Monday, September 26, 2016

2015 Jemm, Son of Saturn Space City Comic Con Jam Sketch Detail by Dietrich Smith

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Okay, so I was aware of Dietrich Smith's work from the late Chromium Age moving forward, but was most impressed with his more recent color work, which is what made me decide to ask him to draw K'hym J'onzz for the family portrait jam. I really liked that, so then I went back and asked him for Jemm, Son of Saturn on another jam piece. I also dug that, so I tried to go back one more time at the same show for a solo piece, but by then he was all booked up. Another show comes around the following year, and I've got him pegged to draw Carter Burke from the movie Aliens at a point when I thought I was going to do a series of jam pieces, but plans changed so that I only got one done. So maybe, hopefully, I can finally turn Smith completely loose on a piece all his own next year?

I'd gotten Jemm done once before, but I felt he played such a major Alien Atlas-specific role in "Rock of Ages" and in the two most popular story arcs in Martian Manhunter's eponymous 1998 series that he deserved representation in the jam. I'm glad for it too, because this is a very regal prince with his high collar and billowing cape. This was another instance where the jam had a big chunk of space that needed to be filled to feel "done," and Smith absolutely took ownership of that property with a gorgeous spread across that real estate. I never give artists J'Onn reference with the "vampire" collar because I don't feel it suits the Sleuth from Outer Space, but Jemm was created with one, and here he rocks it like a ruby peacock. I love the shading, and looking at it again makes me hanker for that future Smith work!

Dietrich Smith

Sunday, September 25, 2016

2015 Glenn Gammeron Amazing Houston Comic Con Jam Sketch Detail by Adrian Nelson

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Adrian Nelson is another local artist that I can reliably call upon for excellent work, which to date has included commissions of Bloodwynd, Ma'alefa'ak, H'ronmeer (and other art finishes on the J'Onzz Family Portrait,) & Private Ricco Frost from the movie Aliens. This time, his subject is Glenn Gammeron, intergalactic bounty hunter with mysterious ties to J'Onn J'Onzz that date back to the plague which claimed most life on Mars. This was my second pass at a piece featuring the sketchy character, who once took on Despero and should absolutely return to that Martian Manhunter fold for further adventures. I love Nelson's take on the character, which vaguely recalls Larry Stroman, and the scans don't do justice to his crosshatched shading.

Adrian Nelson

Saturday, September 24, 2016

2013 Martian Manhunter “The Challenge of the Alien Robots” color art by Enrique “Quique” Alcatena

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Cuando el Detective Marciano, acompañado por su amiguito interdimensional Zook, corría sus aventuras en las últimas páginas de Detective Comics primero, y de House of Mystery después. Cuando era el gran Joe Certa el que ilustraba los guiones de Jack Miller...

When the Martian Manhunter, assisted by his interdimensional tiny sidekick Zook, lived his adventures in the back pages of Detective Comics first, and house of Mystery afterwards. When the great Joe Certa illustrated Jack Miller´s scripts...
Enrique “Quique” Alcatena

Friday, September 23, 2016

2015 The Alien Robots Space City Comic Con Jam Sketch Detail by Antoine Mayes

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Up until this month's Amazing! Houston Comic Convention, this was the last piece of Antoine Mayes art I had to offer on the blog, and my favorite of his many contributions to the jam. Featured are the villainous automatons of “The Challenge of the Alien Robots” from Detective Comics No. 317, July 1963. I really like the architectural boxiness (with foundational cracks) that gives way to an animation-type anthropomorphization with the slanted, louring "eyebrows." Plus, that one in the foreground is spitting fire. Unlike the loose arrangement of rectangular modules from Joe Certa's original story, Mayes creates a modern day armature of evil that looks physically functional and ready to go Chopping Mall with its long (bladed?) fingers and dynamic pivot points for maximum aggressive response. Mayes chose all of his own subjects from a copy of Showcase Presents and went wild with the scale and chimeric variety of old school rampaging menaces, shaping the totality of the piece and selecting fun creatures I might otherwise have neglected in my fatiguing pursuit of the same handful of Skittle Martians I keep doling out for.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

2015 Iwangis, The Creature King Amazing Houston Comic Con Jam Sketch by Erik Arreaga

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Iwangis was the villain in one of my favorite Silver Age Martian Manhunter stories, and especially out of the ones from the period where he was searching for the Diabolu Idol-Head (though it was never definitively stated whether the Creature King was connected to the device.) Seems other folks like him too, since he won our 2014 March Madness vote. I wanted someone cool for this piece, not just for the character, but because the overall jam was shaping up nicely. I was into Erik Arreaga's style, and his strong Sam Kieth influence was very well suited to the giant furry master of stone menageries. He strikes the right balance of menace and mirth as the monster reaches its paw out toward the viewer. I love all the crazy detailing and frenetic energy of this piece, and should definitely enlist Arreaga for a more substantial commission in the future!

Erik “Phour Nyne Guy” Arreaga

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

2014 Princess Cha'rissa Comicpalooza Jam Sketch Detail by Chris Beaver

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Chris Beaver is one of the artists I return to again and again for commissions, because he hit it out of the park first time out to bat with The Human Squirrel at 2012's Comicpalooza, a fun piece I was fond enough of to make a color copy and have framed next to my desk at the old apartment. He followed that up a few months later at Space City Con with Hunter Commander J'en, and the following year with one of my absolute favorite commissions ever, Kishana Lewis. I can't get a scan to capture his beautiful color work in that piece, so sometime I need to either take it to a professional or hang the original. Most recently, he contributed to this year's Aliens 30th Anniversary commission series with Corporal Cynthia Dietrich, but we sadly had a dry spell in 2015 because I'd committed so much time, effort and especially money to a series of jam pieces begun in 2014. Beaver contributed two black and white pieces to two separate jams begun that year, one hero and one villain. The heroine is Princess Cha'rissa, fiancé of Jemm and secret lover of J'Onn during murderous intrigue between the red and white-skinned Saturnians. These damned jams won't be done until 2017, and as I'm piecemealing them character by character all this month with plenty to spare, I've reserved the remaining space for new artists and the new year. It's all well and good, because what I really want is to plot out another full color piece like that Kishana Lewis, hopefully next year...

Chris Beaver

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

2015 Bloodwynd Amazing Houston Comic Con Jam Sketch Detail by Oliver Banks

It's been over four years since Bloodwynd was referenced in a significant way on this site, and even that was to defend him against accusations of being the Second Worst Justice Leaguer Ever, which was majorly harsh. I like Bloodwynd well enough to have a solo commission, and certainly wanted to include him in a jam of associated characters. Bloodwynd has an undeservedly bad rap, and I really need to get his biography page done to help vindicate the character (though legitimizing his messed up origin will take a better man than me.) Speaking of, artist Oliver Banks did an even better job here than on the previous year's Green Lantern Guy Gardner, and it's a shame it took me two years to spotlight his work. I dig the dude's attitude, imposing size, and the way his cape drapes around the character below him. Banks also incorporated the thick gray border around that character into shading on Bloodynd, which unfortunately doesn't translate well to the scan. I was able to contrast the blacks solid without completely obliterating the shading, but it's darker and much coarser than in the original, and I apologize for the distortion. He does look spookier for it, though.

Banks wrote of the piece, "High class collaboration," and if you'd like to see his Martian Manhunter, look no further.

Oliver Banks

Monday, September 19, 2016

Podcast- Comics Bulletin & Alex Ross on the Cusp of J’onn J’onzz’s 61st Anniversary

Episode #29

Look for us on iTunes, ShoutEngine or directly download an art-tagged MP3 from the Internet Archive

On October 8, 2014, the website Comics Bulletin published a discussion between Bryan Stroud and the famous painter of Marvels and Kingdom Come in the article Alex Ross Talks About the Martian Manhunter on the Cusp of J’onn J’onzz’s 60th Anniversary. Nearly two years later, with the Alien Atlas' next birthday imminent and with the help of an online text-to-audio program, Diabolu Frank joins their conversation...

We enjoy dialogue on the red planet, so here are our non-telepathic contact options:

Sunday, September 18, 2016

2001 DC Direct KINGDOM COME: MARTIAN MANHUNTER Poster by Alex Ross

The series of painted, full-color posters by Alex Ross (KINGDOM COME, BATMAN: WAR ON CRIME) continues with this dynamic portrait of J'onn J'onzz, the Martian Manhunter. This 22" x 34" poster is designed to be displayed on its own or be placed side by side with others in this series.

$ 7.95 US
To the surprise of no one, I bought this poster new, but waited the better part of a decade to finally get it framed and hung on the wall. Since I moved, it hasn't yet returned to a wall, and presently is sitting on the floor in a stack of over a dozen other framed comics related pieces I haven't committed to geeking up my current study. It's an exposed space visible from the common area, and I think the girlfriend would prefer we get a door installed to obscure my shrine first. I'm getting sick of it lying around though, so maybe I'll just hang it already. Also, the image above is not an actual poster, but a trim of Ross' original full sized piece made to best approximate the poster. I'm not breaking out mine, and for some odd reason, all the photos online look like crap.

Saturday, September 17, 2016

2013 B'rett Comicpalooza Commission by Johnny J. Segura III

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When I first met Johnny Segura at the 2012 Comicpalooza, he burned through a hot streak of fantastic commissions with Scorch, Professor Arnold Hugo, and L'lex Xanadar, leader of the Devil Men of Pluto, and he followed up in 2013 with Miss Martian. I was a bit surprised when he got experimental with B'rett, but I had been pushing it with the uniformity of the other pieces, so I can appreciate his wanting to try something different. For starters, we shift to a landscape, allowing the yellow Martian to swing wide with his gun arm for a gangster pose, complete with hand wrap. I tend to see B'rett as something of an old west sidewinder who'd shoot you in the back if you looked like future trouble, so this would qualify as a more contemporary take on that type. With a pronounced scowl, he demands in a word balloon "Ya lookin' at me, TOOTS?!?" Perhaps he was addressing M'gann M'orzz and that Kawaii thing she's doing with her eye in that year's earlier commission? Speaking of the newest super-heroine being adapted to television this year on the CW network, is it just me, or does B'rett's cape kind of look like the promotional poster for Supergirl season 2?

Johnny Segura 3rd

Friday, September 16, 2016

2016 Ma'alefa'ak Comicpalooza Commission by James Ferry

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Ma'alefa'ak is the evil twin brother of J'Onn J'Onzz introduced in Post-Zero Hour continuity as the creator of "H'ronmeer's Curse," the plague that wiped out Martian civilization. As "Malefic," he continued to menace the Martian Manhunter until his apparent demise. To date, Ma'alefa'ak is the only villain created to fight the Alien Atlas to be adapted by an outside medium, via the animated movie Justice League: Doom.
After Ferry's jam contribution featuring The Master Gardener of Mars, I figured I'd get another good looking Who's Who style profile image, this time of Malefic. See, I liked the Doom cartoon redesign a little too much and gotten a bunch of commissions of it instead of how he looked in the actual comics. However, Ferry wasn't satisfied to meet that expectation, and instead exceeded it with a fully realized work of art featuring a sea of floating reverse-teardrop rocky (icy?) masses floating in midair while Ma'alefa'ak malefically (an actual word I had to research, because "meleficently" is not one) contemplates Jodorowsky's Incal as big fluffy clouds roll by. The Mœbius influence is obvious, and appreciated, because this piece is the closest I'll ever get to owning a Jean Giraud original. It's a beauty!

James Ferry

Thursday, September 15, 2016

2015 D'Kay D'Razz Commission by Tim Vigil

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One of the obvious perils of buying many dozens of commissions and then doing nothing to catalog them over a multi-year span is that you start to get really fuzzy on the details. Some pieces I haven't run because they were by unknown artists whose work is unsigned. Now that's embarrassing. This one's not so bad, because I've been a fan of Tim Vigil since I conned my stepfather into buying a very age-inappropriate issue of Faust for me (plus pillaging Silverwolf Comics out of quarter bins after the black & white bust of the late '80s.) Just as a frame of reference, a fellow art collector I know that had a commission done ahead of mine showed me that she'd gotten an exceptionally well endowed nude (as in "Is that a python running down the leg?") hermaphrodite demon/vampire in recline (still comparatively tame for a Vigil, meaning something Vertigo or MAX or Dark Horse or IDW would never ever ever publish.) With an image like that, you'd think I'd remember which convention I saw it at.

Vigil doesn't particularly care for super-hero stuff, so I thought the body horror of shapeshifting Martian serial killer D'Kay D'Razz would suit him well. I regret the choice because I should have used it to start an all-villain jam instead of another one-off of the character after Austin Rogers and Lane Montoya already went there, and also because the piece is so sick with disturbing detail that I'd love to see follow-up artists try to match it. The piece is wicked, even though I do not want to know what's go on down there in its nether region...

Tim Vigil (NSFW!)

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

2014 B'rett Comicpalooza Commission by Mark Texeira

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The people behind me in line for Mark Texeira must have hated me. They were all getting comics signed or quick sketches on backer boards, and I roll up with an 11"x17" jam commission that Tex would ultimately fill a quarter of involving reference materials and lots of back and forth discussion. Then what do I do? I ask about getting a full solo commission, complete with waterpainted color! The nerve of this guy right here, typing about the two awesome pieces of Tex art I got for an entirely reasonable price which I admire greatly! Can you tell how little shame I feel over grinding that line to a halt?

So long as I was able to get a full commission from Tex, I knew I wanted him to do one of the most conceptually complimentary but least seen Alien Atlas Adversaries, the yellow-skinned Martian B'rett. I've liked the Xanthic Bandit for a long time, and it shows by the number of pieces I've gotten of him, probably the most of any single character outside J'Onn J'Onzz himself. The problem was that I had a very specific idea of how I wanted B'rett rendered, and despite getting some dynamite pieces of him, none quite matched the crystalline ideal in my mind. I wanted that grinning menace of a ruthless, brazen, but not exactly fearless foe, and I felt like Tex was my best shot at finally scratching that itch.

My recollection is that I watched Tex draw Vandal Savage, but left him with reference for B'rett to work on when he had time after taking care of the folks behind me. Toward the end of the day, I came back to see Tex's finished pencils, but he hadn't had the chance to apply any paint. I think I offered for him to keep it overnight, but he had already mixed the rather distinctive colors on his palette and was ready to get down to it. By this point, the con was announcing that the dealer's room was closed, and before long, lights were being shut off and security was eyeing us warily. Tex dismissed any concern, basically saying that as long as we were with him, nobody was going to bother us. Sure enough, I and a collection of onlookers got to watch him do the full Bob Ross demonstration as he discussed pestering publishers who wouldn't meet his quote but wouldn't stop calling, his training background in fine arts, and more fascinating insights into the life of a painter in the modern comics industry. When he finished well after closing time, I giddily took the wet piece out to the lobby, admiring it as I watched it dry and waited for the rain outside to subside. I wasn't taking any chances with this baby.

It should go without saying that Tex finally nailed the malicious, trigger-happy spirit of the character I'd been searching for all this time. Despite having the brawny physique and gladiatorial attire of the Sleuth from Outer Space, that callous spray of bullets and cruel grin lets you know B'rett would just as soon not get his hands dirty taking some poor soul out. I love the lighting over his muscles and the way the yellows contrast against the plum colored garments. In black and white, B'rett is just a Martian with a laser pistol, but nobody looks like this dude in color! Tex even whipped up an impromptu logo for B'rett on the spot, which I've happily made use of (plus I snuck the image into one of my fake covers from a Manhunter series that exists in a better world than ours.) Getting a work like this from Mark Texeira was one of my "grail" pieces, and I'll have that much easier a time going to my grave knowing I checked this particular box off my bucket list with a glorious commission that's the envy of my friends and among my very favorites!

Mark Texeira

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

2014 Telok'Telar Comicpalooza convention jam art detail by Paul Gulacy

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Telok'Telar is a White Martian who was captured by Cay'an, brainwashed into believing that he was a green-skinned Natural Martian, and sold to a government research lab. His normal form eventually reasserted itself, but not his mind, and he was institutionalized by J'Onn J'Onzz.
When it came time to get a grail piece from one of my favorite artists, knowing his work, the subject had to be a female. Gulacy ladies are the best, or in the case of the conniving Bel Juz, the worst. I had an opportunity to collect a second piece though, and figured to incorporate Gulacy into an artist jam project that was in progress. I wanted him to draw the Martian Manhunter without it actually being J'Onn, so Telok'Telar from the misbegotten 2006 mini-series The Others Among Us got the nod.

Paul Gulacy

Monday, September 12, 2016

2014 The Master Gardener of Mars Comicpalooza Jam Sketch Detail by James Ferry

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The Master Gardener of Mars is a Natural Martian horticulturalist and survivor of H'ronmeer's Plague who masqueraded as the Father-God of the Lizard Men, with whom he briefly conquered much of Earth in the late 1950s. He was defeated by Martian Manhunter and is believed dead.

So I had Cody Schibi start a jam commission series featuring one of the emanations from the Diabolu Idol-Head, it turned out great, and frankly, it was a tough act to follow. I wanted to gather some atypical artists who could do the weird world of late Silver Age Martian Manhunter monsters of the month justice, and eventually stumbled upon James Ferry. I liked the strong European and Japanese influences in his work, and thought he would be a good match with the contemplative Master Gardener. I enjoy the craggy and almost crystalline quality of the figure, coupled with the fluid fancy of the shapeshifting fingers. I think it complemented the first entry very well, and raised the bar that much more for the artists that followed. I've picked up a couple more pieces from Ferry since this one and look forward to showcasing them, but this week is focused on B'rett and other outlaws native to the Red Planet, and only one of those two applies...

James Ferry