Beer Commercial: The Good Life

November 3, 2008


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X-Men 503

Writer: Fraction & Brubaker, Artist: Greg Land, Inks: Jay Leisten,
Colors: Justin Ponsor

I guess I am a Greg Land fan. With this team his work sparkles. This does look like a commercial for Bud light or some import does it not. It’s so slick. There is a lot going on here though. We know colorists use warm color on the light source side and cool on the far side. Here Ponsor has heightened everything; check out the hot violet from the neon lights (not seen but felt) along her back. And the abstract background tells the story of the action in the bar with just shapes and colors. That brick red is really brings the figures to life. I don’t think it would have been my choice.


King Kirby

October 27, 2008


I had the best time reading Kirby, King of Comics by Mark Evanier, an oversized hardback filled with giant reproductions of Kirby’s dynamic artwork and a well written biography. Sorry for the bad reproduction but this is a thick book. There are lots of other choices but this pencil work is fantastic. Check out the foreshortening. I think EVERY figure has foreshortening.

Jack Kirby was known for working 12 to 14 hours a day at his drawing desk. There is telling quote from his wife: “Tell Jack, that after he finishes saving the universe again, he has to take out the trash in the kitchen.” – Rosalind Kirby, one day in 1971

John "King" Romita Jr.

October 26, 2008


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Writer: Mark Millar, Artist: John Romita Jr.,
Inks: Tom Palmer, Colors: Dean White

Kick-Ass #4

I can’t recommend this. It’s a wee bit too violent for me. Sick is the word. You will like it if you like entrails.  But I admire Romita’s artwork.  This panel and the pencils for it show that “King Kirby” type of action. They make jumping off a building look easy. And fun.

Abominable Snowman

October 4, 2008


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Tor #6

Writer: & Artist: Joe Kubert,  Colors: J.K. with Pete Carlsson

This is the last issue of this fine series that harks back to the days of great line drawing and fast paced action. Each issue ends with a cliff hanger, sometimes literally! It’s great to watch a master illustrator at work. Kubert’s drawings are so fluid and expressive. It’s not a deep story, it’s pretty predictable. Tor fights a monster every time. But I can’t get enough of it. I wish there were more.

This will make a wonderful trade. It is just great fun.

Good Guys Don’t Torture

October 2, 2008


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Writer: Ed Brubaker
Uncanny X-Men #502

In Uncanny X-Men #502 Scott tortures a captive with needles.

In popular media, before 9-11, only the bad guys did the torture. Now it is often the good guys who are doing the torture.

The first evidence of this was the TV show 24 using the “the ticking bomb” scenario. Here is the one person who has information that will save hundreds of lives if I can get him to talk before the bomb explodes, so torture is justified. This is a great dramatic device, rich with tension. The only problem is this has never happened in the real world, yet it is used as a justification for torture. And innocent prisoners get tortured.

Torture is a Pandora’s Box which must never be opened, because the results cannot be controlled. In 1984, the Landau Commission originally permitted Israeli interrogators to use moderate force in cases of an imminent bombing. Years later, Israeli civil rights lawyers submitted evidence that virtually all Palestinian prisoners were being tortured. We have seen the same results in American controlled prisons. Abu Ghraib was not a fluke. Ultimately the Israeli courts reversed their opinion. Hopefully we will do so here in the US.

We are seeing the normalization of torture in American consciousness. Darth Vader tortures, the Nazis  torture, The Skrulls torture, The X-Men torture. What!?

I know it is just a comic book, but I love comics and grew up in the 60’s reading about heroes who fought the good fight against evil. It shaped my ideas of what a hero is. X-Men is not a horror comic like The Walking Dead, or a crime comic like Criminal. We must be aware of what seeds we are planting.

Gene Colan Breaks the Box

September 21, 2008


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Writer: Roy Thomas, Artist: Gene Colan, Inker: Tom Palmer
Doctor Strange #174

This is from the fantastic A Tribute to Gene Colan one-shot. Proceeds go to Gene Colan who worked in comics when creators were paid like non-union factory workers. Mr. Colan is in poor health and this 96 page reprint issue should help him out. It reprints stories from his whole career and we get to see his classic dramatic story telling with modern printing. 

I realized how much my own art has been influenced by Colan. I love his off center angles, rarely choosing a static center framed point of view. (would you have chosen the point of view in the top panel above?) Gene Colan was one of the first to break out of the panel grid. His page layouts are filled with diagonals to crank up the excitement in action sequences, especially in Dr. Strange. A few pages have collages like the one above. Yet it is easy to follow the order of events. That is not so easy to do. I just read a reprint of comics from the 40’s in the Twelve series where the artist resorted to arrows. Bendis/Oeming use some non-grid layouts in Powers and I often have to re-read pages to figure out the sequence. With Colan it always flows. He is a master comic artist. I am happy to see this one shot.

The Chronodome is in Danger

September 5, 2008

Fear Agent  21

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Writer: Rick Remender, Artist: Kieron Dwyer & Jerome Opena,
Colors: Michelle Madsen

Fear Agent #21

There is something that loves a big floating disembodied brain. I have been a fan of disembodied brains ever since I saw Donovan’s Brain when I was a boy. It makes me happy to see a brain floating in liquid controlling a robot body as in Godland or controlling a spider body as in BPRD.  Here we have an all powerful brain floating in space. Isn’t it cute.

Iron Man Movie

September 5, 2008

InvincIronMan 3

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Colors: D’Armata

Invincible Iron Man # 3


This is an unused still from the movie.

Hehe. Of course not. I find some of the photo realistic backgrounds jarring. It shouldn’t take you out of the story. Just as in a movie, special effects are most effective when they don’t draw attention to themselves. But you have to admit this sky and seascape captures the feel of flying. I’m thinking this is D’Armata doing.


July 21, 2008


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Hellboy: Crooked Man #1

Writer: Mignola, Artist: Richard Corben, Colors: Dave Stewart

I’m liking this arc even better than Corben’s previous one. This has a storybook quality, an innocence that contrasts nicely with the horror that Hellboy soon attracts. It is so very different from Mignola’s style yet, somehow, amazingly, it has that Mignola magic. Dave Stewart looks like he applying colors with a sponge! It is abstract and textured, and it really works with the bold illustrations.

This is the first of 3 walking panels. Hard to choose – but I picked this one for the black silhouette, the sponged background and the loosely drawn leaves that express so much greenery so simply.

Faces in the Crowds

July 11, 2008

Crowds Cap39

Captain America #39 & Kingdom Come

I have painted a few crowds in my work as a muralist. They take forever. And how are you going to represent all those people, what level of detail? Here are 2 solutions. I think Torre and D’Armata are using an altered photo. I’m not sure about that. Some of the faces on the right are more abstracted than on the left. I like it, it looks painted, something like the 1940’s social realist George Bellows.

Ross really abstracts the crowd in the insert from Kingdom Come. (I pasted it over the man behind the podium who is addressing the group. You can see the edges of the podium on either side. ) He just uses brush stokes to suggest the figures as they fade into the distance. Beautiful brushwork.