March Reading Roundup

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#ComicsSchool

It was this time last week that the adventure all began. I had spent the last few weeks growling at my notebooks in frustration at my ongoing failure to complete a short comic script.

It was a task that I’d given myself at the start of the year, in the hope that by the end of February I would have a finished comic script. But it just wasn’t happening, no matter how much time I would put aside each week.

Then as if The Universe had enough of my frustrated snarls, Gail Simone started a five day comic writing workshop/instructional on Twitter under the hashtag #ComicsSchool.

Just what the doctor ordered, a new way to try and get a script written.

The #ComicsSchool sessions ran each evening (at least it was evening for myself here in Ireland). The #ComicsSchool was part motivitional, part practical writing exercises and part explainer of how a project comes together for the comic writer.

Being a big fan of Simone’s comics, as well as the timing just being perfect, it was a no-brainer for me take part. At worst, I would learn some useful tips on the reality of writing comics.

Spoiler, the #ComicsSchool went really well and I actually completed an 8-page. Some of the hurdles that usually frustrate me were taken off the board due to how Simone ran the writing exercises. It’s not a world changing script but it has aspects in it that would be personal touches to it that haven’t really been present in previous scripts. So happy result all around.

For those interested, here are the links to the threads for each day on Twitter, day 1, day 2, day 3, day 4 and day 5.

All that’s left is for me to present the script below for those that are interested. Do hope you enjoy. The genre was to be romance/superhero.

Script Begins

Dear Artist,

I don’t know what bet you lost to end up on this project but let’s make some lemonade. What ya say?

This story is to have a rom-com kinda vibe to it. There will be need for some good acting from the cast to have the sillier moments land with the reader. As you’re the artist, I’m very receptive to any suggestions to strengthen those moments (this applies to the overall script btw). I want to give you the best possible script to work from so we can get the absolute best from the story. And with that in mind, let’s get to the script itself…..

Page 1

Panel 1 : establishing shot of the supermarket. It’s late in evening so
street lights/store fronts illuminate the scene. Have Charlie approaching the
entrance.

Panel 2: Charlie entering the store. Cashier is looking up to Charlie from
their magazine reading as he enters.

CASHIER

Hey, Charlie. How’s your aunt?

CHARLIE

Pretty good. But she’d be better if there were
less capes battling in the skies about the building.

Panel 3: Charlie continues to walk past (but will
be looking back towards cashier as there is still some dialogue left in the
conversation)

CASHIER

You’d have better luck asking the sun not to
shine.

CHARLIE

Ha! You’re probably right.

Panel 4: Charlie is reviewing a tin of spaghetti.
The tin has superhero branding.

CHARLIE

Hangman Nooses? Bit grim for the dinner table!
(note: Hangman is a vigilante in the Punisher school of crime-fighting).

Panel 5: Charlie making his way up the aisle in
direction of cashier.

CHARLIE

Must remember to pick up a scratcher for Aunt
Jean.

Panel 6: Charlie is at the top of the aisle and
can see the cashier. Three men are facing cashier, with one of them pointing a
gun at the cashier.

THIEF #1

Just give me the money like I told you!

Page 2

Panel 1: Charlie stays out of sight at top of aisle.

CHARLIE

Crap, crap, crap! Where’s a cape when you need one??

Panel 2: Loud noise. Big flash of light all around Charlie.

Panel 3: one of the thieves goes sailing past Charlie. (need some funny/silly sound for the thief. Think Wil E Coyote)

Panel 4: shows Charlie turning towards the action.

Panel 5:

CHARLIE  (off camera)

Wow! It’s Tempest!

Tempest has one of the remaining thieves floating before her in a mini tornado.

TEMPEST

Seriously. Who robs cashier tills in 2020??

 

Page 3

Panel 1: Tempest bops floating thiefs head against the roof

Panel 2: Tempest turns towards remaining thief who is attempting to flee.

Panel 3:

TEMPEST (as she raises a hand in the direction of fleeing thief)

I haven’t forgotten about you.

Panel 4: ice forms on floor beneath thief

Panel 5: thief slides head first into display of canned bear

Panel 6:

TEMPEST (with the first thief creeps up behind her)

Someone’s gonna have a terrible hangover in the morning.

 

Page 4

Panel 1: Tempest still unaware of thief behind her. But he is struck from behind. (want a slightly looney tunes feel about the face of the thief. Overplay that he has been hit on the head).

Panel 2: Tempest turns upon hearing the thief hitting the floor.

Panel 3: tin of Hangman Nooses rolls to a stop at her feet.

Panel 4:

TEMPEST

Who??…. (as she stops Charlie just beyond the fallen thief)

Panel 5:

CHARLIE

Charlie….. I… um, figured you might need some help.

Panel 6:

TEMPEST

Thanks. That was pretty gutsy move.

 

Page 5

Panel 1:

TEMPEST (as she hands the tin of Nooses over to Charlie)

I believe this is yours

Panel 2:

CHARLIE

Yeah, I figured a particularly aggressive brand of tinned food was the way to go.

Panel 3:

TEMPEST

Heh. You know he’s not as scary as you think?

CHARLIE

Who?

TEMPEST

Hangman

Panel 4:

CHARLIE

Really?

TEMPEST

Really. He’s a big ol’ teddy bear with great acting skills.

Panel 5:

Charlie (pointing)

Well here’s hoping that guy is a big teddy bear too!

Panel 6: Big muscle guy (BMG) has entered the scene (he’s the guy who sent the thieves into the store). He throws something BIG at Tempest and Charlie

BMG

I really hate interfering capes!

 

Page 6

Panel 1: Tempest uses wind to push herself and Charlie to each side of the passing projectile.

Panel 2:

TEMPEST

Stay back, Charlie!

CHARLIE

That will not be a problem!

Panel 3: BMG rushes Tempest while she is distracted

Panel 4: Tempest is propelled through the shelving

Panel 5: Items pelt BMG from behind (have his face turning backwards towards source of items, i.e. Charlie)

Panel 6:

CHARLIE  (as BMG towers over him)

It was a bit much to expect that to work twice in one night.

 

Page 7

Panel 1: BMG is hit with a bolt of lightning

Panel 2:

BMG

God damn capes!

Panel 3:

TEMPEST (as she flies towards BMG)

You do the crime, you reap the whirlwind

Panel 4: Tempest hits BMG hard with a hurricane punch (big image to finish page)

 

Page 8

Panel 1:

TEMPEST (to Charlie)

You okay?

Panel 2:

CHARLIE

Better now that you’ve taken care of the walking mountain.

Panel 3: camera pulls back to other side of the store, where two characters are standing in darkened area.

Guy

It’s  a good thing you zapped the mountain. I’d be a goner otherwise.

Panel 4: Reveal that the two characters are Charlie and Tempest, but an older version of them!

TEMPEST (older version)

I had to protect that adorable face.

Panel 5: older Charlie and Tempest with their faces close together (as if they’re moments from kissing)

CHARLIE (older version)

You were my hero then, and you’re my hero now.

FIN

 

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February comic reading

Howdy everyone!

This post is gonna be just a round up of my comic reading for the month of February. I’m intending to do more comic related posts here that aren’t appropriate for Irish Comic News (which I know you’re all regular readers of!). Basically comics not featuring any of the creative folk from the Irish comic scene.

I might do a monthly post collating the comic reading done for the month (time permitting).

P.s. if I’ve done it right, you can zoom by clicking on any image.

Thanks for reading.

You can find me on Twitter (@Stephen_C_Ward).

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Wanderer above the Sea of Fog – Ink Study

As an attempt to improve my inking and move away from just reproducing comic art or doing a pin up, I recently did a study of ‘Wanderer above the Sea of Fog’ by Friedrich.

The original painting had a lot to for me to get to grips with. There’s the wanderer perched on a mountain in the foreground. Then you have mountains in the fog in the mid- and background to contend with.

The painting has more defined mountains in the mid-ground, but I felt that working entirely in ink required a change in my reproduction. Bolder/ better defined mountains in the mid-ground would either pull focus from the wanderer, or worse, have the wanderer disappear into those aforementioned mountains.

So I opted to have all mountains enveloped in the fog and represented in such a way that they are just about visible to the wanderer.

With the exception of the wanderer and the mountain he stands upon, the piece is almost entirely done with ink and brushes.

I’m pretty happy with the result. I don’t think it would have worked as well if I had used pens for any of the mountains in the distance. The wanderer takes the place of prominence in the piece.

I’ve included an image of the original painting below my study so you can compare my finished piece against the painting that I was working from.

My pen and brush ink study
‘Wanderer above the Sea of Fog’ by Caspar David Friedrich
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Inktober 2018

Had high hopes of getting so much arting done for Inktober, but things didn’t work out that way. That said, I am happy with what I managed to get done.

Batman

Domino and doggo.

X-O Manowar

Characters created by Irish comic folk
From following comics (top to bottom and left to right)
1. Celtic Clan
2. The Hellion
3. Superhero Helpdesk
4. Thimble
5. Bog Road
6. Neon Skies
7. Savage Town
8. Ocean City
9. Fate

Fearscape

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Red Rocket Comet

Written by Matt Garvey.
Art by Grayham Puttock and Andy W. Clift.
Cover and Logo by Michael Rea.

The glory days of Red Rocket Comets (Jerry Saviour to his neighbours) crime-fighting career is well and truly behind him. It’s evident from the run-down apartment he lives in that heroism didn’t pay well. The story opens with an unexpected visitor from his superhero days, his nemesis who goes by the title of Dark Skull (aka Lloyd).

The comic splits itself in two, the scene that’s unfolding in the present day in Jerry’s apartment and a flashback sequence to when Red Rocket Comet and Dark Skull met in their prime.

The art is split between Puttock and Clift, who each handle a different strand of the story. This gives the present day a grim and gritty appearance that is lacking the energy that is immediately apparent on the flashback pages. Lloyd has called to Jerry to revisit the events of their last battle, which is what unfolds in the flashback sequences.

Red Rocket Comet at times did have a Watchmen/ Black Hammer vibe to it due to the nature of both the present day story and the flashback sequences. The twist in the story was well done, particularly when you re-read the comic and see the clues that were peppered throughout the pages leading up to it.

The story also touches upon the strange relationship that comes from a hero and villain having repeated encounters over the course of their respective careers. It’s a similar to that of the police and career criminals where some form of relationship is inevitable as they each pick up details about each other over the years.

The difference in the two art styles makes for quite the contrast which works in the favour of the overall story. It’s as though two comics from different eras of the superhero comics genre were slammed together to make Red Rocket Comet.

Overall, the comic really worked for me. I liked how the story played out and that it still managed to have some surprises thrown in. I also liked how two styles of art were used to delineate between present day and flashback sequences.

It’s a small press comic that is certainly worth checking out.

Red Rocket Comet available via Garvey’s online store.

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Hollow Monsters #1

Hollow Monsters #1 is one of the recent Kickstarters that I pledged to that recently arrived through the letterbox. The comic is the product of Monty Nero (whom I discovered through his work on the excellent Death Sentence series).

The focal character of story is Jay whom we are introduced to as a young boy. The initial section dealing with his younger years deals with things like the innocence of youth and how memories can reshape events in your mind over time. It was also fun where his dad tries to reassure him after their home is badly vandalised only for Jays take a different meaning which only compounds the terror he feels.

I did like how the comic transitioned to Jay the adult. It was a nice creative touch to reveal that Jay is now a comic artists years later. During a afternoon wandering the woods with Pippa the atmosphere slowly begins to become somewhat unsettling. As the last panels of the forest scene come to a close, the reader is left with left with an ominous question. ‘Who is the Hollow Man’?

The artwork, particularly the young Jay sequences, really reminded me of the art of Hawkeye (by David Aja and Matt Hollingsworth). The combination of the line-art and colour palette really worked for me. It was also interesting that the scenes in the woods had a very different vibe. It seems almost like a walking through a dream due to how the backgrounds are illustrated. I’m very curious to see if this sensation of almost two different worlds within the story plays out of the rest of the series.

Both threads of Jays story show glimmers of things that may be coming down the tracks over the course of the series. Then again it could all be a trick of my mind. The story does remind us that the mind likes to embellish on the details of your memories.

The story and art really appeal to me which left me wanting more. Luckily for me, the Kickstarter for issue 2 is up and running. So I shouldn’t have long to wait for the next instalment.

Linky to Hollow Monsters #2 Kickstarter.

The rest of the goodies in the Kickstarter pack for issue 1.

Postcard of panel from Issue 1.

Verity (Art Girl) from Death Sentence print.

Postcard of panel from issue 1.

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March arting

Here’s the collection of drawings that I’ve done over the course of March.

The drawings are done digitally and using a movie still as a reference. The purpose of the drawings is to draw with more regularity as well as try to get to grips with things like perspective or more than one character in the image.

The Purge

Eagle vs Shark

Carrie

Tron

Ex Machina

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Power Pack Classic volume 1

Written by Louise Simonson.
Pencils by June Brigman with Mary Wilshire (layouts, issue #5), Mark Badger (layouts, issue #8) and Brent Anderson (issue #9).
Inks by Bob Wiacek.
Colour art by Glynis Wein.
Letters by Joe Rosen.

Power Pack is one of the Marvel titles that really made an impression on me as a young reader. I think part of it was that all other comics had college students or adults as the lead characters. Whereas Power Pack were about the same age as myself at the time (eldest member of the team was only twelve!).

For those new to Power Pack, it’s a comic that follows the adventures of four young siblings after they are gifted superpowers from a dying alien. The alien was injured in their attempts to protect the planet from the villainous Snarks.

The team is comprised of the four Power kids. Alex (aka Gee) is given the ability to negate the force of gravity on himself, other people and objects. Julie (aka Lightspeed) receives the ability to fly at super-speeds leaving a rainbow trail in her wake. Jack (aka Mass Master) can alter the density of his mass meaning he can expand his density to become gaseous or reduce it to shrink his physical form while becoming less susceptible to injury. However he still weighs the same as he does at his regular size. And last of the four is Katie (aka Energizer) is able to project “power balls” from her chest that contain great destructive force. She must disintegrate objects to replenish her energy levels after creating the “power balls”.

As Power Pack are quite young, much of their adventures are a result of the impetuousness and/or innocence of youth. I was pleasantly surprised on reading this volume to discover I hadn’t read any of the issue contained within the volume before. So I had the added bonus of having new Power Pack reading material.

The first four issues in the volume server as the origin story of the team and their fight against the Snarks. Reading these issues, it was easy to see why young readers would enjoy this comic. A group of young heroes doing their best to keep the world safe, without the oversight of an adult figure. And should an adult appear in the story, they are either a threat or telling the team to leave the hero-work to the adults.

With volume one containing the first ten issues, it gives the reader a great sense of the personalities of the four Power kids. From their interests to how they tackle the challenges that Power Pack face.

The art is bright and cheerful particularly when it comes to the teams uniforms. Each have their own variation of the uniform with some sort of symbol denoting that members ability. There’s some wonderful art and you could be forgiven for forgetting you’re reading a superhero book at times.

It’s issue six before the team bump into other Marvel heroes. The issues with Cloak and Dagger were the stand-out ones in that section of the volume. There’s a wonderful moment where the young heroes pulled Cloak and Dagger back from venturing down a very dark path.

It was great to get reacquainted with one of my favourite comic teams, and reading some new (to me) Power Pack stories.

The team recently had a new one-shot. That paired with this new printing of the classic Power Pack stories gives me hope that Marvel might kick off a new series of Power Pack at some stage. Comics really needs some new Power Pack stories!

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Death Bed #1

Written by Joshua Williamson.
Line art by Riley Rossmo.
Colour art by Ivan Plascencia.
Letters by Deron Bennett.
Logo design by Tim Daniel.

As I mentioned in my last post, I’m planning to update this blog more frequently. It’ll be a mix of some of my drawings and writing. The writing will primarily be about comics that I’m reading that wouldn’t be a good fit for Irish Comic News.

So to kick off this latest reboot of the blog is issue one of the Death Bed mini-series published under the Vertigo banner.

I had seen the cover art (which is wonderful to look at) and the first three pages teased via social media, and that’s all it took for me to put it on the pull list. I mean how could I not be intrigued by a comic feature a infant held aloft while the father proclaims,  “You will be the greatest man to ever live…. or die trying”?

That infant is Antonio Luna who grows up to become one for the worlds greatest adventurers before he disappeared from the public eye. In quite a contrast to that introduction, the meets Valentine Richards as she is sitting on the crapper taking a pitch from her editor. And what’s the pitch? Why to ghostwrite Lunas memoir.

As you can imagine, the comic is having a lot of fun with the adventurer archetype. Of course he has the large country mansion with the required staff. I did like how the artists gives the back story of Lunas life through grandiose paintings as a member of the staff guides Valentine to where a dying Luna awaits her. There’s also the shadowy figures that are ever present in the background of the scenes within the mansion which raises some questions in the early part of the comic.

I did like the splash page where things really kick off. It’s a fun page to discover on a page turn that totally changes the energy levels of the comic. I did have a suspicion of how the story might play out, which is nowhere as much fun as what the team came up with.

The art keeps things interesting even though the comic is pretty much set all in the mansion. Good use of the camera angles switch as needed to give the reader a sense of the scale of the mansion to close-ups that put the reader right in the middle of some of the quieter conservation scenes. And there’s the change in energy of the comic on *that* page turn. It’s almost like getting a shot of adrenaline from the comic.

The lettering is well done, which it needed to be as there are plenty of dialogue balloons and captions through out the comic. As the action doesn’t kick off until late in the first issue, there isn’t a huge amount of sound effects but it’s something for me to look forward to in the following issues. I’m on a bit of a sound effects kick lately when it comes to lettering. I like seeing the variation letterers have to sound effects.

Death Bed promises some over-the-top violent adventuring with a healthy does of humour thrown in. Plus how could I not want to find out how things play out for a man that was told from birth, “you will be the greatest man to ever live…. or die trying”? It’ll be an adventure if nothing else!

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