After posting my Wizard going away presents last week, I was struck by inspiration and started reaching out to others who had departed the company asking for scans of the art and whatnot they had received upon leaving so I could compile a post showing it all off. It was supposed to be a whimsical, light-hearted piece, but admittedly, following recent events it feels more like a tribute to the good ol' days before Camelot fell.
Regardless, this ia chance to show off some really neat and unique stuff that, for the most part, has never been seen in a public venue before, so I do hope you'll enjoy. I'll try to keep the words to a minimum of necessary explanatory text and let the art speak for itself, but hopefully some of the recipients will feel free to chime in with their personal recollections either in the comments or if they want to shoot me some communiques.
(I apologize in advance if I'm off on some of the dates)
My good friend Jodie Westhoff had a record-setting (as far as we know) four stints at Wizard as part of the research and convention departments from around 2001 (or so) to 2008. For one of her early exits, she was gifted a rad rendition of Bigby Wolf from Fables by artist Lan Medina (she also has a great Alex Ross Superman sketch mocking the S-shield tattoo we share in common--hers is on her lower back, mine is on my left ankle, hidden from all Marvel employees, but I forgot to ask her to scan it).
Rich Ho was my predecessor in the role of staff writer at Wizard and definitely became something of a mentor to me during the year we shared on the job together. Besides being a Harvard grad, Rich is also a grade A poker stud and had a great relationship with the great Jim Lee, earning him this sweet commission piece when he left in the fall of 2005.
One of the flat-out coolest dudes I know and the last true confederate badass, Jesse Thompson was associate editor of Wizard when I got there and stuck around until mid-2006 when he moved back to Tennessee (he did a stint with Performing Songwriter and is now working at Maxim.com). We got done for Jesse this epic team-up by Eric Powell pairing our boy and the Goon with Batman and Robin with uncomfortable results for the Boy Wonder.
Not long after Jesse packed his bags, my fellow staff writer Chris Ward hitched his wagon to head back to his native Illinois. Chris has done pretty well for himself particularly of late, penning the Politicial Power: Barack Obama comic (on sale this week!) for Bluewater Productions. When he left, we got artist Michael Kupperman to do this unique piece for Chris, featuring his dual loves of Pacman and Mr. T as well as Kupperman's own Snake 'n' Bacon.
My main man and current co-worker at Marvel.com, Ryan Penagos, hit the bricks about a year before I did in the summer of 2006. Ryan doesn't hide his affection for certain characters and artists, so deciding on the who and what for his gift was not too tough. As I recall, Rickey took point on the project as he often did in these instances, even producing a rough sketch of what we wanted (which I have, but I want Rickey to post himself and talk about). The end result was a fantastic Etrigan/M.O.D.O.K. mash-up by the one and only Steve Dillon.
By the time Rickey left Wizard to go to DC, I had already taken off myself, but with not as many gung ho gift-givers remaining at the company, a bunch of us alumni took it upon ourselves to make sure our buddy got an appropriate piece of send-off art. We batted around ideas over e-mail and after a few brainstorming sessions settled on doing an homage to the classic Flash of Two Worlds cover, but featuring Rickey along with two of his favorite characters: Kamandi and Impulse. We originally approached another artist about doing the job, but for various reasons ended up going with Jim Rugg, and I sincerely doubt anybody could have done a better job in the end.
Last but certainly not least, Sean T. Collins and Wizard parted ways under not the best of circumstances back in the summer of 2007, meaning he did not get any cool art or anything, which was a damn shame considering all Sean contributed to that magazine (and their web site efforts as well). Earlier this year, a group of us were finally able to rectify this unfortunate oversight by getting Sean a combination birthday/belated going away present in the form of this page from The Walking Dead by Charlie Adlard.
That's all for this round, but if there are any ex-Wizardites out there reading this and you have art or photoshop tomfoolery of any kind you'd like to share with the world, send it my way, gang!