Thursday, 27 January 2011

Fantastic Four, No. 67

This issue of the Fantastic Four, issue 67, was published in 1967; written by Stan Lee and drawn by Jack Kirby. When I say written by Stan Lee, I guess it's hard to know exactly how much he actually wrote, but that is a subject that has been discussed a thousand times on internet forums; I personally think he was an integral part of Marvel, however, the majority of the actual stories he was supposed to have written I find to be very hit and miss. The real talent on show here is the work of Jack Kirby, a man who's distinctive style I will be most definitely posting more of in the near future. I love the way Jack Kirby draws the human face, his male characters always look suitably rugged and chiselled, and the women have a strange beauty to them (I think it's in the cheekbones). Also, his use of shadow is very distinctive with large areas of black used to great effect; it usually only takes just one panel to know that it was drawn by Jack Kirby.

This issue also tells the origin of Warlock (Adam Warlock) who is originally known as simply 'Him'. The character is an artificial human created for personal gain and power by the scientific group 'The Enclave'. The Fantastic Four are on the Enclave's island base rescuing Alicia Masters, when 'Him' hatches from his cocoon and destroys the island. Him abandons his masters and departs Earth for space.

Monday, 24 January 2011

Not Brand Echh

'Not Brand Echh' was published by Marvel from 1967 to 1969; the issue I'm presenting is number 7 from April 1968. The credits are as follows:

'Not Brand Echh' is a satirical comic that not only satirises itself, but also other comic publishers of the time. There are two stories in this issue; the first is 'The Origin of The Fantastical Four' (featuring the characters; Weed Witchards - Mr Fantastical, Bim Grimm - The Thung, Shrew Storm - The Inevitable Girl and Sonny Storm - The Human Scorch), and the second is 'The Origin of Stuporman!' (which takes some none-too-subtle digs at DC).

Wednesday, 19 January 2011

Batman 181

Batman 181, June 1966

Written by- Robert Kanigher
Pencils - Sheldon Moldoff
Ink - Joe Giella
Cover art - Carmine Infantino & Murphy Anderson

This issue features the first ever appearance of the character 'Poison Ivy'; yet another foe of Batman's, though this one has an unhealthy obsession with plants, botany and environmentalism; primarily aimed at protecting the natural environment. She uses toxins from plants and mind controlling pheromones for her criminal activities.

Bruce Wayne is attending a pop-art exhibition showing pictures of the 3 most dangerous female criminals in the world; no.1 Dragon Fly, no.2 Silken Spider and no.3 Tiger Moth. Poison Ivy turns up at the exhibition and declares that she is the actual number one most dangerous female criminal; Bruce Wayne is entranced by her beauty. Poison Ivy challenges the top 3 females, who all turn up at a meeting place early with the same idea of using a surprise attack; it turns out it is a trap anyway and all three are knocked out. Batman and Robin arrive on the scene and Poison Ivy tries to 'woo' Batman with her sultry charms, however, he manages to snap out of it and they arrest her.

Thursday, 13 January 2011

From My Sketchbook!

A few people have said to me that I should put up a few drawings from my sketchbook, so below are four that I've chosen from the last twelve months. The first two are original characters that I've come up with and below them are two well known characters. All four were first pencilled, inked and then painted with gauache and ink. Let me know your thoughts!

Tuesday, 11 January 2011

How to Draw Comics the Marvel Way

Originally published  in 1978 was the book every young wannabe comic book creator was waiting for - How to Draw Comics the Marvel Way. Then 10 years later in 1988, Stan (the man) Lee and artist John Buscema released a video which entailed them working through the contents of the book with visual examples drawn by John Buscema himself. The only problem with the programme really is the majority of the drawings are from the book already, and so John Buscema is basically just tracing over them. However, there are a couple of chapters on the video that show him drawing from scratch and they can be found below. The first is from the chapter on how to draw heads, I particularly like the part on drawing the female head (it's much harder, you know!). The second part is the section on how to 'ink' (embedding is disabled for this video).

Saturday, 8 January 2011

Guillermo Del Toro Sketchbook

***Update: Released at the end of October 2013 is 'Guillermo del Toro Cabinet of Curiosities: My Notebooks, Collections, and Other Obsessions', think I'll be pre-ordering this for myself (or maybe I can convince someone that this would be an awesome Christmas present!) click the link to find out more!***

I love to look at sketchbooks and these are some of the best I've seen; these are pages from director Guillermo Del Toro's sketch book (Pan's Labyrinth, The Devil's Backbone, Hellboy).

Friday, 7 January 2011

The X-Men No. 21

Here are a few scans from issue 21 of 'The X-Men' from 1966. Created in 1963 by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, The X-Men was probably one of Marvel's less popular comics. This issue was written by Roy Thomas and Illustrated by Jay Gavin; who's real name was actually Werner Roth but had to use this pseudonym because he was also currently employed by DC at the time. My main problem with most of these early comics is how primitive the storytelling is. The ideas are truly excellent (undeniably so as the franchises are still popular today) and are still quite good to read, but the execution leaves quite a lot to be desired. That's not to say the artwork isn't any good, on the contrary; the artwork is fantastic and enthusiasm in the subject matter still translates well. But it's important to remember that this form of storytelling was still being formulated and experimented with. Many, many comics were churned out (as they always have been I guess), never intended to be great literature, and I'm pretty sure the creators never in their wildest dreams expected to be leaving such a rich legacy of truly inspirational work and ideas. But for all the stories that were churned out, there was always true pioneers reinventing the art form and making it into what it is today.

Thursday, 6 January 2011

The Amazing Spiderman No.75

To kick off 2011 I thought I'd start with a classic John Romita cover from issue 75 of 'The Amazing Spiderman' from 1969. I really like this cover a lot, I love the dark colours used to reflect the tone of the imagery, I also love the way Spiderman is walking towards us but his reflection in the window is walking away. But best of all is the body lying in the middle of the floor, very intriguing... This cover also reminds us that as much bravado, heroism and violence that occupy these pages, underneath the costumes are people; people with feelings and emotions. Someone like Peter Parker is a character that readers can perhaps relate to a little better than many other superhero's and this cover helps to enforce that. Below are a few examples of some excellent panels from the issue as well.