Sunday, August 21, 2011

High School Art *flashback* (Part 1)

Digging through one of my old art portfolios I have stashed under my bed to post that old drawing I did of Iron Man back in 1980 got me looking through the whole thing.  So, I snapped some photos of a bunch of my doodles and such from my high school years (I also snapped some of my college years). 

What follows is a little trip down my cartooning memory lane.  For most pieces, I do remember what I was thinking at the time and will share that as well as the snapshot.  I was a weird kid with odd things that I would fixate on.  All of these photos should be clickable so that you can see them larger, and more clear...if you want.


The X-Sharks
The Microsharks
First of all, take a look at these two drawings.  After I saw JAWS in the 3rd grade, I became obsessed with sharks.  I read everything I could get my hands on and drew them constantly too.  Then, for whatever reason, when I started really getting into comics, I got obsessive about drawing all my favorite super-heroes as sharks (and the super-heroine's as dolphins, naturally -- well, it made sense to me).  So, here I have the Micronauts and the X-Men re-imagined as sharks.  I'd place the Micronauts around 6th grade and the X-Sharks around late 7th grade.

By 8th grade, I was moving on from sharks (I won't even get in to my fixation with Pac-Man.  I have no extant copies of my thick book of Pac-Man-inspired characters -- thank God).

There was Cerebus, the Aardvark, Darth Vader's Tie Fighter, our family's cat, "Darth" sleeping on my pillow, and even a picture I drew of Mickey Mouse running like hell to get away from a very hungry eagle.


Moving on into high school, other than the pics I don't have anymore of large-bosomed women I was drawing for friends, I was still fixating mainly on my comic book drawings and favorite characters.  To wit....

THE INCREDIBLE HULK was still on TV and rocking it as a comic book series.  In fact, it was the first comic book series I actually started collecting right after the TV Show pilot.

Not long after I started high school, the new SWAMP THING series by Marty Pasko and artist, Tom Yeates, kicked off (as a lead-in to the low-budget movie version coming out later that year).  So, I was grooving on Swamp Thing and, as was my wont back then, if I was grooving on something I had to put pencil to paper and get it out of me...sort of like needing to sing a song that gets stuck in your head.

The start of high school also coincided with the beginning of the direct sales comic book system and the rise of the "Independent" comic book companies.  One of my favorite independent titles at that time was THE JUSTICE MACHINE by artist Mike Gustovich.  One of the characters was called "Demon."  Here's my sad attempt at drawing him.

This next one is bit of the silliness of youth coming through.  I've always had an affinity for the wartime team of air pilots called THE BLACKHAWKS that are a part of the world of DC Comics.  At that time of my life, I had an idea in my head of wanting to take the "Blackhawks" and re-imagine them as super-heroes but not as a goof.  I also thought it would be fun to gather a bunch of my buddies from school and make them into the various characters.  So, we started a "gang" at my high school called "The Blackhawks" and everyone took a codename (usually based on their nickname at school) and I went back home and wound up drawing each person as an adult super-hero with an original costume, etc. and gave it to them.  I only have a copy of the one I did of myself as the leader, Blackhawk, naturally.  I can only dream about being that tall and super-hero proportioned.  So, as a prediction of the future, I fell way short.  But as a memory, it's a lot of fun, and now over 25 years later, I still have old classmates who bring up the "Blackhawks" and that's fun.
Then we come to "Hoppy, the Marvel Bunny."  I love the funny animals genre in a big way.  And not too soon after I got into high school, DC COMICS PRESENTS featured a 2-part story in which Superman and Capt. Marvel (Shazam version) switched places.  This was complicated at the time because this was in the days of Superman being on "our" Earth and Cap being the "Superman" of Earth-S (or Earth-Shazam).  The big surprise point in the story, which involved every single member of the extended Marvel Family to some degree and that included....Hoppy, the Marvel Bunny.  I had never seen or heard of him before and went totally ape over it and that's why I had to draw him.  Soon to follow was the CAPT. CARROT & HIS AMAZING ZOO CREW comic book which I obsessed over in a major way and as you'll see in Part 2, was not just content with reading and drawing the Zoo Crew themselves (tho I did that quite a bit too).

This drawing of Plastic Man is an example of me trying to copy a bit of artist Joe Staton's take on the character but then inking it in a Jerry Ordway style (as best as my feeble fingers and talent could do).  And along those same lines, also inspired by Ordway's (and penciller Rich Buckler) work on Roy Thomas's ALL-STAR SQUADRON comic, this is my attempt at drawing Wonder Woman in her 1940s-era outfit.
John Byrne was still at the top of my list of artists at this time and he had recently written a HULK Annual that guest-starred "Sasquatch" from the Canadian super-hero team, ALPHA FLIGHT.  So, based on artist Sal Buscema's rendition of Sasquatch and Byrne's rendition of the character in the X-MEN comics (where Alpha Flight first appeared), I rendered mind in all its glorious sharpie marker glory.   And speaking of Sharpie marker drawings, here's a BATMAN drawing from around the same time period.

ROM, SPACEKNIGHT was a favorite series of mine at the time.  Written by Bill Mantlo and drawn by Sal Buscema, it was a comic book based on a really lame toy.  But the comic was kind of....awesome.  This drawing I did of ROM and, in the background, the Human Torpedo (yes, that's his name) was done with a fountain pen dipped in India ink.
Also included here is a pencil drawing of Batman in his "original" costume, Uncle Scrooge (done with marker and pastels), and the Red Skull.  I'll leave it at that for now.  In Part 2, I will get in to the latter high school years where I started coming up with my own characters and trying my level best to emulate George Perez in terms of design (Har!), then if space allows, I'll move in to college where I still have a few examples of my attempts at doing sample sequential pages to take to conventions and look for a job as a comic book artist.  At least until Archie Goodwin told me not to.

That's for another day.  For now, enjoy these slices of humble pie.

Dr. Strange -- totally swiping a Gene Colan pose from the Dr. Strange comic and then trying to do "Ditko"
for the background.

1 comment:

  1. i'm totally digging that ROM spaceknight and Torpedo sketch good job!


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