Things have bubbling over in the realm of Canadian comic historians and collectors for the last two years, with more communication, sharing and exploration than there has been for years. It’s exciting as many of work to help other achieve goals that have only been dreams in our heads for a long time.
Tuesday, May 6, 2014
Wednesday, February 16, 2011
Tuesday, September 28, 2010
Hey there. It's been a long time.
So what have you been up to? I'm sorry I didn't call or write, but I had some well, issues, you know? It wasn't you. It was me. And it's all good now. You don't mind if I play a little Barry White while we get re-acquainted, do you? Cause, Big Bad and Dangerous to Love is back and ready to make it up to you. I'm gonna make that painful hurt from waiting so very long with no updates go away with this... My gift to you and only you.
A while back I got it in my head to do a post for every day of the Winter Olympics in Vancouver, Canada. It was the patriot in me. Sadly, I only made it about halfway.
But I did manage to offer up Part 1 of "Murder Has The Puck", a golden age Canadian comic book adventure by writer/artist Ted Steele from Bell Features starring Speed Savage -- The White Mask!
Feel free to re-read it and get all caught up. Then come on back here and enjoy Part Two at last. Both of these adventures are from the Speed Savage one-shot put out by Bell after the Second World War reprinting a number of Speed's adventures.
Time to bring you up to -- ahem -- speed. Our Canuck golden boy, Speed Savage is a dashing sportsman and all-around magnificent athlete who moonlights as a costumed vigilante known as the White Mask. Speed started out as a pulpy adventurer with a zoot suit, cape, fedora and mask. Eventually he traded in his suit for tights but stuck with twin forty-five automatics to augment his powerful fists. Hey, if it ain't broke don't fix it, right?
Last time out we had two modern takes on Speed Savage's White Mask persona with sketches by current Sweet Tooth and Atom scribe, Jeff Lemire and Scott Hepburn of The Port and Clone Wars.
This time out we have two more awesome variations. The first is Speed's original pulp look by Michael Cherkas, co-creator of The Silent Invasion and Suburban Nightmares with writer Larry Hancock. I added some rough, chunky inks to fill Larry's blacks and sharpen the sketchy image. Sadly, my fuzzy photo of it doesn't do it justice.
Finally, we have sleek version of Speed's later, super-heroic leotard by Jay Stephens, creator of Jet Cat and Tutenstein.
Sigh... Glorious. You can find more of Jay's work here. And while you're at it, check out Jay's new syndicated comic strip with writer Bob Weber Jr., Oh Brother!
Okay. Intermission is over.
In part one of "Murder Has The Puck", Cliff Gordley, star center for the Red Hawks pro hockey team, dies in the middle of a game. as you can imagine, this puts the team's championship hopes on the line until Speed Savage steps in to take Cliff's place. This upsets the unnamed Boss of a gambling ring eager to clean up by betting against the Red Hawks.
"Da Boss" sends his number one thug, Patch Gazetti, to the arena to do to Speed what he did to Cliff. But The White Mask smells a rink rat and hunts down the criminals in their lair only to fall as a gangster bullet creases his masked skull.
And now, lace up for sudden death overtime in Part 2 of "Murder Has The Puck"!
Three cheers for Speed Savage! Keeping the world safe for hot dog lovers everywhere and all within regulation time.
Until next time.
Monday, August 23, 2010
Well, I have been struck down with vertigo for a while now and as you have noticed the blogging has as well.
The computer screen really does screw with my head so my online time is limited. I am hoping to be well-enough to attend Fan Expo in Toronto this weekend -- the geektastic Xanadu of all things comic book/sci-fi/anime/gaming and horror.
First up, I will be moderating a Brian Azzarello workshop on the craft of comic book writing for the Toronto Cartoonist Workshop, which is hosting a number of "how to" workshops throughout the weekend. Here's their schedule:
Comics Programming Spotlight: "HOW TO" WORKSHOPS - Full Descriptions!
Aug. 17, 2010
Please note: all Comics "HOW TO" Workshops take place in ROOM 203D. Any Pass Allowed. No pre-registration required.
Are you an aspiring comic book professional? These 12 Workshops, developed with the fine folks from the Toronto Cartoonists Workshop will offer you unique insight into many aspects of the creative process from TOP INDUSTRY PROS --- artists, writers and editors!
5:30 - Herding Cats in a Hailstorm- The Secret Life of the Comic Book Editor with Joey Cavalieri - From Julie Schwartz to Archie Goodwin, the comic industry has had a history of formative editors who have shaped memorable projects and creators. A renaissance man who has written professionally and taught at the renowned School of Visual Arts, senior DC editor Joey Cavalieri discusses his relationship with top talent and what it takes to get published in today’s competitive comics market. Moderated by Walter Dickinson.
7:00 - From Thin Air- Drawing the Comic Book Figure from Memory with Bob Layton - Comic book artists are known for their abilities to produce detailed artwork on tight deadlines from their imaginations. Creating the human figure without reference is a Herculean effort essential to the cartoonist. Join Bob “Iron Man” Layton as he demonstrates a simplified approach to constructing the human form that is invaluable to the aspiring pro.
8:00 - Comic Book Bootcamp with Ty Templeton - Watch Toronto comics impresario Ty “The Guy” Templeton as he performs the 50 minute “nutshell” version of his celebrated Comic Book Bootcamp course. Ty will expose why talent is a myth, the importance of narrative flow and foolproof methods for creating successful writing pitches.SATURDAY, AUGUST 28
2:00 - My Dark Places- Writing for Comics with Brian Azzarello - A former Clevelander who spent his early days in the trenches of independent comic book editing, Eisner Award winning scribe Brian Azzarello is a chronicler of the darker aspects of human nature. From 100 Bullets to his original graphic novel Filthy Rich, Azzarello has proven he is the comics heir apparent to noir writers like Jim Thompson and David Goodis. Join Brian as he discusses his approach to writing the comic book -script and gives pointers to attendees. Moderated by Robert Pincombe (Yay, me!).
3:00 - Hardboiled Storytelling- Page Construction and Composition with Darwyn Cooke - A direct artistic descendant of Caniff, Toth and Robbins, Darwyn Cooke has produced a look and storytelling ability unique in contemporary comics. Listen to this modern master discuss his theories on pacing, eye flow, spotting blacks and page design. From rough sketch to final art, Darwyn will break down his process and show you the components of a well constructed page.
4:00 - Of Directors and Cinematographers- The Penciller and Inker Collaboration with Doug Mahnke and Christian Alamy - In the artistic process of producing comics, pencillers and inkers have to work together very closely and often the skills of one blend into the other. This workshop will help define the creative boundaries of the two practices. Learn the difference between layouts, tight pencils and finishes. Find out why inking is not just tracing. Listen to Green Lantern dream team Doug Mahnke and Christian Alamy discuss their collaborative relationship. Moderated by Gibson Quarter.
5:00 - Drawn in Blood- Creating in the Noir Style with Alex Maleev - Longtime Bendis collaborator and artist on the hot new book Scarlet, Alex Maleev has a natural talent for picking “the right moment” in each panel of a story. His iconic stylings have delineated the darker side of life from Daredevil to Spider-Woman. Watch how Alex creates one of his mind-blowing images.
6:00 - Thumbnail to Finish: Layout of the Comic Book Page with Steve McNiven
From an early training ground at CrossGen to working on major projects for Marvel, Steve has emerged as one of the top artists in the field. Noted for his richly detailed images and adrenaline stimulating storytelling, he continues to craft amazing pages that pull you along at a breakneck pace. Listen as the artist shares his secrets for building action and suspense that keep the readers coming back for more. Moderated by Gibson Quarter.SUNDAY, AUGUST 29
12:00 - Bold Strokes: Painting Powerful Interiors and Covers with Paolo Rivera - An industry professional since 2002, Paolo Rivera continues to build breathtaking acrylic images for the covers and interiors of top Marvel books. Watch Paolo discuss his virtuoso technique for designing and composing an eye catching colour page. Attendees will learn how to successfully incorporate both imagination and photo reference to full effect.
1:00 - Drawing for Impact- Heroic Anatomy with Ian Churchill - Superheroics have to be chronicled in a larger than life fashion. Part of this is the exaggerated musculature and structure of the heroic body. Join Marvel artist extraordinaire Ian Churchill as he demonstrates the dynamic differences between drawing a mild-mannered Bruce Banner and a raging, rampaging Hulk.
2:00 - Floating Worlds-Watercolour Masterclass with Jill Thompson - Watercolour is a difficult medium at best and a hard one to master. Watch Beasts of Burden and Scary Godmother artist Jill Thompson show you how to build a successful watercolor painting. This workshop will show it all, from initial pencil sketch, to the layering of vibrant colour to build an expressive piece with depth and dimension - ROOM 203D
3:00 - How to Workshop: Expressive Anatomy - Drawing Heads and Hands with Olivier Coipel - Any artist will tell you the most difficult thing to draw about the human form is the head and hands. Watch one of Marvel’s “Young Guns” Olivier Coipel as he shares his secrets for breaking these complex structures down into simple shapes. Whether you’re drawing the Avengers or the X-Men these tips will prove to be valuable tricks of the trade.
I wrote one of the stories within as well some text pages. Come check it out. It's created by comic book superstars of tomorrow! Here's a sneak peek at my pag. Story by me, Robert Pincombe, art by Gibson Quarter and Ty Templeton and letters by K.T. Smith.
I'll be signing at the Toronto Cartoonist Workshop table late Saturday. I hope to see you there!
Saturday, July 10, 2010
Sci-Fi aficionados come in all shapes and sizes but even with the large variety of resources provided by the web, we all tend to gravitate to specific sites to get our updates. Some of us tend to look for movie and TV info, others come from a comic book background, more literary types may go to online story sites.
As far as literary sci-fi goes, I find myself more and more impressed with the community at publisher Tor.com. There’s lots here to make this site both sticky and worth bookmarking for regular visits.
I first discovered the site last year when Tor went all Victorian for Steampunk month, including redesigning “Stubby” the Tor.com rocket logo into a steampunk airship dubbed the H.M.S. Stubbington.
It was a delight to follow Tor blogger Irene’s Saturday Morning Cartoons posts, pointing me to awesome sci-fi themed toons from around the world.
I still return to posts like Steampunk Saturday, which showcased the lavish, steampunk, shadow toon, “The Mysterious Explorations of Jasper Morello” (Whose home website is very cool Gothic Gazette) and Blur Studio’s “A Gentleman’s Duel”.
And while we’re in a Canadian cartoonist mood, take a peek at Agnes Garbowska’s delightful animated preview for her comic project, Imagination Station.
Saturday, July 3, 2010
Last fall I was one of several people approached for suggestions regarding a Toronto comic artist with a penchant for mythological beasts to do art for a documentary fantasy show going into production. The series, Beast Legends, looked at the real science behind mythological beasts to see if they were indeed possible. I heard no more of it until this week!
According to the cover story in this week's Toronto Star Week TV magazine, this Wed. July 7, Best Legends premiers in Canada on the History Channel (It will appear on the SyFy Channel in the States later this year and is distributed worldwide by the BBC).
The production wisely tapped current Flash artist and former Shuster Award nominee Francis Manapul for the art chores.
And to my delight, it seems they wanted more than art. They wanted Francis to star as part of a Indian Jones-like team traveling the world and researching legends. How awesome is that>
There isn't much of a web presence for the show yet but Francis was kind enough to post his own version of the press release over at francismanapul.com:
BEAST LEGENDS brings together the ‘Beast Seekers’, an expert team of specialist investigators. This elite, engaging group, a learned kind of League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, is made up of:
Kathryn Denning: Myth expert, anthropologist, archaeologist and professor at Toronto’s York University.
Scott Edwards: Professor of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology and Curator of Ornithology at the Museum of Comparative Zoology, Harvard University.
Stephen Leonard: Adventurer and Veterinary Surgeon based in Bristol, England.
Francis Manapul: Philippine-born, now Toronto-based, renowned comic book artist.
In each of the six hour-long episodes, the Beast Seekers investigate a different legendary beast, travelling the globe to the actual locations that spawned the stories of these Beasts. They track down clues to find the truth behind the legends. The Beast Seekers uncover historical and eyewitness accounts, and zero in on archaeological and other physical evidence to assemble the most accurate picture possible of what these monsters would be like, where they would live and how they would behave, if they really existed.
Armed with every piece of information the team has discovered, BEAST LEGENDS then moves to the ‘Beast Lab’ to build the creature, first as initial sculpts and wire-frame forms, and finally bringing it to life in stunning 3D CGI.
And then we unleash it on the modern world…..
It's a fun idea and I think Francis was an inspired choice. He's always entertaining to watch at Cons whipping his brushes back and forth as a beautiful, haunting watercolour and ink wash painting emerges. And as a bonus, he's always really sweet to speak with.
I suspect we'll get to see a much more gregarious side of him and co-host, veterinary surgeon and "adventurer" Stephen Leonard, on this show. The first six-episode season will delve into such beasties as the half-eagle, half-lion griffin, the colossal, squid-like kraken, a giant shark spoken off in hushed whispers on the island of Fiji and the wild man of Vietnam, what the Starweek article refers to as a "tropical Sasquatch".
Hosts Leonard and Manapul each pulled in their own direction, with the artist constantly considering how the things might have looked and Leonard more interested in the biology of how it could have existed. The remining team members match the field-gathered material with scientific research and speculation to to create a workable 3-D model.
Then, like any good Ray Harryhausen adventure, the magic of modern special effects unleashes the model on the real world (and our hosts) at the end of each episode! Apprently the show has unearthed some surprises, like he fact the legend of the griffin goes farther back than it's assumed medieval origins to the mountains of Mongolia!
More on Beast Legends and Manapul here.
Beast Legends premiere episode airs Wednesday at 10 pm on the History Channel.
Thursday, June 24, 2010
Joe Shuster Awards were handed out this past June 5.
Along with this year's Hall of Fame inductees Deni Loubert, Dave Darrigo and Serge Gaboury, the Shusters also chose to celebrate the 35th anniversary of the creation of Captain Canuck (way back in 1975!) by inducting the three creator's most associated with the Captain's popularity -- Richard Comely, George Freeman and Claude St. Aubin.
Claude St. Aubin's award was presented by Canadian artist Kalman Andrasofsky.
George Freeman's award was presented by Canadian author or co-founder of hardcorenerdity.com, Lesley Livingston.
Richard Comely's award was presented by artist-designer-letterer and font of all 80's Canadian indie comic knowledge, Ron Kasman.
Videtape and posting of the inductions was provided by my oh so patient wife.
Since Freeman and St.Aubin were unable to attend, all three awards were accepted by Richard Comely. Comely will hand delivering the awards when he sees Freeman out west in a month or so.
As you can see in Richard's gracious acceptance speech, both he and Freeman were specific about wanting to give Ron Leishman credit for designing and co-creating Captain Canuck. though they made it happen, without Leishman's inspiration, the Captain would never have existed.
You can find write-ups on all Shuster Hall of Famers at the main HoF page.
Claude St. Aubin's Shuster bio is here. Read an extended Comics Bulletin interview with Claude St. Aubin conducted Hall of Fame committee member Phil Latter a. Get a copy of Aubin's "March on Fort Whoop-Up" project here.
George Freeman's Shuster Award bio is here. Check out Freeman's website and get a copy of the first Captain Canuck archive here.
More on Richard Comely and Captain Canuck at the official website. A recent Comely interview can be found Jeffery Klaehn's Pop blog.
We continue our video coverage of this years Joe Shuster Awards Hall of Fame inductions from Toronto's Innis Hall last June 5. With special thanks to my wife Jill for her videography and editing skills. This year's inductees included Dave Darrigo, Serge Gaboury and Captain Canuck writer-artists Richard Comely, George Freeman and Claude St. Aubin.
This time we greet the Queen of the Independents. Deni Loubert quite literally helped lay the groundwork for a modern Canadian comic book industry and for independant comics in general.
The publishing, promotion and distribution system she put in place for Aardvark-Vanaheim while publishing Cerebus with her then-husband Dave Sim was adapted and refined by Sim, enabling him to achieve his incredible, uninterrupted 300 issue run.
She then ran Renegade Press for years, featuring an amazing array of talented artists and awesome comics. Watch comics writer-artist-teacher-bon vivant Ty Templeton induct Deni.
More about Ty (including regular Saturday morning comics and original art sales!) at Ty Templeton's Artland.
I wish I had more time to spend with Deni after the awards. She is smart, insightful and has a very unique and broad perspective on the industry. Her thoughts on how artists represent themselves for better and for worse (based on her experience as an artist's rep in Hollywood) alone is worth a round of drinks.
Deni Loubert's Shuster bio is here. The Shuster Halll of Fame main page is here.
For your enjoyment and edification, here is the short speech I wrote for her induction, which presenter Ty Templeton delightfully threw out in favour of his own unique take on Deni.
Originally hailing from Timmons, Ontario, Deni Loubert grew up living a nomadic existence with her family, crisscrossing the continent as her Dad followed work from the local McIntyre Mine to the railroads of Arizona and northern California and back to the Great White North in the nickel mines of Sudbury. Because her parents frowned on comics as proper reading material she caught up on fave comic book by reading them in the grocery store. The family settled in the San Francisco Bay area long enough for Deni to attend high school and rediscover comics in the form of Gilbert Shelton’s Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers.
Another family move to Kitchener, Ontario led Loubert to discover science fiction fandom. Inspired by local comic artist and fellow Joe Shuster Hall of Famer Gene Day’s self-published work, she began to self-publish a zine of her own, Cerebus. Loubert met artist and future husband Dave Sim at Harry Kremer’s Now And Then Books, the hub for Kitchener’s local fandom and artistic community. Together, the two budding publishers formed Aardvark-Vanaheim to put out a Cerebus comic book based on their aardvark mascot. Loubert’s reputation as publisher eager to help artists create their best work was born here.
Determined to let Sim create, Loubert took the business reins and learned publishing from the ground up, forging alliances with printers, writing text pages, overseeing the printing and arranging for now legendary Cerebus tours. Eventually, her love of artists and desire to forge her own identity inspired her to expand the Aardvark-Vanaheim line, publishing early work by Image Comic’s Jim Valentino, Arn Saba, Bob Burden and Max Allen Collins. When Loubert and Sim’s marriage ended, the infrastructure she had set up for Aarvark-Vanaheim were the foundation of Sim’s extended run on Cerebus - the longest running independent comic in history.
Already partially responsible for helping a new generation of Canadian artists and publishers to step up to the plate, Loubert moved to Los Angeles to start fresh with her own imprint, Renegade Press. In addition to publishing numerous US artists, Loubert helped shepherd new work by Canadian creators like Dan and David Day (Cases of Sherlock Holmes), fellow Shuster inductee Dave Darrigo and R.G. Taylor (Wordsmith) and Larry Hancock and Michael Cherkas (Silent Invasion).
Loubert closed Renegade’s doors in 1989 but it’s a testament of the wide respect and popularity she held within the industry that the founders of Image Comics first approached her to be their publisher when they broke away from Marvel Comics. Loubert also worked for Wendy and Richard Pini as the Managing Editor at WaRP Graphics and was VP of Comic Book Development for Full Moon Entertainment, overseeing works by Marv Wolfman, Harlan Ellison and others.
For several years, Loubert worked as an artist representative in Hollywood and Friends of Lulu pamphlet, “How To Get Girls Into Your Store”, remains a must-read for comic shops wishing to avoid alienating half the world’s population. In 2003, her comic savvy and natural entrepreneurship continued with NovelGrafx Inc., an early developer of concepts and technology for delivery of comic books to cell phones and is currently laying the groundwork for a new, as yet unannounced comic project.
While we're celebrating all things Deni, check out this terrific and candid video interview with Margaret Liss and Jeff Tundis during the 2008 San Diego Comic Con.
Next Up: The creators of Captain Canuck share the spotlight.