Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Assorted gear.

Here's some stuff some of my Usual Suspects tweeted these last couple of days: WJC draws Dracula for The Mooks' Draw Hammer meme (honorable mention: Faz Choudrey's uncomfortably sexy Ralph Bates likeness), and some of Duncan Fegredo's sketches from last weekend's London Super-Duper Con. Still of the opinion that science needs to clone multiple Fegredos, so we can have him draw a Hellboy, a Batman and a The Hulk comic every month. Ben Caldwell has joined Twitter, and he's using it to flog sketches on a first-come-first-served basis, check out his Catwoman.  Something about the line he's using on that 'un reminds me of Patrick McEown. Dan McDaid is another Hulk-lover, and anticipates him stealing every scene he's in the AVENGERS movie. And Becky Cloonan has done a gig poster for some friends of hers.

Devilpig knows war is hell!

My simmering disapproval of Marvel/Disney's ethics has cooled enough to finally run these: Dave Johnson's covers for the upcoming Garth Ennis/Goran Parlov FURY: MAX miniseries. That's quite a line-up of talent, so I'll probably relent from my strike and illegally download or shoplift these comics*.

That image of Fury on the third cover has a certain Jack Davis vibe, and any war comic evoking the Kurtzman tradition is all right by me.

*Joke! Please don't take my house, Disney lawyers.

Dinosaur Jr - Over It.

Dinosaur Jr released the best video of their entire career a couple of years ago, but I only saw it this morning.  Here it is, and then watch the Making Of feature.

New Gorillaz/James Murphy/Andre 3000 track gets a video.

Mo-cap madness. I used to live in a house like that. No Stannah stairlift in it, mind.

Update: and see some of Hewl's storyboards over at CBR.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Edmund Bagwell's tribute to Brett Ewins.

Checked my email at work this morning and got a link to this. There's been a glut of birthday greetings for 2000AD over the UK comics blogosphere these last few days, but Joe Gordon, Matt Badham and Richard Bruton's gentle and empathetic tribute to Brett Ewins has been among the best. When I read it I had a few customers with me, and I had to struggle manfully not to tear up a little.   Here's Edmund Bagwell's contribution, which celebrates Brett's impact upon multiple generations of British comics as an artist, a creator, a publisher and editor, and a supreme spotter of talent. I remember my cousin Geoff coming back from UKCAC 1988* with the first issue of DEADLINE, and his anecdote of buying it from Brett himself, and being very impressed indeed. Not just by the comic, but by the second-hand glamour of Geoff meeting one of my all-time favourites. A guy whose Rogue Trooper strips I'd traced as a kid until they were bas-relief.

*UKCAC '88 was the comic convention that famously scared Alan Moore off cons for life. I sent Geoff off with my copy of WATCHMEN, which he dutifully brought back signed, but only by Dave Gibbons and John Higgins. Perhaps it was Geoff who was the fan who, as legend has it, hammered on the cubicle door of the toilet Big Al was using, demanding an autograph, sending the Magus off screaming, swearing off such close contact with the massed ranks of fandom forever. I joined Geoff at UKCAC '89, where I almost killed VIZ's Graham Dury in a bizarre fan-hurdling accident at an event celebrating their tenth anniversary. A story for another time, probably.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

"Hey mate, me Space Spinner is in yer garden. Can I have it back?"

Today is 2000AD's 35th birthday? Big whoop, who celebrates turning 35? Get back to us when yer 40, like a normal grown-up.

Ash Wood rolls out his Ro-Jaws toy in March - oh, for a time machine to bring it to my eight-year-old self. And Adam Warren's Judge Anderson: as I keep saying, Warren is one of the best hard-SF writers in American comics; he could fit in at 2000AD quite easily, given the chance.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Daniel James Cox's Hellboy

Just saw a piece of work in CBR's The Line It Is Drawn feature I liked, by movie concept artist Daniel James Cox, a parody of the cover art to Iron Maiden's THE NUMBER OF THE BEAST.

You'll have seen Cox's work in all sorts of place before, on movies you didn't like (FANTASTIC FOUR: RISE OF THE SILVER SURFER - not his fault it sucked, obviously, his concept art for Galactus looked just about right compared to the mess that ended up on screen) and TV series you did (SPARTACUS: GODS OF THE ARENA). He was signed up to work on George Miller's dead-in-development-hell Justice League: Mortal movie before it disappeared: a victim of the writer's strike; pulled Australian tax breaks; and intra-Warner Bros politicking.  It was supposedly fully cast, actors were being fitted for costumes, and script readings had taken place in Australia before the plug was pulled on it. God knows what that would have turned out as. I'm a great fan of Miller, but the last script synopsis I read for it sounded terribly Geoff Johns. I did like Miller's idea of casting relative unknowns, models and TV actors, to save money from the budget with which to boost production coffers. This sort of casting does tend to freak out the trolls on AICN, mind, something which may well have spooked the money men. That said, in all fairness to the trolls, some of the mis-cast names bandied about were fully mental decisions.  Cox's blog reveals an artist obsessed with classic comics, so I'm sure he was probably producing acres of great art for the project that none of us will ever get to see. Bugger.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Art V Cancer

I've been meaning to link to the Art V Cancer site since I first saw Chris "Raid 71" Thornley's Hellnuts cartoon retweeted by James "The Mooks" Howard (aye, tonight is all about the cartoonists with wacky nicknames - deal wi' it). 

The ethos behind the site is pretty damned heroic (see interview here), and well worth all our support. For starters, as soon as payday rolls around next week, I think I'll spring for one of these:

Zarhol Rico's Venn diagrams for nerds.

Saw these over at this blog. Dunno anything about 'em, but they raised a smile. A rather obvious typo there on the first 'un - I presume English isn't this guy's first language.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

More of the same.

1. Edmund Bagwell drew Hellboy and I missed it at the time. How'd that happen? I reckon that illustration shows what I mean when I describe him to U.S. acquaintances as belonging to the same school as Michael Golden or Chris Sprouse. Of course, Bag-E has more than just that in his locker, including the best Kirby impersonation in the business. 2. I really should investigate some way to automatize the reblogging of Fegredo's contributions to Whatnot, with some randomly generated hyperbole. 3. Mick McMahon's alternate cover to the 2000AD 35th birthday issue. Holy hell, look at the inks on that Tharg figure. 4. I was tempted to include Dave Johnson's cover for the first issue of Garth Ennis and Goran Parlov's new FURY MAX series here, but then I didn't bother. Still a bit cross with the house of mouse. I'm terribly fond of everyone involved though. Anyway, let's make it up to big Dave by including his latest Whatnot-ism: saw the line art of this on Twitter the other day, but he's polished 'er up nicely since.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

More nu-Hewl.

While we're on a roll with the new Jamie Hewlett stuff, here's the making-of/preview for the soon-to-drop new Gorillaz/Murphy/Andre 3000 choon Do Ya Thing.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Always more stuff.

I always enjoy the work Matt Pattinson posts at his CulpritTech blog though I've never spotlit his work here before. I like the way he fuses his work on this 'un over some Eileen Soper-esque classic children's book illustration.

Here's a painting by the illustrator Andres Guzman called "El Teleported Man". Love the Van Gogh-y palette and brushstrokes on the beard.

I've never hidden my love of Jim Mahfood here, and so it can be no surprise that I approve of Alan Martin asking him to be his latest TANK GIRL collaborator.  Seen a few knobs on Faceberk making the same "...but it's not Jamie!" whinges that were squeaked out when Al partnered up with Ash Wood years back. Knobs. Mahfood gets the spirit of the character, clearly, and that's what's important.

And speaking of Jamie Hewlett, head down to your local offie if you want to get your hands on his latest piece, a bottle of Shit-The-Bed with his draw'rins all over it.

Dunno how much of this stuff'll get shipped over to Norn Iron, though. Can't see the offie in Coalisland wanting to touch it, for starters.

Thursday, February 09, 2012

Free the GHOST RIDER one.

I genuinely wish that one day would go by this month without Big Comics pulling some shitty reprehensible stroke.  Christ, poor Gary Friedrich. $17K is a drop in the water to Disney, but a matter of life-and-death to an out of work freelance writer.

As we all probably know, this blog has a special relationship with Ghost Rider. Just what the hell next? Chasing Alan Vega and Martin Rev down for the royalties from their first album?

Update: if you would like to donate some money to Gary, Steve Niles has started a Paypal link over at his blog, alongside a note from Friedrich expressing his desire to fight on.

Further update: McConnell Art have been running fund-raising auctions.

Tuesday, February 07, 2012

Do the right thing.

Do the right thing by Jack, people. Click on the link and sign this petition.

Oh, and do yourself a favour and read James Sturm's essay on these matters over at Slate.

Monday, February 06, 2012

On BEFORE WATCHMEN and post-traumatic stress disorder.

I've been gathering my thoughts on BEFORE WATCHMEN since it was announced, and have read many great right-headed (and cringed through many wrong-headed) pieces written on the matter over this last week.  A few people have sought out my opinion on the matter, probably because they remember the frequency I commented scathingly on the subject of the atrocious movie adaptation. This announcement has had something of the inevitable about it, it has seemed to lurk in the ether waiting to materialise since 2007, when I ran this blog entry.  It was prompted by the appearance of this piece by Art Adams (a cover for the defunct trade rag WIZARD, if memory serves).  As I said back then, in the comments section alongside the entry: "It's heresy, but it's also hilarious: it's hilaresy!".

Now, those of you who are familiar with the Northern Irish character know that we have the darkest of humours, probably because all of us born before 1994 have full-blown PTSD.  We make black jokes about bad news, and for us there is no such thing as "too soon?".  Which is why, as soon as this news leaked out, slid out like the incontinence of a octogenarian who hasn't had a decent idea since 1986, I felt inclined to just laugh. But to laugh it off is probably too apathetic, distancing myself from the bomb-blast, immunising myself from accusations otherwise that I'm taking it too seriously, that's its justafakkingcomicforfakksake.  Instead the debate that has arose has been inspiring. Every time, every opportunity comic readers have to witness a hard light being shone on the business ethics of the industry they patronise, is a good thing. Every time I write about work for hire, I drop in the phrase "that gangster shit", hoping it'll catch on.  It never does. In the case of WATCHMEN, it isn't even the usual problems of work for hire that is to blame, it is a new set of problems born of the comics boom of the mid-80s: when is creator-owned not creator-owned after all? Did Dez Skinn die in vain?

One thing made clear reading the day-long explosion of opinion on the matter in my Twitter feed was this is a matter for comic fans, for comic readers, not the comic professionals: the smartest ones realised they were compromised within the argument, that they didn't have a leg on which to stand and join in with the pontificatin'. Of course, the lines are horribly blurred. The audience for Anglophone comics isn't huge, and therefore a fair sized chunk of the readership are creators. Also, comics professionals are invariably the most passionate of fans, and seemingly every comics fan would give their eye-teeth to become a comics professional, every one of them working on a webcomic they want to link you to, or in possession of a pitch for that Dr Strange comic that's really going to work this time. One of the reasons this farrago is going ahead is because DC reckons it's easy to get away with it, because we're all complicit now. Well sod that, Dan. You haven't got my fingerprints on this gun. Leave me out of it.

There's probably an essay to be written on comics becoming just another commodity being squeezed out by corporations that don't give a shit; that the comics crowd are kidding themselves when they blather on about the medium they love being the last bastion for free-wheeling creativity; that buying a Marvel or DC comic is essentially as soul-destroying a gesture of surrender to the forces of globalisation as buying a Big Mac or a Starbucks coffee or downloading the latest single by the winner of last year's THE X-FACTOR. This won't be it. I'm too busy brewing my own beer.

Friday, February 03, 2012

Brendan McCarthy revisits the STRANGE DAYS cast.

Pal (and frequent source) for this blog David Rees recently commissioned Brendan McCarthy to draw some old favourites. When David sent me a scan of the pencil rough last year he said "Brendan hardly ever does this sort of thing". Brendan in fact called this piece "his first commission".  At this rate I'll soon forgive David for outbidding me on that Atlantis page Sean Phillips sold a few years ago.

Nice to see that fakkin' hooligan Martin 'Atchet from SKIN popping up in the bottom right of the finished version.