Warren Ellis spotlights the gorgeous autumnal cover by Rafael Grampá and Dave Stewart for the third issue of The Massive, the upcoming environmental thriller from Brian Wood and Kristian Donaldson, reminding me that I’ve meant to point out just how fantastic their variants for the series are. Seriously even if I weren’t a fan of Wood and Donaldson’s work on Supermarket or intrigued by the concept of The Massive, I’d still pick up the new series just for these covers. (Dark Horse, can we get some posters?)
Grampá, who made a splash in 2008 with Mesmo Delivery, is also working on his own post-apocalyptic saga called Furry Water and the Sons of the Insurrection.
The Massive debuts June 13. In the meantime, check out Grampá and Stewart’s variant covers for the first three issues below.
It must be close to the time of the month that DC Comics releases their solicitations, as yesterday the company revealed a bunch of artistic changes to their May titles and today Vertigo posted several covers for their “new” May books. (Does this new wave of Vertigo books have a name, BTW? “The New 4″ doesn’t have the same ring to it that the “New 52″ has, but it does feel like they’re trying to push it as its own “thing.”)
Kevin posted previously about the Fairest #3 cover by Adam Hughes, and you can find the full covers for Saucer Country #3, Dominique Laveau: Voodoo Child #3 and The New Deadwardians #3 after the jump.
But wait–there’s more!
DC Comics gave Blastr details and a Mike Allred variant cover for an anthology book coming in May, Mystery in Space. You might remember their previous anthologies, The Unexpected and Strange Adventures, which respectively contained previews of Dominique Laveau and Spaceman in addition to other short stories by a variety of creators. No word yet if this one will provide a first look at a new series, but the creative line-up is impressive. It will contain stories written and drawn by Paul Pope and Mike Allred, as well as new stuff from science fiction writer Nnedi Okorafor and Michael Wm. Kaluta, Robert Rodi and Sebastian Fiumara, Ann Nocenti, Fred Harper, Andy Diggle, Davide Gianfelice, Steve Orlando, Francesco Trifogli, Ming Doyle and more. The regular cover will be drawn by Ryan Sook.
Those of you who enjoyed the Rafael Grampá Batman art I posted earlier this week and want to see more from the artist should dig this … one of the folks who commented in that thread, Serge, shared a whole bunch of links to more great Grampá stuff (with a bonus Rafael Albuquerque piece). It appears that the artist regularly writes and shares artwork on ig.com, which has proven to be a treasure trove of cool stuff.
Just like the original post, his columns are all in Portuguese, but if you’re interested in reading them, you can try an internet translation site or use Google Chrome, which gave me the option to translate them. As is typical, the translations are far from perfect.
–Those of you who were calling for Grampá to do more Batman should enjoy this column, where he details the process he used to create the piece, a tribute to Frank Miller. Lots of nice process artwork.
–Also of interest, Grampá draws the Age of Apocalypse Nightcrawler, who as of late has been appearing in Uncanny X-Force:
I may not understand what the text says, but there’s one thing I did take away from this blog post by artist Rafael Grampa — his Batman, like his Wolverine and Madman, is truly awesome. The image appears to be something he’s created for the RioComicon 2011, coming up Oct. 20-23 in Brazil.
Over at ComicsAlliance, Laura Hudson has a real treat for those of you who like your superhero comics with an alternative twist: 50-plus pages of sketches, thumbnails, pencils, inks, color studies and more from the Strange Tales II hardcover, which debuted this week. Click on over and get a glimpse at the creative process behind contributions from Kate Beaton, Jeffrey Brown, Ivan Brunetti, Farel Dalrymple, Rafael Grampa, Dean Haspiel, Jaime Hernandez, Paul Hornschemeier, Benjamin Marra, Edu Medeiros, Harvey Pekar, Frank Santoro, and Paul Vella. That’s hella Strange!
“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.
The artist Rafael Grampá first came to my attention through Gunned Down, a 2005 small-press anthology of Western stories done largely by South American creators. Joining him were then-unknowns Fábio Moon and Gabriel Bá. Although the book didn’t sell well, flipping through it I realized I was holding something special. Moon and Bá rose to fame pretty quickly with works at AiT-PlanetLar, their self-published projects, and comics at Dark Horse and Vertigo. But Grampá’s work was few and far between.
With the release of the anthology 5 in 2007 and his first solo work Mesmo Delivery in 2008, American comics audiences got their first real taste of what Grampá could do. Vertigo hired him to contribute to a milestone issue of Hellblazer; Marvel, with a milestone issue of Daredevil; Dark Horse reprinted the sold-out Mesmo Delivery, which goes for over $125 new at Amazon. Recently Marvel put him as the lead feature in the second volume of Strange Tales, and Dark Horse contracted him for his second standalone graphic novel.
His work evokes easy comparisons to Geoff Darrow, but deeper analysis shows an appreciation for detail, not for detail’s sake, but to add flavor and weight to the scene he depicts in a panel, a pin-up or a cover. Rather than just drawing to tell you where someone is and what they’re doing, Rafael’s illustrative line adds texture, tone, mood and atmosphere — and that’s before a colorist touches the page. Although well-known by some in the industry, by and large the mainstream comics public doesn’t know the full scope of what the artist is — or could be. Maybe this interview will help.
And speaking of Rafael Grampa, I really dig this variant cover to American Vampire #6 :
“I tried to make a ‘horror film’ poster, but very pop! It is based on some dirty and rough grindhouse movies posters + punk rock cover albums,” the artist said on Vertigo’s Graphic Content blog. “I loved to do it! We, comic book artists, need to hold the same style for a whole project, so it was an incredible chance to experiment something different. Thanks everybody and hope you like it.”
With the announcement in San Diego that Strange Tales II is definitely on the way from Marvel, some of the creators are starting to talk about their contributions. Over on his blog, Eisner winner Gene Luen Yang says he’ll be working on a Frog Man story.
And it involves Wolverine.
Brazilian artist Rafael Grampá first attracted widespread attention in North America in 2007 with his work on the Eisner Award-winning anthology 5, a collaboration with Gabriel Bá, Becky Cloonan, Vasilos Lolos and Fabio Moon.
Grampá, a former art director for the respected motion-graphics studio Lobo, followed that in 2008 with Mesmo Delivery, his first full-length comics work.
Initially published in the United States by AdHouse Books, the graphic novella is a beautifully illustrated, energetic and bloody story about two delivery men — Rufo, a brawny ex-boxer, and Sangrecco, an Elvis impersonator who views violence as performance art — who are hired to deliver a mysterious cargo. Everything appears to be going fine, at least until they encounter a group of drunken locals at a rest stop.
Next week Dark Horse will release a new edition of the critically acclaimed Mesmo Delivery with a new cover, an extended sketchbook, an introduction by writer Brian Azzarello (who collaborated with Grampá on a story for Hellblazer #250), and pin-ups by Eduardo Risso, Mike Allred, Craig Thompson and Fabio Moon.
Grampá took time over the weekend to discuss Mesmo, his influences, graphic design and his next Dark Horse release, Furry Water and the Sons of the Insurrection.
Mesmo Delivery creator Rafael Grampá has set up a separate blog where he plans to post “fan art” based on his creation. And I use quotations because so far it includes some very professional-looking pieces by folks like Bill Sienkiewicz and the above piece by Andrei Bressan. Go check it out.
San Diego Comic-Con is always a wild ride filled with crazy cosplayers, Hollywood hype and just generally somewhat-controlled chaos. In the midst of it all, a few comic book announcements managed to sneak out.
Here are 15 of those announcements (in no particular order) that Kevin Melrose, Chris Mautner and I were happy to hear:
1. New Bone books
So it looks like one of those new books isn’t going to be comics but a novel written by Tom Sniegoski and illustrated by Smith. Which is a bit of a bummer, but only a bit. I’m still pretty psyched to see more stories set in that universe and Sniegoski has proven himself to be an able and witty writer on stuff like the Stupid Stupid Rat Creatures mini series, which, by the way, will be included in the Tall Tales book. So yeah, this is great news all around. I’m eager for more Bone. –Chris Mautner
Along with the news that Dark Horse Comics will publish Rafael Grampá’s next project, Furry Water, came word that they will reprint his Mesmo Delivery book, originally published by AdHouse Books. On his blog, Grampá reveals that the Dark Horse version will include 22 pages of extras, like sketches and pin-ups by other artists such as Mike Allred, shown above.
Dark Horse Comics has a full signing schedule for their booth on all five days of the show, as well as several panels. As Kevin mentioned earlier this week, they’ll be formally announcing Rafael Grampá’s Furry Water, and there’s also a big super secret announcement involving Gerard Way, Shaun Simon and Becky Cloonan. The trio will sign at the booth about 45 minutes after the Gerard Way panel on Saturday.
No doubt Dark Horse will have all sorts of cool stuff to buy, look at and pick up for free at their booth as well. Check out their complete schedule after the jump.