Author Archives: Mark

When Titans Clash!

Long­time vis­i­tors to this site may remem­ber that I got my start in ani­ma­tion work­ing on X‑Men: the Ani­mat­ed Series. That meant my first boss was Lar­ry Hous­ton, who I came to con­sid­er both my men­tor in the busi­ness, and a friend. Lar­ry’s now get­ting to enjoy much-deserved recog­ni­tion for his con­tri­bu­tions to X‑Men, as well as a num­ber of oth­er car­toons peo­ple think of fond­ly from their youth.

But before he got into ani­ma­tion, Lar­ry aspired to do comics. And he did! In his 20’s, he self-pub­lished three issues of his own com­ic, The Enforcers, with a lit­tle help from his friends.

Those comics have been out of print for years. But not long ago, Lar­ry decid­ed to re-pub­lish them all togeth­er in one big col­lec­tion. You can pur­chase it off of Lar­ry’s site, using the link above, in either dig­i­tal or phys­i­cal form. Orig­i­nal­ly his comics were in black and white (as was typ­i­cal for inde­pen­dent comics in those days), but this time it’s in full color!

I ordered myself a copy, and I found it a real blast. You can feel the excite­ment on the page, that “we’re doing our own comics!” Of course there are some rough edges, but you can see Lar­ry and friends learn­ing their craft and improv­ing vis­i­bly with each issue. It’s cer­tain­ly bet­ter than what I was doing in my 20’s! The art has a real ener­gy to it, and so does the dia­logue. There’s this ’70s Mar­vel/qua­si-Roy Thomas feel to it. I real­ly enjoyed the com­ic quite a bit!

So this is a bit of fan art on my part, recre­at­ing the cov­er of the col­lec­tion (which was also the cov­er to the orig­i­nal issue #3). But of course, it’s not just a straight re-cre­ation. I always have to have some kind of spin on it, or re-inter­pre­ta­tion. In this case, the idea was to tweak it slight­ly in some aspects to make it look even more like a main­stream com­ic from that late ’70s peri­od. Except for one or two pan­els, these sto­ries feel like they could have seen print in a Comics Code-approved book of that era.

So Lar­ry: thanks, and much respect always! Hav­ing read these sto­ries, I’d real­ly like to see you do some new comics with your char­ac­ters, using all the sto­ry­telling craft you’ve picked up in the inter­ven­ing years.

Lar­ry Hous­ton’s The Enforcers are ™ & ©1975, 1978, 1979 and 2018 Lar­ry F. Houston.

Harvey Girls Forever! Part 5

The day is final­ly here! Net­flix has released sea­son 2 of Har­vey Girls For­ev­er! (for­mer­ly known as Har­vey Street Kids). The kids are run­ning around loose and free!

I’ve been wait­ing to be able to post some of my board revi­sion work on the show. Due to respect­ing  the NDA (Non-Dis­clo­sure Agree­ment) I orig­i­nal­ly signed, I was unable to post any of this work until the sea­son came out and I got clear­ance to post some of it. Which I just received today! I am very hap­py to be able to final­ly post this work!

I’m only post­ing a few scenes here up front. There’s a lot more of them to see over in the Sto­ry­board Revi­sion Port­fo­lio on the Gal­leries side of my site here.

My board revi­sion work kind of has an unin­ten­tion­al “tell.” You can usu­al­ly spot it by the “non-pho­to” blue under­draw­ing (unless the direc­tor chose to remove it). I fig­ure hav­ing that there does­n’t hurt, because it shows the ani­ma­tors what the thought process was behind the draw­ing, and that maybe it might even make for bet­ter animation.

I was the first revi­sion­ist hired on Har­vey Girls, and I got to do a lot of fun, goofy, cre­ative stuff. Despite some of the bumps in the road along the way (every show has them), it was a priv­i­lege to be a part of this series. I got to work along­side a whole bunch of real tal­ent­ed and cre­ative folk…some of whom I had worked with on a pre­vi­ous series, oth­ers who I met for the first time on this show.

Much love and respect always, to Bren­dan, Ali­ki and all my fel­low Har­vey Kids on the crew! I’m proud of the work we did (and glad I can final­ly post some of mine)!

Harvey Girls Forever! Part 4

Here’s install­ment #4, of my countdown/celebration of the return of Har­vey Girls For­ev­er! to Net­flix, this Fri­day May 10th!

Today’s Post-It draw­ings are a pen­cil draw­ing of the Bow, and Tiny dressed up as Frankenstein.

Unlike the oth­er draw­ings I’ve been post­ing, this draw­ing of the Bow seemed like it should stay in pen­cil. It seemed to give it a bit of the feel­ing of an engrav­ing some­how, or an Edward Gorey drawing.

And Tiny, always want­i­ng to be taller, is of course wear­ing a Franken­stein cos­tume. Specif­i­cal­ly, it’s based on Dick Briefer­’s comedic take that he did for a bit back in the Gold­en Age of comics. I did­n’t mess up the draw­ing on the mask; that’s how he drew the nose, way up high like that! I kind of talked a bit about Briefer­’s Franken­stein here.

That’s it for these Post-It draw­ings. If things go accord­ing to plan, I should be able to post some of my board revi­sion work from Har­vey Girls For­ev­er! tomor­row at some point.

Harvey Girls Forever! Part 3

Wel­come back to our countdown/celebration! Har­vey Girls For­ev­er! starts a new sea­son this Fri­day, May 10th, on Net­flix! I’ve been putting up Post-It draw­ings I did dur­ing breaks, while I was on the show.

Two for you today! Audrey as Furiosa, and Tiny as Shaft.

Audrey was always fun to draw on the show. It took me no time at all to fig­ure out who she was: that kid who was total­ly impul­sive and ener­getic, fun to be around…and prob­a­bly would get you into some trou­ble. But you’d sure have fun while doing it!

And Tiny was a lot of fun too, for dif­fer­ent rea­sons. He was the kid who was a lit­tle small­er than every­one else, and could­n’t wait to be big. Despite his size though, he already had a big heart. Seemed like fun to have him cos­play­ing as Shaft (though most like­ly his par­ents would­n’t have let him see that movie yet).

Tune in tomor­row for anoth­er installment!

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.