Saturday, July 24, 2010

Original Art Stories: Brian Postman vs Mark Bright

I was surprised a few years back to discover that Brian Postman was originally tapped to draw issue #2 of the mini-series, The Falcon. The first issue of the four issue mini-series was penciled by Paul Smith, at the time becoming white hot with one of the finest runs on the X-Men.  Despite being inked by Vinnie Colletta, Smith's fine line shone through and there was a lot of expectation for the series.  However Smith only ever penciled issued #1 and the covers for the first two issues, being replaced by Mark Bright on pencils, Colletta was replaced by Mike Gustovich, and the art team remained stable for the next three issues.

However before Bright snared the gig, Postman was handed the Jim 'Preist' Owsley script by Editor In Chief Jim Shooter in late 1982 and asked to begin drawing.  Brian managed to get the first six pages done, but as soon as the pages arrived at Marvel he was tapped to begin drawing Spider-Woman by editor Mark Gruenwald - and it's not that hard to work out why.  Now I'd like to offer a side-by-side comparison of Brian Postman's six pages as compared to Bright's published efforts, and let you make your mind up as to who did the better job.


The last page was inked by Dave Simons in 2008 as part of a charity fund raiser for Gene Colan.  I have no idea who was assigned to ink Brian in 1982, or if indeed anyone was assigned.  Dave once told me that he knew nothing of the book, so it certainly wasn't him that'd have inked it back then.

Personally I like what Brian did with these pages.  His splash page is surely amongst the best art that he did in his all too brief career in comic books, and his Sentinel splash page is also very powerful and highly effective and bears a striking similarity to the eventually published page by Bright.  It'd have been an interesting book if Brian had been able to pencil it, but alas, some things are just not meant to be.

Brian did lay out one further page, page #16, which you can see here, and that was it.  Perhaps, one day, if someone can find the original script, they can then commission Brian to finish the job, just to see how it'd look.

2 comments:

Ian Miller said...

This is a really great post, and it's very interesting to see how two different artists approach the same story. What's really enthralling about these pages is that they look like they were drawn from a Marvel-style script, or plot only, because the scenes are much different in each one, and the pacing is very different.

I personally like the published pages better. The pacing is slower, which helps to introduce the Falcon a bit more before the giant splash of the Sentinel appears. Postman's pencils are very nice, as well, and would have been great if they were published. But between the two I'd say Bright's storytelling is more solid and makes for a more dynamic story.

George said...

Wow, it's amazing you just wrote this article. I literally just mailed a Fallen Son Blank Cover to Trevor Von Eeden today, asking him to sketch me a Falcon cover, using the Falcon mini-series from the Eighties as a reference (issue #1 being my favorite cover of the series).
Ironically, I have about seven Fallen Son sketch covers completed (trying to get 12) and one of them is by Brian Postman. Brian illustrated Captain America Annual #7, which is one of my favorite annuals of all-time (fond memories of being a kid).
In examining these pencils, Postman's Falcon was definitely more serious and action oriented. Bright's almost looks like he was making a comic for a child. That face of Sam Wilson getting out of bed on page #4 is hilarious. Who knows what Marvel was thinking. Paul Smith was the man for a time though. Man, his art was unbelievable.