Monday, January 10, 2011

For the man who has everything but

What do the above images have in common? Colorist Tom Ziuko.

I used to act as Macintosh troubleshooter/repairman/tutor for Tom about ten years ago, when he lived in a tiny closet-sized apartment near the U.N. building in midtown Manhattan. When I say this place was closet-sized, I mean it literally -- I know for a fact some people who read this blog have closets larger than that whole apartment. Tom shared the apartment with a three-legged cat; there wasn't enough room in that place for a fourth leg. Tom was one of the nicest people I ever worked for, and absolutely one of the sweetest and most generous people I encountered in the comics field.

When I was looking over Tom's published credits, I was surprised by just how many landmark comics series and cult favorites he was directly involved with. Among many others and in no particular order, Tom was colorist on such titles as Mazing Man, Amethyst, Crisis on Infinite Earths, Legends, Thriller, Phil Foglio's Angel and the Ape, and John Byrne's Superman reboot. My own favorite comics work of his is the 1985 Superman Annual by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons preceding their collaboration on Watchmen. Check out that link at the start of this paragraph for more of his credits.

In spite of all his ability and all this terrific work to his name, a health crisis has left Tom in financial peril. I've donated what I can, and the only other thing I have to offer is trying to raise awareness. The comic book business has been pretty hard on a lot of people who worked on comics I loved, and pretty hard on friends of mine who were employed by it. Tom is both of those, and you'll understand I get kinda tired of watching it happen. Read this post at Daniel Best's blog and see what you think.

Also, comics scripter and letterer Todd Klein offers a post about Tom that really captures the guy.


  1. Have sent him a small amount of money and tweeted about it. Hope comics fans will prove more generous than comics companies.

  2. Thanks for bringing that to our attention, Richard. I've sent what I can afford so that Alan can relay it, and I sure hope Tom makes a full recovery. His work is incredible!

  3. Andrew, thanks for spreading the word further. My current reluctance to join Twitter and my flat refusal to ever join Facebook leave me cut off from two major channels of online communication, at least for now. This while I continue to putter around Usenet! Eventually I'll join the rest of you in your advanced future world one way or another…

    TS, you know it! As I said in a comment over at Comics Should Be Good, if you read comics in the Eighties or Nineties it's almost certain Tom was part of a book you really liked. (Admittedly he also colored the single most awful comic DC ever published, but that wasn't any fault of his -- even then, the colors were impeccable.)

  4. Guys, many, many thanks for spreading the word. Tom needs the help and it's heartening to see so many digging deep.

    It's times like these that the real heroes emerge!

  5. What was that most awful cover, Richard? A Dark Knight Returns job?

  6. Not a cover, a whole comic. It pains me more than you can know to even acknowledge its existence, but the single most awful comic DC ever published was this. It is an alleged comic book so utterly crass and vile and meanspirited, the printer had to invent special ink that wouldn't try to flee the page in disgust.

  7. Thank you! I remember that book coming out but I've never been a Kamandi fan ... I don't do post-apocalyptic futures!

    Also, it seemed weird having an Elseworld for Kamandi when to all intents and purposes he's already an Elseworld, being in one of DC's possible futures.


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