Tuesday, August 31, 2010
I always thought that Jim Hammond, the original Human Torch was cooler than his silver age counterpart. The featurless face while in flame form made him look much more menacing, and when I found out he was an android that made him even more awesome to me! I am glad that Marvel finally decided to bring him out of retirement and have featured him in modern tales. I am surprised that he doesn't run into Johnny Storm more often though. You would think they would have a lot to talk about.
Speaking of Johnny Storm, here's a sketch of him by Bruce Timm:
Monday, August 30, 2010
This was a request, and it brought me back to reading those great DC 100-Pagers with all of the wild reprints. I thought the adventures of The Guardian and the Newsboy Legion were pretty cool, mostly due to the early Jack Kirby artwork. I liked that the Guardian was secretly a beat cop and I really dug his gold shield. In fact, I would love to see a period crossover between him and Captain America. The two WWII shielded Kirby characters together, that would be great!
Here’s an early effort where I was still testing out altering images. In fact this is the only one in which I did not use two or more covers to create. Instead I just “erased” the rest of the JLA and added the speech balloon. Kind of lazy and it shows in the boring design, so not one of my favorites.
That shouldn’t be any reflection on how much I like the New Teen Titans though. I remember being annoyed that George Perez was departing Justice League of America so soon after his run began to work on a new title, but once it hit the stands, I was blown away just like most fans. The new characters were all instantly interesting and I was always a big Robin and Kid Flash fan. DC has had a tough time keeping the momentum with the Titans due to roster and creative team changes, but hopefully that is due for a change. I saw some footage for the upcoming Young Justice animated series and it seems like is captures a lot of the spirit of those first few great years of Titans.
Sunday, August 29, 2010
I was a big Mr. Miracle fan when I was a kid but for some reason I just could never get into The New Gods. It was only when Darkseid became more of a line wide villain and started appearing in various titles that I started to get interested on the whole story of New Genesis and Apokolips. Fortunately, Paul Dini and Bruce Timm must have been Fourth World fans because the Kirby characters were featured quite a bit on Superman: The Animated Series and then Justice League Unlimited. It was these animated appearances where I really began to appreciate the whole mythology of the characters.
DC recently killed off all of the New Gods, and now they are going to be reborn in new forms... or something. I'm not sure. I read Final Crisis but Grant Morrison can be confusing at times! Hopefully they will be back soon.
Friday, August 27, 2010
The Micronauts were probably my favorite of the toys turned comics concept that was popular during my childhood years. This was mainly due to the fact that the toys were so cool looking! Lots of points of articulation and great designs, they were pretty cool compared to most of the other action figures out at the time. I remember my brother had Biotron and I had Acroyear and we used to do mock battles, ah - good times. In the comics, I picked up a few issues if their various series, but was really won over with the X-Men vs. Micronauts mini-series. I'm not sure what the rights issues are like, but it would be nice to see The Micronauts back in action.
Thursday, August 26, 2010
Out of all of the martial arts characters that came out during the 70's, two really rose to the top: Iron Fist and Shang-Chi, The Master of Kung Fu. Iron Fist of course was a cross between a martial artist and superhero, so that was cool to me. Shang-Chi, on the other hand was a straight up martial artist, inspired by the likes of David Carradine's TV Kung Fu character. The neat thing was that he was still set firmly in the Marvel Universe and would appear with Spider-Man, The Thing and others.
I just read today that the first movie to come out of Disney/Marvel looks to be Iron Fist, that could be great if done correctly. In honor of this news, here's a pic of Iron Fist with his Partner, Power Man, done by Dave Johnson for an article in Wizard magazine:
Wednesday, August 25, 2010
This is a pretty simple one, admittedly. Originally when I started this project I was very strict. I only wanted to use DC character that were around during B&B's publishing years, so that all the covers would be ones that could actually have been. After a while I got a lot of request for Marvel characters, so I made this early cover to appease the requesters. Of course it was not long before I brought individual members of the Marvel universe in...
Like many of todays readers, I have a little event fatigue, too many story lines out there that try to tell a line wide epic. Still, they can be very cool if done well. And back when I was a kid they were rare and truly awe inspiring. I remember when I got the 3 issue Marvel mini-series, Contest of Champions and absolutely loving that all the Marvel were interacting in one big tale, at that point it had never been done before. I was very fortunate to be able to purchase a couple of pages from this series, by a young John Romita Jr. You'll note that the series was originally intended to be a Marvel Treasury special relating to the Olympics. After the USA decided to boycott the Olympics, it was changed to a mini-series:
Tuesday, August 24, 2010
This is where it all started. This is the very first cover that I created. While the Martian Manhunter appeared in a few pre-Batman team-ups in the early days of B&B, he never guest starred with the caped crusader himself. That and Captain Marvel were the two team ups that I most hoped would one day happen. Sometimes you just have to take matters into your own hands and thus the Lost Issues were born!
I have always loved the Martian Manhunter, and was glad when he was finally taken out of limbo – even if it was for the Detroit era Justice League! I would have killed to see him as a member of the Super Friends (I think El Dorado was his stand in), but it is nice that through DC’s animation arm and Smallville, the character is finally getting some recognition in other media. If they ever get around to making a JLA film, he is the character I want to see the most. Hopefully he will look a little better than the David Ogden Stiers version from that bootleg Justice League flick!
Here’s J’onn and some of his fellow League members in a page by Phil Jiminez:
Monday, August 23, 2010
Yet another early effort where the seams really show. I could never get the contrast right on this one either. Still, It features Kubert and Aparo, my two favorite artists, so I can't get too disappointed looking at it.
The Losers film did not set the world on fire, but it was an adaptation of a later version of the concept and not the original stories. I might still give it a rent. I mean, it stars Captain America, Uhura and The Comedian - how bad could it be?
Sunday, August 22, 2010
I am a big animal lover as my family always had plenty of pets when I was growing up. For that reason, the concept of a super group made up of animal sidekicks was quite appealing to me. I still have a cat but her main superpower is the ability to wake me up at the same exact time each morning. Actually, that has come in handy more than once.
I still think pet superheroes are a great way to introduce the youngest viewers and readers into the world of comics. The animated Krypto: the Super-Dog and Marvel's Pet Avengers mini-series are a step in the right direction.
This was a very early request and I could never quite match up the contrast with all of the characters. Then someone suggested that the Legion of Super-Pets were zapping in from the Phantom Zone and I thought that was a no-prize worthy explanation!
Here's a Jim Mooney sketch featuring Supergirl and Streaky, The Super Cat:
Saturday, August 21, 2010
I have loved the JSA since I was introduced to them with their yearly guest appearances in Justice League of America. I would scour the various 100-Page DC titles to find reprints of their adventures, both solo and as a full team. I was a huge fan of the Len Strazewski and Mike Parobeck Justice Society of America series and was disappointed that it had a short run. Geoff Johns has done a nice job of keeping the team going in the current age of comics, hopefully the writers taking up the reins can maintain the quality.
It's nice to see the JSA finally making their way into other media, with appearances in Smallville and Batman: The Brave and the Bold as well as the Spectre animated short. I'm still hoping for a full animated version of The Golden Age, I loved that mini series by James Robinson and Paul Smith.
Friday, August 20, 2010
I don’t do too many team ups with cartoon characters, but when I saw Batman’s statement on this cover, I couldn’t resist! South Park still manages to make me laugh after all these years. Despite their basic animation I am still amazed at how quickly they get some current references in their episodes. I didn’t have room to include Cartman on here but he is my favorite character on the show, truly one of the great villains of the past few decades!
Thursday, August 19, 2010
Susan Storm is a character that got more an more interesting over the years as Stan Lee and other writers further explored her powers and personality. When she began to manipulate force fields as well as turn invisible, she became one of the most powerful characters in the Marvel universe. She is also unique for the fact that readers were able to follow her from single girl, to wife, to mother. Usually when a character has children in comics, they show up half grown out of the blue one day. It was nice to see Sue raise Franklin and now Valeria from infants to toddlers to kids.
Ron Wilson drew the Invisible Girl on this cover. Here's a dynamic Wilson page featuring Giant-Man (well, Giant Men):
Wednesday, August 18, 2010
I am a sucker for superhero period pieces so The Invaders was a concept that really appealed to me, it was marvel's closes analogue to the JSA. Captain America, Namor and the original Human Torch were so different from one another that is was always cool to see them in action together.
Of all the announcements to come out of the upcoming Captain America movie the most intriguing tidbit is that the Invaders are slated to appear. I'm not sure which characters they will use or how long the team will be featured in the film, but it should be very cool to see these characters up on the screen. My guess is they will use some of the second string members like Spitfire and Union Jack.
Here are a couple of sketches of Invaders member Captain America, but Mike Zeck and Cully Hamner, respectively:
Tuesday, August 17, 2010
I’ve been hearing good things about The Inhumans again lately. Apparently they have been playing a sizeable role in Marvel’s recent cosmic events from Annihilation onward. I am really going to have to catch up on some of that because I have been a big fan of the characters for years. I enjoyed their run in Amazing Adventures and their many guest starring appearances, as well as the stellar mini-series by Paul Jenkins and Jai Lee.
This team has a great line-up, each with an interesting look and power. My favorites are Medusa with her crazy hair, the aquatic Triton, teleporting pooch Lockjaw and their leader, Black Bolt, I think one of the best decisions made with The Inhumans was to not give Black Bolt any thought balloons, in addition to the obvious absence of speech balloons unless it is one of those rare times that he uses his devastating vocal chords. Having his thoughts and emotions conveyed solely through body language and interpretations from Medusa has made him one of the most intriguing and mysterious characters in Marvel’s possession.
Monday, August 16, 2010
This was actually my first attempt at a 100-page issue, as it was created before the Cat cover that I posted earlier. I was glad to be able to include a shout out to Marvel/DC’s Batman Vs. The Incredible Hulk tabloid issue, probably my favorite team-up comic of all time, and a definite inspiration for this blog.
Well, with the Avengers film, we will have out third Hulk in as many movie appearances. I am not too worried, as I think Mark Ruffalo is a talented actor and I’d rather The Hulk have more screentime than Banner anyway. It will be sweet to see him go toe to toe with the likes of Thor and Iron Man! Ang Lee’s Hulk film had a nice 20 minute desert sequence, but the rest was kind of misguided… Leterrier’s follow up was much better, and I really liked the design of their CGI Hulk – looked like a Sal Buscema version of the character. So hopefully, the momentum will continue and we will get the best on-screen Hulk appearance yet. I’d love to see interest grow again, because I was really looking forward to a sequel to his solo film, this time featuring The Leader.
Here’s one of the few full color pieces in my original art collection, Hulk Vs. The Rhino by Ernie Chan:
Sunday, August 15, 2010
The Human Torch is a perfect concept for a superhero. A basic, instantly understandable power with a very interesting visual look. A man bursting into flame is a pretty frightening concept, but that is tempered by Johnny Storm's happy go lucky attitude. That same attitude makes him a great team member as well, either with his Fantastic Four co-stars or Spider-Man. Johnny's slight ego is a welcome character trait - I mean how many of us wouldn't feel a little puffed up if we actually possessed superhuman abilities? It's only natural but something that isn't touched on very much in comic book stories.
The advent and growth of computer coloring in the past 15 years or so has meant a lot of different looks for The Human Torch, as artists have experimented with various ways top represent flame on the printed page. Some have been pretty effective, and some quite garish. For my money, I still prefer the "lots of little lines" look that was the standard when I was growing up - that to me is the real Human Torch. I also do not care for it when artists get overly detailed and allows Johnny's hairstyle to show through while flamed on. That just never looks right to me.
Saturday, August 14, 2010
Going once again to the well of obscurity for today's entry. The Human Fly was a short lived marvel series in the 70's featuring what they called "The first real-life superhero!" In actuality the comic was a tie in to an Evel Knievel-type motorcycle stunt man who wore a costume to match his comic book counterpart. I remember seeing ads for this when I was a kid and thinking that he must be the coolest guy ever. The always excellent Bronze Age magazine, Back Issue, did a feature on the whole story behind The Human Fly, and it was very interesting. If you haven't read it, it's well worth seeking out.
Friday, August 13, 2010
I remember getting up very early to watch Hanna Barbera's World of Super-Adventure when I was a kid. I was a little frustrated that they showed The Fantastic Four in the opening credits, but those cartoons never seemed to air. The was okay though, because The Herculoids appeared regularly and I would really dig their adventures. They even also had a big rock guy! I recently watched some episodes and was surprised how simple it was with lots of repeated footage and sound effects. Still, the cast of characters is very appealing, effectively meshing Jungle action with science fiction. It's one of those cartoon properties that I would love to see given a modern treatment. Live action would be very difficult to pull off, but a new animated series would be great.
Thursday, August 12, 2010
I remember seeing ads for The Haunted Tank as a kid but it was never a series that I sought out. It was only a recently when I purchased the Showcase collection for the amazing Joe Kubert art that I really began to appreciate this little gem of a concept. Confederate Soldier J.E.B. stuart lends ghostly guidance to his namesake in World War Two. This mini-tank navigates impossible odds and perilous encounters and it makes for the ultimate underdog story with a great never give up attitude. I was really surprised at how much I enjoyed these tales. I especially loved the recurring sound effect that The Haunted Tank made - Clankity clank! Clankity clank!
This is one of those covers that came out much better than I had anticipated. I had an idea for a ghostly Batman guiding the tank and was very lucky to find the perfect image. Even though this is a relatively early effort, it is still one of my top ten favorite covers.
Wednesday, August 11, 2010
I have high hopes for the upcoming Green Lantern film. I have always thought it is the perfect property for a film franchise, marrying the superhero and science fiction genres the way it does. I like the cast and director, and it would be great to see them do Hal Jordan justice. Of course, for me it will be even more exciting to see some of Gl's fellow Corps members brought to life on the big screen. Abin Sur, Kilowog, Tomar Re and more are slated to appear and I can't wait to see how they look. A picture of Kilowog was leaked on the net this weeks, and it looks promising.
There's one GLC member that I really hope will appear, but it is probably a long shot since he is so odd looking - Chaselon! I giant sentient diamond, with robotic limbs and a mohawk? That's just awesomeness personified! And just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the creativity of all the writers and artists who have worked on Green Lantern over the years.
Here's a page featuring GLC member John Stewart, by longtime GL artist Joe Staton:
Tuesday, August 10, 2010
My first memories of The Green Hornet were from listening to his classic radio adventures. I especially loved that Britt Reid was the son of Dan Reid, who was The Lone Ranger's nephew. Very cool bit of shared universes there.
The Green Hornet is due for a big budget film adaptation, Headed by Seth Rogen. The trailer seems to lean heavily on the comedic side, but hopefully the humor won't be too much at the expense of the characters. I must say Kato looks pretty impressive from what I have seen.
Presenting… my least favorite cover! I guess we all have clunkers every now and then and I consider this to be one of them. I don’t know if it was the too simple design or the art I chose but this one never really came together. It’s too bad because I really like the Freedom Fighters. The Human Bomb, The Ray, Doll Man and the rest made for an especially eclectic bunch. Plus they had eye candy with Phantom Lady and were led by Uncle Sam himself! Simply a great line up.
I have liked the recent Freedom Fighters mini-series with the mostly legacy characters and am glad to hear that they will shortly be starting their own ongoing series. If it is up to the quality of the mini-series, we should be in for a fun ride!
This is an idea I wanted to do for a while but could never find the right images. Finally I got very lucky, with a Batman image where even the rain was falling in the right direction. It took a bit of fine tuning, but it was worth it, even if the joke is a bit hokey.
As I mentioned in my Defenders entry, I always had a fondness for The Gargoyle. I loved the fact that in his civilian identity, he was in his elder years, rather than the usual late 20’s, early 30’s. It worked perfectly for a magic based character and gave him a unique perspective. I am not sure of his current status these day, but I hope to see him featured somewhere soon. He’s too cool a character to leave in linbo.
Monday, August 9, 2010
This was a request/challenge and I do realize that I run the risk of my Blog jumping the shark by posting this cover. It’s a fairly simple one but I was glad to get the chance to use one of my favorite Norm Breyfogle covers.
Happy Days ran smack dab during my early childhood and I remember thinking The Fonz was just about the coolest guy around. Unfortunately, I was closer to Ralph Malph. Hmmm, I wonder if The Fonz could start the Batmobile just by hitting it with his fist?
Sunday, August 8, 2010
The Fantastic Four really spoke to me as a kid. I come from a strong family unit so the idea of a superhero team that was first and foremost a family was very appealing. I was just as interested in their personal interactions as I was about how they would get out of their latest life and death situation. On top of that, the series included (in my opinion) Marvel's best rogues gallery and best character, The Thing. Yes, Spidey, Cap and the Hulk are great - but the Thing is, to me, the heart and soul of the Marvel Universe.
The FF films are soon to be rebooted, and hopefully they will learn from what the first franchise did right and wrong. They got the family interaction right, remembered to include humor, and the Torch and Surfer effects were very impressive... but skimping on budgets gave us a Galactus cloud, unconvincing Thing costume and overall limited heroics. Plus this mis-casting and mis-scripting of Doctor Doom is something that is very hard to overlook. It'll be interesting to see how this new wave of Fantastic Four, Spider-Man, and X-Men films look given the advantage of hindsight.
Here's a page from a Fantastic Four Annual by Kevin Maguire - an amazingly expressive artist:
Saturday, August 7, 2010
I have liked The Falcon since he was a regular guest star in Captain America back in the day. I always liked his costume and I even think I remember having his MEGO action figure when I was very young. I also fondly remember his four issue mini-series in the 80's. I am suprised we haven't seen him in more solo action, but at least he is still a strong supporting player in the current Captain America series. Hopefully if the film adaptation is a hit and spawns sequels, we will see The Falcon show up on the silver screen as well.
Friday, August 6, 2010
This is one of the very first covers I did, which is why it is a little ragged, especially the word balloon. I like it anyway because of the 100% Aparo artwork, which always makes me happy.
The Doom Patrol has probably the coolest team name in comics. I originally discovered them through reprints and really dug their unique look and scarred personalities. When the New Teen Titans included them in an early story line, I got an inkling of how fun their present day adventures might be. Fortunately, it wasn’t too long before the whole team was revived. They have gone through several series in the ensuing years, and each of them has been markedly different from one another. Despite all the creative changes, this team of offbeat heroes is just odd enough to roll with whatever is handed to them and they keep on persevering.
I must say, I do miss Tempest from this version of the DP, I thought he was pretty cool and was bummed when they killed him off.
Thursday, August 5, 2010
The Defenders was one of the first titles that I collected a complete run of. I read the entire series through at once in one big chunk, and boy what a wild ride it is! Roster changes, pseudo-mysticism and homicidal elves made for a series where you never knew what was coming next.
I prefer the original four – Hulk, Sub-Mariner, Silver Surfer and Dr. Strange. It is such a powerhouse line up full of strong personalities, it really set them apart from every other team. I also like the B-Team of Valkyrie, Hellcat and Nighthawk. Those seven are the quintessential Defenders team to me… although I do have a soft spot for The Gargoyle, who came along a little bit later.
Wednesday, August 4, 2010
The Dark Knight came out just as I was finishing high school so I was the perfect age for it. Coupled with Watchmen, it was a one-two punch that at once pushed storytelling a step forward and introduced many other people to the medium that I had been championing. I own a lot of TPB's but few have the re-readability factor of TDK.
I loved the short sequence inspired by the mini-series in the Legends of the Dark Knight episode of Batman: The Animated Series, and I am kind of surprised we haven't seen a full adaptation in either animation or live action. With an animated adaptation of Miller's Batman: Year One just announced, maybe it won't be too long.
Tuesday, August 3, 2010
I had wanted to do a 100-Page Issue for this project since I started it. I used to love those special issues when I was a kid, there would be a new feature story and then the rest of the comic was jam packed with cool reprints. It was through those reprints that I was introduced to all the great characters and creators of past years, and I truly began to see the full scope of entertainment that comics had to offer.
I like that this cover hints at a long history of adventures with Batman and The Cat – hey, I think it is only natural, she really is his type if past girlfriends are any indication! The Cat was of course Greer Nelson, who later went on to be transformed into an actual she-feline and took on the name Tigra, thus making the leap from D-lister to C-lister. Her costume was later adopted by former model Patsy Walker, who went by the moniker Hellcat.
The original Cat series had work by the great Ramona Fradon. Fradon was also well known for her work on Brenda Starr, Aquaman, and Metamorpho, as seen in this original page:
Monday, August 2, 2010
I know he was just created as a sidekick character for the comedy lead Dynomutt, but I always though that The Blue Falcon had a really cool look. I thought that this team could be played straight and still work. I mean, he had a robotic dog! How cool is that? I also liked that they would make appearances with Scooby Doo, it made me gave me the sense of a larger universe within the cartoon world.
Sunday, August 1, 2010
With her inclusion in Iron Man 2 and soon to be The Avengers. Black Widow is set to have a higher visibility than she has ever had. Scarlett Johansson was fine in the role, although I would have liked to have heard a Russian accent in there somewhere. Yes, I realize that a superspy of her caliber would have mastered many dialects including American, but still...
It is strange to see the character introduced to movie audiences this way. I first became aware of her when she was a regular co-star to Daredevil. I always liked the two together and felt she was more at home in the more street level adventures. I did like her as a member of The Champions though, and those adventures could be pretty far out.