What is original comic art and what makes it so interesting?

Original comic art pieces are pages of artwork used in the creation of comic books. They can come in several different forms, from pages of original pencil artwork to pages that have been completed with inks but yet to be coloured, to pages that are completed (complete with captions, word balloons and/or colours) and ready to publish. All are exciting collectors’ pieces and provide fascinating insight into the creation of your favourite comics!

What types of original comic art are available to view at ThunderCats.Org, and how can I tell the difference between the various types?

The artwork showcased on this site comes in several differing shapes and forms, but you can mainly break it down into three types – pencilled pages, inked pages, and a couple of pages that have been coloured as well (mostly covers). A brief explanation of the three types:

Pencilled pages are black & white pages that feature only pencil artwork, as drawn by the penciller. In comics, it’s fair to say that the penciller is usually the most noted of the art team that works on a comic – the majority of the industry’s most famous comic artists are actually pencillers, and their work will usually be inked by a different artist, known as an inker, to add definition and clarity to the pencil artwork. Whilst some pencillers will ink their own work, it is more common for their pages to be inked by somebody else.

Inked pages are black & white pages of pencil artwork that have been inked by the inker to add boldness, definition, clarity and (often) shadow to the page. Whilst some pencillers will ink their own work, usually comic pages are inked by a dedicated inker. Once an inker has completed their work, colours, captions and word balloons will be added to complete the page.

Coloured pages are pages (in the case of the pieces shown on this site, usually covers) that are pencilled, inked, and have been coloured by a colourist. In the case of the covers shown on this site, they are complete except for the addition of the ThunderCats logo, comic company logo, issue number, bar code, etc.

Where can I see the completed versions of the comic art pages shown on ThunderCats.Org?

Unfortunately, due to copyright restrictions we are generally unable to show full, completed pages (apart from covers) here on TCL without the permission of their respective publishers. However, each page of artwork is named after the completed version that was published, so for example “The Return Issue #5 page 2″, which means that the completed page is published and available to view on page 2 of Issue #5 of ThunderCats: The Return published by DC/Wildstorm.

Did Marvel and DC/Wildstorm both use the same system for numbering their comic pages?

No, they didn’t! The two companies approached page numbering in two different ways – Marvel would officially number each page of artwork by the number of the actual page that it was due to be printed on, inclusive of the adverts that would appear in each comic. This can lead to some confusion, as when their ThunderCats comics were actually printed Marvel only used to number the story pages. So, for example, a page that was printed by Marvel as story page 14 could actually be officially numbered by the production team working on the comic as page 19, if by the point in the comic where that page appeared they had printed five pages of adverts. You can see how Marvel used to number their pages by looking at this image below:


What you’re seeing here is the “header” from a piece of original comic art from Marvel’s ThunderCats series. The number “4” refers to the issue number, and the other number “8” refers to the page number. In many cases, this system can cause even more confusion amongst collectors, as a completed page pending colouring would have the story page number shown on the bottom of the page – a different number to the page number shown at the top of the page! This particular page was numbered as story page 6.

DC/Wildstorm had a different method of officially numbering their pages – they would number their pages in terms of story pages rather than by the actual number of the page on which that completed artwork would appear within an issue. This is illustrated by this image below:


Even though this refers to story page 19, when the comic was published, due to the number of adverts also published within, this page of artwork actually appeared on page 27.

When Marvel UK published their ThunderCats series, they differed from their US counterparts and would appear to have utilised a system very similar to DC/Wildstorm’s, with the “official” page numbers for each piece of artwork being as they appeared in the script – so, the first page of artwork from a story would be officially referred to as “story page 1”, and so on. However, again just to further confuse the issue, when Marvel UK published ThunderCats it was normal for each page of the comic (including the front cover) to be numbered, and so a story would usually begin on page 3 – however, it would appear that this is not the way that the actual pages of artwork were officially numbered by Marvel UK.

In the naming of all of these comic art pieces, we have gone with the official numbering system used by the company that published them.