Thursday, August 30, 2018

The Three Stooges: Matinee Madness

On sale next Wednesday, September 5, is issue #1 of The Three Stooges: Matinee Madness. I drew the cover and the two main stories inside this comic book, published by American Mythology. Mike Wolfer scripted the stories and wrote the joke for the cover

When I mention to people that I'm drawing the Stooges, I'm often asked whether I'm drawing Shemp. No, this line-up of the Stooges is Moe Howard, Larry Fine, and Curly Howard. The stories are set in the mid-1930s. The coloring is in gray tones to simulate the look of a black-and-white motion picture. The Three Stooges: Matinee Madness strives to bring you the experience of a vintage Stooges movie short.

The first of the stories I drew is called "Shaky Bakers." The Stooges are called to a mansion as exterminators during a dinner party. Somehow they end up in the kitchen as dessert chefs. Slapstick and spooky shenanigans ensue.

The second story is "Loons on the Lagoon." The Stooges are running swamp tours, but when a gang of hard cases shows up, they're shanghaied into the middle of a lab experiment gone awry.

Anyone who loves the classic Three Stooges will want to read The Three Stooges: Matinee Madness #1.

"Shaky Bakers" artwork before lettering and tones.

Copyright © 2018 Eric Shanower. All rights reserved.

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

A Thousand Ships in Full Color

Brand new cover art.
A Thousand Ships, the first volume in the Age of Bronze graphic novel series, will be published in full color on September 12 by Image Comics.

This new edition with color by John Dallaire is a major upgrade from the black-and-white edition that's been available so far. The additional dimension of color in the detailed costumes and sweeping landscapes of A Thousand Ships will immerse readers more fully into the story of the Trojan War.

New features are included in this color edition of A Thousand Ships. I've designed a new cover showing Helen and Paris (see image on left). Tom Beasley, PhD, Visiting Assistant Professor of Greek and Roman Studies at Vassar College, provides a new introduction. And I've updated the Afterword and added a couple color illustrations to it that have never seen print before.

How did this color edition come about? John Dallaire began coloring Age of Bronze for digital publication a few years ago. The digital edition of Age of Bronze didn't run very long, and it's been defunct since the digital publisher ceased operations in 2016. But I planned to publish Age of Bronze in color eventually, so John kept on coloring.

In case any reader is concerned that a version of Age of Bronze colored by someone else will dilute my vision of the whole project, let me lay those concerns to rest. John Dallaire colors Age of Bronze under my supervision. Not direct supervision, since we're on different sides of the USA. But I have final say on every single color that appears in Age of Bronze. I send John copious notes on each and every page. He's wonderfully patient and follows every note. Each page goes through an average of four versions before I stamp it with final approval. Still, I try to leave room enough for John's creativity to shine, and he's come up with some beautiful results in coloring my artwork.

You may have seen the color version of Age of Bronze issue #1 that was released a few months ago. (Click here to see sample pages.) That color issue gives a taste of what A Thousand Ships looks like. John Dallaire works with a full range of color, using a restrained style, so that the lines of artwork aren't overwhelmed. It's color in support of the story--color that lets the characters live rather than suffocating them.

A Thousand Ships is the first volume in the story of the Trojan War. It starts with the young cowherd Paris, who travels to the great city of Troy to recover his prize bull taken from him by Priam, Great King of Troy. In Troy the startling secret of Paris's past catapults him onto a fateful path leading to an immense clash between nations, the legendary Trojan War. Meet the classic characters of the story: Helen, reputed to be the world's most beautiful woman--Achilles, destined to die a great warrior unless his mother can save him--Agamemnon, the proud and stubborn leader of the Achaean forces against Troy--Odysseus, the island king who wants nothing to do with war--and many more.

Age of Bronze, Book 1: A Thousand Ships will be available September 2018 wherever fine comics are sold. Sample pages below:

Copyright © 2018 Eric Shanower. All rights reserved.

Thursday, August 2, 2018

Casper and the Stooges

I've been drawing comics featuring characters I knew in my childhood. First up is Casper the Friendly Ghost and his whole supporting cast.

The first comic book I ever bought with my own money was an issue of Casper, published back then by Harvey Comics. For several years my comics obsession focused on the Harvey Comics characters, particularly Richie Rich. Casper was secondary in my estimation. But when Harvey began publishing the team-up title Richie Rich and Casper, I loved it. (As an adult I find Richie Rich rather boring, but Casper I find more charming than I remember.)

Since their original cancellation in the early 1980s, the Harvey characters have seen only sporadic publication. Until recently. Now the publisher American Mythology has the license to Casper and his supporting characters, including the little devil Hot Stuff. Hot Stuff crossed over with Casper back in the day, but he was never a bonafide supporting character in the Casper cast. That's changed now.

So I've been drawing stories featuring Casper, Wendy, Spooky, the Ghostly Trio, Hot Stuff, Pearl, and Princess Charma. I think it's fun! When I first became a professional cartoonist I wanted to draw for publication all the comic book characters I'd loved as a child. I figured I'd never have a chance to draw the Harvey characters. That ambition fell by the wayside years ago. But now I'm another step nearer to fulfilling it.

Casper and Hot Stuff #1 came out several weeks ago, but should still be on sale at your local comic shop. I drew one of the several variant covers, as well as a couple stories inside. More Casper comics drawn by me are on their way.

American Mythology also has the license to publish Three Stooges comics. I watched Three Stooges movies on television when I was a kid, but I hadn't seen one of their movies in years--until American Mythology decided to re-think its approach to the Stooges and asked me to take a shot. I was happy to try. As research I watched some Stooges movie footage on YouTube. The editor and publisher liked my approach, so now I've been drawing Three Stooges comic book stories, too.

The new approach places the Stooges in the 1930s, so they're period pieces, as if these stories are actual shorts the Stooges filmed. They feature the original Stooges line-up of Moe, Larry, and Curly. The coloring is in black and white to replicate the sense of a black-and-white movie short. The Stooges never held a similar place in my heart as the Harvey characters do. But it's fun drawing their silly slapstick abuse of each other.

Three Stooges: Matinee Madness #1 goes on sale toward the end of August. I drew one of the several variant covers and a couple stories inside.

Copyright © 2018 Eric Shanower. All rights reserved.