Advertisements

Tag Archive: University2


main-image-ffww-mcm-promo

Three years ago I reviewed a comic book from an aspiring artist named Mickey Lam.  Lam, a self-taught illustrator based in London with a degree in biomedical materials who was then a secondary school science teacher before committing to illustration work, creates a variety of artworks for his clients, using all types of media.  He also writes and illustrates comic books to experiment with his style.  With his most recent projects it’s clear that it is time for publishers to take note of not only Lam’s finely honed illustrations, but his excellent writing, too.

I read three recent works by Lam: two from his cheerful Fwendly Fwuit characters and a more serious book about the horrors of deforestation.  When I first reviewed Lam’s stylish action book Mr. Yang Fights Aliens here at borg.com I took note of his great artwork.  What jumps out at me today is his incredible writing.

As for Lam’s Fwendly Fwuit books, these are perfect for kids of all ages.  His first in the series, Summer Adventure, shows the coming together of a banana and strawberry as pals, and reminds of me of Frank Cho’s early writing in his University² comic strips.  The content is completely different, but like Cho, Lam’s characters pop off the page from the get-go as fully realized, likeable leads.  With his high-quality, magazine-sized follow-on book, Winter Wonders, Lam catapults into the realm of Adventure Time and SpongeBob SquarePants.  These are unique and creative characters in the same vein as the outside-the-box critters in those popular lines.  His environments visually are superb and his creations, like the Melon Wagon in Summer Adventure and his updated Space Melon Wagon from Winter Wonders, are like imaginative features you’d see in a Hayao Miyazaki movie.  Lam could be writing the next Adventure Time series, with his Fwendly Fwuit pals or with whatever the mind of Lam creates next.

Mickey Lam Please Save Our Rainforests

His more serious content work, Please Save Our Rainforests!, is entirely different and shows a very clean writing style conveying a message that can change the minds and actions of its readers.  Please Save Our Rainforests! is the kind of publication that should be picked up and distributed by groups like Greenpeace and PETA, and reminds me of the classic 1960s Smokey Bear comic books handed out by the U.S. Forest Service carrying Smokey’s “Only you can protect forest fires” theme.  Lam’s message in his book is no less important.  His characters are cute and adorable, and they are juxtaposed against an effort to spread awareness of the ugly, illegal deforestation in Malaysia for palm oil production in Malaysia involving the mass slaughter of orangutans.  The story and the message are completely effective.

Continue reading

Advertisements

You could probably count on one hand successful comic strip writers that then move on to their own comic book titles and also become known for their powerhouse cover work.

I met Frank Cho at Comic-Con in 2008 and have never met a more mild-mannered artist at a Con.  I went all fanboy on the guy and he responded as a pretty humble guy.  Probably what you get when you thank someone “on behalf of a grateful nation and all men on planet Earth” for his work (or something like that).

Along with Terry Brooks of Echo and Strangers in Paradise fame, Frank Cho is among the best artists ever to draw one subject superbly: women.   But he also writes hysterically funny stories.  His compilation of his early comic characters featuring a pretty college student and her animal friends in University² The Angry Years!  is one of the only pass-out-from-laughing-too-hard books I have ever read.

DW and I caught up with Frank this year at the San Diego Comic-Con International and it was a real treat.  As I have found at Comic-Con, you can spend a lot of time with any of the creators on Artists Alley if you hang out there and drop by at the right time.  Even to see the best of the best.

 

I think we talked with Frank for well over half an hour, about his super feature in the Washington Post Magazine (he gave us his copy–talk about cool swag!), his gallery show in France, selling original art, moving into a new home from a cramped apartment, a sneak peak at his new Brutal comic book series with Image comics coming out next year, a pitch for a brand new series he’s been working on for years, and last but not least, that his rights to Liberty Meadows are now safely back in his hands so we may yet see more issues of that bestselling series.  And we could have chatted with Frank for the remainder of the Friday afternoon.

Frank said he was selling original art pages via a gallery in France, and lucky for us he had them under the table and let us flip through them–sci-fi chicks in space, superhero sketches including trial pages he decided to start over with–you name it.   Something I think Frank has in common with other creative people is that he says he is a perfectionist–no page is ever quite perfect in his eyes.  Blaspheme, I say!  Frank said he never sells any Liberty Meadows pieces and he generally does not do commissions.  I liked the fact that he was sentimental about his characters from Liberty Meadows.  He will draw you sketches of his animals from that series, however, if you get him at the right time. 

Now he is busy with several projects, and he said he is looking forward to a new series he was going to pitch to some people the very next day.  He showed us his pitch book–with most people this would include pre-inked sketches and plot summaries, but Frank’s pitch book read like (as you’d expect) a stunningly professional, finished, comic book!  We were definitely sold on it and hope it does well.  Shanna fans will be happy to see a paleontological theme to this new project. 

Frank appeared at his booth with the new writer for Brutal, Joe Keatinge (sorry, Joe, for the photo of you looking like you’re about to sneeze).  He showed us this preview image the day before it’s public release at his panel.  Expect some good action out of this new series.

Check back soon and we’ll run down the top covers and images of Frank Cho’s brilliant career so far!

C.J. Bunce

Editor

borg.com