Hello and welcome to What Are You Reading? This week our special guest is Dark Horse assistant editor Jim Gibbons, who I spoke to about his new job on Friday.
To see what Jim and the Robot 6 crew have been reading, click below …
Colorist Elizabeth Breitweiser‘s work can be seen in any number of Marvel comics these days. In fact this week sees the release of writer David Lapham and artist David Aja’s Wolverine: Debt of Death one-shot, featuring Breitweiser as colorist (Be sure to enjoy CBR’s preview of the one-shot). Regular readers of What Are You Reading? know how much of an unabashed Jeff Parker/Gabriel Hardman’s Hulk booster that I am–and it is that series where I really started to appreciate Breitweiser as a colorist. This email interview was an effort to discuss her work mostly in general terms, so admittedly I did not discuss the Wolverine one-shot, but focus on some of her ongoing series work. My thanks to Breitweiser (who can also be found on Twitter) for taking the time for this discussion, despite her continually heavy workload. I am also deeply appreciative, that when our conversation led to her discussion of recent specific work, she was kind enough to provide examples of the pages for us to use.
Tim O’Shea: What are the biggest misconceptions in terms of the demands with your job as a colorist?
Breitweiser: Probably just in people not taking my job seriously or not viewing it as a fulfilling way to make a living. Many tend to think of what I do as “easy”. Coloring to them is just an afterthought and not seen as an essential part of the storytelling. I’m pretty sure most of my family and friends still do not understand what it is I do and how I can make a successful living at it. Professional colorists in general seem to almost always be overworked and overstressed. A lot of it has to do with us being at the end of the production line, but it also has to do with people having unrealistic expectations due to an incomprehension of the effort it takes to successfully tell a story with color.
Not to mince words: In the plethora of talented artists that are working at Marvel currently, Gabriel Hardman is the best. His eye for layout alone injects a vitality to his work rarely seen in comics. In addition to discussing his collaborative efforts with writer Jeff Parker, most recently on Hulk (Issue 30.1 hits stands this Wednesday, March 16, 2011), Hardman was kind enough to give Robot 6 a sneak peek of a sci-fi OGN he’s working on, with his wife, Corinna Bechko, called STATION TO STATION. My thanks to Hardman for his time and to friend of the blog, Jeff Parker, for helping arrange this interview. Finally, please be sure to contribute to the comments section this week, as Hardman is seeking suggestions for future Daily Sketches.
Tim O’Shea: In terms of current artists in the industry, you have a strikingly distinctive layout approach. Not every artist is as ambitious as you are. Do you ever back off from challenging scenes to layout, or is that what part of what makes the work interesting for you.
Gabriel Hardman: Storytelling in general is what keeps me interested in comics and the layouts are a huge part of that. My only goal is to serve the story being told. When I read the script, I can visualize the angles and layouts pretty easily. Figuring out a given angle is fairly simple: focus on the most important thing happening in the panel. Then place those important elements on the page in a way that leads your eye from top left to bottom right. It all works best when she script gives me freedom with the layouts.
Welcome to a special Super Bowl Sunday edition of What Are You Reading? Not that it’s any different from a regular WAYR column, but you can enjoy it while eating hot wings while the TV is paused.
Today our special guest is biology professor Jay Hosler, creator of Clan Apis and Optical Allusions. His latest book, Evolution, with artists Kevin Cannon and Zandor Cannon, was recently released by Hill & Wang. Check out his blog for a story he’s working on about photosynthesis.
To see what Jay and the Robot 6 gang are reading, click below.
After being defeated in last year’s World War Hulks storyline, the Mental Organism Designed Only for Killing, aka M.O.D.O.K., apparently decided it was time for a makeover. Above is a rough sketch of the new design for the character, compliments of artist Gabriel Hardman.
“It’s a new age, and we need a new M.O.D.O.K. who works in new ways,” writer Jeff Parker told Marvel.com. “This one will get out and interact in a way the previous model didn’t. And he’s a bit of a charmer.”
Hardman went into detail on his design process for the lovable killing machine.
“Jeff had some specifics he wanted to integrate, specifically the legs and bald head. My design process was to go back through the previous iterations of M.O.D.O.K.’s look to get a feel for the choices other artists had made over the years. But I mainly focused on his early appearances. Anytime I design something for Marvel, I want it to feel like it could fit into the world Jack Kirby designed, even if it has more contemporary industrial design elements,” Hardman said.
And if the spider legs aren’t working for you, never fear — Parker stated on Twitter that M.O.D.O.K. would have several different modes. “That’s only one of MODOK’s modes, @NinjaCyborg -hope you like the others more,” he said.
The new M.O.D.O.K. debuts in Hulk #29, on sale Feb. 2.
“My not-terribly insightful comic book epiphany of the day: right now, we’ve got a bunch of top-flight writers in the field, and the next generation on the horizon. But what we could really use is a new, young generation of break-out artists. Don’t get me wrong, we’ve got a lot of excellent artists. But who was the last hot young guy who just exploded into the field? I feel like the pump is primed for one or more fresh young artists to just explode in a major, commercial way. When was the last time that happened? We could use an infusion of visual excitement in the books–across all companies.”
–Thus spoke Tom Brevoort, Marvel Senior VP – Executive Editor, on Twitter last night. Personally, I think he’s probably right to wonder about this. Like he says, the point isn’t that there are no good or even great relatively young/relatively new artists right now — there are plenty. Personally I’ve been knocked out by Gabriel Hardman‘s work on Atlas and Hulk over the past year or so, just for example. But what Brevoort is looking for is an artist who just skyrockets to superstardom more or less out of the blue. That requires quite a delicate alchemy. The artist in question must be young enough or new enough or have been working far way enough from the Big Two’s audiences for their work to have “the shock of the new” when fans first see it. They must bring something different to the table than what established artists are doing, so that their work stands out, but they must also be working in a style that’s recognizable and acceptable to large numbers of superhero fans. Their work doesn’t necessarily have to be to your taste, but you should at least be able to understand what others see in it, even if you don’t see it yourself.
As Marvel finally confirmed in San Diego, Hulk #25 is the first issue by the new creative team of writer Jeff Parker and artist Gabriel Hardman. Above is the cover by Ed McGuinness, which I think was previously released with a blacked-out Hulk. Now you can see Iron Man beat on Thunderbolt Ross’s alter ego in all its glory.
More art and a press release about the new creative team from Marvel after the jump …
When Marvel’s September solicitations were released last month, the creative teams for the three Hulk titles were labeled as “Classified.” Word later trickled out, through online retailers and then the Marvel Previews catalog, that Agents of Atlas creators Jeff Parker and Gabriel Hardman are taking over Hulk with Issue 25.
Curiously, though, the publisher has yet to make an official statement about the change, which follows the conclusion of the Red Hulk saga and the hiring of writer Jeph Loeb to head Marvel’s new television division.
The closest Marvel has come to a public confirmation is an article posted yesterday afternoon on its website trumpeting Hardman’s new exclusive deal. If the secondary headline doesn’t provide enough of a clue to the artist’s next assignment — “The ATLAS artist signs exclusive with Marvel and prepares to tackle The Hulk” — the story’s final two paragraphs stop just short of making it official. Or “official-official”:
As for what the future holds for the artist, he plans to continue on Atlas as long as possible, but he also informs readers to keep their eyes open for his take on the green goliath known as The Hulk.
“Me and Parker and [colorist Elizabeth Breitweiser] are going to work on another book that is going to be big and have a lot of explosive punching and other big action things in it.”
Marvel had no comment. When contacted by Robot 6, Parker responded only with the following photo: