By Lee Hester, owner of Lee's Comics of California.

Saturday, May 29, 2010


Here is a recent article about me that I just discovered online:

I thought that the student reporter did a pretty good job over all.

A couple of corrections, I am standing at the Cartoon Art Museum of San Francisco in front of an exhibit of original Gene Colan art, rather than in front of posters of comics as stated in the picture caption.

Then there's this statement:
"Older comics come in a grainy black and white."

Not true, they were all in color, even for a dime.

Monday, May 10, 2010


Master fantasy artist, Frank Frazetta, died today at the age of 82. Frazetta was the greatest and most influential fantasy artist of all time. He inspired all who came after him. He is a household name, and people recognize his style everywhere. He's an icon. If you dream at all, you know Frazetta.

I started selling comics at the San Jose flea market, back in the late 1970s. Like everywhere else, Frazetta influence was all pervasive. I often sold near a stand that provided airbrushed custom art on vans. The vans lined up all day, and they all wanted the same thing. They wanted some bad-ass Frazetta art on their ride. I would always stop by and admire the various renderings throughout the day.

What could say "If this van's rockin' don't come knocking" better than this beauty?

The Flea Market was in bloom in the hot summer months. He-men strode around in their tank-tops in the mid-day sun. Many of them had tattoos. Guess who the most popular artist was, and probably still is, when it comes to tough-guy tattoos?

Would you want to mess with the owner of this arm?
His tattoo, alone, could kick your timid ass!

I quickly came to the conclusion that all guys think that they are Frazetta characters. It didn't matter if they were a Hell's Angel or a math teacher, inside was the heart of a reaver, a slayer, with gigantic melancholies and gigantic mirth. A guy that won't back down when things get rough. Somehow Frazetta had gotten in to each man's head, and had understood the underpinnings of his soul. Frazetta was as popular as beer.

The parodists caught on to this universal longing inside the common man to be a Frazetta character.

This is by Boris, but it's an obvious Frazetta parody.
Just like everything else by Boris.

What action movie star would not want to be depicted by the great Frazetta?

They've messed with the wrong guy.

What better way to let heavy metal fans know that you mean business than with this bad-ass cover!

When I think about it, Frazetta's art was so powerful, so potent, that it was almost a sacred thing. It was surely the best part of anything it was attached to. No matter how many great artists there were in an issue of Creepy, or Eerie, NOBODY could beat the Frazetta cover. I've never listened to Molly Hatchet, but boy is that cover beautiful. Their music couldn't possibly be as good as that cover. Frazetta was almost too good for the world he inhabited, but he surely elevated it. He wrote a brand new visual language that lives on everywhere.

Sunday, May 02, 2010


Free Comic Book Day was an absolute smash! It was one of our busiest days ever. It was a beautiful, bright, sunny day, and families and groups of people were coming in waves all day long. The store was also packed, and there was a line at the register most of the day. Even though we increased our orders on the free comic books, they were completely gone by 5 pm. Next year, we'll order even more. We estimate that over a thousand people showed up at each Lee's Comics location. Apparently these free comics are catching on! Who knew?

I brought my daughter Hannah, age 14 to the event. She made this terrific video. Make sure to check it out!

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Imagine a World with no comic books. Not worth living.

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