Friday, February 3, 2017

Dan Spiegle!


It was sad to hear of the passing of Dan Spiegle. I never met Mr. Spiegle but like a multitude of comic book fans I enjoyed his crisp and inviting artwork over the decades. I don't know when I first became aware of who Dan Spiegle was, but I know I first encountered his artwork in the pages of Space Family Robinson, the Gold Key comic which inspired Lost In Space. Like nearly all Gold Key books, the talent which produced them was largely anonymous but it was clear that the same artist who did that space book was the guy who drew Korak, Son of Tarzan.


The truth was that often Korak looked better than the main Tarzan book itself, that is when Russ Manning wasn't at the helm. But like all such talents, Dan Spiegle was overlooked for two unfair reasons, he toiled at comic book companies which did not promote their talent and he was so good and so reliable that readers like myself just assumed the quality and came to take it for granted. Years later one of my last holy grail comics was Space Ghost produced by Spiegle, and gleeful I was to get it at long last.


In the late 70's and early 80's the Independent market began to flourish and with the demise of some longtime publishers of newsstand comics, the talent began to find its way onto more fan-aware titles. Spiegle came to work regularly with Mark Evanier and their Crossfire is one of the most underrated titles of the 80's (and desperately in need of a complete collection). Once again it's the fact that Spiegle's remarkably warm style allowed to open up a bit on these books was so good month in and month out that I think folks just took it all for granted.


The passing of a talent like Dan Spiegle points to the loss of a generation of professionals who brought a steady hand and steady attitude to work which was as much craftsmanship as it was art and that sober mindset made all the difference. He was part of a passing breed of talents who drew a version of a recognizably real world in which from time to time extraordinary people appeared, but that reality was so grounded that the unusual popped and made an even greater impression.


For more on Dan Spiegle check out this post on his passing by his longtime partner Mark Evainer. Evanier talks about his career and his beginnings as an artist on of all things Hopalong Cassidy. And here is a tribute by artist Mike Vosburg.  Rest in peace Mr. Spiegle and thanks for the all the grand comics.

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6 comments:

  1. Vert nice tribue - I have to admit that I was one of those comic fans that took his work for granted, the fact that I wasn't a big fan of comics like Blackhawks, Space Ghost , TV tie ins etc etc didn't help me appreciate how good he was. Similar to Pat Boyette, Frank Robbins etc I rediscovered his art years later when I picked up an very tattered copy of "Hopalong Cassidy " newspaper strip collection (I initially thought it was Alex Toths art) that I really looked at his art and storytelling and saw how good he was - I have a copy of one of his Scooby Do comics that is just brilliant - one of the last true craftsmen in comcs

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    1. I was lucky to always like Spiegle, but I never really appreciated him until his Eclipse days with Evanier. When I finally got a look at the work of Noel Sickles I realized where his inspiration came from. An

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  2. Always enjoyed his work, such a shame he's gone.

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    1. The greats of our memories are just about gone amigo.

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  3. I didn't really know who he was until he started Blackhawk in the 80's. Now I'm seeing that he drew a lot of other characters I enjoyed, but I just didn't know it. R. I.P.

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    1. Sadly that was all too common with many of the artists who toiled at Dell, Gold Key and other places where the talent was not promoted. Russ Manning with his Tarzan work and Carl Barks with his Duck tales really are the notable exceptions.

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