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Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Original Art by Shawn McManus - 2007

sgThis is the original art of page six from Aquaman: Sword of Atlantis #54, pencils and inks by Shawn McManus, given to me by the man himself. Thanks Shawn!

I've been a fan of Shawn's work ever since I first saw it in Saga of the Swamp Thing(issue #32, "Pog") and later when he did a stretch on The Omega Men.

His expressive work reminded me of a more cartoony Berni Wrightson, and it was cool to see how his art evolved over time by the time he came to work on SOA; once he started inking himself there was a looseness that looked almost Kubert-esque to me and I enjoyed it quite a bit.

Like I said on Friday talking about the final issue of SOA and yesterday in my interview with Tad Williams, I better understand that Tad and Shawn were handed something less than ideal--the first-ever(official, at least) attempt at replacing Aquaman.

And even though Aquaman has always had anemic sales, trying to convince superhero comics fans(a group, er, not always that accepting of change) that there was a brand-new Aquaman while the original was still around was, as Captain Kirk once phrased it, "difficult at best."

After all, Julius Schwartz and his creative teams had almost seven years of character dormancy by the time they brought out new versions of The Flash, Green Lantern, Hawkman, et. al--Jay Garrick and Alan Scott weren't being shoved aside in favor of Barry Allen and Hal Jordan; comics fans had given up on them long ago.

But trying to bring a new guy on stage while the old one is still up there performing(or, in Aquaman's case, saving the world) leaves a bad taste in one's mouth, if you may forgive my mixed and convoluted metaphors.

So...did I wish there was an Aquaman: Sword of Atlantis at all? No. Was I eventually able to set aside that and enjoy the book and Williams and McManus' work on it on its own terms? Yes, very much so. I wish they could've gone on a lot longer!


Anonymous said...

This is amazing, not only because it's simply a cool piece of art but because it's YOURS! I have only just recently started looking into getting something from artists I like, and I haven't been able to afford anything yet. This looks like a cool piece. I did like "Topo" as a character, too.

Diabolu Frank said...

I've only got a couple of pieces left in my "original art" collection from the old days, but it's always sweet to own. My favorite work of McManus' was easily "A Game of You," though I've liked him since a "Grimjack" fill-in he did in the 80's. As I've mentioned before, his current work reminds me a lot of Bob Fingerman, who I also enjoy, though I kept expecting random pornography and sickening violence to pop up in A:SoA (closest I got-- King Shark vs. Black Manta.)