Category: Comics

The Art of Sin City

FRANK MILLER is a genius. Although he’s worked in both movies and comics, it is in the latter that he has really made his mark. In the early ’80s, MILLER re-invented Daredevil taking him from a thrid rate hero to one of the most popular comics hitting the stands. After Daredevil came Ronin, and then Dark Knight Returns, the series that woke up mainstream America to the fact that comics were still around. MILLER went on to create Batman: Year One, Sin City and the groundbreaking 300.

But it is MILLER’s SIN CITY series that remains my favorite. All of the stories are set in the same corrupt big city and quite often feature overlapping characters. Every tale is well worth the price of admission and now MILLER even has released a book dedicated to The Art of Sin City. My copy hasn’t made it to the bookshelf yet, as I keep looking through and admiring the genius that is FRANK MILLER.

Rucka & Robertson on Wolverine

GREG RUCKA is one of my favorite writers. Best known for his Atticus Kodiac novels, RUCKA has also written quite a few comics [including the very popular “White Out” series].

It has been announced that RUCKA is going to be the writer when Marvel unleashes a new Wolverine series next May. DARRICK ROBERTSON is going to provide the artwork and has this to say about RUCKA’s take on Logan: “You will be getting a very, very different Wolverine… I think some fans aren’t going to like it all. Greg sees Logan like the Hulk in that he shouldn’t just go berserk all the time, but when he does, it’s a big deal and there will be so much building up to his explosion, that we he does cut loose, it will be momentous.”

The series seems to have a lot of potential. I know that I will be watching for the first issue.

FX is Coming

This weekend JOHN “Big” BEATTY and I will be attending the FX Collector’s Toy, Comic and Fantasy Convention at Orlando’s Orange County Convention center. As if this weren’t reason enough to go, other guests scheduled to appear include LINDA [“The Exorcist”] BLAIR, DOUG [“Hellraiser”] BRADLEY, The Insane Clown Posse, and a whole bunch of comic book artists such as MARTIN NODELL, ALEX SAVIUK, and BILL BLACK.

JOHN will be selling some of his newly designed T-Shirts and doing some sketches while I will be checking out the place with my son and helping with the booth if it gets crazy. If you’re planning to attend, please make sure that you drop by and say, “Hi.”

Big Beatty

JOHN BEATTY has been my best friend forever. So I’m really happy to say that he’s starting to kick his personal web site into high gear. It’s going to be a blast. Many of you probably know of JOHN through his work for Marvel, DC, Dark Horse, etc.

JOHN is still doing some work in comics [he’s currently inking Birds of Prey over CASEY JONES] but is also expanding into T-Shirt Design and more. The business “stuff” will be available online at Big Shot Graphics and the fun stuff will be on his personal site and I can promise you that it’s going to be a hoot. Be advised the humor and language will sometimes not be for kids.

Be Careful What You Ask For

What is the old saying? Be careful what you ask for… because you just might get it.

Dick Giordano tells a great story that illustrates just that point. If you don’t know who Mr. Giordano is, let me simply say, he’s one of the legends of comics. In addition to inking all of the best artists of the last 50 years, Dick was also the head honcho of DC Comics [you know, the folks who publish Superman, and Batman], worked with Neal Adams at Continuity Studios, and currently co-owns, with Bob Layton, Future Comics.

Dick had the assignment of pencilling a cover that featured a sexy female super-hero. He turned in the pencils for final approval and received back a note from the editor who shall remain nameless [ *cough* Jim Shooter *cough*]. The note said, “Make her breasts bigger.”

Now Dick is known for drawing well-endowed women. He shook his head and went back and re-drew the breasts larger. He sent the artwork back to the editor.

Once again the page was sent back to Dick and this time with a note that simply stated: “MORE BREASTS.”

Dick didn’t want to disappoint the editor so he sat back down, drew a third breast on the character and sent the page back in. Needless to say, it wasn’t returned again.

Not My Rawhide Kid

One of the comics I enjoyed as a boy was The Rawhide Kid. The Rawhide Kid was young, quick with a gun and thought to be an outlaw but wasn’t. He traveled from town to town, stayed long enough to right a wrong and then moved on. He never drew his gun first, was shy and even drank milk. He even had a real cool “costume” that was easily recognizable. Sure, he sounds like a cliché, but don’t most kids’ comics when you break them down into the essentials? At any rate, he was a great role model for a young ‘un like myself.

When the western craze died out, so did The Rawhide Kid.

Now he’s returning in a new mini-series called “Slap Leather.” I can’t recommend it though. See, Marvel has decided to make the Rawhide Kid gay… not that there is anything wrong with being gay. My problem with the series is: 1) They’re approaching it as a joke. You know, like NOW we know why he was shy and moved from town to town * wink* *wink*… and 2) If they wanted to create a gay cowboy, why not create a new character instead of one that has been around for nearly 50 years?

And consider this… if the argument is that it will give a role model to young gay kids… how is it going to make them feel when they realize that the “hero” is being treated as the punchline?

Da Goon

Eric Powell writes and draws “The Goon” which is published by Albatross Exploding Funny Books. The Goon combines horror, sci-fi, humor, zombies, ufos, humor, gangsters, humor, werewolves… well, let’s just say anything that Eric wants to write or draw about would work in the series. And did I mention that it’s fun and funny?

Right now the second issue of the second series is on newstands. But don’t worry, you can still get all of the back issues and a trade edition is coming in January. I’ll be getting it, even though I already have the issues off the stands. That should tell you just how much I enjoy Eric‘s work. I’ll bet you would too.

So check out his site, and tell him I sent ya! [If ya don’t expect a visit from The Goon — and I ain’t talking about Big Beatty or myself!!]

The Biz

Isn’t the drawing above nice? It’s been a while since I’ve seen a piece of art that has really blown me away like this piece does.

It’s by Simon Bizley. The Biz is best known for his work on Judge Dredd… but he is able to do so much more.

Check out this site and you’ll see what I mean.

Nice to be Wanted

Usually it’s nice to feel wanted.

So what do you think about the drawing of me on the wanted poster with Jonah Hex?

The piece I wrote about me being drawn in a comic with Superman struck a cord with many of you. I received several requests to see more. Well, let me say that attending the Man of Steel’s wedding was a breeze compared to my appearnce with a certain DC comics gunslinger…

John Beatty commissioned Bob McLeod to do a painting [reprinted to the left] based on an idea from Mike Zeck. Big Beatty thought it would be funny if my face was on the wanted poster and Bob agreed. The rest is history.

Bob McLeod [probably best known for being co-creator of The New Mutants for Marvel comics] is available for commissions. Bob is a first rate artist who can draw well in a number of different styles. Check out his site and tell him I sent ya!

Yeah, usually it’s nice to feel wanted… unless you’re wanted dead or alive!

Mike Zeck’s “Get Carter” Prelim

If you’re looking through the SZ Art Gallery in order, then you saw Mike Zeck’s finished Jack Carter piece. [If you haven’t then you’re still in for a treat!] Mike also sent me this prelim that he worked up before doing the final version. Man, is he great or what?
Mike accepts commissions and you can see more of his work at his site. Please tell him I sent ya [and let us see what YOU get]!
– Craig Zablo (July 20, 2002)

Zablo Part of the DC Universe

See the strong, handsome-looking guy in the picture?  No, not Superman!   The other hunk. Yep, that’s me. Bet ‘cha didn’t know that I’m part of the DC universe did you?

Yeah, I don’t like to brag, but I’ve hung out with Superman.

The artwork to the left was drawn by Jerry Ordway for a story written by Marv Wolfman [and co-plotted by John Byrne] which appeared in The Adventures of Superman #426 way back in 1987. Jerry Ordway was the regular artist and he was drawing friends and friends of friends in scenes in the comics. Since Jerry and John Beatty were friends, I got in on a “hook-up.”

How cool is that?

I’ve also made “appearances” in other comics. I guess I’m part of the DC Universe, the Marvel Universe, and occasionally this one as well.

Jorge Zaffino R.I.P.

Big Beatty left the message last night. He’d just received word that Jorge Zaffino had died of a heart attack. He was only 45.

I’ve been a fan of Jorge Zaffino since I first discovered his work years ago in a very cool mini-series called Winterworld [still one of my all-time favorite stories].

Jorge may be best known for his work on The Punisher. He completed a hardbound graphic novel as well as some issues of the Punisher monthly comic. Jorge‘s work also appeared in Batman: Black and White and other comic anthologies and special projects [which he preferred] in the US as well as comics in Argentina [his homeland].

Jorge Zaffino‘s art was stark, bold and so very powerful. He didn’t follow the trend of lots of lines and over-rendering and consequently was never considered a fan favorite… until you spoke with artists and writers. Chuck Dixon called Jorge “a true artist’s artist.” Tim Truman said he was an “amazing artist” and Mike Manley was quoted as saying, “His work will stand the test of time and that is the mark of true talent.”

I’m saddened for Jorge‘s family and friends. I’m also sorry for his fans around the world who will no longer have the good fortune to see new art from him. [I’d always hoped to see Jorge represented in the SZ Art Gallery. Can you imagine what his version of Jack Carter or Rambo would have looked like?]

God bless Jorge Zaffino, his family, friends and fans. Like Mike Manley said, “His work will stand the test of time.”

 

It’s a Small World

“It’s a small world.” How often have you heard that cliche and thought, it’s really not that small?

In the late 70’s up until 1983, I collected and dealt in original comic art. I had an inside track to quite a few artists since John Beatty [who was working in the business] and I had been friends since junior high. My favorite artist at the time was Paul Gulacy [a very talented and very nice guy] who pencilled and sometimes inked a series called “Master of Kung Fu” [written by the equally talented and nice, Doug Moench].

I was fortunate enough to eventually meet both of these guys and even commission some art from Paul… but I digress. Long before I ever met Paul, I was able to get one of my favorite MOKF pages [a panel from it is posted above]. It practically fell into my lap for a great trade. I couldn’t believe my luck! I had one of my favorite pages from the series and I had been collecting / dealing in art in less than a year.

Fast forward less than a year. I placed an ad for art that I was selling and offering for trades. A guy called up and wanted to purchase the Gulacy page. Well, at this point I owned other Gulacy pages and was even speaking to Paul via phone on a fairly regular basis so I sold the page.

Fast forward to 1983. I was getting ready to graduate college and get a “real job.” I decided to sell off my entire art collection [except for a Stallone piece by Paul – which I still own, thank you very much!] Over the years, I’ve thought about all of the art I’ve owned [and that included pieces by Steranko, Byrne, Miller, Zeck, etc.], but it’s that MOKF page that I’ve missed the most.

Fast forward to last week [we’re moving through time at a breakneck pace, aren’t we?]. Comic art collector Mike Shields posted up some of the art from his collection and guess what page he has in it? “Wow!, [said in a Bill Black-like voice] that’s right, Mike Shields now owns the very same Paul Gulacy page!”

I sent him an e-mail telling him how I came to own in back in 1979 and that I had sold it in 1980. In closing I said that I was glad that it had ended up with a big Gulacy fan and that I wondered how many people it had gone through since I had sold it to end up with him.

Mike wrote me back and told me that he checked his records on how he came to purchase it. Seems he saw an ad in 1980 from a guy with the initials CZ! Yep! Mike purchased the piece from me 22 years ago and has had it in his collection ever since! How cool is that?

Sometimes it DOES seem like it’s a small world after all!

Tampa Con Report

On Saturday, my son, Mike (far left), AC Comics CEO, Bill Black (second from the left), John Beatty (see him?) , and I drove to Tampa for a small comic convention. The main draw was Marty Nodell who created The Green Lantern but John Dell, Rick Magyar, Derek Aucoin and others were also scheduled to attend.

The con was on Sunday, but we went down early to avoid a long drive on the same day. The trip down was a blast. We entertained each other with stories, and literally laughed the whole way.

We went out to dinner… and planned to eat at a Chinese restaraunt called “The Crazy Buffet,” but when we found out it was $21.95 per person [what are they? crazy?], we decided to find another place for chow. We ended up at another Chinese buffet and who do you guess was having dinner there? That’s right, Marty Nodell who would be Guest of Honor at the convention the next day. We spent a bit of time talking with Marty and his lovely wife and then had a more reasonably priced meal.

The rest of the evening was spent laughing and planning things that will probably never take place [short films, comics, etc.], debating the difference between a farmer and a cowboy [Clint Eastwood vs Roy Rogers for example], watching Evander Hollyfield turn an opponent into the Elephant Man, and basically acting foolish. What a great time… we were up until well after 1 AM and I can’t remember laughing so much or so hard in recent years.

We were up early to be on time for the show which was well attended but very hot. A tightly packed room without any place to sit and talk made it seem even hotter. Marty was there and swamped by fans looking for original art, autographs and pictures. The other artists came in, but only one was sketching. I enjoyed talking to John Dell, Derek Aucoin, and Rick Maygar [who may do a Stallone piece!]. I also met Randy Martin who had several really nice sketchbooks full of commissioned sketches of Edward Scissorhands! My son found a few comics for his collection. At around 2PM we decided to head home [after a brief stop at Bill‘s to check out his autograph collection]

Overall it was a fun experience, but anytime Mike, Bill, John and I get together we have a great time. Oh, and in case you’re wondering… John isn’t the guy in the Spider-Man suit… John took the picture.

Kelsey’s Back, Baby!

Whooo-hooo! Kelsey Shannon‘s web site is back on line again.

Kelsey is an extremely talented artist [and a really nice guy]. He’s probably best known for his work with Mike Avon Oeming and Miles Gunter on Samauri Bastard.

I’m proud to say that Kelsey did some Sly artwork for the StalloneZone Gallery a year ago… well before Samauri Bastard [so don’t think that we’re jumping on the bandwagon!] Anyway, back to Samauri Bastard, the first issue is out now and I suggest that you give it a look before it sells out.

Then head over to Kelsey‘s site. You can check out the dozens of sketches that he does before getting down to the business of drawing a page. You can also see other cool pieces that Kelsey created for himself and others. And you’ll know why I’m so excited that Kelsey is back on line, baby!