Category: Art

Meet Ben Templesmith

If you’re a regular reader of my ZONE posts, then you know I’m a huge Steve Niles fan. I first discovered Niles through his novels and then his comics. Niles’ classic 30 Days of Night is being prepped for the big screen.
Since I’ve talked so much about Steve Niles, I think it’s time I give some time to Ben Templesmith the artist who helped make 30 Days such a runaway hit. Templesmith has his personal website here. If you enjoy them you should give his comics a try!

Mad #438 features Art Adams, John Byrne, J. Scott Campbell, Dave Gibbons, Jim Lee, Frank Miller, John Romita, Jr. and More!

The last issue of MAD magazine that I bought featured a Frank Frazetta cover for the parody of Judge Dredd starring Sylvester Stallone.In other words it’s been years.

That’ll probably all change in January when Mad #438 hits the stands.

Mad #438 features the work of Arthur Adams, Michael Allred, John Byrne, J. Scott Campbell, Dave Gibbons, Jim Lee, Frank Miller, and John Romita, Jr.

You may not buy it, but you’d be, uh… mad not to at least give it a look!

Meet Rick Remender

Rick Remender.

You know, the award winning animator who created Swingtown. He worked on the classic Iron Giant. Titan AE. The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle.Still not sure? OK, maybe if I list some of his comic work. The Avengers. The Terminator. Doll and Creature. Black Heart Billy. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Ok.
Granted, Rick Remender is not a household name. But he should be. The guy has a gazillion cool ideas. He writes. He draws. He animates. The dude is a natural born creator. Rick is pencilling and Big Beatty is inking a 48 page Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles book and I gotta tell ya, the art is amazing. It’s black and white with really sweet tones thrown in. I’ve never bought a Turtles book before. Ever. But I may have to break down and get this bad boy.But back to Rick. Check out his website. The new school design rocks. Plan to spend a while. Be sure to check out his Swingtown animations, his sketchbook [I want to see more of The Last Days of American Crime], heck order a book or two if the spirit grabs ya, and drop him a line and tell him I sent ya!

Meet Bill Black

Bill Black has been publishing comics since 1969. He’s outlasted every other independent comic company and is still going at it. 

Bill is best known for writing and drawing his own creations, but has also published the work of big name artists such as Mike Zeck, Dave Dorman, Dick Ayers, Erik Larsen, George Perez, Greg Horn, Jerry Ordway, Pat Broderick, Paul Gulacy and Wm. Michael Kaluta to name just a few. Bill even gave Big Beatty his first professional job in comics
…and believe it or not Beatty pencilled, Jerry Ordway inked and I scripted a story which appeared in the comic above!

Meet Tim Bradstreet

If you like moody, photo-realistic art then you owe it to yourself to check out the work of Tim Bradstreet.I first discovered Tim’s work when he was inking Tim Truman’s Dragon Chiang. It wasn’t long after that that Bradstreet was doing his own stuff. Really cool black and white pinups, covers for just about everyone and giving us glimpses of his Red Sky Diaries.


Risso Rocks

Eduardo Risso is a genius. His work on 100 Bullets is astounding. What makes Risso even more unique is that although he’s been honored with the top awards the industry has to offer, and he’s admired by fans and pros alike, he continues to work on the regular monthly title 100 Bullets. There’ve been six trade paperback compilations and I highly recommend them all! [ONE / TWO / THREE / FOUR / FIVE / SIXRisso and Azzerello have recently teamed to produce a six issue arc of Batman. The first issue is #620 and is on stands now. The first printing sold out from the publisher, but you may find a few still around. It’s great stuff, so it’d be worth your effort to find a copy. 

The Walking Dead!

I love a good end of the world, small band of survivors fighting to survive against all odds story. You know, like Stephen King’s The Stand… “28 days later” and the clasic “Night of the Living Dead.”

Robert Kirkman and Tony Moore’s comic “The Walking Dead” can now join the list! I’m not kidding. It’s really that good. Don’t believe me? Then check out this review. And this one. Better yet, read it yourself. I did and I’ve added it to my monthly must buy list.

I really wasn’t familiar with Robert Kirkman before reading “The Walking Dead.” If you’re like me and want to know more about him, you can check out this interview. If you want to know a bit more about Tony Moore, here’s a link to his site.

I’d like to hang around and tell you more about “The Walking Dead” but I think I’ll go back and re-read it again.

It’s really THAT good!

Tampa Con & More

I’m looking forward to this weekend. Big John Beatty and I will be motoring down to Tampa for Tim Gordon’s Tampa Comic Book and Toy Convention. Big Beatty is a guest but before I get to that…Saturday night Beatty and I are going to attend a little get together put on by Randy Martin. Randy is an avid art collector whose theme happens to be Edward Scissorshands. How cool is that? John Higashi will be there with his Star Wars theme [which includes are from just about anyone who is ANYONE. How many collections do you know that feature Drew Struzan originals [note the “s” as in many]? John Dell and other artists will be attending as well. It’s going to be a lot of fun.

The next day is Tampa Con. John is a guest [which makes me a guest of a guest, I suppose]. Other real guests include MARTY NODELL [creator of the original GREEN LANTERN], ETHAN VAN SCIVER [X-Men], ALEX SAVIUK [Spider-Man], JIM FERN [Scion, Wolverine], AUSTIN JANOWSKY [Superman], DICK KULPA [artist and publisher of CRACKED], MARK and STEPHANIE HEIKE and others.

If you happen to be in the area, stop in and say, “Hi.” I’ll be the guy in the StalloneZone shirt angeling for more Stallone sketches!

Cool & Fun

I’ll bet that the new “Punisher” movie does pretty well at the box office. I say this for two reasons:

1] The Punisher is a pretty cool character and

2] the trailer makes it look like the movie will be fun.

So yeah, I think that it’ll do well even though the guy playing the Punisher doesn’t look like the “bad mofo” I’ve come to know and love. Mike Zeck’s Punisher… now that’s the real Punisher!

As We Head into Halloween How About These Books, Graphic Novels and Movies

Man, I love Halloween!

As we get closer to the big night, I find myself drawn to scary books and movies. For some reason even more so this year. Maybe it’s because there are so many good ones available.

I just finished reading Steve Niles‘ Dial M for MonsterDial M is a book of short stories featuring his monster hunter, Cal McDonald. You’ve heard me praise Niles‘ work before and this book is no exception. I love everything about the world Niles has created for Cal [and I’m especially glad I can safely visit without fear of vampires, werewolves, fiends or other creatures coming after me!]. I’d suggest that you start with Guns, Drugs and Monsters [the first novel in the series] and then follow it up with Savage Membrane [the second].

If you’d like to get a taste of Niles‘ work before commiting to a novel, then by all means check out 30 Days of Night. This award winning comic series [with art by the extremely talented Ben Templesmith] is being developed into a feature film produced by none other than Sam Raimi! Why wait for the film? The graphic novel is available now and well worth every penny!

Changing gears just a bit… on Tuesday, one of my two favorite movies so far this year, becomes available! That’s right 28 Days Later is available Tuesday! Man, I can’t wait!

If you’ve read this far, then you’re probably a real horror fan. You probably already know that a Dawn of the Dead remake starring Ving Rhames is coming out next March. But did you know that the trailer is available now? At first I didn’t think that a re-make of Dawn of the Dead was a good idea since the original trilogy [Night of the Living DeadDawn of the Dead, and Day of the Dead] by George Romero are considered cult classics. But I did like the remake of Night of the Living Dead ]… and Ving Rhames is starring… so why not?

Plus, it’ll give me one more thing to love about Halloween!

J-Ville Trip Report

Last Saturday, John Higashi, John Beatty and I drove up to Jacksonville, Florida to attend a benefit for the Tourette Syndrome Association sponsored by Big City Comics. Several comics pros were to be on hand signing autographs and sketching. There were a lot of other activities scheduled and John Higashi had his eye on a couple of pieces in the art auction.

The drive up was great. John H. was at the wheel, Beatty was in the back seat doggin’ John H’s amazing collection, and I got to ride shotgun, laughing at all of the nonsense. We made it up in record time, or maybe time just flew by because we were laughing so much.

When we arrived things were just getting set up. A couple of tables had been set up inside, so we joined Don Perlin (Marvel Comics), Duck Edwing (MAD Magazine), Ed Hall (political cartoonist), and Jason Sobel (Fuzzy Dice Studios). Robert Smith was out in the crowd set up to do caricatures.

John H. wanted to speak to Mr. Perlin about a Star Wars commission, but told me that I should try to commission him up for a Stallone sketch first. Unfortunately for both of us, Mr. Perlin had a line already. But sitting directly in front of me was Ed Hall. I really enjoy his work and so I approached him about doing a Stallone piece. He agreed and the result was really cool. I’ll post it with next weekend’s update. Ed was amazing in that he was able to draw so many caricatures of famous people without any reference.

Seeing that I had popped for a piece, John H. approached Duck for a Spy vs Spy commission. John asked for a panel gag and offered four times the going rate for a sketch. Duck agreed and then to our surprise said, “You know I’m the writer for the strip, not the artist, right?” To John‘s credit, he said, “that’s cool” and went ahead with the commission. Duck drew him a funny seven panel Spy vs Spy strip. John then kicked in an extra $20 toward the charity so Duck came back and drew him a large executioner!

The crowd was constant throughout the day. “Soft Spike” jokes were flying from everyone. Big Beatty did some really nice sketches. He started off with a nice Captain America and Deathlock. He also did cool sketches of Iron Man, Green Goblin, and others!

Jason Sobol was sitting in front of me with his portfolio and a great sense of humor [especially when I called him Josh a couple of times]. At any rate, he didn’t soft spike me [you’d had to have been there] and drew me a cool Sly as a young Judge Dredd. I’ll post that this weekend.

As the show wound down it was time for the auction. John H. had his eye on two pieces, the Kubert “Sgt. Rock” and a Beetle Bailey Sunday page. It came down to the wire between John and another guy for the Kubert piece, but I’m happy to say that John won! Man, the Sgt. Rock is even more impressive in person. It could be the cornerstone of ANY collection! [John also won the Beetle Bailey page!]

I was happy that I had been able to get two new sketches for my Stallone theme, and John H. had won the two pieces in the auction that he was after… but we weren’t done yet. After a short discussion, we approached Mr. Perlin about doing commissions for us. He agreed! So in two weeks John and I plan to drive back up to J-ville and pick up our Don Perlin originals! [We’d go next weekend but John H. will be in Baltimore getting even more art!]

All in all it was a great little event that raised a fair amount of money for a very good cause. I hope that they’re able to put it on again next year. If they do and you live within driving distance, you should plan to attend… you’ll get to meet some really nice people, possibly pick up a sketch or original art and maybe, just maybe, find out what it means to be soft spiked!

One Day Show at Jacksonville’s Big City Comics is Coming!

If you live within driving distance of Jacksonville, Florida, you may want to take a trip this coming Saturday. Big City Comics! [10131 San Jose Blvd., Jacksonville, Florida, phone 904-268-9006] is hosting a fundraiser from 11am – 5pm to benefit the Tourette Syndrome Association. Musical entertainment, door prizes, and many other exciting events are planned.

Don Perlin (Marvel Comics and Acclaim Comics, artist), Duck Edwing (MAD Magazine, artist and writer), Ed Hall (political cartoonist), Robert Smith Jr. (cartoonist and caricaturist) are going to be on hand signing autographs and sketching. There’s going to be an auction of rare, original comic art featuring characters such as SupermanPopeye, Beetle Bailey, and many others, all drawn by their respective artists.

It looks to be a fun time. I’m planning to attend. Where else can I get Sylvester Stallone sketches and help out a good cause at the same time?

AtlantaCon 2003 Report, Part 3

Phil Hester does really cool sketches.

This is one of Mike‘s favorites. Phil does a tough looking Batman!

Dave Cook of Splatter Comix was not only doing free sketches… 

…but giving away cake as well! His enthusiasm is contagious! Check out his site and tell him I sent ya!

We met up with Tim Flanagan at AtlantaCon.

Tim’s a super nice guy who’s more than willing to sketch away! I’ll bet we’ll see him again at future shows!

Jacen Burrows was drawing some really cool sketches.

Mike just had to get one from Jacen [and so did I]! Take a look at his art and I’ll bet you want one too!

AtlantaCon 2003 Report, Part 2

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So where did we leave off? Oh yeah…

I’m at AtlantaCon with my son, Mike. I’ve picked up sketches from Jason Alexander, Andy Lee, and Cully Hamner. Adam Hughes has told me that he’ll have my sketch ready on Sunday and somehow the day gets even better! How? Glad that you asked! Well, let me tell you.

AtlantaCon and teamed up to present a special screening of “Equilibrium” and a Q&A session with writer/director, Kurt Wimmer, to follow the movie. Seating was limited, but I was able to sign Mike and I up. The only thing that I knew about the movie was that it starred Christian Bale and Taye Diggs, was scifi, set in the future and received a pretty good word of mouth. I figured we’d be in for an entertaining evening even if the movie was just “ok.”

The screening was set to start at 7:30 but everyone was supposed to get there by seven. Mike and I arrived about 6:40 and a crowd was already forming. People were milling around. Mike and I ended up next to Nick from Chud. We had a pleasant conversation. I was pleased to learn that he knew of StalloneZone and had a warm place in his heart for Sly. Nick said that we were in for a very cool film with “Equilibrium” and that it was a movie that he was really proud to help promote. I also spoke briefly with Jen who has set up a very nice “Equilibrium” fan site.

Soon it was time to go in. Mike and I decided to take seats in the middle of the last row. People continued to come in and the theater was nearly full. Nick thanked us all for coming and said that Kurt Wimmer had flown in from LA to attend the screening. Kurt had also brought in drinks and chips for the crowd! As Mike went down to get a couple of sodas Cully Hamner, Phil Noto, Brian Stelfreeze, and Karl Story came in and sat directly in front of us. When Mike came back and saw them sitting there a giant smile came across his face. [For those of you who aren’t comic fans, this would be like driving to a basketball convention and having Michael Jordan, Vince Carter, and well, you get the idea, sitting in front of you.] Right before the movie started a gentleman and his young son took seats next to Mike.

The movie started and immediately took you to another place. It’s our world, but in the near future. The opening scene is so cool and so well done that I knew we were in for a ride. Then comes the action and – MAN – it is AWESOME! I loved Christian Bale‘s work in “Shaft” and “Reign of Fire” but “Equilibrium” shows that he is a star. Taye Diggs, Emily Watson and Sean Bean are also excellent… but the real star of the show is Kurt Wimmer who wrote and directed it.

Kurt has also written other screenplays including “The Recruit” and “The Thomas Crown Affair”. This guy is someone to lookout for! After the movie ended Kurt Wimmer was introduced and asked to come to the front of the auditorium for the Q&A session. The guy sitting next to Mike got up and took his son with him to the front! Mike looked at me like he couldn’t believe it… watching the movie with the Gaijin guys and the director of the movie! Kurt was really entertaining. He spent an hour answering questions about the film and pulling no punches. After the Q&A ended a group of us [including Brian Stelfreeze] stood in the lobby discussing how cool the film was. The dvd will be out in May. My advice is to pre-order now. I think this baby is a sleeper.

Sunday arrived. The final day of the show. The main question on my mind: Would Adam Hughes be able to get to my sketch? As we walked through the doors I heard John Higashi yelling, “Craig, come and see what Adam did for you!” Needless to say, I was excited. Adam had created a very, very cool drawing of Sly dressed for an audition for Superman. I absolutely love the idea and execution. Adam Hughes is da MAN! I got a picture of Adam holding the sketch and thanked him.

Phil Noto was setting up and I checked to see if he would be able to fit me in. Unfortunately Phil was booked solid. He did say that he would do something for me and asked if I would leave him my address. I left him my address and offered to pay for the sketch in advance but Phil said we’d settle up once he was finished with it. Believe me, it will be worth the wait! [Next on my list will, hopefully, be Brian Stelfreeze!]

Mike and I then went over to see Dan Brereton. We discussed a Stallone sketch. Dan was leaning towards a Rocky, but as he looked through my reference book he mentioned that he really liked “Nighthawks.” I said whatever he wanted to do was fine by me. He said to check back in a couple of hours.

Mike and decided to visit some artists one last time. Mike got a headshot of Batman by Phil Hester; Batman Attacked by Dave Cook of Splatter Comix. Tim Flanagan drew Mike a nice Batman. Our final stop before heading back over to check on the progress of the Bererton piece was with Jacen Burrows. Jacen was doing some really interesting sketches. Mike got one for his sketchbook. I asked Jacen if he’d be interested in doing a Sly drawing for me. He said he would, but that he’d want to do it at home. We agreed on a price and Jacen said he’d have it to me in about a month!

Mike and I then headed back over to Dan Breretons table. The piece was finished and it was a knockout! Dan had opted to do Deke DaSilva from “Nighthawks!” I got a picture of Dan and his lovely lady, thanked him and Mike and I got back on the road for home.

It was a great show. I’ll post pictures of the artists and their artwork later this week. Mike and I hope to return next year. Maybe we’ll see you there!