Axel-In-Charge: Extending "Secret Wars," Excitement for a "Totally Awesome Hulk"
You can do things in comics you can’t do in any other medium, and U.K. cartoonist Dan McDaid has taken advantage of that in his work on Time Lords, superheroes, gods, monsters and apes — and he’s done it all without sacrificing his style. In fact, it’s only invigorated him further.
McDaid is currently illustrating BOOM! Studios’ Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, taking a novel look at that world while retaining the auteur vibe that made the original movie work. Combining a diverse array of influences, Jack Kirby to John Romita Jr. and Frank Miller to Mike Zeck — even drawing in names like Nic Roeg and Sam Peckinpah — McDaid seems to showcase a different facet of his abilities in each project he tackles.
I became aware of McDaid during his run on Jersey Gods at Image Comics, but it’s Catalyst Comix that made me reconsider my assessment of his work. Since then, with Vandroid and issues of Mind the Gap and Sex, he’s risen in my mind to become a dynamic illustrator whose talent seems to be building to some unknown future project that will make him a marquee name in comics. Will it be Dawn of the Planet of Apes? Will it be the creator-owned book he’s working on? Or perhaps something else?
Nearly a year ago we wrote about Vandroid, Tommy Lee Edwards’ live-action tribute to ’80s action films, shot over just five days near the artist’s home in North Carolina. Dubbed by Edwards as merely the first of many planned live-action projects, the short was to be accompanied by a soundtrack and a comic book — and now the latter has found a home.
Dark Horse has announced the Feb. 29 debut of Vandroid, a miniseries written by Edwards and Noah Smith, with art by Dan McDaid and colors by Jordie Bellaire. Edwards will provide the covers.
Here’s the solicitation for the first issue of the project, described by the publisher as “epic 80’s Sci-Fi action, the likes of which you’ve never seen”:
I still remember Comics’ Greatest World, a shared universe superhero concept launched by Dark Horse back in the 1990s. I was particularly a fan of the comics that took place in Golden City — Catalyst: Agents of Change and Agents of Law among them — so I was interested when Dark Horse announced Catalyst Comix. Writer Joe Casey pitched the new book as a “decidedly unconventional” take on super-hero comics, according to Dark Horse’s Mike Richardson, and Casey’s working with artists Dan McDaid, Paul Maybury, Ulises Farinas and Brad Simpson to bring this “New Wave superhero anthology title” to life.
So how are the three stories that make up the first issue? Here are few thoughts from around the web:
Dark Horse’s Catalyst Comix, a title I’ve been looking forward to since it was announced in October at New York Comic Con, at last debuts today. Joe Casey is a writer who starts every project with a manifesto, and this one is no different: Relaunching a relatively unmourned line of comics in his own image, he’s seeking to create a superhero book that’s an antidote to “the overly conservative nature of Marvel and DC.” I can appreciate that ambition, but what really sold me is the sheer depth of the pool of artistic talent assembled to bring Casey’s scripts to life: Dan McDaid, Ulises Farinas and Paul Maybury drawing the three strips that make up each issue. Rafael Grampa, Paul Pope and Brendan McCarthy are rotating as cover artists.
I spoke to Dan McDaid on the eve of the book’s launch to discuss working within this all-star team of creators, and he shared his process on creating a typically powerful, apocalyptic-looking sequence of his strip, starring Frank Wells, the hero formerly known as Titan, from Will to Power.
The New York Comic Con officially kicked off this afternoon, with fans eager to get inside and publishers eager to begin releasing news into the wild. So let’s see if we can’t herd some of those announcements together. Here’s a round-up from today:
• DC Comics Co-Publisher and artist extraordinaire Jim Lee will team with Batman scribe Scott Snyder on a new Superman title next year, just in time for the Man of Steel’s return to the silver screen. “This will play along with the other Superman books in the sense that it’s in continuity, but we really wanted to carve out our own territory,” Snyder told CBR. “This really is sort of the biggest, most epic Superman story we could do together while having our feet planted firmly in continuity and making sure that everyone had enough room.”
DC also unveiled a Kia Optima that features a Batman design by Jim Lee.
• Marvel announced three more Season One graphic novels: Iron Man, written by Howard Chaykin with art by Gerard Parel; Thor by writer Matthew Sturges and artist Pepe Larraz; and Wolverine, written by the team of Ben Blacker and Ben Acker, with art by Salva Espin. Also, Cullen Bunn returns to Deadpool with Deadpool Killustrated, a miniseries that pits the Merc with a Mouth against Moby Dick, Sherlock Holmes, Beowulf, Don Quixote and more. Spoiler alert: he’s gonna kill them.
All this recent talk of defunct DC Thomson girls’ and kids’ comics, plus the release this week of the latest issue of Mudman from Image Comics, has prompted The Dandy‘s Lew Stringer to post some of Paul Grist’s early work for the historic Scottish publisher. These pages show how Grist’s style was born almost fully formed, remaining fairly unchanged to this day.
Grist isn’t the only familiar name to today’s U.S. comics audience to have worked there, of course: Grant Morrison wrote and drew some Starblazer digests; Sean Phillips also used to draw for DC Thomson’s girls comics, simultaneously to the period Grist was working at Nikki, while just out of art college, and was even drawing strips for Bunty in 1982, while just 17 (Sean blogged extensively on the subject in 2007); and Dan McDaid was once a sub-editor on a women’s magazine at the Dundee giant(!).
I’ve described some artists here as having “escaped” comics for the rarified air of the fine art world. I get the feeling Glenn Barr would deny that description, I remember seeing him describe his work before as “low brow art”. Anyway, I love it. There’s an interview with him over at the 1XRun blog, discussing the latest limited-edition print he’s produced for them, The Alien Bride.
Lots more art below, including Sergio Aragones, Jon Haward, Dan McDaid and Brendan McCarthy. Continue Reading »
Plenty of comic art blogs getting interesting updates recently. The Art of Simon Bisley fansite has a gallery of covers and concept work from Lost Angeles, recently announced by IDW Publishing as migrating there from Heavy Metal. This series will feature Kevin Eastman’s long-overdue return to drawing longform comics.
• Eric Canete has been posting loads of recently commissioned sketches on his blog since Friday, and a lot of them have been a tad NSFW, so let’s insert a break here.
Not every comics artist is at Comic-Con International in San Diego this week; some are at home updating their blogs. Like Paul Pope (above). For this I’ll forgive his minor part in the Before Watchmen farrago.
Dan McDaid is home in Scotland posting an Easter egg-laden image from an upcoming issue of Doctor Who Magazine.
After the falling out between Ashes writer Alex de Campi and artist Jimmie Broxton, de Campi decided to pursue having multiple artists draw the sequel to the 2005 series Smoke. This week in an update to the project’s backers on Kickstarter, de Campi said the line-up of artists is now complete.
Joining A Distant Soil creator Colleen Doran and Smoke artist Igor Kordey are:
De Campi said she plans to begin serializing it digitally in June and publish the graphic novel in December.