Don Simpson (cartoonist)

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Don Simpson
Born 1961 (age 52–53)
Livonia, Michigan, US
Area(s) Writer, penciller, inker
Notable works
Megaton Man, King Kong

Donald E. Simpson is an American comic book cartoonist and freelance illustrator, most noted as the creator of the series Megaton Man, Border Worlds, and Bizarre Heroes, as well as the official comic book adaption of King Kong. He also freelanced for nearly every major comic book publisher. His most widely seen work are the illustrations he created for Al Franken's 2004 bestseller, Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them: A Fair and Balanced Look at the Right.

Biography[edit]

Don Simpson was born in the Detroit suburb of Livonia, Michigan, in 1961.[1] Drawing since the age of five, Simpson was encouraged by artists James Malone and Keith Pollard, among others.[1] Simpson debuted as a comic book artist in 1984 with his creation Megaton Man, a Kitchen Sink Press title that sometimes satirized superheroes cliches. In April 2013, Simpson received his PhD in History of Art and Architecture from the University of Pittsburgh.[2]

Megaton Man[edit]

Simpson wrote and drew the 10-issue Kitchen Sink Press comic-book series Megaton Man (Nov. 1984 – June 1986) and its three-issue miniseries sequel, The Return of Megaton Man (1988).[3] Thereafter, subsequent installments of the previously color Megaton Man series appeared as black-and-white Kitchen Sink one-shots, including Megaton Man Meets the Uncategorizable X+Thems" #1 (April 1989), Yarn Man #1 (Oct. 1989), and Pteranoman #1 (Aug. 1990).[3]

In summer 1985, Marvel Comics objected to Simpson's parody superhero team, the Megatropolis Quartet, claiming that Rex Rigid (Mr. Waterballoon/Liquid Man), Stella Starlight (the See-Thru Girl), and Bing Gloom (Yarn Man) too closely resembled its group the Fantastic Four, and issued a "cease and desist" letter. The publisher responded that the characters fell under the Fair Use doctrine, and Marvel pursued no further legal action.[4]

Megaton Man and the character's supporting cast appeared throughout Simpson's later self-published series Bizarre Heroes (Fiasco Comics, 1994–1996), the final two issues of which (#16 and #17) are alternately titled Megaton Man vs. Forbidden Frankenstein #1 and Megaton Man #0.[3] Simpson then concentrated on his Megaton Man cast in Image Comics' Megaton Man: Hardcopy #1–2 and Megaton Man: Bombshell #1 (1999). Other appearances of the title character include Savage Dragon vs. The Savage Megaton Man #1 with creator Erik Larsen (Image Comics, 1993), and The normalman/Megaton Man Special with Jim Valentino (Image, 1995).[3]

In 1994, Simpson began his own imprint, Fiasco Comics, to publish Don Simpson's Bizarre Heroes, which mixed members of the cast of Megaton Man with characters Simpson had created as far back as junior high school,[5] such as the Meddler; the Slick; John Bradford, Clown-Master of Disguise; and B-50, the Hybrid Man. The series ran under differing titles: as Don Simpson's Bizarre Heroes for numbered #0–8 (May–Dec. 1994),[6] followed by Bizarre Heroes #9–15 (Feb. 1995 – Jan. 1996)[7] The final two issues, #16 and #17, appeared under the titles Megaton Man vs. Forbidden Frankenstein, for which the Grand Comics Database notes, "Though officially listed in the indicia under this title, this issue is also considered to be Bizarre Heroes #16,"[8] and Megaton Man #0 (July 1996), for which the Grand Comics Database notes, "Listed in the indicia as 'Megaton Man #0 (Bizarre Heroes #17).'"[9]

Simpson's Megaton Man Weekly Serial 1996–2000 webcomics series became a backup feature in The Savage Dragon in the late 1990s. Megaton Man also makes a cameo appearance in Red Anvil Comics' War of the Independents #1 (2013) and #4 (2014).

Other work[edit]

Simpson wrote and drew the science-fiction backup feature Border Worlds, about a woman and a colonial rebellion, set on a space station, beginning in Megaton Man #6. The feature spun off into a seven-issue, "mature readers" black-and-white comics (July 1986 – Aug. 1987),[3] followed by Border Worlds: Marooned #1 (April 1990), the only issue of an intended four-issue miniseries.[10]

Simpson went on to do freelance art for such comics as Archie Comics Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Meet Archie (1990) and DC Comics' 1987–1988 anthology series Wasteland and Flash Annual #3 (1990).[3]

Fiasco Comics, Inc. continued as the business name for Simpson's commercial-illustration business, which suspended operations in the late 1990s. Clients included Progressive Insurance, Kennywood Park, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, and the Pittsburgh Pirates, for the latter of which Simpson created the Parrot's Kid's Club logo.[2]

Anton Drek[edit]

Between 1990 and 1992, Simpson created six erotic underground comix under the pseudonym "Anton Drek,"[11] including Wendy Whitebread, Undercover Slut[11] and Forbidden Frankenstein.[11] Portions of Wendy and other strips appeared in the Spanish erotic-comics anthology magazine Kiss Comix #1,[12] #2,[13] #3,[14] and #4[15] in 1991, and an Italian edition of Wendy Whitebread #1[16] appeared in 2005 from Blue Press. Finnish translations of Wendy Whitebread, Undercover Slut and Forbidden Frankenstein appeared as Paula Patonki, Piilokyttänarttu[17] and Frankensteinin Perhekalleudet[18] respectively, issued by the Helsinki publisher Sötem in 1995.

Bibliography includes[edit]

2005: Illustrator, letterer, and colorist, "Batman Upgrade 5.0," written by Dean Haglund and Peter Murrieta, in Bizarro World (New York NY: DC Comics Inc.).

2005: Cartoonist [under the pseudonym Anton Drek], Drekbook: l'intégrale d'Anton Drek, trans. Bernard Joubert (Paris, France: Dynamite).

2004: Cartoonist (writer-artist), Don Simpson's Megaton Man, introduction by Al Franken (New York NY: ibooks/Simon & Schuster).

2003: Illustrator and letterer, "Operation Chickenhawk: Episode One" and "The Gospel of Supply Side Jesus," written by Al Franken, from Al Franken, Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them: A Fair and Balanced Look at the Right (New York NY: Dutton).

2003: Illustrator and letterer, "In Pictopia," written by Alan Moore, with art contributions by Peter Poplaski and Mike Kazaleh [1986], in George Khoury, The Extraordinary Works of Alan Moore (Raleigh NC: TwoMorrows Publishing).

2000: Cartoonist (writer-artist), "Teaching Cartooning: The Delusive Art," in Streetwise: Autobiographical Stories by Professionals, foreword by Will Eisner, (Raleigh NC: TwoMorrows Publishing).

1995: Cartoonist (writer-artist), Bizarre Heroes: The Apocalypse Affiliation (Pittsburgh PA:Fiasco Comics Inc.).

1994: Cartoonist (writer-artist) [under the pseudonym Anton Drek], Anton's Collected Drek featuring Wendy Whitebread, second expanded edition (Seattle WA: ErosComix/Fantagraphics Books).

1990: Cartoonist (writer-artist), Megaton Man: Volume I (Princeton WI: Kitchen Sink Press).

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Don Simpson's Strange Saga". Comic Book Artist (8) (TwoMorrows Publishing). May 2000. p. 70. 
  2. ^ a b "Donald Simpson". Academia.edu. June 2013. Retrieved 2014-01-12. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f Don Simpson at the Grand Comics Database.
  4. ^ Barry Hoffman, interview with Don Simpson, Gauntlet: Exploring the Limits of Free Expression #2, 1991.
  5. ^ Don Simpson, introduction, Don Simpson's Bizarre Heroes #1 (Fiasco Comics, May 1994), inside front cover.
  6. ^ Don Simpson's Bizarre Heroes at the Grand Comics Database.
  7. ^ Bizarre Heroes at the Grand Comics Database.
  8. ^ Megaton Man vs. Forbidden Frankenstein at the Grand Comics Database.
  9. ^ Megaton Man (Fiasco Comics, 1996 Series) at the Grand Comics Database.
  10. ^ Border Worlds: Marooned at the Grand Comics Database.
  11. ^ a b c Harvilicz, Helena G. (1991). "'You're Busted, Creep': An Interview with Donald 'Anton Drek' Simpson". The Comics Journal (143). pp. 100–110. 
  12. ^ Kiss Comix #1 at Comics Vine.
  13. ^ Kiss Comix #2 at Comics Vine.
  14. ^ Kiss Comix #3 at Comics Vine.
  15. ^ Kiss Comix #4 at Comics Vine.
  16. ^ Wendy Whitebread (Italian translation) at Fumetto online.
  17. ^ Paula Patonki , piilokyttänarttu at Like.
  18. ^ Frankensteinin perhekalleudet at Like.

External links[edit]