Sunday, February 28, 2010

Legionnaire Alert! an actual update.

Well Loyal Legionnaires, here it is. I do again apologize for three weeks between updates. But life just can't be helped. With KiGor, the day job, this damned winter, and all I just can't seem to get enough hours in the day.
Anyway, here is an almost totally digital strip. It still has some bugs in it. Line thickness is one of the other things I didn't mention in the previous post. With all that zooming in and out, it is so easy to lose your vision of line thickness. Even with a second viewing window open, you photoshop users will know what I mean, it is tough.
Also if you notice there is another experiment going on in this long panel. Instead of breaking it all up into three panels to show the passing of time, I took extra care to lay the panel out in a progression of people and time. This is another advantage to using photoshop to composite the piece. I get to play around with placing the actors where they will do the most good.
So I hope the experiment worked. The dialog progress's from left to right with the actions of the people and the time of the panel's duration.
Anyway enough explaining, just enjoy yet another cliffhanger leading to the last cliffhanger of the chapter. Which is coming soon.....I hope.

Exploring new frontiers....

As I mentioned before, I have been toying with the idea of digitally inking drawings after doing the compositing in photoshop. Well the latest Captain Spectre update, which I will post a bit later today, was done that way. I think one of the main things I have to grapple with in the process is that there isn't a very good tool in photoshop to simulate a real brush. Sure there is the brush tool with pressure sensitive controls from my Wacom tablet. But they just don't seem the same as fighting a real brush with liquid ink and the texture of the paper. They will never be able to build that feeling into a computer. The one good thing about it is zooming in and out. With the old eyesight going, the zoom tool is a blessing.
Also this process allows a bit more freedom in my drawings. What I mean by that is that I can draw each person separately and composite them together in photoshop. This allows for what I feel is sometimes a weakness in some artists layouts. A lot of times I see a lot of 'close ups' in comics that are just pieces or parts of people, and sometimes they just don't seem right. With this method I am more like a camera man on a movie set. Zooming in and out until I get the right composition to tell the story. Of course that process satisfies some of my 'want to be a director' fad.
The drawings I have posted show a bit of the close up file, which is pretty small in the finished strip.
It is a process that could save time in the long run. But again a fall back. Traditionally artists make money off of the original art pages they take to conventions and such. This way leaves no original....all I have from this weeks strip is a bunch of sketches, and a photoshop digital file of the composite and the inks. So nothing to sell. It is a problem a lot of artists are dealing with now. How to make some extra money without actually having art to sell.
Of course I have never had to worry about that problem, since no one really buys anything from me that I have for sale. ha. So what am I worried about.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Things in the works...

Even tho I haven't been very good at getting the Captain Spectre updates out there for you Loyal Legionnaires, it doesn't mean I was working. The kid with the binocs is from the update I am working on. The KiGor page is a rough layout composited in photoshop from sketches. It is page 3 of the eleven page story. So I actually feel the KiGor story is moving pretty good.
I am trying something different in the process. As I mentioned I am sketching each person separately and throwing them together in photoshop to work out the compositions. Then I will print out the roughs full size and use a lightbox to transfer them to the pencil stage. Then on to the inks. I want to get all the pages to at least this stage before moving on. That way Martin can script them. At my request we are kind of working the old Marvel way. With Martin providing the story, then I break it apart and try to tell it visually. Then back to Martin for the script. I hope it is working out. ha.

And jeez this winter has officially become old and tired. With snow again the other day, about four inches. I think it will be sometime in may before all this damned snow melts.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

What makes this version of KiGor different...?

When Martin Powell and I decided to go after KiGor as a story, and maybe possibly a series with Joe at Moonstone, one of the questions is what makes this Jungle man different than all the other jungle men in comics.
Me, I can settle for any old well told jungle story - that is just me. I have always been fascinated with jungle stories. I grew up watching Tarzan movies, the Jungle Jim series with Johnny Weissmuller, and just about any other jungle thing there was. What a better setting for the unexpected. The Dark Continent was the last bastion of things lost, mysterious, and strange.
But back to the difference between KiGor and the others. KiGor was always the best of the Tarzan knock-offs. I actually like some of KiGor's adventures better than some of Tarzan's. KiGor's adventures were always stranger, that is for sure. KiGor also had a very long run in the pulps. From the 30's up into the 50's in men's magazines KiGor ruled the jungle.
So again what makes this KiGor different than all the others? Well, KiGor always had a little bit different origin story. After his missionary father was killed, Robert Kilgour was adopted, or cared for, by a tribal shaman. So Martin and I decided that KiGor should have more of a mystical bent to it. Also the relationship between Helena and KiGor was always a bit more sexual than Tarzan and Jane. So we intend to work on that area too.
So to 'modernize' or make KiGor stand out a bit, we came up with the idea that when little Robert was adopted into the shaman's tribe, they gave him a totem animal to protect him. The shaman would surely have seen the Kilgour coat of arms on something of the old mans. So the dragon figure was adopted as KiGor's totem animal. Which led to the scarification on his left arm, the arm closest to his heart. Scarification was a big thing with some tribes.
So here you have the design for KiGor's scars on his left arm.
I think it is a logical update or modernization. Not like alot of them I have seen done to characters.
So join KiGor and Helena in their first jungle tale.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Good-bye Steve Rogers….

Well it has finally happened. Announced in an interview over at Newsarama, Ed Brubaker - the current writer of Captain America, said that Bucky was now the official Captain America.

Well, to tell you the truth I am pleased and saddened by the news. Of course this is all based on nothing ever stays the same for long in the comics, especially when dealing with title characters.

I, as most of you know, am a huge fan of Captain America. Ever since I bought a copy of Avengers #4, maybe even before that with a false Captain appearing in Strange Tales #113 ( I think it was). With the real appearance of Captain America in the Avengers, I was hooked. Even through the really bad years of the comic I hung in there. Through things like CapWolf, and all that silly crap. Bad Art, Bad Writing and all but I hung in there. Because there is something special about the Steve Rogers character.

I must have read those early Avengers, and Tales of Suspense a million times each, well it seems like it. I still go back and re-read them quite often to this day. Especially the Stan and Jack ones, and especially Sgt. Fury # 13, what a book that was.

Over the years, I have found that the idea of Captain America, as I see it has gone from the character. I always felt Cap stood for the ‘American Dream’, freedom, man’s duty to do right, the right to life your own life with out governments being involved in it, and lofty ideals like that. Not the America politics of any one preside

nt or party or anything to do with the government. Sure he fought in the wars, he had too. The war was affecting those ideals he stood for. But writers seem to forget that stuff. They seem to focus on the party, the president, the government, and politics. That isn’t what the story is about.

Think about the Steve Rogers story. To me one of the most heart-breaking of origins. The story of duty beyond all other heroes, held by one small person. His willingness to devote all he has in his heart to a cause….freedom of man.

Writers have lost that feeling, or I sure don’t see it in the comics. W

hen Cap ‘died’ I quit buying the books. That was a big thing for me. I have bought every Cap comic since Avengers #4. It leaves a hole in my life for sure.

Ever since I was a kid, all I ever wanted from life is to grow up and

draw and maybe even write Captain America. That is why I tried to draw. Why I spend thousands of hours as a kid sitting in my room trying to learn to draw comics. I remember hundreds of Friday and Saturday nights when guys I knew would be out on the town, but there I was sitting at drawing table I got from Sears - listening to the Oklahoma City radio station KOMA. We could only get that station at night.

The odd thing about that is that I hardly ever drew Captain America. I always felt I wasn’t good enough. I mean at the time Jack Kirby was drawing it, and in his prime too. I still rarely ever draw C

ap. I still don’t feel good enough to draw him.

It is good the character is moving on….Steve is finally really a man out of time and place. This new world of comics doesn’t seem to need Steve Rogers. They just don’t know what to do with him. So I am glad they are pushing him into the background. Now Bucky with all his modern iconography can shine. Steve wasn’t good enough anymore so now Cap can have a bionic arm, a killer instinct, and more guns. Sure Steve used guns, just not to assassinate people. He hardly ever carried one. Sure maybe he would pick one up on the battlefield…but he never felt he needed to carry one into battle. So let the modern readers have their Captain America….. I have mine and he lives in a little boys heart that is still trying to draw. But will never get to draw Captain America now.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Some of the the things I do for a living....

Thought maybe some of you might want to see what I get to do at work sometimes. If I am lucky someone will want some concept art of a film we are working on. In this case a new 'Standing Bear' project. Something we have done once, but I guess there is cause to do a new one. I just work here as the saying goes. So here is some concept things I did for the production. Seems none of it ever makes it into the actual films, but I have fun for a little while.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Dead Air!!!

It is a miracle update! With all I have going on it took me two weeks to get this thing done. Whew. The cliffhangers are piling up in this chapter finale! One more to go....hopefully I can get the next one done in a week or two.
I hate to think of not trying to update the Captain Spectre online strip. But again, I am amazed that everyone voted to have a Captain Spectre comic in their hands. So with the final cliffhanger of this chapter that is one of the many projects I have to work on and look forward too.
As before, KiGor for Moonstone, the cover to the new edition of ERB's the Mucker, and the Captain Spectre stand alone book are my projects as the online strip takes a bit of a break.
Enjoy Legionnaires. More surprizes are coming.

Friday, February 5, 2010

New Snow and working from home....

Well here are a couple of shots of some new fallen snow this morning. Before Chopper and I tracked it up playing and him making yellow snow....ha. It is amazingly beautiful and at the same time a pain in the ass. But I am home working, where I certainly get more done than at the office. No people walking in wanting something, or the drive, or meetings or anything. So thought I would take a quick break and post an update. It snowed last night and I started on some more prelims for KiGor. So posting a little jungle love.....ha.....enjoy Legionnaires and Jungle Tale fans.