Art I Kept For Myself Part 2

Sometimes I will work on a one-shot or short story and I will think to myself, “self- you should just keep all of the art to the story”, so I do.  It’s not necessarily because I love every page but maybe that I just like the whole story as a unit.  Or sometimes it is because I penciled and inked the story myself (rare, but it does happen) or I want to sell the whole story together but then later change my mind.

Unfortunately, I have a few of those stories that I sold a couple of pages from before deciding I should keep the whole thing.  I’m not going to show every page from every whole (or near whole) story that I have but one or two of my favorite pages from each.  (let’s face it, I’m too lazy to scan every single one and not every single one is worth featuring).

Years ago in the late 90’s (I think) I got the rare opportunity to write and draw a two-page MASK story for Dark Horse.  It was part of a my bigger jam book called, “Mask: Virtual Surreality” – I think.    Here are the two pages with word balloons on the page!

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I have to point out on the last panel of the first page, I should have made the Mask’s tongue much much longer.   Laying on the rocks in the foreground.  These are the things that still bug me.

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One of the heartbreaks of early in my career (and there are far too many) was the story I did for the once infamous Elseworld’s 80 page giant.  I did a story that featured Bruce Wayne and Harvey Dent as Detectives in the 1930’s investigating some cultish murders.  I penciled and inked the story and it was the lead story in the book, a real showcase for me at a time that I desperately needed one.  However, do to the now classic “Superman’s Baby-Sitter” story by Kyle Baker the book got recalled shortly after a few hundred copies got shipped to the UK.  As a result, the book never got released in the US and became an instant collector’s item.  But because of the inevitable moral decline of the United States, the book was finally reprinted and released a few years ago by DC.

It is a 10 page story and here are pages 1 and 9 my two favorites from the story.  The title page (I like the design) and the page where Harvey Dent becomes Two-Face and the villainous cult leader is revealed to be (spoiler alert) Metamorpho!

You’ll notice the inks are a bit heavy handed.  I was still developing and learning my inking style at this point.

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I think not long after the Elseworld’s story I got the opportunity to do another 10-page story, this time in the Plastic Man Special.  For some inexplicable reason I sold two of the pages from this story.  I have the other eight but I wish I had those two back!

You can see the improvement in the penciling and inking from the Elseworld’s story.  I was on a fast learning curve during the 90’s where my work greatly improved in a short period of time.  You might be able to see some Kevin Nowlan influence in the first page inks.

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To wrap up this blog I am going to revisit my 2-part Gen 13 Bootleg I did for Wildstorm. This again was a late 90’s effort, during a time where regular work was fleeting and I needed as many considerations from my friends in power as I could get.  It was Scott Dunbier, who was EIC at Wildstorm, who let me do this project.  Originally it was going to be written by Karl Kesel but he dropped out and I took the story idea we had discussed and fleshed it out to a finished plot.  The Simonson’s were brought in to dialogue in the hopes of boosting sales.  So I penciled and inked the pages and sent them to Walter to dialogue.  He was unable to do the second issue and Weezie stepped in and dialoged the second issue using my notes as a guide.  I’ll also say that Hilary Barta came in to ink a couple of pages when I got behind.

The pages featured here are all inked by me.   If you haven’t read this story (Gen13 Bootleg #’s 11 and 12) you should pick it up.  It’s a Scooby-Doo/Island of Dr. Moreau mash-up that features appearances by Shaggy and Marlon Brando as Dr. Monstreau (get it?)  The story features some really good art and some of my best layouts and story-telling devices I have ever done.

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I could have easily picked 15 pages to feature from this book but settled on these four for no other reason than expediency.   Once again, I unfortunately sold 5 or 6 pages from this story that I wish I had back.

That’s it for this time.  Next blog will focus on my Garbage Man story.  Technically it fits into this blog’s category but because the volume of pages from the project is so great, I think it deserves a blog of its own!  Until then….

Art I Kept For Myself

A long time ago another artist (can’t remember who) told me that he always kept at least one page from every issue he drew.  That was a hard discipline back when I started because I needed to make money anyway I could.  Having every original for sale was an excellent way to hopefully make some extra cash.  As a result, I have several projects that I drew early on that I now have no pages left from.

It didn’t take too many years in, however, before I started implementing the sagely advice that someone (still can’t remember who) gave me.  I started pulling my favorite page from every issue (even if it were sale worthy) to hang on to and keep forever (or at least until I die and my kids sell it).

In some cases with short stories, I have kept the entire thing.  I do have a couple of minor regrets though.  I sold a couple of pages from a short Plastic Man story I penciled and inked many years ago that I wish I hadn’t.  I also let go of a few pages from my Gen 13 Bootleg story that I wish I still had.  Oh well, bill paying sometimes makes us do crazy things.

What I want to do with this particular blog is showcase some of the pages I have kept for myself over the years.  I know many are curious as to which pages an artist would keep of his/her own work and why.  Well, now it’s time to answer that question for me.

Let’s start not at the beginning but with possibly my most recognized work, at least it will be after the next Thor movie comes out….Planet Hulk!  I’m probably going to wish I’d kept all of the pages from this series as prices will inevitably rise due to the movie.

I drew a 10 page story for Giant-Size Hulk #1 that had something of a prequel Planet Hulk story in it.  From that story that had a lot of good Hulk pages in it, I kept two.  The first was the title page.  I did the title lettering myself on the board and for that reason, I held on to it.

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I would like to note that I was able to talk the great Danny Miki into inking this story and part of my run on the regular series as well.

The other page I kept from this story was this rather striking splash page.  It should be obvious why I kept it.  I almost sold it once but my son talked me into keeping it.  Ah, the wisdom of children.

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I few pages from my first issue of the regular series (issue #96) found their way into my private collection.  The first is this page featuring my first drawing of the Hulk’s love interest, Caiera.  That second panel really grabbed me.

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These next two pages are part of a sequence from issue #96.  The amount of detail and the Barry Smith foliage vibe, especially in panels 4 and 5 made we want to hang on to this.

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The bottom two panels here again with the foliage and detail and amount of characters made me want to keep this.

 

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This page took me forever to draw because of the amount of characters on it.  I love the first panel and the last panel.  It’s a great shot of the Hulk leading the charge and I love the Hulk’s body language in the last panel as he is turning back to see the rock slide descending on him.  I also love the face of the evil general in panel 2.

 

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Those are the last of the Danny Miki pages that I kept.  Sandu Florea took over for Danny, mid-way through the series.  Issue #102 is where Sandu really got rolling.  As a result, I kept several pages from that issue.  The first is this one.  The body language/pose of the semi-transparent alien in panel 2 along with the shot angle and the presence of all the major characters on this page made it a compelling piece of art for me.

 

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This page may seem like an odd choice but that shot of Miek before he goes into flashback in panel 1 is the reason.  It is a highly unusual angle and extremely difficult to pull off.  I loved how it turned out, so I had to keep it.

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I love every panel on this page.  The Hulk face and figure in panel 1, the Hulk in panel 2 with the creepy shadowed Meik in the background and that shot of the Hulk with his big hand reaching toward us in panel 3.

 

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This is the only splash page I kept from the regular series.  I think it has a Kirby sense of power to it and I love the Hulk’s expression as he pounds the Emperor.  For me, it is clearly the most Hulk-like splash page I drew.  The Hulk is smashing and that’s what he should be doing. There is a lot of detail and Sandu really pulled it together with his inks.

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This might be my favorite  page from the entire series (or at least my favorite panel). The page after this has a half page splash of Caiera huddling with the Hulk as the space vampires drain his blood that I sold but this I couldn’t let this go.  The blacks and three dimensional volume in panel one is reminiscent of Berni Wrightson (my childhood idol) and the posturing of the vampires just really works.

 

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The last of my keepers is this page.  Panel 2 says it all.  Of all the pages I have kept this is the one that was most frequently asked about.  I loved getting crazy with the distortion and detail on the Hulk’s face as he is infected with the vampire spores.  That panel would have been a great splash page.

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So those are the pages from Planet Hulk that I purposefully kept.  I have to say before I sign off that none of this would have been possible without the great script and input from Greg Pak.  This story is truly a classic and I was blessed to be a part of it.

Next entry will be Wonder Woman keepers!