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Thursday, April 30, 2009
Gene Day Was The Inspiration For...
Mood:  a-ok
Topic: Comic Book Artists



Click here to see our current listings of MARTIAL ARTS Graphic Novels, Comics, Toys, and Magazines for Sale!


Gene Day

Was The Inspiration For Several Artists...

Including David Okum!  Earlier this week I blogged about the new novel by William Patrick Maynard titled "The Terror Of Fu Manchu".  This was the first novel in twenty-two years for that series!  

In the blog itself, I mentioned that Marvel Comics had the comic book rights to the Fu Manchu series  and the TV show 'Kung Fu'.  Instead of using either of those directly for a comic book series, Marvel instead created a new main character, and used a few characters from the novel series.  The title of the comic book series was 'Master Of Kung Fu', (MOKF).

When I posted the blog to my Facebook Wall, I had several comments there about the comic book series from ten of my Facebook Friends!  There is still that much interest in this series that was cancelled so many years ago!

First was mentioned a few of the artists that had worked on the series:  Paul Gulacy, Mike Zeck, and Gene Day.  Then the writing of Doug Moench, who FB Friend Steven Thompson said... "The artists on MOKF were great but credit where credit's due, it was writer Doug Moench who took a potentially flash-in-the-pan, fad-based, politically incorrect even at the time concept and made it the best Bond-style comic ever published and arguably the best Marvel comic of its day. Because of that, Master of Kung-Fu would outlast the martial arts movie craze itself by nearly a decade!"

Yet it was the comment by David Okum that got me to thinking about a possible blog post when he typed in the following: "This is the comic that got me reading comics back in the 70s. I always wanted to draw this comic as a kid, but I was afraid to draw the characters because I didn't want to infringe on any copyrights. I absolutely loved Gene Day's work on this comic. This is why I draw comics today".

Not one to pass up such a great sounding story, I followed up with David and asked him if he wouldn't mind expanding on that comment of his.

Here is David Okum's story on how artist Howard Eugene (Gene) Day, (1951 - 1982) was an inspiration for him:

"Growing up in the 70s my favourite comics were the DC Tarzan and Gold Key Star Trek reprints. It was also a time of immense popularity of the Martial Arts and comics companies scrambled to adapt to a changing market.

I remember reading Master of Kung Fu comics in oversized magazine format and then finding the comics in the spinner rack at the local corner store. I was immediately sucked into the stories of the son of Fu Manchu and the secret societies and spy action. It was great fun.

Looking at Paul Gulacy’s art was like watching a James Bond movie and Mike Zeck introduced a real superhero feel to the comic. I noticed the art was getting progressively darker, more intense and realized that someone named Gene Day was inking the comic. Eventually he took over the art chores and I was stunned.

Gene was able to capture likenesses of the characters that really defined them as people in my imagination. Everything was dramatic and mysterious, like a still from film noir movie with driving rain, blowing leaves and expressionistic angles.

Gene Day was the real reason that I wanted to draw comics. I wanted to draw Master Of Kung Fu. I practiced in my sketchbook, but couldn’t quite get it right. I was also afraid of infringing copyrights so the work never saw the light of day.

I tried to apply his aesthetics to the science fiction comics I drew. I had seen some of Gene’s illustrations in roleplaying books such as Call of Cthulhu, Runequest and Space Opera. I found his graphic novel Future Day and really looked forward to his work on the Marvel Star Wars comic.

Harry Kremer told me of his death one day when I went in to buy some comics. He was far too young and had much more work in him. Harry gave me a stack of comics that day, maybe because he felt sorry for me or maybe because he was trying to get rid of them, but I felt a real sense of community in comics that I hadn’t felt before. From that point I knew my career would include art and definitely involve comics in some way.

Reading about Gene later in life I was really impressed with his incredible work ethic, drawing every day. This quote was the inspiration for my drawing a day for 2009. Gene Day continues to be a strong influence on my work and freelance career."

Click Here to see our current listings of  Comics, TPBs, Graphic Novels, & DVDs!  For those of you that don't know of him, David Okum is an artist and teacher from Waterloo, Ontario, Canada. He has been exhibiting and publishing artwork since 1984.

Since David was kind enough to tell us who his inspiration was by writing the above story, I wanted to tell you a little bit about David here today:

David’s artwork is created using traditional and digital methods. Formally trained in painting, drawing and sculpture at the University of Waterloo, David has been using a computer to create art since 1984 when he first used a Commodore 64.  David is a comic book artist and has written and illustrated eight how to draw manga books.

David was born in 1967 and grew up in Kitchener, Ontario. He attended St. Jerome’s High School and the University of Waterloo. In 1990 he earned his Bachelor of Education at the University of Windsor. In 1991 he returned to Kitchener and began his teaching career. David continues to produce, publish and exhibit his work regularly. In addition, he creates commissioned artwork as well as graphic design work for individuals and organizations.

Published Work
How-To-Draw Books -Writing and Illustration – 2004 – 2008
Manga Martial Arts Madness (2008), Manga Fantasy Madness (2006), Manga Monster Madness (2005), Draw Super Manga (2005), Draw Super Heroes (2005), Draw Super Manga Monsters (2005), Superhero Madness (2004), Manga Madness (2004) – published by F& W Publications

Educational Textbook - Writing and Illustration – 2005
Articles on Manga, comics and the making of manga art.
Inside Track 1 (grade 9 textbook, edited by Robin Pearson and Debbie J. Chambers) Oxford University Press

Comic story on Cryptozoology in Canada – 2008
for yet to be titled Grade 7 Language Arts textbook.
Oxford University Press

Educational Historical Graphic Novels –2006
two titles illustrated for Rubicon/ Scholastic Canada used in schools with reluctant readers.
Napoleon’s Last Stand
The Rebel Prince

Role Playing Game Writing and Illustration – 1999-2003
Illustrations for 6 books for Guardians of Order
Writing and Illustrations for Cold Hands, Dark Hearts Role-playing supplement, Guardians of Order -2003

Mini Meks collectable papercraft miniature game - 2002
Game and Model Design, Writing and Illustrating
Penemue Press

Contraption (Original Steampunk Comic) 1993-1999

Freelance writing and art 1984- present
posters, books, articles, t-shirt designs, character design, comics (including work in Ninja High School Annuals by Antarctic Press (1992-1999), games and graphic design created for local and international companies and individuals.

Current Work
Graphic Novels for Rubicon/ Oxford University Press (Boldprint).
Homeplate Heroes (2009)
The Soccer Game (2009)

Paper Miniatures for Penemue Press and a follow up for Mini Meks in late 2009.

For even more on David Okum, you can check out his web site at: http://www.okumarts.com/cv.html

For those of you that are new to our Blog today, we have an ongoing online 'Comic Con and Pop Culture Convention' here at "Make It So Marketing Inc.", what with our daily blog posts,  and new listings of items for sale in our online Store!

Thanks again to all of YOU reading our current and archived blog posts!

~ Michael (and Tina)


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Posted by makeitsomarketing at 6:46 AM PDT
Updated: Thursday, April 30, 2009 6:55 AM PDT
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