Axel-In-Charge: Extending "Secret Wars," Excitement for a "Totally Awesome Hulk"
Remember Paolo Rivera’s EC Comics-pastiching variant covers for Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy? Well, maybe someone at Mondo did as well when they commissioned him to draw this amazing tribute to the style of Wally Wood. The print is being released to mark the end of Mondo’s “Tales from the Crypt” gallery show at their home in Austin, Texas (Comic Book Resources debuted pieces by Francesco Francavilla and Mark Todd last month).
There will be a simultaneous release with a print of Jason Edmiston’s painting of Johnny Craig’s notorious cover to Crime SuspenStories #22, used as damning evidence during the 1954 Senate subcommittee hearing on juvenile delinquency. These posters will be made available at a random time today, and as such, keep an eye on Mondo’s Twitter feed to see when.
We’re living in an age where increasing aspects of our comics heritage is being protected, with all manner of work coming back into print in fittingly deluxe packages. However, we can all think of great comics that will probably never be reprinted, for various obscure reasons. For example, all manner of great work published by Marvel and DC in the 1970s and ’80s will never see the light of day again due to lapsed licensing deals. Other titles, other creators, simply fall from fashion, to await rediscovery by another generation. Others still end up in complicated rights battles and litigation.
One field of comics-related work that seems to be just lost to the unrelenting march of time and progress is that of the pre-Internet fanzine. Many significant figures in comics history contributed text and art to this near-dead medium, and it’s hard to see any organization having the will to invest in researching, reprinting or digitizing this lost legacy.
Colin Smith is a blogger and the author of Sequart’s “Shameless? The Superhero Comics of Mark Millar,” and as a critic has written about comics for some of the United Kingdom’s top magazines. He has a secondary blog where he has been recently sharing some great art from old U.K. fanzines and convention booklets.
November is a month when creative people of all types set themselves all kinds of challenges, like NaNoWriMo (the National Novel Writing Month) and its junior equivalent PiBoIdMo (the Picture Book Idea Month). For artists, there’s also SkADAMo (Sketch A Day A Month), in which the challenge is to post … well, it’s self-explanatory, really. My favorite participation has been that of cartoonist Martin Hand, who’s been posting charmingly crude, Panter-esque, comic swipes paired with unlikely but always fitting quotes from literature, advertising and music. I was almost crying with laughter when I saw that Ulik the troll/R Kelly mash-up above turn up in his Twitter feed. There’s a lot more below.
One of the best new artists to break through at 2000AD in these past few years is Tiernen Trevallion. His style reminds me of all the right people (Kev Walker, Mike Mignola, Simon Bisley, Kevin O’Neill), and his inking is always deliciously thick and glossy.
I don’t often check on the progress of my old blog, but when I do, I tend to notice the entry from November 2009 on Trevallion’s designs for the Doctor Who animation “Dreamland” still racks up a fair few hits every month. And when not engaged in comics or as a conceptual artist, he has a third string to his bow, creating fine art of that low brow, transgressive kind I love so much.
On Facebook, Trevallion has been going on a big pre-Christmas push, selling prints of assorted images he has produced for 2000AD, and some images from the “Samovar of Filth,” an ongoing series of tributes to the art of sleazy 1960s paperbacks. It’s all great stuff, and he encourages everyone to email him for details (email@example.com) of what he has left, quotes for worldwide shipping, etc. Drop him a line.
We’ve featured street art by the collective EndoftheLine before (this post from July 2012 included murals in the styles of French maestros Moebius and McBess), but it’s recently posted images of some impressive new projects, again making it abundantly clear how much the group is influenced by comics.
Last week EndoftheLine unveiled a piece in London’s Hoxton district celebrating 30 years of 2000AD‘s “Slaine” with this spot-on tribute to the work of Simon Bisley, painted by founder Jim Vision.
One of the funniest insults I’ve heard in recent years was Noel Gallagher’s judgement upon his brother Liam: “He’s the angriest man you’ll ever meet. He’s like a man with a fork in a world of soup”. The two ex-Oasis frontmen now seem to communicate purely through insults traded via interviews with the music press. One of the regular sticking points between the feuding rock’n’rollers is Liam’s ongoing preoccupation with the fashion world. Now Liam’s fashion label Pretty Green have teamed up with the UK charity the Teenage Cancer Trust to bring out a range of T-shirts featuring illustrations by Jamie Hewlett.
We’ve written about the Jack Kirby Museum and Research Center project a few times before, most recently a week ago when we mentioned it was finally opening a physical presence, in the form of a pop-up in the artist’s native Lower East Side Manhattan called “Prototype: Alpha.” That name strikes me in itself as being a particularly Kirby-esque flourish.
The location opened Monday, and the last few days we finally saw tantalizing glimpses of what to expect on the museum’s walls leaking out via social media (via the museum’s Facebook page and the What if Kirby Twitter account). Here are three behind-the-scenes shots of work being installed into the Delancey Street space:
Sean Howe’s Tumblr is full of interesting supplementary material that work as visual erratta to his great book Marvel Comics: The Untold Story. Now the author has highlighted a series of letters sent to the young Jim Lee (as recently posted by Lee to his Instagram account); they’re great, a fantastic lesson for any artist at the start of his or her career: keep trying, keep growing, keep submitting.
As dangerous as it’s proved in the past, I’m refining another theory. Comics fans are divided into two schools: those who like expressionist comic artists, and those who like realist art. Were your tastes decided by what comics you were exposed to first? Or did you start off liking one school, and develop into a love of the other?
I can see a pattern emerging through my comics-reading history where I start off as a kid loving the Kirby reprints I’m first exposed to, grew up loving Mick McMahon’s work in 2000AD and came back to comics as an adult under the spell of Mike Mignola. In my time, I’ve admired the work of realists like Neal Adams, Brian Bolland and Bryan Hitch, but it’s the work of those three expressionists that I always return to.
So imagine the pleasure I got seeing McMahon sharing his process for a cover for Dark Horse Presents #32. The January solicitations had passed me by, but that issue really is one for the old -chool 2000AD fans — the collaboration between Mignola and McMahon is joined by a new strip by Brendan McCarthy, “The Deleted.” Now that I think about it, a collaboration between McMahon and Mignola has a fairly inevitable feeling about it. No two comic artists have ever sought to refine their styles so much, constantly paring their work down in a pursuit of minimalism.
I’m very fond of the output of artist David Roach. The Welshman has been an on-off contributor to 2000AD since 1988, as well as regularly working as an inker on the strip features in Doctor Who Magazine. I don’t remember him working much recently in the United States, where he regularly turned up at DC and Dark Horse both as a penciler and inker. He comes from a family of academics, and has been developing a parallel career of late as something of a comic book and illustration historian.
Roach regularly uses his Facebook page as an art blog, showcasing artists of all stripes, just as likely to be a fine artist as a comic illustrator, as well as occasionally featuring art from his own collection. This week he has been displaying scans from what he calls “surely the rarest collectible in the comics history.”
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).