Friday, May 25, 2012

A Man-God Reborn!!!

Our second cosmic character this week is the strange hero, Adam Warlock.  A long time favorite of mine, I believe I have all of his early appearances, save those first couple of Fantastic Four's where he debuted as...dun-dun-dunnnnn...HIM!  The Warlock persona was later created by another favorite character, the insanely inconsistently written High Evolutionary, in a series which led to Adam become the messiah of counter-Earth (an Earth on the other side of the sun that is in many ways our opposite) in a controversial story-line.  However, it was Jim Starlin's run on Warlock that drew me in as it picked up, in many ways, where Starlin had left off with Captain Marvel.  One of the most unabashedly bizarre books of the 70's, it would lead to the second great takedown of the mad Titan, Thanos...a storyline that would again climax twenty years later with the Infinity Gauntlet series.

This rendition of Adam in gouache was adapted from one of the early tales by Jim Starlin.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

The Entire Universe Stands in Grave Peril

Late once again. Well, this week, I decided to tap into some comic book simplicity.  First up is the Mighty, Mad Titan, Thanos!  I've always had a soft spot for the cosmic heroes and villains, and few did them better than Jim Starlin. First appearing in Iron Man #55, Thanos became one of the premier event characters in Marvel comics.  Though more than a little overused these days, when this villain used to show up, it essentially meant that everything positive in the Marvel Universe was soon gonna have join up to stop him.  The aspect I enjoy most about this gristle chinned monster is that more than once he's joined the side of good to further his own means...and too my surprise, does not always pull the sneaky double-cross...

This sketch was adapted from an early Captain Marvel appearance by Starlin which I modified here and there to look more like the modern incarnation.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Aggrandizement of the Self

And breaking out the gouache ultimately only meant one thing: New Self-Portrait.  And if you're going to paint yourself again, it might as well be vaguely creepy...

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

V the Volcanic

This weeks entries start off late because of the more involved nature of the work...if there's a theme, I guess it's the Gouache.

A few months ago, I assisted filmmaker Seaton Lin make a round of the southwest chasing Morrissey's 2012 multi-continental tour to capture the performances of chanteuse Kristeen Young.  Kristeen's sets cannot nearly be captured nor conveyed by some shaky cell phone footage on YouTube (not that you can't still block everyone's view behind you with your smartphone waving around in the air to catch one).  An absorbing mixture of melody and intensity, I was fairly well convinced that I'd have to commit something to paper from the footage we gathered.  In any even, I would recommend catching her, with or without Moz (though always a consumate showman), if she burns through your town.

Friday, May 11, 2012

"I rob banks for a living. What do you do?"

My second vintage criminal is bank-robbin' bad boy, John Dillinger. Dillinger's audacity and colorful personality made him a stand out and public favorite in the same era as such notorious criminals as Bonnie and Clyde and George "Machine Gun Kelly" Barnes.  To me, Dillinger fits snugly between the "gentleman" thief and the Depression-era criminal who many people were overjoyed to see sticking up the very banks that were repossessing their homes and belongings.  Over the years, he's become a pop-culture staple being played in films a dozen different times, and has become more of a romantic figure than a violent criminal.  As I mentioned in my last post, this has always fascinated me about American culture, where we have this Old Testament sternness against crime but this glowing admiration for the guys and gals who made it look fun.

Wednesday, May 09, 2012

"Prohibiton has made nothing but trouble..."

For this shortened week, I decided to do a couple of vintage criminals from a stash of old photos I came across.  We'll start with Alphonse Gabriel "Al" Capone, known to some as "Scarface," and perhaps the best known of American gangsters, who came to prominence through smuggling and bootlegging liquor.  It's still a fascinating irony to me that the outlawing of liquors greatest achievement was to cement the foothold of organized crime in America (although, when you think about it, the suppression of one evil does often open the door for a larger one to move in).  Also, I'm equally fascinated by the contradiction by which Americans detest crime and criminals, and yet adores gangsters and outlaws...but more on that next tme.

Friday, May 04, 2012

Flash Gordon Conquers the Universe!

Our final serial movie character for the week is the might Ming the Merciless from the Flash Gordon serials.  Ming was the imperial ruler of Mongo, a planet with disparate features that are similar to Earth. Flash and Ming were created by the great Alex Raymond, and whose use of the brush while inking was partly the inspiration for this series.  Buster Crabbe's iconic Flash battled Ming, played by Charles B. Middleton, in three different series of serials in the 30's. I think the Might Ming is more than appropriate as the closer to this series.

Wednesday, May 02, 2012

The Adventures of Captain Marvel!!!

Another serial movie hero inked with a brush.  This time it's the great Captain Marvel (who for years, as a kid, I thought was known by his magic word, "Shazam!") from the 1941 serial, The Adventures of Captain Marvel.  It was the first film adaptation of a superhero, which just edged out The Mysterious Doctor Satan (1940), which began life as a Superman adaptation.  Marvel was played by Tom Tyler...who, though I think still looks heroic in my depiction, I must admit that I lost him a bit in the inking.  Tune in next time for what will be the final and one of the greats of serial the B-List Super Hero Role Call!!!!