Wednesday, April 06, 2005

Kevin Maguire

When I was 11, I was forced to get allergy shots each week. It was a lousy thing and I dreaded it... until I discovered the Waldenbooks across the parking lot from the clinic. It became my ritual: walk in, get the allergy shots, walk over to Walden's for 20 minutes, back to the clinic to check for allergic reactions, go home.

It was in Waldenbooks that I decided what I wanted to do with my life.

I bought a copy of Justice League International for a buck one afternoon. At home, I pored over the detail in the artwork. I wasn't quite at the age where I was remembering the names of artists I liked, but I remembered the guy that drew JLI - Kevin Maguire.

Maguire's artwork was a strange thing to see in a comic book. It wasn't goofy or sloppy or trendy. There weren't stupid, overblown muscles that didn't exist bursting out of the superheroes he drew. Instead, his work was soft and subtle. He paid close attention to gesture and proper anatomy. He understood facial expressions and lighting and composition. He pulled off the near-impossible and made it look easy.

My issue of JLI #23 grew worn and ragged from the reading, re-reading, scrutiny, analysis, and straight up copying of the artwork inside. I read that thing and said to myself, "this is it. This is what I want to do. I want to draw for a living. If I can draw pictures that can inspire others the way Kevin Maguire inspires me, I can die a happy lad."

To this day, Maguire remains my favorite. He's not the fan-fave he used to be, but he's still popular. Nearly 18 years later, if it says "Kevin Maguire" on the cover, I'm sold.

And last night, Carey handed me a flat package she'd won on eBay, backed with stiff cardboard. "It's a big day," she said, "let's get it framed for your birthday next month." I opened it up to find original Kevin Maguire artwork - a page from JLI #23.

It's the real thing, too, man. Maguire's signature is on the back, with the official DC Comics stamp and everything. Inks by Kevin's best inker: Joe Rubinstein. It's gorgeous.

So, "thanks" doesn't quite seem to say it, but thanks, Care. I still can't draw like Kevin Maguire, but think I can die a happy lad.


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