Earlier this year The Comics Journal had an interview with one of my favorite comic book artists, Trevor Von Eeden, which besides being a great insightful update on how Eeden feels about the comic book medium and his place within it, he talked about this online comic he'd done on the first black heavyweight champion of the world, Jack Johnson. Being as I don't like reading comics online, I was happy when I'd heard that IDW would be publishing said book, which came out this week, called The Original Johnson.
The Original Johnson, written and drawn by Trevor Von Eeden is fantastic. The first thing one notices when one looks through The Original Johnson is the dynamic art, with Eeden's great layout sense that is never hard to follow and evokes the art styles of Neal Adams and the power of Jack Kirby's art without being derivative. The art and coloring on The Original Johnson practically leap off of the page as they should when dealing with such a powerful figure such as Jack Johnson.
I hadn't heard of Jack Johnson before hearing about this project that Trevor Von Eeden was doing, but he lead a life that was very forceful, which forced him to grow up in a hurry, as he lived in a time when the U.S. was still fairly freshly dealing with the end of the Civil War (Jack Johnson's father was a slave until the Emancipation). I'd highly recommend The Original Johnson as a great graphic novel biography of this dynamic individual (Jack Johnson, of course), who lived a very charged life, even if you're not a fan of boxing. The Original Johnson is very much a mature readers graphic novel and the only minus I'd say about this book, is that it is book one of two (volume two comes out in May), but this first volume does end in such a way that, while you'll want to read the next one, it does have a kind of closure as well.
Since the theme of my blog entry today is on boxing, I'm happy to report that DC announced yesterday that next year they'll be bringing their 1978 Superman Vs. Muhammad Ali treasury sized comic back into print. Without spoiling the story for those of you who haven't read this (being that you're not as ancient as myself - grin), I'm just going to say that something happens within the stoy that deprives Superman of his powers, which is only fair because otherwise Superman would just have to flick his fingers at Ali and the fight would be over. Superman Vs. Muhammad Ali is legendary mostly for the superlative hyper realistic artwork of Neal Adams, but the story by Denny O'Neil is entertaining as well. More details about size the the new edition and pricing will follow in 2010.
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