Astonishing X-Men has been in the news lately, bringing some much-deserved exposure for the covers that Dustin Weaver has been doing for the comic. Take, for instance, the cover to issue #52, featuring Karma giving her robotic leg a tune-up.
“Not your typical X-Men cover, I think. Convincing the editors to let me go with this idea took some doing,” Weaver said on his blog. “You know how they tell you to pick your battles, well I picked one. But now I’m left to wonder, if I’ve only got so many battles I can fight, did I pick the right one?”
I’d say yes.
Check out the complete cover (with a bunch of fun background details) after the jump, and head over to Dustin’s blog for more on the process he used to create it.
The artists associated with Periscope Studios regularly post some pretty awesome artwork on their sketch blog, to the point where you kinda have to wonder how they could make it even more awesome. Which they have.
Last week Dylan Meconis, Colleen Coover, Dustin Weaver and several more of their artists created pieces that they’re auctioning off on eBay to benefit Peace Winds Japan, an organization providing emergency relief efforts in the earthquake and tsunami-ravaged country.
“I had pretty much told myself that I wouldn’t be participating in many more Periscope sketch challenges for a while because I need to be focused on work,” Weaver wrote on his LiveJournal. “But when the idea of doing a Japan week was suggested I was immediately on board. There are probably a lot of artists who feel this way, but for me this is a chance to give a little back to a country that has given me so much. Many of my greatest artistic inspirations are Japanese.” Weaver’s piece, above, should look familiar to fans of Akira.
You can find all the pieces up for auction on the studio’s eBay page.
In December of last year, brothers Ethan and Malachai Nicolle concocted Axe Cop and posted the first five episodes as webcomics in January 2010. A mixture of factors–including being declared Entertainment Weekly‘s Site of the Day as well asa deluge of Tweets (as well as getting praised by Robot 6′s Sean T. Collins of course)–allowed the buzz to build on the webcomic fairly quickly. The stories (aptly described by Dark Horse as “We live in a strange world, and our strange problems call for strange heroes. That’s why Axe Cop–along with his partner Flute Cop and their pet T. rex Wexter–is holding tryouts to build the greatest team of heroes ever assembled.”) were collected and released by Dark Horse in Axe Cop Volume 1 last week. For those who have not heard about Axe Cop before, I kind of buried my lead regarding Ethan’s co-creator and brother: Malachai is six years old. I recently email interviewed Ethan about the collected edition and the creative process to date as well as going forward, including the three-issue Axe Cop: Bad Guy Earth miniseries that launches in March 2011.
Tim O’Shea: It’s clear that you are careful to make sure your co-creator/six-year-old brother Malachai enjoys the creative experience and does not get burned out. How hard is it to involve him in the process while at the same time not burdening him?
Ethan Nicolle: I simply have to work at his pace. If he is burdened he simply will not write… he is not like writers in comics or in Hollywood who are writing to try to put food on the table. In fact thing he is kind of weirded out that I am still asking him “so then what happens?” a year later. He is just playing, and if it doesn’t feel like play, his short attention span will switch him to something else in an instant. Since most of our writing is done on the phone, I have to wait until he has some inspiration (usually after he has seen a movie or cartoon or has not noticed an update on the site recently). For the Bad Guy Earth series I actually went and spent an entire month with him writing it in person, and it was all based on a month of actual play time together doing fake car chases in my car, in his room playing with toy dinosaurs and going to the playground. I just kept bringing our narrative back into the playtime. He will say “we need to work, Ethan” but that’s him saying “let’s play”. The word work means play to Malachai. He is learning early why so many people want to be writers and comic artists.
SHIELD artist Dustin Weaver shares a piece from his sketchbook that he recently colored, featuring Batman and 1960s Italian comics character Diabolik. And he’s got a pitch for DC …
“I think it would be cool to do a crossover between Batman and the Italian comic character Diabolik and set it in the 60′s,” Weaver wrote on his blog. “I’ve never read a Diabolik comic so my idea of him is completely based off the movie Danger Diabolik. He seems to me to be a lot like Batman, but he’s a bad guy, and his sidekick is his hot girlfriend, Eva. I would want Batman to be a ‘cool version’ of the Adam West Batman. Think the Adam West kind of look with a animated series kind of attitude.”
If you’re a fan of Jonathan Hickman and Dustin Weaver’s incredibly imaginative, layered and awesome SHIELD book for Marvel, you’ll want to check out this post from Weaver’s LiveJournal. The artist shares several “extras” from the book, including a variant cover sketch, “quiet math” equations and the uncensored version of a panel featuring Isaac Newton having sex with a Deviant, which I’ll include after a SPOILERS WARNING for issue 3 and a NSFW warning …
Leonardo Da Vinci and the Soldiers of Forever is the upcoming Warner Bros. action movie written by frequent comics scribe Marc Guggenheim and starring artist/inventor/genius Leonardo Da Vinci as a prototypical action hero in the Indiana Jones/James Bond/Batman mode. Perhaps you noticed Jeffrey Renaud’s interview with Guggenheim on the topic for our sister blog Spinoff Online … and perhaps you noticed the similarity of the idea (cooked up by Hitman producer Adrian Askarieh) to that of Jonathan Hickman’s new Marvel comic S.H.I.E.L.D., which features Leonardo and several other real-world and Marvel-Universe geniuses as members of a secret society dedicated to saving the world.
Well, you’re not alone: Jonathan Hickman noticed it, too. In a tweet directed at fellow Marvel writer Brian Michael Bendis, Hickman linked to the Guggenheim interview and wrote “This … is going to be AWESOME! ” Bendis replied, “i know, right? where do they come up with ideas like that?”
Now, there are enough winky emoticons and tongue-in-cheek phrases in there to mitigate against any perceived outrage over the similarity between the projects on the part of Hickman or Bendis. Meanwhile, Leonardo’s the guy who gave rise to the term “Renaissance man,” for pete’s sake — it’s hardly as though his astonishing, evocative talents have gone unnoticed by the world’s writers of fantastic fiction prior to the release of S.H.I.E.L.D., as anyone who’s read The Da Vinci Code can tell you. Still, it’s funny how, for the moment at least, everything’s coming up Vitruvian.
What’s better than free comics? How about free comics + the chance to get a sketch from the artist of Marvel’s cool new Shield series? Artist Dustin Weaver shares several sketches he did during his appearance at Tony’s Kingdom of Comics in Oregon this past Saturday for Free Comic Book Day.