Tag Archives: Big Bang Comics

Behind the Badge Again

Fake Comic Cover for Red Hot Comics #17, with Big Bang Comics' the Badge and His RookiesI explained last time how, when Big Bang Comics did a cou­ple issues focused on the fic­ti­tious his­to­ry of the com­pa­ny (mim­ic­k­ing Ster­anko’s His­to­ry of Comics vol­umes), they need­ed a whole bunch of fake cov­ers to pull it off and make it all feel believ­able. Here’s anoth­er one from the bunch I generated.

I drew this back then, inked (I believe) by Jeff Mey­er. And now for the first time, appear­ing in col­or! It’s fun to final­ly see this real­ized in this form, after hav­ing it exist only in black and white for all these years.

I’m not exact­ly sure where the idea for this cov­er came from. Per­haps I was think­ing about Simon & Kir­by’s kick-off run of Cap­tain Amer­i­ca, which seemed to draw a lot of inspi­ra­tion from the “weird men­ace” genre of pulps (an ingre­di­ent I’m sur­prised that most peo­ple don’t seem to pick up on). I kin­da wish I could read “The Vam­pire of Var­ney Street!”

I had fun doing this. Hope you enjoy it!

Behind the Badge

Fake Comic Cover Red Hot Comics #14, with Big Bang Comics' the Badge and His RookiesLong­time vis­i­tors to my site might know that back in the ’90s, I was a con­trib­u­tor to Gary Carl­son and Chris Eck­er’s Big Bang Comics. The first issue had­n’t quite come out through Cal­iber yet when I came onboard, I  think, but some mate­r­i­al was already done.

When I met him, Gary was look­ing for some­one to draw a Simon & Kir­by type Gold­en Age char­ac­ter he had in mind called the Badge, and he’d been point­ed my way. I got to have a pret­ty good hand in devel­op­ing the char­ac­ter, his look and that of side­kicks Troop­er and Bob­bie, even mak­ing some sug­ges­tions about the char­ac­ters’ back sto­ries. So I have to admit to feel­ing a bit of pro­pri­etary inter­est in the Badge.

We even­tu­al­ly did a cou­ple issues of Big Bang sub­ti­tled “The Big Bang His­to­ry of Comics,” in imi­ta­tion of the Ster­anko His­to­ry of Comics vol­umes (not real­ly par­o­dy except in the most lov­ing and respect­ful way, because we all had a lot of affec­tion for those books, as they were a gate­way into a life­long inter­est in comics his­to­ry for many of us).

The His­to­ry issues end­ed up being Big Bang Comics #24 and #27. If you’ve seen the Ster­anko books, imi­tat­ing those meant we need­ed a whole bunch of fake cov­ers! So I and a num­ber of oth­er artists set about to gen­er­ate them. I recent­ly made a list, and was shocked to see just how many I did, while simul­ta­ne­ous­ly hold­ing down my day job in animation!

Any­way, to what you’re see­ing here: this was one of the ear­li­est fake cov­ers I gen­er­at­ed for Big Bang. If my mem­o­ry’s right, I think it might even have appeared as far back as the Cal­iber minis­eries. I recall it appear­ing in col­or, but small, like part of a back cov­er ad. Recent­ly, I thought it would be fun to go back and revis­it a num­ber of those old fake cov­ers I did, and give them the full col­or treat­ment they always called out for. Most have nev­er been seen in col­or at all!

The char­ac­ters along the left side were ones I just made up on the spot, but most of them end­ed up appear­ing in Big Bang sto­ries at one point or anoth­er. I sort of thought of Big Bang as “comics his­to­ry through a fun­house mir­ror,” and to that end when I was draw­ing up this cov­er, I just made up char­ac­ters that felt like they were play­ing with some of those famil­iar old Gold­en Age arche­types, but hope­ful­ly also feel­ing like you had­n’t entire­ly seen them before.

Pen­cils, let­ter­ing (and now col­or­ing) are mine; inks were by Jeff Mey­er (I believe), who inked sev­er­al of my fake cov­ers for the His­to­ry issues, and did a nice job of giv­ing them the cor­rect fin­ished look and feel. You can check out anoth­er of our fake cov­er col­lab­o­ra­tions here.

I still have oth­er cov­ers in the pipeline that I might post too, but I had­n’t put any­thing up here in awhile, and thought this might be fun. Hope you enjoy!

And thanks always, Gary, for let­ting me have a lot of fun on the Big Bang play­ground! Those inter­est­ed can check out more recent Big Bang issues over on Indy Plan­et.

Oh, Venus…!

I dis­cov­ered just before the start of this month that there’s some­thing of a social media thing going on at the moment with Big Bang Comics char­ac­ters. #Big­Bang­To­ber appar­ent­ly. As an ear­ly con­trib­u­tor to Big Bang (ear­ly and often, in a vari­ety of ways), I felt like maybe I should con­tribute to the cause. So over on LinkedIn, I’ve been post­ing a num­ber of my old Big Bang pieces.

The attached is one I always want­ed to col­or, but nev­er had the chance to, until now. It’s a faux Gold­en Age cov­er, done as one of many for one of the “Big Bang His­to­ry of Comics” issues. Mod­eled after The Ster­anko His­to­ry of Comics books, Gary Carl­son need­ed a lot of cov­ers to fill out the pages. This was one I came up with. Pen­cils, let­ter­ing (and of course, col­or­ing) are mine. Inks were by Jeff Mey­er, who did a great job of help­ing fur­ther the H.G. Peter art look I was going for here. (I came up with the name “P.G.Harris” as kind of Big Bang’s H.G. Peter equivalent).

Thanks for looking!

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!

 

Hey, Mister!

Long­time vis­i­tors to this blog might know that I was a reg­u­lar con­trib­u­tor to Big Bang Comics back in the day. I had lots of fun being a part of that! On his blog over on the Big Bang Comics site, Big Bang co-founder Gary Carl­son has been writ­ing an arti­cle about each issue that came out, in pub­li­ca­tion order. He just made it up to #8, which end­ed up fea­tur­ing a char­ac­ter named Mis­ter U.S. (co-cre­at­ed by writer Nat Gertler and I). You can read all about it here.

Just so there’s some­thing to look at here, I’ve put up a col­or guide I did for one of the vari­ant cov­ers. Back in those days, I was­n’t using Pho­to­shop yet, so this was all done using mark­ers and water­col­ors, then mark­ing up the page with the CMYK col­or for­mu­lae I want­ed for each col­or. Aside from that, between Gary and Nat, they’ve cov­ered the rest of the sto­ry pret­ty well, and I don’t want to spoil any­thing here. But it’s worth check­ing out, if you’re curi­ous about the “secret ori­gin” of this issue and how it came to be.

 

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.

It’s the Fourth of July!

It’s Inde­pen­dence Day today in the U.S. of A.! That usu­al­ly means time off, doing fun things like pic­nics or bar­be­cues with friends, pos­si­bly tak­ing in a fire­works show (depend­ing on where you live), and maybe hope­ful­ly even giv­ing a thought to some of the free­doms we’re priv­i­leged to enjoy in this coun­try, which we can some­times take for granted.

This post is most­ly moti­vat­ed by the fact that real­iz­ing the hol­i­day was com­ing up, I had an image pop into my mind appro­pri­ate for the day, so I thought I’d go for it! As not­ed there, the char­ac­ter is Miss Fire­crack­er from Big Bang Comics, though she’s depict­ed here in a dif­fer­ent style from how she ever appeared in Big Bang.

This is a good oppor­tu­ni­ty to talk about Big Bang Comics a lit­tle bit. Some peo­ple read­ing this may know that I was a con­trib­u­tor to Big Bang through its most active years. Though I can’t claim to have been there from the absolute very begin­ning, I did get in pret­ty ear­ly on. The char­ac­ter I had the most involve­ment in shap­ing would’ve been the Badge. But thanks to Big Bang hon­chos Gary Carl­son and Chris Eck­er, I got the chance to get my hands into a whole lot more than that.

Not only did I get to draw a num­ber of oth­er Big Bang char­ac­ters (par­tic­u­lar­ly on fake com­ic cov­ers as seen in “The Big Bang His­to­ry of Comics” issues of Big Bang Comics), I got to design sev­er­al oth­er char­ac­ters, cre­ate logos, even kib­itz on some sto­ry­lines, ink and col­or. The way I looked at Big Bang, it was sort of  “comics his­to­ry through a fun­house mir­ror.” You got to cre­ate things that felt famil­iar, yet new at the same time. It was a real­ly fun ride, guys! Thanks much!

I’ve got anoth­er post already in the pipeline that I hope to be able to pull the trig­ger on soon, but that’s it for this one. Have a great 4th, everyone!

Happy Thanksgiving: Now Go Out and Hunt Down Your Own Turkey!

I still haven’t had time to get back to fig­ur­ing out how to install the gallery plu­g­in (due to anoth­er project which will prob­a­bly make its way on here even­tu­al­ly), but I want­ed to keep the site active. So by request of my friend Lyle, I’ve post­ed the draw­ing on the left. It’s a fake com­ic cov­er fea­tur­ing a jun­gle girl char­ac­ter named Zhantika.

She’s the blonde at left. Zhan­ti­ka was a char­ac­ter cre­at­ed by Lyle and myself. Around that time, I’d got­ten my hands on the Ger­ber Pho­to-Jour­nal Guide to Com­ic Books. Look­ing through them, we both real­ized sep­a­rate­ly that the “jun­gle girl” com­ic was a real pop­u­lar genre of its own at one point that sort of van­ished. That sparked an idea. Lyle came up with the basic con­cept, and the visu­al was mine.

We actu­al­ly pub­lished a Zhan­ti­ka sto­ry in Big Bang #17, much thanks to Gary Carl­son. I also have to thank inker David Zim­mer­mann, who brought a real­ly nice pol­ish to my pen­cils with his brush­work. The above image is not from that sto­ry though; it was done as a faux gold­en age cov­er for one of “The Big Bang His­to­ry of Comics” issues (#27, if any­one cares to look). It was part of a whole fic­ti­tious his­to­ry of comics that did­n’t real­ly exist, but it was lots of fun to pretend.

Maybe even­tu­al­ly one day I’ll col­or this cov­er, just for fun. And just to make this a lit­tle longer: Zhan­ti­ka is ™ and © Lyle Dodd and Mark Lewis.