Sunday, August 20, 2006

Every time we say goodbye...

So that was Helljacket... an old work with many errors and lessons learned on the actual page - here for all to see without shame or regrets. Anyway, back to the present, this blogspot will be under hiatus as I'll be taking on a much needed and deserved vacation. We'll return online sometime during September with new stuff. Until then...

Helljacket 08

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Helljacket 07

Friday, August 18, 2006

Helljacket 06

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Helljacket 05

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Helljacket 04

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Helljacket 03

Monday, August 14, 2006

Helljacket 02

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Helljacket 01


Today and the next following days I'll be posting a complete 8-page comic written by Steve Zeggers and illustrated and lettered by yours truly. It's an oldie I did through Ronin Studios back in 2004 and originally published in Ronin Illustrated # 2 . Naturally I believe my art has evolved since then, but it still is an interesting yarn in the twilight zone vein which I hope you'll enjoy. And anyway, what're you complainin' about? It's free comics, man!

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Lists Part III - tv

Twilight Zone, The Outer Limits, Star Trek, Get Smart, Little House on the Prairie, The Muppet Show, Benny Hill, Fraggle Rock, Highway to Heaven, Future Boy Conan, Il était une fois... l'homme, Il était une fois...l'espace, Cosmos, Fame, Duarte e Companhia, Sherlock Holmes, Les Mystérieuses Cités d'Or, Dempsey & Makepeace, Moonlighting, Alf, The Storyteller, The Stand, The Simpsons, Batman: the Animated series, Futurama, Seinfeld, Curb your Enthusiasm, Lost
... and a vast ammount of just plain rubbish ...
... tv fried my brain ...

Friday, August 11, 2006

Carl Barks


In the early years between the time I could only grasp the meaning of books through pictures and the period where I was finally able to read properly, Disney comics ruled my world. Superheroes were too frightening and european bande-dessinées like Tintin or Astérix were sold only on bookstores and too expensive for small kids, or at least this small kid's parents. Disney comics were cheap and accessible, available at any newsagent, therefore dominating most of my reading diet during those days.

There were tons of comics back then.You went to any newsagent and they could have a whole wall devoted to comics... and most of those were brazilian editions featuring Disney characters - Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck, Goofy... and Uncle Scrooge.

I wasn't a comic book geek yet, even if well on the way to become one, so the only thing that really mattered to me were the stories. IMO, the geeker you get with these things, be it comics, films or whatever, you start shifting from the interest in the content, the actual stories, to the characters, to the formal aspects, to the authors and ultimately to the medium itself - its mechanics, its business and its semiotics. Back then, I was plain and simply interested in having fun, so the story came first. And story, in comics at least, means words and pictures - and the best words and pictures, in Disney comics, almost invariably came on Donald Duck and Uncle Scrooge stories, although there were these pretty good Mickey Mouse comics too... but that's for another story. Slowly, I started to recognize a pattern, a way in which these particular stories I found so appealing were superior to all others - it was the way Uncle Scrooge, Donald and his nephews were drawn, as if they were alive; and the world in which they lived, as if Duckburg really existed somewhere; and the adventures they had, with references to stuff I might hear about on t.v. ... Whenever I was allowed to get a new comic, I'd first look inside and check which one brought stories by the "good" duck artist - that'd be the one I get.

Then, onde day, Editora Abril, the publisher responsible for those editions, released a thick, 200 page edition dedicated to Carl Barks. Who was this guy? What did he have to do with Uncle Scrooge? Weren't all these stories signed by Walt Disney? Soon I found out and was finally able to name the comic book artist whose artstyle I first learned to recognize : Carl Barks, the "Good" Duck Artist.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Prince Valiant



When I was a kid I would spend long afternoons at my grandparents house, especially during the summer holidays. Their next door neighbours had two sons, one slighlty older than me, already a teenager, and another around my age. Naturally, we would spend time together playing with action figures and those old zx spectrum 48k computer games, watching vhs movies and reading comics, doing the stuff kids do on long summer afternoons... or, at least, used to do.

The older kid was a sort of science whiz with a huge collection of science-fiction pocket book novels that introduced me to writers like Robert Heinlein, Isaac Asimov, Arthur C. Clarke and Philip K.Dick. He also had some old comics, including four or five giant-sized books collecting the early years of Hal Foster's Prince Valiant. Now, this was probably the most famous comic book character of my father's generation, which meant I was at least familiar with his name, but I had never actually seen any pages so I was extremely curious as to what the brouhaha surrounding it was all about. Once I laid my eyes on those books I immediately understood where all the fame of Prince Valiant came from - it was the most beautiful comic I had ever seen! Pardon me, it IS the most beautiful comic I have ever seen!

Even Alex Raymond's Flash Gordon with all its romance and vigourous drawing cannot top Hal Foster's Prince Valiant in terms of care and attention to detail, composition and just plain naturalism.

And the story... has there ever been an epic such as this in adventure comics? The cast, the settings, the grand adventure and the small quiet moments... unparalleled!

I was so enamored of this old comic that I begged the older kid to borrow them so I could read it properly and maybe swipe some of those fabulous drawings, "who knows, I might learn to draw this good if I copy it" ... but the little jerk wouldn't lent them. He didn't even really care about those particular books, it was all just a brutal display of egotism. And so I was left yearning for Prince Valiant, which, despite its success with previous generations, was completely out-of-print, at least as far as national editions were concerned.

Fast forward twenty years and we finally have a decent black and white national edition of Prince Valiant being printed. It's been promoted as "the best edition ever, anywhere!"... which might be true for all I know, but sounds a bit too hyperbolic. But that doesn't matter a bit because Prince Valiant still is the most beautiful comic I have ever seen.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Ima Chikyu-ga Mezameru


Oh, Summer time... freedom ... wide open blue skies ... the beach ... you know what that reminds me of ... my all-time favourite anime series, Future Boy Conan, by the great Hayao Miyazaki. If you don't know what I'm talking about click on the image of Conan and Lana.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Lists Part II - books

The Bible, Lord of the Rings, The Chronicles of Narnia, The Wizard of Oz, Neverending Story, Five weeks in a Balloon, The Children of Captain Grant, Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea, The Mysterious Island, Journey to the Centre of the Earth, Tom Sawyer, Lord of the Flies, The Time Machine, Isaac Asimov's Robot tales, City at World's End, Riverworld, Ringworld, Rendez-vous with Rama, Contact, Lords of Light, Valis, The Divine Invasion, Deus Irae, The Stand, The Dark Tower, The Magic Mountain, The End of the Affair, Mr. Vertigo, Moon Palace, The Story of Mr.Sommer, The Pearl, Crime and Punishment, The Outline of History, Broca's Brain, The Demon-Haunted World, Billions & Billions, The Human Animal, Profiles of the Future, Infinite in All Directions, Imagined Worlds, The Physics of Immortality, Comics and Sequential Art, Graphic Storytelling, Will Eisner's ShopTalk, Alan Moore's Writing for Comics, Perspective! for Comic Book Artists, Six Memos for the Next Millennium, Six Walks in the Ficitonal Woods
...
call me eclectic

Monday, August 07, 2006

Flash Gordon



Flash! Ah-Haaaaaa! He'll save everyone of us!

In 1980/81, Queen's song seemed to be omni-present and this kid couldn't get enough of it and of that year's hero - Flash Gordon! I had seen the movie, had a Flash Gordon rubber figure, was following the gorgeous comic adaptation which was being serialized weekly here and was stuck on tv for "The New Adventures of Flash Gordon" with those delicious Filmation trademark sound-effects.

But what I really tresured most of all was this big sized book collecting an Alex Raymond story with Flash Gordon's adventures in the Undersea Kingdom of Mongo in black and white - It was breathtaking! Forget the film, the soundtrack, the action figures, the animation or the followers, Raymond's art was beyond all that and beyond my wildest child fantasies. It had the verve of the romantic ideal taken to its ultimate level - the streamlined shapes of a dynamic future that never came to pass mixed with the primitive textures of a past that never was! It was pulpish and yet stylish! It was the best of both worlds in one... and it still is.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Look!! Kids -- COMICS!!!


Another page of my own, this time for the upcoming Kirby Martin Inquest #1, from Nite Lite Theatre, written by Mike Hasseloff, pencilled and inked by me, featuring Mike's creation, The White Ghost. The art is already in the can, Mike's done with his part too and now it's up for the letterer to finish his job. Coming soon!

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Musicians we love to hate

- "What the hell does Sussudio mean?"
- "One of the most awesomly bad songs ever..."

Friday, August 04, 2006

Superman

Legend has it that this was the first comic book I had - a reprint of Action Comics#1, the comic which introduced Superman and began all other superheroes. My mind was scarred forever, my destiny sealed. Even today I have a hard time believing it!

The volume is one of those old treasury sized editions typical of the '70s, more or less double the size of a regular comic book, which means that on my tiny four or five year old hands it must have felt huge, like a heavyweight - the size, the scope and on top of that, the content - an anthology of old comic strips including Superman's debut! Jerry Siegel's imagination and Joe Shuster's art looked amazing to me -- they still do as a matter of fact! There's an honesty, a charm in their work, an almost warts and all approach, that I find quite uncommon nowadays in mainstream american comics, ugly as some of them can be. As Jules Feiffer put it in his The Great Comic Book Heroes, "Shuster represented the best of old-style comic-book drawing. His work was direct, unprettied - crude and vigorous; as easy to read as a diagram. No creamy lines, no glossy illustrative effects, no touch of that bloodless prefabrication that passes for professionalism these days. Slickness, thank God, was beyond his means. He could not draw well, but he drew single-mindedly - no one could ghost that style. It was the man. (...) But, oh, those early drawings! Superman running up the sides of dams, leaping over anything that stood in his way (No one drew skyscrappers like Shuster. Impressionistic shafts. Superman poised over them, his leaping leg tucked under his ass, his landing leg taunty pointed earthward), cleaning and jerking two-ton get-away cars and pounding them into the sides of cliffs - and all this done lightly, unportentiously, still with that early (...) exhuberance."

Now, this Superman who shows up for the first time ever in the first tale of Action Comics #1 is significantly different from the one most people are used to all over the world nowadays. Sure, you have all the basic ingredients there - the clark kent/superman dual identity, the lois lane romantic interest, the alien origin, the superhuman abilities, the mild mannered reporter - but this isn't your friendly neighborhood Superman. He's more like a social-reformist bully, whose motto could very well be "might makes right". His costume is darker and his features rougher; he's concerned with real world threats and injustices like murderers, corrupt politicians, belligerent armies, spousal abusers and exploitive employers, not imaginary problems like alien invaders, giant robots or bald scientists (as he'd soon be); astounding as they appear, his abilities are far more within the grasp of the believable, not yet the physics defying powers he'd come to be known for - he's a superMAN, not the childish SUPERman with his superboys, supercousins, superpets and superfriends.

Time and the marketing machine would tame him down and power him up for a wider, more commercial appeal, ending up with what we have today. Yet, to me, this guy, as he originally appeared, would always remain the real deal. Ironically enough, Chris Ware's superman character in Jimmy Corrigan is far closer to Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster's creation than what passes for him in DC's own regular publications these days! Forget modern comics, forget the new film; you want to meet the real Superman, pick this.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Nostalgia is...


... an old memory of a children's book my mom gave me before I could even read and one of my favourite songs ever by the great Caetano Veloso. Oh, Bliss!

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Jorge Colombo

Far and away my favourite portuguese cartoonist... See for yourself here.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Too much, man!


You know those good old Tom and Jerry cartoons by William Hanna and Joe Barbera where Tom's torn apart by doubt and two l'il angel/devil versions of himself battle for his decision, telling him what he should or should not do? Well, sometimes I'm a bit like that and this time I'm afraid the l'il devil has won. Just click on the parental advisory label at your own risk.