Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Entry 171: AVENGERS #7 Notes + ECCC 2013 Commissions

AVENGERS #7-- is there anything I can say about it? Do I have any concept art?

Emerald City Comic Con. I went there. What commissions did I do, and can I show them to you? 

Also, LOVE. Is it real, and is there such a thing as a soul mate?

ALL of these questions, and more, will be answered in this blog entry!

So lets get started!

I know the cover image that I've posted above is old news. You've seen it before. But here's a little fact about this cover: In my professional career so far I've drawn about 35 to 36 comic books. And I've drawn about 37 comic book covers. After all that, Avengers #7 is the FIRST TIME I've drawn the official cover to a comic that I've drawn the interior for! That's kind of silly right? Of course there are my variant covers for all the S.H.I.E.L.D. issues, but they were variant covers, not the official covers. So, in a way this comic feels like the first comic I've drawn all of.

How bout some concept art? 
Here we have my design for Night Mask.

Coming into this series I'm following Jerome Opena's lead in designing this world. I really like his design for Ex Nihilo. He looks so bizarre. The asymmetrical horn design subconsciously tells you that this guy isn't like you and you don't know where he's coming from. I started from that design philosophy. We're not making good or bad guys here. We're making strangers, who's motivations are threatening sure but also mysterious. You should look at them and know that they are not like you and you can't identify with them. So that's what I was aiming for with Night Mask. 

Also, I was inspired to riff on Hickman's love for concentric circles. I wanted to do something he would think was cool.

With my first take on the "Caretaker" alien I was aiming for a kind of regal look. But Jonathan pointed out that this guy has been alone, except for the "Curator" robot, in this space station for centuries and that this look doesn't really tell that story. So I went back to the drawing board. I started thinking of the Knight at the end of Indiana Jones And The Last Crusade. I'm not sure how that inspiration informs what I came up with, but what it ended up being is what you see in the issue.

As for the robot, I couldn't stop thinking of him as Lothar from the Metabarons, so he's very much inspired by Lothar. 

Since we're dealing with some kind of dimension of space called the "Superflow" and it looks like a red ocean, for my space station design I decided to go with an aquatic design. It's a jellyfish. Simple as that.

Before I cut off the Avengers talk, I would like to mention that there are a few easter eggs in this issue. 

NOW let's get to some Emerald City Comic Con Commissions. 

This year, since I always put a lot into my commissions, I just told people that I'd do whatever they wanted, and right away, the first guy asks for an Asgardian battle with Thor fighting Surtur with Odin, if I could get him in... That is not an easy request. I guess I asked for it.

But, I do love a challenge. It was hard work, but I had fun doing it.

By the way, almost all of these are bad photos. 

X-Men For Pat Loika. This is like the third possibly fourth piece I've done for Pat. It makes me glad he continues to ask for pieces. 

This photo is so bad. Here's a closer photo.

Rocketeer! Despite the fact that I've never gotten into the Rocketeer, I think there is a cool Rocketeer book in me. It will probably never come out, but it's in there.

Check it out, a nice scan. I love getting to do characters that I've never done before. Black Panther and Klaw are good ones. This was a lot of fun.

Another scan. Here we have Cannon Ball and Sunspot, who I am referring to as "X-Vengers" for the purposes of this drawing. 

You might think the background is a little weird being sideways. Well, it can go ether way. Here it is flipped.

First time doing Judge Dredd. 

There are two more pieces that I wasn't able to finish at the show. I'll be putting those up soon.

In the mean time, here are a couple random pieces I did over the last year. The first one was something I did on the inside of a S.H.I.E.L.D. hardback for my nephews and nieces.

And the second was a sketch I did for Rich Ellise's birthday. Rich is the artist on Memorial for IDW and a fellow member of Periscope studio. This is the character Panic from Memorial. The story is partly set here Portland which gave me an opportunity to draw that weird dragon elephant statue that I've been wanting to draw.

And the last thing I want to say, folks, is that love is real. Only it isn't a noun-- it's a verb. 

Or is it an adjective?

You know, it might be a conjunction... The point is, it's a real word. I don't know how you use it or in what context, but I know I hear it. They say it on the Bachelor. It might have something to do with riding in a helicopter. I don't know.

And soul mates-- no way! What are you crazy? "Soul mates?" First of all we don't have souls. We don't even have free will! YEAH! it's an illusion. Just try and do something you wouldn't do. YOU CAN'T! You know why? Because it's not up to you! It's chemistry. Before you even decide to do something, chemically the decision was already made. You are a puppet of physics and there is nothing you can do about it.

Anyway. Now that I've answered all the questions I just want to say: Ride in helicopters and love one another.

Blogged and blogged 


  1. Fantastic stuff Dustin. That is one of the coolest Surtur's I've seen. Also, I like what you did with Cyclops' power blast in that piece. Sorry I missed out on ECCC, hopefully I'll catch you for another commish next time.

    1. Thanks for the complement on Surtur. The Cyclops blast is totally inspired by what Stuart Immonen in doing on X-Men right now.

  2. Really dug your insite on the conceptual art, especially for Night Mask. Also, as a T'challa fan it was cool to see your rendition of the Black panther and Klaw. Gee, I sound like generic fan guy. Well I'm a FAN! I was not, of course, able to attend ECCC this year, but NEXT year Ima BE THERE!!

    1. You've been very missed these past two ECCCs. Next year you will make the perfect addition to Jeremy and my super exclusive karaoke night. (for anyone reading this who doesn't know-- Jeremy Barlow, Jim Zub, Charles Soule, and I found that if we get a private karaoke room WE CAN CREATE KARAOKE MAGIC! And we've captured lightning in that bottle three years in a row now... though last year we found that it doesn't work when we open it up to others when Allred showed up.) Anyway, next year I want to finally hear you do Hall and Oats's Sarah Smile.

  3. Dustin, I saw the June solicitations for Avengers. Tell me you only took a pause from drawing the covers, please :(

    1. Dude, this is the nicest thing you could have said to me right now.
      For a lot of different reasons I was falling behind on my deadlines. Then ECCC came up and took a huge chunk of my time.
      The reasons for my falling behind are things I will eventually talk about, but it happened that they would need to have someone else come in to do covers.
      I actually didn't know that they had made that decision until about a week ago when I saw a preview for the next cover. It was a real blow to me.
      The reason your comment is so nice to here is that-- they've got Leinil Yu on covers now. I think Leinil is super good. I admire his work a lot and seeing his covers makes me feel completely insecure. I image people seeing them, being glad I'm no longer doing the covers, and saying, "why couldn't they just have gotten Leinil from the start."
      So yeah, that's why I'm glad you're expressing disappointment over it.
      I'm not done with doing Avengers covers. I'm pretty sure I'll be back for more.

    2. Well, I'm pretty serious! I like you much more than Yu. MUCH MORE (artistically speaking, that is :D). You could say your ability is inferior to his (I don't really think so) but seeing what you draw makes me much more excited than seeing his works (personally I don't like his style :D). You have that "something" which makes a person comfortable with what he sees, and I found that in few artists (one is Jim Lee, your... our idol!). I love drawing, too (even if I'm far from being professional), so I know what I say.
      I really hope you'll come back on Avengers and with other drawn stories, too! Those Avengers 8 preview pages!!! THOSE PAGES!!!!

    3. I know what you're saying. There does seem to be a hard to define sensibility/philosophy/expression to different artist's work. And though I greatly admire Leinil's work, the "feelings" he puts into his work I think are pretty different from the feelings I put into mine.
      At any rate, I really appreciate the comments.

  4. Dustin, are you doing any other cons this year? Are you planning to sell the concept art from Avengers #7?

    1. That concept art is mostly digital gray tones over sketches in my sketchbook. Perhaps someday I'll think it a good idea to sell my sketchbook pages.
      As for cons-- All that I know right now is that I'll be doing Rose City Comic Con here in Portland and I'll be making an appearance at Stump Town, also here in Portland.

  5. I love the Cannonball and Sunspot rendition. Don't love them as Avengers, but I love your art. :)