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Showing posts with label paintings. Show all posts
Showing posts with label paintings. Show all posts

The Mary Marvel Fan Club!

The Mary Marvel Shazam Fan Club by Von Allan

I have a soft spot for Mary Marvel and the rest of the entire Marvel Family. Plus that wonderful ol’ wizard Shazam! This illustration features two kids inspired by Mary Marvel and was loosely inspired by a story in the old 1970’s SHAZAM! series, specifically “The Haunted Clubhouse” in issue 13 by E. Nelson Bridwell and Bob Oksner.

For a bit more of my art featuring Mary, please visit https://www.vonallan.com/2022/09/mary-marvel-fanart.html.

That 1970’s series is an odd-duck. DC Comics had successfully purchased the old Fawcett Comics intellectual properties and attempted to relaunch Captain Marvel for a new era. It didn’t quite work and I’m not sure why. Legendary Captain Marvel artist C.C. Beck had been brought back to draw Cap’s new adventures, but left after ten issues over (as Wikipedia notes), “due to ‘creative differences’ regarding plotlines.” Writer Otto Binder would later remark in an issue of the FAWCETT COLLECTORS OF AMERICA fanzine (later republished in the FAWCETT COMPANION: THE BEST OF FCA) that he understood Beck’s point of view, noting “My opinion would be that the new stories are a little too whimsical, and downright silly at times. In the old days we treated Captain Marvel lightly with humor and satirical plots; but nevertheless we were quite serious about putting across Captain Marvel’s character, with Billy Batson as the actual main character. We took a great deal of care to keep them both in character, but that took endless discussions, while being immersed with the atmosphere of the times, all of which the new writers are missing I’m afraid. Hence, their attitude toward the Captain Marvel character is well out of character!”

Having read a number of these issues and compared them to the public domain Fawcett issues that “out there” on the internet, I think I can see what both Beck and Binder were alluding to. That said, I’m not sure what the two would have thought of Mary’s adventures. She wasn’t in that many issues of the 1970’s revival series and only featured a handful of times, but I did like the stories that she was in. They could have used more magic realism, though, something that I’d argue was a hallmark of Binder’s stories with Mary, at least in the pages of WOW COMICS.

All that said, I still really love Mary Marvel. She was (and is) a wonderful character, full of compassion, strength, joy, love, and courage. What more could anyone ask for in a hero?

Head Turnarounds for the short story "I Was Afraid For My Life"

Growth and age changes in colour of the boy from the short story I WAS AFRAID FOR MY LIFE by Von Allan
Character poses at different ages of the boy from the short story I WAS AFRAID FOR MY LIFE by Von Allan

For my short story I Was Afraid For My Life, I did a number of turnarounds to finalize the growth and age changes that the main character (the nameless boy) goes through. The story is somewhat abstract, with each page of the story featuring a different point in the boy's life, so I wanted to make sure I was "on model" as I worked on it. It's a fair amount of work for such a short story, but I thought it was a good idea to do it. And I still do!

Biker Dwarfs in Colour

Colour versions of some dwarf bikers by Von Allan

Female dwarf bikers in colour by Von Allan

What can I say? I like dwarfs! Well, dwarves, too, of course, but I tend to go with the "f" spelling. What's not to like?

In gaming terms, especially in old school DUNGEONS AND DRAGONS, dwarfs have that really handy ability to detect traps, mechanical alterations to dungeons, as well as sloping tunnels and all that. In fact, in FIGHT ON! 4, Dave Bowman really emphasized their importance in a terrific article titled Delvers Delve. If you like D&D, LABYRINTH LORD, SWORDS & WIZARDRY, and whatnot, I can't recommend that article enough.

Dwarf Killerbeards in black and white and colour

Two Dwarf Killerbeards in colour illustrated by Von Allan
Black and white inked version of Two Dwarf Killerbeards illustrated by Von Allan

While I don't have a lot of time for gaming, I do like to game from time to time. When I do, it's typically in the "old school" style, probably best represented by early 80s DUNGEONS AND DRAGONS (I'm particularly fond of Tom Moldvay's version) and it's retro-clone versions (especially LABYRINTH LORD by Dan Proctor).

And when I game, I love (love!) using henchmen. Or, in this case, henchdwarfs! You know, dwarfs-at-arms. Or, as I like to call 'em, Killerbeards! Enough, in fact, that I've included them in one comics short story I did. Why use humans when you can use dwarfs?! I love me some dwarfs!

Biker dwarfs along a winter street

Biker Dwarf Killerbeards along a fantasy winter street painting by Von Allan

Really fun little winter street scene. Have I mentioned that I love dwarfs? Well, I do! Biker Dwarfs in particular, because I like my fantasy (well, especially when it comes to the stout lads and lassies) to have a mix of science fiction. Science Fantasy, if you will. While I was never much of a WARHAMMER 40K fan (nothing wrong with it, I just did not know anyone who played it), I did get pretty invested in BLOOD BOWL. And especially DUNGEONBOWL! Or more precisely, ELVES, DWARFS, AND DUNGEONBOWL! That game was a great deal of fun. Whew, boy! What is a smidgen odd is that I was not much of a board game fan, either, but BLOOD BOWL was a blast. I think because it was so very, very silly. Toss in the undead, chainsaws, and (if you were playing DUNGEONBOWL) spiked footballs and teleport pads and the game had an unpredictable chaos to it that was really fun.

A version of this art also appeared in the print edition of WIZARDS FOR HIRE - CHEAP! in the summer of 2017. While that issue is now out of print (boo!), you can read it for free in digital format at my "Pirate Von" section. That's right over at https://www.vonallan.com/p/pirate-von.html!

Wolf's Head by Von Allan

Link to Von Allan's Wolf's Head comic book series

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