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Batman, Gotham City and Izzy's

Batman, Gotham City and Izzy's

The following is from a Cincinnati.com article by Amy Scalf...

 

Although Batman and his orphaned alter-ego Bruce Wayne live in a Gotham City mansion, a family connection brings the Dark Knight to Boone County along with a Greater Cincinnati restaurant icon.

Izzy’s restaurant paraphernalia, along with Batman comics and an eclectic art collection, line the walls in the home of Dr. Deanna Parobeck Kadetz.

She was married to David, the third-generation owner of Izzy’s restaurant before his death in 2011.

And it was her late brother, Mike Parobeck, who drew comics for “The Batman Adventures,” among other titles before his death in 1996.

“Mike always did cartooning. He was always drawing,” said Kadetz. She was third in the family of six, and Mike was her baby brother.

Among penciled drawings and inked superheroes, Kadetz has the check stubs from where her husband paid for her brother’s education at Central Art Academy in Cincinnati.

“Mikey just kept everything,” she said.

Comic career launches

Although Parobeck started a career in commercial art, he started drawing comics in 1986 and was the main artist for “El Diablo,” a DC Comic launched in 1989.

For the 16 issues of “El Diablo,” as well as “The Fly” and other comics, Parobeck was paired with Paul Fricke for drawing and inking the comics.

Fricke, via email from his studio in Minnesota, remembers having fun collaborating with Parobeck during that time. He started a Mike Parobeck Appreciation Society Facebook page in 2009.

“Mike’s work is simple and approachable, but rooted in solid drawing and storytelling. He loved classic comics, heroes and adventure, and paid homage to that. His cheerful, positive personality shone through in everything he did,” said Fricke. “He was in many ways ahead of his time, his art and stories timeless.”

Still drawing fans

Fricke said fans continue to find the Facebook page. As Parobeck’s work is republished, he hopes more will join.

“Thankfully, DC is finally collecting the ‘Batman Adventures’ stories Mike did, and I’m pleased and excited his work will now gain new readers and fans,” he said.

Kadetz said Parobeck always wanted to help others.

“He liked going to comic book shows, and he felt really strongly about helping kids learn. He’d give each one a free drawing. He wanted to inspire them,” she said.

Inspires new artists

Parobeck helped inspire comic book illustrator Scott Larson when he only dreamed of becoming an artist.

Larson, who now works as a comic book illustrator, said he was walking out of his Chicago neighborhood comic book shop when he first met Parobeck.

“He just kept looking at me and smiling,” said Larson. “Then he said, ‘I’m the person who wrote that comic book you’re holding.’”

Larson wrote to Parobeck as well, and they met often in Chicago to go over Larson’s drawings, before Parobeck moved to Key West.

“He was probably one of the nicest people I’ve ever met in my life. He didn’t just sit down and talk with me. He gave me artwork and lent me books,” said Larson. “I’ll still pull his stuff off the shelf and I’ll ask myself how would he approach this. I learned a lot from him and I continue to do so.”

Kadetz also found letters among Parobeck’s belongings, including a correspondence with David Mack, a Ludlow High School graduate who created the comic series KABUKI. Mack is also the cover artist for the comic book sequel to “Fight Club,” a novel by Chuck Palahniuk scheduled for April 2015 release.

Mack remembers Parobeck’s gracious, informative and thoughtful critique of his work and how it helped motivate him at 17 to continue.

“Mike as an adult, and a professional in my chosen field, taking my work seriously, was very encouraging. Mike’s thoughtful correspondence encouraged me to be more thoughtful about all the solutions to consider in telling my stories,” said Mack.

Now that he’s an established and successful artist, Mack hopes to help others who are aspiring along the same path.

“I always think of Mike Parobeck whenever someone asks me to look at their portfolio. I try to be as constructive and honest and thoughtful with them as Mike was with me,” he said.

Want to continue the conversation? Tweet @AmySca

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