Mark TexeiraThe second day of the FX Show saw the halls considerably busier than they were on Friday. Comic book and toy dealers were selling their goods, and comic creators were kept busy with sketches and talking to their fans about upcoming projects.
Mark Texeira is a creator who is no stranger to FX, having attended the convention two years ago. He was glad to see the activity and enthusiasm of the fans at the convention, since, with the economy the way it is right now, the greatest fear for anyone is a loss of business.
Mark currently has a Wolverine: Origins one-shot that will be coming out in May to coincide with the movie’s release. The one-shot covers all of Wolverine’s origin from the pre-Alpha Flight days to the Barry Smith’s Weapon X to right before he met the Uncanny X-Men during the John Byrne run. Mark said he was hoping to be able to continue that project, but now Marvel has given him a five-part Punisher mini-series (although Texeira is planning to do anything he can to try and get back into the X-Men universe, because he absolutely loves mutants, he said). The Punisher mini-series is titled “Nightmares,” and it is being written by the current writer of the television show Life, Scott Gimple. Mark said he has done the layouts and cover sketches, and he is hoping to wrap up the first issue in early May and be done with the entire mini-series by September. He said the first issue should be out by that time.
Since he is no longer exclusive to Marvel, Mark has been able to take on additional work, so he has recently done some covers, including a Captain Action cover and a Vampirella cover for her 40th anniversary at Harris, where they are re-launching the title once again this year, as well as a Planet of the Apes project with Fox. More details to follow later…
Mark has also just finished up a 7-page story for Wizards of the Coast, which will appear in their web comic. He wasn’t sure when that will be posted on their website, but guessed perhaps in the next month or two. The story is part of a continued saga of the Planeswalkers that D&D has been posting to their website.
Mark also has an upcoming artbook titled The Art of Mark Texeira: The Artist’s Great Escape, which will be coming out from Vanguard Productions, hopefully in time for San Diego. The book is written and designed by Mark’s agent, Renee Witterstaetter, who is also a writer and editor. This is a mostly a color, 128-page book that is a retrospective of Mark’s whole career, which talks about his influences and the development of his style, as well as what it takes to be an artist in today’s industry. Fans will have a choice between a deluxe hardcover with a slipcase, a regular hardcover, as well as a paperback.
In addition, look for the Creator Chronicles: Mark Texeira DVD from Eva Ink and Woodcrest Productions, due out later this year. It will feature an interview with Mark as well as a tutorial. For more info on Mark Texeira, his commissions and appearances, contact: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Arthur SuydamAlso no stranger to the Orlando convention circuit in recent years is artist Arthur Suydam, who was recently honored with the Spike TV Scream Award for best writer, best artist, and best comic of the year. Recently, Suydam has signed on to work on a new Deadpool project that is coming out from Marvel, with Suydam doing the covers. He was also re-commissioned by Marvel to do all the covers on the next Marvel Zombies series (and for those wondering, that means, yes, there will be a Marvel Zombies 5). In addition to that, he is still working on Red Sonja for Dynamite Entertainment, as well as three graphic novels for Radical Entertainment, two of which Suydam wrote and illustrated himself. The first of those graphic novels that Suydam wrote, did the interiors, and the cover, will be out in about a month and is titled Center City.
Suydam is also working on the Hercules and the Shrapnel series for Radical, as well as doing the covers for their Aladdin series. Radical also has a series coming out that is zombies versus werewolves called FVZA. And if that weren’t enough, Suydam just finished up a book called Jesus Hates Zombies, doing the covers. And if you thought that would be enough to keep him busy, you’d be wrong, since Suydam also just finished a 120-page, fully-illustrated book for which he did all the painted interiors, as well as wrote the book, called Mudwogs. This book will be coming out through Heavy Metal. The only thing he hasn’t done that he would love to do Suydam said is an Avengers story, saying that he has worked up some ideas for a story. He’d also like to actually write a Marvel Zombies story, and has two ideas where that is concerned. When asked where he found time to eat or sleep, Suydam laughed and said the eating he does, but the sleeping…?
Yet another Marvel artist, Casey Jones, was busy sketching away behind his table, but took a few moments from his work to talk with Newsarama. Currently, Casey is working on Marvel’s new Exiles series, which is being written by Jeff Parker. He’s doing a story arc on that, which begins at the end of issue #3, with Karl Kessel on board inking. After that story arc, there is talk of another project, which he can’t mention just yet. Casey said he is happy working in the Marvel universe, having done some Spider-Man and X-Men issues. Even though he has drawn Exiles once before in the earlier series, Casey admitted that coming into the series with all the new characters, it takes a bit to get into the groove on how he’s going to draw them and how he will approach each character. Once he got the first issue in, however, he said he pretty much had the hang of it. He’s currently working on issue #4 of Exiles, and he knows that issue #5 continues the story, but he’s not certain when it ends. There is talk about rotating Casey with regular series artist, Salvador Espin, on story arcs, since Salvador is inking his own pencils, and thus it takes him longer to finish each issue. The rotation would help him out and keep the book coming out on a regular, monthly schedule.
Lest anyone thing that FX didn’t have its share of independent, self-publishing artists, the numerous tables in artist alley overturned that thought. An up and coming trend that seems to be growing popular with artists and fans of comic art are the “character cards,” where aspiring, and sometimes even established, artists draw sketches of the fans’ favorite characters on cards anywhere from 2½” x 3½” to 3” x 5”. At FX, a new young artist named Nick Yakimovich seemed to be making quite a splash with his cards, selling not only his pre-painted cards of numerous Marvel and DC favorites, but also doing sketches specifically requested by the fans. Nick, who loves comic books, has grown up drawing, believing that he came out of his mother’s womb with a pencil in his hand. While he doesn’t have any published works under his belt yet, he’s hoping that the character sketch cards will help him get his name and talent out there, and that one day down the road, he’d like to draw some of his favorite characters for Marvel, the X-Men. And judging from the amazing look of Nick’s art and the sheer number of people requesting sketches, he may just get that chance one day. Some of his work can be seen on www.nyakimovich.deviantart.com.
Linsner, Tucci and BreretonThe days’ festivities closed out with a very special award ceremony, as FX celebrated the 20th anniversary of Dawn, the 15th anniversary of Shi, and the 15th anniversary of the Nocturnals by awarding the creators with some very special awards. Aaron Haaland, co-owner of Orlando’s comic store, A Comic Shop, and writer of the Newsarama column, A Shop of Ideas, was on hand to present the awards. This is considered a big achievement, particularly in the realm of independent, creator-owned projects, since so many come and go. Yet, these three titles have remained consistent and in print, in one form or another, over the years, and certainly, their creators are worthy of recognition for their hard work. Joseph Michael Linsner (Dawn), Billy Tucci (Shi), and Dan Brereton (Nocturnals) graciously received the lifetime achievement awards, all of them feeling extremely honored to receive such awards. They all agreed that without the fans’ dedication to the titles, they wouldn’t be there to celebrate these anniversaries, and they thanked all of their faithful readers.