Splash Wednesday: Esteban Maroto and Paul Gulacy

Running a bit late this week…

Anyway, here’s a splash page by Esteban Maroto, from Dracula: Vlad The Impaler #3:

And here’s the “classic” page, from the Ferret Press blog, May 25, 2010:

No, it’s not Marvel’s old Fun N’ Games magazine; it’s Shang-Chi battling his way through a maze of assassins, and artist Paul Gulacy provides an actual maze for our enjoyment. From Giant Size Master of Kung Fu #2.


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    Indie Cover Spotlight: WARP Graphics Annual #1

    Here’s today’s ICS, the cover to WaRP Graphics Annual #1, by Debbie Hayes and Paul Abrams, with colors by Mark Wheatley:


    This comics was published in 1989 by Warp Graphics (which stood for Wendy and Richard Pini, the husband and wife team behind the venerable Elfquest series), and featured a bunch of (now) well-known creators: the aforementioned Pinis, Robert Asprin, Phil Foglio, Jim Valentino, Colleen Doran, Mark Wheatley, Marc Hempel, Romeo Tanghal, and more.

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      Splash Wednesday: Jack Kirby, Chris Bachalo, and Ross Andru

      Matt Kish is killing it with all the splash pages he’s been providing me for this feature, so let’s just get right into it:

      Starting off with The King himself, Mr. Jack Kirby (inked by Mike Royer), from 2001 #2:


      Next up, some early work from Chris Bachalo (finished by Mark Buckingham), from Ghost Rider 2099 #1:


      And here’s the classic page with commentary by Craig Bogart, from my old Ferret Press blog, May 19, 2010

      From the story that made me a comic fan in general and a Spider-Man fan in particular; Amazing Spider-Man #147 (the roots of the clone story that ran off the tracks a couple decades later). By my personal favorite Spider-Man artist, Ross Andru:


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        Daredevil film treatment by J.M. DeMatteis

        On his blog, writer J.M. DeMatteis has the entirety of his mid-90s film treatment for a Daredevil movie, for producer/screenwriter Chris Columbus and his 1492 Pictures company.

        Final Draft Treatment
        J. M. DeMatteis

        ACT ONE

        FADE IN—

        —on the Manhattan neighborhood called Hell’s Kitchen, fifteen years ago, where we find a gang of teenagers strutting their stuff down the hot summer streets. The clear leader of the group is sixteen year old MATT MURDOCK…a cocky young Cagney, with energy, anger, and an attitude. He’s the focus of the group’s attention: their unquestioned leader.

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          Splash Wednesday: Keith Giffen and Gil Kane

          Welcome back to Splash Wednesday, where I’ll be featuring splash pages from various comics books, and reprinting posts from my old blog with the same feature.

          This week, I’d like to throw the spotlight on Keith Giffen, from his Image era. That’s right, it’s…Trencher!

          Click to enlarge

          Click to enlarge

          This page is from Images of Shadowhawk #1. Thanks again to Matt Kish for the page.

          And here’s the classic page, from the Ferret Press blog, May 12, 2010. Text and selection by Craig Bogart:


          From Marvel Premiere #15, by Gil Kane: Wendell Rand has a very bad day while searching for the lost city of K’un Lun, thanks to the machinations of a jealous business partner.

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            Review: Gotham, ep. 1

            So, Gotham…

            When they first announced the series, I couldn’t muster much enthusiasm. What’s the point of a Batman show without Batman, you know? But in the time leading up to tonight’s premiere, I liked what I was seeing in terms of the cast, the tone, the direction. I didn’t have high hopes for it, but given my love of the source material, I was definitely…curious.


            So what’s the short verdict? Well, based on the first episode, I have to say that I liked what I saw. I’m definitely in for the full season, provided the show survives the ratings game.

            I originally thought that going with a straight-up adaptation of the Gotham Central series would have made for a more interesting show. But given that Warner Brothers would never have allowed Batman to appear in such a TV show, the producers definitely did the right thing by focusing on a prequel of sorts.

            Having a young Detective James Gordon as the focal protagonist was a good move. He’s principled, headstrong, and tenacious; an easy hero figure to relate to amidst the moral ambiguity of a merciless metropolis. Having him partnered up with Bullock, an amoral, opportunistic, tortured anti-hero was also smart. I can see a great dynamic developing between the two characters, as they play off each other. In re-imagining the murder of Bruce Wayne’s parents as part of a larger conspiracy, the show has a nice mystery at its core, around which the various characters can come into conflict with each other.

            Fish Mooney, the ambitious crime boss played with great verve by Jada Pinkett Smith, was definitely one of the pleasant surprises of the show. I was worried there would be the temptation to have her play an over-the-top type of villain, but I think Smith struck a nice balance between realism and comic book villainy.


            As for the other, better-known inhabitants of the Batman mythos (Catwoman, Poison Ivy, The Riddler), we only saw small glimpses, but I’m looking forward to seeing how they interact more with the ongoing story. In particular, I liked recasting The Riddler’s alter ego, Edward Nygma, as a police forensics scientist. Nice touch. And of course, there was the perfect casting of Robin Taylor in the role of The Penguin. I thought he struck the right kind of balance between sadistic thug and powerless victim. The bit with the broken leg was a nice touch, bringing in that body horror aspect of the character.


            The writing was good, though not without some rough spots. The Gordon/Penguin scene at the end was very predictable, for example. But then again, every show, even the best ones, tend to have an uneven first few episodes, while the creators, cast, and crew are still trying to figure out the exact nature of their beast. But I think Gotham is off to a decent start, which isn’t exactly high praise, but it’s much better than what I thought FOX was going to deliver.

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              Indie Cover Spotlight: Unicorn Isle #5

              Since I kicked off the week with an 80s fantasy comic, I figured I’d stick to the theme, so here’s the cover to Unicorn Isle #5:


              Cover art by Nicholas Koenig, published May 1987 by Apple Comics (issue 1 & 2 came out through WaRP Graphics). I know nothing about this series, though. And I have a feeling it never completed its planned 12-issue run.

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                Meet me at the Ohio River Festival of Books 9/20

                I will be a guest this Saturday, September 20 at the Ohio River Festival of Books, at the Big Sandy Convention Center in Huntington, WV ‎.

                There are programs throughout the week, though, including the Keynote event on Friday, September 19, at 6:30 p.m. with Marc Brown, author of the bestselling Arthur books, as well as the creator of the six-time Emmy Award–winning (with 17 nominations) PBS animated Arthur series. Featured authors will include Craig Johnson, S.G. Redling, Bethany Griffin, Anna Smucker, and many others.

                I will be presenting a panel titled “A Beginner’s Guide to Creating Comics and Graphic Novels” on Saturday, from 2:30 – 3:45 p.m.

                Dara Naraghi

                The event is free to the public, and also features music and activities for kids. Be sure to check their website for the full schedule of panels, signing authors, and other events.

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                  Splash Wednesday: J.H. Williams III, Walt Simonson, John Buscema

                  So my friend Matt Kish has been posting some cool splash pages from older comics on his Facebook page lately. This reminded me of a weekly feature we used to have on my old Ferret Press blog called Splash Wednesday, which was originated by another fellow PANEL Collective member, Craig Bogart. Matt suggested I resurrect that feature on my blog.

                  So here we are.

                  Every Wednesday, I’ll feature a new splash page, plus one from the Ferret Press archives (we had 97 posts in that category, so I’ve got plenty of material!) And since this is the inaugural post in the new(ish) feature, I’m going to do you one better and throw in a 3rd page as well. Don’t ever say I did nuthin’ for ya!

                  Kicking off the new stuff is the breathtaking art of J.H. Williams III, from Batwoman #16:


                  Next up, a page contributed by the aforementioned Mr. Kish. This is a double-page splash from The Mighty Thor #380, the classic all-splash-page issue by the legendary Walt Simonson:


                  And finally, here’s a classic Splash Wednesday page from May 5, 2010, with original commentary by Mr. Craig Bogart:

                  A long while ago I commented on the overuse of splash pages to pad a book that is light on story. Most new comics I’ve seen have half a dozen full page pinup shots whose sole aim is to rob the reader of additional story, and no moment in a story is too mundane to get the full page treatment. While reading an older book the other day I was reminded that splash pages can be kinda cool if they’re used for an actual dramatic moment or to showcase an outstanding piece of artwork. So, I had the notion to start another weekly blog feature: Splash Wednesday.

                  Our first entry is from the comic that got me started on this line of thinking: Thor # 237 by John Buscema. Behold Hercules averting disaster at Coney Island in the form of a falling ferris wheel.


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                    Indie Cover Spotlight: Dragon Of The Valkyr #4

                    Starting this week, the ICS feature will be moving to a Tue/Thr update schedule, so I can free up Wednesday for a new (old) feature. What could it be? Tune in tomorrow and find out!

                    Today’s cover is from a black-and-white fantasy comic titled Dragon Of The Valkyr, published in the mid-80s by RAK Graphics:


                    That’s the same publisher of these previously featured comics.

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