Arts & Entertainment

Westfield Art Association Brings Comic Books to Life This Weekend

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Bob Budiansky, who was the regular penciler on Ghost Rider for more than a year, will be one of two artists speaking at the WAA's first event of the year.
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WESTFIELD, NJ — The Westfield Art Association (WAA) kicks off its 93rd season with “The Art of the Comic Book,” on Sunday, Oct. 26, from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. in the Community Room of Westfield’s municipal building. The theme coincides with the club’s announcement that students as young as 9th grade can now join.

Two local comic book artists, Bob Budiansky of Fanwood and Bob Sharen of Madison, who together have a total of 44 years working with Marvel Comics on some of the biggest industry titles, will talk about their work, conduct demonstrations and sign autographs.

“At this event, we will be hearing from the artists behind the iconic characters, viewing their original artwork and examining the art supplies and technique used to produce the artwork. Whether you are a fan of Spider-Man or just curious to hear behind-the-scenes insights, a budding graphic artist or interested in seeing how styles and techniques have evolved with the introduction of the computer, there will be something for everyone,” said Michael Endy, president of the WAA.

Budiansky worked as an editor, illustrator and writer for 20 years, mostly at Marvel. He edited titles including Spider-Man and the Fantastic Four, was the regular penciler on Ghost Rider for more than a year and created and wrote the series Sleepwalker.

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Budiansky is perhaps best known for the work he did on The Transformers: He was the editor on the very first Transfomers mini-series in 1984, followed by scripting most of the next 50-plus issues of the monthly Transformers comic book. He also named, created character profiles of, and wrote Hasbro packaging copy for, approximately 250 Transformers during the first six years of the brand’s existence, and developed story treatments as Hasbro introduced new lines of Transformers.

Sharen enjoyed a 24-year career as a colorist, working on almost every Marvel title, mostly on long runs of GI Joe, Alien Legion and the various Spider-Man titles.

“Although it is always interesting to see the tools and the artwork, those are available to be seen in books,” said Endy. “Where this event becomes most fascinating is in seeing, hearing and talking to the actual artists — hearing their stories first-hand, watching them work, asking questions. This is an opportunity to meet two living artists whose artwork you have seen and enjoyed over and over again.”

“With its visual approach to storytelling and its serial delivery platform, comic books brought us long-form storytelling that develops over the course of a season and continues for many years,” he added.  “And with long-running subjects of superheroes at work in our modern world, the form delivers a fantastical world that is larger than life. Many classic comic book heroes have become thoroughly ingrained in our popular culture, and their iconic graphic imagery can be seen today in children's Halloween costumes, adult graphic novels, in our cinemas and on the walls of our art museums.”

This event is open to the public. A $5 donation is suggested for non-members. Light refreshments will be served.

To celebrate the introduction of younger members, Ed and Joy Ann Lara have donated five student memberships to Westfield High School art students. Other high school students will enjoy a special $15 annual rate.

“We are very pleased by this generosity and look forward to meeting our new young members,” said Endy.

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