Sunday, November 27, 2011

The Yang Reports Extra - After Yang!

Nick Cuti

The one man most closely associated with all the Yang stories is writer Joe Gill, and despite this, he is often overlooked as the focus in comics often shifts to the artwork. I'm guilty of that in these reports as well.

Joe Gill's name was so ubiquitous at Charlton that I assumed it was a house name and that one man could not possibly be responsible for all the scripts attributed to him. But I was very wrong, and Joe Gill is one of those workhorse talents who I most admire these days, a guy who shows up and gets the job done regardless of the circumstances. He was a far from a prima donna as it's possible to be.

Gill worked steadily at Charlton after the Yang books folded, ending his career with the Derby publisher and going into semi-retirement after the company finally folded for good in 1986. He worked on a few things here and there over the years for ACE Comics and DC Comics, but oddly his final credit is as a colorist for an independent comic title "Ebony Warrior".

Joe Gill passed away in 2006.

Warren Sattler is the guy who drew more Yang stories (both in Yang and House of Yang) than any other artist. He is also one of those talents who Charlton seemed to attract, a distinctive stylist who likely did not possess the style then common in most comics produced by Marvel and DC. He continued to work for Charlton after the Yang books ended, drawing some more Billy the Kid stories, but then he seemed to leave the company at about the same time as they stopped producing artwork in house so much and began to rely on outside groups like those run by Gray Morrow and Pat Boyette.

All the time he worked for Charlton, Sattler was working for National Lampoon on various projects in their magazine. He even produced a few covers for them.

But his real career after Yang was as a ghost comic strip artist, working on Gil Thorp, Slylock Fox,and Bringing Up Father and other comic strips for years after. You don't get the recognition and awards for doing that kind of work, but you get the respect of fans who know what it takes to produce such high quality work for so many years.

Sattler also at some point produced a musical album. Here's a link to get a look and a listen to this Renaissance talent.

Sanho Kim only drew four issues of House of Yang, but his name is forever associated with the project as his Wrong Country was the original lost project intended to be Yang.

Kim left Charlton after his fourth House of Yang story and headed to Marvel Comics where he produced a few stories, most notably the first chapter of "Swordquest" in Deadly Hands of Kung Fu. But Tony DeZuniga took over that series after Sanho's departure, for whatever reason.

Earl Norem

While his name was lost to comics fans for many years, he continued to work.

Sanho Kim finds his greatest success by digging back into his Korean roots and has been recognized as a major figure in Korean cultural research for his trilogy The History of the Korean Empire.

All three of these talents had and have remarkable careers, and such an assembly of talent suggests why the Yang books, as derivative as they might've been, resonate so strongly with fans so many years later.

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  1. Thanks for recognizing the talents of Joe Gill, Warren Sattler and Sanho Kim. I was never a Marvel fan growing up . It was these guys that really got me into comics.

    Sanho KIm and Warren Sattler are in my top twenty list of favorite comic book artists. Excellent storytellers. Sattler, in particular, with his clear brush stroke and no fuss approach approach to comic book art (at least those Charlton Comics that I saw).

    Kim's work, particularly when he hit his stride on House of Yang and Swordquest, just blew me away with his ink work.

    I hope that people discover these fantastic artists. They may not have been flashy but they were solid at their craft.

  2. I think it was the very distinctiveness of their styles that made made these guys so good, and it made them hard to market to Marvel and DC. Boyette is another Charlton patriot who seemed unable to crack the Big Two despite his obvious talent.

    As for Joe Gill, he is the "Almighty" of comics writers as far as I'm concerned. Sure some of his stuff stinks, so does a lot of Stan Lee's, that's not the point, it's that so much of it is so very good given the constraints he always worked under.

    He was a pro's pro for sure.

    Rip Off


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