Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Crossing The (Clean) Line

Lots of updates at Zero Tolerance, including this gallery of line art version of colour pics previously posted here or at TAB:


London Comic Con

This weekend saw the inaugural London Super Comicon (or something...there's so many London comic cons around now, KaPow, MCM Expos and wotnot, I get confused) in Docklands, somewhere I've never been to. So Tone leaves Brum, I jump on the same train at High Wycombe and we hit London together and have a remarkably easy cross-London trip to the Excel centre, in the shadow of the Millennium Dome. Well, actually it was so bright, there were no shadows around but get you know what I mean.

Although Stan Lee was the big draw, Tone was there for Sienkiewicz and I went solely for Brian Bolland and Kevin Maguire: anything else was a bonus. Tone managed to get a quick Elektra head sketch off Sinky and a signed New Mutants but I managed to get Bolland, very nice, polite guy, to sign the Killing Joke deluxe edition and my Art of Brian Bolland (which he thanked me for lugging around, it's a behemoth!). And while there was some internal dialogue, the outcome was never in doubt and I managed to bag it: Kevin Maguire signing Justice League #1. I'm so enamoured of that series, that cover and maguire's work that I'm really chuffed with this and proud to hold it alongside the first Adam Hughes issues signed by Hughes too.

The event itself? Good venue, lots of space with some major names in comics: other than the above, there was Perez, Cheung, Chaykin, Jiminez, Lee, Wrightson and many more but quite often, they had commissions booked straight away. Some had nothing else on their tables and there weren't a huge number of dealers. However, the organisers expected 5000 a day and got 8000, more than making their money back (Stan Lee cost £120-125,000!) The retailers all had phenomenal sales...but there wasn't much to see.

I think I picked up the Trouble mini series for £2.50(and put it straight on my giveaway pile after reading it) and 2 cheap 80s graphic novels, just to sample something different. My main find was Marvel Masterworks (softcover) for £7.00, cheaper than the black and white Essentials, which is padded out by loads of issues I didn't want (feel like I'm writing for Comics On The Ration!). The reason I wanted it? This reprints the first 11 issues, and as #5-11 are by the masterful Wally Wood, I snapped this up like a snappy snapping thing doing some well, snapping.

While comfortably airy (not sweat inducing like many cons), the worst part was there was no room to move in the dealers alleys, people bottle necking everywhere: yet half the hall was standing empty. Surely the organisers could have spread the dealers out a bit? Next year, I'd like to see more retailers better distributed.

Plenty of cosplay too: I can't see the appeal of doing it myself but have to admit to it being an enjoyable spectator sport, marveling at the great outfits and guffawing at people dressed as cardboard Gobots. Highlights this con were probably Troia, Wonder Woman (as usual), Bruce Banner (!) and Galactus, who lost points with me for not being to scale but won them back with his scale Silver Surfer and a sign stuck on his back saying "Ultimate Nullify Me".

Possibly be looking forward to next year's event now...

Slice of Carrot

Friday, 24 February 2012


While I've been happy doodling away for various things lately (always edging towards returning to my graphic novel idea), I've surprised myself by clearing or finishing all of the above books and mags. I still have a backlog of other stuff to read (mostly Euro stuff and classic reprints by Frazetta, Williamson, etc) but not bad going for this time impendimented blog jockey!

Sunday, 19 February 2012

And THIS Weekend...

I had intended to pencil some Too Much Sex And Violence pages this weekend but fell ill on Friday so took it easy instead. Here's some ogf the gubbins I got up to instead...

From the top: a further tweaked version of Power Girl done for Davey's thread on TAB (I added the collar here after posting the "original" there); coloured version of one of the characters for a story I'm percolating; been reading the latest Back Issue and was inspired by their article on Starfire to draw the character to finish off a pad; another entry for TAB, a redesigned new Starman (really like the design if not the art) and yet another TAB entry, Wally West (incorporating his Flash and Kid Flash designs).

Finally, a new Cyclops replacing the crap one I drew previously for TAB. I was thinking of Paul Smith's version as I drew this and thought I'd add in some pics of my favourite Cyclops artists. From left to right: Adam Hughes, Steve Lightle, Kevin Nowlan, Jim Cheung, Cliff Chiang and then Paul Smith, Chris Sprouse, John Byrne, Dave Cockrum and Werner Roth, my favourite artist of the original X-men run (other than the Wally Wood-assisted issue).

That Cyclops thing was inspired by a Many Faces Of...column that used to run in Marvel Age that I always enjoyed. I couldn't find any Weiringo or Maguire Cyclops illos, a shame as I bet I'd have loved them...

Sunday, 12 February 2012

This Weekend...

...I have mostly been chillaxing but have squeezed in a few drawings. Next week I plan on pencilling some pages but I also have three characters I want to draw and feel like doing a proper illustration rather than the fun quick ones I'm currently doing for TAB. Anyway, here's tweaked and corrected versions of the last two week's entries, along with Marvel Girl, a background element for another entry...

Saturday, 11 February 2012

PG Tips

Of all the new Dc titles, I'm enjoying Batwoman and the Shade but most of the rest of the line leaves me cold. Making arbitrary changes to characters (primarily making costumes clunkier, presumably to synergise with any future movie version) doesn't improve or create greater popularity for the characters. After the initial sales spike, figures are dropping down, a bunch of titles have been cancelled already and lack of any stability from the creative teams hurts the line further.

Still, I was hoping Earth 2, James Robinson's JSA-featuring series, would have some soothing flash of familiarity. Then I saw the covers above and all hopes were dashed. Somebody feels that Wonder Woman may be Donna Troy but that's not any Donna I'd like to see. Similarly, the new Power Girl outfit is pretty...yuck.

I was aware of PG from DC ads that ran in comics I had before I could read (similar nostalgic memories of Captain Marvel and Jay Garrick) but the first time I read anything with her was the first JLA/JSA crossover I ever read. (This was also my first real exposure to Dr Fate, another favourite). I liked PG but it would be a few years before I realised she was essentially the Earth 2 Supergirl. I was glad to see her post-Crisis but Bart Sears' mega-boobed version (and her snarky attitude) in Justice League Europe didn't sit with my vision of her character. After a few (not terrible but unnecessary) costume changes, PG eventually returned to her classic costume.

I love the original, not for the chest hole people always comment on (in the earliest stories I remember, i seem to recall the hole was gone) but because I like the purity of the white and the simplicity of the design. Whenever characters get a new look, they inevitably become more complicated but I generally believe simplicity is the best design factor is superhero costuming.

So, as with her sorta cousin, I was disappointed to see PG now lumbered with clunky boots and gloves and a rubbish emblem to replace the hole. I can deal with the covered legs (DC said they want to create less sexy/sexist costumes for their heroines) but the emblem's just executed poorly.

I recently drew a Power Girl pic that I've not got round to uploading yet but when I saw the new version, I made two simple tweaks that I think reduces the gratuitous elements but keeps her recognisably PG. I simply removed the chest hole and added a skirt, removing knicker flash but also echoing Supergirl's classic design more.

Job done, I feel but what do I know?