Thomas Campi p1

READERSVOICE.COM aims to collect a few interesting reading tips. This issue features some creative artists from the recent OZ Comic Con in Brisbane. Thomas Campi is an artist and illustrator of comics. And some of the creators behind the new slasher movie The Furies also mention some favorite books.

Thomas Campi, from Ferrara, in Northern Italy, and now based in Sydney, sat at one of the artists’ tables at the Oz Comic Con in Brisbane recently. He was doing some high quality black watercolor sketches of characters in an A4 pad. On the table were copies of his books, including Macaroni!, Nocturne, and The Joe Shuster Story, The Artist Behind Superman. Mr Campi illustrated The Joe Shuster Story, which was written by Julian Voloj, based on research into Joe Shuster’s and Jerry Siegel’s lives, including anecdotes people have told, interviews and historic records.
The artist’s life story is told in the first person, through the eyes of the character Joe Shuster. Mr Campi said he increased the detail in the illustrations as the story approached the present. This is to match the more precise memories the character has, as they approach the present.
The book cost $29, after Mr Campi did a quick currency conversion calculation from the US price. It’s a colourful and beautifully illustrated book about Joe Shuster and Jerry Siegel who met in 1931, and went on to create Superman. Unfortunately, they sold the rights to Superman, in 1938. The character appeared in Action Comics and it made a fortune for the publishers. The comic strip was syndicated in newspapers in 1939, with millions of readers. But the two friends didn’t do so well out of the deal. Shuster and Siegel tried to regain the rights to the character, but they never succeeded. The publishers are portrayed as being somewhat exploitative. They patronise Shuster and Siegel, calling them the two boychiks from Cleveland, and not in an endearing sense.
The story opens with Joe Shuster on a Queens, New York, park bench in 1975. He’s starving and cold and a police officer buys him some soup. The police officer is astonished when Joe Shuster says he was the co-creator of Superman. He draws some Superman pictures for the police officer and some kids. This was based on a real event.

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