Category: Art

A Nazi, A Werewolf, Big Beatty and Much More

Looking for something to do tomorrow and you can make it to Tampa, Florida?

Well then… if you’d like to meet a Soup Nazi, a former Teenage Werewolf, several comic book professionals, some independent filmmakers and comic artists, or maybe even Big John Beatty, you should heard over to the Tampa Comic Book and Toy Convention.

I’ll be driving down [in the Jack Carter car] with Big Beatty, John “Johnny Star Warz” Higashi, and James “The James” Howell. The trip looks to have some additional fun since we’re planning to swing by Mike Zeck‘s for a quick visit.

The con runs on Sunday from 10AM to 4PM and is the best one day showing going! Click HERE and see why!

Please Encourage The Big Guy

My buddy, John “Big Beatty” has updated his blog with some thoughts and sketches.

Maybe if enough of us post comments this will become a regular feature at BB’s Blog O’Rama.

I know that I’d love to see that. If you would too, then drop the big guy [or is that Bug Eye] a line.

Mike Zeck’s Damned Graphic Novel

While we’re on the subject of Mike Zeck, have you seen his Damned graphic novel? No, I’m not cursing, that’s the name of it.

Written by Steven Grant and pencilled by Mike, it was originally going to be called Lawless. The hitch was that a new tv series starring Brian Bosworth [anyone remember him?] was in the works and they had dibs on the Lawless title. So Grant and Zeck decided to go with Damned.

Here’s what Mike said when asked about how it all came together. “DAMNED is probably as personal as a project can get. Grant and I got together and posed the question “What would we do if we could do just what we wanted, without any outside pressure or direction?” Damned was a result of that. We both prefer the crime genre, and without costumed characters populating it. I hand-picked Denis Rodier (inker) and Kurt Goldzung (colorist) and it became something of a labor of love for all of us.”

Damned is a great crime comic.  Give it a try and I’ll bet you agree.

The Art of Michael J. Zeck

It used to be that when an aritst had a sketchbook come out it was an event.

I can remember the excitement I felt when I received my first Art of Neal Adams or Art of John Byrne books. In those days, you had to be a really special artist to get an “Art of…” book.

These days it seems that every artist at every show has a sketchbook. Not that that’s a bad thing… but it has made it rare that the release of a sketchbook becomes an “event.”

If an artist’s sketchbook gets much notice these days, it’s because the artist:
is really THAT talented or…
2] rarely attends conventions or…
3] has never before released a sketchbook.

Guess what? Mike Zeck fits the bill. He’s just released The Art of Michael J. Zeck Volume I and it is a winner. It’s 52 pages jam-packed with art spanning Mike‘s career. It showcases a cross section of art ranging from preliminary pencils to finished inks… from never-before-seen drawings to classic re-interpretations. You can read more about it here.

My guess is that some of you will want in on this event!

Jae Lee and The Rest of the Story

Jae Lee has been under a lot of pressure lately.

Lee was the artist selected to bring to life Stephen King’s Dark Tower characters for the presentation to persuade King to create a new Dark Tower story for Marvel.

If King liked the art and agreed to write the story, Lee would be the artist for the series. If King didn’t like the art, Lee would be out of a job and Marvel might lose the story.

To make matters more intense, Lee was a huge Stephen King fan!

So there was the pressure of not only wanting to get the job, but also the added pressure of wanting to please someone whose work Lee had admired for years.

Add in to that mix the hundreds of thousands of fans around the world who would also weigh in on Lee’s interpretation and you’ve got a pretty intense situation.

So Jae Lee did what many artists would do in this situation… he froze….

Of course that’s not how the story ends… click HERE to read Newsarama‘s interview with Jae Lee and you’ll know the rest of the story!

Don’t Miss Dusty

Yesterday when I sent in my comics order, I made sure that Dusty Starr #1 was on it.

If you’ve heard of Dusty Starr, then I’m sure you ordered it too.

If you haven’t, then click HERE to get a look at the full preview art by Andrew Robinson [his art is reason enough to order the book sight unseen] or click HERE to get a look at Desperado Publishing’s Dusty Starr section.

Either way, my guess is you’ll want a copy for yourself.

Big Beatty and ZONE CITY

My buddy, John “Big” Beatty loves to bust my chops. Of course he loves to bust on everyone, so that’s nothing special.

What is special is that Big John created a strip called ZONE CITY that he uses to take shots at me. Oh, don’t worry. It’s all in good fun.

Beatty has combined my love of Frank Miller’s Sin City, my admiration of Sylvester Stallone and my commitment to my StalloneZone website to come up with an exaggerated spin on reality.

ZONE CITY is really a hoot. I hope that John does more. You can check out ZONE CITY at Big Beatty’s Blog-O-Rama. If you do, please let me know which parts you think are real and which come from Big John‘s imagination.

What About Bob?

Bob Layton did some of my favorite comics back in the day. Although best known for his work with David Michelinie on the fan favorite, Iron Man, I also really got a kick out of his Ant Man and Hercules: Prince of Power work.

Bob‘s a really nice guy [in addition to being a talented writer, penciler, inker, editor… well, you get the idea] and I was proud to get him in my Stallone Gallery.

It seems that most of Bob‘s comic work these days is creating commissions for fans. Which is great for individual fans, but too bad for fandom since Bob still has a lot to offer.

Super Service with a Free Smile!

My buddy, John’s “BigBeatty Deluxe” Tee Shirt is now available. The shirt is a hoot and everyone should order at least a dozen! [Ok, Big J, how’s that for a plug?]

Actually the shirt is really cool looking and sure to get the wearer a [FREE!] smile. Not only does the design rock, but the price is right.

Click HERE to see what the fuss is all about!

Batman and the Monster Men

While we’re on the topic of comics to watch for this November, you may want to consider Batman and the Monster Men. It’s a six issue series written, pencilled and inked by Matt Wagner.

Batman and the Monster Men takes place in Batman‘s second year. His first year was spent fighting crime… but is he prepared to face “the new menace facing Gotham: super-powered villains?”

For more info on the series, click HERE or HERE. Then be sure and let your local comic shop know that you’ll want a copy!

Going Down in November

Five years ago, a narcotics cop was sent undercover, down into the criminal structure of the city. Henever came back. He went native. Five years later, he’s running the city’s prime drugs gang.

Today, a second cop – a woman in the midst of career flameout, having shot down the entirety of the main mob’s only rival gang – is sent undercover, with orders to pull the first one out. In a bodybag if necessary. “

If this sounds like your cup of tea — bitter with no sugar — then plan on checking out Down 1 in November. It’s the first of a four issue mini-series written by Warren Ellis. The art for issue one is by Tony Harris [who provides all 4 covers]. Cully Hamner provides art for issues 2-4.

And be advised, this comic ain’t for kids.

The Steranko Time Machine

I can remember the first Jim Steranko comic book that I ever read. It was Nick Fury #1. I was 9 years old. I’d been reading comics for years… Batman, Superman, Spider-Man… but Nick Fury [as written and drawn by Jim Steranko] was like a movie come to life [even though it was on the printed page].

As I become older, I always kept my eye out for comics by Steranko. They were few and far between [and sometimes only covers], but boy, were they worth it. The man is a legend despite the fact that his primary work in comics was less than ten years and consisted of approximately 30 stories.

Years later I attended my first comic book convention. My goal was to buy Steranko‘s run on Nick Fury in mint condition. Not only was I able to score the set [and at a good price], but I ended up becoming friends with the dealer, Mike Kott. I was surprised to learn that Steranko had branched out into publishing. At the same show I picked up my first issue of his publication, Mediascene [which featured an interview with Doug Moench and Paul Gulacy].

Steranko had moved away from comics, instead he spent his time concentrating on painting [he did a series of covers for The Shadow paperbacks reprints] and publishing [Mediascene which later became Prevue]. When Steranko offered some of his Shadow “pencil paintings” for sale in the early 80’s, I splurged and bought one. I was newly married, in college and the $225 bucks it cost seemed like a fortune. Steranko was nice enough to send along an autographed copy of his book Unseen Shadows.

If you’re a Steranko fan, then you know what an interesting life he’s led. In addition to being a comic book artist, a publisher, a painter, a professional magician / escape artist [in his youth he traveled with carnivals and circuses], a musician and more. If you’re just discovering Steranko, then you’re in for a treat!

Steranko is still a huge draw at conventions around the country. Last year he was a special guest at FX 2005. [In fact it was his cover for the program book that inspired this post.] I was unable to attend the FX show, but even if I had, there would have been no chance of a Steranko piece for my Stallone Gallery. Steranko doesn’t sketch at shows and seldom does commissions… and those that he does do cost thousands!

Every so often I love to pull out my Chandler graphic novel, or the three issues of Captain America that he did… but my favorite is still his run on Nick Fury. Over 35 years later, I still get the same rush as that 9 year old seeing it for the first time.

Welcome to the Party!

Way back on November 16, 2003, I posted an item about the first issue of a comic that I’d read and fell in love with. That comic, The Walking Dead, was one of the freshest comics that I’d read in years. It instantly made my “pull list.”

A few days later, I posted that the first issue was quickly selling out along with a link to an interview with Robert Kirkman. In February of 2004, The Walking Dead was already my favorite monthly comic!

In April of 2004, I reported that Tony Moore, the regular artist on The Walking Dead had decided to leave and that Charlie Adlard would be taking over with issue 6. The quality of The Walking Dead didn’t miss a beat.

With the recent success of comic books turned into movies, Jeb Whitlock of suggests that The Walking Dead get the chance.

All I can say is, “Welcome to the party, Jeb!”