Thursday, August 25, 2016

As Seen on TV -- Simon and Simon: “Almost Completely Out of Circulation” Custom Condor Comic Art

(A massive 36 inch wide marker comp done for the episode's finale.)

While at the Van Nuys office of Marvel Productions, I got a call to head out for a meeting with Stan Lee and Takashi (the studio’s art director), pronto. It turned out that Stan had a request to generate some prop comic book art for the prime time detective series Simon and Simon. The producers of the show had worked with Stan on the Doctor Strange TV pilot in the late 70s and figured if anyone knew how to get some comic book stuff going, it would be he.

(Frame captures from the Doctor Strange TV movie pilot.)

They’d decided to do the art on the West Coast to allow faster communication, and as I’d just come off the DNAgents comic book, which was under option as a live action show at CBS, everyone agreed that I’d be the right fit for the job.

(Some of the Condor art as seen on screen.)
 But there was a small rub. Since I was not a member of the Illustrators Guild, I couldn’t get a screen credit for my work. Their art director came up with the solution: DNAgents comics would be featured throughout the episode alongside the Marvel books and the faux comics I was creating – and the kid in the story would wear a DNAgents t-shirt part of the time. 

(Check out the DNAgents in the background of this scene filmed at Los Angeles' Hi-De-Ho Comics.)
Creating the fake comics was a blast. I penciled and where needed, wrote, the pages. Young Bruce Timm helped me out with some seriously nice inking on many of them when time got tight.

(A pair of my 6 inch by 9 inch faux cover comps.)
Takashi did the initial Condor and Condor logo designs, Jo Meugniot and I did the coloring, both color guides for the printers and marker color for the originals used on screen. Bill Spicer did the lettering, and Murphy Anderson’s outfit did the color separations. 

(A finished panel featuring the Condor.)
 So, here’s a look at The Claws of Condor, as seen on TV! 

(A large version of this on Masonite hung in the halls of Marvel Productions for many years.)

(My favorite of the Condor Covers.)
(To make the faux comic books, we removed the cover and centerspread from issues of Alpha-Flight and stapled our new art into the books in place of the pages we' d taken out. The Condor art was printed on both slick and pulp paper.)

Sadly for me, the original art for the finished pieces mysteriously disappeared while it was in Universal's hands, so I never got it back -- and Simon and Simon wouldn't take on my case.

Don't forget, you can order my Masked Mayhem magazines on Amazon, including these -- click on the image for ordering information.

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