Tuesday, June 06, 2006

The Thing About Steranko...

Okay, so you're coming to my blog here -- you probably know something about Jim Steranko. Great comic book artist, great magician, very talented man in general. And one thing that makes him stand out as a talent is that he's always been very concerned about how he's marketed. I remember my father, himself a magician, talking about how Steranko was very keen on getting interviewers and people who published anything about him to portray him in a very specific light.

Well, I just got to witness that first-hand.

A little while back, I had turned in my column for Jack Kirby Collector talking about Mr. Miracle. Not surprisingly, I referenced Steranko as a source of inspiration. As a courtesy, my editor sent a mocked-up copy of it over to Steranko... which led to an e-mail exchange between the two of them about some inaccuracies and misleading statements, much of which was prompted by a byline my editor added at the last minute. It gave something of a mis-leading impression of the point of the column.

In any event, Steranko was very careful to note that some of my phrasing gave a somewhat skewed perspective of events and made some suggestions that he felt gave a more accurate representation of his involvement in the creation of Mr. Miracle. My editor and I complied, and I've been making some last-minute re-writes as the magazine is going to press tonight.

But what I noticed in particular was that Sternako was very keen to make the point that he was indeed THE source for Mr. Miracle, alluding to some connections that I personally feel are somewhat tenuous. Making the column more difficult to write, as I certainly don't want to offend him by neglecting to mention those aspects, but at the same time, I don't want to sacrfice my personal integrity just to cozy up to Sternako! But the thing of it is, unless I really want to make a point of pissing him off, he has some degree of control over how is portrayed in my column.

And THAT, my friends, is one of the reasons why Steranko is as legendary as he is.

Don't get me wrong. He is a VERY talented comic book creator and I have a lot of respect for his work. But I don't know that he'd still have AS big a name for himself if he weren't able to keep very tight control on his professional image.

1 comment:

Maskmaster said...

Sean,
There are worse things than cozying up to Steranko! But you are certainly right about the issue of image. Those who take the time and effort to control their public image tend to cultivate legendary status. Unfortunately the whole process puts truth and objectivity on the sidelines. A 'name' has credibility simply by being a 'name'. A no-name is just a spoiler out to ruin a great story with his facts and evidence. Personally, I love Steranko. I met him twice in 2005. Once in Orlando and the other in Philadelphia. He was signing and telling stories, and from the minute I got close enough to hear him talk it was like a tractor beam seized a hold of my mind. Story after story flowed out of him. Completely candid and unrushed he spoke with everyone who came to see him, sharing something unique with each one. I stood back and listened for at least 45 minutes, almost like I was at a concert.

I should make it clear that I am not a Steranko fanboy. I only realy know him from the FF covers he did and the Nick Fury comic that came with the Legends figure. I was only at his table to get the con prgram signed because I could.

So although I completely sympathize with you, I have a bias - being under Steranko's charismatic spell and all- to let him .
Are there any videos of his work as a magician?