Thursday, 31 January 2013

4.00am and Bored

I know posting in the middle of the night's not a good thing but...woke up around 2.30 and issues at work kept my mind whirring and couldn't switch off to get back to sleep, hence: surf the net for a while to break the loop. I'm getting sleepy now but still need to potter about for a bit so here's a pic I posted on Facebook (a No-Prize for the first person to recognise the celeb) as I was planning to save it for some combined multi-pic post later on (probably when I've completed the Erica Durance and Kirsten Bell faces, hopefully this weekend). However, posting now gives me something to do so here we go...

Probably next weekend, back to inking some comic pages before proceeding to pencil the remaining two pages of the five page story...

Monday, 28 January 2013

Random Ramblings

So far, 2013's been a bit shit but hopefully things are on the turn. I'm recovering nicely from minor surgery and have been able to get cracking on artwork and reading. Yesterday, I managed to do my first thing for the Weekly Themed Art Blog for a while and today, I finished my pages for Too Much Sex And Violence #5 and finally seem to have managed to get that elusive likeness of Erica Durance. I think I've managed to get Kristen Bell too, but there's minimal linework as I want to shade that one to get the likeness (you can't tell who it is just from the linework).

TV remains shit but hurrah, Being Human is back on Sunday and I'm hoping it's as great as the last series. With Phil Daniels playing a decrepit Satan as the series villain, things seem good despite two episodes having been cut from the run.

Marvel and DC also continue to be largely uninspiring so I was delighted when my last ACE parcel arrived. A monster of a thing to and no wonder: two whacking great hardcovers, Judge Dredd: The Complete Brian Bolland and a huge book on Wally Wood. As well as Marvel Comics: The Untold Story (my lunch break read), I'm currently wading through these as well as another excellent hardcover.

I don't recall what made me order it or how I found out bout it but Siegfried by Alex Alice is a stunning retelling of the Wagnerian mythic hero's tale. I already have P Craig Russell's Ring of the Nibelung adaption but here the story is reinterpreted rather than adapted and the storytelling is phenomenal. With an animated version in the works (trailer here ), great storytelling in a sturdy hardcover edition filled out by  an extensive discussion with Alice detailing his process in developing both the 3-volume graphic novel and the animated version, this is my current fave read and I'm already looking forward to the final 2 volumes, not yet translated from the French.

Also, I have a cold now. Arse.

Tuesday, 22 January 2013


Drawing comics is kind of a calling as it's an inordinate amount of work that sends many an aspiring artist from other fields running: as well as having to follow the unspoken language of comics storytelling (left to right flow for instance), artists need to maintain consistency from panel to panel, establish settings, create mood and character, master perspective, choose camera angles, draw things they hate and any other number of problems, all on a deadline...

...but sometimes, it's worth it when that page or sequence is successfully pulled off. I'm currently half way through graytoning my 4 pages for the next Too Much Sex And Violence and while I doubt any of my pages will be settling into my portfolio (cocked a few things up and about three other projects simultaneously on the go, one often requiring deadlines of only a few days with no notice!, meant I couldn't afford as much time as I'd have liked)...but I do grin at this panel.

Sometimes, drawing comics is just pure fun....

(By the way, if you tap in too much sex and violence into google then do an image search...out of the whole goldarned internet, the first 4 of the first 5 images --though one is just partial-- are by me. I'm kinda proud of that fact too :) )

Sunday, 13 January 2013

Adventure into Fear: The Man-Thing Movie

A few months back (much as now actually), the lack of anything decent on TV had me trawling Amazon for cheap DVDs to watch, all dirt cheap and usually preowned. I still have a through to watch and most were just about worth the money but last night I finally watched Man-Thing.

It's got a horrendous reputation so the £1 or so I paid seemed a fair price for something that was bound to suck. Each time I went to my pile of DVDs, I'd look at Man-Thing and think "No, can't handle that tonight". Even the DVD cover has no credits whatsoever (though mentions Man-Thing was created by the same serum that created Captain America, which was never established in the movie!). With only a few choices left, I finally succumbed and put the DVD on.

Two points: I generally don't like swamp settings: they're wet and manky and reek of decay to me, representing death far more than the life-sustaining environs of DC's Swamp Thing mythos. I've also never really liked the Man-Thing: I think I've only ever read a few stories (plus a few guest appearances) and he strikes me as a catalyst for stories and not a true character himself: unable to communicate and not even sentient, it's hard to relate or empathise with something that just shows up, goes "Rah!" (metaphorically) and sods off again.

Set in the Florida swamps but shot in Australia, the film was produced without Marvel Studios' supervision and they vowed never to allow that to happen again as a result of the film. Originally intended for a Halloween release riding on the success of Marvel characters on the big screen, Marvel wisely pulled the film back and release it straight to DVD, coinciding with a premiere on the Sci Fi Channel.

Loosely based on a Steve Gerber story, the movie finds new sheriff Kyle Williams arriving in the swamp town of Bywater and investigating the growing list of missing people and the eco-warrior attacks on an industrial complex set up in the swamp. Local Native Americans say that the area called the Dark Water contains the Nexus of all realities and is protected by an ancient guardian.

Essentially a mystery (What's happening to the townsfolk? What's the Guardian? What's the mysterious killer?), the film starts out as I thought it would...opening with a pair of rutting teens getting slaughtered, one having the other's blood splattered all over her naked chest, seemed like a 70s exploitation throwback and unnecessary to the story but the location actually resembles Florida. The overuse of a green filter gets tiring and the lack of any deep characterisation makes the film feel like a typical SyFy/Horror Channel product but at about halfway through it's hour and a half running time, something switches.

There's a scene where a night guard is facing down the approaching Man-Thing and suddenly the tension ramps up. Soon the back plot is revealed, Ted Sallis is mentioned and we witness a pretty effective creation sequence for the man-Thing. Storylines come together, the Man-Thing gets increasing presence on screen and there's even a few Easter Eggs: I caught the character named Mike Ploog but missed Val Mayerik and Steve Gerber (no shouts for Man-Thing creators Stan Lee, Roy Thomas, Gerry Conway and Gray Morrow).

When we finally see Man-Thing, he's actually a fairly imposing creation though looks more like the movie Treebeard or the comics' Groot. He has the distinctive flashing red eyes, sort of a trunk (his face is a bit undefined, loose roots mainly) and large hands of the comics, looking better on screen than any still you will have seen, but they've  given him Dock Ock-like (or should that be Spidey-like now :) ?) branch tentacle things sprouting from his back.

So, it may only be a 2 star (out of 5) cheap movie but considering its a basic monster movie, it's not all bad and though I'd never choose to, I could probably sit through it again...and considering I'm waiting for the po-faced, overlong Dark Knight Rises to come way down in price before I pick up the DVD because it rounds out the trilogy but was pretty interminable (other than comedy Bane), that's saying something...

Tuesday, 8 January 2013

Nun Of That!

Well, I was looking forward to the Xmas season for once last year: money in my pocket, time off, parties booked and even a good ol' Brum trip but unfortunately, came down with a nasty bug that wiped me out for most of it. 2013, however, is shaping up to be pretty productive so far. As well as a few last minute art jobs for our new office and that, I completed two pages of inks for Too Much Sex And Violence at the weekend and I've managed to squeeze in more experiments with a liney art style. Steve Buscemi is far more successful for me than Walken was and I've done a second "drape girl". The first is the better image but I like the lines on the new one more, which will be posted once coloured.

A while ago, an image (moving like a movie not still like a photo) of a nun standing on a grassy rocky hillside, her habit trailing off like a bride's dress behind her, popped into my head totally unbidden. I'm not one of those who have a thing for nuns, religious things or authority so dunno where this came from..but I felt like drawing it nevertheless. That was a few weeks ago and I never posted it as it just looked wrong.

Before New Year, I figured it was because the legs were too long/thin so on New Years Day, eager to try and ease into doing something other than cough , splutter and curse Xmas TV, I decided to "fix" the nun pic. Originally I just lay a piece of paper over the original and drew new legs..then realised I didn't like the face either, and that hand annoyed me and..I ended up tracing the original habit but creating everything new. Not a great piece but it got me few weeks will be tight with a few art jobs to juggle but so far, it seems to be going ok..quality aside of course :)