Monday, December 17, 2012

Pulp Expressionism

DRAW! #24 from TwoMorrow Publishing, has an online PDF preview worth checking out! One of the best "How To"magazines on comics and cartooning, DRAW! #24  gets a little PULP NOIR this issue with an up-close and in the studio feature with illustrator Glen Orbik, as he demos how he creates his fully painted noir paperback and comic covers for Marvel, DC Comics and others! Several pages of step by step techniques, paintings and reference photos. I just reserved my copy!

Other features include a jump from comics to animation in an interview with Robert Valley, pioneer of the cutting-edge psychedelic animation for “The Beatles: Rock Band" music video, and character designer on Tron: Uprising and Motor City. Plus there's the latest installment of regular features like Comic Art Bootcamp (this time on "Dramatic Lighting") with editor Mike Manley and Bret Blevins, and reviews of new art supplies by Crusty Critic Jamar Nicholas, and a Rough Critique of a newcomer's work by Bob McLeod!

Click here and check out the free PDF preview.

Click here and visit TwoMorrows online to order your copy, or ask your local comic shop to order a copy for you!

Friday, December 14, 2012

Man of Steel, feet of clay

When I was a kid there was a big fuss over Superman The Movie.

We were going to believe a man could fly.

Superman was a big deal to me, at the time. I used to draw him all the time. Dreamt about drawing comics when I grew up. But I was getting old enough to be aware of the bigger picture, and start asking questions. I was devastated when read about George Reeves death. The conspiracy theories, involving his married mob girlfriend. The concept of suicide was new to me too. There have been several books, including Hollywood Kryptonite. And one great movie, Hollywoodland. Starring Adrien Brody, Ben Affleck, Diane Lane, and Bob Hoskins. Diane Lane is amazing but what surprised me was Affleck. His surprisingly subtle and honest portrayal of Reeves, the actor typecast as a popular and iconic character. Affleck disproves his own critics, with a rich portrayal of the frustration, rage, and longing for respect that comes with being an appealing, handsome actor not generally regarded for having much range.

Before the release of the Christopher Reeve Superman film, amongst all the hype, I remember hearing about how Warner Brothers was going to pay a small stipend to Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster. I remember hearing the hobby shop guy say something about how they were shamed into it by the greedy bastards. But I was old enough to think this through. You can't shame anyone, let alone a company, unless it actually acted shamefully in the first place.

I loved the movie.

And eventually I found more information about Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster. I read anything I could find, including The Steranko History of Comics. I eventually found out about Neal Adams heroic efforts regarding creator's rights and about other artists and writers who had been treated poorly.
I never drew Superman again for a long time. I lost interest in ever wanting to work for DC comics at all.

Here we are, 35 years later. A new epic Superman movie is gearing up for a huge Summer release, and earlier this week we got erroneous news across the net that the Siegel family lost another suit against DC. This week's court decision was only a procedural ruling enabling Toberoff to appeal. He requested it. The fuss and bother about DC winning again is really only a misunderstanding on behalf of a bunch of overzealous but well meaning bloggers.

35 years later and DC comics hasn't learned the ironic shame of continuing to exploit the work of artists and writers, who dreamt of heroes who fight a "never-ending" battle for truth, justice and heroic ideals.

I'll probably go see the new Superman movie. Maybe not the first weekend.

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Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Old man and the C word

The Los Angeles Times is reporting the sixty-five year old Arnold Schwarzenegger, will reprise his role in a Conan the Barbarian sequel.

Several of Robert E Howard's original Conan Stories were written after an older Conan had become King of Aquilonia. The very first Conan Story ever written was rewritten from an unpublished Kull story, "By This Axe I Rule!" and set just after the middle-aged Conan became king. Howard didn't write his Conan stories in any chronological order, so the oldest he wrote Conan wasn't his last Conan story. Conan was in his mid-forties in The Hour of the Dragon, also known as Conan the Conqueror, was his fifteenth Conan story out of twenty or more, and was one of the last Conan stories published before Howard's suicide, but not the last to be written and one of only a few novel length Conan stories written by Howard.

But many stories were written about an aging Conan. None by Howard. He has a son Prince Conn. There was a fun Marvel comic series titled, King Conan. And even in the last Conan novel chronologically Conan is in his mid-sixties, Arnold's current age. And given the relative health and lifespan's of people living now, I suppose it isn't such a stretch to see Arnold play a prehistoric guy close to his own age, especially by Hollywood standards. Depending on how old he endsup in the script. Could it be another Expendables maybe, a fun self-indulgent poke, not taking itself too seriously, at the expense of a beloved literary character? Or could this be Arnold's Unforgiven? One thing is for certain, if the Jason Momoa 'Conan the Barbarian' hadn't failed we wouldn't be here. So thank Crom for the success of the new Star Trek revamp or we might have seen Shatner and crew in a new scooter filled Enterprise. 

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