Friday, May 31, 2013

Art of Homage # 44: Uncanny X-Men # 268

As is often the case with X-Men cover art,
it gets recycled in their own books as much
as anywhere!

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

The Mashterpiece Theatre Project: DC '78

My original idea--as is often the case--has changed dramatically
since first conceptualized.

Like the publishing world since 1978, like the rest of the world....
everything transforms once touched by the outside.

I had wanted to recapture--actually mirror--the more innocent and
desirable days of 1978, before senseless fictional murders, rapes, and
continuous recalibrations became the norm. The comics community
seems determined to try and force their relevance and promote
their 'bad-ass' (wannabe) nature by striving for what is considered
'maturity,' 'sophistication,' or at least the vileness that passes for it
with pseudo-realistic comics.

Striving for a sophistication the medium inherently lacks, while
sacrificing all that's great about the medium in the process.

Explain to me how we need relevance and scientific explanation,
real-world violence and despair when we're dealing with a universe
of flying men, aliens, and endless super-powered battles and umpteen

Ah, I'm showing my age. Proudly.

I definitely feel that comics is a medium designed for (or at least
beholding to) shelf lives.
There is a need for closed runs and definitive endings; this stuff can't
go on forever, especially in the same form.
But we seem to avoid that concept.

Instead, everything's become homogenized and rehashed in order
to keep publishing endlessly.

Well, those old days will never be here again. We can homage them,
reprint them, fan fic them, and wax philosophic on them, but they are gone.
And thus, even the desired recapturing I imagined changed.
Which, in the end, is all for the best.

Art exists in the moment. That's the magic of it; an atmosphere, a
conceptualized sensation, brought about by the joining of artist and
audience. Trying to duplicate innate success never ends well. A copy
can't hold a candle to the original.

I received a lifetime of fond memories from the DC Comics of my
childhood; those exact stories, those exact creators, those exact
characters, mixed into my world at that precise moment. It's a
combination that was unique and personal and perfect. You can't
touch perfection without destroying it.

So, what you see now is the end result of a newly streamlined endeavor.
a 'unified' world, but hopefully plenty full of room for every voice to be
heard as distinctly and diversely as they were created to be heard.

A place for every concept to have its own corner to shine, maintaining
the flavor that made them real. Even if half the fun you have here is
picking it apart, have fun. That's the whole point.

You can't please everyone, so you've got to please yourself.


Friday, May 24, 2013

Good Reads: "Life Sucks"

The original graphic novel "Life Sucks" by
Jessica Abel, Gabriel Soria, Warren Pleece, and
colorist Hilary Sycamore.

The best way to approach this book is to know nothing,
and simply take it like it comes; more rewarding that way.
It's a fun, intriguing, unique take on some old standards
that's entertaining and engaging for all ages.

But what I can tell you is that this is the story of
Dave, a slacker store clerk who is in proximity to a 
large collection of goths daily. He works the night
shift and has an interesting back story. And the ins
and outs of young life in Cali would be captivating
enough, but what if there's more?


Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Art of Homage # 43: X-Men # 101/50 (1st Phoenix, 1st Polaris)

(Uncanny) X-Men # 101 is usually the
homaged cover in question that most people
attribute to like images.
And, it is a classic, purely cool
Dave Cockrum cover spotlighting
the introduction of Phoenix.

But I say that image itself is owing in
at least part of its inspiration to the above
work by Jim Steranko, from X-Men # 50
from many years prior!

The composition is varied slightly,
but it's still the prominent debut of a
powerful (X) woman which has the other
characters beneath them in lesser positions!

Friday, May 10, 2013

"That's one HUGE cast you're sporting, there, buddy!"

A smattering of favorite issues and story lines
that had outrageously over sized casts...yet
still managed to handle the story well!
Wonder Woman (3rd series?) # 173-175,
"The Witch and the Warrior"
Phil Jimenez magic with Andy Lanning
and (pictured) Adam Hughes cover.

The JLA/Titans mini-series, "The Technis Imperative"
by Devin Grayson and Phil Jimenez

Young Justice #s 50 and 51,
by Peter David, Todd Nauck.

Avengers # 181
(and the ensuing buildup issues,
# 167, 168, 170-177, "The Korvac Saga" by
David Micheline, Jim Shooter, Bill Mantlo,
George Perez, Sal Buscema, and more!)

"JLA/JSA: Virtue and Vice"
original graphic novel by
David S. Goyer, Geoff Johns, Carlos Pacheco
A beautiful rendering of the classic team-up
with characterization and interaction
depicting the teams' personalities and histories.

Guy Gardner, Warrior # 29,
with the grand opening of Warriors bar, featuring
cameos by nearly every DCU member at the time!
Featuring both the gatefold specialty cover
(opening to a Jimenez crowd scene) or
the regular edition featuring the homage cover.

"Project: Super Powers" from Dynamite Comics and Alex Ross
doing a splendid revitalization of a host of Golden Age
characters, including Daredevil and Black Terror.

The beloved "Defenders for a Day" storyline from
the 1970s, from "Defenders" #s 63-65, featuring
a slew of B and C characters of the day!

JSA: OUR WORLDS AT WAR Special # 1, featuring
nearly every legacy character of the time!
Great for Golden Age fans!

Hanna Barbera's "Laff-a-Lympics" featuring
the entire cartoon universe of Hanna-Barbera.
Published by Marvel Comics, Charlton, and more.

"Crisis on Infinite Earths," the standard-bearer and first
kitchen-sink-cast comic of this magnitude. Hated
the end result, but the cameos and art was stupendous.

James Robinson and Paul Smith's splendid
"The Golden Age" mini-series with a great
smaller human interest story, but with a
bunch of Easter eggs and a final scene that
delivers for 'big fight scene' fans.

Waid and Kitson's Silver-Age revamp with the
early days of the retconned Justice League,
featuring all the heroes of the age.
(Albeit conveniently deus-ex-machina'ed
into second banana status for the purpose
of this story.)

The original super-team-up at DC Comics
with a really cool story combining all the characters
previously featured in SHOWCASE!

Story by  Paul Kupperberg and Paul Levitz,
 and art by Joe Staton!