Monday, August 29, 2011

Action #1

Well, I finally got my copies of Action Comics #1, and I have to say that for once I'm actually happy with a first issue. My com-padres, Grant Morrison, Rick Bryant, Brad Anderson, and Patrick Brosseau look pretty good for being thrown together for the first time. Jim Lee, Scott Williams and Alex Sinclair look spiffy in the variant cover as well. A solid issue for a #1.

You see, for me anyway, there's usually a 5 issue warm up before I'm comfortable with an on-going series. There's so much to consider; the main character has to be consistent, the supporting cast as well and they need to serve the purpose of their support, the atmosphere needs to be convincing, and the pacing has to jive with the writer. This is most important because you do, as an artist, have a bit of leeway in how the story is presented. Like Paul Levitz once told me, "Rags, it's a script, not a contract." So long as you keep the intent and spirit of what needs to be said, you can add or subtract to what's been presented from the writer.

So when you get to see what we have cooking, you'll get to see not only a strong first issue, but you'll know that it's only gonna get better. Seriously, issue 2 is very strong, and #3 is coming along nicely. See you guys in 8 days!

Sunday, August 28, 2011

The new 52 commercial

This is neat. I love motion comics and they gave a lot of play for Action #1. I'm proud of that. Anyway, here's the video.

Monday, August 22, 2011

My thoughts on SUPERMAN

"Superman? Superman sucks." That's what I told Geoff Johns one Wizard Con night in Philadelphia. "Superman is passe'. He's been split up into every superhero now out there. He's just not relevant anymore."

Geoff at the time, was just getting the Secret Origin machine up and running with James Robinson, with whom he had just finished having dinner. Geoff protested, but I wouldn't budge. "Who's better?" he asked. "Batman. Batman at least has something going on besides his costume that works." That was my answer and I was sticking to it.

My sentiment was based on Superman as he had become. When I was a kid, Neal Adams was the man on Superman. Despite the stories being as milk toast as I could stomach them, he, like he always does, took what was happening and elevated it. But since then Superman seemed to stay in this redundant vacuum of  'boyscout laughing at feeble attempts by Luthor and robots trying to knock the smile off his perfect face'. Bleh. Moreover, he was becoming more and more omnipotent to the point that villains were having to go to increasingly absurd lengths just to give him a reasonable challenge.

Then he got married.

What? Talk about jumping the shark.
See, when a character, whose whole existence is to sacrifice a normal life for the sake of humanity, becomes domesticated he loses his teeth. His concern doesn't become the world, but his own personal world. Back in the day, when Lois would be in danger, she was the metaphor for all of us. Humanity personified who was rescued, returned to safety, then left wondering 'who was the masked man?' Now Lois became his only world that was to be balanced with the rest of us. This changed Lois as well. She went from being this snarky, stubborn, beautiful pain in the ass, to the wife wondering if her husband would survive the current omnipotent menace challenging him, and still make it back home for lasagna. Any attempts to bring them back to what they were, felt clunky to me. He was a hero, husband, or brow beating dad, depending on who he was interacting.

There's the nutshell. Superhero who increasingly becomes more powerful as he is challenged, brought back down to earth as a spouse as his origin gets re-envisioned over and over again.

He had so many layers to him, that it threatened to blow him up like Krypton.

I simply had no affinity with him. Maybe that's why many of my attempts to draw him failed. I've done some "decent" drawings of him and a whole lot of lousy ones. I wasn't Neal Adams, or Curt Swan, or Jerry Ordway simply because I didn't get him. Wasn't my kind of hero.

Now, if you go back to the Max Fleisher films, THAT was Superman to me. He got hit hard by stuff and exerted effort. There was a sense of danger to himself and with Lois playing the damsel in distress for all of us, made it exciting to see if Superman could not only survive but manage to save Lois too. It was a simple formula that was perfect.

So why would someone like me even accept an assignment to a character that I felt I couldn't contribute?

The answer was issue #1. Not that it wasn't a badge of honor to have the entire industry's seed in my hand. I assure you it is. Not that having it at issue #1 wasn't an added thrill. It is. It's that I can do my job without having to have 70 years of backlog to think about and try to address and honor.

If you look back to the first image of Grant's and my Superman in jeans and a tee shirt, you can see the Superman as he had become to me. He was beyond Hercules and even in shadow you can see the miles and miles of history in his profile. That image was for, I thought, the brass to measure not only my ability with the character, but to see what the hell he looked like in his dungarees and work boots.
I didn't know, or even think, it was something I could do issue for issue. But then I figured it would work it's own problems out eventually.

When I got the script and saw that Grant wanted to harken to the Shuster image of Kal-el, it completely clicked for me. Max Fleisher here I come! And what, he's not omnipotent? All right! And he's not married? Get out of my fucking way and let me draw!!

THAT is Superman to me. Back to Hercules! Back to the feelings I had as a kid when I saw the reprints of the 40's stories in treasury editions.

Back to the Man of Steel, because that's the only fucking thing that matters. 

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Good tumbler blog

A good fan, Tim Hruszkewycz, wrote on his tumbler this....let's call it a plea for sanity of various sorts... about the new 52 reboots and his personal love affair with the DC characters. It's an exercise in patience for himself and what he feels are knee jerk reactions to change.

With regard to his sentiment about the reboots, I sometimes think what would have been about certain things in my life if I knew then what I know now. That's kinda what I think about the reboots. Certainly nothing of value will be lost, in fact we can expect them to be enhanced. It's a chance to look forward while planting our footing in whats been before. Without McCarthyism, without out dated codes, and at least for a now, without cross pollination from outside protocols not known as DC Comics.

DC stands for itself, and all we're trying to do is celebrate that.

Here's Tim's article:

New contract

I got an email from DC expressing interest to extend my contract for another year. DC has been good to me, and they're being very ambitious of late--plus, who wouldn't want to work with Grant Morrison for another year? Hell yeah, sign me up!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

We're almost there!

Welcome to my website! There's still some stuff to do on it, but I'm so proud of what Jess the webmistress has done I gotta gloat! I know I'm behind on the times as far as technocracy is involved, but hey-I don't need to rush into this kinda thing anyway. It's not my style. I like to keep it on the down low. Only last year I got my first iPod. Didn't get my first cell phone until about 6 years ago, and it was about 8 years ago that I got my first computer. Anyone who's seen me at a convention shouldn't be surprised, I'm the dude with the DC comics stock sign and RAGS scrawled in marker. Glitz makes me chafe. But then, on the other hand, I found that people secretly judge that kind of thing, so don't be surprised to see me at the next con with a big sign.


Anyway, to continue. This site, and in the spirit of keeping up with the Joneses, will be a place to hang and talk about whatever you want. Comics, sports, tech, gaming, the arts (of all kinds), maybe even religion. Anything at all, and in anyway at all. Cursing is allowed, but impoliteness isn't. Be chill. That's as far as the message boards go.

As for the other stuff, you'll be seeing some of my projects, past and current in the gallery. In the shop, I'm hoping to (again the Joneses) provide prints and sketchbooks and who knows what. I'll try to be creative. And of course I'll be accepting commission requests if time allows. After all, that IS overtime and pages come first.

I guess that's about all for now. I'll try to do some blogging about my projects as well to make this a well rounded site to all the stuff that I'm involved in.

So....WELCOME and thanx,

Lights, Camera, ACTION!

Looking at the colors to Action Comics #1 and I'm so completely impressed with how myself, Rick Bryant, and Brad Anderson look! Those of you who are familiar with Action Comics pre-52 will recognize the beautiful work that Brad did with Gary Frank (a big time favorite artist of mine). I'm so proud to see Brad add his touch to my work.

Some of you may recognize Rick Bryant. He's an old school artist who ran with the likes of Neal Adams in the 70's. He's been a production guy, inker, and illustrator that I snatched up when he became available to me.

Of course you guys know all about Grant Morrison and his genius. This group of 4 is about as good as it can get and we are bringing Action to heights not seen for Superman since...who knows when.

Fresh, grounded, and Herculean. That's our Superman, and you're gonna LOVE it!