Thursday, September 6, 2012

Wellsprings of the Bullpen

Here's a little piece of comics history for you:
John Byrne's self-portrait from when he drew for Marvel, from its original publishing in 1982.

As it turned out, Byrne's work was more historic than he probably realized at the time, perhaps because these self-portraits by Marvel's mainstream artists began and seemingly ended when the company was still promoting the concept of the Marvel "bullpen." I don't recall seeing this work from Keith Pollard, or Dave Cockrum, or Walt Simonson, or Rich Buckler, or Ron Frenz, or any of a dozen other prolific artists I could name--all certainly worthy of their own collage of work hovering around their self-image. The only ones I'm aware of are:

In fact, I think Byrne's is the last such representation that I recall seeing, where Marvel is concerned. And I'm sorry to see these portraits end, since in a way they represent to me what was fun about reading comics back then. When Byrne's portrait appeared, the "bullpen" feeling that used to permeate Marvel, and certainly its readers, was already on its way to becoming a faded memory--so as well-done as it is, Byrne's representation just didn't evoke the same feeling of enthusiasm about this company that could at one time be found in any Marvel reader.

No comments: