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Monday, March 4, 2024

Bring on the back ups. Ramona Fradon RIP

I was sad to read that Ramona Fradon passed away on 24 February. For todays comic book fans Ramona’s name may not be that well-known, but she was a pretty big deal in the 1950’s /1960’s where she worked for many years on DC’s Aquaman (in “Adventure” and Worlds Finest comics) before co-creating one of DCs strangest (and coolest) characters Metamorpho with Bob Haney. In 1965, Ramona left comics to raise her family before returning to the field again in the 1970’s working on DC titles including “Plastic Man”, “Super Friends” and “Freedom Fighters”, she even drew a fill in issue of Marvels “Fantastic Four” (#133). However, it was her work on DC’s mystery/horror titles like “House of Mystery “ where her clear uncluttered animation style art was really appealing on these types of stories. Among the many comic strips she drew for these titles my favourites was “The Spawn of the Devil” from “House of Mystery” #235. The story may lend from Rosemary's Baby and The Exorcist but it was as close to a genuinely scary story as DC's "House of Mystery" ever got. Enjoy:
Above: Cover to House of Mystery #235 by Luis Dominguez.
My first memory of Ramona’s work was in the Super DC Giant featuring Aquaman (S-26) special from 1971. I later became aware of her work when she returned to comics in the mid 1970’s where she provided some fun art and excellent covers for Plastic Man.

6 comments:

  1. I first ran across Fradon's lush warm artwork on some random issues of Metamorpho that fell into my hands when I was really young, but didn't really plug into its high quality until she took over drawing the Super Friends comic. She created a beautiful synthesis of the cartoons and the comics. She was a wonderful talent.

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    1. I've always been parțial to that animation type cartoon style and Ramona was always one of the VERY best add that . Super Friends was a fun comic

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  2. I'd been thinking of mentioning her passing on Crivens when I heard the news, but sometimes the thought of reporting yet another death becomes too depressing after a while so I didn't, knowing that it would be well-covered on other blogs. I remember her from Metaphormo and Plastic Man, plus that ish of FF (133) she did back in the '70s. A true talent.

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  3. Yeah she really was good. I know what you mean about reporting on another death, I felt the same about Keith Giffen who passed recently, I was a big fan of his. I will need to do something on here about his worj
    Sadly we are at that age where many of our "heroes" are coming to the end of their journey

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  4. Ramona Fradon had a very original style, and it amazes me that she wasn't given the chance to be a regular artist on some of DC's mainstream books (Superman, Batman, etc). Her contribution to lesser-known characters was immense, but never got the recognition by the wider comics fan base. Of contemporary artists, I think that Mike Allred is closest in capturing her style ; in fact, he drew the Metomorpho strip in DC's Wednesday Comics back in 2009 (can it really be fifteen years ago?).

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  5. I think by the 1970s her style had perhaps become a tad staid for Superhero titles , but I always enjoyed her mystery type art. She did draw some nice versions of the JLA characters in the " Super Friends" comic albeit in a cartoon style. I feel your pain, I also can't believe how long ago some comics were published, it's scary at times

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