Monday, April 27, 2009
THE BRONZE MINE UNEARTHED: FRANK ROBBINS!
If I were to write a coffee table-book biography on the enigmatic artist FRANK ROBBINS, I'd call it "Love It or Hate It: The Art of Frank Robbins."
That's because Frank Robbins has always been a polarizing figure in the annals of Marvel. People flat out either loved his style or despised it, and the proof is all over the letters pages of THE INVADERS, THE HUMAN FLY, GHOST RIDER, LUKE CAGE, CAPTAIN AMERICA and other titles he ran stints on. Given the two camps, I belonged to the former. I loved his anatomically incorrect, funky-posed superheroes and his Flash-paced action, the best combo being the two Franks: Robbins inked by Springer. Robbins was no prim and perfect Neal Adams, photo-realistically rendered and almost static at times...his work was high-octane, breakneck-speed fun and trashy, in the best, B-comic sense. You didn't stick a Robbins comic in a mylar and mount it on your wall, you rolled it up in your back pocket and took it with you wherever you went. Yes, Frank Robbins had soul.
If you read his INVADERS, his Captain America had the bluest eyes, and his Union Jack was so distinguished and majestic. He also brought his A-game to B-level books like HUMAN FLY and turned those issues into secret treasures. (For the behind-the-scenes on the making of THE HUMAN FLY series, read my article in BACK ISSUE! # 20, available through TwoMorrows.com). Thankfully, he also did that one issue of LEGION OF MONSTERS (MARVEL PREMIERE), in which we got to see him do Ghost Rider again...and Werewolf By Night!
For no other reason than just because, behold the Bronze Age art of Frank Robbins!