Two more Ant-Man pieces, in support of a previous post
Sandy's original color guide for one of the Ant-Man pages
Artwork done to help sell an Ant-Man proposal to the powers-that-be at Marvel
The day after seeing Ant-Man in the theater, Jim throws a few questions at Sandy (below) about his Ant-Man work in 1993's Marvel Comics Presents Vol 1 #131.
Can't say there was anything that "lead up" to getting this job exactly. I had written a four part Daredevil story for the same title, Marvel Comics Presents, a while earlier and had a good relationship with the editor, Terry Kavanaugh. I think I just said something like, "Hey, want an Ant-Man story?" and he said something like, "go for it." MCP was an experiment for the company--an anthology book that came out twice a month. That schedule meant they were burning through material at an alarming rate. I think they weren't being very particular about what they stuck into the book so long as the pages were rectangular and there was a Marvel superhero somewhere in the story.
That's the only time I handled Ant-Man, though I did submit a proposal for an Ant-Man graphic novel that actually climbed up the corporate chain of command for a while, until it didn't any more. As usual, no explanation as to why it stalled out but I wasn't particularly surprised or disappointed. Getting a proposal approved in comics is something like taking a whack at that game they used to have at carnivals... the one where you take a swing with an over-sized mallet and hit this little lever that sends a weight up a pole toward a bell. Very rarely does that weight make it all the way to the top and reward you with that little "bong" of success. I don't remember much about the plot I came up with [for the graphic novel] but I do remember wanting to exploit the fact that this guy hung out with ants--something no other writer had yet done. I mean, if you know anything about ant societies...!)
I wrote, drew and colored this MCP job. As usual, I was appalled by what happened to the color when it reach the printed page. Marvel had switched some of their books onto a whiter, slicker paper and this meant that the inks weren't being absorbed and muted like on the standard newsprint. This accounts for that Easter egg look.
A few prompts from Jim (below), got Sandy to revisit his work on 1986's "The Official Marvel Index to Marvel Team-Up" #3.
Thinking back, it's hard to remember how I got many of my jobs for Marvel. Most freelancers of the day learned that finding a pretext to hang out in an editor's office was a pretty effective way to snag a job. In other words, just try and place yourself in the way of an editor who's wandering the halls, looking for an artist to take an assignment. Like shooting the breeze with Carl Potts when Al Milgrom sticks his head in the office.
Al: "Oh, I was thinking of giving you call."
Al: "Yeah, a got a job you might like."
Did Al really mean to call me? Most certainly, yes. Would he have remembered to if I hadn't hanging around with Carl. A lot more doubtful.
This was a pretty good time at Marvel. The Direct Sales market was really taking off, editors were more willing to experiment now they were aiming at an older, more sophisticated audience, the company was still relatively small and since it's profits were still modest, the corporate culture hadn't descended yet. A pretty relaxed atmosphere.
To me, Steve Ditko's vision of Spider-Man is the only one the matters. But that's not surprising since most everyone is attached to the version of a character they first discover in comics. There's a large and vocal generation of readers who feel no one could ever surpass John Romita on the title. Others feel that way about Todd McFarland. They're all wrong, of course. Ditko's dystopian view of teenage life and society gave the book a depth it never achieved again. His Peter Parker really spoke to the pain, frustration and loneliness many of the readers were experiencing as they struggled their way through adolescence.
Plunkett-fan Jim Harris interviewing Sandy about past and present projects.