Author Archives: Mark

Harvey Girls Forever! Part 2

Wel­come back to my lit­tle countdown/celebration of the return of Har­vey Girls For­ev­er!, return­ing to Net­flix this Fri­day, May 10th!

Here’s anoth­er Post-It draw­ing, done dur­ing a break on the show. As I men­tioned yes­ter­day, Post-It draw­ings like this are a fun way of tak­ing ideas that lodge them­selves in your brain and clear­ing them out by get­ting them on paper.

This time it’s the Bow! The Bow was always some­thing of a crew favorite. I guess it was some­thing to do with the fact she’s the type of per­son who march­es to her own beat, and does­n’t care what any­one else thinks.

Reg­u­lar vis­i­tors to my site might recall that I’ve done a play on the OBEY stick­ers before, but the Bow sort of seemed to loan her­self to this too.

Thanks for tun­ing in! More to come tomor­row.

Harvey Girls Forever! Part 1

So com­ing up this Fri­day, May 10th, Net­flix debuts the next sea­son of Har­vey Street Kids, now re-titled Har­vey Girls For­ev­er! By way of celebrating/counting down, I thought it might be fun to post some of the Post-It draw­ings I did of some of the char­ac­ters dur­ing breaks.

It’s been awhile since I put up any Post-It draw­ings. I’ve prob­a­bly felt too com­pelled to have to always put up fin­ished work here. Post-It draw­ings like this used to be a lot more com­mon sight when ani­ma­tion stu­dios still worked on paper. It’s not as com­mon now, but our sto­ry­board revi­sions crew had some­thing of a wall of Post-It draw­ings like this going while we were on the show. Kind of a fun way to get goofy ideas out of your head by get­ting them onto paper.

Just Dot today. If you’ve watched the show, the idea of her cos­play­ing as Spock makes a lot of sense.

Stay tuned! More to come tomor­row.

Captains All!

Some of you will rec­og­nize this as a re-cre­ation/rein­ter­pre­ta­tion of the cov­er of Whiz Comics #2, first appear­ance of the orig­i­nal Cap­tain Mar­vel in the Gold­en Age.

This was inspired by a sto­ry a friend told me a few weeks back. Like me, his default set­ting when some­one says “Cap­tain Mar­vel” is to think first of the Faw­cett Comics orig­i­nal. His wife does­n’t par­tic­u­lar­ly read a lot of comics, but she’s famil­iar with the char­ac­ter through him. Recent­ly, he and his wife were out at the movies. They were look­ing at the posters for com­ing attrac­tions. One was for Mar­vel’s Cap­tain Mar­vel film. My friend’s wife looked at the poster and was puz­zled. “Um, why is Cap­tain Mar­vel a girl?”

Look­ing around online, there seems to be more than one per­son out there who’s a lit­tle con­fused as to why these dif­fer­ent char­ac­ters have the same name. I’ve seen forums where this ques­tion’s been asked. Peo­ple who know what’s going on try to explain, only to per­haps go into too much detail, caus­ing the eyes of those who asked the ques­tion to glaze over and regret their hav­ing asked. So I’m not going to get into all that here.

This just appealed to my sense of fun to make this swap. It’s not like I haven’t made a char­ac­ter swap like this before! I’ve even swapped pub­lish­ers on this one. In my mind, this would’ve been pub­lished by Timely/Marvel. I even gave the Cap­tain a new/old logo, in line with the kind of logos they used back then.

And like many of you, I’m look­ing for­ward to see­ing what Mar­vel has done with their Cap­tain Mar­vel in the movie!

Weird Colors

It was recent­ly point­ed out to me that in Sav­age Drag­on #235, Erik Larsen had reprint­ed a bit of my old Big Bang Comics work. This was orig­i­nal­ly part of a larg­er sto­ry­line (I believe called “The Time­bomber”) spread over three issues, where Erik had loaned Big Bang Edi­tor Gary Carl­son the use of his Sav­age Drag­on char­ac­ter, and Drag­on was being bounced around through time, inter­act­ing with mul­ti­ple Big Bang char­ac­ters in dif­fer­ent eras. 

Gary had me con­tribut­ing to this sto­ry in sev­er­al ways, but the one that’s rel­e­vant here is that I pen­ciled and let­tered a three page seg­ment (nice­ly inked by Patrick Tuller), where Drag­on met up with Big Bang’s Dr. Weird. It orig­i­nal­ly appeared in Big Bang Comics #12. I chose to draw it in the style of Gold­en Age comics artist Bernard Bai­ly, prob­a­bly best known for his work on DC’s Spec­tre and Hour-Man strips. I also attempt­ed to match the let­ter­ing seen on those strips, which I’d assume is Bai­ly’s, but I don’t know for cer­tain.

Back when I was orig­i­nal­ly work­ing on this, there were hopes that the issue might be print­ed in col­or, but it end­ed up in b/w. Because there had been that chance though, I actu­al­ly had done some col­or guides for the seg­ment, and I think I mailed col­or pho­to­copies of them to Gary.

Fast for­ward to this three-pager’s appear­ance in Sav­age Drag­on #235: Final­ly it gets to be seen in col­or! Even if any­one had remem­bered their exis­tence, the copies of my orig­i­nal col­or guides were like­ly nowhere to be found, so this was recol­ored from scratch. I thought per­haps vis­i­tors here might enjoy com­par­ing the two ver­sions, see­ing where some choic­es are the same, and oth­ers are dif­fer­ent.

Just a cou­ple of comments/observations about the new ver­sion. I appre­ci­ate the fact that the col­orist who did this for re-pub­li­ca­tion stuck with the old school col­or palette. When you’re try­ing to do some­thing that looks and feels like a gen­uine old com­ic, noth­ing ruins the illu­sion faster than a col­or approach that isn’t from that time peri­od!

Also, I noticed that a sort of end­ing cap­tion was added at the end of page 3 that was­n’t part of the orig­i­nal. Who­ev­er did it either recy­cled por­tions of the let­ter­ing I had done ear­li­er in the sto­ry to get what they need­ed, or attempt­ed to let­ter it from scratch so that it looked like my faux Bernard Bai­ly let­ter­ing. Either way: again, try­ing to pre­serve the illu­sion that this was the real deal. So: thumbs up for all of that!

 

This Is the Dawning of the Age of the Croods…”

So it occurs to me it’s been awhile since I post­ed any of my sto­ry­board revi­sion work. As I’ve said before, the dif­fi­cul­ty with that kind of work is that you’re gen­er­al­ly just adding bits and pieces here and there. But I’ve got a cou­ple sam­ples of scenes from the show Dawn of the Croods that I worked on for Dream­Works. You can kind of spot my work by the non-pho­to blue under­draw­ing.

One of the things that I’ve found over my time in ani­ma­tion is that every so often you have those projects that stand out…in a good way! They are spe­cial. You have a blast work­ing on them and real­ize, “Ohh! This is why I got into ani­ma­tion!” Dawn of the Croods was one of those for me!

Part of it was def­i­nite­ly the mate­r­i­al. It was so much fun get­ting to do some of the out­right goofy things we did. I loved mak­ing con­tri­bu­tions to the char­ac­ters’ act­ing. But the oth­er part of it was the peo­ple. We had a real­ly great bunch of peo­ple on that show! It was such a good expe­ri­ence, all the way around.

To my Croods Croo: all the best! Love and respect always,

Mark

Junior! Come Down from There!

It’s been awhile since I post­ed any­thing here! Time to rec­ti­fy that.

You’re see­ing a cov­er for an upcom­ing issue of FCA. Faw­cett Col­lec­tors of Amer­i­ca is a sort of “mag­a­zine with­in a mag­a­zine,” appear­ing in the pages of Roy Thomas’ Alter Ego, a comics his­to­ry mag­a­zine pub­lished by Twom­or­rows. Roy dubbed me FCA’s de fac­to “cov­er edi­tor” awhile back, and I will glad­ly accept that title!

Pen­cils for this cov­er were by my good friend Vic Dal Chele. Inks/embellishment and col­ors by me. I went with an old school col­or palette, along the lines of what you might have seen used for a cov­er either for an issue of Mas­ter Comics, or Cap­tain Mar­vel Jr. I thought peo­ple might enjoy see­ing it here with­out the mast­head or any of the oth­er type that will be there on the print­ed cov­er.

We tried to cap­ture some­thing of the look of Cap­tain Mar­vel Jr.‘s pri­ma­ry artist, Mac Raboy. Vic’s worked on a lot of shows over the course of his ani­ma­tion career (many of which you would imme­di­ate­ly rec­og­nize), but one of his first was the Shaz­am! car­toon that Fil­ma­tion pro­duced in the ear­ly ’80s. So it’s far from the first time that he’s drawn Cap­tain Mar­vel Jr.!

This will be the cov­er of FCA #214, appear­ing in the pages of Alter Ego #155, out in Octo­ber from Twom­or­rows.

 

Black Panther’s First Cartoon Appearance?

Like a lot of peo­ple, I’m look­ing for­ward to the release of Black Pan­ther, the lat­est Mar­vel movie this Fri­day, Feb­ru­ary 16th. This last week­end, I had an email from my first boss when I start­ed work­ing in ani­ma­tion, Lar­ry Hous­ton (whom I also con­sid­er a friend). Lar­ry was the producer/director of the orig­i­nal X‑Men: the Ani­mat­ed Series (as it seems to have become known now). I did char­ac­ter mod­el clean-up on the series, and a fair amount of char­ac­ter design too, along the way.

Lar­ry point­ed my atten­tion to a video on YouTube some­one had assem­bled, of Black Pan­ther’s var­i­ous ani­mat­ed appear­ances. Right up front was his cameo appear­ance on an episode of X‑Men.

That sparked a mem­o­ry. I went back to look, and sure enough: I’d had the priv­i­lege of being the one who got to draw the mod­el for that appear­ance, which I’ve post­ed here! If I’m not mis­tak­en, I think it might well be Black Pan­ther’s first ever appear­ance in a car­toon.

I can’t take cred­it for the idea of putting T’Chal­la in there. It was Lar­ry’s idea. Lar­ry felt very strong­ly (as did the rest of us on the show) that, tak­ing place in the Mar­vel uni­verse, we would like­ly see oth­er Mar­vel char­ac­ters from time to time. Because that was always kind of a Mar­vel Comics trade­mark! Occa­sion­al­ly the pow­ers-that-were got a lit­tle anx­ious over who might hold the rights to var­i­ous char­ac­ters, so some­times things got labeled a lit­tle… dif­fer­ent­ly. In this case, the script we were work­ing on at the time required we show some African mutant refugees, and we felt this was as good a time as any to give T’Chal­la a cameo. Hence, “African Mutant Refugee #3.”

With­in the con­fines of the style of our show, I tried to get some hints of Kir­by in there. Because, why not?

Update – Feb­ru­ary 28, 2018: It’s fun­ny how things work. Aaron Couch, Heat Vision Edi­tor for The Hol­ly­wood Reporter, did an inter­view with Lar­ry Hous­ton about Black Pan­ther and the X‑Men car­toon. Lar­ry point­ed him here to my site, and Aaron want­ed to ask me a ques­tion or two also. The end result wound up part of this arti­cle. Thanks again for your inter­est, Aaron!

Kirby 100, Part 4

This is the fourth and final install­ment in my cel­e­bra­tion of Jack Kir­by’s 100th birth­day this month. Which hap­pens to be today!

Like most of the oth­ers I’ve post­ed, today’s draw­ing came my way years back as a pho­to­copy of Kir­by’s pen­cils, from a sketch­book orig­i­nal­ly done for his wife Roz. It was lat­er repro­duced and pub­lished in book form as Jack Kir­by’s Heroes and Vil­lains. Like the oth­ers I’ve post­ed, this was a draw­ing that looked to me like it might be fun to take a crack at ink­ing it. So I did. And recent­ly col­ored it up for post­ing here.

This char­ac­ter (Ser­si) comes from a com­ic called The Eter­nals, which was one of a hand­ful of titles Kir­by pro­duced dur­ing his last stint at Mar­vel in the mid- to late-’70s. The seeds of this com­ic seem to have come from a very pop­u­lar book around this time by Erich von Däniken, enti­tled Char­i­ots of the Gods?. The book con­jec­tured that alien astro­nauts had vis­it­ed our world in the dis­tant past, and were mis­tak­en­ly thought by us to be gods. It’s easy to see how an idea like this could be fuel for Kir­by’s vivid imag­i­na­tion. Add to it Kir­by’s fas­ci­na­tion with myths and leg­ends, and he cooked up a very enter­tain­ing sce­nario from these ingre­di­ents.

Cer­tain sto­ries from Eter­nals still stand out in my mind. The saga of Karkas and the Reject, for exam­ple, which sub­vert­ed the usu­al assump­tions read­ers made about new char­ac­ters based on first impres­sions. Or “The Rus­sians are Com­ing!” in #11, or “The Astro­nauts!” in #13. Even in this lat­er stage of his career, Kir­by still had the goods.

If you caught onto the fact that each of my “Kir­by 100” posts has been in chrono­log­i­cal order of when the char­ac­ter first appeared, give your­self a gold star!

I men­tioned ear­li­er on that Kir­by’s work is very impor­tant to me. He was one of the ear­li­est com­ic book artists whose name and style impact­ed on me, and I was com­pelled to seek out his work. He may not nec­es­sar­i­ly have invent­ed all the “visu­al gram­mar” of draw­ing super­hero comics, but he cer­tain­ly per­fect­ed it! If an artist want­ed to do super­hero comics that had impact, it would have been a mis­take not to learn from Kir­by’s work.

Super­hero comics were not the only kind of mate­r­i­al he did, though. Kir­by worked in almost every genre of Amer­i­can comics, and brought the same inven­tive­ness and dynam­ic ener­gy to what­ev­er he did. He man­aged to cre­ate vital work in every decade, span­ning from the Gold­en Age of comics all the way up into the ’80s.

If for some rea­son you’re not famil­iar with Kir­by, do your­self a favor, and start delv­ing into the work of this tru­ly unique and impor­tant cre­ator! You are in for a treat!

Hap­py 100th, Mr. Kir­by! And a very heart­felt “thank you” for cre­at­ing so many great char­ac­ters and sto­ries that still live and inspire today. You were tru­ly one of a kind!

Kirby 100, Part 3

Wel­come back to anoth­er install­ment, cel­e­brat­ing Jack Kir­by’s 100th birth­day this month!

This time out is Thor. Again, the pen­cil draw­ing came my way years back in the form of a pho­to­copy, and I believe the orig­i­nal source was a sketch­book Jack did for his wife Roz, which ulti­mate­ly saw print as a book enti­tled Jack Kir­by’s Heroes and Vil­lains. It was yet anoth­er Kir­by draw­ing that caught my eye, and looked like it would be fun to try ink­ing. Fresh­ly col­ored for show­ing here.

When I first got to a point where I had suf­fi­cient funds to begin attempt­ing to col­lect more back issues of Kir­by’s Mar­vel work, I tend­ed to not seek out Jour­ney into Mys­tery (where Thor first appeared) or Thor issues. I just did­n’t like the inks as much as I did the inks over Kir­by on his oth­er strips. How­ev­er, as I read more about Kir­by’s work (and espe­cial­ly his Thor work), I real­ized that I was miss­ing out.

Kir­by’s Thor work is sig­nif­i­cant, because in it you see not only a bril­liant comics artist and sto­ry­teller doing a great job. You also see some­thing of Kir­by the man, and his inter­ests. Just as in Fan­tas­tic Four you can see Kir­by’s fas­ci­na­tion with the unknown, what’s out there, in Thor you see Kir­by’s fas­ci­na­tion with myth and leg­end (a touch­stone through­out his career). I feel that while all of Kir­by’s Mar­vel work is great, both Fan­tas­tic Four and Thor are the two main tent posts of his work dur­ing that peri­od which can’t be dis­re­gard­ed.

I tried in col­or­ing this to evoke the kind of col­or palette you see in those old Thor comics. It was fun!

Hap­py Kir­by 100! One more to go, if I can man­age it.

Kirby 100, Part 2

We’re back for anoth­er install­ment, cel­e­brat­ing Jack Kir­by’s 100th birth­day this month!

This time out, it’s the Chal­lengers of the Unknown. The pen­cils for this draw­ing came into my hands years back as a pho­to­copy. I believe the orig­i­nal came from a sketch­book Kir­by filled for his wife Roz, which saw print (in un-inked form) as a book enti­tled Jack Kir­by’s Heroes and Vil­lains. It looked like it would be fun to take a crack at ink­ing this draw­ing, so I did. And just recent­ly col­ored it for its appear­ance here.

There are a num­ber of inkers who got the oppor­tu­ni­ty to han­dle Kir­by’s pen­cils over the years. I like a num­ber of them for dif­fer­ent rea­sons (though if forced to, I could name a favorite). In the case of Chal­lengers, this strip is one of the rare instances of of Kir­by being inked by Wal­ly Wood. If you haven’t seen the pair­ing before, it’s kind of hard to imag­ine, but you’re in for a treat. Wal­ly Wood was a great artist in his own right, and the com­bi­na­tion of Kir­by and Wood on Chal­lengers (also on the syn­di­cat­ed news­pa­per strip Sky Mas­ters of the Space Force) plays to both artists’ strengths. Check it out, if you get the chance.

Chal­lengers is also sig­nif­i­cant in that it’s also pos­si­ble to view the strip as a dry run for the Fan­tas­tic Four: both are teams of four who go off on a flight at great risk, some­how sur­vive it, then in the wake of that expe­ri­ence, decide that it’s their call­ing to look into the unknown. There’s even an ear­ly Chal­lengers sto­ry where one mem­ber devel­ops flame pow­ers briefly!

There’s more to come, before the end of the month.

Hap­py Kir­by 100th!