Thursday, 24 December 2009

Top Ten Comic Characters

Wow, this was alot harder than I expected and it took me a few days to finalise this list which surprises even me by some of the characters included and omitted. I perused some encyclopedias and my accessible comics to make ensure I considered as wide a range as possible. I found that alot of the characters I liked were purely because of their costumes or I had liked them in the past but they're so messed up now, I've lost much of the fondness I have them.

Considered male characters included Booster Gold, the Marvel and DC Captain Marvels, Captain Britain, Cypher, Doc Samson, Dr Fate, Gambit, Guardian (from Alpha Flight), Havok, Jesse Custer (Preacher), Nighthawk and Wonder Man while females rejected included Chance Falconer, Power Girl, Rogue, Saturn Girl and Supergirl. While I read very little superhero stuff now, there was still no candidates from other fare I've enjoyed (such as Bone, A Distant Soil, Aldebaran/Betelgeuse, etc) so with no further ado, here's my personal top ten:

10: Hank Pym. While Marvel completely cocked up the character with that stupid spousal abuse crap in the early 80s, I always enjoyed Pym as Ant-Man, Goliath and especially Yellowjacket. His character has been rescued somewhat over the last decade and I wish he was allowed to show the potential he holds as a Richards/Stark/Banner-level intellect.

9: Nick Fury. I never liked war stories so Sgt Fury held no interest for me but as Marvel's premier spymaster, Fury has proven to be tough as nails and always one step ahead of the enemy.
8: Nova. I loved Nova as a kid (not realising for years that he was a basic Green Lantern/Peter Parker hybrid) and was really happy when he returned in the New Warriors. Despite his current success as Marvel's premier space hero, my favourite treatment of him was during the second year of New Warriors.
7: Rick Jones. Loyal and brave (but often flawed), Rick has moved beyond the eternal sidekick role (to Hulk, Cap, Cap Marvel and Rom) to shine as a character in his own right. The recent Peter David Captain Marvel series relied less on the title star than Rick, currently running around as the idiotic A-Bomb (will somebody please just stop Jeph Loeb?)
6: Pre-Crisis Superboy. Although I appreciate his art now, I hated Curt Swan's Superman stories as a kid as he seemed so fuddyduddy and old. Then I discovered Superboy: a younger, fresher take on the character who palled around with a bunch of cool pals in the future. The pre-Crisis version remains a fond favourite, despite me having no particular affection for his older counterpart.
5: Blue Beetle. I had picked up the first six or so issues of his DC revival but of course it wasn't until Giffen & DeMatteis worked their comedic magic that Blue Beetle (together with best pal Booster Gold) blossomed into a beloved fan favourite character. I can live with the horror of Countdown To Infinite Shite due to the unofficial fact that's running around alive after being rescued in a Booster Gold arc.

4: Donna Troy. There's many attractive heroines but as a kid, the New Teen Titans was one of the first superhero titles to really invest its characters with personalities and Donna Troy developed into a warm, independent person loved by everybody without ever being too sweet and saccharine. Afflicted with a confusing post-Crisis history, the character remains true to the personality created by Wolfman and Perez.

3: Jack Knight. I hold the Starman series as one of the best superhero series ever, a complete career of a reluctant hero running throughout its run, Jack developing from a slightly rebellious and selfish but likable character into a true hero, maturing to heal longstanding family wounds before retiring to start his own family. (I'm looking forward to the upcoming Starman#81 even if Jack's not in it!)
2: Wally West. First as Kid Flash and then as the first protege to officially take on their mentor's role (as the Flash), I grew up with Wally as he developed from something of a right wing hothead to a more laid back Lothario and into the assured family man that he is today. I always loved the Kid Flash and Flash costume though I'm not sure about the new post-Flash:Rebirth mask, but he remains a favourite character and the most interesting Flash.
1: Cyclops. I've banged on about why I like Cyke before so it's no surprise that he came in at #1, the only easy choice in the whole top ten.

Sunday, 20 December 2009

Anime Shun

Well, TV's still a no go zone for the most part (although I still enjoy the new Enterprise shots in Star Trek:TOS and found myself quite getting in to Misfits) so, exacerbated by the snow here and the lack of concentration to read anything substantial, I've been forced to look to mt DVD collection for entertainment.

I found myself enjoying Spirited Away, My Neighbour Totoro and Howl's Moving Castle from the famous Studio Ghibli company in Japan and mostly enjoyed other works of theirs I managed to catch on E4 (and other than the original Solaris ferreted away in the middle of the night, when was the last time E4 had any interesting new movies on?). As a result, I picked up four Ghibili movies from a cheapie DVD shop in Wolverhampton as you can usually never find them under £10 each. I later searched on eBay and took a risk by ordering a boxset of 18 Ghibli movies from Malaysia. Pirating is rife in that territory but the pic supplied made me hope it was worth the gamble: for the just slightly less than the price of a single UK Ghibli film, this boxset contained 18!

Luckily, it seems to have payed off as the four-disc set is great (and not a pirate!). The 18-film set contains every Ghibli release (other than the comic-strip based My Neighbours The Yamadas, which I wanted to avoid as it looks so ugly anyway) but includes studio founder Hayao Miyazaki's pre-Ghibli films LupinIII: the Castle of Cogliostro and Nausicaa Of The Valley Of The Wind, right up to the latest film, Ponyo, which is the only film on disc four.

The other films are spread out across the first three discs and contain multiple dialogue and subtitle tracks. Due to the amount of data crammed onto each disc, the prints used are not always as crisp as the UK prints but are generally just as good. With a Disney film, you know what the tone will be but not so with Ghibli. There are the child friendly fantasies like Ponyo, Kiki's Delivery Service and My Neighbour Totoro, slightly more mature fantasies like Spirited Away, Princess Mononoke and Howl's Moving Castle, adventures like Laputa: Castle In The Sky and Porco Rosso and non-fantasies like Only Yesterday, I Can Hear The Sea and the moving Grave of the Fireflies (a film you know ends badly from the opening sentence but is still powerful at the end).

I found myself surprised by how much I enjoyed Nausicaa (mainly because I always associated it with the intolerant food-labelling Fabio Barbieri, who loved it which put me right off) and Ponyo (which just seemed kiddie fare) but I still can't get into Castle of Cogliostro, a 1979 crime caper than tears at my patience. I doubt I'll sit through the testicle-morphing of Pom Poko again though as it swiftly runs out of direction).

For anybody who thinks anime is all cyberpunk or Pokemon/Yu-Gi-Oh/Gormiti /Beyblade competition arena bash 'em ups, this is a great way to sample some of the lesser known but more widely respected animation from Gojira's homeland...

Tuesday, 8 December 2009

Free Beer!!!

Earned some free beer today as a thanks for doing a (full colour Copic marker) pic for somebody at work, which I won't post as I don't really like the results...but you can't argue with free beer!

Posted above though is a piece I AM fairly happy with (or as happy as I tend to be with my stuff). I was asked to do a combined family portrait which is to be copied and given as Xmas gifts to the relevant family members. I love drawing people so sounded fun: Carolina e-mailed me a bunch of refs and I was off...

I got the refs late on Sunday afternoon and the failing light by that time presented a challenge. As this was for a few people, I wanted to take my time and get this right. I had the visual in mind (after being given the basic concept) and began with the heads: the likenesses would take the most time, everything else being relatively easy. After doing Carolina and her boyfriend Neil's heads, I realised I wasn't going to have room and had to rethink things.

Starting over, I pencilled, inked and grey-shaded with the Copics each head individually. I managed to do about five before the failing light meant I had to switch on the light and abandon work due to shadows from the light ahead.

The next day, I came up with a way around this: I lay my pad on my lightbox and used the light from that to balance out the shadows from above and voila, I could draw again! It wasn't all easy though as the refs were jpegs so I threw them on a memory stick to put into my digital photo frame so that I could comfortably work from that rather than the PC monitor. Keeping the frame in position was tricky but I eventually completed all the heads...

...except one, which I had missed as I had misunderstood the request so I stopped work to add the extra head onto the memory stick to work from. Once this was finished, I roughed in the sledge, pencilled the bodies, inked them all and finished with the dog before completing the whole thing with a quick gloss over with the markers.

I wasn't sure if Carolina would like the finished pic as I felt some likenesses were better than others but thankfully I think she did. Job done and another possible two request for the office to follow this weekend (the thought of which I shudder at as I may have to brave the Xmas shopping hordes, brrr!!)

Friday, 4 December 2009

Xmas Time, Mistletoe & Whine

Well, the festive season is well and truly upon us and I'm starting to have the same ambiguous feelings about it that I do each year.

Religious origins aside, I like the basic modern concept of Christmas: a time to relax and unwind with those you want to be with and forget your everyday worries for the briefest of moments. I enjoy the process of picking out gifts (though I do it early enough to avoid the hell of Xmas shopping in December) and the glimmer of kitschy decorations (not that I'd have them at home) ((though I have to confess to the guilty pleasure of wandering around town earlier this week in my lunchbreak with Carolina as she searched for Christmas chintz to deface, um decorate our workspace)) but for some reason, I always get depressed at this time of year.

Maybe it's because of the constant barrage of images of fun and cosiness, but I always end up feeling isolated and kind of fed up with the whole thing by the time the 25th eventually rolls out. Maybe this is why the season tends to be the suicide peak of the year: or maybe it's just the annual churning out of Morecambe & Wise, The Snowman, So Here It Is Merry Christmas and It'll Be Lonely This Christmas...

Sunday, 22 November 2009

Random Roundup Resurrection

Blimey, it's been a while since I posted. Still getting my head around some personal issues so not been up to too much so here's some random happenings...

While I await the returns of Lost, Heroes ans Smallville (look above for some of the characters in the newly promoted JSA Smallville telemovie: Dr Fate looks excellent!), some minor channels have been rebranded. I can now catch two episodes a night of Two And A Half Men on Viva, Moonlighting on CBS Drama and Star Trek on CBS Action (Sunday marathons!). This is the original and best series but with new FX shots, mainly of the Enterprise and the planets it orbits. Some of these shots are stunning but they still have dodgy phaser effects and the retro hairdos/fashions (although sometimes this works, as Sally Kellerman is still stunning in a 40-year old episode). Updating these effects is a weird decision as a result of this, but I'm just happy enjoying the Enterprise shots (though I prefer the movie Enterprise).

One other show that I'm watching is E4's Misfits, the Heroes-meets-Skins mashup of a bunch of youths serving community service inheriting superpowers after a storm. I wasn't sure if I was going to like something where all the main characters would be ASBO horrors but I've found it quite enjoyable and unexpectedly laugh out funny in places. Not a great show but fun and well-produced so I'll stick with it.

Not been doing much drawing but have done a few requests here and there, like the one above. I've become quite smitten with the grey Copic markers I've been using (although the main one I use has already run out). I wouldn't use them for everything but I like the results you can get with them. I plan on getting some flesh tones and doing a couple of test headshots (Erica Durance and Kristen Bell, I'm considering you!)...

I'm finding I've been buying less and less from the big comic publishers and more stuff slightly off the beaten track. I still can't get into manga as a whole but enjoyed the two books by Sonia Leong that I picked up at BICS and have been picking up a few more Cinebook editions after BICS and seeing as how they are now prominently stocked at Nostalgia in Brum. The high business action shenanigans of Largo Winch have been enjoyable but future editions will be single volumes. Currently each edition contains two volumes, one setting up a threat and the second resolving it, so spreading the individual volumes in separate editions may affect how effectively they read. Still, I've got the next edition of my fave Cinebook series, Aldebaran/Betelgeuse, waiting for me to read on my day off this week...

Saturday, 17 October 2009

Blowin' Through

Well, it's been a while since I posted, what with , well, I won't get into "what with" and my concentration level is woefully low at present but here's some stuff I've done lately for one project or another...

Monday, 21 September 2009

Gordon's Alive!!!

Way back at the dawn of time--which for me was the 70s--I was definitely a kid of the Star Wars generation. Only 6 when it came out, the space opera phenomena loomed heavily over my childhood and so did its' influence. In the wake of its success, the BBC began regularly screening the great Flash Gordon serials starring Buster Crabbe and the movie came out the same year as the Empire Strikes Back. The Filmation Flash Gordon animated movie and series aired around the same time so I grew up with a great affection for the character. However, like many fans of today's popular comic characters, I had never read any Flash's printed adventures.
I knew Flash's original Alex Raymond-drawn strips were considered classics but were unavailable to me back then. I enjoyed Dan Jurgens' 1989 Flash Gordon miniseries for DC but the title sequence of the live action movie, featuring lovely clipped Raymond images set to that infamous thumping theme tune, made me want to search out the original strips.
Then in 2003, Checker Books started a seven volume set of hardcover full colour landscape format reprints of Raymond's work on the series on glossy stock, starting from the strip's debut in 1934 to its creator's departure in 1944. I snapped the first volume straight up and it has to be said that I was fairly disappointed. These crude pages had none of the grace I saw in the movie title sequences and the plots became quickly formulaic (Flash and co stumble into a new domain, lead uprisings against Ming while fighting bizarre monsters , Dale becoming jealous of any woman glancing at Flash, etc) but there was enough improvement throughout the first back that I continued with the second. Thankfully I did because when Raymond hit his stride in later years, the art becomes beautiful.
Despite becoming more popular than the Buck Rogers strip that it was created to directly compete with, the Flash instalments do suffer when read in chunks rather than in weekly instalments. They were never meant to be read this way though as they were created as disposable entertainment before the strip hit big.
Daily strips followed for Flash intermittently but his main home was the Sunday sections. The strip continued happily enough following Raymond's departure but received a real shot in the arm when famed Captain Marvel Jr artist Mac Raboy took over in 1948. In the wake of the Checker books, I sought out Dark Horse's four-volume set of black and white reprints of Raboy's run, averaging five years worth in each edition. To be fair, the stories are less clunky than the earlier episodes but become similarly repetitious as Flash leaves Mongo (Raymond first had Flash leaving Mongo to temporarily return to earth during World War II) and joins a space agency to travel across the galaxy. As with Raymond's work, Raboy's work elevates the strip into something graceful and beautiful and even though Raboy's final episodes were not as polished as his earlier work (the artist continued working on the strip until he succumbed to cancer in 1967), it's still pretty great throughout.
When George Lucas was developing Star Wars, he clearly based Han Solo's design on the Al Williamson spacemen in the 1950s EC sci-fi comics (which themselves often featured likenesses of Buster Crabbe as the hero). Williamson's work on the Empire Strikes Back adaptation was a revelation to me, his naturalistic style in stark opposition to the Marvel house style and dodgy Carmine Infantino that had preceded it. Williamson had been a huge fan of Flash Gordon and loved drawing those types of strips the best.

As a fan of both Williamson and Flash Gordon, I was chomping at the bit for Flesk's recent collection of every piece of Williamson Flash Gordon art, from the King comics of the 60s, rare advertising and portfolio art, the sumptuous adaptation of the 1980 movie and the 1990s Marvel miniseries. Reprinted on glossy large format pages, the art is a joy to behold, especially the art for the movie adaptation: shot directly from Williamson's originals, the ornate panel ,bleeds carry on further than the crudely printed originals issue allowed and the high quality scans even enable the reproduction of the ink washes used instead of featuring solid blacks, feeling like a true reproduction of the original art and an insight into a master's finished work.
All of this has been leading to the recommendation that if you truly appreciate comic art, do yourself a favour and buy the Williamson Flash Gordon book and you won't be disappointed (though don't expect much of the scripts!)

Wednesday, 9 September 2009

Anyone For Scribbles?

For a number of reasons, I'm not able to concentrate on drawing at the moment. Despite laying out a six page sequence for an Image art talent search that I could easily do (quality issues aside) and wanting to do samples for BICS, I'm finding that really I just can't produce. I try and it just farts out like a deflated souffle.

Even blogging seems to be a chore at the minute (as does everything really!) so while my Flash Gordon post percolates, here's some recent things I've been working on. (Bugger, just remembered I was asked to do another poster today for work!). From the bottom:
Line art of new Who sidekick Amy Pond, actress Karen Gillan: she looks great in the most widely publicised pic of her so I tried drawing it. This will eventually be pencil shaded so hopefully the dodgy likeness will come together a bit more...

Next, one of the officers from work requested a pic after seeing the pic I did of another girl in the office (previously posted here somewhere): despite being a bit basic, I actually quite like this drawing but the face is generic and I had to approximate the hair, so it looks nothing like her. I won't show this to her but it's good enough to post: I couldn't gather the enthusiasm to add pencil shading so just flat coloured this, adding some dark tights to further distance it from the officer (the clothes are sort of what she wears but again, I had to fudge details and specifics).

Finally, another request from a girl in the office, the same person mentioned above. She said "You've got to draw another picture of me, bursting out of an Ikea bag or something!" She sits opposite me at the minute so it was easy to doodle a quick likeness to draw up at home but I again failed dismally at capturing her features. She's one of the most naturally pretty girls I've met so this does her no favours and the art's pretty shonky throughout. I drew her in the outfit she was wearing the day she asked me to draw another pic but I had to again fudge details like the belt and boots, which I couldn't really look at without looking like I was ogling or something. I tried pencil shading to save it a bit but I still think it's a poorer pic than the first one, although she liked it so job done I suppose...

Wednesday, 19 August 2009

Kick ARSE!!

Now I know it's hardly surprising for me to kick off a post with some Romita Jr art, seeing as I'm such a fan (cough) but bear with me...

There's a surprising amount of hidden talents and skills around you if you get to know people. In my office alone, there is a comedy script writer who plays in a band, another person in a band actually playing on CDs, a former interior designer and a talented cook (I know that doesn't sound much but you should taste how she makes the most innocuous looking things taste eye-flutteringly devine!).

Today I found myself walking home with somebody who I overheard talking about her recent work as an extra on a crime show or something. Being a film/TV fan (though increasingly less of the latter), I began asking her about this line of work when she said (being short) "I had to play a little girl in a movie recently!"I asked her more and she was hired as the stand-in: y'know, the body double used to set up lighting and block out shots before being replaced with the actual actress. When I asked her what the film was, she said "It's not out yet, it's called KickArse...". (Yes, Kick ARSE, OK?Not Kick Donkey Synonym, Kick ARSE)
"KickArse?!" I exclaimed.

"Yeah, have you heard of it?"

"Ohhh yeah, I know KickArse, I..the writer's not my favourite..." (Actually, I like Ultimates but his FF, Spider-Man, Wanted, Civil War and War Heroes have all ranged from meh to offensively mean-spirited).
"I don't know him but I couldn't take to the director Matthew Vaughn, he was right up himself.."

Bloody hell, I work in the same office as somebody in a comic movie (before you shout "She was only a stand in", for one shot she was a hand double of the little sword swinging girl, so there). You really never what lies below the surface until you scratch, do you?
You could even find something like, I dunno, a Kryptonite heart giving me an excuse to post a cool-looking pic of Metallo from Smallville's next season.

Tuesday, 18 August 2009

Hulk Smash!!

'Kay, I trundled off to the quack's recently for a routine blood, piss 'n' whatever else test and everything was fine...except my blood pressure, which had spiked. I was expecting this as work's got to such a manic stage that the non-stop bollocks is driving me nuts (so to speak). Not to mention the fact that I'm the only person taking every single call in the second busiest section of work but I'm thwarted in trying to achieve my own job by three other sections in the same department. I'm a fairly easygoing person but I'm a slow slow burn and bottling the pressure has steadily been getting to me, causing me to want to throw a Hulk-like tantrum. Course, I can't so the mounting pressure builds within, resulting in thumping headaches and nauseous, swimmy spells...

I've been popping a few paracetamols and taking the odd breath of fresh air but quite frankly, my resilience and patience have gone. Whereas up to a few weeks ago, I felt energised when i left work and was eager to get on with my own time, now everything's all a bit...meh.

I can't be arsed at work (and capability apart, I've always been fairly conscientious) and constantly space out. What's worse, it's spilling over into me personal time as I'm horrendously apathetic at the moment: I've only managed breakfast for the past few days, can't even be bothered to get lunch or make dinner. I just can't summon the will to draw or even read (my read pile currently numbers 60ish back issues, two books and about five GN/TPBs), I just want to..well, I don't want to do anything. At work I get so (cumulatively) infuriated that I just want to kill myself, stab my own hand or pluck out my own eye (I won't though---I'm not actually suicidal, just driven to loony rage) but at home, intellectually I want to get productive but emotionally can't engage. I'm spending too much time pondering my sanity...I don't feel like I'm having a depressive bout but god damn if I don't have the same symptoms.

I started doing some samples (Superman above) and gave up as I couldn't focus: dunno if its because I'm angsty or the art's crap but I gave up as it just wasn't coming together. I started compiling a portfolio for BICS this year...and find that the Oni pages are lacklustre, with nothing yet to boost them up. I printed off a few nice colour pics I liked at Staples and they came out nice but too dark so I don't know what I'll show. Maybe I won't. maybe I'll pack in all the drawing, what's the point? (Well, I still want to draw my own stuff...but what's the point of working in a vacuum if you're not an astronaut?). I doubt myself at the best of times, let alonee when on the verge of a titanic hissy fit.
I halfheartedly scanned in a tweaking of an old pic and coloured that as it was all i could be bothered to do..I don't like the art or (basicly flat) colours at all but kinda like the way the red pops...kinda sums up my mood right now...

Monday, 10 August 2009

This Week I Have Mostly Been...

Well, I actually started some pencil samples yesterday and am happy with the main figure but have doubts about the background and I have a few things to do online so no drawing tonight. So what else has been occupying my time?
Well, I ordered Al Williamson's Flash Gordon back in December and it finally turned up, on my birthday of all days. I haven't done more than flick through it yet but I know this will be a firm favourite: an over sized black and white collection of ALL of his Flash Gordon work, his first stuff as strong as his last work decades later. I've been a fan of Williamson ever since his Star Wars issues and loved Flash Gordon as a kid so this is pure gold for me.
Sitting on my box of Legion issues to get through are a Modesty Blaise collection (an Amazon bargain with art by Romero), Insiders: Chechen Guerrilla (a Cinebook reprinting of a Euro comic currently being developed by Jessica Alba...lovely drawing but all plot and no characterisation, so a bit of a slog to read) and Arthur The Legend, a glossy Welsh (but English language)reprinting of a French comic retelling the roots of the Arthurian legend.
I don't really have the concentration or time for reading any fiction or anything overly taxing but have enjoyed two books lately: although a brisk read, Was Superman A Spy? is a fun collection of stories from Comic Book Legends, a column at Comic Book Resources that reveals the truth behind various comic book rumours. The book covers more recognisable properties than some of the more interesting stories around minor properties but is still intriguing.
The most enjoyable book I've read in a while is Charlie Brooker's dawn of the Dumb. I haven't really read daily papers since working at Smiths, where I read the Guardian and always enjoyed Brooker's writing. His Screenwipe, Dead Set and current C4 game show thingy were enjoyable so I picked up this book, collecting some of his Guardian articles . He is slowly revealed as not only a closet sci-fi, comic and techno geek but also a hilarious misanthrope. I read this at work and found myself giggling like an idiot every few pages at a turn of phrase or amusing notion. Well recommended.
TV wise, there's absolutely sod all on but luckily my TV pimp Mr McGee has supplied me with copious hours of TV fun. I'm currently watching the first season of The West Wing, intrigued by Rol's listing of President Bartlett among his best TV characters. I only ever caught the odd show but always enjoyed it so when offered the chance to view a season, I took it. Other than the Ivan Reitman-sounding end music and Josh's obnoxious media consultant ex-girlfriend (seriously, I haven't hated a character so much so instantly since reboot Starbuck!), I'm really enjoying it so far...though I can't believe a democratically elected government is ruled so much by favours and trade offs instead of genuine values. On the other it wrong to find CJ kinda foxy?

Anyway, best TV I've watched recently is the end of Lost Season Five. This has benefited no end from having a definite direction to follow, despite a few plot holes like if one character died from time travelling because she was born on the island, shouldn't another character have also died after time travelling at the same time? However, the double final episode opened up a whole new can of worms: free will vs destiny, the manipulation of the crash survivors and a major change for the final season. That character down the mine shaft in the end? Quite liked them but as they're in the new V, they won't be around much next season but I wouldn't be surprised if we see more departed characters. Great stuff and alot more rewarding than Heroes, which hit it's peak with season one, spiked during the first half of season three but looks to experience an excruciating fourth (and hopefully final) season..
I also enjoyed the two seasons of Carnivale, which only represent the first third of the planned six-season series before expense cut the show off but can still be viewed asa complete story in and of itself, albeit with a dangling plot thread or two. This is one od the best TV productions I've seen, the title sequence alone being damned impressive, and I liked the slow build in an epic tale of good vs evil. The second season really tied together the two opposing elements, leading them to each other while subtly highlighting their similaities and differences, mirror images of each other. There's moments of haunting despair and fleeting exultation but overall it's a grimy depiction of a turbulent era. Shame it didn't last though...

Tuesday, 4 August 2009


Not much to say except here's the finished version of the Arisia pic...coulda spent more time on the colours but lack of time 'n' all that...also cropped the right hand side to place the figure better on the image.

Right, I'm off to watch Grizzly Man...

Saturday, 1 August 2009

Somewhere Oa The Rainbow

A week ago, I happened to catch a glimpse of the new cg-animated teen Iron Man series and the new kiddie-friendly Spectacular Spider-Man show. Of the two, Spidey was definitely the best as there was something just too weird about Iron Man to be palatable (it would have been better if it was an original character rather than a licensed show). Spidey had the fashionable faux anime style but at least the show stayed true to the spirit of the comics, mixing Silver Sable, Silvermane, Hammerhead and even Foswell aka the Big Man into the mix. The best Marvel animated series at the moment is still Wolverine and the X-Men however, which I find odd to watch having emotionally divorced myself from the X-line's like watching home movies of an ex-lover...

Still, while musing how DC rules the animated airwaves over their Marvelous competitors, I began watching the new Green Lantern: First Flight animated DVD and wondered why their animated features are also much more enjoyable than Marvel's. It's not that Marvel's are terrible, it's just that they're usually misjudged reimaginings that make the characters unlike the originals and a result in forgettable adaptations. DC's animated features however stay true to the roots of the characters and results in a great set of films. New Frontier is definitely the best but Green Lantern is pretty fun, a great rollicking template for the upcoming live-action version.

I've been coincidentally reading some GL stuff recently (such as the promising Blackest Night and the first Sinestro Corps War collection) and as I wanted to try and do a new colour pic, I decided to draw Arisia from the GL Corp. Her costume stands out from the other GLs because of the large amount of white so she immediately draws your eye, as she did in the DVD.

I remember her from the 80s as being quite a naive, innocent character so I wanted to keep a doe-eyed look (not modelled on but kinda like Beth from Neighbours wot sung Torn) instead of a smiling sexpot. I liked the face on the first attempt but wasn't sure I was going to comfortably fit the second leg in and had concerns about twisting the torso musculature correctly. The second version quickly went off the boil: I tried the same face but it came out wrong, the hips went wrong and the pose was boring. Luckily third time's the charm and I managed to pencil and ink a version today. I'm going to reduce this down, pencil shade it and colour it on the PC so hopefully it'll all turn out well in the end...

Tuesday, 28 July 2009

Rapid Random Returns!!

Giant mecha roams Tokyo (genuine picture)!!

Bloody hell, Geoff Johns follows his Legion episode by introducing the JSA in the next season of Smallville! Even better, more Lois Land than last season!

Silver #1 on the way!

Submissions to Oni also in its way! (Despite poor copies as Staples are getting more crap with each visit).

Boo! Missed out on the freebie Black Lantern rings as I'd already bought Blackest Night #1 in Nostalgia...

Yay! The new Green Lantern animated DVD is great (fuller post to follow)...

And finally, the real reason James Earl Jones had to dub over Darth Vader...

Thursday, 23 July 2009

My Little Oni

Following up from the last post, here are the opening and losing pages of the Oni strip.

I was leaving the first page til last as I knew the main panel would be a pain. I pencilled and inked the other panels first then began thumbnailing the main panel. I didn't get very far as after thumbnailing only the bottom most office worker, I roughed him in on the actual page and then proceeded to rough out the rest of the panel direct on the page with no thumbnailing. Unusually, things just flowed together really easy so four hours of inking later, job done!