Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Team Edward

Here is the t-shirt design I put together for my wife and daughters' party excursion to Borders this Friday for the premiere of Breaking Dawn. I'm sure there will be more than a few book fans with the Ts of Edward's headshot there, so I tweaked it a bit to hopefully set it apart. I duotoned the orginal photo, cranked the curves a little in P-shop (to increase the relief off the black T) and increased the warm ochre in his eye for contrast. Kind of reminds me of someone ...

Typogeekphically, Edward's name is set, appropriately, in Edwardian Script. Also, click on the image to see the custom detail in the word "TEAM." Forget those t-shirt templates they put out in the third book.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Peck Bound

Okay, here's something dredged up from the sketch archive. Man, am I breaking a few of anatomy rules here. I don't now, there's something about the energy, the soul, of this pose that I quite like. And sometimes my quest for essence seems to override my faithfulness to muscle fact. I mean, no doubt is the Peck missing an arm and his head is shoved into his torso, but I'm talking about the strangely turned deltoid, inflamed trapezius and bean-pole legs. In the final gestalt, though, it seems to work; has the right vibe for a quirky superhero bounding over an obstacle.

I'm getting back into my Peck work after a little vacation from the drawing board. Be on the look out for new pages.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Reading Challenge

Some may wonder if I need a "man card check," but I assure you everything is intact. I made a deal with my wife: I told her if I she read Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card, I would read Twilight by Stephenie Meyer. A few reluctant nods and it was on; we each worked through our respective first books like picky eaters trying to acquire a new appreciation for hagus or some other foreign dare food. Surprisingly, we both found we enjoyed our first samplings. So we moved on to the second books: she cracked open Ender's Shadow and I proceeded forth with New Moon. We both enjoyed those books, too. She ended up getting the better of the deal as I continued on with the third book in the Meyer series, Eclipse, but I couldn't really recommend the next book in the Card series to her as it was just good, not great.

The outcome of our reading challenge was a win-win. My wife can now see why I love the Ender series. And, I have to admit, I share her fascination with the Twilight series. That being said, I will not be attending the Breaking Dawn party at Borders Books on August 1st when the fourth Meyer book is released; I've got to draw the line somewhere! However, my wife and teenage daughters will be on hand sporting their "Team Edward" t-shirts, ready to pitch their speculative theories on Bella's future with the vampire hunk.

I can appreciate the buzz about this Meyer series. It wasn't a Buffy rip-off as I had thought. It was really well written, filled with clever twists and turns, albeit skewed to feminine sensibilities with the romantic content. Case in point: the upcoming movie adaptation of Twilight caused a bit of a stir at Comic-Con recently. Apparently 6000+ female fans (soccer moms with daughters in tow) rushed the Twilight panel the other day. Hah! That's a new demographic for the world's largest comic convention.

Okay, I've geeked out way too much here. But I can wholeheartedly recommend the Meyer series to the male species. Just wrap a Louie Lamour dust jacket around the books as you secretly read them. And you don't have to give up the man card, just find that middle ground between your dark macho side and your lighter sensitive side. That twilight if you will ... (oh boy).

Friday, July 25, 2008

Comic-Con '08

My buddy, Mach Mahn, is at Comic-Con doing portfolio crit duties for Arch Enemy Comics this week. He's developing a comic character with them right now called Solo. To view an animatic of a concept he and Dennis Long are working on click here. Mach reports he's meeting a lot of people and enjoying being on the biz side of CC. Give 'em heck, man!

Speaking of cons, The Peck will be making his debut at the SF Alternative Press Expo in November. APE is a smaller venue than most cons, dedicated to underground and indy artists/publishers. I'm using it as a nice little springboard to premiere the teaser chapter of the book as I wait for submission feedback from publishers. I figure I may as well have Plan B in motion as I await the results from Plan A. APE should be a nice warm up for WonderCon and SuperCon in '09. I'll soon be setting up an official Peck website at http://www.themanwithoutneck.com/.
Stay tuned.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Serious Character Development

It's official. Gone are the days of the "zany" Tim Burtonesque superhero adaptations. Waste that kind of cartoon stylization on boys in chocolate factories and bad dreams before Christmas. Things have moved toward a more sober note. The convincing evidence is portrayed in the most recent installment of Batman: The Dark Knight. What an intense, psychological romp! Sure it has all the action you expect in a super hero flick, but director Chris Nolan takes the possibilities of comic book adaptation to a new level in this one. It is the maturation of a genre: the infusing of complexity---humanity (and in some cases, insanity)---into super hero/villain personalities.

Yeah, there have been baby steps to this end in the X-Men and Spiderman movies. And unfortunately, in the Fantastic Four movies, we saw the baby plop down on its bottom and regress. But Batman Begins showed the toddler was not down for the count. And now, this summer, we see something coming of age. It began with Robert Downey Jr's portrayal of Tony Stark in Iron Man. Notice I say Tony Stark, not Ironman, because it was almost more entertaining to see TS in scenes as opposed to his metallic persona. Edward Norton's Bruce Banner in Hulk 2 didn't disappoint either, especially considering the hulkish monkey on the film's back following H1. And now we have a new Bat movie where a villain creeps you out in a "I-don't-want-to-look-but-I-have-to-look" sort of way. Christian Bale's Bat takes a back seat to Heath Ledger's Joker in this one. It feels like you're watching a first class action-suspense thriller with a truly riveting psycho in the lead, not a story based on sappy heroes and villains extracted from a pulp tale. A posthumous Oscar on the horizon? I give it Two-Face odds. Anyway, I won't bore you with more blah blah praise of the movie; there's plenty of that online already.

Incidentally, the trailer for Watchmen (based on Alan Moore's formidable graphic novel) previewed just before DK. It looks promising. I'm interested to see where this new child runs.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Hellboy Dos

Caught the late showing of Hellboy II last night with my son and some buddies. I thought we'd beat the crowds seeing a 10pm showing on a Thursday night, so I was shocked to find our local UA theater teeming with people. Luckily they were all there for the midnight premiere of Dark Knight. I'll be catching that one next week!

The second installment of Mike Mignola's good-guy demon creation, written and directed again by the muy talented Guillermo del Toro, is entertaining enough; I give it "B-." It sports more humorous dialogue---something we saw glimpses of in a darker, more serious H1---but the story isn't as tight as its novel predecessor. You seem to know the jist of the plot quite early into the movie, even as to how the antagonist might meet his demise (at least in theory). This steals a bit of the mojo from the story arc, making a 2-hour movie seem little longer.

That being said, the film does not disappoint in entertainment factor and is definitely worth the gas to the theater. With the characters already established this time around, we get to enjoy their personalities more (man, Ron Perlman was born for this role). The special effects are top notch and del Toro keeps the story marching forward with entertaining fight scenes and some lol banter between Hellboy and his cohorts (fyi: you'll love the Barry Manilow bit). In short, the sequel delivers a worthwhile evening with popcorn and the boys. The story is no doubt left open for another installment, and chapter 2 is strong enough to pique my interest in number 3.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Peck Show

Below are a few pics from the Peck Concept Show exhibited at the Design Gallery at Sacramento State University back in May. I took these on a digital camera then lost the usb cord for transferring them to the computer. What do you know, today I found it.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Missing Parts

Here is the shaded version of the previously posted page. You'll note that the upper right panel appears unfinished; this is because Cornelius's narrative caption will be covering the top part of his face and the background. I want Dent to appear somewhat anonymous in this frame as the caption will convey he has a bad case of amnesia (as well as a missing arm).

On a different note, I recently discovered the art/writing of Stan Sakai on Usagi Yojimbo. Not that UY is new to me, I've seen it before, I've just never picked it up to read until this last week (issue #111). I think I will backtrack a bit and start collecting some of the series. One thing particularly nice is that my kids can read it.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Dent's Recovery

Here is some new inking. Chronologically, this is part of a flashback in the book where Cornelius Bacon explains his first encounter with Dent (not yet known as the Peck), left for dead in the city dump. Bacon rescues and nurses him back to health. This is the page where Dent is finally up on his feet, but suffering from a wicked case of amnesia.

I almost spoiled the page by accidentally spattering water on it while tracing over the pencil comp (errant beverage). Yeah, yeah, I know, I know: I should be using indelible media. But I so love these Tombo markers. You get the brush effect without all the dipping and dripping.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Michael Turner

I browse through the comic community frequently to find artists whose artwork and style inspire me. One such influence I found a few years back was Michael Turner. Sadly he lost his battle with cancer last week at age 37. It's been a year of unexpected passings in the industry. Mike "Ringo" Wieringo died last August at age 44. Both passings are a tragic loss for the comics world.

Friday, July 4, 2008


Happy July 4th. To the left is an image from one of my illustration idols, Norman Rockwell. This painting was done in 1943 as a part of series entitled The Four Freedoms published by the Saturday Evening Post. According to his publisher, when Rockwell first undertook the project he thought it would take two months. It took seven. Rockwell said, "It should have been tackled by Michelangelo." I think he did fine all by himself. This particular piece is called Freedom of Worship. The others in the series include Freedom of Speech, Freedom from Want, and Freedom from Fear.

I am proud to live in the most free nation in the world. May we never forget the religious ideals that this nation is built upon, ideals which afford us the very liberties we enjoy.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

When Night Falls

This page actually precedes the others in order. It is right when night falls on Sactown and Cornelius is explaining the corruption of city. Note the politically friendly graffiti. I'm not completely sold on this page for two reasons:
1) I'm not sure upper right frame is as a contrast to his Cornelius dramatic narration. It's supposed to be humorous, but may just come off confusing. I thought about placing the silhouette of a drug deal or a lady of the night, but I just didn't want to make it so seedy in conjunction with the mattress tag. I know it's hard to process this without the text in place.
2) The visual on the Peck running through the bottom frame. Feels messy right now. I'll sleep on it.