I’m sure it seems as if we link to Jeff Smith’s Shazam production journal entries every few days — and, well, we probably do. It’s just that his work on the upcoming Shazam: The Monster Society of Evil miniseries is so … spot-on, whether it’s a young-and-spunky Mary Marvel or the Hall of the Seven Deadly Enemies of Men.
This afternoon, Smith unveils his take on one of the unapologetically goofy elements from the Marvel Family pantheon: Mr. Tawky Tawny, the talking tiger, who first strutted into Marvel’s life back in December 1947, in Captain Marvel Adventures #79. (Dig those green-checkered duds in the top panels.)
On his blog, Smith offers some insight into his updated version of Tawny:
Talky Tawny is one of those characters that causes people to roll their eyes. A talking tiger? And I admit he was handled pretty goofy in the ‘40s, but Captain Marvel’s powers are more mythological than most – - derived from ancient gods and sages – - so wandering spirits and talking animals don’t feel out of place to me. Gods and talking animals are part of our oldest storytelling traditions. The trick was to build a relationship between Talky and Marvel, connect them to each other, and then throw them into modern day New York City.
Smith also walks us through a panel from MSoE #3, from pencils to lettering to inks.
Also: You’ll notice some strange letter combinations sprinkled throughout Smith’s post. It’s not complete gobbledygook; he’s using the old Monster Society of Evil secret code. Click “more” for a decoder key!
>>> A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
>>> Z Y X W V U T S R Q P O N M L K J I H G F E D C B A
“Drink more Ovaltine!”