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Bell has announced that he will be donating 10% of his royalties from the project to The Hero Initiative in Bill Everett’s name, continuing the legacy of contributing to the well being of comic creators by the Everett family.
Says Jim McLauchlin, executive for The Hero Initiative’s Fund Raising Board, “Hero is honored to be selected for what is sure to be an amazing addition to the Bill Everett legacy.”
Bill Everett: Fire and Water, published by Fantagraphics Books, will be a welcomed addition to the 70th anniversary celebration of the release of Marvel Comics #1, the first comic produced by Marvel Comics, which features the late Bill Everett’s signature creation, the Sub-Mariner. Everett invented comics’ first anti-hero; an angry half-breed (half-man, half sea-creature humanoid) that terrorized humankind until uniting with the Allied Forces to conquer fascism’s march across Europe. The Sub-Mariner character has endured for 70 years, having also been optioned as a major motion picture.
But the reasons to celebrate Bill Everett’s monumental career don’t stop with his water-based hero. Everett was a master of many comic genres, and was one of the pre-eminent horror comic-book artists in the 1950s (before government and societal pressures led the comics industry to censor itself with the imposition of the Comics Code Authority). Says author Blake Bell: “Had Everett worked for EC Comics in the 1950s, and not Marvel Comics, he would be recognized as the top horror artist of the decade, and this new book will prove that assertion.”
The book is being produced in cooperation with the Everett family and will feature a definitive biography of the artist’s career, and how his personality informed his signature character, before his untimely passing at the age of 55 in 1973. Bill Everett’s daughter, Wendy Everett, says about the project: “My brothers and I are grateful and delighted that our father’s talent is being celebrated in this new work by Blake Bell. Bill Everett’s life work, centered in the Golden Age of Comics, is a treasure that we’re pleased can be shared with the rest of the art world.”
But the main focus will be the display of artwork that few artists can match in breadth and quality. Says Fantagraphics publisher Gary Groth: “Everett is highly respected among the cognoscenti but little known outside those circles. Everett was a stylistic virtuoso with a rich, textured, tactile inking technique, and we hope that Blake’s Fire and Water will do for Everett what his book on Ditko did for that artist: Give the artist his critical due while spreading an appreciation to a larger audience.”
Everett’s dedication to the industry also extended to his peers, and this book shall continue that legacy as well. Upon Everett’s passing in 1973, the Academy of Comic Book Arts (ACBA) had an ACBA Welfare Fund that they renamed The Bill Everett Fund in his memory, used to assist “artists in need of temporary financial aid and for other personal needs.” In 2008, The Hero Initiative (www.heroinitiative.org) continues this important work, and Blake Bell has committed to donating 10% of his royalties from the Everett book to The Hero Initiative in Everett’s name. Notes Bell, “Wendy and I are proud to represent Bill’s passion for comics in this regard, and we couldn’t think of a more worthy vehicle than The Hero Initiative.”
In addition to updates to Bell’s Bill Everett web site (www.ess.comics.org), the Yahoo discussion group Timely-Atlas (http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Timely-Atlas-Comics/) will be the place to join and participate in the selection of the imagery to be used in the book.
2009 will mark the year when the work of one of comics’ original pioneers is celebrated with this definitive volume from Blake Bell and Fantagraphics Books.
“Bill Everett: Fire and Water”
Written by Blake Bell
220 pages, color, 9” x 12”
PUBLICATION DATE: July 2009