Wednesday, September 25, 2013

There goes the Friendly Neighborhood

   Guess what? I have a little news.

   Sometime ago, and recently I've dropped a few hints about some "doings" going on about me, and now I can talk about it a bit. 
   For those keeping score, you may have noticed a bit of an adjustment. You may have noticed I've changed a couple of things on my facebook profile as well as my twitter tag, and you may have noticed the personal attention to my fanpage in the form of commissions that is a rarity for me.
   August used to be the month that I would get notice of my contract with DC and usually August was about me adding another tour of duty with DC as my parent company and main employer. Well, this past August I was instead informed that DC was shifting around some chairs and they didn't have one for me. They added how they would keep a door open for me for the not be a stranger. They have since then, asked for a couple of covers from me-one for Superman Unchained and another for Earth 2-so they have given me a bit of work, but my streak of 15 years at DC has all but ended.

  I kept mum because I was busy finding my landing spots (and thanx to all interested in my commissions, it made the pill go down smoother); not just for the obvious "how am I gonna pay my bills" scramble that I was doing, but also for those wondering where I'll be going.

  The obvious conclusion, and correct one is that indeed, Marvel and I will be working in the near future together, perhaps longer. I've been given an assignment--busy work really--as they get me acclimated to what's happening in the Marvel Universe. I don't know a blessed thing, so anyone who wants to chime in and give me the cliff notes, I won't mind at all.

I'm currently finishing the latest list of commissions with Lady Death. Then I'll be doing a cover for Avengers World...and no, I'll err on the side of caution and not say what's on it...I don't even know the issue #, to be honest, but hey-it's a living.

So I guess I'll see you around the Friendly Neighborhood.

Make Mine Marvel.


Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Con Man

I was checking out Roberto Briceno's photos that he had posted on facebook, when it dawned on me that I haven't mentioned much about the con circuit since Barcelona and the ECC group last year (Hola David, Paloma, Joe, German, Fran, etc.).  I've been to Germany twice now, and the Panini group headed by Alex Bubenheimer is second to none. Jess and I always enjoy being with our constantly extending family of convention gypsies that grace us behind and in front of the table.

This past weekend's convention was in America, and for the second year in a row, I attended Mike Broder's Miami Supercon. Hanging out with the crew, of course, is cool and the friends of these shows make it all feel like an annual or semi annual family reunion. However, and the reason for today's sentiment, I had a couple of things happen that thrilled me as much as I was thrilled to meet Milo Manara, Mike Perkins, Nathan Kane, and Lee Bermejo in Munich last month.

You see, there are things in a person's life that happen that makes you pause and look back to when you dreamed a bit more than you do now. The compliments that can come are bitter sweet, in that they are always welcome, but are the kind of things that remind you that your bucket list is getting smaller.

Gavin Smith, a young Kubie sought me out to say thank you for an old portfolio review that slipped my mind. We do so many, it's hard to pinpoint whose was what and when it happened. But he reminded me that it was sound advice, and for the second time in my life, I've influenced someone enough to get into an art field-the first being my pal Phil Giles.

Jose Delbo, my maestro and first professional to hire me for work, told me that I "was a great student, now am a great artist". THIS one...kinda made me teary eyed. Jose and I go back further than our initial meeting. I was a young budding artist that bought Charlton Comic's Billy the Kid. Jose inadvertently taught a young wanna be how to draw a Colt revolver. Years later and after my first year at the Joe Kubert School, Jose- who was teaching basic drawing- hired me to be an assistant artist. An error in his judgement since I unfortunately slowed him down instead of assisting. He currently runs a Cartoon Camp for aspiring artists. If you're an aspiring comics artist in the Florida area, do yourself a favor and go. These opportunities are few and far between.

I met Doug Sneyd. The legendary Playboy cartoonist was there as I gushed over his work and inspiration to me. His girlfriend Heidi was charming and loved to chat us up. It would have been very nice to have dinner with them, but the one time we were in the same restaurant, they were having dinner with the legendary Nick Cardy and I was with my own company. Nick by the way, was also a very-as Jess put it- "cute old man" that was charming and loved to talk to everyone. He never forgot to say goodbye as they wheeled him out of the show. I absolutely LOVED his Aquaman and Teen Titans, and I wished I could have spent time with him but I was simply too busy, and his floor time was limited.

Finally I was approached by Holly Frazetta, the daughter of the late, great, Frank and Ellie Frazetta. She shook my hand, I expressed my deepest condolences over the loss of Frank and Ellie, and we talked a bit about Franks new museum being built in Austin Texas. A shame since the one on the Frazetta estate was close to me. She even bought one of my prints; about as close to a Frazetta endorsement as I can get. Very touching.

Anyway, that's whats been happening. Sorry for all the namedropping but without it, this blog sucks.

See you guys next time!


Sunday, June 30, 2013

Miami Florida Supercon!

Ok folks, just a little heads up for this year's Florida Supercon . I'll be in attendance (table 8-104) and will be participating in 2 panels:

DC Comics Panel: with me, Tony Bedard, Rob Hunter, Tyler Kirkham and Brad Walker- July 4th, 5:00-6:00pm

Superman: The Artists of an Icon, with me, Brad Walker and Tyler Kirkham.-July 5th 1:00-2:00pm

See youse there!

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Last Act.

Action 14 page 8 preliminary
   I've been reflecting on my run on Action. I felt it necessary because although I've done other "re-vamped" versions of an older idea (Black Condor, Turok, Doc Savage), none of them carried the oomph that is Action Comics. 

   It's the big kahuna of our industry of superpowered beings.

   I should, if I had any sense, have been completely awestruck and intimidated by the proposal; but as I've stated in other interviews, I was expecting one thing but got another and then I went into pro-mode that carried me through the series. Pro-mode is when I go into a zone of necessary items that a book needs and in that zone, you don't even think of the character in a way a fan does; it's all nuts and bolts by then.

   It's easier, I suppose, to do your version of things and justify it based on it being new and improved. Characters like Brainiac, Metal-0, Mr. Mxyzptlk (Vyndktvx, actually), and even Luthor are pieces of cake because villians are more or less like the supporting cast and changes are, if not expected, accepted.

   But in Superman, it's a loooooong history of hundreds of artists who have had varying success in translating this character. It was up to me to do my impression of him and make it sound and reasonable. Not that difficult, there is a template, but if you get it wrong...oh boy, it's obvious.

   Luckily I was able to manage it without ruffling too many feathers and for the most part I'm ok with what I've done (although we artists ALWAYS think of things we coulda, whoulda, or shoulda done better- it's our curse), and from what I've gleaned, most of you guys felt ok with it too.
Action 17 double page spread

   Now, I know I've said that I thought Superman sucked when I started this series, and I have to reiterate, it was the DIRECTION he had been in that I thought sucked and NOT the character or the supporting cast; although characters like Jimmy Olson sorely needed to be addressed. A brilliant move to make him Clark's contemporary and not a subservient. I love that Lois remained untouched, she's perfectly fine. I liked that we got George Taylor involved as well as Ferlin was nice to see old characters from way back come forth and take another bow. 

   All in all it was a solid run, with exception that it was difficult to stay on from issue to issue. It's not acceptable to be as inconsistent as I have and I apologize for my part in that. Some things were absolutely unavoidable, and some I can't comment since it involves others and I won't speak for them, but I know how it's looked and as much as I would have like for some things to have been different, it wasn't in the cards this time around. I hope it hasn't spoiled your enjoyment too badly and in the end I look back and think we did an ok job of it. You can thank Matt Idelson and Wil Moss for keeping the seams from coming apart.

Action 14 page 11
  In closing I've already given my private thanx to the creative team and editors, but I'd like to thank you guys, the fans. Not to be cheezy, but you guys are the litmus test of what we do and the direction of where we go. You guys do have power, even if you don't like what we do at times. We listen, and even if we don't go about it as you would prefer, nothing changes without promotion and that comes from you. We can only hope it's well received, and if it's not we make changes. It's how it's always been, right? Like it or not, you fans are a big part of the creative team, so thanx!

   I'm not sure when I can talk about my next project, but it's a one issue deal that has repercussions to come. After that, I have something I'd love to do that I approached Tony Bedard to write. Still waiting on that approval.

   See ya in the funny pages!


Sunday, August 12, 2012

On Joe Kubert

The industry has taken a sharp cross to the jaw with the passing of Joe Kubert. I don't know the details (as I've just found out), but I can't tell you enough of how shocked I am at the news. Joe was not just a legend of mythical proportions artistically, but in his presence there was a air of greatness about this man. So sharp and spry over the years, it's hard to imagine this behemoth of energy can ever be gone from our sights.

As a student it was always a pleasure to sit in his classes and just...listen. He had an incredible ability to clearly and concisely express the nuts and bolts of our field so that it stayed with you forever. I always made it a point to everyone who would listen (if you were so inclined) to allow this man to critique your work. You would have grown immensely.

His work on Sgt. Rock, Enemy Ace, Tarzan, Hawkman, Tor, Yossel, Jew Gangster, Ragman, Viking Prince (a personal favorite) etc., etc., it speaks for itself. Picking up a Joe Kubert book was not just picking up a great read, but picking up history. You can see every inch of where this industry has gone and where it was going, and he was one of the elite few in our industry that got better with every project; as hard as that is to imagine. So very sad that this is what we lost; a cornerstone.

With deep regret I express my condolences to Adam and Andy and the whole Kubert clan. God bless you all.

Friday, July 20, 2012

The Aurora Colorado Shooting

Talent Relations has sent out an email regarding the tragedy of the movie shooting in Aurora Colorado. As such I've decided to let any who care to ask me, to refer to this writing.

First I will say that I'm lucky to be in an industry that allows day dreams to entertain. We who work in and around this industry know the feeling of helpless disgust that this senseless slaughter happened at a Batman movie, and how there are groups out there who relish the opportunity to make political points at the expense of a medium that they don't know enough about, but are quick to assume.

 That last paragraph, by the way, is directly related to this next point, though some would be appalled that I didn't lead with sympathy. As I said, I'm lucky. One reason is being directly related to an industry that invited me to a premiere of The Dark Knight Rises. I went with my fiancee and daughter all the way to N.Y.C. to be among the company of associates to see this brilliant movie. But when I woke up this morning, I found out about the shooting in Aurora. Selfishly, my first thought was that I went to a premiere where the chances of a crazed gunman were nil to non-existent. I couldn't imagine the horror and immediate insanity of bullets flying, people screaming, blood, and horror happening around me, with my loved ones right next to me, and what is to be assumed, a group of like minded fans around with that sense of family, being completely obliterated. It's too much to absorb that kind of tragedy and for those who were victimized, I can honestly say I'm so very, very sorry that it has happened to you, your family, your friends. Nothing like this should ever happen.

Now, for those of you who are familiar with me on facebook, I'm pretty much politically conscience. I didn't, in one post, give my condolences to the victims in an original post that expressed that sentiment. Instead, I lead off with how mad I was at the situation. My being mad, I thought, would be sufficient to let others know how disgusted I am over the tragedy and by extension, my sympathy would be implied.  I then went on to say that I believe that anyone with a gun (obviously registered) should be brought in for psychological evaluation, and that anyone who is an NRA apologist should lead that evaluation. This isn't about lost freedom that some (who are gun enthusiasts) would feel are being victimized, but about the lost freedom of a group of humans simply at a show to be entertained. Moreover, the loss of life.

Guns are serious business. I don't really have a problem with the second amendment, except that it doesn't take automatic or semi-automatic guns to kill a deer or protect your family. Those who are afraid of the government and cling to a gun, are sorely mistaken that they think they can take out a military operation with their armament. They may be able to provide an obstacle, but in the end, its your death warrant. 

As for the jackass politicians and idiots who think 'if only there was someone with a gun to stop this predator', on the surface I understand your view, but here is where you are stupid: unless you came prepared to shoot a crazed gunman with a bulletproof vest, gas canisters, a machine gun, a shotgun and a handgun, in a dark movie theater where your footing is obstructed by seats behind your knees and in front of your feet and stairs; with people screaming, pushing, running and being killed in front of you and around you and gas clouds to obstruct your vision, you're living a bullshit, macho Clint Eastwood dream that doesn't exist except for in the movies. 

I hope you live through it, if God forbid it happens to you at that movie.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Interview in BARCELONA

During my signing session in Barcelona, they interview you while you draw a sketch. That sketch is then raffled off to the audience who are ask some questions as well as the interviewer(s) who are sitting next to me. Cool system.