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2010 SKETCHBOOK (60 pages, black/white/tone, print run 100 copies)


Monday, March 04, 2019

The Beautiful Art of David Williams...BroHawk

I met David Williams at one of the local conventions and just fell in love with his art. His figures have a wonderful lively feel to them and his characters express emotion through their faces, hands, and posture. David has a wonderful sense of storytelling and every sequential story he draws is a pleasure to read.

He has not done enough sequential work for my taste. I wish he was on a monthly book, so I can get his work every 30 days...well, until that happens, I will be happy with what ever I can get :)

Below are a few of the pages from one of the early mini-series David penciled, "Power Pack and Hulk"!

Monday, February 12, 2018

Monday, January 08, 2018

88 Keys and 10 Fingers

Matt Maxwell is the creator of "Strangeways" and he is always putting together clever plots for creative projects, both as prose and sequential comic book.

A few years back he was working on a new "Strangeways" collection that was going to contain all new short stories and he invited me to contribute art to a short story that he wrote. The working title of the story was "88 Keys and 10 Fingers" and it involved a piano...and a haunting melody.

The story hasn't seen print yet, so I don't think it would be appropriate to show the whole story, but here is a random double page spread, unlettered and uncolored:

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Lost Abbey (part 2)

A number of black and white pages from the second issue of "Lost Abbey":

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Famous Monster Convention In San Jose! October 27-29, 2017!

After missing the last two APE conventions in San Jose, I am making a triumphant return to the convention circuit at the Famous Monster Convention in San Jose, Oct 27-29!

Lost Abbey black and white pages (part 1)

One of my completed projects is a 5 issue series from Jet City Comics titled "Muirwood: Lost Abbey". The final art was beautifully painted by Lizzy John, who I also had good fortune of working with on "Dark Crystal" books as well as the more recent pages for Dan Fogler's "Brooklyn Gladiator".

Presented here are a few of the black and white pages, from issue #1, as they were submitted to Lizzy.

Monday, May 30, 2016

Johnny Craig

Fantagraphics started putting out a series of books reprinting EC comic book stories. Each volume focuses on a particular artist and collects stories from across the line of EC titles. The stories are printed in black and white, and I read somewhere that the reproductions are taken directly from photostats that were originally used for reproduction back in the 50's...someone held on to all of that material for more that 60 years! The reproductions tend to be clean and crisp, with solid blacks being nice and rich.

I picked up books focusing on the work of Al Williamson, Wally Wood, and John Severin last year. My favorite is definitely the Al Williamson collection, "50 Girls 50", because the majority of the stories have a sci-fi bent to them and there are some wonderful inking by Frank Frazetta on some of the stories (in fact, Frank Frazetta's "Squeeze Play", which he penciled and inked, is included in the book because it originally started out as a Williamson story and got picked up by Frazetta due to deadline pressures).

Last month I was looking through the new offerings in the series and noticed that there is a volume collecting stories drawn by Johnny Craig. I didn't know much about Craig, but the preview pages implied that some of the stories included had a "crime noir" feel to them and the artwork looked interesting (a clean inking style with solid blacks spotted through out the panels). So I took the plunge and ordered the book.

I just finished reading it and I have a much greater appreciation of Craigs abilities now. I didn't look into his background, so I know next to nothing about him personally or any of his other work that he did either prior to EC or after EC folded. And in a way that is OK, because I can appreciate his work for what it is, without trying to put it into any sort of cultural context.

He was a good storyteller. He composed his panels in such a way as to make all action very clear and eliminated any confusion that might be caused by complicated scripts. The spotting of blacks is very well done, the figures look solid and the environments look like they have depth.

His page layouts are straight forward and most of the time are 9 or 6 panel grids, but I believe that was mostly dictated by the EC editorial department (it's the same with Wally Wood, Al Williamson, and John Seven books I mentioned earlier).

His approach to drawing faces reminds me of Milton Caniff and a bit of Will Eisner (with the high cheekbones and expressive eyebrows). He was great at drapery, making men's suits look just right on a person with very interesting folds. Women's figures are pretty generic looking with small waists and high breasts, but once in a while he would break out and draw the female protagonist in a very naturalistic way and I was blown away at how great his female characters acted and moved across the page (an excellent example of that is an 8 page story, "When the Cat's Away").

Most of the stories were fun to read. Nothing intense and sometimes down right silly, but fun to relax with. Also, I knew that the stories were written in the 50's and since then lots of writers have build upon the same themes with more sophisticated plots that I have been exposed to on TV, in movies, and in comics. However, there is an art to writing a short story and I will also say that these 8 page short stories, really were short stories. Each one had a beginning, a middle, and an end, which is more than what I can say about a lot of short stories included in modern comic book anthologies.
I feel that Craig was a competent draftsman and a solid story teller. In my opinion he lacked the inventiveness of Bernard Krigstein, maybe didn't have the rendering artistic flare of Al Williamson or the fluid anatomy of Frank Frazetta, but I enjoyed the collection and I have learned a few things from reading his stories. I would definitely review it before starting any assignment associated with the 1950's for atmosphere and mood.

I do hope Fantagraphics will eventually put out a collection centered on Krigstein, that would be very much appreciated….in the meantime I learned that Fantagraphics will be putting out a second Jonny Craig book, collecting his horror stories. I already have my copy pre-ordered!

First few penciled pages from a new story