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Mercury Rising

Two years ago, former Marvel Comics bullpen member Steve Bunche posted a comics try-out page submitted to Marvel in the 1990s by an unknown hopeful. The page, while lacking in polish and technique, nevertheless had very clear storytelling, and, as Bunche notes in his blog post: “While this guy would never have gotten work in a professional comic as a penciller, I have to admire his talent for creating an instant classic of a non sequitor:”

artist unknown

You are not imagining this. Wolverine stalks through the wilderness, searching for we know not what, and finds the late Freddie Mercury, frontman of the band Queen.

The page has since been rattling around on the Internet, occasionally reposted and retweeted, chuckled over and admired by people like my studiomate Jeff Parker, which is how I originally became aware of it. And it just kind of got stuck in my head. For TWO YEARS.

The story as presented raises a number of questions. What is Wolverine looking for? Agents of AIM? Peace and solitude? Or, as my other studiomate Memorial artist Rich Ellis suggested: is he looking to find Somebody To Love?

And how and why does Freddie Mercury appear at the end of his search? Was his tragically fatal illness miraculously cured, perhaps by an alien symbiote? Has he just returned from sailing the Seven Seas of Rhye? Or more simply and perhaps most logically, has Logan found himself in the presence of the worldly manifestation of a literal God of Rock?

And so, I have decided to explore these mysteries by recreating the original story, correcting some of the technical blunders on the way. I invite other artists to do the same, by which exercise we may one day come close to the fictional Truth of the matter.

My recreation of the original story.



7 Comments on “Mercury Rising”

  1. #1 Daryl Gregory
    on Apr 23rd, 2012 at 12:24 pm

    For maximum awesomeness, shouldn’t the reveal happen on the page turn? Then on page 2 we’d get a FULL SPLASH FREDDIE MERCURY. I’ve always wanted a full splash of Mercury.

  2. #2 YourNewFan!
    on Apr 24th, 2012 at 11:58 am

    “While this guy would never have gotten work in a professional comic as a penciller,”….

    Really? I remember the art from the 90′s and this guy is pretty much on par with most art then published!

    I mean it as a compliment when I say that your Freddie mercury looks like he has been hanging out with Wally Wood’s Sub-mariner\ Namor :-) You lady are a seriously good artist.

  3. #3 Mike
    on Apr 24th, 2012 at 1:16 pm

    Is it me, or does the original Freddie Mercury look like Keith Hernandez?

  4. #4 Donald G
    on Apr 24th, 2012 at 6:18 pm

    I’m seeing a bit of a John Bolton (the comics artist from Classic X-Men and Marada the She-Wolf, not the walrus mustached arch-conservative former US Ambassador to the UN) influence in the original artist’s sample.

  5. #5 Dawn C.
    on Apr 25th, 2012 at 5:57 pm

    I do remember seeing this!! I can’t take it apart like everyone else but I know clean work when I see it. Please continue- I really think it would be a fun ride to see where this could go! Besides, nice to see Wolverine in the throw-back uniform.

  6. #6 RJ Sadler
    on Apr 27th, 2012 at 3:44 am

    If you put this on merch, I will throw money at it.

  7. #7 Jon H.
    on Apr 29th, 2012 at 2:56 pm

    Get ready for a deluge of Freddy Mercury commission requests.