Posts tagged Green Hornet
Unpublished Green Hornet Cover on eBay
Joe Rubinstein is inking the unpublished Green Hornet cover from last summer. He’s taking bids for it on eBay starting at $100, with about 9 hours left for bidding as of this post. A one of a kind original and a good deal to boot. Click image to go to auction.
Best Art Ever on Comics Alliance
Green Hornet Annual #1 – August 2010
A new solicitation for Dynamite Entertainment’s August comics at Rick Offenberger’s First Comics News includes a cover I finished about a month ago for Kevin Smith’s Green Hornet Annual #1, for which I’m also scheduled to draw a story within the book. It’s a little difficult for me to keep such art under wraps until the publisher announces it. With a somewhat sparse career in comics that’s beginning to return to life now, the story of this cover was something I’ve wanted to tell here since the day I finished it.
Joe Rubinstein and I were asked to produce this cover in black and white line art, my pencils and Joe’s inks. As preliminary discussions about it began with Dynamite chief Nick Barrucci, it was suggested that this should be a classic “boy kneeling at his father’s grave, exuding anguish, rage and promise of revenge. Nick even suggested the Neal Adams Batman/Ra’s Al Ghul cover with a deceased Robin as inspiration.
My first instinct was to look for a new angle from which to approach such a story situation. Such covers have been seen often, which makes the task of getting a fresh result a little more difficult. It was important to find a way that would distinguish it from the classic graveside scenes. Within a few days of sketching on the computer (the entire job was done digitally), I came up with this first attempt where I used the close-up instead of the kneeling figure, intending that the expression and attitude would tell the story without needing to rely on the familiar kneeling figure, and allow the background to do the rest. I then sent the image to Nick for response.
Nick was swift in replying he’d rather go with the classic look of the kneeling figure at a grave site. He didn’t want the allusion of the Hornet hat, that young Britt Reid would himself become a New Green Hornet, because in the story, Britt Jr. had not yet made such a decision at the time. He also pointed out that Britt is much younger, college age, both things which I wasn’t quite aware of at the time. Nick also sent me a couple of known comics covers with a similar subject to use as an idea template.
I don’t know about other artists, but such situations can become a formidable challenge for me. One problem being that these types of images have been done so much that it’s difficult to arrive at something that looks new. The other problem is a mounting expectation that the cover should look like these samples, which compounded the difficulty in achieving a special result.
So I hit the digital software again and came up with the following sketch (left) and sent it to Nick in its rough form, explaining why such a cover is going to automatically give the feeling that it’s been seen before.
Fortunately, upon seeing this, Nick agreed. But he was still pressing to emulate, or seek inspiration from, a familiar comics image of a similar story scene. So he sent along the Neal Adams/Ra’s Al Ghul cover (right) for more guidance.
This posed an even a greater dilemma for me. While I didn’t want this cover to be so much like the previous graveside covers, I wanted even less that it would be identified with Neal’s Ra’s Al Ghul cover. As great as Neal’s art has always been, there is a difference between having a style strongly influenced by him and doing a cover that looks like a shadow of something he’d done.
Still, I struggled with the idea as much as possible, but could only produce the following rough sketch (right), which I didn’t even send to Nick for a response. Instead I sent an email explaining the difficulty I’m having with the entire direction.
Nick caught on to the problem and made an effort to more precisely define the differences between the situation that Britt Jr. is in, and the classic anguish/revenge reactions in the previous samples. Nick’s familiarity with the story, which I was somewhat lacking of, was exactly the information I needed to move forward. The big reveal for me was that Britt Jr. was more of a shattered young man in this instance at his father’s grave. Not at all the vengeful would-be hero that we’ve seen in previous situations. He had not yet developed an understanding of the scope of events that would later push him into donning his father’s mantle. In that sense, the previous samples of heroic rage and promise of revenge at the grave were not necessarily indicative of what this cover should be about.
So, I returned to the computer and set out to re-think the approach. Britt Jr. would get a more subdued and broken treatment. The mood would be more sullen. A moment of mourning instead of fire and brimstone rage. This would also allow for introducing both Kato and his daughter into the scene as standing by the shattered youth to help him pick up the pieces. Soon enough, I sent Nick the following proposal.
Nick corroborated that we were finally on the right track. But now that we were heading into this more subdued direction, there was a question about whether there was a need for the his father’s image to be hovering overhead in the background. There was also the issue of color which would be critical to pulling off the mood. Feeling a little encouraged with this result, I produced the following color roughs, mainly as possible guides for the colorist. One with the spirit of the departed father in the background, and one without.
Jason Ullmeyer, Dynamite graphic designer who was also involved in the process and followed our discussions, then suggested a third possibility of a stronger, more close-up image of the departed Britt Reid in the background. This seemed like the clincher to me as it would anchor the scene with the sweeping element that this cover was basically about. I added this possibility into the array of color roughs and produced finished line, equivalent to pencils, for each of the three options.
By this point, I’d cultivated such an attachment to this cover that it seemed natural for me to see it through to the finish as a digital painting. This is an area I’ve been pursuing for some time as I’ve been working with a computer for more than 15 years and have become versatile with most aspects of image production. I’ve basically done penciling, inking and coloring of many pieces in the site gallery and this was a good opportunity to produce such a piece for a mainstream publication. So I made the suggestion to Nick that this would give us the best result for the cover. Nick’s answer was one of agreement with a slight reservation about getting Joe Rubinstein’s approval as Joe was slated to ink the cover for a traditional color process. A quick email to Joe settled the issue and I was all set for the final stretch of digitally painting the piece.
The images above show the turning points in the finished digital painting process. The first image basically brings the piece to a finished rendered state before applying color filters and effects needed focus the eye on the central elements. It had seemed pretty much finished to me at this point but a few things were still bothering me. One was concerning the proportions of young Britt’s head relative to his body, which became an easy fix with the digital tools. Another issue was that even though this is a sullen moment, the piece still needed a stronger color punch as a comic book cover. At this point I sent Joe Rubinstein a copy of it to get his opinion and he corroborated my own apprehension, advising to get a little stronger with the warm orange colors. Joe, though mainly known as an inker, is one of the more talented painters in the comics community and has a very keen eye for color. His advice was enough to make the final changes which included a little more detail on the top surface of young Britt’s head.
What started out as pencils for a familiar scene on a traditional comics cover turned into a unique challenge that’s produced my first mainstream comics digital cover painting. Early reactions to it seem to be enthused. Perhaps it’s the beginning of many more.
Posting will slow down a little in the near future due to a demanding comics project with a very tight deadline, that’s also slowed down a burgeoning list of commissioned art assignments.
Amidst this welcomed predicament, an old acquaintance stopped by to comment on the recent Green Hornet covers for Dynamite Entertainment. Shay Brog’s nice comment there reminded me to have a look at his site, Total Eclipse, which had left a memorable impression on me several years ago. Beyond his superb technical taste in presentation, Shay is an articulate philosophy and psychology graduate from Tel Aviv University, who recently relocated to New York under an employment arrangement with 5Min.com. An ardent comics lover, he is also a high-tech aficionado exhibiting demonstrable insight into a range of subjects. Several articles there moved me to bring them to readers’ attention and are highly recommended, if only for the intellectual honesty and refreshing insight they exude.
Four Dogmas of the Radical Left: On the Arab-Israeli Conflict.
Before diving into deeply contentious subjects, I’d like to precede by stating that I am and always have been a member of the Israeli peace camp. I support the Palestinian’s right to self-determination, within the boundaries of the land acquired by Israel in the 1967 Six Day War.
Having said that, It is often the case that I find myself at greater odds with those who are left of me than those who are to my right, regarding the true nature of the conflict and the convulsed history involved. This is why I’m adding this disclaimer here. Read More…
In Defense of Journalism: On Journalism in the internet age.
For a while now, we’ve been hearing about the crisis of journalism. As David Simon (HBO’sTHE WIRE) once put it – Journalists today are expected to do more with less. As Simon has also wisely noted, this crisis in journalism began before the internet, but today, the most pertinent challenge to journalism lies on the web, with it’s “information wants to be free” attitude, and its cheeky anti-authoritarianism.
Most recently, some have suggested journalism can be saved by consumer technology, or that the internet will have to change to fit antiquated business models. Though I do believe journalism is worth saving, I believe both accounts to be naive and ultimately mistaken. Read More…
Meditations on the Political Paradox: On the perfect political system.
I was arguing with an acquaintance on matters tangential to political philosophy. He was arguing from a rather extreme, radical political position, while I was arguing towards a more moderate, and in my opinion more realistic position.
At one point in the debate, I had the urge to just yell at him “But don’t you see that nobody agrees with you??”
I didn’t, because my trained philosophical mind immediately identified that as an argumentum ad populum, a logical fallacy. One can be absolutely right about something even though most people would disagree. Read More…
And lastly, Shay’s thoughts on a Warren Ellis post advocating a somewhat brutal colonization of Mars.
Naturally, there are already groups with the retarded idea that Mars should be kept the equivalent of a natural park or reservoir. I call this idea retarded, because there can be no justification for it. If Mars is not habitable to humans, then there is no ethical question regarding it and how humanity treats it (this is a position sometimes called anthropocentrism). There certainly aren’t any religious questions about it, and terraforming should proceed before some crazy cult decides that Martian territory is holy ground. Read More…
On this last one, while I wholeheartedly agree with the thrust of both Warren’s and Shay’s sentiment, I believe that Titan, moon of Saturn, will eventually become a more favorable candidate for terraforming, if only for its more abundant natural resources needed to propogate a suitable environment for mass human migration. Much richer in atmoshphere, hydrocarbons and liquid seas than Mars, Titan’s primary drawbacks are its minus 180 degree temperature and methane saturated surface. Both, however, are likely to be more easily adjusted for human life than attempting to pressurize Mars’ atmosphere and generate enough water from it for human habitation. It simply seems more viable to work with the abundance of Titan’s resources than to create presently non-existent ones on Mars. Anticipating major and revolutionary breakthroughs ahead in our understanding of planetary growth is also likely to change our entire approach to colonizing the near solar system. Perhaps a good subject to expand upon in a later post when the work pressure subsides.
In the meantime, if any of these interest you, do pay a visit to Total Eclipse through the links above and take a worthwhile intellectual journey, guided by Shay Brog, a most insightful and articulate thinker, writer, and master of technically enhanced presentation.
Kevin Smith’s Green Hornet | DYNAMITE ENTERTAINMENT
Now that it’s all over the comics news sites…
They’re not the real covers, though they’ll be published with the comic book. They’re produced only to confuse and whet the appetite. I drew these two weeks ago and they’re now being inked by Joe Rubinstein. Kevin Smith’s Green Hornet #3, from Dynamite Entertainment, will see the death of one of its four protagonists, the original and new Green Hornet and Kato teams. These covers are something akin to disinformation, or ambiguity covers. Dynamite isn’t telling which one of the four will be killed. To deepen the mystery, DE chief Nick Barrucci devised this idea. Interesting PR and proving somewhat effective.
Nowhere in the press release does it say that I drew these, but the signature is clear on all four. Looking around the forums there were only a couple of comments about the art itself. Most of the talk is about whether anyone cares about Green Hornet or which one of the characters dies. I joined an engaging discussion at Bleeding Cool where the significance of the characters and merits of such a hype were weighed.
Nick Barrucci has done wonders with Dynamite Entertainment. He seems to have an affinity for culture and history. His publications are mostly revivals of well known properties. From the Lone Ranger to Sherlock Homes, perusing his list of properties reveals a treasure that is at the heart of modern day mythology. With such a reverence for cultural icons, it’s clear that Nick isn’t simply out for a sensationalist PR coup with these covers. It’s also not a crisis-like hero-killing gimmick such as other publishers have saturated the last decade of comics with.
Kevin Smith’s Green Hornet is based on his movie script, written long before Dynamite acquired the character, which is still in the promotional stage. It’s a legacy story where a new generation of heroes continues the work of the old. So in his original script, on which these comics are based, one of the heroes dies. It happens in a pre-ordained stage of the story and this is how Barrucci decided to promote it.
I watched nearly every episode of the Green Hornet TV show with Bruce Lee in the 60′s, and enjoyed every minute of it. I couldn’t think of a more unexpected and interesting set of characters to draw for my first published mainstream comics work in more than 15 years.
I know it’s self indulgent, but that seems a little more significant to me right now than which of them dies.
The art was produced on a computer as a pencil stage for Joe Rubinstein to ink from blue-line prints. Because Dynamite darkened my images to give them an inked feel for the press release, here they are below in their originally drawn state.