Friday, December 29, 2006
Here's the cover for WW#5. You don't see this on the Wildstorm site because it wasn't finished in time for solicitations (when they announce a comic book usually four months before it goes to print). I had the bare bones meat of the image done but none of the background and nitty gritty detail of the actual figure. Again, this is a full computer painting, done in Photoshop except for the fairy sparkles done in Painter...
For the fans this is a beast. It is usually a criminal vampire that lives its entire life in beast mode. It is forced into the bestial state by the psi-powers of a BeastMaster. It is controlled by him at all times, so he must stay near a Beast. Powerful BeastMasters, ones that hail from Royal Vampire Bloodlines are said to be able to control many Beast at once. These Beast are the Shocktroops of the Vampire Nation. They are the enforcers of the Nations laws. Notice the metallic armbands and oversized metallic boots the Beast always wear, these are safety mechanisms. Should a BeastMaster loose control of his charge or suddenly die these metallic bands activate powerful magnets that lock the Beast's arms and legs together rendering him immobile...so yes, this cover signifies the Vampire Nations return to Wetworks...
Wednesday, December 20, 2006
The first scene with Vascar feeding in mid-flight on a handglider, and the next scene with a Werewolf in full beast mode both show a vampire and a werewolf in beast mode but in control of themselves. A very tiny clue which is hard to see is that the clothes on both of them are not ripping or tearing. A sign that both of these creatures come from a world where they design clothing to make adjustments for transforming. In this case clothing made with rubber like stretching qualities.
Another thing to notice is the army green soldiers are the ones advancing while the high tech soldiers stay by Danes side to protect him.
During the interrogation scene we start to learn a few things about Ashe. Namely he being a werewolf (and in this moment in human form) (again notice now in his smaller size form as a human his clothes still fit him). A mall not notice the insignia on Dane's sleeve, that's the new Wetworks logo.
The next scene with Vascar in the alleyway bears a continuity blooper which won't become apparent until issue #4. Vascar is dressed as he is dressed in issue #4 but in issue #4 he has two stripes on the front of his jumper. The correct version is the one with stripes. This is my fault. That's what you get when you as a penciller don't keep track of your pages. You see issue #4 there is a big flashback with Vascar and others wearing the same outfit.
I really like everything about this scene. It's a great intro for Vascar and the kind of a person he is and it sets-up events to come all in two pages. The addition of strong white highlights (by Wendy) really add to the form of the figures and most importantly the mood of this scene. Here also is where we strongly establish the broken shadows motif that follows Vascar and his dastartly actions. Large irregular blocks of black used as a mood enhancing design element...here they are in full black ink while in later issues we play with changing the opacity and color of this blocks...all part of experimenting with the medium...
The next page with Mother still unconscious we see one of the code "enhancements" done to this page to keep it safe for kiddies. Yup, this issue also was originally done when this new relaunch was gonna be for mature readers only.
The next scene holds lots of little touches. The computer guy is Dane's man. He is the Wetworks complex head geek. We also see next to Dane in panel four Dane's attache, the one we were introduced to in the second preview. This is the guy who runs the Wetworks complex. And also notice Dane's gaurds flanking the jumpjet.
Next we show Dane levitating the team down to San Francisco. Here we showoff another of Dane's abilities and thereby start to get into dangerous ground. It's called the Superman complex, when a hero gets too powerful, too infalleable, he becomes boring because no one can beat him. Which is why Kryptonite was created for Superman. So we must create something to bring Dane down a couple of notches. The hint is the headgear he wears, which is the result of an event in Dane's past...which we will slowing reveal as the book goes on...not now...
Originally Mike had Mother fully waking in issue #1 I told him I thought after having her dead for all this time and then wake her up right away was to subservient to the story and therefore her wakening should spread out and take longer and have complications so we can later allude to errors in her reboot...so the prior Mother scene in this issue and this brilliant Frankenstein-ish wake up scene was Mike's answer. This exemplifies the kind of working relation we had. I would suggests things and explain my point of view and if he saw my point he would deftly weave it into his story as if it were apart of his original first take.
In the next few scene's we see the team for the first time in combat and it's not that pretty, in the sense that it's not a coordinated attack, it's sloppy, it eventually results in a win of sorts but not a decisive clean win. We also start to see Mike weaving this new kind of a battle field, the Dead World. We have already established this other world and it's creatures that can transgress into our world and now we introduce a character (Ab-death) that can effect them in their world. A new possibility. We start to see as readers a new need. Question is can Wetworks answer that need. Is the original team or this new team equipped to handle this new battle field? This is a conscious effort to expand the reason for reviving this book and its characters.
Notice too how even tho' Dane doesn't understand exactly what Ab-death did and how he did it he quickly and quietly accepts the win and immediately sees the new threat and the path he must take and goes. This is pure Dane, pure military. He doesn't understand why the creature exploded but knows it has something to do with Ab-death accepts it and files it away for later use. This means he doesn't fully accept Ab-death either. Notice also he doesn't berate Red and Ab-death for the sloppiness of the fight but blames only himself. He is the leader and it is his fault if he hasn't pulled his team together properly. So you can bet he is on his silent intercommunications system and is putting the old team on alert...what started as a simple mission of capturing a single lone vampire is growing into a complicated mess...how big will it get...how much must Dane adjust his resources to this growing threat...where is this all leading?
Attached image is a compilation of some of the sketches done for Vascar...all done on a computer tablet PC...
This is the issue where we really get into Mike Carey's territory...horror. We start in a disco, where any decent Vampire with delusions of granduer would galavant in. It is after hours and Dane and the S.F. Police are on the scene. They are shifting thru the remains of forty odd bodies, or parts of bodies. I love how thruout this scene with the police sargeant Mike handles all of the characters and places them in their proper positions. Notice rarely is anyone is just standing there, except Dane who's role in most situations is to stand there and oversee the situation and give orders. I think Mike would indeed make a great movie director.
Then we have the next scene, which is exactly what I had hope Mike would bring to the series, Vascar's mystical version of a human computer. Fingers for a keyboard, hearts for harddrives, eyes for a monitor, and a head for a CPU...brilliant. And to add to it the constant tension in dialogue between the Blood Box and Vascar...I could just imagine this scene playing out on the big screen.
The interaction of Dane and the eam in the next scenes is a wonderful part of working with a writer who loves his characters and how they would fit together. Mike and I had talked a little of how they would work together like a CSI team/detective team piecing together pieces of a puzzle and that driving the plot. Here we see the whole team individually contributing. That's how you build a team put them into a situation and watch them work together.
More than anything else this issue (in terms of just the team) we watch and see a new kind of a team form. In the original series we watched as an attack team was put together. We introduced individuals that together formed a complete team designed to attack and destroy a target. Here we are now seeing a team assembled together that solves problems/tracks targets. A wholly different team than the original Wetworks. That is a conscious effort, I wanted to bring back the original team as it was. It worked so well as they were...assembled killers. But I realized that's all they were. Even Mother who is smarter and more analytical she still is at the core a killer too, and therefore limited. In any effort to revisit the Wetworks world I realized we must expand on its theme somehow. My solution was adding a new kind of a team, a new team that would complement the old team. As we progress in the series we will see that this new team tho' individually they are made up of great fighters, together they are best put to the task of analyzing and tracking.
We have seen the new team in a fight already and we will see them in countless more fights but we will also show that this team is not really built for action. As in issue two where they fought the "oil slick" creature, Dane and Red at best held their own with the creature never really hurting it. Ab-death dealt the final blow to the creature but no one including himself understood what he actually did. Analytically we can look at this team and see we have Ashe, who is a loner, Ab-death who is not quite sure who he is and what he is capable of, and then we have Red, who is trained as a lone bodygaurd and Dane, who is a leader. These pieces do not fit together to make a cohesive attack team. They don't fit together well...at least in terms of fighting enemies.
The gratuitous violence in the BART train scene was my fault. The plot originally had Vascar break the driver's neck. I felt after smashing the guys face into a building (in issue #2) snapping a neck was too tame for this character. Vascar always needs to show he is better, more powerful, suave, disgusting, over the edge...crazy.
The next scene is the first reveal of the consequence of Mothers new configuration. In the original series she was bionic, mostly human but with bionic enhancements. Now she is almost entirely tech with very little organic matter. As such she can control every inch of her tech body. Here for her vain side she was built with tech skin which she can manipulate in any way she desires. She can reinforce parts of herself by layering, she can reform her tech skin into any kind of a weapon desired. She can remotely connect to any signal or system. She can even play online games.
Notice the clothes and adornments Vascar is wearing. There was much talk about Vascar's demeanor. He is to be very avantgarte, very much like a Rockstar, a showboater, flamboyant, an exhibitionist. I had drawn up about ten possible outfits for him to wear so Mike and I could make sure we were on the same page with where we wanted Vascar as a character to go. If we had more time, and if readers were more willing to wait to see things progress I would have liked to seen alot of scenes with Vascar out on the town. I would have like to have seen him in the VIP lounge of the disco with celebrities.
As we see with the last few scenes the team is not all that together in terms of fighting or even capturing even one target. They just don't work well together. They don't see things as one. Therefore as a fighting team they are destined to lose more than they win. So here Vascar escapes to live another day to drive the plot further. But before he leaves we see that he can indeed be hurt.
We end with Ashe transporting Dane and Mother to his world of Thea Mater...the world of old fashion Science fiction/fantasy. The world I am at home with.
Mike deftly shows us boat loads of horror and then easily segways us into sci-fi. That is the core of the book. The idea that the superhero genre actually contains within itself any genre easily is I think becoming more and more reality. The way modern comics have broken the barrier of the superhero was to expand its worlds into other genre's....
Attached is a compilation of sketch's done for Buller, again all done on the computer, no paper was harmed...
Wednesday, December 06, 2006
Got behind on the blog so I am posting an online reminder to myself to accomplish by end of next week to have post on commentary for Wetworks issues #2 and #3. #2 came out a month ago and #3 just last week. Also I want to post the actual art process of how I draw now...there you have it by end of next week three new post...
BTW-attached image is just me testing out color pencils and markers with acrylic highlights, notice the Batman. Did that about a month before I started drawing Batman...so I guess it was my first official rendition...
Been gone awhile doing this that and the other thing and am finally back. Everything that happens and effects Wetworks you will read about here. Alot has been happening, mostly work on Batman, but what had me off kilter for the last month was my diabetes. After three years of good regular blood sugar controls my pancreas is failing, meaning it is not producing the correct amount of insulin. In fact less and less. So for the past few weeks I have been on insulin injections to keep my sugar levels continuously even as possible. The reason I am telling you all about this is that what it means is when my sugars are out of control I can't concentrate and can't work. When my sugars are good little buggers I can concentrate evenly and work my butt off. It also means that if you see me at a convention I will be taking strict meal breaks every four hours. So I ask you all out there for patience while I try to adjust my life to the inevitable ups and downs of my condition.
Personally it's kinda disappointing to have to be taking insulin injections. I have been trying so hard since my diabetic coma in the summer of 2000 to keep my sugar levels normal, but my Doc says no matter what I do my pancreas failing was an inevitability. It was just a matter of time.
This isn't the end-all there are many, many other diabetics worst off than I. I've had relatively an easy time with my diabete's. For that I thank GOD. I've got many, many, many years of productive art ahead of me. It's just a matter of adjusting my life style to fit my condition. As simple as that. It has taken me all these years since 2000 to retrain my artistic brain to draw again. All this time to recalibrate my artist eye to see the world as I use to see it. My hand to reliably follow the minute, subtle commands my brain gives it artistically.
You can't understand what my mind went thru that one day before August of 2000 I could draw with the ease that a lifetime of art training had given me and then in one day to wake up after losing one week in my life and all of a sudden thirty pounds lighter, not being able to walk, in fact barely being able to stand, but most important not being able to draw anymore. My mind could see what I wanted to draw but my hand couldn't accomplish it. It was six months before I could pick up a pencil again and draw SOMETHING, anything. It was a year later before I could draw somewhat like I use to. My biggest problem being not being able to "see" with my eye whether things like eyes and ears were aligned or even the same size. Sometimes I couldn't even see if what I had drawn was any good at all. In 2002 to 2004 I had thought I had it back and as you could see by the uneven quality of some of my work then like StormWatch. I was still being effected by my diabetes.
The last two years are joyous ones for me because my condition was under control most of the time and I was able to draw six issues of Wetworks and four issues of Batman with the style and quality very reminiscent of my old style.
Now is another time of adjusting for me but thankfully I can still draw. I am feeling great especially because now and for the last two years I can draw anything I want to...again. Wait til you see what I have in store for our guys and gals in gold. I've got so much planned for them. I am thrilled by the response so far to the storyline and can't wait til you see what's to come...
Attached is the cover to WW's #6 my fave cover so far of the new series...