Avenger a Day: Thor

In celebration of Avengers Day… or Week… I thought it’d be fun to do tribute sketches for Marvel’s flagship team.  To kick things off, the God of Thunder.

Almost screwed this up when I made his ears visible in the prelim sketch, but the way Coipel draws that new helmet is nothing less than tricky.

Tres Komikeros 47 – Swamp Thing

In the first TK Book Club episode, EJ, Alex, and John assemble to talk about Alan Moore’s classic run on everyone’s favorite muck monster! With Jad chiming in at random parts of the show to spoil us all, join the boys as they share their thoughts on this classic Vertigo series, and then discuss recent changes in the Zuda Comics modus operandi.

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Tres Komikeros 45

In this special episode of TK, John and Migs are joined by Comic Book Club’s Alex Zalben, all the way from New York. The guys talk about Alex’s first Marvel series, Thor and the Warriors Four (out in the states today), and then they have an in-depth review of last week’s finale to DC’s Blackest Night.

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Tres Komikeros 43

John and Alex team up to bring you reviews of Brave and the Bold #32, Green Hornet: Year One #1, and Siege #3! After a round of quickshots, the boys discuss the rumor about Evans being Captain America and then go serious to discuss the trend of violence in comics and how it hurts the industry.

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At the tail end of the show, John makes a personal announcement and introduces the TK Book Club — the monthly group reading activity that TK will spearhead to expand comic fan interaction. April’s TK Book Club Pick is Alan Moore’s Saga of the Swamp Thing (volume one). Listen to the show to learn more.

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Tres Komikeros 42

John, EJ, and Migs volt in this week (but not the way you would think… sicko) and review Flash: Rebirth #6, New Avengers #62, and Blackest Night #7.  After a round of Quick Shots and War of Thumbs, the bastards discuss the possibility of burn out caused by an over-saturation of comic book films in the cinemas.

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Thor Sequentials (Part 1)

I didn’t bother writing a plot for this, since it’s pretty much going to be an action sequence anyway. Sorta. Not much going on in this first half, but I wanted to stretch some camera-placement muscles. I was listening to comic podcasts a lot while I was making these, and I forget who said it — either Hitch or Quitely —  but someone said it’s a good idea to do one difficult or new thing with every new page. It can be a camera angle, a blur effect, a shading style, a background element, whatever. As long as you try one thing new each time. S’great advice.

That’s it from me for now. As always, comments and criticisms are wildly welcome. (Oh but also, I added a Twitter feed on the right sidebar, waaaay under all the standard links and stuff. Check it out and add me up if you’re on there. Laters.)

Shapes

Remember that X-Files episode “Shapes”? If it was a FRIENDS episode, it’d be called “The One with the American-Indian Werewolf.” No, really.

Yeah. Anyway…

So I have a couple of pages of my Thor set done. Asgard was a bitch, but I think I pulled it off… after a fashion. Posting those when page three is in the can. Here’s the thing though: I get about half way through the loose pencils of page three when I start feeling like my art style is becoming contrived. Choked even. I prop it up on my desk, take a step back, and I swear I feel like killing something. Then I flash back to what a friend said about the faces of the characters in my Next Wave set. Apparently I have this bad habit of, maybe not changing characters’ faces, but changing the styles with which those faces are drawn from different angles. D’ya get me? And she was right!

I start to remember that in the nineties, as I was just starting to get serious about my sequential art, I needed to really have a solid foundation in drawing the face from different angles. But instead! Me being the total hack that I am, I looked at so many of my favorite artists for reference that I subconsciously incorporated too much of their face styles into mine. Madureira’s distinctive side views. Hughes’s front shots. You get the picture. Along the way, not only did I become some sort of clone — WORSE! I became a mishmash of different styles that were in constant flux and conflict with each other. I became some stylistic ersatz Frankenstein.

I can draw, sure. But it’s not me drawing.

So I tear my third page into bite-size bits (It takes a while, it’s 11×17 after all) and spend three days finding it—finding the convergence of everything i have ever absorbed from every artist I have ever admired. Fine, it probably didn’t all happen in the past three days… they might have simply been the culmination of this, for lack of a better way of putting it, artistic digestion. And it’s still happening to me.

I craft a sort of mission statement for my style, realizing that since my influences are mainly of the cartoony sort (Madureira, Campbell, Pearson, Drucker, Frezzato, Ramos, Immonen, and Adams), it makes no sense to contrive it with the “serious” sensibilities. All this time, I’ve been trying to do a Jim Lee piece with Campbell’s hand, know what I mean? Yes, I know I’m no J. Scott Campbell, but come on. It’s a metaphor.

I remember some concept art videos I saw. Some cool Gnomon shit. And I remember the importance of creating strong, defined, and unique silhouettes. And then I wake up and see that my strengths have always been in shapes. Spheres. Cubes. Cylinders. The whole shaboodle. And I’m focusing these insights into a conscious effort to create a style that is more cartoony than my past work, but not overboard. Coz the way I figure it, the only real way my stuff is gonna look consistent from page to page, panel to panel, is if it’s really my stuff. It’s high time I ditch my crutches and grew some sea legs. So there, as far as figure and face work goes… I’m going with this more rubbery, animated feel. The serious sensibilities will be maintained only in the other details. Shadowplay (Mignola), camera placement (Hitch), figure dynamics (Frazetta), that kinda stuff.

That said, here’s some of the stuff I just did. And I love ’em.

Peter Parker

Thor (current style)

Thor (Shitty older version)

Logan

And lastly.. Logan and Emma

I am happy now.

On with page three.

Worky Smirky

“I’m going to clap when this movie ends,” comic-buddy Alex says. I just nod to him. “Hell yeah,” I whisper. The Dark Knight ends, and the credits roll. As the lights fire up, Alex applauds the film’s awesomeness out of sheer fanboy glee. My hands meet three times, and I stop when I look around at the people obviously not as enthused as we were. WHAT’S WRONG WITH YOU PEOPLE?!? It was an awesome film that challenged its audience intellectually. It was a grown-up comic book movie. Apparently too grown up for some. And I fucking loved it! And I hate myself for not clapping. Last movie that made me feel that good about being a comic geek was V for Vendetta, so screw you guys who gave me dirty looks when I woohooed at this film.

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I’ve finally been making some headway on my Thor pages. I have about two pages done (again, out of six), and I plan to clean up the second and hopefully start the third this weekend. Finally working on 11×17, and I gotta say I’m enjoying it way more than I thought I would. I was initially approaching it with a healthy dose of trepidation, worried that my layouts would get fucked, my faces would distort, and my rendering would get offset… but I’m doing it by the book and sticking to my thumbnails.

So far so good.

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I spotted a coupla comic guys in DA a coupla weeks back. Honcho of the bunch says he’s looking to put together a team for a pitch to Red5 and whoever else may be in range. I link ’em to my Next Wave stuff, and they think I’m decent. I’m on board for this project, which is funny… coz they need me on 11×17. So I guess it’s coincidental that I just happen to have started working on that size already.

Tan-tan-taaaaaaaaaaaan!!!

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And speaking of funny stories. The marketing company I’ve been doing freelance gigs for, for a while now has hired me as their creative head. I’m now quite literally the go-to guy for all the artists of the Philippine branch. I’d be lying if I said the title isn’t intimidating, but I’d also be lying if I said this didn’t rock so fucking much. No idea why they chose me though, makes me question their mental health sometimes. Was it my “meh” cap that screamed professionalism? Probably.

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I’m scheduled to watch Dark Knight yet again. The Doomsville Crew, co-genius Matt, ChampionMan, Spanish girls and all, have demanded my presence tonight.

I will clap.

Trades vs Monthlies

Am slightly stricken by the fact that there’s an actual discussion about trade paperbacks replacing monthlies. What’s even more disturbing is that some people think that the trades actually are a better way to go. Been visiting www.pulpsecret.com a lot lately, coz their live reviews and the fact that it always takes about five minutes to make a point is always amusing.

Pete LePage is a leader of men.

But anyway.

The argument is that trades would be better because it will increase the chances of only good stories coming out, as opposed to monthlies, which are a primarily deadline-driven medium. I admit that’s a fair point, but it sucks coz it decreases the chances of new creators getting the attention they need to grow. Someone even asked, if I remember correctly, “Do you think DC would have let the team that started this new volume of Blue Beetle get straight into TPBs?” Of course not.

One thing I feel was overlooked is the role of the 30-day waiting period that comes with comic book fandom. The cliffhanger syndrome. Anyone will tell you that half the fun (if you can call it that) is reading an awesome last page and wanting the next issue so bad. An only-trades market would totally destroy that, because everything will be done in one. An admittedly LONG done in one, but you know what I mean.
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I’m not working as fast as I want to on these Nextwave pages that I mentioned I’d do as samples… mainly due to obligations on other sites… and there’s work, of course; but I already am piping down to page 3. I’d say I’m rolling along nicely. Not as nicely as I’d initially hoped speed-wise, but I’m definitely happy with the look of the pages so far.
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The gang doesn’t get to hang in the usual pub Sunday. The place apparently ran fresh out of potatoes the day before, and a brew session with the boys just doesn’t work without our mojos. Okay, that didn’t sound right. I sign copies of Wonderlost 2 for a couple of friends. My signature is an indecisive rooster’s tap dance after he’s stepped in a bottle of India ink.

Speaking of ink, I got some new pens and crap for my day job today. Decided to break them in with a return to inking. I quite literally have not inked a piece in years, since I’ve made a conscious decision to focus on my pencils and try to bring it to a certain level I’ll be happy with. Videos of Jim Lee’s gelatometti Iron Chef challenges replay in my head as I think about what he said about inks being the best quick sketch tools. Ironic, I know. But it tends to lend a look of… I don’t know… completeness… I’m tempted to say “weight”…to a five-minute piece.

These were obviously touched up a bit with Photoshop. Heh.

But yeah… I’m definitely a pencils guy.