Friday, May 30, 2008

Giant-Size Astonishing X-Men Cover Variants

Here is the incredible cover by John Cassaday for Giant-Size Astonishing X-Men #1.  First, the variant black and white edition:

John Cassaday's black and white cover to Giant-Size Astonishing X-Men

Seeing this without the color makes you appreciate the composition.  Colossus, Kitty, Cyclops, and Wolverine pop off the right hand side of the cover, the one that people will see on the rack.  I love the visual cue that Cassaday has added for Cyclops, that sideways beam that leaks horizontally from his visor.  Angel looks incredibly cool in his winged glory there, too.  On the right hand side, you get the non-mutant heroes, and I really dig Cassaday's Thing.

Now let's add the color:

John Cassaday's cover to Giant-Size Astonishing X-Men

Laura Martin is a freaking genius.  I don't need to tell you that, but every time I see her work, I am, well, astonished!  She complements Cassaday's beautiful line work perfectly.  Nuff said.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Monster Mondays: Tomb of Dracula in August 2008!

Dracula Poster

Marvel had two surprise announcements in their August 2008 catalog preview.  This nifty Tomb of Dracula poster featuring art by Gene Colan will be released at that time!  As I've mentioned on Photon Torpedoes in my Tomb of Dracula retrospective, this is one of my favorite horror comics of all time.

Even more staggering is the announcement of the Tomb Of Dracula Omnibus Volume 1 Hardcover.  This will be a whopper of a book.  It will reprint Tomb of Dracula #1 thru #31, which covers the introduction of Blade, Hannibal King, the bodiless Dr. Sun, and Quincy Harker's gang of Dracula-busters.  I have all the original comics, but I suspect I will get this edition just to have them all in pristine condition.  I am hoping that the re-mastered color will be competent and not overpower the original artwork.  Tom Palmer's inks on Gene Colan's art was spectacular, and he often did the coloring.  Palmer was a master of applying the proper color to fit the mood of the story that he worked on.

But wait, this Omnibus has even more stuff!  Giant-Size Chillers #1, featuring the origin of Lilith (Ungrateful Daughter of Dracula), will be included.  And since one of the Tomb of Dracula issues was the second part of a confrontation with the infamous lycanthrope Jack Russell, Marvel is also inserting Werewolf by Night #15.  This may be my only chance to see Mike Ploog art in an oversized format!

You may have heard the recent sad news about Gene Colan's health problems due to his liver.  According to this article at the Hero Initiative, proceeds from the Dracula poster above will be routed to Gene.  You may already know that Clifford Meth is running an auction to benefit Gene as well.  Lots of ways to help Gene...please do.  Nuff said.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Thing Tuesdays: Thing vs Hulk by Steve Scott

Sometimes the Marvel Adventures books can be just as good, if not better, than the Marvel Universe line.  Marvel Adventures Hulk #11 had a fun story where Bruce Banner visits the Baxter Building in search of a cure, and wouldn't you just know it, gets a little green and fights Ben Grimm.  I loved the artwork in this issue and one incredible splash page in particular.  Here's a progression from pencils to inks to full color.


Steve Scott has a wonderful frame for capturing the two monster-heroes in combat.  This just seems like a classic Marvel moment to me, channeling the best of Kirby, Buscema, Starlin, etc.  I retrieved this pencil-scan from Comicspace.


The penciller and the inker (Nathan Massengill) are working in perfect harmony here.  The Thing's rocky hide looks Joe Sinnott-y perfect, and the Hulk's visage looks like the old Tales of Suspense Hulk. (This image, by the way, was taken from Marvel Spotlight: Incredible Hulk movie.)


Finally, when the computer color, letters, and sound effects are added, the whole image just pops.  I'd like to buy this page, but I suspect that it has already been sold.  I think we will see a lot more from Steve Scott, check out his web page at DeviantArt.  Nuff said.

Stjepan Šejic's Secret Invasion: Inhumans Cover

Secret Invasion Inhumans Cover

This beautiful cover by Croatian artist Stjepan Šejic (see his site at DeviantArt) to Secret Invasion: Inhuman really conveys a mixture of emotions: loss, loneliness, and the hotness of a red-haired Medusa.  I'm looking forward to this series, which is going to pick up the Inhumans story after the events of David Hine's Silent War and the last issue of the Illuminati.  Was the Black Bolt who got his ass kicked by the Hulk a Skrull?  That's one thing I'm dying to know.  There was an interesting interview with writer Joe Pokaski (from NBC's Heroes) about this series over at Marvel.  Nuff said.

Secret Invasion #1 variant cover by Leinil Yu

Secret Invasion #1 variant pencils by Leinil Yu

I think Leinil Yu has been kicking ass on Secret Invasion.  Here are the pencils to his variant edition cover to issue #1.  Look at the awesome details on the facial expressions, the lighting, the chain mail on Captain America.

Here is the inked cover in full color.  I like the colored cover, but I love the pencilled cover.  .  Nuff said.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Monster Mondays: Werewolf by Night #1 by Greg Land

Borrowing an idea from Yet Another Comics Blog Monkey day, Mondays around here will be known as Marvel Monster Mondays, featuring a classic (or perhaps goofy) take on monsterdom.  Our inaugural tribute features the February 2007 revival of Werewolf by Night.

Werewolf by Night cover by Greg Land

I know it has been fashionable to beat up Greg Land for various imaginary crimes.  But man, I'll always love Greg Land for giving us Sojourn, and even better, for giving me this chance to see Jack Russell shine once again.  Mike Carey crafted a pretty decent story about Jack going into a red-state to rescue a young female werewolf from a gang of rednecks.  The artwork inside was just as awesome as the cover.

I liked the story because they did not try to reinvent Jack Russell, or reboot the series with an OC-style version.  In this story Jack Russell has come to terms with lycanthrope and appears to embrace it.  He's one tough, smart-alecky mofo even in human form.  No more whining about the wolf, and Russell's the master of his own transformations.  It really made me wish that Carey/Land would do a Werewolf by Night mini-series, but alas, I am sure there is not much profit in that compared to some of the Ultimate universe stuff these guys are doing.

There's a Legion of Monsters collection available from Amazon, which features Satana, Morbius, Man-Thing, and more.  Each issue had some pretty cool backups; the Werewolf issue had a Frankenstein story by Skottie Young which I found to be very much in the classic style.  Skottie Young seems to get beat up a lot too!  Nuff said.

Link: Werewolf by Night, California Gothic.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Giant-Size Hulk #1

Giant-Size Hulk #1 by Gary Frank

The Hulk was one of the major Marvel characters who never received his own Giant-Size book back in the1970s.  Marvel has given old Greenskin his just tribute in this month's Giant-Size Hulk #1.  The cover is by Gary Frank, I like it a lot.  I think he must have done this before his Marvel contract expired?  The lead story is new, written by Roger Stern, who did a lot of terrific Hulk stories in the past.  It's a lot of goofy fun with the dumb Hulk interacting with everyday people.  The Hulk chows down at Burger King!

Splash from Hulk Annual #7 by John Byrne

The second half of the book reprints one of my favorite Hulk stories, from Hulk Annual #7.  Written by Roger Stern, artwork by John Byrne and Bob Layton.  It brings a lot of great X-Men elements into the Hulk's world.  Angel and Iceman are hanging out at the pool with a bunch of babes when Master Mold, the Sentinel Supreme, decides to attack.  The Hulk gets involved and winds up fighting Master Mold.  Really good, classic stuff.  I liked how Layton's inks looked on Byrne's pencils.

King-Size Hulk #1 cover by Frank Cho

We've got even more giant greenskin goodness to look forward to: next week King-Size Hulk #1 arrives in stores.  The title is another tribute to Marvel's past; in the 60s/70s they called their annuals "King Size Spider-Man Annual #1".  This brand new King-Size Hulk will have artwork by Art Adams and Frank Cho, stories by Jeff Loeb.  I'm sold!  Nuff said.

Friday, May 16, 2008

X-Men Legacy Poster by David Finch

X-Men poster by David Finch

This widescreen poster by David Finch, collecting all of his covers from X-Men Legacy, will be arriving in comic stores this June.  Didn't read the series, but this image is stunning.  Classic X-Men and New X-Men as bookends, with Sentinels, Hellfire Club, and Magneto sandwiched in-between.  Nuff said.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Ghost Rider, Tearin' Up the Backroads of America

Ghost Rider 22 splash by Roland Boschi

I've been a Ghost Rider fan since the character first appeared in Marvel Spotlight #5.  Ever since Mike Ploog and Gary Friedrich left the strip, it's lacked a good solid direction.  Things have gotten better since Daniel Way brought Johnny Blaze back from Hell in this new series, as we've learned that Johnny is really an avenging angel of vengeance.  New writer Jason Aaron has taken this situation to new heights with Johnny Blaze taking to the backroads of America, searching for clues about Zadkiel, the angel responsible for his predicament.  Johnny just happens to find a boy who ran into Zadkiel while in a coma...but the boy is guarded by an army of Tarentino-kinky naughty Cycle Nurses.  This terrific double splash page by Roland Boschi kicks off Ghost Rider #22, where Blaze is fighting a road full of demonic creatures on Cannibal Highway.

Ghost Rider 22 cover by Marko Djurdjevic

Of course, it does not hurt at all to have cover artist Marko Djurdjevic promoting the Ghost Rider.  This cover is not just an awesome image; Blaze really does pick up a scythe to cut a swath through his enemies.  Nuff said.

Jim Cheung and the Power of Galactus

Galactus by Jim Cheung

Jim Cheung's artwork in New Avengers #40 blew me away.  I love this double page spread of Galactus destroying the Skrull homeworld.  It's on my Windows desktop now.  Click on the above image to download it from Flickr.

It doesn't hurt that fabulous Frankie Ray, Nova, is cruising through this shot.  I loved Nova, thought she was Galactus best choice for a herald.  According to Wikipedia, Nova was killed in Silver Surfer #75.  Since they are bringing back all kinds of dead characters, why not revive Nova?  Nuff said.