Saturday, April 30, 2016

Playing Catch Up

 Its been a month since I last posted here on my blog and it has been a very busy month between doing the two strips, teaching and attending the East Coast Comicon. Cliff Galbrath is a great guy and his con is a lot of fun because its NYC without the NYC and mostly just comic guys and not TV stars, though he did have Nichelle Nichols form Star Trek there. The best part of the con for me is seeing fellow artists and hanging out with my buddies Jamar Nicholas and Bill Wray. Bill even pitched in and helped me ink some Phantom and Judge Parker in the hotel to keep up on the deadlines.

The Ghost Who Walks has been a lot of fun though, and I am really enjoying myself so far and each week I feel like I'm settling in a bit more. Still, I know based on Judge Parker, it will take me at least a year on the strip to really sink into the feel of the strip and the characters live in my head on The Phantom in the same way they now do on Judge Parker. Maybe it will happen faster on The Phantom than the Judge, but every week is something new and I haven't really drawn any character that much yet, especially The Phantom himself. Luckily a great Phantom Fan helped me with links to the Sy Barry strips which really helps with feel and research and you can see how the character changed stylistically over the years as Barry changed and had several other artists ghost pencil the strip. Everybody draws the mask differently--even Barry.

Another one of the main differences is how heavily or almost over-muscled characters are now compared to the classic years. They were more Steve Reeves than Arnold, more athletic than pumped up and full of steroids as most comic characters are drawn today. That muscled but more lean build is how I want to handle the character, not super jacked, but  built more like Reeves, or Billy Zane in The Phantom movie. I also love how so many artist used the classic figure model and actor Steve Holland for the face of the Phantom as well. Holland is most know probably as the model James Bama used for his fantastic Doc Savage illustrations. Holland must have been the most in-demand and used figure model of all time as he can be seen in literally hundreds of paperbacks and illustrations including these Phantom ones below.

 Here are some of the dailies for my sixth week on the strip which still had to have the lettering, zip and touch-up yet to be done. A few of the strips were drawn in Photoshop as they required maps and a lot of extra work. The Phantom requires more production with adding zip-a-tone which takes extra time on any daily he is in, but it does look nicer.

Meanwhile in JP land I have pitched a plot to Woody Wilson for the next story arc featuring Sophie and her rock band. I did up this sketch for Sophie in her typical young rocker gear with ripped up pants, which never seem to go out of style. I also want to have some fun here as most of the strip is pretty dry style wise with soap opera type characters. That's why I pushed it with the Chubbs by basing them some characters Frazetta drew in his short run comic strip Ace McCoy/Johnny Comet, mostly the Pop Bottle character and making his wife more like Aunt Bee from the Griffith show. That gives me some fun characters to play around with compared to Sam or Abbey who are really straight characters with not much room to push as far as expression or acting.

Keeping up with doing two strips is a crazy amount of work, and everybody wishes me well and thinks I'm crazy to try, but its mostly just sitting in the chair and not getting up except for meals, coffee and the bathroom... and not painting for a while, which kind'a sucks right now to be frank. However I can see that I will soon gain enough time to get back to the oils!