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CSBG Archive

365 Reasons to Love Comics #144

I keep forgetting to mention I updated the archive the other day. What do you think, should I post a link to it in each column? I imagine that would be helpful, as Google currently doesn’t want to give even me a direct link to it. Onwards.

Bob Week moseys along with a look at a fantastic artist of days gone by.

5/24/07

144. Bob Oksner

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Earlier this year, Bob Oksner passed away at the age of 90, and comics lost a fine artist. In the Golden Age, he worked on a variety of funnybooks before being scooped up by Timely. DC soon scooped him up, and he began drawing all sorts of works that featured pretty ladies before he started working on humor books again.

His genre spread was pretty varied. A large part of his career was spent on licensed humor titles, like The Adventures of Dean Martin & Jerry Lewis, The Adventures of Bob Hope, the Many Loves of Dobie Gillis, Sgt. Bilko, Pat Boone, and, much later, Welcome Back, Kotter. His fantastic skills as a caricaturist enabled him to produce a lot of beautiful cartooning on these comics.

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He also worked on romance books and teen humor mags for quite a while, including such illustrious material as Leave it to Binky, Windy and Willy, and my personal fave, Swing with Scooter. It’s here where he got a chance to draw quite a few pretty ladies.

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When the big companies started cutting back on genre work, Mr. Oksner found himself working on titles on the fringe, co-creating and drawing such favorites of this column like Angel and the Ape and Super-Hip, the latter with Arnold Drake. He’d re-team with Drake on Stanley and his Monster, a cool little feature and short-lived title about a young boy and his “imaginary” monster friend.

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Eventually, he ended up on the superhero books, drawing PSA strips in just about everything, but also working on quite a few covers, especially in the Superman line of titles, as well as the 70′s Shazam! series. Again, his best efforts were when female characters like Lois Lane and Supergirl were involved. It was during this time that he also inked over Curt Swan’s work. He also inked one of the greatest superhero humor books of all time, Ambush Bug.

Bob later worked with Irwin Hansen on the comic strip Dondi before finally retiring in the late 80′s. And when he retired, he really retired, selling or giving away all his drawing materials and barely doodling a thing after that. He did attend one or two conventions, though.

Bob Oksner was an artist who never got enough accolades for his work before his unfortunate passing, but I hope he’d be happy that we remember him and his work so fondly. There is an issue of Alter Ego out dedicated to him, which is nice to see. The man was a pretty brilliant cartoonist with excellent comedic skills. He gave us a lot of great material, and he’ll be missed.

For further details and another (and surely better) tribute, read the obituary written by Mark Evanier.

12 Comments

You should definitely put a link to the archive in each piece, Bill.

screw google! i mainline this site through my favorites. i’ve been tracking up lately so i have to wear long sleeve shirts but it’s worth it.

i’ll spend this 3 day weekend googling your column hopefully that will help.

PRAISE BOB!!!!

Oskner was amazing.

If you google “Reasons to Love Comics Archive” and hit “I Feel Lucky” it brings up the archive page. So that’s something.

And, yeah, Oskner was great. He was the first inker I ever really thought about, due to his on-panel appearances in Ambush Bug.

I really love this column. Thank you, Bill, for putting it out every single day.

My secret wish is that one day you find a bucketload of cash under your mattress, carry it to DC and Marvel and start publishing a big collection for each entry in this column.

I mean, it’s really hard for me to read about all this fantastic comics and not being able to just go out and buy them as I clearly must. It’s almost every day when I visit this site I go: “Oh my God! What a great comic. Why have I never heard of this? How can I get my hands on it????”

FunkyGreenJerusalem

May 25, 2007 at 1:52 am

I had no idea that the boy Stanely and his monster in Smiths Green Arrow run referenced back to a previous comic series!

That’s kinda cool – especially as it wasn’t at all required knowledge for the story, and I never felt like I was missing an in joke, or even realise that there was one I was missing.

Remember Smith’s run? Where GA was a happy book, with a strong sense of family – Silver Age style with just a few modern tweaks?
How bizarre is it that a guy who makes films like Smith, makes the book happy and wholseome and fun, while the guy who wrote Pedro And Me turns it into a horribly misguided, dark, un-fun book who’s attempts at social messages seem as awkward as and misguided as Ebony White?

Hey pallie, thanks for the great mention of the Dino and Jer comics. I would love to get my hands on some of these.

The Kirbydotter

May 25, 2007 at 6:30 am

You forgot to add that Bob Oskner also inked some (most?)of Keith Giffen’ AMBUSH BUG minis.
And didn’t he also inked ‘MAZING MAN?

ONe thing I’m sure of, is that Bob Oskner is one of DC’s toughest artist to collect. Almost non of his work was reprinted and most of the series he worked on (DC Humor) is scarce, even on Ebay.

I’m still having a lot of trouble completing my WELCOME BACK KOTTER series.

We NEED a TPB or archives of STANLEY AND HIS MONSTER and ANGEL AND THE APE… (and SUGAR AND SPIKE is an unknown classic to most comic book readers). DC Humor must not be forgotten, please reprints!

I wrote a quite insane tribute to Bob Kanigher here. Dare you read the tale of… “The Haunted Copter?”

http://www.tgcomics.com/modified/modcomics/jetdream04.php

Oops, posted that on the wrong Bob page….

I’ve always felt Oskner was an underrated talent. He definitely drew very beautiful, sexy women.

I can’t believe I missed this! Bob Oskner is one of my all-time favourite comic artists. I’ve been writing an article about him for ages, but pretty much what everyone has said: unbelievably versatile and draws the sexiest women in comics, ever. In an age where the sum total of making a woman sexy seems to be add 40 pounds to their chest area and make porn star poses, Oskner’s technique of just simply employing effective use of a line work seems completely foreign…and yet, I think one of the sexiest comics I ever read was one he drew of a fully clothed Lois Lane. He was truly one of the greats.

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