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.



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.


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.


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.



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




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.




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.




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.



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.




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.



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.




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.



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!


2 thoughts on “Art I Kept For Myself

  1. Aaron, those pages are amazing. How long on average does it take you to lay out, pencil, and ink a page? What are your thoughts on the recent trend of scanning the pencils and skipping the inks?

  2. I’m looking forward to more posts like this one. Hulk is a great character that’s open to some really fun interpretation by artists over the years, yet remains never loses his essence – a lot like Batman. You and Pak created a Hulk that was really delightful with this Edgar Rice Burroughs meets Marvel story.

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