Saturday, March 30, 2013

Entry 174: AVENGERS #8 Notes

Avengers #8 is out. I'm sure you all have gotten it and are in the middle of doing your fan recreations of the issue from cover to cover, redrawing everything and rewriting every word as faithfully as possible so as to fully express your love for it...

Isn't that what you guys do with comics that you like?    No?   Well that's what I do.

You guys know about that "Bartkira" project where a bunch of artists are redrawing all of Akira with Simpsons characters? Well, coincidentally, a few years ago I drew "Cailloumu", my recreation of Domu with characters from the Canadian kids show, Caillou. CRAZY Coincidence right?.. (If only you guys knew how lame that would be.)

If you can't tell by the image above, in this post I'm talking about Starbrand! Also I'll be talking a little bit about working with Justin Ponsor.

So get ready and get set...

Here's my initial sketch of the character. My goal was to make him somewhat nerdy, but not really a nerd. His cloths are kind of hip, but in a "shops at the Gap" kind of way. His hair could be seen as retro, but not in a cool way... I don't know, for me, he nether has the charisma to stand out nor is weird enough to stand out. I'm not really sure what to make of him, and that's kind of what I was aiming for.

Part of my idea was to have Starbrand have an evolution to his look. I wanted him to eventually have this kind of Bowie-esque Ziggy Stardust kind of vibe. I wanted him to look like he had eye liner on and lipstick. Once again returning to the idea of these characters not being good guys or bad guys but being ambiguous. Because that is the question with this character, is he going to be good, or is he going to be bad?

So taking that idea forward I needed to create a Starbrand costume. Here was my first take.

This just wasn't working for me. It's to complicated to seem powerful enough, and not a strong enough design to be iconic.

So, I just started messing around with it, and I came up with this.

I thought it was a neat idea, but still not right.

I scrapped it all and went back to my sketch book. I knew I needed to simplify and focus. Then I realized that I was an idiot. Use the Starbrand symbol... Duh

I drew this final design super quick and that was it.

Here is a page from the issue without the word balloons. I think this is a pretty good example of how Justin and I were completely in sync with one another.

Check out how the shadows Justin put on Starbrand in that third panel are working with the black and white line art. 

Now check out my layout.

Part of what helped these things to work so well was that Justin payed a lot of attention to my layouts and understood exactly what I was aiming for. He read and took seriously every note that I sent, and was able pull off perfectly everything I wanted. He was then able to make decisions that elevated everything and made it better.

One thing that I really liked about what Justin does is how well he captures atmosphere. I wanted this transition from day to night and he really nailed it. Capturing atmosphere is really important for the kind of work that I do because I do a lot of setting and background drawing. A colorist can kill a setting by not capturing the proper lighting  and depth.

In summation:

Starbrand-- Nether nerd nor cool. Nether good nor bad.

Ponsor-- Bringing honor to the name Justin. I hope I get to work with him a again soon.

And for you the reader-- If you are making "BARTVENGERS" then Cap is Bart, Milhouse is Starbrand, Ironman is Nelson, Hulk is Homer, Captain Marvel is Edna Crabapple, Hyperion is Ralph Wiggum, and Thor is Crusty. ( Don't they just match up perfectly?!) 

Blogged and Blogged


  1. Wow, just when I think you can't surprise me any further, we get a Caillou reference!
    One of many reasons I keep coming back...

    1. Ha ha ha I don't know that much about Cailllou. I only know that when my daughter has had it on, the sound of that kids voice has really annoyed me. Then I look at the screen to see this bald kid, and I wonder what's wrong with him?
      I went back and forth on making that reference. Ultimately, it was the only reference that made me chuckle, but I thought, " no one will get this." I guess I forgot about you, Frank, my one reader cool enough to get a Caillou reference.
      If you liked that, then you are going to love Sagittarius A*. It's very inspired by Caillou. (seriously, what's wrong with that kid? Is he dying? )

  2. I remember my daughter asking me why Caillou was bald. I assumed they were going for a Charlie Brown-type thing, but then we saw something on PBS where they talked about Caillou representing "all children," hence the decision not to give him curly hair, blond hair, etc. They mentioned the baldness thing as showing that being different was not only ok, but normal. So...there's the intention.
    The reality always seemed to be that whenever that show was on, if someone new came into the room the first question was, "Why is that kid bald?"
    (Just consider all of this backmatter for Sagittarius A*)

  3. A little off-topic but, are you drawing the interiors for Infinity? Or are you providing only covers? I hope the former!!!

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  5. I missed this before. I hadn't seen your sketches, either, so it's cool to see the character's evolution and the thought behind his look. I'm a sucker for the frail guy with immense power type, and this Starbrand design is one of my favorite things you've done. But I'm gonna play it cool and act like it's no big deal around the studio.