The State U. Red Dogs
Jason W. Gavin
“Why, Jason? Why WILD DOG?”
That is the question that I am sure many of you are asking right now. This question is also the one that many artists ask me when I present them with a reference of Wild Dog (I would think every artist should know how to draw Wild Dog from memory!). But I suppose It is a fair question–‘ll address it now.
While frequenting the Artist Alley’s of the comic conventions that I have attended, I noticed that a lot of collectors had a sketch book of their favorite character and I thought that was a good idea. I went home and thought about which character I should have in a book full of artist commissions. I thought about my favorite character, (which at the time was not Wild Dog!) Captain America, but then I thought that these artists would get tired of drawing all the major characters like Spider-Man, Superman, and Batman over and over again. I tried to think of a character that many of them probably have not drawn before, but would still have a cool visual. Then it came to me–you guessed it–Wild Dog! His hockey mask, football jersey, and camouflage pants made a great visual that I thought artists would really enjoy. The rest was history, which I will be sharing with you in this blog. I can say that I truly have a one-of-a-kind collectible when I get an original Wild Dog sketch.
Wild Dog had all of his adventures in the Quad-Cities (Incidentally where Ryan was born and raised!), which is a group of cities along the Mississippi River in both Iowa and Illinois. I grew up in a small town, in Iowa, called Maquoketa which was about 35 miles north of the city of Davenport (notice the official city seal on the page above?). I thought it was really cool that a comic character was having his adventures just down the road from where I lived. I thought this is what kids in New York City felt like, since that is where most of the Marvel characters made their home.
Another reason I liked Wild Dog, was that I like football. If you know Wild Dog’s story, you know that football plays a big part in his story. He was a member of the State U. Red Dogs! But that’s enough of my origin story for now, it’s time for some art!
Issue #601 Pg 1 (of the Wild Dog story)
Penciled by Terry Beatty & Inked by John Nyberg
Cover Date May-1988
After his 4 issues mini-series, the next spot that Wild Dog showed up was in Action Comics. Yes, the comic of Action that is mostly stories about “the big blue boyscout”-Superman for it’s main attraction.
But in 1988, Action Comics went to a weekly format and our boy Wild Dog joined a host of other characters (Dead Man, Green Lantern, Phantom Girl, Black Canary and others) as one of the rotating stories in the Action. This piece is the splash page to the first Wild Dog AC story arc , “Moral Stand.”
This page shows how Terry Beatty can masterfully draw a “normal” scene. There is no Wild Dog on the page. There is no action. There are just normal everyday people. Terry is able to draw these characters very clean and with great line work, giving these ordinary people the same time and attention that he would give to the main characters. The different faces and different expressions that he places on the average person is one of the reasons why I have sought out many of these “normal” or “non-heroic” pages from him and other collectors. I love to get a page showing normal folks just as much as I love getting a sketch or page with Wild Dog on it!
Thanks for reading, and please come back again! Also? Go read all the amazing comics here at https://onesquaredstudios.com/!
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