Review: 'Dan Spiegle: A Life in Comics Art' Spotlights an Underrated Artist

A comic review article by: Jason Sacks

This wonderful, slim volume continues TwoMorrows' tradition of providing book-length profiles of some of the most underrated but intriguing artists who have worked in comics and animation.

 

 

Dan Spiegle is one of those cartoonists that have had an extremely long career in the industry but whose names are only known to a certain group of cognoscenti. He's also a tremendously solid workmanlike pros who has produced thousands of pages of lovely comic art without stirring up controversy or making a spectacle of himself.

 

 

Much of Spiegle's work was done at Gold Key Comics, a company that has been emerging into the public eye recently as more reprints of their books are published. But Spiegle's output for the company demonstrates why few fans know their work. He drew adaptations of long-forgotten TV series and movies such as Lassie, Space Family Robinson, Flipper, Maverick and Korak Son of Tarzan, comics material that's in a sort of bizarre wilderness in terms of fan attention and licensing. Even his later work for Marvel and DC was for comics like Doctor Zero, The Shadow Strikes! and, maybe his best-remembered DC Comic, Blackhawk (written by Mark Evanier).

 

 

However, the fact that the artist spent nearly all of his time away from the fan-favorite comics is why it's interesting to read a book about Spiegle. His time in comics included work on series very different from the kinds of material that we're used to reading about, and I really enjoyed learning aspects of the comics industry that aren't as thoroughly discussed.

 

 

He has nice stories to tell about meeting his deadlines, spending lots of time with his family, and getting along with his wife, his writers and his editors. Yes, that means that the subject matter for this book is fairly uncontroversial and easygoing. But that's the way that Dan Speigle has gone through his life and career: without controversy or major worry, concentrating on the right ways of doing things and always providing professional work. You can see his professionalism on display with the scans I'm including with this review and with the approach he takes to his work described in this book.

 

 

This is a fairly thin book, a quick read with a delightful selection of art. Dan Spiegle: A Life in Comics Art is the perfect representation of a completely charming and thoroughly talented cartoonist.

 


 

Jason Sacks is Publisher of Comics Bulletin. Follow him at @jasonsacks, email him at jason.sacks@comicsbulletin.com or friend him on Facebook.

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