Howard Chaykin Friday: The Dynamic Forces Retrospective

Howard Chaykin Friday I

He’s one of the elder statesmen of modern comics, although don’t let him catch you saying that, or he might remind you that he’s still young enough to ask you to step outside.

Howard Chaykin has been active in comics since the early ‘70s, illustrating, writing, and reinventing himself time and again to show that not only is he one of the most versatile comic creators working in the industry, but also one of the true visionaries that the industry has produced.

We begin a day highlighting Chaykin with a quick chat about the upcoming retrospective of his career coming next year from Dynamic Forces. As Newsarama readers will recall, Dynamic Forces has also begun a program that will repackage and collect Chaykin’s creator-owned work over the next two years.

As with the library, the reason Chaykin is doing the retrospective with Dynamic is simple: “Nick [Barrucci, Dynamic Forces President] asked me first,” Chaykin said before deadpanning, “And I guess I'm in the start of my career twilight, so catch me before the dirt nap.”

While fans of the creator know about his storied past and history in comics, newcomers to the retrospective will get a chance to learn about his early days which included Upstart Associates, a collective of creators working together in a studio space on West 29th Street in New York City. The Upstarts, at one time or another included Chaykin, Walt Simonson, James Sherman, Frank Miller and Jim Starlin – creators who built much of the foundation of the modern age of comics.

And while Chaykin’s fans perhaps know him best for his seminal work on American Flagg!, Cody Starbuck, DC’s The Shadow and Blackhawk, Chaykin’s sure the coming retrospective will dig up some material that will not have aged well. “I'll try to keep things as un-humiliating as possible,” he said, “but I'm sure they'll find work of mine that will make me cringe.”

Chaykin added that he’s not a hoarder of his own work, and rarely holds on to pieces of original art after the project is finished – something that earns him the ire of his attorney. “Once the work is done, I don't much think about it,” Chaykin said, suggesting that it might be tricky to find the original examples of his earlier work for the retrospective.

Not only that, but the sheer volume of Chaykin’s work over the course of his nearly four decades in the industry will make for a meaty tome, for sure.

And finally, speaking of retrospectives, while one is being written about compiled about him, Chaykin is also doing one of his own – the previously announced Ramona Fradon retrospective to be published by Dynamic early next year. “Ramona is a talent who deserves more attention than she's ever gotten,” Chaykin said of the legendary and pioneering comics artist.

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