Comic Creators Speak
After beginning work in comics in the late 80s, Stuart Immonen broke into the mainstream comic world in the early 1990s for DC, working on Legion of Superheroes before moving on to a long tenure drawing Superman. More recently, he has worked for Marvel Comics, including Nextwave. It was recently announced that Immonen will be following Mark Bagley on Ultimate Spider-Man. Stuart also has a web-comic, Moving Pictures, that he works on with his wife, Kathryn Immonen. You can follow the comic here. Immonen’s website can be found here. It contains his blog, which you can read here.
Many years ago, at a wedding where, apart from one of the intended, I didn’t know a soul, I got roped into the usual small talk, and someone asked what I did for a living. I tend to get a little uncomfortable in these situations– I’m by no mean embarrassed by my vocation, but I recognize that it’s a bit esoteric, and generally not well-understood by the layperson. “I draw comics,” tends to elicit a cascade of other questions, most of which require quite a lot of explaining, and by the time you’re done, the person who asked is either overwhelmed or utterly bored. But this time, I was taken aback by the response; All this fellow said was, “So they do all that on computers now?”
Naturally I scoffed– this was pre-internet, almost pre-Photoshop, after all. “No,” I coolly replied, “I use a pencil and paper.”
And for a good long time afterward, that statement defined my M.O. Even now, most of the community of professionals working in the assembly-line method established almost at the birth of comics still work this way. But it would be a considerable oversimplification to say that a pencil and paper have never been the only tools at the artist’s disposal. Continue Reading »
If you read enough DC and Marvel comic books, you’ll eventually find a book that Mike Norton has worked on, as he has drawn a number of different titles for DC and Marvel, most prominently Runaways, Marvel Adventures: Spider-Man and his current fill-in arc on The All-New Atom. Mike was the artist for Sean McKeever’s Gravity, and will be drawing Tim Seeley’s Loaded Bible 2: Blood of Christ for Image. Here is a link to Mike’s blog.
Seven People I Hate.
Since I started drawing comics in 1997, I’ve met a LOT of talented people through various collaborations, conventions and random run-ins/knife fights. Over the years, I’ve watched as many of these friends of mine have gone from grubby indy startups to “overnight” success stories and even mainstream fan-favorites. So, when I was asked to write a column for this fine site, I decided reflect upon all those talented friends I’ve made over the years and finally let something off my chest.
I hate them. Continue Reading »
Laying it on the line(s)
A career appreciation of Bob McLeod
by Drew Geraci
Since I was seven years old, I wanted to be a comic book writer/artist. It was my only passion, so I devoted (perhaps too many) hours reading and studying all the nuances that made a comic book. Art was always my main interest, because for this ’70′s child, a lot of the stories were way over my head, whether it be a Steve Gerber text page or anything by Don McGregor. I was initially confused when seeing my favorite artists (pencillers then were credited as ‘artist’, the inker, just ‘inker’) do stunning work one month, then see the same artist’s work appear ugly and sketchy the next. It didn’t take long for me to deduce the reason: The only difference on the credits page was the inker’s name.
Pencil and ink are two different disciplines and mediums completely. I still had favorite pencillers, but the inkers, particularly the good ones, caught my attention. Anything inked by Giordano, Adams, Giacoia, McLauchlin, Romita, Sinnott, Janson, Anderson, Austin, Wood, Palmer, Layton and the subject of this retrospective, Bob McLeod, showed me how good comics can look when I wanted to impress a non-comics fan.
I began corresponding with Bob McLeod last year when I felt compelled to contact him via email, thanking him for making Rough Stuff #1 (as Editor for the publisher, TwoMorrows) such a terrific comics-loving experience.
Bob asked if he could publish my missive in RS #2′s letters page, and I agreed. Since then, I’d had some dealings with TwoMorrows, such as contributing a scan for Modern Masters: Kevin Maguire. This fueled my inner geek, and I began offering Bob some photocopies of pencils from various books I’ve worked on, and we began a friendly dialogue. Then it occurred to me: Bob probably has some great stories, having a decade or two on me in the funnybook biz. I asked Bob if I could interview him, and coincidentally, CBR’s own Brian Cronin had just invited me to submit an article or blog. The planets aligned, and here we are! Continue Reading »
Letterer extraordinaire Chris Eliopoulos is also a name familiar to readers of his Desperate Times comic from Image, and more recently, on the excellent Franklin Richards, Son of a Genius series from Marvel, which Eliopoulos draws and co-writes with Marc Sumerak. Chris’ website can be found here.
Whenever I meet people at, say, a wedding or a party, they ask me what I do? I do plenty of things. I brush my teeth, I eat food, I take showers, I drive my kids to school, I watch football games. But that’s not what they want to know-really. What they really want to know is what do I do for a living, so they can judge me as someone worthy of talking to or someone to make a run to the bar to avoid.
But to be honest, I can’t really describe what I do, so I usually say I’m an insurance salesman and, moments later, they make that run to the bar. But seriously, what is it that I do? I know that people who read comics and those that are in the business label me a letterer. And that’s true, I do letter a bunch of books and have been doing so for fifteen years and that’s what I’m known best for. But I also do more that that. I do things that I think I’m better at, but everyone else thinks is a hobby of mine. I want to shout at the top of my lungs that I’m more than they think I am. Continue Reading »
Matt Fraction currently writes Casanova for Image Comics and Punisher War Journal for Marvel Comics. His latest ongoing title, The Immortal Iron Fist (co-written by Ed Brubaker) comes out this week. His website can be found here.
I’m doing a signing at Heroes Aren’t Hard to Find in one of my old hometowns, Charlotte, NC, on Saturday, December 2nd. I’ll be there from noon on, give or take, right in the middle of Heroes’ annual Big Holiday Sale. On top of that, last week, two books I wrote came out: CASANOVA #6, with Gabriel BÃ¡ and PUNISHER WAR JOURNAL with Ariel Olivetti, and this week, a book I co-write with Ed Brubaker called THE IMMORTAL IRON FIST comes out. David Aja draws that. And, the day before, I turn 31. So it’s a good time to sign stuff, to show up and promote my work and, hopefully, bring some folks into the store. Which, really, is what I want to write about– the comic book store.
Or rather– the great comic book store. Continue Reading »
Jimmie Robinson is the writer/artist of Bomb Queen from Image Comics. He is also the writer of this week’s What If…? Wolverine: Enemy of the State one-shot from Marvel Comics, out tomorrow. He has a website here.
If you’re reading this, that alone makes you exceptional, makes you care about the medium of comics. You might even visit your comic store each week to see what’s new on the rack. You perhaps display a few trade paperback collections on your shelf at home. But let’s not split hairs here, while I applaud your efforts there’s no denying the fact; you are not helping comics.
Now before you launch a barrage of emails with store receipts attached, let’s clear the air. How much money you spend doesn’t fulfill your support of the medium. Sure, buying books keeps stores open and bills paid, but if we look to that as a barometer of industry health then I’m sorry we’ve already failed. The pulse of our beloved medium must beat higher than simple sales figures. When compared to other industries, comics rank low to poor in consumer acceptance. I’m sure some will respond that comics are a cottage industry, in short self-supporting, but that type of support, I’m sad to say, is exactly what we don’t need. Continue Reading »
Rick Spears is the writer of Teenagers From Mars, Dead West, Filler and currently The Pirates of Coney Island. He is also the publisher of Gigantic Graphic Novels, which just published two new books, Rotting In Dirtville and Hellcity. His website is www.giganticgraphicnovels.com
Man, with deadlines trying to crush me and scripts due, why did I ever agree to this–? Gah, the answer is always the same, COMICS! Yeah, I’ve got a new book out today, The Pirates of Coney Island #2 (you should check it out!!) and this is what passes for PR for us indie kids, any time someone gives you a platform to talk to the masses, ya gotta take it. See, I make comics with my bare hands– I’ve got no money, no staff and well not a lot of things– but what I do have if a computer, a DSL and some awesome friends in the same boat. But back to the topic, if there is a topic yet, I’m not sure– Oh yeah, this thing here– Brian Cronin asked me to write a bit for “Comics Should be Good” and so that’s got me fighting the writer’s bitter enemy, The Blank Page. I guess actually for my generation, it’s more likely a computer monitor –that endless white bastard and the ever-blinking black cursor! But look there, I’ve been rambling now for 185 words and the page is blank no longer, huzzah!!
The above is a good trick for breaking writer’s block, you know, just write something, anything, and eventually you will work yourself out of the rut– As I just have now in finding my topic. So it looks like we’re gonna talk about writer’s block, a subject near and dear to my heart. Continue Reading »
There’s a somewhat indescribable feeling I get when anything touches my imagination, a rush of anticipation mixed with hope, wonder, excitement and something else that is, well, indescribable. Since I was old enough to really be self-aware, I’ve recognized that this feeling has brought me more happiness than any new toy, game or other material possession ever could. It’s that same sensation I get when I watch a great movie or, you guessed it, read a good comic book.
As I’ve grown older, it seems it has become harder and harder for external stimuli to engage that shift lever which pushes my imagination into overdrive. I’m sure there are plenty of studies conducted by men and women in various collegiate arenas that show just how and why this happens to all of us as we age, but for me, it’s simply the real world responsibilities of adult life trampling my ‘make believe’ time until my brain has come to expect nothing else.
So, with that in mind, when people ask me why I write comics, my first response is non-verbal, sincere and irrevocable: I smile.
Within milliseconds of the muscles in my face pulling at the corners of my mouth, cheeks and eyes, my lungs send a blast of air across my vocal chords then past my lips to form the words, “It’s a lot of fun.”
This, as the title of this column states, is as it should be. Let me explain. Continue Reading »
Mike Baron is an award-winning comic book writer who I’m sure most of you are familiar with, especially for his work on Nexus with artist Steve Rude. Mike has a website called Bloody Red Baron that you can check out that includes “history of books, the characters, the Mike Baron Forum, and Links to other sites of interest, mostly Mike’s crackpot friends.”
Mike’s guest entry discusses the Fort Collins Comic Collective, which Mike describes as including “writers Pete Brandvold and Mike Baron, and artists Nick Runge, Gabe Eltaeb, Sam Sala, Randy Yeates, and Scott Bieser, who lives in nearby Cheyenne and doesn’t know he’s a member.”
Enjoy! Continue Reading »
Today’s entry comes from a dynamic duo, Gene “The Dean” Colan, legendary comic artist, and Dave Gutierrez (who is inking and coloring Gene on an upcoming Captain America project Colan is doing for Marvel Comics that will be released next year – see the good news you get here at Comics Should Be Good!! – you can see more of Gutierrez’s work here).
If you check out Gene’s Virtual Studio, there’s tons of artwork and news from Gene, and Gene is also currently accepting artwork commissions (and if you check out some of the sample commissions, they look well worth the money).
Gene and Dave’s guest entries are both discussing the upcoming Captain America project (Ed Brubaker is writing it).
Enjoy! Continue Reading »
1. Ron Kasman has a really neat story in this week’s Negative Burn #5. It is like an Orpheus and Eurydice story, only about collecting comic books. It’s really quite neat, and well worth the read (and this week’s Negative Burn was good overall, I thought).
2. Ron hangs out at the Collectors’ Society, where folks who collect coins, cards and comics congregate. It’s an especially neat place if you want to buy and sell old comics.
Anyhow, Ron’s guest entry for today is his tale of how he got into comics. It is titled “Confessions of a Comics Fan.”
Enjoy! Continue Reading »
Jason Aaron has a book that was released today called The Other Side from Vertigo Comics, which is about the Vietnam War. He has a very cleverly titled blog called Jason Aaron.
The Vietnam War in Comics: The Good, the Bad and THE OTHER SIDE
Hi, I’m Jason Aaron, writer of THE OTHER SIDE, a new mini-series from Vertigo about the Vietnam War, and I’m here to enlighten you on some of the highlights and lowlights of that war’s portrayal in comic book form. Here they are in chronological order. Continue Reading »
Will Pfeifer has a cool blog called X-Ray Spex, where Will talks about comics, pop culture and the comics he writes (like Catwoman, new issue out this Wednesday).
For his guest entry, Will is sharing with us “10 COMICS THAT SCREWED ME UP.”
Fredric Wertham wrote a book (and helped maim an industry) with the hypothesis that comic books can screw you up royally. I’m not here to say that the good doctor was right, but I have to admit that they’ve done their job on me. Without comics, I might be doctor, a lawyer, or some other upstanding member of society. But thanks to them damned funnybooks, I’m…well, I’m a comic book writer. Fitting, eh?
So, in the spirit of warning the rest of you (though if you’re reading this site, I’m guessing the comic book monkey has its claws pretty deep into your back), here are ten comics that warped my mind. Check ‘em out – it’s not like they could do the same to you, right? Right? Of course not!