If you’ll forgive me the venial but gauche sin of quoting myself… three years ago, I posited:
« Luís Ángel Domínguez, reportedly born ninety-five years ago to the day… and still among the living… as far as we know. I like to envision him warmly surrounded by several generations of loved ones and well-wishers, an impish gleam in his eye. »
I found it sadly infuriating that such an important and accomplished artist’s latter-day whereabouts and circumstances were so shrouded in mystery… and largely, it would seem, indifference. The usual story: he didn’t really do superheroes.
Neither Lambiek nor the Grand Comics Database have anything to add on the subject, but a spot of digging turned up that he indeed was still alive until recently, though purportedly afflicted with Alzheimer’s in his waning years. Then I found what may well be his… very basic obituary, placing his date of birth exactly one month off (unsurprisingly, since accounts have long varied) and his date of death as July 1st, 2020, in Miami, FL. Unless something more definitive comes along, it’ll have to do.
I think we can all agree that ninety-six years is a pretty good run, even with the doleful decline near the end. Let’s look back on what’s surely his peak decade in comics, the 1970s. My picks have nothing to do with ‘key’ issues, character débuts or popular crossovers. I’ve judged these on artistic merit, keeping the pernicious influence of nostalgia at arm’s length.
For more Domínguez delights, just click on this link and explore away! I daresay that I only managed to keep it to an even dozen (difficult!) choices because we’ve already spotlighted many of his finest covers.
« It was the spookiest horror ride anywhere! Mr. Awrus… a charming little old man, really… made it that way, because he liked to entertain people! But then the snake-thing arrived… and the others… heh-heh… and people went in… and didn’t come out… » — Horror Beasts Dine Tonight
First out of the gate was Irwin Stein’s Magnum Publications, with Monster Parade (four issues). It was soon followed by Monsters and Things (two issues).
As for the magazine’s grimy guts, there’s regrettably nothing outstanding: a couple of reprints of pre-Code material that was pedestrian to begin with… Curse of the Living Crossbones, illustrated by Ken Rice (a retitled Spectres of the Jolly Roger and True Tales of Unexplained Mystery #44, a one-pager about vengeful German gargoyles, illustrated by Sy Grudko, both plucked, minuscolour, from Web of Mystery no. 22 (Jan. 1954, Ace Magazines).
« Aww, I bet he wasn’t so tough! Look how skinny he was! »
Egyptian-born (but of Greek descent) Basil Gogos (March 12, 1929 – September 13, 2017), may be most celebrated for his prodigious run of Famous Monsters of Filmland cover paintings. Ah, but that’s hardly all he’s done, and done well: advertising, paperback covers, film posters*, men’s adventure illustration…
His forays into the world of Uncle Creepy and Cousin Eerie were quite rare, so let’s savour them. This is Eerie no. 30 (November, 1970), depicting a scene from Don Glut and Jack Sparling‘s “The Return of Amen-Tut!”. Read it here.
…and here’s a look at Gogos’ original painting.
Thanks for all the colourful nightmares, Mr. Gogos!
*his Alain Delon looked more like Bob Guccione Sr., which frankly is no compliment. And is that supposed to be Ornella Muti? No cigar, Mr. Gogos. Still, the film (misleadingly) depicted here, « La mort d’un pourri » (1977), is a superior political thriller that anticipates several of the less savoury aspects of globalization. This is the original art from the Spanish poster… « Muerte de un corrupto ».
And here are Mr. Guccione, bon vivant and founder of Penthouse Magazine, and Ms. Muti, the quintessential Italian starlet of the 1970s, as she appears in the film.