Monday, July 23, 2012

Number 1197: Jess Jodloman — you axed for it!

I'm showing this five-pager from DC's Unexpected #176 (1976), because of the artwork of Jess Jodloman. Jodloman was one of the artists who were part of the Filipino invasion of the early '70s. Because they were already fully formed as artists when their work appeared in the States they stepped right in as total comics professionals. I visited a table at an early '80s San Diego Comicon with stacks of art by Filipino artists, all for the bargain price of $15 a page! I chose some of the best I could find, and page two of "What Haunted Herbert" was one of them.

Jodloman's busy brush inking style wasn't especially well served by DC's printing in the '70s. I saw a lower quality of printing at the time, where fine lines got broken up and details got muddy. I wish I could have afforded to buy more of the fantastic original Filipino artwork by Jodloman and the others I thought were also excellent artists. In retrospect, even at the time $15.00 wasn't much to pay for pages like this, but I was on a budget. Ah, to be rich, a one-percenter loose at a comic convention!


Gumba G Gadwa said...

As you mention the 1%, it's kind of ironic because the 1% was the very reason we had these artist (and James Warren was a big part of this.)

The Filipino artists, the South American artists, and some European artists could be had for dirt cheap, and the publishers wanted to keep as much money as possible. The up side was we got some great new artists, but a lot of American artist suffered greatly for it.

Things never really change.

DC's post-code horror anthologies books, ugh, I could just never get into them. The stories are always so bland and full of elements introduced exactly when needed (like the glass door here) instead of organically.

rnigma said...

The awesome art of Jesus "Jess" Jodloman never fails to blow me away. I saw a page of his "Voltar" comic reprinted elsewhere and found myself staring at it for I-dunno-how-long, wondering how long it took for him to draw all that.
Too bad he didn't get as well known in the US as his fellow Pinoy artists such as Redondo and Alcala.

Pappy said...

Gumba, what I heard (secondhand, of course, but from a person connected with the comics industry in the '70s) was that DC publisher Carmine Infantino and DC editor Joe Orlando got the Filipino artists to sign contracts to do pages for $10, undercutting whatever the prevailing page rate for local American artists was in the early '70s.

I'm not taking anything away from the Filipinos because they were looking for opportunity and they were supposedly earning less than that in their own country (I heard $2.00 a page.) They were very good artists. At the same time many older American comic book artists were winding up their careers and simultaneously new young talent was coming in, and hiring these foreign artists impacted everyone.

Comics were in serious trouble at the time. They were losing their usual distribution outlets (before direct sales), prices of paper and printing were climbing fast, and creative talent was costly. Gotta cut somewhere! So they hired foreign artists for low prices.

Remember when comics got down to about 17-18 actual comic book pages out of a 32-page comic? The rest was advertising and editorial. Remember when World Color Press started using plastic printing plates because the metal plates cost too much? Reading of these things, a steady drumbeat of doom, in the comics fan press at the time made me think comics would not survive the '70s.

I'm glad I was wrong.

On the one hand I understand the corporate mentality of cost cutting, and why the Filipino artists were used (and I use that word "used" in its negative sense, also). I feel bad it cost jobs for local talent. On the other hand I like the Filipino artists, like their styles, and I still like looking at their work.

Kurt said...

Encontraría lógico que los comics norteamericanos estuvieran dibujados sólo por norteamericanos si vuestros comics se vendieran sólo en Estados Unidos, pero la realidad es que los vendéis en todo el mundo. Así que encuentro normal que un mercado del comic norteamericano mundial esté dibujado por gente de todo el mundo.

Si vuestros comics sólo los compraran norteamericanos seguramente vuestros dibujantes ganarían bastante menos dinero. Lo fácil es culpar al dibujante inmigrante, lo difícil es que los dibujantes norteamericanos culpen a sus editores o a sus distribuidores por lo poco que ganan. No os atrevéis a culpar a vuestros jefes, no sea que os quedéis sin trabajo.

Escrito desde Barcelona (Spain).

For translations:

Recomiendo la lectura de The Warren Companion Appendix I, page 257:

'The Spanish invasion - A survey'