Friday, September 25, 2020

2020 Martian Manhunter Movie Fan Casting: Amber Stevens West as Detective Diane Meade

The first time I tried to cast a Manhunter from Mars movie in the '90s, I was too ignorant of his history to bother with Diane Meade, going with the more tertiary Cameron Chase to be played by Jennifer Jason Leigh (but I nailed it, right?) I also skipped her in the 2011 draft, though that was less a slight of the character and more about my fixation on sticking almost exclusively with other Martians (Bel Juz, B'rett, Ma'alefa'ak, Commander Blanx, ad nauseam.) Most of those picks hold up, although admittedly the actors themselves were often on the older side of viability even then.

This time, I'm trying for a grounded and youthful approach geared more toward the detective than the alien, so naturally J'Onn's longest serving partner on the police force comes to mind. Ryan Daly offered Katee Sackhoff in his fan casting. For my fake Smallville spin-off "Middletown" I went with Victoria Pratt. I was supposed to cover the entire first season, but never followed through, and really wanted to recast with Courtney Thorne-Smith if the pilot had gone to series. Finally, for a batch of faux 1967 movie posts that I also never wrapped up, I selected Jill Ireland. Jeez, I'm the Rob Liefeld of fancast blogging.

In 2020, I'm more conscious of "why should this exist" rather than "Joe Certa drew Diane to look like Kim Novak. How can I translate that to today?" It's really tough to insert diversity into a universe as lily white as DC's has been historically, which explains why there's been pushback to attempts like The Flash's that have left us with two distinct Wally Wests (which for my money is already two too many.) On the one hand, you've got sixty-some-odd years and hundreds of comics featuring white lady Iris West. On the other hand, how many super-heroes with lady reporter loves can you differentiate by hair color alone?

As with the collective acceptance of a race-swapped John Jones without dudes in khakis getting up in Tiki torches, when a comic creation has made maybe 55 appearances in about as many years as a peripheral character to a super-hero with a modest cultural presence, Hollywood has a wide latitude in their interpretation. Aside from being a moderately recognizable brand that can be adapted for a budget-conscious production foregoing a Snyderverse scale with a greater allowance for authorial vision, the best reason to even do a Martian Manhunter movie is because you can be as race liberated as you want to be. I've liked Amber Stevens West in everything I've seen her in, she comes off as sharp enough to play a detective, but she also has a warmth that can off-set modern writers' annoying tendency to treat Meade as "Lois Lane on menses without Midol." I really hated the televangelist hair Riley Rossmo gave her in the recent maxi-series, and while the romantic interest angle isn't required, I do think that the tendency to treat black super-heroes as sexless in these adaptations is increasingly problematic. Since you can go colorblind with the Sleuth from Outer Space, I figure you should to serve an audience hungry for representation in this genre, and hopefully I can now stop being so Caucasian in bringing that up in each of these postings.

Wednesday, September 23, 2020

2020 Martian Manhunter Movie Fan Casting: Mandy Patinkin as Professor Mark Erdel

The Manhunter from Mars has one of the simplest origins in comics. Scientist accidentally teleports Martian to Earth, dies from the shock, and strands the alien. What takes up the entire first act of most pictures is less than five minutes here, especially if you just do it in narration or a flashback. My first impulse was to do a cute, cheap stunt casting. Bill Mumy an O.G. Silver Age comic book nerd who was a close friend and co-writer with the late Miguel Ferrer, one of my favorite character actors who voiced J'Onn J'Onzz in Justice League: The New Frontier. Done, right?

You know who else's origin could have been told in under ten minutes? Captain America. Scrawny draft wash-out volunteers for experiment that transforms him into a super-soldier. The scientist who made it possible is killed by a Nazi, leaving the weight of the entire program's success on one patriotic man. Two sentences, so twice as long as J'Onn's. But see, how much lesser of a movie would The First Avenger be without the greatest hype man in all of comic adaptations, Stanley Tucci as Doctor Abraham Erskine? Tucci is one of America's most beloved character actors playing a character with deep convictions and a true hope for humanity. Tucci makes you love Erskine before he bites the bullet, and his admiration and confidence in Steve Rogers makes the audience feel the same towards him.

Realistically, the safest route to introducing J'Onn J'Onzz as a solo feature is to use The New Frontier as a guide. You don't have to open with J'Onn in Erdel's home laboritory, but at some point you'll want to orient the audience to his situation. In the old comics, J'Onzz wandered around in an unprecedented human identity for a few hours before deciding "I'll just be a cop, because." Even if the origin is a low priority, the audience is going to expect more than that. The most accepted explanation came from Mark Verheiden with elaboration by Darwyn Cooke. J'Onn continues to live in Erdel's house for a time, assuming Erdel's form as needed, and otherwise learns about Earth culture from watching too much television. Detective John Jones comes into being because Martians are susceptible to copaganda.

While communicating this evolution to the audience, we'll need a performer who can play both Erdel and J'Onn pretending to be Erdel. He's got to explain to the audience the set-up, endear himself so that his death has emotional resonance, and then help put-over a likely silent Martian impersonator as a lovable protagonist. Mandy Patinkin's one of my favorite actors, nominated for seven Emmys with one win, plus a Tony besides. You wouldn't likely be able to get him for a comic book movie, and he's not going to sign any nine-picture deals. He's one of the warmest and most human actors on the planet, and while I'd avoid using the Post-Crisis "Saul" given Patinkin's eight years playing a character by that name, I'd like Erdel's (probable) Jewish heritage to be acknowledged through the casting. Yeah, Patinkin could out-Tucci the Tucc if given half a chance.

Monday, September 21, 2020

2020 Martian Manhunter Movie Fan Casting: Jonathan Majors as J'Onn J'Onzz

About every decade, I try to do a contemporary casting for the super-hero that I've devoted more of my life and resources to than any other. At the end of the 20th Century, my selection to play the Manhunter from Mars was Avery Brooks, whose last film role was in 2001 and who on my meeting him was clearly... eccentric. Still, various re-castings aside, he's always been the voice in my head when I try to "hear" John Jones.

There have been other attempts made by fans online in the years since, with my personal favorite being Jon Hamm, given that he already played a variation on a period American Secrets-flavored take over eight years as Don Draper on Mad Men. That said, I don't see that there's any point in casting a tall brunette WASP for an adaptation from of a comic book universe that already has Superman. What are you going to do, play him as an exceptionally stupid and immature 14 year old in an adult body with implied superiority over a collection of final act POC supporting players who are granted only a single portion of his many powers?*

In 2011, I settled on Lance Reddick based on the one season of The Wire I caught coupled with his being an internet casting favorite who openly expressed interest in the role. That said, I wasn't entirely sold on my own choice, and felt like my friend Ryan Daly did me one better by offering Giancarlo Esposito. Still, both of these guys were long in the tooth back then, and are now nearing federal retirement age. Notably, Hollywood seems to agree with our logic to seek out African descent actors, because in the years since these attempts David Harewood and Harry Lennix have joined Phil Morris in portraying the character in live action on television.**

The whole reason for this post, besides being about time, is the first instance since Avery Brooks to call out to me for this role. I loved the early episodes of HBO's Lovecraft Country, and immediately noticed lead character Atticus Freeman's exceptional build. In my earliest days of getting to know the history of the Alien Atlas, Adam Benson had told me his fan-casting of the 1960s version that he grew up on was the 6′ 4″ decathlete Woody Strode. The visual similarity of their lean muscle may have initiated the association, but Majors' pensive portrayal sealed the deal. It's tough to act "thoughtful," and he nails it, but he's already offered so much more than that. We've seen "Tic's" righteous simmering rage, his uncertainty, and most his emotional agony at the loss of a loved one. I very nearly cried myself over that last one, and its the sort of reaction I'd want an actor to inspire when depicting the enormous tragedies of the Martian people. Also, he's only 31, so he'd be an excellent long term investment for the cinematic debut of the Sleuth from Outer Space in a slew of shared universe films. Sure, he's already been cast as Kang in the worst Marvel Studios franchise, but if a retired Batman can fight Spider-Man or Thor, the same tide can sweep back in the opposite direction. Besides, it's a Marvel villain. Who's even going to remember in five years?

* Why yes, I did hate Shazam! very much.

** I know that stings, Snyder-stans, but it's no less true.

*** It's so sad that I have to copy and paste my posts into a WordPress comment now that Blogger doesn't offer spellcheck, but you get what you don't pay for, I suppose.

Monday, September 14, 2020

2015 “MIB vs...” intercompany commission by MC Wyman

I had another one of those "manically active without actually working on projects that are coming due" weekends, and instead of having multiple posts in the can, I'm typing this single one up at 2:23 a.m. on Monday morning. I never made anybody any promises, since I'd undoubtedly break them, and I have no aspirations of maintaining a daily schedule. We'll see how Tuesday goes. 

While searching for reference, I stumbled upon this fun piece featuring the original Malibu comic book Men in Black looking on at an aerial battle between Lobo & Rocket Raccoon, Superman & Gladiator, Hawkman & Thor, and Martian Manhunter & Silver Surfer by former Thor artist M.C. Wyman. Since the default image size for this blog is 400px and I'm now using Google as my exclusive image host, I just took the relevant snippet of the piece to save on bandwidth. There's a link to the whole shebang at Comic art Fans if you click on the pic.

Friday, September 11, 2020

"Recent" Comment Round-Up

I was away from posting anything but podcasts for so long that I wasn't aware that I had a years long queue of unmoderated comments. Out of the 30-something I reviewed after it occurred to me to keep any kind of track, a good quarter or so weren't trying to sell me imitation Viagra in Sanskrit. By the way, when did Google decide to take away spell check? My receiving eleven years of free web-hosting still entitles me to all the frills, right? Oh wait, it's in compose view. I guess that makes sense.

Where was I? Oh yeah, it also occurred to me that I could milk a free post out of answering a few of those comments from people that probably will never read them or visit this blog again. For posterity.

So one guy wanted to let me know that Mongul is a weak villain. That was before I was saving the names or posts. He made sure to tell me exactly that in two comments. Counterpoint: I like Mongul. I think he's cool. He's in competition with Lord High Papal for my favorite knock-off of Thanos, and I'm counting all the Thanos rip-offs, not just Starlin's home-brewed ones (side-eyes Synnar the Demiurge.) He's also the villain in one of the best ever Superman stories which hinges on his villainy, so that's not weak. I feel like I should end with some sort of white dad rap, but that would take effort and rhyming, so I'll just end this statement with "Word."

 On the post Martian Manhunter in the 1980, Anonymous said, "Hi. I think you missed JLA 228-230." Well Ann (may I call you Ann?) the truth is that I started my coverage of the Detroit era with Justice League of America Annual #2, and planned to work up to the "War of the Worlds: 1984" arc as the conclusion of my Silver-To-Bronze Age coverage. Then I never finished, in large part because I got podcasting. But as a consolation, my very first ever podcast appearance was to cover those issues with Rob & Shag on The Fire and Water Podcast.

 Amusingly, Doppelgänger asked of my Comrades of Mars bios in 2018, "Where are the obvious ones like Zook and Diane Meade and Miss Martian?" It was a literal copy & paste of the same request made by MartianManhunterIsBetterThanCyborg in 2013. The seventh anniversary of that request is in three months, so I guess that's a goal to work towards? My answer remains, "I haven't written their profile entries yet." I'll add that I would need to reread a bunch of comics, and I already got a bunch of other comics in line way ahead of them. G'way kid, ja bodderin' me.

On a more constructive note, The Time Trust offered in early 2019 that "I think it's worth noting that Patrolman Slade may have made a rare second appearance, as John Jones is partnered with a policeman named Slade in Detective Comics #268, just 8 issues after Patrolman Slade's initial appearance. This second Slade looks identical to the first." I can probably read a single eight page story to follow-up on that. Thank you, T.T.T.

Ahead of the most recent Martian Manhunter maxi-series, I groused on Martian Manhunter Returns In New Series Canceled With Twelfth Issue To Soften The Inevitable Blow! about how I didn't really like anything done with the character as a soloist for the previous dozen years and was tired of supporting all those misfires financially. Full disclosure, I only bought several different versions of the first issue or so, didn't appreciate that take, and abandoned it to trade-waiting.

Dr. Anj & Martin Gray both commented at the time, but I had nothing to add to the dialogue. Four months later, Slimmy did, saying, "First time I read your post I thought you were unfair to Williams and Barrows'run, called "Epiphany" and "Red Rising". I thought I kinda enjoyed it.

But then I realized that I actually disliked what it was : There was no Martian Manhunter in it for quite a while. I only enjoyed it because it was an inconsequential bad story that gave the character a new origin that I kinda enjoyed. I foolishly thought that this new origin would allow the character to get a fresh start, and was different from Ostrander's stupidity. (Yes I preferred when the epidemic was just a disease going around, like Dematteis implied, rather than a biological weapon and Malefic is a ridiculous concept and who the [expletive deleted] writes evil twin brothers unironically ?). I enjoyed this origin story, I really did. I thought it had greater tragedy than ever before while still building up the world and culture. Nonetheless, we share a common hatred of this new book. I grew up with Carl Lumbly as the Martian Manhunter, and picturing him as black was the norm for me. But a freaking corrupt cop ? The origin story retconned AGAIN ? The atrocious art style ? Just cease and desist."

 I did buy the trade, as I did with the Williams/Barrows series, after supporting that entire run in floppies. I've finished reading neither. I love Barrows' art, full stop, and Riley Rossmo was very not that. However, I actually enjoyed his quirky visuals and they suited the story Orlando was telling. It's just that the story wasn't intended for me any more than the Williams one was, but in different ways. They both let their freak flags fly, which I encourage on a Martian Manhunter book, but those stories didn't involve a version of J'Onn J'Onzz that I recognized or cared to associate with. Issue for issue, I preferred what Orlando did, if only by virtue of a guy named J'Onn in a familiar setting being present. I wasn't feeling it, and I was tired of throwing out good money after bad, plus I simply lost interest in reading after issue #3 or 4. I couldn't even muster a hate-read. Just decompressed meh.

Finally, kevin from new orleans has let a series of supportive comments on the recent posts that I appreciate. I really do need to at least watch the Carl Lumbly scenes from Supergirl. I was not aware that Ma'alefa'ak was on the show until recently, and was didn't know at all about the additional stunt casting. That could be really fun. I have the Blu-Rays through season 3, so I should get on that already...

Thursday, September 10, 2020

2018 Zook sketch by Stephen R. Bissette



My buddy Derek WC of Fanholes Podcast alerted me that noted Swamp Thing alum Steve Bissette had of his own volition contributed the rare Zook rendering to the world of fine art. You can see a larger version on his Facebook post, as well as some new additions to the piece.
Bat-Mite! Zook! Mister Mxyzptlk! 
When J'onn J'onzz (the Martian Manhunter) is away, Zook finds a place to chill, right alongside a couple other Silver Age reprobates... I added 'em to the original sketch... And this makes me giggle. 
Brush, pen, archival ink, whiteout pen, Meanstreak on 8 1/2" x 11" light board; $175 for this is pretty esoteric Silver Age DC memory lane monkey-business—or Best Offer—(plus shipping) to first to PM me here or email msbissette@yahoo.com. 
Still fundraising for dental surgery (October), fall/winter work on TYRANT® and other projects. I'll be offering more traditional-for-Bissette fare later in the week/weekend, but had some odd "just for fun" pieces I wanted to offer to mix it up a bit. Many thanks!

Wednesday, September 9, 2020

2016 Martian Manhunter Trailer - DC Remixed by Barnes Bros. TV



Like so many other online outlets, we seem to have pivoted to video. Just kidding. I'm totally going to drop the ball on this blog revival entirely any minute now. Best hope is that I get some weekly art posts lined up before I lose interest again. Anyway, as I was going through the relatively short list of Martian Manhunter trailer fan edits, I tumbled onto this video and thought "Mortal Engines, huh?" The anticipating of 2020 facewear aside, this is actually an (almost) entirely newly produced fan-acted short feature (I think they borrow some audio from Supergirl?) Cool use of limited means to show off J'Onn's telepathy, plus we get an in-continuity co-star instead of secondhand Jeff Goldblum. I'm more enthused about this take on Martian Manhunter than the rest of the Snyder Murderverse influenced stuff this week. They also did one for Detroit Justice League teammate Vixen...

Tuesday, September 8, 2020

2016 The Martian ManHunter-Fanmade Trailer by Mandy G



This one owes an enormous debt to the 2010 “Martian Manhunter - Theatrical Trailer” by SouperboyX, but (mostly-- whoops!) switches out Phil Morris for David Harewood. J'Onn's big reveal on the first season of Supergirl really lit a fire under people four years ago. I wonder why nobody has gone back to this well in the years since? I didn't quite finish Supergirl season 2, but I know there's been a lot more Alien Atlas lore mined since then that could serve as extensive trailer fodder. Is everyone just holding their breath for Harry Lennix in 2021? Funny, you could describe the entire Snyder Cut saga as "General Swanwick."

Sunday, September 6, 2020

2016 Martian Manhunter Theatrical Trailer [Fan-made] by Streggea Studios



Years ago, I ripped J'Onn J'Onzz scenes from Smallville DVDs with the intention of doing something like this with the Phil Morris incarnation, but lacked the stick-to-it-iveness to follow through in the waning days of this being a daily (or even monthly) blog. So, far be it for me to criticize, but also, I'd have probably skipped all of the Justice League shots and not modelled the entire thing off material as prominent as Independence Day trailers. This is basically what I'm expecting out of the Snyder Cut, though.

Saturday, September 5, 2020

2017 WatchMojo.com's Top 10 Greatest Justice League Villains video



Along the same lines as yesterday's video, lords of the countdown Watch Mojo dropped their own JLA rogues list. Despero only reached #9 on this more media-inclusive ranking (ComicsAlliance's was true to their name in favoring comic books exclusively.) I'm glad that he beat the Injustice League, a true joke of a concept. These guys date back to the JLI days, comprised of members that would go on to form Justice League Antarctica for one gas of an annual, and got killed in the first issue of the 2001 Suicide Squad volume everybody forgets happened. "Injustice League" is so basic and on the nose. Between the Crime Syndicate of America, the Secret Society of Super-Villains, and the Legion of Doom, do we really need any more analogous JLA oppositional teams?

Vandal Savage made it to #3, which is more aspirational than factual. The whole point of his use in JLA: Year One was to act as a bridge from the Justice Society's retirement into the birth of the Justice League. I love the guy, but he's just not League caliber in raw power and ability. His great shining moment in that arena was Justice League: Doom, where he was just a stand-in for Raʼs al-Ghūl using stolen plans crafted by Batman that were executed by a Substitute Legion of Doom (shout-out to Malefic's sole multimedia excursion! Also, I obviously stopped watching Supergirl in season two!)

Friday, September 4, 2020

2016 ComicsAlliance 10 Greatest Justice League Villains - Rogues' Gallery video



Did you know ComicsAlliance came back after a 2+ year absence? They got bought out and shuttered in April of 2017, but have been putting out sporadic (and seemingly redundant) comics media pieces for over half a year now. They went dark again a month ago, and it seems like there was just the one lady posting stuff, but they've still got the archives up.

In late 2016, the site ran a readers poll for Who Is The Justice League's Ultimate Enemy, which then got converted to the embedded video above. The White Martians were first up at #9, and Despero made #6. J'Onn has probably fought all of those guys at various points, but I figured to highlight the most Manhunter-specific ones. Surprising the Martians rated so high, but there's lingering affection for the JLA days, with another new omnibus edition coming soon.

Wednesday, September 2, 2020

2018 Sideshow Collectibles The Justice League Fine Art Print by Paolo Rivera



A $100.00 sold out print from a couple years ago. The artist offered the soft pitch...
Artist Proof edition of 30
- 24 × 18" fine art giclée print, 2" white border
- produced by Sideshow
- signed and numbered in pencil
- 100% cotton, acid-free, matte Museo Rag 300GSM
- Epson archival inks
- Embossed seal of authenticity
- ships in heavy-duty tube

$11 shipping
$25 International

*1 poster per household*
But here's the long version from the Sideshow Collectibles website...
About This Art Print “I once thought I could protect the world by myself, but I was wrong.”

Sideshow is proud to present the Justice League Fine Art Print by artist Paolo Rivera.

Lanterns and Titans and Bats, oh my! This awe-inspiring artwork unites some of the greatest heroes in DC Comics as the iconic trinity of Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman lead the Justice League in their fight to protect the world.

Featuring classic team members and modern recruits, the Justice League Fine Art Print brings together 12 beloved superheroes in all. The Flash, Cyborg, Aquaman, and Power Girl join the Trinity standing atop the Hall of Justice, while Zatanna, Hawkgirl, Red Tornado, Martian Manhunter, and Green Lantern John Stewart lend support from the skies above.

Each Justice League Fine Art Print will be hand-signed by Paolo Rivera as a part of the limited edition of 300 pieces. Bring home this brave and bold DC art collectible for your heroic home collection!

Print details:
Officially licensed DC Comics Art Print
Limited edition of 300
18 x 24" fine art lithograph print
Hand-signed by the artist, Paolo Rivera
Embossed seal of Authenticity

About the Artist:
Paolo Rivera started working for Marvel Comics in 2002. Although he began his career painting in oil, he has since moved on to penciling, inking, and coloring (with some occasional sculpting). He was born and raised in Daytona Beach, FL, and graduated from the Rhode Island School of Design in 2003, where he studied under David Mazzucchelli. He broke into the comics industry thanks to writer Jim Krueger, whom he met at Megacon in Orlando, FL while still in high school. Rivera's best-known painted work is Mythos, a series of six richly-painted origin stories written by Paul Jenkins. Originally published as one-shots, it was collected into a hardcover edition in 2008. He now limits his painted work to covers including The Twelve, The Iliad, The Amazing Spider-Man, and Wolverine, among many others. Most recently, he penciled 6 issues of Mark Waid’s Daredevil run. His father, Joe Rivera, inked the issues, for which they received 2 Eisners. You can see more of Rivera’s art and take an in-depth look at his creative process here.

Tuesday, September 1, 2020

1997 JLA Gallery #1 virgin cover art by Frank Quitely


When JLA proved an unexpected hit for DC Comics, it took them a minute to, shall we say, "get their act together." For instance, there was a month-long gap between the end of the prelude mini-series Justice League:A Midsummer's Nightmare and the debut issue of JLA (though they did rush out a skimpy trade paperback collection the same month, and an even thinner collection of "New World Order" just weeks after JLA #4.) The first attempt to give a book that JLA bump with the branded logo was the final issue of Aztek:The Ultimate Man, which immediately became "hot" per the '90s authority Wizard Magazine. They repeated the following month for Resurrection Man #2. You have to figure they were testing the value of the Martian Manhunter logo on Green Lantern #87, but I'm thinking that had much less impact. The fifth issue of Adventures in the DC Universe also cover-featured J'Onn J'Onzz as the issue's star, which would normally seem a risky proposition for a new series only seemingly connected to the long-in-the-tooth Batman and Robin Adventures.

The full explosion took until July 1997, dubbed "JLA Month." Besides shipping two issues of JLA, including the start of the lauded "Rock of Ages" story arc, we got the team in Wonder Woman's "death" arc (didn't take,) an early Image Comics inter-company crossover in JLA/WildC.A.T.s, JLA Secret Files #1, and the JLA Gallery. As I've mentioned previously, "Midsummer" confirmed me as a Martian Manhunter fan, and I was immediately all-in for anything JLA, so I bought every one of these and more. When I started my first Martian Manhunter fan site twinnisum years ago, imagery from this time period figured heavily, both off the burgeoning world wide web and from my personal scans (always burdening people with actual scanners. Sorry guys.)

An absolute favorites of mine was the cover to the JLA Gallery, featuring one of my platonic ideal J'Onn J'Onzz images, even though Quitely rarely comes to mind when I'm thinking of favorite Alien Atlas artists. The unlettered art can be found in 2014's Graphic Ink: The DC Comics Art of Frank Quitely, and served as my desktop wallpaper for a bunch of months after I did so.

*I think there was a poster or something, too, but I've already wasted enough time digging through boxes trying to track down a house ad.

Monday, August 31, 2020

Shirley Temple Supergirl art by Joe Phillips


Joe Phillips is probably best known for his early '90s DC work on titles like Mr. Miracle and Legion of Super-Heroes, as well as his provocative gay pride images. More recently, he's taken to alternate universe movie posters, like a 1940s Hope/Crosby JLI road picture, or my personal favorite, Clark Gable as Iron Man. Here, we have Martian Manhunter cast with Bill "Bojangles" Robinson, a noted entertainer and tap dancer, alongside his frequent co-star Shirley Temple. I remember seeing some of their features on UHF in my youth, but Robinson literally worked minstrel shows in his heyday, so he's a tad problematic by modern standards. The pairing is clearly meant to invoke the Supergirl TV show, but I'll be honest, if anyone but an African-American artist had concocted this, I'd have dodged it with all due haste. It's cute though, and Robinson had a history of advocacy to go with the... other stuff... so I figured the piece was worth a look here.

Joe Phillips

Monday, March 2, 2020

2016 Vandal Savage Amazing Houston Comic Con commission by Karl Altstaetter



The nice thing about being middle-aged is having the disposable income to get commissions specifically for a blog you only irregularly post to, so that they sit around for so many years that the details get fuzzy (a condition also accelerated by middle age.) Did I get this piece is 2015, alongside the Ice Jam Sketch? Probably not, as that was the year I was putting together the J'Onzz Family Portrait that took up so much time and money. I doubt I'd have the funds for a full commission, plus I think I specifically got it because Altstaetter returned to Houston the following year. But I thought it was at the late Space City Comic Con? Eh, more likely the Bishop co-creator would repeat at Amazing, right? All best guesses, obviously.

I liked the idea of getting the Golden Age villain Vandal Savage drawn in a Chromium Age fashion by a Bloodstrike artist, especially as in his '90s tussles with the Alien Atlas he was more prone to the Bronze Age stylings of Messrs Velluto, Bernardo, and Semeiks...

Karl Altstaetter

Tuesday, February 18, 2020

2017 The Largas Comicpalooza Commission by James Ferry



I'm a little fuzzy on the date and setting of this one, but Ma'alefa'ak was definitely my first piece from the artists, and I've had this one for several years, so I'm making an educated guess. Anyway, The Largas are the forgotten benevolent race responsible for Warworld, and I imagine the scene here is the sole survivor giving the Crystal Key to J'onn J'onzz for safekeeping (stupid arrogant Kryptonian!) Cool reflective Escher face, and he even threw in the Alien Arsenal for good measure!

James Ferry

Thursday, February 13, 2020

2014 Patrolwoman Sally Winters Comicpalooza Jam Sketch Detail by Terry Parr



When a blogging schedule is as erratic as mine has been for years now, "late" is a relative term. That said, I missed my self-imposed Monday deadline for this post as another casualty of "I got way too many small inexpensive jam commissions just as my interest in blogging was fading and I can't find the artist's business card years later." Knowing I'd have to do some detective work on the "T. Parr" signature and (surprisingly given the scope) a The Marvel Handbook podcast's completion within reach, welcome to the back burner.

At least Valentine's Day kept the burner lit though, as it continued to inspire me to spotlight one of John Jones' lady friends. Well, more of a professional acquaintance really, but he's not exactly a D'onn W'ahnn, is he? Anyway, I really enjoyed Parr's take on the character, conveying her attitude well through body posture and facial expression. I'm not going to name names here, but there was one character I have a lot more of an investment in commissioned for the jam that in retrospect I wished I'd handed to this artist instead. Then again, if this is Sally Winters' only opportunity to strut in the nearly sixty years since her co-creator drew her in a single appearance, I'm glad she had a good Parrtner (forgive me?)

Terry Parr

Monday, February 3, 2020

2014 Officer Pat Brady Comicpalooza Jam Sketch Detail by Chris Foreman



I took January off from the blog, and figured February was for lovers, so I should at least come back with friendly intentions. A couple years after his Kishana Lewis head sketch, I asked Chris Foreman to contribute to two of the jams I was starting that year. Nearly half-a-dozen years later, neither of those jams have appeared on this blog, and only one is even finished. It ain't this one, an ode to the Middletown Police Department, which I've lugged around to many shows without actually building on it in quite some time. With my other projects distracting me, I wouldn't hold out hope for 2020, either. Maybe I could at least start teasing out that other jam, though? Anyway, enjoy Officer Pat Brady, retired.

Chris Foreman