Friday, March 1, 2013

Your Questions Answered: Original Comic Art Page

On February 27th, we challenged readers to send in any question they liked and promised to respond to all queries. We're giving it a go.

Stuart asked via Twitter, so before we lose the tweet...

Stuart asks:   If you could get any one original comic art page signed, which would it be and why?

Wow.  That's a really, really tough question.

There's so much to consider.  What characters?  Which artists were involved?  The design of the page itself. What's the context of the page, and who wrote it?  Was the story memorable?

For perfection on ALL of these counts, I guess I'd say: Any single page from any issue of Superman's Pal, Jimmy Olsen.  But that's a shortcut of an answer.

So what would I want?

I think I'd want superhero art, for the most part.  I'd make an exception for Carl Barks or Don Rosa work, and would love to have stuff by either of them.  Nothing in particular comes to mind as per specific pages, though.  The same with Curt Swan, Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez, George Perez, and many more.  They're all amazing artists, but this is a singular page we're talking here, a single page from a comic that so stuck with us...

There's a few ways to answer this.

1)  I only own one page of original comic art.  It's from a circa 2001 Superman comic drawn by Ed. McGuinness and written by Jeph Loeb from the storyline "Our Worlds at War".  It's a quiet moment aboard a space ship with Superman and a young member of the Blackhawks (at the time, the Blackhawks were a UN-sanctioned international peace keeping air force) asking Superman for his autograph.  He uses his heat-vision to emblazon the pilot's helmet with the "S" while asking him about where he's from.  It's a terrifically nice Super-moment.

It is not signed.  That would actually be very lovely to happen one day.

2)  Anyone in their right mind should want the splash page from the New Gods' story "The Glory Boat" (New Gods #6), because it's the greatest moment ever in any medium of anything.  And I would want to travel through time to meet Jack Kirby to get the signature and thank him for everything.

f-yeah, New Gods!

I would also accept the cover to any issue of Mister Miracle as a substitute.

3)  A close second would have been to meet Joe Kubert and see about a signature on one of the opening splash pages on an Enemy Ace story.

Frankly, I think all of Kubert's work on Enemy Ace is astounding and I would feel free to hang it up in a room that isn't comics-centric.

4)  From artists who are still alive?

Pretty much anything by Alex Ross painting Superman, especially from the Paul Dini penned Superman: Peace on Earth.  In particular, this:

If you don't like the call-back to the Reeve-movies of Superman checking in on Earth, and the faces of the kids he's watching out for, well, you are made of stone.

I have a bit of superhero art up around the house, and I tend to go for the heroic poses and leaping into action over "tough guy" scenes or anything.

I'm just not sure this is an actual comic, and it's painted, so....

4)  One recent image I would be very happy to have, and for all I know, it's attainable, is The Fortress of Solidarity image from Superman 709, drawn by Eddy Barrows and envisioned by writer Chris Roberson.

I still think about this idea from time to time, and the sheer grandeur behind it still resonates.

Classic "surprised" Superman, and with the infinite possibility of Superman before him.  It's a high minded image, one of the wonder of what it means to work together, side-by-side, inspired by something or someone as a starting point, but each with their unique sensibilities.  It's the kind of idea that pushes even superhero comics beyond familiar territory, but which feels like the fulfillment of the promise of a Superman.

Just terrific stuff.


Simon MacDonald said...

Great answer Ryan. When I read this the first piece of art that came to my mind was the last panel of X-Men #132. During the Hellfire Club story Wolverine was knocked into the sewers by Leland and at that point we didn't really know that Wolverine was basically an un-killable immortal and comic deaths still meant something so there was a real tension in the book. So on the last panel of the book drawn by John Byrne, Wolverine emerges from the sewers and faces the "camera" and says "Now It's My Turn!".

This was the beginning of Wolverine's bad-assery. The following issue of the X-Men #133 was basically a solo adventure where Wolverine tears through the entire Hellfire Club cementing his bad ass, anit-hero rep.

However, the page or two I would really want to own would be from Thor #380 the story so big it was told in all splash pages by Walt Simonson. This Thor run was one I loved as a kid and I remember picking up this issue at the Scotia Square Mall in Halifax, NS. We were in Halifax cause my Mom was in the hospital to have brain surgery. Yup, this comic was a welcome distraction. I poured over those pages time and time again. While I'm not a art critic by any stretch of the imagination I've always had a fondness for Simonson's art.

I just can't decide between the before or the after.

The other factor in this decision is that Simonson doesn't part with much of his art. When they recently put together the Thor Omnibus they were able to do it from his original art cause he had all of it at his house.

The League said...

There's probably some John Romita Jr. X-art I'd be interested in as he was just coming off X-Men as I was coming on. He was once upon a time one of my faves.

I know Simonson from various works, but his New Gods and Orion stuff was always terrific, too.

Simon MacDonald said...

I never read his Orion series. I should start tracking that down. One of our, only, good comic shops in Ottawa is currently having their anniversary 30% off sale. Hmm...I wonder.

Simon MacDonald said...

I swung down to the Silver Snail here in Ottawa and I was able to pick up 5 issues of Orion and Jack Kirby's Fourth World Omnibus Vol 1 for $35 so I'm feeling rather chuffed right now. Soon I will be on board with all this Jimmy Olsen madness you speak of.

The League said...

Well, to get the true essence of Olsen, one must delver back around issue 40 or so and progress from there. But the Kirby stuff has its own, unique weirdness to it that has no peer in comics.

The Orion series can be read stand-alone with your basic DC knowledge. I really loved that series, but haven't read it since it was being published.

Simon MacDonald said...

I read the first three issues in the collection last night Daddy-O and they were Gruuuuve. I believe they were Superman's Pal Jimmy Olsen 133-135. It was crazy but fun comics. Really got me thinking, why aren't comics fun like this anymore?