Friday, 17 September 2010

RESTORING THE KING...


"Where's Cagney?  I'll moider da bum!"

Being incredibly talented - as well as witty, charming and handsome (not to mention modest and with a self-deprecating sense of humour) - it should come as no surprise to anyone to learn that I once inked (re-inked, to be precise) the artwork of JACK "KING" KIRBY - while he was still alive, making it even more of a thrill for me.  To see my name listed with some of the legendary greats of the comicbook biz like STAN LEE, JACK KIRBYVINCE COLLETTA, etc., was a big deal for me, and one of which I'm immensely proud.  How did this monumental accomplishment occur, you are perhaps asking - so here's the scoop.

MARVEL were producing their first run of MASTERWORKS editions, when then-editor, TOM BREVOORT, asked me if I could supply some of the absent pages from their files.  As it happened, I was in a position to help out, utilising some of my comics collection featuring Marvel reprints in U.K. publications of the '60s.  However, things were a lot more complex than simply photocopying pages from old comicbooks and sending them over to the States - and here's why:

Back in the '60s, ODHAMS PRESS, publishers of comics such as WHAM!, SMASH!, POW!, FANTASTIC, & TERRIFIC (also EAGLE and others), made all sorts of alterations to the Marvel comic strips they reprinted.  Credit boxes were deleted, American references were changed, colloquial speech was altered, characters' names were revised, and pages were - in the case of Wham!, Smash!, and Pow! - also resized to fit the standard British dimensions.  However, rather than witter on about it let me show you.  Below is a THOR page as it appeared in issue #27 of Fantastic back in 1967.


And here's how the page looked once I had restored it to its original appearance.  What you might call 'invisible mending'.



Next is a poorly printed ad featuring the cover art from FANTASTIC FOUR ANNUAL #3 - as you can see, most of the linework has dropped out and a couple of characters have been deleted.


Here's the cover once I had re-inked it.  Nothing too elaborate - merely the application of a MARSMATIC drawing pen to a photocopy of the above pic, and a combination of re-created and photocopied lettering from the original comic.


Here are a few more 'before & after' illustrations for your perusal.  As you can see below, the figure of The THING lost most of his body when the image was resized to fit the larger page.  With the aid of reference as to how the page should have looked, I soon restored the missing details and returned the page to its former state.

BEFORE:


AFTER:


BEFORE:


AFTER:


And finally, a Thor pic, before and after restoration.


Remember - the images can be enlarged by clicking on them - and then clicking again on the enlarged pic to make it larger yet.  (These two are a little blurred - although the preceding pictures can be seen to their best advantage by this process.)

And that's how one restores royalty.  Simple, really - but immensely satisfying.  Altogether now - "Long live the King!"

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