Winding up: Teen Titans Go! #33, step by step

Baseball Player Windup, by Norman Rockwell, and Teen Titans Go! #33, by Sean Galloway

I enjoy Sean Galloway's art almost as much as I like glimpses into the creative process, so I was happy to see those two things come together on his deviantART page. There, Galloway shows the evolution of the cover to July's Teen Titans Go! #33, from inspiration -- Normal Rockwell's Baseball Player Windup -- to final product.

For process junkies, it's a good read.

Galloway also mentions that Issue 35 will be his last cover for the series, which makes me a little sad.


Lone Cat and ... kitten?

Catwoman #57, by Adam Hughes, and Lone Wolf and Cub Vol. 3, by Frank Miller

Despite being largely unimpressed by the DC and Marvel covers for July, I have a backlog of things I'm itching to write about. Unfortunately, this free-lance project is getting the best of me. Once it's out of the way, or at least under control, I'll likely be blogging on a daily or almost-daily basis for a while, just to get caught up.

For now, I'll just comment briefly on Adam Hughes' cover for Catwoman #57, which, in and of itself, is nice but not exactly fantastic. However, it jumps up a few notches when it's viewed as a clever homage to Kazuo Koike and Goseki Kojima's Lone Wolf and Cub.

The character parallels probably don't hold up to close scrutiny -- Selina Kyle isn't a disgraced warrior-executioner and, as far as I know, she and her child aren't assassins -- but visually, it's a terrific gag: Selina, in a rumpled bathrobe instead of a kamishimo, looks equal parts harried mother and fierce samurai. The ladle replacing the katana, and Selina's dissheveled topknot, are nice touches, too.

I also like that her child, whose clothing vaguely mimics that of the Edo Period, stares at Selina in disbelief.


Candid camera: Runaways #18

Although I really enjoyed Marcos Martin's cover work for Batgirl: Year One, Green Arrow and Breach, his current stint on Marvel's Runaways hasn't impressed me that much (except, possibly, for Issue 13). In fairness, that may because I'm such a fan of Jo Chen's covers for the series, and the two artists are polar opposites, stylistically.

But yesterday, Marvel teased some of its July solicitations, including Martin's cover for Runaways #18. And you know what? I like it -- a lot.

The off-kilter composition makes the image seem like a snapshot taken during a summer day at the park. It's definitely candid, with the characters swept up in the moment and each other instead of striking iconic poses. Here, they're not superheroes; they're just kids.

But more importantly, they're vulnerable, something underscored by the cover blurb, "One of these Runaways is about to die."

The bright, flat colors work well, too, I think, contrasting with the dark times that loom ahead (and overhead).

There is a problem with the cover, though it's not the art: I'd never paid much attention to the logo before, but here, against a clear blue sky, it's obvious that it's, well, not very good. At all.


Programming note

I've not fallen off the face of the earth. Yet. No, I'm buried under a mound of work, which means I won't get around to posting anything of substance until this weekend.


Flight 3: Robots in Eden

I've started at least four entries this week that I never finished -- on Marcos Martin and Alvaro Lopez's covers for 2002's Batgirl: Year One, and Eisner Hall of Fame nominee Jim Steranko, among them -- because of deadlines and other real-life concerns.

Still, I want to make at least a brief post about Kazu Kibuishi's cover for Flight 3. Really, there's not much to say, other than as with the previous volumes, this cover captures the sense of wonder and possibilities that seems to tie together the anthology's stories. The idea of a city in the trees isn't a new one; we've seen it everywhere from Flash Gordon to Return of the Jedi to The Monchichis. However, it's not the huts and bridges that draw our attention as much as it is the enormous trees, gracefully twisting like dancing dryads (I've been reading The Element Encyclopedia of Magical Creatures, so cut me some slack). The obvious focus, though, is the rotting trunk that's been converted into a quirky house, its jumbled window boxes like the crowded roofs and balconies of some ancient Persian street.

I love, too, that Kibuishi chooses to toss robotic gardeners into this sylvan scene, symbols of futuristic industrialization living in -- and caring for -- an otherworldly Eden.

Plus, you really can't go wrong with a saddle on an enormous bird.

Flight 3 is in this month's Previews for June release. You can see some interior previews at the Flight blog.


Eisner nominees: Best Cover Artist

Eisner nominees: Frank Espinosa (Rocketo); Tony Harris (Ex Machina); James Jean (Fables, Runaways); Jock (The Losers); and Eric Powell (The Goon, Universal Monsters: Cavalcade of Horror)

Nominees have been announced for the 2006 Will Eisner Industry Awards, with Chris Ware, Warren Ellis and DC Comics and its imprints leading the list.

Ware received seven nominations for Acme Novelty Library 16, Acme Novelty Library Annual Report and Walt and Skeezix. Ellis got six nods for Desolation Jones, Ocean, Fell, Down and Planetary.

DC and its imprints received a whopping 28 full nominations, while Image Comics followed with 10.

But this being Comics, Covered, what really interests us is the Best Cover Artist category: Two-time Eisner winner James Jean was nominated for his work on Fables and Runaways, while Tony Harris was tapped for Ex Machina -- his first cover nomination since 1997. Other contenders are first-time category nominees Frank Espinosa (Rocketo), Jock (The Losers) and Eric Powell (The Goon and Universal Monsters: Cavalcade of Horror).

A complete list of nominees can be found here.


Reading Room: the new Comic Foundry

As promised, Comic Foundry unveiled its monthly magazine format today, with all kinds of interesting content. And I'm not just saying that because I contributed a Q&A with James Jean. Really.

I only knew about a couple of stories planned for the premiere edition, so much of it came as a surprise. Of potential interest to readers of this art- and design-oriented blog:
An interview with roommates and comic artists R. Kikuo Johnson and Paolo Rivera, by Andrew Avery

A Q&A with the Ex Machina art team of Tony Harris, Tom Feister and J.D. Mettler, by Tim Leong

A step-by-step look at Danica Novgorodoff’s work process for her graphic novel, A Late Freeze

Becky Cloonan's current pop-culture influences, from music to books to video games

My aforementioned interview with James Jean about his cover work
There's much more, too, including contributions by blogosphere luminaries like Graeme McMillan, Ian Brill and Marc Mason.


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