Artist Brent Anderson, Shanna, $30 and an elevator

I had breakfast with Marv Wolfman this morning (no fanatic fear of name-dropping here) and he mentioned he was working on a project with Astro City artist Brent Anderson and it reminded me that I needed to post the following story.

Alex Ross Cover to Busiek/Anderson ASTRO CITY

Alex Ross Cover to Busiek/Anderson ASTRO CITY

* * * * * * * * * * * * *

It was a San Diego hotel during Comic Con International sometime in 1989 or 1990. After a long day of pressing the flesh and manning the Malibu booth, I was exhausted, standing in a small crowd, waiting to take an elevator to my room. Then I saw him, comics veteran artist Brent Anderson approaching where I stood. Immediately the “small voice” of guilt started to nag at the back of my brain. I couldn’t avoid him any longer. I was going to have to DEAL with Brent Anderson.

To understand my dilemma, dear fanatic reader, you’re going to need some background. (Sorry, I just channeled Stan Lee’s Soapbox there for a second.)

Brent Anderson

Brent Anderson

As many a comic fan with a girlfriend can testify, if the girl isn’t into comics, at some point you make at least a meager effort to explain to them why you love comics. For me, this included trying to get my future wife to read a few to see if I could find a title that she would like.

She hated them all, well … except for a book called Ka-zar The Savage. This version of the Kevin (Ka-Zar) Plunder legend was written by Bruce Jones and drawn by Brent Anderson. While it doesn’t get much love from modern comic fans, this was a terrific book and an innovative take on Marvel’s Jungle Lord.

Jones/Anderson KAZAR THE SAVAGE #1

Bruce Jones/Brent Anderson KAZAR THE SAVAGE #1

It was one of the first Marvel books to be “direct-market” only, but most interesting was Jones’s approach to the characters of Ka-zar and his girlfriend/wife Shanna the She-Devil. While these two had decided to live the “savage” life, their relationship was completely modern. They talked to each other like educated adults and their interaction felt more “real” than most other Marvel couples at the time. Their dialog was sharp and funny … like Nick and Nora Charles … or Maddy and David from the TV show “Moonlighting.” (I can’t think of any 2000-ish examples of fictional male/females that interact with the same flair.) It was a delight to read. 

Most important to me, Lori, my girlfriend liked the book and looked forward to when I got a new issue for her to read. It was a chance for me to share my joy of reading comics.

Brent Anderson (left) and Bruce Jones "back in the day"

Brent Anderson (left) and Bruce Jones (right) "back in the day"

Sometime in 1982, when I saw Brent Anderson set up in artists alley, I immediately thought it would be cool to bring her home an original sketch from the artist who drew the only comic that she liked. I asked for a Shanna sketch. Brent put my request on his list of commissions and told me to come back the next day.

Like most funny book fans, I love to watch talented comic artists putting pencil to paper, so I drifted by Brent’s table several times and caught him working on my (Lori’s) commission. While Brent was doing his sketches for a reasonable price, I couldn’t really afford it at the time, but I figured I would “break my piggy bank” for my sweetheart.kazartrivia

Then I maneuvered to a position to see the drawing and my heart sank. It simply wasn’t very good … not at all what I wanted. Knowing the state of my finances and too cowardly to say anything, I simply skulked away … never going back to pick up the sketch … or pay for it.

I didn’t know the right thing to do after that point. I didn’t want to confess to being a creep. But it wasn’t long after the convention that I regretted my disgraceful decision.

The return of the "hypen" issue

The return of the "hypen" issue

And there, standing with me in a crowd waiting for an elevator, some seven or eight years later, was Brent Anderson. As we shuffled into the elevator I reached into my wallet and took out some money. I tapped Brent on the shoulder and told him the story of what had happened, an incident that he had long ago forgotten. I gave him $30 (even though the sketch price was $20).

I felt better. I think Brent Anderson was just confused, but he accepted the money, smiled and departed the elevator for his room.

That’s my version of the story.

* * * * * * * * * * * * *

Jackson Browne (in circle)

Jackson Browne (in circle)

In my previous post (Miscellaneous Monday: Jan. 19), I displayed a picture of friend and fellow fanatic Gary Guzzo. Well it has come to my attention that the “other” person in the picture, the one I identified as an anonymous “friend,” is in fact recording star and 1980s icon Jackson Browne. Who knew?

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fangoriatitle has The TOP TEN HORROR COMICS OF 2008


Click on the chart • Go to the article



          — Dave Olbrich (DWO) Wed. Jan. 21, 2009



Filed under Behind the Scenes, Fanatical History, Road Warriors

7 responses to “Artist Brent Anderson, Shanna, $30 and an elevator

  1. Mark

    Great story! Also, didn’t Ka-Zar #1 also not have any credits for some reason? But, of course, nothing was as classic as the Ka-Zar cover with the word f**k hidden..

    pfft.. editors….

  2. Dave Olbrich

    Any idea what issue had the F**K cover … I’d love to post that somewhere, sometime?

    I seem to remember something weird about the credits to Kazar the Savage #1, but I didn’t run across any info about missing credits in the research for this post.

    Maybe Bruce or Brent will drop by and give us the inside “skinny”

  3. Mark

    It’s near the rear of Zabu. The scan is a bit fuzzy but the actual book is very clear.

  4. Jeff Clem

    The F**K on the Ka-Zar cover was in the early 70s, when Marvel published 3 giant-sized issues that were mostly reprints of previous Ka-Zar/Marvel stories. I am pretty sure that the “hidden” naughty word was in the branches/trees/bushes and I think the cover was drawn by Marie Severin and inked by Herb Trimpe.
    For another example of this type of thing, see the cover to, I believe, Daredevil #48 – read the marquee light sign.

  5. Jeff Clem

    OOPS, I meant to say that I think it was the cover to issue #1 of the 3 Ka-Zar 25 centers in 1970 or 1971. Sorry – I am typing this on my break.

  6. Pingback: Blog of the Week: Feb. 24, 2009 « Funny Book Fanatic

  7. Pingback: Brevoort, Anderson, Marder and other FANATIC name dropping « Funny Book Fanatic

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