Potrzebie
Monday, February 01, 2010
  Topps #6:
Basil Wolverton

©1973 Marvel Comics Group



This is a page from Marvel's Crazy #1 (October 1973). I had nothing to do with Crazy, but I was the instigating art director of these disemboweled, glutinous guts in slimy seepage from the fertile brain of Basil Wolverton.

For the full story, we must jump back five years earlier to Brooklyn in 1968, when I was on the staff of Topps Chewing Gum's Product Development Department. (See previous Topps posts.) With telephone and correspondence, I supervised Wolverton on a product with the working title, Ugly Posters. To get the project underway, I first wrote descriptions of curious characters and strange situations for a full line of posters.

Usually we began a product by creating cartoon roughs, but it was felt that this was not a good idea with Wolverton. We didn't want to box him in or somehow limit his imagination. Instead, Wolverton would send in small pen sketches of his convoluted concepts based on my short descriptions and pun-filled premises. When his roughs were approved, he would go to work on a large inked drawings. By this point in his career, he had switched from flexible pens to working with a Rapidograph (which might be evident if you make a close comparison of the lines with details in his earlier drawings). As I recall, he did about one complete poster a day for almost a month.

When the finished artwork came in, I created the color guides. Using color markers, I inserted the original art into a layout pad with backing on sheets that prevented marker ink from bleeding through the paper. Then they went to the Production Department for finished borders and display lettering. After that, the posters were printed for test marketing.

One of the drawings was rejected. I had written a description of an eyeball floating in a viscous fluid leaking from a gift package with ribbons. As you can see, Wolverton carried that idea to the very edge with an image so wild that the Topps executives chose not to print it. It went into storage. How it eventually arrived at Marvel Comics is something I never knew, but it probably came about because Topps editor Len Brown was friends with Marvel editor Roy Thomas.

Lastly, a copy of the art went to Harlan Ellison to write the science fictional runaround copy, and Harlan may never have known this artwork originated at Topps. I guess it's sort of like Frazetta's Buck Rogers art that was reworked to become a cover for EC's Weird Science-Fantasy (which I previously covered as ''The Rhythmic Bestiality of Frank Frazetta'' on August 12, 2008).

Labels: , , , , , , ,

 
Comments: Post a Comment



<< Home
Masquerade of the albino axolotls

My Photo
Name:

is the editor of Against the Grain: Mad Artist Wallace Wood (2003), reviewed by Paul Gravett.

ARCHIVES
October 2005 / November 2005 / December 2005 / January 2006 / February 2006 / March 2006 / April 2006 / May 2006 / June 2006 / July 2006 / August 2006 / September 2006 / October 2006 / November 2006 / December 2006 / January 2007 / February 2007 / March 2007 / April 2007 / May 2007 / June 2007 / July 2007 / August 2007 / September 2007 / October 2007 / November 2007 / December 2007 / January 2008 / February 2008 / March 2008 / April 2008 / May 2008 / June 2008 / July 2008 / August 2008 / September 2008 / October 2008 / November 2008 / December 2008 / January 2009 / February 2009 / March 2009 / April 2009 / May 2009 / June 2009 / July 2009 / August 2009 / September 2009 / October 2009 / November 2009 / December 2009 / January 2010 / February 2010 / March 2010 / April 2010 / May 2010 / June 2010 / July 2010 / August 2010 / September 2010 / October 2010 / November 2010 / December 2010 / January 2011 / February 2011 / March 2011 / April 2011 / May 2011 / June 2011 / July 2011 /


Powered by Blogger