Wednesday, December 31, 2008

1997 Michael Bair Unused Martian Manhunter Art Page

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I only own a few pieces of original art, as I ended up selling most of what had been in my possession when I had my comic shop. No, I wasn't that desperate-- it's just that I found that I only had so much wall space, not to mention interest. As with comics, I learned that I didn't take pleasure in the size of my collection, only its representation of my personal preferences. The piece you see here is my favorite, and remains framed in my room.

It was a New Year's Eve sometime between 1999-2001, and I saw my precious in an eBay auction. As I recall, I set my maximum bid at $150, and let it ride. I returned from a party that morning, checked my standing, and found I'd won for less than a c-note. Again, I can't recall the specific number, but I was very happy to pay something like half what I was willing. A happy new year indeed.

Unfortunately, I was sweating bullets over the length of time it took the seller to respond to me, and then a delay in shipping. The seller was very apologetic, and promised me a bonus when I finally received my package. True to his word, an envelope with a DC Comics return address arrived. Buzz, a then-frequent collaborator with Bair on the JSA titles, had thrown in a Hawkman piece on industry standard art board. This was around the time Hawkman was being revived with a redesign. This was a slight variation on the one that was used, except with a mask that more closely resembled Hawkgirl's helm. I ended up gifting it to a good friend and one of my loyal customers.

I assume given the year and other elements that the piece was intended for JLA Secret Files and Origins #1, though I never had that confirmed. The triptych layout would have allowed for a layer to be covered over with text in the manner employed by the profile pages seen there and other books of the type. Further, where his cohorts' feature pages were drawn by artists associated with their solo books, J'Onn J'Onzz's was provided by Don Hillsman, a little known inker on a rare pencilling assignment. In a circumstance like that, a higher profile artist like Bair would normally be used.

I've never seen this piece used anywhere, much to my chagrin, so I ended up dedicating it to my own fan fiction "Manhunter from Mars #400 (November, 1997)." The scan was performed within months of receipt by my friend Dave, and I used crude techniques to add contrast for use on my old site "Martian Manhunter: The Rock of the JLA" site. I apologize to Mr. Bair for repeated mauling his work, and misrepresenting it here. I'm away from home, so no new scan, and I hope my cut rate copy will inspire someone at DC to finally do something with this wonderful image!

1 comment:

Bookgal said...

I'm away from home, so no new scan, and I hope my cut rate copy will inspire someone at DC to finally do something with this wonderful image!

Here here!