Tag Archives: Stilson Greene

Batman and Me, 30 Years On.


Last week a Detective Comics No.27, in good condition, published in 1939 sold at auction for $1,075,500.00. The reason the price was so astronomical? Detective Comics No. 27 was the first appearance of Batman.

As high as that number is, Batman is worth much more than that to me. Batman gave me a career.

The first thing my parents remember me drawing was Batman, the first thing I remember drawing was Batman. If you went to grade school with me, the first thing you probably remember me drawing was Batman.

I got caught up in comics and superheroes because of the Caped Crusader. The mixture of line, color and splashes of type fascinated me. The design of how a page flowed, the use of different fonts, the mix of visuals and the printed word had a profound impact on how I saw things graphically.

Then, I thought it was just cool. I learned all the artists by name: Jack Kirby, Steve Ditko, Wally Wood, Gil Kane, Gene Colan and too many more to mention. I could, and still can, tell you not only who drew the art, but who inked , colored and lettered the comic just by seeing just one panel of  it. Later my tastes grew to include Rembrandt, Leonardo, Durer and others as my favorite artists.

I knew I wanted to be an artist very early on, I also knew that being a comic book artist wasn’t for me. Why? I can’t draw vehicles, not great with machinery rendering, had no problem drawing Batman, the Batmobile is a different story.

So illustration and graphic design became my passion in college. I could still use my skill as an artist but also use my love of type and layout and how it communicates to an audience. Don’t get me wrong, I still had the burning desire to paint and live at the Chelsea Hotel in New York City and eventually get discovered by some snooty gallery and become famous… but hey, I’m a Greene, I gotta eat.

So this year marks my 30th year in business as Stilson Greene Graphic Design & Illustration, I look back and forward and am thankful for my family, friends and clients who believed and still believe in me. I do continue to paint and do art for myself, and am fortunate to have a gallery that shows my work, but my CAREER is using images and type and layout to communicate messages and feelings, and to that, all I can say is…”Thanks Batman.”

My Back Pages

The Wind in the Willows

Santa in his/her infinite wisdom presented me with the “New Annotated Wind in the Willows” for being a nice boy during last year. I have this book in a myriad of editions designed and illustrated by a myriad of artists. This huge volume sums them up with footnotes and insights to the time, place and circumstances of the author, Kenneth Grahame.

I discovered “Wind in the Willows” in Mrs. Ector’s 5th grade class at Leesburg Elementary School. She, noticing my constant doodles of Batman and Hulk, and my fevered reading of  Robert McCloskey’s brilliantly written and drawn, “Homer Price” (McCloskey was so much more than just “Make Way for Ducklings”, dammit), handed me a small tattered green-clothed book. The cover had gold embossed letters and a illustration of wildlife creatures looking up at a huge centaur-looking fellow playing a flute; it was my first look at “Wind in the Willows.”

In it was a world inhabited by Moles, Water Rats, Badgers and Toads all anthropomorphised with dandy vests, shoes, hats, hell, even motor cars. This wasn’t new, growing up on Huckleberry Hound and Quickdraw McGraw, this was a universe known to all kids. But reading their adventures and how they seamlessly interacted with “human” society and taking on the mores of the society was a mind blowing experience. Let’s not fool ourselves into thinking that I even knew what “mores”  were as a 10 year old boy occupied with The 3 Stooges, comic books and English rock and roll, but even then, these characters had me.

The shy to courageous Mole, the steady loyal Rat, brave, wise and stoic Badger and the wild, gregarious, iresponsible Toad (of Toad Hall), all taught me lessons of friendship, responsibility and courtesy I still try to hold on to today. And the most mysterious character of all I never grasped until later readings, The Piper at the Gates of Dawn. His role of spiritual protector and the river-maker of all things natural and pure in a world of  hopelesness and loss rings true in all our lives.

So whatever book holds a beloved spot in your soul from childhood, I ask you to rediscover it today, read and view it with your older eyes and let it take you to new journeys you thought long gone.


Bob Dylan Meets Santa Claus And Feeds The Hungry


I’ve listened to the new Bob Dylan CD “Christmas in the Heart” a few times now and it’s wonderful. The arrangements are played totally straight, to the point when “Here Comes Santa Claus” starts you almost expect Paul Anka to start singing; but no, it’s Bob. It’s Bob at his croaky-I drink gravel milkshakes- best. The joy of this fun and groovy album is the contrast of styles, the background vocals are like the Jordanaires and Andrew Sisters, silky smooth and sweet, Bob adds the salt, large rough chunks of salt. Listen, to hear Bob Dylan sing “Hark the Herald Angels Sing” much less “I’ll Be Home for Christmas” is a complete gas, something as a life-long fan I thought beyond the pale, yet here it is.


And it’s all for a good cause, in a commitment to ending hunger, all of Bob’s U.S. current and future royalties from sales of “Christmas In The Heart” will be donated in perpetuity to Feeding America, guaranteeing that more than four million meals will be provided to over 1.4 million people in need in this country during this year’s holiday season.

The CD is like a crazy but favorite Uncle taking over an Andy Williams’ Christmas album recording session. It’s not for everybody but it should be. Thanks Bob, I can’t wait to clear the house this Holiday Season as I play you on 10. Now if only Tom Waits would follow your lead.

Stuff a stocking with Bob.