Archive for December, 2004

WELCOME, 2005…!!!

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If there’s ANYTHING that living 41-plus years on this Earth has taught me, it’s that EVERY year is full of ups and downs. Life has it’s own way of making things interesting– and not always in the positive. But isn’t that, essentially, what life is all about…? Experiencing the lows WITH the highs– which gives us the insight to contrast the two… to learn and grow as individuals based on those very life experiences.

There have been a ton of great “BEST OF 2004″ lists all over the “blogosphere” in the last couple of weeks, and with a little searching, you’ll be able to find them. So I’ll leave it to those other folks who are more insightful and articulate than myself to gauge what was the best of this past year in comics, movies, television, video games and everything else that vies for our entertainment-starved attention. We are most assuredly an ENTERTAINMENT BASED society, and I’m just thankful that there’s the variety out there to choose from, whether good or bad.

I think I’ll try to stick with stating a few resolutions for the NEW YEAR that I’d like to try to make happen. I’ve never been much of one for participating in that time-worn tradition– but for some reason, the numbers 2005 have a ring to them that makes me feel compelled to do so… I can’t really explain it any better. So, here are a few resolutions that have floated to the surface of my mind:

To take another step forward in my creative process. I feel as though I’ve been a bit stagnant for the past couple of years, art-wise. I’ve grown a bit in my actual DRAWING ability, I think– but I’d like to make an effort to expand my range in layout, pacing, storytelling– and yes, drawing as well. I’d like to perhaps experiment a bit more– and maybe get away from the traditional grid format I’ve worked in for so many years and add some design to my comics pages.

To try to make this blog more interesting and interactive. I’d like to add some “HOW TO” material on a regular basis. I’d like to show some examples of how I work out drawing the figure, how I see storytelling, how I convey motion, how I design a cover– things like that. I’d like to make this a blog that even MORE folks would make a regular visit on their daily (or weekly, depending on how frequent I can get things done for the site) web surf.

To find more time to draw for MYSELF. I’ve been so overwhelmed with my monthly deadlines in 2004, that I haven’t had any time to create for my own “inner child”–that child who still loves to draw his own stories and create his own characters. I’ve got a lot of ideas swirling in my head for stories/series/characters, and I’d like to start getting some of them down on paper.

To find more time to relax. I don’t get enough time away from the drawing board to rest my back (it’s in constant pain from hereditary back defects as well as the constant sitting at the drawing table). I’d LOVE to find the time to work on landscaping the yards– both front and back– of my home. It would be fun to be able to mold my rugged yards into something I could be proud of.

Well– those are just a few. I’m sure I could come up with a few more, but I’ve heard that it’s not good to have TOO MANY resolutions– it just makes it harder to follow through on ANY of them if they’re too numerous. So, to everyone who reads this– have a WONDERFUL NEW YEAR’S CELEBRATION tonight, and a prosperous and joyful 2005!

Mike

The UNCANNY OWL

This week’s trip down the childhood “memory lane” of the characters I created back then centers on my version of a BATMAN-type character I called THE UNCANNY OWL. The OWL character had one of those simple, cheesy origins that are the kinds of things that a kid dreams up. In his “civilian” life, the OWL was a scientist. One day, his family gets killed by gangsters (I don’t remember what prompted that killing)– and in a fit of grief, he creates a costume based on his pet owl to go out and hunt down these gangsters. That’s about all I remember– but I’m willing to bet there’s not much more than that to it.

So, here’s the childhood drawing of THE UNCANNY OWL….



And here’s the modern drawing of the character….



I also thought I’d throw out a sketch I did for the monthly jam thread going on over at SKETCHBOOKSESSIONS.COM. This month’s subject is X-MEN– which as anyone even remotely familiar with that group of books knows, leaves it wide open to so many different characters it boggles the mind. I can’t imagine any comic book franchise that has more characters than the X-MEN have. I chose the 70′s versions of CYCLOPS and JEAN GREY/MARVEL GIRL. I really liked the designs on these costumes back then. I guess I’m feeling nostalgic these days with all the looks back at my childhood characters and drawing X-MEN from the “good old days”. Either that, or I’m beginning a mid-life crisis– but if this is as far as it manifests itself, I’ll be doing OK…..



A VERY MERRY CHRISTMAS to everyone who celebrates that holiday…!

Mike

CARDINAL and BLUE JAY

The characters CARDINAL and BLUE JAY are dredged up from my childhood today. They were, I suppose, looking at them now, a combination of my affection for both BATMAN and ROBIN combined with HAWK and DOVE. When I was VERY young, I was into mostly DC characters– mainly because my father, who was buying comics at the time, bought mostly DC comics, and not having any money of my own at around age 10 or so, I had to read what he bought. But I still have wonderful memories of all those great old DC books, and still love those characters to this day.

Anyway– here’s the original character drawing from my childhood, followed by a modern interpretation. Note that I left everything the same except for the huge letters on the characters’ chests. I changed those to bird symbols. Even though while I was doing the drawing it felt as though I was drawing some very old, cheesy golden age characters, I STILL couldn’t bring myself to draw the letters on their chests. Giving my old characters a good look shows me that my sense of design as a child was….. well, let’s be kind and say LACKING.

The original from childhood….

And the “modern” version drawn now…

This one’s for you, Matt….!

Mike

A (hopefully…!) FUN EXPERIMENT

I’ve been drawing comics for a long time. PROFESSIONALLY now, for about 12 years– but I’ve been drawing comics…. doing visual storytelling… since I was about 10 years old. I can’t remember exactly WHAT it was that first sparked that desire to do panel to panel continuity even at that young age, but like most kids my age who get connected that way, I had my own share of personal characters I created that were mostly knock offs of existing Marvel and DC characters. I’ve mostly left those characters behind as I’ve grown up– and I admire someone like Erik Larsen who is dedicated to keeping those childhood dreams and characters alive as he does with his SAVAGE DRAGON universe.

So– I thought it would be fun to interpret some of my early childhood characters NOW and contrast my efforts against my original designs. So, without further ado, I’ll present my first attempt. I’ll start with the original drawings from when I was a kid. The first version of THE COSMIC AVENGER with the clunky helmet was done when I was 11. I did about 6 stories with him during that time and then put him aside in favor of other characters. But when I discovered CAPTAIN MARVEL from MARVEL COMICS, I fell in love with the character and decided to revive CA and change the design just a bit to make him look more like CAP. Note the horrible coif that COSMIC AVENGER had…!

Here’s the childhood versions:

And then the versions drawn now. Notice I STILL had trouble with the hair…..!

This was fun– I think I’ll be doing a lot more of it.

Mike