Wednesday, April 30, 2008

It's probably going to be a big news day for comics.

And it's all kicking off.

Sketchbook shenanigans, pt.2.

Remember PJ Holden's promise to do a sketch of Mr A for the I Like Both Kinds Of Comics, Kirby and Ditko sketchbook? A little bubblegum card-sized one arrived in the post this morning. I'll get the Prittstick out and paste it in right away.
Looks like Mr A is passing judgement on this blog. He's found it acceptable.

And nice cross-hatching.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Got the GTA4 horn yet? You should have.

Oh Lordy! Take me now!

She's a Black Magic Woman...

That shot of Duncan Fegredo at the Splash Page Art booth reminded me of how I'd always intended to run this page for everyone who hasn't yet ordered their copy of the DARKNESS CALLS collection. Why does everyone need to buy this book? Because it features the Baba Yaga juicing up her magic powers by french kissing a goat. Oh yes. Just when you thought comics had lost the ability to freak you out...

Oh, and if you haven't seen it already, there's a 3-page PDF preview of the Hellboy FCBD issue here.

Gabriel Bá's slight return to CASANOVA.

While I'm enjoying the current run of CASANOVA, I don't think I'm quite as in love with it as I was with Book One. That's certainly no slight against Fabio Moon, whom I might even prefer as an artist to his twin brother. Anyway, this "movie poster" by Bá has turned up at their Flickr page. Nice to see his take on the cast of the title's second volume, as he jets off on his way to post-UMBRELLA ACADEMY superstardom.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Sketchbook shenanigans.

Seems like every other blogger I read was at the New York Comic Con, and has already published their versions of events. I couldn't make it, after that little honest misunderstanding with that suitcase full of coke. But when I heard that so damned many of the pencil-pushing pals of this blog would be attending the NYCC, I cooked up a jolly wheeze. I suggested to Norn Iron homeboy PJ Holden that he take the sketchbook previously gathering dust under my bed with him to the con, where he'd accost the talented types whom I'd met, befriended even, via this humble organ. But what do you want them to draw, said Peej, 'cus there's nowt so annoying at a convention as being faced with a blank page and being told "draw anything you want".

So, a theme had to be decided upon. Something open enough to encourage individual interpretation, but not so open as to be just bloomin' annoying. Most artists who've done a sketch for me before, as unprompted gifts and the like, and knowing my tastes via the blog, tend to draw Batman, Judge Dredd or Hellboy. So that was my first thought: call it the "Batman, Judge Dredd or Hellboy sketchbook". Nah, too prosaic. Plus, I'd bet every artist at every con gets at least two dozen punters asking for Batman or Hellboy. That would just be formalising this misery, albeit with a knowing wink. I couldn't do it to them. Then it came to me - the old Blues Brothers gag, retooled for the comics fan: "I like both kinds of comics, Kirby and Ditko". That'll give 'em plenty to be going on with. A combined century-and-more of comics history to pick and choose from. Let's see what they come up with.

First man cornered by PJ was Sean Phillips, and here's where the sketchbook started to strike out on its own wacky, weaving, path through life. Shortly after PJ left the book with Sean, and possibly while he was working on this very sketch, Sean was doubled up in pain and taken to the ER with a kidney stone. Ouch! Anyway, he soldiered on, (probably) putting the finishing touches to his signature zombified take on two of Ditko and Kirby's classic characters from his ambulance gurney.

Next up was that other master of the zombie comic, Charlie Adlard. I've yet to make Charlie's acquaintance, but he was top of the list of non-bloggy types I asked PJ to proposition: I've loved the guy's work for ages, which has only been amplified recently when I embarked on a marathon THE WALKING DEAD kick, reading collections of the first three years worth in a couple of days. Love the way the guy throws the blackstuff around a page, making it do all the work. Plus he's the handsomest devil in comics. Yeah, you heard me. Sod John Cassaday and Paul Pope. It's a subtle take on the Kirby/Ditko remit: the lead zombie has a classic Kirby square fingers, foreshortening arm combo, while the rear zombie throws us the Dr. Strange fingers. Metal!
And then, Sir Duncan Fegredo. Continuing the rich vein of homoeroticism this entry is now descending into, every reader of this blog knows of my deep, ongoing, man-love for Fegredo. Uh, for his work, I mean. Like Sean Phillips, Duncan is a past-master of this wandering sketchbook malarkey, and his entry was something a little bit special. I'll bend everyone who'll listen's ear than he's one of the best storytellers working today, and this sketch is some sort of exemplar of this theory. In one sketch, he takes my basic Kirby/Ditko dichotomy notion and runs with it, telling a delicious little story in one panel, mashing a Kirby character into a Ditko milieu. Bravo, maestro.

Last, for now (I'm hoping this sketchbook gag runs and runs) is the wild, wild Chris Weston. Chris served up a rather louche looking Stephen Strange, who looks like the sort of sorcerer supreme just at home picking off divorcees in a singles bar as fighting off Mindless Ones in the Dark Dimension. In fact, I think he's throwing a spell to spike some chickadee's drink as we speak.

So that's it for now, folks. I hope the filthy Yankee dollars inserted in the back of the moleskine paid for many bottles of that sugary, fizzy piss they pass off as beer over there. Or some exorbitant hospital fees. Or (no names, no pack drill) bail money. And I can't believe PJ didn't do a sketch for me! "It never occurred to me you'd want one from me" was his (somewhat worrying) excuse, before promising me a sketch of Ditko's purest, maddest creation, Mr A. I'll make sure that happens.

And let's do it all again sometime!

*Bonus!* Lifted from the CBR forums, here's Duncan in Noo Yawk, displaying a Hellboy sketch while Charlie Adlard (swoon) stands by for action in the background. Grrrowr.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Meet "The Mates"

To a comics-loving Beatles fanatic like myself, this sounds somewhere between pleasantly diverting and potentially brilliant. The comics equivalent of THE RUTLES, if you will. Or if I'm going to be really pretentious about it, the story of The Beatles is rock culture's version of the Camelot myth, so it should prove able to bear up to just as many reinterpretations. And if it comes to the worst, hey, it's still drawn by Glenn Fabry, so everyone's a winner!

Monday, April 21, 2008

Even more NYCC Mignola. Plus crap gag.

This time from Image, of all people. At their panel, they apparently teased that the new creative team of SPAWN will be two Image founders, one of whom hasn't done any work there for ten years. Wow! Rob Liefeld and Jim Lee! Together at last! Who wudda thunk it?!

*Update* The contents of LIBERTY COMICS actually sound a bit brill.

HAMLET 2 trailer

Much better than the THE SPIRIT teaser trailer.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Careful now, Denny.

First vaguely Eisnerish looking thing I've seen from THE SPIRIT.

DC Direct launch new dust traps at NYCC.

In honour of RAB's frontline reportage: DC Direct's second wave of Fourth World action figures (or "dolls" to you and me).

The Kirbyfied Superman looks shifty. What's he up to? Bloody aliens.

Metron. No wonder he seems so unhappy: look how tight his pants are.

Barda. I always thought, behind the scenes, between the lines, her and Scott Free probably had the filthiest sex life of all the DC superheroes. Yes, even more than the Dibneys. Those crazy perverted Dibneys.

Tom Baker action figure update!

Actually comes with two interchangeable heads, batshit-crazy in a hat, and thinking genocidal thoughts about the Daleks!

Plenty o' Mignola from NYCC

My source hasn't really labelled these too clearly, but this 'un must be another B.P.R.D cover: again with the great Kevin Nowlan's inks.

And Hellboy on horseback. I'm presuming this is the first cover from THE WILD HUNT. Mainly because it says so on the bottom left corner in Mignola's handwriting. Duh.

Paul Pope's cover for POPGUN vol. 2

Paul Pope remains the master of the "winsome hot chick in headphones" genre (see also: his concert poster for The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion).

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Oh come on...

...admit it. You'll all be buying at least three of these.
But not Colin Baker.

Again, via The Igster:

Cracking open Gibson's "Robot" Les Paul. Sweet mother of pearl, I can't wait to the market drives the price of this sort of tech down to street level. If there's one thing I hate, it's tuning up (while drunk).

In honour of SKULL-A-DAY:

Here's one they may have missed: Brian Reed's litho Death Rock.

Live at Kirby Plaza.

I'd have liked to have gone to this, but by the time I heard about it, it had sold out: report by James Hunt, deceased Grand Prix leg end, here.

More Warwick Johnson Cadwell/BEDKNOBS/HELLBOY greatness.

Who's that hanging off that bed giving Hellboy a helping hand? Why, it couldn't be... me?

My status as blogging's leading David Tomlinson look-a-like seems assured.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Don't get high on your own supply.

Just got a big ol' box in the post with Mark Evanier's KIRBY: KING OF COMICS in it. If you were having second thoughts about buying this book due to the ropey looking montage cover, just go ahead and get it. It's fantastic. The art is well-presented, lovingly reproduced from originals (so you can see everything - pasted in lettering, brush marks, pencil tooth, the lot); the layout of the text is top-notch, and reads as well as you'd expect from so definitive a source; it's even printed on that lovely-smelling Munken paper.

There's even art in here I'd never seen before, and I've been reading THE JACK KIRBY COLLECTOR since its first issue, goddammit.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Monday, April 14, 2008

DC caught soliciting for July 2008.

A couple of years ago, Darwyn Cooke told Jimmy Palmiotti and Justin Gray that if they wrote a script taking JONAH HEX to Canada, he'd draw it. Looks like they got 'round to it.

Looks like the recoloured, resized, HEAVY LIQUID hardback that was done for Dargaud will be coming out in English, too, via Vertigo. Saves me navigating, I suppose. Oh, and well recommended.

And! Because no-one demanded it! A G'Nort action figure! No, seriously - what the fu*k?

Oh, and finally - more proof the new THE SPIRIT movie is all about the Frank Miller: this. Nuh-huh!

The history of Britain Simon Schama didn't tell you about.

If you're a Marvel fan from this side of the pond, there are a few key stories that you'll hold in a certain regard, parts of Marvel history that'll always mean more to us purely due to their setting. One of these is THE INVADERS #8 & 9, and it's direct sequel CAPTAIN AMERICA # 253 & 254. I loved those comics as a young 'un, and the cover to CAPTAIN BRITAIN AND MI:13 #3 just gives me more fuel to add to my theory that Paul Cornell is writing this comic just for me.

The Karmic Wheel keeps rolling.

I came home from work to find MAPS AND LEGENDS by Michael Chabon resting on my doormat, thanks to Trevor and Ammie, who sent me the gorgeously designed hardback edition (with a beautiful, ornate cover by Jordan Crane). Thank you both: I love it. I'm rather wondering what I did to deserve it.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

My first award.

Oh Lordy. Thanks, Ig. I'll try and use it only for good. Of course, the hard part is having to do the meme part and nominate 10 other blogs. I check in on dozens regularly, but here's 10 I mightn't have been effusive about enough before. In no particular order, other than how they're sitting in my Bookmarks folders.

1. Paul Rainey's 2000AD blog slog. Paul, you haven't updated in over a week. Is all the thrillpower burning you out? Should I call for help?
2. PJ Holden's Notes From The Drawing Board. Probably the most honest, revealing and candid blog by a comic creator out there. Making a living at this comics malarkey sure seems harder than it looks.
3. FPI's blog log. Always a good source for the more UK/Euro-oriented news.
4. Joel Meadows' Walls & Bridges. Joel's my favourite UK comic book interviewer, so it's always good to find out what he's up to next.
5. There's a lot of self-styled comics reviewers out there who just do yer head in. And then there's Jog.
6. Everyone knows and loves and checks daily at Drawn, but do you also know and love Lines and Colours? Well, you do now.
7. Sod Paul Pope's main blog. His Flickr page is where the action really is.
8. I can't differentiate between my San Fran biblio-pals Ammie and Trevor. And now you don't have to either.
9. Sean over at Supervillain is a likeable kid with great taste in music. If I absolutely, positively had to adopt a blogger, it'd be him.
10. Ooh, it's number ten already, and I can think of at least a couple more I'd like to tag. Can I cheat a bit? Estoreal and Redhead Fangirl. There. I don't think anyone'll complain, do you?

Solipsistic Comics

I love Jim Mahfood's work, here's a gag from the latest compilation of his newspaper strips, STUPID COMICS. But "dominate every other sport"? What, like rugby? Cricket? Snooker? Darts? Formula One? Which sports exactly? The ones no-one else gives a monkey's about?

Oh aye, that's hardly a given anymore, either.

Is this really how they're marketing milk in the U.S. of A?

...because watching this makes me want to nip downstairs and make myself a White Russian. Dude.

Old movie news. And old news about movies.

I love the fact that the new Bond movies have Daniel Craig doing lots of his own stunts, but why bother when you'll have to turn 'round and CGI out all his inappropriate footwear anyway?
Plus, what's so special about jumping on top of a bus? In LIVE AND LET DIE, Roger Moore got to do a handbrake turn in a double-decker. So there.

Michael Chabon wasn't allowed to run his (unused, mostly) script for SPIDER-MAN 2 in his new odds-and-sods book MAPS & LEGENDS, so he's running it at the McSweeney's website now.

Oh yeah.

Funny how things come around, isn't it? I always think of those first two, great AMBUSH BUG minis as being around the time of the first Crisis, satirising all that good stuff from the Dick Giordano era. Now as FINAL CRISIS gets into gear, the Bug is back. High hopes.

In the meanwhile, here's the first cover by J.H. Williams. Williams career seems to be in some bizarre limbo right now - just as the world cottons on to his greatness, DC put his new book in limbo while they figure out if the world (i.e. their shareholders) is ready for a lesbian iteration of their most profitable trademark, yet don't replace it with a suitably high profile job for the guy.

Hmm. This strikes me as asking for trouble.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Meet my leetle fren'.

Mid-life crisis ahoy... Selling a custom shop 336 and buying a Les Paul BFG may be the guitarist equivalent of selling your Volvo estate and buying a Porsche. A seriously ratted out Porsche.

Note that I'm running it through a simulation of a Marshall Plexi on the 'puter. With the channels bridged by a tiny little simulated patch lead. Cute. Picture by Northern Ireland's number one Eddie Van Halen tribute act, Chris Martin. No, not that Chris Martin.

Now I have to think of a name for it - your suggestions, please.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Mike Manley for president.

Run that up the flagpole. I'd salute it.

Paul Cornell/CAPTAIN BRITAIN AND MI:13 interview

Here's a new interview with Paul Cornell about the upcoming (and quite annoying to type) CAPTAIN BRITAIN AND MI:13 series, featuring some nice preview art you won't have seen before. As I keep saying: his WISDOM was so good, and offered so much potential, I'm actually looking forward to this.

Adopt a blogger.

I want to be like Eddie Campbell and not care who inked Jack Kirby, but dammit, I do.

Which is why I love Fake Stan Lee like a father.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

for Fox sake.

I featured Nathan Fox here ages ago. Click on this if you don't believe me. I told yer punk-ass. Anyway, he's doing some interesting looking work at Dark Horse now. Lookie-loo.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Lobster Johnson's claws. Great with garlic butter.

Dark Horse solicitation time again, and do you remember the last time Mike Mignola worked with an inker? Me neither, though I think it might have been with Al Williamson on Howard Chaykin's adaptation of FAFHRD AND THE GRAY MOUSER. 1991-odd, then. So here's a surprise - Mignola's cover for the first issue of the latest B.P.R.D. mini, inked by Kevin Nowlan. Mignola's lines are pretty much inker proof - the only way you'd tell this had Nowlan's inks is from Liz Sherman's face.


As Steven Grant once joked of Newsarama, they've never met a press release they didn't like, but here's one worth reading: Dave Gibbons' WATCHING THE WATCHMEN. When I read the link, what I thought may be a puff piece for the movie turns out to be something much more edifying, a proper companion piece to the book.

Monday, April 07, 2008

No quarter.

Rich Johnston reckons Marvel's THE THREE MUSKETEERS are "Led Zeppelin with a little Orlando Bloom mixed in". Close, but no cigar. It's (back row): Jimmy Page (Led Zep); Lemmy (Motorhead); Roger McGuinn (The Byrds). Front: generic action hero with a pinch of Bob Plant (Led Zep). *Correction* Bob Plant's hair on a young James Taylor.

Frank Quitely does Batman and Robin.

Frank Quitely's variant cover for ALL-STAR BATMAN & ROBIN #10. Vince, like Paul Pope and Eduardo Risso, draws Batman in a very traditional, comic booky-yet-realistic, way that supports my arguments about how an Adam West style costume could totally rock in a movie, unlike the ongoing trend to dress the character like a riot cop at a bondage party.

While Robin's costume just makes me think, hey, maybe Fredric Wertham was right about a few things.

Sunday, April 06, 2008

Hairy dudes.

Here's the first video blog from WATCHMEN. It's basically a bunch of hairy dudes building sets.

Penetrating Wagner's Ring

Genius: sheer, filthy, genius.

Obit: Charlton Heston

Anyone who's ever scanned an eye over my profile knows I'm fond of Charlton Heston, so I think I have to say a few words.

I'll always love him for his pioneering work of sneering at hippies.

He was a reactionary old sod, a trait I begrudgingly always admire. This is probably what gave a believable darkness to all his performances. He couldn't be anything other than an anti-hero, even if he tried.

So someone can now try and wrestle that gun from his cold, dead hands.

Saturday, April 05, 2008

Oh, my stars and garters.

Ooh, I'd stay and do some actual content, but I've got "Les Paul Back", an actual medical condition caused by using rocking muscles that had previously been allowed to atrophy. Hopefully I'll follow this up with some photographic evidence soon.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

This ol' town is filled with sin, it'll swallow you in...

Looks ever more like Frank Miller's upcoming movie of THE SPIRIT is firmly in his own image, rather than in tribute to his mentor. Cop a load of the very SIN CITY posters.

The BL multimedia takedown gathers pace. Aroo-gah!

Has everyone checked out Comic Book Resources' glossy new look? I approve, and not just because they're running this interview I did for them with Dan McDaid.

Now nip out to the shops and buy DOCTOR WHO MAGAZINE #394 and prove that there ain't no plug like a Bad Librarianship plug. I command thee!

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Come on, admit it. Part of you always wondered what DOCTOR WHO versus DARKSEID would look like.

Cop a load of this: Dangerous Dan McDaid takes you through the making of a page from his strip in tomorrow's new issue of DOCTOR WHO MONTHLY. It's a cracker, as we Ulstermen apparently say all the time. And yes, I'm more excited about the magazine coming out than the new series. Though I think there'll be more WHO themed content from this blog between now and Saturday. Watch and weep, uh, learn!

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Slow April Fool's News Day.

I haven't been exactly scanning the 'net for April's Fool gags, so a few may have passed me by, but I liked this one: Oni to start publishing SUPERMAN comics . Just as long as Bryan Lee O'Malley was writing it, I suppose. Certain readers may dig the "hacking" of THE OFFICE's website, too.

And in completely unrelated news, congratulations to Sean on his blog's new direction. And he's right - MAGNUM P.I. totally rawks!

This and that.

Remember this? Try this, too.

FATE worse than death? Probably not.

Even with the new wait-for-the-trade realities of comic book publishing, I've still been caught out a couple of times. Once when the online community's hatred of ULTIMATE ADVENTURES script bod Ron Zimmerman got so fierce that Marvel were afraid to collect a fine comic (well, especially in terms of Fegredo's art) for years. In that case, I just had to track down the back issues (man, doing that was a blast from the past).

Lately, I've came across another problem: that inconsiderate sod Steve Gerber dying without finishing his current run on Dr Fate in COUNTDOWN TO MYSTERY. I loved Gerber, love the character (loved Gerber's run on Fate with Keith Giffen and Marty Pasko in the back of THE FLASH as a kid; I don't have much original art but I do have a couple of pages of Giffen's work on the four issue mini from 1987), and was pretty fond of the book's artist, Justiniano's DC work in the last couple of years. And I hadn't been buying the singles, safe in the knowledge that DC would get around to sticking a collected edition out when it was finished.

Anyway, it looks like DC have came up with a suitably Gerber-ish way of concluding the run, and I'll look forward to seeing it completed eventually. And in related news, Gerber's collaborator on MAN-THING and the great OMEGA THE UNKNOWN, Jim Mooney, has recently passed away. I'll remember him for the slick, Romita-esque work he did on bronze age Marvels, though his career started at least three decades before that.