Missed Todd McFarlane's New York Comic Con 2015 panel or simply couldn't go to the con? Truthful Comics' got your back!!! This video is almost an hour long and is the entire panel (except for a couple of minutes at the start that Todd was talking with fans in the front row). Enjoy!
Back in the days before the internet was accessible to everybody, us geeks had to get our comic book news from magazines. Most of us would, of course, turn to Wizard magazine.
It's kind of hard to imagine now, but Wizard was incredibly influential in the comic book industry back in the day. With their witty banter, creator interviews, top 10 lists, future hottest creators lists, breaking news, contests, fan awards, Wizard was the MTV of comics in magazine form. You know, when MTV was about the music (yes, it's an easy target, so what?).
This intro sounds like it's more for Wizard magazine, I know, and one day I just make a blog about Wizard magazine, but for now, I want to concentrate on one of my all time favorite issues of Wizard. It was published February 1998, issue number 78.
The cover was done by one of my all time favorite Spider-Man artists, Steve Skroce. The story behind the cover was how Wizard would fix the problems the Spider-Man books were having at the time, struggling after the debacle that the Clone Saga was. It was one of the best articles ever written in Wizard IMO. It also had it's usual freebies, but one thing took the industry by storm in this issue.
Joe Madureira of Uncanny X-men fame. J Scott Campbell of Gen 13 fame. Humberto Ramos of Impulse fame. They were gathered together to discuss the formation of a studio within Jim Lee's Wildstrom studio, Cliffhanger! Comics.
It was like the second coming of Image. Three of the hottest young superstars banded together to form their own line of comics. It was announced Joe Mad would do a fantasy book named Battle Chasers. J Scott Campbell would do a spy, campy comic named Danger Girl. While Ramos would do a vampire book named Crimson.
A mere month later, in issue 79, Wizard gave away an exclusive look at the designs of the characters. It was absolutely mind blowing. All my friends went nuts. I went through my own copy so much that the cover is on the verge of falling off it's staples.
There was always some debate between my friends though. "Humberto Ramos? He's cool, I guess, but why not Michael Turner?" Though little did we know at the time he was extended an invitation to join, but didn't because of his commitments to Marc Silvestri's Top Cow studios.
I always found that a bit unfair that Ramos was looked at as the odd man in. Especially since I had chills go down my spine when I saw the pencils to some of the pages of issue 1 of Crimson in this sketchbook. Oddly enough, even though I was raised pretty much on horror movies when I was a kid, and loved vampire movies before they were, you know, sparkly, I was never really into horror or vampire comics. But by this time I was a huge Ramos fan because of his work on DC Comics' Impulse, so I was just as eager to read Crimson. Only problem was, that was at a time the supermarkets and pharmacies stopped selling comics, and the closest comic book shop to me was three cities away. So, when Cliffhanger launched, I missed out on it.
Crimson came out and it was a surprise hit hit. When I was finally able to get my hands on it, three issues had already came out. I was able to get it (along with Battle Chasers and Danger Girl) at a collector's fair at the local mall close to my mom's house. I got it and the book was just gorgeous. It was the best artwork Ramos had done up to that point and it showed just how much passion he had for this story, which was being written by Impulse co-writer, Brian Augustyn.
The story centers around Alex Elder, who gets turned into a vampire on a night he and his friends go out for a ride. His friends turn into vampire chow while Alex survives thanks in part being saved by an ancient creature named Ekimus. Alex wants no part in being a vampire and wants his normal life back. But things turn for the worse when somebody close to him gets murdered and he discovers he is the key part in an upcoming battle where the fate of the world hangs in the balance. So, yeah, not your traditional vampire story, and I loved every bit of it. We get introduced to various supporting characters like Joe the Indian, Scarlett, various angels, God, Satan, the mother of all vampires. No, literally, the mother of all vampires. Sometimes I have to admit, Ramos' art is so expressive and so bright, it somehow felt a little at odds with the dark, sometimes gruesome story. But to me, that's just a minor nitpick.
The series only lasted 24 issues not including 2 specials (a Scarlett X one-shot and a sourcebook of the Crimson universe), and was not only the only Cliffhanger title to come out regularly, it was the longest running Cliffhanger title (the second longest belonging to Ramos's own Out There, which lasted 18 issues). The series was collected into 4 beautiful trade paper backs, which I still own and flip through. Nearly two years ago, I had the incredible pleasure of getting them signed by the man himself, Humberto Ramos. He is such a great and humble guy, he actually blushed when I told him it was the first vampire series I ever collected and thanked him for it. He also signed that beaten up copy of the Wizard magazine insert of Cliffhanger #0, he was the only signature missing, so now all three original Cliffhanger artists has signed it, and it's one of my most precious treasures.
Crimson to me was not just an extraordinary comic book story, it was an extraordinary story of a comic book artist that never quit. An artist that took a chance and went on to be arguably one of the most influential artists of the past decades, and will go down in history as one of the best Spider-Man artists ever. As always, I tried to avoid as many spoilers as possible in case you have not read this series, and I encourage you to find these issues (you can find the trades if you want to, but as it turns out they're pretty rare now and could be a bit costly, so finding single issues are actually easier on your wallet in the long run). As for me, I'm going to sit back, turn a lamp on, keep my pencil and sketchbook close just again, cuddle up to volume 1 of the trade, and feel like I'm back in college again, wen the world was an empty canvas, everything and anything was possible, and the "odd man in", the artist that never quit, started blazing his trail as a legend. Thank you for reading, take care and see you next time!
After the death of Mike Wieringo, as I mentioned, I was numb. By that time I had already stopped buying mainstream comics and just did not follow up on my favorite artists online after the blog entry his brother made that I mentioned last week's blog. There are very few things that I regret in life, and not keeping up with Michael Turner is one of them.
I did not know of his passing until like a year later after his death. I was starting to get into the groove of checking out my favorite artists, and he was one of my all-time favorites.I went online and googled what he was up to, and that's how I found out. I felt like someone had punched my stomach until I was left gasping for air on the floor. I had this image of him being, untouchable somehow. He faced cancer before, and came back an even better artist than ever. In my mind there was no way he was eventually going to lose his battle with cancer at any point.
He's only the second artist I ever cried over when I learned of his death, and having lost my grandparents and an aunt to this dreaded cancer, it hit me all the more. I've written about Michael Turner here and there, but nothing too much into detail. So aside this blog being a tribute, this blog is my own personal therapy. The best kind, too. Art therapy.
After graduating from the International Performing Arts Academy,
Turner moved to San Diego where he got interested in comics. Top Cow and Image Comics co-founder discovered him at a convention, and he was hired initially as a background artist before he co-created what would become arguably Top Cow's most iconic character: Witchblade.
Image comics wouldn't always be ordered at the pharmacy where I would get my stash, but for a brief while, they actually started bringing Witchblade. I was absolutely captivated by his artwork. To me, there was this sense of timelessness, of class, that just made it impossible for me to turn away from his pages. I was enamored by his artwork and became a quick fan of his. I followed as much as I could and then I had to stop once the pharmacy stopped bringing comics all together. Whenever I hanged out my friends and ventured to a couple cities over, I'd hit the comic book shop and catch up on Witchblade, and of course, Fathom after he announced he would leave Witchblade in favor of his first creator owned comic within Top Cow.
He actually upped his artwork to a whole new level on Fathom. The artwork was absolutely gorgeous, to me it was simply breathtaking. To me, this was a work of art, of mastery.. The elegant lines, the layout, the character designs, it was a visual masterpiece.
But then, in the middle of the mega crossover between Witchblade, Fathom, and Tomb Raider, the video game property that Top Cow was able to licence into comic books, Michael Turner, after suffering a skiing accident, was discovered he had cancer.
After treatments Turner, who would sketch on his bed during that time, returned to comics two years later, wrapping up the crossover. When he came back, he also decided after thinking over as he recovered, that it was time he struck out on his own, and founded Aspen MLT Inc. A different creative team would take over Fathom while he worked on hi newest title, the fantasy book Soulfire.
Turner had done it again. He elevated his artwork for this title to a height I couldn't even, well, fathom. The intricate designs, the fantasy/post apocalyptic setting, this was artistry. The series was just visually stunning as his work kept evolving even more.
During this time he branched out more, too, doing artwork for DC Comics, most notably his brief run on Batman/Superman, where he designed a new Supergirl, as well as do covers for the mini-series Identity Crisis and Flash. His studio also briefly took over Superman as well.
Later on he would do covers for Marvel comics, and was set to become the artist on Wolverine Origins and later was slated to do the art on Ultimate Wolverine, but unfortunately, he would not do those works with the iconic Marvel character.
Michael Turner died June 27, 2008 at the Santa Monica Hospital in California, of complications from bone cancer. He was only 37 years old.
In the days that followed when I found out about his passing, I spent hours going through old artwork and tributes sites online. I kept looking over and over at old issues and old interviews from the Wizard magazines. It's almost as if my hands wanted to just somehow absorb his artwork. He was definitely an artist I would've given anything to meet.
Actually, a few years later I met the person that would eventually become my girlfriend through a mutual friend. After we officially got into a relationship I told her about Michael Turner and showed her various of his images. She's mostly a casual fan of comics, she is much more into manga and anime. But unbeknownst to me, she had made it her mission to get me the comics I had been missing from him. So on birthdays, Christmases and sometimes just because she would coincidentally run into something, I ended owing various trades of Witchblade, Fathom, and Soulfire. At the first New York Comic Con I went with her, we found the tribute book that Aspen released. I was able to get it and get various signatures from a lot of the participating artists. It is one of my most prized possessions. And I will always be grateful to her. The only thing that surpasses that gratefulness is my love for her.
His art inspired me like with so many people out there. As well as the other artists I gave tribute to this past month. If only there is one thing I want you all to take from this is, it's to realize that life is such a fragile, fickle thing. But also one of great opportunity and wonder. If there is an artist you admire, past or present, I invite you to share that inspiration with others in any way you can, and most of all, to enjoy and appreciate it while you can. And even better, if you can create your own worlds, do it. Do not let anything stop you or put you down. Only you can tell your own story and the world just might be a more creative place if you do. Thank you all for reading, this will be the last installment of these tributes (unless you ask for more for a particular artist or writer), it's been a great ride looking back at these wonderful legacies, and I hope you enjoyed it as well. See you all next week, until then, thank you.
As I mentioned last week, it's a tragedy when an artist dies and especially so young. Nick Manabat was discovered by Whilce Portacio in the Philippines after he won the First Super Hero Art Competition. He was 20 years old and he was offered work within Wildstorm's Studios very own Homage Studios. Originally he was going to do Wetworks along with Portacio, but after Jim Lee took over the title into the Wildstorm stable, Manabat was given his own title, Cybernary.
Cybernary appeared as the flipside to Jim Lee's Deathblow. And it was awesome. Dark, moody, full of shadows and a grim story, Manabat's art commanded respect. Even more impressive was that this was his first comic book title, and to me, he hit the ball waaaay out of the park with this one, ran after the ball, caught up with it and caught the ball, threw it back in direction to the park, ran again towards the park only to hit the ball out again. Yeah, I liked his art. A lot. In a time Image was all about the, well, image, Deathblow/Cybernary REALLY stood out from the pack with Lee's attempt at b&w Frank Miller style art, and Manabat that oozed fantasy/Heavy Metal out of his pages.
But unfortunately, Cybernary would only last four issues. Nick was diagnosed with Hodgskin Disease. He would move from his home in Australia to the UCLA Hospital, where he spent a year having treatments, operations, and a bone marrow transplant. He passed away on November 5, 1995. He was cremated and his remains went to Australia.
Nick Manabat was just 23 when he passed away. He would sketch in those days he was hospitalized. The news of his death absolutely shocked me. He was well on his way to stardom and had such an established style. It's truly a shame he left at such a young age. So much potential especially as I mentioned earlier, Cybernary was his first full comic book work, I can't even begin to imagine how he would've evolved had he had a long life, a long career.
As always, thank you for reading and next week my small tributes continue with the GREAT Mike Wieringo.
Well my friends... I think my pull list is about to get a big hit in terms of how many print books I get on a monthly basis. Here's the thing, last Christmas my wife gave me a NOOK from Barnes & Nobles as a present and, even though I loved it, I was kinda ignoring it because I felt that if I read too many digital comics I'd be turning my back on this medium that I love so much. As it turns out, prices on comics keep going up, page count keeps going down, plot lines are being dragged on way too long in order to sell trades and my bank account keeps suffering because of it I feel I have to support the comic book industry. So, last night I got my NOOK, charged it and I said to myself: "the heck with it"! Today i took my NOOK out at lunchtime, downloaded Thor: The Mighty Avenger Vol. 1, read it, took it all in and... I LOVED IT!!! The colors were as vibrant as they were intended to be, the pages moved just like a comic would, the prices are far less than the print versions and more importantly; I can carry 100+ books anywhere and everywhere I go without a problem. I absolutely love my NOOK. So, from this day on I solemnly swear that I'll cut my "pull list" at least in half and I'll be reading the trade version on my NOOK. Thanks Barnes & Nobles and thank you NOOK! (This read like a paid advertisement for NOOk and/or Barnes & Nobles but I swear it wasn't!) LOL!
If you recall, last week I wrote a blog entry here on the website regarding the importance of strong female characters in comic books (http://www.truthfulcomics.com/1/post/2013/07/the-importance-of-strong-female-lead-characters-in-comics.html), the importance of good role models in movies and comics for young ladies and I wanted to hear feedback from as many people as possible. So far I've received good feedback on that last blog, I've seen many people sharing the link on Facebook and I've also seen a very positive reaction to the blog entry which means I might be unto something.
One of the many who gave me feedback on the blog was our
good friend Mr. Tom Harris, host of the Radio Free Asgard Podcast. He actually dedicated the first half of his latest episode to our blog and gave us his honest opinions on the matter and I couldn't be more happy about it. Here's the link to the latest Radio Free Asgard Podcast episode: http://www.comicspodcasts.com/2013/07/18/radio-free-asgard-112/
Tom had some good points regarding my article and he mentioned that at least two of the characters I mentioned as good role models (Power Girl and Witchblade) are very much in the "T&A" style of making comics. While that is a valid point, Sara Pezzini (Witchblade) was a police officer and is now a detective and a single mother; which makes her a compelling character and in my opinion, a good role model. Kara (Power Girl) has a running joke about her ginormous boobs, but besides that, she's a self-made multi-millionaire business owner/entrepreneur, she's a single woman and she's powerful, beautiful and fun; all great qualities to find in any woman. The big boobs is something that's made to attract male readers, but many women have big breasts too, so as long as the characters are well written, big boobs shouldn't come into the equation. Regardless, I'd like to thank Mr. Tom Harris for dedicating half the episode to my blog and hopefully in the future we can do another episode of Radio Free Asgard and talk about my favorite character: The Mighty Thor! FOR ASGARD!!!!!!!!!
For those who interact with me on the internet (Facebook, Twitter, etc.) is common knowledge that I'm the president of a non-profit organization called Comics For Christmas and that we had scheduled an event for this weekend. It was called The Comics For Christmas Free Comic Book Giveaway at The Book and Movie Exchange and we were going to give away at least 2,000 comics and candy to every kid that stopped by the store. But, what ended up happening was far from what we've expected and to be honest, it was quite upsetting to say the least.
The thing is, we do this because we care about kids, we want to encourage kids to read and we put a lot of effort behind this events, we invest our money and time trying to make this events as successful as humanly possible, but we need the support of the people involved with the events as well. We make the flyers, print them and provide the store owners with enough flyers to pass along to their customers and of course, we expect them to pass them along.
But how upsetting it is to stop by on the day of the event, have the store owner pull you aside and tell you: "I went on the website on the flyer and found photos that made me not pass the flyers". The photo in question was the one I posted to the right ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------>
Pretty much every comic book fan knows that the character being portrayed by the model is none other than Sara Pezzini (aka Witchblade) and that Cosplay is in no way, shape or form pornography. I mean, if we want to get technical, there's far more offensive material in a DVD/Blue Ray store than on any Witchblade comic book, but regardless, because of our last Truthful Comics Spotlight the store owner didn't promote our Comics For Christmas event; AT ALL!!! As you might imagine I'm beyond upset and because of this we won't be visiting The Book and Movie Exchange tomorrow or ever again because we feel that it was totally unncesary and rude to have us pay for flyers and then basically throw them in the trash because you didn't bother to either contact me or do your research into who the character is or what the model is doing. This could've easily been avoided by giving us a call, e-mailing us or even massaged us through Facebook but to wait until we arrive at your store, after we've been promoting your store non-stop everywhere we go and we're ready for the event, and then you basically tell me that you don't know how many people will come because you didn't like a picture on my website and it made you not pass the flyers to the parents; that's unforgivable.
Regardless, kids did showed up and we handed out a few hundred books, candy, we had some great interactions with the parents and the kids who attended and we even left a few dozen comic books in case some kids show up tomorrow. I have to admit that I'm so disappointed with this whole situation that if it wasn't for the kids, I'd stop doing it but we have a mission and making kids happy is more important than wasting a few bucks and a few hours because of some people who lack vision.
I hope that we can find other establishments who are willing to open their doors to us and believe in our cause which I believe is so important. Kids need to learn to read, they need to love reading and what better way to instill that love of reading than to provide them with books filled with stories about their favorite characters. They'll follow their favorite superheroes on numerous adventures and hopefully they'll graduate into novels and so on. I want to help light that spark of imagination in their young minds and I'll use comic books to do the trick.
As we promised, we're going to be doing a series of Cosplayer Spotlights and were going to give a fun interview to those Cosplayers whom we are fans of. This week we're spotlighting the lovely Jacqueline Gohner!
Truthful Comics- So Jacqueline, let's start by asking you how long have you been Cosplaying?
Jacqueline Gohner- I've been cosplaying from 2006-2008 and then 2012-present.
TC- Cosplay or Crossplay? Or both?
JG- I cosplay, but I would like to crossplay one day. Which character? Hehehehehe! You'll have to wait and see!
TC- Why do you Cosplay?
JG- I think it's a fun way to express my love for the character and series. I've always been a HUGE Zelda nerd and Witchblade fan, so whenever I'm done playing a game or finished reading a comic, I get so inspired that I have to make something with my hands and since I suck at drawing, making a costume is what I do.
TC- Is Cosplay a hobby you consider yourself doing for a long time?
JG- I'd like to think I've done it for a long time already, but I hope to continue doing it for a few more years.
TC- Homemade Cosplay or bought/commisioned Cosplay?
JG- Homemade ALL the way! All of my costumes are made 100% by me from scratch.
TC- Do you have a current Cosplay fav?
JG- My Witchblade is currently my favorite mostly because it was the funnest to make, but overall I would say my Twilight Princess Zelda costume is my favorite.
TC- What is your most expensive Cosplay?
JG- My most expensive cosplay would definitely be Twilight Princess Zelda.
TC- What Cosplay has gotten more attention from your fans?
JG- Haha! Probably Sara Pezzini (Witchblade).
TC- What is a cosplay pet peeve of yours?
JG- Hmmm... I don't like rude people. Cosplay is all about fun and good times. Rude people sort of ruin that sometimes.
TC- What was your first convention? What was the reaction?
JG- My first convention was Ani-Magic 2005, but I can't remember if I cosplayed then. But I do remember everyone was SO sweet and friendly, I just had to come back and do it again.
TC- Photoshopped or un-Photoshopped images?
JG- Whichever one, most of the photos I get back have a little bit of work done to them by the photographer, but as long as the image looks fine, I couldn't care less if it was shooped or not.
TC- How do you pay for your Cosplays?
JG- Blood, sweat, and tears! Haha, no jk! With money!!!
TC- When do you do Cosplays? At conventions only?
JG- I cosplay mostly at conventions, but once in a great while I'll schedule a shoot outside of a con.
TC- What got you into Cosplaying?
JG- I really don't remember actually. I remember thinking to myself, "Why am I NOT doing this???" lol
TC- Well, thank you for your time and continued success in all your endeavors. We definitely look forward to your next Cosplays and who knows, maybe you'll be Cosplaying as one of Truthful Comics' characters in the near future!
Why does Image matter?
By: Brian Harris
When I ask why does image matter? There are many ways to take it. But I am probably thinking of none of the ways you're thinking about. Being a high school English teacher I am always dealing with image, either the image I am portraying to my students, the image the students are portraying to one another, the image my class has when they are out and even as far and more importantly the image the author is portraying to us through their words with the literature we are reading.
But again, none of these are the image I am speaking of...and I am more than an English Teacher. I am also an avid reader of comics and at one time owned my own Comic Store. The Image I am writing about is the publisher that may register only with the true comic fan. Although, if I bring up The Walking Dead many in the general population have heard about it, seen the show or anything associated with the show. They do not know who the publisher is. When talking to the non comic fan they know of Marvel and DC and the bigger than life heroes, Batman, Superman, Spider-Man, The Avengers and X-Men that are associated with those labels. But the general population do not know which character belongs to which publisher.
It's important to know what Image is to understand why they are important. So what is Image? According to their website, "Image is a comics and graphic novels publisher formed in 1992 by seven of Marvel Comics' best-selling artists. Since that time, Image has gone on to become the third largest comics publisher in the United States." While owning my comic store I had a chance to meet and befriend one of the aforementioned artists that left Marvel to make Image. These artists were making characters and money for Marvel and felt like they had no control. Characters they fully created were being controlled by Marvel. I was told of the story of Jim Lee creating Gambit and then losing all rights to him because Lee created Gambit under the Marvel umbrella and through the title of Uncanny X-Men.
These artists left Marvel because they wanted control of what they created. They wanted Creator Owned comics. What does "creator-owned" mean? "Creator-owned" means exactly that—the trademark and copyright of the work in question is wholly owned by its original creator. The majority of the comics and graphic novels published by Image are creator-owned. While Image as a company does have some say in the promotion and distribution of the titles it publishes, it is done with non-creative interference to protect the company and maintain responsibility for their public image.
Image allows the creator to create and control. They allow creators a way to get out there to the public and in the general comic store. without Image, many of comics current best story lines would not see the light if day. We would not have The Walking Dead and the cultural phenomenal that has bred with it. It is important that creators have options out there that allow them to keep the rights to all they create and be paid for it. I know in my own writing I'd want my characters to do what I want through what I create and not be taken away from me which could be done with the other publishers.
Don't get me wrong...I read more then Image. I read good, well written comics. Doesn't matter the publisher. I also know it's still the dream of any writer or artist to work on tales of their favorite superhero. I would love to have a crack at writing stories for Detective Comics and Batman, but I also want a place to go with my own creations are allowed to be and create through my own mind; DC and Marvel are not that option...and this is why Image Comics is important.
This is my first appearance here and I hope to contribute more on not only Image but all things comics. You can also follow me and all my thoughts at https://brianharrissays.wordpress.com/
Today was one of those days when I just wanted to take my family out for a long drive without a specific destination and just wing it. Fill up the gas tank, lower the door windows, open the sun roof, turn the volume and just enjoy the ride; so that's what we did! We drove for a while and my wife spotted a dance studio (she's a professional dancer) and asked me if we could stop real quick, to which I replied: "Sure". Of course, I immediately spotted a book store right next to the dance studio and I told her I wanted to check it out afterwards. The books store was independently owned and it looked inviting.
There were tow male clerks who immediately acknowledge me and my family and were very courteous, something that employees from every field are missing more and more these days! I looked around for a few minutes and they asked me if I needed help, but before I could ask them, I noticed that one of the clerks had a pile of at least 50 comics in front of him! All I could say was "Yes you do!" He looked at me funny and I said "Comics, do you guys carry comic books?" And he said "Yes we do!" He showed me three aisles full of comics ranging from Batman to Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles to The Mighty Thor to Wildcats! It was a beautiful thing!!!
As soon as I turned that corner where the clerk told me to, I was suddenly in front of what can only be described as a comic book hidden treasure! Even more so when it's located in Virginia Beach, so to me it felt like I was a pirate, and I discovered an abandoned treasure chest full of comic book gold! I'm talking about hundreds, if not thousands of comic books, and at great prices too! It's too bad that I had just went to my local comic shop and spent a pretty penny there, because I only had so much extra cash to spare. But rest assure, I'll be stopping by this book store on a more regular basis and I'll be getting a bunch of those comics they had in their store.
So, next time you're in Virginia Beach and get the mood to buy some comic books, visit AFK Books, Music and Movies.
They're located at:
4801 Shore Drive, Suite D
Virginia Beach, VA 23455
This is the Blog about all things Truthful Comics. Looking forward to reading your posts!