Garbage Man Returns…..to me.

After years of laying in moth balls at DC, the rights to the character I originally created to replace a Vertigo locked Swamp Thing, were returned to me.  I am speaking, of course, about Garbage Man.  When DC proper was finally able to pry Swamp Thing back from Vertigo ( this unfortunately occurred about half-way through my Garbage Man saga) Garbage Man became instantly irrelevant.  A few years later, the rights to my creation have reverted back to me.

When I originally conceptualized Garbage Man he was intended to harken back to Berni Wrightson’s original visual approach for Swamp Thing.  More of a super hero monster than the esoteric vegetable god that Alan Moore turned him into.  There are similarities between my character and Len Wein and Wrightson’s creation but there are also a lot of differences both visually and character-wise.  And now vast differences from the current Swamp Thing incarnation.

Gmanpromocolor

So now what?  Do I move forward with Garbage Man creating new material?  Do I reprint the original 120 page story that very few people got a chance to read?  Both?  Do I push aside Kit Carter and Wraith of God (two creator owned projects I have been developing and working on) in order to publish a project that at least has some existing fans and a little bit of name recognition?  If I do, is crowd funding the way to go?

So many deep questions, all of which I plan on answering in short order.  I have been getting a much stronger reaction to my social media postings about Garbage Man than I could have anticipated, which gives me hope that there might be an audience out there for this.

Garbage Man originally appeared in the DC anthology mini-series, Weird Worlds.

WWmedley

The second part of the saga appeared a few months later in another 6-issue anthology mini-series called, My Greatest Adventure.

My_Greatest_Adventure_Vol_2_1 9.49.57 PM

This series included about 8 pages of Batman appearances that would have to be removed if I were to reprint this original story.  Batman does play an important, albeit minor, role in the story.  But he could be easily replaced with some more of my own characters and it would be seamless fix.

My idea would be to collect the entire 120 page DC story with the 8 pages of changes (that would be new art and adjusted dialogue) plus and extra all-new Garbage Man story chapter.  The story, “Night of the Living Jed” was originally going to be used as part of the Weird World mini-series but I changed it at the last minute to something else.  So we would be looking at a 140 page trade paperback or hardcover.  A great way to relaunch Garbage Man?  Maybe.

MGA-GMAN4.12.600

I believe that my original Garbage Man story contains some of the best, if not THE best, artwork of my career.  For that reason alone I would like to see it reprinted.   Maybe over-sized in Black and White?

All options are being explored and I am hoping to have a decision and a definite plan soon.    Feel free to let me know if this is something you would be interested in.

More updates coming.  Thanks for stopping by!

 

 

DAMAGE #16 The Final Cover

Damage, my current project for DC Comics, has been quite an interesting ride.  I originally came aboard to do the Damage vs. Superman and the Justice League story arc which would have seen the end of the series with issue #12.  I had barely started working on the book when I was told the series had been extended to 18 issues so we (me, editor Jamie Rich and writer Robert Venditti) needed to flesh out more stories to continue the series.  Then we were told that the series would go 24 issues, so even more content and vision was needed.  As I started working on the issue right after the Superman story, I got word the book would be canceled after 16 issues.  That’s comics my friends.

It has been loads of fun, though.  Something I didn’t really expect.  We are working “Marvel Style” on this book which means artist and writer come up with a story idea, the writer writes a plot with some specific scenes and a lot of general action and the artist (that’s me) gets a ton of freedom to interpret and draw the story.

So the time has come and gone where I was asked to draw the last cover to the series. (insert sad face emoji here).  But the time is now for me to share the process with you!

It is a little more difficult to come up with a series ender than just a regular cover.  I came up with several ideas, including one inspired a bit by John Romita’s classic cover to Amazing Spider-Man #50.

Damage#16CvrSketchesA&B

Damage#16CvrSketchesC&D

Although I think “D” is the stronger layout and more impactful design, “A” was chosen.

So I started working on the pencil which proved to be more challenging than it probably should have been.  I wanted the image of Damage over-poweringly big but soon realized to have him as big as I wanted his arms would bleed off the cover.  So I drew an image that I liked the look of and then enlarged on the computer (after scanning, of course) so it fit correctly within the cover art board dimensions. Here are the stages I went through to get it right.

The issue was the width of his shoulders and the angle that his arms came down at.  I wanted the shoulders to stretch across the page but then his arms would naturally angle off the page.  I realized this in the original blue line below. You can see how is arms are unnaturally squished in to try and get them within the live art border.   So I then drew a smaller version that had is pose more natural and then enlarged that one to fit as big as I could without losing the arms.

Damage#16cvrroughbigDamage#16cvrroughsmall

I then added in the kneeling/slumping Ethan and inked it.  I don’t have a finished pencil because the layout was so cut and dry there was no reason to send one in to DC.

As per usual, I inked this mostly with a brush.  (No.2 Raphael Kolinsky Red Sable)  Some of the details are with a pen and the background burst lines were drawn with a pen and ruler.

Damage#16CvrFinal

Also, as per usual, I didn’t color this cover.  I may get back to this in the future but I am such a slow colorist that it is hard for me to keep up on a regular monthly book.  Brian at HiFi Color is doing such a good job that I am comfortable having him do these.

Damage_16_CVR_CMYK

And that is the swan song for Damage.  This is a pretty cool character that has grown on me, so I hope we get to see him again sometime down the line.  Well, until the next time I do something interesting….see ya!

Damage #14 King Kong Cover!

It is time for another cover process blog.  I hope you all are reading Damage from DC Comics because that is all you’re going to be getting for awhile.  This latest cover is a little more interesting than usual because I had to make a pretty significant change to the cover after it was done.

Let’s take a look and see just what happened.

It was a day like any other.  My editor shot me an email and said it was cover time.  I had to do something with a giant monster theme, which is right up my alley.  I turned out a few cover roughs…

Damage14CvrC Damage14CvrSketches

As you can see, cover sketch “C” is an obvious riff on Fantastic Four #1.  Maybe not the most original idea but I couldn’t resist.  Those of you who read my run on JLI will recognize the little rock trolls from a story arc from that New 52 series some 7 years ago (yikes).

I really thought “A” would be picked but apparently Dan Didio likes King Kong so “B” was chosen.

I went ahead and did the penciling for the cover.  I pulled out some gorilla reference to make sure I got the face accurate (or at least as accurate as I wanted it to be).  So far so good.

Damage#14coverpencil

I liked it, my editor liked it, everyone seemed happy.  So I took the next step and inked it. This time almost entirely with a no.2 Kolinsky Rafael Red Sable Brush.

Damage#14Cover

This quickly became my favorite cover of the series thus far.  But then….

My editor noticed something that admittedly I had noticed as well but shrugged off.  The pose I had Damage in was eerily similar to the previous months cover.  Let’s take a side by side look and see.

Damage#14CoverDamage#13Cover

Oohhhhhh boy.  This almost looks like I took the Damage from cover #13 and pasted it on the cover to #14.  Obviously, this had to be changed.  I had the choice of completely drawing a new cover (which I almost did) or doing what any sane commercial artist would do…create a patch.  I opted for the lesser of two evils and created a patch.

CoverPatch1

I got approval and then inked it.

Damage#14CvrPatch

Then using the miracle of Photoshop, I pasted this new Damage over the top of the old Damage in the cover file.  It obviously didn’t fit exactly right so I had to to go in and add some lines and blacks to the Gorilla that got erased when I removed the original Damage figure.  It came out looking like this.

Damage#14CvrRevisedFinal

If I hadn’t just told on myself in this blog, no one would be the wiser.  The real painful thing for me now is that the original art is in two pieces.  It can’t ever be properly displayed the way it came out in the printed version.  I’m such a type “A” personality that that kind of thing drives me nuts.  I’m almost tempted to go old school and cut out the patch Damage and glue it onto the original and make the corrections around it on the actual art but I am resisting the urge for right now.

Anyway, finally everyone was happy and I sent it off to Brian Miller to be colored.

Damage_14_CVR_Revised_CMYK

Everyone really liked it except for the blur lines on Damage’s fists.  We had Brian remove those and then finally, absolutely, everyone was happy.

Damage-14-CVR-Revised-CMYK

So ends another tale of the creation of a comic book cover.  This one had a few more twists and turns then usual but that’s why you tune in, right?

As always thanks for stopping by and we’ll talk soon!

 

 

Damage #13 Cover Process

I’m finally done traveling this year, so time to get caught up on blogging.

Let’s take a look at how I created the art for the cover to Damage #13.

This was an interesting journey.  I knew Batman would be guest starring in this issue, so I came up with a few ideas that I thought fit into the story line we had talked about.

Damage#13CVRS Damage13CvrsketchC

The story revolves around Batman sort of manipulating Damage so I thought I would try and get a little esoteric.  Fail.  Dan Didio sent the art below telling me to do something like this.

SwampThingSplash

Anybody that know me knows what a Berni Wrightson honk I am, so I said, “sure, I’ll copy Wrightson.”  Of course, I didn’t want to directly rip-off Wrightson but instead use this image as inspiration.  So I came up with this:

Damage13CoverSketch

Rumor has it Dan jumped for joy when he saw this sketch.  So off to the pencils I went.

Damage#13coverpencil

I was pretty pleased how this came out.  I was able to refine the drawing without losing the energy from the sketch.  No one disagreed, so I started inking.

As always I used a #2 Rafael Kolinisky Red Sable brush with some pen work on the car stuff.  In this stage I added the power lines coming out from the impact.

I later found out that I drew a Bat Chest Logo that was no longer being used so I had to patch a new one in.  You’ll notice the corrected Bat Logo on the colored version.

Damage#13Cover

Everybody loved it so I shipped it off to be colored.  This time Mr. Brian Miller from Hi-Fi got the assignment and did a really nice job.  I really enjoy some of the bold color choices here.

Damage13Cover_450_CMYK

All right!  Feels good to get another one of these up on the site.  As always, thanks for taking the time to check out my blog.

See you soon!

 

The Cover to Damage #12 featuring Superman

Seems like forever since I posted a blog.  I think it’s called post San Diego Comic Con Syndrome.  I was never formally diagnosed but it seems legit.   Well, anyway I have recovered and I have a cover to post about.   This one is particularly exciting because it involves Superman and one of my all-time favorite Neal Adams characters, Deadman!

I have recently taken the artistic reigns on DC Comics’ newest big “Hulkish” monster series, Damage.  My interiors started with issue #9 but my cover work (except for the annual) doesn’t begin until issue #12.  Fortunately, #12 was just solicited today so I can post a process blog about it.

This cover was fairly easy to conceptualize.  Since Damage is fighting Superman in the issue, I wanted Superman on the cover (duh).  The only question was whether or not we should show Deadman on the cover.  He is the surprise (not anymore) guest star of the issue but we felt we would get more mileage out of teasing him on the cover than not mentioning his appearance at all.  It is always fun to have a big surprise inside the comic but selling comics is also the goal, so…

I only had to do one cover sketch for this issue because we were in complete agreement before I ever began as to what it would be.

Damage12CvrSketch

I even dropped in a little faux logo so everyone could see how the image would fit.  Originally I had Damage too small in comparison to Superman so I simply enlarged him after scanning this and then pasting a larger version of him on the sketch.

In a strange twist to this story, I actually remembered to scan the pencil art before I inked it.  This is what it looked like.

Damage#12cvrpanelA

I didn’t include a lot of detailing on Damage or the background because I knew I was inking it and a lot of what’s missing here is just texturing I knew I could put in with my pen and brush.

It came out looking a lot like this.

Damage12Cover

Because I am such a slow colorist and this is a regular monthly book, I turned the coloring duties over to one of my favorite colorists, Brad Anderson.  He’s much faster and probably just a little bit better. He did some groovy stuff with the smoke that I would never have thought to do.

Damage_12_CVR_fnl

And that is that.  A cool cover with a lot of cool characters on it.  I just finished my next cover for Damage and it turned out really well.  I can’t wait to share it with you……in 30 days!

See you next time!

 

Damage Annual Cover…the process

So I had an exciting year that started off with the Marvin Martian/Martian Manhunter One-shot.  That was followed by a six-issue Wonder Woman/Conan mini-series and then ended with a three-issue Herculoid’s story.  Granted they are not best-selling properties but I wanted to do all three and I probably had the most fun year of drawing comics ever.

So what’s next?  Another low to moderately selling comic that looks like a lot of fun to draw, of course.  I am taking the over the reigns of DC’s newest monster/super-hero book, Damage.  Originally I was offered the Annual (out this month in August) as a filler but they liked how I handled the character and I was tapped to take over the regular series.

But the first thing I did was draw the cover for the annual, so let’s take a look at how I did that.

I started off with way too many cover concept sketches but I had no idea what was really going on in the issue so I threw out a lot of ideas.

DamageCvrSketchesA&B

DamageCvrSketchesC&D

DamageCvrSketchE

It’s unusual that one of my later ideas gets picked because the first couple you think of are usually the best.  Not in this case, however.  D and E were my two favorite cover ideas and D was selected.

I did a fairly tight pencil rough to get approval on because I made some slight alterations and size changes from the sketch.

DamageControlCvrLayout

Once this was approved I added some details and then inked it.  I don’t have a more detailed scan of the pencils than this.  You’d think I would’ve learned by now to always scan my finished pencils but apparently not.

Anyway, here are the inks.  This was mostly done with a brush.  There is some pen work in there on some of the smaller stuff.

DamageAnnualCvr#1

I would love to take credit for coloring this, but I turned over the cover in this instance to the always great Brad Anderson.  He did another terrific job and the results are down below.

image001

I would never have thought to do the glowing embers in the background which works so nicely here.

Well, that’s it for now.  Let me remind you, if you are not reading my new Kit Carter strip go to the blog entry entitled:  Kit Carter…Finally! No, Really! for details!

See you next time and thanks for looking!

Commissions for SDCC 2018

I am officially taking show commission request and pre-show commission requests for Comic Con International in San Diego.  The show runs from July 18-22 and I will be in booth 4706.

Here’s the deal.  I am taking 3 pre-show 11X17 single character color commissions to be picked up and paid for at the show.  These will be $350 a piece and below are a few examples of what you can expect.

AndromedasmallSupergirlPhoto2017ShrinkingViolet

I will also be taking 5 11X14 single character color commissions to be done at the show.    These will be $300 a piece.  These will be marker and colored pencil.   Here are some of examples of what you can expect.

littlemermaid2015BlackCanaryBaroness

 

The color commissions will be a priority but I will take on as many 11X14 gray marker single character commission requests as I can squeeze in.  These will be $200 and you can expect something like this:

IMG_0887IMG_0890

 

To get on the list for any of these contact me at aaron@aaronlopresti.com.  The large color pieces will require a deposit of $100 and the balance to be paid upon pick up at San Diego.  All other pieces will be put on a list to be completed at the show with no down payment required.

This will all be first come first basis.  I did this last year and it worked out okay.  So I’m trying it again.   You can email me at aaron@aaronlopresti.com to get on the list.

Kit Carter…Finally! No really!

Awhile back (even maybe longer than that) I posted on this very blog that I was finally working on a Kit Carter Story.   I even showed a rough penciled page.  At that time I was about halfway through the script to what would have been the first Kit Carter comic.  But the farther I progressed in writing the more I disliked it.  I started over.  Same result.  I tried to combine Kit Carter with the next Power Cubed story arc.  Failure.

Why was I having trouble figuring out Kit Carter? I finally realized my mistake; I was trying to make a comic series out of a 1950’s Newspaper strip (or movie serial) parody.   It’s like trying to turn a Saturday Night Live skit into a movie and we all know how those turn out.

I reasoned I should turn it into what it was originally based on, a series of newspaper strips!  Okay, so those don’t really exist anymore but the format can still work.  Once I settled on this approach, the scripts just started streaming out of me.  As Terry Dodson joked, “It practically writes itself.”

So to launch this long awaited project, I created (at least I think I did) something I call a Story Print.  This is a limited edition (250), signed and numbered, high quality 11X17 print of the very first Kit Carter Episode.  I call it…Episode 1!  You can hang it on your wall like a great piece of art or just read it or both!

By purchasing the Episode 1 Print you get FREE access to the first 5 color episodes of the strip which will be posted online.  You will receive a link to the page and a pass code that will allow you exclusive access.  My plan is to post a new episode at least once a month.  Episode 2 is already up and available and I plan on posting Episode 3 in August.  The eventual goal is to get enough steam behind the project to do a book of new material plus the online strips.

But the only way you can get and read Episode 1 is to order this print.  Now these will be available at SDCC, Rose City Comic Con and NYCC (or until I run out) but I am also offering them for sale ahead of these con appearances for $15 and I will cover the shipping. (sweet deal!)

I have had a lot of people over the years asking when this character was going to be in some sort of series. Well, the time is at hand.  I have the Story Prints back from the printer and ready to ship but they are going fast.

I can only show you a detail of the opening panel here because I don’t want the entire thing all over the internet.  If you can read it there, why buy it here?

KitCarterPromoEpisode#1

However, I am posting a low res of the entire strip here so you can see the whole image and get a feel for the overall piece without giving everything away.

KitCarterEpisode1small

If you want to see more Kit Carter and keep the series moving forward, order one of these Story Prints.  You can do so by contacting me at aaron@aaronlopresti.com.  $15 post paid will put one in your hands.

Thanks for coming by!

Rosie the Riveter Print…The Process

At heart, I am very nostalgic and fairly patriotic.  Those sentiments don’t often get shared in my work but on occasion, I will take the time to develop a piece that touches on them.   I am much too young ( I don’t get to say that very often) to have experienced WWII except in history books, dramatic films and documentaries but like most people I tend to romanticize the period.

However, if I am going to create a piece of artwork with that theme, I still have to think about my audience and what would most likely appeal to the most people in this post modern era.  I could sit around and draw Uncle Sam all day long but I doubt there is much of an audience for that character these days.  Rosie the Riveter, though, is a character with possibilities.  If done correctly, she could have appeal to both men and women and seem relevant to the current culture.

Here is the first image I came across that exposed me to Rosie.

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This is classic Norman Rockwell Saturday Evening Post cover from 1943.  This particular depiction is a bit to burly for my tastes but it did get me thinking.

Next, I found this image.

Rosie-the-Riveter

Not wild about the art but love the slogan.  After a little bit of thought, I went to my sketchbook and produced a loose combination of both pieces.  I made Rosie thick and strong but nowhere as big and as imposing as Rockwell’s version.  I threw in some form fitting overalls and BANG!  instant magic.

Rosie1sketch

I really liked a lot about this one but I wasn’t sure her expression conveyed enough attitude and I thought maybe her figure was a bit too relaxed.  So I did another pencil sketch with the changes.

ROSIE1

I liked the attitude better in this one as well as the body language but I wasn’t sure it was as appealing as the first one.  I couldn’t decide.  So, like any smart artist would do, I called upon another artist to give me some input.  I sent both pieces to Terry Dodson.  Terry has had a pretty good track record with making smart decisions, while I on the other hand….

Anyway, Terry liked the first version best so I went with that one, trusting his judgement over mine.  I think a wise decision.

I took the piece to a finished pencil with a little adjustment to Rosie’s face.

RosiePencilFinal

I then dipped my brush and inked the piece adding the stars on the flag with a pen.

Rosie

I knew I had to achieve a top notch color job for this piece to work.  I used photoshop and kept it simple for the most part but worked really hard on the shoes and the rivet gun to make them look more realistic.  I colored both elements using a combination of brushes and color gradients.  I found if you put enough layers of color down, eventually it will look like something!

I created the bronze metal effect by using a splatter brush and layering different colors over the top of one another in the same way you would lay down watercolors.  I then brushed in some highlights and I ended up with a fairly decent looking metal effect.

The leather shoes were trial and error as well.  I think if you look closely at the finished product, you can easily deconstruct what I did to get the effect.

RosieColorPrint

You’ll notice I once again went with my standard orange/blue complimentary color scheme.  I went several rounds before finally deciding to color the background design circle like bronze to match the rivet gun.  I soon found out that a solid background color was not going to work nor would a fade.  I wanted sort of an old or aged look to it, so I took a large splatter brush and splotched in the background yellowish tan color.  Finally, I had the look I wanted.

I added the slogan, the copyright info and the signature line and off to the printer it went.

RosiePrint

Although not my best selling print, it is one of my most successful as a piece of art.  It is my personal favorite because I learned a lot about coloring while working on it and I just love the final face and figure.  Even the wrinkles in the clothing turned out good.  Sometimes you get lucky and the image on the paper exceeds what you originally had in your mind.  This does that for me.

If you are interested in ordering this print just scroll back up to the top of the page and click on the store button and then the print icon on the store page.

 

 

 

My Second Herculoids Cover

I just got my comps today for Future Quest Presents #9, the first part of my 3-part Herculoids story.  This made me realize that I was way behind on posting my cover process for the second issue of the story (that would be FQP #10).

So even though I am so ready to go to bed, I am going to rally right here and right now to do this blog.  (applause of appreciation here)

Because there is probably nothing cooler than drawing the Herculoids, I wanted to make sure that I came up with some cool cover designs.  My enthusiasm led me to ink the roughs as well.

Herculoids2coversketchA&B Herculoids2coversketchC

A and C were my favorites, so I was more than happy when DC chose “C”.

Penciling always comes before inking so it made sense to me to go ahead and pencil the cover first.  The first thing I did was blow up my small rough sketch and light table (trace) the sea monster onto the cover board.  I really liked the pose in the rough and didn’t want to redraw it completely and risk losing what I felt was the perfect pose.

FQP#10coverpencil

I didn’t do too tight of a pencil on the rest of it, although I can’t really remember why.  I usually draw everything exactly the way I want it before inking but maybe I was feeling overly confident.  So got about halfway through the inking process….

FQPCoverPatch

…and realized Igoo was too small!  Ugh.  So I scanned the image, resized Igoo, printed it out and then light tabled it again onto a new board.  Satisfied it was finally right, I inked it again.  Mostly with a brush, as usual.  I decided just prior to this to add some land behind the scene but really fleshed it out here in the inks.  If there was ever any doubt about the Wrightson influence in my work, take a close look at the sea monster’s hand and forearm.

FQPCover#10B&W

It was inked, I was happy with it, so I moved on to color it in photoshop.

The background was like so many of my covers, was a process of experimentation.  I wanted an alien and turbulent sky, so I used a dark blue fade from the top into a red/orange at the bottom.  I then went in with a brush tool and added splashes of color in the sky.  I probably used about 35% opacity on the brush so the color would integrate better into the background sky color.  I then took the pencil tool and drew in the hot orange lightning.  I went over that with the airbrush tool to give it a slight glow.  I then used a color hold (or fill) to eliminate the line work of the water splashes and drips.

FQP#10Cover

Another cover completed.  Someday I may actually learn to do it right the first time and eliminate some of the extraneous work I seem to regularly create for myself.  But I will say I am happy with the final product and this is one I will be keeping.

Until I get motivated again to post, see ya!