Tuesday, February 10, 2009

The "Magic" of Video: SPECIAL EDITION
Spider-Man and his Amazing Friends
Doctor Strange Model-Sheet Animation Cel

As I wrote in the last installment of "The 'Magic' of Video" series, we'll be looking at Dr. Strange's appearances in multiple cartoon series.

The first animated series that Dr. Strange appeared in was
"Spider-Man & his Amazing Friends".

This animated series, which ran for three seasons, from 01981 - 01983, was produced by Marvel Productions Ltd. and starred established Marvel Comics characters; Spider-Man and Iceman, and a then-original character, Firestar (who would later be brought into the Marvel Universe proper).

Strange appeared in three episodes * (which we'll view in their own post entry - HERE), but the most famous episode, quite possibly the most famous episode of the entire series, was;
7 Little Superheroes!

Title card for the 01981 episode.

Captain America, Shanna, Iceman, Spider-Man, Firestar, Doctor Strange & Namor; the Submariner, all under the thrall of the Chameleon!

I go into greater detail the plot and events of the episode in the posted entry - HERE, but first I thought I'd take this opportunity to showcase one of my most prized Dr. Strange collector's items...

An extremely rare, authentic production cel for the episode.
Not just any production cell, but a even rarer "model sheet cel".

It's a bit hard to read, but it states:
Spider-Man and his Amazing Friends
Series # 6000
"7 Little Superheroes"
Prod. # 6006

Model sheet # 0
"Doctor Strange"
(c) 1981 Marvel Productions LTD

Note the multiple angles and proximity of viewpoints (and the notation of "Cloak of Levitation"); as these poses were to be the definitive reference for the animators.

A traditional character model sheet is a series of drawings, reproduced via photostat (think modern day black and white photocopy) and distributed to all the departments to thus insure consistency between all artists working on a project. There might be hundreds of these produced.

The model "cel" sheet, as I am showcasing, is the same series of drawings, reproduced onto clear animation acetate, and hand painted for use by the studio artist for color reference purposes.
There would be a very small number of these produced.
Most likely in the single digits.
(quite possibly only a couple of them)


The tale of how I came to own this item is sadly, quite mundane.
Sometime around 1987 or 1988, I went to a convention in New York. Among some pages of original comic art, a vendor had a small selection of animation cels. This was one of them.

I'm fairly sure that my hand moved so fast to my wallet, producing the cash for the sale, that to any who would witness it, the movement was imperceptible, and appeared to all that I conjured forth the currency from thin air.

It has been a treasured artifact within my collection (even causing my splurging on custom framing) and always receives a place of prominence when displayed.


* Technically, Strange really only appeared in this ONE episode. In the other two episodes it was only a dress-up costume - once on a mannequin in a costume shoppe, and the other it was a costume-party-goer dressed up as Strange.
All will be revealed in the next installment of
"The 'Magic' of Video".
Check out those episodes and clips in my (future written and then link-loved here) post - HERE.


Howard Hallis said...

I bow to the awesomeness of that model sheet.

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