Sunday, August 30, 2009

Myrna Loy Pastel Drawing

Well you may question why I did this. I do have a reason why I am spending a little time doing a pastel drawing of the great actress Myrna Loy. Well the reason is - Monday morning I am headed to the Federal courthouse in Omaha to do the courtroom sketches for a trial. The station is sending a camera crew also but they aren't allowed in the courtroom. So it up to me to document the trial for the show we are working on about it. (More on that show later.)
So as kind of a warm up, try out or something I figure I should test the waters. It has been awhile since I have tried anything like this courtroom drawing. I did it a couple of times before but that has been years and years.
Also I wanted a bit different look for the sketches. Most of courtroom sketches seem to be full blown pastel type drawings. The show this is a part of is the 'Murder House' show I did a couple of years ago. It had a 50's horror comic look, and the second show 'Profiler' is taking a more 60's Suspense Theater look, so I wanted the courtroom drawings to have a more hard line look to them. Also it helps with my speed to have a solid line down to color inside the lines. Ha. I never was much good with color alone. So with the sharpie lines I get a more graphic look.
At least I hope it all works out like that. I have to do 3 a day and have them done by 3PM so they can get on the 5 o'clock news in Omaha.
Anyway I tried to capture a bit of Myrna Loy's look. I don't think her forehead was the right height, but I do think it looks a bit like her. Probably good enough for courtroom sketching.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Happy Birthday Jack!

Today as hundreds of blogs across the internet proclaim is Jack 'the King' Kirby's birthday. It was truly a sad day in my life when Jack passed on. I really only got to meet him twice. Like so many other people I know, when I got to shake hands and meet him the first time - I froze. I had never been struck with awe and wonder so much in my life. When I was a kid I got to shake hands with Roy Rogers and I didn't freeze as much as I did with Jack. All I could muster was a weak stammer then a 'thanks, jack for all the great stuff'. Sheesh what a moron I was at the time. Ha.
I have seen alot of tributes today, so why add mine to the mix, you ask. Well I don't know. Just seems it hit me harder today than in past years. You see when I was a kid, my brother was buying comics before me - him being the elder by five years. I remember having a couple of kid type comics of some kind, but my brother was discovering the better ones. And I wanted them. I wanted the adventure, the excitment, and the great art. I used to thumb through his books and look just for the Jack Kirby ones. I didn't know who the guy was but even at the age of looking and not really being able to read, I noticed Jacks work. I had never seen anything like it before or since.
Then suddenly I found a copy of Showcase with a new feature. It was like a spark on a gasoline soaked keg of dynamite. The Challengers of the Unknown hit a chord with me. Non-superpowered guys in a fast growing world of superheroes fighting to bridge the gap between man and superman. Til this day that is my favorite type of hero. These guys were 'living on borrowed time' and lucky to come out alive at the end of each exciting story. Of course Jack, with inks by Wally Wood on the first stories, got me hooked. As Jack left the book, I keep buying it. Always looked forward to the adventures of the Challengers. Jack seemed to jump around where he was needed. He was like a superhero himself it seemed to me. A cover here, a story there. Sometimes hard to find with my living locations as a kid.
Then Jack made the jump to Marvel full blast. Marvel launched it's superheroes and Jack seemed to draw them all. Which was fine with me. I followed each book as much as I could. With limited funds my brother and I would each buy certain books. Then a second explosion hit. And his name was Captain America!

The hook was deep into me now. I couldn't get enough of this character. I cherished every panel he was in. Avengers #4 was a landmark issue to me. I still have my beat up old copy. I resides in my collection with my collection of Avengers and Captain America comics showing it's age proudly. I lost count of the times I read that book. I felt I was a lucky kid because Cap began
to show up in alot of issues. Even before Avengers 4 a fake Captain America showed up to battle the Human Torch in an issue of Strange Tales, but after finding out the fake was the Acrobat it didn't really seem to matter to me. I wanted to know more about Captain America. And Avengers 4 gave that chance to me.

To my amazement Cap was given his own half book in Tales of Suspense. Jack brought out the big guns as far as I was concerned. He was close to the top of his game on these stories and I couldn't get enough. The pairings were great. The stories were just the action and excitement I wanted at the time. Soon came one of the greatest pairings of the silver age, in my opinion.

Among one of the most cherished issues I ever read. World War 2 action with the great Captain America and Bucky paired with the Howlers. I have never seen a scan or the original art for this cover. I truly envy the person who owes this. I am sure it is out there somewhere in a place of honor. I was never much for having riches, but I wish I had the money to own this piece of art.

My heroes have since been Jack's type of heroes. I miss them, I miss Jack..... Happy Birthday Jack and thanks for the adventures.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Bunny girl run cycle

So here is the first of the Marine virus game character animations that I am working on. The game is going to be a side scroller like Mario. The bunny girl with jump, swim, run, climb a rope, throw stuff, and of course die. But, I have yet to draw all those, since this is the first one. It is a bit rough, but she is only going to be around 70 pixels tall so she looks alright when she is that size.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

I couldn't resist...a sneek preview.

What is this you Loyal Legionnaires might be asking!!?? Captain Spectre in color? What is wrong with the world, it must be the end of days as predicted.
Well don't worry Legionnaires, it is a little sneek preview. Last weekend I was working and thought to myself--well why not?!
The strip is an experiment, so format changes, switches from color to black and white, switches back and all things should be considered. Plus when you get pissed off at the world, your characters tend to get pissed off at the world. So maybe Captain Spectre is in a form me. Things I wish I could do, I can through the good Captain.
Sometimes I or my mind just screams to be left alone so I can work on my strip. So when things at work turn to shit. When freelance jobs are ridiculous beyond all means of reason, when your personal life is turned to crap -- what happens at the Lightning Legion Secret Headquarters you might ask. Well Legionnaires work gets done!!! When you get pissed off pick up a pencil and draw! That is what I try to do.
Captain Spectre is an extension of a personal dream...a childhood dream to create comics. I once wanted nothing in my life but to grow up and create comics. I actually thought once I could maybe grow up and work with great characters like Captain America or so many other great characters back then. The only problem now is I don't recognize any of them anymore. So that version of the dream has kind of died. So now despite rejection letters from the finest comics, despite a lack of skills....none of that 'god given talent' around here folks just hard work, rough learning, and doing things over and over trying to get it right. And of course now because of the internet, digital printing, and things like that anyone can be a comics creator. Technology has at least helped a little with one old man's dreams.

....and sometimes dreams are all we have to hold on too.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Warm Ups, high contrast

Some days as most of you know, the ideas just don't come very easy. When that happens sometimes I try something a bit different. A different style, A different tool, A different paper...anything to break the pattern. Well seems as though tonight was one of those nights. So I just kind of let it flow. I didn't feel like working on my animations for the virus game, I am ahead by five weeks on the Captain Spectre strip, I am still not ready to start the stand alone Captain Spectre comic - so here are a couple of doodles to help wake the brain up.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Tarzan, for maybe a book mark to give away...

Well here is another Tarzan piece. Thanks to some great advice, I am trying some different things. I will have to wrap my mind around what I am trying to do. Well that doesn't make much sense, does it. I tend to rush things a bit. So one thing I have to do is slow down and think. I sometimes get in the 'I gotta get this done and move on' kind of thing. I should be trying to produce better pieces, not alot of so-so pieces. I need to try and plan things a bit better. But more on that later. Anyway here is an experimental piece. Maybe I will make a Tarzan bookmark from it or something.
I added some digital color to it too see if I could make it read better. I felt the black and white one was a bit confusing. Yet another thing I need to work on is my uses of black and white to separate the forms.
Anyway, guess you can't win them all.

Some days it ain't all rocketpacks and heroes!

Ha, thought I would post some progress on a side scrolling game based on the Marine Virus comic that Martin Powell wrote and Brent Schoonover is drawing. The game is being produced at the university here, and of course I got trapped into doing the animations for the game characters. The game takes a left turn from the idea in the comic, but anyway here is the little native american girl that will be running around in the game. She is supposed to be in bed reading the virus comic as the game starts. Most of the game characters for this type of game seemed squat and cutesy. So that is the route I went with. Hence the bunny suit PJ's. She isn't cute enough yet for me, so I have to work on that. But at least the powers that be went for the idea. So the never ending battle continues as I go forward with the animations. I will post them here when I get to them. And other character designs.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Yet another slap in the face....

BRIAN AZZARELLO: “Fan” might be a strong word but I was definitely aware of him. I read a lot of books when I was younger. If [DC] wanted Doc Savage straight ahead Doc Savage, I probably wouldn’t be involved but the way that we’re doing it, I’m pretty excited about it.

Will readers need prior knowledge of Doc Savage heading into the one-shot or the series?

What. Do you think I want 10 guys reading this?

Ten guys in their seventies.

Those 10 guys in their seventies are going to be the guys who get pissed off. “He obviously doesn’t understand Doc Savage. That’s not my Doc Savage” That’s exactly what I want them to say.


Well I guess I will be one of the ten guys pissed off.....thanks to Azzarello and DC comics for 're-imagining' a timeless character.
But actually I think there are more than 10 guys who should be pissed off....after all I think the new Doc Savage reprints probably sell a few more than 10 copies, or else they wouldn't be reprinting them.

I sure hope this 'new' Doc fails and leaves Azzarello holding his bag!


Saturday, August 8, 2009

This is Entertainment?????....or I am officially out of the demographic!

"Ultimate Avengers will have a Red Skull villain variant cover. This Red Skull will be the illegitimate son of Cap from the ‘40s. You’ll see the “Cap sex scene” in issue #2; Cap’s girlfriend has to give the baby up to SHIELD, and this is the result."

This is a direct quote from Marvel's panel at the Comic convention being held in Chicago by Mark Millar. The architect of the new Ultimate's comic line from Marvel.
When I was a kid, all I could think about each day was when I grew up maybe I could work for Marvel drawing all those great heroes and stories. And maybe if I could draw good enough I could get to draw the great Captain America. It was a dream, and that dream officially ended today. That statement above drove the final nail in the coffin of a dream....thanks Mark Millar. I guess I am too old, to set in my ways to even care about a storyline that has sex and illegitimate children of heroes as the central story points. Hell even as a kid I figured Cap had sex sometimes, he was a man after all, But I sure as hell didn't care to peek in on it. Or really even care who it was with. I figured that was his business. Hell they are just characters anyway so why do I even care. After all dropping comics like this from purchase only saves me money....thanks again Marvel. You have cured a comics junkie, or Marvel zombie or whatever you want to call me. I have been gradually breaking the comic habit for years. Especially since companies are reprinting so much classic material I never really had access to before. Complete collections of Raymond's Flash Gordon, Complete Caniff Terry and the Pirates, and the upcoming Rip Kirby books. Of course I am more interested in the art of these creators, the storytelling, the framing, and all the aspects of storytelling.
I don't even recognize most comic book heroes anymore. The hero with 'feet of clay' thing has pretty much gone too far for me. It is becoming harder to tell the heroes from the bad guys. I realize that is the point of some of the stories, but for me that just doesn't really entertain me time after time after time. I kind of like my heroes to have less faults than I do, that is what makes them heroes along with the fact they do the right thing.
Forgive me for the rant, but it is a important thing to me. And hopefully my heroes are more hero than they are normal people. I know alot of normal people and I don't really want to read their adventures anymore than I want to read some of the comics I have seen in the last few years.

Tarzan Inks...

Well it has been a hell of a week for sure. I am still picking up branches, limbs, and all sorts of parts of trees. But at least it was a productive Friday evening after getting home. Here are the inks to the Tarzan piece I posted a few days ago. I actually inked the Tarzan figure Thursday night mostly, and finished it off today. I felt I needed to get this one out of my system first. I hope you enjoy it. This is entirely inked with a brush and is on 11x17 bristol.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

More storm...but the yard rabbits survived!

More pics from around the house after the sudden storm. Also before I spent six hours moving branches, most of these are moved, cleaned up or whatever you want to call it.


With the sound of a crabapple tree traveling all the way across the yard and hitting the corner of the house, I awoke! I didn't even know a storm was in the offing. It hit about 4 o'clock this morning. But all is safe at Lightning Legion Secret HQ.

Monday, August 3, 2009

The Burroughs Sketchbook project begins...

As posted a bit earlier, I have been invited to be the guest of honor at the Burroughs Dum-Dum next year in Chicago sponsored by the "Muckers", the groups of Burroughs fans in and around Chicago. I have also thought of how to maximize my visit. In other words to help spread the word about my work. So I thought I would make a project and produce some works based on Edgar Rice Burroughs' fantastic range of works. From Tarzan's Africa, to John Carter's Mars, to Carson Napier's Venus, and all points inbetween and beyond. I don't know how many I will be able to create before I go, but I thought I would stretch my creative legs a bit. Especially since I think in my whole life I have only done one or two Mars drawings. I was always a bigger fan of the Tarzan adventures.
Also to make these works affordable I thought I would put them together in a Burroughs sketchbook type of thing. Mostly it will all be in black and white, since I am more interested in that form recently. I might compile it with all my other Burroughs works from the other books I have illustrated. But mainly I wanted to produce new works.
So it is a pencilled piece I had an idea for the other day and had a bit of free time to pencil it out a bit. I will be inking it sometime soon so I will post that version soon. Kind of a progress thing to post here too.
Of course don't worry Loyal Legionnaires, I will not take anything away from the strip to do this, it is of course above and beyond the ending of Chapter 4 and the stand alone comic adventure. So no worries Legionnaires.