I READ 60 COMIC BOOKS YESTERDAY. MY BRAIN HURTS.

KC Carlson by Stuart Immonen

KC Carlson by Stuart Immonen


A KC COLUMN by KC Carlson

Yeah, I don’t really know why I did that. The day started out being a “clean up the comics room” day, until I realized that the piles of recent unread comics were starting to *ahem* pile up. I noticed that the Marvel piles were taller than the DCs — that’s not too surprising because I seem to be physically able to read the current DCs quicker than most Marvels these days.

Amazing Spider-Man #25 Variant Cover by Immonen

Amazing Spider-Man #25 Variant Cover by Immonen


I’m not sure exactly why that is, but if I had to guess, I’m probably “reading” most Marvel Comics “slower” because I’m actually studying the artists’ work more. Case in point: Stuart Immonen on Amazing Spider-Man.

Legion of Super-Heroes #53

Legion of Super-Heroes #53


People that know my history a little bit know that I hired Stuart (on the basis of his art samples) to draw Legion of Super-Heroes for DC, beginning in 1992, just as I was arriving there specifically to edit the series.

Actually, I hired Stuart to pencil the Legion before I set foot in the DC Comics offices. (Technically, I wasn’t even a DC employee yet.) Somebody at DC (under the direction of soon-to-be DC Executive Editor Mike Carlin) sent me his samples while I was working out my notice at the job I was leaving (editing Comics Retailer at Krause Publications), and I remember being stunned that no one else had hired this obviously talented artist yet.

Legion of Super-Heroes #38

Legion of Super-Heroes #38


I spent much of my two-week notice phoning Carlin after hours and from home to make sure I was doing things procedurally correct to make Stuart an offer. One Friday evening, I phoned Stuart from my house to officially hire him to pencil the Legion of Super-Heroes, starting immediately after outgoing artist Keith Giffen’s last issue — the somewhat controversial issue where they blew up the earth. Stuart’s first full issue was Legion of Super-Heroes #39, but he also pencilled the famous “The End” cover for Legion of Super-Heroes #38.

It didn’t take long for Stuart’s work to get noticed, especially at DC. After I physically got to the NYC DC Comics offices, my office was swarmed with requests by other editors to see Stuart’s pencils. From that response alone, I knew that I had gotten very lucky in “finding” Stuart — and I also started realizing that he was eventually going to get better offers for work.

Adventures of Superman #534 which was written by Immonen as well

Adventures of Superman #534 which was written by Immonen as well


Luckily, the first best offer came from within DC. A slot had opened up on one of the four Superman titles. Over the years, Stuart has pencilled runs on both Adventures of Superman and Action Comics, as well as numerous specials and one-shots featuring Superman. Before all that happened though, one day, I got a special “closed door” visit from Mike Carlin to discuss the situation. He wanted to hire Stuart away for his Superman empire. I couldn’t say no to Mike — and actually didn’t want to. I would have loved to keep Stuart on the Legion book forever, but there he could only ever be, at best, a “cult artist”, due to the material. (The Legion of Super-Heroes being one of the most cult comics series ever. You’ll also notice that it isn’t being published at all these days — despite some major “teases” that amounted to nothing — except once in a while to keep the trademarks.)

Nextwave: Agents of Hate #10

Nextwave: Agents of Hate #10


Stuart actually outlasted me at DC. I left DC in 1997 for a number of reasons, none of them having anything to do with either him or LSH. (I still miss both of them terribly, but at least I still get to see Stuart’s work on Amazing Spider-Man most every month, inked by the also wonderful Wade Von Grawbadger.) Stuart was involved with the ongoing Superman titles through 2000, but he returned to a version of the character in 2004 for the must-read Superman: Secret Identity, written by his frequent collaborator Kurt Busiek. Other series the two produced include Superstar: As Seen on TV and Shockrockets for Gorilla Comics. For Marvel, Stuart’s had runs on Ultimate Spider-Man, Ultimate Fantastic Four, Ultimate X-Men, The New Avengers, the Fear Itself limited series, All-New X-Men, and my fave, the miniseries Nextwave: Agents of Hate, written by Warren Ellis.

50 Reasons to Stop Sketching at Conventions

50 Reasons to Stop Sketching at Conventions


In 2005, he self-published the hysterical 50 Reasons to Stop Sketching at Conventions, a small collection of comic strips that succinctly match the title of the work. It’s my favorite publication of his, because I was sitting next to him at comic book shows when a fair percentage of these stupid things actually happened to him.

Life is stranger than fiction.

Shockrockets #1

Shockrockets #1


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KC CARLSON SEZ: So why am I thinking about Stuart today? Because I just finished reading four or five issues of the current Amazing Spider-Man that he (and Wade) worked on — and there’s another one (#798) on sale next Wednesday. If you’re not already reading these, you need to check them out. Easily one of Marvel’s currently great titles.

WESTFIELD COMICS is not responsible for the stupid things that KC says. Especially that thing that really irritated you. Hi, Kathryn!

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  1. Brian J. Says:

    I remember picking up the first issue of Nut Runners drawn by Stuart in my late high school (early college?) days, and thinking he was good. I didn’t really notice him again until Shock Rockets (sorry, have never been part of the LSH cult), and remembered thinking that his art looked familiar. I keep waiting for him to work on a book/characters that I’m either currently reading or into!