Flappers, forehands and infamy: A brief history of tennis fashion scandals

Tom Humberstone, creator of the graphic novel ‘Suzanne,’ offers a guest essay today on tennis and fashion.

Here’s something you probably didn’t expect to see on Smash Pages — a column on tennis and fashion. Today we’re pleased to present a guest column from Tom Humberstone, the creator of the recently released Suzanne from Avery Hill Publishing.

In Suzanne, Humberstone tells the story of Suzanne Lenglen, one of the unsung heroes of women’s sports. She became a championship tennis player at the age of 15, breaking records for ticket sales and match winning streaks, all while breaking societal norms with her playing outfits during the trailblazing jazz age.

In his essay, Humberstone traces the advances Lenglen made in both tennis and fashion to the present day. You can also check out a few pages from his graphic novel.

by Tom Humberstone

When Serena Williams stepped onto Arthur Ashe stadium for what could be the last time, the world watched with nervous anticipation, awaiting answers to a volley of questions. Having recently announced her “evolution” away from playing tennis, people were curious what this final US Open might look like for her. Would she make a fairy-tale run and secure that elusive, record-extending 24th major title? Or, given her recent form in Cincinnati, would she exit in the first round? Is it really the end? What will a tennis world without Serena Williams look like? And, perhaps most importantly of all, what will her final outfit be?

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Guest Column: Jarrett J. Krosoczka on his early influences

The creator of ‘Hey, Kiddo’ and the ‘Lunch Lady’ series shares his love for Batman, the X-Men, Gummi Bears and more.

Before becoming an award-winning cartoonist and the author of Hey, Kiddo, the Lunch Lady series and other books, Jarrett J. Krosoczka was a fan, wearing his love for the Smurfs, Gummi Bear, X-Men and more on the sleeve of his Batman T-shirt.

Now, with the re-release of the Lunch Lady series as two collected editions, we’re happy to present this guest essay from Krosoczka about those early influences on his work and the escape they provided for him as child.

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Living with the King: Telling the Jack Kirby story

Jason Mehmel shares what he learned about Jack Kirby during his time directing the play “King Kirby” in Calgary in 2016.

All this week we’re celebrating the life and influence of comics legend Jack Kirby, who would have turned 100 on Aug. 28. Today we present a guest editorial from Jason Mehmel, a professional director and producer of theatre in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, who had a unique opportunity related to Jack Kirby.

by Jason Mehmel

I’ve known about Jack Kirby for years… his style is as unique as a fingerprint. Crazy designs, often using circles. Crackling energy balls of negative space (later called ‘Kirby Krackles’). It represented the platonic ideal of superheroes, particularly the Marvel characters he created, and the subsequent artists, composing with better anatomy, perspective or even composition, are still ultimately riffing on the energy behind Kirby’s pencil, and the choices it led him to.

Robert Klein as Jack Kirby (Jeff McDonald/Sage Theater)

Two years ago, I came across a theatre script about the life of Kirby and found myself running a theatre company. I decided to jump at it and produce King Kirby: A Play by Crystal Skillman & Fred Van Lente, which walked through the pivotal moments in Kirby’s life:

How he came from poverty, his early love of science fiction and big ideas, and of telling them visually. How he got into comics from that love, and the birth of Captain America, just before his own wartime experience. How Marvel Comics as we know it exploded from his pen, and those of his fellow pencillers, though it would be hard to compete with the sheer volume of characters and stories Kirby developed in those years.

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