|THOR The Mighty - from the cover of FANTASTIC|
Annual 1968. Image copyright MARVEL COMICS
Tuesday, 16 November 2010
IN HALCYON DAYS OF YORE...
I'll probably get some stick for this boastful reminiscence, but believe it or not, when I was a young lad at primary school, I was regarded as the best artist in my class, if not the entire school. Now before you fall about laughing, that wasn't (and isn't) a figment of my imagination - it just happened to be the consensus of opinion amongst teachers and pupils alike. Naturally, there must've been a few artistically inclined individuals who resented and disagreed with this generous assessment of my abilities, but - if so - they remained the (silent) minority.
However, I couldn't really take credit for my place atop the heap. After all, I was merely regurgitating the styles of artists of the calibre of KIRBY, BUSCEMA, DITKO, COLAN, SWAN, ANDERSON - and a whole host of others. Because of that, my drawings tended to have more impact and therefore made a lasting impression. What follows is an example of what I'm talking about.
One day I and two of my fellow pupils (JULIE CUNNINGHAM and BILLY McCLUSKEY) each produced a drawing or painting that was regarded as so good that we were taken around the school to show them to the other classes. Billy had drawn (in pencil) a scene of two boxers pounding it out in the ring (he was a big fan of, and maybe even related, I think, to a famous boxer of the same surname), and Julie had drawn (also in pencil) a lake scene with swans gliding serenely over the surface. Both were very nicely done, if I remember correctly after 40-odd years. As for myself, I had painted a picture of THOR, standing on a mountain top and holding aloft his hammer to the heavens.
Every class we visited, the result was the same. We'd stand in a row whilst the teacher indulged in a bit of preamble, and then raise our pictures for the class to see - only to be met with cries of "Look - it's Thor - Wow!" and similar exclamations of awe and wonder. Now, truth to tell, my picture was probably not much better-rendered than Julie's or Billy's - but the subject was more dynamic (and in colour) and, consequently, almost guaranteed to draw the attention of just about everyone in the room. Hardly anybody took a second look at the the pictures of my two despondent classmates - some never even took a first.
Poor Julie and Billy - they must have hated me.
Anyway, what's the point of the story? Merely that I often look back on those days and wish that I was as good an artist now for my age as I was then. For a 9 or 10 year old I was "hot" - as an adult I barely qualify as lukewarm. What's the old saying? Ah, yes, I remember.
"NEVER REST ON YOUR LAURELS."
Posted by Kid at Tuesday, November 16, 2010