Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Fantastic Four #302 original art by John & Sal Buscema (plus color guides!)

I recently had some comic money come in, and what do I do with it?  Spend it on comic-related merchandise.  I'm a hopeless consumer.  Perhaps such consumerism can be forgiven, though, when I'm spending some cash on original Fantastic Four art - and not just any, but a page from the great John Buscema...inked by his younger brother, Sal!  After Jack Kirby left the book, John Buscema took over and put his own stamp on the characters.  John is probably, in fact, the most classic FF artist after Kirby, so I'm of course ecstatic to add some of his original work to my collection.

This art is some of Buscema's later FF work, this page coming from Fantastic Four #302, which had a cover date of May, 1987.  The cover to that issue features the Human Torch and no other FF member, but the page I got features every member BUT the Torch.  (For those who might be curious about the cover, if I remember correctly, Johnny managed to flame on again by trying REALLY hard.)

The Thing only appears in one panel on this page, and he's reading a book titled "How to Pick Up Girls".  The book is circled in blue pencil with a note about the title written in the margins.  I'd have to dig out this issue to be sure, but I'm assuming that they changed the title for publication.

Mr. Fantastic and Franklin Richards are the most prominently featured characters on the page...Franklin going through his "Tattletale" stage with the Power Pack around this time.  Franklin is a tough character to write, as he's often too powerful and thus no one can figure out what to do with him.  But it's nice when the creators try to work him in somehow.

The back of the page holds two markings, the first of which reads "hold for John Leight".  A quick Google search doesn't bring up any information on Mr. Leight, so I can't confirm that he had anything to do with Marvel or the book.  It might be the name of the original owner of the page.  It might be the name of someone in production.  Perhaps we'll never know.

Also written on back are the names of the two contributing artists - John and Sal Buscema.  If I'm not mistaken, it looks like the Buscema handwriting, so perhaps this is as close as I'll get to an autograph from John, who passed away several years ago.

I recently purchased an art book to hold all of my original art.  This page, by virtue of being the oldest and most valuable (and perhaps coolest) page in the collection, obviously gets page one.

And not to relegate this to a footnote, because it's very cool in its own right, but since we're talking about original art, here's some new production art that I purchased a little while ago.  These two pages are color guides from Fantastic Four #194.  Color guides are reproductions of the original line work that are sent to the colorist, in this case George Roussos.  He uses them as a preliminary guide to figure out what colors to use on the real thing...that's why they have markings and writing all over 'em.

I think they're a swell look into how comics were made before the proliferation of computers.  And this one has some great shots of the Thing and Alicia.

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