Category: Art

Cool "Crime" Cover — 1st in a Series

I’ve always thought this was one of the coolest covers.

Painted by Dan Brereton, it may have seen print elsewhere [Chris Mills would know!] before landing on the seventh issue of Draw! magazine. If it wasn’t painted for a specific story, it cries out for one to be written around it. It has all the right elements for a great crime saga… a tough dame, guns, money, and a rough thug [gotta wonder where that scar came from] on the run [note the hanging handcuff].

Marshall Rogers – RIP

Marshall Rogers has died. He was 57 years old. The cause of death is not known at this time.

What is known is that Rogers burst onto the comics scene in mid 70’s and became an immediate fan favorite. Best known for his work with writer, Steve Englehart and inker, Terry Austin, the trio redefined Batman and his cast of supporting characters in Detective Comics #471-#476. Rogers then went on to do more groundbreaking work on Mr. Miracle and later Dr. Strange. In addition Rogers worked on the Silver Surfer, Detectives, Inc. [graphic novel and comic series], The Coyote, and his own creations Captain Quick and the Foozle, and later Scorpio Rose as well as other series.

Rogers left comics in the early ‘90s but later returned and even followed up on his classic Batman stories by reteaming with Englehart and Austin on Batman: Dark Detective.

I was a huge Marshall Rogers fan. I loved his work on Batman, Mr. Miracle, and even Dr. Strange [not one of my favorite characters, but Rogers made him work!]. Detectives, Inc. with Don McGregor is a fondly remembered graphic novel. As is Rogers great “Strange” portfolio. I followed Rogers work on everything he did until he left comics. Like everyone, I strongly recommend his Batman stories. They are easily found and definitely work looking up. Another title worth searching out is the Demon with a Glass Hand graphic novel adaptation that he penciled and inked from an original story and script by Harlan Ellison. It’s great stuff… which is to be expected since Marshall Rogers worked on it.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to Marshall Rogers fans, friends and family.

EW: 1st Look @ 28 Weeks Later Poster

The March 23, 2007 issue of Entertainment Weekly has a cover story on “300” [more on that later] and features a first look at the poster for “28 Weeks Later” the sequel to the cult hit “28 days later.” Look for the issue to hit news stands this week. It’s always more than worth the price of admission and especially so this week.

One Mega-Great Day

Usually when I plan to go to a comic convention, I post the news well in advance in case I have friends planning to be there. Much of the fun of cons is hanging with folks you seldom see! I hadn’t planned to attend this weekend’s Orlando MegaCon. Two weekends ago I attended FX and my wallet needed a break. Even though Darwyn Cooke was scheduled for MegaCon [and I really wanted a shot at a Cooke Stallone sketch], I figured to sit this show out.
Imagine my surprise, when at 7:30am Saturday, my good buddy John Highashi called me.  John knew how badly I wanted a Darwyn Cooke Stallone sketch.  Higashi said that Darwyn was sketching, and his prices were very reasonable. Unfortunately, there was no way that I could get over on Saturday since I had plans with my son Chris.
At 11:30pm, Higashi called me again to say Darwyn still had a couple of slots open. If I could get there early Sunday, I might still have a shot! To sweeten the deal, John had come up with two one day passes! [Talk about a true friend!] I spoke with Chris and he wanted to go.

That’s Chris and “The James” Howell looking all gangsterish. Chris and I got up early. I was first in line at Darwyn’s table. Right behind me came Randy Martin who hoped to get a sketch for his Edward Scissorhands collection. A few minutes later and the line behind us was huge! When Darwyn arrived, he said that he had room for just two more sketches. I was in!  As long as Darwyn didn’t run out of time, I’d get my Stallone piece!!

Usually when I hit cons, I have two or three days to hang with friends, set up sketches and look at what the dealers are selling. Since this was the last day of the show, I had to move quickly.  I visited briefly with Cadre and his crew, Alex Saviuk, Joe Pekar and Alberto Ruiz. [That’s Joe and Alberto in the photo above. Alberto’s the one flashing the lettuce!]
Keith and Monica Mallow were there. They joined Chris and I for lunch at the convention center cafe. Chris is pretty reserved the first time he meets someone, so he REALLY didn’t know what to make of Mallow, who’s a joke a minute guy. [Unfortunately his funny jokes only show up every five minutes or so… but I kid…] Keith is planning a one day show in Port St. Lucie, Florida on April 22nd. I’ll post more about that as the date draws near.

After lunch Chris and I hung out with the guys from Tsunami Studios [Gary McKee, Mike Torrance, and Jason Walker]. They’d prepared a studio sketchbook. It was a bargain, especially since they all drew small headshots free with every purchase. I’ll post up mine later this week.

The cool thing about hanging at the table is you get to see the guys working on commission sketches, you get to visit with other artists who stop by, as well as the folks who come to the show in costume.  Although he wasn’t in costume, I was surprised to see Jimmy Sanders III! It had been about 12 years since I last saw him. He’d made a splash in the comic biz as an inker and was going full bore for a while. Then a lot of things happened and he seemed to have dropped off the planet. He said that he’s hoping to back into comics.
As the afternoon wore on, I began to wonder if Darwyn would get to my sketch. He always had a huge line of fans who wanted to shake his hand, get a photo, and have him autograph a stack of comics. Darwyn was always friendly and took the time to make sure each fan left happy. He was making progress on his sketch list, but the clock was ticking
Matt Halloub hung at the table for a bit. He picked up some great additions to his collection. Hawaiian Dave visited and shared some of the great pieces that he scored at MegaCon. John Higashi would suddenly teleport in, and then just as quickly be off again. “The James” rounded up all the sketches that he’d set up. I had come to the show hoping to set up one sketch with Darwyn Cooke.
The show was almost over when word got back to me that Darwyn was drawing Sly! I swung by his table and it was ready! I thanked him then made my way back to table Tsunami. After just a few minutes the end of show announcements started. Before we said our goodbyes, Chris snapped a photo of us. That’s Gary looking proud of his pencil, and Jason to our right. I’m behind Gary, and Mike Torrance is behind me. Hawaiian Dave is directly behind “The James” who seems to be putting the Vulcan grip on Jason.

Before I go… let me leave you with a shot of Darwyn and his take on Sly as Jack Carter!

FX, Day 2

FX, Day 2, got off to a much better start. I was able to breeze right in. John Higashi was already there and we met at Jason Palmer’s table. Then it was over to Matt Wagner. Matt said that he had finished my Jack Carter sketch, but wasn’t happy with it and wanted to re-do it. I told him that I didn’t want him to have to do double work, but he said it was no problem.

John and I decided to walk artists’ alley. We visited with Andrew Robinson, Mike Perkins [I set up a Judge Dredd Stallone sketch], Gene Ha, Whilce Portacio, Billy Tucci, Andy Smith, and others.

I swung by Miguel’s booth where I met up with some Stallone fans that were familiar with my site. Miguel and I talked about the Rocky Balboa card sets that he’s putting together. Stallone / Rocky fans are going to love them.

I saw that Matt Wagner was getting ready to have Q & A session and headed over. The 45 minutes flew by as Matt talked about his career in comics. It was interesting to learn that Matt postponed doing Mage when he learned that DC was doing a take on King Arthur with Camelot 3000. Then after seeing what they had done, Matt decided that Mage would still be a new spin on the legend… and the rest is history. It’s hard to believe that Matt has been in comics for 25 years. It’s cool to see how his style has changed and he has matured as an artist. It’ll be interesting to see where the next 25 years takes him.

After the Matt Wagner panel, I swung by Steve Niles’ table to get a couple of books autographed. Steve said that the “30 Days of Night” movie is going to make a lot of fans happy. Of course, I can’t wait to see it! Then I made my way to Mike Higgins’ table to pick up my Stallone Judge Dredd sketch.

Joe Pekar and I shot the breeze over a couple of Cokes. Joe’s a guy to keep an eye on! I hope to get a Stallone piece from him at some point.

Higashi and I met up again. We stopped by to talk to Andy Smith, Gene Ha, Bill Tucci and others. Although Bill is best known for his creation Shi and drawing the female form, he showed us a cool Sgt. Rock piece that he created for a proposed series. We stopped in for a visit for Dave Johnson and then back over to Matt Wagner’s table. Matt had started the second attempt on the Jack Carter sketch, but wasn’t happy with it and decided to take a third stab at it. Higashi agreed to pick up the piece for me since I wasn’t coming back on Sunday.

Then it was over to Miguel’s booth again to touch base. The “Rocky Balboa” card set will be out in March featuring 72 cards from the movie. Originally, the card set was going to cover all of the Rocky movies, but after seeing how well received “Rocky Balboa” was, Miguel worked out a deal for two separate card sets. The second set, out later this year will cover all five Rocky movies. Each will be sold as complete sets in custom binders. I’ve seen mock-ups of some of the cards and the binders. Stallone / Rocky fans are going to love them! I’ll premiere the items and post updates on the SZ as they become available.

FX 2007 was a worthy show. It had something for everyone. If they can get back artists like Dave Johnson and Matt Wagner, I’ll return next year. And who knows, maybe by then they’ll have the opening day kinks worked out.

FX Day [A Long Day] One

FX 2007 billed itself as “the coolest show on Earth.” After looking at their guest list which included comic superstars: Matt Wagner, Dave Johnson, Michael Golden; film and tv celebs such as Michael Biehn, Lance Henrikson, and many others, I decided to check out the show for myself.

Unfortunately the convention got off to a shaky start. None of the con workers seemed to know their roles. The lines for “will call” tickets as well as the “day of show” tickets were backed up and it was long past the early opening time before things got rolling. I had purchased an advance three day ticket knowing that the odds of me attending on Sunday were slim, but because advance ticket holders were allowed into the show an hour early, I figured that the extra cost was worth it since I really wanted a sketch from Dave Johnson. Unfortunately advance ticket holders did not get in an hour early, nor did they get the promised “goodie bag” [which didn’t bother me]. To slow things even more, all advance ticket holders had to wait while a con employee stuck a temporary tattoo on them so that they could gain admission the following days. Sheesh!

When I got into the show I made a beeline for Dave Johnson’s table. I already had one sketch by The Potentate in my collection, [a cool Rocky Balboa] and was hopeful that I’d get another to compliment it. Reverend Dave arrived about 15 minutes later and seemed surprised that he had people waiting. I spoke to Dave about my admiration for his work and he was genuinely humble. As he looked at my Stallone sketches, he commented about ones that he particularly liked. I think it’s always cool to hear artists talking about their craft and other artists that they admire. We agreed on the price and Dave said that he’d do me a nice Jack Carter.

My next stop was Matt Wagner’s table. Matt, like Dave Johnson, is one of my favorite comic creators. I’ve followed Matt’s work since his Comico days. Mage remains one of my all-time favorite graphic stories. I knew that Matt’s sketches were out of my price range, but I still wanted to meet the legend. Matt was as down-to-earth as Dave Johnson. We talked for a bit while I was looking at his pre-done con sketches. They were all sweet. Of course there weren’t any of Stallone. ; ) During the course of our conversation though, Matt agreed to do a smaller Jack Carter sketch that would work with my budget.

Getting a sketch from both Dave Johnson and Matt Wagner made my show. I wouldn’t be looking for more sketches despite the fact that it was a slow day for the artists. Still, I did make my way around the show to visit with Miguel at his Rocky Balboa booth, Andrew Robinson, Joe Pekar, Andy Smith, and the guys at Cadre’s Corner. In fact while I was talking to Cadre another guy came up and had a couple of pictures taken with some of the crew. As the guy was telling them how much he enjoyed their work, I realized that it was William “The Greatest American Hero” Katt! He must have noticed me looking at him because he reached out to shake hands and say, “Hi.” Surreal.

I decided to walk around the tv and movie celebrity section. It was cool seeing MichaelTerminator” “Aliens” Biehn and Lance “Aliens” “Near Dark” Henrikson. They had huge lines of fans waiting to get their autographs. I’ve always liked Michael Biehn and look forward to his role in Tarantino and Rodriguez’s “Grindhouse” this summer. A couple of the stars of the hit series “Heroes” were there, but since I don’t follow the show, I can’t tell you about them. I also Peter “Mission Impossible” Graves, King Kong Bundy [not as big as I thought he’d be], Ron “Serenity” Glass and a few others.
John Higashi showed up and we hung out for a bit. It’s really hard to keep pace with Higashi when he is in full-con mode. He was like a shark in fish-infested waters as he made his way from artist to artist, setting up commissions, buying sketchbooks and laying the groundwork for later art deals.

Dave Johnson finished my Jack Carter piece. It was a knockout… absolutely perfect. Then to top it off, The Potentate presented me with an autographed copy of his latest sketchbook as a bonus! [Later that evening, as I was looking at my sketchbook, I was surprised to find that my Rocky sketch was in it! Too cool.] It was a great ending to a fun day.

Drink and Draw Launch Party

Remember when I told you about the Drink and Draw Social Club?

Ok. Do you remember when I told you about their cool art book [The Drink and Draw Social Club Vol. 1]?
Well, you won’t want to forget this… especially if you’re able to attend. [And if you do make it, be sure and tell Reverand Dave that the I sent ya!] Anyway, the Drink and Draw Social Club is having a launch party for their new book on February 10th from 6pm until closing at the Meltdown.Drink and Draw Social Club founders Dave Johnson, Dan Panosian and Jeff Johnson will be joined by LeSean Thomas, Josh Middleton, Felipe Smith, Jim Mahfood, Tragnark, Michael Avon Oeming, Kat Von D and many others.

If you can’t attend, you can still get a copy of The Drink and Draw Social Club Vol. 1 by clicking on the link. And if you do go, be sure and get some photos!

Heroes Helped by Heroes

It’s sad to say that many older comic book writers and artists end up financially strapped in their “golden years.” An organization called Heroes Initiative works to “provide a financial safety net for yesterdays creators who may need emergency medical aid, financial support for essentials of life and an avenue back into paying work.”

One of their recent efforts involved recruiting over 80 comic book artists [and even a writer or two] to draw a custom sketch on the blank cover of a specially produced issue of Ultimate Spider-Man #100.

Drink and Draw

Artists, for the most part, live solitary lives. They usually work alone, spending long hours at the drawing board. In an effort to combat this isolation, Dave Johnson, Jeff Johnson and Dan Panosian formed the Drink & Draw Social Club. Once a week these talented artists would get together to eat, drink, draw and socialize. The idea was such a great one that more and more artists began to join in.
Soon talents like Andy MacDonald, Josh Middleton, Jim Mahfood, Lesean Thomas, Kat Von D and others began to swing by for some drawin’ and jawin’.The idea was such a natural that similar groups began to spring up around the country. Heck, even “Big” John Beatty started his “Sketch Society” last year wrapped around the same concept.Can you imagine how cool it would be to hang out in a relaxed atmosphere with these talented artists as they drew stuff that THEY wanted to see? Well, you might not be able to hang out with these talented cats, but you can see some of the cool art that their Drink and Draw sessions produced! The Drink and Draw Social Club Volume 1 is now available. Featuring over 100 pages chock full of art,! My order is in!

300: The Art of the Film / Z-View

I received my Art of 300 book today and it’s a beaut!With 300: The Art of the Film you get to go behind the scenes and see how director Zack Snyder (Dawn of the Dead) translates Frank Miller’s award-winning graphic novel to the big screen. The book includes more than 100 pages of production photos, concept art, and much, much more. What makes the deal even sweeter is that if you order using the link provided you can save over 33%!Now if the movie’s release date would only get here!

300: The Art of the Film rates an “A”

007: 002 Views – 001 Vision


The caricature of Daniel Craig aka “The New James Bond” is the work of Tom Richmond. Tom is perhaps best known for his artistic endeavors at Mad magazine. I’ve been following Tom’s work for some time now, and regularly check out his blog. Initially it was Tom’s art that kept me coming back, but that’s not what I’m writing about today.

Tom posted his thoughts after seeing “Casino Royale” yesterday. While I was reading Tom’s review, I kept nodding and thinking, “My thoughts EXACTLY.” I couldn’t agree more with Tom in regard to his take on “Casino Royale” and the James Bond franchise. So if you want to know what I thought about the movie, then click HERE… as an added bonus you’ll get to see a bunch of Tom’s cool art as well.