Archive for November, 2006



Maybe I still have a food hangover from Thanksgiving, but I just don’t have much to write about today. This could end up being one of the briefest posts I’ve ever made. I suppose I’ll just leave you with this sketch of SUPERMAN and BATMAN. I tend to draw a lot of DC characters for this blog– but I think that’s just because I’ve been working at Marvel for…. what… 5 years now…. and I get a chance to draw the majority of the ‘major’ characters at the ‘House of Ideas’ on most of my projects. So I like to dabble on the other side of the fence here on the blog.

So, for today, the two fellows from DC’s ‘Big Three’…. and I’ve drawn WONDER WOMAN here many times.

OK… I’ll leave it there for today.

This is Entry 308.


DAVE COCKRUM 1943-2006

I returned home yesterday from Thanksgiving holiday to the depressing news that legendary artist Dave Cockrum had passed away of complications from his long battle with diabetes. Cockrum was one of those “second generation” of Silver Age creators who came from the ranks of rabid fans of the comics THEY had read as kids. I was just starting to read comics as Cockrum was starting his work on LEGION OF SUPERHEROES– his first big solo assignment in the ‘majors’. His work made an immediate impact on my young sensibilities– Cockrum’s art stood out from the crowd for me– and he put his stamp on the LEGION characters with his wonderful sense of design, energy and figure work. Cockrum’s LEGION work is still seminal– his impact on that title was so strong that it’s still remembered as one of the best ‘eras’ of the comic’s history. He then went on to make an even greater and lasting impact on the UNCANNY X-MEN at Marvel Comics. Cockrum hit his artistic stride with that book… and the characters he introduced to the X-MEN canon like STORM, COLOSSUS and most notably NIGHTCRAWLER are among the most popular characters in X-MEN — if not comics –history. Along with Chris Claremont, Cockrum was there for the tranformation of Jean Grey into PHOENIX– and that event along with many of his other contributions became the fodder that inspired the X-MEN movie franchise.

There’s many tributes to Cockrum’s work sprouting up on the web in the wake of his passing– but the most incisive and succinct entry I’ve seen yet is posted at THE COMICS REPORTER. Tom Spurgeon writes about Cockrum’s career and impact on comics far better than I can put into words. I can say that his influence on my own young comic book fevered brain was astronomical. People always ask me about influences on my own work… and that’s a hard thing for me to answer, because nothing that I’ve ever really loved as a fan shows up much in my drawing. But I CAN say that if not a direct influence, Dave Cockrum was for me an immense source of inspiration early in my comics life and I’m sorry that I never got the opportunity to express to him just how much his work means to me.

This is Entry 307.


Hitting the road for THANKSGIVING…!


I’m leaving this afternoon to drive to my brother and sister-in-law’s house for Thanksgiving. It’s a yearly tradition that they host Turkey-day for the family for… what…. over a decade now, Matt….? It’s not going to be the most pleasant drive to Richmond this year… it’s very rainy and windy, with a storm system slowly churning off the Carolina coast. I just heard a huge limb crash in the back yard after a heavy gust of wind. It’s almost as if Mother Nature is making one last feeble try at manifesting a hurricane– albeit a very weak and wimpy one– before winter hits full-on. Everything around here is thoroughly waterlogged and my yard is absolutely full of soggy leaves and a literal sea of pine needles. I’ve got a lot of raking to do when I get back home. My roof’s covered with the pine needles as well, so I’ve gotta get up there this weekend when I return. It’s going to be warm and sunny…. so that’ll be the perfect opportunity.

I’m not going to let the dreary weather (and the fact that I’ve come down with a mild cold) get me down, though…. I’ve been looking forward to this holiday break for WAY too long. I’m burnt out and need this. I can’t wait to get together with the family.

I hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving, and I’ll see you here next week.

This is Entry 206.


Seeds of TELLOS


Today’s sketch is of a medieval/fantasy version of COLOSSUS that appeared in X-MEN 1/2. Years back, Wizard Magazine and Marvel offered Todd and me the opportunity to work on an X-MEN 1/2 project. I had always wanted to draw THE X-MEN, as they were a huge favorite of mine back when I was starting to read comics– so I was very excited about the opportunity this project offered. I was very disappointed, however, when I learned that the editorial folks for this one-shot wanted to steer the focus of the story into an ‘Elseworlds’ kind of direction. These would not be the X-MEN I was so fond of and had long wanted to take a crack at. This adventure would instead be in a fantasy or sword and sorcery setting. My disappointment was short-lived, though. Once I got down to the task of designing the clothing and surroundings for the story, I began to really enjoy myself. I should have known going in that it would be enjoyable, since I’ve always been such a huge fantasy fan…. but I had my heart set on the ‘real’ X-MEN. Todd wrote a really wonderful story that was a lot of fun to draw… and we ended up enjoying working on this ‘X-MEN as D&D’ type of tale so much that when things went completely South with my relationship with Marvel at that time, Todd and I immediately began to have discussions about creating our own property that would be something that would allow us to continue our enjoyment of the type of subject matter we had just worked on.

Those discussions are what led to our beginning the TELLOS book at IMAGE. I don’t know if I’ve written about this before… it feels like I might have. My last post about THE MANNITES came from looking at an old folder filled with the original designs I had done for that proposed series…. and the designs for the X-MEN 1/2 were in there, too…. so I thought it would be fun to re-interpret one or more of those sketches.

OK…. that’s it for today.

This is Entry 305.


MANNITES (or if I’d had MY way– SYNTHETIX)


Back about 10 years ago, when word was passed to Todd and me about SENSATIONAL SPIDER-MAN’S impending cancellation, Marvel began to try to find things for us to do. Keep in mind, this was during their initial period of bankruptcy, which I’ve written about here before– so things were rather tumultuous at that time. One of the potential projects that the folks at Marvel were interested in doing went by the working title MANNITES. This was a group of characters… a team, really… that were to spin out of things that happened in the ONSLAUGHT epic that was being published around that time. My memories are pretty fuzzy about stuff happening then– but I remember my buddy Randy Green drawing a one-shot called ONSLAUGHT EPILOGUE that featured a young female character named NINA who was one of a new race of beings cloned from mutant DNA. The MANNITES would have been the evolutionary apex of these beings. The MANNITES had three different levels of ‘power manifestation’– the primary level was a humanoid form– the secondary level was an organic armored form like the one in the sketch I’ve posted today– and the final form was a more…. extreme… armored form that covered the face as well that was used in times maximum peril.

I made the suggestion that the book be called SYNTHETIX– to give it that tie to the X-universe and hopefully maximize sales potential… but I never heard back about my suggestion. Ultimately, the project never happened back then at all… so not hearing back on the name might have been a warning sign. Oddly enough, the project never completely died on the books– and ultimately saw life recently as the LIVEWIRES miniseries done by Adam Warren and Rick Mays. I’m sure the concept for LIVEWIRES was nowhere near what it was as originally planned when it was code named MANNITES … but I think it’s funny that the slot for that book never completely faded into oblivion– especially through all the upheaval that was going on from around 1996 to now.

OK… I hope you all have a great weekend.

This is Entry 304.