Friday, February 27, 2009

Chuck Patton

Francis Chuck Patton is an African-American former comic book artist best known for a stint on Justice League of America. More specifically, he is closely associated with the period in which the team relocated to Detroit, MI and became staffed with new, multicultural super-heroes. With Gerry Conway, Patton created Gypsy and Vibe, as well as redesigning Vixen and Steel: The Indestructible Man.

Patton got his start at DC Comics in the April, 1983 cover-dated The Flash #320, beginning a brief run of Creeper back-up stories. This was followed by art for Green Lantern, The Brave and the Bold, and Green Arrow before landing his permanent assignment on JLofA. However, Patton left his creations within their first year, taking on sporadic jobs on The Vigilante, Who's Who, The Omega Men, Teen Titans, Legion of Super-Heroes, Blue Beetle, Secret Origins, the Outsiders, Action Comics Weekly and DC Challenge. Patton also tried his fortunes at other companies with DNAgents, Daredevil, X-Men and The Official Handbook Of The Marvel Universe. He was considered to replace Todd McFarlane on The Incredible Hulk, but turned the offer down when he was asking to emulate the outgoing artist's style.

As with his JLD partner Gerry Conway, Patton became disillusioned with comics and moved into children's television animation. His credits include Dinosaucers, G.I. Joe, Captain N & the Adventures of Super Mario Bros. 3, Inspector Gadget Saves Christmas, and Teen Titans. More recently, he has turned to directing, on such projects as Dead Space: Downfall and Spawn, for which he won an Emmy award for Outstanding Animated Program.

Chuck Patton's legacy in comics seems to consist mostly of Justice League Detroit and well-regarded serial pairing Nightwing and Speedy. The image above is a self-portait of Patton, circa 1985, and heavily embellished by inker Mike DeCarlo. One imagines that had Patton inked himself, he might have more closely resembled another of his creations, Dale Gunn. Like Marv Wolfman's proxy Terry Long, who married a super-heroine, I suspect we now have the answer to why Gun had both Vixen and Zatanna vying for his attentions...

Further Reading: One-on-One with Spawn Director Chuck Patton


DamonO said...

Actually tried to track down Chuck Patton to do a commission for me. No luck in finding him.

Diabolu Frank said...

Yeah, I think Patton severed his ties to comic art in the early 90s, and I imagine Hollywood is a lot more lucrative than commission work. I think it's a real shame though, as he's a wonderful, licensing friendly artist.


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