I generally have a spotty history when it comes to acquiring original artwork, sketches and commissioned illustrations from comic book artists. For the most part this tendency manifests itself as a streak of “bad luck” or more accurately, near misses. I’m the guy who is next in line behind a lucky fan who receives a really awesome illustration, only to get what seemingly is nothing more than a quick knock-off sketch. Sometimes I’ve found a grail page of original art immediately after burning through my planned budget at a show, or arrived on scene moments after somebody else had purchased it. There are moments however, when the wind blows my way. While in attendance at the Inkwell Awards panel at Saturday’s Heroes Convention in Charlotte, NC, it was my turn at bat.
A piece of artwork that I had seen on Facebook before the convention, was included in a post-awards auction to raise funds for the organization, and I somehow managed to walk away with it. The pictured sketch (below) of Kobra, a DC Comics character that first appeared in Kobra #1 (February 1976); and co-created by the late Jack Kirby, had appealed to me the first time that I had seen it. The illustration by artist Michael Netzer was previously published in The Jack Kirby Collector #56. Although I was familiar with some aspects of this artists life, after researching his career, I realized that he would be a fascinating subject for today’s post.
Michael Netzer is an American comic book artist born in Detroit, Michigan to parents of Lebanese descent. He met Neal Adams at a convention and then relocated to New York for a job at Continuity Studios in 1975; after which he became known for his work on DC Special Series, Superboy and the Legion of Super-Heroes, The Huntress and World’s Finest Comics for DC Comics, Savage Sword of Conan, and a Web of Spider-Man Annual for Marvel Comics. Additionally, he has maintained a diverse online presence espousing his theories on superhero mythology and the role it plays in cultural evolution since 2004.
In early 2011, Netzer launched a campaign called “Save the Comics”; to bring public attention to the decades long sales slump for printed comic books. This initiative came on the heels of his participation in an industry-wide debate on a revolution in creator owned properties.