Archive for July, 2004

Some GOOGLE fun….

I’ll be honest– I’m beginning to run out of sketch stuff that I can post that hasn’t been seen by lots of people already. I didn’t think it would happen so soon because I have such massive stacks and files full of paper with sketches and layouts that I’ve accumulated (read: hoarded) over the years. But for the most part, these are largely layouts of comics that have been published or sketches for covers and pinups that have been published. NEW stuff– character designs, warm up sketches, doodles– is getting harder to find. The BRIGHT side is that it will force me to sketch more to continue to have stuff to post. That’s a good thing. But just for fun, I did a GOOGLE search for images connected to my name– and I came across a FEW things that I thought might be fun to put up. My apologies to everyone that I “pinched” these files from. Hope you don’t mind.

The first piece is a FLASH sketch that I did in marker. It looks like something I did at the ACTOR booth at WIZARDWORLD PHILLY last year– I seem to have a vague memory of doing it there.

The second piece is, I THINK, something I did specifically to sell on eBay a couple of years back. I don’t know why I didn’t make a scan for myself, because I was doing that pretty consitantly then– but who knows. At least I found one on the owner’s (I assume…) site.

I’ve got a couple more that I’ll save for another day. I don’t know if anyone would be interested in such things, but I could certainly begin posting some of those layouts I was referencing earlier if folks would be interested in seeing them. Maybe you’d be into seeing the process of what the layouts look like to compare to the printed page….? Maybe not. Leave me a note in the comments section, and if enough people think it’s something they’d like to see, I’ll certainly put that in the mix here.

I’m off this morning to go visit my parents for the weekend. So for those who actually check this blog out daily, there won’t be anything up early tomorrow. I’m only at the parental units place overnight– so maybe I’ll make a post tomorrow evening when I return. As addicted as I’ve become to this thing– I probably will.

‘Til tomorrow, then.

Mike

He’s IRON, Man….

Today’s sketch is of the original IRON MAN armor. It’s my favorite of all the myriad versions that Tony Stark has worn over his long tenure as the “man in the can”. It’s simple– and oh so clunky… but that’s it charm. I loved the concept of a man who had it all– fame, wealth, women… but had to wear a chest plate to keep his damaged and failing heart beating– and used his genius with technology and as a leading weapons designer to build a big, powerful suit of armor. In his original armor, he always reminded me of a modern day knight. I even enjoyed some of the later versions that he designed (here I am talking about him as if he’s real….! I guess that’s the beauty of a well concocted character…)– but the recent trend to put him in more convoluted and “manga inspired” armor has left me cold. That’s the thing about the original designs of the MARVEL characters of the 60′s– they’re timeless. They never seem dated to me. It’s the simplicity of it that keeps them fresh.

The second “item” today is a real oddity– but a fun one. Not too long ago, a friend of mine John Gallagher, creator of the fun and incredible BUZZBOY asked me if I’d draw the cover to a custom comic he was putting together for a mall called the WESTFIELD MALL. John does custom comics as well as his OWN wonderful creations. The mall mascot looked fun, so I agreed. It was skillfully inked up by another friend named Rich Faber. It was a fun experience all around, a chance to draw some “funny animals”, which I really enjoy doing– and a piece that I figured wouldn’t get much exposure beyond the mall itself– so here it is now.

After seeing this link to THE SQUIRREL NAME GENERATOR over at Jeff Parker’s MYSTIFYING ORACLE, I just had to go and see what my squirrel name was. Boy, am I glad I did… because it’s the super manly name… ummm….

Fluffy Smallnuts…

*Cough*

OK– another day down. Time to finish up FANTASTIC FOUR #518 today.

See you tomorrow…

Mike

Sue and Johnny versus the Dwarf

I’ve got a ton of work to get done these next two days– so the words that accompany the sketches today are going to be a bit light (not that anyone comes here to read words anyway….)– so to start off, here’s yet ANOTHER FANTASTIC FOUR cover sketch that didn’t make the cut. I really liked this one– but I did it just as Marvel decided that generic covers MIGHT not be a great thing for ever issue…. Ah, well.

The second sketch made me go “What the f…..?” when I came across it. It was giving me that “Whutchu lookin’ at, fool…?” stare– and for the life of me, I couldn’t remember why I even drew it. After a bit of an uncomfortable stare-down, it started to come back to me that the sketch was the result of a conversation I had with a friend of mine named Chris Kemple who works at RED STORM ENTERTAINMENT– you know, the cool video game development company that makes such great games as RAINBOW SIX and GHOST RECON…? Now, what the coversation was and why this sketch ended up happening as a result– well, those details are lost to the mists of my ever more frazzled and dim mind. But anyway, here’s the little dwarf with the bad attitude anyway.

Time to get to it….

Mike

Ladies

Back in what seems an eternity ago now, when the Mac was really starting to increase it’s computing power exponentially, one of my then studio mates Chuck Wojtkiewiscz had a brand new POWERMAC G3. He was gracious enough to bring it to the studio for everyone to use. I had a large 12×17 inch flatbed scanner that I brought from home and WALLAH…(!) we had a sweet new graphics setup. I was going through an old CD of files of mine that I had burned from Chuck’s computer and came across the turnaround art for a SERRA vinyl statue that DYNAMIC FORCES produced some years ago when the TELLOS comic was in full swing. I had done the line art for the sculptor– and Chuck, who had become a MASTER of marker toning, suggested that he would be happy to tone the piece to make it even more dimensional for the sculptor to work from. So, here’s the wonderful results– and Chuck… thank you again after all this time.

I just came across a sketch that I did for a VAMPI cover for HARRIS COMICS years ago. I had done a few different versions, and this one was my favorite, but they went with another sketch that was a bit more action oriented. After Augie De Blieck over at COMICBOOK RESOURCES pointed out that he couldn’t remember what the final printed FLASH AND IMPULSE cover from the SINS OF YOUTH event that were the subject matter of yesterday’s post– I hunted around to see if I could find a printed file version of the VAMPI cover, but alas, I could not. And I searched the web for the FLASH AND IMPULSE cover YESTERDAY– and couldn’t find one. Oh, well– I tried. But here’s the sketch anyway….

Steven Grant’s new PERMANENT DAMAGE column (ALSO at COMICBOOK RESOURCES) has his impressions of COMICON INTERNATIONAL– which frankly, surprised me. Steven usually takes a very pragmatic (or cynical, depending on your interpretation) view of the comics industry– but he left this year’s con with a sense of high optimism and enthusiasm coming from the publishers at the show. I hope that this is truly the case– and that the kinds of things that I’ve been hearing about folks seeing the beginnings of a big turn around in the industry’s fortunes– as well as a greater acceptance of comics OTHER than superhero comics are really on the horizon. Perhaps the massive successes of books like the huge BONE COLLECTED EDITION from Jeff Smith and FLIGHT from IMAGE COMICS as well as the promising start to MARVEL’S MARVEL AGE line of books in both the Direct Market as well as the digests they’re selling at stores like TARGET are heralds of a return of younger readers– and a return of more open, reader friendly comic books. I think that what has begun to be called the “BENDIS-IFICATION” of comics — and the publication of the IDENTITY CRISIS event (try showing your kids THAT one) have taken us so far away from the colorful superhero characters as characters that can be entry level subject matter for kids as we can get. Darwyn Cooke, the writer and artist of the incredible DC: THE FINAL FRONTIER was lamenting recently online the co-opting of the greatest childhood comics characters by folks like Bendis and Meltzer, who have turned them into characters no kid could fathom anymore– and he was lambasted for it. Personally, I couldn’t agree more with Cooke. So– hopefully there will be a new, brighter age of comics that will be welcoming to younger (AND OLDER– comics don’t HAVE to have rape and long boring “psueudo-Mamet” dialogue in them to be enjoyable to adults) readers. I think that things like FLIGHT and others being done by some smaller publishers can help that happen.

OK– enough editorializing. I’m back to work.

Mike

(Another) unused cover sketch day

I’m looking forward to hearing the many COMICON reports I will (HOPEFULLY!) be getting from my various comics buddies who made the show. Parker at MYSTIFYING ORACLE always teams up with Steve Leiber for great ones– so I’ll let you know when they get theirs up and running. Hopefully I’ll be getting phone calls from some of the others, like Scott Kurtz, Robert Kirkman, Scottie Young and others soon. If not, I’ll call THEM! I gots ta live vicariously through others…!

Not much by way of links and such today– but I’m throwing up a few more cover sketches that didn’t make the cut, so to speak. The first one is another FANTASTIC FOUR sketch that I originally did for issue #509. They wanted to go with more of a total group shot– so here’s the rejected sketch.

The next two sketches are for the FLASH and IMPULSE issue of the SINS OF YOUTH 5th week event that DC COMICS published some years back. I was lucky enough to be asked to draw the covers for the entire event (I think some 7 covers in all– plus another one for the eventual trade). I went through many versions of each cover before we settled (well, THEY settled) on the ones they liked. So–here are the ones for FLASH and IMPULSE that didn’t make the grade.

SKETCH ONE



SKETCH TWO

OK– that’s it for today. Just a quickie.

See you tomorrow.

Mike