Friday, May 20, 2016

Darwyn Cooke

I'm sure by now all of you have heard of the passing of comic artist and legend Darwyn Cooke. I won't sit here and list his incredible resume of work. That can easily be found all over the interwebs. I will talk a little about what that work meant to me.

I first, unwittingly, learned of his talent when I saw the opening sequence for the Batman Beyond animated series. At the time, I was studying animation at School of Visual Arts and Batman TAS and Superman were a huge influence on me. Everyone was emulating Bruce Timm, and the style I chose for my art was no exception. Then came Batman Beyond. It was fast, sleek, and beautifully crafted. Shane Glines was killing it on character design and became another name synonymous with that show. Then there was that opening sequence! It was like nothing I had ever seen in an animated television series. From the start of that opener it was easy to tell that this show was going to be something else. We had to know who it was that designed that sequence! Of course it was Darwyn. I continued to worship Timm and Glines throughout college, picking up any art books they sold at cons or any comics they appeared on. I'm ashamed to say that I all but forgot about Darwyn Cooke. What did I know? I was a punk college kid. Then, after graduation, on my second outing to San Diego for ComicCon International I came across the super hero book that, if given half a chance, I always wanted to do. DC: The New Frontier. Low and behold, it was the guy that designed the BB sequence! Needless to say that one, maybe two pages in and I was blown away. I was instantly a fan, instantly hooked and Darwyn would stand tall as my favorite artist from that moment on. I quickly consumed any and all Cooke-related material I could find and hoped to one day meet the man.

I have been attending cons as a professional artist for ten years now and I have had the glorious opportunity of meeting some of my favorite creators whom I've admired since I was a kid. Hell, I've been lucky enough to have had a beer with many of them and even luckier to call some my friend. I even had the chance to sit down with Will Eisner (the man I consider to be the greatest comic creator of all time) by complete accident and chat for a bit; a year before he passed. As life often does however, my favorite artist, the man I wanted to meet more than anyone, seemed to always elude me. Then came Parker. I already knew from reading Darwyn's previous comic work that I was into a lot of the same things he was. Gritty detectives, '60's era and style, Rat Pack personas, super heroes who smiled and wore their undies on the outside, and martinis. Later, especially recently I'd read stories from those who knew him personally and noticed a lot of similarities between him and my father. The lessons to being a man that were passed down to me from my pops mirrored a lot of what I heard about Darwyn's code. It has only made me admire him more. Anyway, where was I? Oh yes... THEN CAME PARKER. Man, that was the icing on the cake. Once again Cooke was doing the type of book I always wanted to do and of course he was doing it better than anyone else could. I studied The Hunter until the spine almost gave out on it. Finally, while tabling at NYCC in 2010 I had my chance. Cooke was going to be signing at the IDW booth for the release of the second Parker installment, The Outfit. I left my table in artist alley, The Hunter and The Outfit (which I bought earlier that day) graphic novels in hand and raced through the crowds to get on line for that signature that had escaped my grasp for 6 years! Let me add this bit of side note. In the ten years of tabling at cons I had never once, not one single time, left my bought-and-paid-for table in artist alley to wait on a line to get a signature from anyone. I'm not trying to knock anyone who has or sound like a pretentious douche but I tend to stick my butt in my chair and get to work when I'm tabling at a con. The only time I get up is to use the restroom or visit a friend at another table.

So there I was, next on line to meet my hero. The only other time I felt like such a fanboy was talking to Eisner. At least that was a relaxed setting where we could chat. This was an assembly line and the booth folks were moving that line along. I would only have moments to say everything I wanted to say to this man. I handed him both books and it happened. He took his brush and in seconds whipped up a quick head sketch and signature in one book and added some colorful highlights to an image and signed the second book. And I sat there mesmerized. It was a couple of simple things but he made it look effortless. I sat there as a student and just watched, and said nothing. Then I was snapped out of my daze by the person working the booth, telling me to move on. I looked to Darwyn quickly and said "thank you, you're a huge influence on my work" and he looked up and gave me slight nod. I gathered up my books and left. That was it. I waited 6 years and that was all I could say? What a dork. As I walked back to my table, immersed in the new Parker novel I now had in my hand I reassured myself that I would get to meet him again, in a more relaxed setting, hopefully sitting at a table with other pros and having that martini. Heck, I knew guys that were close to him, of course I'd get the chance to meet him again. I had all the time in the world. He wasn't going anywhere.


I never did get the chance to sit down with him, to share our interests or have that martini. That would have been something. I did get the chance to thank him though and I'm forever grateful for that. It is more than most people get to do when it comes to their heroes. R.I.P. Mr. Cooke and may the industry forever be changed for the better because of you.


Saturday, May 07, 2016

CIVIL WAR!

Can't wait to see Civil War this weekend! In the meantime I needed an outlet for this excitement so  here is my repro of the famous Kirby cover for Tales of Suspense #58. Also don't forget later today from noon-2pm I'll be at Grasshoppers Comics in Williston Park, NY so stop by for a FREE sketch and FREE comics. It's FCBD 2016!



Friday, May 06, 2016

"I REBEL"

My latest piece celebrating the women of Star Wars. My 4 yr old daughter has grown into a big Star Wars fan (like her daddy) so I wanted to do something for her that displays all of the fantastic, positive role models from the franchise. 11x17 brush and ink and white water color.


Thursday, May 05, 2016

FCBD on Saturday. I'll be at Grasshoppers Comics in Williston Park, NY from noon to 3pm. Free sketches and selling prints and original art. Come bullshit art, comics and pop culture with me! After me is Deadpool and I Kill Giants writer Joe Kelly!


BACK IN ACTION!



I'm BAAAAAAAACK! Wow! It has been 4 very long years since I've used this blog. In that time I've had a couple of kids, took some time off from comics for family, put out some short stories and kickstarter related content but I am back in action and fully rejuvinated! Besides, I needed a site to post art outside of Facebook so here I am, right where I left off. I plan on bombarding this blog with plenty of new art and upcoming info so please check in regularly. 2016 is going to be my biggest year yet and I have plenty to talk about. Just to wet the palette a bit, here is one of many pulp era mash-ups I have been doing for fun. The Ghost that Walks and The Lord of the Jungle!

Friday, July 20, 2012

UNMASKED ON KICKSTARTER!!

Its go time! My latest project, UNMASKED: THE NEW AGE HEROES VOL 1 with writer/creator Michael Sarrao is now on KICKSTARTER!!!! New to my blog? What's Unmasked? Its a completely independent comic series, 150 pages in total, about a young reporter trying to unmask a group of new 'heroes' that aren't living up to the moral code their predecessors lived by. The series, 4 issues in total for vol 1, was released digitally on Graphic.Ly earlier this year and now its time to go to print!

However, in order to do so we need your help! Michael has put together an incentive PACKED kickstarter in order to raise the necessary funds to get Unmasked Vol 1 printed.

New to the world of Kickstarter? Here's how it works:
Step 1: Go to www.kickstarter.com
Step 2: sign up
Step 3: Search UNMASKED: THE NEW AGE HEROES VOL. 1
Step 4: Pledge some money!

Kickstarter is a great way of getting new, fresh ideas straight to the fans and letting THEM decide what they want to see on the market. When you pledge money, check out the list of incentives next to that amount. If the book reaches its goal in the time allotted then you receive those incentives. If the book does not reach its goal in time, you are not charged at all.

We are looking to raise enough funds to go to print. Any extra money (after incentives) will go towards future Unmasked volumes as well as the very awesome Unmasked live action webisodes that Michael has been shooting. Our incentives range from digital copies of the book, printed copies of the book, posters of all shapes and sizes, t-shirts, original screenplay and script pages signed by Michael, original inked pages and character sketches drawn and signed by myself, digital dvd copies of the webisode and trailers, and even a superhero mask!

FOLLOW THE LINK AND ENJOY!!!

http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/michaelsarrao/unmasked-the-new-age-heroes-volume-1

Tuesday, April 03, 2012

New Books!!!!

OK, lots to talk about! Last Wednesday a great book I had the opportunity to participate in hit the stands... Atomic Robo Presents Real Science Adventures#1!!! It will be an anthology series in which I drew a 24 page story that will span across 6 issues: Atomic Robo meets Bruce Lee! Issue 1 was met with some very good reviews (see links below) and quickly became the top picks on both Comixology and Graphic.ly






Secondly and extremelyyy important... UNMASKED, the 4 issue mini series I drew with writer creator Michael Sarrao ( I'm sure you've heard me mention it once or twice lol) is finally here!!! It comes out MAY 1st through the GRAPHIC.LY app followed by a new issue every week in the month of MAY, so mark your calendars!!! Check out the website for more info, like the fanpage on facebook and print this cool little save the date flier (pin it to your fridge, your dog, your kid's head, whatever, just don't forget to download issue 1 on MAY 1st!) 24 pages, full color: $1.99






Wednesday, March 07, 2012

NEW UNMASKED TEASER!

Here is another teaser panel from the upcoming Unmasked short I am currently working on with Michael Sarrao. Gorillas and nazis??? Hell YES!

Tuesday, March 06, 2012

More barbarian designs

Looks like we may have solidified our heroine's designs. Let me know what you think.



Monday, March 05, 2012

Barbarian of the future!

New character for a short I am working on. This is just a very, very early design but I felt like sharing because I fell in love with the character the second I drew her. This project is going to be a bit out of my comfort zone, which is exactly what I'm excited about. Its a great opportunity to flex my creative science fiction/fantasy muscles and a great opportunity to work with a writer whose work I admire very much. More info to come! Enjoy!

Saturday, March 03, 2012

"Enormous" Pin up!

Here is a pin up I recently did with colorist Giuseppe Pica (Unmasked, A.K.A) for my good friend Timothy J Daniel's latest Image Comics series 'Enormous'! for more on the series see the attached link, the book looks amazing!!

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

New Unmasked teaser!

Little sneak peek at the first three pages of the latest Unmasked short! Here are some random panels! Enjoy...



Monday, February 20, 2012

Pin ups of the week!

More pin ups! This model is absolutely stunning, very much the type of woman that comic artists draw on a regular basis. Enjoy!


Monday, February 13, 2012

Pin up part 2!

Next model up! I had a lot of fun drawing these. She has a hard, toned look but still soft and feminine. I truly had a blast with this round of poses.


Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Starting a new pin up series!

Here is the first installment of a new pin up series I will be working on in the coming months. Its just for fun and gives me something do outside of the projects I've been working on. There will be plenty of beautiful women so stay tuned!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

UNMASKED WEBSITE IS UP!

Thats right folks, the website for my latest series UNMASKED is up and running. Check it out and kill an hour or three. There is plenty of content to look through. From a free preview of issue 1 to trailers, character and creator bios to pin ups and character designs, you can kill off a lot of time behind that cubicle waiting for the workday to end. So enjoy!



http://unmaskedcomicbook.com/

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Changing it up a bit...

Thought I'd try something new for this post. Its simple, here is a group of celebrities that just absolutely do it for me. I think they are amongst the most beautiful people on the planet. Nuff said! Who are your favorites?


















Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

JIM'S BACK!

Back in 2005 my first published work was released. Working with famed writer/creator Billy Tucci (Shi, Sgt Rock, A Child is Born) we put out a 48 page one shot about a Long Island delivery boy trying to cope with being a teen, who is suddenly  thrust into the beginnings of a zombie apocalypse. It was the story of how Jim became the Zombie Sama!

A handful of years have passed. I have published two more series since then and a few shorts, Billy has reached even greater heights. However, I never forgot about that first project. Something about that story has just stuck with me over the years. Maybe its Jim's moral compass, the fact that he should be a jerk to everyone around him but instead selflessly helps those that don't really deserve it. Maybe its his love for a girl that has all but given up on him. Most likely its the fact that he proves that the bully, in the face of real danger, is a coward and the little man is the one who will step up to the plate and save the day.

Either way, for the past 6 years I have been planning Jim's comeback. If all goes well Zombie Sama will return, uncut and remastered. The interior art will be completely re-done by yours truly and the script by Tucci told the way Billy wanted to from the start. New art, new material. And if that goes well, we have plans for at least two more story arcs after. So, contact myself (on here or on Facebook) and contact Billy on FB as well and let us know what you think about a the return of Zombie Sama!

Also- Get your order in for Billy Tucci's "A Child is Born" from Apostle Arts, LLC. It's his best work yet and is sure to be a  Classic in years to come!