Thursday, January 21, 2010

Loverboy; Irwin Hasen

Loverboy is a new graphic novel by Irwin Hasen, who worked at DC Comics for a number of years up until the Silver Age (right before 1955) on characters such as Wonder Woman, Green Lantern, The Flash, and co-creating Wildcat. After being let go from DC, Hansen went on to create the comic strip Dondi, which ran in newspapers from 1955 until 1986!

Loverboy is actually two books for the price of one, with the first 94 pages being an illustrated account by Irwin Hasen of his love for long-legged women and how this love of his was sometimes challenging because he was "only" 5'2" in height, and the last 30 pages of Loverboy being Hasen's recollections of having started working in comics during the Golden Age and then moving to comic strips, which as he states, he was more suited to.

Loverboy isn't the "typical" autobiographical graphic novel in which the cartoonist wallows with accounts about how they were done an injustice by the industry (which truthfully, sadly, many a cartoonist in this industry, especially in its formative years, weren't treated very well) or how the cards life dealt to them resulted in hardships. Rather, though Hasen was very aware that his height wasn't "average", he didn't let this stop him from being a ladies man and the life of parties and he relates these sides of him rather matter-of-factly and with much humor throughout Loverboy, with the last few pages of the illustrated story being especially poignant.

Loverboy is highly entertaining and all the more amazing when one remembers that Irwin Hasen didn't write and draw this book until he was 91! - that's right, 91 years old! Of course this previous sentence shouldn't be read as if I think a 91 year old person can no longer write or draw anymore, I just bring up this to illustrate that I don't know of any other cartoonists who were or are still cartooning at that age. Yay for Irwin Hasen!

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