Saturday, June 2, 2007

Machine Man vs. The Hulk


I mentioned in an earlier post that I was a fan of the MACHINE MAN comic as a kid. I don't know what it was but I just couldn't get enough of the purple robot with the crazy eyes.

When Jack Kirby came back to Marvel in the '70s, I wasn't too excited. I liked the softer work of guys like Sal Buscema. I went along with the opinion of one Mike's friends, Carlton Hill, who said it looked like Kirby drew people with a ruler. But, later, I got my hands on some issues of MACHINE MAN and started sneaking peeks at Mike's copies of THE ETERNALS. I began to reevaluate the man's work. There was an undeniable enthusiasm in his art. Sure, the people were a little grotesque, with their squared-off fingers and bushy eyebrows. But the art was so dynamic and in-your-face. I couldn't take my eyes off it. I started picking up back issues of BLACK PANTHER and CAPTAIN AMERICA, especially that great Bicentennial TREASURY EDITION he did. I never got around to DEVIL DINOSAUR or 2001 but it looks like Marvel is collecting his '70s stuff in really nice editions and hopefully I'll get those when they come out. (I've already got DC's NEW GODS OMNIBUS on backorder.)

I've since come to appreciate the man's older work too. His work with Stan Lee on FANTASTIC FOUR is worthy of all the praise it gets and more, though his early HULK issues remain a favorite. But it's his '70s Marvel work that stands out in my mind. Some folks contend that the quality of his work suffered during this period as his his love affair with comics was coming to an end. I disagree. This was when I fell in love with Kirby's art. In my opinion, he was at his peak. This is particularly the case with MACHINE MAN, with his familiar theme of an outsider protecting those who hate and fear him. MACHINE MAN only lasted 9 issues with Kirby, but they were gorgeous to look at and a lot of fun to read. It's too bad he didn't take it further.

With this drawing, I wanted to capture the spirit of some of my favorite issues of THE INCREDIBLE HULK. Sal Buscema drew three issues featuring a battle royale between the Hulk and my favorite purple robot. I tried to have fun with the rendering but it doesn't look like the scanner picked up the finer linework I did. I wish I had drawn the building behind them as it looks a little empty back there without it. I guess I got lazy. And I got bored in the coloring stage and gave up when I got to the street. I wanted to do Kirby and Buscema proud but I just didn't have it in me, I suppose.

I spent waaay too much time on this, considering I'm supposed to be programming a web site for an artist friend of mine. Better get back to it. Hope you enjoy the illustration better than I did.

7 comments:

Mike Wieringo said...

Cool stuff, bro....

Did you ever read NEXTWAVE by Warren Ellis and Stuart Immonen? MACHINE MAN was one of the team members-- although he didn't look much like his previous version. He still had the crazy eyes, though.

Ink Blatt said...

Excellent work, Mafus. Hulk looks chock-full of impotent rage and MM appears ready to lay the bitch-slap down.

Yeah, did you ever pick up the trades of 'Nextwave?' I've been hounding you since Day One to read that title, sucka.

Matt Wieringo said...

I'll read NEXTWAVE when you watch LOST, beyotch. Deal?

Denis said...

Nice art. And a huge thanks too! I've finally cleared up what colout Mahine Man is supposed to be! In Nextwave, due to the huge variety of lighting through-out the scenes it was tough deciding exactly what shade of colour Machine Man was. And now I know. I needed to sort it our for a custom action figure I'm making of him.

Also, I'm with the other two here. Read Nextwave! It's funny, funny stuff.

Matt Wieringo said...

Actually, I was always going to read the book ever since ink blatt first recommended it. Then I heard it was getting cancelled and I didn't want to invest myself in another great book that just got dumped. Like BLOODHOUND. But if you guys will promise me it won't leeave me hanging, I'll read it.

Matt Wieringo said...

Oh, and Denis, make sure you send me a pic when you're done with the custom figure. Good luck!

Denis said...

Willl do! He's pretty much all but done already. I'll give him a slightly "purpler" coat of paint and then all I'm missing is his jacket for his Nextwave look. Anyone out there know a good (pint-sized) tailor?