Caleb Orecchio here with, yet again, thoughts on Barry Windsor-Smith and his excellent adaption of Red Nails, plus the usual gang of links.


All images herein are scans from Marvel Treasury Edition #4. 


Long story short, I think Barry Windsor-Smith’s Red Nails should be considered a masterpiece among the pantheon of comics. Old school fandom has more or less made this claim over the years, but the later “intellectual” generation (particularly the cartoonists and distinguished readers coming up out of the 80s) sees it as “good for the time”—at least, that’s what I sense. I also think many indie comics fans look down on adaptions as if adaptions are not a valid form of expression or something; or that a Marvel sword and sorcery comic simply is not good comics as a matter of principle and should basically be forgotten except when waxing nostalgia or appreciating good inking.

I think independent comics and mini comics culture has come far enough to the point where we don’t have to demonize these old mainstream comics anymore. Yes, Red Nails is more or less violent, swashbuckling entertainment for young adults (or young adults at heart), but that’s what it was intended to be. No, I don’t walk away from it with a deep emotional revelation and it doesn’t cause me to rethink my life, but I had a damn good time looking at it.

Smith’s images return to my thoughts for weeks on end and I marvel at the visual sensationalism. Is not the basic goal of a cartoonist to make something visually interesting and worth looking at/reading? I’d argue that this is the cartoonist’s most basic goal, and I’d argue that it’s in this manner that Barry Windsor-Smith achieved one of thee great works in comics.





if you don’t know, now you know


Suzy and Cecil – 3-5-2018 – by Gabriella Tito



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