Wednesday, June 30, 2010
Quasar was a character that was giving me a very hard time, as I just couldn't find an image that would work. finally I came upon a cover of his that was done by the very talented Mike Mignola and my my flashed to a Mignola Batman cover that I thought would do the trick. I had to tweak it a little, extending the cover on the left side and moving a few bats around.
I never followed Quasar's solo series but I did like him as a guest star with Spider-Man, The Avengers or the FF and thought he had an interesting history. I'm not sure but I think I read that he was killed in one of the recent Annihilation series that Marvel has put out, and there is a female version now? I'm sure one of you can let me know if I have that right or not.
Tuesday, June 29, 2010
As promised, here is the continuation of the story that began with yesterday's cover. Looks like things didn't go too well for Batman.
I really liked the New Mutants during the first couple of years of their original series. This was back in a time where being a newly created mutant was actually a fresh concept, of course! Recently Marvel has brought the original team of characters back for a new series. I liked the first few issues, but unfortunately it got too intertwined in crossovers with X-titles I do not follow.
Monday, June 28, 2010
The X-Men movies got as many things wrong as they did right, but one thing that was spot on was the casting of Patrick Stewart as Professor X. It's one of those times that the fan favorite casting choice was actually used and worked perfectly. From Picard to Xavier... that's as cool as being both Magneto and Gandalf! It will be interesting to see whether James McAvoy tries to do a Stewart impression when he portrays the younger Xavier in the upcoming X-Men: First Class.
By the way - this cover is only the first part of the story... what happens next? Well, stay tuned tomorrow for chapter 2!
Sunday, June 27, 2010
Going to the well of obscurity once again with this one. Prez Ricard was "The First Teen President" and had a very short-lived DC series in the 70's. Other than as a guest star in a Supergirl tale around the same time and a retro Vertigo one-shot, I don't think he has made an appearance again. Still he is such an off beat product of his times, people seem to remember him. I actually had one of his issues, and it was funny to read the "hip" teen dialogue, clearly written by a middle aged man.
Saturday, June 26, 2010
Power Pack is one of those properties that I think could do well in kids animation, it has all the elements. Kids as protagonists, visually interesting super powers, and aliens both scary and cute. Marvel does seem to be pushing them in their all-ages line and teaming them with the more heavy hitters to increase their profile.
I always remember reading the first issue of Power Pack way back in 1984 on a bus ride to Canada, it's weird how I can recall exactly when and where I was when I read certain issues, while most just fade away. The Brave and The Bold #177 with Elongated Man reminds me of my grandparent's house, DC Comics Presents #48 with Aquaman reminds me of waiting on the grass after school play rehearsal to be picked up by my mother, and so on. Some comics I guess just have a sense memory attached to them and seeing their cover is all I need to be taken back to the days of my youth. That's one of the things I love about the hobby... and why it can take me so long to sort my comics, with all the detours down memory lane!
I like Power Man a lot - He's got a unique back story and takes no guff from anyone, be it Dr. Doom or Captain America. I like Iron Fist, he has a great look, just the right amount of power and had a recent excellent run by Ed Brubaker and Matt Fraction. Together, they really shine, however. It's really a great example of where two characters created independently can come together and truly compliment each other, and one argument in favor of shared universes.
While Iron Fist had that recent successful run, Power Man - excuse me, Luke Cage - has not been as appealing to me lately, despite a huge push by Brian Michael Bendis. He has completely changed in appearance, married and became a father, and after a stint with the New Avengers is currently heading up the Thunderbolts. But nothing in this new direction has clicked with me. I'd like to see him adopt his heroic moniker again and wear something closer to a superhero outfit... and maybe hang out with Danny Rand a little more! Sorry, I'm old school.
Friday, June 25, 2010
Plop was a DC humor comic in the 70's with an impressive roster of creators including Wally Wood, Basil Wolverton and Sergio Aragones. I mainly liked it for Aragones, I was a big fan of his cartoons in Mad Magazine, and it was nice to see his work on a DC title, in color. This was a request/challenge and when I first heard it I had no idea of how to make it work, as there wasn't a central character for Plop along the lines of Alfre E. Neuman. I chose one of the unmistakable Wolverton creations from one of the covers instead.
I don't have any Wolverton in my art collection, but I do have a nice Groo sketch by Aragones:
Wednesday, June 23, 2010
This is another early one, I was still getting the gist of it.
I never read the original OMAC series, but I remember being very impressed with a guest appearance that he made in DC Comics Presents. I later picked up his B&W mini-series by John Byrne, but that did not make much of an impression on me. DC tried to give OMAC a big push a couple of years back, but they changed the concept a bit too much for my tastes.
It wasn't until I saw him appear on a recent episode of Batman: The Brave and the Bold (A show I hope all fans of this site watch regularly!) that I really saw his potential. The writers on that show really know how to distill a character down to their most appealing qualities. They did the same with another of Kirby's creations, Kamandi, in the episode he appeared in - I would be into an animated show featuring either of these properties based on their treatment on the show.
Tuesday, June 22, 2010
I'd be interested to hear any opinions of Nova's most recent series at Marvel. I remember quite liking his original series and various guest appearances. From what I read of his time in New Warriors, that series didn't do him justice in my opinion. Erik Larsen's series was fun, but too short to really gain momentum. I had read some nice reviews of his latest exploits, but It seemed that his series was very tied in with the overall Annihilation group of cosmic Marvel books, and I would have to buy multiple other titles to get the whole story. If the Nova series can stand solidly when read on its own, I might be tempted to pick up some of the TPB's
This is one of the team-ups I would really like to see, Just because the two heroes are so dissimilar in personality and method.
Monday, June 21, 2010
This is one of my earlier covers and is a little rough. It's a bit bare, I should have probably added a caption or word balloon.
Nightwing and Flamebird was a cool concept that was right at home in the silver age: Superman, powerless in the Bottle City of Kandor, joins forces with Jimmy Olsen as a Natman and Robin type team. Fun stuff. DC has recently tried to revive the Nightwing and Flamebird names with two new characters who recently headlined Action Comics for a year. I can't speak to how well they held up the mantle, not having read the stories - but they certainly had some big shoes to fill.
Sunday, June 20, 2010
I am not sure what Nighthawk's current status is, but I always enjoyed his adventures in The Defenders. I liked the design of his costume, especially the rigid cape. I hope to see a revival of the classic Defenders line-up, I miss Hulk calling him Bird-nose.
Nighthawk here is by Gil Kane, my favorite Marvel cover artist. Of course he was no slouch when contributing to DC either. Here's a Kane sketch of one of the characters for whom he has designed a costume, Green Lantern:
Saturday, June 19, 2010
I understand that Nightcrawler has been killed off recently in the X-Men titles. I haven't followed the X-universe closely in a while, but that really bummed me out to hear. Kurt Wagner has one of the most unique appearances, personalities and sets of abilities in comics, and deserves better than that. Hopefully, he will join the list of "only briefly dead" heroes and make his way back to the land of the living.
I still fondly remember his first mini-series, with art by his co-creator, Dave Cockrum, great swashbuckling stuff! Here's a Nightcrawler Sketch by Cockrum:
Friday, June 18, 2010
Here's another example of a character that had to wait decades before being given another shot. Night Nurse has shown up in the past few years in Daredevil and the mini series Dr. Strange: The Oath in a role that makes so much sense I can't believe nobody has thought of it before. She runs a secret treatment center for superheroes injured on the job. It's a cool concept and I hope to see it used further. I also quite liked her relationship with Dr. Strange, so if he is given another series, it would be nice to see her as a supporting character.
I am amazed that with the resurgence of the JSA in the past decade that DC has still not reprinted the first 12 issues of Infinity, Inc. Hopefully that will be rectified soon because those are some of the best comics of the 80's and contain some absolutely gorgeous Jerry Ordway artwork.
My one disappointment with the series was that the Earth-2 adult Robin did not play a larger role, he was always a favorite character of mine. At least he is back from his Crisis induced oblivion in a way, as seen in the recent Justice Society of America Annual - apparently there is a new Earth-2 out there with classic versions of all the JSAers and Infinitors. Hopefully we will see more of them.
Here is a page by Ordway that features the JSA from the mini series that almost did them in for good, Zero Hour:
Wednesday, June 16, 2010
I think it is pretty cool how Marvel took their biggest WWII hero and through the plot device of "vita-rays" were able to continue to give him adventures in the present day. Like James Bond on steroids, Fury was always the ultimate in cool because not only did he have the best vehicles and weapons, he also had all the best connections. Good guy to know!
It's too bad that he is being muscled out of the on-screen Marvel Universe, but Sam Jackson is pretty cool, so I can live with his Ultimate Universe counterpart. Still, it is unfortunate that Fury's only live action appearance was performed by David Hasselhoff!
I used a Gary Frank Incredible Hulk cover as the starting point for this one. Here a a couple of Frank pages, From Supreme Power and Superman:
Ms. Marvel is a character that I am glad to see having been given a boost in the last five years or so. Her recent solo series was unfortunately encumbered with tie-ins from one crossover to another and never really got the chance to find its own identity. Hopefully she will get another chance soon and will still be able to maintain a high profile in the team books she is a part of.
Here's a page of original art featuring Ms. Marvel by the underrated Sean Chen:
Monday, June 14, 2010
The Michael Holt Mr. Terrific is one of my favorite versions of a legacy character at DC. I really enjoyed his introduction in the excellent Spectre series by John Ostrander and Tom Mandrake and was disappointed when the character looked to languish in comics limbo when that run ended. Fortunately Geoff Johns and James Robinson decided to use him the the newly revamped JSA and his popularity and exposure have risen since.
I always got a kick out of his predecessor, Terry Sloane, as well. I remember being truly shocked when the killed him off in an issue of Justice League of America - that was back when comic hero deaths were rare and permanent. I am glad I came up with a cover concept to use them both.
Michael Holt here is illustrated by John Cassiday. Here are a couple of pages from an Alpha Flight/X-Men crossover he did, as well as from his groundbreaking series with Warren Ellis, Planetary:
Sunday, June 13, 2010
I've been wanting to use the B&B #100 cover layout with 4 guest stars for a long time but I could never come up with the right concept. I was trying to think of a Batman/Colossus concept when I thought it might be fun to throw in some more Russia based characters.
Red Star was originally called Starfire, but he relinquished that name to the more popular Teen Titan.
Crimson Dynamo was always my favorite of Iron Man's armored adversaries/allies - I thought his armor had a great formidable tank quality to it.
Superman: Red Son is from the excellent Elseworlds story of the same name. Easily one of Mark Millar's best works, I highly recommend it.
Colossus is, of course, the very popular X-Men member. I used an image by his co-creator, Dave Cockrum. Here's a Cockrum sketch of Bill Foster, Giant Man:
One thing I like about DC is that no character or concept is too old or off of center for them to dust off and give another shot every once in a while. Detective Chimp had fallen well off the radar when he was reintroduced as a member of Shadowpact. I really enjoyed the work that Bill Willingham did with him on the title.
My favorite JLA/JSA crossover was the George Perez-penciled 3-parted featuring the Secret Society of Super Villains. It was there I was introduced to the Ultra-Humanite, in his simian form. I've been a big fan of his ever since, and was happy to finally find a cover to use him in.
The Batman (well, Bat-Ape) here is by Art Adams. Here's an Adams prelim page for Action Comics Annual #1, featuring Batman in a more familiar form with a more familiar partner...
Friday, June 11, 2010
Mike Mignola has really done a great job of exercising quality control with Hellboy, whether it be in comics, movies or animation. He has managed to get his creator-owned character out there in a variety of formats, always maintaining a high standard of quality and fidelity.
The comics speak for themselves, scary, funny, gothic action packed mysteries filled with innovative concepts and characters. While the film versions changed a few elements, they got the look perfectly and were a lot of fun. I hope that Guillermo Del Toro completes the trilogy. The two animated movies (featuring the cast of the films on vocal chores) are very well done, I highly recommend them.
Mr. Fantastic was always cool because his intellect and personality made him stand out against the other more humorous themed stretching super heroes. I remember liking the fact that that most artists resisted the urge to show Reed Richards stretching his neck, because that would be undignified for a man of his stature.
I am enjoying Jonathan Hickman's take on Reed in the current Fantastic Four series, full of big ideas, but not forgetting the importance of family - which is what the FF is all about to me.
Here's a page featuring Mr. Fantastic by Carlos Pacheco:
Wednesday, June 9, 2010
I picked up the first Agents of Atlas TPB on a whim because I liked the What If? issue it was inspired by and I had read a few positive reviews. I was surprised with how much I enjoyed it. It's a great group of eclectic characters, each with complex layers of history and personality. I liked the second TPB as well and definitely plan to keep following this team.
This cover features art from three of my favorite artists - Art Adams, Neal Adams and Ed McGuinness. Here are sketches by each of them:
Tuesday, June 8, 2010
Dazzler is a character that has had a hard time finding a niche. As is often the case in comics she was created to capitalize on a fad just as it was dying out. With disco and roller skates no longer a draw, she relied guest stars to prop up her series. After its cancellation, she was given a makeover and membership in the X-Men, but that didn't seem to raise her profile very much. She does have interesting powers and a unique back story, so I think there is still potential to be mined. Perhaps the best angle would be to go back to the original look in kind of a retro chic vibe. I'm a firm believer that every minor character is just one clever writer away from the big leagues. Hey, I live in hope.
Monday, June 7, 2010
I was first introduced to Morbius in one of my all-time favorite Spider-Man arcs, where Spidey grows two extra sets of arms. There have been other attempts to merge vampires with super-heroes or super-villains, but I think Morbius was the most successful. Like the best Spider-Man villains, he was a true threat, but also had a sense of tragedy about him.
I had a hard time finding an image for this cover, and finally located one in an unlikely place - a set of Marvel stickers that came out in the 70's. Boy did that bring back memories. Each sticker featured a character with a speech balloon containing a one liner or a bad pun (For instance Medusa said, "Only my hairdresser knows for sure!") Ah, those were the days.
Sunday, June 6, 2010
I have to admit, the main reason I used to kind of like Moondragon was that she reminded me of Persis Khambatta, the beautiful actress who appeared in Star Trek: The Motion Picture. I'd have to check publication dates to see if there is a chance that she was inspired by the actress. Usually she was written with a less than inviting personality, but at least that created conflict and made for some interesting story lines. I'm not sure what her status is these days, the last I remember reading of her was in Peter David's Captain Marvel series some years back.
The Marvel Two-In-One cover I used here is by the incomparable George Perez. I had the pleasure of meeting him briefly this past year, and he could not have been more gracious. His love of comics is infectious and clearly shows through in his artwork. Here's a Perez sketch of the premier superhero of all time:
Saturday, June 5, 2010
Since Moon Knight is the closest character Marvel has to Batman, I always felt that this would be a natural and interesting team-up. I love the character's look and the multiple secret identity angle is a cool one. Unfortunately too often he is played as borderline (or over the border) crazy and seems to fight the same couple of villains over and over, which has turned me off to his more recent titles. I still think he has great potential, and always check in when a new creative team takes a crack at his adventures. Hopefully someone will find the right balance and recapture some of the excitement of his original series.
Friday, June 4, 2010
Invincible is a character I will have to read more of. I picked up his crossover with Spider-Man in Marvel Team-Up and got a kick out of it. Robert Kirkman is a pretty dependable writer and the relationship with his father, Omni-Man seems interesting to me. Once I finish my unread stack of Essentials and Showcases, I might just go out and pick up some of the Invincible collections.
The Batman on this cover is by JL Garcia Lopez - here's a JLGL sketch of a character that he made quite a mark on, Deadman:
Thursday, June 3, 2010
Here was a case where a good friend of mine tried to stump me with a request. However, the planet sized Green Lantern member was always a favorite concept for me (ever since the great Alan Moore tale, Mogo Doesn't Socialize), so I was happy to take up the challenge. One thing I am proud of on this cover is that it is one of the few ones where I had to create a logo for the guest star, and I think it came out well.
The Green Lantern Corps is a great concept in that they fully embrace the weirdness of sentient forms in the universe and have members of every shape and size. I am eagerly awaiting the Martin Campbell directed Green Lantern movie not only to see the main character in live action, but the more alien side characters such as Kilowog, Tomar Re, Abin Sur, and so forth. It should be great fun and hopefully turn a lot more people onto this cool property.
Here's a page of original art featuring Xylpth, another one of the more obscure GL's, by the very talented Jerry Ordway:
Wednesday, June 2, 2010
With so few female characters in comics that aren't simply feminine versions of pre-existing male characters, it has been a shame how under-utilized Mera has been, especially with her cool hard water powers. Fortunately, it seems that Geoff Johns agrees with that, because he gave Mera her biggest spotlight in decades in the Blackest Night mini-series. She is continuing to stay in focus with the current bi-weekly Brightest Day series as well. Hopefully a new Aquaman series will follow and she will be able to continue to shine.
Once again, I am glad to be able to provide a cover that is 100% Aparo artwork. His run on Aquaman is the best that character has ever looked, in my opinion. Here's another Aparo page from my collection, this one from the storyline that introduced Tim Drake as the new Robin:
Tuesday, June 1, 2010
I never paid much attention to Blade until the first Wesley Snipes film, which I quite liked. It's a great example of how a minor character can really break out if given the right script, director and actor. The Sequel was fun too, although I felt the third one lost a step. The success in films hasn't translated to more popularity in comics, however - perhaps this is a character that is better suited to live action, or maybe it is a matter of just not finding the creative team that clicks yet.
The B&B cover I used as a template here is by Nick Cardy, who for my money was the best DC cover artist in the Silver/Bronze Age (Gil Kane holds that honor for Marvel). Cardy, along with John Romita Sr. also drew some of the most beautiful women in comics. Here's a Cardy sketch of Wonder Girl, one of the characters he was closely associated with: