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Aging: The final frontier

A scene from Special Exits

When Miles Morales was revealed as the new Spider-Man this week, David Betancourt had a visceral reaction to the news:

My friendly neighborhood Spider-Man was … just like me?

Like Betancourt, Morales is half black, half Hispanic, but there’s more to diversity than ethnicity. Everyone talks about how superheroes are all white, but nobody talks about how they are all young. A middle-aged superhero is usually the butt of a joke, but outside the capes-and-tights realm, there is a growing category of comics about the trials and joys of middle age.

When I was young, I looked upon aging as a horror show—your looks deteriorate, your parents get sick and die, your kids get snottier and snottier and then move away, and every visit to the doctor carries the potential of a nasty test or a bit of bad news. Instead of daydreaming about accepting the Nobel Prize, you spend your days thinking about boring things like health insurance, car maintenance, and college tuition. The cheery nihilism of youth gives way to the humdrum of necessity and responsibility. What I am learning, though, is that as difficult as all this can be, there are also moments of grace and even humor. You don’t stop living and growing and changing once you turn 40. Every stage of life is full of stories.

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Neill Cameron shows you how to make a giant robot

Who says you can’t learn anything during the summer? UK artist Neill Cameron, creator of the kids’ graphic novel Mo-Bot High, has put together a quick four-step guide to designing giant robots, and it’s available to view or download at his site. You don’t have to be a kid (but it helps to be a kid at heart) to enjoy learning how to convert humans and animals into giant killing machines.

“Space cars fighting robots in space”

Neill Cameron got a fun gig recently: Drawing Battle Force 5 (written by Rik Hoskin) for Totally… HOT WHEELS magazine (which I think is strictly British). Here’s his description:

It’s about a bunch of dudes who have awesome space cars which they drive around in space fighting monsters and aliens and robots and stuff. Very Saturday Morning Cartoon (indeed, I think it literally is a Saturday morning cartoon), and as you can imagine from that description, TOTALLY FUN TO DRAW!

Cameron posted a generous sample of art, both concept sketches and finished pages (without the lettering) on his blog so we can see for ourselves. Enjoy!

Neill Cameron draws cool Japan from A to Z

From Akira to Dragonball Z

Japan has a special place in the comics world (and the greater geek universe), so it’s not surprising that a lot of artists are doing fund-raisers right now. Neill Cameron, creator of Mo-Bot High and a member of the British kid’s comics group The DFC, is really going the extra mile: He will go through the alphabet, drawing a picture a day of something from Japanese anime, manga, gaming, or other Things That Are Awesome. Neill has set up a JustGiving page for donations, as well as a Facebook group, and he’s taking suggestions:

Bonus points for alliteration, and it might be nice to get a bit of cross-cultural exchange going on in there – if, for example, for ‘D’ you were to suggest Doctor Who and Doraemon Dunking Donuts Daintily, well then I would probably have to draw that. You get the idea.

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