In my last column, I hinted that my next would focus on my feelings for ending Sgt. Rock – The Lost Battalion and a recap of that particular “Tour of Duty” that dominated all aspects of my life for a year and a half. Well, I lied to you as I’m not quite ready to say goodbye to Rock and have been postponing those sentiments for about a month now. DC, Brian Miller and I have all been working hard on the collected hard cover edition, which will include lots of extras, corrections and an introduction and afterward by two heroes from the actual battle. It’s been a lot of fun but has also helped me hold off for at least a few more weeks on my “farewell to arms”. For more information on getting the 160 page book, please check your local comic shop or log on here.
Here’s the cover image, with colors by Brian Miller:
How the hell do you draw high-heels, again?
One year ago I was still considered a chap who, if I could draw at all (which is still debatable to some), was simply a “babe” artist. Well, after drawing hungry, hairy and grimy soldiers mired in muck and blood for thirteen months, I finally get the chance to get back to my “roots” and draw women. Problem is I really friggin forgot how to do it.
It all started when Fantastic Realm asked me to do a #0 variant cover for their exclusive edition of Zenescope’s awesome new Grimm Fairy Tale Series, Escape From Wonderland.
I struggled to get the female facial and anatomical elegance for way too long, and have continued to have a hard time, but seem to be getting back into the swing of things. The drawings have taken me a bit longer than usual, but with lots of erasing and discarded art boards we’re getting there and I also have to thank the incredibly talented Nei Ruffino for saving them!
Fifteen Years of “Shi” and the “Sgt. Rockettes!”
I am one of the lucky ones to have collaborated with Nei for almost three years now on several covers and prints and once again, she has proven to be on extraordinary artist. I had asked her if she’d like to work once again with me on our new Shi 15th Anniversary SDCC print and thankfully she obliged. Nei worked her magic once again and turned my simple kimono illustration into a stunning display of color and mystery.
For years now, I’ve been fiddling with the idea of doing illustrations in the vein of the great wartime pin up artists like Alberto Vargas and Gil Elvgren. So I sat down wit h Nei to discuss a new series that would pay homage to the various branches of the US Military. I am proud to say that we will unveil the first three of which I hope to be a series of prints we like to refer to as our “Sgt. Rockettes”. I hope the illustrations convey a sense of pride in each individual service and put a smile on people’s faces. Again, I’ve struggled with them for the past couple of weeks but Nei has once again worked her magic with “Always Faithful” and “Anchor’s Away”. As of this writing I’m still working on my salute to the 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment with “Currahee!” but we’ll have all three prints in time for Comic Con International next week.
The Casting of Hal Jordan
Now for something really important -- the casting of Hal Jordan for the new Green Lantern film that will hopefully be made. Hal Jordan is one of my all time favorite characters and I really like Ryan Reynolds, but personally I’d think Mad Men’s Jon Hamm would be a better fit. I like the idea of Hamm (born 1971) as a hardcore veteran pilot who is chosen to guard sector 2814 as opposed to another hot-shot youngster we see all too often in film’s today.
Hamm’s younger than Robert Downey Jr. (who is a perfect Tony Stark in my humble opinion), and also brings a tough intensity of Steve McQueen and Lee Marvin missing in today’s whimpy “pretty boy” actors. To me, Hal’s still a product of silver age manliness, and though I believe Mr. Reynolds will pull the role off well, still think Mr. Hamm would add a completely different level of originality to the film. Then again, I think Jon Hamm would make a perfect Sgt. Rock. What are your thoughts?
This week’s “Girl Back Home” – Amanda Stevens
This week’s salute to the “Girl Back Home” is none other than Amanda Stevens. Though I’ve only known her for a few months, we’ve become great friends and she even agreed to pose for me for “Anchor’s Away!” Even though I drove her crazy with an impossible pose (sorry, Amanda!), she’s tough as nails and a real trooper. I feel though that I didn’t do her beautiful elegance justice and promise to make it up with the next one – if she’ll let me!
I met Amanda and “Test Subject X” at this year’s FX convention while promoting their incredibly original and thought-provoking comic series The Superhuman Experiment wonderfully illustrated by Jesse Starr. The book is like nothing out there and Jesse is one of the most talented creators in comics today – as this is much, much more than a mere comic book, but a total multi-media force. Check out the site and please pick up a copy http://www.superhumanexperiment.com/ , you won’t be disappointed.
I also want to acknowledge the contributions to our present line of women warriors holding the line for us overseas in theatres of war, and hope my friend, army Sgt. Desiree’ Rincon (currently serving in Iraq) will allow me to use her beautiful face for our next “Girl Out There!” I promise to get you Sgt. Rock books, Des, as soon as I get my hands on some!
See You in San Diego, Soldier!
I’m also happy to announce that my second pitch to DC was accepted and I’m currently writing and drawing yet another life-long dream project – a retelling (and hopefully the last word) on a very famous and debatable rivalry that has driven me crazy since childhood! I’ve also completed a cover for Blackest Night, which was also a terrifying experience! So please swing by my display booth at Comic Con (#1801) to say hello – we’ll have new prints, trades and sketchbooks and also I’ll offer whatever scoop I can on all the new projects I have lined up! We’ll be right front and center of the main entrance so you can’t miss us! So enjoy your summer (at least in the northern hemisphere) and if you’re traveling out to San Diego, have a safe trip!
Until next time -- Rock Out!