Despite all of the excitement concerning the launch of Ominous Studios, this here #1 Bart Sears Fan doesn't have time to get too wrapped in it all, as there are still plenty of items to buy, list and organise.
I've actually had quite a healthy few weeks as far as Bart Sears work is concerned, managing to plug in some far too long vacant gaps in my collection, as well as discovering a few absolute gems along the way too.
I received a consignment of Bart Sears goodies from my old friends MyComicShop, not to mention a rather beautiful item from the old enemy, France. And just yesterday I re-visited that great little comic shop in Dublin, and came away with a few things.
As a bit of a change (for the better and the new system from now on), I'm going to list the items, not in the order they arrived, but chronological as to when they were published. There's no real special reason for this, I just think it is a nice way to do it. So let's get started, shall we...?
One of the cooler items I got from MCS this time around is this pretty little thing here-
This is an item that I've known the existence of for many, many years, but for some reason, I've never gotten my grubby little hands on it. There is a Deluxe Edition of this Graphic Album, with a nice hardback black cover, with simply the title 'Hero Alliance' showing. But this TPB is unique to the Deluxe Edition in that it has that painted cover on it. That cover was painted by a R. T. Schneider way back in 1986! Those of you that have an eye for Bart's art will perhaps look on this piece and note some resemblance to his style. Well, you'd be right. This painting was actually produced as a direct painted copy of the more traditional comic-style cover by Bart and Ron Lim, which is featured on the first page of the album.
But perhaps what I find most interesting about this book is the fact that Bart is listed not as penciller, artist or illustrator, but as 'Assisted by Bart Sears,' -this following directly after the illustrator credits. What nerve! The Graphic Album has 47 pages of comic art, 25 of which have art by Bart (including the first 11 and a half), and he's just an assistant to the illustrators? I think not! But I am very glad to finally have this book, as it is one of his earliest works. For those of you interested in it, it reprints the Hero Alliance: End of the Golden Age story, which can be found in comic form too, published by Innovation.
Next up we have this Quality Comics cover-
This was the final cover I required to retain all of Bart's QC covers again in my new laminated format. This particular issue, Scavengers #3, from February 1988, has proven rather difficult to find in good condition, but I finally got it from MCS, and for a reasonable price too.
So I thought I'd finally gotten all of the QC covers at last, then, only yesterday, I came across this one up in Dublin-
Yes, I know, it has the same artwork as the previous one, but if you look closer, you'll see that the issue number is listed as #15. So, my initial thought was that they used the same artwork for the cover of issue #15. But that is not the case, because on the back cover, QC often pictured the other titles published in that same month, and the issues on this particular comics back cover were the same as the ones published the same month that Scavengers #3 came out. Also, the title Scavengers only went up to #14! Naturally enough, I bought it, brought it home and checked the interior story, which is also exactly the same as Scavengers #3; which can bring me to only one conclusion- this is a misprinted cover! I have no idea how many of these were printed, but I can't imagine it was many. A great find, indeed.
And what would an order from MCS be without a Wizard issue? I don't know, I've never done it.
This shipment had Wizard #9 in it, the last of the early Wizard issues I needed, not least for the fantastic cover!
For those keeping track (probably just me), there are a total of 4 different Poof! mascots in Wizard #9, as well as the Venom cover poster insert, a subscription coupon, and a few other Bart related bits and bobs.
As I've mentioned in the past, this is supposedly the issue that saved Wizard from going under, and the cover has always been mentioned as having a lot to do with that. I even go as far as to think that Bart is the single reason that Wizard still exists today (for better or worse). I'm probably going too far, but it might not be too much of a stretch.
I have now checked every Wizard issue from issue #1 all the way through to #48, with many other issues checked as well. I have catalogued all mention of Bart in all forms they come in, be it a piece of artwork, an interview, an article, etc. If you're interested in getting a copy of this document, please let me know.
Next up is another pesky little item that I've only just been able to acquire again.
It's the Image Comics 'Image Scene 1994' preview book. It's quite a hefty 80-odd pages of promotional splashes and series details, and I owned it years ago, cut out the Bart Sears Violator page, laminated it, popped it in a folder. But now I have it again for re-lamination.
And here we have Shadows & Light #3, published in July, 1998 by Marvel. This is what's on the inside cover-
Of all of the images of Colossus down the years, I still fervently believe that they all bow before this one. I am generally quite biased toward Bart, but I think I'm on the money with this one. Many years ago, Mike Atiyeh coloured this piece, incredibly beautifully, I might add. But neither of us has the file anymore, unfortunately.
The series Shadows & Light only lasted to this issue, which is of course is a shame, because Bart was slated to do that Incredible story in a later issue. Bart just recently informed me that he actually wrote that story, though he is unsure if he still has a copy of the script.
I have also often wondered on the purpose of these pieces-
I've had copies of them for a long time now and was never sure if they were commissions, pin-ups or for something else entirely. Bart has now confirmed they were used as sort of preparation pieces for the 'Incredible' story, which was to feature these characters too. He also started on the Captain America and Vision studies too, but didn't get around to finishing them. Makes me feel all the more regretful that that story wasn't completed.
Perhaps the pick of this particular litter though, is this-
One of the times I was staying with Bart (I can't recall which), he showed my three books published by a French company that reprinted The Path from CrossGen Comics. It has taken me until just last week to get a copy of one of them for myself. The book that I got is the second of those three books, and reprints The Path #4-8. The company that produced the book is called Semic, based in Paris.
The great thing about the album is that it is laid out specifically for Bart's multiple two-page spreads, so each page has a two-page spread on it from the comics and it looks gorgeous. I'm definitely going to try and get the other two books, that's for sure. And, yes, they're all in French.
Next up is this comic-
As stated in another post, I had a good deal of luck with issue #2 of this series, so I had my hopes up for this one too. But this is what was presented to me in the form of the contribution Bart made to it-
If you squint your eyes and perhaps pull out a magnifying glass to aid you, you might just see that little box in the bottom-left corner. That tiny image of Mattie Franklin, taken from page 17 of Spider-Woman #12 is, in fact, the only thing of Bart's in the whole comic. Needless to say, it didn't quite live up to my expectations, but I ain't complaining... much.
Whilst in that comic shop in Dublin yesterday, I also picked up a cheap copy of the Batman: Going Sane TPB-
As you can see, the back cover features some of Bart's art, and his art is scattered throughout the book in various forms, be it the title page, etc. And of course his Legends of the Dark Knight #200 issue is also reprinted at the back of the book. I still have a few trades to get of Bart's, namely- The Scream, The Helm and the Indiana Jones one, which I'm sure I'll pick up somewhere down the line.
Finally, I also bought the Wolverine:Weapon X 100 Project TPB, which features both of Bart's awesome covers for the project.
I haven't decided whether or not I should cut Bart's page out of the book yet, but I'm leaning toward just doing it!
There you have it anyway. These couple of weeks worth of acquisitions have bitten off a sizable chunk of the Bart Sears items I still require, and I'm getting to the stage where the Action Figures Bart worked on are becoming the easier items to get. So I've no doubt you will be seeing some Toy Biz and C.O.P.S. toys featured here in the future.
Until next time...