Sunday, June 28, 2009

The Top 10 Comic Book Artists Working Today Countdown List Extravaganza (According to Me, with All Due Respect to You.) #1

Oooh... What a disappointing match. The US was dominant in the first half and was legitimately the best team for the first 45 minutes. The second half was a disaster. The 2-0 US lead was cut to 2-1 almost immediately after the second half kickoff, and Brazil dominated going forward to win 3-2. Oh well. We still have comics to pick up our spirits. With that I present...

#1. Mike Mignola

If I had to pick only one family of books to read and give up all others, I doubt I'd even have to give it any thought. The Hellboy Universe or "Mignolaverse" (Hellboy, B.P.R.D, Various other one-shots and miniseries) is just that perfect storm of great art, story, and sensibility. Despite Mignola still writing most of the stories in his universe, it's a rare treat to see him pencil a complete book these days (he still draws most covers though). Last year's Hellboy one-shot "In the Chapel of Moloch" was a terse masterpiece prompting me to dig out all my old Mignola-drawn issues to re-marvel at their quality. The moody Medieval landscapes, the Gothic and Romanesque architecture and sculpture, the World's legends and myths intertwining with Hellboy's own growing mythology, the Lovecraftian monsters and occult weirdness intertwine between the frames of the books while Hellboy himself always fires back with a sense of humor and a desperate wisecrack. Mike Mignola; Number One with a bullet on my list. Thanks for reading, Pardners.

G.I. Joe PSAs

Download Yerself some Camp Standing Rock mp3s

Hey Y'all - Head on over to The Groenlings site where I posted some new old CSR tunes from the 2003 tape, "A State of Virginia."

Saturday, June 27, 2009

The Top 10 Comic Book Artists Working Today Countdown List Extravaganza (According to Me, with All Due Respect to You.) #2

Ya ever had these Planters "Heat Peanuts"? They're real nice n' spicy. Gonnna have a glass of Boulevard with lemon here too in a minute, but first, it's...

#2. Mike Allred

Everything Allred does is just cool and interesting. His art reminds you a bit of animation cells, but with really great (and always very experimental) sequential storytelling chops. He plays with the restrictions of page and panel more than anyone else I know of - stretching the boundaries of what can be done in a standard comic book format. His creator-owned Madman comic is where his virtuosity is showcased the most, but whenever he pops up elsewhere (recent God Sized Thor one-shot, his X-Statix run) I tend to ignore the text and look at the pretty pictures. The fact that his wife Laura does all of his coloring gives all of his stuff a consistent and quickly recognizable quality. Damn! Comics are Sweet, Son!

The Crazy World of Arthur Brown

Two things -

First, I'm really loving the Top 10 comic artists. We should do more Top 10 lists (or, with my attention span, maybe Top 5 or Top 3). But I've been lazy and haven't been commenting, so I just wanted to make sure you knew I've been enjoying all of them quite a bit.

Second, I just found out I'm one of the winners of the Michael Moorcock question contest! Cory Doctorow emailed me to tell me, and he gave me the contact info of the publisher. They told me that Michael picked my question himself as one of his favorites. So I'll be getting a copy of that book someday soon! That's pretty awesome.

Friday, June 26, 2009

The Top 10 Comic Book Artists Working Today Countdown List Extravaganza (According to Me, with All Due Respect to You.) #3

Man it's hot and humid up in here. They just announced a Tornado watch for the area around Grand Forks so I guess Summer is finally here. Blah Blah, The giant clock hanging around my neck just chimed, so it must be artist time. Up next we have...

#3. Frazer Irving

Although his resume doesn't include much work in American comics yet, the work I've seen thus far has been stunning. Irving's Gothic pencils on Seven Soldiers of Victory: Klarion the Witchboy showcased his unique voice. The recent Azrael: Death's Dark Knight miniseries was a masterwork of stark frames, expressionistic visages, rad computerly painting, and an ass-kickin' anti-hero. If there is a comic with his name on it, I'll buy it. Sign me up, Buckaroos!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

The Top 10 Comic Book Artists Working Today Countdown List Extravaganza (According to Me, with All Due Respect to You.) #4

We've passed the half-way point and are gliding down the home stretch. Here come the Big Bananas... er... something.

#4. Frank Quitely.

Frank Quitely is just performing at an extremely high level lately. His All-Star Superman (w/ Grant Morrison and Jamie Grant) miniseries was almost unanimously praised by fans, critics, bulldogs, and craters. It is one of the most beautiful examples of sequential storytelling ever created and that ain't no lie. The first issue of Batman and Robin seems to be an early indication of more greatness to come. I can't get enough of his stuff. Just look at the bottom panel seen here (click on the picture, blow it up, and look closely if you haven't already) and I dare you to not get chills. Wow! Why is this modern master #4? Must be even more greatness to come, so you better stop back tomorrow, doodz.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

The Top 10 Comic Book Artists Working Today Countdown List Extravaganza (According to Me, with All Due Respect to You.) #5

I'm listening to the spare and beautiful track by Mihály Vig posted right below this entry and I'm thinking it is a very fitting track as a nice audio companion to the work of the next artist on my list. Please join me. Download the track that suits so well the work of the artist known to me and you as...

# 5. P. Craig Russell

I've always been especially drawn to Illustration. It's no surprise that many of my all-time favorite comic artists are those who are able to successfully marry the sensibilities of illustration with strong storytelling ability. For my money, the greatest comic book illustrator is P. Craig Russell. From his Elric work to the "Ramadan" issue of Sandman, I've loved his elegant, flowing line work. His recent Sandman: The Dream Hunters comic adaption of Neil Gaiman's novel of the same name reminded once again how great an illustrator and sequential storyteller this guy really is.

I occupy space and have mass. I breathe in and breathe out.

mihaly vig - valuska (mp3)

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

the valerie project

The Top 10 Comic Book Artists Working Today Countdown List Extravaganza (According to Me, with All Due Respect to You.) #6

Let's get to it, shall we? Next up on our list is the one, the only..

#6. Steve Dillon

I love Steve Dillon. Seriously, how could you not love this guy's art? Now granted, the first time I saw his pencils on Hellblazer or Animal Man or whatever back in the day, I wasn't immediately sold. But it only took a few issues of Preacher to make me a fan. Some of the most memorable frames in Preacher involve the great facial expressions of Tulip, Jessie, Cass and the rest of the crew. I mean, who doesn't remember and love the page with frame after frame of Herr Starr looking at himself in the mirror and trying on every type of hat imaginable in an attempt to hide"unfortunate accident." Let's all drink a pint of Smithwick's or something for Steve!

Monday, June 22, 2009

The Top 10 Comic Book Artists Working Today Countdown List Extravaganza (According to Me, with All Due Respect to You.) #7

Lindsey decided we should get a portable air conditioner for the bedroom so we just ran out and got one. For whatever reason, the exhaust tube was especially annoying and frustrating to put together. But we conquered it and now its on to the countdown. Ladies and Germs, it's...

#7. Dustin Nguyen

Now I realize its a super stretch to make this comparison, but it seems fitting that Dustin Nguyen would be number seven on my list. What numeral is more angular and jagged than a "7." The angular high contrast art of Nguyen fits Gotham City to a tee. His work with Paul Dini on Detective Comics was no joke some of the most beautiful of last year. I can't wait to see what comes out of his new run on the recently launched Batman: Streets of Gotham. I'm really sorry about comparing his art to the number 7. That was stupid.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

The Top 10 Comic Book Artists Working Today Countdown List Extravaganza (According to Me, with All Due Respect to You.) #8

Have you ever made steamed wantons before? We hadn't done but yesterday got a bamboo steamer and made some. They were delicious. The boiling water didn't really help our already hot and humid pad though... Now then, on with the show. The next artist spectacular is...

#8. Doug Mahnke

There's a creepiness to Mahnke's characters and a moodiness to his pages that's just about the coolest thing going in superhero comics. His exaggeratedly heightened-reality pencils made his work on last summer's Final Crisis some of the most memorable. The two issue Superman Beyond may be the high-point in a blockbuster DC event already packed with memorable moments. I can't say I'm waiting with baited breath for this summer's Blackest Night super-event, but with Mahnke set to take over pencils on Green Lantern, at least we'll get some atmospheric and bad-ass art.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

The Top 10 Comic Book Artists Working Today Countdown List Extravaganza (According to Me, with All Due Respect to You.) #9

I really aught to have a scanner. I apologize for these somewhat distorted images. Here I am holding down the binding of a Fear Agent trade trying to keep my fingers out of the camera frame so that I can get a good shot of a couple frames of the art from the #9 artist on my list. Well, well, scanner or no I present to you...

#9. Jerome Opeña

Jerome Opeña and his Fear Agent compatriots, Rick Remender and Tony Moore, have blown up over at the House of Ideas. Opeña's early Punisher work is beautiful and I'm sure the Marvel brain-trust has even more big things in store for him in the near future. But the created-owned Fear Agent is still really where its at. Remender's two-fisted deep-space jive talkin' comi-tragic action hero Heath Huston comes alive with Opeña's dynamic pencils. Let's just hope that with all of his well-deserved recent success at Marvel comes a little bit more of his work on the Texas space-cowboy from time to time.

Friday, June 19, 2009

The Top 10 Comic Book Artists Working Today Countdown List Extravaganza (According to Me, with All Due Respect to You.) #10

Ahoy boys and other potential readers. I hope the oncoming Summer weekend finds you in good spirits. So I'm sitting around at work this afternoon with very little work to do and even less motivation to do it and I had a (rare) thought, "There are so many spectacular artists with singular, unique visions working in comics these days. If I made a list of my top 10 absolute favorites, what would it look like?" I wrote a list that included some twenty-odd names. In order to chisel that list down to ten, I set the ultimate inclusion criterion to be the ten current artists who excite me the most when I see their name on the cover of a new comic. Simple, elegant, subjective, and supremely meaningless; just the way I like it. Over the next ten days I will reveal one artist each day, beginning with #10 this selfsame day. Without further ado, I blowhardedly present...

#10. Davide Gianfelice

I hesitated only so very briefly in putting Gianfelice on my list. His output thus far in comics (at least American comics) has been fairly limited. Nevertheless, his expressive pencils on the first Northlanders story arc ("Sven the Returned") were so spectacular - from his figure studies to his landscapes - he couldn't not fit within my list's overly self-aware parameters. After seeing his art in the recent preview pages of the upcoming Greek Street monthly (written by Peter Milligan) and anticipating the second Northlanders "Sven" arc scheduled for release later this summer, I think (cliche alert) the best is yet to come.

Hey! Stop back tomorrow for #9 if ya feel like it.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Michael Moorcock Answered My Question!

boingboing had a contest, in which, if you wrote a question to Michael Moorcock and they liked it enough, they would forward it on to him, and he would answer it. I wrote a question in a comment, and he answered it!

All the questions that made the cut, with their answered were published here at the blog for Tachyon Publications. Mine is the third one down, and probably the wordiest. It starts off with, "I'm curious about...". He didn't really say whether he cared at all about the things I was interested in, but I liked his answer anyway.

The contest will result in three of the questioners getting a copy of the "Best of.." book. Given that his answers to a lot of others were a lot more involved, I doubt I'll win one, but it's still cool that he answered mine.