Official Press Release
IDW Publishing has announced the publication of a deluxe 394-page hardcover collecting the entire run (1933-1936) of groundbreaking artist Noel Sickles on the Scorchy Smith comic strip. The latest addition to The Library of American Comics, an IDW imprint, Scorchy Smith and the Art of Noel Sickles is edited and designed by Dean Mullaney, whose work on The Complete Terry and the Pirates has earned him two 2008 Eisner Award nominations. The title will be released July 30, 2008.
During the three years that Noel Sickles wrote and illustrated Scorchy Smith, he revolutionized the field when he moved away from the heavy black outlines predominant in the comic strips of the day. He adopted storytelling techniques from the motion pictures, while relying on brushwork to create a looser, chairoscuro representation of people, action, and scenery. Pete Hamill observed, “Sickles was the first artist to use the brush boldly, in an impressionistic way.”
“Scorchy Smith became a primer from which a multitude of comic book and strip artists cribbed mercilessly for decades,” writes Jim Steranko in his introduction to the book. Longtime Spider-Man artist John Romita Sr. says, “The whole industry was copying from Sickles.”
Created in 1930 by John Terry (the brother of animator Paul Terry of Terrytoons fame) in the wake of Lindbergh’s crossing of the Atlantic and the rising popularity of aviation, Scorchy Smith was one of those typical 1930s aviation adventure strips until illness forced Terry to quit the strip in 1933 and the little known Sickles took over.
Born in Chillicothe, Ohio in 1910, Noel Douglas Sickles was a primarily self-taught artist who produced political cartoons for the Ohio State Journal while still in his teens. He moved to New York to work as an Associated Press staff artist in 1933. After blazing a trail through the comics world, Sickles left both comics and the AP in 1936 to launch a 40-year career as one of America’s most successful magazine illustrators. A regular at Life, The Saturday Evening Post, and Reader’s Digest, his work also appeared in Look, National Geographic, and countless other publications. During World War II, his ability to accurately depict enemy aircraft, ships, and tanks in realistic illustrations made him a valuable commodity for the U.S. War Department. Sickles won the National Cartoonist Society’s Advertising and Illustration Award in both 1960 and 1962. He eventually settled in Tucson, Arizona and turned to painting, winning further acclaim for his Western canvases.
In addition to every panel that Sickles drew for the strip, Scorchy Smith and the Art of Noel Sickles contains 140 pages of Sickles’s bravura illustrations for stories by Hemingway, Michener, Solzhenitsyn, and Faulkner; his important World War II drawings for the U.S. military; and the first biography, by Bruce Canwell, of the artist who helped changed the face of 20th-Century illustration
About IDW Publishing
IDW is an award-winning publisher of comic books, graphic novels and trade paperbacks, based in San Diego, California. As a leader in the horror, action, and sci-fi genres, IDW publishes some of the most successful and popular titles in the industry including: television’s #1 prime time series CBS’ CSI: Crime Scene Investigation; Paramount’s Star Trek; Fox’s Angel; Hasbro’s The Transformers, and the BBC’s Doctor Who. IDW’s original horror series, 30 Days of Night, was launched as a major motion picture in October 2007 by Sony Pictures and was the #1 film in its first week of release. In April 2008, IDW released Michael Recycle, the first title from its new children’s book imprint, Worthwhile Books. More information about the company can be found at http://www.idwpublishing.com.