Monday, April 19, 2010

Original Comic Artwork
(3rd in a series)
"Doctor Strange" - 1989


As I have done a few times this month, today's post showcases some (really) old comic art of my very own.


For ALL of the installments in this series, visit these links:


Today's entry is a 6 page "Doctor Strange" submission sample that I had "written" (a plot only) and penciled waaaay back in 1989 (although, it might have been drawn in 1988... I'm not 100% certain of the date/year).

As for the content of this post, I'll only show a few teaser images here... instead linking to my other ART blog (the Midnight Images blog) to show the full pages and the story breakdown (which can be found [HERE] - or click the Midnight Images logo at the end of the post).

However, I will confess that it was even critiqued, in person, by Stan "the Man" Lee himself.
(I'll spill the beans on that little tidbit at the end of this post - and on the art blog as well, where the actual 6 page story is shown.)

It's a quick little hit-and-run story, making sure to touch upon most of the big players in the Doctor Strange mythos:

Doctor Strange, The Ancient One, Clea, Dormammu, Eternity and a brief appearance by Nightmare.

It's "Atmospheric".
It's "Pan-Dimensional".
It's "touching".
(And not just because Doc and Clea embrace, kiss and end up in bed. *)
* (although, since it's not an official "story" I couldn't rightly include it into the "Clea Loves Sex" series)


However, I will share for you now, the brief tale of my meeting with STAN LEE.


I'll wrap up this entry with an anecdote about how I met STAN LEE (he who co-crated much of the Marvel comics characters, like the Fantastic Four, Spider-Man, Hulk and many others... including Doctor Strange) and how he gave me a portfolio review.

(That day, I also met JACK "KING" KIRBY - the man largely responsible for co-creating much of the same characters and worlds that Stan would write about - if not even more of the visual nature of comics themselves - but this isn't the time for the story of that meeting.)

From a period of 1988 - 1992, I would frequently travel to various comic conventions and have a table set up in either the dealer's room or, later, in the professional's "Artist's Alley".
One such convention both Stan Lee and Jack Kirby were in attendance!
(For some reason, I seem to think this was either in Chicago or Boston - except that if both Stan and Jack were present - it was more likely in New York City.)

It was announced that Stan Lee would be conducting portfolio reviews for a few hours that day, and so, many artists in attendance registered, were assigned a time-slot and then had their own private freak-outs while waiting for their time.

When it was finally my turn, Stan was as boisterously pleasant and friendly as his public persona has always been. Quick with a smile and a handshake.

I sat down and he flipped through my book - I recall it being fairly daunting that many of the images that he was seeing - mostly pin-up style drawings - were of characters that he co-created with some of the greatest comic artists ever known.

Luckily, I didn't freeze up or panic (or worse... "geek out"). Stan made it easy to just be at ease.
As Stan flipped, and had a few "Ah... good." and "This is nice." comments, we finally reached the portion with the actual comic artwork.
The only problem is that, by now, the almost surreal nature of this meeting was starting to get to me a little.

When he reached this sample, and he got to page three, he simply said; "Ahh... Doctor Strange! His legs are too thin."

All I could say was..." No. I don't think so." (because I was thinking that as a sorcerer, Strange should be leaner and less bulked up - as opposed to the traditional "superheroes" in comics).
However, I immediately realized that my own, personal thoughts on the proper handling of a magic-user character, were not appropriate for this meeting, and so I quickly added, "Really? Hmmm... Well, I guess so. YOU would know, right?"

He took my gaff in stride, but I didn't hear anything else he said during my time with him.
I was far too shaken by my own hubris and kept repeating the blurted words over and over in my head.
Finally, we reached the end of the portfolio, he smiled and told me to keep up the good work ("Marvel needs up and comic young artists like you!" - or some words to that effect, were the last thing he said to me.)
We shook hands again (and I think he gave me his business card - I mean I have one of his for his then California offices - how else did I get it?) and I walked back to my booth.

Looking at these pages now, I know that Stan was being far too easy on me.
To only pick up on the fact that his character's legs were thin was a kindness!
It could have (should have) been much worse of a critique.
But, Stan was being nice to an idiot young guy.

(I can pick a multitude of flaws from the pages - all of which glare at me now.)

To this day, that small snippet of our meeting is the only thing that I can remember with clarity.
And even though, I really DO feel that Doctor Strange should be portrayed as a more "wizardly" character (spending more time reading dusty old tomes than getting out to walk - and when he does battle it isn't usually done physically) I learned the valuable lesson that unless you are being granted artistic license to do so, it is best to write or draw trademarked characters as they are - not how you think they should be.

At least when showing them to the guy that pretty much created them anyway.


And that's it for now... don't forget to head over to my Midnight Images Art Blog to see the story and read up it all in greater detail.

Are you still here?
What are you waiting for?
Go check out the FULL 6-page story art over at my MIDNIGHT IMAGES art blog!

Tamam Shud!


Holly said...

Oh wow, I absolutely LOVE your Dr. Strange style. I think he's spot on, and so, so much better than the artwork today. Why don't they have you draw them?!?! ;D I think its really how stylized he is. Tall, dapper, etc. He fits the persona so well.

Seriously, I'm inspired, beautiful drawings.

~P~ said...

Many Thanks, Holly!

While I appreciate the positive comments (and truly cherish critiques from fellow artists, such as yourself) this is VERY old work.

This post has the samples from 1989, a previous post had work from 1993 and another from 2000.

None of this is any indication of my current levels, but shine as an example of where I was artistically at those times in my life.
I cringe looking at them now, as all the horrid mistakes and flaws leap out at me, but I'm also filled with some moments of still (secretly) liking some aspects of these old samples.

I'll be showing a few more (older still) examples of "Strange" art as I continue this series of posts.

I hope you stick around for all of them.

(BTW, did you happen to follow the links to my "Midnight Images" art blog?
That's where I am showing the COMPLETE works - not just these single panel samples.)

Either way, thanks for taking the time to comment.


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