Tag: Matthew Dow Smith

All thumbs

You’re looking at thumbnails –“thumbs” – for a variant Magdalena #1 cover. Now, I assume most people reading this blog would know that “thumbs,” or roughs, are small sketches. But I don’t want to assume everybody knows that.

first set

These roughs are by my buddy Matthew Dow Smith. The variant will be available at the Albany Comic Con, the “hometown” convention for both me and Matt, which will take place April 25. The show site is here.

The guest list includes me and Matt, as well as a number of other Hudson Valley creators that have all been my friends for years: Terry Austin, Fred Hembeck, Todd Dezago and Joe Staton. Terry, Fred and Todd, along with Jim Starlin and Bernie Wrightson, were regulars are the weekly Woodstock volleyball matches I played in until our five-year Florida detour. Coming to the con from a bit farther afield are Lee Moder, my artistic partner on Dragon Prince and the work-in-progress Shinku, and Saurav Mohapatra, a writer I edited at Virgin Comics. Check out the entire guest list; it’s pretty impressive for a “local” one-day show.

I’ve always been an admirer of Matt’s artwork, including Hellboy and Starman contributions and DC’s Day of Judgment series with an up-and-coming writer named Geoff Johns. Matt was my first choice when we needed a fill-in issue of my samurai-themed comic The Path at CrossGen. I thought his use of spot blacks would make him a good fit with the kind of work Bart Sears was doing on the series. Matt turned in a great job on his issue, and when Bart left the series, Matt moved to Florida to take over the regular art duties. We produced some issues I’m quite fond of, but it was destined to be unfinished business. Not quite a year later, CrossGen blew apart and Matt moved back to the Albany vicinity. A few years later, I settled in the same vicinity.

Matt’s first Albany variant, which he penciled and inked, was the Witchblade #131 cover for last year’s autumn con. The show was held the day after Halloween, so the subject matter was a natural. This time around, the obvious choice for a variant was my Magdalena series, which will debut just prior to the con. Without a natural theme this time, we discussed utilizing a background of the Albany skyline, featuring distinctive towers and an egg-shaped performing arts center.

The towers feature in three of the four roughs from Matt’s first batch (above), including one I suggested featuring a trolley-car diner. Matt also included a shot of Magdalena perched atop a church cross, an iconic image that would also be a comfortable fit for Daredevil or maybe Spider-man.

After input from con organizer John Belskis and Top Cow’s Filip Sablik and Phil Smith, Matt produced a second set of roughs (below). The diner concept was refined to include a neon sign featuring the Top Cow logo, and a peek at a couple of patrons inside that might well be Sara Pezzini of Witchblade and Jackie Estacado of The Darkness. The towers remained a background element in two of the roughs, but the lower angle on diner concept forced a different background for that image. Matt also added a shot inspired by look of golden age comic covers.

second set

So which one did we pick? Come back tomorrow to find out, and get a look at Matt’s finished pencils, which will be delivered to legendary X-Men inker Terry Austin for his distinctive contribution.

Cheers,

Ron


Appearances can be … exhausting

Angelus Variant for Emerald City Comic Con 2010

I’ll be honest – conventions are not my favorite thing to do. I’ve been doing them long enough that the conventions themselves all tend to be the same show in a different building. That’s not to denigrate any of the shows I’ve done or will do in the future. But from my side of the table, a con is signings and panels and meetings. It’s a lot more like work than a vacation. It’s also a necessity. With so many books being published every month, doing the extra promotion to get your book noticed just goes with the territory. Still, the time away from home and family is not ideal, nor is the lost work time.

For me, the best part of the convention experience – besides getting together with industry friends that I only see at cons – is getting a chance to chat with fans. This job is a solitary one. Creating comics is a pretty individual pursuit. I think the only guys who get a lot of interaction “at work” are artists who share studio space. And even then, we all ultimately do what we do alone. So getting some feedback from the audience is a way to recharge creative batteries.

Taking all that into account, my next two months are pretty jammed with appearances.Top Cow Print ECC 2010

This coming weekend, March 13 and 14, I’ll be at the Emerald City Comicon in Seattle, one of my absolute favorite cities. There will be a Seattle-themed litho and T-shirt available, featuring Witchblade artwork by Michael Broussard and Sunny Gho, as well as a con-exclusive Angelus #2 variant. [link]

ECCC Update: As I mentioned in my twitter feed, I can’t make ECCC due to work commitments. Rest of the listings here remain valid.

On April 10, I’ll be at the Empire State Book Festival in Albany, NY, for an autograph session and a panel on graphic novels with my buddy Matthew Dow Smith, among others. [link]
On April 16-18, I’ll be at C2E2, the big, new Chicago convention from the same people who bring you the New York Comic Con. Again, I’ll be at the Top Cow booth, and there’s rumor of an Angelus #1 con variant. [link]
On April 25, I’ll be at the Albany Comic Con, along with a number of my buddies like Terry Austin, Matthew Dow Smith, Lee Moder, Todd Dezago, Fred Hembeck, Joe Staton and more. Great little show, done for all the right reasons. Look for an Angelus #1 con variant by Matt Smith and Terry Austin. [link]
On May 1Free Comic Book Day – I’ll be signing at a number of New England Comics locations in the Boston area. I wrote Top Cow’s FCBD offering this year, which is a prelude to this summer’s Artifacts series. [link]
And finally, on May 15, I’ll be at the inaugural ComiConn in North Haven, Connecticut. You guessed it, there will be another Angelus #1 con variant, this one by Eric Battle. [link]

After that, most weekends you’ll be able to find me on my couch, watching the Mets. I hope.

Cheers,

Ron


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