Tag: Hellboy

Black And White – The Ghost Who Walks


The last Indiana Jones post got me in a pulp kind of a mood. I’ve always liked pulp-style characters – and Indy is most certainly a pulp character, regardless of his “date of birth” – from originals like the Shadow to Doc Savage, to modern interpretations like the Rocketeer. I’m very intrigued by DC’s First Wave books, even if the results have been somewhat uneven.

The Phantom, created by Lee Falk, made his debut as a comic strip, rather than in a true pulp. But he’s a pulp character in every other way. The Phantom was pretty high on my list of characters I wanted to write at least once. Happily, I’ve been able to get to a number of them: the Phantom, Hellboy, Tarzan, Red Sonja.



I was able to scratch my Phantom itch via Moonstone, which held the license before its recent move to Dynamite, by talking them into a Phantom Annual (the first ever, apparently). It was a generational story told in chapters, each chapter starring a Phantom of a different era. I pulled in a number of my writer friends, including Chuck Dixon, Tony Bedard and Mike Bullock, to pen chapters. On the art side, I collaborated with my sculptor/artist/animator buddy Ruben Procopio on the first chapter, recounting that era’s Phantom facing down the pirates of the Singh Brotherhood.


Ruben contributed a very Toth-inspired black-and-white variant cover (pictured above), while inker Terry Austin talked his pal Bret Blevins into penciling the main cover (pictured at the top of the post). I had a notion that we should have a simple back cover image, and Lee Moder stepped up to contribute this great shot (pictured below) of the Phantom and Devil, which was then inked by Terry Austin. But for whatever reason, Moonstone decided it wasn’t a suitable image, and it went unused. It’s appearing here for the first time ever, as far as I know. Shame it never got used. But who knows … maybe we’ll find a place for it sometime.


Cheers,
Ron


Readin’ and Writin’

“What books do you read?” That’s one of the usual questions writers get. Or at least this writer. When I get that question, people almost always mean what comics do I read. And the answer is … not as many as I should, really.

The more time you spend writing comics, the less time you spend reading them. I don’t run out to the comic store every Wednesday. I truthfully don’t even go to the comic shop once a month. But my “to read” pile seems to grow steadily anyway, between stuff that shows up for free, collections I pick up in a book store or online, and the single issues I grab when I do get to the comic shop. It usually comes down to a choice of doing more writing, or taking a break and doing some reading. “More writing” usually wins because, thankfully, there’s always more to do.

When I do read, it’s usually collections rather than single issues. I’d rather consume a story arc as a whole, rather than in bite-size chunks. Over the weekend I picked up the Millar-McNiven Wolverine: Old Man Logan hardcover. Mark’s a good writer and a fine fellow, even if he got back in the Self Promotion line for seconds. Steve McNiven, of course, got his start at CrossGen as essentially an apprentice, on the strength of some sample pages featuring Lara Croft.

An aside: on Steve’s first morning in the studio, most of the artists were absent, having pulled all-nighters the night before. So when Steve showed up, there wasn’t anybody around to give him the studio tour and show him the ropes. It fell to me. So in addition to showing Steve where the supply closet was, where his flat file drawers were located, and that there was indeed beer in the fridge. And I kinda indicated that it was part of his job to get me coffee every morning, with milk and one sugar. Just a joke! But Steve seemingly took me seriously, and as I remember it, ran off to get me my coffee. He delivered the coffee to my office, and asked, “Milk and one sugar, right?” I said, “Right.” And before I could explain I was just joking, Steve asked, “And should I put my dick in it every morning, like I did just now?” Pretty obvious he was going to fit right in.

Some of the other collections in my “to read” pile currently: Brubaker’s Daredevil Omnibus, Iron Fist Omnibus and Criminal Deluxe; the CharlesVess art book, Drawing Down the Moon; the Edginton-Culbard adaptation of A Study in Scarlet; and the latest volumes of Nexus Archives and The Walking Dead.

I try to keep up with a few books in singles, though even then I’m apt to read a handful of issues at a time: Captain America, Hellboy, Jonah Hex and Northlanders, as well as The Darkness and Victorian Undead. A few others that draw me in with fantastic art: the Ultimate books drawn by Frank Cho, Arthur Adams and Carlos Pacheco; and J.H. Williams and Cully Hamner on Detective Comics. I’m also enjoying the hell out of Jason Aaron’s Wolverine: Weapon X series, both the Garney and Paquette issues.

Another aside: I’m a big fan of Yanick Paquette’s art. We got to hang out a bit at the after party for last year’s Calgary Expo. In addition to being a terrific artist, turns out Yanick composes music and actually seriously considered becoming an entomologist. He regaled me, artist-sculptor Ruben Procopio and Ruben’s fiancée Jeanne Schanberger with tales of experiments involving what sort of, uh, poop insects preferred to nest in and consume.

Now … I have some writing to do. And reading I wish I was doing.

Cheers,

Ron


More free stuff

Magdelena cover by Ryan sookI was actually planning a piece on the Hellboy: Weird Tales story I did with Jim Starlin, showing off some of the artwork in glorious black and white. But that’ll have to wait until next week, because Newsarama popped up the entirety of my Magdalena story with Ryan Sook today, and I didn’t want to let it pass without comment.

You can find the complete, 11-page story here.

It’s one of my favorite things I’ve ever done, in large part thanks to Ryan’s amazing art and Dave McCaig’s perfect color. I remember talking to Ryan after the whole story was completed, and he raved about Dave’s color work, saying it the best interior color he’d ever received. I think Ryan is hands-down one of the best artists working in the business right now, so I was absolutely thrilled to have him on the story. And Dave was the perfect complement. Everything was spot-on. Sometimes all elements of a story and creative team just clicks, and you wind up with something special. Or at least special to me.

The story appeared in the First Born: Aftermath issue, and while it put a coda on Magdalena’s involvement in that tale, it was really about her ongoing relationship with her “employers,” the Catholic Church; hence the title, “Crisis of Faith.” I think the story works pretty well as an appetizer for April’s Magdalena ongoing by me, penciler Nelson Blake 2nd, inker Sal Regla and that McCaig guy on colors again. Ryan Sook on covers, of course. Story elements introduced in “Crisis of Faith” will surface again in the ongoing series.

“Crisis of Faith” grabbed a Harvey Award nomination as Best Story or Best Issue or something. Didn’t win, of course. Not with All-Star Superman in the running. Still, nice to see the story get a little recognition. And nice to have it getting wider exposure on Newsarama now. If you like what you read there, I’d venture to say you’ll like the Magdalena series. Assuming you want to take that plunge, tell your retailer, so we can pump up those initial orders. Every sale counts in this market. You can also place an order with Discount Comic Book Service, which is doing a promotion with Magdalena #1, signed by me, for 99 cents.

One more thing. It just so happens that today, about the same time “Crisis of Faith” was appearing for free, I was downloading “Love,” the new album from Angels & Airwaves, also for free. The band is offering up “Love” gratis – 11 new tracks. You can download it here.

There’s a donation button on the site. You can give whatever amount you want, or just take the free album. I donated. Hope you will too.

Cheers,

Ron


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