Saturday, January 18, 2014

"Talented Newcomers"

Something struck me as rather odd while I was reading the Bullpen Bulletins page in an old issue of The Incredible Hulk, and it wasn't the fact that  for some reason I was taking a break from re-reading one of my favorite comics to read a page of self-serving hyperbole, especially from a period when Marvel didn't really have a whole lot to blow its own horn about.  It was actually a somewhat peculiar turn of phrase I encountered in one of the items on the page.  I forget exactly what issue it was, but it was from 1994 during the period when the Hulk was leading the Pantheon and the book was being drawn by Gary Frank.  Anyway, the item in question was a promotional blurb touting an upcoming series called Conan The Adventurer which was to written by Roy Thomas and drawn by "talented newcomer" Rafael Kayanan.
"Talented newcomer."  Those are the exact words used.  I have a slight issue with that wording.  It isn't the word "talented."  I suppose that's a matter of personal opinion, although I've never been much of a fan of Kayanan's work.  It's calling Kayanan a "newcomer" that seems to me somewhat strange.  
By 1994, Rafael Kayanan had been working in comics for over a decade, including relatively lengthy runs on The Fury of Firestorm (beginning in 1984) and Captain Atom, taking over both of those books from Pat Broderick.
Upon thinking about this for probably longer than I really should have, I've concluded that this is a case of Marvel attempting to pretend that other comics publishers didn't exist.  Most of Kayanan's work up to that point had been, as I noted above, for DC.  He'd also done some work for independent publishers First and Eclipse as well as an outfit called Tiger Comics.  His first work for Marvel had come only about a year earlier.  So, as far as Marvel was concerned, I suppose that at that point in time it was technically accurate to refer to a ten year veteran of the comics industry as a "newcomer."
I'm still not convinced about the "talented" part, but that's just me.  Actually, though, that cover from the first issue of Conan the Adventurer isn't half bad.  In fact, its one of the better pieces of art I've seen by Kayanan.  Maybe he just preferred the sword and sorcery stuff to super-heroes, so he put more into those comics.  Perhaps I'll check out an issue or two his Conan work if I happen to come across it in a quarter bin at some point in the future.

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