Category Archives: Illustration

Illus­tra­tion work done for var­i­ous clients.

FCA: Tells the Facts and Names the Names

FCA Harlan Ellison CoverA lit­tle while back, I was asked to do the cov­er for an upcom­ing issue of the Faw­cett Col­lec­tors of Amer­i­ca, fea­tur­ing an inter­view with none oth­er than Har­lan Elli­son. FCA is a sort of mag­a­zine with­in a mag­a­zine, appear­ing in the pages of Roy Thomas’ Alter Ego. The issue of Alter Ego which also fea­tures FCA #197 is sched­uled to be avail­able in mid-Feb­ru­ary 2016.

This cov­er went through sev­er­al ear­li­er iter­a­tions (though none of them actu­al­ly made it onto paper) before I came up with the con­cept for this final ver­sion. My ini­tial thought was that maybe I should do a por­trait of Mr. Elli­son as a boy, read­ing a copy of Cap­tain Mar­vel Adven­tures or Whiz Comics. Some­thing along those the­mat­ic lines. One of the main prob­lems with this approach though was that there aren’t a whole lot of pho­tos (if any!) of a young Har­lan float­ing around out there on the inter­nets. So if I went that route, I was like­ly going to have to try to work up a rec­og­niz­able fake ver­sion of Mr. Elli­son as a child from just my imag­i­na­tion. It turned out P.C. was­n’t too sold on the idea any­way, so we aban­doned that con­cept.

Unfor­tu­nate­ly, nei­ther of us were com­ing up with any great replace­ment pos­si­bil­i­ties. It was sug­gest­ed that maybe if I read the inter­view for myself, it might spark an idea. And it did. The new cov­er con­cept was to do it as a sort of homage to the Edward Hop­per paint­ing Nighthawks, set at a late-night din­er. I’d show Mr. Elli­son sit­ting down with Cap­tain Mar­vel and the main vil­lain from the “Mon­ster Soci­ety of Evil” sto­ry, Mr. Mind. The tone felt right. Only one prob­lem: Mr. Mind is very small, so there was a major scale issue that would have to be addressed if I did this.

But then anoth­er idea popped into my mind that seemed to fit even bet­ter tonal­ly. I’d do the cov­er in the style of the old “scan­dal sheet” gos­sip pulps, like Con­fi­den­tial. Once this con­cept came into my head, I knew it was the right way to go, and P.C. agreed. It’s a bit dif­fer­ent from what you usu­al­ly see as an FCA cov­er, but it’s fun, and hope­ful­ly peo­ple will get what we’re doing and enjoy it.

Hap­py 2016, folks!

Captain Marvel is 75!

Captain Marvel at 75I was just giv­en leave to post this draw­ing. This year’s the 75th Anniver­sary of the orig­i­nal Cap­tain Mar­vel. FCA Edi­tor Paul Hamer­linck (for whom I’ve done sev­er­al cov­ers over the years, a num­ber of which can be found here on my site) was writ­ing an essay in hon­or of Cap’s 75th for Jon B. Cooke’s Com­ic Book Cre­ator mag­a­zine. Paul asked if I would like to con­tribute an illus­tra­tion to poten­tial­ly accom­pa­ny his essay, and left it up to me what to do. A 75-year-old Cap seemed simul­ta­ne­ous­ly like both an unex­pect­ed and yet obvi­ous way to go.

I was­n’t sure if either Paul or Jon would go for this idea. Maybe it would be a lit­tle too weird for a trib­ute. But I guess their sens­es of humor must some­times go a lit­tle towards the weird too.

Paul’s essay, accom­pa­nied by my illus­tra­tion, will be appear­ing in issue #10 of Com­ic Book Cre­ator, ship­ping in Novem­ber to your fin­er local comics shops every­where.

Thanks, guys! This was fun!

Hap­py 75th, Cap!

It’s the “S!”

FCA Elliot S! Maggin CoverSor­ry it’s been so long since I post­ed any­thing new here! It’s time to do some­thing about that.

Here’s a pre­view of the cov­er I did for an upcom­ing issue of FCA, appear­ing in the pages of Roy Thomas’ Alter Ego. This issue fea­tures an inter­view with comics writer Elliot S! Mag­gin (he was includ­ing an excla­ma­tion mark after his mid­dle ini­tial in those days). Mr. Mag­gin was one of the writ­ers who were called upon to write DC’s revival of the orig­i­nal Cap­tain Mar­vel and the Mar­vel Fam­i­ly, in the ear­ly ’70s.

Those with an astute eye will real­ize that this illus­tra­tion forms some­thing of a book­end with the Den­ny O’Neil cov­er I post­ed some months back. Keep­ing that visu­al asso­ci­a­tion was at the FCA edi­tor’s request, since both O’Neil and Mag­gin were the main writ­ers for the Cap­tain Mar­vel revival.

The back­ground art I’m using here comes from sto­ries Mr. Mag­gin wrote (just as the art I used on Mr. O’Neil’s por­trait cov­er came from Cap­tain Mar­vel sto­ries he’d writ­ten).

Though the cov­er date says May, this issue should hit the stands some­time in April. I’m look­ing for­ward to read­ing the arti­cle myself!

Oh, the Pain…”

PainI had­n’t planned on post­ing this one espe­cial­ly, but things have been busy here, and I did­n’t want to let anoth­er month go by with­out post­ing any­thing. So here you go!

I was asked to do an edi­to­r­i­al-type illus­tra­tion visu­al­iz­ing “pain” in a par­tic­u­lar way, and this is what I came up with. Style­wise, for some rea­son I grav­i­tat­ed towards want­i­ng this to look like it was done as a poster, per­haps some­what in the style of David Lance Goines. It remains for oth­ers to say whether or not I achieved that, but I was hap­py with the end result, not pained. 🙂

Denny O, AKA Sergius O

FCA Denny O'Neil CoverHere’s a pre­view of anoth­er cov­er I did for FCA, appear­ing in the pages of Roy Thomas’ Alter Ego mag­a­zine. Though the cov­er date is Sep­tem­ber of this year, I believe the mag­a­zine will actu­al­ly be avail­able in August.

For those who don’t know, DC Comics brought back the orig­i­nal Cap­tain Mar­vel in the ear­ly ’70s. The Big Red Cheese had been miss­ing from the spin­ner racks for sev­er­al years by that point, so his reap­pear­ance was great­ly looked for­ward to by a num­ber of fans. Includ­ing some younger fans like myself, who had seen very lit­tle of the char­ac­ter pre­vi­ous­ly, but knew that they real­ly liked what they saw.

Den­ny O’Neil was one of the writ­ers tapped by Edi­tor Julius Schwartz to write this revival. In fact, Mr. O’Neil wrote the sto­ry in Shaz­am! #1 which brought the Mar­vel Fam­i­ly and com­pa­ny back into the mod­ern age. FCA #187 fea­tures an inter­view with O’Neil about his work on the title.

Using what ref­er­ence I could find online, at Edi­tor P.C. Hamer­linck­’s request, this was an attempt at a por­trait of Mr. O’Neil as he might have looked around the time he was writ­ing the com­ic. The back­ground art (I has­ten to add) is not mine! It’s scans of actu­al pan­els from some of the Cap­tain Mar­vel sto­ries Mr. O’Neil wrote, drawn by C.C. Beck him­self. Scanned straight from my own per­son­al copies of those comics, of course. 🙂

Heads Up!

Heads 1A sug­ges­tion was made to me recent­ly that it would be good if I were to do some kind of a post here that dis­played a num­ber of dif­fer­ent styles togeth­er, all at once. So this is what I came up with: a series of head shots, of dif­fer­ent types of char­ac­ters in dif­fer­ent styles.

It’s a pret­ty good exer­cise for an artist, I found. It makes you stretch a lit­tle bit, and it can be fun to see what you come up with. I think I may try this again at some point. Or maybe even a vari­a­tion on the theme: one char­ac­ter, dif­fer­ent styles. There’s a whole lot you can do with this idea.

Thunder Enlightening, and a Big Bang

Thunder Girl Adventures #16What you’re see­ing here is actu­al­ly a draw­ing gen­er­at­ed some years ago for Big Bang Comics. It was a fake old com­ic cov­er, done for one of the His­to­ry issues we put togeth­er. Those issues con­coct­ed a whole fic­ti­tious back his­to­ry of Big Bang as a comics pub­lish­er (bor­row­ing their for­mat from the two com­plet­ed vol­umes of The Ster­anko His­to­ry of Comics). I did­n’t ink this image; if mem­o­ry serves, the inks were by Jeff Mey­er, who also inked my work on a num­ber of oth­er projects around that time.

The col­or on this is new, though (which is why you’re see­ing it here). I was recent­ly con­tact­ed by Big Bang head hon­chos Gary Carl­son and Chris Eck­er, asked if I’d be game to final­ly add col­or to this cov­er. They’ve recent­ly part­nered with a com­pa­ny named Pulp 2.0 Press to bring back some of the Big Bang prop­er­ties, and look at new ways of get­ting them out there. I under­stand this image might even­tu­al­ly end up on prod­ucts like t‑shirts, cof­fee mugs, etc. Which would be a very cool thing to see!

So this gives me the chance to talk about a cou­ple oth­er things, while this image is up. I believe I’ve men­tioned my Big Bang asso­ci­a­tion before, but haven’t got­ten into much detail about it. Though I did­n’t entire­ly get in on the ground floor, I came in pret­ty close to it. Gary and Chris had­n’t yet pub­lished their first few issues through Cal­iber, but were begin­ning to assem­ble the con­tents when I was intro­duced to Gary at Com­ic Con. This meet­ing came about because writer Nat Gertler and I had done a one-shot for Par­o­dy Press/Entity Comics called Mis­ter U.S.: 50 For­got­ten Years (This lat­er came out as Big Bang Comics #8). PP/EC tried to solic­it for it twice. Unfor­tu­nate­ly, the num­bers weren’t there. But Pub­lish­er Don Chin thought there was some­thing there that might be of inter­est to Gary for what he and Chris were work­ing on, so Don made the intro­duc­tion.

Gary and I hit it off right away. I was first brought in just to help design and draw a Simon/Kir­by-ish char­ac­ter they’d had an idea for, called the Badge. But they dis­cov­ered that I could also help with cre­at­ing logos, as well as design­ing a slew of oth­er char­ac­ters and doing occa­sion­al col­or work. I did­n’t just get to draw like Simon and Kir­by, but oth­er artists too, along the way. Plus I even had the oppor­tu­ni­ty to help out with sto­ry­line con­tri­bu­tions. It was a blast, and exact­ly the sort of thing you hope to get to do when you dream of doing comics as a kid. So, thanks, Gary and Chris!

And while I’m here, this is an oppor­tu­ni­ty for me to say some­thing about Thun­der Girl and Bill Fugate. Thun­der Girl was sort of Big Bang’s nod to Faw­cett’s Cap­tain Mar­vel. And Bill Fugate was the per­fect artist to bring her to life and draw her sto­ries. With­out Bil­l’s involve­ment from the begin­ning, she would not have been the same. Bil­l’s draw­ings just had “fun” com­ing out of every line on the page. His work was car­toon­ing of the high­est order, in the best pos­si­ble sense. I hon­est­ly think C.C. Beck would’ve liked Bil­l’s work a great deal. When­ev­er Bill man­aged to get a new Thun­der Girl sto­ry com­plet­ed for pub­li­ca­tion, it was an occa­sion. Heck, any time Bill pro­duced any comics work, you knew you were in for a real treat!

I admired many of my fel­low Big Bang con­trib­u­tors for their tal­ents and skills. With Bill, I con­sid­ered myself an out­right fan. I nev­er had the chance to meet him or exchange emails, tell him how much I tru­ly loved his work. Unfor­tu­nate­ly, Bill passed away (much too soon!) back in Feb­ru­ary this year. He was not as well known a name in comics as I think he should’ve been. As I’ve told some peo­ple already: in anoth­er world, some very smart pub­lish­er would’ve paid Bill big bucks to cre­ate any comics he want­ed to draw. And those comics would’ve sold in real­ly huge num­bers.

R.I.P., Bill. You are most def­i­nite­ly missed.

Good Garbage!”

FCA Goodguy CoverFirst things first: yes, this is anoth­er FCA cov­er illus­tra­tion, which will appear in the Jan­u­ary 2014 issue of Roy Thomas’ Alter Ego, on stands in Decem­ber. And no: this is not Cap­tain Mar­vel!

The char­ac­ters here are Goodguy and his neme­sis, Dr. Sin. Pri­or to being asked to do this cov­er, I must con­fess I was unfa­mil­iar with them. They were cre­at­ed by fan artist Alan Jim Han­ley. As a young comics fan, I had no clue that there were that many oth­er peo­ple out there who also loved old comics, let alone that there were fans who did their own comics! So I nev­er came across the exis­tence of this strip back then.

My title for this post comes from Goodguy’s peri­od­ic catch­phrase, his equiv­a­lent of Cap­tain Mar­vel’s and Bil­ly Bat­son’s “Holy Moley!” Though we did­n’t wind up incor­po­rat­ing it into the cov­er direct­ly, my post here seemed a good place to use it.

In doing the cov­er, I had the oppor­tu­ni­ty to read a cou­ple of Goodguy sto­ries. Fun stuff! Along with his sense of humor, Han­ley clear­ly had a lot of love for old comics, and old comics char­ac­ters. I would­n’t mind see­ing some more.

Oh; I should men­tion too that the FCA issue I did this cov­er for also reprints a com­plete Goodguy sto­ry, appear­ing in col­or for the very first time. Yours tru­ly did the col­or­ing.

Mary’s Dad

FCA Marc Swayze Tribute CoverNow that it’s a new month, I’ve got clear­ance to reveal the last two of those images I teased you with pre­vi­ous­ly. These will both be appear­ing in the FCA por­tion of the upcom­ing August cov­er-dat­ed issue of Roy Thomas’ Alter Ego (avail­able start­ing in July, so you don’t have to wait all that long!).

First up is my FCA cov­er, done as a trib­ute to Gold­en Age artist Marc Swayze. While the orig­i­nal order to give Bil­ly Batson/Captain Mar­vel a sis­ter may have come down from the Faw­cett front office, the job fell to Mr. Swayze to bring her to life. He designed Mary and drew at least her first cou­ple of appear­ances, before being moved on to oth­er jobs. So I think it could be argued that Marc Swayze deserves the title of Mary Mar­vel’s hon­orary father.

This FCA issue is appear­ing in the month which would’ve been Mr. Swayze’s 100th birth­day. Though he did­n’t quite make that mile­stone, it’s still a worth­while moment to pause and give trib­ute. FCA read­ers know Mr. Swayze had a long-run­ning col­umn there, enti­tled “We Did­n’t Know…It Was the Gold­en Age!” Writ­ten in a very appeal­ing­ly gra­cious and hum­ble style, the read­er got the priv­i­lege of look­ing in on snap­shots of rem­i­nis­cence tak­en at dif­fer­ent moments in Mr. Swayze’s life. It was­n’t all about the comics; this man lived a very full and rich life. Hence my inscrip­tion. He and his con­tri­bu­tions to FCA will be missed.

I was huge­ly hon­ored to be asked to do this trib­ute cov­er, and want­ed to be sure to do right by Mr. Swayze. FCA Edi­tor P.C. Hamer­linck and I bat­ted a num­ber of ideas back and forth before we set­tled on a con­cept we both liked and felt was fit­ting. My first incli­na­tion of course was to try to just flat-out mim­ic Mr. Swayze’s style, make it look like maybe he drew it him­self. But P.C. made it clear that was­n’t what he want­ed. He was after my ver­sion of Mr. Swayze’s Mary. I hope I’ve done them both jus­tice.

Binder Column HeaderThe sec­ond image (at left) is a head­er for a new reg­u­lar col­umn debut­ing in FCA the same month. You can see the title there in the art. This col­umn will fea­ture the writ­ing and rem­i­nis­cences of writer Otto Binder, a cre­ative dynamo who had an enor­mous hand in shap­ing not only Cap­tain Mar­vel and the Mar­vel Fam­i­ly for Faw­cett, but he lat­er made huge con­tri­bu­tions to Super­man’s mythol­o­gy as well! And that’s real­ly just the tip of the ice­berg. I’m look­ing for­ward to read­ing these columns and find­ing out what he has to say.

Of Mad Scientists and Big Red Cheeses

FCA Colón/RubinsteinLooks like I missed post­ing last month, due to still being pret­ty busy. Again, that’s a good thing! How­ev­er, now that it’s a new month, I’ve got clear­ance to reveal in full one of the three items I teased back in Feb­ru­ary. This is a cov­er for anoth­er issue of FCA, appear­ing in the upcom­ing July issue of Roy Thomas’ Alter Ego mag­a­zine (actu­al­ly on stands in June, so you don’t have to wait that long!).

Right up front, I need to make it clear that I did not pen­cil or ink this cov­er. It was drawn by Ernie Colón, and inked by Joe Rubin­stein. If you’re famil­iar with those gen­tle­men and their work, that may sound like an unusu­al pair­ing to you at first. I know it did to me, but I’m told that they are col­lab­o­rat­ing quite a bit in recent times. (And if you’re not famil­iar with them, let your fin­gers get to googling!)

So why did I post this on my site if I did­n’t draw it? It’s because I col­ored it. FCA Edi­tor P.C. Hamer­linck con­tact­ed me to ask if I’d be will­ing to, and I said “yes.” Some­thing about the way this was put togeth­er remind­ed me a bit of those clas­sic old illus­trat­ed mag­a­zine cov­ers (for exam­ple, The Sat­ur­day Evening Post). So I tried to give the col­ors on this a lit­tle more of a painter­ly feel than I’ve attempt­ed before, though that might not be entire­ly vis­i­ble at this res­o­lu­tion. I hope Mr. Colón and Mr. Rubin­stein feel I did jus­tice to their work.