Thursday, April 15, 2010

Comics... Awesome!

Much like Dave Wachter, I met Andy Jewett through the various online forums I discovered when I returned to the comic book fold after 20 years away. I met Andy in-person for the first time at the Wizard World Chicago Comic-Con last year. We hit it off immediately, and he asked to buy a copy of my book completely unprompted when we first met. I ended up picking up a copy of Word 2, which is one of my favorite sketchbooks, containing some of Andy's best work.

One of the pieces in that book is “Awesome”. It’s a work that I think is some of his best ever
, and everyone I know thinks highly of it. He had the original work in his portfolio at the con. I had heard from other friends that some kids had really low-balled him an offer for the piece, and I’m glad Andy turned them down. I told him then that if he ever considered selling it, I’d love to be first in line to make an offer.

I don’t remember who brought it up later, but somewhere around the time Andy was first promoting his wonderful mini-comic, SICKO, we got on the topic of “Awesome” and that he was looking to sell it. We eventually struck a deal, and I’m thrilled to now have it in my personal collection. And when I re-do my office, it will be framed and featured prominently, humorously capturing the thrill of a shared hobby with friends.

The original is without tones, but there are a couple electronic versions of the piece colored by Andy floating around. (In fact, you can buy a gray-tone "Awesome" shirt from Andy's online store.) Here is the green-tone version...

(click to enlarge)

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Good Things Happening to Good People

Shortly after returning to comic books as an adult, I became friends with Dave Wachter. We struck up a friendship through the various forums we both frequented, and when I published Deus ex Comica: The Rebirth of a Comic Book Fan, Dave was my first and only choice for cover artist. I’m humbled by Dave’s talent and honored to have his artwork grace the cover of my book.

Beyond that original work, Tracy and I have commissioned various pieces from him over the years, including a gorgeous Etrigan the Demon and a Ghost Rider among others. His work is absolutely amazing and should be seen by the widest possible audience.

Dave’s been working on The Guns of Shadow Valley for a while now... there is a beautiful con preview book that teased the series before he and Jim Clark decided to do it their way and take the story to the web. It’s my favorite web comic, consistently entertaining and intriguing. And now, it’s been officially announced that The Guns of Shadow Valley has been nominated for an Eisner Award (the comics industry equivalent of the Oscars) in the "Best Digital Comic" category.

Look no further than Dave’s own words to understand why this is such a big deal...
These characters, this story, this experience, this is my career, this is my life. That’s why this nomination means so much. We poured our hearts out into this thing, and now the biggest awards in the land have chosen us to place on a platform with some of the best work currently found on this expansive and seemingly boundless thing called the world wide web.
As soon as it was officially announced, Tracy and I called Dave to wish him our best. This is a digital comic that truly deserves the widest possible exposure, and we’re thrilled for him. I hope Dave gets everything out of this experience he wants and certainly deserves.

To Dave: Congratulations, my friend!
To Everyone Else: Go read The Guns of Shadow Valley and spread the word!

Monday, April 12, 2010

Marvel Unbound - New Avengers/Transformers

What do you get when you mix Marvel’s premiere super hero team with IDW’s cash cow franchise property? A fluffy little piece of fanboy cotton candy; an empty calorie sugar rush, and that’s pretty much what the in-continuity New Avengers/Transformers miniseries gives you.

The trade paperback collects the four issue story itself. No extras, no frills, just this fun little bit of pre-Marvel Civil War confectionary that takes place between the “Breakout” and “Sentry” story arcs early in the New Avengers canon.

Writer Stuart Moore’s story is a light but enjoyable one, taking Captain America, Spider-Man, Wolverine, and Luke Cage to Latveria to help quell a looming war between that country and neighboring Symkaria. The heroes are later joined by Ms. Marvel, Falcon, and Iron Man to fight alongside Autobots Optimus Prime, Jazz, Bumblebee, Prowl, and Ratchet. They all work together to thwart the evil Decepticons’ plan to use Spider-Man’s mutated DNA to boost Energon beyond anything Megatron had previously known.

I think it’s cool that it’s Spider-Man blood that’s deemed the most powerful. Not Cap’s Super Soldier Serum enhanced blood. Not Ms. Marvel’s Kree enhanced blood. Not Wolverine’s mutant blood. Just irradiated, spider-bitten Peter Parker’s blood.

I also dug the duplicitous Doctor Doom’s role in all this. It was great to see him working both sides against the middle in his usual way, while showing off his one-of-the-smartest-brains-in-the-Marvel-Universe scientific side.

There are some great fanboy moments for followers of either franchise and a nice little inference thrown in on the last page, planting a seed that the presence of Transformers in the Marvel Universe might be a bit more well-integrated than originally thought. In all, New Avengers/Transformers is a pleasant diversionary read between heavier hitters, and it helps fill out New Avengers or Transformers completists’ libraries.