Comics, Concept Art, Creative Ideas...

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Season's Greetings - 2007

Monday, December 3, 2007

Bean: Interdimensional Mercenary - The Cover

This was an illustration that I had originally done in the year 2000 as a class project, that was meant to be the cover to an issue of my mini comic, Bean. It was my very first Adobe Photoshop illustration ever. It wasn't horrible for a first effort but it was obviously amateur.

Last week I was going through my files and after coming across this I ended up reworking the entire illustration. It's still not perfect, the central figure was a "Frankenstein" creation pulling almost every body part from a different figure in magazines. I wasn't thinking about light sources back then so even with the retouches, those who know what to look for will find the inconsistencies. But I'm satisfied with it enough to show it now.

I'll be releasing the PDF of the comic online within the next month. I was considering drawing a cover from scratch but I'm glad to recover this image so that I can focus forward in my aspirations...

Monday, November 26, 2007

Barry Allen, Impulse

Barry Allen is the alter ego of the DC Superhero The Flash. Barry Allen was killed off in the 1980s in an epic storyline called Crisis On Infinite Earths. His death is considered one of the most iconic and heroic in comics. His sidekick Wally West took on the role of The Flash after Barry's death.

Barry Allen was the Flash of my childhood. After twenty five years death is
n’t adding anything to the character. The character has been handled with so much reverence the perception of him has become stiff and boring. While intending to preserve the character what’s happened is that the character has gotten dusty on the shelf.

In the meantime, Wally West has become a fan favorite. He earned the role of the Flash. So the way I figure it, if you’re going to bring Barry Allen back you should do it totally wrong. Everyone has all this reverence and respect for Barry, what if he’s back but he’s totally messed up. He has brain damage from the Crisis, he has an impulsive temper, his powers have been reduced, and the truth is Wally West has surpassed the man he was.

In my idea of how this story plays he’s not going to be living up to expectations. On top of that, Wally is an adult now and more experienced than he was. Iris is gone, the JLA looks at Wally as the Flash, and they don’t trust Barry anymore. Barry falls from grace. But that’s not the end of the story. While Barry Allen is no longer the Flash, and is no longer the icon he was in death, Impulse is about a man who has crashed but continues to struggle despite of himself, and is still a hero at his core.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Website Genre Figure Illustrations Pt. 1

Currently I'm in the process of redesigning my website. The new design of the site dictates that each page be supplied with a genre image of myself as a standing figure. These are color images and if you'll check the home page of my site, you'll see that there is a western gunfighter image of me there (reflecting my appreciation for the old Jonah Hex comic book). With future pages I plan to feature myself as a space man (going for a 1950s EC Comics feel), a kung fu guy (1970s Paul Gulacy influence), a superhero (1940s Joe Schuster/Fleischer cartoon influence), and a few more that aren't coming to mind right now. There are two purposes for these illustrations. The first, I'm selling myself as a cartoonist and I want to show my range. The second, I totally geek for these retro genres so this totally reflects my passions.

In this space I'll post the image in black and white as I complete them. My current figure illustration features myself with my wife hanging by my side. I'm going for a Rat Pack type influence here. I could be a player, a mobster, or a superspy, but the point is that I'm a swinging hip cat whose a bit of a bad ass. I'm putting the original art for this image for sale on my Ebay Store so if this interests you check it out there.

I'm also posting the first western image here today in black and white. I appreciate the images in color as the finished art but I am very attached to the inks (coloring is a painful process for me trying to divorce myself from the ink for the sake of the finished product) so I am very happy to present the finish work here to see it as line art. I'm tempted to present it in greyscale to "show the art", but I'm going to hold back my purest tendencies unless the demands suggest otherwise.

As always, you can leave me your comments here or you can to to my Forums and engage in dialog there.

Friday, September 14, 2007

The Green Goblin

The Green Goblin
Spider-Man Noir

Forget Norman Osborn, in fact, forget any version of the world of Spider-Man that followed Steve Ditko's (the artist who co-created Spider-Man with scripter Stan Lee) departure from the Amazing Spider-Man title in the late 60s. When the Green Goblin, Spider-Man's most mysterious villain in the 60s, was unmasked in Amazing Spider-Man #39 he was revealed to be Norman Osborn. Up to that point the Goblin had established his own personality. After the unmasking the persona of Norman Osborn took over the voice of the Goblin. The character was never the same impish fiend again.

Steve Ditko's final issue of the series, by the way was Amazing Spider-Man #38. It has even been reported that one of the reasons Ditko left the series was over a disagreement with Lee regarding the identity of the Goblin. Amazing Spider-Man #39 (along with issue #40 which completed the two part tale) is a masterpiece, it's the very comic that got me addicted to the craft and it is my second favorite Green Goblin story. But my first favorite, Amazing Spider-Man #26-27 features a very different Green Goblin in a crime st0ry set in a moodier more stylized world, none of which has been seen in a Spider-Man story since Ditko left.

The Tycoon or the Gangster?

Ditko's Green Goblin was a gangster. He was cunning and dangerous but he had a pathetic quality as well (not unlike Spider-Man). He was ambitious, he wanted to take over the mobs, but his goals were unrealized. He had a quirky characteristic to him. Like Batman's Joker with his clown persona, the original version of the Green Goblin had a playful elf-like persona, which made his evil all the more chilling. Norman Osborn, however, was a millionaire tycoon. He was already a power broker, in many ways more powerful than the Green Goblin had aspired to be and there was nothing pathetic about him. Why would Osborn pose as the Goblin to try to take over the underworld?

For a while this paradox was explained by establishing that Norman Osborn had brain damage from the accident that gave him his super strength and that the Green Goblin was a separate personality from Osborn. This presented Osborn as a more benevolent character (although still cutthroat in business) who was a caring father. The Green Goblin was his evil personality whom his good side tried fought against. The problem with the character was that, as the Goblin, he knew who Spider-Man was which limited the kinds of stories you could tell with him so in the mid 70s the character died. He was brought back to life in the 90s and since that time the character has gotten even further away from his original roots, doing away with the split personality aspect of the character and having Norman Osborn be an ultra powerful tycoon criminal mastermind (like we don't have enough of those already). The character now also has a personal vendetta against Peter Parker (Spider-Man's alter ego) and because of this (among other reasons) the Spider-Man comics have lost their ability to make Peter Parker a character with a normal life.

I love many of the versions of Spider-Man that followed Ditko's original run but every generation adds a layer and that layer gets ingrained into the mythos. Layer after Layer what Ditko (and Lee) had etablished has gotten lost in the mix. There have been attempts to take the time line back to recapture the spirit. Both Spider-Man Chapter One and Ultimate Spider-Man have gone back to the beginning of the earliest days of Spider-Man but both of these examples took much of what was added decades later and brought it with them in many ways reinforcing the new rather than recapturing what was lost from the old. There are great Spider-Man stories from every era. But there was something in that Ditko era that's yet to be tapped with a modern flare.

One of my dream projects I call (for lack of a better name) Spider-Man Noir. The premise of the series is that the first issue starts where Amazing Spider-Man #38 left off and only adheres to the continuity that had been established to that point. The Green Goblin's identity is still a mystery, Mary Jane Watson's face has never been revealed, Peter Parker's main love interest is Betty Brandt, Gwen Stacy isn't quite so sweet, and there's no Joe Robertson, Eddie Brock, Felicia Hardy, Kingpin, etc, etc. I'd draw the story with a Ditko-esque sense of design with the noir-like atmosphere of that great Green Goblin/Crime Master tale (Amazing Spider-Man #26-27) and I'd focus on mystery, crime, and Peter Parker. The covers would be painted homaging the famous The Spider pulp covers. Originally the Green Goblin was defined by mystery. Visually I would go back to Ditko's design for the Goblin and spice it up to really bring out that wicked impish fairytale-esque look. Oh, and Norman Osborn would die in the first issue, killed by the Green Goblin, whose identity would remain a mystery!