Sunday, March 30, 2008

comic review!

So, unlike Swinebread or Dave, I don't review comics. This is mostly because I am NOT a writer. However, I picked up a comic because Swinebread mentioned it and I'd like to share a little of what I thought. That comic is War is Hell.

First off, let me say that I like it, I will buy the rest of the series and I would recommend it so far. I do, however have some slight problems with the art.

I guess I'm spoiled. My heyday of comics was Bill Sienciewicz doing the New Mutants and Art Adams doing all sorts of stuff (including the great New Mutants annual that took place in Asgard); as I began to fall out of mainstream comics, Alan Davis was a parachute and nobody can stop being a Groo fan. For the past few years, it's been mostly small press monthlies and TPBs and European small-press and creator-owned comics. These latter have longer deadlines than the monthlies, so the art is usually more involved.

The art in War is Hell, is overall, quite good. The layout is exceptional and as a result the story moves along at a nice pace. It starts out cinematically with a close-up of a pilot in a biplane cockpit that, on the next page, opens up to this:

That's a sweet splash page, huh? The dynamism in this, especially after the quiet moment a page before is great. I was really impressed with the Sienciewicz-esque smoke/flame effects.

The figures are well done and the faces have a nice semi-caricature European style to them:

But, the rushed nature of the monthly dealines really shows sometimes. For some reason, this really bugs, me. Probably because the details and care put into the aircraft. Just tell me, what is up with the ground crew's coveralls?

Are they local French mechanics who just got back from a Cirque de Soleil rehersal? Having to work fast is one thing, but this is just stupid. It's not just in this panel, but I don't feel like scanning all of the others to make a point.

All in all, as I said, a good mag. The story moves well and I really want to see what happens. It just makes me wish that It could have been a six-months of work graphic novel.

So, because I harshed on someone else's artowrk, harsh on mine. I've been hitting Jake Parker's website for a while and his really cool 'industrial designs' have inspired me to sit down and really make a big machine picture. Here's the Westland Skua, a ground attack/reconnaissance autogryo flown by the RNZAF in 1940*.

Listening to while posting: Venus, Bringer of Peace by Gustav Holst from 'The Planets' symphony.

*Don't bother looking it up, I made it up. Duh.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Again and again

Here's the new version of the comic page from a few days ago. I thought the original just sucked, so I had to do it again. This one, while having its failings, works much better. I learned a lot from doing it.


Listening to while posting: "Roller Coaster Ride" By Belle & Sebastian.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Righting a great wrong

So, I seem to have preempted Swinebread's comments about the guards in panel two (they are walking in different directions). Almost as soon as I'd finished this, I was unhappy with it. I rushed it at every point; pencil, ink, color. The only thing that worked well, was the layout (and this worked because I'd taking time to work the layout).

So, I've started again. Taking my time, shooting digital photo references and generally treating this whole page as a lesson. And, I stared with the escort:

They still look a bit like they're walking in different directions, but it still works better overall. I was trying to avoid them pointing in the exact same direction and becoming static.

As far as the style is concerned, I'm going to try the clearline style with color and local color shading e rather than the classic comic book ink shading. Let's see how it works. I'll probably hate it tomorrow and re-do it AGAIN. I'll post the entire page in a day or so, but I really needed to do this right away for my own peace of mind.

Storywise, I'm actually going to try to collaborate with a (nearly published) writer friend. This may not be up her alley, but she's willing to try. I need her because, while I've got the overall story and setup, I've gotten stuck in a character motivation towards the climax.

Listening to while posting: "Sunny" by Jason "Lefty" Williams (Lefty is a one-handed guitar player. He's only got one hand! He's also a really nice guy, too

Friday, March 14, 2008

Weekly Challenge: villain

So, the Weekly Challenge is continuing. It's a multi-part challenge, and it's getting big.

First came the hero then came the associate (read: sidekick). Then was the environment.

Now comes. The Counterpoint (or The Villain):

I'm only partially happy with this. And, as ususal, I'm getting less happy as I look at it. It was a bit rushed, no real sketching other than thumbnails and very few references. I really wanted to get it posted before the weekend. Next time, better.

Listening to while posting: Scherzo: Allegro & 4 Finale: Allegro by Ludwig Van. Perform'd by Joseph Krips conducting the London Symphony Orchestra

Friday, March 7, 2008

And ending! A beginning!

I finished off a sketchbook yesterday. Woo! It's got just over a year of stuff in it and is the first sketchbook that I wouldn't mind someone looking at 'un-expurgated'.

Here's the last thing I did. It's Long Tall Sally berating Captain Armsakimbo for something. (without any background reference, he looks far away, when if fact LTS is very very tall. Hey, it's a sketch! Whaddaya want?)

Here are the first things in the new sketchbook. Pictures of Anne Margaret Johnson for the Weekly Challenge.

Listening to posting: Exquisite Dead Guy by They Might Be Giants

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Penguin Killer

So, in the 'Weird War Tales' cover for the ENJPs, they were fighting Brewster Buffalo, an obsolete fighter from the beginning of WW2. I didn't want to have the ENJPs overmatched, though it would be fun to have them kicking ass on a bunch of Corsairs or maybe even a Black Widow.

But, this is a fantasy universe, so what they would fight would be...


Woo! The Westland Skua operated by the RNZAF out of Ohakea.

Yup. Autogyros.

Listening to while posting: nothing. Sweet Enemy is quite ill and my studio is near the bedroom, so I don't want to disturb her. And, I'm not a big headphone fan

Monday, March 3, 2008

mini-sketch dump

Almost done with this sketchbook; one page to go!

As I've mentioned, I do a 'monster a week' for a co-worker. The Friday before last,much to my dismay, I missed one. So, this week I did her a double and it turned out to be a pretty cliche monster, but with scary potential. It would either make a good old-school slasher flick or a good story in 'Creepy' or 'Tales from the Crypt' comics

Zeke and Obed: Conjoined Twin Hillbilly Cannibal Serial Killers! Scary, no?

Less scary is another sketch of Jean d'Arc as a lamb. I think it would make a pretty good comic in the visual vein of Blacksad (not the visual skill, though). Here is young Jean as she first receives her 'vision'.

Listening to while posting: "Big Beautiful Spoon" by Poi Dog Pondering from 'Thinking like a mountain and wishing like the sea"