DC Comics' July Highlights: "Batgirl," "Nightwing" and a "New Super-Man"
Matt. Murray (the period is part of his name, apparently) writes about all things Smurf at his blog, appropriately titled Smurfology. This is more than a casual Smurf-fan thing—Murray is a former executive director of the Museum of Comics and Cartoon Art, and in 2006 he curated an exhibit on Saturday morning cartoons. That experience got him back to his childhood love of the Smurfs, and he not only gave a lecture on Smurfology 101 at MoCCA, he wound up helping with the special features on the Smurfs DVDs and even appearing in a Smurf documentary.
Stop and savor those words: A Smurf documentary.
Anyway, Murray has been collecting Smurf sketches from a variety of artists, and he is posting them at his blog. The drawings seem to lean toward the dark side—there’s an After Hours Smurfette, a Smurf pole dancer, a Smurf on ‘roids, and even a Smurf getting stabbed in the eye (a reference to the incident at this year’s SDCC), not to mention a drunken Gargamel drawn by Murray himself. This is one to bookmark, as he adds a new drawing every Saturday.
For my final installment in my spotlight of themed sketchbooks, I turn to comics’ most popular sidekick: Robin. Many men (and a couple of women) have stood at Batman’s side as the boy wonder, and since the character’s inception in 1940 he’s carved a mark in fans … especially comics retailer and comics pro Vito Delsante.
“I’m a fan of Robin the Boy Wonder. Any incarnation. So I have folks a million times more talented than I am draw him for me!” says Delsante. He admits to dressing up as the Boy Wonder himself on two occasions for Halloween, for as he puts it “It’s a great character for kids since it’s ultimate wish fulfillment; you can be a kid and still hang out with Batman? Sign me up!”
The weekend means nothing for the automatons at Robot 6 — my week of spotlighting themed sketchbooks continues with a look at the enigmatic enigma of the Doctor. Who? The Doctor. Star of television, some movies, and comics — on both sides of the ocean — these interpretations of Doctor Who show some lurking fans in notable comic creators, and also a wish list of who we’d like to see do a Doctor Who strip some day.
Comics journalist Zack Smith took on the challenge of collecting sketches of the (in)famous Doctor. And he’s just getting started! Here’s what Zack had to say about it:
There are lots of themed sketchbooks out there, and I’d recently seen ones that dealt with the likes of G.I. Joe and Star Wars. I’d noticed how many comic creators were fans of the Doctor, and how a number had posted fan art on their websites. I thought it would be fun to take advantage of this and get a book that covered the ENTIRE history of the series, dating back to 1963.
In total, I got a dozen pieces to start off the book. The biggest surprise I got, though, was finding out some great comic creators WEREN’T Who fans — including Paul Pope, Amanda Conner and Jonathan Hickman! If you read their work, you’d swear it was influenced by them!
I have a number of goals for future pieces. Mike Allred wasn’t doing sketches, but I’d love for him to do the Second Doctor, or maybe the early models of the Cybermen, which were essentially sock-masks with radio parts glued on. It might be fun to get Fabio Moon and Gabriel Ba from Vertigo’s Daytripper and The Umbrella Academy to do Captain Jack’s late paramour Ianto Jones. And Kate Beaton would be perfect for the Seventh Doctor!
The long-term goal is to fill all 100 pages or so of this sketchbook, with no repeats. But with 11 Doctors, six incarnations of the Master (including Eric Roberts), and various Daleks, Cybermen, Companions, spinoffs and miscellaneous aliens, I think it’s possible!
You can see his growing collection in a Facebook album he set up. Here are a few favorites:
From Timely to Hepburn to Zatanna, Robot 6 now turns its gaze for its week-long themed sketchbook spotlight into the visage of star of screen, TV and sometimes even comics: Mr. T.
These sketches were accumulated by longtime comics fan Rico Renzi.
“I’ve been a comic convention-going-sketch-addict since I got my first Brian Stelfreeze Batgirl at Heroes Con in 1997,” Renzi says. “I started my Mr. T sketchbook at a local comic show, the Small Press Expo, in 2000, I think. While it’s cool to see independent comic artists’ take on your favorite superhero, at the time I was losing interest in those kinds of comics. Mr. T see seemed like someone who although he was a real person, was a cartoonish enough that he could be drawn quickly by pretty much anyone without reference.”
“It’s been a blast to see what people think of when they hear his name,” says Rico. “My first book is completely full, I’ve been thinking of starting a second volume. I miss getting Mr. T sketches!”
To see Renzi’s collection so far, he’s set up a blog at mrtsketchbook.tumblr.com.
Yesterday we took a tour of Marvel’s Timely era, courtesy of writer B. Clay Moore, and now we turn to one of the icons of the silver screen: Audrey Hepburn.
Portland-based writer and editor Jamie S. Rich has one of the most popular and unique sketchbooks I’ve ran across, documenting the various looks and personae of actress Audrey Hepburn. Here’s what he had to say about it: