Archive for April, 2007



I felt like drawing another LEGION character… and I thought it might be fun to draw MON-EL for this week’s first post since I’ve never drawn him before. Over my career, there have been times when my work has been described as either BEING manga or having manga influences. I think that a lot of people who claim my work is ‘manga’ influenced (and many of them are using the term as a pejorative) are equating the cartoony nature of my drawing with that of Japanese artists. I’ve always felt that my influences were more European than Japanese. Even the blurb on the back of the recent MODERN MASTERS volume spotlighting my career speaks to my work having a blend of manga and classic Silver Age influence– though they weren’t highlighting that as a negative.

There are times when I think of pushing my work in a more manga direction. I’m a fan of some manga… so it’s something that’s always interested me in exploring. I think of lengthening the figure, sharpening the faces and simplifying my drawing even more than usual. I know that I can never get away from my natural instincts when it comes to drawing– and I covered that in last Monday’s post. There are, however, things that I can do to tweak it here and there– and so that’s what I was thinking and playing with in today’s MON-EL sketch. I’m not saying that I’ll actually GO this direction– but that’s one of the things I like most about this blog. It’s the online equivalent of a journal, where I can work stuff out in my head– and hopefully offer a little amusement to anyone who likes to watch along the way.

OK… back to work for me.

This is Entry 371.




For this week, I’m going to leave you with a couple of pieces. This first one is the original design I did for THE IMPERATOR– who is sort of the ‘front man’ for the alien race that are the antagonists of the SPIDER-MAN/FANTASTIC FOUR miniseries I’m drawing right now. I really like the way this design came out– I’m not all that enthused with the way I’ve been drawing him in the book… at least the first issue. That, I think, is the difference between drawing on the 24 lb. copy paper I use to sketch and do layouts on and the art board I use to produce the actual pencils to the books I work on. I really enjoy the texture, feel and flow of drawing on the copy paper… and I don’t get that same enjoyment from drawing on the art board. For a while now, I’ve been contemplating the idea of drawing my finished pages on 11 x 17 inch copy paper, scanning it in and printing the pencils out in blue line on art board to send to the inker. I always feel as though I lose something in the pencils when I use ‘regulation’ art board.

This second item is just a bunch of random warm-up stuff that I never took to a more finished stage like most of the stuff I post here. Some times I just like to use the blue ColErase pencils and sketch a bit, not worrying about doing more finished drawings.

OK… that’s it for another week. Have a wonderful weekend, all. It’s going to be a gorgeous weekend, weather-wise here in North Carolina.

This is 370.




There have been projects, at times during my career, that I’ve been approached about by certain writers and/or editors that — at the time– I was absolutely thrilled at the idea of working on. It’s one of those ‘right writer, right character, right time’ kind of things that just gets my blood pumping and my mind racing at the possibilities. In past posts, I’ve written about a TEEN TITANS/LEGION OF SUPERHEROES project that Jeph Loeb proposed to me that excited me to no end. I’ve also posted about the chance I had to work with Mark Waid on LEGION when he was removed as writer of FANTASTIC FOUR several years back during the Bill Jemas era at Marvel.

I don’t remember if I’ve written about this on the blog before– but another project that Mark Waid proposed to me (and this is nothing that ever got to the step of actually approaching the folks at DC about this) was his take on AQUAMAN. He had a wonderful idea to introduce a romantic interest for Arthur Curry (or Orin if you prefer). His idea was to have a young female Oceanographer meet AQUAMAN and have sparks fly between them. I’m not entirely sure of all the specifics of Mark’s AQUAMAN ideas (or the status of AQUAMAN’S marriage at that time, either)… but he wanted to have a mix of romance and high action in the seas with the title. Though my memories of the details Mark relayed to me are dimming… I still remember the enthusiasm that Mark had for the stories he wanted to tell… and when Mark Waid is enthusiastic and excited about something he wants to write– that excitement is highly contagious. I remember feeling as though it would have been a perfect change of subject matter and tone for me to work on… I bought into it without question. Unfortunately, it’s something that never came to pass. It’s my fervent wish, though, that one day, I can work with Mark on his take on this character.

OK… I gotta get back to SPIDER-MAN/FF.

This is Entry 369.




Some men, when they reach my age, experience a mid-life crisis– a realization that they’ve come to the half-way point of their lives. Standing on that peak, legs trembling and knees knocking, looking down the slide to the liver-spotted and toothless maw of old age manifests itself in different ways in different men. Some guys buy expensive sports cars to bolster their feelings of virility. Others may search out much younger women to try to reconnect to their youth. Others still may embark on an ‘extreme sports’ kick– bungy jumping and skydiving to kick start those adrenal glands to give them that sense of being a kid again. Different strokes for different blokes.

For me, it’s manifested itself in feelings of inadequacy and a lack of confidence in my work and perhaps my place in the comics industry. My whole world seems to be wrapped up in the comics world. I don’t know if that’s healthy or not (probably not… I should have some outside hobbies, I’m sure). What that does, though, is cause me to focus every bit of my attention on not only my own work, but that of all the other artists in this business… those working for Marvel and DC as well as all those folks working in the indy and small press world. Every time I go to the comic shop to buy new books… it’s a mixed experience for me. I love buying comics that feature art by all the different folks who’s work I follow on a regular basis…. and it’s always wonderful to read them and marvel at these people’s abilities. Inevitably, though, it ends with me feeling vaguely depressed and comparing my own work to that of those artists who’s books I just purchased. My favorite kind of work is what would be termed as ‘stylized’… that work that is a reflection of the individual artist’s personal outlook, experience, influences and natural traits. When I see work that, for the most part, is done from photo reference– it just doesn’t interest me. Perhaps that’s because I don’t work that way… perhaps it’s because I’ve never drawn in a particularly realistic manner myself. For me, an individual, highly personal style is what makes comic books so exciting to see. That very individuality of these artists is what leads to my crisis, though. My OWN individuality seems… bland by comparison. I’ve always lived with the label ‘cartoony’– and over time, I’ve come to embrace it. I don’t have much choice– because it’s true. There are, though, LOTS of cartoony artists working in the business… but to my eyes, their work has an intensity and an edge that mine seems to lack– and in an industry whose focus is all about intensity and edge…. death, betrayal, ideology, angst and generally grim subject matter… I feel a bit displaced. I’ve read several comments from folks about the SPIDER-MAN/FANTASTIC FOUR mini that I’m drawing that state that it reminds them of an “Adventures-style” of book. I’ve got nothing against the Adventures books… but I’ve never seen myself working in that realm.

I’ve had countless people writing me and asking me at shows how I come to my particular style or way of drawing. My answer is always that for me, it’s not something I’ve been able to ‘concoct’. It just came to me over years of work. I’ve tried, at times in my life, to try to incorporate some of the elements of other artists who’s work I admire into my own drawing… and it never seems to work. I’ve seen many comics artists over the years reinvent themselves over and over. It’s always amazing to me that these folks can do this, when it’s always so seemingly impossible for me to change the way I draw in any significant way. Heck, even any SUBTLE ways. Sure, I’ve grown as a penciler over the years. I only have to look back at my past work to see that. As a whole, I draw better now than I did 10 years ago… or even 3 years ago. However, there are things that I liked from my earlier work that I also see have slowly bled out of my present drawing. So today’s sketch was a way of looking back and trying to perhaps draw some of that old edge I think I had and filter it into the way I draw now. The sketch, I believe, is entirely unsuccessful. It felt completely unnatural to do that– and therefore, it wasn’t much fun. FORCING myself to draw any particular way than the way that comes naturally feels akin to trying to fit a size 9 shoe on my size 12 foot. At the end of the day, I suppose I don’t have much choice but to be who and what I am and hope for the best. Call it paranoia from a middle-aged guy who lives to draw comics (or should that be draws comics to live…?)– but for a while now, I’ve felt like the comics biz has been moving in one direction… and I’m moving in another. I guess I can only keep going… and try to roll with whatever happens.


I enjoy reading many web comics… and I’ve become friends with several web comics folks, like Jamar Nicholas of DETECTIVE BOOGALOO and Scott Kurtz of PVP. I’ve enjoyed the web strip SILENT KIMBLY by Ryan Sias for quite some time. It’s a very funny, gentle and sweet strip that usually involves a cast of very cute characters in scenarios that illustrate a play on words. Ryan is an incredibly imaginative guy and a terrific artist. Recently he contacted me to ask if I’d be willing to draw a guest strip for him, and I was happy to comply with that request. Ryan just posted the strip I drew, and I’ve posted it here as well– but click the link and head over and read his SILENT KIMBLY archives. You’ll discover how wonderful a world Ryan has created.

OK… that’s it for today. I apologize for the rambling post above… but one of the things about this blog is that it can serve as a bit of therapy at times. It helps to write things out that are running through my mind. Hopefully, it didn’t bore you to tears.

This is Entry 368.




I enjoyed playing with stretching the figure and pushing the foreshortening on the SIGG JONES post Wednesday…. so I thought I’d keep going with that for today’s post. I also felt like drawing FLASH again for the fun of it… so I combined the two for todays last post of the week. I’m starting to contemplate making some changes to the way I approach my comics work… and I might work up a post about that on Monday.

For now, though– I’ve got to get back to work. I hope you all have a great weekend. Sorry to have to keep it so short.

This is Entry 367.