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John Byrne
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Joined: 11 May 2005
Posts: 117721
Posted: 19 November 2019 at 11:22am | IP Logged | 1 post reply

Over the span of an artist's association with a particular character, that character will often undergo changes without the artist even being aware of it. George Perez's Raven became more gaunt and "scary" as the character evolved. Curt Swan's Superman pretty much aged as he did, becoming kind of jowly and paunchy. And the Thing changed slowly but steadily thru Kirby's tenure.

Next, enter the fanboys. They begin to gain more and more influence and even control in the Biz, and it starts to become "necessary" to EXPLAIN why these changes are occurring. Happened with Raven, in TEEN TITANS. Happened with the Hulk, explaining why he turned from gray to green IN CONTEXT. And happened with the Thing.

By the time I came to Marvel, it was already established lore that Ben Grimm had been constantly mutating, his physical appearance changing from "dinosaur hide" to the familiar rocky plates.

(A big difference between then and now, tho, was that artists were still expected to draw as if they were all looking at the same live models. Only later would the singer become more important than the song, and interpretations of Ben's plate structure--and his height--began to change with the whims of whoever was drawing him.)

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Scott Barnett
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Joined: 14 December 2018
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Posted: 19 November 2019 at 11:23am | IP Logged | 2 post reply

I'll confess- I thought it was a stylistic choice when I read your run at the time of publication (I liked your rendition better, anyway).

It wasn't until later on that I realized you were showing him actually changing.
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John Byrne
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Posted: 19 November 2019 at 11:32am | IP Logged | 3 post reply

I see Marvel's online database lists the Thing as being 6' tall, and weighing 500 lbs, which is something of a return to sanity, if often ignored.
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John Byrne
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Posted: 19 November 2019 at 11:43am | IP Logged | 4 post reply

Here's a peek at the Sound Effects selection I made for myself. . .

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James Johnson
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Joined: 16 March 2009
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Posted: 19 November 2019 at 12:22pm | IP Logged | 5 post reply

Still not as much as Don Martin!!!!!  :-)
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Vinny Valenti
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Joined: 17 April 2004
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Posted: 19 November 2019 at 1:43pm | IP Logged | 6 post reply

Damn, so that explains why Super-Skrull-as-Thing was drawn in ALPHA FLIGHT #9 in the pre-Byrne style!
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John Byrne
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Posted: 19 November 2019 at 1:54pm | IP Logged | 7 post reply

Precisely so, Vinny. Despite my rep as Destroyer of Worlds, I usually try to stay on model.
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Richard Palmgren
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Joined: 31 May 2009
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Posted: 19 November 2019 at 1:59pm | IP Logged | 8 post reply

Your run on FF from the "Ben gets reverted to dino hide / Frankie Raye"  to "Franklin becomes an Adult and a God vs Sue" is like number one of my "only one thing to read on a deserted island" list.  Your art and style during those issues was over the top and super unique for those days  

Question though, it seemed like you were trying to "scratch an itch" with the Original Human Torch, with references and appearances throughout the 80's.  Did you have some grand plan for him?
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John Byrne
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Posted: 19 November 2019 at 2:16pm | IP Logged | 9 post reply

I don’t know how “grand” it was, but it played out aa I intended in AVENGERS WEST COAST.

Then later writers, who prefer backstories as complicated as they can be, broke what I had fixed.

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Leigh DJ Hunt
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Joined: 20 February 2008
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Posts: 1457
Posted: 20 November 2019 at 2:41am | IP Logged | 10 post reply

Precisely so, Vinny. Despite my rep as Destroyer of Worlds, I usually try to stay on model.
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That's pretty amazing. I'd expect most people would think you'd just draw them how you wanted to.

Re. the explanation of the changes to Raven - I thought that was done in story by the creators and planned all along, no?
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