Monday, 23 April 2018

Alan Weiss' Sub-Mariner

A beautiful little back-up now from Alan Weiss, that yet again, makes me wish someone had given him a series to do in the Bronze Age. Any series. Hell, I'd've bought Ironjaw if Weiss had drawn it.
Maybe he just took too long on a page to make deadlines, or maybe it just didn't pay enough in those days. Here's part of an interview Alan did with Jon B. Cooke for Comic Book Artist that touches on that, and this particular story:
It's the first Marvel job I get to both pencil and ink, and it is the Sub-Mariner, my favourite character.
I am trying to really express my vision of him and make him look real, but more than real, because I loved the John Buscema Sub-Mariner.
So that day, I'm in this little cubicle with Herb Trimpe and John Romita. Gil Kane is in the office that day. Now Gil has some pointed opinions about the younger artists and what he considers their overuse of rendering, and I get a talking to from Gil Kane, a lecture.
He's pacing back and forth, orating about masturbatory rendering. Here. we want to be illustrators, and we are trying to utilize the rendering for the sake of a hyper-reality. But what they are saying is "This just takes too long! That's the main reason we don't do it! It costs money!"...
So I'm sitting there - and here's one of my three favourite artists telling me I'm doing it wrong! Oh, shit! He's saying, "Well, m'boy..." and proceeds to list all the things I shouldn't be doing.
Then John Romita chimes in with his story - "Yeah, once I did this romance job for Stan, and I put in the feathering" - they have different words for feathering, sometimes if  they are denigrating it, they call it "hay" - "and I did all this illustrative linework, and when I came in all the other artists collared me in the elevator saying, "Are you out of your mind? Now he's going to want us all to do that! How are we going to make a living?"
So they were all pissed off at John, because it was going to cost them time and money. So Romita's telling me this story, further discouragement, and I'm thinking, "I can't, I'm not going to open my mouth to Gil Kane," not at that time - I was 21, 22 years old!
Here's Herb Trimpe, the guy with this relatively cartoony style, right? The least amount of rendering, just nice, big, thick Marvel lines, right?
And I didn't know Herb, but his certainly wasn't the style of artwork I was trying to do... Herb is the one guy who has an encouraging word, and he says, simply this: "I don't know, I think you ought to just do it the way you want to do it!"
Just like that. It was the best thing that could've happened, you know? It was just so right! It was really wonderful, it lifted my spirits, and I've been grateful to Herb ever since.
Let me tell ya, if I hadn't been the biggest Herb Trimpe fan before that day, I sure as hell have been ever since!


  1. Wow! This is gorgeous! I would have loved to know what BIll Everett might have thought. To me Bill Everett was the benchmark for submariner especially his last few issues at marvel before he passed away.

  2. Really makes you wish Alan had done a Subby series, doesn't it?

  3. Beautiful work. Can never get enough Alan Weiss and his attempt at anatomy abd illustration. Hope we see more of his stuff like his work on Shazam!.

  4. Got a request on twitter for Al's magnificent Solomon Kane, but thanks for reminding me about Shazam too, Neil.

  5. The first/splash page is just perfect. I hunted out the original comic years ago as I was so in love with it. I recall reading that Weiss spent days on the splash's lass. Good as his other work was/is, it never matched this in my opinion. This for bringing this masterpiece back for our enjoyment and awe.

  6. Instead of this read THANKS!!!!

  7. Gil Kane was right though.


  8. A pinup page in TALES TO ASTONISH # 14-- the second (reprint) run-- features Weiss' pencil art for a splash or cover of an "upcoming, all-new" SUB-MARINER series ca. 1980. According to the brief text, it was to be written by Jim Shooter. Could have been a good one!

  9. No way! Have to see if I can locate that one - thanks for the heads up, Kevin, we love that kind of thing here.