I was going to talk about the movie Man of Steel as the springboard for my Superman posts–as my obsessions go, this one is a doozy–but I upon reflection I knew that my first one needed to be about the reason for my strong feelings. In memoriam, I have to write about our friend, Curt Swan.
I first became acquainted with Curt as my mother-in-law’s good friend and bowling buddy. Later, after he took a room in her house, I came to know him better as a friend and grandfather figure to my (at the time) young son. He was an incredibly kind and generous person, and a talented handy man, cook, and dog trainer as well.
Recognition dawned slowly, because I tend to be a little thick sometimes. Curt was not only an incredibly gifted artist, he created the definitive Silver Age Superman, the one most of us invision when we think of the Man of Steel in the comic books. Curt is actually greatly celebrated in the Superman community and his work is very highly regarded. Go figure. Who knew that our friendly neighborhood cartoonist had such a tremendous impact on popular culture?
Quoting from the Superman Super Site: From 1955 on, SUPERMAN was Curt Swan’s character. His art defined SUPERMAN for the next thirty years. The lantern jaw was gone, the ironing board flying was gone. All of this was replaced by Swan’s realistic, expressive, human faces, and fluid, even graceful, forms flying through the sky. When it came time for Warner Brothers to do a decent film of SUPERMAN, it was Swan’s figure that Christopher Reeve emulated. It was that grace, that strength, that humanity that Swan brought to the character.
Though usually modest to a fault, Curt did put himself in one story: I Flew With Superman.
He drew a couple of pictures just for us, one of which my husband uses on his professional website, drwarstadt.com.
So I was lucky enough to have my life intersect with one of the most talented artists on the planet. Every time I see Superman in any incarnation, I remember our good friend, Curt Swan. I think that is worthy of a little obsession, don’t you?