Saturday, October 2, 2010

The Good Captain

I was talking to Todd the other day (well, emailing him) and somehow the subject of Mike's comic book collection came up. I was complaining about all the boxes of comics in my office and how they're taking over like kudzu and I mentioned how that was the reason I didn't keep Mike's 30-plus-box collection. There were certainly some good books in there and a lot that I didn't have. But I just wasn't prepared, at the time, to deal with sorting through them. And I definitely didn't have anywhere to put them. We ended up giving them to a dealer friend of Mike's (You can probably guess who.) who, instead of just taking advantage, has been selling them and keeping track of the money, which he donates to the scholarship fund. (Have I told you how much we love Mike's friends?)

Anyway, I did flip through them looking for the Kirby DEMON issues because Mike had recently sent me an excited email detailing how he'd won an eBay auction of a complete set. This was before the awesome DC reprint hardcover edition came out. Dad had had a few issues when we were kids that looked interesting but since there were so many issues missing, I never read them. I wanted to see what had Mike so excited. I never found them, though. I did find something else, though. Mike's Jim Starlin CAPTAIN MARVELs.

When Mike and I were kids, Mike was absolutely nuts for Jim Starlin. He would sit on the floor and practically trace the panels from those issues of CAPTAIN MARVEL and the issues of WARLOCK that Starlin drew. Mike and his friend Carlton created their own versions of the characters and Mike drew them in his Starlin-knock-off style. You'd never know it to look at his style later on but Mike spent much of his formative years imitating Starlin, John Byrne and Gil Kane.

Starlin's stuff was so off the wall. My young palette was more suited to the accessible style of guys like Sal Buscema and Jack Kirby. (I also had a love-hate relationship with Frank Robbins. That's nuthin' but love these days.) But Mike was attracted to Starlin's crazy musculature and hyper-dramatic poses. The crazy wind-blown hair and LSD-trippy writing. I have very vivid memories of a 12-year-old Mike drawing his Starlin-lite illustrations.

And that's why, of all those comics (other than anything Mike did himself) I only kept those Jim Starlin CAPTAIN MARVELs. I already had my own copies but these were the ones that helped set Mike on the road to being a pro. I had to have 'em.

That email conversation with Todd inspired this drawing. I knocked it out in an hour on my lunch break the other day. It started off promising but I think I blew it by the end. I was going for a loose look. But loose ended up being sloppy with this. The brush pen I was using had lost it's point and I wasn't skilled enough to work it to my advantage. But I've got nothing else to show (mostly because I couldnt' resist starting to write HMDH issue #6) and also because this drawing cracks me up. Does the face remind anyone else of actor Doug McClure?


Josh said...

Great art Matt. He does kind of look like Doug McClure.

Christian D. Leaf said...

Shoot, I thought from the post title that you were drinking Captain Morgan again, you rummy you.

All kidding aside, nicely done, ol' chap. Stop making it look so darn easy.

Warren said...

Captain Marvel was one of several titles Marvel put out in the 70's that was decades ahead of its time. I think I still have those issues also. Thanks for sharing your story about yours and Mike's experience with them.

And I love the drawing. And it does look like Doug McClure.

todd said...

it DOES look like doug mcclure--although that's not me saying that he'd be my first choice to play mar-vell in the movie. (i'll tell ya who i'd pick later.)

great post, matt--and a cool story! it's nice that you were able to hang onto those books that meant so much to him and, now, to you.

but what did you do with all those issues of cherry poptart? : )

todd said...

(kidding--we didn't find any porn at all...which was a bit of a disappointment.)

Brian said...

I think I was as big a Starlin Space Opera fan as Mike was when I was a kid, re-reading the issues until the covers were practically falling off. (Who knew back then that they were "collectibles.").

One of my prize possession is a Starlin con sketch of Gamora. Jim said he never gets any requests for her, but I thought she was the stand out character of the series and dead - pun intended - sexy.