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Friday, December 31, 2010
My 10 FAVORITE COMIC ARTISTS OF ’10!
Here are my 10 favorite comic artists of 2010. Hell, some of these guys have been in my top 10 favorite artists for YEARS. Still, a couple, like the AMAZING Greg Tocchini are new. If you ever wonder what comic artists influence my work and equal parts make me want to shoot myself and work my ass off to get better, well, it’s these fine craftsmen.
Once again, I won’t drone on, I’ll let their work speak for itself. Hope you dig it!
So there you have it, my 10 favorite comic artists of 2010. I’ll try and go back and link to these guy’s websites or blogs A.S.A.P. Until then, if you don’t already know who they are, look them up. You won’t be sorry.
Just a few more entries left for my favorite 10 of ’10. They get a little silly here at the end…but I think they’re still fun. 🙂
Friday, December 31, 2010
MY FAVORITE 10 PAGES OF MY ART FROM ’10!
I was going to post this at the first of the week, but realized GOTHAM CITY SIRENS #18 hadn’t hit the stands yet and I couldn’t put up spoilers. SO, things are a little late all around on my 10 lists of ’10. I’ll try and make up for that today…and then probably a little into tomorrow. So, if you’re the kind of person that might ask “What’s with you and all the lists?”, sorry for the barrage. …well, mostly sorry. 🙂
Here are my favorite 10 pages of my art from 2010. As I’ve said many a time, I’m pretty prone to immediately hate what I’ve done. It’s just an artist thing. I’m really happy that I was able to pick out ten pieces that I still liked. To be honest, I actually had to cull out a couple.
So here they are, in no particular order–
Okay, admittedly, some of these were double page spreads. Still though, it’s really one piece of artwork. 🙂
So there you have it, MY FAVORITE 10 PAGES OF MY ART OF ’10! Hope you dug ’em as much as I did making them.
As I mentioned I’ve got several more posts that I’m putting the finishing touches on. I’ll keep at it til they’re all up!
Friday, December 31, 2010
NEW COMICS WEDNESDAY 2- WHAT I BOUGHT!
It’s new comics Wednesday again. This was a pretty big week for my pull list. Quite a bit of stuff came out! …good for my reading, bad for my wallet. 🙂
DETECTIVE COMICS # 872
ULTIMATE THOR #3
ASTONISHING X-MEN: XENOGENESIS #4
INCOGNITO: BAD INFLUENCES #2
ASTONISHING SPIDERMAN & WOLVERINE # 4
BATMAN: THE DARK KNIGHT #1
AVENGERS: EARTH’S MIGHTIEST HEROES #3 (FOR MY KID)
ULTIMATE AVENGERS 3 #5
HELLBOY: THE SLEEPING AND THE DEAD #1
SECRET WARRIORS #23
CAPTAIN AMERICA #613
THE BULLETPROOF COFFIN #6
So that’s what I picked up this week. I started this list on Wednesday and then had a lot of stuff fall into my lap, so I wasn’t able to get back to it until just now.
The good side, it gave me the chance to read a couple of really great books. Probably the highlight of which was DETECTIVE COMICS 872. WOW, what an issue. Start to finish, it was just amazing. Scott Snyder is just PERFECT for this book. The guy writes exactly the kind of Batman stories I love. …I have to admit, I’m more than a little jealous that I’m not getting to draw this stuff. That said, DAMN, Jock is knocking this book out of the park. He is doing some AMAZING work on the art. There is a splash page in this issue that had me hating myself and loving comics at the same time. Also, in all of my fawning over Jock, I can’t not mention what a great job Francesco Francavilla is doing on the Gordon “back up” segment of the story. Francesco is handling both the art and the colors for his segment. He’s such a perfect choice for the noir feel. He captures it perfectly.
The BAD side… Well, look, I try and not complain about books. I’m not a critic. There are waaaay too many people our there that like to call themselves reviewers who are just jerks that like bitching about what they think they could do better. I’m not a fan of that. It’s mostly just mean spirited and counter productive. Needless to say, there were a couple of books that I’m going to be removing from my pull list. I spend way too much money every month on books to be so disappointed in things. The nice thing about it is, if a book isn’t for me, I can do that.
On a parting note, again this week, all of the covers are from books that I’m particularly excited about. I especially want to mention THE BULLETPROOF COFFIN by my parter in lunacy from ARKHAM REBORN, David Hine. It’s a wonderful, odd, mini-series and I can’t wait to read how he wraps things up! Also, I posted both the regular and alternate covers for HELLBOY: THE SLEEPING AND THE DEAD. It’s been a long time since someone has done a cover that I loved as much as Mike Mignola’s take. I have to tip my hat to Mr. Scott Hampton though. WOW, that is a beautifully striking cover. Can someone at Dark Horse PLEASE make a giant assed poster of that stat???
Alright, that’s more than enough blabbing for one day. Until next week, keep reading comics. …and please pay for them. Stealing comics online is just shitty.
Wednesday, December 29, 2010
GOTHAM CITY SIRENS #18 IN STORES TODAY (DECEMBER 29)!!!
The issue of GOTHAM CITY SIRENS that I drew hits stands today. It was written by Peter Calloway and colored by JD Smith. The issue features Catwoman, Poison Ivy, Harley Quinn, Zatanna, and a few other fun Bat-folks. I had a blast working on the issue. I tried a few new things, and really pushed myself artistically. I haven’t drawn a comic that featured so many strong, beautiful woman before. I really tried to up my game when it came to drawing the Sirens. I’m especially proud of the way Catwoman and Zatanna turned out.
Here is a preview of this issue, originally posted by those nice folks over at Comic Book Resources. Hope you dig it!
Here is the cover drawn by the intimidatingly good Guillem March.
So there you have it! Hope you enjoyed the color preview of the book. If you like the preview, run over to your local comic shop and pick up a copy.
Oh, I’ll also be posting my black & white pencils and inks to a few pages next week. Drop back by and check them out!
Tuesday, December 28, 2010
DESK SHOT…ANOTHER ONE!
Here is another process desk shot. After I posted the initial pencils, a friend suggested that I needed to go in and take out some of the graphite in the fill areas otherwise it would muddy the watercolors. Something I didn’t even think about as I was doing it. Filling in the pencils is just a force of habit thing when I work. I took a drafting eraser pad and went over the pencils to lighten up the amount of graphite I had on the page. After that, I started in with painting in the lighter tones, working light to dark.
I finished up this painting late last night. I’m really happy with the way it turned out. I’ll post the finished image on January 1st. After that I’ll put up a full blog on the painting process. I took a bunch of in progress shots!
Sunday, December 26, 2010
Here is another desk shot of a watercolor painting of Zatanna that I started. So far, I’ve drawn a fairly tight image in 2H mechanical pencil on Arches watercolor paper. The painting itself should go pretty fast. The color scheme will be pretty simple, mostly black and white with a few tones for the skin and background. I’ll post more process shots as I go.
Hope you dig it!
Sunday, December 26, 2010
MY FAVORITE 10 MOVIES OF ’10!
At first I thought about it and really couldn’t come up with 10 movies that I really loved in 2010. In all honesty, I kind of think ’10 was just a shit year at the theater. Maybe it’s the obsession with 3D. Maybe it’s just remake fever. Maybe I’m just old and grumpy. I dunno. 🙂
It’s funny that three of the films on this list are animated movies. Don’t get me wrong, I think animated movies are just as valid as other films, but it’s kind of a statement about the state of things when a solid third of the movies on this list are flicks I saw with my kid.
Still, in spite of all of that, here are 10 movies that I really did enjoy this year. I’m going to skip commentary on them. Needless to say, if they’re on here, they made me happy. 🙂
TOY STORY 3
HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON
IRON MAN 2
So there you have it, my favorite 10 movies of 2010. They vary quite a bit, but that’s kind of how my movie tastes go. Like I said, I really dug all of these. Even among them, HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON, MONSTERS, and TRUE GRIT really stood out. I just saw TRUE GRIT, so I’m kind of in love with it. It was damned near perfect.
Well, we’re at the half way point in my 10 favorite things of 10. Tomorrow’s addition is going to be a little different. It’s going to feature my 10 favorite pages, that I drew in 2010. Hell, I thought it was hard finding 10 MOVIES from 2010 that weren’t crap, you should see me fret over 10 pages that I don’t hate. 🙂
Until then, I hope you all had a Merry Christmas…or whatever sort of thing you celebrate.
Sunday, December 26, 2010
MY FAVORITE 10 COMIC SERIES OF ’10!
2010 has been a weird year for comics. There’s been some stuff that I’ve really loved mixed in with some books that have talked big talk and then been utter crap. The good definitely outweighs the bad. I could probably do a 20 favorite comic series of ’10, but that would just be silly. So instead, the following 10 comic series are ones that are really ones that I’ve loved. I droned on a little more than planned. Hopefully it’s at least a LITTLE entertaining. 🙂
FRANKENCASTLE: Rick Remender really did it right with his PUNISHER run. He took Frank Castle, who had recently been re-established in the Marvel universe, told a huge “Gang War” style story with him taking on the Hood and his syndicate and then did something no one really saw coming. He killed him. Rick had Daken “Dark Wolverine” (who is arguably the LAMEST character created in…a long time) and had him cut off the Punisher’s head. From there things just got AWESOME. Rick took Frank Castle, the Punisher, and had him brought back by the Legion of Monsters, as a hodgepodge Frankenstein’s monster. Add to that my buddy, Tony Moore drawing the hell out of EVERYTHING and something that 90% of fans out there went “what the HELL???” about really REALLY worked. It was a short year, but along the way FRANKENCASTLE was one of the most balls out, do what you want to do, absolutely fun books on the stands. I’m proud of Rick for having the sack tackle it. I’m proud of Tony for doing the best damned work of his career Heck, I’m proud of Marvel for letting them do their thing. Bravo!
AMERICAN VAMPIRE: Vampires that don’t suck! Well, you know what I mean. In an age of shitty glitter assed vampires, pining over underage girls with pedophilic lust, Scott Snyder, Raphael Albuquerque, and Stephen King do it right. Their tale of turn of the turn of the century vampires, who are more likely to eat you than whine, are a VERY welcome return to the undead. Snyder is easily becoming one of my favorite new writers working in comics. In fact, if his DETECTIVE COMICS run was more than two issues in, it would be on this list. He just gets it. Albuquerque is an just an amazing artist. From his beautiful covers to the varied styles and spot on storytelling, he really makes the series his own. AMERICAN VAMPIRE is a lot of fun. It’s nice to see such a strong new book coming out of Vertigo. I’m on board for the long haul.
BATMAN AND ROBIN: I really loved BATMAN AND ROBIN in 2010. It was nice to get to see Dick Grayson and Damien in action as Batman and the Boy Wonder. I have to admit that Morrison is hit and miss with me. But when he’s on, like with ALL STAR SUPERMAN and here in BATMAN AND ROBIN he’s damned amazing. The rotating art team was a lot of fun. I especially loved Frank Quitely (how can you not, the man is brilliant), Cameron Stewart (in spite of him being Canadian), and Frazer Irving (who has always been awesome, but really attained new heights of excellence on his arc). Working in an comics sometimes you grow to dislike the characters you work on. Getting to read books like BATMAN AND ROBIN while working in the Bat office only made me love the characters more.
B.P.R.D. : Mike Mignola, John Arcudi, & Guy Davis consistently turn out some of the most entertaining, beautifully drawn books every year. They’re an amazing team. Last year we got two 5 issue B.P.R.D mini series “King of Fear” and “Hell on Earth”. Nothing makes me quite as happy as 10 issues of Arcudi and Mignola written, Davis drawn goodness, in a year. Mignola and Arcudi together really bring some of the best character driven fantasy horror out there. Every series I think that they can’t top the last…yet they do. Guy Davis is one of the best illustrators in the biz. He’s one of those guys that can draw ANYTHING. He draws the best monsters ever! I’m so excited for B.P.R.D. in 2011. It’s going to be a huge year for the book.
HELLBLAZER: John Constantine is probably one of my favorite characters in comics. He’s a bastard. A kind of strangely lovable bastard, but a bastard, none the less. HELLBLAZER is Vertigo’s longest running title with well over 250 issues. It has had it’s ups and downs. That said, 2010 was a pretty amazing year for the book. Writer Peter Milligan (who did one of my favorite Vertigo books, ENIGMA back in ’93) and artist Giuseppe Camuncoli have really breathed some life back into Constantine’s old bones. On top of the regular series, this year we got the added bonus of the 5 issue mini series Hellblazer: City of Demons. City of Demons is a dark, horrifyingly wonderful Constantine tale written by Si Spencer. I don’t want to diminish the story at all, but the thing that sets this apart as EASILY one of my favorite books of the year is the artwork by SEAN MURPHY. If you follow my “POSITIVE THURSDAY” blog entries, you can see me gush on about the guy’s talent there. Here, I’ll keep it simple. The dude’s work is awe inspiring. As we go into 2011, I’m so glad that HELLBLAZER continues to be one of the best books out there. Cheers!
FANTASTIC FOUR: I’ve never been a big FF fan. I just feel like most of the time, I really don’t care about the group. One of the most important elements of the FANTASTIC FOUR is the fact that they’re a family. Jonathan Hickman gets that and gives us a realistic, well rounded family dynamic. Honestly, if you can write the family aspect, you’ve got the book. The nice thing about Hickman’s work is he goes BEYOND a well written family dynamic and gives us a truly fun sci-fi/adventure story. I’m so happy to get to enjoy the FF. I’ll stick around as long as Hickman does…maybe even a bit beyond.
JOE THE BARBARIAN: I’ve already had one Morrison book in my favorite 10 comics of ’10. …another book drawn by Sean Murphy, for that matter. I guess it’s a testament to two guys being at the top of their game. I’ve gotta be honest, as usual with Morrison’s stuff, I have NO idea where this story is going. JOE THE BARBARIAN is a fantasy, reality bending story that seems as much like a stream of consciousness symbolic vision quest as anything. Still, I’m drinking the Kool-Aid and on for the ride. I’m not sure what was drawn when, but for as amazing as Murphy’s work is on HELLBLAZER: CITY OF DEMONS is, his craft is at a whole new level with JOE THE BARBARIAN. Beautiful, inspiring stuff. Can’t wait for the series to finish. …well, mostly.
KING CITY: I recently wrote about KING CITY in a ‘POSITIVE THURSDAY’ blog. Check it out for more info. Still though. I seriously love KING CITY. LOVE IT!!
LOCKE AND KEY: I really had no idea who this Joe Hill guy was or even anything about LOCKE AND KEY whenever I picked up the first hardcover volume a couple of years ago. It just caught my eye at Jim Hanley’s Universe in NYC. I’m not sure if it was the design of the book itself or the title “Welcome to Lovecraft”, but I slapped down my money and have been a rabid fan of Joe Hill and LOCKE AND KEY ever since. The story has all of the trappings that just get me: a family with a dark past, a house filled with secrets, keys…lots of keys, and so much more. The book is beautifully illustrated Gabriel Rodriguez. To be honest, I never would have imagined his super clean, slightly light art style for a story like LOCKE AND KEY, but now I couldn’t imagine the book any other way. Rodriguez is an excellent draftsman. His mastery of character and architecture really shine. Man, just typing about this makes me want to go back and re-read the whole thing. …heck, I might just do that! 🙂
HELLBOY: Mike Mignola bottled lightning when he created HELLBOY. I remember seeing that initial Hellboy image back in ’93 when I was a junior in high school. I’d liked Mignola’s strange work on COSMIC ODYSSEY, GOTHAM BY GASLIGHT, FAFHRD AND THE GRAY MOUSER. The thing that REALLY had me interested in his work was this Lovecraftian story from LEGENDS OF THE DARK NIGHT issue 54. I’d loved that story so much when I found out that Mignola was doing an entire book with that sort of feel I was IMMEDIATELY sold. Since then I’ve been a…bit of a fanboy when it comes to HELLBOY and Mignola’s work. I haven’t missed a beat. I was a little hesitant back in ’06 or ’07 when Mignola announced that he was going to turn the art reigns over to Duncan Fegredo. I should say that it wasn’t any doubt in Fegredo. I’ve been a huge fan of his work since I first discovered his stuff on ENIGMA from Vertigo (…weird that this is the second time I’ve mentioned that great series). My concern was just that HELLBOY without Mignola drawing him was kind of like THE SPIRIT without Eisner (though, I guess that’s happened too). In spite of my silly worrying, DARKNESS CALLS, THE WILD HUNT, and THE STORM ended up being some of the best HELLBOY stories to date. Fegredo’s work on the series has only made it better. In addition to HELLBOY: THE STORM, we also got two one shots with the amazing Richard Corben HELLBOY IN MEXICO and DOUBLE FEATURE OF EVIL, a BEASTS OF BURDEN/HELLBOY SPECIAL with Evan Dorkin & Jill Thompson, and the first issue of a two issue mini with Scott Hampton called THE SLEEPING AND THE DEAD. Altogether a great year for HELLBOY. I could fawn on about the series, but I’m sure by now you get my drift. Mike Mignola is seven kinds of awesome and I love me some HELLBOY.
Okay that’s it for my favorite 10 comic series of ’10. I went on a little longer than I’d planned. Technically, unless you live on the west coast, this one is a little late. Sorry. The whole Christmas thing kind of had me running behind.
Check back in a few minutes for 10 favorite movies of 2010. 🙂
Friday, December 24, 2010
MY FAVORITE 10 TV SERIES OF ’10!
Okay, first off, I have to admit, I don’t really watch TV when it’s on TV. I don’t have satellite. I don’t have cable. Hell, I don’t even have an antenna. I pretty much watch everything on either Tivo, Netflix, or later on DVD. So bear in mind that I might be a season or so behind on some of these shows. There was really some excellent stuff that came out. So, in no particular order,here is a list of my 10 favorite shows from 2010!
And there you have it, my top TV series of ’10. Some new shows like Walking Dead, Community, and Louie really came out the gate strong and blew me away. Other shows like Fringe, Californication, and Dr. Who really upped their game and changed the status quo. While yet other shows, like The Office, Breaking Bad, and Supernatural proved yet again why they’re shows that I love. In the end, I love serialized storytelling. There’s some amazing stuff out there to watch. I can’t wait to see what 2012 brings.
Be sure to check back tomorrow for my 10 favorite comics of 2010!
Thursday, December 23, 2010
MY FAVORITE 10 VIDEO GAMES OF ’10!
I don’t really get to play a lot of video games. I LOVE them, but one thing I learned early on working in comics, is that guys who spend too much time on the video games PROBABLY aren’t going to get much work done. I try and limit myself. Most of the time, I allow myself two 30 minute breaks a night. Sometimes a little more and sometimes less. If I’ve got a huge deadline looming, I might not touch the Xbox for a month or more. When I was drawing Arkham Reborn, I got the game Arkham Asylum in the mail. I had to let it sit there, taunting me for two months while I finished up a couple of issues. I know, I know, it’s tough to be me. 🙂
So this is a list of my favorite 10 games of 2010. Much like my list of albums, I have to admit I didn’t really play that many games. I really wanted to get to Boarderlands and Spiderman: Shattered Dimensions. I’m pretty sure Boarderlands would have bumped something on this list…oh well, I’ll get to it sometime. But I digress, so here it is my 10 favorite games of ’10, in absolutely no order whatsoever.
FALLOUT: NEW VEGAS
Fallout 3 was EASILY my favorite game of ’08. New Vegas has followed it up perfectly. It’s just more of everything I loved about 3 with a new storyline and trimmings. I’m about 15 hours into this game. I haven’t really done much in the way of the main quest at all. I’ve done quite a few side quests, but I mostly just explore, shoot things, and see what kind of cool loot I can find. I’ll probably be playing Fallout: New Vegas well into 2011 and loving it!
I’m not even sure how I heard about ALAN WAKE, but I picked it up based on the concept alone. It didn’t let me down. I was definitely happy I tried it. I really loved the atmosphere and mood of the game. Kind of a SILENT HILL as written by Stephen King kind of feel. My only real complaint is that it kind of ended abruptly. Still, easily one of my favorites of the year.
RED DEAD REDEMPTION
An open world western? Sold. What could make it any better? Zombies you say? I haven’t had the chance to play RED DEAD REDEMPTION: UNDEAD NIGHTMARE, but it’s on my list of things to do before the week is over. Because seriously, who wouldn’t wanna play an open world western with zombies?
LEGO HARRY POTTER
I love all of the LEGO games. Sure, you’ve played one LEGO game, you’ve pretty much played them all. But c’mon, who can resist LEGO STAR WARS, LEGO INDIANA JONES, and LEGO BATMAN? LEGO HARRY POTTER is a perfect addition to their line of games. A huge bonus is that I can share the LEGO library with my son. He loves the LEGO titles too and thanks to them fixing the way the game is set up he can’t drag my character around the screen like he could with BATMAN and the others.
DONKEY KONG COUNTRY RETURNS
DONKEY KONG COUNTRY is just a fun series of games. I played them with my brothers and girlfriend in high school. It’s nice that the Wii has returned to Kong with DONKEY KONG COUNTRY RETURNS. It’s all of the fun of the old titles with some really nice updates. It’s another game that I can share with my son. AND it’s a title that’s on the Wii, so I can always let him play KONG and sneak out to the Xbox to shoot things in the head. 🙂 Another fun thing about DONKEY KONG COUNTRY RETURNS is it got me all nostalgic for the other ones, so I downloaded them through the Wii store. It’s kind of cool to come in and just as likely see Ethan playing DIDDY’S QUEST as the new one.
DEAD RISING 2
It was a LOOOOONG four years between DEAD RISING and DEAD RISING 2. I’m not sure that there was another game that I was more excited to play the sequel. DEAD RISING 2 had me from the get go, but doing the online downloadable prequel was a BRILLIANT move on their part. Even before the game came out, I’d already plopped down my, what was it $5-$10 to get a taste. I love the creative combinable weapons. You know what’s better than killing a zombie with a chainsaw? Killing a horde of zombies with two chainsaws strapped to an kayak oar. Oh, I’m going to have so much fun playing DEAD RISING 2 over and over again…until DEAD RISING 3 comes out some time in the next 5 years. 🙂
CASTLEVANIA: LORDS OF SHADOW
The new CASTLEVANIA is just BEAUTIFUL. To be honest, that’s really the only reason it’s on this list. I could stare at each and every scene for hours. Okay, maybe not hours, but you get my meaning. I’m not all of the way through the game, so it may get better, but as it stands, the game play is a little annoying. I mean, it’s there, but CASTLEVANIA: LORDS OF SHADOW seems to be a collection of beautiful cinematics occasionally interrupted by a few minutes of game play. I’m sure BORDERLANDS would have booted this one. Still, in the end, it’s a beautifully designed game. There’s something to be said for that.
CALL OF DUTY: BLACK OPS
Oh, CALL OF DUTY. How my brother and I waste HOURS of our lives playing you. BLACK OPS is a great game. I have to be honest, I haven’t gotten that far into the campaign. Nazi Zombies call to me. They call to me to come and shoot them in the face. And they’re not only zombies, but also Nazis, so I’m more than happy to oblige.
The world of BIOSHOCK is rich, bleak, and absolutely beautiful. This is another game I just love to stare at. The designers of the BIOSHOCK series are aces in my book. I enjoyed BIOSHOCK 2 just as much as I did the first. Being able to play a Big Daddy was a ton of fun, too. I hope they keep this series going for a good long while. I’d be happy to come back again and again.
Damn FLAPPY BIRD!!! I really hate loving this game. I was a late adopter of flappy bird. I don’t play a ton of games on my phone. Seriously though, FLAPPY BIRD might be the best $0.99 I spent in 2010. It’s like a $0.99 bag of iphone game crack…and I think I’m hooked.
So there it is, day two of my countdown to 2011! Check back tomorrow for my 10 favorite TV series of 2010. In the meantime, I’m gonna go kill me some of those evil egg stealing pigs. 🙂