My first work in comics, in 1997, was penciling issue #104 of the comic book title WHAT IF? (Vol. 2). The comic starred the Silver Surfer and a character called The Impossible Man, a shape-changing last survivor of the destroyed planet Poppup, a planet of shape-changers. In his appearances, The Impossible Man typically wreaked impish havoc for the heroes he comes across (typically the Fantastic Four).
In this particular comic, the Impossible Man, using newly acquired infinite power, recreates his home planet, Poppup.
The result of this action plays out on the last page of the comic, when a variety of Poppupians appear. The last page of the plot (the text document a comic artist works from to draw the comic) for this story, written by Tom Virkaitis, read as follows:
This is an epilogue. We are now back on Thanos’ old altar. The Impossible Man (as Santa Claus) is returning the gems to the Elders of the Universe (who Impy resurrected). The Silver Surfer is also in attendance. The Elders thank Impy who transforms into Captain America and salutes them all. The Elders teleport away as a group. That’s when another Poppupian shows up as the Red Skull and tries to shoot the Impossible Man. Another Poppupian shows up as the Captain America werewolf and yet two others are arguing as to which one is the “real” Bucky (one is the original, the other is the Heroes Reborn Bucky). The Silver Surfer stands silently as all this craziness surrounds him. We pan back as the Surfer tries to convince himself that he made the right choice. “Right?”
Seems simple enough. A good amount of stuff going on, but pretty straightforward.
But I was drawing my first comic book as a pro and I was giving it my all (for example, I sent in NINE cover concept sketches in for this issue. Nine. I’d later learn most artists did one, two at most). To that end, I keyed in on the line “as all this craziness surrounds him”.
Besides looking to give it my all, while it was my first comic it could also be my last! And with that in mind I decided “all this craziness” meant “draw every Marvel Comics character you’ve ever wanted to draw, plus Batman”.
And the result was a final two panels (inked by Steve Moncuse) that looked like this:
As much as I can see the mistakes…or that I didn’t get to draw the “classic” versions of certain characters…even so, I can’t help but think, “man, I got to draw everyone!”