Controversial! Fun And Also Games! First Comic Book related blog to be featured in the Australian National Library's Pandora archive. 2016 Rondo Award nominee. Pop culture, music, film and comic book expert. Would be willing to write for biscuits.
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Original Art Stories: Kraven's Last Hunt Part II
Welcome to a celebration of the brilliance of J.M. DeMatteis and Mike Zeck’s Kraven’s Last Hunt. Over the next few days you’ll see as much of the original art that I could track down, most of it courtesy of dealer Mike Burkey, who has a lot of it for sale over at his site, Romitaman. Feel free to send down comments, the last post will be devoted to reactions to the art on display and the storyline itself, so if you want to be featured, then shoot me down an email.
Spread out over two months and six issues, Kraven’s Last Hunt marked a major milestone, not only for the character of Spider-Man, but also for comic books as whole. Not only was it one of the first major crossovers for Marvel, it remains one of the only crossovers in which each issue was just as essential to the story as the others. This was achieved by giving all (then) three Spider-Man books over to the one creative team, writer J.M. DeMatteis and artists Mike Zeck and Bob McLeod. This was the first time that such a cross-over, running throughout three separate titles with the same creative team, had ever been done and it not only set a precedent, but also a benchmark that has rarely, if ever, been topped.
DeMatties pitched the idea of Kraven, always a borderline unstable second tier Spider-Man villain, of taking his obsession with Spider-Man to explosive levels. The effects of the story would be felt for years to come and it was a story where the truism that ‘nothing will ever be the same’ actually did apply. DeMatteis crafted a story that would reach the outermost limits of what comic books could offer at the time, and Zeck and McLeod would then break through those limits to create a story that holds it’s own with anything that Marvel, or comic books in general for that matter, has produced. Years later the same creative team would re-visit the story to craft an epilogue, telling a different side of the same story from peter Parker’s viewpoint, as the ghost of Kraven sought peace. Instead of presenting that story throughout the individual titles, this time a graphic novel format was deemed to be more appropriate.
The story of what happened to the original art is equally as fascinating. The entire story, complete with covers, was sold, intact, to an Italian collector, who then stored it away and refused to part with it. The only way that anyone could obtain any Kraven’s Last Hunt related art was via preliminary sketches, recreations and, in a round about manner, buying original art from the sequel. In 2007 the collector decided to offer the entire series for sale and was contacted by many collectors, all eager to own a page. Eventually Mike Burkey made contact and quickly sealed a deal to buy the art, although the collector decided against parting with the first issue. Mike then sold the fifth part, complete, to yet another collector and has been selling off pages ever since.
The art reveals an incredibly powerful story indeed. As published the story had an impact beyond belief, and seeing the pages in their original black and white form gives a heightened sense of drama. The use of shadow and light, and the use of Spider-Man’s black costume, elevates the impact and drama of the story to new levels. Zecks precise pencil line was complimented perfectly by Bob McLeod’s superb inking. It’s rare to be able to see entire issues in their original form and the hope is that people will see these pages and gain a new appreciation for the story itself. And before you ask, the reason I'm starting with Part II of the story is because the original art for Part I hasn't left the hands of the original collector, thus it's not been scanned. The same applies for Part V, but hopefully, in the future, all of the art will on display (if you own Part I or Part V, or own page 9 of Part IV, or any of the covers or prelims then please email me - if need be then names won't be mentioned), but, until then, without further ado, welcome to Kraven’s Last Hunt – the original art, and feel free to click on any image for a larger view.
NEXT: Peter Parker: The Spectacular Spider-Man #131 and Mike Zeck Speaks!
Be warned - read this, take note and learn the easy way - we've learnt this lesson the hard way.
As people who read this stuff on some form of a regular basis might be aware we're off to New York in just over a month. Three weeks in New York, one week in San Fransisco. The key, for us anyway, is booking some decent accommodation, so we decided that, as we're going to be in New York for three weeks solid, that we'd go for a serviced apartment over a hotel room. So we started looking on the proper web-sites for places until we found one. Great location, it does exist, great photos - the lot. Perfect for our needs. The other half made contact with the 'owner' via the web-site and made arrangements to pay. We were asked to pay via MoneyGram, no biggie and no alarm bells started to ring - we've not done this before and all seemed normal. We made the first payment and got an email back from the 'owner' saying he'd gotten the payment and could we fix th…
Let's nip this right in the bud now and call this image bullshit (as Penn & Teller would say). Yesterday a link was emailed to quite a few people, showing the image you see on the left, which is supposedly the Jack Kirby version of The Amazing Spider-Man. If it the art was genuine then it'd rewrite Marvel history as we know it. There's one slight problem though - it's a hoax, and not a very good one at that. Someone has taken the Giant Man image from the splash page of Tales To Astonish #51 and doctored it, using a logo taken from page #183 of Joe Simon's Comic Book Makers book and parts of the design that Steve Ditko drew for one of Robin Snyder's books (in which he discussed the differences between Jack Kirby's discarded version of Spiderman and the final, Steve Ditko-Stan Lee version of Spider-Man) and mashed them all together. As to why anyone would want to do that, or what end they hoped to achieve is beyond me. But then that's life.
Go and have a read, and, more importantly, pass the word on to everyone and anyone who is thinking of travelling anywhere and booking. First rule of thumb - NEVER pay anyone via a money transfer system such as Western Union or Moneygram. They assist the scammers, and once your money is gone, those companies couldn't care less. They've got their cut. Make sure you pay in such a way that you've got recourse - if it's a money transfer then it's a scam, as far as I'm concerned.