Sunday, August 2, 2020

Guest on Draw Drink'n Podcast

I'll be a guest of the Draw Drink'n Podcast on Tuesday, August 4th, at 9 pm Eastern (6 pm Pacific).

Alex Morrissey hosts as everyone drinks, draws, and laughs. I don't have any idea yet what I'll be trying to draw as everyone watches, so you'll be as surprised as I am to see what happens. It's sure to be a fun time.

The podcast streams on Youtube and Facebook. You can watch and join in the chat here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8wMrticUZo4

Monday, July 6, 2020

San Diego Festival of Books


On Thursday, July 9, Alonso Nunez will conduct an online interview of both me and Sam Maggs as part of the 2020 San Diego Union-Tribune Festival of Books. Tune in on Facebook to watch. I expect to mainly be discussing my Age of Bronze work.

Friday, February 28, 2020

Double Your Oz Pleasure

Marvel Comics is bringing their Oz graphic novels back into print in attractive, affordable paperback editions.

Recently released was the first volume, Oz: the Complete Collection, volume 1, which contains the first two graphic novel adaptations of L. Frank Baum's Oz books: The Wonderful Wizard of Oz and The Marvelous Land of Oz. I wrote the scripts, Skottie Young drew the artwork, Jean-Francois Beaulieu colored, and Jeff Eckleberry lettered. The book includes two complete stories and reproductions of all the original covers, including variants. Skottie Young supplies brand new artwork for the cover of the book, featuring characters from both stories.

The book costs $15.99, which is a bargain for more than 400 pages of comics in full color. Buy it at your local comic store. If you don't already have a regular comic store to shop at, find one at this link to the Comic Shop Locator.

The next four Oz graphic novel adaptations will be issued in two volumes. Two stories in each volume. Same format.

Here's a review of the first volume at this link.

It's been just over ten years since Skottie Young and I worked on these faithful adaptations of L. Frank Baum's Oz books. When Chris Allo at Marvel Comics first approached me to write a comics adaptation of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, I wasn't sure I wanted the job. I worried about what the art would look like. Would Dorothy be given big tits or even guns, as so many other Oz comics have done in the past couple decades?

I was told that Skottie Young was the artist they'd chosen. I'd never heard of him, so I looked up samples of his art on line. It was fine, but I wasn't particularly of the opinion that he was the perfect artist for the project. However, knowing that literary adaptation comics aren't usually popular and disappear fast, I accepted the job, figuring that if the end result were disappointing, not many would notice it. I'd take the paycheck and move on.

Skottie and I talked on the phone. His view of the project sounded reasonable. I told him that I believed the key to the whole project would be his design of Dorothy, since she's the character that the reader must go on the adventure with. If Dorothy wasn't sympathetic in her design, the project wouldn't work. Skottie understood my view and basically agreed.

The first art sample I saw from him was a sketch of Dorothy and Toto. I knew when I saw it that a major hurdle was behind us. Skottie's design of Dorothy was spot on for the character, a young girl of the American plains in the late 19th century. She didn't look like Denslow's Dorothy, not like Neill's Dorothy, not like MGM's Dorothy. She was Skottie's Dorothy and she was just right.

I had the entire script written before I saw any of Skottie's comics pages. I didn't want any disappointing art to dampen my momentum for adapting the book. But Skottie's pages worked well. They pulled the reader into the story and they were attractive. They had heart. I wondered how much push-back there might be from Oz fans, since the look was different from any Oz anyone had seen before. But I wasn't overly concerned. The project was starting to seem like it might be a gem, even if it probably wouldn't get much attention.

When I saw Skottie's artwork for the episode where Dorothy and her companions cross the river on the raft, I finally recognized that Skottie's art was golden. The first issue hadn't been published yet and I still figured that the project wouldn't be seen very widely, but I knew for myself that it was beautiful.

The first issue finally came out in late 2008. It was a smash sell-out. I was thrilled, not only for myself, but for L. Frank Baum and for Skottie Young, too. I credit Skottie's art with the lion's share of why the project was such a success.

Marvel had approached Skottie about drawing the project three times before he accepted. Like me, he assumed a comics adaptation of a literary property would be largely ignored. He wasn't interested in spending time on a project no one would care about. Finally he gave in and drew the thing. These days, he's glad he did. He credits the Oz project with making his comics career.

Copyright © 2020 Eric Shanower. All rights reserved.

Wednesday, February 19, 2020

The Color of Sacrifice

It's here at last!

As just published by Image Comics, Age of Bronze Book 2: SACRIFICE shines forth in full color, thanks to the restrained and steady hand of John Dallaire, colorist. Newly colored artwork enhances Helen's arrival at Troy, the accidental battle at Mysia, the regrouping of the Achaean army, the sacrifice of Iphigenia, and more.

You can buy a copy of Sacrifice by clicking here.

Working with John on coloring Age of Bronze is quite an experience. My drawings are extremely detailed and he spends the time to color each bead in a necklace and each stripe on a tunic. John assigns a unique skin tone and a unique hair color to each character. We're both sticklers for consistency, and unless there's a specific story reason for a character's color to change, all these colors need to be carried through hundreds of pages.

As the creator of Age of Bronze, I have final say on John's color work. Pages generally go through several color versions before I okay a final version ready for publication. Part of my task is to catch lapses in John's consistency. Turnabout is fair play, and while John's coloring my work, he catches lapses in my consistency, mistakes I've made in the black-and-white artwork. These usually consist of missing costume details. Occasionally John fills in easy and obvious corrections, but sometimes I need to add elements—such as armbands and straps, things like that—which I originally forgot. Disappearing sandals and wristbands have been particularly annoying. 

Some backgrounds are so complicated or obscured by foreground figures or word balloons that when I look at John's colored version I can tell he had no idea what I'd intended in my artwork. Usually these instances are easy to fix, but sometimes even I have no idea what I originally intended. Fortunately I saved photocopies of my penciled artwork, and I can often look at those to figure out confusing backgrounds. But it's annoying when I realize that I originally drew something in pencil, then mistakenly inked it differently than what I'd intended. Those mistakes are often the cause of confusion in John's coloring. Depending on the specific circumstances of each of these instances, I ask John to revise the color as seems most appropriate.

Of course, most readers won't notice these things. And they shouldn't. Readers should be following the story. All the details and all the color are there to support the story, to bring it to life, to transport the reader to the long-ago world of the Trojan War, to keep the spell of the drama going from first page to last. I hope this new color version of Sacrifice will do that for you.

To whet your appetite, below is a six-page excerpt from Age of Bronze Book 2: SACRIFICE. Click on each page to see it larger.





Copyright © 2020 Eric Shanower.
Color copyright © 2020 John Dallaire.
All rights reserved.