Forgotten Books: Agents of Atlas – Jeff Parker, Stan Lee, et al.

 Comics, Forgotten Books, Graphic Novels, Jeff Parker, Stan Lee  Comments Off on Forgotten Books: Agents of Atlas – Jeff Parker, Stan Lee, et al.
Apr 032015
 

Like a lot of comics fans of my generation, I was a huge fan
of writer/artist Jim Steranko’s legendary run on Nick Fury, Agent of
S.H.I.E.L.D., first in STRANGE TALES and then in Fury’s own comic book. The
issues-long battle between Fury and the villainous Yellow Claw was probably the
high point of the STRANGE TALES run. I thought it was great stuff. But I had no
idea at the time that it

Sneak Peek: The New Femme Noir!

 Comics, Comics Previews, FEMME NOIR, My Projects  Comments Off on Sneak Peek: The New Femme Noir!
Mar 032015
 

I’m pleased to announce that the Femme Noir team – Yours Truly, artist Joe Staton, inker Rick Burchett, and colorist Matt Webb – have begun production of a new Femme Noir miniseries, “Cold, Dead Fingers.”  I can’t say when it will be finished, but I’m hopeful that it will be completed this year, and probably see print in 2016. No publisher yet, but I have been having some encouraging discussions.

To celebrate this new beginning, I thought you folks might like to take a look at the first page of our forthcoming supernatural crime saga. To make it more special, I’m going to share with you the process that we employ in making our Femme Noir funnybooks.

I. It Begins With The Word: In this case, I wrote a detailed plot, breaking down the storytelling in some detail. No dialogue or captions as yet – I write those after I have Joe’s penciled pages in hand; as I am the letterer as well as writer, I basically do both at the same time. Here’s how the plot described this first splash page:

PANEL 1. And here we go…. We begin with a movie poster-styled splash page. In the center of the image is a full-length shot of Le Femme, hat pulled down low, guns in hands, trenchcoat whipping in the wind. Behind her is a sketched in Port Nocturne skyline. On the left, there’s a huge, spookily-lit “ghostly” head shot of our brutish killer – in this iteration, he’s called “Crusher” Corrigan – and below him, a full-length image of mad scientist Dr. Karl Boroff. On the right hand side of the page, opposite Corrigan’s scary melon, is an equally spooky “ghost” head of Madame Morella MaCabre. Below her, opposite of Boroff, is a full-length figure of plainclothes dick Lt. Rod Riley, pistol drawn.

Below that, room for the title lettering – ‘COLD, DEAD FINGERS’ – and a breathless introductory caption.

II. Joe’s Deadly Pencil: From this florid description, Joe draws the page in pencil, employing his considerable talent and experience, working his magic:

FN_CD_01_01A

Joe then e-mails me a lo-res jpeg to review. Once I’ve looked it over, and am sure that we’re both happy with it, Joe then e-mails the page as a hi-res image file to…

III. Putting The Noir In Femme Noir: …inker Rick Burchett. Joe and Rick have worked together numerous times before, perhaps most memorably on the 1980s incarnation of E-Man. In this case, Rick is applying his atmospheric blacks digitally, using his Cintique tablet.

FN_CD_01_01B

Once completed, Rick sends jpeg files to both Joe and I to see if we have any notes. If everything’s cool, as it is here, the image is then sent on to our last teammate.

IV. Dangerous Hues: Colorist Matt Webb gets his hands on the page next, and with the original script for reference (and having colored several Femme Noir adventures before), Matt digitally – and dramatically – colors the page.

FN_CD_01_01c

Nice, huh? Once again, a lo-resolution copy of the colors is sent out for approval of all and sundry. Then, it all comes back to me.

V. The Final Words With the finished page in my e-mail box, I take it into Photoshop and fit it into the appropriate page template. Having scripted the dialogue – or in this case, caption – when I got the pencils, I then do the lettering in Illustrator. Finally, I drop the text in on the page back in Photoshop…  and voilà!

FNOIR_CDF_01_01

So that’s how we do it. Repeat for pages 2, 3, 4 and so on… until the book is complete.

Stay tuned here for future Femme Noir updates, sneak peeks and announcements (which will always appear here first!).

Have you pre-ordered BLACK HOOD #1 yet from Dark Circle Comics…

 Canary, Comics, Duane Swierczynski, Lit, The Black Hood  Comments Off on Have you pre-ordered BLACK HOOD #1 yet from Dark Circle Comics…
Feb 022015
 




Have you pre-ordered BLACK HOOD #1 yet from Dark Circle Comics yet? Read what the critics are saying! @drkcirclecomics 

Tremendously excited for the first issue of The Black Hood, which will be available the same week as Duane Swierczynski’s new novel, Canary

Today’s the last day to call up your local comics store to ensure that they’ll have a copy waiting for you on February 25th. 

Wednesday Cover: THE SPIRIT – THE NEW ADVENTURES

 Comics, Crime Comics, Wednesday Cover  Comments Off on Wednesday Cover: THE SPIRIT – THE NEW ADVENTURES
Jan 142015
 

Back in 1997, Kitchen Sink Press published several issues of Will Eisner’s The Spirit – The New Adventures, for which they invited a number of the comic industry’s top talents to contribute original stories featuring Central City’s masked crimebuster. A lot of great names were involved, and many of the stories were extremely good, sometimes rivaling the master’s own tales. They sported some terrific covers, too – including this Brian Bolland masterpiece from Issue #3. It was also released as a limited edition print (shown below).

The Marvels Project: Birth of the Super Heroes – Ed Brubaker and Steve Epting

 Captain America, Comics, Ed Brubaker, Golden Age, Graphic Novels, Human Torch, Steve Epting, Submariner  Comments Off on The Marvels Project: Birth of the Super Heroes – Ed Brubaker and Steve Epting
Jan 072015
 

This hardback collection reprints a mini-series published in
2009 and 2010, a short time before I started reading comics again, but somehow
I’d never heard of it until I came across a copy at the Half Price Books in
Corpus Christi last summer. It’s written by one of my favorite modern comics
authors, Ed Brubaker, and drawn by one of the best artists, Steve Epting. Since
those two were

Guns In the Gutters: TOUGH GUYS AND WILD WOMEN #1 (The Saint)

 Comics, Crime Comics, Guns In The Gutters  Comments Off on Guns In the Gutters: TOUGH GUYS AND WILD WOMEN #1 (The Saint)
Dec 132014
 

Written & Illustrated by Various
B&W, Comics Format

Eternity Comics, 1989

Beneath a nicely-designed cover, this comic reprints four adventures of Leslie Charteris’ Simon Templar, a/k/a The Saint, originally published within the pages of the popular character’s eponymous comic book series back in the late Forties.

The first story, “Suite Number 13,” (The Saint #7, 1949) solely credited to Walter Johnson, finds the legendary gentleman adventurer and his muscular sidekick, Hoppy, at a French Riviera resort, where he tangles with a sultry baroness, duels with a snotty count, and recovers a stolen treasure – all in 8 pages. The story is typical pulp, and the artwork is rather pedestrian, with a constantly smiling, square-jawed Templar. In fact, he rather presciently resembles actor Roger Moore, who took on the Templar role some years later on British television.

The second story, “The Blackmail Beauty,” (The Saint #7, 1949) appears to be the work of the same creators, and has Templar back in London, involved with sexy blackmailer. Story number three, “The Diamond of Death,” (The Saint #5, 1949) is the work of a different, better artist, one who’s clearly influenced by Milton Caniff. In fact, the Oriental femme fatale of the tale is a dead ringer for Terry And The Pirates‘ Dragon Lady.

The issue wraps up with “The Saint Breaks A Spell, “(The Saint #5, 1949), which features yet another artist and an energetic, two-fisted Templar with a perpetual toothy grin – even in the most inappropriate situations. The Saint is pitted against an evil cult out to scare an heiress to death.

The four stories in this comic are pretty standard, unremarkable Golden Age stuff, with decent art and serviceable writing. But they don’t hold a candle to The Saint newspaper strip (which Eternity also reprinted some of in their Private Eyes title), which was witty as well as exciting.

I found this in a bargain bin for 50¢, and don’t regret picking it up, but I wouldn’t recommend making an effort to hunt down a copy, unless you’re a die-hard Saint completist and can’t afford the 40’s originals.

There was at least one more issue of this title, but I don’t have a copy.

Two Out of Six Bullets.

Wednesday Covers: WINTERWORLD

 Comics, Wednesday Cover  Comments Off on Wednesday Covers: WINTERWORLD
Nov 262014
 

Winterworld was a 3-issue miniseries by Chuck Dixon and artist Jorge Zaffino, originally published in 1987 by Eclipse Comics. A post-Apocalyptic tale of survival, set in an unspecified future where the world is covered in ice and snow, the series featured some pretty savage action and brutal storytelling by Dixon & Zaffino.

The original miniseries – along with a previously unpublished sequel, Wintersea, by the same creative team, was recently published in trade paperback form by IDW Publishing, and Dixon has followed  that collection with a new, ongoing Winterworld comic book series. I’ve only read the first issue, but it was terrific, and I wouldn’t hesitate to highly recommend both the trade collection and the new series to fans of hard-hitting action and adventure tales.

Here are the original Eclipse miniseries covers by Zaffino.

Wednesday Covers: DANGER TRAIL

 Comics, Spy-Fi, Wednesday Cover  Comments Off on Wednesday Covers: DANGER TRAIL
Nov 192014
 

In 1993 DC Comics published a 4-issue revival of their 1950 spy comic, Danger Trail. The ’93 miniseries was written by Len Wein, and illustrated by Carmine Infantino and Frank McLaughlin. The story was a fairly shameless rip-off of various James Bond movies, and featured DC superspy King Faraday in an adventure pitting him against the supervillain Kobra.

It was enjoyable stuff, but highly derivative. Fortunately, DC had the good sense to hire comicdom’s premiere spy artist, Paul Gulacy, to draw the dynamic, eye-catching covers. Check them out: