Tag Archive: original comic art

Dumb and Dumber car Wizard World Des Moines 2015

What makes a great Comic Con?

Wizard World Des Moines combined all the right elements this past weekend to create a new annual Midwest destination tradition.  A mix of big name celebrities, comic book creator icons, fanboys and fangirls attending in costume, a variety of vendors, gaming opportunities, current genre properties, the unexpected, taking along family and friends (and meeting new ones and catching up with old ones) and taking in some good food.  And thanks to the success of its first effort, Wizard World will be back again next year at the Iowa Events Center, May 13-15, 2016.

If you missed it, check out our coverage at borg.com yesterday here.

A comic and pop culture convention is even better when your own favorite character seems to have his own theme at the show.  Take our own favorite, Green Arrow, for instance.  This weekend you could have met the artists for the three best Green Arrow series ever produced, including artist/writer Mike Grell:

Milton Bunce Mike Grell Wizard World Des Moines 2015 Zorro

Artists Milton Bunce and Mike Grell at Wizard World Des Moines 2015 Sunday.

And as luck would have it, Mike found a lost piece of original art he brought to the show, a cover prelim/rough for a 24-year old annual issue he created:

Grell WWDM 2015 cover rough annual 4   Green_Arrow_Annual_Vol_2_4

There’s no place better to pick up original comic book art than a Comic Con, whether it’s a sketch commission or original pages that artists bring to the show to gawk at or even purchase.  (Thanks for bringing this one, Mike!).

And there’s one of the other of the three major artists known for his Green Arrow work (he’s done Batman and a ton of other characters, too), Neal Adams:

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Green Arrow close up Sook Ryan

We’ve been pretty lucky to both know and regularly cross paths with some great artists who have worked on the many years of Green Arrow stories in the DC Comics monthly series, and others who haven’t worked on the character but created original sketches for us at conventions.  From time to time we have posted original artwork of Oliver Queen and his partner Dinah Lance aka Black Canary here at borg.com.  These include works by Freddie Williams II, Mike Grell, Neal Adams, Phil Hester and Ande Parks, Howard Chaykin, Michael Golden, Mike Norton, Cliff Chiang, J.K. WoodwardJock, and Phil Noto, among others.

We don’t know Ryan Sook personally, but he is one of our favorite cover artists.  He created our favorite cover of 2012, the cover to Mystery in Space #1, shown here.  The awesome sci-fi steampunk girl on the cover just demands her own comic book series.  We ran down some of his best cover work here last summer.

When we had the chance to commission a pencil and ink piece from him for our Green Arrow and Black Canary gallery, we couldn’t pass it up.  The result is simply awesome.

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Star Wars Artists Edition cover

Celebrating the twentieth anniversary of Star Wars: A New Hope and long before we had any guess about what might happen in the prequel trilogy, George Lucas, for good or bad, retooled all three episodes of the Star Wars trilogy into the Star Wars Special Edition theatrical release.  Between January and March 1997 the world got to “see the movies again for the first time” and was reminded where the word blockbuster actually came from.  Now Marvel Comics is following suit with its own look back to original Star Wars source material.

Marvel Comics is releasing two new versions of Roy Thomas and Howard Chaykin’s original six-issue adaptation of the original Star Wars.  This is the classic adaptation that saw its first chapter, Issue #1, released before the movie hit theaters.

The first volume is being released today: Star Wars: Episode IV: A New Hope.  The OGN is for “oversized graphic novel” but the value in this book is the restoration, George Lucas style, of Howard Chaykin’s original artwork via a replacement of Marie Severin’s original 1970s colors with Chris Sotomayor’s update of the six-issue movie adaptation into a more modern color scheme.  Adi Granov supplies the new cover art for this edition.  Marvel said it will soon release similar editions of its adaptations of The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi.  Check out a preview of the new look at a classic movie adaptation below.

Star Wars OGN cover

IDW Publishing and Marvel Comics announced this week a second treatment of the same Star Wars comic book adaptation.  The Star Wars Artist’s Edition will be consistent with past IDW “artist’s edition” offerings, showcasing the original comic book pencil and ink art behind the series in high quality color reprints of the original, giant-sized page format that the artists sketched the artwork.

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He-Man print in limited edition of The Art of He-Man and the Masters of the Universe

Review by C.J. Bunce

Next month Dark Horse Comics releases a must-read for fans of He-Man, She-Ra “Princess of Power,” and the Masters of the Universe world of toys, animated series, magazines, chapter books, posters, comic strips, and comic books.  The Art of He-Man and the Masters of the Universe Limited Edition Hardcover includes more than 300 pages full-color art, a portfolio featuring an exclusive print by Gerald Parel, a foil-embossed cover, and a die-cut two-piece Castle Greyskull slipcase.  A standard edition of the book will also be available.  Many well-known creators worked with these characters since its inception in the early 1980s, including Ralph McQuarrie, Drew Struzan, Dick Giordano, J. Michael Straczynski, George Tuska, Klaus Janson, Boris Vallejo, Tony Moore, Darwyn Cooke, Geoff Johns, and Tommy Lee Edwards.

Designers from every stage of the creation of He-Man, She-Ra, Skeletor, and the large cast of sword and sorcery heroes and villains, offer insight into character development, decision-making, and the impact on 1980s kids.  The best feature is the inclusion of hundred of pieces of full-color art, concept artwork, page layouts, sketches, storyboards, packaging art, prototypes, never before seen and unused imagery, advertising art, original comic art, and final comic book pages, covers, and animation cels.  It features restored art from master illustrator Earl Norem, as well as interviews with Dolph Lundgren, who played He-Man in the 1987 movie, director Gary Goddard, well-known TV producer/comic book writer Paul Dini, and voice actress Erika Scheimer, among many others.  Captions for photos were written by comic book creators Tim Seeley and Steve Seeley.

The Art of He-Man and the Masters of the Universe Limited Edition Hardcover slipcase edition

Particularly of interest to toy collectors are the original notes from the development stage of the toy line at Mattel.  Mattel, which had passed on the ground-breaking Star Wars action figure line, developed He-Man as a direct competitor to that toy line.  Mattel drove the look of the characters–this was first and foremost a toy line, inspired in part by the fantasy art of Frank Frazetta.  But it grew beyond that.  Artists and writers and other creators remark with pride about the focus on the stories that went beyond the toy line.

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Absolute Green Arrow cover art

Review by C.J. Bunce

Oliver Queen was dead, to begin with.

The average superhero fan today probably wouldn’t know Oliver Queen today but for three events: (1) the modernization of the character by writer Dennis O’Neil and artist Neal Adams in the 1970s, (2) his update to urban longbow hunter by writer/artist Mike Grell in the late 1980s and early 1990s, and (3) the literal resurrection of Oliver Queen in the early 2000s by the partnership of writer Kevin Smith, penciller Phil Hester and inker Ande Parks.  No TV series would have arrived without the survival of the character thanks to these stories–reprinted and available in a deluxe hardcover for the O’Neil/Adams stories here, and in paperback reprinted only recently for Mike Grell’s stories here, here, and here.  In light of Green Arrow/Arrow’s popularity today being greater than ever before in his 73 year history, it’s only fitting that DC Comics is releasing the third great chapter in the character’s history with Absolute Green Arrow this month.

Absolute Green Arrow, available here from Amazon.com, reprints Issues #1-15 of Green Arrow, Volume 3, in a matte black with gloss hardcover with slipcase  in a sharp, over-sized, 9.6 inch X 15 inch format.  It includes all of Matt Wagner’s stylish painted covers, previously released introduction by Smith and afterword by Hester, and original artwork in an appendix by Hester.  If you ever wonder how much work the inker must conquer, just take a look at Hester’s pencil work and you’ll have a great appreciation for Parks’ inks.

Green Arrow Hester Smith Parks original Batman art

Hester and Parks did shading and shadows like nobody else. Original art seen in full color as published in Absolute Green Arrow.

The first ten chapters form the “Quiver” story arc, and the last five the “Sounds of Violence” arc.  This is the entire run of Kevin Smith’s stories for Green Arrow.  Phil Hester took over writing and artistic duties for the next several issues with even better stories than found in these early chapters.  But these Smith stories present a Green Arrow in a way a bit like Frank Miller played with Batman’s mythology in The Dark Knight Returns.  Smith’s Green Arrow is not as innovative as the seminal Miller work, but it’s plenty fun, and each new chapter feels like Smith saw this opportunity to play with DC Universe characters like a kid in a toy store.  You’ll encounter the Justice League, memorable encounters with Aquaman and Hawkman, and even a quirky adventure featuring Stanley and his Monster.  Former sidekicks Roy Harper and Connor Hawke are here, too, but most importantly Oliver Queen rebuilds his relationship with long-time love interest Dinah Lance aka Black Canary.  Difficult to come back from after being presumed dead.

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Amell at PC 2015

The three-day Planet Comicon comic book and pop culture convention wrapped yesterday in Kansas City.  The highlight of the day for thousands of attendees was the one-day visit to the show by Stephen Amell, star of the CW Network’s Arrow TV series.  If you’ve been reading borg.com for very long, you’ll know I’ve been tracking the show as the world’s biggest Green Arrow fan, including spending the night with 7,000 other fans in San Diego for the show premiere with Amell and his co-stars back in 2012.

After hanging with his cousin (and CW star of The Flash) Robbie Amell last night at the Elite Comics after party at the Alamo Drafthouse, we got to meet Stephen today.  As you’d expect, fans were happy to meet him, and he kept a cheery disposition throughout a whirlwind day of signing autographs and being featured on a panel at the convention.

Amell and Hyatt shot

Because he was only at the show for one day, that meant plenty of lines to get to see him–lines that barely even looked like lines.

Arrow lines

But as typical with attendees at comic book conventions, everyone handled it all with great attitudes.

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Woodward Black Canary commission close-up 2014

One of our favorite artists is J.K. Woodward, known for his vibrant and life-like painting style, and his work on several successful series including Doctor Who/Star Trek: The Next Generation–Assimilation² reviewed here and Star Trek: Harlan Ellison’s The City on the Edge of Forever reviewed here.

We haven’t featured any new original comic art lately so what better time than now to share borg.com’s recent commission of a Woodward painting, done as part of his donation to the Toe Tag Riot crowdfunding project (we reviewed Toe Tag Riot Issue #1 here).

Woodward commission Green Arrow close-up

Adding to our gallery of awesome Green Arrow and Black Canary original art, Woodward placed the Alex Ross era costumed duo on the streets of Star City.  Green Arrow, sporting his classic look and Van Dyke beard, is ready to take out some vile foe off-screen, as Black Canary soars into the picture overhead on her trusty bike.  Based on her facial expression, this superheroine means business.

Check out the full image, after the break…

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Bionic Man 17 original cover art Mike Mayhew Bionic Man 17 final cover

This year I had my first comic convention experience where I didn’t get in early to be the first in line to commission sketches from some of the great artists attending the show.  That was Planet Comicon, and it was simply because I was helping set up booths, working my way through four cosplay outfits, meeting celebrities, spending hours in costume with attendees in photo ops, catching up with old friends, helping artist friends sell art, manning a booth…  keeping busy and having a great time doing it.

So I missed out on my regular art fix.

Bionic Man 22 original Mike Mayhew cover art Bionic Man 22 final cover

So I decided to fill the void by picking up some original cover art from one of my favorite artists in the business right now.  That’s Mike Mayhew, who created some great covers for the Bionic Man series last year, and is currently wrapping up one of the best Star Wars works ever produced, The Star Wars, where he served as artist interpreting George Lucas’s original vision of Star Wars before it became Star Wars.

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Kennedy and Superman

It’s a strange coincidence that 50 years after the death of President John F. Kennedy a controversy has surfaced involving a Superman comic book, President Kennedy, and original comic book art.  The controversy involves the original artist, Heritage Auctions, and an agreement made just after Kennedy’s death.

Heritage Auctions had initially planned to auction 10 pages of original artwork from Superman Issue #170 today in conjunction with the anniversary of the President’s assassination (along with several Dave Gibbons original cover art pages for Watchmen).  The auction house agreed to pull the lot in light of a lawsuit brought by 91-year-old artist Al Plastino, who claims that the original art was to be gifted to Boston’s Kennedy Library by DC Comics decades ago.

original Superman Kennedy page as published

The Superman comic book, which featured the story “Superman’s Mission for President Kennedy” has its own interesting history.  Plastino was working on the Kennedy story art the day Kennedy died, and the project was halted until DC Comics got permission to issue the story to honor President Kennedy, authorized by President Lyndon Johnson himself.  The story involves Kennedy enlisting Superman in his initiative to get America’s youth physically fit.  It includes a full-page drawing of Superman waving to an image of Kennedy above the U.S. Capitol–the art that was to be sold at auction today.  The story was finally published in July 1964 with a note on its last page announcing the original art would be donated to the JFK Memorial Library at Harvard University.

original Superman Kennedy comic book art

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Alex Ross SMDM Season Six 1

Following on the heels of the successful Dark Horse Comics series Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 8 and 9 and IDW Publishing’s The X-Files Season 10, this week Dynamite Comics announced Steve Austin, the Six Million Dollar Man will be continued where the TV series left off with The Six Million Dollar Man Season 6.

Unlike the current successful monthly series Bionic Man and Bionic Woman, which updated the original TV series for the 21st century, The Six Million Dollar Man Season 6 will make an effort to look back to elements, styles, designs and even sounds that made the original series popular in the 1970s.  Expect familiar special effects, slow motion movements, and kung-fu gripping action.

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