Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Newark Comic Con: Arlen Schumer

Tell me a little bit about yourself and your brand?

I combine expertise in graphic design and illustration with knowledge of comic book art history to create works that stand out from the crowd of conventional graphic design and illustration. I’m a member of The Society of Illustrators and a comic book art historian—my book The Silver Age of Comic Book Art won the Independent Publishers Award for Best Popular Culture Book of 2003. I lecture on this and other pop culture subjects, like Rod Serling’s The Twilight Zone, at universities and cultural institutions nationwide.

What made you decide to get into your field?

I’ve been drawing superheroes since I was three years old, always knew I was going to be an artist, seas the “class artist,” and ended up going to Rhode Island School of Design to major in illustration because a great comic book illustrator had recently emerged from there (the DC and Marvel Comics artist Walt Simonson)—except once I got to RISD, I learned the graphic design department was the best in the school, and the idea of studying verbal/visual communication appealed to me more; because weren’t comics, after all, a combination of verbal and visual, words and pictures?

What is the vision of your field? What do you hope to achieve?

I’ve spent my entire illustration career working to bring great comic book art into the commercial art field, just as the Pop Art painter Roy Lichtenstein brought comics into the fine art world; at the same time, I’ve been working to get comic book art appreciated and treated seriously in the academic and cultural worlds as an indigenous American art form with a rich history, via my comic book art history lectures and verbal/visual essays.

What is your favorite design? Why?

Well, if you mean who are my favorite artists, I’d answer all the comic book artists I cover in my comic book art history book,The Silver Age of Comic Book Art; from other fields, Saul Bass (graphic design), Stanley Kubrick (film) and Edward Hopper (painting).

What do you hope to achieve by bringing your work to Newark Comic Con?
I’m trying to be the Johnny Appleseed of comic book art history, spreading the love of The Silver Age (a.k.a. The 1960s), the period that produced the artists whom I believe are our great Renaissance masters; the same way we look back 500 years ago on those masters of the human figure—like Michelangelo, Da Vinci and Raphael—so too will future art historians judge the great artists of The Silver Age—like Kirby, Adams and Steranko—the same. And they’ll look back on my book and lectures as the source for their judgments.

Tell us more about your work? What do you have coming out soon?

I just designed an exhibit for the Type Directors Club of NY of the works of Ira Schnapp, the DC Comics letterer for 30 years (1938-68), who not only designed the Superman logo (and every DC logo you can think of), but also designed the Roman letters engraved atop NYC’s Public Library and Penn Station Post Office (“Neither snow nor rain…”); the exhibit’s up untilSeptember 25. My comic book art history book, The Silver Age of Comic Book Art, is available in hardcover and e-book editions via my site,; I’ll be lecturing on both Schnapp and Silver Age at various comic conventions all summer, including the San Diego Comicon in July. And this fall I’ll be presenting my lecture on “Jews & Comics”—an overview “from the Golem to Ben Grimm”—at the 92 Street Y in Manhattan on September 24.

What is your website? Contact information?

Website:; e-mail:

Thank you to Arlen. We look forward to seeing more from you and look forward to your work. Arlen Schumer will be at Newark Comic Con on September 12th, 2015. He will be presenting a panel on the Silver Age of Comics. Make sure you come by to listen to this great speaker.  Please take a moment and check out the website at Buy a ticket and we will see you there.

Post by Vikki
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1 comment:

  1. Thanx for this great write-up, Vikki! Looking forward to doing my Silver Age presentation for Newark Comicon in September!