Pg. 31; John Byrne pencils, Terry Austin inks; 10.5" x 16"With their roots originally planted in the JFK-era 60s, modern readers (and movie-goers) identify primarily with the X-Men created by the team of Chris Claremont and John Byrne that ran in to the early 80s. While Dave Cockrum may have redesigned the mutant team, it was Byrne's clear storytelling and inviting style that resonated most with readers. His spectacular, and all-too-brief run still influences the look of the book today. Byrne spent only four years on the X-Men so not many pages are available to avid collectors. The few that exist are tightly held by X-fans who refuse to part with them. When pieces from Byrne's X-Men days do appear, such as this beauty, buyers come running double-time.
This page is a knockout, boasting an array of most of the major characters of the title at the time, and featuring several killer panels of the mighty Wolverine, whom Byrne finessed and made his own in a way few other artists could. Recent X-Men Byrne pages have blown away expectations at auction, and this incredible piece, with so many drool-worthy images, is among the cream of the crop.
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Terry Kevin Austin is an American comic book artist who is best known for his exceptional inking talents. Austin’s inking — especially in the period of the 1970s and early 1980s — is notable for its smooth, precise rendering; and extremely detailed backgrounds, making his embellishing work easily identifiable. His style has been highly influential on a subsequent generation of inkers including Al Gordon, Andy Lanning, Scott Williams and Rob Liefeld.
Austin grew up in Detroit, Michigan and attended Wayne State University. He started inking comics as an assistant to Dick Giordano and Neal Adams, doing “Crusty Bunker” work for Adams’ Continuity Associates. Austin came to prominence in 1976–1977, inking Marshall Rogers’ pencils on a celebrated run of Batman stories for DC Comics’ Detective Comics collaborating with writer Steve Englehart. During this same period, Austin inked Michael Netzer (Nasser) on DC’s Martian Manhunter in Adventure Comics and Green Arrow/Black Canary in World’s Finest Comics, as well as Al Milgrom on Marvel Comics’ Captain Marvel. He later teamed with Rogers again on Marvel’s Doctor Strange.
In 1977, Austin and penciler John Byrne became the new art team on Uncanny X-Men. With writer Chris Claremont they produced a series of stories — particularly “The Dark Phoenix Saga” — which elevated the title into the top-selling American comic book.
Austin left Uncanny X-Men in 1981 and has since worked on a variety of titles for both Marvel & DC, including Doctor Strange (over Paul Smith and Dan Green pencils), Superman vol. 2 (over Byrne), Justice League (over Kevin Maguire) and Green Lantern (over Darryl Banks). Austin contributed to several anniversary issues for DC including Justice League of America #200 (March 1982), Superman #400 (Oct. 1984) and Batman #400 (Oct. 1986). He was the regular inker of DC’s Superman Adventures for nearly six years, from 1996–2002. His inking work since 2002 has included over fifteen years of inking the Sonic the Hedgehog comic book series for Archie Comics, which he continued until the series cancellation in 2017.
John Byrne is one of the most storied creators in the history of comics. Beginning his career at Charlton he quickly moved over to Marvel Comics where he established himself early on as a workhorse and fan favorite, he would draw early appearances of Iron Fist before landing the gig working with Chris Claremont on X-Men. Claremont and Byrne would create several of the most memorable storylines in the history of the X-Men, their Dark Phoenix Saga and Days of Future Past stories have been adapted into three feature films. Byrne would convince Claremont to not kill Wolverine, proving to be one of the most lucrative decisions in Marvel's history, he would also introduce Kitty Pryde and Alpha Flight during this time. After his work on X-Men, Byrne would have a short run on The Avengers before launching his second classic comic run, this time on Marvel's first family The Fantastic Four, writing and drawing the title for five years. Byrne would leave Marvel for DC in the mid 1980s where he was tasked with revamping their flagship Superman titles, he would draw two Superman titles a month while writing a third. After two years at DC, Byrne returned to Marvel where he would create memorable stints on She-Hulk, Namor The Sub-Mariner, and Iron Man. In the 90's Byrne would work on several creator owner titles at Dark Horse, including his Next Men (which would introduce Mike Mignola's Hellboy), Babe and Danger Unlimited. In the years that followed Byrne would create many more books, often working on titles that inspired him as a boy including a revamp of Jack Kirby's Fourth World and DC's Doom Patrol and The Demon.