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Anamosa Archive 5: odds and ends

2013 June 10

A few further items of interest from last month’s sifting of what remained of my parentally-warehoused possessions. First up, my rough attempt at imitating fictional sculptor Alicia Masters in probably one-third of all her appearances, i.e. sculpting The Thing of Marvel’s Fantastic Four.

Clay model of head of The Thing (originally designed by Jack Kirby)

Clay model, c. 1995 (“The Thing” character originally designed by Jack Kirby)

This was another high school art project. I was super super enthusiastic about The Fantastic Four in those days, and pulled out heaps of drawings of them along with the items highlighted here. Said drawings are mostly rubbish, figuratively and now literally; I think this sculpture is not entirely bad. If nothing else, it represents a fair go at the interesting challenge of making a three-dimensional version of a two-dimensional character. The colored glaze never turned out quite right; iirc I painted and fired this sucker twice in hopes of getting the eyes right, but if there was a way to avoid the glaze running I never worked it out. Oh well. After brief debate, this went into the rubbish, too. I was not going to keep all of this junk and, in fact, I actually did bring a model of The Thing home with me. One of four action figures released with the 1990s Fantastic Four cartoon; these will probably make their way to some toy drive sooner or later, though.

I kept very few of my comics-inspired drawings, as noted, but this one convinced me to spare it less for skilled drawing than for semi-skilled coloring:

Adam Warlock looking 90s-style BAD ASS

Xeroxed pen-and-ink, colored with magic marker, 1996 (Adam Warlock designed by Many Hands)

If there was any character I was more excited about in the 1990s than The Fantastic Four, it was Adam Warlock (who originally debuted in the series waaay back in the 1960s, admittedly, but had thereafter detached from it). I even did my bit for kludgy but desperately earnest comics fan-sites by creating Lock 41: The Adam Warlock Web Site, which lived on until I graduated and elected to let the site die along with my account. (Yeah, I’ve still got all the files; no, we’re not going to revisit them.) I also made this drawing.

It’s… mostly what it is. Typical 1990s-vintage fanboy pinup art, combining my comics-derived shaky grasp of anatomy with my shaky grasp of a pen (and brush or marker; I’m honestly not positive what I used for the heavier lines and fills). Still, upon pulling this out and looking at it 17 years on, I was a bit impressed by the coloring if only for the determined effort it represented. Yeah, shortcuts and dodges abound in this image, but I really went to town with that background. The result isn’t especially realistic (we’ll call it abstracted) but that element, if nothing else, was not a cheat or cop-out. In all honesty, I’m not sure it’s entirely ludicrous to suggest that this level of color sensitivity and craftsmanship would have been adequate to work on Marvel’s own products for a lot of the pre-digital era…

Rounding things out, we have a couple of books among the many I retrieved:

Gardner's Art Through the Ages, and Dashiell Hammett's novels

Two I keep, the other I try to sell

On the left, one of our required texts for various courses. Having had some luck with required textbooks that I only really attempted to read (as opposed to consulting to find specific answers) after graduation, I leafed through this a bit, but promptly concluded that I don’t feel like trying to wade through this doorstop any more than I did in 1996. I’ll try to flog it at Half Price Books on the chance it still retains some value.

At right, a faux-leather gilt-edged omnibus of the novels of Dashiell Hammett, most famous for The Maltese Falcon. I’ve had my eyes on this for years, but would have waited patiently to inherit it except that I suspected it would be Half-Price Booked along with many other items from mother’s library; instead it was presented to me along with its unofficial companion volume, Diane Johnson’s biography of Hammett. I’ll treasure both.

Finally, a surprise follow-up on a post from some while back: one surviving piece of the documentary treasure trove sent me by the Lego company in response to my detailed proposal for a line of licensed-character Lego figures. Unfortunately neither the letter or anything else was saved along with this, but it’s something.

1980s corporate brochure for Lego

Told yez

I shall treasure this, as well.

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