INTERVIEW: DiDio & Lee on "Dark Knight 3," Vertigo's Future & DC's Evolving Readership
Duncan Fegredo has been known to post all kinds of process art on Twitter while he’s been working on various Hellboy projects: thumbnails, layouts, sketches, pencils, inks, gray washes (and sometimes he compiles them at Storify). Knowing that he’s a serial documentarian of every stage of an image, I asked if there were any previous stages to his variant cover for Kick-Ass 3 #2. This cover is the first fruits of Fegredo’s partnership with Mark Millar, as they gear up to creating their new series MPH for Image Comics. Of course, Fegredo answered my question with a virtual folder full of art, showing just how much work the artist (and his editor, and his colorist) put into producing one iconic image.
Fegredo: “Amidst much ongoing talk of MPH, Mark asked if I could turn around a Kick-Ass 3 variant by the end of what was already a short week. This was whilst I was finishing the last few Hellboy: The Midnight Circus pages, so not the best timing! The brief could not have been briefer, “It should feature Kick Ass!” was pretty much it. So here’s my initial and only sketch, Kick-Ass playing with action figures of himself and a bad guy. Kick-Ass literally playing with himself if I need make it any plainer!”
Cast your mind back to when you first heard Mike Mignola was giving up art duties on Hellboy to allow the title to come out with more frequency. Remember that feeling. Now remember how surprisingly conflicted you felt when you heard he was coming back to drawing the comic, after his substitute Duncan Fegredo had illustrated it so ably for five years, during what proved to be among the greatest sequence of stories in the character’s history.
Now, of course, we have the best of both worlds: Mignola is guiding his signature creation through the lands of his origin in Hellboy in Hell, and Duncan Fegredo is working on an original graphic novel, The Midnight Circus, featuring a young Hellboy when he was a pancake-guzzling lad living on an Air Force base in New Mexico, in the care of Professor Trevor Bruttenholm. The book is due “in the later half of 2013″ after some delays (Fegredo reports “the book would have been completed ages back but I had the opportunity to storyboard an unnamed movie”).
He sent to ROBOT 6 some “cryptic edits” of the boisterous lil’ hellion in action. It looks typically great: Here’s an early glimpse at what will probably prove to be many people’s book of 2013.
Simon Bisley’s return to 2000AD after 22 years absence comes in the form of the cover to the upcoming Prog 1800. It’s already dividing opinion. I’ve never blamed Bisley for the worst excesses of his copyists, and this image has its high points — the Judge Death and Mean Machine figures, drawn in Bisley’s mature style, are particularly good — but it is hard to see past the great big unnecessary arse in the middle of this composition (via Comics Alliance).
Much more below, including the Beatles, Shaky Kane, Brendan McCarthy, Jamie Hewlett and Duncan Fegredo.
Plenty more art from Clowes, Yuko Shimizu, Daniel Krall, Nick Abadzis and Duncan Fegredo after the break. Continue Reading »
Have you ever met a girl and she’s stuck with you in memory, even though you haven’t seen her in decades? For me, it’s Simone Cundy, whom I met in the mid-’90s in the Vertigo miniseries Girl.
Published in 1996 as part of Vertigo’s sub-imprint Vertigo Vérité, the three issue series followed a teenage girl named Simone in the doldrums of teenage angst and depression who’s roused when her doppelganger Polly (with blonde hair) challenges her. Dealing with issues of growing up and coming to terms with yourself, Girl was a great little series that showed an early example of Fegredo’s excellent work and Milligan’s growing assuredness to tell more complicated stories.
In May 2011, Ryan Ballard began a quest to create the perfect birthday gift for his father, a comics fan with whom he shares a love of Preacher, the acclaimed Vertigo series by Garth Ennis, Steve Dillon and Glenn Fabry. So Ryan bought a copper album embossed with Fabry’s cover art for Issue #56 and set off to fill the book filled with sketches of Preacher characters from a range of artists. More than a year later, Ryan finally presented his father with the finished album, complete with art from the likes of Dillon, Fabry, Jim Mahfood, Rufus Dayglo, Ryan Kelly, Leigh Gallagher and Duncan Fegredo.
Ryan’s appreciative father thanked all of the artists who contributed, passing along this message: “This is a heads up to all the fantastic faces who invested their time, effort and skill in Ryan’s quest. My sincere and deepest thank you, it would be true to say that I learned to read from comics but your visuals opened my eyes and imagination.”
For his part, Ryan merely reminds his father he has a herculean task ahead of him: My birthday is in August, no pressure Dad …” See some of the sketches below, and visit the Preacher Project to see many more.
(hat tip to Leigh Gallagher)
The Hellboy Library Edition Volume 5 is released today, and owning such great comics in such a beautiful black velvety tome is probably reason enough to get excited. I, however, am beside myself — mainly because Duncan Fegredo informed me yesterday that the magnificent illustration below, the pride of my original art collection, is in the book’s sketchbook section. I’ll admit that this news elicited a Keanu-like “woah!”
The U.K. comics scene has been heating up of late, and we can only hope that 2012 will see a British Invasion of the comics variety. The BBC has coverage of the latest development: The launch of The Phoenix, a weekly children’s comic published by David Fickling (whose David Fickling Books is an imprint of Random House). The name is apt: The Phoenix is a reprise of an earlier attempt, The DFC, which garnered a lot of praise but shut down after 43 issues. The Phoenix is launching with a nice lineup of stories and talent, including Neill Cameron, Simone Lia, Gary Northfield and Jamie Smart (who draws Desperate Dan for the long-running weekly The Dandy). Unfortunately, it’s print-only and not available digitally, so most U.S. readers won’t get to see it just yet.
Meanwhile, Strip Magazine, a monthly comic dedicated to serialized action tales, has released its second issue. Unlike The Phoenix, Strip is available digitally as an iPad app, which means we Yanks can read it, too. (I think the high point of my year was learning that The Beano and The Dandy are now available as iPad apps.)
If you’re not quite ready to let go of Christmas yet (hey, it’s supposed to be 12 days!), check out the classic British Christmas comics that Lew Stringer (another talented artist) has posted at his blog. It’s a fascinating look back in time. Dandy artist Andy Fanton posts a more modern Christmas comic (very much in the Dandy style) at his blog.
And finally, we had the U.S. release last week of Nelson, the collaborative graphic novel by 54 creators, each of whom contributed a chapter about one day in the life of a young woman. The contributors include Roger Langridge, Duncan Fegredo, Warren Pleece, Posy Simmonds and Darryl Cunningham, and publisher Blank Slate is donating the proceeds from the sale of the book to the homelessness charity Shelter.
One of the fringe benefits to going to a convention is seeing some of the best artists in comics bust out some quick sketches of fan-favorite characters and some of their own. Robot 6 friend Mark Kardwell passed along some pictures of Hellboy artist Duncan Fegredo’s work at last weekend’s KAPOW! convention — and boy, do they live up to the convention’s name.
Rush over to Kardwell’s website to see a photo of Fegredo hard at work on some sketches, and a peek at the portfolio he brings with him to cons.
Welcome once again to What Are You Reading?, our weekly look at what’s on the night stands of the Robot 6 crew. This week our special guest is Kody Chamberlain, who you might know from such comics as Punks, newuniversal: 1959, The Foundation and his latest, Sweets, from Image Comics.
To see what Kody and the rest of the Robot 6 crew have been reading, click below …
Here’s Red in your eye: The Autumn Society, a collective of Philadelphia-based illustrators, is paying homage to the 15th anniversary of Mike Mignola’s signature creation Hellboy with an art show that opens tonight at 6 p.m. at comics retailer Brave New Worlds. Click here to see a gallery of the contributors’ pieces for the show — a truly dazzling array if you have any interested whatsoever in what Mignola (and John Arcudi, and Guy Davis, and Duncan Fegredo, and and and…) hath wrought.
(Hat tip: TJ Dietsch)