Tagged: Ryan Browne

Ed Catto: Podcasts… and an Enduring Favorite

I’ve been driving a lot more since my move to the Finger Lakes and I’ve been trying to use my time wisely. For music, I catch up on Pete Fornatale’s Mixed Bag from WFUV and ComicMix’s own Mike Gold’s Weird Sounds Inside the Gold Mind from The Point Radio. Both offer great tunes and insightful, thoughtful commentary.

And for thoughtful discussion, I’ve been really enjoying John Siuntres’s Word Balloon Podcast. John’s an incredibly passionate interviewer with a deep knowledge of and respect for pop culture and comics. Each week, he sits down to have an extended conversation with a creator. John has the uncanny talents of getting people to open up (often a creator will say “I haven’t told anyone this before”) and for making the listener feel like he or she is part of it all too. When I listen to Word Balloon, I feel like I’m sitting right there with them, but just can’t get a word in edgewise.

Recent interviews have included:

  • Tom King – one of the industry’s hottest writers, talking about his recent work on the Vision and Batman, and all the while framing it against his real life as a husband a father of young kids.
  • Danny Fingeroth – talking about Spider-Man and Will Eisner Week. It was so compelling, that I’m now working with my local librarian on an Eisner Week event. (More on that soon!)
  • Rob Liefeld – a polarizing figure who provides great insight into his creation Deadpool and the box office success of the movie. No longer a “young punk creator,” Rob is now able to offer a unique perspective to his success and the marketplace’s wants and needs
  • Ryan Browne – on Image’s new Curse Words Normally, I have passed over this series, but the passionate discussion and insights on the Word Balloon Podcast got me excited enough to give it a try.
  • Paul Dini – providing great insights into his new animation work on Justice League Action and his Jingle Belle character.

I’ve been doing more writing, and I just finished my first article for TwoMorrow’s Back Issue! magazine. Editor Michael Eury asked me to write about the 80s comic series from DC called Thriller. Created by Robert Loren Fleming and Trevor Von Eeden, Thriller was one of those innovative series that DC launched during the excitement of non-traditional comics like Frank Miller’s The Dark Knight Returns & Ronin, Barr and Boland’s Camelot 3000, and Howard Chaykin’s The Shadow. During my research, it was amazing to find out how many fans fondly remember Thriller too.

Maybe it was the tagline. Fans vividly remember how the series announced, “She has seven seconds to save the world!” This actually had a double meaning. On one hand, Trevor Von Eeden’s innovative page layouts pushed the reader along the page with a real sense of urgency. And we were all soon to find out that the main character had seven agents, called “seconds” that she guided on her Mission: Impossible-like adventures.

Maybe it was characters. Robert Loren Fleming packed Thriller with so many unique characters. Most series would build a story around one fresh new protagonist. Fleming had eight heroes, two villains and another half-dozen supporting characters that the reader was dying to learn more about. And that was just in the first story arc.

Maybe it was the creative risks the creators took. Robert Loren Fleming and Trevor Von Eeden were trying something new and different. They took risks on a very public stage. They didn’t play it safe. They gave it 110% and left it all onstage. We all can applaud that. And even after all these years, that’s just so very impressive.

And I was able to dig up some fantastic insights and track down the startling truth behind a secret Thriller rumor. Back Issue! #98, focusing on DC in the 80s, will be on sale this July, just in time for San Diego Comic-Con. It should be a lot of fun.

Emily S. Whitten: Heroes Con From Afar

PhoenixEven though I get to go to a lot of fun conventions, I can’t make them all. One that I particularly hate to miss, because I’ve been before and know how great it is, is Heroes Con. Like the Baltimore Comic Con, Heroes Con retains a strong focus on the comics creation part of a comic con; including by holding a great art auction every year.

The auction features amazing, quality work from the pros who attend, and I had a blast when I went a previous year, both for the atmosphere (they keep the auction moving with a fun, energetic pace) and because seeing so many quality originals by artists I love hanging in one place was super-cool. A lot of the artists create, or at least finish work on, their pieces during the con; and of course they’re also generally doing commissions throughout the con while hanging out at their tables in Artists Alley. I love walking through a con like Heroes Con and seeing the amazing things these talented artists can produce in a loud, chaotic exhibition hall amongst crowds of people with just the art supplies they brought with them.

Although of course I wish I could have experienced Heroes Con first hand this year, at least thanks to Twitter I was able to see some of the fun art auction pieces and commissions that have come out of the weekend. Today, I’d like to share some of my favorites. So here we go!

DeadpoolTwo favorite con pieces I saw in the Twittersphere were the work of Skottie Young. Skottie’s style appeals to me for possibly the same reason it logically shouldn’t; where so many artists’ work has a finished, polished look to it, Skottie’s art has deliberately rough edges and lines. Done badly, this might make the work ugly; but done well, this style makes his art stand out; and despite the roughness, it’s somehow still playful. This really adds to the feeling of creepy pieces like this one of Death, who looks both pretty scary and like maybe he’s appreciating a private joke in between reaping souls. I love it.

But I won’t lie, my favorite works of Skottie’s are his adorable baby comics characters. Which I know is really shocking – me, liking cute things? Cute things that retain a slightly snarky edge? Nevahhh! I like the baby superheroes so much that I even made a clay version of the Deadpool one. So that’s probably why Skottie’s baby Spider-Gwen, done for the Heroes Con art auction, makes me so happy. Lookit iiiiiit!! It’s darling.

Of course, Skottie’s not nearly the only artist who was posting fun art on Twitter. One of my consistent favorite artists, Reilly Brown, posted a great Disapproving Colossus. I always love the expressions and attitudes of Reilly’s characters, and this one’s no different: in Colossus’ Russia, art disapproves of you! (I feel like this needs to be a meme.) Disapproving Colossus makes me happy.

Speaking of disapproving, Chrissie Zullo’s Scarecrow clearly disapproves of all of us. He is disappointed in our niceness, and is probably thinking up ways to kill us in our sleep. Beware!

Ryan Lee had a couple of cool pieces I encountered. This one for the art auction, of Hellboy “charging into a demon with reckless abandon” is great; and I am absolutely in love with this Rocket Raccoon and Groot. The energetic plunging-into-the-fray that is Groot! That joyful face of destructive glee on Rocket! I want this.

Comics artists are used to team-ups (both in the stories and in creating them!) and sometimes they’re super-awesome. This Super pair done by Babs Tarr and Joe Quinones is one of those times. There’s a lot of life in this piece, despite it not being an “action” pose. Nice!

In a completely different vein, Francesco Francavilla, king of pulp and retro style, posted this great Ghost Rider; and his Swamp Thing is a thing (pun intended?) of intricate, twisty beauty (beauty being relative when we’re talking about Swamp Thing, but still).

And again in a different turn of style, we’ve got Jamie Cosley’s small and menacing but also cute Darth Vader. He’s got big cute eyes and little guy swagger – you can almost hear him thinking, “Look at me and my light saber. Oh yeah! I’m so cool.” Bless.

I already know well that Sanford Greene is a talented guy, so I’m always happy to see what he’s working on. I liked his Batgirl from this weekend, for her expressive face and the great shading. And also that moon. It’s just cool.

Speaking of cool, Deadpool is always cool (always!), and this Deadpool piece by Shawn Crystal and Brian Reber is totally rad (that’s like, old-school cool). Deadpool is definitely about to take all of us out. I love the attitude and action.

One great thing about cons is that I encounter the work of artists I’m not already overly familiar with, and then I often become a fan. On Saturday, Christian Ward’s Silver Surfer caught my eye, and his other work is pretty great as well. This piece is eye-catching for the attitude of the Surfer (I get a kind of proud/defiant/determined vibe off of it) and the colors and space-y feel.

I also like seeing more from folks whose work I’ve seen in passing before. This Jean Grey/Dark Phoenix piece by Dan Govar and Tony Moy is an excellent reminder of why I need to seek out more of their work. I love the concept and the execution. Stellar!

And finally, both because the work is marvelous and the plan for it was way more than 12% awesome, I adore this Guardians of the Galaxy joint effort from Ryan Stegman, Mike Rooth, Ryan Browne, Skottie Young, and Dave Marquez. It looks like whoever commissioned it had everyone add a character to the mix, and the result is amazing! I’m very jealous.

I’m also sure there were many other amazing pieces which I didn’t happen to see; but at least I (and now you!) got to share in some of the fun thanks to the posts. That’s the good part of social media like Twitter.

So until next time, feel free to say hi (or send me links to more cool art) on The Twitters, and Servo Lectio!