USSRepublican Party

Sketches I did on the train back from DC – Bear with Elephant head. It’s just amazing how the former GOP has been co-opted by the Russians, it’s actually pretty frightening, it’s happening in plain sight and we’re just left watching the water boiling around us as we swim around the pot.

 

 

Drawing of Ausar Olugbala

Needs more content!

So it occurs to me that this blog is getting very lonely and sad, I’m just not that prolific at generating content. The idea of writing, and writing stories in particular, has been bouncing around in my head for a while, and if I don’t start practice writing, that idea will absolutely go nowhere. So I’m giving myself the freedom to write and post crappy first drafts in this blog, I’m just not going to edit myself that much. I think blogs were always meant to be off the cuff, of-the-moment kind  of journals and opinions anyway, so I think I’ll be fine. And quite frankly, who’s really reading this anyway?

I’ve been reading a lot of comic books borrowed from the library recently, and by recently I mean this past year. Some have been mainstream superhero books, usually trade paperbacks of collected stories that have an arc that has a beginning and an end, like Batman: Year One Deluxe (New Edition)
. (As of this writing, it’s available directly from DC). I have the original series form the 80s, but my comic collection is a bit disjointed since I started working on my basement (almost 2 years ago!), and I’m just not sure if I still have them. So it was nice to be able to re-read the story, it still stands up as one of the best Batman origin stories that have surfaced over the years. What it really did more than anything else, was create an amazing back-story for Jim Gordon, who was always  just a foil to the lead character and never really amounted to more than a generic “good guy” to me. (That being said, I never really followed Batman, being a Marvel Fan Boy at the time, so a lot of my ideas about Jim Gordon came from some of my dad’s Silver Age comics, the old TV series and Tim Burton’s Batman movie). This telling gave him flaws and vulnerabilities, and made him “human” at least.

The late 80s and early 90s were a great time for comics, specialty “Comic Book Shops” were popping up all over the place, and super hero writers were doing their best “Stan Lee” melodrama treatment to our favorite characters. I think with the popularization and “mainstreaming” of alternative comics at that time, it really forced the Big 2, to up the ante and compete with more mature content. And if you’re interested, there’s a great group fan page called Comic Recollections on Facebook that my friend Delfin started.

The library also has a collection of alternative press trade paperbacks that I can talk about in this blog, that’ll come later…

 

 

Frank Frazetta Died

Frank Frazetta died two days ago,  I’ve been going through some of my old sketch books from my art school days, and I remember how amazing an artist he was, and what a huge influence he was on me, growing up.

I think all “superhero” artists knew Frazetta’s work, probably his cover illustrations for pulp science fiction and fantasy works. I think I even bought a Conan softback JUST for the cover when I was younger. I had (and probably still have, in my basement somewhere, his poster for the animated movie “Fire and Ice” by Ralph Bakshi.

I wonder how many fans knew his early work was not just for the pulps or magazine covers, but he also did Romance, Cowboy, Science Fiction and even Funny Animal comics (he went under the name “Fritz” in those). I always think that he was a master in the true sense of the word, classically trained, but took off with the training with kick-ass talent and attitude.

I’ll try to find examples, but his pen-work was some of the best in the industry, he could do brush-work like a Japanese master, and emote gesture and attitude with a few simple lines. He executed the most amazingly detailed illustrations keeping the same gestural freshness as a one line brush stroke as well. (This post seriously needs examples, I’ve got to re-visit this with some of his work)

Frazetta lost NONE of that power or sex appeal when he worked up to a finished drawing or full oil painting, unlike the second-rate hack “BORIS” (Boris  Vallejo – that stinker could paint, but he didn’t have the confidence to be able to do it from his head and relied WAY too much on photographic reference.)

We’ve lost one of the giants in the industry, there will be pretenders to the throne, but NEVER anyone who will be as great as Frank Frazetta in the genre.

Here’s a link to the NY Times’ article on his passing: http://artsbeat.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/05/10/frank-frazetta-fantasy-illustrator-dies-at-82//22k2yab