Lody Art Influences Comic Books

Comic Books have had a profound influence on American culture, as well as Ted Lody

Comic Books have had a profound influence on American culture. For Ted Lody, comic books were easily one of his earliest influences, as well a passion, from the start. Ted Lody started collecting comic books, as a child in 1977. One of his first books he collected was the "Star Wars" comic book, published by Marvel Comics.


Drawing inspiration from the classics...

In 1977, Star Wars the movie, took America and the world by storm. George Lucas himself was inspired by classic films such as: Flash Gordon, The Hidden Fortress, The Adventures of Robin Hood, Lawrence of Arabia, Casablanca, Metropolis, The Wizard of Oz, and more. Building on the foundation of these classic films, other film-makers, artists, and writers would continue to draw on these creation as a source of inspiration. Hundred of comic book adaptations of these classic films already existed, with hundreds more that would follow.

Spiderman, lessons in characterization and responsibility...

Another source of comic book inspiration, even though it was way before Ted Lody’s time, would no doubt provide additional influence: Spiderman. The creative team of writer Stan Lee and artist-writer Steve Ditko created "Spiderman" in 1962; his first appearance was in Fantasy #15. What really made Spiderman great was the well developed sense of characterization that Lee and Ditko put into the story. Peter Parker was incredibly relatable to teen readers at the time. Parker dealt with the everyday struggles of being teenager, with near realistic family, social, and financial problems thrown in. Several defining moments in his life all took place at once. First being bitten by a radioactive spider, gaining super powers, and and then losing his uncle, forever shaping his destiny. The Spiderman comic book also tons of extremely dynamic and well developed supporting characters that added so much depth to the story. One of the most profound lessons learned in the Spiderman comic book was about responsibility. Parker was dealing with consequences of his new powers, dealing the choices he made, and the resulting death of his uncle. Spiderman co-creator, Steve Ditko passed away recently, on June 29, 2018. He was a true comic book legend.

Batman, one of most fascinating and well developed character in comic books today...

Batman first appeared in Detective Comics #27, in 1939. He was created by writer Bill Finger and artist Bob Kane. His origin is one of most fascinating and well developed stories in comic books today, with layers of complexity. His secret identity as billionaire playboy, philanthropist, and CEO of Wayne Enterprises, is well known to readers. Bruce Wayne sworn to vengeance against the criminal elements of Gotham City, after the death of his parents. This was the foundation for the Batman persona. His supporting characters such as Commissioner Gordon and Alfred are just as well well developed and dynamic as Batman himself. Batman villains are also as interesting as Batman himself: Ra's Al Ghul, The Joker, Penguin, Two-Face, and the Scarecrow, just to name a few. As a child, I enjoyed the syndicated version of the 1960’s Batman television series as well as the animated Challenge of Super Friends for the late 1970’s. Batman did return to his darker roots with The Dark Knight Return from 1986 by artist/writer Frank Miller. The two Christopher Nolan films: Batman Begins and the Dark Knight were huge source of inspiration for me, namely the performance of the late-great Heath Ledger, as the Joker. Being Chicago native, the Lower Wacker Drive scene in both Batman movies were a another great source of inspiration; especially for my own a comic series currently in development, where I am the co-writer and artist.

Chris Claremont, X-men creative legend…

Chris Claremont a British comic book writer, best known for his work on Uncanny X-Men from 1975-1991. He used classic literary themes with greater complexity that was ever attempted in the comic book super hero narrative, as well a strong and dynamic female characters. One of Claremont's most memorable stories included “The Dark Phoenix Saga" and “Days of Future Past,” with artist John Byrne. Claremont also co-created dozens of Marvel character including: Mister Sinister, Sabretooth, Emma Frost, Rogue, Psylocke, Mystique, and Legion.

John Byrne, from X-Men, to Fantastic Four, to Alpha Fight, to Man of Steel…

You can’t mention Chris Claremont and the X-men without John Byrne, still to this day, one of my favorite comic book writer/artists.  His classic approach to comic page/panel layout was influenced generations of artists and dreamers. He is best known for his work on Marvel’s Comics' "X-Men" and "Fantastic Four." Byrne is also the co-creator several characters: Sabretooth, Rachel Summers, Emma Frost, and Kitty Pryde. Byrne started working with Claremont on X-Men with issue 108, along with inker Terry Austin. Some of their best story lines were "Proteus", "Dark Phoenix Saga", and "Days of Future Past.” Some of Byrne’s early influences were Stan Lee and Jack Kirby's Fantastic Four. Byrne would go to write and draw several issues of Fantastic Four from 215 to 295, such an amazing run. In addition to Jack Kirby, Neal Adams was also a huge influence. In 1986, John Byrne was involved with the re-launch of Superman with the mini-series: “The Man of Steel,” as writer and artist, with inker Dick Giordano. This re-boot following the event in 1986 series “Crisis on Infinite Earths.” Byrne wrote several compelling changes to the Superman origin. This included a re-introduction was several supporting characters: Lois Lane and Lex Luthor. Bryne transformed Luthor from a mad scientist type to a powerful CEO and white-collar criminal, plagued with corporate scandal. Bryne’s Superman created a new legacy for the character that was followed for years to come. “Man of Steel” was also the title for a 2013 movie reboot.

Frank Miller maverick creator who changed the comic book industry forever...

Frank Miller, in my opinion, was a maverick in the comic book industry, at the time. He went off in a totally different direction, often against the gain, thinking and creating outside the box. Miller is a multi-talent creator, being a writer, artist, screenwriter, film director, and producer. I also admired his creative combination of styles involving manga and film noir. Miller is best known for his comic book work on The Dark Knight Returns, Daredevil, Electra, Sin City, just to name few. He went outside the bounds of what was possible for the traditional costumed super hero, added great depth to storytelling, both visually and written. One of my favorite characters he created was Elektra, for Marvel’s Daredevil series. Miller’s debut in Daredevil was #158, in May 1978, his work on the series was characterized by darker themes and story lines. Elektra first appeared in Daredevil #168. Miller would later go on to add his sensei: Stick; was well as introduce the Ninja clan called the Hand, and the assassin Bullseye. Some fans of comics consider this be the highest point in comic book storyteller for the Daredevil franchise. In 1982, Frank Miller, as artist and co-plotter, teamed up with X-Men writer Chris Claremont and created the Wolverine mini-series. This mini-series further expanded the character, and it was deemed a critical success.

One of Frank Miller’s greatest comic book achievements as a writer/artist was the four-issue mini-series “The Dark Knight Returns.” In this story, a middle-aged Batman returns, after the death of Robin, in a dystopian future. Miller introduced a more violent and darker style of storytelling, geared toward mature audiences. With this one mini-series, the entire comic book and movie industry would begin to move away from traditional mainstream costumed super heroes into a darker, grimmer view of characters, who walk the line between shadow and light. Another comic book milestone for Frank Miller was “Batman: Year One,” which featured gritty and darker version of Batman’s origin.

In the 1990’s, Frank Miller would break away from major comic book players like Marvel and DC, finding a home with independent publisher, Dark Horse. Miller was in a pioneer of creator rights and an anti-censorship advocate for comic creators. His flag ship creation: “Sin City” would continue to evolve the comic book industry again, with new story telling techniques, and white on black, Noir stylized artwork. The was a re-launch of the comic book true-crime genre. “300” was another hit for Miller, his rendition of the battle of Thermopylae, featuring the Spartan warrior, Leonidas. Two feature-length films based on the “Sin City” comic book were released: “Sin City” in 2005, and “A Dame to Kill For” in 2014.

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