Justice Jam

Justice Jam, Justice League, Superman, Batman, Flash, Wonder Woman[link]

This was the one that started it all… I just thought that Superman’s new design, with the jeans looked pretty… “grunge”… like he should belong in a rock band. So I did this piece and I kinda got carried away and did a band jam piece for the whole Justice League…

Justice League, Superman, Batman, Flash, Wonder WomanI am a big sucker for combination panorama comic covers, so I wanted this to be the concept for this series.

Batman:

Justice League, Superman, Batman, Flash, Wonder WomanFlash and Wonder Woman

Justice Jam, Justice League, Superman, Batman, Flash, Wonder Woman

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Let’s Go Boys

Going through a bit of a dry spell..

I thrashed the last three pieces that I did because they are too horrible to show. Hours down the drain there…

This is the only halfway decent piece that I did recently… it’s also my first ensemble piece… Took hours just to render… then more hours on Photoshop… I really should get a faster comp.. šŸ˜€

Not completely satisfied with Superman, might redo him one day in the distant future..

Still trying to find my “style” so C&C most welcome.

Thanks!

Truth, Justice and the American Way

A new piece of mine featuring the Superman and Wonder Woman. (More Wonder Woman than Superman, actually)

I’m trying to recreate the feel of old style bleached treated photography with a bit of overexposure. Another thing I was trying out on this piece was the use of white space. Hence the huge amount of white over the head of WW.

Instead of an all American Wonder Woman, I was going for one with a more sinister feel, contrasting her darkness with the overall brightness of the piece.

It’s all about WAR(s)!

Right now, there are at least 3 wars raging in the big 2 universe. And I am just talking about the “regular” universe and not the various multiverses that they have.

War is one of the ultimate story telling techniques for companies with big and recognizable rosters.Ā  It is a wonderful excuse to bring together their biggest names in a big showdown and milk the feel good (and cash) factor of the various brands for all they are worth. Kind of like WWE’s annual Royal Rumble.

Over the past few years we’ve seen lots of wars being raged. Civil War, Skrull Invasion, War of Kings, Annihilation War, Secret War, Secret War 2, Kree Skrull War, Sinestro Corp War, The Invisible War, Doom War, World War Hulk, Siege just to name a few. Even events like House of M, Blackest Night and Final Crisis though technically not wars, have the same factors as all the above mentioned storylines.

Comic War veterans (like myself) have come to realize that not all wars are created equal. For every Blackest Night, there is a World War Hulks. And we have probably come to a realization of what makes a “war” work and what doesn’t.

2 factors which make or break a “war” storyline for me are:

– the “time between installments” factor

– the “does anything that happen here matters” factor

Regular readers here will know that I think “Blackest Night” is the most awesome storyline since Huckleberry Finn, but it reaaaaaaally irks me that we can go weeks, even up to a month without any progress in the main story. I understand that is probably the publisher’s attempt to cash more out of this mega event, but having to wait so long for a fast and furious war just seemed wrong. This is what I think is the primary reason for the failure of “Siege” as well.

“War of the Supermen” certainly fixed the timeliness factor well. It is essentially a 100 minutes (yup you read it right, MINUTES) war and the whole story is over in 4 issues that comes out weekly. Pretty awesome, except for the fact that it does not pass the “does it matter” test. Sure the whole New Krypton concept has gone down the toilet and the fatalities were high, but New Krypton was a concept that is like the proverbial fish and overstaying guest. It stank because it has hung around beyond its welcome period. And at the end of the day, no matter how many Kryptonians die, we know that the primary ones (Superman, Supergirl, Superboy, Krypto the Super Dog) and even the sub primary ones (Zod and gang) will live on. PLUS: the action sequences were quite crappy. They should have taken a peek at what the Green Lanterns were doing in Blackest Night.

Which brings us to the mess that is World War Hulks… or Fall of the Hulks… or whateveryouwanttocallit.

It is… in every sense of the word, a HUGE mess. Beside the awful story telling and horrible characterizations, it does not even have the decency to end its run early. The whole fiasco with Red Hulk and the Intelligencia started even before Siege and it is still ongoing. The gaps between each inconsequential installment of the series is painstaking and furthermore, the creators seemed to be under the pompous delusion that whatever happened here matter. I mean… Hulked out marines and… Hulked out heroes????? The Hulk brand can do A LOT better.

Anyone still intending to do a “War” story should really look at how Marvel is kicking ass in “Second Coming” for the X Men.

The action is fast and superbly furious. There is AT LEAST one installment of “Second Coming” every week and each installment progresses the story with new plot twists and casualties from the war. And the best part? They did all this without sacrificing the quality of the storytelling and the art.

The casualty rate in Second Coming is high and we have already seen the death of an instantaneously recognizable X Men, with numerous others suffering potentially career endingĀ  injuries.

And the best part? Marvel does not seem like it is going to let up on the body count any time soon.

Say what you want about the overexposure and brand exploitation of the X-Men, but Marvel certainly knows how to protect the brand integrity of the X-Men. By telling stories of the highest standards when it comes to mega events like “Second Coming”. (Childish sidenote: I still can’t help sniggering at the title)

THIS is the way War should be done.

A special mention this week should go to The Amazing Spider Man. Almost 2 years ago, I was doing some serious bitching about the concept of Brand New Day. I am still not happy with the deus ex machina they used to annul the marriage of Peter Parker and Mary Jane Watson, but I have to admit that much good came out of it. The whole “Gauntlet” mega storyline and its various mini components have worked superbly so far, and they would not have happened if Peter Parker was still happily, or unhappily married. I love the fact that they never let the “Spider Man” concept grow old and so far, managed to reinvent some of his older rogue gallery to make them more than the goofy concepts they were 30 years back.

My favorite panel of the week, however has to be this….

If only for the preview tagline.

I mean, seriously…

“Lobo PUNCHES PEOPLE WITH RINGS… hard”

Comics does not get better than this. *Excite*

Rein in the Fanboys

Smallville used to be a guilty pleasure of mine.

The plotlines were incredibly contrived, the lines – painfully cheesy, the acting – decidedly atrocious and the CGI… not exactly top notch.

But if anything, Smallville had one great thing going for it…Ā Ā  Lana Lang. Haha, I kid. The show was rife with awesome fan references to obscure characters and storylines from the DCU – some of which actually involves Lana Lang!

I was lulled back to the show by the much advertised Geoff Johns (lead creator of Blackest Night)Ā  penned episode of Smallville which will feature *gasp* The Justice Society!

The Justice Society is a big thing on my comics shopping list, especially the Geoff Johns penned ones. The JSA is different from most superhero teams. With the motto of “The world need better good guys”, the JSA went about “collecting” the heirs of superheroes past and go through the 101 of “How to be a Superhero” with them…. Kinda like the X-Men, but cooler. You cannot go wrong with a bunch of old fogies like Wild Cat, Green Lantern (Alan Scott) and the Flash (Jay Gerrick) leading the team.

Because of its premise, the recent roster of the JSA has more than 20 members (or about 1% when compared to the cast of the X-Men) , but Geoff managed to create a personal touch for each of them. He made me care about B-Listers like (these are real superhero code names) the Atom Smasher, Power Girl, Mr Terrific, Citizen Steel, Sandy, etc…. but more importantly, he made it seemed like they care for each other too. There’s a warm and fuzzy feeling I get when reading them.

The original creators of Smallville had a strict “No Tights No Flights” policy. Think it worked in favor of the series as it kept a measure of suspense to the series. It explored possible “influences” that made Clark Kent Superman and hints at the possible future of Clark. There was an aura of suspense in the show… much like the “is it there/is it not” relationship of Agent Mulder and Scully in the X Files.

Besides this, there was another huge factor that made this code works – Tights just look ridiculous on normal human beings… eeeesh…

Anyway, a lot has apparently happened since Kristin Kreuk left the series. Besides using star writers like Geoff Johns to continue to lull fanboys in, the creators of SmallvilleĀ  had been using lots of guest stars and super heroes appearances to boost ratings.

They were apparently so desperate, they recently resorted to the use of… The Wonder Twins…. ooooooh….

Back to this episode of Clark Kent….Ā  to summarize it in 2 words – IT SUCKS!

It seems even Geoff Johns cannot make comic book dialogue work in real life. Some decidedly witty one liners just does not come across right… Perhaps it’s the comic book to video conversion, or maybe… just maybe, the producers should channel their funding to acting classes for the cast.Ā  The plot for the episode was ok, but the acting made the show a pain to watch.

Actual lines from the show include such gems as:

Jo’hn Jonzz (aka: Martian Manhunter): I hope it’s not too late to say, “We come in peace.”

Green Arrow: Drop the mace, Conan.
Hawkman: I will… on your head.
Green Arrow: Bring it, big bird. Just for the record, you started it.
Hawkman: I’ll finish it

Oliver: What are you–my chaperone?
Hawkman: Think of me as your parole officer but with a mace.

Green Arrow: I’m thinking we should regroup with the others before we go after Icicle Junior.
Hawkman: You go back to Sherwood, Robin Hood. I’ll turn the Icicle into slush myself.

TOTAL Schumacher’s “Batman and Robin” Deja vu.

Hmm… maybe I shouldn’t be that hard on the actors… It seems impossible to deliver lines like these with a straight face… unless you’re Kristin.

Return of the Panaromic Covers

Remember the comic buying craze in the 80s/90s where fanboys buy comics in bulk to collect the ultra rare variant covers? Those were the days of gimmicks such as holographic covers, die cut covers, fold out covers, pencil sketches covers, and my favorite the “combine our 1000000000 difference covers to form a hug-eass awesome poster” covers.

Marvel has done it again with Siege… Apparently the variants of Siege combine to form this little treasure… The look on Norman Osbourne’s face is priceless!

And now that they just announced the offshoots for SiegeĀ  (namely Siege: Captain America, Siege, Spider Man, Siege: Loki, Siege: Young Avengers and Siege: Secret Warriors), they decided to follow up with the announcement of the 5 variant covers by the super talented Marko Djurdjevic. The covers for the issues will form the panorama below.. Simply awesome…

While we are on the subject of variant covers, I decided this to be one of the best I’ve seen in recent times… For Blackest Night #3

Speaking of the ongoing feud between Siege and Blackest Night, Marvel just issued this little press release to comic book retailers…

In an effort to provide assistance to comic retailers in 2010, Marvel is offering retailers an opportunity to turn unsold comics into an extremely rare Siege #3 Deadpool Variant!

Retailers ā€“ for every 50 stripped covers of the following comics sent to Marvel, you will qualify to receive one FREE Siege #3 Deadpool Variant.

Is it any wonder most of the listed titles are Blackest Night Tie ins? Apparently, retailers had to order large quantities of these Blackest Nights Tie Ins in order to get super rare limited editions of Green Lantern power rings.

And said Deadpool Variant?

Comic of the Week – Week of 27 Aug 09

No, I’ve not slacked off for the past 3 weeks. I was away for work.

I’ve been catching up on the previous few weeks of comics and not surprisingly, Blackest Night continues to be brilliant.

Even the side series such as Blackest Night: Superman and Blackest Night: Batman impressed, which is much more than what can be said for the side series of other Mega Crossover events these days.

The inclusion of the crap talking Deadman to theĀ  uneasy alliance between the new Batman and Robin is simply… awesome. I was going to complain that too many of the classic Batman Rogue Gallery seemed to be dead, maimed or rendered lame these days, then along came this little ditty…

Blackest Night Batman, rogue gallery, ventriloquist, batman rogue gallery

Brrrr…. what is it? Chills running down my spines is what it is.

Blackest Night: Superman took a very different direction from the other Blackest Night books so far. At the core of it all, Blackest Night is a book about zombies, and conventional wisdom dictates that zombies are commonly associated with… slasher flicks. And what would be a better place to base a slasher flick than the small American cornfield town of Smallville?

blackest night, Superman, it's a bird

Also, it’s the first time I’ve seen an individual running so many colors on the emotional spectrum as seen by Black Lantern Kal L.

Blackest Night Superman, color spectrum, superman

As for this week’s entry… to be honest, I am still waiting for my Secret Warriors to come in. I was very sure that THAT or Green Lantern #45 (being a Blackest Night book. Did I mention I adore the series right now) would be the books to top the charts this week. So before, I procrastinate any longer with this week’s entry, I decided that we should just move on.

Green Lantern #45, while good, focused too much on the War of the Lights in space. While it fleshes out Sinestro even more (if you can believe it. The guy has a Corp named after him) as a character, not much happened on Earth, which I felt was where the real fun is.

My problem with the War of the Lights is that there is too much baggage. Too many characters running around that is simply over the head for casual (really) fans like myself. There is too much history to catch up on that I simply cannot be bothered for the moment.

Ditto for Batman and Superman. I just know that the new Batman *spoiler alert?* is Dick Grayson and the new Robin, Damien Wayne. Superman’s New Krypton is a story line that I have not even begin to wrap my brain around.

Don’t even get me started on the X family of books. I cannot get who’s dead and who’s not anymore.

That is the reason why those books have not been on the Comic of the Week list so far. Though to be fair, Detective Comics this week is kind ofĀ  brilliant. Like the continuation of the Dark Prophecy for Batwoman.

That is why I’ve decided to cheat a bit and put a Trade Paperback as my Comic of the Week.

Presenting Robert Kirkman’s The Walking Dead.

Walking dead, Vol 10, kirkman, rick, zombies, what we become

Yes, it’s another zombie book but an uber brilliant one. It is not so much the brain eating brain-dead-guys or the hack-slash gore (I hate gore) that are cool, as the interactions between the various survivors of the zombie apocalypse. Kirkman just uses the scenario his exploration into the (sometimes dark, somewhat hopeful, always… human?) human psyche in this ongoing soap opera series.

The TPB is at its 10th volume right now, and I think we have just began to comprehend how far this rabbit hole really goes.Ā  By this volume, the main protagonist, Rick is not so much an anti hero anymore. He is just a Survivor like everyone in the book. Nothing more. Nothing less. As the world continues to trudge around knee deep in zombies, we began to see, through Rick’s interactions with new found Survivors and his current crew, what being a Survivor truly entails. It is not a pretty sight. But one you cannot stop starring at.

Highly recommended for… well… EVERYONE. Even those that don’t normally like zombies. Trust me, it’s worth it.

And yes, I trade wait for this series. For one thing, I cannot justify the money output for a black and white series every month. For another, I am pretty sure the anticipation from the month to month cliff hangers will kill me.

Speaking of zombies, apparently Marvel decided to hop onto the bandwagon with this as well.

X men, Dead will rise

Apparently Dead Mutants will rise.

Wish we could say the same about originality…