Sunday, August 15, 2010

Entry 98: S.H.I.E.L.D. Extras

The image above was drawn for Shield #2. There was a scene where we have a strange electrical explosion and we can see, extending infinitely, alternate reality versions of one of the characters. All of this happens in a hallway were a battle has just taken place. I knew that I wanted the setting of the hallway to be warping and becoming distorted with the explosion but I wasn't sure just how I would make that look right. So I decided that I would draw the background completely separate so that I could drop it into the background and manipulate it in photoshop. That way I can have complete control and I could tweak it and untweak it to get it to look just right. I ultimately drew a lot of background that I then completely obscured. The original unwarped, unobscured background, on it's own, is an illustration that I like.

This next group of illustrations were for the variant cover of issue 2.
In the dungeon like well that Nostradamus is locked in in this issue we decided that it would be cool if Nostradamus could have scratched into his sell walls predictions of the future. And we thought it would be cool if those predictions related to the Marvel universe. So this group of illustrations were concepts for what he might have drawn. One trick to this, besides the fact that I don't think Nostradamus was a visual artist, is that his predictions were cryptic and open to interpretation. I tried to approach it with some symbolism rather than literal. I found this is tricky. When you want to put a lightning bolt in somebodies had to show power it gets confusing in a world where there are literally people with lightning bolts in there hands.
The things that I was trying to depict in these illustrations are: Mutants, The X-Men, Mutant persecution, The Fantastic Four, Cival War, The return of Captain America, The Scrull invasion, and the birth of the mutant messiah.

In each of the Shield issues Jonathan Hickman has put in 2 extra pages of supplemental material. In issue 1 it was about the Human machine, stuff that will become more and more important in this series. In issue 3 it was the correspondence between Galileo and the pope, and in issue 2 it was an extra scene. Jonathan asked me if I could do a quick sketch of Da Vinci and Leonid walking down these stairs. I said sure, but ultimately I wanted to do something a little more than just a sketch. The way that Jonathan took this piece and made it work in his layout was great. With these extra pages of his he gets to remind us that he's a kick ass graphic designer as well as a kick ass writer.

Here's something from issue 3
The Quiet Math. Throughout issue 3 we see Isaac Newton working out some complex math problems. I wanted the math to actually look like it could mean something, so I decided to work out how it would look in my sketchbook. The symbols in the equations are astrological, alchemy, and some are just made up.

I knew the ultimate equation that Newton needed to arrive at so I tried to make it seem like the equations were really leading to that ultimate equation. As I worked on it, it started to actually feel like I was solving some problem, and when I reached the end I felt like I had my answer. I guess the experience wasn't to different from creating a page.

And here's the last thing I'll post: The uncensored Newton Deviant sex scene.
There. Do you feel scandalized, offended, disturbed? Well you should. He's having sex with a monster. It should be disturbing, gross, a little sexy, and then that much more disturbing. I wanted it to be perfectly clear what was going on. I think Marvel wanted it to be vague. Now sometimes being more or less explicit about a thing can be a choice made for storytelling purposes, but I don't think that's what this was about. I don't blame Marvel for being sensitive about this sort of thing. I just find it depressing that we have to be sensitive to this sort of thing. Sex is a part of life and I think we need to just grow up about it. On top of that sex is all over comics. Many super hero comics are down right pornographic. In my opinion, the shot that I've drawn is tame in comparison to the tits, asses, and crotches that are being thrust directly in your face on a regular bases in comics, but because it's not pretending to be anything ells someone will surely get upset.

I actually made the changes myself. I thought it would be better to do it myself than leave it up to someone ells. I'm not trying to rock the boat or make some kind of stand against censorship. I can make compromises and be a team player. That doesn't mean that I  like it.


  1. Very cool stuff. Honestly I think that Marvel and DC just need to stop pretending that their product is for kids. Hell, I doubt that teenagers buy this stuff, they are buying Manga: ( I think that the scene above is pg 13. Which is fine, to me at least.

    Awesome stuff, keep makin' SHIELD and we'll keep buyin' it!

  3. Hello or Hola from Argentina. Yeap you reach so far. In my way of seeing comics, you are one of the best artists in Marvel nowadays. Your art is incredible. Always fresh and has an incredible force that drives me crazy when I see each page of your comics. I have made a review in a website of an argentinian magazine about comics, that you are really an incredible artist. I hope to see you in a near future drawing a mini series of inhumans with hickman or fantastic four.
    It would be a dream if you do a comic of the metabaron. An incredible european comic. You were born to do that. Trust me, the details, the weapons, the storytelling is incredible!!! You have a bit of Juan Gimenez and moebius and it is incredible.A pin up please and also one of Nikola Tesla jajajajaj...
    Saludos from Argentina
    Keep Up the good work!!
    ps: Sorry for my english if it sucks!!

  4. Really cool to see this stuff.
    Its interesting that you did the rubble background seperate.
    Is that the kind of thing you'd do again?
    I was reading a porn comic by the manga dude, Oh great recently and it seemed so much less insanly sexual than his later non porn work.
    It's strange how a girl eating a bananna can look more sexual some times than just a drawing of a blow job.
    Also I really like how you did the stars and shadows on your monster sex panel.

  5. I think a lot of the super hero stuff should be for kids. I think it's clear that Shield isn't and I don't think it should be. PG 13 is exactly what I was shooting for. I think the real problem with this scene is what's going on rather than my depiction of it.

  6. The Quiet Math
    I have really been loving your work on SHIELD. Your art is fantastic and Hickman does a great job writing it. It is a comic I enjoy very much.
    I would like to make a comment on the quiet math. I understand that the math symbols you chose are famous and hence it makes sense to include them. The one issue I have is that Newton hated those symbols. The symbols you take from Calculus (the integral sign and the derivative operators) were invented by Leibniz. A person that Newton hated and that Newton worked very hard to discredit from the invention of calculus (Newton invented it first but without publishing it, Leibniz developed calculus independently and published it). Leibniz was a big proponent of creating a "philosophical language" to understand the world better, in his effort he created very useful notation to work with calculus.
    Thanks again for creating such a wonderful comic. I wish you the best with the series.

  7. I might do something like dropping the background in again. It's not my preferred way of working. I like my originals to be complete, but in this case, I was pressed for time and uncertain on how to get what I wanted. So rather than work it out so that I could have everything on the original, I decided to do it this way.
    Who's the manga dude your talking about? I'd like too see a comparison of the non porn to the porn.

  8. Wow, Argentina! Hola.
    Thanks for the kind words.
    And I love the Metabaron. Juan Gimenez and Moebius are 2 of my comic book idols. If I ever had the chance to work with Jodorowsky and draw a Metabaron book, I would probably become paralyzed with fear and a feeling of inadequacy.
    As far as the Inhumans or Fantastic Four, I actually think it would be cool to do a Fantastic Four story set in the 60's and draw it with a stylized 60's look. That would be fun.
    Thanks again!

  9. Re: The Quiet Math
    Wow! I didn't know any of this. Where were you when I was working on this stuff. I do try to do a lot of research but when you're working on this kind of material there is a lot that I'm just not going to be aware of. I am curious now, what should the math look like? I'd like to be accurate with it, if it comes up again.
    Thanks for the information, and thanks for reading. I hope my inaccurate depiction of Newton's math hasn't ruined your experience.

  10. Re: The Quiet Math
    I've taught calculus a few times, so I like to mention a bit of the history when I teach the students. I am a Mathematics graduate student at the moment.
    To be honest, I didn't know how the math looked in Newton's time, fortunately, I know of his most famous work, the Principia and the other good news is that the book is in google books Principia, there you can see a lot of pages with math written by Newton himself. The math doesn't look much different than what students learn in algebra and geometry. The difficult ideas are spelled out. A lot of higher math is like that, where a lot of the math is written in English.
    I wasn't bothered by the inaccurate depiction at all. I thought the page looked cool.
    Thanks for replying. I wish you the best with the series, I'll keep reading.

  11. Sorry I haven't been around for awhile. Got sick and too much work.
    Nope, frankly, I didn't find the panel offensive at all. Personally, I would have retained your original panel as is. I guess it's because I've seen worse in manga. This was quite tastefully done, IMHO. And, yes, I really see it that Newton would go so far as to have sex with a monster in order to gain the knowledge he seeks.
    However...what did enter my mind though is *what* their baby looks like? Obviously, Newton did get the monster pregnant. Any chance of our seeing their *child* in a future issue? I'm really curious about that one.
    PS LOVED the sketches in the Director's Cut!

    User referenced to your post from RELEVANT TO MY INTERESTS saying: [...] ING SEX WITH A MONSTER: SCROLL DOWN AND LOL 4 DAYS [...]

  13. Back in issue 2, check out pages 5 and 6, there you'll find the clues as to what Newton and the Deviant's child looks like.

  14. So *that* was their child. I do hope he (or she) will again appear in a future issue, maybe even become part of the story itself. I'm really quite intrigued by their child, to be honest.
    BTW, it seems author Diana Gabaldon and artist Hoang Nguyen had a similar problem that you had with Marvel re: a sex scene in their THE EXILE graphic novel that came out yesterday. Frankly, I don't know why it is such an issue to show one in a couple with spread legs while doing the act.
    You might want to check it out here
    I believe Hoang also had to put a blanket. *groan*

  15. Last symbol in quiet math?
    What is it or where did u find it? I literally dreamt of this symbol over 10 years ago and have never seen it outside my journal until now. I'm psyched to see it but want to know what it is. Do u know?

  16. Re: Last symbol in quiet math?
    YOU DREAMT IT? That's crazy. Honestly, I just made it up. My thinking was to take the circle with the dot in the midle, which is a symbol for the sun, and make it an eye. The eye relating to seeing the future both in the case of Newton and Nostradamus, and the sun being an important element in the story. Once I had those inspirations the symbol seemed obvious. I did a little bit of searching to see if it was an existing symbol and was surprised that I couldn't find anything.
    I'm curious now, in your dream, did the symbol come with any meaning or context?... You didn't, by chance, see that the world is going to end in 2060 did you?