Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Aparo, Orlando, and Andru--Together!

Back in 1992, when Chris Khalaf and I first revived the Jim Aparo Fan Club and began publishing our Newsletter, Chris lamented that he wished he had bought a "young readers" Batman book that featured art by Jim Aparo inked by Joe Orlando (his old Phantom Stranger and Spectre editor!). Chris couldn't remember the details of the book, which is surprising given his astounding skills at recall in the world of comics, but I knew it was something I had to look out for; after all, I've always aimed at amassing a complete Aparo collection. About 5 years ago, I found the book Chris had remembered. I stumbled upon it at an antique store, marked at $3.00.
It's this:

"The Case of the Laughing Sphinx", written by Andy Helfer, and illustrated by Ross Andru, Jim Aparo, and Joe Orlando. It's a hardback, heavily illustrated book that originally came with a cassette tape, presumably with a reading/dramatization of the story (several familiar names from DC are listed in the voice credits).
Chris hadn't remembered Ross Andru's contribution, which was obviously the layouts. I've got a lot of love for Ross, but I've never liked the layouts he produced for other artists. Aparo pencilled from his layouts for many covers, including Detective Comics in its "Dollar Comic" era. I can spot Andru's hand most easily by looking at the legs: Ross seems to have believed that a dynamic cover required knees bent at rather extreme angles. Batman's bended knee here is not too bad, but some of the squats that Aparo had to draw on those 'TEC covers were pretty awful looking.

How about the interiors? Here's a sample for you all:

1 comment:

  1. The cover to The Laughing Sphinx is based on Garcia-Lopez licensing art which Jim either had to reference or even inked over the master himself. I've never seen the interiors but any contribution between Andru & Aparo must have been sweet.