Wednesday, January 31, 2024

Here's some new Thing original artwork from Paradise X: Devils!

A number of years ago, I met writer Jim Krueger at a comic book convention. Krueger wrote one of my favorite Marvel alternate reality series, Earth X and its sequels, and I made sure that I let him know that - and also how much I enjoyed how he wrote the Thing in the book.

This spawned a rather frenetic conversation between the two of us, where we both said a number of things which all amounted to, "we love the Thing!" And so this was a great moment, and one that I'll always remember. He told me that he had to stop himself from giving the Thing all of the best lines and moments in the book, which I felt was unnecessary, because there's no reason to not make every (EVERY) book about the Thing.

This past October at the New York Comic Con, I sought out some original art vendors to look for a page or two that I might buy. Now, there are different tiers of original art vendors at comic conventions. Many of them sell Golden Age Superman pages for $30,000 or Will Eisner originals for $15,000. These booths are interesting to walk past, because they contain comic book history that I will never be able to afford, but I guess it's still nice to be able to see original Frank Miller Dark Knight Returns and Jack Kirby Fantastic Four pages in person. I imagine that the goal of these vendors is to sell one single page of art for the entire show, and then buy a car or something.

The other original art vendors at comic conventions have enormous stacks of pages and color guides from the 1990s Darkhawk series, probably bought from the original artist in 1997 for $1 per page, now on sale for $200 each. These are the booths where I generally spend time at, rummaging through binders and piles to see if somehow, there's a page that I can afford that also has the Thing knocking someone's block off.

On the last day of the '23 NYCC, I spent the waning hours of the convention looking for such a page, and I found a pretty good one.

It's a page from the Krueger-written Paradise X: Devils 2002 one shot by penciller Steve Sadowski and inker Andrew Pepoy!

Not only does the Thing appear on this page, but he appears in EVERY SINGLE PANEL. And not only does the Thing appear in every single panel, but it looks like there's more than one Thing present on this page. This is a great Thing-per-panel ratio. The smaller Things are actually Ben's alternate universe sons, Buzz and Chuck. They are honorary Things and they count.

Paradise X is set in an alternate future, and here he's joined by Reed Richards (minus an arm), Mr. S (Scott Summers), Daredevil and the reborn Mar-Vell. Even though this takes place in the future, the Thing looks the same as he always has, which is correct. He's also wearing his signature blue shorts.

Here's a panel with Buzz (or...Chuck), who wears glasses. Buzz and Chuck are the children of Ben and Alicia. There was radioactive clay involved.

The back of the page is pretty standard, with some copyright information stamped near the top and artist names in the corners.

I think that I got a good deal on this page. A lot of Things for my buck. That's a new saying that we're sticking with now.

Earth X was a great story. Things got a little bogged down in Universe X and Paradise X, though I enjoyed them both, as well as the more recent series, Marvel X. They're well worth tracking down if you haven't read them, because, if nothing else, you know that they're written by a Thing-loving author. And that should be enough.

About ten minutes before I left the convention, I found some very affordable art from Alex Sanchez (who drew in the Thing sketchbook at the show). Alex inked some pages in the TMNT: Armageddon Game series, and was selling some of the pages he worked on. By the time I found them, all of the pages with the four turtles were sold, but I still did pretty well with this action-packed page. It features none other than Metalhead, along with a Triceraton and some Utroms!

And then the show was over! Talk soon, everyone!