It feels like I’ve been missing out on quite a bit lately: the 2014 New York Comic Con, the big Doctor Who convention that was held on Long Island last weekend, even my upcoming 20th high school reunion. I’ve been short on funds so I wasn’t able to purchase tickets to any of those.
I finally decided to splurge a little though and pick up an early holiday present for myself. Last week I received an e-mail update from Scott Kress of Catskill Comics Original & Commission Art. I’ve bought a few things through Scott in the past and always found him easy to do business with. It’s been a while since I’ve purchased anything though because of that aforementioned shortage in cash flow. But I’m still on the mailing list for new artwork and special sales.
The latest e-mail update mentioned out that most of the artists were having a pre-Christmas sale between November 4th and 30th with 10% and 30% off original art. Even though I figured I wouldn’t be able to afford anything I figured I’d browse around anyway just to see what was available.
One of the artists represented by Catskill Comics is Ramona Fradon. I’ve been a huge fan of Fradon’s work for many years. She was one of the first female creators to work in the comic book biz, first working for DC Comics in 1952. During her lengthy career she illustrated the Aquaman feature in Adventure Comics, co-created Metamorpho the Element Man with writer Bob Haney, worked on series such as Super Friends, Plastic Man and House of Mystery, was the artist on the Brenda Starr newspaper strip from 1980 to 1995, and even did a few jobs for Marvel.
I was looking through the art by Fradon for sale at Catskill Comics, and of course I ended up finding a piece that I loved. I just couldn’t resist. So I purchased this lovely pencil illustration of Catwoman and one of her furry friends:
I really like this one a lot. Catwoman is simply beautiful. That cute kitty reminds me a bit of my cat Squeaky, as well as being reminiscent of Sebastian from Josie and the Pussycats.
Offhand I don’t recall if Ramona Fradon ever drew any stories for DC Comics featuring Catwoman. But if you look through her artwork at Catskill Comics you will see that she’s previously created quite a few wonderful commission pieces featuring the feline femme fatale.
Something I have observed as a long-time comic book fan is that it is often it is women artists who draw the most beautiful, sexy females. Yes of course there are a number of talented male artists with a fine mastery of the female form. But there are even more who draw women that have such impossibly unrealistic body shapes, with giant breasts, tiny waists and thrusting rear ends.
I think that the main reason why women artists draw female characters so well is because as females themselves they know first-hand how the female form works, how gravity affects a lady’s assets, how a woman looks when she is in motion. Perhaps female artists are also likely to have more of a sensitivity for wanting to render women who have a certain presence and dignity about them rather than drawing them as figures of sexual objectification. Instead female artists may be more interested in investing their characters with personality.
I really feel that all of this applies to Fradon. Throughout her lengthy career she has done wonderful work drawing female characters such as Saphire Stagg, Wonder Woman, Black Canary, Godiva, Mera, Supergirl, Phantom Lady, Brenda Starr and Thundra. Her women are beautiful, but they also possess this appealing, glamorous quality.
At 88 years old, Ramona Fradon is still going strong, illustrating numerous wonderful commission pieces. Definitely take a look through her wonderful work on display at the Catskill Comics website.