1987: Jim Lee at Marvel
Carl Potts’ DC Comics Guide to Creating Comics was published this week, and so I thought I’d take a moment to highlight a passage from Marvel Comics: The Untold Story, about Potts’ impact as an editor.
Art Adams had an immediate impact on his aspiring peers, the young men who’d been weaned on Claremont and Byrne’s X-Men and Frank Miller’s Daredevil and who’d seen the visual style of Marvel Comics settle into staid functionality. In the last days of the Jim Shooter reign, there emerged a clutch of young artists who determinedly rendered every strand of hair, every stretch of clothing, every tooth in their characters’ mouths. If there was a scene with a brick wall destroyed, you could bet that every single brick would be delineated.
The inker on Adams’s Longshot was a Filipino art school dropout named Whilce Portacio. Portacio was great at rendering details but needed improvement when it came to anatomy and perspective, so editor Carl Potts had him work over Adams’s pencils, hoping he could learn a thing or two along the way. In the meantime, Potts fed Portacio books like The Five C’s of Cinematography and kept him busy with work inking Alpha Flight. Shortly afterward, when Potts hired Jim Lee, an excessively polite, South Korean Ivy Leaguer, to draw Alpha Flight, the two artists meshed artistically and personally. Now Lee, too, got a copy of the cinematography book, and Potts drilled him on storytelling fundamentals, much like Denny O’Neil had with Frank Miller a decade earlier. Then Lee moved to San Diego and into a studio with Portacio. Their lives and careers were now entwined for good.
You can view sample pages of The DC Comics Guide to Creating Comics here.