Thursday, August 3, 2017

Getting Back Into Some Of My Old Favorites…

…as-in comic books, and of course these days, graphic novels.

I’m reading the recent re-boot of Power Man & Iron Fist.

I’ve been a fan since I was fifteen years old. I originally had collected Iron Fist issues 1-15 back in the late 1970’s when they were first printed. Someone stole issues 1-14 from me back then. I still have #15. Only 15 issues total of Iron Fist as a stand-alone comic book character were printed. I had bought them brand-new as they came out back in the era. I just re-purchased issue #1 this evening.
This is a recent quick ink drawing I did of Iron Fist:

Iron Fist drawn by Dan Stafford – 2016
My normal medium is pencil with colored pencil on paper. However, over the past three years, I have done quite a bit more work with ink and colored ink pens.

I am leaning toward doing the initial outline for high-quality works in pencil first, and coloring in with colored ink pen for the vivid colors it yields. It’s possible that I may mix some colored pencil for shadings and texture as well.

Iron Fist has long been my favorite superhero.

I’ve had a long fascination with the martial arts, and also with psychic energy work. I love stories of ancient Atlantis and Lemuria, theories about ancient aliens, and more. Also fun are theories about advanced ancient civilizations creating things like the Sphinx in Egypt, the Great Pyramids, Puma Puhnku and Macchu Piccu, Stonehenge, and the like. Pirate stories, Tarzan, Conan, John Carter of Mars; I loved all of these.

Iron Fist’s origin story has him learning his martial arts in a lost and hidden mystical city somewhere in the Far East. (K’un-L’un)

The story of Iron Fist was to me as an early teenager something that was moderately attainable – skills in the martial arts, able to defeat bullies and villains, and working with chi. It also didn’t hurt that he was a young blond guy named Daniel.

As an adult, I recognize the fantasy and escapism for what they were; A way to defeat the demons of my teen years in my mind and heart, if at least for a few hours here and there.

I also loved drawing comic book-style art, such as superheroes, cars, ships, motorcycles, submarines, aircraft, spacecraft, and more. I loved such magazines as Heavy Metal, and fantasy artists such as Boris Vallejo.

Second Season Of The Witch by Clyde Caldwell.
My all-time favorite painting in this era was “Second Season of the Witch” by Clyde Caldwell. This painting was often seen in an ad running in the classifieds section of Heavy Metal.

Clyde is still selling his artwork at Clyde Caldwell Online.

I loved both Marvel and DC Comics, and would read them voraciously.

I at one time had about five boxes of about 400 comic books each from the 1960’s and 1970’s, but my stepmother threw out all but one box for fundamentalist religious “reasons.” My Dad was able to save one box. I can’t begin to imagine how much those would be worth in this day and age.
Another couple of favorites of mine were Swamp Thing and John Carter, Warlord of Mars. (I read the Edgar Rice Burroughs series of books – twice – as well.)

Swamp Thing I loved for the intricacy of the artwork, and the storyline grew on me as well.
John Carter, Warlord of Mars I loved because of the swashbuckling romance mixed with Science Fiction. (Hard Science Fiction has long been my first love in literature, and I have read literally thousands of such books.) I am firmly convinced that Star Wars took a great deal of its material from Edgard Rice Burroughs “Barsoom” series of books written between 1912 – 1964. Don’t get me wrong, I adored and still love Star Wars. However, I think Edgar Rice Burroughs deserves a lot of credit for many elements of it.

Some examples, with Barsoom on the left, and Star Wars (Written in the 1970’s) on the right:
  • Jed (Martian chief, who gains chiefdom via swordfighting) – Jedi (Mystic lightsaber warrior)
  • Jeddak (King over Martian chiefs) – Jedi Master
  • City of Helium (Floating Martian city) – Cloud City
  • Princess Dejah Thoris of Helium (John Carter’s Martian Wife & true love) – Princess Leia
  • Sith (Flying predator in the wilds of Mars, part lion, part wasp, part scorpion) – Sith Lord
  • Flying Ships of Mars – Speeders
  • Dying desert planet of Mars – Tatooine, desert planet of Luke Skywalker
  • John Carter (Civil war captain who astral projects to Mars) – Luke Skywalker (Mystic fencing champion)
  • Fighting a giant beast in a pit at a city on mars – the pit monster in Jabba the Hut’s compound.
I could go on with this at length; There are a lot more similarities. That’s probably fodder for another post at some point.

To wrap for now, I recently bought a Swamp Thing graphic novel, among others. The art is of course fantastic. I am also totally looking forward to the upcoming Doctor Strange movie from Marvel.

Thank you for reading.

Dan

Graphic Novels 2016

 Dan Stafford