Saturday, April 21, 2012

5 Marvel 50th Anniversaries

Five major Marvel Characters are sharing their 50th anniversaries this year. I know this because I trust what the San Diego Comic Con site tells me - and Wikipedia confirms.

At least as far back as I was able to attend, San Diego Comic Convention has issued souvenir books as part of the attendees’ pack. Books featuring congratulatory essays and art celebrating featured anniversaries of import to their comics-loving public.

Now in its 43rd year, this year is no different. With the advent of the internet and e-mail, submitting offerings to the souvenir book could not be easier. I can only imagine what a difficult task the Comic Con crew has before them in selecting what to include in the book.

What follows are extended versions of the four I submitted before the April 20th deadline (and hopefully successfully) - plus one, not completed by deadline. They’ve been “extended” to poster dimensions from the specifications of 7" x 9" for the souvenir book.

Spider-Man first appears in the pulp comic Amazing Fantasy, issue #15. I finalized on the scene in Peter Parker’s young life moments prior to being bitten by a radioactive spider, the catalyst which will transform him into the Amazing Spider-Man, whose costume design is alluded to as the top half of the image. I originally had a camera in Peter’s hands, as is portrayed in the 2002 movie, but the Steve Ditko drawn origin show only a few books under Peter’s arm.

The Hulk was fortunate to premiere in his own self-titled comic magazine, The Incredible Hulk. Famously, Doctor Bruce Banner is exposed to gamma radiation. Radiation being the magic stuff of the 1960’s, affects the meek doctor by transforming him into a huge grey (green by the second issue) expression of out-of-control anger - The Hulk.

When scientist Henry Pym first appears in Tales to Astonish #27 and is shrunk down to the size of ant, indeed an Ant Man, it seems less the origins of one of the founding members of the super-hero team The Avengers, and more science fiction/ horror story.  As simple as this design may be, I was unable to submit completed art by deadline to Comic Con. Many of my initial concepts attempted to include ants in the image, and in fact create either the logo or Ant Man himself from a mass of ants.

Tony Stark’s adventures as the modern day technology-infused knight in armor named Iron Man began as a feature in Tales of Suspense #39. I’m not sure how this reads to other folks, in whether his armor is being assembled or removed. I meant it to be the prior.

Stan Lee’s and Jack Kirby’s super-hero twist on the Norse god of thunder and lightning, Thor, premiers in the pulp comic Journey Into Mystery #83. Largely, they repeat their successful pattern on transforming ordinary men and women into extra-ordinary heroes for young modern technology savvy readers. Perhaps I’ve borrowed too much from Frank Miller’s famous Dark Knight cover.

The whole Saul Bass inspired minimalist approach to these posters has more to do with generating them quickly, rather than the style being appropriately applied coinciding with the Bass’ highly prolific era. Nor is the style, in my eyes, natural to my process. Indeed, if I had the time, I probably would have devised some sort of elaborate penta-tych, five panels which are to be re-assembled into a larger piece.

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