Some claim that a mark of great art is that it conveys the creator’s enthusiasm.
If this is the case, then there’s no doubt that Ulises Farinas is one of comics’ greatest rising stars. Never heard of him? Oh, I hadn’t either, that is until I read his mindblowing GAMMA. In addition to its incredible art, compelling story, and ability to mash-up varied staples of nerdlore into one booty-shakin’ remix, GAMMA kills the reader with its passion. After reading this one-shot, I knew that I’d just discovered an artist who is truly excited to wake up and create!
And in a world inundated with paint-by-numbers, just-get-the-job-done entertainment, coming across something with a bit of zest and gusto is always refreshing.
In fact I was so won over by GAMMA that I immediately began scouring for more Ulises Farinas art. But my nerd-appetite wasn’t sated, and I hungered for more. As such, I thought I’d go directly to the gamma-powered source and ask for an interview. To the delight of all passengers aboard Spaceship OL, my questions were answered!
Hit the hyperspace jump and check out an interview with Ulises Farinas, an artist who bows to no one and bumps Rick Ross!
Hey you! Yeah, the turkey holdin’ the comic book! Why don’t you c’mon in? Oh, you’re not hungry? Well that doesn’t matter – you’re goin’ to want to check this place out. Of all the dining halls on Spaceship OL, this holodeckin’ eat-a-torium is most guaranteed to satiate your fanboy-cravings.
This is, after all, the Comic Book Café.
Now, I feel obligated to offer a word of warning. In spite of the innumerable perks that come with eating in a livin’ and breathin’ paneled-page, there’re some definite drawbacks. The lunchladies are cranky. The pizza’ll burn the roof of your mouth. And the cliques are unbearably divided.
By the Coca-Cola machine sits the Marvel crew – Peter Parker and Joe Quesada are trading yogurts, Betty Banner is smashing a watermelon with her fists, and Tony Stark is sneaking rips of gin out of a Gatorade bottle. At the top of the café is the DC posse – Wonder Woman is givin’ catty glares as Clark Kent sucks on Lois Lane’s bottom lip, Dan DiDio is nose-vomitin’ milk while he guffaws at Plastic Man, and Swamp Thing is tryin’ to extol the virtues of using a canteen instead of Styrofoam cups. And if you look between these two, you can see the IMAGE gang hanging by fire exit – Brandon Graham and Jonathan Hickman are hackin’ away at sketchbooks, some nutjob wearin’ headgear is claiming to be a prophet, and baby Hazel is cryin’ for milk.
It’s quite the scene.
But it’s not the whole scene. Sure, these three tables are the most jam-packed and rambunctious, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they’re the most exciting. If you’re lookin’ for a bit of adventure, why not take your tray to one of the other tables? What’s that? You thought that those three cliques were the only patrons of the Comic Book Café? Way wrong, bro!
Hey, take a seat at that small table next to the Art Club sign-ups. Yeah, the table with the dudes that don’t really look like anyone else in the cafeteria. This squad goes by the name of 215 INK, and they pride themselves in their independence from the other three. Once you get situated, you should strike up a conversation with the dude rockin’ the beautiful beard.
His name is Mauricio Pommella and he’s the illustrator of TRANSMEET, a comic about trying to grow love in the depleted soil that is our inevitable dystopia.
There’re few things more depressing than watching creators lose the passion by which they were once driven. We’ve all seen it happen – the old dog, worn down by years spent chasing artistic success and financial stability and personal greatness, loses its love of the hunt. Instead of drawing fowl into the hunters’ scopes, these hounds are content with gum-delivering the birds that’ve already been blasted out of the sky.
And thus, we get comics and movies and music that get the job done, but without the zeal that we crave.
On the other hand, there’s nothing more beautiful than the sight of an up-and-comer in love with the creative process. This is the young pup who’s been told he’s too small for the hunt, but is just too damn scrappy to stay with the litter. So he puffs out his chest and snarls and barks as fiercely as he can. And just as he’s about to be dismissed by the tired hounds, the pup pounces on a swan from behind and rips out its goddamn jugular.
This is the image that comes to mind when I think of Giannis Milonogiannis.
Milonogiannis is a comics creator who’s making no small work of proving his worth to the pack. After being blown away by his contributions to PROPHET, I decided to investigate the other creations of the artist with the wonderfully-multisyllabic name. I was led to Old City Blues, the “cyberpunk police adventure” set in New Athens, 2048. I quickly devoured the first volume, and then went to the OCB website to feast upon the issues available online.
Gritty noir detectives, cybernetic mechs, car chases, discussions of consciousness – I just couldn’t get enough.
Hoping to satiate my rapacity, I contacted Giannis Milonogiannis and he was kind enough to answer some questions. Hit the hyperspace jump to check out this incredible young talent’s thoughts about his work, the current state of Greek comics, the digital/print discussion, and the process of seeking inspiration.
C’mon! Let’s join the hunt!
As the self proclaimed “Zombie Czar” of Omega-Level, I’m constantly on the lookout for freshness in the genre to show off to the class. So the other day, while doing research on Tumblr about the upcoming season of AMC’s The Walking Dead I stumbled on this gem of a web comic called The Dixons. The comic traced the dark nature of fan favorites Daryl and Merle Dixon, both characters exclusive to the AMC show (but not found in the original comic). If you have not read it yet, drop everything you are doing and click here or here.
I started reading, and was immediately hooked on the brooding tale of dysfunction that seemed to fit so perfectly with the show itself. I tracked down the author, and demanded answers! What I discovered was a young international prodigy on her way to greatness. Check her out after the jump. You’ll be glad you did.
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At its core, the comic book medium can be thought of as the combining of words and images so as to produce a cohesive narrative. As such, it’s easy to understand why most comics are created not by a single individual, but by a team of creators. But even with this understanding in tow, most comic fans only acknowledge the prowess of their favorite writers, pencillers, and (occasionally) inkers.
Which is a damn shame, `cause colorists are the ones who truly bring the paneled pages to life.
In an attempt to better understand the role and responsibilities of a comics colorist, I reached out to Jordie Bellaire. As the colorist for MANHATTAN PROJECTS, HULK: SEASON ONE, and a slew of other projects, Jordie is making a name for herself as a sought-after and respected comics artist. Hit the hyperspace jump to check out her thoughts on her career thus far, the search for inspiration, and the challenges of being the last artist on a comic book’s creative assembly line.
Put away your Crayolas and come read the thoughts of a genuine talent!
A couple weeks ago I sat down with a comic called A.K.A., fully intending to just read the first issue in the collection. Before I knew it, an hour had passed and final panels of the book were quickly transforming from mysteries into memories. What was it that inspired me to keep readin’, ignorin’ the ringin’ phone and the frantic cries of the mailman outside my window to save him from the vocal veteran’s rabid mailman?
Pure comics bad-assery.
A.K.A. is a perfect throwback to those golden years when mawkish snooze fests hopin’ to snag Oscars weren’t the only films considered high-quality. No, this comic summons the spirits of the 1970s exploitation flicks that taught moviegoers the value of flawed heroes, babes with dangerous measurements, and gratuitous violence. As the (anti)hero of A.K.A., Guy Doyle navigates his way through these elements, in the process teaching the reader how to revel in the chaos of a mob war.
So won over was my heart that I decided to reach out to Steven Walters, the man responsible for penning this tasteful tale of tawdry turmoil. Walters proved to be incredibly gracious, answering each of my questions with vigor and poise. Which was reassuring, as many of his characters are less gracious and more bloodthirsty.
Hit the jump to check out what Walters’ thoughts on the comics medium, exploitation films, and the quest of artistic expression.
There is no shortage of taxons for comics creators. There’re the Marvel guys and the DC guys, the independent bros and the artsy-gals. Some artists are known for illustrating superheroes and some writers are summoned to script crime noir. When we think of members of the comic book community, chances’re pretty good that we pigeonhole `em.
But I think I’ve come across a breed entirely unique unto itself.
As a writer, this being has brought fan-beloved and critically-acclaimed series into existence. In the editorial department, this same comics-creature has made contributions that have earned him both an Eisner Award and a Harvey Award. Upon further inspection, it appears that this individual is now rummaging through the Creator-Owned Forest, using Kickstarter to put comics directly into readers’ hands.
What are we to call this amazing creature? Here’s a name – Mark Andrew Smith.
Mark Andrew Smith is the writer behind such works as The Amazing Joy Buzzards, Gladstone’s School for World Conquerors and The New Brighton Archaeological Society. Moreover, he is one of the editors that helped elevate Popgun to the award-winning status it knows today. So after learning about Mr. Smith’s plans to distribute Sullivan’s Sluggers (a collaboration with the mighty James Stokoe) via Kickstarter, I sought an interview and was obliged!
Hit the hyperspace jump to check out Mark Andrew Smith’s thoughts on finding inspiration, the daily life of a comic book writer, and what conditions would have to be met for him to drink with Hemingway!
As a lifelong nerd, I occasionally delude myself into thinking that I’ve acquired superpowers. Truth be told, most of the time my faux-epiphanies are innocuous. So instead of jumping to my death in a moment of perceived super-flight, I just render myself nauseous after a hyper-metabolism delusion inspires me to eat fifty buffalo wings too many.
Yeah, yeah, yeah, I know what you’re thinking, and I can’t disagree. I’m the type of moron that gives comic book fans a bad rap. But every now and then, my fantasies enable me to do something pretty rad.
For example, what would happen if I stopped thinking of myself as a hack-writer/petty-blogger? What if I started to believe that I could actually correspond with artists whose work I admire? And what if, in the midst of this Pepsi-drinkin’ daydream, I actually contacted someone in the hopes of sharing their words with the world?
Well, then we’d get a feature like the one I’m about to present — an interview with Farel Dalrymple.
As one of the founders of Meathaus, the creator of Pop Gun War, and one of the artists currently working on PROPHET with Brandon Graham, Farel Dalrymple is a comics creator worthy of respect and admiration. Despite his incredible workload, Mr. Dalrymple was gracious enough to respond to my semi-coherent questions. And this might just be the type of reinforcement that convinces that I do have superpowers after all.
Punch it into hyperspace to see Farel Dalrymple’s thoughts on comics anthologies, his current work, and even Type O Negative.
If you’re a regular passenger on Spaceship OL, chances’re pretty good that your a bit of a comics fan. And if that’s the case, you’ve probably seen the name Ben McCool poppin’ up over the last few years. Unless, of course, you’re a genuine turkey. But let’s assume that this is a turkey-free zone, shall we?
The writer of MEMOIR and CHOKER (amongst others), Ben McCool has quickly established himself as a burgeoning force of nature in the sequential art ecosystem. Yes, it’s true that a viscous oil of staid storytelling may pump through the veins of the comic medium. But McCool takes a stab at narrative resuscitation by mainlining a cocktail of novelty, originality, daring, and genuine entertainment directly into the heart.
Yes, I am a fan of Ben McCool.
In fact, I recently found myself sending the British-born scribe a set of questions that I’d conjured up during a moment of half-inebriated super-confidence. To my delight, McCool pleasantly responded! What a gentleman! Hit the jump to check an exchange which includes an exploration of the comic book career path, some insight into what inspires creativity, the sharing of a truly filthy haiku, and plenty more!
Every now and then a human being is born unto the Earth who has ability beyond the natural. Wielding these transcendent powers, this individual has the ability to do that which most cannot even fathom. Good? Evil? Artist? Warrior? All that’s known for sure when one of these folks drops in is that things are going to change.
I was afforded the distinct pleasure of interviewing Benjamin Santiago, an artist doing the dirty work for those of us who were raised on Super Nintendo and science fiction. This is the dude behind a wonder-trove of visual delights, FANTOMA.ORG, and a slew of ill videos.
Hit the jump and check out this feature with Benjamin Santiago. Not only did he answer all of my wacky questions, but he also made an OL EXCLUSIVE VIDEO!