It’s hard following up after the class act that’s Superman, with him being “Super” and all. However, former Walt Disney storyboard artist Brittney Williams is showing off the other side of the Man of Steel’s life in a great piece of fan art dubbed The Daily Planet Files.
These comics and illustrations show the meek Clark Kent and the gregarious staff at Metropolis’ Daily Planet as if they were a comic series you never knew existed. Working as a spirital kin to the Lois Lane, Girl Reporter pitch by Dean Trippe and the never-realized Wonder Womwn series by Tintin Pantoja, Williams’ The Daily Planet Files shows the Justice League isn’t the only interesting group he’s part of.
Former Superman artist Al Plastino was startled to learn his original artwork for “Superman’s Mission for President Kennedy” is up for auction — and not in the John F. Kennedy Memorial Library, as he had been led to believe.
According to the New York Post, Plastino was at New York Comic Con when he learned another exhibitor had the artwork, and that Heritage Auctions was scheduled to sell it (with a starting bid of $20,000 per page) on Nov. 22, the 50th anniversary of Kennedy’s assassination. Plastino, who is 91 and has prostate cancer, posted a plea for help on his Facebook page, and the comics community quickly responded with offers of legal help.
Plastino drew the story “Superman’s Mission for President Kennedy” in 1963 to promote Kennedy’s physical fitness program, as part of a collaboration between DC and the Kennedy administration. The issue was scheduled to go on sale in late November, but editors quickly pulled it and substituted other material when Kennedy was assassinated. Shortly afterward, President Lyndon Johnson’s staff asked DC to go ahead and run the story, which they did, adding a special commemorative page showing Superman saluting a ghostly image of Kennedy.
Brian Stelfreeze is a well-known cover artist, with runs on DC Comics’ Batman, Birds of Prey, Firestorm, Shadow of the Bat and others, but that immense skill often overshadows another of his talents: superhero costume design. Very early in his career he created what has become the seminal Nightwing, and he recently did some more DC character redesigns — but this time for fun.
For the past few weeks, Stelfreeze has been drawing redesigns of DC’s Crime Syndicate of America and posting them on a Yahoo! Group devoted to his work. The idea came about when Stelfreeze was talking to his friend Robert Jewell about the comics they grew up with, and they pinpointed an issue of Justice League of America they read as kids that focused on the Crime Syndicate. With the Crime Syndicate getting new life in DC’s current Forever Evil, Jewell and Stelfreeze thought it’d be fun for the artist to redesign these classic characters. Using notes from Jewell and members of the Yahoo! Group, Stelfreeze took on these characters and developed his own takes on them — with amazing results.
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 a sucker for pint-sized versions of superheroes, ranging from Skottie Young’s “baby” Marvel variants to Dustin Nguyen’s Li’l Gotham to Art Baltazar and Franco’s Tiny Titans, but my new favorite may be Ben Oliver‘s adorable “little” take on the big-screen Avengers.
When ROBOT 6 contributor Tim O’Shea spotted some of the illustrations on Cully Hamner’s Facebook page, he contacted Oliver, who was kind enough to send them our way. In his email, Oliver said this is the set “so far,” which I hope means we’ll be treated to child-sized renditions of Loki, Hawkeye and Agent Coulson.
The art is, of course, terrific (don’t dwell too long on the idea of kids with facial hair; that way lies madness), but it’s Oliver’s perfect and hilarious word balloons that will win over even the most stonehearted superhero fan.
Years before Bruce Timm made his mark on superheroes with his work on Batman: The Animated Series, he plied his trade in the early 1980s as a background and layout artist for the animation studio Filmation. While he spent his days working on cartoons like G.I. Joe and He-Man and the Masters of the Universe, Timm devoted his nights to pitching Marvel and DC Comics. After a chance meeting with a Marvel editor, Timm got his break — but not at the House of Ideas. Instead, he made his professional comics debut in 1984 on the Masters of the Universe minicomics.
For three years Timm worked on this series, packaged with the Mattel action figures, sometimes inking other artists and sometimes drawing his own. He contributed several covers to the series, especially in the European editions. Here’s a sampling of the various covers and pin-ups he’s done, as well as some interior pages. Be warned: It’s a lot different than the Bruce Timm time you’ve grown to love from animation, but it still has a special charm.
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:
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:
Mondo, the Alamo Drafthouse’s collectible art boutique, is celebrating EC Comics and Tales From the Crypt for Halloween with a gallery show featuring work by more than 30 artists honoring the television anthology and the horror titles on which it was based.
“I care about EC Comics very much. Even though I wasn’t around when it was originally published, the HBO Tales From the Crypt was an amazing intro into a demented world of darkly comedic horror stories and vivid artwork,” Mondo CEO Justin Ishmael said in a press release. “EC Comics’ editor Bill Gaines is one of my heroes and it’s so incredibly exciting to combine his creations with 30-something artists that are also fans of that era.”
The show, which will run from Oct. 25 through Nov. 23 at the Mondo Gallery in Austin, Texas, will original art and screen prints by the likes of Warwick Johnson Cadwell, Francesco Francavilla, Jeff Lemire, Chris Mooneyham, Ed Piskor, Jim Rugg and Eric Skillman. You can see more names on the postcard below.
The release of the time-travel arc “Days of Future Past” in 1980′s Uncanny X-Men #141-142 opened a broad door for comic stories of heroes from the future traveling to prevent the wrongs of their past — and our future. And artists have, time and time again, paid tribute to John Byrne and Terry Austin’s cover for Issue 141 showing a gray-haired Wolverine and an older Kitty Pryde — Kate Pryde, in this instance — with their back against a wall of wanted posters.
Here’s a look at the origin and some homages to that classic image from sources ranging from superhero titles to manga to webcomics.
Although he’s currently known for his work on brawny heroes like Superman and Red Hulk, upcoming Astonishing X-Men artist Ed McGuinness got his big break from a very different kind of hero: a merc with a mouth. In 1997, he and writer Joe Kelly joined forces to put the ’90s anti-hero Deadpool head-deep in hijinks and human suffering, and gave the mercenary an oddly lovable supporting cast that included Blind Al and Weasel. The series gained cult status among for its ballsy slapstick humor that grew to become a trademark for the once-dark character.
And now, Marvel is pulling together Kelly and McGuinness’ run — along with a few extras — in a massive tome titled Deadpool by Joe Kelly Omnibus. Although I have a bit of an issue with not including the artist’s name in that title, I’m excited to get all these issues in my hand. For this early 2014 collection, Marvel commissioned McGuinness to create a cover commemorating the run. “It was a blast revisiting these characters,” the artist wrote on his DeviantArt page.
Deadpool by Joe Kelly Omnibus is scheduled for release in January.
Miami Book Fair International has provided ROBOT 6 with an exclusive first look at Paul Pope’s Generation Genius Days poster created for the 30th annual event. That of course is the artist’s own Battling Boy reading J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Fellowship of the Ring while surrounded by monsters (the graphic novel debuts Oct. 8 from First Second).
Held Nov. 17-24 at Miami Dade MDC’s Wolfson Campus in downtown Miami, this year’s fair will commemorate 500 years since Ponce de Leon landed in Florida by celebrating Spain’s culture literature. Famed Spanish comic artist Francesc Capdevila, better known as Max, created the event’s official poster.
The nation’s largest literary gathering, Miami Book Fair International includes as part of its programming Generation Genius Days (Nov. 21-24), which features learning and literacy activities for children and teens.
Steve Rude is a comics legend, both for his artwork and for his over-sized personality. But as I was reminiscing about his work while waiting for him to release something new, I came across a mysterious blind spot in my memory of the Dude: the time he drew the X-Men.
In 1999, Marvel put together Rude and writer Joe Casey for a throwback three-issue miniseries titled X-Men: Children of the Atom, which documented the recruitment of the original X-men by Charles Xavier. Out of print since 2001, this diamond in the rough is especially poignant now given the return of that era’s X-Men in All-New X-Men … but more generally because, well, Rude’s art is great.
Above is a commission Rude drew of the original team, and I’ve pulled together some of the covers from this forgotten (at least by me) miniseries, as well as some illustrations the artist has created with the team in the time since.
Arriving on shelves Wednesday, Wonder Woman, Vol. 3: Iron not only collects issues 0 and 13-18 of the DC Comics series but also includes such behind-the-scenes material as Cliff Chiang’s character designs for Orion and a rough sketch for the zero issue splash page. While much of the art debuted last year at New York Comic Con during the “Concept to Page” panel, the trade paperback also features Jim Lee’s take on Orion, which DC has provided exclusively to ROBOT 6, along with some of Chiang’s art. You can see it all below.
If DC Comics can do 3D covers for Villains Month and Marvel can release Deadpool variants, it seems like they could make room on their publishing slates for, oh, I don’t know, a series that depicts some of their most recognizable characters on classic album covers.
That request isn’t as random as it seems (well, maybe it is), as artist Robert Jiménez painted Wonder Woman, Batgirl, Catwoman, Doctor Strange and Lobo on LP sleeves for an art show, and they’re pretty amazing. Unfortunately, he’s already sold the originals, but he hopes to create more soon.
Check out some of the pieces below, and the rest on Jiménez’s website.