I Walk the Line (it is Drawn) Pt. 2

After the wrestlers we drew Jack Kirby creations. Me. Like. Kirby. If you haven’t let the holy light of Jack Kirby into your heart, you need to switch ideologies. A fan suggested Fin Fang Foom, and that sits perfect with me…bring on the monsters!

Foom_color_final

You tell em’, Foom!

Again, rushed on the colors, so I might one day revisit them. If I do, I’d definitely spend more time drawing the ruins of the Magic Kingdom. I tried to get a wrecked Monorail in there, but ran out of time.

Yeah, I’d like to spend more time on this, explore other monsters wrecking other fun places. Maybe a series.

Happy Birthday, Jack “King” Kirby. I hope your family sees justice…or at least money.

| Leave a comment

I Walk the Line (it is Drawn) Pt. 1

A few more recent pieces from the comicbookresources.com blog, Comics Should Be Good, and their series “A Line it is Drawn.” Keep in mind, the way the thread works is fans submit ideas based on themes and the artist pick the idea to work on.

Why else would I be drawing WWE’s the Undertaker? I’m not much of a current wrestling fan, but I used to watch classic 80’s wrestling with my cousins like crazy! Fans wanted the Undertaker to battle it out with DC’s Solomon Grundy, as well as Marvel’s Ghost Rider. The results?

Sorry, Undertaker.

Sorry, Undertaker.

I’m proud of the drawing, not so much the coloring. This one did NOT go over great with the crowd. I think they wanted something more “badass” and less mocking. I can understand that. I just think…the Undertaker’s signature move, the Tombstone Piledriver, involves sticking another guy’s head in your lap and then dropping him to the floor. You just wouldn’t DO THAT to Ghost Rider!

Here’s one I drew for myself; George “The Animal” Steel vs Animal “The Animal” Animal.

Don't blame me, I voted for George "the Animal" Steel.

Don’t blame me, I voted for George “the Animal” Steel.

George Steel is an inspiration and a personal hero. He understood the game of entertainment…show the people something NEW, something fun! Keep it spontaneous, keep em’ guessing!

The world needs more George Steels. And Muppets. The world can always use more Muppets.

| Leave a comment

Hangin’ a shingle, doing comics…

I’m doing some comics for comicbookresources.com, specifically the Comics Should Be Good Blog, and to be further distinct, the Line It Is Good thread. It’s mash-ups, as requested by readers of the blog. It’s fun, and I like it. I like me. I like you, too.

Anywho, here’s the first installment. They wanted the Enterprise “picking up” Kal-El’s ship on it’s way from a dying Krypton to Earth. I …sort of drew that.

Take that, Superbaby!

Take that, Superbaby!

| Leave a comment

Is This Thing On..?

Greetings reader. I haven’t updated in quite some time, as life has been intervening like the helicopter parents of a D&D player, circa 1980. Let’s press on with some content, Hmm?!

Remember these guys?

Remember these guys?

Here’s a Creeps comic to remind anyone who might happen upon this site who DOESN’T know me personally that I draw the adventures of strange, round headed freakos called “The Creeps.” Lately, when I have time to draw, I’ve been working on backgrounds for idevices featuring the Creeps in festive, rainbow colors. Here’s one I’m quite proud of; A creep trying to saw off his own hand, rendered in an understated orange:

He'll do it, too! He's Crazy!

He’ll do it, too! He’s Crazy!

Ah. The world needed that, and now it is created. You are welcome.

All of the colors were hand picked. No shadow layers or burning tools, here. THAT would make sense. Really, one of the things I use these pieces for is to work more with color and experiment. As a (predominantly) line-artist, it is important to keep building up those color muscles less they atrophy and fall off.

Questions about my process? My hair? The Universe? Post a comment. Let’s start a dialog. Here’s a good question: “Do I think vagueness has its time and place?” Hmmmm. Maybe?

| Leave a comment

Aquaman and the Infinite Sadness: A Brief History of Comic’s Wet Lapped Sea King

by lil’ Devin T. Quin

Comic books have a tragic hero to rival the heart wrenching figures of classic literature, such as Quasimodo, Tess of the D’Urbervilles and Dobby the magical house elf. Often disregarded and certainly underrated, this comic book icon has been the butt of jokes almost since his inception. We speak, of course, of Aquaman, the aquatic Pagliacci, the Rodney Dangerfield of the Sea.

Aquaman is the perpetual bridesmaid of comic book cool. When Superman reinvented the game Aquaman tagged along, a human living underwater thanks to the wonders of science. Aquaman had backup adventures in the pages of Superboy’s comic title. His powers included swimming, breathing and verbally talking to fish.

It’s hard to respect a man dressed in orange. It’s even harder to respect him when he’s sitting second chair to a boy who can fly to the sun and shoot lasers out of his eyes. What did Aquaman bring to the Golden Age? An octopus sidekick named Topo.

Making fun of Aquaman is SO easy it’s passé. It’s like shooting fish in a barrel….whoa, sorry Aquaman, I didn’t mean to be so insensitive to your friends. My Bad.

IT GETS WORSE

Silver Age Aquaman was shackled with a new origin, being a half human half merman, and given two teenage prodigies. Renewed with the ability to telepathically communicate with sea creatures, he was also hampered by the need to get wet every hour or die. “Superman has a weakness in Kryptonite,”went the thought process. “Kids like weakness, don’t they?”

Regardless of what was happening in comic books during the time, 80’s kids remember Aquaman as the respected member of the Super Friends that NO ONE wanted to be during recess. Young boys would rather assent to being Marvin the Wondermutt before they’d willingly play-act Aquaman.

When the one/two punch of Watchmen and The Dark Knight Returns hit the scene in 1986, EVERYBODY had to be grim and gritty. It took Aquaman a while to horn in on that act, but by the 1990’s Aquaman was looking like a disheveled drunk and had his hands chewed off by his own piranhas. How’s THAT for dark?! Is that dark enough for you? How about if he stopped wearing a shirt, too?! NOW you’re talking! Aquaman is so F’ing core! Aquaman is darker than Trent Reznor on Gothday at Disneyworld.

Aquaman was so dark that he freakin’ DIED! Yeah, Then he came back as a Zombie, undead Black Lantern during the Blackest Night storyline. Once that was over, he had angst, as he couldn’t remember WHY he was alive, and when he summon up creatures of the deep they were all ZOMBIES! Zombie killer whales, zombie giant squids wreckin’ up the place! Feel my aquatic angst! Only the black, empty eye sockets of a Zombie Hammerhead shark matches the color of my soul!!!

OLD SPICE

So let’s review: When Superman was flying in the air, Aquaman was swimming underwater. When Batman was punching crime, Aquaman was wearing orange and green tights. When everything had to be as dark as pitch, Aquaman looked more like Aqualung from Jethro Tull.

Aquaman is first and foremost a trend follower. Aqu is ALWAYS wearing yesterday’s fashion and trying to turn a buck by aping his betters. May we present an alternative perspective?

Aquaman is a distinctively interesting character because he’s the king of sea…but who of us cares or understands the water anymore? Superman works because we all want to be able to fly. Batman works because we all want to punish those who wrong us. Aquaman is awesome because he can explore shipwrecks, discover new forms of phytoplankton and is immune to the Bends…but that isn’t what kids fantasize about.

They’ve hit the nail on the head once or twice. Aquaman as he appears in Kingdom Come and subsequently in the JLA as the all powerful, experienced naysayer, always two seconds away from finding something better to punch underwater is a good characterization. It implies what we suspect: that life as an undersea monarch must be fascinating, though hard to picture.

I like the recent “Batman the Brave and the Bold” Aquaman, too. Stripped of all his darkness, this Aquaman is a pompous version of his Super Friends fore-bearer, eagerly having a freakin’ blast being an all wet super hero and constantly outliving everyone around him. Herculese of the Sea is he, arg!

TOO LITTLE, TOO LATE

But t’is naught but the shiny side of a darker coin. Aquaman in popular culture is a flat joke. The first “Aquaman is a worthless dope” joke I can remember was done on the seminal MTV show, “The State,”but since them it’s been a quick go-to for lazy humorists (apparently, as I review this column years later, myself included!) Aquaman’s q-rating is so low that they used an Aquaman movie on the TV show “Entourage” as the big budget project that NOBODY would ever want to be a part of. Even Spongebob, that spineless sea sponge gets to kick Aquy when he’s down by parodying him as the geriatric Mermaid Man.

AQUAMAN: THE FUTURE

Aquaman can thrive if he stays true to himself, the much-harangued king of the oceans, discoverer of lost scientific discoveries and the all around macho muchacho of the briny blue. Here’s my pitch: Page 1, Aquaman punches a submarine onto land yelling “Get off my lawn, ya’ dang kids!” Page 2 he goes back to flirting with Mermaids until he has to fight a sea monster!

The recent announcement that Conan and Game of Thrones Ubermench Jason Momoa is going to play the Wet-Nap King Arthur is heartening, but we must mettle our enthusiasm with perspective. For years DC marketing was only happy when Aquaman was a dog fetching back the comic trends that others tossed into the busy street of publishing. DC and their parent company Warner Brothers gave two less hoots than a mute owl about feature film versions of their characters before Marvel and Disney started raking in the big bucks. This push for a full length feature film on Aquaman is (in the minds of accountants) part of a bigger, healthy jig-saw puzzle of films to reinvent their assets and produce mass capital..i.e. Roll in the filthy cash.

Can this Aquaman movie succeed? YES, if the right people give the right love and respect to the character and give the audiences something they’ve never seen before…a cool, bad ass Aquaman. Are there any talents out there who can do such a thing?

Yes. Me. I accept the director’s chair for the Aquaman feature film.

GO AQUAMAN, GO!

| Leave a comment

A Good Day

Next time I think something is amazing, I’m gonna’ say it’s “Bat Symbol Chest Hair” amazing.

20130719-102613.jpg

Posted in SDCC2013 | Leave a comment

INFLATED EGOS

The Symbiosis Between Cartoons and Balloons

Just like every comic book writer is only doing their best to break into feature films, every cartoonist is really only drawing to break into the spectacular world of Giant Inflatable Balloons! Nothing says “success” like having your character turned into a wind-blown, vinyl version of itself. Outside the San Diego Comic Con are large scale promotional balloons of Cartoon Network’s “Regular Show” regulars Rigby and Mordecai, as well as the entire roster of the Teen Titans.

...AH! At least I've been a giant balloon.

…AH! At least I’ve been a giant balloon.

Here is a photo of the Teen Titan’s Beast Boy. Note the self satisfied ease across his face. Beast Boy is now a giant inflatable. He can cross that off of his cartoon character bucket list.

Until we, the comic book press elite, are allowed into the convention center we have naught to do but seek the solitude of quiet, dank places and file stories about our surroundings. On the plus side, the San Diego Comic Con has a great deal of impressive outdoor advertisements that speak to geek culture. Unfortunately, they involve being outside in the sun.

Hey-OH!

Hey-OH!

Have you ever thought to yourself “Where do giant inflatable versions of my favorite cartoon character’s come from?” If the answer is “NO,” then you are lying, as reading that sentence made you instantly ponder the question. It’s good news that we, the media, are here to do your thinking for you.

While some of the biggest, Macy’s scale balloons are made by giant rubber producer Goodyear, Cartoon Network seems to use the cheerful folks at Landmark Creations International of Burnsville, MN. Landmark employs roughly 15, has been in the balloon business since the 90’s, and is easily accessible via phone call at 12:45 San Diego time.

Does YOUR hometown have its own flag? Tisk, Tisk, Tisk.

Does YOUR hometown have its own flag? Tisk, Tisk, Tisk.

Landmark Creations handles the majority of Cartoon Networks balloons. “We have about a half dozen large balloons [for Cartoon Network] out there currently,” said Stephanie Meacham, one of the heads at Landmark, “and maybe a dozen small ones.”

YES, I contacted the balloon manufacturing people for this article. DO YOU KNOW who you’re dealing with?! I’M DEVIN T. QUIN!

The designs for the balloons come from Cartoon Network. “They call the shots,” states Stephanie. Turn around can be 4-6 weeks, depending on how many intense conference calls get involved. Stephanie played a pretty good game of defense when talking turkey on prices, but it seems that a ball-park price for a big, billowing version of Beast Boy could be anywhere between $2,000 or $20,000. Like the San Diego Padre’s stadium, that’s a pretty big ballpark.

Rarely do the balloon designers, roughly a team of ten artists and production people, get to talk to the cartoonists on the other end of the pencil. Stephanie did tell me the team was excited to work on the Teen Titans balloons, as the Landmark team were “Big fans.”

San Diego is a fascinating show. As the biggest “Comic Book Convention” in America, it is still a place where comics get promoted, unveiled and celebrated, though the proximity to Hollywood and the glut of Super-Hero movies encroaches on its humble beginnings each year. Even within the industry, many don’t know what comics will look like a few years down the road.

The big business of comic books is all in the licensing, hence the need for giant promotional balloons.

titans3

And the future of giant promotional balloons?

“Knock on wood,” says Stephanie Meachuam, but the business grows every year. Balloons are large and physical, can tour to multiple cons and make a fun, colorful impact.

What cartoon is this from?

What cartoon is this from?

This is a photo of one of Landmark Creation’s strangest creations, a scientific model of a Dogfish’s brain rendered in inflatable glory.

There are countless panels at the San Diego Comic Con for the hopefuls wanting to break into comics. They dream of creating the next Deadpool, Green Lantern or Cyborg. They dream of, one day, seeing their character rendered as a promotional balloon for photo ops and terrifying parade spectators.

starfire1

Is there an incredible back-door to the comic book industry we’ve never considered before? Deep in sleepy Minnesota is an American owned and operated business doing very well for itself creating beloved characters and lasting impressions.

Next year at SDCC, I’m hoping for a “Breaking into Giant Inflatable Balloons” panel.

| Leave a comment