Wednesday, November 18, 2020
Friday, November 13, 2020
I thought this A-Mortal piece would be a perfect Halloween post, but couldn't find a scan until after the holiday. Oh well. I guess Friday the 13th will do as a theme in a pinch. At least this one hasn't been sitting in a queue for half a decade-- just for long enough that I can't remember whether this was from Comicpalooza, North Texas Comic Book Show, or Other. I'm not familar with Robert Henry, but he was sitting next to Tim Vigil at a con while I was getting one of my personal character creations drawn. I liked Mr. Henry's book and offered him a selection of references to contribute to one of my unfinished jams. As such, his layout was dictated by available space, but I think he did a good job working within those restrictions. It's one of if not the first of the jams I started back in 2014, but I think I can maybe squeeze one more piece in before finally putting the whole thing up here. Won't happen this year, obviously...
Friday, November 6, 2020
I've often mentioned my regrets over holding artists' work "hostage" to my severe downturn in blogging from daily to, in some cases, not even annually. I've stepped up a bit since this blog's thirteenth anniversary in September, though noticeably drifting from a weekdaily schedule that month to weekly-ish in October. This has been one of the longest weeks in the longest year in recorded human history, so I wanted to go out on a high note by releasing a piece I've saved far too long for a special occasion.
If I recall correctly, Brad Garneau started out in gaming before going into commissioned art with a specialty in painting. I really liked his work when I first saw it in 2015, but I'm not in a painting patron price bracket. Thankfully, he also does line art commissions, with a style recalling the likes of Angel Medina and Sam Kieth. He contributed The Vixen to a jam that was completed in 2017 (one of the few, in fact) that I'm only just now realizing as I type this that I've yet to publish. God, I suck.
Anyway, I don't get a lot of color pieces, and I wanted this one to get showcased at a time when it would get a lot of eyes... so instead I sit on it for four years after my traffic has dwindled to double digits from inactivity. Sigh. The toothpaste is out of the tube. Nothing to do now but brush. If you're interested in the subject, Tybalt Bak'sar, he has a profile page in the Vile Menagerie (now free of Photobucket branding), as well as a battle against The Cheetah...
Monday, October 26, 2020
Monday, October 19, 2020
Tuesday, October 13, 2020
You may recall that J'onn J'onzz only returned to mainstream comics in 1984, so it's curious that less than a year later, he was offered a cameo in a licensed comic copyrighted by the gaming company Atari. It was a DC license, at least, in the brief time period that Warner Communications also owned Atari.
Atari Force started as a series of relatively self-contained episodes in the adventures of near-future space explorers featured in "mini" comics packaged with certain Atari game cartridges. The comics were closer to digests than what we generally consider mini-comics today, running 48 pages on high quality paper with dimensions similar to a thin TV Guide. The ongoing Atari Force standard edition comic book series launched a couple of years later, set a couple decades later. It featured a ragtag second generation team drawn together by circumstance and the original team leader's obsession with the mini-comics' main villain, the Dark Destroyer. It was a fun book by talented creators who bailed after about a year and whose overarching story was carried meekly across the finish line by lesser hands. The book limped along less than a year before getting the ax, and most of that second year was handicapped by truncated lead stories and filler back-ups of varying degrees of amusement value.
For instance, a three-parter was dedicated to a prequel story for Pakrat, a reluctant Atari Force member that was a cross between Rocket Raccoon and... actually, pretty much just a toned down and cowardly Rocket, as depicted by Marvel Studios. Pakrat is arguably cuter, with more mouse and monkey-like features (he's an alien, not Splinter.) Pakrat's whole species likes to steal, which is how he ends up pulling a high stakes burglary of one world's crown jewels with the rodent equivalent of Paris Hilton. This occurs at a sort of royal ball, and Martian Manhunter can be seen in one panel, hobnobbing at the party.
"To Catch a Pakrat" was by Andrew Helfer, Mike Chen, & Joe DelBeato. I'm not familiar with the art team, but I was amazed by their similarity to early Longshot period Arthur Adams as inked by Whilce Portacio. Most of the inker's other credits was over Herb Trimpe on G.I. Joe Order of Battle, which was... nah. So I assume the spark came from Chen, but he didn't have much of a career beyond some Robotech and Elementals material. A shame, based on the effort put into this three-parter.
Monday, October 5, 2020
The best thing for me to do, if I'm not going with a literal representation of the comic book imagery for the villain, is to think outside that box. Cast backwards both from the actors that I've already selected and by finding a character for performers I'd like to see in any production of this sort. For instance, I enjoyed watching the full series of The Good Place over the last year or so. Chidi Anagonye was my favorite character on a show that plays heavily with themes of philosophy and existentialism. Chidi is the moral center of the show, thoughtful and concerned to the point of near total inaction. William Jackson Harper was excellent in that role, but he was also a rare point of interest in the mostly interminable Midsommar, playing a duplicitous toxic academic douchebro. It wasn't a complete departure from Chidi, as both characters are academics focused on observation, but it did demonstrate range and Harper's ability to make me turn on him while playing an unsympathetic character.
Parker also has elven, slight otherworldly features, including a severely arched brow-line and intensely puckish smile. In a better world, he could have been a perfect Captain Marvel/Shazam with those Howard Porter eyebrows of his. When he smiles, he radiates joy, goodness and warmth. Unfortunately, we're on Earth-Zachary Levi, one of the really crappy Earths, and so I'm instead casting for subversion. What if you took the expectations that come from this guy's presence and prior roles, and employ those qualities for the charismatic demagogue Commander Blanx? Though both men are in great shape, Jonathan Majors has nearly half a foot on Harper, but Blanx was never played as a major physical threat. His whole thing was that he was a charming fascist who bullies and connives his way into a position to commit global genocide for his sole personal gain. I think Harper could act the hell out of that, and I'd love to see his malevolent glee played against J'Onn's quiet virtue.
Sunday, October 4, 2020
Super-heroes wear masks. But I wouldn't be me if I didn't point out that this is a coronavirus safety message that explicitly notes the year is 2020 despite the JLI being on-model for 1987. I do like that all of the masks are branded, especally Bat-Mask 'natch, but it's a bummer than Martian Manhunter's is the most "there." I guess it's a view of Mars from space, and it's better than that man-symbol they floated in the Morrison JLA, but it's easily the worst of the lot (and Max Lord just has a green mask with a dollar sign.) I wish my mask had an atom symbol on it, though I'll admit the best one is Blue Beetle's.
Wednesday, September 30, 2020
Monday, September 28, 2020
Friday, September 25, 2020
Wednesday, September 23, 2020
Monday, September 21, 2020
** 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
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
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
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 email@example.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
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
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."
Monday, September 7, 2020
Sunday, September 6, 2020
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
Friday, September 4, 2020
Wednesday, September 2, 2020
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
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
Monday, March 2, 2020
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
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!
Thursday, February 13, 2020
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?)
Monday, February 3, 2020
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.