Convention Sketches

Various con sketches from over the years.

Imperator Furiosa from Mad Max: Fury Road:

Furiosa

Furiosa 2

Kylo Ren from The Force Awakens:

Kylo Ren

Jon Snow and Ghost from Game Of Thrones:

Jon Snow

Eleven (El) from Stranger Things:

Eleven

The Driver from Drive:

Driver

Spider-Man:

Spidey

Free Comic Book Day!

So for free comic book day I was asked by the lovely Lulu Bonanza (not her real name!) to be one of the guest artists at the New England Comics in Allston, MA , alongside my super talented friend, Liz Siegel, aka TofuSquirrel!  This was my second year participating!

 

So with not much sleep, but still plenty of energy I sat down at a lovely folding table, complete with a Spider-Man tablecloth (Liz’s had a My Little Pony tablecloth), and while exchanging quips with Liz and talking nerd about the Avengers movie and Game Of Thrones, drew the day away.  I started out just drawing whatever I wanted.  But ended up with a couple requests.  Here are a couple:

Colossus

Wonder Woman (for Lulu)

“A Big Guy with a Machine Gun” (Originally “a monkey!” Then “a monkey with a banana gun!” )

The Hulk fighting Daredevil

The Hidden Huntsman (an original character requested by the kids who commissioned me)

Deadpool (I just felt like drawing him!)

And I think that’s it.

“Dude, get over here quick!  This guy is a real comic book artist!  Hey, can you draw me a big guy with a machine gun?!”  This was the actual quote, which killed me.  How do you say no to that.  Also these kids had a lot of feedback about The Avengers (they LOVED Loki) and Game Of Thrones (when I showed them the House Stark patch on my jacket, but said I wished I had a House Greyjoy one instead I thought they were going to tear up the drawings I had done for them).  They were like a real life version of  The Goonies or the kids from Super 8.  They were super enthusiastic about comics and had started writing their own.  It made me very glad to see.

It was a fun day, I got some free comics out of the deal, got paid to draw comic characters, hang out with friends, and discuss nerdy things with strangers.  Pretty awesome.

Larry Hama

Saturday I had the chance to meet a childhood hero of mine, Larry Hama, pretty much the driving creative force behind most of the characters in G.I. Joe!  He was the one who gave all these amazing characters their back stories.  He wrote all the issues of the G.I. Joe comic by Marvel (and drew a few as well)  as well as writing the filecards for most of the characters.

G.I. Joe was a HUGE establishing factor in my childhood.  Between myself, my brother, and my sister we had A LOT of the toys.  We even had the USS Flagg, G.I. Joe’s aircraft carrier!  We watched the show religiously and I even loved the original G.I. Joe movie (the one with Cobra-La and Sgt. Slaughter).  Heck, I STILL love that movie (I just don’t consider it canon)!  I didn’t discover the comic book until much later, but I was in love right away.

He was a very humble and quiet man.  I was very hungover.  Our interaction was brief, but enjoyable.  I gave him the drawing I had done of Scarlett back in 2009 as a thank you for all that G.I. Joe has given me.

It was a good day.

Inspiration Part 1

Last night a friend asked me who my artistic inspirations are as far as comics go.  I’m STILL pretty stumped.  Not that I don’t know who I like and who has inspired me, past and present, more that the task of compiling that list (and the fear of leaving someone out) is daunting.  This is a topic I want to delve into more in the future.  But for now I’ll share with you some videos on inking, which have really been inspiring me.  As someone who’s not a paid professional in this field (YET!) I’ve begun trying to constantly assault my brain with everything comics:  videos, blogs, podcast interviews, and of course actually reading comics in hopes that a deeper understanding of the art form will seep into my consciousness.  These videos have been part of this new “comics boot camp”.

Jeff Smith inking a panel from “Bone” and two from “Shazam: The Monster Society of Evil”:

Bone

Shazam

Shazam 2

Nate Van Dyke KILLING this illustration:

Ape

Ashley Wood drawing like a maniac (whoever is recording is annoying as SHIT, though, so the mute button really helps this one) and not sure who the other guy is that’s shown drawing at the end, but the art LOOKS like Jamie Hewlett of  Tank Girl and Gorillaz fame:

Drawing

Jim Mahfood aka FoodOne drawing:

Drawing

Paul Pope leading a Con panel on inking:

Inking Panel

Mike Mignola Leading a Con panel on inking:

Inking Panel

Jim Lee inking a Heroes pin-up:

Inking Heroes

Inspiring!

What I’m Reading Now (Comics)

Here’s just a quick rundown of what comics I’m reading and why.

DC –

As a precursor to this section on DC let me first say that up until the “New 52” I wasn’t reading ANY DC titles.  Not one.  I’ve always been a Marvel guy.  The last one I had followed regularly was when they relaunched Batman & Robin with Morrison writing and Frank Quitely doing the art.  That was a great concept and held my attention for a bit before Quitely dropped off the book and DC started to disappoint me with some of the decisions they decided to make (more on this at another time).  Anyhow, I digress . . .

  • BATMAN –  The story is awesome.  It’s nice to see DC developing Gotham’s history more.  This story-line is helping.  The art is pretty meh for me, not a huge fan of Greg Capullo‘s stuff, but it serves the purpose.
  • BATMAN & ROBIN –  Probably one of the few must-read titles for me at the moment.  The writing is pretty fucking phenomenal.     This first arc is doing A LOT to make me actually care about Robin as a character.  Nobody is a fucking awesome villian with a great simplistic/realistic design and a back-story that fits him into the bat-mythos perfectly.  READ THIS BOOK!
  • BATMAN BEYOND UNLIMITED  –  I loved the Batman Beyond cartoon back when it was on TV, but honestly I’m pretty much buying this for Dustin Nguyen‘s art.
  • SUICIDE SQUAD  –  This wasn’t a title I thought I’d stick around on for as long as I have, but the writing is good enough that I continuously want to see what happens in the next issue.  Plus Deadshot is a pretty badass character.
  • DEATHSTROKE  –  I started buying this title simply because Deathstroke is just an awesome, well designed character.  And even more so in this New 52 version, cause how they upgraded his costume into armor and his mask into a helmet is great.  However, the story ended up worth reading as well and I’m still interested.
  • JUSTICE LEAGUE  –  I was buying this for Jim Lee‘s art.  Simple.  Now that he’s no longer on the book that’s one less book to buy.
  • AQUAMAN  –  This surprises even me.  But it’s damned good.  I’m actually interested in Aquaman!  The writing is good and always pokes fun at how nobody takes him seriously because his powers involve talking to animals.
  • ALL STAR WESTERN  –  Western story?  Check.  Jonah Hex?  Check.  Fleshing out Gotham’s history (at least in the current story arc)?  Check.  Amazing art by Moritat?  Check.


VERTIGO  –

  • SPACEMAN  –   How could I possibly pass up a comic by the creative duo (trio if you count Dave Johnson‘s covers!) that created 100 Bullets, Brian Azzarello and Eduardo Risso?!  Interesting story concept and the dialogue (even though it makes you want to pull your hair out sometimes) is a really unique and refreshing touch.

MARVEL  –

  • UNCANNY X-FORCE  –  Let’s see team roster includes:  Wolverine, Deadpool, Fantomex, Psylocke, Archangel (well it USED to), and now AOA Nightcrawler.  Why WOULDN’T I be reading this book?!  The first two story arcs were AMAZING and really set up all the characters as well rounded, unique, and interesting.  The art has jumped around a lot, but for the most part has been fairly consistently good.  Rick Remender, the writer knows his characters.  And I’ve never read a funnier, but still insanely DARK Deadpool EVER.  Remender’s witty banter (all of the characters, actually, Fantomex and Wolverine especially) is well written and actually witty.  Although I’m not currently loving the current story-line . . .
  • WOLVERINE & THE X-MEN  –  I originally started getting this for Chris Bachalo‘s artwork, but it’s actually a really fun read, which is super rare for comics these days, let alone an X-Men comic, which are renowned for getting bogged down in their own mythos.  Plus even though the new artist, Nick Bradshaw, isn’t Bachalo his art’s still great and fits the story perfectly.
  • AVENGING SPIDER-MAN  –  Not only did Joe (MAD!) Madureira draw the first three issues (HEAVEN!), but Zeb Wells writes hands-down the best Spider-Man dialogue I’ve ever read.

ICON  –

  • SUPER CROOKS  –  Just picked up the first issue this week.  Story seems solid with a couple of really great scenes and amazing art by Leinil Yu.

IMAGE  –

  • THE STRANGE TALENT OF LUTHER STRODE  –  I don’t think I can ever say enough in praise for this book!  The art, by Tradd Moore, is great, very Romita-esque, but it’s the storytelling by Justin Jordan that really makes this title sing.  Throughout the book you can feel Jordan’s love for the comic book medium.  And he does whatever it takes to write a great story, much to many fans dismay (I’m not going to spoil it for you!).  READ THIS BOOK!
  • BUTCHER BAKER THE RIGHTEOUS MAKER  –  This is another book that when you’re reading it you can just feel this pulsing love for comics just under the surface (that was NOT a sexual reference and that was NOT what she said!).  Well, that and at the end of every issue the writer, Joe Casey, delves into his love of comics (and a lot of other things) in essay form!  And the art by Mike Huddleston is mind-blowingly good!  READ THIS BOOK!
  • PROPHET  –  Yes this IS a character Rob Liefeld (say what you will about the man, but A. We ALL loved his shit back in the 90’s, ALL OF US and B.  he fucking CREATED Cable AND Deadpool!) created, but no you WON’T recognize him!  I originally bought this book because I knew Brandon Graham was connected to it, and despite the fact that he is only writing it and not drawing it he’s still I creator I will forever support.  Turns out the book is fucking awesome (but I probably should’ve known based of how fucking awesome King City was, which Graham both wrote and drew)!  It’s super sci-fi and has a Heavy Metal/european comics vibe.  Very interesting and very good.  The art is awesome too, currently by Simon Roy, but I think this will change every couple of issues or so.  READ THIS BOOK!
  • GLORY  –  Same concept as above!  Rob Liefeld is really going all out as far as finding indie comic darlings and giving them free-reign over his characters!  This time Joe Keating is writing and Ross Campbell is taking care of the art.  So far so awesome!
  • REBEL BLOOD  –  Just began this week and it’s off to a good start.  Liking the artwork by Riley Rossmo.
  • SAGA  –  This is the new one written by Brian K. Vaughn.  That alone was why I picked up this book.  The art by Fiona Staples is great.  Story-wise . . . well after the first couple of pages I was NOT feeling it.  There’s a baby involved in the story and that alone is usually a huge turn-off for me. Haha.  Plus there were all these people with antlers and talk of people from the moon . . . it just wasn’t doing it for me, but I kept reading and by the end of the first issue he had me!  I don’t know what it was that turned me, his strength as I writer I suppose (or maybe it was those dudes with TV’s for heads!!! SO COOL! Very FLCL!), but all I know is I want to see where this goes.

DARK HORSE  –

  • CONAN THE BARBARIAN  –  Brian Wood and Becky Cloonan together AGAIN?!  Yes, please!  Becky is another creator I would follow anywhere and Wood is not far behind her.  Plus it’s fucking Conan!  READ THIS BOOK!

IDW  –

  • TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES  –  Always have been a TMNT fan, always will be.  As much as it may be sacrilege to say this as many are completely devoted to the original Mirage run, but this is my favorite version of the Turtles so far.  The new twist on the old origin story is perfect and all of the Turtles feel like different, individual characters.  Art is great too.  Also FUCK Michael Bay!

KABOOM  –

  • ADVENTURE TIME WITH FINN & JAKE  –  Huge fan of the show and the comic continues this.  Plus each issue has a back-up story done by a different artist with a different artistic take on the characters.  And I recently heard a podcast interview with the writer Ryan North and he is a funny motherfucker!

Phew!  I think that’s about it!