Sunday, May 31, 2009

Art Attack: Golden Age Mysterio & Deadpool

In my office at Marvel, we've got a big framed poster of every character in the Marvel Universe circa the late 80's (I've always been under the impression it was all the old Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe covers linked together as one image, but in looking up those covers, the pictures don't match up). It's something of a geek badge of honor for me that I can name more of the characters on the poster than anybody else in my office--however, there is one who has continually stumped me.

Near the upper right-hand corner, there is a dude(?) with a golden fishbowl head and black costume who I'm clueless on. Without an ID to properly affix, I dubbed him/her "Golden Age Mysterio," and the name stuck.

Now no doubt I could just ask Tom Brevoort or another person of knowledge to swing by my office and properly identify this character, but I have elected not to and insisted my colleagues do the same, as I have grown to love Golden Age Mysterio and refuse to have that particular illusion (wordplay!) shattered. The closest call was artist Phil Jimenez, who has professed his desire to recreate the entire poster with current costume updates, being on the verge of spoiling my little fantasy, but I shut him up in time.

Prior to the 2008 New York Comic Con, my pals the great Todd Nauck and Andy Lanning dropped by the office to hang out for a bit. Somehow the topic of Golden Age Mysterio came up and the three of us had a good laugh trying to come up with his origin and a pitch for how he would work in an ongoing series (the concept of "smoke and mirrors using actual smoke and mirrors" was a favorite one).

The conversation set off a lightbulb for me for a new sketchbook idea. Months earlier, our ever-generous Marvel Editor-in-Chief Joe Quesada had given a bunch of us Moleskine notebooks with the Marvel logo embedded on the front as Christmas gifts. I really wanted some sort of theme for my book and it hit me that Marvel characters who didn't actually exist in the Golden Age as Golden Age characters could be a winner.

I told Todd about it the next day and he was all too happy to provide the first piece. Todd has done a lot of incredible original art for me over the years, but I maintain this may be his finest work...

A few months later, I approached former Cable/Deadpool artist Reilly Brown about doing a 1940's style Merc With a Mouth for me. Due to various mix-ups, Reilly ended up having my book for quite some time, but he recently shot it back to me, and I am pleased to unveil for the the first time, the brilliance of Golden Age Deadpool:

With convention season starting up again in full force, I'm looking forward to getting the Golden Age Marvel sketchbook back on the circuit and filling up them pages with goodness. Any requests?


Michael said...

I wouldn't mind seeing a Golden Age Wolverine or Hawkeye. Or maybe a GA Apocalypse for some bad-assery.

Jesse T. said...

Ben, I know exactly who Golden Age Mysterio is. Let me know if you'd like a hint.
Also ... Golden Age Stingray and Nova in that book, please. And would G.A. Howard the Duck just be Donald?

Anonymous said...

The character you can't identify is probably the Chief Examiner from the Questprobe series in the 80's.