Friday, September 22, 2006

Watch Out for Blue Meanies!

In an interview at the Comic Book Resources website, Bongo Comics Art Director and fellow CAPS member Bill Morrison speaks about his work on a comic-book adaptation of the Beatles animated film "Yellow Submarine" that Dark Horse Comics hired him to do around 1999. Bill completed about half the project before Apple pulled the plug.

The interview contains lots of great scans of the work he did, many in full color. As someone who is a big Beatles fan, I thought I'd share the link to the article where you can check out the pages. As you can see from the sample at right and in the article, Bill and his colorist, Nathan Kane, did a terrific job not just capturing the style, but the tone and spirit of the film as well. Enjoy!

Click here to read the story and see more art from the story.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

NOT STUDIO 54

One of the shows from the new television season that I've been especially looking forward to has been "Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip," and its premiere did not disappoint.

The series comes from Aaron Sorkin, the creator of "The West Wing" and "Sports Night," two critically respected shows that I enjoyed immensely. "Studio 60" offers a backstage peek of a television show that essentially is a fictional version of "Saturday Night Live." The two leads--Bradford Whitford (who was a regular on "West Wing") and Matthew Perry (who actually had several cameos on "West Wing") play a producing/writing team that is hired to revitalize the show four years after having been fired from it--and after their predecessor (played by Judd Hirsch) has a meltdown during a live feed reminiscent of a scene from the film "Network."

The show has the same crackling wit and energy as Sorkin's other shows. He has a knack for portraying too-cool-for-school professionals, who are both passionate and cynical, as well as extraordinarily competent and committed, and who ultimately care deeply about their work and making a difference in the world. Sure, it's an idealized view of the modern-day work place, but it sure makes for good drama.

Ultimately, of course, all that matters is whether the show is entertaining--and it is. Sorkin is proof that any subject or setting can be compelling if the writing is topnotch--with "West Wing," for instance, Sorkin made policy wonkiness exciting and sexy.

Sorkin also has the luxury of having a topnotch cast. In addition to Whitford and Perry (who have a great onscreen rapport), the cast includes Amanda Peet as the new network president and Stephen Weber as her caustic higher up. (Ed Asner and Felecity Huffman playing herself both made cameos in the premiere along with Hirsch.)

Some reviewers have criticized Sorkin for taking the same fast-paced, high-stakes approach to dramatize the backstage goings on of a television show in the same way he portrayed the kind of life-and-death issues faced by the White House in "The West Wing." However, I think such criticism is misplaced, because it overlooks the fact that television--and by extension media and entertainment--are today huge business enterprises, usually run by "Masters of the Universe" types, that wield immense power and influence in culture and society. (Cases in point: Rupert Fox and Sumner Redstone). People don't seem to understand that the same kind of political maneuverings and provincialism that characterizes the power corridors of Washington, DC are just as prevalent (if not moreso) in the entertainment industry. In this age of information overload and celebrity obsession, people don't seem to realize the extent to which the media increasingly permeates and shapes the world. Let's face it, success in the competitive world of television and entertainment requires the same kind of ego and drive that characterize many people in politics and government.

Yes, the characters take television and comedy a bit seriously, but it's nice to have Sorkin back on television. The series looks great, and it's clear this is an attempt to extend the Sorkin brand--the show has a lot of similarities with "The West Wing," down to the scene titles and the fonts used in the credits.

It remains to be seen, however, whether audiences will have any interest in seeing what goes on behind the scenes of a television show or be willing to identify with TV performers and executives as much as they were with the kind of professionals who were portrayed on the "West Wing." Regardless, I hope Sorkin has another hit with "Studio 60" and I look forward to seeing how the series and characters develop.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

EUREKA!

As I mentioned in my earlier post, I am currently working on a sports story for the next issue of ROB HANES ADVENTURES. Though I completed the script and was well along in doing the final art, for some reason, I never really had a satisfying or suitable title and in the past months had been racking my brains trying to come up with one.

Well, in a typical "eureka!" moment, I woke up a few days ago with a title that perfectly fit the tongue-in-cheek tone of the story, and re-did the splash page intro and credits to reflect it. (Click on the image below to see the revised splash page full size.) It's now called "The Pride of the Chickenhawks!", a tip of the hat to what many consider one of the best sports films of all times (and a "male weepie" along the lines of "Field of Dreams"), "The Pride of the Yankees."

Having been raised in New York, I am a Yankees fan by default. In fact, the team number assigned to Rob in this story -- "30" -- is a tribute to one of my favorite Yankee players when I was growing up, Willie Randolph!


Click here or on the image at right to see it full size.

Friday, September 8, 2006

Work in Progress

Below is page 5 from the story intended for issue 10 of ROB HANES ADVENTURES. (To see more pages, click here.)

As you can see, this is a baseball-themed story. I'm having great fun with it, and I think people will be really surprised by it and realize what kind of variety I'm aiming for in the series.


Click here to view the image at right in larger size.

Thursday, September 7, 2006

INTRODUCTION AND WELCOME!


Ah, yes, just what the world needs--another blog!

Anyway, I thought a blog would be a good place to talk about the creative process, to keep people updated on a more frequent basis about my progress in producing my comic-book series, ROB HANES ADVENTURES, and to put a more personal face to the creator responsible for the series. (For those who just want occasional updates, especially when new issues come out, join my e-mail newsletter list--please be assured your e-mail address will be kept private and I only post to this every two to four months.)

This blog also will be a place for me to talk about my latest passions and to deliver reviews, not just of comics, but also television, films, books, and other topics as well, including developments on the personal front (and my family!!

The only topic I probably will steer clear of here is politics--believe me, I have my opinions and views, but given the current tenor of political debate in the country right now, all Ill say is that Im planning to keep this blog politics-free!

In the interest of full disclosure, another reason I decided to start this blog (and the associated MySpace website) is to broaden the reach and appeal of my comic-book series ROB HANES ADVENTURES. I've had a website for the series for years, but it's operated as an island in this sea we call the Web--I clearly need to be more visible at certain crossroads on the Internet where people hang out to give them a chance to discover my work. It's all about synergy, baby!

I promise, though, this site wont all be plugs and self-promotion--this will be an opportunity for me to discourse about a wide variety of topics and interests. Comments are always welcome.

Some relevant links:
WCG Comics: http://wcgcomics.com
MySpace site: http://www.myspace.com/wcgcomics

Now on to the fun!