Sunday, August 07, 2011

Mike the Barbarian!

I present now, from a seventh-grade notebook, the beginning of a saga I have mentioned here before: Mike the Barbarian. I guess it's from around May 1982, when the Schwarzenegger movie came out. In light of a looming remake, and Mike's birthday just having passed without so much as a card from me, I figured it's a good time to post it here. (Here's a link to the post with that earlier mention; it also has a current movie tie-in, as it features Mike hanging out with his Smurf pals.)

I don't think I saw Conan in the theater, but I must have seen plenty of clips and ads for it at the time. I drew the first panel (based on the poster, I think), then Jeff took a turn, then Mike. I doubt we really planned anything out, since our respective panels suggest we were mainly interested in negating whatever plot the previous artist had advanced. Thus, it's a pretty fast-moving comic, with new characters and creatures introduced and then immediately killed. I have so far only scanned the first fourteen panels, as they took a lot more cleaning up than I realized they'd need. I wasn't planning on doing too much editing, but in some cases you could barely see the image because of the bleed-through from the reverse of the looseleaf. I put the artist's initial at the bottom right corner in most panels, unless I forgot. Later in the comic, Jeff and I booted Mike from the project because he was getting on our nerves, as he tended to do back then.

The figure laying at Mike's feet is a classmate that we picked on. He's in the woman's position of the original poster.

Mike drew this panel. I have blacked out the classmate's name. It's never too late for libel.

Although he had a knife thrown at him in the previous panel, here I kill off the classmate with an arrow. This is the only panel where Mike's face is painted like in the movie.

Here, trying to cram in as much story into my panel as possible, I have a "falling rocks" sign conveniently popping up just as the sound of a punch causes rocks to fall.

Here Jeff phones it in. Maybe he had actual schoolwork to do.

Mike (the artist, not the character) does his best to end the comic.

Again cramming my panel with exposition, a passing wizard levitates the rock and makes Mike grow slightly, but an arrow kills the wizard, leaving Mike tiny in stature. Got that? I'm not sure why the wizard says"Whoops."

Apparently Jeff noticed this little archer escaped death in the fifth panel. Why he's suddenly in a window I couldn't say, but there you are.

The miniscule Mike climbs the (presumably dead but somehow still standing) wizard's hat, and beans the archer with a rock. Whoosh. Ping. Ugh.

Deciding the archer has fallen out of a castle and not into it (who the hell can tell?), I have him summon a dragon, much to Mike's dismay.

And so I'll leave you with this cliffhanger, and a dragon by Jeff that I was pretty darn impressed with at the time. To give you an idea of my painstaking restoration of this classic, the right side of the panel (behind the dragon's wing) is the color of the paper before I cleaned it up.

This was Parts I and II. More to come! Maybe!