns out that I was 100% incorrect.

(See?  Everyone complains about Google but, sometimes, it can be your best friend.)

It turns out that this video was shot in East London.  Fred Macpherson is sitting in the back of an Uber and having a minor existential crisis as he watches the world pass him by.  According to the linked article, this video was very much a bit of a do it yourself project with Fred just riding around with a camera crew who recorded whatever it was that they saw during the drive.  That takes a certain amount of courage because, seriously, what would you do if you saw absolutely nothing while you were driving around?

(Myself, I’d probably wonder how I suddenly found myself in Vermont …. I’m joking!  I swear, it’s just a joke….)

Anyway, as I said, I like the mix of glamour and insecurity that’s present in this video.  Anyone who has ever felt isolated while surrounded by hundreds of people will be able to relate to this video’s theme.  This video is for everyone who has felt like they were lost even though they knew exactly where they were.  And yet, I don’t necessarily feel that this is a pessimistic video.  As long as the journey’s continuing, there’s always something new on the horizon.