Comic Art Friday: Three Vals and a Bob

Seeing that we have only three days left in National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, I thought it appropriate to feature an all-female image today.

As regular readers know, I’m fond of creating obscure concepts for my Common Elements commission series. Sometimes, though, it’s just as successful when the connection between the characters is obvious — as in this instance, where both of our lovely ladies share the same nom de guerre: Valkyrie.

Valkyrie (Airboy) and Valkyrie (Marvel), pencils by comics artist Val Semeiks

The Valkyrie on your left enjoyed a storied history as the sometime-villainous, sometime-heroic femme fatale in the adventure series Airboy, first published in 1941 by Hillman Periodicals as the lead feature in Air Fighters Comics. The Valkyrie on your right is of slightly more modern vintage, having first appeared in Marvel Comics’ Avengers in 1970, and having spent much of her career as a key character in the Defenders, Marvel’s on-again, off-again team of misfit superheroes.

This artwork sprang originally from the pencil of Val Semeiks, a talented artist renowned for his contributions to such series as Conan the Barbarian and Wolverine, and DC’s Lobo and The Demon. You can read the full story of Val’s development of this commission here. I chose Val for this project because… well… I figured that a guy named Val would be the perfect artist to draw two women named Val. Because sometimes, I just roll all Captain Prosaic like that.

Alas, I was compelled to break the pattern when it came time to have the piece inked. Bob Almond, my most frequent go-to inking specialist — my friend and fellow comics art collector Damon Owens rightly dubbed Bob “the man who put the King in inking” — got the assignment, despite his stubborn refusal to change his first name to Val for the sake of consistency. Mr. Semeiks’s pencil creation long ago earned its place as one of my favorite commissions of all time. Mr. Almond’s skillful embellishment only makes me love it even more.

Valkyrie (Airboy) and Valkyrie (Marvel), pencils by Val Semeiks, inks by Bob Almond

And that’s your Comic Art Friday.

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