Posts Tagged ‘comics’

Hilary Barta Interview on Working with Alan Moore

8 June 2018

Hilary Barta interview opening spread – via Hilary Barta Twitter

There’s an extensive Hilary Barta in Comic Book Creator magazine #17, out this week. Barta covers lots of ground – from The Thing to SpongeBob SquarePants. I was particularly interested in his account of working with Alan Moore on Splash Brannigan, one of my favorite comics series. I like Splash so much that I went and annotated all of his stories here.

Here are a couple of excerpts from Hilary Barta’s interview:

“Splash Brannigan” was another high point…

Alan’s original idea for Splash was a sort of Flash Gordon crossed with Felix the Cat, who would wear a Rapidograph-type gun in a holster. He’d use it to draw a window on a wall to make his escape and such like. Besides doing the actual character design, my biggest contribution to his creation was suggesting that as living ink, Splash didn’t need a magical Rapidograph – or a costume!

(more…)

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Ten Things A Diehard Alan Moore Fan Learned From the New Annotated Watchmen

8 April 2018

Watchmen Annotated cover

I can remember reading and re-reading and re-re-reading issues of Watchmen as they were coming out in the mid-1980s. At the time, I knew it was a big deal – a great comic. I had already been enjoying Alan Moore’s Swamp Thing, and was looking forward to Watchmen even before the first issue came out. Among many things, it is a murder mystery and I remember re-reading issues looking for clues for me to solve the whodunit.

I even remember that I was buying a couple copies of each issue, expecting it to become a collectible. So much for those plans though, as I loaned the first three or four issues to a woman I met in a laundromat. I had a minor crush on her, of course. If I remember correctly, she was reading a sci-fi book and we had a conversation while our laundry spun. I ended up giving her my phone number and loaning her a couple of early Watchmen issues that I had extra copies of… then I never heard from her again.

Anyway, Watchmen is now widely acknowledged as one of the greatest comics ever.

It was created by Alan Moore (script), Dave Gibbons (art and lettering), and John Higgins (colors).

In recent years there is a lot of great (and not so great) Watchmen analysis available on the web. Lately my favorite is the Under the Hood podcast where Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou and Kieran Shiach spend 30-60 minutes going through each page. There are also an excellent Kieron Gillen video, Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou’s Strip Panel Naked videos (including Time Signatures, Power through Composition), and a few issue-by-issue podcasts underway including Watching the Watchmen and Watchmen Club.

In late 2017, DC Comics published a new edition: Watchmen Annotated. It reprints the full series in black and white, with annotations by Leslie S. Klinger, who had access to Moore’s script via artist Dave Gibbons. DC puts out lots of collected editions of Watchmen, and after picking up the initial trade paperback in the 80s, I’ve resisted picking up any new Watchmen editions, in part because of the ways that DC angered Moore over the Watchmen contract. I am pretty into Alan Moore annotations, though, so this week I bought a copy of Watchmen Annotated.

One of the really fun things about Watchmen is that I have read it a couple dozen times, and each reading I end up seeing new things. There is plenty in Watchmen Annotated that I was already aware of, but here are ten things I hadn’t noticed before:  (more…)

Alan Moore Rarity – LOEG: The Tempest Ashcan Promo

27 March 2018

Cover of LOEG: The Tempest promotional ashcan – art by Kevin O’Neill

I made it down to 2018 WonderCon in Anaheim last Friday to get my hands on what looks like it could be a somewhat rare collectors item comic: an IDW “ashcan” promoting the upcoming The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen volume 4 comic The Tempest. The first issue of LOEG: The Tempest is due out in June 2018.

The promotional giveaway features three pages of house ads, the cover (right), and two pages of art from the issue. These art pages include the original Kevin O’Neill black and white art, and the colored and lettered version of the same pages, specifically page 3 and page 5 of The Tempest #1. The color images have already been shared at Bleeding Cool, but see also my 2-page-spread photos below.  (more…)

Check Out Nicole Goux’s Comics

12 February 2018

Panel from Jem and the Holograms: Dimensions #3 – written and drawn by Nicole Goux, color by Rebecca Nalty

For a couple years now, my friend Federico and I have been participating in a monthly comics-jam anthology thing called Melt-Thology. It takes place from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. on the third Tuesday of each month at Meltdown Comics in Hollywood. Sometimes my daughter Maeve and my wife Carrie go with us. Each month attendees draw a page of comics, and pay $3 for printing. The next month, we pick up the completed staple-bound photocopied comics anthology, and we crank out a new page.

There’s more to say about Melt-Thology, but that’s another story.

(Except that I have to say thanks to Chuck Kerr for starting Melt-Thology and keeping it going strong for a couple years, before recently retiring.)

Today I want to recommend the comics of Nicole Goux.  (more…)

My First Lunch with Russ Heath

13 February 2017
russheathshopping17feb12

Russ Heath

Russ Heath is a comics artist legend. He has been drawing comics since the 1940s. Mostly war stories and westerns, but he has done a wide variety of work over the years.

He’s now 90 years old, living on his own in L.A.’s San Fernando Valley. A nonprofit called The Hero Initiative organizes volunteers to  visit comics creators in need. Last year, I came across a Hero Initiative comic page that Heath created with Darwyn Cooke. I saw a Facebook post from Hero Initiative calling for volunteers to visit Heath, so I responded.

Yesterday, I headed up to the valley, picked Heath up. We had lunch and went grocery shopping.  (more…)

2016 Was a Good Year for Alan Moore Comics Obscurities

25 October 2016

From around 2006 to 2014, being an Alan Moore fan meant mostly re-reading old comics. Moore wound down his ABC Comics line circa 2005, and more-or-less retired from writing comics. He did some League of Extraordinary Gentlemen comics, Neonomicon, a one-off God Is Dead, and, in non-comics output Moore wrote 25,000 Years of Erotic Freedom and published and contributed to eight issues of Dodgem Logic magazine. There are probably a few things I missed, but during those semi-retirement years, it seems like new Moore material would appear sporadically around once a year, and much of it was not comics.

From 2014 to 2015, Moore’s comics output picked back up with Crossed+100 (Moore’s six-issue run was 2014-2015, and he contributed the series outline for two subsequent Si Spurrier arcs), Big Nemo (2015), and Providence (2015-ongoing.)

Now, 2016 has seen plenty of Alan Moore output. Outside of comics, there have been the Show Pieces DVD, the Unearthing performance film (view trailer), and the 1,300-page novel Jerusalem. In 2016 in Moore comics appeared regularly: Moore-outlined Crossed+100 finished, Providence continued, and Cinema Purgatorio got underway.

But none of that is what I was planning to write about. 2016 has also been a good year for picking up some reprints of hard-to-find early Alan Moore stories. Many of these have been out of print since they appeared in the 1980s. I was lucky enough to have picked up Moore’s long out-of-print Miracleman/Marvelman series when it was first printed in the U.S., then enjoyed additional materials as it was re-printed in 2013-2014. This year I’ve enjoyed my first reading of 1980s-1990s Moore rarities: The Spirit, The Puma Blues, and Monster. I review each of these briefly below.

Will Eisner's The Spirit: The New Adventures, second edition, published by Dark Horse Books

Will Eisner’s The Spirit: The New Adventures, second edition, published by Dark Horse Books

Will Eisner’s The Spirit: The New Adventures collects issues 1-8 of the 1990s Kitchen Sink comics revival of the famous Will Eisner hero The Spirit. Eisner is one of comics early greats, alongside Jack Kirby, Steve Ditko, Neal Adams, and others. Eisner did The Spirit for a dozen years, and went on to more-or-less invent the “graphic novel” and contribute to understanding how comics work (work that Scott McCloud subsequently built on.) Eisner allowed for other folks to create Spirit stories in the 1990s, which I missed at the time. Dark Horse apparently collected these in 2009, which I also missed. This year they released a second edition, with some additional newly collected material.

There are four Alan Moore The Spirit stories, all of them very good. Moore is, of course, lovingly referential in following various great Eisner conventions: spelling out The Spirit on splash pages, having The Spirit somewhat tangential to the action, etc.  (more…)

Reading Some Books About Comics

28 April 2016
Books on Comics - by Wolk and Klock

Books on Comics – by Douglas Wolk and Geoff Klock

Recently I’ve really been enjoying reading two prose books about comic books:

How to Read Superhero Comics and Why by Geoff Klock (2006)

Reading Comics: How Graphic Novels Work and What They Mean by Douglas Wolk (2007)

I mostly found these books in search of more commentary about Alan Moore – and they’re both very good for that purpose. I’ve already read plenty of very good books about Moore himself. I recommend (in order of my favorite to least favorite): Magic Words: The Extraordinary Life of Alan Moore by Lance Parkin, The Extraordinary Works of Alan Moore by George Khoury, Alan Moore: Conversations edited by Eric Berlatsky, and Alan Moore: Storyteller by Gary Spencer Millidge. If you’re interested in Moore, check out my annotations of Moore works.

But back to those two books I just finished reading. I am lumping them together here, and though they overlap, they’re also pretty different. I should start by saying that neither of these books are likely to appeal to people who don’t already read comics. If you’re looking to read comics, I’d suggest starting by reading some comics first.

Klock’s book, as the title suggests, is specifically about super-hero comics. I don’t read too many of these lately, but part of what appeals to me about Alan Moore, which I initially wrote about here, is that he does have one foot in the super-hero genre comics I grew up with, and one foot in a deeper more meaningful literature that I now love. Klock explores a lot of comics as commentary about comics. Primarily 1980s and 1990s superhero comics, foremost Watchmen and Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, as commentary on the ways that comics critique comics continuity. This makes Klock’s book have a somewhat less broad, more insider appeal than Wolk’s.

Wolk’s book is, at least genre-wise, more expansive. Though Wolk writes some about superheroes, his focus is quite a bit broader, encompassing more serious adult comics creators from Craig Thompson to Alison Bechdel to Art Spiegelman to the Hernandez Brothers.

I don’t have enough time to write extensively about these, so I’ll launch into some excerpts about Alan Moore:  (more…)

Comics Artist Gabriel Andrade Interviewed By Flavio Pessanha

28 December 2015

Below is an interview with Crossed Plus One Hundred artist Gabriel Andrade. The interview was conducted in mid-2015 by Flavio Pessanha who administers the Alan Moore Brazil (Alan Moore Br) Facebook page. The interview is appearing in English for the first time ever here; the full original Portuguese text appears after the English translation below. The English translation was also done by Pessanha, then I edited it slightly for readability, and added links and images.

Gabriel Andrade Jr. image via Facebook.

Gabriel Andrade Jr. image via Facebook.

Alan Moore Br: Gabriel, could you please tell us about the beginnings of your career as an illustrator, and how you decided to switch from economics to art?

Gabriel Andrade Jr.: The arts – more precisely illustration and music – have always been my passion and that’s where I spent most of my time. But in my adolescence I discovered philosophy and politics, and that also fascinated me. In the end, however, I couldn’t deny my artistic streak. (laughs) I chose to read Music at university, as I didn’t see myself as a graphic designer or didn’t see that there was a market for that.

When opportunities to show my portfolio drawings started to arise, I didn’t think twice and invested all I could in this process. As I didn’t know anything regarding this field, I had help from my friends Milena Azevedo (GHQ blog), Miguel Rude and Wendell Cavalcanti (both artists and comic writers). They were already in the business and they were my gurus when it all started for me.

You have worked for Dark Horse, Atlantic and you are now with Avatar. How did you get started working for Avatar?

Lady Death artwork by Gabriel Andrade

Lady Death artwork by Gabriel Andrade

Towards the end of 2009 I had finished Die Hard at Boom!Studios and they [Avatar] needed an artist for Lady Death, so I created a fancy illustration for the poster and the final artwork. After that, I signed my first contract with them. (laughs)

How did Alan Moore find you? Were you surprised?

We both did work for Avatar’s special God is Dead [Book of Acts Alpha], but in separate short stories. William [Christensen], the editor-in-chief, showed my work to Alan and then we agreed that we were going to develop the new series.

In a recent interview with Pádraig O’Mealóid Alan Moore said that your art is spectacular and he called you ‘real old-school brilliant’, which is a humongous compliment. What are your main influences and how did you learn to draw?

My first influence didn’t come from comics, but from real life. As a child I drew everything I saw and, as my parents were teachers, at home we had a huge variety of illustrated science books, and many magazines and educational posters. (more…)

Nimona Is Awesome All-Ages Fun

23 December 2015
Panels from page 1 of Nimona by Noelle Stevenson. Image via creator's website.

Panels from page 1 of Nimona by Noelle Stevenson. Image via Stevenson’s website.

With our daughter Maeve now two and a half years old, I’ve been keeping an eye out for more all-ages comics. I’ve already introduced Maeve to Lumberjanes, Space Dumplins, Squirrel Girl, and even My Little Pony comics. She picked that last one out herself at Secret Headquarters comics store.

After hearing a bit of a buzz (at Panels and I forget where else) about I bought Nimona (and Space Dumplins) to give as a Christmas present for Maeve’s cousins. I wasn’t sure which to give to which cousin, so I read through Nimona. And was touched. I almost don’t want to give it to my brother’s kids. I’ll pick up a copy for myself again soon.

Nimona is written and drawn by Noelle Stevenson, one of the co-creators of Lumberjanes. It is a ~300-page comics novel, marketed for teens, but with plenty of humor that will go over kids heads. It is funny, but also full of heart, with a well-crafted pace and story arc. The drawings are simple but very expressive and fluid.  (more…)

Gabriel Andrade Pencils, Inks and Color for Page 8 of CPOH2

13 July 2015
Crossed Plus One Hundred No.2 P8 - art by Gabriel Andrade

Crossed Plus One Hundred No.2 P8 – penciled, inked and colored. Art by Gabriel Andrade, image from his Facebook page. Colored by Digikore Studios

Here are a couple more Crossed Plus One Hundred images from artist Gabriel Andrade’s Facebook page. Above is a comparative image showing his process from pencils to inks to final colored comic page (click on any image to enlarge.) As much as I am really enjoying Andrade’s excellent work, that comparison image makes me more appreciative of Digikore Studios coloring job – especially the sky. And below is another Andrade piece, (more…)