INTERVIEW: Gail Simone Guides 'Blockbuster Update' of Red Sonja, Vampirella and Dejah Thoris
Happy Saturday and welcome to Shelf Porn, where each week we feature one fan’s collection. Today’s shelves come from Larry Fire, editor of The Fire Wire pop culture blog. Larry shares some nice pics of his Batman stuff (including an awesome Rafael Grampa commission), his Stephen King collection, MONDO posters and more.
If you’d like to see your collection right here on Robot 6, you can find complete details at the end of this post.
And now let’s hear from Larry …
Although I know I’m not the only one anxiously awaiting any word about Furry Water, I can certainly understand why Rafael Grampá isn’t hunched over a drawing board, banging out comics pages 10 hours a day: He’s kept busy by other, certainly more glamorous projects.
There’s that Nike commercial, and that deal with Absolut vodka that’s seen Grampá star in a television and print campaign, and design a limited-edition bottle. Now, as part of that same arrangement, he’s featured in a new TV spot and print ad for Next Frame (below), a project sponsored by Absolut in which people can help Grampá to create a 3D-animated short film, which will premiere March 14 in Berlin.
Beginning Feb. 3 on Absolut’s Facebook page, Grampá will update the film daily, based on suggestions from others. He’ll share his progress from his studio throughout the process.
We’ve already seen Mesmo Delivery creator Rafael Grampa step into the spotlight for an Absolut vodka television and print campaign, but now we get a look at the label the artist designed for the limited-edition Absolut Karnival. You can see the bottle from different sides below.
According to Absolut Collectors World, although the bottle will make its official debut later this month in Brazil, Mexico and Colombia, in time Carnival, it’s already making the rounds among collectors.
Rafael Grampá’s art has already featured in one high-profile advertising campaign this year, for Absolut vodka. Now his work is featuring in an promo for Nike that strikes straight to the core of the Brazilian national self-image: soccer. For any sports lovers looking forward to the 2014 World Cup, it’s an amusing piece of film, maybe even the equal of the famous 1998 airport kickabout short.
Brazil is hosting the tournament after a year of civil unrest, which featured protesters calling for the international community to boycott the World Cup amid spiraling costs and accusations of corruption. But soccer is the true national religion of Brazil, and I expect the World Cup to result in a wave of euphoria and national reconciliation, just as the 2012 Olympics caused in the United Kingdom after the riots of 2011. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if this joyous advert prompts the start of this process.
This week’s Batman Black and White #2 features a short story by Rafael Grampá. Correct me if I’m wrong, but I believe this is the first time the Brazilian comic-book multi-threat has ever drawn the interiors for any Batman story, despite having produced several illustrations of the character that proved popular enough for Grampá to be given the job of designing one of the DC Direct black and white Batman statues. I was a big fan of his Mesmo Delivery (so much so that I gave away a couple of copies to assorted pals over the years), and have been waiting and wondering patiently for his planned post-apocalyptic project Furry Water, despite radio silence on that one since posting an image from it to his Flickr in 2011.
Grampá is, like Paul Pope, possibly getting distracted from his core business by new and glamorous multimedia offers of work, like working on vodka advertising. He plays drums in a band, and he’s now a highly sought-after cover artist both in the United States and in his native Brazil. The lack of traction on Furry Water is understandable, even if it does set the teeth on edge of my inner spoiled-and-entitled fanboy. Anyway, he posted this page from “Into the Circle,” his Joker-centric story, on his Facebook page:
Dark Horse’s Catalyst Comix, a title I’ve been looking forward to since it was announced in October at New York Comic Con, at last debuts today. Joe Casey is a writer who starts every project with a manifesto, and this one is no different: Relaunching a relatively unmourned line of comics in his own image, he’s seeking to create a superhero book that’s an antidote to “the overly conservative nature of Marvel and DC.” I can appreciate that ambition, but what really sold me is the sheer depth of the pool of artistic talent assembled to bring Casey’s scripts to life: Dan McDaid, Ulises Farinas and Paul Maybury drawing the three strips that make up each issue. Rafael Grampa, Paul Pope and Brendan McCarthy are rotating as cover artists.
I spoke to Dan McDaid on the eve of the book’s launch to discuss working within this all-star team of creators, and he shared his process on creating a typically powerful, apocalyptic-looking sequence of his strip, starring Frank Wells, the hero formerly known as Titan, from Will to Power.
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.