I just saw this, via the 2000AD forums: a collage image of Jock’s storyboards for last year’s Dredd film. Some of the Savage Wolverine artist’s concept work for the movie leaked onto the Internet before filming began, but as far as I can tell, this is the first time any sighting has been made of this particular aspect of his work on the production. The storyboards were lettered and compiled into comic book form by John J Hill Design.
Here’s the site’s description: “In order to secure financing for the comic book based sci-fi film DREDD, a package was put together for DNA Films consisting of the storyboards (drawn by acclaimed artist Jock) and script reformatted to create a comic book of the entire movie. The film was successfully produced and came out to critical (although not box office) success.”
This is a tantalizing proposition. Surely an “Art of” book must be on the cards, featuring this and all the pre-viz work done by Jock and the many other artists who worked on the movie? Wouldn’t that go some way to satisfying the film’s ever-vocal fanbase?
These days, every city worth its salt has a pop culture-themed art gallery, running exhibitions filled with art inspired by comics, games, television and film. New York City has one of the best, Brooklyn’s Bottleneck Gallery. This is the first year it has a presence at New York Comic Con (booth #2167), where the gallery is selling new and exclusive prints by 21 artists, hosting signings by artists and giving away free candy. Those Big Slice lollipops may well be the deal-maker.
The signing schedule includes: Timothy Pittides, Friday from noon to 12:30 p.m.; Marko Manev, Friday and Saturday from 2 p.m. to 2:30 p.m.; Randy Ortiz, Friday from 3 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.; and Bruce Yan, Saturday from 1 p.m. to 1:30 p.m.
Check out plenty of examples of the comic-influenced work Bottleneck will be selling: Continue Reading »
We’ve featured pop artist “Butcher Billy” Bily Mariano da Luz several times. His comic book-related mash-ups are sometimes designed just to entertain, but sometimes to raise debate. His latest series definitely belongs to the latter group: the “War Photography X Vintage Comics Project” skirts good taste in order to make the viewer ponder all kinds of questions.
Superhero comics, a genre born at a period of global chaos, have seldom shied away from apocalyptic levels of horror and violence. Consider 1941′s Human Torch #5A, wherein Namor drops a tidal wave upon New York City. My personal benchmark remains Alan Moore and John Totleben’s Miracleman #15 (as described by Tim Callahan as “a vile disgusting condemnation/celebration of superhero violence (take your pick)“), which managed to be genuinely hellish and affecting, with none of its punch lessened by being frequently ripped off and swiped from by multiple lesser talents over the years. However, things get more sensitive whenever fictional characters get superimposed into real events, such as the howls of protest over J. Michael Straczynski’s Amazing Spider-Man #36, with its crying Doctor Doom.
Billy inserts classic superhero imagery into some of the most shocking and iconic photography ever taken. Sometimes the results resonate, sometimes they offend, sometimes they amuse, and at least one falls so flat as to be utterly banal. He describes his project as:
Paul Pope’s Battling Boy debuts this week, which is a big deal for all sorts of reasons. I like how publisher First Second has been trailing the last week of build-up through its Twitter feed, releasing postcard-like graphics pairing panels from the book with advance praise for the release. As if we weren’t already salivating at the prospect of Pope properly commencing his first major project since 2006′s Batman Year 100.
I love the word “gestation.” All those different hard and soft sounds to roll around your mouth; affricates, fricatives, sibilants, glottal stops, all there in one meaning-pregnant (in all senses) word. There’s a standard table of units critics use for the gestation period of a work of art. Did it take as long to complete as the average Scott Walker LP? Or, for something a little bit longer, it’s a James Joyce’s Finnegan’s Wake.
This movie took two years to complete, which is quite a modest timescale by my increasingly geological sense of chronology, although it’s just a record of one man completing one painting. That said, that one man is Simon Bisley, and that one painting is a mural-sized image of The Joker, so the resultant combination is indeed worthy of epic status (the running time for the movie stretches to about 10 minutes short of two hours, with the action alternating between real-time and time-lapse sequences).
This week’s Batman Black and White #2 features a short story by Rafael Grampá. Correct me if I’m wrong, but I believe this is the first time the Brazilian comic-book multi-threat has ever drawn the interiors for any Batman story, despite having produced several illustrations of the character that proved popular enough for Grampá to be given the job of designing one of the DC Direct black and white Batman statues. I was a big fan of his Mesmo Delivery (so much so that I gave away a couple of copies to assorted pals over the years), and have been waiting and wondering patiently for his planned post-apocalyptic project Furry Water, despite radio silence on that one since posting an image from it to his Flickr in 2011.
Grampá is, like Paul Pope, possibly getting distracted from his core business by new and glamorous multimedia offers of work, like working on vodka advertising. He plays drums in a band, and he’s now a highly sought-after cover artist both in the United States and in his native Brazil. The lack of traction on Furry Water is understandable, even if it does set the teeth on edge of my inner spoiled-and-entitled fanboy. Anyway, he posted this page from “Into the Circle,” his Joker-centric story, on his Facebook page:
In this piece from Monday on Francesco Francavilla’s poster designs for Breaking Bad‘s final episodes, I noted how many comic creators are drawing sketches of Walter White. One name I forgot to mention was famed “good girl” artist J. Scott Campbell, who posted these images last week on Instagram and his DeviantArt account.
Against type, he’s stuck to drawing the gnarled male leads from the acclaimed drama, although there’s unfortunately no take on the great Saul Goodman. That naturally leaves me pondering an alternate reality in which Campbell has drawn cheesecake versions of Skyler, Maria, Lydia, etc. Maybe that could be the theme of his 2015 calendar: “The Long-Suffering Women of Breaking Bad.” That would make perfect sense, tonally. Stop looking at me like that. Continue Reading »
The Internet is littered with the corpses of dead Wonder Woman movie pitches; heck, just within the last couple of weeks, Chronicle writer Max Landis let it be known during a Reddit AMA session that he intends to approach Warner Bros. soon. This morning, U.K. comics creator Nigel Auchterlounie posted this on his blog, linking to it on Twitter with the wise words “I’ve worked out how to do a #WonderWoman, took half an hour. DC could probably do better if they spent all day on it”.
For 30 minutes’ work, it’s not bad at all. That opening image reminded me of Zenith Book One: Tygers, so I asked him if it was a deliberate reference. He replied, “No. It must have been a subconscious thing. I loved Zenith so it is up there somewhere.” Auchterlounie stresses that this isn’t the movie the studio should make, but if he can come up with this on the spot in one morning, how hard can it be for Warner Bros. to figure it out with people working on the project full time? It’s a fair point: Both Warner’s television and movie wings have crashed multiple versions of Wonder Woman in recent years. Clearly people there have developed a severe case of the Yips over this character, while every comic reader slaps their forehead in disbelief.
A quick survey of social media sites reveals comics creators to be as obsessed with this last tranche of episodes of Breaking Bad as everyone else is. Numerous artists have been posting drawings of Walter White of late (such as Ben Templesmith, Matt Timson, Dan Berry and PJ Holden), but Francesco Francavilla has been going especially above and beyond, creating individual poster designs for each new episode shortly after it airs. He’s been posting them to his Tumblr, which seems to have superseded his previous blog, where you can see the similar project he set himself, to create posters for all of season seven of Doctor Who.
The proposed “day of action” for the “Make a Dredd Sequel” campaign turns out to be a rather cleverly planned piece of corporate synergy. The date, Sept, 17, is of course a New Comics Day, and the day 2000AD Prog 1850 (as anticipated by ROBOT 6′s Brigid Alverson in this week’s Cheat Sheet), and Judge Dredd Megazine #340 are released. Both comics are optimized for new readers, featuring high-profile new series and contributors.
These new series include a Dredd strip based upon the movie continuity (as previewed here last week), and “Ordinary,” a creator-owned strip by the critically acclaimed team of Rob Williams and D’Israeli (again, previewed here last week); the press release from the publisher Rebellion flags the recent high-profile gigs for all the talent involved, such as “Damnation Station” being written by Mighty Avengers‘ Al Ewing.
Next week sees the release of Judge Dredd Megazine #340, featuring the debut of “Ordinary,” a creator-owned strip by writer Rob Williams and artist D’Israeli, the creative team behind the acclaimed 2000AD strip “Low Life,: I’ve been a big fan of both their work for quite a while now — in Williams’ case, since his first published work, the great Cla$$war, in 2002; in the case of D’Israeli, scarily enough, it’s been since his “Timulo’”strip ran in Deadline in the late 1980s. I managed to grab a word with Williams about the new series, and he happily obliged, and sent along a veritable mountain of preview art to boot.
Robot 6: So Rob, the last ordinary man in a world of the super-powered, eh? But what’s Ordinary really about?
Rob Williams: I’m a little wary of frightening people off by talking about themes. “Ordinary” is filled with spectacle, big-Hollywood action set pieces and outlandish characters that are, hopefully, quite memorable, This is a world where everyone gets a different superpower, after all — no two people are the same. But, at its heart, it’s about emotionally allowing yourself to come to terms with fatherhood, really. Out main character, Michael Fisher, is a divorcee who very rarely sees his son when we first meet him. And then the world starts going to hell and it’s up to him to try and find this boy he hardly knows even though there’s a super-powered danger around every turn. And, for Michael, it’s coming to realise the real reason he never sees his son. The book’s called “Ordinary” for reasons that aren’t just about super powers and explosions and giants and talking bears and huge battles. There’s an emotional arc for our lead that is pretty unusual for modern comics, I think.
The folks at 2000AD are clearly fed up of waiting to see if the accountants at DNA Films will bow to the online petitions and constant fan-badgering and release a sequel to 2012′s Dredd: They’re taking the initiative and starting their own continuation of the film, beginning next week in Judge Dredd Megazine #340. This new continuity doesn’t replace Dredd’s ongoing 36-year-old saga, instead running parallel. Y’know, like an Ultimate Judge Dredd. I can see how the whole “sequel to Dredd movie” angle may well play well with the mainstream press, perhaps generating some mass-media attention.
The strip, “Dredd: Underbelly,” is by writer Arthur Wyatt and artist Henry Flint. 2000AD sent along these images, showing Flint’s process for creating the issue’s cover, from preliminary sketch to finished item.
Today sees the release of The Best of Milligan & McCarthy, a bumper hardcover from Dark Horse Books collecting almost every page produced by the team of Pete Milligan and Brendan McCarthy. Their collaboration stretches from the late 1970s to the early 1990s, and encompasses strips for music weeklies and national Sunday newspapers, the dawn of the American indie-publishing boom, 2000AD and its creator-owned spinoff Revolver, an Eisner-nominated graphic novel, and ended at the birth of DC Comics’ Vertigo imprint.
It’s fair to say these were my favorite comics during my formative years, so I was both honored and surprised to be asked to provide the introduction in the book. I protested, saying there’s bound to be someone better qualified for the task, but McCarthy insisted he wanted it by someone who had felt the impact of these comics at the time. Hence my nostalgic waffling at the start of the book; ignore that, and skip straight to the book’s meat, some of the funniest, angriest, saddest, smartest, dumbest, most transcendent work the medium has ever seen. To quote my own essay, “a secret history of the comics that followed them, the most influential comics you never see credited as such.”
I abused my access to these two men to ask them some questions, while trying not to gush too badly. I probably failed.
I’m terribly fond of Joe Gordon, editor of the Forbidden Planet International blog. Last night he posted this video of himself hosting the Grant Morrison panel at the Edinburgh Book Festival. Gordon gets more confident as the panel goes on after a shaky start, bless him; Morrison is, as ever, tremendous value: He breaks down the plots of many of his upcoming projects, including much-anticipated projects as The Trial of Diana Prince, Seaguy Eternal, Multiversity, the hook of the Flash story he keeps mentioning, and the joys of pitching superheroes to Warner Bros.
These last few days, the good burghers of the Essential Sequential agency have been posting sketch after sketch by Italy’s Matteo Scalera to their Instagram account. Scalera might not be the biggest name in their stable of artists (which includes Dave Johnson, Andrew Robinson and Dan Panosian), but he’s producing stylish work, redolent of another couple of Essential Sequential artists, Eric Canete and Sean Gordon Murphy. I’d throw Declan Shalvey and Robbi Rodriguez in as another couple of touchstones, too. A little further digging reveals Scalera’s blog and his DeviantArt page are the places to find better-quality, less ruthlessly cropped, versions of these illustrations. His DeviantArt account reveals him to be an absolute sketch machine — he’s numbering them, and has reached 533.