By Jim Beard
The period in which AGE OF THE SENTRY limited series, beginning this September 17, takes place exists as a visually rich era, with distinct trademarks of style and design. It must be instantly recognizable to exude that precious Silver Age feel, the one that Marvel cornered the market on.
"Having grown up with comics from the 60's and early 70's, much of the storytelling 'language' I use in all my comics is heavily influenced by Harvey Comics, the Archies, the Marvel comics of Jack Kirby and Gene Colan, and the DC comics of Curt Swan and Kurt Schaffenberger," relates Colleen Coover, artist on AGE OF THE SENTRY #3. "The lead characters of my story are the hero, a model, and a monster, which lends itself well to a mash-up of all those early influences.
"With this Sentry story I can just relax and indulge my impulse to dress all my male characters in sweater vests and bow ties!"
THE AGE OF THE SENTRY even boasts the finest Silver Age re-creation in both coloring and lettering, provided by Val Staples and Dave Lanphear, respectively. Artist Nick Dragotta points out that "their awesome work plays a huge role in making this book look 'retro'."
Preview art by
"You don't have modeling or effects to please the eye as you quickly move values around the page, so color choice is extremely important for mood and depth," explains Staples. "Plus, when dealing with a 'retro' story, I went with the classic Dr. Martin's color palette which further limits your color selection when you only have 64 colors to work with.
"It makes you really appreciate the talent that went into the color guides for all those decades prior to the digital age. I am thrilled to have had the opportunity to partake in something that reflects that."
"Thankfully, THE AGE OF SENTRY isn't my first visit into vintage lettering styles," says letterer Lanphear. "In fact, retro lettering has become one of my calling cards in comics today. If a new title at Marvel needs a nostalgic 60's [or] 70's flair, the wily Marvel editors offer the gig to me. I can never say no to a silver age lettering revival! They know my catnip.
"I've had a lot of practice over the years aping master craftsmen Artie Simek and Sam Rosen, and I'm always learning more from their work. Classic Silver Age lettering is all about little details to emulate organic hand-drawn lettering: butting word balloons
AGE OF THE
SENTRY #1 cover
by Dave Bullock
and captions to the top and sides of the panels, drawing organic balloons that wrap in arcs around lines of text, aligning text lines to emulate the Aames lettering guides letterers used to lightly pencil in lettering guidelines—things that echo how a traditional hand-letterer would work in those years."
In all, THE AGE OF THE SENTRY spotlights the best modern masters working with the unique and distinct tools of the Silver Age to produce one fab and gear comic series. Be there or be square, Marvelites!
If you missed part one or part two of our look at AGE OF THE SENTRY, be sure to check them out, as well as our free sneak peak at issue #1 on Marvel Digital Comics Unlimited! And be there for AGE OF THE SENTRY #1 on September 17!