Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Dave Gibbons and John Byrne

Things have been more hectic than usual here at Champagne Central and the newer, more-frenzied pace of my daily existence doesn't look like it's going to let up anytime soon. Nonetheless, I've got a couple of bits of comic news to share.

Pretty much any comics fan knows of the work of Dave (Watchmen) Gibbons, one of my artistic 'heroes' in the comics biz. The guy is a legend, plain and simple. Personally, I've loooooong admired Mr. Gibbons' storytelling, composition, and clean drawing style. In fact, almost twenty years ago, a friend of mine wrote in my senior yearbook in high school that I should never give up my dreams because maybe, one day, I might reach the level of someone like Dave Gibbons.

This week, the stars have aligned nicely and an unexpected hole in my inking schedule has been filled with the opportunity to ink his work as I pitch in on a Green Lantern Corps issue that Mr. Gibbons is writing and drawing.

It's really, really hard work.

Not only is it intimidating as hell to try to translate and enhance the work of someone whom I admire so much, but his clean and precise drawing style leaves very little room for error. Artists who noodle more and throw in tons of detail give you plenty of room to hide mistakes. With Mr. Gibbons', the inks are either going to work or they're going to fail miserably. So it's been a painstaking few days and I expect the next week will be equally so as I try to do his work justice. I haven't been very happy with anything I've done over him so far but it always takes me about 10 or 11 pages of working with a penciller before I begin to feel comfortable and able to contribute something to the art. Hopefully this will be the same. I'd hate to only have one chance to ink his work and blow it miserably.

On the other side of things, I found out today that John Byrne, another of my comic book heroes, is pencilling a ten-page Green Lantern Christmas story that I wrote a month or so back. I've been campaigning for about the last year or so to get a chance to work with the brilliant Mr. Byrne and finally, all my begging and pleading to Peter Tomasi has paid off. To say that I'm thrilled is a huge understatement. There's only one other person in comics whose work has been as influential to me as Mr. Byrne's has and, off the top of my head, I can't think of anyone who has produced more quality comics for as long and as consistently as John has. X-Men, Superman, Fantastic Four...there's literally nothing he hasn't OWNED at one time or another. In the list of all-time great artists, Mr. Byrne is easily in the top five with plenty of room to spare.

And now he's drawing something I wrote. It's literally a dream come true and, on top of everything else, I'm inking it too.

What a great week in my little comics world, that's all I can say.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Fanboy Planet

The fine folks over at thought it would be a good idea for me to fill in for one of their regular columnists this week and write a report for WWE's RAW on Monday.

So I did.

Feel free to click the link above and check it out.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Snakes on a Plane

OK, I crazy or was Snakes On A Plane actually really good?

I caught a matinee yesterday which I had been advised against, mainly because I was told that the way to see the movie was with an enthusiastic crowd, not just a few random people scattered throughout the theater in the middle of an afternoon. I don't see what the difference would have been though, because I loved it anyway.

Is it a silly B-movie? Absolutely. But I thought it was pretty much the king of silly B-movies. People have been saying it's so bad, it's good but I actually thought it was goodgood.It's a solid movie that hits all the right notes. It got me cringing in my seat a few times.

It followed the basic rule for these types of action/thriller movies: Whenever you think things can't get worse, they get worse. Starting to get a handle on the six million snakes slithering around the plane? Too bad because here comes the giant 30 foot python, baby! Think you're out of the woods once and for all? Too bad, your pilot just died. And so on and so on.

All in all, a really entertaining way to spend a couple of hours. Anyone else see it?

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Ed Brubaker

Not much to blog about. I still can't publicly talk about any of my upcoming writing gigs, probably not for another month or so until solicitations begin to filter out. Come to think of it, I still can't seem to spell 'publicly', either. In the meantime, I thought I'd recommend Daredevil for anyone looking for a good comic to read.

I lost interest in Daredevil about halfway through Bendis' run; not that it was bad, it just wasn't floating my cup of tea anymore. I buy very few comics, I can't keep up with my comps as it is and I'm sort of spoiled that way. But, based on Ed Brubaker's work on Gotham Central and Captain America, I made a note to pick up Daredevil when he started writing it.

So I'd say it's currently my favorite book. I'm probably an issue or two behind everyone else because I don't get to the comic shop very often, either. But I'm finding the current storyline, with Matt Murdock and the Kingpin in jail, to be very enjoyable. It's just a well written comic with solid art and storytelling by Michael Lark and his inker, who's name I can't think of. Stefano, I think?

Plus, although I haven't read the issue yet, I've heard through the grapevine that Iron Fist starts to play a major role in the story. The Fist is my favorite Marvel Comics character so I'm excited to see him used in important fashion and am even more looking forward to the upcoming Iron Fist series...written by Ed Brubaker.

Good stuff, check it out.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

more art

I started doing a right-handed version of the below sketch but got tired of using a pencil. So I just started inking and this is what came out.

Interesting time to work in comics right now. Lots of changes on the horizon, long term plans being made, political manuevering behind the scenes. I'm sort of a bystander watching things change on what seems to be almost a daily basis.

Vague but interesting nonetheless.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

The inks

And here are the inks.

I ended up inking this straight on the piece of copy paper with a brush because my printer is dry. I probably would have noodled and detailed more with a nib but the paper is flimsy and would get torn to shreds by the penpoint. So I stuck soley to brush and it is what it is.

I can't say it's a great drawing but hey, I give myself credit for finishing it. I try to get away from my drawing board as much as possible when I'm not working. That's why I look forward to the day when (knock on wood) I can write full-time. It'll be nice to be able to get back to producing artwork for fun again, as a hobby. As it is now, it just feels like more work.

Hope you liked this little experiment. Don't know what it really proves, except that I suck equally at drawing with either one of my hands.


Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Left Handed Sketch

And here's the sketch. Altogether, it took about 8 minutes to rough it out.

I drew it on a piece of copy paper so the next step will be bluelining it in photoshop and printing it out on a sturdier piece of bristol board for inking.

I definitely don't have the fine motor control with my left hand that I do with my right, meaning this is even more loosely drawn than usual. So it seems like I can hit the broad strokes but I don't think I could actually finish this drawing in pencil, not with my left hand. At least not yet.

The akward thing about trying to draw with my opposite hand is approaching the paper from the opposite angle. It takes a little getting used to as everything in my office is configured to a right hand. Even my drawing table lamp casts a shadow on the paper from my hand.

It's a fun little experiment though even though it looks rather crapadelic.

Tune in shortly for the finished inks.