Friday, December 28, 2012


MIKE VOSBURG I first noticed inking “Dames of the Atomic Age” that I picked up at Denver Comiccon last year, but his work is even better when he is drawing. I rescently saw the first FREE issue of Retrowood he is writing and doing the art for Asylum Press. And after taking off the “letterboxing” and altering the options to show the full page upon a page turn, Comixology reads just as I read a print comic and is great. I did like this noir comic over other similar first issues I tried as well for free such as Fatale & Thief of Thieves. He has a flat look, reminiscent of Walt Simonson in how it is inked, really only switching between thick brush strokes and pen-like lines. Similar to and yet wholly different from an artist I cannot stand named Gray Marrow. Who has the same flatness to his work but his layouts are much more tame and I can’t quite put my finger on his work but it has actually angered me starting all the way back to my first drawing book – the (of course) Chris Hart written, “How to draw comic book heroes and villains” which can now be found on google books.
Frank Thorne is another artist I’ve come to really appreciate recently with an issue of Ribbit. He does Elfquest-esk faces but his layouts, black placement, and inking really intrigue me. Very European looking to me, and his figures are much more of a 60’s female body which I find much sexier than today’s comic archetype. Especially how the stomach and hips are handles and the curves that are put in it.
I was rescently lucky enough to get my hands on a few of the old Conan and Rook Marvel magazines for 50 cents a piece, including an oversized issue in color that is about as big as I draw. Much of them are John Buscema which is great, the rest are hit or miss but mostly amazing. Especially my first exposure to Alfredo Alcala, who reminds me of some of the things that turn me off about Doug Braithwrighte and David Finch in that the figures are second to the lines. But some of the pages where it isn’t about the figures is where he really shines.
Chris Samnee on Thor was very enjoyable in a great, kids-friendly way.

I’ve been watching Arrow and while it barrows A LOT from what makes Batman popular it has been pretty good, where I found Smallville unwatchable, much like the most recent Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengence.
One movie I was really looking forward to was PROMETHIUS – and while it has the scariest scene I think I’ve ever seen in a film and yet all the subtlety of the sexual metaphor of the Xenomorphs is all but gone. And much of the questions the plot that had so much potential but just squandered it and ruined, especially in the third act what could have been a great movie. Though I’ve heard much of Lost Writer, and now Batman Tales of the Dark Knight writer Damion Lindeloff was to blame and that things were better explained and made since in the original script.
Speaking of scripting I found the blog post on the Rules of Pixar plotting pretty insightful, if not just reinforcing of what I’ve heard before. I thought Pirates Band of Misfits was one of the funniest movies I’ve seen in years, done my Ardman Studios – famous for Wallace and Gromit. Their new short “a matter of Loaf and Death” was only 30-minutes and I thought it was better than the Curse of the Wererabbit and as good as most feature-length animations. There are many allusions to other movies, famous scenes, shots etc. Great writing all around. So that is moving up my list while another company I used to love has been falling into obscurity – Studio Ghibli.
While still technically perfect, Tales of Earthsea, Ponyo, the Secret world of Ariety are all movies that I just can’t relate to. I suppose I’m not the target demographic anymore, I enjoyed Lupin the castle of Cogliostro, Spirited Away, Howl’s Moving Castle, Totoro, the Cat Returns and especially Princess Mononoke. I just find these new ones, boring, uninteresting, retreading artistically, and somewhat unfulfilling story-wise.

After the theater shooting here in Colorado and other life events I never got to see the Dark Knight Rises. I kept myself almost completely in the dark, but now that I’ve seen it I have to say I’m one of the ones who loved it. Probably more than the Dark Knight which I raved about when it came out on this very blog. Though the politics people read into the movies still surprises me, I wouldn’t put it past Nolan and his brother to include as I find them some of the only guiding lights in entertainment today. The one thing I wish was different, and I’m not the first to mention this, is I wish they wouldn’t have shown Bruce at the end.
That same comment was made on an awesome Podcast I’ve started listening to called Now Playing. Others I’ve found and loved recently: the Deceptionists, Fuzzy Typewriter (who did an awesome Aliens 3 episode, going over the various widely different scripts), Extra Sequential (the only one I don’t tire of), Books and Nachos, and Now playing co-host’s Marveliscious Toys (though I only listened to his Marvel movie book adaptation reviews). Science fiction book review podcast (SFBRPC) has some great book/audiobook reviews that I basically listen for the plot summaries.

I’ve also been getting and listing to a lot of radio drama’s: Batman Knightfall, Life Death and Return of Superman, Star-wars Shadows of the empire, the Thrawn Trillogy, Star Trek Imzadi (by Peter David), and even Graphicaudio’s two-part Batman No Man’s Land – which blows the rest away. I’ve now ordered a few more from them. You can find Batman the Lazarus Syndrome for free on the Batman Adventure Podcast, but that has been the weakest of the bunch. It is fine but the ending jumps the shark in so many ways just to tie up the plot quickly and neatly.

Shadows of the Empire really has been the only Star Wars story that has really captured what I liked about the original trilogy. I’m one of those that can’t get invested in Star Wars if its not the original characters, so when I found the Star Wars infinities comics I was very happy. Extra Sequential’s thoughts on their Star Wars episode of the podcast hit my thoughts pretty much on the head and I’ve really enjoyed the Red Letter Media review/critique of the prequels.

I have been able to finish reading “Miss don’t touch me vol. 1” and enjoyed it. I’ve been slugging my way through Crisis on Infinite Earths about an issue every other month for the last year. I have to say while I acknowledge George Perez for being so consistant, and the book being a feat because of it’s details- the consistency in his art, is, to me, a turn off. Like Steve Dillon. The only one who I can get by with is Michael Golden because it still has an energy to it the others don’t. Though the Chris Sprouse way of inking it so precisely and cleanly does kind of kill it for me, though I love Christ Sprouse. There have beena number of Artists that I have liked so much that I’ve started getting quite a massive collection of their work, but noticed that after a certain point something clicks and I understand them too well. There are no more surprises in their work, JRJR and Kelly Jones have become that for me. However going backwards, JRJR’s work on daredevil with Al Williamson inking him are among my favorite comics ever, and surprise me with every issue.

Speaking of Michael Golden, his Jackie Chan’s SpartanX the Armor of Heaven has some awesome helicopter scenes which inspired, in part some of the ending of From Blood issue 2, which I just finished penciling. I also was inspired by The Punisher 75, and the illustrated screenplay of Terminator 2, the art of the Matrix book etc. I started using hotwheels for my reference but there is a big vehicle chase at the end that I eneded up having to use sketchup and find models on the warehouse.

I’ve also realized that both Yurushi and From Blood have the main character’s arc going from a violence and trying to become a peaceful one. This is the main difference I see between this and books that I could see it (From Blood) as being compared to, like Luthor Strode (drawn by my friend Tradd Moore). I didn’t even realize it till I was almost done drawing the second issue, but I think that character arc resonates with me because I think self-control is the highest mastery. I think that is why I hold the book/movie Dune in such high regard when so many throw that movie in the mud. The scene where he has to stick his hand in the pain box and the Revered Mother explains it as a test to see if he is an animal or a man - which is something I constantly struggle with of in my day-to-day life.

I kind of based Tim off of Alan Moore and Doctor Harold after Frank Miller. In both issues there are flashbacks to Tim being more well-shaven in which case I based him off of what Dolf Lungrend/Jean Claude Van Damme look like these days. Reese also takes a change in the second issue to look a bit more mod/indie and less doctorly.

Issue two also features A LOT more Swat Policemen – Which only make a brief appearance in issue one. So keeping them consistent with issue 1, I kind of realized I was recreating what I remembered the early 90’s Jurgen’s Metropolis police to look like from the first issue I ever remember having Superman #59. I also tried to include a minority I a major role, the same reason I was trying to get on-board with Batwing when DC relaunched, but I can’t stand the decompression in comics now. I read the comic in 10 minutes or less and the art, just like I mentioned with Finch and Braithwrighte is technically well executed it has the worst layout. This page for example, what is going on with the lower half of the left side of the dps? Absolutely nothing!

I’ve also gone through some bouts of becoming obsessed with dreaming up some plots including my version of a Justice League Reboot in which I tied all their orogins together and redesigned the costumes, combined some characters. I also plotted what my Predator vs. Tarzan story would have been and did a montage page of art – both of which can be found on my Deviantart page.

My and my 9-year-old brother redesigned Glory for the Project Rooftop blog, recently.

As I mentioned on my previous post I’ve been contributing to James’ on-again off-again sketchblog

I’ve also went through online and rewatched the most memorable episodes of the Batman the animated series from the 90’s. I seem to remember a character that I can’t find, that I thought was an alter-ego of two-face where he had a hanging mask that only covered half his face. I thought it was somewhere around the third season, once the style got very geometric, but I think I might have been misremembering the episode Judgement Day. Other episodes I fondly remembered were:
Holdiday Knights
You scratch my back
Pretty Poison – My favorite for the image of Poison Ivy growing babies in plants and the 50’s horror movie feel the episode has.

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