Category Archives: comics
Last week we looked at Christmas gift ideas for the DC Comics lover, so this week we’ll look at the competition: Christmas gift ideas for your aspiring Marvel Comics writers/artists. The first on the list is an all-time classic that is now over thirty years old, while the rest are more recent takes on the “Marvel Way” of comics:
- How To Draw Comics The Marvel Way by Stan Lee
- Stan Lee’s How to Write Comics
- Stan Lee’s How to Draw Comics
- Stan Lee’s How to Draw Superheroes
In addition to those volumes by Stan Lee himself, a number of licensed character-specific books are available:
- Learn to Draw Marvel’s Spider-Man
- Learn to Draw Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy
- How to Draw Iron Man
- How to Draw X-Men
Not quite as many selections as available for DC Comics, but that’s not too surprising. It seems that Marvel’s bread-and-butter is on the big screen now, while DC has faltered in that medium. But on paper, DC is still far and away the better comic book maker.
Now that Halloween is over, is it safe to start talking about Christmas gift ideas? A couple of years ago I did a series of posts highlighting some ideas that might delight fans of various topics, and one of the most popular posts in that series related to comic book art. That particular post continues to get hits today, so I thought I would follow it up with a more streamlined version: Christmas gift ideas for your aspiring DC comic book writers/artists. Take a look at these titles in this series of “DC Comics Guide” books:
- The DC Comics Guide to Writing Comics
- The DC Comics Guide to Creating Comics: Inside the Art of Visual Storytelling
- The DC Comics Guide to Pencilling Comics
- The DC Comics Guide to Inking Comics
- DC Comics Guide to Coloring and Lettering Comics
- The DC Comics Guide to Digitally Drawing Comics
I have not personally reviewed any of those titles, but they seem to be geared toward an older, more serious dreamer. If your aspiring artist is a beginner, or is just getting his feet wet with sketching, the following books may be more his or her speed:
- DC Justice League: Draw It
- How to Draw Batman, Superman, and Other DC Super Heroes and Villains
- How to Draw Superman and His Friends and Foes
- How to Draw Wonder Woman, Green Lantern, and Other DC Super Heroes
- How to Draw Batman and His Friends and Foes
- How to Draw the Joker, Lex Luthor, and Other DC Super-Villains
(September 19, 1928 – June 10, 2017)
He didn’t have to go around telling everyone he was Batman. Everyone knew. The star of the 1960s television show that made the Caped Crusader a household name, Adam West has died at the age of 88 after a short battle with leukemia.
The Incredible Hulk premiered in 1978 starring Bill Bixby as David Bruce Banner and Lou Ferrigno as The Incredible Hulk. The program is currently available to stream on Netflix, but I received a notification that it would be removed on January 1. The show only lasted five seasons, and the fifth season was a mere seven episodes.
The first episode of the fifth season was called “The Phenom,” guest starring Brett Cullen as pitching prospect Joe Dunning, who was trying to make the Roosters’ squad out of spring training. I decided to take a crack at some “fun cards” from this episode, but there were very few names used and IMDB does not identify very many of the guest stars, including “Ted What’s-His-Name” below. Nor is he named in the end credits of the episode. The actor looks vaguely familiar…but I have no idea who it is.
There was one other identifiable “player.” Near the end of the episode, David and Joe are attacked by a sleazy agent’s henchmen. David is thrown behind a car where he transforms into the green creature known as the Incredible Hulk. He saves Joe, carries him into the stadium, and another player throws a baseball bat at him. The Hulk catches it and proceeds to slug a baseball that is thrown at him.
The Hulk is not on the Roosters’ roster, so I decided to change the team name. I started to go with Marvel, but instead changed it to “The Lonely Man” as a tribute to Joe Harnell, the composer of the show’s theme music.
Another interesting tidbit about the series, which I did not know until looking through the IMDB information: the narrator is Ted Cassidy, who is best known for his role as Lurch on The Addams Family.
Superman made his debut in Action Comics in the 1930s, but superheroes existed long before that. Author Chris Gavaler argues that superhero mythology has existed as long as the universe, which he asserts is billions of years old. Gavaler starts with the Big Bang Theory, then examines different historical figures as well as fictional characters to establish his premise. If you can overlook Gavaler’s belief in the big bang and an old earth, this is an interesting examination of the basis of the modern superhero.
The book is a somewhat scholarly read, not for the easily bored or distracted. Some of Gavaler’s references and comparisons can be confusing, and the reader may have to reread several paragraphs to grasp exactly what is being said at times. I would not recommend it to younger comic book fans, but perhaps college age readers with a recent familiarity of world history would enjoy it.
Writing and drawing for comic books is a true art form, and the skills needed to succeed are much different than what a short story writer or novelist might utilize. Here are some books to help those who are exploring their talents in the comic art form.
- Words For Pictures by Brian Michael Bendis
- Creating Graphic Novels by Sarah Beach
- Mastering Comics by Jessica Abel & Matt Madden
- The Art of Comic Book Writing by Mark Kneece
- Foundations in Comic Book Art by John Paul Lowe
- How to Draw Comics the Marvel Way by Stan Lee and John Buscema
Most writers who dream of working in comics love to read them as well, so they may also enjoy the books below.
The League of Regrettable Superheroes: Half-Baked Heroes from Comic Book History by Jon Morris (2015)
The League of Regrettable Superheroes: Half-Baked Heroes from Comic Book History
by Jon Morris
Quirk Books, 2015
“Some (superheroes) have regrettability baked in; others have regrettability thrust upon them.” Author Jon Morris does his best to immortalize some of the biggest comic book blunders, while conceding that some were simply victims of poor timing. On the cover of the book, we see Fatman, Doctor Hormone, Fantomah, Bozo the Iron Man, the Eye, and Amazing-Man; inside are the biographies of Funnyman, Kid Eternity, Captain Marvel (but not that Captain Marvel), Squirrel Girl, and the unfortunately unforgettable NFL Superpro.
It was a blast reading through these profiles, and imagining what they might look like on the big screen with the Avengers and the Justice League. The answer is that they would look ridiculous, and the studio executives would likely regret inserting them into such franchises, but it is still fun to imagine the Ferret and Ravage and Mr. Muscles joining the ranks of Iron Man, Captain America, Superman, and Batman. My personal favorite is Fatman the Human Flying Saucer, and I would be thrilled to try out for the role; I certainly fit the body type.
Comic book lovers young and old will enjoy reading Morris’ The League of Regrettable Superheroes. And who knows, it might even inspire someone to resurrect and reinvent one of these long-forgotten crime fighters.
Even though I loved the first Fantastic Four film, this looks pretty cool.
The new trailer for Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice has been leaked. Assuming it hasn’t been taken down yet, here it is. Enjoy, fanboys.