Greetings, True Believers! With the recent wave of Marvel hero movies, superheroes are in the air here at Planet Retro (um, figuratively speaking). If you’re like me, you probably collect not only classic comics, but all kinds of superhero memorabilia: action figures, tin signs, glasses, busts, plates, pins, you name it. These days, I lean more toward collectibles, having been swamped by the Marvel “title wave” of the 1990s. Nowadays I’m in love with the line of Marvel Standz.
These vintage-style stand-ups come in two flavors: modern and retro. Of course, you already know which ones we’re showing off. Standz are kind of a synthesis of a poster and an action figure.It all starts with a piece of genuine, honest-to-goodess Marvel art from the ’70s or ’80s. The image is then laminated on a sheet of 6 mil, expanded PVC. For those who don’t know – and I had to look it up – PVC is a durable, foam-like plastic and ’6 mil’ means it’s 6 one-thousands of an inch thick. Laser-guided equipment cuts the outline of the image, leaving you with a beautiful piece of 3D comic art! (If you’re interested, you can find videos demonstrating the cutting process online.)
It’s a fun idea, but the real kick for me is seeing classic comic artwork I remember from my youth displayed upright on my desk. It’s about as close as I can get to having Ben Grimm right next to me, ready to clobber any obstacle in my way. Besides, I grew up with the art of Kirby, Buscema (both of ‘em), Chan, Kane, Byrne, Windsor-Smith, Adams, Simonson, so that’s what I love. Sorry, manga-ites!
Of course, identifying the artists who penciled the originals is a game on its own. From the complete lineup, I’m guessing:
Captain America – Jack Kirby
Hulk – Sal Buscema
Iron Man – Gene Colan
Silver Surfer – ?
Spider-Man – ?
Thing – ?
Wolverine – ?
Jack Kirby’s work is very distinctive, with thick, heavy contour lines that make his heroes look almost metallic. Sal Buscema’s style has always struck me as a looser, freer version of that of his older brother, John (probably not a fair statement, but John is my all-time favorite!). As for the recently-departed Gene Colan, I’m just playing the odds on that one…. Haven’t a clue on the others!
Here’s the complete lineup:
If you think you can pin down the artists of these Marvel Retro Standz or just want to share your favorite comic memories, comment below. I’d love to know!
Until next time: Make Mine Marvel!