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
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 Story of Rock ‘n’ Roll Comics
Directed by Ilko Davidov
Wild Eye Releasing
(available April 24, 2012)
If you have vague memories of the Rock ‘n’ Roll Comics series, this documentary might help bring those memories back into focus. Originally debuting at various film festivals under the title Unauthorized and Proud of It in 2006, it is now getting a proper DVD release with a new title through Wild Eye Releasing.
The focus of The Story of Rock ‘n’ Roll Comics is Todd Loren, the mastermind behind Revolutionary Comics, whose most famous line was Rock ‘n’ Roll Comics but also included Baseball Legends, Alternative Comics, Carnal Comics and some conspiracy-based issues such as “Marilyn Monroe: Suicide or Murder?” and “Who Really Killed JFK?”
A comic book enthusiast as a youth, his father helped him organize a convention for collectors. His love for comics continued to grow and he proceeded to start his own mail-order business, Comicade, specializing in out-of-print issues. He then started Musicade, selling rock memorabilia and imported records. After building a successful business, and against the advice of his associates, Loren decided to begin a new business venture: comic book publication. He faced struggles, including the threat of lawsuits from some high-profile bands (Guns N’ Roses, Mötley Crüe, Bon Jovi), but when the New Kids on the Block too him to court, the judge ruled in favor of Revolutionary Comics based on the First Amendment.
Not everyone was against Loren. Jerry Garcia of the Grateful Dead and Gene Simmons of KISS both called off their respective lawyers, and Simmons went so far as to give Loren information to use in his books. The documentary features an audio recording of a telephone call between Simmons and the comic book company, after which Loren and his staff celebrated because of the demon rocker’s willingness to work together.
The documentary clocks in at eighty minutes, and the viewer is treated to extensive interviews with rocks Alice Cooper and Mojo Nixon, writers and artists for Revolutionary, as well as Loren’s father Herb Shapiro and archive footage of Loren himself talking about the company. Jay Allen Sanford, a writer and editor for Revolutionary Comics, and Spike Steffenhagen, a comic writer, both share a great deal about the inner workings of the company and Loren’s dealings with the talent. As with any controversial figure, some saw him as a good guy, while others saw him as a snake in the grass.
Nearly an hour of the movie examines the business, while the murder of Loren is touched on during the final twenty minutes. In June 1992, the publisher was found stabbed to death at his home. The case has not been solved to this day. Theories abound, probably enough to fill the pages of one of Loren’s own publications. One suggestion is that the serial killer Andrew Cunanan, who in 1997 murdered five people including Gianni Versace before taking his own life, was responsible for Loren’s death.
The Story of Rock ‘n’ Roll Comics presents both sides of Loren, interviewing both friends and enemies. It is an inspiring story for those who love their First Amendment rights, while a heartbreaking story as it warns against the dangers of abusing those rights, and the cost of protecting them.
This documentary is recommended for all adults who love comics and rock and roll. (Side-note for parents, there is foul language in the film as well.)
Enter A World Of Music, Comics And… Murder!
Join the revolution as documentary presents the 100%
true-life drama AND shocking tale of comic book creator, Todd Loren
“THE STORY OF ROCK ‘N’ ROLL COMICS,” will soon be available on DVD for the first-time!
This documentary tells the unbelievable story of Todd Loren, San Diego-based owner of Revolutionary Comics, famous for publishing the wildly popular “Rock ‘N’ Roll Comics” series.
The unauthorized and often controversial comics featured biographies of music groups such as KISS, the Sex Pistols and Metallica. Loved by some (Gene Simmons, Alice Cooper, Lemmy, Metallica) and threatened by others (Axl Rose, Skid Row, New Kids on the Block), over 300 issues of Rock ‘N’ Roll comics were printed, embracing all music genres: Rock, Alternative, Hip-Hop, Punk and Pop and they quickly became instant collector’s items. In a strange twist, Loren is found murdered in his condo in 1992, making people speculate that he may have the first victim of ‘serial’ killer Andrew Cunanan, leading to an absorbing mystery that still remains, UNSOLVED today. Read the rest of this entry
Isn’t that a beautiful word? FREE!
Very few things in life are free. There is no such thing as a free lunch. But there is such a thing as free comic books! On May 1, at least.
Find yourself a local comic shop that is participating in this grand event, and get yourself out there to pick up a FREE comic book!
Who watches the watchmen? I do. Or, rather, I did. Off work tonight, I decided to take a trip down to Newport on the Levee and take in the midnight showing of the latest comic book movie. This was not a kid’s movie, but it wasn’t a kid’s comic book either.
The movie, clocking in at nearly 3 hours, did not disappoint. It was no Dark Knight, but it was quite good. The actors portrayed the characters very well. I particularly enjoyed the Comedian, played by Jeffrey Dean Morgan, a borderline–if not full-blown–psychotic masked vigilante who loved retribution. Jackie Earle Haley did a great job with Rorschach, whose paranoia was not so far-fetched in the end. Dr. Manhattan was detached and distant in the comic, and Billy Crudup did a good job of bringing that to the screen.
There is very little to criticize as far as the acting is concerned. But no movie is perfect. Many of the scenes featuring Dan Dreiberg/Nite Owl II (portrayed by Patrick Wilson) and Laurie Jupiter/Silk Spectre II (played by Malin Akerman) were very awkward and seemed unnatural. The chemistry just wasn’t there for the romance that bloomed between the two. Also, the makeup department didn’t do a spectacular job in making the original Silk Spectre or Janey Slater look older. And the prominent physical features of President Richard Nixon were a bit over-the-top (especially the nose), considering that the rest of the cast looked generally non-comical.
I intend to go back and read the comic–excuse me, the graphic novel–again to see if there was anything major I missed in my first viewing. I know there were some changes made for the big screen (don’t worry, I won’t spoil it for you), but I’m talking about some of the minutia that I may have overlooked. I don’t plan to take a trip to the theater to see this one again (too many good movies coming out!), but I will be purchasing the DVD when it is released later in the year.
Finally, I will leave you with one question as you decide whether you will watch this movie, and it’s a quote from another movie. Monty, in Waiting…, asked his trainee Mitch, “How do you feel about frontal male nudity?”
But wait!!! There’s more!!! While digging around the web, I found this fan-made intro to a hypothetical 1980s Saturday morning cartoon version of Watchmen! Check it out!
And then some… Haha…check out this spoof of Watchmen…hilarious!