Monday, August 31, 2009

A Mixed Bag of Bart Sears Goodness

Going along with the theme of the last post, or the lack thereof, I thought I might, this time around, show some Bart Sears art that really doesn't fall into any particular category I've established here. There is some unpublished work, some early work, some commissioned work; yet all have one thing in common - they're all freaking good!
So let's take a dip into the gigantic bag that is my Bart Sears collection and have a look-see what comes out.

First out is a fantastic piece from way back in 1986!
Bart Sears Marooned
This is one of the many pieces I came across whilst rifling through Bart's boxes while staying with him and the family on my second trip, in 2006. I don't believe it was for anything in particular (Bart?), and I've never seen it published anywhere. Which is a great shame, because I think it is one of Bart's better early pieces, surpassing many of his QC QC covers from a few years later, in my opinion. It is also one of Bart's few forays into pure Science Fiction. And the sword thing is just nifty looking.

Let's see, what else have we got in here? Oh, ever seen this before?
Bart Sears Warlord 10 page 1
Whilst staying with Bart that time in 2006, Bart was working on Warlord #10. Bart asked me if I'd like to help with the inking of it. I swear I nearly pooped myself when he said that, half out of fear of messing up the inking, the other out of excitement at getting the oppurtunity to do the inking.
I ended up helping out on about half a dozen pages, filling in blacks here and there, sometimes a little more. The pinnacle was probably this page though, where I did most of the detail in the background. Bart first gave me a photocopy of the page to have a go at it first. He gave me a few notes after I'd done that, and then handed me the real page, and this is the result.
I was pretty excited to see our work on the printed paper, but unfortunately, DC pulled Bart's rendition of Warlord #10 and replaced it with another story, so none of the work we did ever made it to the printer.
I'm still mad at DC about that.

But anyway, on to the next item.

Here's another of my favourite pieces of work by Bart. And it's another unpublished item.
Bart Sears Incredible page 1Bart Sears Incredible pages 1-2
Cool huh? Actually, this is probably one of the best things Bart has ever done, in my opinion.
These three pages were originally intended for Marvel Comics' 1997-98 title 'Shadows & Light,' but Bart's work never got past the third page, I don't know why (Bart?). Bart did, however, produce a fantastic Colossus pin-up for issue #3, dated July 1998 which is worth checking out (I'll post it here when I've got it scanned in).

Here is another very early piece, and is probably one of the most unrecognisable pieces of Bart Sears art ever.
Bart Sears Slammer 1
I'm sure you'll have noticed that the credited artist is somebody called 'MILO,' but this comic strip is, in fact, an early collaboration of both Bart and Michael J Morrissey. I unfortunately don't know much more about it apart from the fact that there were perhaps four or five more strips completed, and they were published in a local Syracuse newspaper. I'm kinda hoping that as soon as Bart reads this, he'll fill me in with some more details, which I'll obviously post here if forthcoming.

Finally, some of you may know that whilst Sears Studios was open for business back in 1993-94, Bart was commissioned to design the vast majority of Marvel & Toy Biz's X-Men and X-Force lines for those years (he also designed several Fantastic Four figures and some packaging art too). Whilst there is an interesting story to go along with these designs and that deal, I'll leave that for another post, but give you a taste of the sort of designs he was producing for them.

The first piece is a character called Quark, often associated with Mojo and Longshot. He's a lesser character (Toy Biz produced quite a few lesser characters for these series'), but its a cool design image.
Bart Sears Action Figure - Quark

Next is packaging art for the Spider-Man 'Web of Steel' series of figures. Unfortunately, the final artwork looks to have been slightly altered from this art, but I still consider it a Bart Sears item, in spite of this.
Bart Sears Action Figure Spider-Man v Carnage
On a different note, those of you who are friends of mine on Facebook will know that I recently purchased an item that I hoped would contain some new Bart Sears artwork for me. Well, true to form, it didn't have any new Bart in it. The item in question is the 'Essential Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe Master Edition Volume 1 (is it just me or is that just stupidly long for a title?).

This Handbook reprints entries from the (take a deep breath) Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe Master Edition series from 1990-93. It has entries for both Captain Universe and Caliban, and I, perhaps a bit optimistically, hoped that it would have these images for those entries.

Bat Sears Handbook - Caliban Bart Sears Handbook - Captain Universe

But alas, it wasn't to be. But fear not, I am on the trail of another possible location for these images, and I'll bring any news to you as soon as I have any.

And finally, I just came across this cool T-Shirt, which takes the art from Bart's 'Contract #1 Solo Missions: Panzer' cover for A First Salvo.
Bart Sears Panzer T-Shirt

I'm back at work tomorrow after a blissful week off, but I'll try and do another post next weekend.
Until then...

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

This Bart Sears and That Bart Sears

I thought it time to do a more generalized post to bring some news from both Bart himself and some of my own Bart related news.

First off, if you didn't know already, Bart is on Facebook! Hard to believe, I know, and even more unbelievable for the fact that he posts regularly! I'm sure Satan just felt a chill. He and wife Michelle have also set up a fan group on Facebook, with lots of galleries of his work and links to sites where Bart can be found, including this very site you're on now. So if you're not already, be a Facebook Bart Sears fan!

Next up, I've found a few items of Bart's that up until very recently I was completely unaware of. I love when this sort of thing happens normally, but not this time. You see, I just placed another order with Mile High Comics (to which I'll write about when I receive them in a few weeks). The money has been sent, the comics are on their way, and now I've gone and found a few more covers of Bart's that Mile High has on sale at the moment too. Sadly, they'll have to wait for the next order, when I can buy up enough comics to make the shipping cost worth my while.

But anyway, here are the covers for you. They're pretty good. They are 'Blade of the Warrior: Kshatriya #1,' and Ramayan 3392 AD Reloaded #7' respectively, both from Virgin Comics.
Bart Sears Blade of the Warrior: Kshatriya #1Bart Sears Ramayan 3392 AD Reloaded #7

I also found this image, which was scheduled for Ramayan 3392 AD Reloaded #10, to be released some time in late 2008, but as far as I can tell, never came out. If I find out more, I'll let you know.
Bart Sears Ramayan 3392 AD Reloaded #10

Lastly, my 32nd birthday was last week, and I got some cool stuff, including a new baseball cap that says 'Bart Sears - Ominous Press' on it, I also got an A4 magnet that says 'Bart Sears - #1 Fan - Bart Stuff' on it that is currently attached to my chest of Bart stuff. I also got a cool keyring saying 'Bart Sears #1 Fan.' All of these things came from my awesome wife, who saved the best gift for last. We had a car for the weekend just gone, thanks to my father-in-law, and we clocked up 800km over the two days. We travelled around the countryside of the West of Ireland, and saw some amazing things.

We stopped off at a spot that I've been wanting to visit for a long time - Queen Medb's Tomb. It's pronounced May-v. To read up on her, check out She's a very interesting person, and even features in Pat Mills' Slaine comic -
Here's a picture of me standing in front of her tomb, which is a 1km walk up a ridiculously precarious mountain. I've got my trusty Mael Postcard with me, and I'm wearing my new Bart Sears cap.
Bart Sears, Medb, Mael & Me

We also went across the border to Northern Ireland (for all of 10 minutes), and here I am standing in front of a decommissioned Police garrison.
The Bart Sears Mael postcard in Northern Ireland

We also visited the grave of one of the greatest writers and poets of all time, W. B. Yeats. Despite the lashing rain, heres a picture of me next to it with my Bart Sears cap on again.
W B Yeats grave
But the best part of the weekend was when my wife treated me to a Falconry lesson at the amazingly posh Ashford Castle. It was a blissful hour of walking around a forest and estate gardens, getting a Harrier Hawk called Wexford to land on my arm, feed, take off and do it again. It was darn incredible, and I couldn't resist replicating a pose from one of Bart's comics.
Captain America/Captain Australia
In other matters, the great Bart Sears laminating experiment is going well. I'm working my way through The First, which has been a pleasure to read again, I'd almost forgotten just how good Bart's art is in it. I had originally hoped to have the experiment done in November 2009, but it looks as though it will have to be extended to about May 2010, only because I've been spending my meagre Bart Sears allowance on actual comics instead of laminating sheets over the past few months. I'm up to my 15th box of laminated comics, all of which tower to about 60 centimetres in height. They will eventually be put into 100 sheet folders, but that will dramatically increase the space required to store them, so will have to wait until we have our own house and my study is fitted out to hold everything.
I'll be writing another post later on this week, so check in again soon.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Guess what the Postman delivered today? #7

After waiting what seemed like an eternity (but in reality was only three weeks), my latest delivery of comics arrived from Mile High Comics yesterday.
This was a bit of an unusual shipment as I wasn't entirely certain that Bart Sears had anything to do with some of the comics I ordered. As it turned out, Bart had something to with only a few of the comics I ordered.
But it isn't as bad as it sounds, because a lot of the comics I ordered were ordered for the sole purpose of establishing whether Bart had anything to do with them.
Take the below image for example.
Bart Sears Prophet Pin-Up
Its a pin-up of Rob Liefeld's Prophet, a decidedly one-dimensional character, I'm sure you'll agree. Well, I've been looking everywhere on the internet for this image for many years now, and have never found out anything. I somehow already own a few issues of the comic, namely issues #1, 5, 6 & 7. Bart's pin-up obviously doesn't appear in those issues. But I still wasn't sure if that pin-up appeared in any of the other issues, so I went ahead and bought Prophet #2, 3, 4, 8, 9, 10 and the Annual. And guess what? Yep, the pin-up doesn't appear in any of those issues either. BUT AT LEAST I KNOW NOW THAT IT DOESN'T!

And then there's this guy-
Bart Sears Nebular
Bart produced two pin-ups for the company Dagger Entertainment back in 1994, whilst Sears Studios was taking in such jobs. One character was fantastically called Black Box, and Bart's pin-up of him appeared in all of the May 1994 titles from Dagger. But I've never been able to discover the whereabouts of the above pin-up, whose name is Nebular. So I bought some Dagger comics, namely Team Anarchy #5, 6 & 8 (#7 has the Black box pin-up in it). And guess what, the pin-up doesn't appear in any of those issues either. BUT AT LEAST I KNOW THAT IT DOESN'T! (sound familiar?) Why so interested in this guy? Well, I happen to own the original art of this pin-up, that's why.
Also, a warning, if you can avoid it, don't buy any Dagger Ent. comics, they are god-fricking-'I can do better than this crap'-'so could a 5 year old'-baaaaddd. It is kinda worth it for seeing an advert for a how-to book called 'Step by Step Drawing & Creating your very own Superheroes,' by acclaimed Dagger artist, Rick Leach. Never heard of him? That's because he flat out sucks. I mean, would you want a guy who draws like this to teach you how to draw?

I certainly wouldn't.

Next up was a bit of a shot in the dark. In 2007, as part of the 'Free Comic Book Day,' Wizard released a small comic reprinting some of their 'How To' Tutorials. I've never been able to get my hands on a copy of it, until now, that is. I had kinda hoped to open it up and see one of Bart's B&B tutorials in there, as it would be a pretty neat little addition to not only my collection, but the Bart Sears checklist. But guess what? know the rest...

Next up was another shot in the dark, maybe not complete dark, but certainly difficult to see.
I often search Google for Bart Sears related stuff, and I often check comic databases for any additions. One day, whilst browsing one such database, I saw a listing for Bart as a contributor on a comic called 'Real Heroes #3' published by Marvel and released through Pizza Hut of all places, back in 1994. So I bought that comic too. But guess what? Well, this time I was close. Whilst it doesn't actually have any Bart Sears art in it, it does have a cool trading card drawn by my old pal, Andy Smith. The artwork from the card also appears on the inside of both the front and back covers. It's a cool piece, and I'm happy to add it to my Andy Smith card set.
Andy Smith Real heroes #3 card
So those are the comics that didn't have Bart Sears art in them. Now for the cool stuff that did!
First of all, I got a few comics to replace my old copies, to be re-laminated to fit with my new laminating method. They included -
Bart Sears Halo Jones #6
The Ballad of Halo Jones #6. Which, despite what Bart thinks, I think is quite nice.

Bart Sears Blade Strange Tales #2 regular coverBart Sears Blade Strange Tales #3
Blade: Strange Tales #2 & 3 (some of the better covers Bart has ever done, in my opinion).

Bart Sears Spider Woman #10
And Spider-Woman #10, which, despite what the cover says, does not have interior art by Bart Sears (Erik Larsen made a brief return to Marvel to do this issue's pencils and a few other projects).

But I think the pick of this particular litter is this puppy -
Bart Sears Inside Image #15
I only discovered the existence of this 'comic' about a month ago. Essentially, it is a publication review for the titles that Image produced, month by month (several comic companies were doing this sort of thing at the time). This is issue 15, for May 1994, and obviously features Bart's promotional art for the Violator series, with another buddy of mine, Mark Pennington (and possible relative - Pennington+Penn!), inking it as if he were a god amongst tracers.
There is also a 3-page article on the series, and shows a few of the pages in inked form, as well as a nice rough of the first cover.

So there's the latest package. A mix of great finds, items to cross off the list, and a few replacements thrown in. A worthy wait, I think.

Saturday, August 08, 2009

Wizard the Guide to Comics: Unused Covers

As stated in my previous post, Bart has had a long history with Wizard, and there was a time when he really was their 'golden boy.' This is before they got all hot for the likes of Alex Ross, Joe Quesada (who I, to this day, don't get the attraction), the Kubert boys and any other artist that came around the block.

Also stated in my previous post is the fact that Bart had more covers printed between issues 1 and 100 than any other artist. He, in fact, had a total of 11 covers printed.

But did you know that there were another 9 covers that never made it to print? No? Well, here they are in all of their glory, with some of them exclusively appearing for the first time right now!

Cover 1: Wonder Woman
Bart Sears Wizard Unused Cover - Wonder Woman
This stunning piece was originally intended for around #9, as you can see. It was actually drawn around the same time as Bart's Wizard #4 Batman cover.
Cover 2: Darkhawk
Bart Sears Wizard Unused Cover - Darkhawk
Another one originally scheduled for #7-10. I read a lot of comics in the early '90's and I can't even recall seeing this character!
Cover 3: The Joker
Bart Sears Wizard Unused Cover - The Joker
Another really cool piece, intended for Wizard #9 (eventually to be replaced by Bart's famous Venom cover). Wizard claimed that this piece didn't clearly show the character in question... a kinda lame reason I think, because it is quite clearly The Joker, it couldn't be anybody else but The Joker. I mean, who else has green hair, white skin and wears a purple jacket?
Cover 4 & 5: She-Hulk 1 & 2
Bart Sears Wizard Unused Cover - She-Hulk 1Bart Sears Wizard Unused Cover - She-Hulk 2
Planned for either Wizard 15 or 16 (Wizard have stated these covers were planned for 15 at one stage and 16 in another). They were intended to be split into East and West Coast distribution, can you tell which one is for which? Obviously, the Daisy Duke lookalike is for the West, the Farah Fawcett is for the East.
Cover 6: Sabretooth
Bart Sears Wizard Unused Cover - Sabretooth
To be honest, I'm still not 100% sure this piece is actually for a Wizard cover (Bart?). But that little star above Bart's signature tells me it is. It's a cool piece whatever it was for. Note: Bart has since confirmed that it is, indeed, a Wizard cover.
Cover 7: Psylocke v Sabretooth
Bart Sears Wizard Unused Cover - Psylocke v Sabretooth
Whilst technically not an 'unpublished' cover (the Psylocke figure was still used in the final), it still features a shot of Sabretooth that was replaced by another one by Bart, at Wizard's request (another one I disagree with). I think this first version is better.
Cover 8: Wonder Woman, Batman & Superman
Bart Sears Wizard Unused Cover - Wonder Woman-Batman-Superman
A cool jam piece of three titans of comicdom, planned for Wizard #63, only to be beaten out by a Superman/Lois Lane piece and a Witchblade/Darkness variant. Ahhhhh, Wizard... silly children.
Cover 9: Batman v Joker/Two Face
Bart Sears Wizard Unused Cover - Batman v Joker & Two Face
This was originally intended for a Wizard Batman Special, but never made it to the cover. This is surely one of Bart's more odd pieces. The style is consistent with Bart's other work at the time, making use of thick outlines and fine line detail (which reached it's peak in Bart's Penthouse ComiX work, which is highly underrated in my view). It's just wacky looking! Here's what Bart recently had to say about it - "The Batman was me having fun... doing something a little different."

It is interesting to note that Bart also produced a Wolverine cover, inked by Rob Hunter, a few years ago, that has never turned up, and probably won't at this stage. He also produced a Superman cover for issue 8, that ended up appearing on the cover of the Wizard Phildelphia Comicfest '93 Souvenir Program Guide, but I'll talk about that more when I do a post about Bart's published Wizard covers.