Friday, September 19, 2008
Original Art Stories: Gene Colan Tribute Comic
Before you do anything else you need to go out and buy this comic immediately. If you already own a copy then go and buy another. A joint venture between Marvel and The Hero Initiative, all the profits go to assist Gene Colan in his time of need so that should be all the reason you need to buy it. Add to that the fact that it's a damn good little comic book indeed. People might recall that I've been on the front foot when it comes to helping Gene and this is no exception. Buy it today and buy more than one copy. It contains six vintage Colan stories, all equally as good as the other and the reproduction is superb. They might not have been the stories I'd have picked, but I'd hate to be the one who decides what to include, especially when you consider that Gene has such a rich artistic history and has hardly placed a foot wrong in his career.
As anyone who reads this blog on a regular basis would know (hello all three of you) one thing that causes me some dismay is the practice of Marvel hiring artists to re-draw, recreate or simply trace vintage art. This practice mainly appears in the high-priced Masterworks line and has been the cause of a lot of angst from those who both do the work and those who defend it, in some cases they'll defend it to the point of slander and personal abuse. Great way to push the cause guys and I'll point out that those who do the abuse don't work for Marvel, they just want to. When the Colan book landed I opened it to see if the usual names were present and they were, which means that not all the art in this book is pure Colan, some of it has been redrawn. One image is so bad I can't help but think it's a poor tracing job, but don't let that detract you. You see at least one story, possibly the best one of the lot, in this book is pure Gene Colan and Tom Palmer. How do I know this?
I scanned the pages. The entire story.
I said way back when that it shouldn't be too hard for Marvel to source artwork for such projects and that there also shouldn't be a need for the company to hire artists to re-draw items for publication unless those pieces of art are lost for all time and no decent stats or film exists. As it is I'm curious about the veracity of the Iron Man cover art used on the front of one of the variants of the Colan Tribute Comic, but damn, the new colouring looks good. So what happened in regards the case of the story, "Though Some Call It Magic!" which originally appeared in Astonishing Tales #8? Easy answer.
Tom Field, a long time pal of the Colans, emailed my good friend Michael Baulderstone who then called me and dropped off the entire story, along with some other Colan pages, for scanning and sending as I'm the only person he knows who owns a scanner that can scan A3 art pages. Once my hands stopped shaking (you try holding the original art to every page of that particular story in your hands and not get the trembles) I got down to work, loaded the pages in, set the scanner with the required dpi settings and away I went. The whole thing took roughly two hours from drop off to finished scans being uploaded for Marvel to use. Seriously, it's that easy to source these stories, have them scanned and sent off. I've not been paid, I've not been sent any comp copies and I don't want either (although both Michael and myself, along with Tom, do get a mention on the credit page) - I want to be able to buy the book and bang some bucks into Gene's pocket. And that's how it should be. It's not about getting paid or getting something material, it's about getting the stuff out there for the world to see, and in this case assisting an artist who's work I've loved since childhood, and frankly I've always loved that Dr Doom story.
So buy the book, sit down and enjoy one of the finest Gene Colan drawn stories you're ever likely to see and marvel about how clear and powerful it looks. And believe me, a Colan/Palmer original can be copied, but it won't look anywhere near as dynamic as the original. And once you're finished reading it send Gene a get well card, even if you've already done so before. You can find the details by following this link.