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Tag Archive: Mauro Cascioli


Warner Brothers continues to struggle with how next to turn the DC universe of films into a cash cow like the Marvel Cinematic Universe.  First a report that Ben Affleck′s replacement will be Robert Pattinson, an actor known for both the lucrative Harry Potter franchise and Twilight franchise, was then followed by a report that Nicholas Hoult was being considered.  Hoult, co-star of the X-Men movies as Beast, among other roles, makes more sense, as first–he has the charisma and look to be both Batman and alter ego Bruce Wayne, and second,–because he’d follow that common casting preference that already has seen two dozen actors playing superheroes flip from DC characters to Warner characters or vice versa.  These reports were followed by word that two other actors were on the Batman shortlist: Aaron Taylor-Johnson (who already portrayed both Quicksilver in the MCU and Kick-Ass in his own series) and Armie Hammer.  Why wouldn’t they just stop with Armie Hammer?  If the studio has already ruled out Denzel Washington (just watch him in the Equalizer franchise, he’d be perfect!), then the closest to how Batman and Bruce have been drawn in the comics for 80 years is Armie Hammer.  He has that John Hamm suave manner and he’s already shown he can play a great hero opposite Superman Henry Cavill in The Man from U.N.C.L.E.  With the next new comics adaptation it does seem like Warner Brothers may be doing something right.  It’s on television instead of at the movies, where the Arrowverse group of series has seen greater success than the studio’s movie efforts.  It’s the new Batwoman series, and the CW released the first trailer for the series late this week (check it out below).

For whatever reason, Warner Brothers, the CW, etc. are hesitant to put their prime DC character–Batman–on the small screen.  Just like they were hesitant showing Superman on Smallville back in “the WB” days, or giving Batman his due within the Gotham series continuity.  But this new Batwoman series looks like it could be the closest viewers are going to get to a TV bat-hero.  Series star Ruby Rose proved she has the charisma and physicality for a major superheroine/action role in The Meg, Resident Evil, Vin Diesel’s XXX series, and the John Wick series.  Her character of Kate Kane aka Batwoman in last August’s CW Arrowverse crossover “Elseworlds,” the highlight of the event (along with John Wesley Shipp donning his 1990 Flash costume), was received well by viewers.  The new trailer seems as “Batman” in look and feel as anything Warner has produced for TV–or film.

Even better, the great Rachel Skarsten (former Black Canary of Birds of Prey and star of Lost Girl and Reign) plays a villain named Alice–Batwoman’s twin sister who took on the persona of an evil Wonderlander in the comics–who looks like she can run circles around Harley Quinn.

Batwoman has been one of DC Comics′ most fascinating characters since she was re-designed by Alex Ross for DC’s 52 series in 2006, but she really came into her own in 2009 in the Justice League: Cry for Justice mini-series written and drawn by Eisner Award nominees James Robinson and Mauro Cascioli, and she was fleshed out further in 2010-2013 in the award-winning Batwoman solo series written and drawn by J.H. Williams III and W. Haden Blackman.

Take a look at the first trailer for CW’s Batwoman:

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A month ago here at borg.com we discussed looking outside the comic book medium for the artwork of your favorite comic book artists.  You don’t need to look too far outside of comic books to find the next great artwork from fan-favorite cover artist Ryan Sook.  Every year just in advance of San Diego Comic-Con, comic book stores are stocked with the annual update to The Overstreet Comic Book Price Guide.  First published in 1970, the 1,200 page log of nearly every comic book published to-date arrives at its 48th volume this summer, dated 2018-2019.  Known as the go-to guide for prices for a generation of collectors, Robert M. Overstreet’s book of prices and thumbnail photos is also a source to glean what’s happened in the past year by way of comic book trends.  It features its own hall of fame for comic book legends, plus full-color sections highlighting some of today and yesteryear’s best covers.

For this year’s comic book store exclusive hardcover edition, Gemstone Publishing tapped Ryan Sook to create a cover to commemorate 50 years of Planet of the Apes films.  Sook reached beyond the original to reflect imagery from throughout the Planet of the Apes movie saga– a great homage to the original shocking environment as Charlton Heston’s astronaut Taylor arrives in the future horrifying world of human scarecrows, with General Ursus leading the charge and the creepy denizens in Beneath the Planet of the Apes, the return to the past by spaceship for the apes in Escape from the Planet of the Apes, to the militant world and apes under arrest in Conquest of the Planet of the Apes, culminating with the eagerly-awaited first appearance of The Lawgiver in Battle for the Planet of the Apes.  The familiar image of Roddy McDowall behind John Chambers’ Oscar-worthy make-up takes center stage–McDowall connects all of the films alternately as Cornelius and Caesar (and later as Galen in the TV series), and here he cleverly blocks the identity of the planet.

You can only purchase this edition of the Overstreet Comic Book Price Guide in comic book stores, so put in a call to Elite Comics to make sure you get a copy when this new edition arrives in July.

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Affleck as Batman and new Batmobile

So there it is.

Zack Snyder has revealed the new Batmobile and our first look at Ben Affleck in his new Batsuit for the 2016 release Batman vs. Superman.  Somehow it makes you think this man in a rubber suit is going to beat the pulp out of the Man of Steel, doesn’t it?

It immediately calls to mind an amalgam of both Frank Miller’s Batman from The Dark Knight Returns:

Frank Miller Batman

Frank Miller’s Batman re-design from 1986.

and Jim Lee’s modern take on Batman first lauded in his “Hush” story arc:

Jim Lee Batman Affleck costume

Jim Lee’s 2002 era Batman.

Our first peek is a dark and gloomy image, which begs questions like “Is there any color to that wide bat emblem on his chest?”  And maybe, “Why so serious?”

Cascioli Batman Affleck suit Zack Snyder Trials of Shazam original art CJ Bunce

Mauro Cascioli’s take on Batman in 2006.

It also has the look we loved with Mauro Cascioli’s gritty Batman in his Trials of Shazam series.

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Detective Comics 30 cover

With so many on-going monthly series in the DC Comics New 52 universe, it’s sometimes difficult to find an entry point into the DC Comics titles because of continuing story arcs.  If you’ve dumped one or more titles and want to get back in, where do you start?

One entry point for you may be Detective Comics, Issue #30, the beginning of a new story arc titled “Icarus.”  In this first chapter we don’t learn what Icarus is, but we do meet up with an interesting Batman, moving on past the death of son Damian.  We also meet Elena Aguila and her daughter Annie, a motorbike daredevil who looks like she’s cut out to be the next Robin.  Similar to one of the main story threads in the Arrow TV series, Elena and Bruce Wayne are forging an alliance to restore the welfare of the citizens in the community of Gotham’s East End Waterfront District.

Detective Comics 30 Manipul

Replacing Wayne’s plans to commercially develop that area of town, and the likely deals with businessmen in Gotham City that he is going to need to cancel to do it, will no doubt create some enemies for Wayne in the process.

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Jeff Bridges in Seventh Son

How can you get any cooler than Jeff Bridges’ hacker/video game mogul character of Flynn in Tron?  As The Dude in The Big Lebowski?  Two new trailers will no doubt elevate even diehard Jeff Bridges fans’ views of this singularly awesome genre actor.

We already previewed the first trailer for next week’s release R.I.P.D. here at borg.com R.I.P.D. adapts the Dark Horse Comics paranormal cops series and stars Ryan Reynolds as Nick Walker and Bridges as Roy Pulsipher, a gun-toting badass that makes Bridges’ Rooster Cogburn from the True Grit remake look like a wimp.  This new trailer for R.I.P.D. relies heavily in its attraction on the coolness that is Mr. Bridges.  Add to it that mammoth revolver and this movie looks like a guaranteed summer blast.

Just check out Bridges in this cool new trailer for R.I.P.D.:

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Mike Mayhew The Star Wars panel 4

First it was Mike Mayhew and Star Trek and Doctor Who.
Then it was Mike Mayhew and Green Arrow.
Then it was Mike Mayhew and The Bionic Man and The Bionic Woman.
Now it’s Mike Mayhew and Star Wars.

Isn’t it great when the stars align and the people creating new entertainment are in sync with your view of the world?  Like taking your all-time favorite genre franchise and mixing it with your current favorite artist?

To quote Spike from Buffy the Vampire Slayer, “This is just… neat.”

The comic book licensee to the Star Wars universe, Dark Horse Comics has announced one of the coolest ideas you could put together.  Go back to George Lucas’s original take on Star Wars–before the edits and revisions and treatments and full-blown screenplays. Take that original story and re-imagine the Star Wars universe as if the original vision was Star Wars.  That’s exactly what long-time Lucasfilm executive editor J.W. Rinzler and current The Bionic Man cover artist Mike Mayhew have up their sleeves.  Coming in September 2013 is an eight-issue mini-series, titled The Star Wars, the title of Lucas’s 1974 version of the Star Wars saga.

Mike Mayhew The Star Wars panel 3

The images above and below are Mike Mayhew’s first released panel art from The Star Wars.

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Green Arrow 17 cover

Review by C.J. Bunce

Today DC Comics switches gears with its New 52 Green Arrow title, with writer Jeff Lemire and artist Andrea Sorrentino re-starting the series in a new storyline called “The Kill Machine.”  Lemire is best known for taking the obscure DC Comics character Animal Man and turning his story into one of DC Comics’ best reviewed series.  Italian artist Andrea Sorrentino is best known for his haunting run on the New 52’s I, Vampire, and his great covers for a short X-Files comic book series, with a style he seems to be carrying forward in Green Arrow Issue #17, released at comic stores everywhere today.

With Issue #17 Lemire seems to be taking some tips from the Berlanti/ Guggenheim/ Kreisberg playbook. Their highly successful Arrow TV series on the CW Network follows Oliver Queen as he deals with the events he faced on the mysterious island where his yacht Queen’s Gambit marooned him, and where he honed his physical skill as archer and fell into his current psychological state.  The TV Oliver Queen is echoed in Lemire’s lead character although differences show through–Lemire’s Oliver seems a bit younger and impulsive whereas the TV Oliver relies on his charisma and is more measured in his actions.  But you can’t say more about that by way of comparisons with only one issue to go on.  Fans of the Arrow TV series should keep an eye out for a familiar villain element in this first issue.

Sorrentino X-Files cover A

An example of some of the excellent past cover art of Italian artist Andrea Sorrentino.

“The Kill Machine” finds Oliver responding to the loss of Queen Industries by the trustee managing the company since his father’s death–his father’s best friend.  Lemire is overtly giving his Oliver a clean slate, destroying the world Oliver knows and removing any relationships that might reveal Oliver as anything but a lone wolf.  In this way it will be interesting to see how much of Mike Grell’s original stories of the urban archer shine through.  Grell’s Oliver, through dozens of issues of amazing stories beginning in the late 1980s, was the last time the character was completely redefined.  Can Lemire reinvigorate Green Arrow and still keep true to the character’s long history?  He has developed several issues beginning with Issue #17 so we will learn the answer as we keep up each month with the series this year.

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Review by C.J. Bunce

(with spoilers!)

A slick hardcover version of the 2011 restarted series, Green Arrow, has been published, collecting Issues #1-7.  This is not to be confused with the New 52 reboot starting in the Fall of 2011.  Called Green Arrow: Into the Woods, it is a “Brightest Day” sequence storyline that conjures some good bits of Oliver Queen’s past, and includes some of the best cover art and interior art of any recent Green Arrow series.  The story was written by J.T. Krul, with art by illustrators Diogenes Neves and Mike Mayhew.  Some of the best covers ever done featuring Green Arrow are found in this collection, all painted by the great cover artist Mauro Cascioli.

In part 1 (originally Issue #1), Ollie has truly reverted to his roots, inspired by his hero Robin Hood.  After the destruction of Star City and Ollie killing Prometheus in Justice League: Cry for Justice, Ollie is living in the mysterious forest that has sprouted in the aftermath of Star City’s destruction. This is the classic Green Arrow of Mike Grell’s influence.  His former company, Queen Enterprises is taken over by a mysterious woman referred to only as the Queen.  And Hal Jordan aka Green Lantern shows up to find Ollie.

In part 2 (originally Issue #2) we learn more about the secret identity of the Queen.  Hal loses his power in the woods, and he and Ollie must defeat some goons sent by the Queen to destroy Ollie.  The entire issue consists of battle scenes, but we do learn that the creation of the forest is somehow related to the powerful White Lantern.  Krul also introduces a new character, a medieval looking fellow, who has no dialogue, but appears from nowhere.  This part ends in a bizarre cliffhanger, with seemingly the death of Ollie for the umpteenth time, via an arrow shot through his forehead.

But there are five more parts to get through, right?  So no dead Ollie.  Part 3 (originally Issue #3) is a strange, ethereal story, and we cannot be sure what is happening.  A medieval dressed fellow claims to be the one and only Galahad, knight of the Round Table.  Only viewing this meeting as a dream sequence makes sense, yet it appears the story is moving forward with this odd new partner to Oliver.  This is never fully explained in this entire volume.  The forest comes alive with the White Lantern’s light, but not before several flashbacks for Ollie, where we meet his father and mother, and Ollie revisits the mistakes of his past.  Is this something real or imagined, for Oliver Queen?  Impossible to tell.

In part 4 (originally Issue #4) Ollie encounters the Martian Manhunter, J’onn J’onnz, originally thought dead, but re-created out of the White Lantern’s power.  Like Green Lantern, the Manhunter’s power is also zapped by the power of the woods.  And Mary, a woman he saved from modern day bandits in the woods, manages to keep Ollie busy, as she, too, sees herself as a leader destined to protect the citizens that remain in the aftermath of Star City.

As Ollie begins to believe a murderer of several high ranking citizens could be Mary, he goes to confront her but instead discovers a strange villainess in part 5 (Issue #5).  Named Nix, she murders an innocent to escape from Ollie.  For those that can keep up with the events of Into the Woods, it is at this point that the story falters.  The woods come alive, and (too) quick decision-making by Ollie and Galahad is required to fend off a band of demon-like creatures, summoned by the Black Lantern.  Again, we cannot be sure whether this is a reality for Ollie, or whether he is still part of some dream.  The low-point of the book is here, where Ollie must face off against an image of his father, which ends up not as his father at all.  But you get the odd feeling he is Luke visiting the forbidden tree to confront Vader in Dagobah in The Empire Strikes Back.

All of the attacks on Ollie, and on Hal and J’onn in the woods, were caused by the Queen, and so, in part 6 (Issue #6) Oliver attacks Queen Industries to take on the Queen, where he also confronts her minion, the assassin he met earlier in the story.  The Queen reveals herself as a character from the family’s distant past.  Confused, Oliver (not us) manages to return to the forest.  Before that, this part becomes a story of a bitter past for Ollie’s parents, ultimately lacking some necessary emotion and the point of it all… never really comes together.

Although this isn‘t the worst of Green Arrow stories, it is missing something.  Oliver is alone, and yet you wonder if we needed a seven issue story arc to illustrate that aloneness.  The character Galahad comes with no explanation.  Why Galahad?  We see pieces of a story and as readers we try to make them fit together, but I’m not sure it is all meant to be coherent.

Out of the chaos comes the high point of Into the Woods.  And that is Mike Mayhew’s art in part 7 (Issue #7).  It may be that this is one of the best renderings of Green Arrow in years.  I have shared emails with Mike in the past, and he explained that he was influenced by Mike Grell in this issue.  The look of Oliver was based on a friend of Mayhew, who looks a bit like actor Cary Elwes.  I have seen the original pencil work of Issue #7, and the issue is an example of ink work that mutes the power of the underlying spectacular art.  Even so, the visuals in this issue surpass the rest of the book, and for this reason Green Arrow fans who missed the original Issue #7 will be wise to check out Into the Woods.  As for the story in part 7, it amounts to a vision of Oliver meeting his mother in the woods, and a too-sappy effort at Oliver being forced to revisit his past and forgive himself.  If you’re expecting an ending, there is none offered here, as the story is continued and concluded in a to-be released second volume called Green Arrow: Salvation.  Look for some good images of alternate covers at the end of the book.

Despite the meandering story, there are bits of good to be found here.  But the less-than stellar story is pretty much made up for by the impressive look of the book.  Diogenes’s work is well done, if not the best Green Arrow in the history of the character it at least shows a familiar Green Arrow readers can enjoy.  However, Mike Mayhew’s work in the last chapter, plus some great covers by Mauro Cascioli, are a pretty stunning collection of images.  If the cover is not the best of the Mike Grell inspired Green Arrow covers on record, it comes pretty close.  Strangely enough, neither Mayhew nor Cascioli get any cover credit for their work on this book.

Green Arrow: Into the Woods lists for $22.99, but can be found cheaper online.

Review by C.J. Bunce

It’s no secret that Green Arrow is my favorite DCU character.  As re-envisioned in the early 1970s by Denny O’Neil and Neal Adams, he became less of a Batman knockoff and more of a completely separate and identifiable voice.  Even early on with O’Neil and Adams, Green Arrow and Green Lantern were a mirror image of Batman and Superman.  Superman tending to be the holier than thou determiner of right and wrong, and Batman more subversive, critical of the powers that be, cutting through everything to solve real problems, in a practical way.  Green Arrow was influential, even in his first meeting with Hal in Green Lantern 76.  Over the years Green Lantern, watcher and guardian of Earth, became more like Green Arrow, critical of the status quo.  Green Lantern/Hal Jordan learned from Green Arrow/Oliver Queen as their relationship grew.  But lately, especially with the recent Green Lantern movie, it’s getting harder to tell Hal Jordan and Oliver Queen apart, with Hal becoming more critical and brooding.

The DC Comics New 52 Green Arrow #1 came out two weeks ago.  I read issue #1 quickly.  Then I put it aside because I hate when reviewers, instead of reviewing what is in front of them, review what they wish was in front of them.  Hence the delay.  So I re-read it.  And I still find it baffling.

I also read the one-shot issue Flashpoint: Green Arrow Industries, which seemed to be a lead in to the new Green ArrowGreen Arrow Industries has Oliver Queen as the head of some military industrial complex.  He is Tony Stark from Marvel Comics’s Iron Man, and nothing else.  Other than in the first Iron Man movie, I have never cared for Tony Stark.  He is arrogant.  He lives a life of privilege.  Oliver Queen is not that guy–his back story is that he was a millionaire that lost all of his money.  He is not the owner of Halliburton or of Stark Industries or of Wayne Tech.

Queen learned what is important is watching out for the little guy.  The Flashpoint: Green Arrow Industries one-shot may be the most unexplainable, out of left field one-shots I have read.  Right up there with the bizarre Green Arrow: One Million book from a few years back, but at least that book had some context.  As expected, the New 52 continues with Green Arrow as this new leader of what is called Queen Industries.

The new Green Arrow is gadget happy.  Oliver Queen has never needed to rely on gadgets to be a superhero.  Like Batman, Green Arrow has no super powers.  He uses his brain.  He solves mysteries.  Gadgets?  That’s for Bruce Wayne.  We like Bruce Wayne and his toys.  Again, that’s not Oliver Queen, except for one thing:  trick arrows.  That said, the best Green Arrow stories leave out the trick arrows.  They are an amusing gimmick that even Oliver Queen jokes about when using them.  Oliver Queen doesn’t need a trick arrow with bluetooth technology that can be shot onto a boat and allow someone far away to control the boat via satellite.  A nice idea for someone else?  Maybe.  Put that story in the next Batman arc.  And Green Arrow also doesn’t need a Geordi LaForge-like visor.  Green Arrow just wears a mask for disguise.  He doesn’t need X-ray vision.

Neither is Oliver Queen James Bond.  We love James Bond.  But the two guys just are not much alike.  Part of the problem may be that even JT Krul has acknowledged Queen’s new “globe-trotting, James Bond, high adventures.”  Writers and artists who are not familiar with Green Arrow’s decades of character study and growth might think they are the same.  And I think the guys rebooting Green Arrow wish they were writing Tony Stark for Marvel Comics.

Recent issues of Green Arrow have shown Green Arrow as a hunter.  That makes more sense.  Oliver Queen was inspired by Robin Hood, specifically the classic film The Adventures of Robin Hood, starring Errol Flynn.  Oliver Queen can survive in a forest, like Robin Hood in Sherwood.  And all he needs are arrows and a bow.  Nothing else.  No iPads or iPhones (called not-so-creatively qPads and qPhones in this issue).  No Oracle-type helper constantly feeding him the latest tech data.  Queen also knows how to adapt his carefully honed skills to the life of the urban cliff dweller.

Recent storylines had Green Arrow losing control because the baddies hurt his friend Roy Harper, formerly his sidekick Speedy, and killed one of Harper’s kids.  Oliver Queen murders the evil Prometheus in revenge, and the Justice League gets on his case for not properly bringing Prometheus to justice.  Like Batman over the years, Green Arrow issued some vigilante justice.  That storyline was interesting and going someplace.  The new Green Arrow is preachy and sounds like the old Silver Age Hal Jordan or Superman.

The new Green Arrow has no similarities to the O’Neil/Adams creation.  It has no similarity to 100 issues of the Green Arrow as further refined by Mike Grell.  It has no familiarity to the faithful ongoing adventures re-envisioned by Kevin Smith, Phil Hester, Ande Parks, Brad Meltzer, Judd Winick, or even the artist Jock.  Fans of Green Arrow as interpreted by Cliff Chiang and Mauro Cascioli will not recognize the new Green Arrow.

So what is the audience for the new Green Arrow?  I think I figured it out: (1) Readers who do not like Oliver Queen, or (2) readers who really liked his son Connor Hawke as Green Arrow.  Or readers who like a stubbly looking hero like Wolverine.

After Queen supposedly died (in the last 30+ issues of the first ongoing Green Arrow series that started with the Green Arrow: Longbow Hunters mini-series), Hawke took over as Green Arrow, sometimes referred to as Green Arrow II.  Hawke was purportedly written for a newer audience.  I would understand the new Green Arrow series if only they referred to the new Green Arrow as Connor Hawke.  The similarities are all there:  Hawke has no Van Dyke beard or goatee like Queen had.  Hawke had this more vinyl/leather looking suit, like the Green Arrow on Smallville wore, and like the new Green Arrow is wearing.  Hawke had this ongoing grudge against one thing or the other.  If this is where DC’s editors want to go, why not take Hawke along for the ride and give fans of Green Arrow our goateed hunter and partner to Dinah Lance and pal to Hal Jordan back?

Here is the new Green Arrow:

…and here is the more similarly drawn Connor Hawke:

If you take on a beloved character that has a 70+ year back story, you should be passionate about that character.  DC Comics announced this month that JT Krul is no longer writing Green Arrow with issue #4.  Good choice, JT.  JT Krul has written solid Green Arrow stories before.  His non-Green Arrow stories are also awesome, including his work on the new Captain Atom.  So what happened?  Was Green Arrow just an unfortunate casuality of mismatched post-its on the wall of the DC editors when re-assigning characters in the new DCU?  Does anyone love this new Green Arrow?  Will replacement writer Keith Giffen be given any latitude to fix the direction of the new Ollie?  We can only hope.  My guess is Krul was just hamstrung by new decisions of the editorial team.  So far I have enjoyed the rest of the New 52 for the most part.  “You can’t please everyone on everything” probably applies here.

Even if this series was not about Green Arrow–about some other new character with this plot–I think storylines that have used the reality TV storyline, as Green Arrow #1 does, televising anything and everything, are just tired.  The Running Man did it and The Hunger Games did it again.  Enough already.

And not to throw too many darts at the new Green Arrow series, but what’s with these new villain names: Dynamix?  Doppelganger?  Supercharge?  About the only thing right about the new Oliver Queen is he is back in Seattle where he belongs.

Had DC changed Batman or Superman as they did Green Arrow, they would have lost a ton of readers.  You can’t remove Batman’s cowl and his detective work or Superman’s cape and kryptonite and still call them Batman and Superman.  Same goes for Green Arrow’s goatee and the essential elements of his character.   You strip away the basics and it’s no longer the same guy.

Some quick background:  In April 2005 I got a chance to meet Michael Turner at a comics convention.   I had known of his work from seeing his Aspen designs (Fathom in particular is a visual treat).  But what was really big then was his Superman/Batman covers.  I told him and colorist Peter Steigerwald that his cover to Superman/Batman #13 fifty years from now would be a defining cover for the first decade of the millenium.  Some Turner covers:

       

Turner had brought to the convention albums of all his comic book pencil art to-date.  I expected to see some incredible work.  What I saw was epic.  Leonardo da Vinci epic.  As I was “ooh-ing” and “ahh-ing” over the pages his co-creators mentioned the enormous time he puts into each page.  His pencils for the Superman/Batman covers were stunning, but his interior art of Batman was intricately detailed to a level you would have to see to believe.  Luckily for us, DC caught on to his pencil sketches and put out some alternate covers without the color, but even they didn’t match seeing the pages in your hands.  An original Turner piece used for three covers that Aspen owns:

Nothing against Steigerwald–comics need color and his coloring style was and is great–but sometimes colorists hide some of the best of the pencilist’s craft.  Sadly, Turner passed away just before the San Diego Comic-Con in 2008 at only 37 and we missed out on half a lifetime’s worth of stunning covers and interior art for sure.

Comic readers are always on the lookout for the next big thing.  Like Alex Ross, who has been around in the limelight even before Turner.  Alex Ross has a different style, focusing his best work on painting incredible covers of almost every subject you can think of, from DC to Marvel to political commentary.  Ross has become the #1 cover artist of choice among fans, almost without debate.

But last year the Green Arrow title started picking up steam with its cover art.  Check these out:

       

A new artist, Mauro Cascioli, had quietly entered the comic book scene and was putting out some stunning painted covers.  Who was this guy?  Cascioli was born in Buenos Aires in 1978.  Between 1992 and 2004 his work could be seen in the Brazil version of Rolling Stone magazine.  Then in 2005 he started working for DC Comics.  In 2007 he drew interior art and cover work for The Trials of Shazam limited series.  And his work in the book looks good, great even.  But then look at a page of his original pencil work for the Shazam series:

Cascioli has his own style, but his incredible detail work reminds me of another artist.  Yes, Michael Turner.  I think his Batman renderings are right up there with Frank Miller’s in The Dark Knight Returns, and Jim Lee’s landmark boot-in-your-face Batman as seen in his “Hush” storyline of the Batman title.  And I like how his Superman looks like Christopher Reeve.  Cascioli then moved on to the standout series Justice League of America: Cry for Justice.  Here is a page of his original interior art to Cry for Justice:

Again, stunning pencils.  In my view, Mauro Cascioli is THE artist to watch.  What is he up to right now?  It’s hard to tell.  The DC press releases about its reboot this past month listed more than 100 creators, but Cascioli wasn’t on the list.  Now it could be because they intended to only list writers and interior artists.  But I hope that DC’s powers-that-be take a second look at Cascioli’s interior pages.  Because as much as I love his Green Arrow painted covers, it would be great to be able to open a book and get that same level inside, and from someone whose work is as exciting to see as anyone we’ve seen…well, since Michael Turner. 

C.J. Bunce
Editor
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