|Acroyear of the Micronauts.|
Well folks, let's take a walk back to when I was a kid. When I was really young, I was given Archie digests and some marvellous digests called "UFOs and Other Stories" where I learned all about planes disappearing in the Bermuda Triangle and that aliens have a fascination with doing terrible things to cattle.
But after that I started buying comics from Marvel. And the big five for me starting out were Godzilla, Shogun Warriors, Battlestar Galactica, Fantastic Four and....Micronauts.
If you're so interested, here's the link to the Wikipedia article giving some of the history. They started off as toys, but later debuted as a comic in 1979. If a team of galactic rebels (an explorer returning home to a world that has changed for the worse, a rebel princess, a deposed warrior king, a quippy arachnid, and two feisty robots) fighting a power mad tyrant in cool black armour welding massive mystical/technological powers seems oddly familiar, well, there were a lot of people trying to make a buck copying Star Wars at the time.
|Pretty sure this was the first issue|
I bought. I though it was cool
because of the toys, plus I had
been to Daytona Beach.
It's a hell of a dark think to put in a comic. If the dialogue was occasionally a bit much to swallow (Mantlo was known as the guy you went to at Marvel if you needed a story turned around quick because someone missed a deadline), the rest was fantastic stuff. I still maintain the first 12 issues are some of Marvel's best comics from that time. In particular #9-11. I read those issues to death and stalked my local corner store waiting for the next issues to come out.
But it was Michael Golden's artwork that captured me. Even now I can't exactly explain why I like the art so much. It was just dynamic, bursting with energy and style. When he eventually left the series interior art around issue #13 the series never really fully recovered.
Frustratingly, I mostly only have memories of the comics. My original issues are in storage and due to complicated copyright issues, Marvel has never collected the issues in paperback or hardcover. Nor are they available digitally through any legal means.
So getting to meet Michael Golden at a Comic Con would obviously be a big deal for me....if I knew he was there.
When I went to New York Comic Con in 2015 I was a "veteran" of these cons now. I had a plan of attack. For weeks leading up to it I carefully planned which artist tables I would hit first to get sketches before their lists filled up. I had my budget. I had my overflow budget. I was all set. And for the first two hours I was at the con I stuck to that plan. I hit all the tables I needed to, was disappointed that some weren't doing sketches (but I had planned for that too).
And then I discovered that Golden was there and I hadn't known.
I was horrified. Both because I figured his commission list was surely full by now, and that what he would ask would be beyond my budget.
I was forlornly looking at some prints at his table when he started talking to me. I tried very hard to not gush over how much I'd love Micronauts as a kid, something I'm sure he heard all the time. Then I explained I was quite sad I hadn't noticed his table sooner because I was sure his commission list was full by now.
"Actually, I haven't had a single request yet. What would you like?"
And we were off.....
I briefly considered getting Dr. Strange, which he also drew, until he told me he'd have to charge me more because he hated drawing the cape. Fair enough. That made Acroyear an easy choice. Noble warrior king from the planet Spartak, deposed from his throne by his evil brother. I might tease Mantlo's dialogue, but he always gave the best melodramatic lines to Acroyear ("Come. Betrayer of worlds." Corny. Don't care. Loved it when I was 9). Plus the armour and sword are spectacularly cool looking.
I commissioned him on Thursday afternoon and he had this ready for me by Saturday afternoon. I'm not saying he spent two straight days on it, but every time I walked past his table he was hunched over it. Golden was never the fastest artist, which is why he later switched to covers or very short runs.
So yeah, I love this piece. I love all the detail he put into it. And I love that when I look at it on my wall it's an easy reminder to when I was 9-years-old, getting obsessed with sci-fi and a comic about rebels from a microscopic universe who were, coincidentally, the size of action figures when they came to Earth made absolute sense.
1. I will survive - Me First and the Gimmie Gimmies
2. Fireside - Arctic Monkeys
3. Marry Song - Band of Horses
4. Supersonic - Pearl Jam*
5. Please do not let me go (live) - Ryan Adams