Tag: Silver Surfer

Silver Surfer by Georges Jeanty

<<< Kyle Rayner


( SILVER SURFER by Georges Jeanty )

Writing Silver Surfer was my first regular gig in comics, my first monthly assignment, all courtesy of Jim Starlin, who ushered me into Marvel and handed me the reins of the book. As my first regular gig, it was definitely on-the-job training. I haven’t looked at any of those issues in quite a while, but I suspect the writing is a mix of enthusiasm and crude technique.

Whenever I do a signing, I still see a fair amount of Surfer issues, especially the ones with Ron Lim. As much as Kyle is associated with me, Surfer is easily in the number two slot. I think I’ve written more Surfer stories than anyone, including Stan Lee, which kind of blows my mind.

Cheers,

Ron

THE J-FILES are a series of images created by Georges Jeanty (BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER/DarkHorse) for my first pass at having a website.


Magdalena graces Albany

Had a great time at Sunday’s Albany Comic Con. Caught up with old friends, made some new friends, and signed books from Silver Surfer to Green Lantern right up to Magdalena #1. The GL-centric panel with my buddy Joe Staton was a lot of fun, as we compared notes about our respective runs, and “our” respective Green Lanterns. David Pepose of Newsarama was in attendance, so there should be a report on the panel online sometime this week. David Pepose of Newsarama, who was in attendance, has posted a report on the panel.

The end of the GL panel was interrupted by the local chapter of the 501st Legion, who strode into the room to bestow Honorary Membership upon me. More on that in a post later this week, but suffice to say I was very flattered and pleased. It’s not every day you get a laser-etched plaque handed to you by a Stormtrooper in full armor.

I also got to meet the real Kyle Rayner at the show. He’s 4 years old. His mom and dad brought him by, and I have to admit, I was pretty stunned that someone thought enough of our everyman GL to actually give their child his name (“Kyle Rayner” is his first name and middle name). How cool is that?

The other highlight of the show was a cosplayer named Jen Wicks who wore a kick-ass Magdalena outfit all day. She posed for photos, including this one with me, as well as a group shot of me, Terry Austin and Matthew Dow Smith (who of course provided the art for the con exclusive cover of Magdalena #1). Yes, I know I need a haircut.


One of the nicest things about the Albany Con is the burgeoning local and semi-local comics community that’s developing around it. I’ve known guys like Terry Austin, Matt Smith, Todd Dezago, Joe Staton, Fred Hembeck and Lee Moder (who made it to the conn all the way from Pittsburgh) for years. But it’s been great to meet or reconnect with other creators like Dave Rodriguez, Nick Tapalansky, Saurav Mohapatra, Paul Harding, Declan Shalvey and the Timony Brothers, as well as critics/journalists including CBR’s Tim Callahan and Newsarama’s David Pepose. Virtually all the guests who attend the show end up wanting to come back, so I expect many of them will return for the fall show, which is scheduled for Sunday, October 24. Hopefully the guest list will include a few surprises. As always, you can watch the Albany Con MySpace and Twitter feed for updates.

Cheers,

Ron

P.S.
Saurav Mohapatra also posted some photos he took during the conn on his blog.


What might have been

Marvel vs. DC

I don’t think I’m really telling stories out of school here, since the project was well over a decade ago. Last week I mentioned on my Twitter stream how much affection I have for the work of artist Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez, one of the true masters of the medium. I also mentioned that Jose was actually offered the DC half of the art duties of Marvel vs. DC (or, depending on your point of view, DC vs. Marvel), the crossover project that I co-wrote with Peter David back in the mid-’90s. According to the account I heard, Jose turned down the project because he wasn’t terribly interested in drawing a big superhero slugfest.

Batman vs. HulkIt was a disappointment, of course, because no other artist more symbolizes DC (at least in my mind) than Jose. In addition to his long list of credits in the DC Universe, Jose has done a wealth of art that’s been used as the basis for DC merchandising, including the Superman fleece blanket in my office, and a number of statues on my shelves. Jose is the “DC guy” to a lot of people, even if they don’t realize it’s his art. As far as I know, Joe has never drawn Marvel characters beyond his Batman vs. Hulk crossover in the ’70s.

So with Jose out, the job was offered to Dan Jurgens, another artist who has a rep as a “DC guy” even though he’s done a chunk of work for Marvel as well. Dan is also one of my closer friends in comics, and serves as the commissioner of a fantasy football league I play in. Dan accepted, and we were off and running.

Punisher vs. BatmanWell, halfway, at least, since Marvel had not confirmed its own art team. The first choice for the gig was John Romita Jr., who symbolized Marvel in much the same way that Jose was emblematic of DC. And, like Jose, John Jr. had never drawn DC’s characters outside of the Punisher/Batman crossover. But John turned down the job. So too did Andy Kubert and Adam Kubert. I’m not sure who else, if anyone, was asked. But it seemed curious that Marvel’s editor on the project, Mark Gruenwald, could not get a Marvel artist to commit to what was going to be a high-profile, high-selling project. I eventually heard that other factions within Marvel editorial were not as enthused at the prospect of a DC crossover, and actively discouraged Marvel’s top-drawer art talent from participating (the idea being that it was more beneficial for Marvel to have the likes of John Jr. or Andy or Adam drawing Marvel books, not spending time on a crossover). Now, bear in mind that’s something I was told by someone involved, but not something I can confirm with any direct evidence.

The choice eventually passed to Italian artist Claudio Castellini, with whom I had worked on a Silver Surfer special titled Dangerous Artifacts, which is still one of the most gorgeous art jobs I’ve ever been associated with. A brief aside here, if you’ll indulge me: Dangerous Artifacts was originally intended to be produced as a lavish hardcover, with both black-and-white and color versions available. But that never happened, which is a story I’ll tell in a future post.

Marvel vs. DCIn any event, despite producing gorgeous work, Claudio probably wasn’t an ideal choice in terms of commercial appeal, because he wasn’t much of a known commodity. Claudio also wasn’t a speed demon, due to his meticulous style of working. But he accepted the job, and did fine work on the project. In retrospect, his Buscema-influenced style really does have a Marvel flavor.

When Marvel vs. DC began, it was secret enough that a great many people at either company didn’t even know it existed. Our initial meeting was in Mark Gruenwald’s uptown apartment, so that loose lips in the offices wouldn’t leak the project. The initial idea on the table, which I wasn’t overly enthused about, was that Peter and I would alternate writing eight-page sequences throughout the four-issue story. I felt like Peter and I are different enough writers that alternating sequences would be an exercise in pulling in different directions. But I was willing to be a good soldier and give it a try. Marvel vs. DC

I wrote the opening eight pages, Peter then wrote the next eight, I wrote the following eight, and so on, until we completed issue #1. The result was … less than ideal. To my eye, the story varied pretty wildly in tone, and it wasn’t an issue I was particularly happy with. When the script was turned in to DC’s Mike Carlin, who was supervising issue #1, the reception was less than enthusiastic as well. It was quickly decided – like, in a few hours – to scrap the script entirely, and have the writers alternate entire issues rather than sequences.

Marvel vs. DC was ultimately a great deal of fun to work on. It was a popcorn-type project, with superhero slugfests and fan-service moments. I mean, when fan votes dictate the outcomes of fights within the story, you know the job is to write a crowd-pleaser, not a work of great literature. If I have one regret, it’s that we didn’t have twice the number of pages to tell our story.

But I still wonder what it might have looked like had, say, Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez and John Romita Jr. signed on for the art.

Cheers,

Ron


“Uncle Terry”

As promised, here are Terry Austin’s inks over Matthew Dow Smith’s pencils for the Albany Comic Con Magdalena #1 variant cover. (Click on the images for hi-res versions)

Matt’s pencils Terry’s inks

First time Terry has ever inked Matt. Not much for me to say about the piece; you can compare the pencils to the inks yourself and see how Terry approached it. Terry’s a pen inker, as opposed to using a brush, a tool he’s never been comfortable with, according to what he’s told me. You can also see where he utilized a razor-blade skip technique toward the base of the background buildings, actually gouging the paper to lend texture to the piece. If I’m remembering the story correctly, Terry learned the razor-blade skip from classic inker Jack Abel up in the Marvel bullpen. I met Jack during his later days, when he worked as a proofreader up at Marvel. Incredibly kind man.

Maybe that’s an inker trait, because Terry is very literally, the kindest, most gentle soul I know. He’s “Uncle Terry” to my kids, and one of my best friends in the world. All of which is, of course, in addition to being a legendary inker, one of the best to ever work in the business. His pairings with John Byrne on Uncanny X-Men and the late, great Marshall Rogers on Detective Comics are invariably mentioned among the tops runs in comics history. I’d also add his work with Paul Smith on Doctor Strange, and Rick Leonardi on Cloak & Dagger to that list. A couple of single issues that Terry inked are also among my all-time favorites: the X-Men/Teen Titans crossover (with Walter Simonson) and Daredevil #191 (with Frank Miller).

I’ve been fortunate enough to have Terry’s inks grace a number of stories I’ve written, including a good chunk of my Green Lantern run (over both Darryl Banks and Paul Pelletier), the Green Lantern/Silver Surfer crossover, and the Darth Maul vs. Darth Vader story that appeared in Star Wars Tales (over Rick Leonardi again).

As I said in an earlier post, one of the best things about working in comics is you get to work with your friends. In the case of this cover, I got to work with two of them. Thanks, guys.

Later this week, I’ll be able to show off the colors for the cover. If all goes as planned, maybe even a few different versions.

Cheers,

Ron


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