Tag Archive: Phil Hester


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:

Continue reading

Wizard World Des Moines

Convention planner Wizard World is holding its first pop culture convention in Iowa this weekend, introducing Midwest genre fans to sci-fi icon William Shatner (Star Trek), horror icon Robert Englund (A Nightmare on Elm Street), Billy Dee Williams (The Empire Strikes Back), Alex Kingston (Doctor Who, Arrow), and Jewel Staite (Firefly), plus Emily Kinney and Michael Cudlitz (The Walking Dead), comic book writer/artist Mike Grell (Green Arrow), Iowa’s own Brandon Routh (Superman Returns, The Flash) and a giant roster of other celebrity guests from film and TV, past and present.

Arrow -- Image AR315C_ATOM_0001 -- Pictured: -- Photo: Cate Cameron/The CW -- © 2015 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved

Brandon Routh as The Atom and Superman

Other familiar genre actors scheduled to attend include Manu Bennett (Arrow, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey), Dean Cain (Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman), J. August Richards (Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Angel), Michael Rosenbaum (Smallville), Lou Ferrigno (The Incredible Hulk), Ernie Hudson (Ghostbusters, Psych), Cassandra Peterson (Elvira, Mistress of the Dark), Giancarlo Esposito (Breaking Bad), and both Sean Patrick Flanery and David Della Rocco from Boondock Saints.

Alex Kingston River Song Doctor Who

Alex Kingston, River Song from Doctor Who, and Dinah Lance from CW’s Arrow.

Several well-known comic book writers and artists will be featured in Wizard World’s Artist Alley in addition to Mr. Grell: Des Moines’s own Ant Lucia (DC Comics “Bombshell” covers and posters), Neal Adams (Batman, Green Lantern/Green Arrow), Mike Zeck (Marvel Super Heroes Secret Wars), Iowa-based artist Phil Hester (Green Arrow, The Flash), Michael Golden (Star Wars, The ‘Nam), our pal Jai Nitz (Dream Thief, Tron: Betrayal, El Diablo), and many others.

Continue reading

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.

Continue reading

Wizard World Des Moines

Convention planner Wizard World will hold its first pop culture convention in Iowa this June–one of dozens of Cons it is holding across the country this year.  Wizard World Comic Con will introduce Des Moines to sci-fi icon William Shatner (Star Trek), horror icon Robert Englund (A Nightmare on Elm Street), Billy Dee Williams (The Empire Strikes Back), and Jewel Staite (Firefly), plus Emily Kinney and Michael Cudlitz (The Walking Dead), and a giant roster of other celebrity guests from film and TV, past and present.

Arrow Manu Bennett

Arrow’s Slade Wilson/Deathstroke, actor Manu Bennett.

Other familiar genre actors scheduled to attend include Manu Bennett (Arrow, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey), Dean Cain (Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman), J. August Richards (Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Angel), Michael Rosenbaum (Smallville), Lou Ferrigno (The Incredible Hulk), Ernie Hudson (Ghostbusters, Psych), Cassandra Peterson (Elvira, Mistress of the Dark), Giancarlo Esposito (Breaking Bad), and both Sean Patrick Flanery and David Della Rocco from Boondock Saints.

Dean Cain Superman

Dean Cain, from Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman

Several well-known comic book writers and artists will be featured in Wizard World’s Artist Alley: Des Moines’s own Ant Lucia (DC Comics “Bombshell” covers and posters), Neal Adams (Batman, Green Lantern/Green Arrow), Mike Zeck (Marvel Super Heroes Secret Wars), Iowa-based artist Phil Hester (Green Arrow, The Flash), Michael Golden (Star Wars, The ‘Nam), and many others.

Continue reading

Ant Lucia

In addition to great creators from outside the Midwest, like Black Widow artist Phil Noto (as we mentioned here at borg.com yesterday), the great thing about returning to a Con year after year is running into all our friends who write, sketch, or paint incredible works for a living.  Planet Comicon 2015 was no different.

Take for instance Des Moines artist Ant Lucia (pictured above).  Three years ago Ant was just beginning to put together great genre characters like DC superheroes and Star Wars characters in a unique retro style of poster art.  Flash forward to 2014 and an entire month of cover art at DC Comics was devoted to his creations, and statues based on his DC Bombshell designs are selling off the shelves in every town across the country.  Ant’s beautiful designs are second to none, and there’s not a more deserving guy to achieve such success from his ideas.

Other creators at Planet Comicon this weekend with national success included Jason Aaron, who had his own rock star sized line of fans getting his new Star Wars series autographed, as well as artist Freddie Williams II, drawing sketches for fans and signing copies of his Legendary Starlord series, among other works.

Jordan and Fyffe

Pictured above are artists Damont Jordan and Bryan Fyffe.  Damont had a new “spirit fox” print available that blew us away, and he churned out sketches for fans all weekend long.  And we noticed other artists at the Con were coming to Bryan’s booth to buy his framed art for their own homes.  Bryan has the best eye for design of anyone we know, and creates a variety of inspired multi-media works.  His most recent commercial illustration was for some major franchise properties, as well as the cover of John Renehan’s new novel The Valley.  Check out some of his work at his website here.

Continue reading

Planet Comicon banner 2015

The biggest pop culture and comic book convention ever in the region begins today.  It’s the third annual Planet Comicon to be held in its new venue–the Kansas City Convention Center at Bartle Hall.  This year is even bigger than last year’s show, with more vendor space and more creators in Artists Alley.  Set-up began yesterday morning and continued until late last night.

We discussed some of the media guests previously here at borg.com.  You can get a current line-up at the Con’s website here.

Don’t know where to begin?  Start here, with this short list creators and attractions to check out:

  • Amanda Lynn Chainmaille Creations, Booth 812
  • Elite Comics, Booth 2214 at the Pillar
  • Kansas City Costume Company, Booth 928
  • Wildman Drinking Horns, Booth 1017
  • Writer Jason Aaron, Booth 153
  • Artist Rob Davis, Booth 1036
  • Author Kevin Dilmore, Booth 323
  • Artist Bryan Fyffe, Booth 2740
  • Artist Greg Horn, Booth 2730
  • Writer/Artist Phil Hester, Booth 536
  • Artist Damont Jordan, Booth 2739
  • Artist Ant Lucia, Booth 2745
  • Writer Jai Nitz, Booth 540
  • Artist Phil Noto, on the wall past Booth 2745
  • Writer/Artist Ande Parks, Booth 538
  • Writer Seth Peck, Booth 139
  • Artists Nathen and Keven Reinke, Booth 1436
  • Artist Greg Smallwood, Booth 542
  • Author Dayton Ward, Booth 323
  • Artist Freddie Williams II, Booth 2776
  • Artist Darryl Woods, Cosplay Showcase

Continue reading

Six Million Dollar Man Season Six trade paperback

Following on the heels of the exciting espionage and intrigue-filled series The Bionic Man, this year’s The Six Million Dollar Man Season Six unfortunately didn’t pack the same punch needed to continue the series beyond its first six issues.  It begs the question of whether five seasons really was enough, or whether it’s just too difficult to grab a modern audience with the story of a cybernetic human from the 1970s and 1980s when technology has moved so far past that era.

The reboot via Dynamite Comics’ license for Steve Austin began with a script by Kevin Smith that was then taken over by Phil Hester and wrapped with Aaron Gillespie.  Their series retold Steve Austin’s story of a test pilot crashing and being saved from death via cybernetics in the modern day.  It was a great read that blended the best of the TV series with technology of today.  The mistake may have been discontinuing that series for a reboot aimed to leverage the current marketing hook that worked so well for other TV series continuing in comic book form, the best being Dark Horse Comics’ multi-season Buffy the Vampire Slayer Seasons Eight through Ten, and IDW Publishing’s The X-Files Season Ten.

SMDM6 interior A   SMDM6 interior B

Why weren’t readers pulled in for the Bionic retro-fix?  The fact the story was necessarily planted in the past?  The lack of photo-real interior artwork?  With a new Bionic Man movie in the works with Mark Wahlberg, it may be the next time we see a Steve Austin comic book series is an adaptation of that movie.

Continue reading

Green Arrow issue 100 cover   Green Arrow 101 cover

Fools rush in where angels fear to tread.

It’s a line by Alexander Pope in his 1709 poem, and Oliver Queen played out the saying fully in Arrow’s mid-season finale.  Unwisely confronting the League of Assassin’s far more powerful Ra’s Al Ghul and covering for sister Thea by posing as the killer of Sara Lance, Oliver met his end.  “Where Angels Fear to Tread” is also the title of the story arc that took the original run of DC Comics’s Green Arrow one hundred issues to get to–the original fall of the Emerald Archer.  In the mid-season TV finale it was literally a fall–off a cliff after a pretty undeniable death via Ra’s Al Ghul’s sword.

But we all know that the death of a superhero is short-lived 99 percent of the time.  In Issue #101 of DC Comics’ long-running Green Arrow monthly series Ollie met an untimely death in an exploding airplane, and yet the series continued for 36 more issues–without Oliver Queen.  Series star Stephen Amell may have given a clue to a similar direction for the return of the series in January via a Facebook post after the show:

“Despite the title, our show is bigger than any one character.  We’re going to prove that to you.”

Death of Green Arrow

The original, explosive death of Oliver Queen.

So we may see a period during the last half of Season 3 without Ollie.  But a note to the show writers: just don’t take it too far.

It feels like the series has barely begun and the writers have taken the big leap.  Where can we go from here?  Taking a superhero book forward without the title superhero in the 1990s comic book series was a risk, and split those fans who were loyal to the classic Green Arrow and those willing to accept a second Green Arrow–Connor Hawke, Oliver Queen’s son, as a new Green Arrow.  Three years was a surprisingly long run without Ollie, but ultimately the series was cancelled.  Oliver was to be resurrected years later by Kevin Smith, Phil Hester, and Ande Parks in a second successful Green Arrow series.

Continue reading

The Flash Season Zero regular cover issue 1   The Flash Season Zero issue 2 cover

If you’re not watching The Flash on the CW Network there’s no time like tonight to join in and get caught up.  All the DC Comics fans who grew tired of the dark and gloomy nature of the DC Comics universe as realized in television (like Constantine) and the movies (like Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy) have the alternative they have been looking for from this spin-off of CW’s Arrow.

Grant Gustin plays Barry Allen against all prior types.  He’s more like Peter Parker than the Barry Allen of the Silver Age or more recent New 52 incarnations, and little like the older, more serious scientist in The Flash television series from the 1980s starring John Wesley Shipp.  He’s cheery, funny, friendly, and generally a happy guy despite his obsession with his mother’s death years ago, having to deal with his father in prison for her murder, and the fact that his life has been turned upside down by a bolt of electric current from a particle accelerator.

Phil Hester art on The Flash Season Zero

And if the series isn’t enough for you, check out the tie-in comic book series The Flash Season Zero.  Season Zero provides a supplemental story to the TV show but also is a jumping-on point for those who may have missed the first few episodes.  Now only two issues in, you can get these back issues easily from any comic book retailer.  The best reason to check out Season Zero?  The return of artist Phil Hester to the part of the DCU he drew for many years as penciller on the monthly Green Arrow series.  With multiple crossover episodes this season between The Flash and Arrow, hopefully we’ll get a chance to see Hester’s take on drawing Stephen Amell’s much younger version of Oliver Queen.

Continue reading

Six Million Dollar Man Season Six cover 1

The new Dynamite Comics series that is intended to take over where season five of The Six Million Dollar Man TV series left off hits comic book stores next Wednesday.  We’ve previewed the book and are eager to see how the story develops over the coming year.  Written by James Kuhoric with art by Juan Antonio Ramirez, The Six Million Dollar Man Season Six wastes no time before featuring Maskatron–a great retro idea–in its first story arc with Issue #1.

The best feature of Issue #1 is undeniably the cover by Alex Ross, which is just beautiful.  Ramirez’s interior pages feature well done composition and backgrounds, outer space imagery and technology.  His character faces, however, could be improved with more detail so readers can follow who’s who.  Since this is supposed to be a continuation of the series featuring Lee Majors, it’d be great to see Lee Majors come through in the visuals.  It’s only Issue #1 so we’ll wait to see what future issues have in store for us.

Ramirez interior art Six Million Dollar Man Season Six issue 1

Continue reading

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 723 other followers

%d bloggers like this: