Friday, January 4, 2013

Skullduggery!


There's no denying the sheer excitement that Jim Starlin brought to the moribund Captain Marvel comic book. As much as I personally adore the original Kree Captain, it's clear that cancellation which had come so many times before was inevitable had not Starlin injected the series with his then still-new style of cosmic wonder.  He changed Mar-Vell into another kind of hero entirely, but it turns out it was a hero who was still compelling to read.


That said, like many visionaries, Starlin did not seem to have a firm grip on all the details of production, at least not in the opinion of his editorial masters. Here we see the artwork for the downright exciting cover for Captain Marve #31 by Starlin and embellished by his most agile inker Al Milgrom. A close look shows that Mar-Vell's noggin seems a bit different than we might expect from the Starlin of that time. There are signs that stalwart Bullpen ace John Romita has been at work touching up Starlin's figure, making the good Kree Captain a bit more traditionally handsome in the classic Romita mode. The GCD confirms this alteration, though I must confess it is blended in exceedingly neatly.


It would not be the first time Romita did that. It's much more obvious on this earlier issue of Captain Marvel from Starlin illustrious run.


Compared with this original artwork, in which the refined head is missing, the changes are all too evident. It's always fascinating to me, that for all the often much deserved attention we laud on particular grand talents in comics, that the medium is very much a collaborative effort.

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6 comments:

  1. Amazing. Jim's CM face on the art to #29 is actually pretty awful. I wonder if we'd have regarded him as highly as we do if such changes had never been made?

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    1. It's all part of a piece, so it's hard to know. The subtle alterations we dissect and analyze today all added up month in and month out to a complete experience which is hard to dissect. I suspect we would since "pretty" was never something I immediately associated with Starlin's work.

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  2. Editorial direction at both Marvel and DC in the 1970s required staying "on-model", at least on covers, elements of which which were reused as licensing art.
    That's why Romita re-did so many faces on covers from Gil Kane, Jack Kirby, etc., and why Al Plastino and Murphy Anderson redrew Jack Kirby's Superman and Jimmy Olsen faces.

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    1. Absolutely. And I for one don't really mind it, if it had all been done with the skill evident in the CM example above. It's blended very sweetly. The heads at DC over Kirby were just jarring.

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  3. Really
    Just THE BEST BLOG
    Thank You For The Effort
    A Have To Go Hit Blog
    -Sam

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