Monday, July 2, 2018

2017 Roh Kar Jam Sketch Detail by Allen Bellman

Allen 'Al' Bellman was a staff artist at Timely during The Golden Age of Comics. The majority of his work was on Captain America Comics and Marvel Mystery Comics, and he drew characters like The Patriot, Cap, Sub-Mariner, The Whizzer and Human Torch. He's probably best known for his "Let's Play Detective" strip. He'd appeared several times at Houston's Space City Cons, and I tried to angle for a commission. At the time, he was only working on characters he'd been associated with back in the day (the same answer Jim Steranko always gives me, not to mention Frank Brunner,) and I have always made a point of not doing that very thing. Well, that and I get all this Martian Manhunter stuff that nobody living ever drew before I hit them up.

I was at the 2017 Charlotte Heroes Convention, and I was specializing in new and ongoing jam pieces at that show. I saw Bellman once again, as usual with his wife (decked out in a Captain America themed get-up.) They're adorable. Anyway, for whatever reason, Mr. Bellman was amenable to not only doing a "golden age" character from a company he'd refused to work for (DC,) but to do it as one of the finishing touches on a jam. I'd always wanted to see his take on Roh Kar, First Lawman of Mars, and he seemed genuinely honored and anxious about joining the artists who'd previously worked on the collaboration. I think he said something about being afraid of messing it up, but to me this was absolutely the capstone on two years of effort with a joyful, luminous take on the first Manhunter from Mars! It's the only part of the piece that is drawn solely in pencil, and I briefly considered having it inked, but it would be a travesty to alter Bellman's shading and linework. Personally, I think it's his best work, but I'm kinda biased!

If you'd like your own commission, click here!

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