Much in the way Marc Maron’s WTF podcast provides a more personal, and sometimes profound, look at comedians as they’re interviewed by a fellow comedian, comic artist and Savannah College of Art and Design professor Shawn Crystal has turned the spotlight on comic-book creators.
Earlier this year Crystal launched the podcast InkPulp Audio (available on iTunes here), and it’s already generating buzz among his fellow creators. The artist who introduced me to it said, tongue in cheek, that he’s “hoping Crystal will soon be the Oprah of comics.” While that remains to be seen (keep checking under your chairs for that new car), the podcast finds him talking shop with such artists as Sean Murphy, Eric Canete, Ryan Stegman and Rick Remender.
The idea for the podcast came to Crystal as he found himself at a crossroads.
Eric Canete has been ramping up interest for March’s Emerald City Comic Con, where he’ll be selling a sketchbook called Monsters and Dames, by posting tantalizing glimpses of works in progress via his Instagram feed and the finished work on his Twitter account.
A while back, Canete vowed on his blog to no longer sketch copyrighted characters, so if you requested, say, a Big Barda sketch, he’d instead do a piece for you based on his reimagining of Kirby’s initial concept of a warrior goddess. There’s clearly some of this notion going on with these pieces; I think we all could take a guess at which characters possibly inspired which drawings. Some of the pictures below may be regarded as NSFW, depending on your boss’ tolerance for cartoon pokies or under-boob.
Last Friday, Sean Murphy and a host of comic artists and animators joined forces on Twitter for a live chat about exhibiting at conventions, copyright law and the issues of being a working illustrator. Partnered with deviantART, the group included artists Murphy, Eric Canete, Jeff Wamester and Chris Copeland and copyright lawyer Josh Wattles.
The chat came together following Murphy’s blog post “5 Reasons To Write,“ which created quite the fervor in the artist community. DeviantART, who hosts his blog, reached out to Murphy and used that post as a launching pad for the discussion. Although the chat is finished, readers can view it by searching Twiter for “#daChat” and looking at the Sept. 28 tweets.
Most any professional comic artist is able to produce work that looks like comic art; that’s their job. But there’s a select few who can produce work that looks like fine art. Artist Eric Canete has been doing it for almost two decades now, from his start at the racy publisher Verotik owned by Glenn Danzig and on to work at Wildstorm, Marvel and the independent arena. While Canete has made a significant name in comics with his work on Iron Man: Enter The Mandarin and The End League, comics isn’t his only career; he balances it with a thriving career as a storyboard artist for animation, sometimes working exclusively in animation for a period of months (or even years), and then sometimes returning to comics for a time like he never left.
I reached out to Canete for this interview because, frankly, I missed seeing new comics from him. I was aware he had a career in animation, but after being spoiled with the caliber of his work and successfully tracking down most of his early, hard-to-find comics, I wanted more. I’d interviewed Eric on previous occasions, and he exceeded my expectations about how upfront he would be about the waxing and waning of his comics work. He’s now involved with the upcoming DC animated series Beware the Batman after finishing up TRON Uprising, and I discovered Canete had a graphic novel released this year. And if that wasn’t enough, Canete considers it the apex of his career so far. Unfortunately, however, it’s not available in America — or even in English.
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.
Some fans and comics pundits have been up in arms over the past few days about the sexual depictions of two of DC’s characters in the New 52. In this week’s Catwoman #1, we saw some heated foreplay between Batman and Catwoman that’s raised eyebrows and, perhaps, the profile of the relaunched title. Artist Eric Canete has responded to the fervor with a comic. Instead of trying to explain it further, just read:
This brings up a lot of questions that I’ll leave to the comments section below. But mine is this: When do we get to see Eric Canete do some more comics?
In the spirit of Mike Maihack’s Batgirl/Supergirl and Nate Cosby and Evan Shaner’s Captain Marvel six-panel strips, Kevin Church, Eric Canete and Jordie Bellaire have created a six-panel strip starring the Ultra-Humanite. It’s a fun little strip, complete with mad science, hypermath, Congorilla and Proust references.
This meme of comic strips was inspired by Pigs co-writer and former Marvel editor Nate Cosby, who has been posting short “if I wrote …” quotes from various comic characters on his Tumblr. I hope someone jumps on the Mr. Miracle one.
Artist Eric Canete is a house favorite over here at Robot 6 HQ, and with good reason. He’s continually innovating and refining his work without bending to the ever-changing idea of a “house style” at the big two. He’s given a lot of himself to the comics medium and animation, and now for his next project he’s asking for a little bit of payback.
Using the crowdfunding site Kickstarter, Eric Canete is making plans to produce an artbook collecting some of the numerous pieces he’s done for animation, comic books and film. Titled ENCOR[e], it is planned to be a hardcover, coffee table book encased in a full color clamshell limited to 1,000 copies. Fans of Canete’s work can become a part of this by donating money toward its publication and get some kickback of their own depending on their donor level. Prizes range from a limited edition print if you donate $10 or more to deluxe package of signed ENCOR[e], an original watercolor, and a meet-n-greet-n-eat with the artist either in L.A. or at one of the conventions he visits this year.
It’s truly an amazing-looking book, and I hope to have this in my grubby hands sooner rather than later. Go here to donate!
One of the most thrilling parts of attending conventions is meeting the people who make the books you love. And especially great is artist’s alley, where creators show off a range of art from special editions, sketchbooks and, in some cases, pieces drawn before your eyes. And although I wasn’t able to attend Emerald City Comicon this year, seeing the steady stream of artwork produced for fans there and put online is still a thrill.
Take, for example, Chris Samnee, a prolific artist who’s bounced around the industry for the past few years before settling in at Marvel, thanks to the critical success of Thor: The Mighty Avenger. After finishing the final issue of that series, Samnee has being doing some short-term gigs such as last week’s issue of Ultimate Comics Spider-Man. Although his next major project hasn’t been announced yet, his sketches from ECCC show he’s ready for … well, anything!
Shawn Crystal is a SCAD Atlanta professor I met back in October (as documented in this story). In addition to his role educating storytellers, Crystal is a professional artist equally busy building a name for himself in the comics industry. Tomorrow (February 3) will feature the release of his latest effort, Deadpool Team-Up 896 (written by Stuart Moore). As previewed last week by CBR and detailed here: “Get ready to hit the road with U.S. ACE, Marvel’s truckin’ hero! He’s back behind the wheels of a big rig with an unlikely partner — DEADPOOL — and together they’re puttin’ the hammer down, ridin’ the open road, and decapitatin’ giant killer raccoons. Good times…if they don’t kill each other first! Featuring the working-class villainy of THE HIGHWAYMAN, and the world premiere of the chart-toppin’ “Ballad of U.S. Ace,” composed and performed by Wade Wilson. What part of ‘Collector’s Item’ don’t you understand?” I was pleased to get an opportunity to talk to Crystal about this issue and creators he respects (as well as find out his David Lapham news). After enjoying this email exchange, be sure to check out Crystal’s blog as well as his deviantART page.
Tim O’Shea: The first question I have to ask–what reference does an artist use when drawing giant killer raccoons?
Shawn Crystal: There is a very popular book many artists have in their studio, and cherish like the arc of the covenant. It’s called “Homicidal Animals: A reference manual for the aspiring cartoonist.” Unfortunately, I do not own this book, so I had to resort to some more traditional methods. I started with the obvious, books on raccoons that were peppered with glamour shots of these little buggers. I also spent some time seeing how other artists had handled raccoons, mainly animators. There was some decent stuff in “Disney’s: The art of Pocahontas.” I also talked to a buddy of mine, Brad Walker who draws Guardians of the Galaxy, which has Rocket Raccoon as a team member. Researching raccoons was fairly easy; creating the chopper gang was a ton of fun. I needed to design a gang of Uzi wielding raccoons on motorcycles. The first thing I needed to find was a thread, something to make this gang seem like a team. Working for Marvel affords me the luxury of using their library, so I chose the X-Men. Well, the kid in me did. I started designing raccoons based on the themes and shapes of some of the X-Men and their costumes. I also wanted to give this biker gang a Hells Angel’s feel, ol skool choppers and leather. I didn’t want to go with the more current crotch rocket trend. I have an affinity of the art of Von Dutch, Ed “Big Daddy” Roth and Robert Williams. I pulled out the books I have on these guys and started drawing. X Men + Hells Angels + Racoons = Crazy fun designing.