Saturday, 11 February 2012

BARRY SMITH'S THOR...


Images copyright MARVEL COMICS

BARRY WINDSOR SMITH, when he was just plain ol' Barry
Smith back in 1968, drew this back-page POWER HOUSE PIN-UP
for FANTASTIC #50.  He'd have been only around eighteen years old
at the time.  To be frank, some of the pin-ups in Fantastic were awful,
so if young Barry was responsible for them, he really had progressed
in leaps and bounds by the time he started drawing CONAN The
BARBARIAN in 1970.


In 1973, SPIDER-MAN COMICS WEEKLY #16 printed
the pin-up, below, of The MIGHTY THOR, taken from the splash
page of The AVENGERS #66.  One can see the KIRBY influence
at once of course, but it's none-the-less effective for that.


I always regarded The MIGHTY WORLD Of MARVEL and
SMCW as official replacements for Fantastic and TERRIFIC,
so it's kind of fitting that pin-ups of Thor by Barry appeared on the
back pages of comics by both publishers, ODHAMS PRESS and
MAGAZINE MANAGEMENT, the latter being the parent
company of MARVEL COMICS at the time.


You've got to hand it to him - didn't the boy do well?  ('Though
it's a shame ol' Goldilock's nostrils seem to have gone walkabout
at the printing stage in that second pin-up.) 

9 comments:

baab said...

I have the nick fury agent of shield issues he drew and the Jack Kirby influence is always in early Barry Smith work.
I loved Conan but only if it was by Barry or Gil Kane,I gradually lost interest after that.

ooops ,you got me reminiscing again...

Imagine my delight on buying the captain america bicentennial treasury to see him inking the master.

Funny you mention the nose missing in the thor pinup....when I think of Barry Smith I think ,small noses!

Kid said...

Ah, Bicentenial Battles. Must dig it out and re-read it. Smith's inked section was certainly something.

Chris Nevell said...

A couple of years ago, the cover artwork for Fantastic Annual 1970 came up on eBay. The cover, which features the X-Men, looked as though it could have been an old Power comic back page poster so I wondered whether it might be an (albeit crude) original Smith creation dusted down and used. However no amount of web searching could assist, so what to do.... ask the man himself! Emailing his studio I didn't expect to get a reply on what is an obscure part of his career so imagine my surprise to get a very nice reply back from Barry himself. It turned out it wasn't his work but I got a lot of joy trying to find out.

Kid said...

It's always nice when that happens, isn't it? There's a picture of that selfsame Annual somewhere on this blog, plus the two which preceded it.

Nick Caputo said...

I believe Barry Smith drew a lot of those early pin-ups in the British weeklies, and yes, he did improve quickly. The second Thor pic is from an issue ofthe Avengers he drew. I recall when Smith first came on the scene at Marvel. Although he very much copied Kirby, adding elements of Steranko for good measure, there was still a sense of excitement in his earliest efforts.

I love seeing the British covers. This one is by Rich Buckler, inked by Esposito. Starlin and Buckler pencilled a lot of the early covers, a fact which is rarely mentioned anywhere (although I have ID'ed many of them for the GCD).

Kid said...

Thanks for the info, Nick. Am I right in thinking that Ron Wilson drew some of the later covers for various British weeklies? I think Stan's brother did also. (Larry Lieber.)

Nick Caputo said...

Kid,

you are correct. Both LL and Ron Wilson drew a load of covers for the British comics. LL was an editor for a time there. Others, off the top of my head, included Keith Pollard and Pablo Marcos (who did a lot of Dracula, Hulk and Planet of the APes covers).

Kid said...

I remember the Pablo Marcos covers and the Keith Pollard ones too, although I didn't know his name back then. Although Larry Lieber was the editor of the British line for a while, he did it from the States - I don't know if he's ever been to Britain.

Keep those comments coming, Nick.

Nick Caputo said...

you're correct, of course. Larry edited from the states, as did Tony Isabella before him.

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