Monday, July 31, 2006
Sunday, July 30, 2006
SDCC: Drew Johnson's Harlequin
I had Drew Johnson draw this excellent picture of Harlequin. I know everyone is thinking, "Harlequin??" Well, non-memory-challenged Titans fans will recall that Drew was the artist on the Titans L.A. story in TITANS SECRET FILES AND ORIGINS #2 . That story was also written by Geoff Johns and Ben Raab!
Duela Dent [Joker's Daughter and later, Harlequin] was a swept-under-the-rug character following the original Crisis in 1986. She later was revived by Phil Jimenez and Devin Grayson in the JLA/TITANS mini-series in 1999. Anyhoo, Drew was the one that gave Harlequin a Post-Crisis Makeover in that Secret Files story. So, y'see, it made complete sense to have Drew do his take on crazy Duela.
Pretty cool pic!
SDCC: Matthew Clark's Arsenal
SDCC: Buckingham's Titans
Mark Buckingham was signing all throughout the con at the DC booth. I enjoyed Bucky's Titans run in TITANS #1-12. We chatted about Titans a bit, and he felt he never quite got the handle on the large cast [10 full-time members] of characters. I was able to get 3 sketches during the show, and picked the Titans that had some decent "screen time" during his run: Troia, Arsenal and Argent!
Friday, July 28, 2006
SDCC: Marv Talks Animated JUDAS CONTRACT
Marv says: ”Whereas the Titans cartoon show was obviously aimed for kids, this is not being aimed at the youngest kids as it will contain mature content. It will be closer to the original comic but hopefully even stronger as we'll have actors, which means we'll be able to do some more subtle material. In comics you have to make readers read the dialogue as you want them to, but of course that's impossible. Here we can have those little verbal moments where a simple ‘grunt’ or ‘sigh’ or sound can replace paragraphs of prose. Because it's a different medium, we alter the way we tell our stories, playing to this medium's strengths as George and I tried to do with the original, playing to the strength of comics.”
“And yes,” Wolfman added, “Tom [DeSanto] and I intend for the ‘nightgown and cigarette" scene to be there.”
Wolfman adds: "”There will be changes to fit not only the time/length of the movie but to make this a relatively stand-alone feature, although it does set up possibilities for sequels. There are plot changes, but none that I can see that change the story in any significant way. This is and always will be a story about a young girl who betrays the Titans. It's a story of the heroes growing up and changing; Kid Flash and Robin leaving the group, the debut of Nightwing, etc"
For the full article, click here
SDCC: Leonard Kirk's Tempest
Leonard Kirk does some of the best commissions, in my opinion. Last year, I got both Damage and Aquagirl... and both came out great! This year, due to Leonard's short-but-sweet AQUAMAN run, I had him do a picture of Tempest when he was sketching at the ACTOR booth. Once again, Leonard does not disappoint.
SDCC: Cully's Titans
SDCC: Ivan Reis' Ravager
SDCC: Jeremy Haun's Kid Devil
SDCC: Gary Martin's Kid Devil
SDCC: Lilith and Donna by David Hahn
Comic illustrator David Hahn was at this year's San Diego Comic-Con. I loved the clean, crisp linework of his art, as well as the realistic way he rendered the characters. David's art has a sort of pop-art retro feeling in spots, so I had him do a 70s era Titans pic of Lilith and Donna.
Can I tell you how much I love this one?
OK, I love this one.
Thursday, July 27, 2006
SDCC: Sergio Cariello's Ravager
Sergio Cariello is probably best known for his work on DEATHSTROKE and Batman. I first got a Slade commission from him back at WizardWorld Philly. It was so good, that I later got a Deathstroke commission from him.
Before Rose went all-Ravager on us, I even had Sergio do a Rose commission, back when everyone would ask, "Rose who?" See, I even knew back then she was a cool character. I later had Sergio do a Rose-as-Ravager commission back when she had two working eyes.
Well, now we've come full circle. I had Sergio do the current version of Rose as Ravager. And as usual, his commission does not disappoint.
Why are some of these commissions better than the art we get in SECRET FILES pages? It's a shame that some of these remain unprinted!
SDCC: Stuart Sayger's Raven
I don't know how many people are familiar with the work of Stuart Sayger. His work was featured in Wizard for his SHIVER IN THE DARK series. He's also done a number of trading cards for DC. His art is very moody and ethereal. It's really beautiful stuff.
Stuart previously did a Lilith commission for me. So at San Diego, I thought it'd be natural for him to do a Raven commission. He did two sketches he wasn't satisfied with, before deciding on a final pose. You can see from the results, it's freaking awesome. Stuart REALLY outdid himself on this one. It's certifiably frame-able.
This piece should be made into a cover or a trading card. It's THAT good.
Check out more from Stuart at his site.
SDCC: The Art of SHAG
One of the highlight at Comic-Con, for me, was meeting the artist known as Shag. His art is a vivid eye-popping look at hipsters and hot rods. Both charmingly retro and provatively modern, Shag's art has intrigued me for the past few years. As a matter of fact, his prints are neatly framed in my living room.
SHAG bio: "SHAG, (a name which comes from the last two letters of his first name and the first two letters of his last name, Josh Agle), is a product of the sprawling suburbs of Los Angeles, California. He was born a little to late to experience the culture and styles which have always fascinated him and are present in most of his illustration and paintings. Shag is intrigued with the slick commercial art and advertising of the late '50s and '60s and he strives for a tight, clean and well-crafted appearance to his work.
Shag is currently completing work for solo shows in Los Angeles, Oslo and Tokyo. A live production of music and dance inspired by his artwork, Shag With a Twist, recently opened at the Los Angeles Theatre Center to rave reviews. In September, Chronicle Books will release Shag: The Art of Josh Agle, a monograph of his career as an artist."
Shag was signing pieces and doing quick sketches. I got a personalized sketch [above] that will find a place on my wall. I also bought an exclusive folio of 4 original Shag prints, "Crypto-Zoological Species of North America," available at Comic-Con only.
I also went to Shag's panel, where he talked about his life and work. Shag's appearance was one of the best things of Comic-Con 2006!
Check out Shag's work at his site. It's really cool stuff.
Wednesday, July 26, 2006
SDCC: Terra Mini not "Our" Terra?
"Friday afternoon saw the spotlight fall on Amanda Conner. Joining Amanda was her husband Jimmy Palmiotti (Jonah Hex, Heroes for Hire) and a mutual friend of theirs, Snakes on a Plane writer John Heffernan. The crowd was small, which gave it a more comfortable and intimate vibe.
Amanda announced that her newest project would be a Terra mini-series from DC Comics. Joining her on the mini will be Jimmy and his writing partner, ComicBloc’s own Justin Gray. Jimmy talked about how this story will spin out of.something that happens toward the end of 52. Justin and Jimmy plan to explain all the Terras that are in the DCU before introducing the new one who has been redesigned by Amanda. Jimmy also gave some insight into how the mini came to be. He and Justin had created a new character, and when they showed it to Dan Didio, he thought it would be cool if it tied into this and this and this … it eventually morphed into the upcoming Terra mini-series."
A NEW Terra?? What was wrong with the new-old one, Terra II? This has me worried... Dan Didio, what have you done now?
SDCC: Eduardo Barreto
Eduardo Barreto was the New Teen Titans' artist from 1985-1989. I caught up with him several times during Comic-Con where he was signing at the Claypool booth. Eduardo was kind enough to provide free sketches that were incredibly complete. He was great to chat with and grateful for his fans. I was able to score a Jericho, Raven and Danny Chase.
Yes, I know, Danny Chase. But he was a full-fledged Titan and a mainstay during Barreto's run. And, I have no Jericho or Danny sketches. I mean... how many Nightwing sketches can I get?!?!
Anyways, these are pretty cool sketches!
SDCC: Eric Wight's Buffy
I was able to meet up with the ever-talented Eric Wight during the con. You might know Eric from many things...
He was the ghost-artist for Seth Cohen on the OC. He provided character designs for the sadly-never-produced Buffy The Vampire Slayer animated series. He worked on the flashback sequences for the just-released Justice League #0. And he has a new series in the works: MY DEAD GIRLFRIEND from Tokyopop.
I commissioned Eric for a Buffy drawing based on his animated designs - which I loved. It took a year to get the commission in my hands, but it was well worth the wait. I think you'll agree! I absolutely LOVE this piece. It's one of the highlights of the con for me.
Beyond being a great artist, Eric is also a super-nice guy. We had fun chatting about Buffy and comics and stuff. do yourself a favor and check out his blog!
SDCC: Teen Titans: Trouble In Tokyo Premiere
pictured: Producers Glen Murakami (Batman Beyond, Justice League) and David Slack (Stuart Little, Max Steel), along with cast member Greg Cipes (voice of Beast Boy), introduced the film.
Warner Home Video presented the world premiere screening of the Warner Bros. Animation DVD feature Teen Titans: Trouble in Tokyo (to be released in 2007). Robin, Starfire, Cyborg, Raven, and Beast Boy are back to save the world in their very first film, which finds the Teen Titans battling a mysterious and menacing Japanese criminal known as Brushogun, who has sent a high-tech ninja to attack the young heroes. The battle has only begun for the crime-fighting five, who pack their bags and take off for Tokyo to destroy their newest menace.
Davis Slack described the movie as a high-adventure set in Tokyo; He mentioned how the show was inspired by anime, so it made sense to do an adventure with a Japanese locale. They had fun using some Japanese-anime elements in the film. David also mentioned that the film would feature some romance between two main characters. Fans of the show should be able to easily guess which two characters are featured in that regard. Another highlight of the movie: Beast Boy does Karaoke. How much more incentive do you need?
Soon-to-be MTV star Greg Cipes rallied the crowd. He asked if fans wanted to see more Teen Titans movies [cheers followed]. Then he asked if fans wanted to see more Teen Titans episodes [greeted with more cheers]. Greg mentioned that he had a blast playing Beats Boy and would love to play him again.
The Comic-Con theater was packed. The fans were extremely excited to see the film, and it didn't disappoint. Basically, if you enjoyed the series, you will enjoy the movie. There's adventure. there's humor. There's romance. There's character development. There's some classic scenes between the characters. The audience laughed and cheered.
I don't want to spoil too much about the movie, but I will give a few teasers: A Titans East member has a VERY brief cameo; The romance aspect is very satisfying; and the end credits have a great not-to-be-missed audio track.
I was able to catch up with the animated team after the show. They seemed happy with the audience reaction to the movie. David Slack mentioned that he never experienced one of his written scripts with an audience. He seemed pleased that the audience greeted the movie with enthusiasm.
My advice? Be sure to catch TEEN TITANS: TROUBLE IN TOKYO when it hits shelves!
Tuesday, July 25, 2006
SDCC: Teen Titans Signing Event
SDCC: "The Batman" brings Robin, Oracle, Nightwing, and more
Pictured: The Batman Family! Cast members Evan Sabara (Robin), Rino Romano (voice of Batman), and Danielle Judovits (Batgirl).
Warner Bros. Animation’s Emmy-winning action adventure series The Batman returns for a third season this fall, airing Saturdays at 11:30 AM in the Kids’ WB! programming block on the new CW. The Studio showed selected scenes from the upcoming season, which will feature Robin joining the Dark Knight in his relentless quest to rid Gotham City of its supervillains, followed by a Q&A featuring supervising producer Michael Goguen (The Batman vs. Dracula: The Animated Movie), producer/art director Jeff Matsuda (The Batman vs. Dracula: The Animated Movie), story editor Michael Jelenic (Jackie Chan Adventures), and other members of the production team, as well as cast members Rino Romano (voice of Batman), Evan Sabara (Robin) and Danielle Judovits (Batgirl).
The sizzle reel was very interesting. We saw premiere designs of new villains like Harley Quinn (voiced by Hynden Walch, voice of Starfire); a new Clayface (voiced by Wallace Langham); Killer Moth (Jeff Bennett); and Black Mask (James Remar). There is also a new villain created for the show, Everywhere Man, who will be voiced by Brandon Routh. The Harley episode will be written by Paul Dini. Harley is only scheduled for one episode in season four. Clayface is a new take on the character, that seems to incorporate the Matt Hagan version of Clayface - the actor.
One of the most intriguing parts of the teaser was a segment that showed Gotham City in 2027. Oracle (yes, Oracle) called the Bat-team together. They showed an image of an adult Barbara Gordon in a wheelchair, as she called Robin. But "Robin's" answer was this: "I havent gone by Robin in a long, long time. Call me Nightwing." As this ran, they showed the character design for Nightwing, which looked like a combination of the Bruce Timm/Glen Murakami design with the curent comic book design. When Oracle called Batman, they showed a design that looked very influenced by Frank Miller. The special storyline will be featured in an upcoming episode in season four.
Also, in season four, expect to see The Martian Manhunter (voiced by Darian Harwood) and the Flash. By the end of season four, the staff hinted that Batman would be poised to join the Justice League.
As previously announced, Robin is joining the cast in season four. They will do a full treatment of Dick Grayson's origin with the Flying Graysons. And the voice of Robin's father is provided by Kevin Conroy. Expect some "sibling rivalry" between Robin and Batgirl - as Batgirl is a bit jealous of Batman's new partner.
The staff also thought that the fourth season would be more fan-friendly than previous seasons. Beyond Robin, Nightwing, Flash, Martian Manhunter and a DARK KNIGHT homage, the series also welcomed some new writers to pen some episodes, including some former BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER scribes like Doug Petrie.
One fan asked about the similarity of THE BATMAN's Robin to TEEN TITANS's Robin. The staff noted the similarity but mentioned that this series will show Robin from the beginning. When the possibility of a Teen Titans crossover was mentioned, the panel positioned it to the fans; "Do you WANT to see a Teen Titans crossover?" Not surprisingly, the crowd cheered.
All in all, the fourth season of THE BATMAN promises to be the best yet!
SDCC: Donna Troy Figures
DC unveiled the second wave on INFINITE CRISIS DC Direct figures at the San Diego Comic-Con. The Troia and Wonder Girl figures were designed by Phil Jimenez. You'll notice that they gave Wonder Girl Troia's armbands in the protype; Phil assures me that will be corrected in the final version. Both figures look very cool!
Monday, July 24, 2006
SDCC: Legion Panel
Immediately following the Timm retrospective, Warner Bros. Animation presented a sneak peek at Legion of Super Heroes, a new Superman-themed half-hour adventure series inspired by the DC Comics series and set to air Saturdays this fall at 11:00 AM ET/PT in the Kids’ WB! programming block on the new CW.
Pictured in the large pic, from left to right: Producer James Tucker (Justice League Unlimited), story editor Rob Hoegee (Teen Titans), Shawn Harrison (Timber Wolf), Kari Wahlgren (Saturn Girl and Triplicate Girl), Michael Cornaccia (Bouncing Boy), Yuri Lowenthal (voice of Superman), and Andy Milder (Lightning Lad).
Tucker and Hoegee described the show; In the 31st century, super-heroes havent been around for awhile, so a group of teenagers gather together and form their own club. And yep, they've got a clubhouse and flight rings, just like in the comics. Stylistically, they described the show as a "middle ground between Teen Titans and Justice League Unlimited."
The show owes a lot to the Silver Age version of the team. When asked why they used old names like "Lightning Lad" instead of "Livewire," James Tucker said simply, "Classic. Old School. It works." And Rob Hoegee talked about capturing the fun and adventure of those comics. Both agreed the original code names worked best for those very reasons.
When battling the Fatal Five, The Legion needs some serious help. So Brainiac 5 tries to pluck Superman from the timestream, but gets a much younger version instead. In fact, it's before Clark even BECOMES Superman.
As for Superman, Rob Hoegee noted, "The Legion teaches Clark how to use his powers - and Clark teaches the Legion how to be heroes." Yuri Lowenthal (voice of Superman), stated that this job seemed "too good to be true." He loves playing Superman and also said that one of his favorite moments is when Clark discovers the museum in his honor.
Saturn Girl is described as the mature one in the group. Kari Wahlgren (voice of Saturn Girl) delighted in that aspect of the character. Lightning Lad is the hothead. And Timber Wolf "likes to pick stuff up and maul people." James Tucker described Timber Wolf as very much like "The Fonz" of Happy Days. Shawn Harrison's (Timber Wolf) deep baratone growl sure sounds spot-on.
Brainiac 5 is the biggest departure from his comic book counterpart; Although descended from the evil Brainiac, Brainiac 5 is very much learning what it means to be a real boy. The creators likened him to Pinnoccio.
Andy Milder (Lightning Lad) said it was a thrill to work on Legion and said he's been a fan of Legion since he was a kid. He even admitted he had a cat named Streaky.
As for the use of members, the team said it was like casting a TV show; You look for the right mix of characters. But this IS teh Legion - and you will see a bunch of fun cameos in the first season. One fan asked, "Supergirl, Mon-El or Ultra Boy?" James Tucker said one of those three characters will appear in season one. We were also assured the Legion wouldnt be the Legion without Matter Eater Lad. "Just beause you don't see them in the line-up, doesn't mean they aren't in Legion," Tucker assured us.
As for villains, look for the Fatal Five to be a major thorn in their side. The team also seemed very excited about their take on the classic Legion foe, Starfinger. The 2-part season finale would be very "menacing" and is an adaption of a classic Legion story.
The 31st century is looking pretty cool, judging from the panel. Long Live Legion!
SDCC: Bruce Timm Sketch
SDCC: Bruce Timm
Friday, Warner Bros. Animation president Sander Schwartz introduced a retrospective on the creativity of animation legend Bruce Timm (Batman Beyond, Superman: The Animated Series). Timm talked about the history of his work, and fans were given opportunities to ask questions...
CHARACTERS HE WANTED TO USE, BUT DIDN'T: Blue Beetle, Spectre and Phantom Stranger.
ON FIRESTORM: They almost used Firestorm. The Booster Gold episode was originally going to be Firestorm-centric.
ON THIRD SEASON JLU LEX: The third season was very consciously about Lex, and his story arc.
ON FAVORITE EPISODES: Hard-pressed to name a favorite, Timm cited several, including DOUBLE DATE from JLU.
ON THE BAT EMBARGO: A fan asked about the ban on Bat-characters due to THE BATMAN. Timm said it didn't effect too much, although DOUBLE DATE was originally going to be Nightwing/Batgirl and Green Arrow/Black Canary. In retrospect, Timm was happy with using Huntress/Question.
ON BATMAN BEYOND: The overlooked show got suprising cheers from the crowd. Timm talked a bit about incorporating Terry into the JLU universe, and establishing that it is in fact the same continuity. The season finale to season two of JLU - which revealed Bruce's DNA was used in Terry's gestation - was at one time the plot of another direct-to-video movie.
SDCC: Judas Contract Animated
[right: the promotional card]
Paul Levitz stood to make an announcement, and spoke about a new strategy for DC to move into direct-to-video animation.
Working with Warner Bros. Home Video and WB Animation, the company will launch a new line of direct-to-video DC animated movies that are being designed with DC Comics fans in mind, Levitz said.
He continued, saying that DC is looking to do a series of titles that will tell the character bits and stories that were important to fans, and will be working with the comic book creators on them. The first title will be the previously-leaked animated film version of Darwyn Cooke's The New Frontier. Cooke will work with Stan (JLU) Berkowitz on the film, with Cooke providing key art direction.
Another title in the series, Levitz continued, will be Superman/Doomsday, which will take the "essence" of the Superman/Doomsday story - and will be directed by Bruce Timm and written by Duane Capizzi, who's currently working on The Batman animated series.
The third title in the series will be an animated version of the classic story Teen Titans story “The Judas Contract”, written by Marv Wolfman. Tom DeStano (X-Men) will join Wolfman as co-writer and producer on the film.
"This is just the beginning," Levitz said. "We're sitting around and thinking of more...so send all your suggestions in."
"We're going to take the marquee-value characters that have love across the generations," Levitz said. "And use the stellar characters so that the parental generation will reach out and share it with their kids. We're looking at all the great stories, and cases where we can find the best stories of a long run."
Levitz also added that George Perez will be working on the animated Judas Contract as well, and that Bruce Timm will be overseeing all the animated films.
SDCC: Brandon Routh Signing
SDCC: Teen Titans Go! Team
SDCC: Terra Mini-Series Announced
According to the creator, Conner made the announcement at her Saturday "Spotlight" panel in San Diego.
” Terra, Gar, and Raven are my favorites so it is cool that we'll be working with the rock slinger,” Gray posted.
“I can't talk story yet because we've been through dozens of ideas and plots over the last eight months,” he continued, “but Terra as a character has never had a definitive origin. That includes Terra 1 and 2. This mini will address that fact in some surprising ways and open the door to a new corner of the DCU. Aside from that the emphasis will be on heroism, true blue hero stuff.”
Saturday, July 22, 2006
SDCC: Ravager by George Perez
George Perez was once again doing sketches at the ACTOR booth at San Diego. And I was lucky enough to get a sketch from the Maestro himself!
The question: Which Titans should George draw? I chose the Ravager, since I a.) really like Rose Wilson and b.) thought George may never get the chance to draw her.
Turns out, George just drew Ravager for the soon-to-be-published double page spread in the INFINITE CRISIS special edition. As previously reported, Perez redrew the double page spread of One Year Later characters for INFINITE CRISIS #7 in the upcoming special edition version. The spread features over 120 characters!
As for Rose, George mentioned that he drew her with some of Slade's facial features: longer nose, high cheekbones and a slight widow's peak hairline. He thought she should resemble dear ol' dad.
George mentioned that he was thrilled at the turnout of his panel yesterday. And he's extremely grateful for all his fans after all these years.