Thursday, November 27, 2008
It's been 2 weeks and this blog has been quiet during this nasty economy while we all shuffle our priorities in order to make responsible decisions. Some require sacrifices that hurt, while other sacrifices are forced upon us. These times are so low that the state in which we feel is compounded and compromised by disillusion, smoke and mirrors, and shuffled information that makes mature decisions more difficult to make now more than ever.
I want to make sure that you all, whatever your situations may be, are able to take comfort with family, friends, and the like that these issues may melt away for the holiday.
I wish you all a Happy Thanksgiving, and would like to ask for your help; to help those less fortunate than ourselves this season.
For this week's comic submission I propose a cover that features a hero getting a leg up. Hero helping hero, villain helping villain, or mix 'em up!
Friday, October 31, 2008
Happy Halloween to you and yours! I wanted to debut the preliminary cover to issue 2 of Clipstick by posting on this day. The cover seemed to fit the mood.
Have a great one and Enjoy!
Wednesday, October 22, 2008
Welcome to this installment of the comic cover discussion forums! This challenge was a "no-brainer". . . You would have to be "up in the night" to not get what the challenge is this time around. So don't "give up the ghost" and let this challenge "bleed you dry".
Make a "sacrifice" and submit your eeriest, creepiest, spookiest cover that fits the forum to us. This should be fun so "don't lose your head" about this entry.
We just expect one foot in the grave. . .
Sunday, October 12, 2008
Thank you for the submission Rob. An interesting pick and a creative take on this week's challenge. Windsor Smith's renderings are always distinguishable and his knowledge on anatomy makes most of his images unique. I haven't read this series yet, but I imagine you'll put me on that track soon enough!
Here's my pick. I have to thank Lynn for this one as my appreciation for what Ditko's contributions to this series has grown exponentially with every conversation we share. This classic cover showcases Spidey at his lowest in these early issues. Our hero doubts himself on top of being crushed alive and about to drown. What more for a Deus Ex Machina situation than this piece. Ditko's unique stylization of water flows like molasses and Peter's demeanor, his head's position, elude to a troubled psyche above all in this mess. This is a great read. Even the text seals Pete's doom with the word "Final".
Some days feel like this. Calvin has days like this. Today, fortunately, I don't, but art and stories like this remind me they can. It's how we deal with these situations that people will judge our character.
This is my submission for the Deus Ex Machina competition.
Wednesday, October 8, 2008
A deus ex machina (lat. IPA: [ˈdeːus eks ˈmaːkʰina], literally "god from a/the machine") is an improbable contrivance in a story characterized by a sudden unexpected solution to a seemingly intractable problem.
Thursday, October 2, 2008
Great suggestions and posts for the last week! This week is in itself possibly it's own Deus Ex Machina, and you guessed it, we've got to find or post our favorite covers that feature this timeless ideal.
Best representation of Deus Ex Machina, pre-solved, done well, and solved in the book!
Enjoy and good luck!
Saturday, September 20, 2008
Although I agree that by today's standards of realism, McFarlane's characters do feel a little inflated, but still are strong enough to make you believe in them. The McFarlane Spidey will always hold a place in my heart because it was the first time I realized you don't have to draw everything the same way it's always been drawn. You can draw it your own way. Todd taught me that lesson with my first McFarlane Spidey in Amazing Spider-Man 318 vs. the Scorpion. The flight to Mexico was never shorter!
Great Skrull cover too Mr. Dirt. I need to get caught up on my comic current events sooner than later, but in the history of Skrull covers, from Kirby to Keown, they always seem to get the upper hand when on a cover.
My submission is a little less contemporary. I dug into the memory banks for this one because there was a villain that never went anywhere, but most creative artists have contemplated the possibilities. It wasn't until issue 49 they tried it out and history has spoken for itself. Also being the first appearance of Giant Man adds a little weight to this story.
Remember "Dimension Z"? Remember how the were referred to as "pixies"?
Yeah, neither do most comic readers. . . for a reason too. However, this cover, by its own merit gets my vote for a great rendering of the villain getting the upper hand. I bring you "The Eraser"! Yeah, we all thought of it, but Looney Tunes made it plausible.
Wednesday, September 17, 2008
Friday, September 12, 2008
When I read about this weeks post the first hero that jumped to my mind was Spidey. Has any other hero (in the history of superhero comics) ever been shown getting the crap kicked out of him more than our dear friend Peter Parker... on the cover of his own comic books no less. As a child I was never a big fan of Amazing Spider-Man because I liked my heroes a bit more, well, heroic. It just seemed that Peter Parker was never going to come out on top... EVER. Everyone beat him up, and even when he would prevail as
, then something tragic would happen to his Peter Parker alter ego. This guy could never catch a break. Those sadistic writers could be extremely Machiavellian in their plots to take down our beloved web-slinger. Which is probably the reason why he is one of the most popular characters in comics today.
So here it is... Amazing Spider-Man# 316.
Thursday, September 11, 2008
Sorry all for the long delay. It has been almost a killer couple of weeks that have hindered any progress on the site. I hope you're all still interested because I have some treats coming up with interviews among working professionals in the comic industry discussing their comic memories, what comic covers they favor, as well as pieces of their work and where it can be seen.
Summation of delay: Anniversary, hit and run (victim), baby 1st birthday, quit job, got new job. Any questions? Let's get this week's cover challenge underway!
This week's challenge is:
Post your favorite cover featuring a villain getting the upper hand!
There are a myriad of choices and genres this bleeds into. If the villain actually gets the upper hand in the book, that would be great too!
I can be contacted at email@example.com if you need to get a hold of me.
Saturday, August 9, 2008
Tuesday, August 5, 2008
Sorry for the delay in this week's topic / challenge. I just got back from a lengthy trip to Mexico with the family and only saw one computer that was running Windows '98 so I thought, umm. . . I'll wait to get back to catch up.
If any of you have any particular experiences at this year's Comic-con, I invite you to share them, whatever they may be, so we can live vicariously through your eyes.
This week's challenge is based on one of the themes at this years Comic-con.
What is your favorite Doc Savage cover! The man of bronze turned 75 this year and his early painted covers landed an iconic image. These covers really facilitated a different technique in order to capture the feeling of the noir series.
Friday, July 18, 2008
This cover not only demonstrates the skills Adam possesses, but it's a testament to his creative take on the story. This actually happens in this book! (Though Hughes took some liberties with the interpretation and art style.) Wonder Woman finds herself trapped in the past after following a portal which led her to an alternate history where her mother is actually Wonder Woman. She, (the original Wonder Woman), disguises herself as Miss America and helps her mother thwart the Nazis.
Hughes' take on this cover is a metaphor of new finding old by re-creating a dilapidated issue of the Golden Age Wonder Woman to resemble the modern day Wonder Woman's mother. The fact he draws it style for style with how she looked in the Golden Age mixed with his take of today's Wonder Woman is an excellent juxtaposition. It also allows us to see just how far she's come. The surrounding Nazis are done in 30s fashion and the very human expressions seals the deal for my favorite Adam Hughes cover.
Wednesday, July 16, 2008
As an upgrade to the site, I'm beginning to put together a questionnaire / interview for professionals to tell us what they like to see in a cover. They will talk about their favorite covers, and discuss what they believe makes a book jump off the shelf.
Please leave comments as to what questions you think should go in the interview and I'll pool the results putting together them together. Also, please leave comments as to who you would be interested in seeing a cover interview with!
LET'S DO THIS THING!
I'll post these interviews amidst the weekly challenges so we can tie them together with who is being interviewed!
Hughes submissions will carry through to the end of this week.
Thursday, July 10, 2008
style action sequence at the bottom). I find it to be a surprisingly well balanced cover, and just enjoy every aspect of it.
Monday, July 7, 2008
"I would go to the local shop and walk in, and stand back from that week's rack by about 10 feet and look at all the comics on the shelf. Seeing all the colors and which comics stood out at me against the sea that didn't. I would then make note of the similar color schemes the other books were using. If everyone was using a blue theme, I would go home and paint a cover using bright oranges, yellows and pinks. The next month I would walk back in and see them using browns and cremes so I would go home and paint a cover in purples, blacks, and grays."
The audience applauded with laughter. Going against the current is another great technique for making your cover stand out. Which brings us to this week's challenge:
This week's target cover is going to focus on your favorite Adam Hughes.
He has so many!
He's won an Eisner for his covers! Which one to choose!?!
Be prepared to defend why yours is better than the others submitted. It's going to get ugly.
Thursday, July 3, 2008
1 a: one of two or more striving to reach or obtain something that only one can possess
b: one striving for competitive advantage or
3: one that equals another in desired qualities:
The terms rival and feud almost go hand in hand. A rival, or two trying to obtain one thing and, feud, having it going on for a period of time, are cliches of most comic unverses.
To clarify the definition of a feud according to merriam webster:
1: a mutual enmity or quarrel that is often prolonged or inveterate;
We then came to a point where we each asked: "Can one still exist while another has evolved or taken it's place?" Can you still have a rivalry between two or more people when a murder has been committed?
I say yes.
Case in point: Whenever a villain gets the upper hand over our hero and is about to dispatch him, near the end of a battle, the villain always brings up the one or two moments the hero neglected them, got the upper hand in, took something away from them, (like an opportunity), or has some reason to exact their revenge based on some prior circumstance.
Some immediate examples I can think of would be Syndrome from Incredibles, Mr. Fantastic and Dr. Doom starting from their college years, Professor X and Magneto, to Space Ghost and Zorak on Coast to Coast.
Rivalries can evolve from feuds and vice versa. A rivalry can be two friends fighting alongside for a common goal as well.
I present this cover as a great visualization of rivals:
This cover plays to the viewer beautifully. If you know history of the X-Men or not, this cover entices you to rip it open and find out what's happening to Wolvie.
The Brood, featured in this and subsequent books, are a vicious alien race that are about dominance and control. This book is about a Brood hatchling and Wolverine fighting over the control of his body unbeknown to the rest of the team until. . . well, I suggest picking it up!
The rich purples and cool blues are complementary to his normal costume colors and play an integral roll in depicting a losing Wolverine. This is a book from Mark Silvestri's run on the series and I believe showcases his greatest work.
This scene does take place in the book and is handled very well.
One trick to a good rivalry cover is to keep ALL the art elements in mind and at your disposal to suggest a "teeter totter"-ing of the cover pitch. Utilize hue, shape, negative space, and temperature to create a slightly imbalanced composition until an edgy suspense is achieved.
Do these things and your only rival will be comic shops charging too little for the book!
Wednesday, July 2, 2008
After a tremendous amount of waffling I came across a cover I remembered from my youth (Kudos to you Lynn for the all the classic inspiration).
Ladies and Gentlemen... I give you World's Finest Issue 199... a classic Superman vs Flash race.
Talk about a rivalry that spanned decades, I think this qualifies. Art by the incomparable Neal Adams and as a bonus it also has a subtext theme at the bottom of the page (look at the disappointment and elation on the kids faces). I missed last week's blog cause I was slammed at work, but I thought this would kill 2 birds with one stone.
What do ya think? -Rob
Monday, June 30, 2008
This week's comic cover is going to be focused on a staple comic subject. Go through your mental collections, dust off the comic boxes in your basements, and put on a new sleeve and board to show your favorite comic rivalry cover!
The one rule is that it must follow our guidelines for a cover. (For new comers, the cover scene must appear within the interior of the book in some fashion.) With your submission, please describe what in particular about this cover caught your attention, why, and if it changed who you favored as your favorite hero or villain.
Can't wait to see what comes in and let the comic cover submissions begin!
Friday, June 27, 2008
Lynn's comments on the Justice League cover:
This probably isn't the best subtext, but it's the issue I thought of when the topic was mentioned. The reason I say it isn't the best is that the subtext isn't reflected in the story, and so was probably unintentional. Nevertheless, it's definitely there, and somewhat intriguing. I'll say no more until somebody identifies it.
Wednesday, June 25, 2008
For instance saying "What did you say?" to someone who has just threatened to kill you doesn't carry the same subtext as saying the same thing to someone handing you a piece of cake.
With the first example you might be thinking, "I need to buy some time!" while your face contorts and your heart races, your breath shortens, your body language becomes defensive, and you begin to mentally prepare yourself for the next few moments of your life.
In the second example you might slightly bow forward with a smile, think "this looks good!", breathing naturally, hands held out as a receiving gesture, enjoying the moment, maybe making eye contact depending on your personality.
In both instances the phrase didn't change, but the thought changed dramatically. The same form of communication is a powerful tool in illustration, but it requires a mind invested into the character's personality, thoughts, imaginations, desires, etc. . . You ever looked at a painting and related to the image saying, "Yeah! I know exactly what s/he's thinking!"
The trick to creating believable subtext in an illustration is to distinguish what you want to say in subtext first, and then decide what you want to be said verbally. Of coarse the expression should follow the nature of the subtext. Voila! A character that appears to be self motivated!
It's a technique I find too few and far between with any given comic illustration which is why there are the greats. If they can guess what I'm thinking, there's a good chance I'm going to relate to their characters and that's a mouth full!
Tuesday, June 24, 2008
It's pretty obvious what the cover itself means, but how does Mr. Snow feel about it?
Not usually a huge John Cassaday fan, I love his stuff on this series.
One of my absolute faves. I always had a soft spot for the Hobgoblin (have his first appearance), and nobody made the Hobgoblin (in Demonic form) more menacing and terrifying. I just always loved the action and flow of this cover. I'm sure if I scrutinized I could find a couple dozen to submit to this post (the first Man-Wolf cover in Amazing comes to mind as well), but this one is definitely high up in the top 10.
Monday, June 23, 2008
This week we'll be looking for a challenging subject that our covers should feature.
A cover in which, you think, has the strongest form of subtext. More specifically, an image that provokes you to believe the characters are thinking, be it differently or not, from the situation they are in.
Sincere subtext is one of the hardest messages to convey as an illustrator, I believe, because it's a one step difference from creating a stagnant image, to establishing a believable, living character. Subtext haunts actors on stage because not only must they use it regularly when performing, but effective actors have to make it relatable to a wide audience.
I would like our covers for this week to be submitted without telling us what you think the character's thinking, at first, so we can ascertain our own subtext messages. Then we can compare our thoughts after all the posts have been submitted.
Please submit no later than Thursday so I can have time to post, and we can have a week to discuss.
I'm looking forward to your posts.
Sunday, June 22, 2008
One of the first artists to start really breaking that mold was Ed Hannigan over on Peter Parker The Spectacular Spider-Man. Al Milgrom, not normally one of my favorite artists, inked those covers and then ended up doing some entirely by himself.
This cover from the March 1983 issue of Peter Parker (#76) isn't drawn all that well, but the design and subject matter are so strong and dynamic that it doesn't matter. Spider-Man holding a bloody Black Cat was a shocking cover at the time, and Milgrom did this image a couple of years before Perez put it on a cover of Crisis On Infinite Earths when Superman was holding a dead Supergirl.
member comic submission by Lynn Walker
Friday, June 20, 2008
Here's my favorite Spidey cover of all time. This book nailed my eyes open the day I saw it and I absolutely had to own it and the subsequent comics that finished this great chapter in Kraven's life.
With this cover you get suspense, mystery, tension, and the black costume all wrapped up in a dubious setting that is unconventional for Spidey. It's also darker than your typical Spidey book, but for the time, it was a refreshing perspective.
I had a hard time picking from a few McFarlane covers to some classics, but all in all, Zeck has achieved something more so early on in the series. If you haven't ever read this story about Kraven, this story will blow your mind. (Pun intended.)
Tuesday, June 17, 2008
How do I know?! Pick up the book and you'll see for yourself!
Well, here we go with a new weeks comic submissions! Since we missed out the first time he came around and hit the silver screen, this week's cover is going to feature everyone's favorite web head.
No, not Spider-Ham!
Please keep in mind the cover guidelines and I'll post everyone's entries by Thursday with their comments!
Friday, June 13, 2008
In a desert with no food or water. In a dark alley where shadows play leap frog and street lamps are shattered. In the middle of the ocean on a piece of drift wood. These are text book cases that imbue a "fight or flight" syndrome in each of us.
So how do we put a character on a cover, with any myriad of formulaic situations to stimulate "fight or flight", and have the viewer empathize in a way to evoke fear?
I think the answer lies in the character depicted.
Can you relate to the character? So much that you feel they are an extension of your same thoughts? Brilliant writers do this on a daily basis to empathize with millions of people at a time. Some with a first person tone, while others from a 3rd person perspective.
Out of all the comics I've read, there are literally a handful that I can relate to when comparing the day to day situations they are placed in, out of costume. If a writer can achieve that, then when they are IN costume, their situations are emotionally more dire for us, the reader. When they get bruised, we feel the punches, when they get dropped of a cliff, we get the rush of the freefall. If they bleed, we feel the cut.
Speaking of blood, if that's what you're afraid of, then I suggest this frightening reality. I present Marvel's Kiss Super Special which features actual blood from the band members mixed with the ink. Now THAT's something
to be afraid of.
Wednesday, June 11, 2008
However, it is possible to create a visual tie-in with our innate fears and exploit those fears. If your greatest fear is an unknown threat, then covers that feature bystanders about to become eviscerated by a monstrous creature may be your forte. House of Secrets, House of Mystery, and The Witching Hour were able to capitalize on great suspense covers in this particular fear.
If your fear is necrotic driven, then Zombies, being buried alive, and being eaten alive may be closer to what sends you running.
My personal fears of drowning or dying of some unknown disease have also been exploited in some fashion, but don't keep me up at night.
What, then, can we put on a good cover, that affects us personally? How are our personal fears being exploited and did it merit buying the book in hopes of our own personal salvation?
I guess some fears are more universal than others and thus get more ink time.
Though a cover of someone breathing their last minutes, dying of cancer, with no loved ones around is horrifying, give me space zombies about to devour lovers in the park, at night, anytime.
Tuesday, June 10, 2008
After pondering the possibilities, I realized that most of the covers that terrified me belonged to Fangoria and magazines of the like, but not being a comic per se, wouldn't qualify.
I hope this helps some as this weeks competition has a wider spectrum now.
That being said here's my pick of the week. Ew, fff--fff-f-f-ffreakin' EW! You know there is something wrong when someone can render fairly realistically what being shot in the face with a shotgun might look like. My cover for this week's monstrosity is the Preacher cover featuring Arseface. Here's a character that would be allowed to eat at Clive Barker's dinner table.
A troubled youth with a neglectful family, his mundane life tries to make a turn for suicide, a la Cobain, but he survives. He's not a villain by the traditional sense of the word, but does seek vengeance for a portion of his story.
The abonimation that remains on this cover gave me a while to get over the first time I saw it. Glenn Fabry makes skin feel thick and bulbous with his rendering technique. You almost don't want to know about this character from his visage, but there lies a hint of curiosity in his back story. Not really a protagonist, Arseface gave me a new appreciation to Fabry and of disgust.
I've read rumors this character was based on a factual event.
Twisted? Yes. Own the issue? No.
Monday, June 9, 2008
I noticed a trend in the media dealing with Vampiric activity. From new game trailers, to hot books, to new movies to be released. This week's cover is going to focus on your favorite monster rendering. One that struck terror into you as a child, or one that galvanized you into collecting a certain artist.
You can go with any movie monster to comic cult favorite. Wrightson's Swamp Thing to Frazetta's cover trolls that graced the covers of Creepy. Neal Adams Dracula to Arthur Adams Mojo. If it's a monster in any way, it's legal.
Please make sure it follows the guidelines for our code of what dictates a strong cover.
I know there may have been many so just pick one of your favorites.
Until I figure out how to work this blog, please send me your entries and I'll post them here for all to see!
Thursday, June 5, 2008
I went online to try and find some of the other originals to Rob's and Lynn's covers to compare and contrast, but the best I could do was find some great renderings of the HULK from both artists. I even found an interpretation by Alex Ross of Hulk 1.
What separates exemplary from mediocrity when drawing an image based on realistic principles? Knowledge of the subject of coarse!
What Keown can create just proves you can never stop learning about anatomy, how it works together, and the myriad of contortions you can create with it. You can smell his studies in his works. I believe this is the same reason Frazetta cornered his market too. While other artists "faked" what anatomy they understood, Frazetta was laying it down as it actually existed. Where Hulk is concerned, having this plithora of muscular knowledge is what allowed Keown to take Hulk to a new level. He helped to develop an iconic form of a character that's been around longer than 40 years.
For 3ds sake, here is a great video of an ideal Hulk. (Sometimes I prefer him stupid and strong but I still appreciate the intelligent one Peter David ushered in.)
Above are a few more pieces by Keown, Ross, and Kirby.
Wednesday, June 4, 2008
(Click for larger image.)
Notice the feathering of the HULK's hair in the original inks to allow the light blue color to show through in the final rendering so not to oversaturate the blacks in the reflection. You can tell the inker worked mostly with technical pens when rendering McFarlane's pencils. The constant line width and even in the feathering. Maybe he used a sharpee for the solids. I also enjoy the small nuances such as the over rendering of the black that crosses over the cover border line on the left. Wycek's small ruler smudge on the lower right corner also adds a tangible proof of human error whereas today's pieces are perfected so much in Photoshop you can never tell anymore.
Circular composition so your eye wanders from Wolvie, up his claws to Hulk's face, to the title of the book and back down to Wolvie. Nicely done. One last choice I enjoyed about this piece was McFarlane's choice to have Wolvie's left hand cross in front almost giving him that running toward feeling.
There's something revealing about just the black and white image. My college professor often said that if the piece doesn't work in black and white, then it won't work in color. This piece clearly works in black and white defining that statement.
Feel free to comment on what you see and ENJOY!
Tuesday, June 3, 2008
Not very many people have handled the hulk on his covers very well especially when the entire character of the HULK is portrayed. He's usually seen with various other heroes and villains, that end up dwarfing the HULK making him look squatted, shrunk, and in ill proportion. He's as inconsistent in size as Megatron is in gun mode.
Why haven't very many talented artists, beside a couple, been able to maintain a well drawn HULK on their covers without him looking almost insignificant? The only artists we found out that can handle a HULK cover well were a couple of art moguls that were solid from the get go.
Dale Keown, Neal Adams, and Jim Sterenko to name a few 3.
Personally, I think HULK is too big to fit on a cover. The less focus the HULK gets, the stronger the cover for some reason. He needs that touch of enigma, mystery, all the while making the HULK feel HULK-ish without giving us the farm every time we see another book. Look at any HULK comic post-Sterenko and pre-Keown.
Dale's HULK is HULK as far as I'm concerned. The status quo he set for that character, his anatomy / proportion, in the quantities he did it in can't even begin to be rivaled by another HULK artist in my opinion. From the sinew to the density, he made the HULK incredible to look at and a bit frightening.
McFarlane's HULK is the ugliest and that wins it's own special reward.
Monday, June 2, 2008
Welcome back everyone!
Ahhhhh, yes the early Kirby rendition
If you can’t guess, this week’s cover was suggested by Rob to be a Hulk week in lieu of it’s, well, redone attempt at movie masterpiece. After the Ang Lee debacle, which is debatable as being good or bad, the new film almost could be attached to the end of the first attempt. Forget what the characters looked like and BAM! Continuation. I do however have to agree with my friend Brent in that
They already showed the Abomination in the trailer and now everyone knows what to expect. If the Hulk villain was shrouded in media mystery, it might have helped sales. The Cloverfield tactic.
That being said, here is my choice for this week’s cover. My favorite Hulk cover.
I can’t deny McFarlane’s ability
to capture my attention and a sense of tension is this GRRRRREAT cover. I almost went for Hulk 181, the first Wolvie appearance, but this one has Wolverine established as a feral creature. Even the reflection is subdued suggesting the claws aren’t chrome which I always liked as well. This battle does ensue in the book and is quite visceral.