Monday, February 28, 2011

The ever-hopeful Human Torch


I don't draw Johnny Storm all that often. Usually when I'm being an idiot and goofing on Marvel characters, it's Peter Parker, Reed Richards, the Hulk or various members of the New Mutants I like to pick on.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Batgirl at sunset


Here's yet another sloppy exercise from my sketchbook. Drawn in a flash, laboriously colored because I had this weird idea to make the sky orange and see what happened. There's no balance to this composition, Batgirl's pose is as awkward as her figure construction and just when you thought it couldn't be any more rushed, I hurried on the buildings behind Cass.

But you know what? Cass seems to inhabit a "real" space because the linework somewhat matches and the buildings have a rough hewn solidity about them I find lacking in a lot of today's comics. Case in point: Dark Horse's Free Comic Book Day Doctor Solar Man of the Atom/Magnus Robot Fighter giveaway from 2010. The backgrounds in the Magnus story work well with the foreground elements to create a seamless whole. But the Doctor Solar story looks sterile and the surfaces lack texture; it hurts the believability of the setting and made the art seem half-finished.

Then again, I tend to prefer artsy artists with looser finishes like Alex Toth, Joh Kubert, Guy Davis and Kojima Goseki to the slick finishes a lot of pros use today. Or if it's slick, I like it skewed a little towards the cartoony a la Jaime Hernandez. Anything warm and inviting. Appeal is at least as important as mechanical technique. Probably more so.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Frivolous X-Men

This looks as though it was conceived of and drawn by someone on a wicked cough syrup binge. But I assure you I am completely straight edge.

Monday, February 21, 2011

The Dude is selling encyclopedias

Actually, Steve Rude's selling pages from the first story he and Mike Baron-- they remain the Nexus superteam supreme-- did together. It's called "Encyclopedia Salesman" and it's from way, way back in 1980. You can take a look at the art on EBay or Rude's Facebook "Encyclopedia Salesman" album and witness the first twinklings of the comic book superstar we call the Dude, just like how astronomers who look farther and farther into deep space see celestial bodies as they were millions and millions of years ago.

If my Google Fu is working for me today, apparently this story didn't see print until sometime in 1983-1984 in Vanguard Illustrated, a sci-fi anthology from Pacific Comics. Which I never read!

In 1980, I was only reading DC's Sgt. Rock and Marvel's Star Wars, Micronauts and the occasional "well drawn" issue of Avengers. But by 1983, I was seriously into comics and supported all the small publishers (I was a pimply-face skinny little dork)-- mostly because their books looked so good. We read Comics Scene magazine and tossed around jargon like "mando" and "Baxter" in those days, referring to paper but I seriously doubt we knew what we were talking about. Pacific and First Comics put out some gorgeous books and many of them had stories and characters to match-- Groo the Wanderer, Nexus, American Flagg!, Elric of Melnibone, The Rocketeer, books by Jack Kirby...

I read 'em all, even though they were pretty expensive.

I was even into Aardvark-Vanaheim-- a regular reader of Cerebus and an occasional one of Ms. Tree and Flaming Carrot Comics. And also anything starring Judge Dredd from Eagle Comics. Oh, and the color The Spirit reprints from Kitchen Sink Press. I once traded the first two issues of Conan the Barbarian for an entire run of those, plus some odds and ends!

Oddly enough, however, I didn't read Nexus until Dark Horse started publishing it.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

My Ten Favorite Cassandra Cain Moments

Hi!  This is the post that gets the most page views, but because I've decided to re-repurpose this blog as a celebration of pre-2000 comics, I've moved it to my new all-Cass blog.  Which gets about 2 pages views a week.  Such is the state of Cassandra Cain fandom at the moment, apparently.

And as a special conciliatory move and because I think it's important for fans of "toxic" characters to show a little mutual love, I took out the two jokes some people didn't like.  I think I did.  I either took them out or softened them a little.  Well, whatever I did, yes, they were unfair.  Deliberately so.  Because I have an absurdist outlook as well as a love for wisecracks and other kinds of nonsense to go along with my love for comic books, sometimes I like to take a single aspect from a story and blow it up as if it's the entire raison d'etre for that character.

Which is why you'll find sketches here I've done where Rahne Sinclair moons over Dani Moonstar's hair, for example, even though as far as I know she did that one time in a single panel.  I also draw Dani as frequently demanding Roberto da Costa beat up Sam Guthrie or various other people, even though she's perfectly capable of doing so herself.  And these are characters I love.  There are actually very few characters I dislike.  They're fictional beings.  They can be one thing in one story and something else entirely in another.

To be honest, I'll probably make such jokes again, but I'll try not to kick a character and that character's fans when they're down.  For now... happy comic book reading!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Pancake inspired ridiculousness


A ludicrous drawing I did today while practicing my inking skills, which are obviously nonexistent. Would you believe this drawing was equally inspired by my having seen some Michael Golden pages for sale and imagining my brother looking as if he were a Gil Kane figure while discussing the Super Bowl with him after midnight?

The pancake thing is a non sequitor.