Hooptedoodle – A Man, a Plan, a Canvas, oh, So Close

Click for the full art

(Editor’s Note: Being a fiction writer, sometimes all that comes out of my fingers when I write is prose that just meanders for a while. Elmore Leonard explained that the term is called “hooptedoodle” and sprung from John Steinbeck’s book Sweet Thursday. It’s a non-sense word that doesn’t mean anything; the author is just going to write a while for fun. This is one of those times. Some of you might like this, others will think I’m wasting your time and for that I apologize. You may skip this post, and I wouldn’t be hurt. This isn’t required reading by any means, but I wanted to get this Magic-related story down. – MtGCP)

Editor’s Note 2: For explanation of the title, it’s based off a palandrome.

I’ve played Magic off and on for a long time. I started in playing in Revised at age 11 after watching some other kids in my 6th grade classes play the game during breaks and having fun. I don’t remember how I convinced my mom to get it for me for Christmas, but I ended up with a two-player starter pack in my stocking. For those of you who were wondering, I got a Royal Assassin and a Lord of the Pit. I taught myself the rules by reading the book, over and over again. No, it wasn’t easier to play pre-6th edition rules, and for the longest time played my lands above my creatures.

One of the stores that I would visit near my house was Games and Gizmos, which is now a computer repair center I believe. One time while I was in the store I saw that they had some posters for sale, and not just any posters, but Magic: the Gathering ones. I was able to talk my mom into buying me a poster, a replica of the one that is pictured above. She told me that I could hang it in my room if we got it framed (so the tape didn’t ruin the paint on the walls).

My father and I got the right DIY-frames and cut a cardboard box out for backing, and we built the frame together. It wasn’t a perfect fit; the edges were wrapped around the makeshift cardboard backing making it seem like it was a canvas than just a regular poster. Once it was hung up in my room, I just stared at it for hours. The art on the poster was absolutely amazing. The two artists who worked on the poster, Mark Tedin and Anson Maddocks worked so seamlessly on it together while each incorporating their own style. With all the characters and the action going on, I think I could figure out what Magic cards they were based on. To this day, I don’t know if all of them are based on cards.

After a few years, I started to get out of the game for a while, I decided to take down my poster. I wasn’t going to get rid of it, why should I? It went under my bed, still in its frame, along with other items of my adolescence. There it was stored for years and each time I had to dig under my bed for school projects I wanted to show my visiting grandparents or what have you, there would be that poster,  just lying there, waiting to be put up again.

It wasn’t until after I got married a few years ago and was living in my wife in our own house that I was told to come clean out my bedroom. I knew what the plan for my old room was, to turn it flowery and make it a nice guest bedroom. As I started to clean out my room, I grabbed the stuff under the bed and found that old poster, sill waiting for me to hang it back up again. I knew it was there, it was hardly forgotten, but I had nowhere to put it. I grabbed it and put it in my car while deciding what to do. My wife didn’t deem it appropriate family room decoration and I had no place on my home office wall to hang it.

I walked into my local card shop and then I had an inspiration. Along the top of the walls they hang Magic promotional posters and some Magic art prints for sale. If you’re wondering what happened  to those large cards from PAX went to, Chandra’s hang up in those rafters as well. I asked the manager if I could just house my poster up there, and he agreed.

So up it went.

It’s been up there for about two years, and I can guarantee you that most people don’t take a second look at it. And why should they, it adds atmosphere to the place and it doesn’t really stick out. Each time a new manager took over, I told them that it was my poster, and I’m just housing it up there, like a painting “donating” it to a museum. They each nodded their head in agreement and it continued to stay, mostly unnoticed.

Then, everything changed when the Worldwake Prerelease came around. If you happen to go to one of the larger pre-releases, every once in a while the T.O.s tend to bring in artists to sign cards and all that fun stuff. Who should come to the Seattle Worldwake Prerelease?

Mark Tedin and Anson Maddocks.

I knew what I had to do, it was clearly obvious. I asked the manager if I could get down my poster so I could have the artists sign it. “Who knows,” I quipped, “maybe even draw something on it, you never know.” At the FNM the night before, I got my poster and put it in my car. It was strange, I think I was more excited by the fact that those two guys were going to be there signing my poster then playing the new set. The next morning I carried the framed poster with me into the hall and got some help from the T.O. about putting it safely away since the artists weren’t there yet. Luckily, if anyone was going to steal it, it was going to be pretty hard to hide it.

In between rounds in my flight (and after I met up with Jacob and Leaf from GatheringMagic.com), I grabbed the poster and went to go stand in line. I was given all these weird looks as I carried this huge framed object around with me; who ever carries things like that at a pre-release? Some of the guys from Wizards were even wondering about it. So, I showed them the poster.

I recognized the looks on their faces; it was the same as my 11 year-old face all those years ago staring up at it hanging above my bed.

Some of them had seen the poster before, for others it was a whole new experience seeing this art. It was from a time before an Art Director said what was what and how something should look. I told them I was going to get it signed, and they smiled. Standing in line I just waited patiently for my turn. Anson was talking about some of the old posters that he did to the person in front of me and I smiled and flipped around my poster, “Like this one?” Anson was flabbergasted, and Mark peered over to see what it was. Quickly, he had a smile on his face as well. The two of them were looking at the poster, pointing out things they hadn’t seen in years. To them, it was a time machine that they came flying back to, to me, it represented my childhood.

Anson Maddocks starting to work on the poster

When it was my turn, I asked if they could both sign it, and if they were up to it, maybe doodle on it. They both were excited and said sure. I can hear some of you cringing. “But why did you have them doodle on the poster?” Some people “pimp” out their decks by having altered card by the artists, some have altered binders and altered playmats. As far as I know, I was going to have the pimpest thing of all, an altered poster. This was going to be a one-of-a-kind thing, and as a Magic player, it can’t get any cooler then that.

I came back after my round and some gun-slinging to see the poster finally done. I was beaming from ear to ear. I started to show all the WotC guys who had admired it from before the alters. Kelly Digges, from dailymtg.com asked if he could take a picture of it. Of course. So he did:

Click for larger image

The guy who threw the spear in the foreground now has a a top hat, beard, sideburns and a book making him either Abe Lincoln or Captain Ahab with Moby Dick in his hand. The large face now has a Joker smile to it. Lots of small, tentacled creatures are now filling the image. It’s like a Hieronymus Bosch painting (Yes, I’m trying to edumicate you). Everything that had made the poster so special before was now changed, as if an alternate reality had stepped in. Looking at it made me feel 11 once again, exploring new things from the most familiar art.

I thanked them a million times for their work and was told they had a fun time revisiting that piece again. Anson’s wife(?) said they had the original hanging in their family room for a while before something happened to it (I forgot what she said, either they sold it or have it in storage). They were all wondering what I was going to do with it. “I can’t keep something like this locked up in my room. This is something not meant for just me to enjoy.”

If you want to see the poster it’s hanging up in Uncle’s Games in Bellevue, Washington, right where it was before I got it signed.

Mark, Anson, thank you so much. You guys rock.

Mark Tedin and Anson Maddocks

Thanks to Kelly Digges for the last two photos.

Mark Tedin’s Website: http://marktedin.com

Anson Maddock’s Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/people/Anson-Maddocks/1359807394

4 thoughts on “Hooptedoodle – A Man, a Plan, a Canvas, oh, So Close”

  1. What an awesome story. It’s so cool to see the original artists still doing this years later.

    I’d like to go out and meet some MTG artists. The closest I ever got was having April Lee critique one of my drawings on a message board years ago 😛 I missed the WWK regional prerelease here in Toronto (rk post), so I’m hell-bent on making it out for the GP in October. I hope they bring Jason Chan, so I can get some Jaces signed 🙂

  2. Mark and I were both very flattered and inspired by your account. We agreed that if we had known more about the history that lead up to your request for altering the poster, we would have been motivated to create something where we had used more strategy between us. In the midst of attending to various requests at an event like that, it is sometimes a matter of self preservation to take everything at face value. A sketch request is usually accompanied by some specific elements that are desired or that we should just do whatever we feel like. We had never been asked to modify that particular poster before and we were a bit stalled by seeing something that we hadn’t looked at in a long time. I have been taking a wider variety of sketching tools with me to events lately, in order to have something appropriate for working on specifically different items. Broad paint pens are very effective in cases where sharpies and thin metallic pens(the ones that are standard for signatures) just don’t leave an impact.

    Anyway, the next time you are able to catch either one of us, throw us something rectangular and remind us that I said we would do a current rendition of some sort based on the original image for the poster. We will probably have to mail it to you when it is done. Thank you, again, for the great story!
    -Anson Maddocks

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