A look at the career of comics artist Jim Aparo.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Aparo's Aquaman Aester Agg at Gorilla Daze!

Allan Harvey at Gorilla Daze highlights a classic Aparo panel from Aquaman #50, in which Jim integrated the names of several of his peers in the panelologic profession into the background. One name--"Pike"--is listed twice, by accident. In demonstration of Jim's characteristic loyalty to his employer, the writers, artists, and editors are all folks known for their DC work. Jim had plenty of appreciation for the fine folks at Marvel, who tried a time or two to woo him away, but he would have felt it highly inappropriate to plaster names like Kirby and Buscema into a DC book at a time when they weren't doing any jobs there. I asked Jim about this panel because I was confused by the inclusion of "Barr" in this panel. The only person I could think of was Mike W. Barr, his partner on Batman and the Outsiders. That was the only name Jim could think of at the time, too, but I pointed out to him that Barr was not a professional at the time--he might not even have been letterhacking yet, then. We remained stumped. It was only later that I concluded Jim had probably been tipping his hat to science fiction artist George Barr, who had done a few jobs for DC around that time and therefore qualified. Jim might have been a particular fan of Barr's SF book cover and magazine work, since he was a science fiction buff, and assumed that Barr would eventually have a larger role in the comic book industry than he ever went on to actually have.
In the comments, reader Scott suggests that Aparo intended to salute Ken Barr, not George Barr. I believe Scott is correct, and I think I had come to that same conclusion before, but in putting this post together, could only think of George Barr. I knew it was someone who'd been known for cover paintings, and who had done some war comics for DC. I found some comics credits for George, but not war comics, and figured I just wasn't finding those elusive few credits. Ken did far, far more comic book work than George ever did, including some of my favorite covers for the Marvel black and white magazines in the 1970's, and was active at DC when Aparo drew this page, making him the much more appropriate fit. Thanks for the correction, Scott!

1 comment:

  1. I suspect it was actually DC war artist Ken Barr he was referring to.

    Glad to see the Jim Aparo Fan Club lives on! I joined way back when after a letter from Chris Khalaf (I think) appeared in the Comics Buyer's Guide.

    Sadly, I never got the chance to tell Jim I loved his art. Glad to see that there's something on the web to help keep his name and work alive.

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