Tuesday, May 5, 2015
So I share a studio space with my pall, Ben Bates. Ben is a comic creator. He was my collaborator on Bebop & Rocksteady and he's done a bunch of Sonic the Hedgehog, Mega Man, My Little Pony, and Ninja Turtle comics. I spend a lot of time with him. Both of us just sitting in a little room drawing away. While we draw we often talk. Mostly we talk about things we've watched and read, but sometimes we challenge ourselves to conceptualizing and break a story. This is a lot of fun and often we come out of it with a lot of ideas. Sometimes those ideas are things that we can save for some future project. Sometimes we're actually talking about real work stuff. But sometimes we just have some fun thinking of how we would tackle an existing property.
Not long ago we got on a kick of brainstorming how we might handle a whole bunch of different properties. We came up with a lot of sketchy ideas for Predator and Aliens and Predator vs. Aliens. I actually started developing an idea that I think could be a pretty cool Alien on-going series.
None of this stuff will ever happen mind you. I'm never going to do an Alien comic. It's just too much work to pour into someone else's property. But it's fun to think about none the less. Plus a lot of these ideas can easily be transformed into an original concept.
Anyway, I asked Ben what he would do with Gremlins. "If you could do a Gremlins comic, you have complete control, no editorial meddling, what do you do?" I think because there has never been a Gremlins comic, this one got us a little more pumped than a lot of other. We ended up hashing out almost a whole Gremlins story.
I was enjoying the idea so much that I drew these Gremlins sketches you see above.
On the subject of creating your own take on an existing property, I was recently thinking about Brandon Graham's take on Prophet and Joe Keating &Sophie Campbell's Glory. Both of those are, of course, Rob Liefeld properties. I never read the original Prophet series, but it's clear that Brandon and company have really done their own thing with it. I find myself asking if it's even really the same thing at all.
The one Liefeld character that I think I could really sink my teeth into is Blood Wulf. I only ever read his first appearance in Darker Image, but I remember liking it. I like those old Lobo comics that inspired the creation of Blood Wulf and I think I know how that kind of character should work. Thinking a bout this inspired me to draw this Blood Wulf drawing. I wouldn't want to change what a Bood Wulf comic should be. My instinct when thinking about working on an existing property isn't to reimagine it, making one thing into something else, but rather to lean into it. Figure out what that thing was supposed to be, what it really wants to be, and then try to make it the best version of that thing. I think you can see this philosophy in Bebop and Rocksteady.
I'll end by saying that I can't imagine circumstances where I would be making an Alien comic, or a Gremlin comic, or a Blood Wulf comic... Who knows though. Never say never, right?
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Wednesday, April 22, 2015
What you see here are the first three pages of The Infinity Gauntlet #1
I'll just leave it at that.
Actually, I do want to point out that the young girl, whose name is Keeley, is wearing a Beelze Bee t-shirt drawn by Ben Bates. What and who is Beelze Bee you ask. Beelze Bee is a comic concept Ben Bates and I have been developing. It will be a totally unique kind of comic. The actual name of Beelze Bee was created by our buddy Ben Dewey, who threw out the name as a joke, but Ben Bates heard it and thought, "no, I got an idea for that."
For more about Beelze Bee check out this stuff from Ben Bates' benbatesart.blogspot.com/2015/02/beelze-bee
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Tuesday, April 21, 2015
Hellllllllo, my friends.
I have been hard at work on The Infinity Gauntlet, and let me tell you, I'm putting a lot of work into it... Too much work. I should just be hacking this thing out and getting on with my personal projects, but I can't do it. I guess it's because I care too much... Plus, I've sort of turned this into a kind of personal project.
So, what you see above is the cover for issue #2.
Here is a look at my sketch for this cover.
Sunday, February 22, 2015
I first showed you this image back in November when this project was announced and now, finally, I can show you some more and talk a little bit about what this series will be.
First of all, on the image above, check out the new version of the old "Infinity Gauntlet" logo. It doesn't look bad. I actually wish this series was being called just "Infinity Gauntlet" as apposed to "The Infinity Gauntlet" because it's not THE Infinity Gauntlet. THE Infinity Gauntlet was the series that Jim Starlin created. This? well this is something different. Quite different. It doesn't seem right to give it the exact same title.
So just what is this story, you ask. Well I recently participated in a couple interviews on the subject and Marvel has shown some of my concept art.
Here's a look along with some of my answers in those interviews.
A: This is a very different story. We're certainly working with Thanos and the Infinity Gauntlet and all that that entails, but our focus is on an original cast of characters. This is a story about a family, growing up, being a parent, and about the uncertainty of the future.
Q: What kind of inspiration did you take from Jim Starlin’s original series?
A: When I was offered this job, I hadn't read any of Jim Starlin's original Infinity Gauntlet. Before I officially accepted the job I started reading the original and I was happy to find that there is really good stuff there. I could see why people like it. I knew that this would have to be different. There's no point in retelling that story. So, in a way, the original showed me things that this story shouldn't be. But the fun and creativity in the original is inspiring and I want to honor that by trying to create something new with that same spark.
Q: Were there other points of inspiration or other influences that had an impact on the direction of the book?
A: Oh yeah. I would say, in general, the work of Hayao Miyazaki is a big influence on me, but with this story in particular I've drawn inspiration specifically from Nausicaa and My Neighbor Totoro. The depiction of the family in Totoro and the action and dense page layouts in the Nausicaa comic were big reference points for me. I'm also setting out to make an action adventure sci-fi. So I've also found myself thinking a lot about filmmakers like Spielberg and James Cameron.
A: The idea to have a family at the center of this story came from editor Nick Lowe. I can't really speak to what inspired the idea for him, but I can say that I was fully on board with it. I think, since becoming a father, I've thought a lot about parenting and family. It's given me a new perspective on my own experience of growing up and on the future. I'm calling on all of this in thinking about the family in this story. The idea of family is rich ground to create a story from.
Q: Thanos appears on the cover of No. 1. What can you say about his role here? And how did you approach writing/drawing him?
A: Ah, Thanos... This is a more grizzled version of the character; he caries the weight of his experiences. He's colder, more mysterious, and impenetrable. But you can be certain, some things about Thanos will never change.
A: I'm doing this similarly to how I do my personal projects. I'm crafting a rough draft of the script simultaneously with the images. A big difference is that I'm kind of story boarding without much regard for layout and then going back to determine the page layouts... I don't really know how interesting this process stuff is. Suffice it to say that I'm aiming for a focus on exciting storytelling without relying to heavily on being "design-y" with the layouts. I will say that I think that this is easily my best work. I'm feeling really good about it.
Q: Were you given any particular mandates by Marvel for this new Infinity Gauntlet series? How much room is there for invention in the storytelling?
A: Yeah. Being inventive in the storytelling was actually the mandate. Sure, there are going to be certain parameters for a job of this nature, but those don't need to be obstacles for creativity. On the contrary, often parameters are what force you to be more creative.
Really, my feeling has been that what Marvel wants from me is to create in the way that I create. They've hired me to do what I do, and they push me to do it the best I can.
Q: Could you describe Anwen Bakian and the characters that will take readers through the adventure?
A: This is a story about a family. It's about being a parent as much as it's about growing up. Anwen is the older of two sisters. She is smart and courageous. She's in a difficult place of needing salvation and realizing that it might have to come from within, which I think is growing up.
A: I think the cover for Issue 1 kind of says it all. I'm not sure I want to say more than that. As for the potential for future stories, you're assuming there is a future. The future is an illusion. We merely endure the ceaseless cycle of beginning-and-end until finally oblivion, living forever in a world with no tomorrow... But, for one, this will not be so. For one there will be no oblivion, there will be Infinity.
Q: How would you characterize the overall tone of this series?
A: My hope is that it will be fun and adventurous with heart and intelligence.
You can see the articles these questions came from at
Thanks for reading. I hope to have a new update on S.H.I.E.L.D. pretty soon and I'll be keeping you informed about Infinity Gauntlet as it goes.
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Monday, February 9, 2015
This is the end of Chapter 4.
I like the idea that Tara's space adventure has basically led her to such a pedestrian scene.
I think the next two chapters are going to get pretty strange. I know what chapters 5 and 6 need to be. I'm excited about them and I'm not totally sure how I'm going to pull them off.
In Chapter 5 we'll learn all about Shana Tyson... I think. Their will be some ambiguity that won't become clear till the end of this whole story. I'll also be checking in with Captain Zoltan. Haven't seen him in a while.
In Chapter 6 it's going to be all about Byzner and Amnia. This will be a fun one.
The next thing I'll be doing for Amnia Cycle will be the cover for Chapter 4. Check back for that. I'm also working on some extra content for a print release.
Till then, I'll hopefully have some news about S.H.I.E.L.D. and Infinity Gauntlet soon.
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Saturday, January 31, 2015
This is my connecting cover image for Avengers #44 and New Avengers #33.
Jonathan Hickman is bringing both these series to an end in these issues and I was asked back to do the final covers. Having started Hickman's Avengers off with my connecting covers for issues 1,2,&3, and having drawn covers for both these series' I found the idea of returning for the last covers to be an appealing idea. Of course, I told them that we had to get Justin Ponsor back for the colors, to really give it that bookend quality.
At first the direction for this cover was really vague. All I knew was that it was these two dudes fighting with the worlds colliding and Captain Universe in the background.
Here's my first take at the idea. This initial image was not right and I knew it from the beginning, but sometimes you have to get the wrong idea out to see what's wrong with it.