Tuesday, August 5, 2014

The Fifty - Doc at the Beach, my Mike Allred commission

I have loved the look of Mike Allred's work since I first saw it. I cannot tell you when that was, but I know for sure that although I had possibly acquired an issue of Madman or something from dark Horse that had Mike's work in it, I first became a buyer of his work with Superman/Madman: Hullabaloo and Red Rocket 7. I loved Red Rocket 7 especially, it was a ton of fun and that seemed to me to be what separated Mike's work from others for me. He has the chops technically and I appreciate that, but it is his design sense and the way he sets up the page that speaks of genuine joy and just plain fun.

Now speaking of those chops, I really love the look of Mike's smooth, thin, clean line. His style and the choices he makes are what make him special, but he has great anatomy and great storytelling capabilities. he is a real gem in the industry.

So when I heard he was doing commissions (and still is through Simon at gotsuperpowers.com as far as I know) I knew I wanted something. At the time I was very much into commissions and have quite a few good ones by very talented artists. But there are only so many ways to draw Dr. Strange (no, really, there are only a few poses. Get as many commissions as I have and you will find that most artist stick to the stock single figure poses more often that not) and I knew I wanted something distinctive from Mike Allred if I was going to spend serious money. And yet...I had this idea noodling its' way through my psyche. It was The Defenders, specifically Valkyrie, at the beach. Not the kind of thing you get when you are getting something that has a minimum cost of $1000. The resale value on commissions is notoriously low and that goes for even very strong pieces. So when I factored in the 6-8 characters necessary for The Defenders to look like it did in my head I realized it was going to be beyond what I wanted to spend for what was likely to yield considerably less than the cost upon any eventual resale. But the idea just wouldn't let me go. I knew it was a perfect topic for Mike Allred to draw. So I decided to focus on Doctor Strange exclusively and use his supporting cast instead of The Defenders.

Mike Allread commission - Thanks Mike!

I always figure in 20 years I can commission the companion piece with The Valkyrie, Hellstrom, The Demon, The Hulk, The Silver Surfer, and Namor. Maybe all of those people trying to get Namor to come on in to the water and he is snubbing them. Or alternately Namor could be leading them on a waterskiing type thing with sea creatures and even flying fish supporting them. Someday maybe.

As it is this piece is just about perfect. I was really thrilled when I got it but a bit disappointed that there were not some crabs or birds or such about. I am not sure where I would put them though, to be fair. But this piece has everything I hoped for and more. I trusted that the odd nature of the request would elicit Mike's natural proclivities and I think I was right. The volleyball scene is fun and solves some structural problems (getting the game in with recognizable characters on both sides of the net, fitting it all in there at a good size, etc.) with classic Allred wit and style. I think I may have requested an Hawaiian shirt on The Ancient One and I guess I can't blame Mike for giving me the basic shirt style without the effects. Those would be added simply in the coloring process in most cases anyway. I inquired about having it colored by Mike's talented colorist and wife Laura but the answer came back...and it was no. Luckily I know another Dr. Strange fan who also happens to do coloring. Sure enough he couldn't resist jumping all over it immediately when he saw it, and with some discussion I got my Hawaiian shirt. Two of them in fact.

Both colored by fellow Doc devotee and talented colorist Gerry Turnbull
I liked the one with the tress on it, even though they should be on different planes, all upside down and sideways and such scattered across the shirt. Gerry liked the blue one better if I recall correctly. Either way,  it was worth his reasonable charge just to get the shirt on The Ancient One done and to have Clea's suit done just right. Wong and Doc look so good as well. Gerry is a fan and it shows in the work. Thanks again Gerry!

So it is with honor that I put this crazy,wonderful commission by Mike Allred in The Fifty. Someday I'll get the rest of the scene Mike, and I can't wait to see what you do for it!

The Fifty
1  BWS Storyteller Young Gods page 4 (framed)
2  Tony Harris / Ray Snyder Dr. Strange WIRED Magazine cover  (framed)
3  BWS Weapon X page  (framed)
4  Tony Harris Starman 53 cover  (framed)
5  David Mazzucchelli Daredevil 233 page 19
6  JHW3 Milestone Forever pinup
7  Simon Bisley Dr. Strange vs The Mindless Ones
8  Paul Smith Dr. Strange vs Dr.Doom  (framed)
9  Dave Sim Mars Attacks variant cover
10  Gene Colan / Tom Palmer Tomb of Dracula 44 page 1 splash  (framed)
11  Dan Green Dr. Strange: Into Shamballa splash
12  Tony Harris 1994 Starman pinup  (framed)
13 Bill Sienkiewicz Superman 400 pinup recreation
14  Ted McKeever Dr. Strange vs Dr.Doom in Hell
15  Dean Ormston Dr. Strange & Eternity
16  Bryan Talbot Dr. Strange commission
17  Dan Adkins Dr Strange 170 page 11  (framed)
18 Ulises Farinas - Dr. Strange in his Sanctum Sanctorum
19  Rudy Nebres - Dr. Strange, Dracula & The Scarlet Witch
20  Mike Allred - Doctor Strange, Clea, The Ancient One, Wong, and Rintrah...A Day Off
21  Anna Merli Clea
22  Mitchell Bretweiser Dr. Strange watercolor
23  Jae Lee Dr. Strange
24  Darwyn Cooke Wonder Woman  (framed)

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