Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Steve Rude & Beer.

Steve Rude is one of those artists I love but have never really covered here that much (hell, a quick scan of my tags in the sidebar show this is the first post I've written that's featured him at all, shockingly). NEXUS was a comic I saw as a kid and admired, rather than loved wholeheartedly, but that admiration was all due to Rude's slick classicism. I didn't go back and revisit NEXUS until a decade ago, when I bought a lot of it retrospectively on Ebay, when I became a total convert. The first comic of his I really fell for contemporaneously was 1987's MISTER MIRACLE SPECIAL. I'm sure we've all worked out what a sucker I am for Kirby-as-a-genre, and this was one of the best early examples of that tradition. I'd similarly love other later forays into the work-for-hire world, working on the signature characters of some of the creators whose influences were most visible in his work - Kirby and Romita (like this, this and this).  I find it a weird and flawed world that when Rude was having legal, financial and mental health problems last year, editors were not beating at his door to offer the guy work. He was actively seeking employment, and apparently no-one was answering his calls.  The guy's style may have obvious silver age antecedents, but it has never been old-fashioned or retro, or "cartoony" (that bug-bear that drives the Wednesday-crowd readership of Big Comics' output bananas). Rude's work transcends these problems, like José Luis García-López's does. It's just pure American comics, what non-comics readers really expect to see, but seldom do, on the rare occasion when they pick one up. I would have thought that pairing him up with any popular superhero writer du jour would result in an instant potential crossover hit.

Anyway,  I didn't set out to write that high-on-fan-entitlement rant. I intended to get to the art much quicker before I got carried away. When I'm not working, or blogging, or playing in Mid-Ulster's finest cargo-cult rock'n'roll act, you'll already know I'm probably brewing up some excellent artisan booze. As well as producing the world's shittiest lagers, America paradoxically also produces the world's finest craft beers.  Rude has produced a bunch of art for these guys, and he's selling the original art on Ebay here.

This was Bad Librarianship post number #1999.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

ZAUCER OF ZILK promo images

I showed the first cover a couple of days ago, now this just turned up in my inbox. Enjoy!

*UPDATE*: UK (non-subscribing) readers probably rushed to their retailers this morning to buy this, but if you didn't, or if you're unlucky enough not to live in our glorious Anglo-Celtic archipelago, the first part is up, in its entirety, at CBR.

*Further UPDATE*: I love the guys at the FPI blog, y'all know that, posting great stuff day in, day out. And this morning, they ran this, Al & Brendan's Director's Commentary for pt1 of Z.O.Z., as we'll come to know it.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

I can't quit you baby.

Christ, I know this reblogging What Not entries is now beyond a joke. It's a full-on addiction. A sickness. Worse, it's becoming a cliche. But those buggers over there are so good, man. Fegredo homages Giraud (I'd been tempted to run Devilpig's and Mickey Allred's, too, but thought I really should put limits on my larceny), and his boss, Mickey Mignola.

So if we're content just idling through some classic Bad Librarianship tropes, howzabout Brendan McCarthy's cover for 2000AD prog 1775? Subscribers have been getting this through their postboxes these last couple of days, I'll be waiting until Wednesday for my copy.  I find this wait uncomfortable. Staring at this image the other night, I did have a particularly stupid thought: Hey, Jimmy Lee! You should totally rip off Brendan's design here for the new Earth Two Doctor Fate!

And while I'm feeling comfortable just banging through a bunch of work by creators I regularly cover, here's one that manages to cover a couple of bases - Ben Caldwell drawing a character created by WJC!

No point linking to the awesome PROMETHEUS trailer, as I'm sure you've all seen it in glorious HD and pored over every beautiful frame, so have this instead.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Wednesday evening stuff.

Just wanted to share a few images. The first is a photograph I just came across on Faceberk, the prototype for the "Metallic K.O." alternate finish for the Johnny Marr signature Jaguar from Fender. It reminds me of the finish of an old '66 Candy Apple Red Jazzmaster I had, which I sold on Ebay a few years ago, becoming the basis for the ISA account that became the deposit on my house (alongside the Epic Moebiuses and the NBM Corto Malteses which also paid for the roof over my head).  As the red topcoat degrades, the sparkly gold underlayer beneath starts to bloom through it. It's a bloody gorgeous effect, and I wish Fender would use it on a few budget models soon.

Next - hey, remember that last cover Mick McMahon did for 2000AD, the Tharg image? One of the marvels about that was looking at the inking McMahon did on Tharg's boilersuit. The shadows cast by the wrinkles and folds of material were delineated so lovingly, inked so unctuously.  I found myself staring at them for minutes on end.  Well, the good news. This seems to be turning into Mick's new bag: cop these samples from his short in the second volume of Self Made Hero's LOVECRAFT ANTHOLOGY collections.

Mmm, wrinkles. As much as I love it when McMahon's art exasperates idiots, I also love seeing Mick working a current style that's so glossy and accessible.

Finally - a UK artist draws a Moebius homage that is a Grubert rather than an Arzach! Plus, John Welding's memories of Giraud are touchingly personal.

Chris Stevens does Hellboy.

Just saw this over at DeviantArt: you know that guy who commissions artists to draw various comic character's trophy rooms? Well, He got Chris Stevens to do Hellboy's.  In his comment after the piece, Stevens criticises his own composition, but I reckon it works through reflecting Hellboy's slobbish character perfectly.

Stevens has a nice glossy style (here's the link to his DeviantArt gallery, well worth a root around), and here's another Mignola tribute piece, referencing the classic Pancakes short.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

The Tuesday Night Allsorts

1. Plenty of people on't internets quoting from this new interview with Alan "The Human Soundbite" Moore, but my favourite is "Yeah, I know that people think I've been terribly mean to the poor little American comics industry.  It's so unfair when you think about it, isn't it, that you've got a barely-educated fuck from the English midlands picking upon this huge multinational corporation.  You know, I ought to be ashamed of myself."

2. Oh, come on. Who wouldn't buy the f*ck out of a series based on this sketch of Nick Fury debuted tonight on Twitter by Ben Caldwell? Unfortunately, we know the editorial team at The House That Jack Built are too chicken to commission anything that interesting. B'KAWK!

3. Finding it almost impossible to do an entry these days that doesn't link to at least one recent post over at What Not.  Now they've recruited Phil Bond to their ranks, this problem will only get worse. This time, however, it's Cory Walker's tribute to Mike Mignola that makes the cut, an image which manages to be simultaneously apropos and hilarious.

4.  Spent a sizeable portion of my evening hacking through the last couple of day's worth of backlog in my Google Reader, and a large subsection of that was tributes to Moebius by friends, admirers and collaborators alike. Dave Taylor's was a particularly heartfelt example.  While many of the tribute sketches by artists have featured assorted takes on the White Pteron of Arzach, I liked these two - Adrian Salmon's characterful Blueberry, and Tim Hamilton trying to invoke the playful mentality of the man more than his style with a particularly bonkers Starwatcher.  And for lots of examples of just how great Giraud was right to the end of his working life, there's plenty of examples from his last couple of projects here.

5. And talking of bonkers, here's a mash-up someone commissioned Dan McDaid to do. That's right. They asked for this, and presumably paid for it, too.

6.  I like this, even for the slightly dodgy anatomy - Frank Frazetta's golden age Ghost Rider cover (via).

7. A higher-than-you-might-have-seen-res version of the Simon Bisley cover for a recently solicited issue of HELLBLAZER, care of its owner, a certain Mr Greg Staples (via).

8.  Be like me and own a house-full of Dan McDaid original art!

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Links, art, sadness, anger, etc.

1. Jean "Moebius" Giraud died yesterday, one of the cornerstones of my personal theology. This was the first piece of his art I remember seeing, though I'm sure it probably really wasn't.  It was the piece that certainly inspired me to seek out as much of his work as I possibly could, though - the cover art to the second volume of the Epic reprints, from 1987, if memory serves.

2. Here's Cliff Chiang's tribute to the man, from the What Not sketch blog.
3. These last few years, it's been great to see yet another generation of artists and critics falling for Gir's work. The critic who's fallen hardest is probably our homeboy Sean Witzke, and his reaction to the news made great reading.  I hope publishers realise the hunger out there for Anglophone versions of Moebius's works, and cash in greedily on the wave of inevitable interest.

4. I read this at Tony "Riot" Wright's Tumblr and felt righteous fury rising: Brett Ewins is an unwell man being victimised by the Metropolitan Police, and we can't idly stand by.