Posts tagged Joe Rubinstein
Unpublished Green Hornet Cover on eBay
Joe Rubinstein is inking the unpublished Green Hornet cover from last summer.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
It’s hard to say whether the bottom panel in the page below was the inspiration for the famous Spider-Man kiss with Mary Jane in the first movie. It’s the splash of the story I drew for Marvel Team-Up #89. 1980, with Spider-Man/Nightcrawler, written by Chris Claremont, inked by Joe Rubinstein and last 3 pages penciled by Rich Buckler. Comics All Too Real, on Facebook, are among a few who seem to think so after I posted the splash there.
As was the case with drawing stories in Marvel Style, the art was done from a generalized plot without specific panel descriptions. I took the opportunity to emphasize Kurt’s surprise kiss to Amanda by having him do it directly from the hanging position, instead of leaping in front of her as was suggested in the plot. It seemed to make a stronger visual, that may have well been the inspiration for Spider-Man’s legendary film kiss. Not so far fetched considering how comics are being mined for Hollywood content, where many story plots and visuals from the rich comics history are making their way into mainstream films.
More interesting is how this iconic kiss in the first Spider-Man movie became so popular and has been copied by young lovers everywhere. Even babies and cats. Perhaps the biggest form of flattery considering its likely origin in that Nightcrawler/Amanda smooch at the airport more than 30 years ago. Click this link, or the image below, and scroll down, for a Google image search revealing how widespread it’s become.
I’ve likely been staring at this blank blog sheet even longer than Clifford did at his. The Art of Responsibility and the Responsibility of Art is more than a clever twist of a phrase. It is also a shared sentiment that we both find ourselves immersed in, even when the throes of life nearly succeed at making us feel less artistic or responsible. A shared sentiment that’s forged a friendship through years of intersecting pursuit in our distinct venues within the comics community and periphery.
Clifford Meth’s accomplishments as a writer, his efforts on behalf of comics creators and his humanitarian approach to solving problems are no secret. Perhaps it’s this benevolent streak that’s also driven him from one professional pursuit to another. While employment opportunities fluctuate with seasons, one mainstay for Clifford has been the representation of Gene Colan and The Dave Cockrum Estate for everything concerning their art. It is a promising and budding portfolio that I’ve watched grow from his deeply rooted conviction in the need for more fairness and justice for the comics creator community.
2010 was a very good year. A return to working with Joe Rubinstein on commissioned art and a return to a few high profile comics projects, capped by an invitation to the 2010 Detroit Fanfare. All heralding an upgrade from my ground-base activity on the web for nearly a decade now. They also highlight the need for better access to more – and better organization in managing it.
So, I asked Clifford recently about the possibility that he’d also add me to his growing portfolio. The answer came in the link above to his blog. It is not an exaggeration to say that it took a few hours to recover from his talent as a delightfully devious wordsmith of the profound.
It is a pleasure and privilege to announce that Clifford and I are upgrading a dear friendship into an artist/agent relationship that seeks to maintain, together, the distinct momentum we’ve both enjoyed in 2010. The arrangement also touches on a little more. An announcement (and link to a new website) will soon follow, on the founding of Aardwolf Signatures, a new business framework for Clifford Meth and for the growing ranks of artists he represents.
Just in time for the holidays!
UNEMPLOYED MAN, WONDERMOTHER, MASTER OF DEGREES, FELLOWMAN, GOOD GRIEF,
and more of the most popular characters and images from the hit book
One of the best reviewed graphic novels of the year!
Featuring artwork by Legendary comic book artists
Ramona Fradon, Rick Veitch, Mike Netzer,
Terry Beatty, Joe Rubinstein & more!
The Book is available everywhere books are sold, or via our site.
The perfect gifts for the struggling everyday heroes in your life.
Order now and have ‘em by Christmas!
The reviews are in for The Adventures of Unemployed Man
TOP PICK – HOLIDAY GIFT GUIDE – New York Times.
“A BEAUTIFUL graphic novel, this really is a HIGH-QUALITY piece of work.” – CNN
“Exposes, with LAUGH OUT LOUD AND SOPHISTICATED WIT,
the desperate situation many Americans find themselves in today.” – USA Today
“ABSURDLY FUNNY and VERY SMART” - San Francisco Chronicle
“Crammed with clever puns, INGENIOUSLY ILLUSTRATED and garnished with trenchant social commentary,
this is surely THE FUNNIEST economic primer ever written”. - Salon.com
“WITTY, EXHAUSTIVELY-RESEARCHED” - Reuters
“INFORMATIVE, SMART, FUNNY.” - Publisher’s Weekly
“A BITING SATIRE of the current economic situation and how things have gotten to where they are…ENTERTAINING and INFORMATIVE.”- Ich Liebe Comics
“BUY TWO COPIES: one for yourself and one for someone you know who’s having a rough time making ends meet –
they can use a PICK ME UP like this.” - Sean Kleefeild, On Comics
“I bought 6 of these to give a presents this holiday…A MUST READ! INVENTIVE, HILARIOUS, DEEP AND SCATHING…in a PLAYFUL and ENTERTAINING way. Can’t wait for the movie!” – Brain Trust
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.
Coming this Fall
Ramona Fradon, Rick Veitch and Michael Netzer in an Origen & Golan epic satire…
An 80-page, full-color superhero comic satire from New York Times bestselling authors Origen & Golan (Goodnight Bush), In this hilarious and poignant book, Unemployed Man finds a new sidekick, Plan B, and teams up with other everyday heroes to fight The Human Resource, Outsourcerer, The Invisible Hand and other economic villains ripped straight from today’s headlines.
THE ADVENTURES OF UNEMPLOYED MAN features art by Ramona Fradon, Rick Veitch, Michael Netzer, Josef Rubinstein and Terry Beatty.
Origen and Golan deliver a riveting, hilarious and moving satire on the economic malaise of our time. The book is a brilliant comics rendition by Ramona Fradon (two of its four chapters), Rick Veitch (one chapter), and myself drawing the last chapter along with a few additional pages in the others. Joe Rubinstein and Terry Beatty share the inking chores. The art morphs in style from Golden Age in the beginning towards a more Silver Age look leading to the triumphant victory of Unemployed Man and the Just Great Society over the evil economic menace. The story is both sad and funny at once. A brilliant satire in exquisite comics iconography, of how the world economy has become of the greatest oppressors of our time.
Now available for discounted advance orders from Amazon.
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.
Via Joe Rubinstein, Bob Layton and Newsarama:
It wasn’t a big surprise as Dick Giordano had been hospitalized for some time with a deteriorating condition, but we never seem to be prepared for such news. It’s a big loss for the comics industry and for everyone who knew him.
My acquaintance with Dick, while working at Continuity studios in the mid-1970s, was a humbling affair. From the beginning, I was thrust into Crusty Bunker inking on the Charlton magazines Continuity was producing. Space 1999, Six Million Dollar Man, and others. It was thought that because I’m a penciler, I’d be suitable for inking secondary characters. Though it was soon discovered that my inking was quite crude for the studio look and that, unlike penciling which I’d been practicing since childhood, I had little experience to speak of as an inker. After the first few attempts, Neal suggested I pull out a lot of Dick Giordano reference and re-acquaint myself with how to approach diverging textures and forms in ink.
I spent a lot of time doing just that in those early days. But even better than the reference, Dick himself had a vibrant and daily presence at the studio. For the most part he was inking various studio projects at his desk. From time to time, he’d take time off for business consultations with Neal or for helping out other artists. But he was always available to talk about his approach to inking, storytelling and comics in general. Such conversations were of the most informative and eye-opening for me from that period. Working so close to Dick revealed an entire world about the craft that I was in need of understanding at the most essential level of that early stage of my career.
Dick was the consummate professional in everything he did. He adapted his craft from the Charlton days as he moved over to DC Comics and took on inking the illustrative work of Neal Adams, becoming perhaps the best inker to have embellished his pencils. In time the two became partners at Continuity as Dick rounded off the artistic vision of the studio with a pragmatic business approach to help run a smooth operation. Dick’s outlook on his work, life and art was one of grace, rhythm, and eloquence – qualities which endowed him with a warmth that attracted his colleagues, gave his art a unique memorable quality and made him the wonderful embellisher known for his graceful line that especially complimented his renditions of the fairer sex. Rounding out the artist in the man, Dick Giordano the businessman handled managerial affairs with the same eloquence he invested into his art. It was in no small measure to his credit that Continuity rose to the surface of NY corporate advertising, from a small two man studio when he began his partnership with Neal, to a multi-million dollar business venture employing tens of artists, and becoming a hub for the comics community of its time. Dick went on to an editorial position at DC Comics where the invaluable experience he’d gained became a beacon to a new generation of artists emerging into the industry during the 1980′s.
It was nothing less than a great privilege to have known and worked with Dick Giordano, an undisputed legend of the comics craft and one of the medium’s more significant and notable contributors. Mere words cannot begin to balance the debt owed him for the invaluable guidance, professionalism and grace he imparted to many of our generation of aspiring artists in our formative years, and to so many more since.
Have peace, good friend, with much gratitude for having made our world and craft all the better.
Dick Giordano: Portraits of the Creators Sketchbook.