Archive for May, 2005

Anatomy of a sketchbook cover

Over the next week, I’m going to be giving you an ‘inside look’ at a personal project I’ve decided to undertake. I have long wanted to publish a sketchbook to sell and offer up not only ‘hard copies’ of some of the sketches I’ve presented here on my blog over the past couple of years, as well as some of the stuff in my gallery section– but also some stuff that hasn’t seen the light of day (admittedly much less of THAT kind of thing, since most of my sketching has become fodder for this here forum). And so I’m posting the sketch for the eventual cover to the sketchbook that I’ll have printed. In a couple of days, I’ll show you the finished inks and then eventually the colors for that cover. So today, here’s the sketch:

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As time goes on and I get closer to finding out exactly WHERE and HOW I’m going to be offering the sketchbook for sale, I’ll let you know how you can get your hands on it, should you want to.

Incidentally, I just tallied up the total, and today’s post marks the 115th post I’ve made since I started this blog. I regret missing the ’100th episode’ mark point…. but it’s still fun to note the number.

OK… that’s it for today.

Mike

VULCAN the deadly…!

As a kid, I not only had a great passion for superhero comics– but I was also crazy for anything that was sword and sorcery related. I devoured the CONAN comics that my dad would bring home, and I think that’s what sparked my initial interest in that sort of thing. Before long, I was reading some of the original CONAN novels by Robert E. Howard (as well as some of the more modern ones by L. Sprague DeCamp)– and from there I moved on to a few of Michael Moorecock’s ELRIC novels– some works by John Jakes, and many others. Anything that involved embattled sword (or axe) wielding heroes, damsels in distress, giant monsters and creepy evil wizards really thrilled me. One of my absolute FAVORITE comics from that time was a series called CLAW THE UNCONQUERED from DC Comics. It was a short lived series (only 12 issues, I think)– but it really captured my imagination. It featured a Conan-like barbarian with a twist: he was cursed with having a demon’s claw as his right hand. He kept this hand covered in a red metal gauntlet– but when he got into real trouble, he’d whip off that gauntlet…. and look out! The hand took over…. and took care of business. Ernie Chan was the original artist of the series– but he left half way through, and Keith Giffen took over (as artist AND writer if I’m not mistaken). I was really crestfallen when Chan first left, because I loved his stuff– but when I read the initial Giffen stuff, I really took to it. If anything, be book got BETTER. It would be a hoot to one day convince DC to let me revive that character. I don’t know if they’d go for it…. but I’d certainly love to give it a shot.

So, naturally, as a kid, I had to have my own barbarian character. And, naturally, I had to base him on my favorite barbarian character CLAW. And so, today I offer you VULCAN THE DEADLY! The first picture is the first page of a short VULCAN story I did when I was probably about 13 or so… and the second is my modern version of the character.

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That’s it for now.

Mike

QUASAR vs. SHOOTING STAR….!

By POPULAR DEMAND (well, OK…. only about 3 people, but what’cha gonna do….) I present here an epic clash between titans…. or, in reality, the scum bag known as SHOOTING STAR doing a cowardly sneak attack from behind on QUASAR. As my brother Matt mentioned in the comments section of the last post– SHOOTING STAR was an alien scientist’s assistant who was used as a test subject for a machine that would give a person cosmic light powers. The scientist has second thoughts about the maching, and sends it into outer space hidden inside a meteor. SHOOTING STAR kills the scientist and takes off after the meteor to recover the machine– and follows it to earth, where he arrives too late and witnesses the device crash to earth, bathing Jeffrey Daniels in it’s energy, transforming him into QUASAR. In a rage, he attacks QUASAR– but in true comic book form, gets his butt handed to him. Today’s post is gonna be a quick one– I’m not feeling all that well. My allergies have been getting steadily worse each year as I get older, and this Spring, they’re really getting me down. Perhaps it’s time to go to the store and get some over-the-counter Claratin or something.

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The next post will be longer, I promise.

Take care, all…..

Mike

QUASAR

You ever have the experience of KNOWING that you’ve got a great idea or a great name for a character– the perfect scenario for a super cool genre comic….. a super cool name that no one else has thought of yet…? And you hope against hope that no one else will think of that same idea or name before you can get old enough and/or good enough– skilled enough– to actually publish your comic with that character or idea? But that hope gets dashed cruelly as you see the exact same idea or name in use by a professional creator or company– and your idea just shrivels and dies on the vine of disappointment. This happened to both my brother Matt and me when we were much younger and still living with our parents. For Matt, it was much worse. He had been working on a particular idea about a police officer who dies violently at the hands of criminals and is brought back to life by the forces of Hell to battle that very evil element in our world (I think I have that right…. Matt?). We were buying the COMICS BUYERS GUIDE at the time to get our comics news (many, many years before the internet– how in the hell did we ever get along without the Web…?)– and after buying one fateful issue and seeing the news about Todd MacFarlane’s SPAWN comic debuting from IMAGE COMICS…. to say that Matt’s reaction at being beaten to the punch was angry would be a great understatement. My own experience wasn’t nearly so traumatic…. but I felt a great sinking feeling when seeing the first picture of a new Marvel character called QUASAR (oddly enough drawn by Barry Windsor Smith, though I can’t recall every having seen him draw QUASAR again after that)– thus killing my enthusiasm for my OWN character of that name. My young self had plans for using that name when I got good enough (and old enough) to publish my own comics. That, as they say, is how the cookie crumbles. So I thought I would at the very least give MY QUASAR this exposure on my blog. It’s funny that I ended up actually drawing QUASAR professionally in his guest starring appearance in the GALACTUS arc in FANTASTIC FOUR.

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See you back here soon.

Mike

Quake in fear at….. THE BLUE DANGER…?!!??

I decided to go ahead and work up a sketch based on that mystery bad guy from the other side of he BUZZ SAW sketch from my ‘kiddie-hood’. I got a few chuckles from the name THE BLUE DANGER, and so I thought I’d dive right into it. Again, like BUZZ SAW, I don’t know why I actually decided coming up with this guy was a good idea. I don’t even know who he could have been based on…. HATE MONGER, maybe….? This guy looks like someone with a really bad Halloween costume who decided to turn to a life of crime. If my mommie made me wear white tights with a loose blue dress cinched at the waist with a belt, I might turn to the Dark Side too. Anyway– here’s the old sketch followed by the modern version to carry us all into the weekend.

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OK– I hope you all have a great weekend.

Mike