It’s been a busy week, what with work and such, so this will have to be a quick post. And since I’m also in the mood to post some pretty pictures I thought I’d revisit one of Marvel Comics’ portfolios from the early ‘80s.
The first X-Men portfolio was published in 1980 in an attempt to cash-in on the growing demand for limited edition artists portfolios – packs of 4–6 black and white (and sometimes colour) 14in x 11in high quality prints that were aimed at both comic book and fantasy fans alike. Featuring four full-colour paintings by Steve Fastner, Rich Larson and X-Men artist John Byrne the set was published by SQP, the same company that published The Art of John Byrne that same year. A second X-Men collection soon followed as did portfolios for both The Incredible Hulk and The Amazing Spider-Man.
I bought copies of both the X-Men and Hulk portfolios in 1980 for a fiver each and was impressed with the workmanship; I’m a fan of any kind of painted Marvel artwork and these collections are favourites of mine. I remember being particularly impressed that Cyclops’ costume was jet black and not the dark blue traditionally found in the comics. I’m also a great fan of the Sentinels and the first plate in the collection still looks great.
Copies of the long out-of-print X-Men portfolio can be found on ebay but they’re not cheap – I’ve seen a few for sale and they’ve been listed for over £50. However, the Hulk and Spider-Man collections are a little cheaper.
I’ve scanned in the four plates (below) as well as an advert for other SQP portfolios printed on the reverse of the cover. Click on a thumbnail to see the whole image.