Monday, January 30, 2017

Original Art Origins of ORIGINS (OF MARVEL COMICS)! Severin Origins! Bronze Age Madness!

Confused by that pulsatin' post title? Don't be! Below we have several early cover roughs for not only the still-remembered ORIGINS OF MARVEL COMICS book, but two other titanic titles in that scintillating 70s series! These hefty book collections (rare for those pre-graphic novel times) were very unique and treasured, and still reside on most fan's shelves! Click below to enlarge each!

Above (left and center): Marie Severin's rough designs for the cover of the
flagship ORIGINS OF MARVEL COMICS (right) tome! Note the inclusion
of writer Stan Lee in the designs, and not just his hands, as seen on
the finished painted 1974 cover (created by John Romita, Sr.!)

Above, left: Another Marie Severin rough for the initial ORIGINS book, but
one that became the inspiration for the later sequel, SON OF ORIGINS (right)!

Note the addition of Conan on the rough, then a big seller for Marvel, but one
of their rare characters licensed from outside the firm! The middle 

image is the b/w inked art prelim by Johnny, to be slightly altered 
before the final 1975 painting (also by John) was done! Thanks to
Anthony'sComic Book Art site for the above roughs!

Above: John Romita's inked cover art, to be used in
print ads for the block-busting book! Thanks
to Brian Peck for sharing this!

Above (left and center): Two cover roughs by Romita, for the third installment in the
line, BRING ON THE BAD GUYS! Romita (who else?) handled the final painted
1976 art (right), too! Thanks to Heritage Auctions for the roughs!

BONUS! Look below to see yet another iteration of the original ORIGINS book cover!
Here, in this 1974 comics ad, we see a line-drawn (and patched together) mock cover 
that features the Silver Surfer in the line-up! Alas, the Surfer would have to wait for the 
SON OF sequel to soar thru the pages of these
books in his own solo outing!


BK said...

Thanks for sharing these. Love seeing the production background of my childhood favourites and the extent to which Marie Severin provided the "first draft" of almost every one of the treasured covers of that era.

The Silver Surfer actually appears prominently in the first volume, Origins of Marvel Comics, which reprints the Jack Kirby and Stan Lee classic Fantastic Four #55, featuring the fourth appearance of the character and a classic punch-up between The Thing and Surfer ("When Strikes the Silver Surfer!"). The format of the book followed this pattern: a reprint of the origin story followed by a reprint of a later, mostly "done-in-one" issue of the same title/characters. I imagine Stan chose the Surfer story because it was mostly self-contained and because it was a way to sneak in another big Marvel name and hilight that hallmark of Marvel stories, the team-up/crossover. And of course, Kirby's Surfer creation had become sort of Stan's "pet" character by that time...

I loved these books when I was a kid. I bought a used library copy of the first Origins books and read it until the spine separated. This and the dispatches from Stan in the comics of the 70s were my bible and I totally bought Stan's version of history in which he was the sole creative genius behind the Marvel universe and the artists (Kirby and Ditko especially) were just quirky hired hands recruited to illustrate his fully-formed vision. I love those Romita covers with a burning fire as well. Great paintings and composition and character choice. Some of my favourite Romits art ever!

Marcus said...

Thanks for posting this! I still have my copies of these books from when I was a kid. They were a great intro to the history of the Marvel U.

J.A. Morris said...

True story:First time I ever saw Daredevil's yellow costume was when I looked through a copy of Son Of Origins at a Waldenbooks. Based on the book's title, I presumed that guy in yellow must be "Daredevil's son!" I was 8 years old and didn't know any better.

Al Bigley said...


That would be about the time I also first glimpsed it, besides a 1974 issue of DYNAMITE magazine!

At that time, I loved the idea of a one-color costume! So unique!