Looks like I missed posting last month, due to still being pretty busy. Again, that’s a good thing! However, now that it’s a new month, I’ve got clearance to reveal in full one of the three items I teased back in February. This is a cover for another issue of FCA, appearing in the upcoming July issue of Roy Thomas’ Alter Ego magazine (actually on stands in June, so you don’t have to wait that long!).
Right up front, I need to make it clear that I did not pencil or ink this cover. It was drawn by Ernie Colón, and inked by Joe Rubinstein. If you’re familiar with those gentlemen and their work, that may sound like an unusual pairing to you at first. I know it did to me, but I’m told that they are collaborating quite a bit in recent times. (And if you’re not familiar with them, let your fingers get to googling!)
So why did I post this on my site if I didn’t draw it? It’s because I colored it. FCA Editor P.C. Hamerlinck contacted me to ask if I’d be willing to, and I said “yes.” Something about the way this was put together reminded me a bit of those classic old illustrated magazine covers (for example, The Saturday Evening Post). So I tried to give the colors on this a little more of a painterly feel than I’ve attempted before, though that might not be entirely visible at this resolution. I hope Mr. Colón and Mr. Rubinstein feel I did justice to their work.
Finally I get to show off the last of those two items I teased back in December. I gave a further peek at it here. It’s another cover done for FCA, which appears in the back of Roy Thomas’ Alter Ego magazine. This one was obviously done up to look like one of those issues of Secret Origins that DC Comics published in the early ’70s. I loved those as a kid, because back then they were one of the rare venues where you had an opportunity to see any of that golden age comic material.
I’ve talked in previous posts about how much I liked the golden age Superman and Batman. But without a doubt, my favorite golden age character would have to be Captain Marvel. When DC brought him back from publishing limbo in the early ’70s, I was already primed for it. I’d read about the “Big Red Cheese” in our local library’s copy of All in Color for a Dime, as well as in The Steranko History of Comics. Something about the visual and the idea of the character hooked me, even without ever having seen a single Captain Marvel story yet.
Not to dismiss the stories, but a huge part of the appeal of those golden age Captain Marvel comics for me is the art. As the character’s designer and main artist, C.C. Beck set the tone there. Most golden age comic book artists doing superheroes looked to the newspaper adventure strips for their inspiration. They mostly tended to fall into one of two schools: it was either the illustrative realism of Foster and Raymond, or the more impressionistic approach of Sickles and Caniff. Instead, Beck looked to the “funny” portion of the funny pages for his inspiration (like Jack Cole did with Plastic Man). The result was a strip that had a look and feel like no other. And of course, the writing played a role in making that possible too.
While the higher-ups at Fawcett may have wanted Bill Parker and C.C. Beck to just give them a knockoff of Superman, that was not what they got. They got something better. Many readers back then must have thought so too; at the peak of the character’s popularity, they were publishing Captain Marvel Adventures bi-weekly and selling 1.3 million copies of each issue!
I know sometimes modern fans have trouble with Mr. Tawky Tawny and some of the more whimsical aspects of the strip, but for me, the classic Captain Marvel material is inspirational stuff. I wish I could tell you of a relatively cheap and easy way to lay hands on that work if you haven’t seen it, but it seems harder to come by these days.
Things are really busy here. I finished one of the projects I teased last month, but I still can’t show off the whole thing quite just yet. However, rather than let the month pass without posting anything, I thought I’d at least show a portion of the final art. It’s another faux comic cover (something I’ve done a lot of). This one I’m quite happy with (So is the client, which is always a good thing when you can manage it), and I look forward to when the whole thing can be shown!
Well, I find myself in a strange position at the moment: buried under a number of various side projects. It’s unusual for me to get hit all at once like this, so I’m not quite sure what to make of it. They’re all the kinds of interesting and challenging assignments that are hard to say “no” to, and should be a lot of fun to see through. Gotta keep them all moving though. If you can imagine me frantically juggling to the musical accompaniment of the “Sabre Dance,” you’ll get the idea.
Unfortunately, though I’ve got all these projects going, they’re all just works-in-progress at the moment. None of them are done and ready to post. Even if they were, some of the people I’m doing them for might not be ready for me to put them up quite yet. And with the holidays so close, I don’t think I’m going to have time to do anything else special for my site right now. So in lieu of that, I hope maybe some sneak peeks at a couple of the works in progress will suffice for the moment. It’s either that, or let this month go by without posting anything.
One brand new item I can point out: I am pleased to announce that I am now being represented by Ellen Ann Mersereau, who works with a roster of some of the most talented creators in the business. You can find her contact info over to your right in the sidebar.
Wherever you are, whatever your current circumstances, I hope the holidays are good to you; that you have a good Christmas, and an excellent New Year!
Some may recall there was a mysterious “teaser” post I put up back before Christmas. I’d been asked to hold off on putting the full artwork for it on my site…until now. So here it is, finally: a copy of Amazing Fawcett Fantasy #15.
Never seen one before? That’s because it doesn’t exist. It was done as the cover for FCA #159, which will be appearing in the upcoming landmark 100th issue of Alter Ego. You can see it in context with the FCA logo and everything else over in my Galleries.
You’re probably saying, “Wait, you goofed up! That doesn’t look anything like Spider-man!” Ah, but it seems that before the Spider-man we’re all familiar with came to be, there were several villain “spider men” characters who cropped up in various Fawcett strips. Including the fellow on this cover here, who went up against Captain Marvel.
This assignment was several levels of fun: getting to do my best C.C. Beck impression, trying to figure out just what a Fawcett comic might have looked like had they still been publishing into the early 60’s, and working out how to use Photoshop to make it look like a real, well-read comic.
Many thanks to both P.C. Hamerlinck and Roy Thomas for inviting me to be part of this milestone issue!
I’m not sure whether I’ll manage to get my galleries up before the holidays or not, but I thought I’d at least get one more post in before the end of the year. That project I alluded to in my previous post last month? This is a teaser/portion of that illustration. Down the road at some point when I’ve been given clearance, I’ll post the full image. This was a fun one to do, as I got to try out some things in Photoshop I’d never done before.
And in case I don’t wind up posting anything else before then: hope you all have a good holiday season, wherever you go, whatever you do.