Reading: Dark Detective

Sure a lotta people see Miller’s Batman as the real Batman, with its grit and cynicism, but that rendition was Bruce Wayne at the end of his career as the Dark Knight.  But what about Batman at his prime? Call me out as old-fashioned, I don’t give two tugs of dead dog’s cock, but I tend to pay attention to Knight more than Dark, in Batman’s moniker.  And with that medieval analogy must also come a sense of chivalry and, dare I say it, romance.

Batman DD1Steve Englehart and Marshal Rogers’ run on Detective Comics, and more importantly their return in Dark Detective (which I’ve just been lucky enough to flip through), definitely has its share of Gotham’s most gushingly insane criminals.  No, no… this Joker doesn’t just crack jokes related to whatever evil he’s plotting, he’ll lose himself in tangents and wordplay in mid-sentence, delightfully disappearing into himself, and then somehow find his way back to whatever mischief he was in the middle of before he left.  He is, for all intents and purposes, bat-shit crazy.  And that’s not even counting Two-Face and the Scarecrow, who show up to give the shit a healthy gust as it hits the fan.

Batman DD 5But as thoughtfully written as the baddies are, so too is the romantic side of the story.  Silver St. Cloud, a great love interest to Bruce, assumes a pivotal role throughout the six-issue mini.  And if you read into things enough, you can start to see how a lot was taken from this book and shot into Nolan’s arm for The Dark Knight.  You see it.  It may have a different label on the jar, but it’s there.

Strictly speaking, I’m a child of the IMAGE generation of comics, but reading this book is like discovering Frazetta when all you’ve been looking at was Bisley.  And that’s not a knock on Bisley on any level, I’m loving his Hellblazer stuff, but it just amazes me how strong some of the older stories were despite having to work within classic boundaries and comics codes.  Especially when it comes to Batman, it’s nice to know you can look back and not have it all be nipples and bad sets.

Must… earn… KEEP!

September’s looking to be a busy month for me as I have four projects coming down the pipelines. I know that sounds like a heck of a lot of work for a guy who took a whole month to finish six Next Wave sample pages, but I had a day job when I was working on those. Which I’ve thankfully quit since. So… yeah. (That’s right, Johnny. Repeat it like a mantra. You might even end up convincing yourself.) But yeah, this is what I do now, and this is probably the best I’ve felt since I started taking commissions on my DA a whole year ago.

A new publisher called Patchwork Comics is gunning for a January 2009 release date for about four titles, and I got lucky enough to be chosen by the head honcho to take part in that. My own original story pitches — ICELANDER, WOLF PACK SESSIONS, and BEAST BOY JOE (all just working titles) — have been shelved for the moment, but Alveraz Ricardez was kind enough to throw me a bone in the form of one of his own original stories.  MASK of MANOLO will be about a Don Quixote-esque child-hero in a more or less fantasy setting. And the best part? I’ve been granted a window of three days to finish each page! Schwing!

Also on my plate starting next month is a pitch issue for a series entitled OVERTHROW!, with an exclamation point.  Writer Justin Jordan, whose webcomic Junk is up on Zuda this month,  picked me to illustrate the story of a villain who has already won and a hero who has to face a sort of moral dillema about taking him down. Justin’s first e-mail to me had the word kicksplode. That pretty much won me over from the get go. You can view his work log here.

And the final comic project I was lucky enough to get chosen for is another pitch deal with Jared Koon. It’s a yet-untitled Sword and Sorcery story that I’m not allowed to really talk about just yet, so I’ll leave it at that for now

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So yeah. Whew.

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On the local front, co-genius Matt is slaving away, wrapping up the script for the first twelve-issue arc of our comic INSTRUMENTS, which we will be pitching to Image and whoever else when it’s all tight and shiny. Been talking to Derrick Fish a lot about exactly how this is done, but I’ll probably learn a lot from my current collaborators as well.

So I guess those Thor pages will have to wait. They were exciting as fuck, and I got goosebumps when I saw Asgard smoking in Secret Invasion: Thor #1, but I gotta pay the bills first. Still in contact with Cebulski though, which never hurts.

Anyway, a few random and recent sketches I did to warm up in the mornings:

About a year ago I did a fan-art series of portraits entitled Thundercats Legends. It was pretty much a labor of love in that they weren’t commissioned or anything, and I couldn’t sell them coz they were copyrighted. In the same vein as those pieces though, I’m working on a series tentatively titled Horror Classics, and you can pretty much guess what it’s gonna be about. I’ll be doing my takes on the classic monsters. ( Dracula, the Wolfman, etc., Thank you, Wikipedia, for your list of public domain characters. Heh. ) So I’m looking forward to those as breaks between the comic pages I’ll doubtless be swamped with. Here’s a preview of some studies though. Click big.

That’s it for now, guys. Wish me luck.

EDIT: Whoops! I almost forgot. I haz a new computarrr!

Intel Core 2 Duo, 2.53 GHz; 2 Gb of RAM. I am yet to get a new hard drive and maybe a new video card for… stuff… but this is the best PC I’ve ever had the privilege to use. Hands down. My buddy since frickin’ elementary school Andy Tan helped me get the individual parts from three different stores. Thanks, bud!

That blue light is uhmm… my biggest fan. No, really.