My love for Jim Steranko’s work started a little differently than for most Steranko fans.
When I was a kid, my super-supportive dad fielded my passion for comic book by finding the things he liked so we could share them. The Phantom and Prince Valiant were longtime favorites of his, but he’d soon come to really enjoy series like Jonah Hex and Master of Kung Fu.
We both liked Steranko’s artwork. One day he surprised me by ordering Steranko’s History of Comics. I immediately devoured it. Then he subscribed to Steranko’s Comixscene (which soon become Mediascene). But when I read it, I was perplexed by the peculiar cutouts. Turns out, my mom had intercepted it from the mailbox, and took her scissors to essentially censor all the sexy pictures from it.
Soon after, Steranko’s The Supergirls arrived – which were gorgeous Steranko pinups, mostly topless, of women in superhero costumes. That one was hidden from me for about 25 years.
So it’s particularly fascinating to me the J. David Spurlock explained to me that he’s done 25 projects with Jim Steranko over the past 25 years.
25 Years with Steranko (10 times as long as Stan)
I was a panelist on the Vanguard Panel at this year’s San Diego Comic-Con. It was a lot of fun and I really enjoyed hearing the stories from fellow panelists Steve Geppi and Mark Texiera. I asked publisher J. David Spurlock about his long association with Steranko.
“I’m happily celebrating a quarter-century of working with the great, Steranko!” said J. David Spurlock. “As Jim said to SyFy on his birthday in 2017, ‘JDS and I first connected way back in ’72, when I founded and managed Marvel’s official fan club, FOOM! And we’ve had plenty of adventures since.’ Yes, I was one of the kids who entered the FOOM “Create a Character” contest and almost a decade later, I sent Jim a review copy of my first comics mag BADGE for Mediascene/Prevue. But we actually started working with each other with consultations and brainstorming for my publication Tales From the Edge, and me doing photo correction for the last days of his Prevue mag in ’93; followed by me teaching him Photoshop by phone and our first convention, Dragon*Con in ’94. Jim only did about one —or two— conventions per year in those days and referred to his comics career as his “mis-spent youth.”
“But by the time in ’96 that I moved to, about an hour’s drive from him in New Jersey, I started getting those numbers up and was central to getting him back to the world famous San Diego Comic-Con after an 18-year hiatus!” said Spurlock. “Though I’ve produced more Steranko items than any other publisher in the last 25 years, sadly, I fell far short of my personal goal of, one per year.”
“I got a little kick recently when someone said I’d worked with Jim about 10 times as long as Stan Lee did. So I dug up some dates on that: Steranko worked fairly regularly with Stan for Marvel from Strange Tales #151 (Dec. 1966) to Captain America (#113 May, 1969) — 2½ years. After that he popped back in for 7 pages in Tower of Shadows #1 (Sept. 1969) & 7 pages in Our Love Story #5, Feb. 1970).”
:About 3 years later Roy Thomas got Steranko to do about a dozen covers & Jim launched the FOOM fan club — all together, a short-but-sweet 3 or 4-month Steranko-Marvel revival.”
“Here’s a nice inscription I got from Jim four years back,” said Spurlock.
Thanks for the memories, Jim.
— Sancho (aka JDS)
OVER 25 PROJECTS that Spurlock has worked with STERANKO on in 25 years. (Most of them are via Vanguard)
1) Amazing World of Carmine Infantino by Infantino, Spurlock, Kubert & Steranko
2) Art Of Paul Gulacy: Spies Vixens & Masters of Kung Fu by Michael Kronenberg, J. David Spurlock & Jim Steranko (This is one of my favorites!)
3) Domino Lady: The Complete Collection by Lars Anderson & Steranko (edited by Spurlock)
4) Famous Monster Movie Art of Basil Gogos (photo of JS with BG)
5) Paintings of J. Allen St.John (Steranko cover design assistance)
6) Graphic Print Of Darkness (signed Steranko art litho)
7) John Buscema Sketchbook — Steranko historic essay
8) Space Cowboy 2001 — Steranko pin-up
9) The Victorian #1 and related poster & special editions color separations, press check, supervision etc by Spurlock (P-F Press)
10) Spawn Of The Dragon by Steranko art print litho
11) Spirit Of America — Steranko art print litho
12) Steranko 2007 Calendar-Portfolio
13) Steranko Art Noir – Spurlock, de la Calle, Chabon (2002)
14) Steranko Graphic Prince of Darkness – Spurlock & Steranko (1998)
15) Tales From The Edge #13: “Strange Requiem” overview of Steranko Strange Tales innovations by Spurlock (1998)
16) Pat Boyette Nightstand Chillers – short Steranko essay
17) Tales From The Edge 10th Anniversary book – cover, “Frogs,” plus a unique essay by Steranko about Frogs
18) Visual Storytelling: Art & Technique (2003) Steranko essay & Coppola Dracula storyboards.
19) Wally Wood Sketchbook (2000) Essay on Wood
20) Wizard King I, King of World by Wood – Steranko logo
21) Comic Book Artist magazine #2: Spurlock essay on Steranko ’72-’73 return to Marvel
22) Lots of ads for the above plus ads and lots of production work on unreleased projects including Red Tide, Ultimate Steranko, HyperType, Steranko Seminar DVD, etc
23) Conspiracy of the Planet of The Apes cover – Archaia Entertainment
24) The Spider: Robot Titans of Gotham cover – Baen Books
25) Various convention program covers & posters
26) How To Draw Chiller Monsters by Spurlock, w/ Steranko art & essay on the effect of color on composition + Coppola Dracula storyboards (WG, 2011).
27) Wally Wood Strange Worlds: Steranko color & type design on PB cover
And now Spurlock is planning to celebrate, and revisit the legendary Dallas Fantasy Fair with a reboot. This November, the fair will return to Dallas with an impressive list of guests. More information can be found here; https://www.facebook.com/DallasFantasyFair.INFO/
PS- I hope my brother who lives in Dallas, Colin, has it on his calendar!