July 22nd, 2019

Headache

Comic Con Report, volume 4: Artists Edition



Here several artists draw from cosplay life on Sunday. Among them, the white haired fellow obscured in the back, was Gary Gianni, whose booth it was. I'd spoken to Gianni the day before when I was perusing art open for display in artist alley and noticed his pencils for Hellboy: Into the Silent Sea:


Image by Gary Gianni taken from Mike Mignola's Twitter

I could immediately see Gianni had actually spent time studying ships. I asked him about his research process and he told me a ship modelling club had been a great resource. We talked about how it's easy to underestimate how complex the detail can be on ships from the age of sail. I'd spent enough time studying them myself for my own comic that I've gotten used to noticing the bizarre configurations of lines and tackle contrived by many artists who didn't bother to do research. So it was great to see an artist who'd shown such attention to real detail. And Gianni did so without making his work look like blueprints; the drawings show his artistic expression in their proportions and angles. You can see he's comfortable enough with his knowledge that he can use it as a tool without being a dull regurgitation of information.

I made the rounds in the independent/small press booths on Sunday. I was amazed by the inkwork of Scott E. Sutton--on seeing his book cover I said, "You drew all the leaves!"



He nodded and seemed pleased someone noticed, telling me his inkwork was influenced by great British illustrators like John Tenniel and Arthur Rackham.

Nearby I met another fantasy artist with impressive inkwork--Pug Grumble, who writes and illustrates a series about a character named Farlaine the Goblin.



He told me made the kinds of books he would want to read, something for someone tired of superheroes. I said, "We could all use a break from that now and then."

But I am happy I caught the panel for Jim Starlin on Thursday. Creator of several Marvel characters popular now on the big screen, including Thanos, Drax, and Gamora, he also co-created Shang-Chi, a character whose upcoming MCU entry was among the big reveals at Marvel's Hall H panel.



He talked about how Shang-Chi began life as a comic adaptation for the television series Kung-Fu. When Warners weren't interested in this comic, Starlin and Steve Englehart reworked the project and sold it to Marvel. When the comic was going to be connected to Fu Manchu, Starlin said he went and read the original 1930s Fu Manchu books and was horrified and embarrassed to be connected to essentially "yellow peril" style propaganda.

Starlin said he was surprised by the popularity of Thanos as he always regarded him as a challenging, niche character. He talked about how he never liked "simple" characters, that most of the characters he's created are as much villainous as they are good. He also said he liked to create abstract entities for which he felt comics and novels are more suitable media than movies.

I guess I've scratched the surface of everything I saw and did at this year's Comic Con. More to-morrow . . .

Twitter Sonnet #1259

A question waits in dark and dizzy hills.
Reflective swords reveal a spectrum bent.
The velvet borders set a doctor's frills.
Along the mountain path the heroes went.
A room of mirrors shows a whistle test.
The absent sails reveal the yards of bone.
A shorter route delivered worst to best.
Through muddy ponds the fish's lantern shone.
A name by other jacks diverts the ball.
A million pins construct the colour screens.
A tested rover graced a Martian hall.
A billion leaves construct galactic scenes.
The net of lines ensnare a pencil sketch.
A thrown balloon averts an easy catch.