When it comes to stretchable heroes in mainstream comics, my favorite has always been the Elongated Man. This is no doubt due in part to the fact that he was the first of the elastic heroes I encountered when I started reading comics as a kid, but I think there’s a little more to it that just being first out of the gate in my world. Plastic Man was goofier, yes, and Mr. Fantastic was smarter. But Ralph Dibny was always the most human, a regular guy. I’ve been loving Hartley Sawyer’s turn as the character seasons 4 and 5 of The Flash on TV.
Despite my appreciation of the character, my collection of original comic art was always devoid of an E-Man appearance… until now. But even better than Ralph’s addition to my collection is the fact that I’ve now got a board featuring the bright and attractive linework of artist Chuck Patton.
Patton came to prominence when he landed the Justice League of America assignment in the early 1980s, and he was the penciller on the book when it shifted to its noted Detroit era. He then took over from George Perez on Tales of the Teen Titans in the mid 1980s, which was no doubt a signal of his rising star at the publisher. Unfortunately, he left the comics industry behind in the late 1980s and moved into animation.
As one can see from this sample of his art (below – click on the image to see a large, high-resolution version of it) from Justice League of America #237, Patton boasted a bright, wide-eyed, traditional comic style that nevertheless stood out as quite recognizable as his work. His figures’ faces are quite expressive, and he brings a nice level of detail to bear, but not one that aims for a photo-realistic look. Ultimately, what I love about Patton’s work is that it just looks fun. It’s also not surprising how clean his linework appears here, as Patton teamed with inker Mike Machlan for this issue; Machlan always brings a smooth, polished look to any project on which he works.
This piece of original comic art — complete with a 1983 DC copyright stamp on the back (even though the issue was published in early 1985; it looks like someone at DC used an out-of-date stamp) — features a lot of wonderful vintage elements. In addition to that stamp, it boasts lettering right on the board, editing marks and notes in blueline pencil, whiteout corrections, the faint remnants of pencil roughs in blueline. This is Page 20 of the story, but as noted in marker in the top right corner, it was the 25th page of the comic book. The reverse also notes that this page was originally priced at $25; I paid a little more than that for it, but still got a great deal on eBay.
This board joins a couple of other Justice League Detroit-era pages in my collection of comic art, all of which you can find in my Comic Art Fans gallery.