Michael Bair

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Michael Bair
Born Michael A. Hernandez[1]
c. 1938/1939
Nationality American
Area(s) Penciller, Inker
Notable works

Penciler:

Inker:

Michael A. Hernandez is an American comic book artist (who is better known as Michael Bair), best known for his work as an inker. His work includes Marvel Comics' Alpha Flight, and DC Comics' Hawkman. He is best known for inking Rags Morales' pencils since 2002, most notably on the high-profile miniseries Identity Crisis.

Biography[edit]

Bair started his career in the early 1980s, pencilling a "Stormy Tempest" story in Star*Fems #2 for AC/Paragon Publications in 1982.[2] In 1983, he began working for the leading American comic book publishers, DC and Marvel Comics.[2] Bair's first work for "DC was the 'Huntress' backup in 'Wonder Woman' and then 'JSA Vs America,'" all of which work, he recalls, "was pencilling."[1] He also produced a range of penciled & inked covers for the company over the following ten years; for Marvel he provided brief pencil work for Moon Knight, but focused on non-Marvel work until the mid- to late-1980s.[2]

Between 1984 and 1985, Bair also produced work for Eclipse Comics, producing covers and interior pencils for Aztec Ace, pencils & inks for Crimson Dawn and backup features for Sabre.[2]

For these few early years of his career, Bair says he "used my legal name which is Michael Hernandez. I chose to change to Bair because it's my mother's maiden name and you have to understand, there are a lot of Hernandez's in comics- I've even got chided over it [laughs]. It was simple to go with Bair — there are no other Bairs in comics — though I did get a call from Mike Barr over it [laughs]."[1]

Pencils[edit]

DC Comics[edit]

Bair's major work in the 1980s, however, was providing interior pencils (and often inks) for DC Comics. In particular, he had a long run working on a number of Golden Age-connected characters with Roy Thomas. Three years penciling Infinity, Inc. gave way to some of his most notable works, co-creating the Young All-Stars and Young Allies in the pages of Young All-Stars with Thomas (and Thomas' wife Dann Thomas).[2]

His pencils graced the pages of Firestorm, and his inks appeared in Captain Atom in the late 1980s, during which time he also inked the Catwoman mini-series written by Mindy Newell.[2] Bair also contributed work to DC's guidebook titles, including Secret Origins and Who's Who in the DC Universe between 1985 and 1989.[2]

Marvel Comics[edit]

Between 1987 and 1995, Bair also produced a number of covers for Marvel Comics, pencilling, inking and occasionally painting several.[2] Producing most of his Marvel work during the early 1990s, Bair provided the art for a story in the 1990 Daredevil Annual, causing writer Gregory White to remark "I don't think that story could have worked at all if it weren't for the terrific artwork of Michael Bair".[3] Bair then pencilled Alpha Flight for a year, and provided pencils to issues of comics featuring a veritable who's who of Marvel Comics - Nick Fury, the X-Men, Avengers, Thor and the Punisher.[2]

He contributed pencils and inks to the Wild Cards anthology for Epic Comics, before - circa 1991 - switching mostly to inking duties, including on the title Sleepwalker, and a couple of issues of What if...?.[2] He also produced both pencils and inks in the first five issues of the Hellstorm series in 1993.[2]

Other[edit]

Around 1994, Bair ceased his association with the 'big two,' in favor of upstart company Valiant/Acclaim, pencilling and inking issues and covers for X-O Manowar, Bloodshot and Blood and Roses, among others.

Inks[edit]

Bair recalled in 2004 that, "[t]he first ten years of my career was all pencilling — I didn't know how to ink".[1] Having, early in his career, shown samples to Jim Shooter (then Marvel's Editor-in-chief), Bair recalled nearly twenty years later that Shooter "said, 'Those pencils look pretty good', and then when I showed him my inking, he said, 'But stay away from the inks'".[1]

These comments, he says, "felt like a personal challenge, so on my own I worked on my inks and creators like Mark Texeira, who I worked with in the past, strongly influenced how I approached inking. The more I learned about inks, the more I wanted to ink my own work — there's a reason why you don't see too many people pencilling and inking their own work — it's just too much to do on a monthly schedule".[1] The time-consuming nature of this led Bair to largely move away from penciling in favor of inking the pencils of others.

During the mid-1990s, Bair inked David W. Mack at Caliber Press and William Tucci at Crusade Entertainment on their respective comics: Kabuki and Shi. After working for various smaller publishers, Bair penciled and inked a couple of comics for Harris Comics' Vampirella.[2]

Back to DC[edit]

In mid-1997, Bair began producing new work for DC Comics, cementing his almost-exclusive switch from pencils to inks with the miniseries The Kents (over pencils by Timothy Truman) and half of JLA: Year One (alongside series artist Barry Kitson). He inked most of the first two years of the new James Robinson/David Goyer-penned JSA revival over pencils by regular-series artist Steve Sadowski. Bair ultimately signed an exclusive contract with DC.[2][4]

In 2002, Bair inked covers by Tom Grummett for The Power Company, before first teaming with penciller Rags Morales on Geoff Johns and James Robinson's Hawkman relaunch.[5] Morales said "when I saw the magic that Michael Bair added to my work, I knew I had to stick with this dude".[6] Johns called Morales and Bair "the most underrated art team in the business... Their work is majestic, detailed and kinetic".[7] Johns also compared his artistic collaborators to the stars of the book, saying "there are four stars to this book. Hawkman, Hawkgirl, Rags Morales and Michael Bair... Michael Bair and Rags together make you feel every punch and smash in the series, but at the same time convey the utter beauty of Hawkgirl, who's graceful but is also very vicious."[8]

Bair continued to ink Morales' pencils on Identity Crisis (2004–2005), the first major Crisis, since Crisis on Infinite Earths,[1] and a couple of fill-in issues of Wonder Woman with writer Greg Rucka.

He later inked issues in Grant Morrison's Seven Soldiers event, including two covers (and one interior; Serge LaPointe inked the rest) of the Bulleteer miniseries with penciler Yanick Paquette. In addition to his continued work with Morales (including a two-issue story in the JSA: Classified series), Bair has co-inked Dave Gibbons' pencils in the Gibbons-penned Green Lantern Corps series, and on the cover of the Rann-Thanagar War: Infinite Crisis Special (Apr, 2006), in which he also provided some interior inks.

As of 2007, Bair is inking Morales' pencils on Peter Tomasi's run on Nightwing.[9]

Influence[edit]

In a tour of his studio, artist Simone Bianchi highlighted a photograph, explaining "it is a photo of myself and Mike Bair that was taken in New York in Summer 2004: that was a very important moment in my career and I owe a lot to this great artist and friend so I like having it in my studio."[10]

Awards[edit]

Identity Crisis was selected by the Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA)'s 2007 recommended list of Great Graphic Novels For Teens[11] and was nominated for the 2005 "Best Single Issue or Story" Harvey Award.[12]

Bibliography[edit]

Interior comics work includes:

  • "Fly the Friendly Skies" (pencils as Michael A. Hernandez, with writer Steve Ringgenberg and inks by Kevin Dzuban, back-up story in Moon Knight #31, May 1983)
  • Aztec Ace (as Michael A. Hernandez, with writer Doug Moench, Eclipse Comics):
    • "The Mexica Serpent" (pencils, with inks by Nestor Redondo, in Aztec Ace #1, March 1984)
    • "Lightning Snatched From the Tyrant of Time" (pencils, with inks by Nestor Redondo, in Aztec Ace #2, April 1984)
    • "Picnics at Midnight" (breakdowns, with pencil finishes & inks by Ron Harris, in Aztec Ace #9, January 1985)
  • All-Star Squadron #63 (pencils, with writer Roy Thomas and inks by Mike Machlan, DC Comics, November 1986)
  • Who's Who in Star Trek #1-2 (pencils/inks, with writer Allan Asherman, DC Comics):
    • "Nurse Chapel" (in Who's Who in Star Trek #1, March 1987)
    • "Deltans" (in Who's Who in Star Trek #1, March 1987)
    • "Miramanee" (in Who's Who in Star Trek #2, April 1987)
    • "Natira" (in Who's Who in Star Trek #2, April 1987)
  • Nightmask #7 (pencils, with writers Roy Thomas/Dann Thomas and inks by Pablo Marcos, Marvel Comics, May 1987)
  • Infinity, Inc. #39, 50-53, Annual #1 (pencils, with writers Roy Thomas/Dann Thomas and inks by Bob Downs, DC Comics, 1987–1988)
  • Young All-Stars (with writers Roy Thomas/Dann Thomas, DC Comics)
    • Young All-Stars #1, 6, 11-12, and 31, (pencils, 1987–1989)
    • Young All-Stars #16-22 Annual #1 (pencils/inks, 1988–1989)
    • Young All-Stars #31 (pencils; pin-up pencils/inks, November 1989)
  • Cynder (Immortelle Studios):
    • Cynder #1-3 (1995)
    • Cynder II #1 (1996)
    • Cynder Annual #1 (May 1996)
  • Kabuki (Caliber Comics, reprinted in Kabuki Classics):
    • Circle of Blood (inks, with script and pencils by David W. Mack, 1995)
    • Masks of the Noh #3 (pencils/inks, with writer David W. Mack, 1996)

Covers[edit]

Cover work includes:

  • Nightmask #5, 7 (Marvel Comics, Mar/May 1987)
  • JSA #45-47 (pencils/inks, DC Comics, April–June 2000)

Notes[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]