Dennis Fujitake Week - #15 - Conclusion

Dennis Fujitake’s style is marked by bits of Moebius and Steve Ditko (that cover up there has a Creeper feel to it), but the main identifier is the strong, crisp storytelling. Those two pages are impeccable, and they’re so easy to take in (helped along by Kenneth Smith’s color work). This comic, co-created by writer Jan Strnad, was well crafted and ambitious in its world building. It lasted as long as it could in the marketplace of the day.

Fujitake drew Keith Laumer’s Retief and some short pieces for Splat! (both titles for Mad Dog Graphics in the late 80s) as well as some Elfquest issues in the mid 90s. As far as I knew he was still living in Hawaii and semi-retired, but Marc Sobel hipped me to this article detailing Fujitake’s 2005 collaboration with Len Yokoyama on an all-ages comic  called Lil’ Keiki. The print run was put out by the authors themselves and was limited to a few thoudsand copies.

A slew of Dennis Fujitake’s early fanzine work can be seen here. Some great stuff in there.

Track these Dalgoda comics down or give them a chance if you come across any given issue. They’re rare in their presence and beautiful in style.

Dennis Fujitake Week - #14
Creator bios that appeared in Dalgoda #1. The only other picture I’ve seen of Fujitake is in a group shot on a cover of some local  Hawaiian fanzine. Maybe it was the Hawaii State Comic Collectors Club newsletter (a club founded by Fujitake and other Ditko disciples Stan Sakai and Gary Kato). I at least know that the paper was pink.
I should mention that the Dalgoda series featured a back up serial, Grimwood’s Daughter, written by Jan Strnad & drawn by Kevin Nowlan. The subsequent series, Flesh & Bones, featured The Bojeffries Saga written by Alan Moore & drawn by Steve Parkhouse. Great stuff all around; it was destined to fail.

Dennis Fujitake Week - #14

Creator bios that appeared in Dalgoda #1. The only other picture I’ve seen of Fujitake is in a group shot on a cover of some local  Hawaiian fanzine. Maybe it was the Hawaii State Comic Collectors Club newsletter (a club founded by Fujitake and other Ditko disciples Stan Sakai and Gary Kato). I at least know that the paper was pink.

I should mention that the Dalgoda series featured a back up serial, Grimwood’s Daughter, written by Jan Strnad & drawn by Kevin Nowlan. The subsequent series, Flesh & Bones, featured The Bojeffries Saga written by Alan Moore & drawn by Steve Parkhouse. Great stuff all around; it was destined to fail.

Dennis Fujitake Week - #13

Dalgoda was created by Jan Strnad & Dennis Fujitake, published by Fantagraphics Books in 1984. There’s so much to say about this great series, but the thing I clearly recall at the moment is how FB fought to keep this book alive, how they juggled price points, color and printing considerations, distribution issues, flimsy subscriptions and a readership not loud enough to champion this comic.

That first image is from Amazing Heroes #49, the other two pages are from Dalgoda #2 and Flesh & Bones (featuring Dalgoda) #3, respectively.

Dennis Fujitake Week - #12
This was the last time Dennis Fujitake would draw Shade… and this was the only time he ever drew for either one of the Big Two. This clean, classic looking profile image is from the Who’s Who Update ‘88 #3 (like, no duh) and by this year, Fujitake’s style was tighter and fully formed. He would’ve made the best successor to this Steve Ditko original.

Dennis Fujitake Week - #12

This was the last time Dennis Fujitake would draw Shade… and this was the only time he ever drew for either one of the Big Two. This clean, classic looking profile image is from the Who’s Who Update ‘88 #3 (like, no duh) and by this year, Fujitake’s style was tighter and fully formed. He would’ve made the best successor to this Steve Ditko original.

Dennis Fujitake Week - #11
Sister image to essay on Steve Ditko’s Shade the Changing Man written by Ed Via (again, forThe Comics Journal #49). No homages here; this graceful spot is all Fujitake.

Dennis Fujitake Week - #11

Sister image to essay on Steve Ditko’s Shade the Changing Man written by Ed Via (again, forThe Comics Journal #49). No homages here; this graceful spot is all Fujitake.

Dennis Fujitake Week - #10
Spot illustration for the essay SHADE: The Death of an Innovation written by Ed Via (The Comics Journal #49). All of these characters were created and designed by Steve Ditko, but check out that Gil Kane swipe mime in the middle there.

Dennis Fujitake Week - #10

Spot illustration for the essay SHADE: The Death of an Innovation written by Ed Via (The Comics Journal #49). All of these characters were created and designed by Steve Ditko, but check out that Gil Kane swipe mime in the middle there.

Dennis Fujitake Week - #9
Another eye catching cover featuring Steve Ditko’s late 70s creation Shade the Changing Man. Fujitake was born to draw this series, and we’re lucky enough that he drew Shade a couple more times.

Dennis Fujitake Week - #9

Another eye catching cover featuring Steve Ditko’s late 70s creation Shade the Changing Man. Fujitake was born to draw this series, and we’re lucky enough that he drew Shade a couple more times.

Dennis Fujitake Week - #8
This is one of the few times Dennis Fujitake drew Marvel villains (ahem), an honor reserved for the first TCJ interview with then Marvel Editor-In-Chief Jim Shooter. There’s something lovely and natural about Molten Man’s casual arm crossing.

Dennis Fujitake Week - #8

This is one of the few times Dennis Fujitake drew Marvel villains (ahem), an honor reserved for the first TCJ interview with then Marvel Editor-In-Chief Jim Shooter. There’s something lovely and natural about Molten Man’s casual arm crossing.

Dennis Fujitake Week - #7
Spot Illustration for The Comics Journal, boiling down their basic point of view to one cartoon.

Dennis Fujitake Week - #7

Spot Illustration for The Comics Journal, boiling down their basic point of view to one cartoon.


Dennis Fujitake Week - #6
Spot illustration for The Comics Journal.
For the love of god, slaughter away.

Dennis Fujitake Week - #6

Spot illustration for The Comics Journal.

For the love of god, slaughter away.

Dennis Fujitake Week - #5
Montage covers can be tricky, but this one works really well. I have such a soft spot for this era of fan art, or just fandom in general. I’m sure it was the fucking pits to actually deal with if you were, say, a critic constantly trying to prove that comics were capable of being more than escapist junk, but there’s something potent about the bubbling adolescent mania attached to things like the X-men, or the Teen Titans, or even the Legion of Superheroes. This Fujitake cover represents that enthusiasm to me.

Dennis Fujitake Week - #5

Montage covers can be tricky, but this one works really well. I have such a soft spot for this era of fan art, or just fandom in general. I’m sure it was the fucking pits to actually deal with if you were, say, a critic constantly trying to prove that comics were capable of being more than escapist junk, but there’s something potent about the bubbling adolescent mania attached to things like the X-men, or the Teen Titans, or even the Legion of Superheroes. This Fujitake cover represents that enthusiasm to me.




Dennis Fujitake Week - #4
What better way to show these characters? Not sure if this was an inspiration for this other amazing image by Ty Templeton, but both covers still look like they were fun nightmares to draw.

Dennis Fujitake Week - #4

What better way to show these characters? Not sure if this was an inspiration for this other amazing image by Ty Templeton, but both covers still look like they were fun nightmares to draw.


Dennis Fujitake Week - #3
Predating Armageddon 2001 by a little over a decade (that one’s for you, Jog), this striking scenario isn’t complete without that great backdrop… the orange-to-yellow fade with the green color hold gives this cover such a creepy feel. I’m not sure who the colorist was for these covers/illustrations. Production person or respective artist? No question, though, this is one great cover.

Dennis Fujitake Week - #3

Predating Armageddon 2001 by a little over a decade (that one’s for you, Jog), this striking scenario isn’t complete without that great backdrop… the orange-to-yellow fade with the green color hold gives this cover such a creepy feel. I’m not sure who the colorist was for these covers/illustrations. Production person or respective artist? No question, though, this is one great cover.

Dennis Fujitake Week - #2
Dr. Fate vs. Baron Mordo pin-up.
Lots of illustrations and covers from The Comics Journal on the horizon. This one is a back cover. Fujitake’s Steve Ditko influence was in full effect here, and remained so for a substantial portion of his work. That’s a plus for me, by the way.

Dennis Fujitake Week - #2

Dr. Fate vs. Baron Mordo pin-up.

Lots of illustrations and covers from The Comics Journal on the horizon. This one is a back cover. Fujitake’s Steve Ditko influence was in full effect here, and remained so for a substantial portion of his work. That’s a plus for me, by the way.

Dennis Fujitake Week - #1
Pin-up of the Batman.
This was a special color section of several illustrations in an older issue of The Comics Journal. I really like the set up that TCJ had: they would run these marathon interviews and sprinkle fan art all throughout. Other articles, essays and letter columns would get the same treatment. It still has a charm to it, and I’m sure the artists were stoked to see their work in print (and I think they got paid, too)!
Dennis Fujitake was one of the more polished ones, and he really grew in this atmosphere. 

Dennis Fujitake Week - #1

Pin-up of the Batman.

This was a special color section of several illustrations in an older issue of The Comics Journal. I really like the set up that TCJ had: they would run these marathon interviews and sprinkle fan art all throughout. Other articles, essays and letter columns would get the same treatment. It still has a charm to it, and I’m sure the artists were stoked to see their work in print (and I think they got paid, too)!

Dennis Fujitake was one of the more polished ones, and he really grew in this atmosphere.