Wizard Cover... Almost

Monday, January 17, 2011

Panthro Wizard Cover. 2002. Pencil on bristol board, 9 x 12".

Happy MLK Day from everyone's favorite Thundercat! Was that appropriate? Probably not. But here's an anecdote about competing dreams.

This piece was drawn for Wizard's cover contest back in the days before I worked for Marvel (but just barely). Getting on the cover of that magazine had been a dream of mine ever since I started reading it with issue 41 (to this day, I have far more Wizard magazines than I do comics). But I had another dream: to work for Marvel Comics.

Years later, long after the Marvel dream had come true for me, I told my editor, Tom Brevoort, about my failed attempts at a Wizard cover (Panthro was just the last in a long line of unsuccessful entries). To my surprise, he said he remembered the cover well. Apparently, I had been one of 2 finalists from the contest and Wizard had sought Marvel's expertise in choosing the winner. Tom informed them that Marvel had just hired me, automatically disqualifying me from the contest, which was not open to professionals... not a bad way to lose.


  1. Hey Paolo, I think your Panthro cover looks awesome. That's a very cool yet kind of bittersweet story. Do you have any idea which cover (issue) Wizard ended up picking as the winner?

  2. Man, so that's how that went down. I always thought your's was better than the Hawkman (I think it was Hawkman) that won it. Well okay... the winner was really good but I didn't know them so that made yours better.

  3. Not to overwhelm you with flattery, but the winning cover must've been pretty rad to be dead even with that Panthro cover. It's awesome. And although I love your painted work, I'm glad we're seeing this in just pencil and ink. Shows the detail off more, I think.

  4. Thundercats...Wizard magazine.... I remember getting the issues with care packages from home during our freshman year at RISD. Before that, Wizard was a rare treat when we lived overseas if we could find them on base.

    Oh, and for some real Thundercats nerdery, check out this fan-made trailer with Vin Diesel as Panthro: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fb50GMmY5nk (in case you haven't seen it yet.)

  5. Josh, as Andrew mentioned, it was a Hawkman piece, but I'm not sure about the artist, or even the issue. I did a cursory search on-line but couldn't find anything. I'll let you know if and when I find out.

    Andrew, good to hear from you. And thanks for the vote of confidence. I thought I saw you when I was out in San Diego, but I said your name and the guy didn't turn around. Oh well.

    Push the Pull Door, consider me overwhelmed. Perhaps now I'll post the preliminary pencils, which were much rougher (and drawn in my sketchbook).

    Christina, I have the fondest memories of that too. Although I no longer have a subscription, I still have each and every issue. Also, way ahead of you on that Thundercats trailer. I can't wait to see an actual movie made.

  6. Hey Paolo, I used my mad Google detective skills and I think that Wizard 124 from January 2002 must be the issue as it has a Hawkman cover by Kenneth Rocafort. Apparently the cover was inked by Mark Morales and coloured by Richard Isanove.

    Image of the cover here:

  7. Oops, Blogger cut off the URL. Here's the link again but in two parts (copy and paste together):


  8. Josh, thanks so much for taking the time to find it. That, indeed, is the cover, and Rocafort's name is familiar to me as I often see it in sitemeter—he sends a fair amount of traffic to this very blog.

    If you guys haven't seen his site, it's definitely worth a look: http://therocafortfiles.blogspot.com/

  9. I'm so embarrassed that this has been nagging at my brain for a week. Here's how to link Panthro to MLK day.

    As we all know, Panthro was voiced by
    Earle Hyman, who played Russell Huxtable on the Cosby Show. According to Wikipedia:

    Russell Huxtable and Anna Huxtable (Earle Hyman and Clarice Taylor), are Cliff's parents. They were originally from North Carolina, before moving to Philadelphia and, later, New Jersey. Russell was a touring musician in the "Jazz Caravan", playing the trombone, earning the nickname "Slide" Huxtable. Anna is presumed to have been a housewife and mother, as Russell was on the road for many months out of the year. They, as well as Cliff and Clair, and Clair's parents, attended the civil rights March on Washington in 1963.

    Brilliant and appropriate post, Paulo!

  10. Billy, we can both rest easy now thanks to your hard work.

    This may be a bit premature, but that just may be the best comment this blog has ever seen.


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