Strawberry Shortcake!

It was Grace’s pick tonight, and we found ourselves pouring over the amazing archive of work by artist Amy Mebberson — a treasure trove for kids. She does Disney, PIXAR (and, yes, there is a BIG difference between PIXAR and Disney) 80s Cartoons, Retro Art, Doctor Who … it’s impressive.

When Grace saw Old School Strawberry Shortcake, it was on. Both girls were tired, but rallied to take on Ms. Shortcake. Halfway through, Grace said, “Wow. This is harder that I thought!” But, we had a good time.

To take a look at Amy’s Archive for yourself, visit


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Drummer Extraordinare — Kim Pine!



I am an unabashed Scott Pilgrim fan. I love it so much, that I’ve been painfully aware that with every page turn, I am closer to the end — no more Scott, Ramona, Young Neil, Knives, Stephen, Wallace and the whole gang. And, then there’s Kim Pine. *Sigh* Kim Pine. My favorite character.

I was feeling a little deflated when I couldn’t hold off the end any longer and finally finished the 6th book … so Grace decided to cheer me up and draw Kim with me.

But, I was still a but sad until I realized: I actually DID marry Kim Pine. Short. Red Head. Freckles. Sarcastic. Sensitive. Energetic. Indomitable. Willing to put up with idiots. And, named, “Kim.” So, maybe that’s why I loved the character in the first place. Thanks, Honey.

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Summer Reading List – “Lunchnotes”

In an effort to become a more competent storyteller,I’ve put together a list of sequential art from emerging talent, establish artists and the greats. As I read, I’ll share. (P.S. Will Eisner isn’t on the initial list, but I am reading his classic “Comics and Sequential Art” concurrently.) So, here we go!

Lunchnotes by Chris & Laura Samnee

What’s It All About?

I came home from HeroesCon with an armload of new reading material. But the first one I grabbed was the third volume of “Lunchnotes” — a collection of quick cartoons artist Chris Samnee puts in his wife Laura’s lunch bag. You can see them on Laura’s blog here:

Maybe it’s because Chris is one of my favorite artists today. Maybe it’s because Chris and Laura are two of my favorite people in comics. Maybe because I grew up in a house full of collections of daily and Sunday comic strips ranging from Pogo to Doonesbury to Bloom County. Either way, this one called to me … and I read it with relish.

What’s It Got Going For It?
In a word — honesty. It takes a lot of skill to convey a story or make an emotional connection with a reader in three panels, let alone one. And, Chris has it. The truly great daily strips have a unique voice, not one that tries to be all things to all people. They don’t force comedy or speak down to their audience, but rather challenge readers to exert some effort and learn about what they have to say. They require audience participation. And, once that connection is made … the relationship between writer and reader flourishes. That’s the difference between a comic that’s “nice,” and one that you have to read or that you clip out and stick on your bulletin board because it speaks to you.

Think about the first time you saw a “Far Side” panel. Gary Larson didn’t talk down to you.  He had an odd voice. He took a chance that you wouldn’t get the joke.  He was challenging you to see the world from his skewed perspective. And, that’s why his strip stood out and always will.

Chris made his comics for Laura, and not for me and you. But, the it’s the honesty and sincerity of his voice that you and I appreciate. It’s where we can make a connection and find ourselves. He’s not forcing the comedy. He’s tapping into real emotions and sharing small, genuine moments. Not “yuk yuk” comedy or sappy emotions. Just little moments. And, it really, really works.

Chris and Laura may disagree, but I think that “Lunchnotes” has a voice that would speak to readers around the world and, if syndicated, would be a hit. And, it’s not because Chris tries to “bring the funny.” You can feel that he created these on the fly. He didn’t have time to overthink it. He just went with his gut. That’s exactly why they work so well.

Here’s a particular favorite:








What Did I Learn?
In storytelling, there’s always a temptation to force it, to go for the big moment. But, it’s often the little, genuine moments that sell. Have something personal to say, and trust that, if it’s done with craft, the audience will understand and appreciate the sincerity. They’ll “get it.”

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A Hawkeye & Mockingbird Moment: P-p-p-pym Particles!

Posted in Avengers, Comic Art, Comic Book Humor, Comic Books, Comics, David Lopez, Hawkeye, Heroic Age, Jim McCann, Marvel Comics, Mockingbird, The Heroic Age | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments

Summer Smartass Reading List

Last weekend at HeroesCon, I attended a great panel discussion about breaking into comics. Turns out there are lots of ways in, but there really is only one key: Be a great storyteller … both with words and visually.

I don’t know if my end game is “breaking into comics,” but regardless, becoming a better storyteller and studying how others do it sounds like fun. So, I have gone through my trades … some brand new and some old … and creators I like … some breaking in, some dominating, some no longer with us … to put together the list below. As I read, I’ll jot down my thoughts on what I learned, good or bad, from the books on this list. And, if you want to join me and read along, I would love it.

Up Tomorrow: “Lunchnotes” by Chris Samnee

The List:

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That’s Marvel BadAss! Mitch Gerads!

This one has been a long time coming. Mitch Gerads was one of the earliest … and nicest … fans of this blog. Since then, I have followed his work on Comic TWART and waiting with baited breath to hear about the release of the second issue of Johnny Recon, a comic MItch created with his buddy Scott Dylan. You can learn more on their site,

So, it was inevitable. Mitch is a bad ass. And, he  needed to be interviewed. So, now bask in the majesty that it Mitchworth Bellvedere Geralds. (Um … yeah … that’s totally not his name.)

The Man, The Mitch, The Legend …

Marvel Smartass (MSA): What’s the first comic you ever bought? What hooked ‘ya?

Mitch: Oh man, I never quite understood how the other guys answer this question.  They always know a specific issue and what drug store they bought it at. Me? I couldn’t tell you what the first book I ever bought was, but I can tell you the first title I looked at and hooked me for life.  I used to sneak into my older brother’s room when he was away and look at his issues of Nexus. My brothers were 14 years older than me and Nexus seemed so grown up yet classic.  I guarantee I didn’t understand any of it at the time, but I was completely hooked and Nexus is still hands down one of my favorite books today.

MSA: Favorite comics character you didn’t create?

Mitch: Always and forever, Batman.  When done right, Batman cannot be beat.

MSA: What’s the first comics character you remember making up?

Mitch: My friend, Brock Anderson, and I, spent a couple days making mini comics in my basement in elementary school.  It was called “Night and Vegence.” It was only called that because neither of us knew how to spell “Vengeance” at the time.
MSA: Are you a Marvel Guy? A DC Guy? Or a “Shut up and read whatever’s good,” guy?

Mitch: Probably the latter for the most part, but the long answer is that, in my opinion, DC has the best characters, but Marvel has the best creators. I LOVE nearly all of DC’s heroes, but I buy 90% Marvel books because I really don’t dig much of the work being done on the DC side.  I guess that means at this juncture in my life I buy for the creators far more than the characters.
MSA: When you told your parents you were going to draw/write comics when you grew up, they said …?

Mitch: They were pretty awesome about it.  They’ve always supported my artistic endeavors even when they were bordering on crazy talk.

MSA: You are a founding member of Comic TWART. How important is it to have a good network of other artists/creators?

Mitch: I can’t stress how important it is to any young artist’s career to learn proper social skills.  I’m generally a nice, competent and outgoing guy and it has paid off probably more than the actual talent. Making friends is a win/win situation and making the RIGHT friends/proper networking is invaluable. It’s always easier to open doors to new business if you have someone helping to turn the knob. (Let’s save the “That’s what she said’s” till the end of the interview.)

MSA:  Biggest influences on your style?

Mitch: I wonder if Stuart Immonen and Chris Sprouse have to pay me every time I mention them in a question. I try to learn from just about everyone’s work that I follow.  I don’t know if it comes through in my work at all, but the biggest influence on me as an illustrator is without a doubt, Norman Rockwell. The way that man could tell a story with a single image was uncanny and unparalleled.  I stare at my Rockwell books daily.

MSA:  If you want to be a great artist, you need to …

Mitch: This question has so many obvious answers and most people know them, BUT the answer I like to stress when I’m asked this question is that you have to be able to take, learn from, and use criticism. I mean that in a very real way.  Art is so subjective and that’s great, but “illustrating” is a whole new ballgame.  There’s a lot of honesty in this field, especially the comics side of it.  Be honest with yourself if you are ready.  My number one rule of advice, and I apply this to myself every time I sit down at my table with a new script: “Learn to draw what you can’t before you CHOOSE to draw what you can.”

MSA: What has Comic TWART done for you?

Mitch: First and foremost it has introduced me to 15 of my new best friends.  Those guys are seriously the greatest bunch of guys you will find anywhere.  It’s such a supportive crew and to be listed with those guys at this point in my career is beyond flattering and they definitely make me look better by association.  In a more direct way, they got Johnny Recon on the map. Self publishing is a tiring and very overwhelming task and the biggest hurdle is getting new fans that don’t live within 15 miles of your home.  It blows my mind how far Johnny Recon has come purely because of Comic TWART.  Ed Brubaker gave us a quote for the back cover to issue #2 because he discovered the character through Comic TWART. That’s pretty damn cool.  We’ve also got a lot of guest work by my fellow TWARTists in issue #2!

About Johnny Recon  …

MSA:  You got 15 words to pitch “Johnny Recon.” Make them count.

Mitch: “Johnny Recon is a science fiction pulp pie with an awesome Indiana Jones adventure filling.” 

MSA: How did you meet Scott?

Mitch: Ha Ha! I’ve know that no-good-nik since Mrs. Rasch’s first grade elementary class, some 22 years ago.
MSA: If Johnny met Flash Gordon, he would … 

Mitch: Steal his girl.
MSA: If Johnny met Buck Rogers, he would …

Mitch: Steal his wallet.
MSA: If Johnny met Barbarella, he would …

Mitch: Steal her virg…wait, is this a family show?

MSA: What cons will you be attending this year?

Mitch: We’re waiting to hear back from the New York Comic Con (Fingers crossed!) but if we can’t get a table there it looks like we’ll be hitting Fallcon (MN) and then a long break till Emerald City Comic Con (WA) in 2011.  Hopefully we’ll be getting some more shows into that mix as well, but no definite plans yet. Like always, stay tuned to our website for all that noise.
MSA: I want to buy Johnny Recon. How do I buy it?

Mitch: This is a fantastic question that you would think has an easy answer.  Self publishing is fun, but it’s daunting.  Johnny Recon has gained a lot of success and while that’s the best news ever, it also is making the business side of Johnny insanely tough.  But we’ve got some news that should definitely be making Johnny Recon much more widely available, but we can’t say anything just yet.

For right now we’re selling it at cons we’re attending, local stores in the Twin Cities area (Minnesota), and very soon, through our website ( directly.  We’re also currently in talks with some different people about full on national distribution on an indie level.  So stay tuned for more news on that!

MSA: How important is to independent creators?

Mitch: Kickstarter was, and is, an amazing tool for anyone who needs to turn their creative spark into a roaring fire, but they don’t have the money for lighter fluid.  It’s such a grand simple concept.  I kick myself daily for not thinking of it first.

Mitchy the Geek …

MSA:  Star Wars or Star Trek?

Mitch: Wars. I’m a rarity in the comic world.  Until the JJ Abram’s 2009 Trek movie (Which was incredible by the way!) I had never actually seen an episode or a movie of any incarnation of Star Trek. 
MSA: New Who or Who Who? Or, Who is Who?

Mitch: I’m a giant Doctor Who fan and I know it’s cooler to say the old stuff is better, but the new seasons have been absolutely out of this world (pun intended).  Eccleston hooked me all over again, Tennant made me a fan for life, and honestly, Matt Smith might be the best Doctor yet. He’s certainly the best actor yet, he’s really made it all his own, but familiar.
MSA: If you could resurrect one comics series, it would be …

Mitch: Nexus!  It breaks my heart that Rude and Baron had to put the book on a long hiatus and now an indefinite hiatus because of sales.
MSA: If you could take over a successful comics series, it would be …

Mitch: Batman. I could talk your ears off with what is wrong with Batman these days. The way I see it, Batman has been around the block, he’s been living life, the thing with his parents? He’s not crying over it anymore! He’s not a tortured soul.  He’s the world’s greatest detective, he’s smart as hell, he’s trained to be the tip of the spear in every situation.  I want to work on THAT Batman book.  My dream project is to write and illustrate a Batman arc with the Riddler. I can guarantee you I won’t have an origin flashback on any of the pages and at some point Batman WILL grin.
MSA: If you had to build your own super team pulling from ANY company’s properties, who would be on it?

Mitch: These questions are brilliant! Um, let’s see… Doctor Who, Batman, Tom Strong, and Doc Savage. They would put Reed Richards out of a job overnight.

MSA: Who’s the coolest imp … Bat-Mite, Mr. Myxlplyx, The Impossible Man or the Great Gazoo?

Mitch: Gonna go Great Gazoo on this one.  I remember liking when he showed up on the Flintstones and I generally hate when all those other guys show up in my books.
MSA: Favorite comics “Hell yeah!” moment.

Mitch: It was from the Grant Morrison/Howard Porter run on JLA.  Some aliens had enslaved the Earth and captured the entire Justice League except Batman. The aliens gloat to a battered and bloody Superman that they’ve captured them all except the “lowly human” on the team, and Superman starts laughing hysterically. Superman looks them in the eye and just says something like “You have no idea what you’re in for.  He’s the most dangerous human on Earth.” Then Batman, a lowly human, brings down the entire alien invasion Die-Hard style, over the course of the next couple issues. That was probably the exact moment I knew how “my” Batman would be portrayed.
MSA: What’s on the top of your pull list?

Mitch: Whatever Stuart Immonen and Chris Sprouse are doing, I’m the first in line. Also anything Agents of Atlas. That book is everything good comics should be.

MSA: Who are your favorite artists? 

Mitch: Stuart Immonen, Chris Sprouse, Adam Hughes, Bryan Hitch, and at the risk of showing all my cards to people I actually know, I’m a MEGA fan of everything Mitch Breitweiser and Chris Samnee.
MSA:  What’s the vital ingredient in the writer/artist relationship?

Mitch: Each person has to let the other do their thing. The artist has to let go and let the writer write their vision and the writer has to be able to let go and let the artist interpret that vision.  It’s harder than it sounds.
MSA: Which comics character is in dire need of a makeover?

Mitch: Is Frank Castle still a Frankencastle? Yeah, let’s undo that.

MSA: “If I ever meet [Insert Comics Legend], I will faint. Or, throw up, then faint.”

Mitch: Alex Toth, for all sorts of reasons.

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A great day to be a McFann …

WARNING: The following article, although sincere, definitely borders on the sappy. But, even a confessed smartass is entitled to be sappy once in a while …

Two kids sitting on a bench at summer sports camp.

In between kick ball and softball and dodge ball, they’re talking comics. They’re making up heroes. They’re building worlds. They’re rebranding G.I. Joe figures as super heroes. They’re tracing body shapes out the Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe to create their own heroes and costumes. And, they’re dreading the next game of kick ball or softball or dodge ball.

“What’s your favorite comic?”

“Like you have to ask – West Coast Avengers, man.”

“Me, too, and Hawkeye is my favorite.”

“And, Mockingbird.”

“Yeah, and Mockingbird.”

“And, Dazzler. And, Cloak and Dagger. And, Power Pack.”

“I’m going with She-Hulk.”

“You always say that.”

“I want to work for Marvel Comics when I grow up.”

“Me, too.”

“Come on. I have an idea for a villan named Huntarr.”

“Isn’t that just like Kraven the Hunter?”

“No. This one has two R’s.”

By the time eighth grade graduation rolls around, one kid has to move to another town. Not long after, he decides that there’s no way he’ll ever get a date if he still reads comics and makes heroes. So, he puts the comics away and stops drawing. And, he loses touch with his partner in crime. (P.S. It didn’t work. He should have kept reading comics. Would have been more fun on a Friday night.)

Twenty years later, he’s realized he’s an idiot and he’s reading comics again. He still loves Hawkeye and Mockingbird. (Truth be told, he’s still a little ticked off about Hawkeye blowing up thanks to a flaming quiver.) And, on New Year’s Day 2008, he reads this:

Then, he freaks out … Then, he calls his mother.

For a while now, it’s been evident that I am a raging Jim McCann supporter. It’s not just because he’s a gifted writer. (He is.) It’s just not because he is in love with the same period of Marvel history that I am. (We are.) It’s not just because he brought my beloved Mockingbird back from the grave and put Clint Barton back in purple. (He did.)

It’s because he’s one of my oldest friends. He’s pretty much the same today as he was when he was sneaking away at sports camp to make comics. And, I’m very proud of him.

For so many of us, growing up and becoming an adult encourages us to put aside the things we loved as a child. We think it means having to letting go the dreams of our youth and focus on what we deem “practical” or “sensible” or “necessary.” It can even mean looking in the mirror and wondering if it’s just too late to go after the dream you won’t allow yourself to pursue, but that you can’t forget.

Thankfully, Jim taught me that being an adult doesn’t mean any of that. It isn’t necessary to leave behind the dreams you have as a kid.

When New Avengers: The Reunion came out. I was so excited for Jim. It was awesome. But, last week, was the real deal. At my local comic book store — and yours — two of the passions of Jim’s youth were on display – a Dazzler comic and an ongoing Hawkeye & Mockingbird comic. And, his name was on the cover of both.

Gotta’ say it … WOW.

Reconnecting with my old friend has been tremendous. And, reading his comics has been a blast. But, there’s something more to it than that.

Knowing that someone I know followed his dream and made it …
That he fulfilled a promise he made to himself as a child …
That he didn’t let it go by the wayside…
And, that most importantly that he had cultivated the talent to put himself in that position …
Well, that is empowering.
It is inspiring.

It’s that inspiration that helped push me to start this blog and then to the creation of They may not lead to anything for me in the world of comics, but these blogs have introduced me to some great friends and have pushed me to be creative again. On some level, they’re helping me fulfil the promise I made to myself as a child. And, It doesn’t hurt that they are tremendously fun.

So, thanks, Jim. I can’t wait to see you name on the comics I buy for many years to come …

Two adults sitting at a convention.

In between signings and panels and photographs, they’re talking comics.

We don’t need to make up another hero. I already have one.

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Gorak — Mystic Eunuch!

Checking out recent digitals on, I came across this Steve Ditko classic. And, while admiring his incredible art, I noticed that our buddy Gorak the Mystic is extraordinary powerful … but not so great on aim. Ouch! That bolt on the right looks painful. 

Hey, Gorak! On your way to world domination, you might want to stop for a little target practice with the lightning bolts or … well, you’re not going to have an heir to the throne, if ya’ know what I mean.

Posted in Comic Art, Comic Book Humor, Comic Books, Comic Illustration, Comics, Marvel Comics, Steve Ditko | Tagged , | 3 Comments

A.I.M. High – Sleep the Sleep of Upper Management

Posted in A.I.M. High, AIM, Comic Book Humor, Comic Books, Comics, Marvel Comics, MODOK | Tagged | 3 Comments

A.I.M. High – The Dreaded Job Interview … of DOOM!

Okay, so maybe it’s not really THAT bad …

Posted in A.I.M. High, Comic Book Humor, Comic Books, Comic Illustration, Comics, Marvel Comics, MODOK | Tagged | 3 Comments

Move over Cap and Sharon …

Sorry it’s been a few days. Needed to take some important family time. Enjoy.

Posted in Avengers, Captain America, Comic Art, Comic Book Humor, Comic Books, Comic Illustration, Comics, David Lopez, Hawkeye, Heroic Age, Jim McCann, Marvel Comics, Mockingbird, The Heroic Age | Tagged , , , , | 7 Comments

Why I Love Marvel Comics: What If …? #29

Look at this … just look at it! The greatest action figure collection … EVA’! Come on. Be honest. You are soooo jealous of the Scarlet Centurion right now.

Posted in Comic Art, Comic Book Humor, Comic Books, Comic Illustration, Comics, Marvel Comics, The Heroic Age | Tagged , | 3 Comments

A.I.M. High ~ Bad Day on the Cutting Edge of Science

Posted in A.I.M. High, AIM, Comic Art, Comic Books, Comic Illustration, Comics, Marvel Comics, MODOK | Tagged , , | 3 Comments

That’s Marvel BadAss! ~ Jim McCann

 So, for fans of Hawkeye and Mockingbird … it’s about to be Christmas. The new Hawkeye & Mockingbird series by Jim McCann and David Lopez debuts in June, and the Marvel PR machine is gearing up to make it a hit. And, all signs point to “Hell, yes!”

A few preview pages from Enter the Heroic Age #1 (featuring an original 8-page H & M story by McCann and Lopez) are now up at … and released a FREE sketchbook from the series today. Check it here and enjoy!

And, for me … an extra special present. Author Jim McCann and I met up at C2E2 two weeks ago — and today, I was able to interview him. He’s done quite a few, “What’s it like to go from marketing guy to writer” and “Tell us about how you got to bring Hawkeye and Mockingbird back …” interviews, so I wanted to get to know a little bit more about the series, but a lot about him and his perceptions of the Marvel U. We chose to go with more of a 15 words-or-less, lightning-round style. Hope you little smartasses dig it! 

About “Hawkeye & Mockingbird” …

Smartass: Tease us on “Hawkeye & Mockingbird” in 15 words or less — not quite the “elevator speech.” More like the “falling down the elevator shaft speech.”

McCann: Ever wonder what it would be like to follow the coolest, most volatile and yet loving couple around who also happen to have the best weapons, sharpest wits, and get in the worst trouble ever?  Add some super villains, espionage, car chases, secrets, and lies, and you have HAWKEYE & MOCKINGBIRD (I cheated & went over 15 words.  Me no am math wiz. Me am writer.)

Smartass: If Hawkeye and Mockingbird get remarried, who would be at Bobbi’s bachelorette party?

McCann: Who says they WANT to?  They’ve done that. 😉  But if they did- Tigra, Jessica Drew, Firebird, Bangs, and London.  Dazzler would provide musical entertainment.  And Alkhema would crash it.  Mayhem ensues.  Crap, that’s my second arc & I just spilled it! 

Smartass:  Where does one go to get a replica of the crazy, cool beltbuckle the Phatom Rider has? Yowza! Cool AND terrifying.

McCann: Trust me, you DON’T want to have to go through what the Phantom Rider has gone through just to get a belt buckle!

Smartass:  Why Dominic Fortune? And, rocking the ‘stache?

McCann:  Gotta read to find out, but the answers will be forthcoming. 

Smartass: The panel in the sketchbook with Clint and Bobbi in a car and, like, 10,000 arrows a la “300.” Wha …!?!?

McCann: That’s one of my favorite moments.  I wanted to give Hawkeye the chance to do something he’d never done before. You’ll see how in the first issue!

Smartass:  What would “Bangs’” [Agent 89] Facebook status be today?

McCann: “Defused a bomb then made it bigger. Can’t wait to see the blast radius. Good times.”

Smartass:  What’s it like to see David Lopez pencils come in?

McCann:  Every holiday and birthday wrapped into one.  It’s like he takes my words and somehow reads my mind too and makes music with pencils.

Smartass:  The new WCA HQ looks cool. Who is the “IT” interior decorator of the Marvel U?

McCann:  Thanks! I told David what I wanted & we toured a high-rise building in Time’s Square to get the “elevated” feeling.  For all the cool tech stuff, it’s part insanity from my mind, and part honest research on David’s side.

Smartass:  When you’re confronted with “Hawkeye and Mockingbird are the Green Arrow and Black Canary of the Marvel U.,” you say …

McCann:  They’re not.  Anyone who says that hasn’t read Hawkeye & Mockingbird AND Ollie & Dinah.  If you had, you’d know that they are vastly different aside from having “bird” code-names.

Smartass:  Who would you cast as Hawkeye in the Avengers movie? Mockingbird?

McCann:  Don’t want to name real people because then rumors would swirl that I know stuff (and I don’t), but Sydney Bristow and Saywer would be my picks.

About Jim McCann the Dude …

Smartass: Outside of “Read a lot of scripts” and “Write every day,” what advice do you have for aspiring writers?

McCann: Read more & write more.  Watch TV or movies, listen to music, visit museums, and learn about other things outside your comfort zone.  You NEVER know where or when inspiration will hit, so be ready for it.

Smartass:  If you left a cookie on your desk and came back to find it gone, where would you start your investigation?

McCann:  One of my cats, probably.  Or with myself.  I am quite absentminded when it comes to eating.  I’ll either have 5 meals in a day or 1.  I’m not great with the normal eating thing.

Smartass: Which Marvel legend was the biggest thrill for you to meet?

McCann:  Toss up between Stan Lee and John Romita Sr.  Oh, and Gene Colan.  And all of the modern legends I’ve gotten the chance to know and become friends with.

Smartass: What comics catchphrase or exclamations do you use in real life? Come on … be honest.

McCann: “Mein Gott in Himmal” and just about every other Claremontian All New, All Different X-Men phrases.  Guilty of that.

Smartass:  So, you’re from Nashville — do you miss Goo Goo Clusters?

McCann:  That’s it, this interview is over unless someone gets me Goo-Goos NOW!

Smartass: What’s the first comic you ever bought?

McCann:  A very good friend gave me GI Joe #1 and Uncanny #168 (?), and then I started buying Uncanny with issue 175 and the first Hawkeye mini was one of my first finds in the $.25 bin.

Smartass: Has a comic ever made you cry?

McCann:  Brian K Vaughan can make me bawl.  In Runaways, Y the Last Man (especially with 355 and Ampersand’s final scenes), and Pride of Baghdad all make me cry. Also, I got misty the first time I saw my name in a comic next to the words “Written by”, I must admit.

Smartass:  Thanks to Brevoort, you seem to be a new Who fan. What’s your favorite line you’ve heard?

McCann:  Toss up here.  Hmmm- “This hand…it’s a FIGHTIN’ hand!.” “I don’t want to go.” and “Beans are Evil.”

Smartass:  What vintage comic are you on the hunt for right now?

McCann:  Marvel Super Action #1– Bobbi’s only appearance as Huntress.  I catch it for $$$, but am hoping to get a good deal on it.

About the Marvel Universe …

Smartass:  If you were picking your own X-Team, who would be your first pick?

McCann:  Everyone thinks they know the answer to this, but my FIRST pick wouldn’t be Dazzler- I’d go with Kitty.

Smartass:  Who is the most underutilized character in the Marvel Universe?

McCann:  HERE is my Dazzler answer.  I’d like to see her stretch out more in the MU like she did in her solo series.

 Smartass:  You’re a “Project: Runway” fan, what would Tim Gunn say to She-Hulk?

McCann:  Your lawyer suits are FAR more fashionable than your cousin.

Smartass:  Finish this, please – “Doctor Bruce Banner, belted by gamma rays, turns into the Hulk …”

McCann:  “Ain’t he un-glam-orays”, sung I *think* by Marvel’s own Flo Steinberg (that or she sang part of the Mighty Marvel Marching Society theme…)

Smartass:  What artist would open on the Dazzler/Cat’s Laughing world tour?

McCann:  Rick Jones

Smartass:  Storm – Mohawk or “No-Hawk”?

McCann:  MOHAWK!!!

Smartass:  If you could turn one Marvel property into a kid’s cartoon show, what would it be?

McCann:  Power Pack.

Smartass:  What if Wanda had said, “No more muppets”?

McCann:  Then I wouldn’t have Morris, my new muppet from the Whatnot Workshop.  That would make me sad.

Smartass:  What would happen if someone grabbed a cosmic cube with the Infinity Gauntlet while wearing the Serpent Crown?

McCann:  They would look like Tom Brevoort!  How else do you think he has all of that mighty knowledge?!

And, one last …

Smartass:  Who makes Fin Fang Foom’s underwear?

McCann:  It’s recycled Goodyear Blimps, hand-dyed by contestants on the Amazing Race. Duh.

Posted in Avengers, Comic Art, Comic Book Humor, Comic Books, Comic Illustration, Comics, David Lopez, Hawkeye, Heroic Age, Jim McCann, Marvel Comics, Mockingbird, The Heroic Age | Tagged , , , , , , | 4 Comments

He’s got the bow. She quivers.

Posted in Avengers, Comic Art, Comic Book Humor, Comic Books, Comic Illustration, Comics, David Lopez, Hawkeye, Heroic Age, Jim McCann, Marvel Comics, Mockingbird, The Heroic Age | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

That’s Marvel BadAss! ~ Marcio Takara

I’m not the world’s foremost believer on fate, but today … I’m a convert. Several weeks ago, I interviewed Marcio Takara, a Brazilian illustrator living in Canada. He is currently penciling The Incredibles for Boom! I had found his “Tiny Heroes” sketches on DeviantArt and fallen deeply in love. The man has a style all his own that, in my humble opinion, captures much of what is fun and exciting about comics. And, today, Marcio and I were both featured on Ain’t It Cool Comics — he for The Incredibles and me (indirectly) for my daughters’ blog, 5 Minute Marvels.

So, here’s the part of “That’s Marvel BadAss” where I give you links and tell you to visit them after you read. But, not today. Stop reading. Go now and enjoy the art. Come back later. The words will be here and you’ll be deeply smitten with Marcio’s work.

Wha … what are you waiting for?!?!?! Go NOW and visit

[Anticipated 15 minutes later …]

Okay. So you’ve seen the brilliance. You want him to be drawing, like, every comic you read. And, you want to know what makes the man tick. Now, you’re ready to read.

Marvel Smartass: What was your “conversion comic”? What ignited your passion?

Marcio Takara: Justice League International by Giffen, DeMatteis and Maguire. Back in the 80s I guess. That was the first comic book I ever read.  And, Superman The Movie was what made me love superheroes.  I still love it 🙂

Marvel Smartass:  Are American comics popular in Brazil?

Marcio Takara: I wouldn’t say as popular as in the U.S., but we do have people reading them. As far as I know, we always had companies translating all sorts of superheroes comics — mostly the big two companies. Nowadays with the web it’s even easier for people to read stuff.

Marvel Smartass: The FAQs on your Web site beg the question  — how DID you develop your style?

Marcio Takara: All I’ve been doing is trying to draw whatever I’m comfortable with. Actually, I don’t even worry about it that much. Just the fact that I’m drawing every day makes the evolution of my work something natural. Just practice, I guess.

Marvel Smartass: When you’re working, what’s your focus? Where do you start … and what is most important to you?

Marcio Takara: My focus is to make everything as clear as possible —  the action or the pose or the emotion. It goes on and on.

[As for] where I start — I start with an overall composition, then I’ll do some basic action lines for the characters, then structure everything. If you nail all these three, you’re halfway there with whatever you’re doing.

And, what’s most important to me — to meet the deadlines 🙂

Marvel Smartass: With respect to your distinctive style, what is it like working on The Incredibles –working with a house style? Is that limiting as an artist, or does it create creative opportunities one wouldn’t think of right off the bat?

Marcio Takara: It’s been great. I have to pretty much watch parts of the movie everyday for reference. And, it’s amazing to learn with whatever they did on that. Pixar is fantastic. I can say I learned a thing or two from watching the movie every day, so it’s worth it. It’s not exactly how I’m most comfortable drawing, but it’s still an excellent exercise.

Marvel Smartass: How did The Incredibles  gig with Boom! come about?

Marcio Takara: I got an email out of nowhere from Mark Waid. “Hi, this is Mark Waid here. Wanna’ work with me?” There’s no way I could refuse that!

Marvel Smartass: I have kids, so I’ve seen The Incredibles, like, 20 times. How about you?

Marcio Takara: 20 thousand 🙂

Marvel Smartass: Who are your favorite artists?

Marcio Takara: Adam Hughes, Mignola, Maguire, Jim Lee, Lafuente, Ivan Reis, Alex Raymond, John Buscema, Chris Bachalo… I don’t know the list goes on and on 🙂

Marvel Smartass: What books do you read now? What’s a “must” every month?

Marcio Takara: Uncanny X-Men. Matt Fraction is awesome! And, I love the Dodsons as well.

Marvel Smartass: You’ve done work with a variety of publishers, but, what is your dream property?

Marcio Takara: X-Men. No wait, JLA maybe. JLI I’d say.

Marvel Smartass: So, what sold me on you was your terrific “Tiny Heroes” version of the West Coast Avengers . So, an opportunity … give me the elevator pitch for an Incredibles/West Coast Avengers cross-over. Who would they fight? How would Hawkeye and Mr. Incredible get along. More importantly, would Mockingbird and Elastigirl kill each other?

Marcio Takara: I have no idea, man. But, one thing is for sure, I’d love to draw Elastigirl for grown ups. I don’t know Ultimate Incredibles, maybe 🙂

Posted in Avengers, Captain America, Comic Art, Comic Book Humor, Comic Books, Comic Illustration, Comics, DC Comics, Hawkeye, Heroic Age, Marvel Comics | 4 Comments

If I Ran Marvel … Nick Fury, Agent of T.H.U.N.D.E.R.

A few weeks ago, @TomBrevoort, Executive Editor at Marvel, asked his Twitter followers which DC properties they’d like to see migrate to the House of Ideas. As I have continued to think about this, my pick would be the T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents — a property developed by the great Wally Wood for Tower Comics in the 60s.

This short-lived series featured a handful of heroes who were normal people who used technology to become extraordinary agents for The Higher United Nations Defense Enforcement Reserves (T.H.U.N.D.E.R.). I was lucky enough to inherit a stack of these comics from my uncle when I was first getting into comics … and they made a huge impact on me. As much as I loved to read about heroes who got their powers from radioactive spiders, toxic waste and god-like extraterrestrials, I couldn’t wrap my head around those kind of origin stories when creating my own characters. More often than not, they were kissin’ cousins to the T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents … normal people who came across or were given extraordinary suits and weapons to become more than human … but only when they were using these items.

My favorite thing about the T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents is that there were consequences to their actions and … some of them died rather early on.

  • Dynamo – Fearless, dashing leader and holder of the Thunder Belt. Super-strong.
  • No-Man – A human mind that could jump from one android body to another.
  • Lightning – Super-fast, but advanced his own death each time he used his suit.
  • Menthor – Initial double-agent who (as I remember is) had headaches from using his mental powers helmet.

D.C. acquired these characters, but have done nothing with them yet. Last year, they teased a new series, but the future is a bit uncertain as I’ve been able to ascertain.

These days, ‘ol Nick Fury is knocking about with a group of superhuman “Secret Warriors,” but how cool would it have been to see him leading a squad of super-powered agents in the 60s? I think this would have been brilliant. I mean, I love the Howling Commandos (especially Dum Dum) as much as the next guy, but … so cool. But, I did have to leave in La Contessa Valentina Allegra de la Fontaine.

Posted in Comic Books | 1 Comment

Random Acts of Badassery! – Katie Cook

We didn’t buy nearly enough original art on our visit to C2E2 in Chicago, but two of our most favorite are these tiny sketches we picked up for just $5 apiece from the amazing Katie Cook (who drew Wonder Woman for the girls over at 5 Minute Marvels, too). We love them. Click the image to see the images in vivid detail.

Artists, wondering how you convey character and personality with the fewest lines possible … take note. Katie has it down to a science. Check out her work at!

Posted in Comic Art, Comic Book Humor, Comic Books, Comic Illustration, Katie Cook, Marvel Comics, The Thing | 1 Comment

A.I.M. High – Season 2 ~ Mirror, Mirror!

Last year, I had a great time with my Kirby-Inspired Komic, A.I.M. High. And, ya’ll were really kind about it. It’s been a while. So, we’ll start with a little tribute to “Star Trek.” And, in case you missed it … here’s a link to the “Season One” strips.


Posted in A.I.M. High, AIM, Comic Art, Comic Book Humor, Comic Books, Comic Illustration, Comics, Jack Kirby, Marvel Comics, MODOK | 3 Comments

The Long, Hairy Arm of Communism

Posted in Comic Art, Comic Book Humor, Comic Books, Comic Illustration, Hawkeye, Heroic Age, Marvel Comics, Mockingbird, The Heroic Age | 2 Comments

That’s Marvel BadAss! ~ Dean Trippe!

If you’ve spent any time looking at fan created art on the Internet, I’m hard-pressed to believe you haven’t come across … and be struck by … the incredible work of Dean Trippe, an illustrator who lives in The O.C.

Dean is a terrific storyteller with his popular “sidekick of a sidekick” online comic, “Butterfly.” And, he has has inspired hundreds of artists and comics fans to share their reimagined versions of established (and in some cases, forgotten) heroes at the newly relaunched Project: Rooftop blog. Whatever he’s doing, Dean has a knack for creating and inspiring people to stretch the boundaries of an already imaginative genre just a little further … and with a side-order of class and style.

Marvel Smartass: Who were your “A-Ha!” creators — the ones who most spoke to you and influenced your own work and passion? What keeps you excited about comics?

Dean Trippe: I first read The Dark Knight Returns when I was twelve. My grandmother bought it for me at a small comic shop slash used bookstore outside Atlanta. That was a good shop, they had back issues and non-superheroey stuff the grocery stores didn’t. DKR was a big deal for me. I still have the same thoroughly read TPB.

I was also really into Chuck Dixon’s Bat-Family stuff. His Nightwing stuff with Scott McDaniel especially. Mark Waid and Mike Wieringo on the Flash and then ‘Ringo and Todd Dezago over on Spider-Man. Waid and Ron Garney on Captain America. Grant Morrison’s JLA, Chris Bachalo’s Generation X designs, and so much more awesome. And obviously, Batman: The Animated Series was a huge influence on me, as an artist and storyteller.

By the time I was heading to school for comics, I was into Hellboy, Tom Strong (and the rest of ABC Comics), Planetary, The Authority, etc. The Just-Outside-the-Mainstream stuff. These days, Grant Morrison’s my favorite writer by a mile. Artists are harder to rate, because I like far more styles of art than styles of writing, I guess. Guy Davis, Frank Quitely, Mike Mignola, Bryan Lee O’Malley, Joel Priddy, Chris Sprouse, Darwyn Cooke, Cliff Chiang, Scott Morse…there are a ton of great artists out there.

But the thing that really keeps me excited are the up-and-coming artists, like the folks I meet through Project: Rooftop. I tell you, there’s more talent than good books out there.

Marvel Smartass: What’s next up for “Butterfly”? Have you ever thought about animating it?

Dean Trippe: We’re plotting the Butterfly return right now. Jemma Salume, the series artist as of a couple of years ago, just sent me the pencils for the next strip, so we should be up and running again any week now. I’d love to do an animated series for Butterfly. I think it’d be great. Apples in Stereo’s “Energy” would be the theme song.

Marvel Smartass: How important have Web comics become to helping creators break into the industry?

Dean Trippe: Webcomics are a great big deal. The internet, message boards, free-hosted blogs, all that stuff is the only reason anyone knows my stuff at all. It’s the difference between stapling your mini-comics to shelve at the local comic shop (still awesome) where a handful of folks may be able to check them out, and making them available virtually everywhere on the planet. That still doesn’t beat putting a book into the hands of a fellow creator (or employer) at a convention, but for building a network of friends and fans in the industry, it’s the best.

Marvel Smartass: How did the team on Project: Rooftop assemble? What’s in store for P:R in 2010?

Dean Trippe: I just asked my friends if they wanted to join up. I’ve tried to bring on folks from every profession or viewpoint within the industry. Coming up, we’ll be running a Captain America contest, more awesome content for all the new columns, and a Dick Giordano tribute event. The relaunch has been so much fun, and well-received. Our mission is to promote taking superhero costume redesigning seriously, foster continued interest in these amazing characters, regardless of who owns them or how they’re handled in the actual titles, and to spotlight up-and-coming creators, many of whom have gone on to win awards and work for the Big Two. I’m incredibly proud of P:R. We’re glad to be back.

One of my favorite parts of Project: Rooftop is RetroFix!

Marvel Smartass: If you could take the reigns of any established series currently in production today, which would you pick? Why?

Anything in the Batman or Superman Families would rock. The World’s Finest are the best. I absentmindedly write stories for them in my head all the time. Their archetypal nature as the IDEAL and the OPTION, day and night, hope and justice…ah, I just love ’em. Have since I was younger than Robin.

Marvel Smartass: Throw us some comics blogs/Web sites you love to visit …

Dean Trippe: Comics Alliance does great comics news and interesting articles. I follow The Daily Batman religiously. Comic Twart is a great new comics art collective blog. I’m a huge fan of the guys at Robot 6. And I like Super Punch a lot.

Read More!

Dean was a great interview. To hear what other creators have had to say on Marvel Smartass, click here! 

Posted in Comic Art, Comic Book Humor, Comic Books, Comic Illustration, Comics | Tagged , | 3 Comments

“M” is for Marvelous Mockingbird …

It’s a great time to be a Mockinbird fan. She is kicking ass and looking gorgeous doing it. And, folks are coming out of the woodwork to draw here. Like our pal, Ryan Cody of Daily Sketchjam, who is drawing the ABCs of the comic universe and, today, picked our first lady, Bobbi Morse, for “M.”


Posted in Avengers, Comic Art, Comic Book Humor, Comic Books, Hawkeye, Heroic Age, Marvel Comics, Mockingbird, The Heroic Age | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

Hell–ooo, Chicago!

So, I have woefully neglected you this week, my little smartasses. It’s been a whale of a week at work, but the family and I are leavin’ on a jetplane to the Windy city in about two hours where we’ll spend time with loved ones and drop by a little comic book gathering called C2E2 on Sunday. Hope to have some cool photos Monday and … and interview with Dean Trippe of Butterfly and Project:Rooftop fame!

Until then, enjoy some fun over at 5 Minute Marvels … and I leave you with this awesome example of Al Milgrom Majesty and Sinnott Sizzle … not to mention Hawkeye’s rather questionably psychoterapy to a “depowered” She-Hulk from Avengers #229!

Posted in Comic Books | 2 Comments

That’s Marvel BadAss! – Ryan Cody

Thanks to the boys at Comic TWART, I added Daily Sketchjam to my list of daily Internet meanderings, and it’s there I became enamored of the work of Ryan Cody. Every day, Ryan shares his take on a wide array of comicdom characters in different media…pen and ink, digital art, black and white, etc. Visit early and often to

I reached out to him and Ryan generously agreed to be interviewed and to draw with my girls, Grace & Cate, over at 5 Minute Marvels. Thanks, Ryan.

Marvel Smartass: What started the ball rolling down the hill? Tell me how your love affair with comics started.

Ryan Cody: I started reading comics when I was in 5th or 6th grade. I was always a Marvel fan when I was kid and used to buy anything I could get my hands on from Spider-Man to Daredevil to West Coast Avengers. As I got a little older I narrowed my tastes down to the Chris Claremont X-books. That’s where I really started to fall in love with the artwork. He had some amazing talent on those books. John Romita Jr., Mark Silvestri, Jim Lee, Alan Davis and Paul Smith to name a few. From then on I tended to follow artists more than characters or titles.

Marvel Smartass: What comics are you reading now?

Ryan Cody: I don’t read many comics now. I guess my favorites would be the Hellboy and BPRD books. Umbrella Academy is really good, my favorite superhero book is Invincible. I will also buy anything drawn by Sean Murphy. I will buy a book based off who is drawing it, I don’t buy any regular titles.

Marvel Smartass: You have a crisp, clean art style. How did it develop? Which artists were most influential on you?

Ryan Cody: When I first started drawing I was #8593 in the Jim Lee clone fan club. He and Mark Silvestri were my two biggest influences early on. In my early twenties I stopped buying comics and stopped drawing all together for about 5 years. When I got back into comics I saw artists who I had never seen before that I really liked. Mike Oeming and Bruce Timm were doing stuff that I really liked and in styles that I naturally leaned towards. I started drawing again and decided to give another run at the whole comic book thing. This was about 5 years ago and my stuff then looked very much like Oeming’s work on Powers. Since then I have really learned to love the work of guys like Darwyn Cooke, Jack Kirby and Alex Toth along with my original influences.

Marvel Smartass: For younger artists thinking, “I want to make a go of it,” what are some of the opportunities to look for … and some of the pitfalls to avoid?

Ryan Cody: Every artist always gives the same advice to this question — and they say it because it’s true. Draw from life as much as possible. If you are old enough to take life drawing classes then take as many of those as you can. Study a wide range of artists from Brain Hitch to Bruce Timm to Norman Rockwell. Draw every day and show your work to other artists to get honest feedback. Non-artistic friends and your Mom will not give you the honest criticism you need.
Marvel Smartass: Tell me a little about how your original book, Villains, started. How did your partnership with Adam Cogan and Russ Lowry begin? Anything coming up with your partnership? (P.S. Congrats on the Hollywood option.)

Ryan Cody: Adam saw some work I had posted online and contacted me about possibly working with him on an idea he had called Villains. We went over the plot together, he wrote the books and I drew them. I knew Russ through a mutual friend and I think he has a tremendous eye for color and mood and our styles match up pretty well. We asked him to join the team and were lucky enough that he said yes. We have always had plans for a sequel to the first story, but nothing is set in stone right now.

Marvel Smartass: Writers say, “Write every day.” Your Daily Sketchjam work definitely shows that you are committed to drawing and working every day. What does it take to cement a discipline like that? And, what have you learned sketching and posting with a group of artists as you do there?

Ryan Cody: Someone told me once to draw every day if I was serious about wanting to become a working artist. The Sketchjam is a great opportunity for me to just put up some loose sketches or more finished pieces. It’s great when the other members post and we get a good community vibe going. Discipline is needed in every field if you want to excel at it, so I do my best to hit the board every day, whether for 7 hours or 10 minutes. The best thing I get out of it is the ability to experiment and get feedback.

Marvel Smartass: I know this is like asking you which child you love more, but of all your independent projects would you take to the next level if you had a chance?

Ryan Cody: I have a fun character called Cara Fantasma that has endless possibilites for me. I can write a story about him in almost any setting imaginable and he fits somehow. He would be fun to develop in animation but I don’t know how well a live-action version would turn out.

Marvel Smartass: Okay, so I’m in love with your Sketchjam work on a menacing Cloak and an actually teenage Dagger. I think you’d rock an ongoing for them. So, give me your pitch on Cloak & Dagger. Let’s get you a book.

Ryan Cody: Ha! I don’t know about that, but they are always characters I have liked, even though I don’t follow them much. I never understood why Dagger looks like a middle aged stripper though. I always thought that Cloak’s costume made perfect sense while Dagger’s made absolutely none. If I were allowed to do a book on them I would redesign Dagger into more of a street level costume and put them back in the streets, taking care of other kids who have nobody else to protect them. The original dynamic of her being wealthy and loved and him being poor and homeless would still work really well now and be the basis of a good story. I’ve never really thought about it too much to be honest.

Posted in Comic Art, Comic Books, Comic Illustration, Comics, Ryan Cody | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

The tempting Tigra … released New Avengers: The Reunion #2 on digital comics today. And, it reminded me of an important truth.  No one should ever draw Tigra again except David Lopez … like, ever. ‘Nuff said.

Posted in Avengers, Comic Art, Comic Book Humor, Comic Books, Comic Illustration, Comics, David Lopez, Heroic Age, Marvel Comics, The Heroic Age | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

Lo! There Shall Be an Interview!

So, it’s good to have goals, right? Well, I have a new one for our modest little blog here. I am bound and determined to achieve it. And, I need your help. Here it is:

By hook or by crook, I am going to interview both Joe Sinnott and Al Milgrom by the 1st anniversary of this blog — August 22. They are heroes of mine. It will happen. I just don’t know “how,” yet.

If are visiting for the first time or the 50th, you’ll note that I have a passion for mid-80s Marvel, Hawkeye, Mockingbird, The Rangers, the Avengers and … most of all … the West Coast Avengers. As I said in my 30th Birthday Card to She-Hulk, the first comic I ever bought with my own money was Avengers #236. You know who was there in all of that? Joe Sinnott and Al Milgrom. When I think back to my favorite comics … those two were there. I love the visual stories they told together. Love. And, I want them to know and you to enjoy.

So, I have a new feature to live with Why I Love Marvel Comics, That’s Marvel BadAss! and Hawkeye & Mockingbird Moments. I introduce Milgrom Majesty & Sinnott Sizzle! I am going to keep them up until I interview them both … and probably after. So, if you can help me on my quest (I have an e-mail for Joe, but can’t find one for Al), please let me know. You will be thanked mightily!

Posted in Avengers, Comic Art, Comic Books, Comic Illustration, Comics, Marvel Comics | Tagged , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

A “Byrne-ing” Blast from the Past …

While thumbing through some old Avengers titles today, I came across this famous Bullpet Bulletins art from John Byrne … immediate flashback. I’m 36 … and remember coming across this and just salivating. I wasn’t one for ripping comics apart, but I tore this page out, thumbtacked it above my desk and studied it. Who were all these characters? I didn’t know them all at the time. But, I wanted to get to know them.

And, who could possibly render them better than John Byrne? This was yet another log on the pyre of a burning (no pun intended) chiildhood passion for John Byrne’s art. X-Men, Fantastic Four, Avengers, Man of Steel, Action Comics, She-Hulk  … he drew it … I bought it. Danger Unlimited? NEXT Men? Yep.

I honestly don’t know if it’s possible, but if there is a John Byrne renissance in the future … I know a 12-year old boy trapped in a 36-year-old body who’d be damn interested to see what form it would take.

Posted in Comic Books | Tagged , | 5 Comments

Unglablitch! Nightcrawler by David Lopez!

Mein gott! My daughters, Grace and Cate, and I got an awesome gift all the way from Spain … a 5 Minute Marvel sketch of Nightcrawler from Hawkeye & Mockingbird artist, David Lopez, and an invitation to draw with him. But wait … that’s not all. David sent along a YouTube video of him (shot by his girlfriend, Graciela) creating this incredible piece of work.

Don’t take my word for it … look at this … and, click the image to see the video and the girls’ own Nightcrawler art!

Posted in Comic Art, Comic Books, Comic Illustration, David Lopez, DC Comics, Hawkeye, Marvel Comics, Mockingbird, X-Men | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Yellowjacket + Carlos Pacheco = Bad Ass

Avengers Forever is a personal favorite. And, there are many, many memorable panels. But, I always gravitate to this one. I never loved the Yellowjacket character before this series. But, after … well … I can’t wait for Hank Pym to split his personality and start kicking ass with verve and arrogance again. YJ … you had me at kicking two dudes in the face at one time. Wasp/Scientist Supreme is nice. Sawyer as superhero is better.

How about John Walker ditches the USAgent persona and puts on the yellow and black duds? Hey,  Marvel … make it happen! Um … please?

Posted in Avengers, Comic Art, Comic Book Humor, Comic Books, Comic Illustration, Comics, Marvel Comics | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

Crouching Moe, Hidden Curly …

And, now … a word from Hawk and Mock …

Posted in Avengers, Comic Art, Comic Book Humor, Comic Books, Comic Illustration, Comics, Hawkeye, Marvel Comics, Mockingbird, The Heroic Age | Tagged , , , | 3 Comments

Tony Stark Rockin’ a Casio & Tigra Grows a Tail

It’s no secret that West Coast Avengers is my favorite comic series of all time. Not the best. Not my most respected. Favorite. It was kooky and obsessed with Marvel history and not afraid to be totally bat shit crazy. It came along just after I started reading comics … and here are two panels that demonstrate what I loved about it.

As Iron Man, Tony Stark lives his life on the razor edge of technology. But, I agree with Mr.Hellstrom … stop leaning on your electronic doo-dads, especially that damn watch! Dear God! It shows the day AND time down the second!!!

And, as for this panel … well … “Mommy! This comic makes me feel kinda’ weird …”

Posted in Avengers, Comic Art, Comic Book Humor, Comic Books, Comic Illustration, Comics, Iron Man, Marvel Comics, The Heroic Age | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

Let’s Cast “The Walking Dead” – Part Deux

So, Kelly Thompson set up her dream cast for AMC’s The Walking Dead show over at her blog, 1979 Semi-Finalist … and I wanted to jump into the fun. Now, I agree with many of Kelly’s choices, especially Nathan Fillion, but I decided to play this as a real casting agent would … looking at who’s available, who wouldn’t be too expensive and not picking too many people off the same show (three rules “Flash Forward” has chosen to avoid, somehow).

So here goes. I’ll be brief.

Rick – Ben Browder
Yeah, I know people are split on “Farscape.” They either adore it (like me), or say “the Muppets killed it for me.” But, one thing is for sure … Browder’s got the wholle gammut of emotions in his bag. And, he’s playing a man at the end of his rope down cold. (P.S. Please forget Stargate ever happened to him. A man’s gotta’ feed his family.) He deserves this. He can do it.

Lori – Alicia Coppola
Not only does Alicia fit Lori to a tee phsyically, but I think she can handle Lori’s quiet misery and shame.

Michonne – Taraji P. Henson
I’m not saying “Smokin’ Aces” is a favorite movie, but Taraji’s performance as the little assassin who could, broken hearted that Alicia Keyes ends up with Common is the only reason I go back to that movie for more. She would be perfect as a non-violent woman who becomes a killing machine in the new, zombified world.

Tyrese – Roger Cross
When Curtis was bumped off as a pathetic plot decide on “24,” I was certain it was because Roger Cross had secured a better gig. He is quiet, imposing and terrifying. Hire him now.

Glenn(da) – Julia Ling
I don’t like to gender swap for no reason, but I’d love to see Glenn become Glenda (ah, Ed Wood) and seduce the farmer’s daughter. And, Julia Ling can do it. And, she’s an expert martial artist in real life. Watch out, undead.

Dale – Michael Hogan
The hardest part of “Galactica” being over is not getting my weekly fix of Col. Tigh angst and grumbles. Dale tends to be the chipper one of the group (if there is such a thing) AND he does well with the younger ladies. Mr. Hogan is your man.

Carol – Beverly D’Angelo
A former beauty queen who’s smoked too many cigarettes and chased a few too many men. That’s who Carol always seemed to me in the comic. And, I think Bev can nail it. She is terrific in her sputs on “Entourage.”

Andrea – Autumn Reeser
Okay, it’s my second Josh Schwartz OC/Chuck actress, but Autumn can pull this roll off as the scarred beauty who loses a sister and gains mad skills as a markswoman. Oh, just like Taylor Townsend, she likey the older men.

The Governor – Michael Kelly
Oh, please let the show live long enough to meet this bastard. And, when they do, let’s tap into a zombie vetran (“Dawn of the Dead” remake, baby.). Michael Kelly should be a bigger actor. He’s got great chops … a smarmy charm … and a quiet menace to him.

Posted in Comic Book Movies, Comic Books, Comics, Walking Dead | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

Why I Love Marvel Comics: Rawhide Kid #22

Why do I love Marvel Comics? Just three little words: The Terrible Totem!

I have always had a soft spot for Marvel’s old Western comics. And, this week, the good folks over at released Rawhide Kid #22,with one of Lee and Kirby’s kookier creations … a giant, menacing totem pole.The totem at times looks like, ahem  … well, propriety does not allow me to continue with that thought.

So, without further ado, let the madness ensue …

I don’t care how cynical and “sophisticated” you are.You have GOT to love a comic that has this panel … a well-appointed coyboy pursued in a cave by a living … and very angry … totem pole that is apparently “kissin’ cousins” with the heads on Easter Island.

Oops … watch those low ceilings, big fella! And, yes, let’s listen to the last guy. “You know where we should hide? The MIne … a place with no exits. That’ll work.”

Wasn’t this totem at the 1968 Olympics?

And, so full of righteous indignation. “You DARE to strike me? I’m only trying to kill you. What’s the problem,dude?”

Again, with the sensitivity … the poor, evil totem just wants to be liked  …

And, finally, the Rawhide Kid deafets him in bizarre fashion. Now, look, I am not making any comment about the modern take on the Kid. That’s cheap. And, homophobia and gay jokes are not how I roll. But, either way you cut it, shoving your face into the crotch of an animated totem pole  (with a “Thud”) to push it off a cliff makes for an awkward ending to this already whacked out story. 🙂

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Puttin’ on the Ritz! Dapper Men Teaser

Okay, we’re all in agreement … I’m an unabashed Jim McCann fan, right? Right. So why wouldn’t I be jazzed about the new teaser image that emerged this week! Yee-haw! Click here for an interview with Jim.

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That’s Marvel BadAss! ~ Week 17 ~ Steve Downer

While cruising the ol’ Interweb! a few weeks ago looking for a great pic of Paste Pot Pete– one of my favorite and most bizarre Kirby Kreations, I found a kindred spirit in Steve Downer, an illustrator and colorist is Bozeman, Montanna. Steve had featured PPP in an incredible ABCs of superheroes  he’d done. He’d also drawn a number of my other obscure favorites … Rocket Raccoon, The Question, Will Magnus, OMAC … just to name a few.
Steve has a love for the “B-Side” characters as I do … and an impressive knowledge of them to boot.
I contacted Steve and found him to be a super nice guy. He has recently done a lot of color work for DC on The Brave and the Bold, Final Crisis: The Legion of 3 Worlds, Superman Annual and more. After a few e-mails, I had to share his work and insights with you. So, without further ado…

Marvel Smartass: What got your into comics? What was your “conversion comic”?

Steve Downer: I got into comic books by way of cartoons and newspaper comics, actually. Cartoons like Batman: The Animated Series and the old Fleischer Superman shorts made me a fan of characters who had their roots in comic books, while strips like Calvin & Hobbes, The Far Side and Foxtrot fostered a love for the medium, particularly as it applies to telling humorous stories. 

It’s hard to put my finger on any one issue or title that single-handedly made me a fan for life, but I’d say Hergé’s Tintin stories had a lot to do with it. Mainly because they were readily available from my local library, while other comics were scarce around my home growing up.

Marvel Smartass: Who’s on your “Comic Rushmore”? Which comics artists were the biggest influences on you? 
Steve Downer: I’m not sure there’s enough room on Mount Rushmore for all the personalities that have influenced me over the few years I’ve been doing this. I definitely owe the largest debt to Bruce Timm and Bill Watterson– the work those two have done was at its peak during my youth, and I ate it up. It still has a big influence on me today, particularly Bill’s masterful use of body language in telling a story. 

Other artists I admire and whose work influences my own include Amanda Conner, Sean Galloway, Stuart Immonen, Darwyn Cooke, Cameron Stewart, Mort Drucker, Chris Sprouse and many others. I figure the more people I rip off, the more well-rounded I am as an artist. The work I’ve done as a colorist owes a lot to Alex Sinclair, Dave McCaig, Dave Stewart and Brian

Marvel Smartass: What was your first professional work in comics? It’s hard enough toget there, but how do you stay there?

Steve Downer: My first real, professional work came from coloring a pinup for an issue of Small Gods, an Image series from a few years back. It never led to more work, but getting the issues with my work in them was a big milestone.
Later, another big landmark in the journey was seeing my work printed in DC’s Birds of Prey when I first started to work for Hi-Fi Color & Design. Another recent big step has been doing a few miniseries for BOOM! Studios. It’s pretty cool to see your own name on a book.
And honestly, I’d hardly say I’m “there” yet. I know it’s an arbitrary distinction, but I guess I’ll consider myself “there” when I’ve got an ongoing, monthly series from one of the Big Two under my belt. I definitely feel like I’m well on my way to getting there, though. And if there’s anything I can say I’ve learned, it’s that hard work and professionalism are crucial. Don’t promise anything you can’t deliver, and never, ever miss a deadline if you can help it. Those are lessons I had to learn the hard way.

Marvel Smartass: Writers say, “Write every day.” What advice do you have for artists who are honing their craft?
Steve Downer: Draw every day, every chance you get. Don’t limit your influences to just the things you like or want to get into; study illustrators, cartoonists, animators, classical painters. Get your hands on anything by Andrew Loomis that you can and treasure it like it’s God’s own word. Work together with another artist if you can. It’ll force you to be disciplined if somebody else is depending on you.
Marvel Smartass: What are the keys to creating that critical chemistry that must exist between a writer, an artist and a colorist?
Steve Downer: Communication is definitely the biggest key to having a good working relationship. In my experience, the editor is the hub the creative team revolves around, and one of their biggest responsibilities is to balance the creative desires of each member of the team. I’ve been lucky to have good editors on all the projects I’ve done, and that makes it much easier to create a book that flows well in each aspect of storytelling- writing, lineart and color art.

Marvel Smartass: You seem to have a love of characters on the fringe of comics. If you could revive a character and have your own book, who would it be?  Give me the elevator pitch.
Steve Downer: Hmm… man, that’s a good question. My love of obscure characters only started a couple years ago, as I began working on projects that involved obscure characters or became friendly with creators who loved certain forgotten characters. I think… I guess I’d love to work on a revived Herbie Popnecker series for Dark Horse. Yeah, definitely Herbie. That would rock.
Herbie, if you’re unfamiliar, is described by his disappointed father as a “little fat nothing”, a plump, taciturn kid with a burning love for lollipops.

Here’s the pitch:
A fat, omnipotent kid travels through time and space eating lollipops, saving historical figures, bopping various beasties or supernatural figures, and breaking the hearts of legions of swooning ladies. He occasionally performs said feats dressed as the Fat Fury, a bespectacled superhero with a plunger on his head. It’s possibly the best comic book in the universe.

Marvel Smartass: What comics are at the top of your “must read” list now?
Batman and Robin, by Grant Morrison and a rotating team of artists, is one of the best comics I’ve read in a long time. It’s truly fantastic, and fun in a way Batman books haven’t been in a long time.

Booster Gold
is one of the better DC books out right now. It’s more rewarding the more you know about the DC universe, though, so your mileage may vary.

Power Girl
, by Jimmy Palmiotti and Amanda Conner has been great also. They took a sexist, one-note character and rebuilt her into the star on one of the most purely fun titles DC has on the stands. I haven’t been keeping up on much Marvel stuff since Incredible Hercules ended. I’m really looking forward to seeing what their Heroic Age storyline brings to the table, though.
Marvel Smartass: Give me the opening paragraph to the Legion of Super Heroes rejection letter to Arm Fall-Off Boy. 🙂

Steve Downer: Actually, I’ve got the whole thing here in my files. I’ll just transcribe it. (It’s written in Interlac, so my translation software might be a little iffy…)

Legion of Super-Heroes

1 Legion Loop, Metropolis, USA, Earth
Mr. Floyd Belkin 
(a.k.a. Arm-Fall-off Boy)
1277 Merkin Arms Rd., Apt. L, Merkinton, Lallor

Dear Mr. Belkin,

we are sorry to inform you that you have been summarily rejected for entrance into the Legion of Super-Heroes. 
In a rare unanimous vote, the leadership council of the Legion moved to deny you membership on the grounds of “excessive creepiness”, “comparative uselessness” and “seriously, you guys, that is just SO CREEPY”.
We respectfully request that you never return to the Legion clubhouse, and wish you luck in all your future endeavors.
The Legion of Super-Heroes Leadership Council
(Cosmic Boy, Lightning Lad and Saturn Girl)
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You should be following … 1979 Semi-Finalist!

This is the first installment of a periodic “flash review” of a Web site I love and think you may love, too.

Kelly Thompson, author of She Has No Head! at Comics Should Be Good and creator of the blog, 1979 Semi-Finalist, where she writes about women in comics. And, these are only a few of her many other projects.

Kelly has a unique review style. In a manner that is at once entertaining and insightfuly, Kelly takes on monthly solicits from DC and Marvel from the perspective of someone looking for positive portrayals of women in comics.

Okay, confession time. As a single man, I enjoyed my fair share (along with Catholic guilt) of comic cheesecake. But, as the father of two young girls, I worry about their body image and about their ability to find positive female role models in life, books, TV and, yes, comics. So, I find Kelly’s thoughts very interesting. Check out her comments on the June solicits …

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I’m Victor Von Doom, I am …

Anyone else want to see this conversation put to music and covered by Herman’s Hermits?

I’m Victor Van Doom, I am. Victor Von Dom, I am, I am …

I became ruler of the kingdom next door,
I’ve conquered it 7 times before …

And, every time there was an enemy…RICHARDS!
Couldn’t be Avengers or Spider-Man!

 It’s the 8th time I’m ruler, Victor!
Victor Von Doom, I am, I am …
Victor Von Doom, I am!

Posted in Comic Book Humor, Comic Books, Comics, Fantastic Four, Marvel Comics, She-Hulk | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

A Hawkeye & Mockingbird Moment: You can stick it!

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Sasquatch comments on the Guardians of the Globe PR campaign

Now, Mr. Walter Langkowski (AKA Sasquatch of Alpha Flight) is too much of a gentleman to out-and-out accuse the new Guardians of the Globe (whose ad campaign already feels a little familiar) of plagarism, but … he ain’t too happy.

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That’s Marvel BadAss! ~ Week Sixteen ~ Marc Basile!

Several weeks ago, I featured the pop-art stylings of artist Marc Basile on That’s Marvel BadAss! Marc was kind enough to reach out for a thank you and we agreed upon an interview. I was excited as I am obviously a fan of his work and as I was able to find out so little about him on the ol’ InterWeb. I had no idea the inspirational experience I was going to have as I sat down to read Marc’s answer to the first questions.

This interview is a long one, kids, but read it all. Look at the art. You’ll thank me. And, then, you’ll want to e-mail C.B. Cebulski and get Marc a cover gig at the House of Ideas.

And, before I forget, Marc just launched his own blog, so swing on by or see his previous stylings at Kirby Vision.

Marvel Smartass: Hey, Marc! What’s your training? What was your path to becoming and artist and then an art instructor?

Marc Basile: I’ve been drawing ever since I can remember. That’s really been my life for 46 years, so I guess it was only natural that I became an artist. I attended the School of Visual Arts in New York City and obtained my BFA from there in 1985. Following my graduation, I worked for such companies as Scholastic Books, Macy’s and IZOD Lacoste. I’ve designed everything from giftwrap paper to t-shirt designs, so I’ve worn many hats.

After my daughter was born, I became a stay-at-home dad for 11 years and then I just kind of fell into my position as a professor at Sussex County Community College in New Jersey. Two years ago, an accident left me paralyzed from mid-chest on down. I can’t move my ‑fingers and it’s very diffi­cult to draw with a pencil, but I can still “draw” and create with a mouse! As one can see my artistic abilities have carried me very far, they’ve even helped me keep my sanity so to speak.

Marvel Smartass: How long did it take you to rehab to the point at which you could draw with a mouse? Did comics play a role in helping with that?

Marc Basile: My injury was at the C4 level of my spine. It all depends where the damage to the spinal column occurred. As far as comics and my artwork playing a role in my rehab, they were a huge factor.

Prior to my injury, I became involved with the creative writing club on campus- Author’s Ink. It was my intention of teaming up the graphic design club (of which I was a co-advisor), The Design Squad, with them and perhaps “publish” an illustrated anthology of their writings. For one reason or other it never happened, but I did team up with one of the club members, a young man named Jonathan Petry. Jon is a very talented writer/musician and we decided to do something creative with his words and my pictures. It turned out to be a very successful venture and we were planning on a second edition, but then life bit back at me and I wasn’t sure if that second edition would ever come to fruition.

When I ­finally returned home from the hospital and the rehabilitation center two-and-a-half months later, I bought a tracking ball type mouse, forced myself back to work and within a few months Jon and I had our second collaboration. Through all of this, Jon has become a really good friend of mine and I think we’ve learned a lot about our individual talents and how our works inspire other people.

Marvel Smartass: How much does your passion for comics bleed over into your instruction at Sussex Community College? What reaction do you get from your students?

Marc Basile: Quite a few students of mine are comic book “geeks” and it’s great to be able to talk shop about that graphic medium with them.

Marvel Smartass: So, where did your love of all things King Kirby begin? What was your “gateway drug” to Kirby Krackle?

Marc Basile: I first became hooked on comics when I was twelve. Growing up in the New York area, I would watch a kid’s show on Sunday mornings called “Wonderama.”

One week, in the summer of 1975, Stan Lee and John Romita were on talking about Marvel and they drew me right in. I was always aware of Jack’s contributions to the early Marvel mythos and around this time I came across a copy of New Gods #5. All I could think was wow! The art and story scared the “blank” out of me! The picture of that creature at the end and the depiction of the promethean galaxy…to this day when I see them I get weak in the knees.

Then along came the Eternals and 2001: A Space Odyssey series and I just ate them up and it was probably around that time that I definitely knew I wanted to be an illustrator. I am sorry to say that in the decades that followed my dedication to comics waxed and waned and it wasn’t until I bought a copy of The Jack Kirby Collector #15 and saw the pencil versions of Kirby’s artwork, that there was a resurgence of my love for comic art.

Marvel Smartass: Who are your favorite comic book characters?

Mac Basile: I would have to say my favorite characters are the original X-Men. I don’t know why, I just like them. I wanted to name my daughter Pheonix, but my wife wouldn’t go for it.

Marvel Smartass: What comics are you reading now?

Marc Basile: I am enjoying the Marvels Project and Captain America though. I also recently picked up Craig Russell’s hardcover books of his opera and fairy tale adaptations and I was really impressed by that concept.

Marvel Smartass: Which working artists inspire you now? Are any of the game-changes or genre-generators like Kirby?

Marc Basile: I really admire the work of Darwyn Cooke, Tim Sale, Paul Pelletier, Steve Epting and John Bryne (who has been a big influence on me probably second to Jack Kirby). I don’t know if I’m 100% correct when I say this, but anyone who is a serious comic artist has been touched by Jack in some way or another.

Marvel Smartass: Alright, final question … High Father and The Unimind are playing hearts against Galactus and Darkseid for the Anti-Life Equation. Who would win?

Marc Basile: Reed Richards (with a bit of help from the Watcher, of course).

Posted in Comic Art, Comic Book Humor, Comic Books, Comic Illustration, Comics, Jack Kirby, Marvel Comics | Tagged , , , , , | 4 Comments

In space … no one can tell you your mullet is fabulous …

Poor Sue Storm. She is a character who has suffered greatly, but this injustice?

John Byrne is one of my favorite illustrators ever, but he should be kept far, far away from Bryant Park for his multitude of super heroic fashion faux pas … Please, John, don’t EVER be a hair stylist. Like, ever.

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Crime Does Not Pay, But Neither Does Crimefighting …

We have our priorities way, way out of order in this country when it comes to compensating those on which order and society rely … teachers, police officers, soldiers, EMTs, santitation workers … and AVENGERS!?!?!

Seriously, how many times has Beast helped save the world…and he’s keeping the few pennies he’s got in a piggy bank? Oh man! This guy is a genius scientist AND a super hero. What chance do the poor rubes the Avengers are saving have if Earth’s Mightiest Heroes are on welfare? Saly enough this little scene is about Hank McCoy trying to help Cap scrape together some dough to go rescue the Falcon … yipes! Didn’t Cap have a savings account in teh 40s that should be worth freakin’ millions by now?

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Hawkeye & Mockingbird Moment: Ex-Boyfriend Drama

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The D in D.C. is for “Demon”

Okay, so I know I’m supposed to be a “Marvel” smartass, but the truth is that I find a lot to love in the history of the Distinguished Competition — most notably the creations of Jack Kirby during his 70s stint.

Mr. Miracle, Forever People, New Gods, Kamandi, O.M.A.C. … I love them all. And, I am extremely protective. Not everyone can “get” Kirby — Simonson, Byrne, Cooke, Mignola, Sioli do nice interpretations. But, when other artists try to take on the King, they fail.

But, Jesus Saiz on the cover of “The Brace & The Bold” … sick. Massel tov, Jesus! This cover is incredible.

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The “Oh So Short” Avengers

Over the last several weeks, has been putting up the 2003 “Red Zone” issues of The Avengers by Geoff Johns and Oliver Copiel LONG before visions of Blackest Nights and Sieges were dancing through our heads. Poised just a year before “Dissassembled,” these issues offer a truly different take on Earth’s Mightiest Heroes. While the issues are not without flaws, there are some really cool images and moments contained withing this bioterror/Red Skull storyline.

First off, I loved the radical, military take Copiel took to redesign Ms. Marvel, Ant-Man, Scarlet Witch, Black Panther and … sniff … Jack of Hearts. I never had any use for Jack before this arc … and, then, a few issues later, he was gone.  This was not your daddy’s avengers … with some B-characters like Scott Lang and Falcon … and that was interesting.

I have a feeling Ms. Marvel fans didn’t like the football pads, but I found them rather fitting for an ex-military gal with an inferiority complex.

Johns and Copiel also took some pains to emphasize that Vision is a synthezoid and isn’t like us. (Byrne played with this a lot in Avengers West Coast.) That led to these moments of tom-coolery …

What nice eyes you have …

And, then, of course there was this. Ooooooooh …

This was an interesting and inventive and, sadly, forgotten period of real promise in the Avengers universe. After “Red Zone” wrapped up in #70, we had a rather mature romp to The Vegas with Jan Van Dyne and Hank “My Last Name Also Has a Y In It” Pym … and then a change of artist to Scott Kolins with the search for the She-Hulk  and a trip to Merry Ol’ England … and then … the day the Scarlet Witch went gonzo. This was a short period in Avengers history, but I dug it. It was a neat idea that came just before a ginormous idea.

Anyone remember the new Captain Britain? Yeah, I liked her, too … I hope for the “Heroic Age!” Bring back Kelsey!

Posted in Avengers, Comic Book Humor, Comic Books, Comics, Marvel Comics, Ms. Marvel, She-Hulk, The Heroic Age | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

A wow moment … from Colleen Coover!

Wow. So, this morning began by opening an e-mail and finding the art below by Colleen Coover to post on my daughters’ Web site, 5 Minute Marvels! How cool is that!?!?

Not as cool as Colleen, who is as nice a person as she is awesome an artist. Check out her now book at Marvel, Girl Comics and head on over to Colleen’s Web site for a look at her creator-owned work, as well!


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Why I Love Marvel Comics! Avengers #236

Back in my 30th birthday ode to the Jade Giantess,  I revealed my “conversion comic” — the one that started the snowball rolling down the hill — Avengers #236. And, what’s not to love!?!? Just check out this panel and think about it.

A gamma irradiated bombshell in a leotard and leg warmers fights side by side with unfrozen World War II vet and embodiment of the American spirit and a lotahrio from teh other side of the universe whose powers  are … in addition to strength, flight and minor invunlerability … being really really good with chicks against an army of pink lava men who stopped by the mall on the way to attack the Avengers to pick up matching purple speedos. And, get this, the reader’s voice in all of this — the voice of reason — is a teenager who was given super powers by a radioactive spider. Mr. Spider-Man, after reading this comic … I believe in lava men, too.

And, this is just the tip of the iceberg for this comic, gorgeously drawn and inked  by the powerhouse team of Al Migrom and Joe Sinnott. (The seed of my devotion to West Coast Avengers was planted here). Before the story is done, we find out the Moonstone, Blackout, Rhino and Electro are all being incarcertaed here … in a federal prison/research facility … just where you want to house badass dudes who are bent on taking over the world … yep, I was hooked in one issue.

(P.S. Honestly, they had me on page two, where She-Hulk jumps out of a hot tub and frightens Jarvis with her gigantic nakedness.)

Posted in Avengers, Captain America, Comic Book Humor, Comic Books, Comics, Marvel Comics, She-Hulk, Spider-Man | Tagged , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

An H&M Moment: Nice call, Nostradamus!

In honor of the announcement of the Hawkeye & Mockingbird ongoing over at the House of Ideas, we here at SmartassCo have made the decision to merge our “Mockingbird Moment” and “Hawkeye Holla'” segments in an effort to blatantly copy what Marvel is doing. After all, that’s the American way.

Posted in Avengers, Comic Book Humor, Comic Books, Comics, Hawkeye, Marvel Comics, Mockingbird | Tagged , , , | 3 Comments

That’s Marvel BadAss! – Week Fifteen!

Come on guys, this wasn’t even a contest … For me, a 20+ year Hawkeye and Mockingbird fan, yesterday’s announcement by Marvel that @JimMcCann and @DavizLopez are bringing us an ongoing Hawk and Mock series this spring was like comic book Christmas!

It’s been a long 7 years since the “death” of Clint Barton, Hawkeye, at the kick-off of “Avengers Dissassembled.” Now, an argument can be made that all of the suffering we Hawkeye fans have gone through was a masterplan to ascend Clint into the pantheon of truly great Marvel heroes.

I understand that tactic and I love the result … but, for me, Clint already WAS in the pantheon of Marvel’s heroes. But, today, it’s undeniable — THE PURPLE ONE IS BACK AND HE IS RESPLENDENT! And, his equally kick ass partner is right along side him.

Honestly, Jim and David will be terrific on this. Whether “New Avengers: The Reunion” was your cup of tea or not, you can’t deny that those two have a great reverence and knowledge of Bobbi and Clint. And, they cram a lot of fun and story into an issue. Am I a McFann? You betcha. Is it a little sickening? Probably. Can I wait until June to see the birds back in action? ‘Gonna be really, really hard.

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Valkyrie! by Cate (4), Grace (6) and Dad

Hey, Smartasses! If you haven’t swung by the new blog my girls and I put up,, to see our kid/adult fan art! And, for heaven’s sake … find a kid, grab a pencil and contribute some comic art!

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Why I Love Marvel Comics ~ Iron Man #127

Today, Marvel Digi-Comics put up Iron Man #127 where the ol’ Shellhead fights … well … everyone in an “iron melee.” It’s like a who’s who of Iron Man, which is to say … a confederacy of dunces. Now, I personally like them for their cheesiness, but it’s not exactly, say, Bat-Man’s Rogues Gallery. Seriously, someone paid Leap Frog to take to take down the Iron Man. And,  (I love it), but the Beetle costume with the purple fire hose fingers wouldn’t scare a kindergartner.  

 And, what the hell is with Bob Layton’s version of the Porcupine costume with the tail for a mouth!?!?! Dude, he IS a porcupine. He’s not EATING a porcupine!

And, then there’s this dude. Seriously, you’re too sad to mock. So, you threw your disucs, Roid Oid. Now what!?!?

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I Love Iron Man … Da Da Da Da Da Duh Duh Duh

Okay, after “Matrix: Reloaded” treated me like Scott Summers treated Jean Grey’s memory, I promised myself never to fall in love with a sequel again based on a trailer. But, I’m ready to love again. Still buzzing from Downey, Jr.’s Christmas offering of Sherlock Holmes and basking in the glory of the suitcase armor tranformation … I’ll throw caution to the wind and declare — “I love you Tony Stark!”

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BIG week for our little blog …

Last week, my daughters, Grace (6) and Cate (4) and I started a new blog … 5 Minute Marvels. Each night, we spend just 5 minutes drawing a super hero or a super villain. Until Wednesday, our average visits were at 5 per day … my mom. On Wednesday, @Chrissamnee and @JimMcCann shared it with their peeps and today, a story by Chris Mautner at Robot 6. And, boom! A few more than 5 visits today … 🙂

The girls and I hope you’ll hop over to 5 Minute Marvels and check it out and … more importantly … pick up a pencil and join us!

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That’s Marvel BadAss! ~ Week 14 … KIRBY VISION!

Scroll down and you’ll see that I have a deep and abiding love for all things Kirby … but, I’m a neophyte compared to Jason Garrattley, the editor of the KirbyVision fan art blog … a site often tinged with brilliance … over at the Kirby Museum site. I reached out across the Atlantic this week to the land of the Union Jack to catch up with Jason and find out why he, too, is addicted to Kirby Krackle!  (And, don’t miss Jason’s other blog … Between Clark and Hilldale … a great blog for retro designers.)

Marvel SmartAss: Where did your love of King Kirby start?

Jason Garrattley: It was the early eighties through Marvel UK’s black and white reprints. I think it was the Black Panther story “Kings Solomon’s Frog” where I began to notice Jack’s work. It was full of all these bizarre characters and the art was so energetic and fluid. I was also rather fond of Devil Dinosaur, which is a fantastic story for a ten-year old, full of fighting dinosaurs and volcano’s erupting in the background. Marvel UK also produced a series of A5 sized pocket books and I collected the Fantastic Four and Captain America titles. The reproduction was sometimes so awful that you could barely read some of the panels, but Jack’s art was so bold it transcended the shoddy format. 

Marvel SmartAss: What do you enjoy most about Kirby’s art and his creations? Why do they endure?

Jason Garrattley: Well, he had such a great sense of design and he rarely drew a dull panel. I’ve recently been looking at his romance comics, which are basically just people standing around talking, but they are so beautifully rendered. The drapery is masterful. Like most fans I love all that weird technology of the super-hero books and the action is so full of movement. His art is really rewarding to look at and it’s fascinating to see how his style changed throughout his career.

As for his creations, they’ve endured because they are archetypes. Everyone recognizes who the good and the bad guys are, they lack any real sophistication but are the purest way of communicating with the reader. I’m sure Jack knew this because he wasn’t averse to recycling his own ideas.

Marvel SmartAss: What led you to create Kirby Vision? Were you affiliated with the Kirby Museum from the start? If not, how did you strike up the partnership?

Jason Garrattley: I think the catalyst was a desire to submit something to Robert Goodin’s Covered blog. I worked up a rendition of Challengers of the Unknown #4 in Photoshop. It was essentially a loose trace and I decided not to submit it but I had enjoyed submersing myself in Jack’s art while I’d created it. I realised that numerous artists had felt this sense of enjoyment as it’s quite common to find artwork that emulates Jack’s style. It’s almost a secret language that has crept into popular culture, the zenith being the Ben 10 cartoon series which is full of Kirby design references. I was surprised to find that there wasn’t a website or blog that collected all these tribute pieces so I decided to create my own. I have to give credit to Brendan Tobin and Pedro Delgado’s March MODOK Madness and Michael Cho’s Tony Stark: Your Go To Guy which were direct models of what became known as The Kirby Project. To get a flavour of the type of work I wanted to feature I began by posting my own Photoshop collages. I then contacted artists that I had found through Flickr and DeviantArt and requested permission to post their Kirby related artwork. I did my best to promote the blog wherever I could and after a while I began to receive submissions. The Kirby Project ran for four months before Rand Hoppe invited me to curate the blog from the umbrella of the Kirby Museum website. Of course I was honoured to do so and after a quick name change to Kirby-Vision the blog continued and is rapidly approaching it’s first Birthday.

Marvel Smartass: How can people get involved with your site?

Jason Garrattley: You can contact me via the email link in the Contribute section in the side bar. There aren’t any vigorous submission guidelines. If Jack’s work has inspired you to put pen to paper or to make a collage or to recreate one of your favorite covers through the medium of mime then that’s all you need to get involved. A short bio and any information regarding the submission that would be a great help too.

Marvel SmartAss: Which do you prefer … Jack’s first tenure at Marvel? His Second? His time at DC? His independent creations?

Jason Garrattley: It has to be Marvel in the 60’s. Even though Jack and Stan Lee belonged to the previous generation their energy and drive made Marvel synonymous with all that was hip and happening in the music, art and film industries. We all know that the legacy of those years brought a lot of pain to Jack and he was never truly rewarded for his ingenuity but that period cemented his reputation as one of comics greatest innovators and in my opinion one of the 20th century’s most important artists.

Marvel SmartAss: What comics are you reading now?

Jason Garrattley: I’m enamored by the work of Osamu Tezuka, particularly Buddha, MW and Ode to Kirihito. When you read Tezuka you realize that western comics have only begun to discover the possibilities of the medium. The Walking Dead is the scariest comic book EVER. The sense of dread and hopelessness is so tangible that every turn of the page forces you to confront your own worst fears. Criminal by Brubaker and Phillips is streets ahead of the game when it comes to crime comics. David Lapham’s Young Liars was visceral and daring, one of my favorite titles of the last couple of years. I love the Modesty Blaise newspaper strips from the Evening Standard. I grew up reading 2000AD and I’m enjoying the phonebook sized reprint volumes of Judge Dread, Nemesis, Ro-Busters and Strontium Dog. Just lately, I’ve been re-reading Gilbert Hernandez’s Palomar and Luba collections. I love his characterization, even the most minor players seem fully formed on the page. I must also recommend Men of Tomorrow by Gerard Jones and Tales to Astonish by Ronin Ro, two fantastic accounts of the rise, fall and rise again of the comics industry and Jack’s ever-changing roles within it.

Marvel Smartass: Final Question — In a tag team cage match pitting O.M.A.C. and Etrigan vs. Devil Dinosaur and Machine Man … who would win? Why?

Jason Garrattley: That’s a tough one to call but it may look something like this…

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Mockingbird Moment: Take this Stave and Shove It!

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That’s Marvel BadAss! ~ Week Thirteen!

So, I’m a little late with That’s Marvel BadAss this week … my apologies, I am working on some future interviews… and they’re still percolating.

But, that gives me the opportunity to offer up some quick shots on some bloggers and artists you should check out, like, as soon as you stop reading this.

First up — MARCH M.O.D.O.K. MADNESS. If you visit this blog with any frequency, you’ll know I’m a big fan of blogger/artist Brendan Tobin and of the Mental Organism Designed Only for Killing. Put those two together, add some Pedro Delgado and the considerable talents of many artists and you get a magnificent month-long celebration of all things M.O.D.O.K. Visit the site now! 

NEXT UP: DAILY SKETCHJAM! Thanks to the boys over at Comic TWART, I have added Daily Sketchjam to the sites I make point to visit early and often. There’s a lot of goodness to be had there, but my standout favorite has been the work of Ryan Cody. He has an easy, effortless style and is able to pull a lot of character out of his quick sketches. But, the best I’ve seen is this recent bust of the only and only Luke Cage. This kind of has a “Power Man Meets Fat Albert” quality that a really dig.

Check out Ryan’s work, and that of many others, at Daily Sketchjam here.

FINALLY: COVERED! If you a little trip over to the blog, Covered!, isn’t on your daily “To Do” list … um … why not! Blog editor Robert Goodwin has created an incredible place where artists of all skill levels and styles come to pay homage to the work of the past and redesign classic comic book covers. It’s almost impossible to pick one that stands out above all the rest … but, I will. Anthony Vukojevich’s interpretation of the cover of Fantastic Four #26 hits this old NES/Atari fan boy in just the right spot. No lie… how much would you pay to play this video game. It would be on like Donkey Kong! (Ooh… that would bad.)

Chiggady-chiggady-check our Covered! right here!

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Why I Love Marvel Comics: Marvel Two-In-One #43

This may be my favorite Marvel panel … ever. Leave it to Marvel’s long-time editor, Ralph Macchio, to put our words in Ben Grimm’s mouth. [Begin sarcasm.] What’s so odd,  Benny? It’s just your typical day when a sentient pile of orange rocks wakes up in a swamp where a reincarnated man named Jude who is, in fact, the undead embodiment of entropy looks on as a former scientist turned swamp monster reaches for a floating cube that contains the power to warp reality as two men endowed by a “super soldier formula,” one from WWII who was frozen in a block of ice and freed by the Price of Atlantis just in time to be discovered by a newly formed team of costumed adventurers just passing by in a sub … the other an aged scientist obsessed with gladiators … fight in the background. If I had a nickel for every time  …[End sarcasm.]

You’re the best, Ralph!

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Hawkeye Holla’! ~ Handlin’ Your Business with Class

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Why I Love Marvel Comics: Incredible Hulk #290

Do I even needs to say it? It’s a two-panel spread with A.I.M. beekeepers worshipping a female M.O.D.O.K.  Now, that I’ve seen ths … I may just have to stop reading comics. I’ve been to the end.

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UPDATED! Mighty Marvel Mustache Brigade

So… in my job, I spend a lot of time in my car … and that leads to lots of time for the mind to wander. On a trip back from the Blue Ridge Mountains last Friday, I began to think about all the fantastic folicles that permeate the Marvel U. We know the good guys have the secret Illuminati … and the bad guys the Cabal and the Intellegensia … why not a secret society of heroes AND villains that secretly wish to be Magnum P.I.? It make sense when you think about it. Or, when you drink several Cokes and drive home after a long day…

UPDATE! I was corrected by my bloggin’ buddy, Brendan Tobin — creator of March M.O.D.O.K. Madness — that Angar the Screamer was a member of the hallowed MMMB ranks … but, he was dishonorably discharged when he and and a wasted Ted Nugent were caught licking Iron Man’s repulsors and sorting blow off of the back of the Eye of Agamotto.


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Thank you, Mr.Postman!

Today, there was a little packet of awesomeness that traveled all the way from France waiting for me in the mail — original art from Dan Christensen, who was featured for That’s Marvel BadAss! a few weeks back. When putting that together, I was reallly taken with Dan’s drawing of the original Stan Lee/Jack Kirby X-Men … and now it’s mine! Bwa-ha-ha-ha-ha! (Okay, I’ll share the love. Click here for a super embiggened version.)

And, now you can have original Dan Christensen art of your very own. Visit his Etsy site — lots of the superhero alphabet pieces are there and much more!

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Mockingbird Moment – Take THAT, English Major!

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Who’s Still Sittin’ on the Bench? THE RANGERS!

Dear Marvel — One Halloween upon a time, a little boy growing up in Nashville was given a copy of Incredible Hulk #265 at the coolest … and apparently most controversial … house in the city. The issue was drawn by the incomparable Al Milgrom and written by the delightfully absurd Bill Mantlo. It starred a make-shift group of Texas heroes named, appropriately enough, The Rangers. And, though the Rangers were hopelessly outmatched and easily defeated by the Green Goliath … that little boy was enraptured. They popped up again in West Coast Avenger #8 … and then briefly in the 50 States Initiative … but, it’s high time they had a mini.

Now, I’m Southern (not “Texas Southern,” but “Southern Southern” just the same) and I’d like to throw my hat in the ring. So, give me a holler, ya’ hear? Yee … and, may I add … Haw!

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T-T-T-Tobin! Brendan Tobin Creates Kirby Krackle


Today, one of my favorite bloggers/artists, Brendan Tobin, posted this incredible color/ink work he did to a rough sketch Jack Kirby created for a Hawkman animated series pitch. Now, Mr. Tobin is a very talented artist in his own right, but his love of the King shines through on this and shows how dynamic Kirby’s work can be when coupled with strong inks and vibrant colors. Check out Brendan’s process on the piece and his original works at


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Marvel Two-In-One ~ Mantis!

One Hero. Two Kids. One Dad. Five Minutes. That’s all!

Tonight, we rocket into the stratosphere with the Celestial Madonna  herself, Mantis. I’ve thought Mantis was cool since her days cruising the universe with the Silver Surfer and kicking galactic booty with her karmic kung fu. And, now I know two little girls who think chicks with antennae rock.

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Mockingbird Moment #3: Wardrobe Malfunction

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That’s Marvel BadAss! ~ Week Twelve


Last week, folks were all-a-tweeting about a super-cool fan posters of ROM, Spaceknight created for the Bill Mantlo tribute, Spacenite 2, put on by the awesome folks at Floating World of Comics. Click the link and fall in love … I dare you.

The standout for me was the work of Tom Whalen – a master at combining comic and pop culture art with the WPA artistic style — a personal favorite. He is an incredibly talented artist. And, that got me thinking it was time to move this weekly feature forward and find out a little more about the artists we feature each week. Visit his Deviant Art page and his personal Web site, And, learn more about him here …

Marvel Smartass: Hey Tom, what’s your background? How did you get into graphic design?

Tom Whalen: My earliest recollection of paying attention to art came (oddly enough) in my grandmother’s candy store. I killed countless Sunday afternoons sitting on a weathered old stepladder reading the Spider-Man, GI Joe, Transformers and Avengers comics she had stocked on the spinner rack.

Eventually, that love of comic art inspired me to start drawing. The issues of The Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe and DC’S Who’s Who that she graciously gave to me were literally invaluable.

As high school began to draw to a close — and, after years of drawing every variety of things superheroic, monstrous and robotic — my mom saw my passion and suggested I take a look at art schools. Kutztown University suited all of my needs and turned out to be a fantastic place to learn not just drawing skills, but understand the power of typography and the fundamentals of solid layout. When I graduated, I found work as a graphic designer for almost five years before landing a full-time editorial illustration gig, where I’ve been for the past eight and a half years.

Marvel Smartass: WPA style seems to be making a bit of a comeback lately. What about it drew you to that artistic genre? Click here for more information on this style dating back to the 30s.

Tom Whalen: WPA-style posters are timeless in their elegance and execution. I think the fact that a 70 year-old style still looks fresh is a testament to that. I’ve always been a geek for complex concepts boiled down to as-simple-as-possible images.

Marvel Smartass: Who are your favorite heroes and villans to draw? Why?

Tom Whalen: As far as heroes go (and this probably sounds pretty cliche), I love to draw Batman. It’s the cape. And, the logo. And, the gloves. And, the mask. I never tire of trying new takes on him. My favorite villain to draw would have to be Skeletor. I’ve illustrated him twice in the past year and I just don’t tire of taking new stabs at him.

You didn’t ask, but if I had to pick a least favorite character to draw, it’d be Voltron. Hands down. I’ve also illustrated him twice recently (once for a private commission and once for  a Nicktoons calendar), and if I never have to draw him or all of those wretched teeny tiny folded down lion legs again, I can assuredly die happy.

Marvel Smartass: Are you a comic book fan? If so, what was the first comic you remember reading? What books do you read now?

Tom Whalen: I love comics. The first book I can remember reading (in my grandmother’s store, nonetheless) is an issue of Amazing Spider-Man that featured the Hobgoblin. I always loved those old webslinger stories because the villains truly felt dangerous. 

Right now, I’m reading (and loving)  Walking Dead, Kick-Ass, Blackest Night, Punisher and Robocop.

Marvel Smartass: Who are your favorite comic artists?

Tom Whalen: In no particular order: Leinyl Yu, Darwyn Cooke, Art Adams, Todd McFarlane, Jim Lee, Mike Mignola, Rick Leonardi, John Byrne, Tony Moore, Bryan Hitch, John Romita, Jr., Chris Warner, Alan Davis, Kelley Jones and Zach Howard.

Marvel Smartass: What advice do you have for people who love art, but are self-conscious about dipping their toes into graphic design?

Tom Whalen: I look at illustration, fine art, typography, photography and design as different musicians. Each can create something unique on their own, independent of each other. But together, they can create something altogether amazing and beautiful when they are in harmony with one another.

Marvel Smartass: Just one more question — Iron Man- Clunky original or sleek iPod modern design?

Tom Whalen: I’ve loved just about all of Iron Man’s armor designs through the years (my favorite: Silver Centurion), but if Ihad to choose between the two, I’m going clunky old school.

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Marvel Two-In-One – The Black Knight!

One Hero. One Kid. One Dad. Five Minutes. That’s all!

In honor of my favorite underutilized Avenger, Gracie and Cate decided to take on The Black Knight. Unfortunately, on the way to the sketch session with Gracie, The Knight stopped by a Vegas 24-hour buffet … for a week. We’re going to have to let his chain mail out … poor lamb. And, yes … he has the Visitors symbol for a nose.

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Who’s Your Favorite Avenger Still Sitting on the Bench?

Which former Avenger do you want to see back in the ranks of “Earth’s Mightiest Heroes”? Who’s ready for prime time, but stuck on the graveyard shift?

C'Mon, Marvel! This man deserves to be riding shotgun in a Quinjet!

The Avengers have undertaken quite a journey over the past 7 years, and all signs point to them continuing to sit atop the Marvel empire for years to come. While the House of Ideas is drumming up excitement for Avengers and Secret Avengers.

Since Hawkeye and Mockingbird have popped up in the recent promos and have been active members of New Avengers over the last year, I find my thoughts wandering to one Dane Whitman, the Black Knight. He was always a favorite of mine, culminating with his suffering the curse of the Ebony Blade when Namor used it to slay a mutated Marinna. But, since then, I find him criminally used — rocking out the leather jacket and the lightsabre/sun sword in the 90s and becoming a working joe in “Heroes for Hire.” Now, he’s cool in MI-13 (which I assume he’ll still be a part of), but this guy deserves another shot at the big time. I want to see him one breath away from Avengers chairmanship.

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Marvel Two-In-One ~ Behold! Doctor Doom!

One Villain. One Kid. One Dad. Five Minutes. That’s all!

Attention mere mortals and citizens of Latveria! Tonight, the Lady Grace has decreed: This eve, shall we draw Victor Von Doom! And lo, shall those who witness quake with terror! I know I’m her dad, but Grace’s Doom is good. I am proud and terrified all in the same moment.

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Why I Love Marvel Comics: Astonishing Tales #13

Wow! That's some six pack on a scientist/hired muscle.

Okay, so I love Mockingbird. We’ve established that, right? Well, long before “Astonishing” was a brand name for a new line of Marvel Comics, it was part of the title “Astonishing Tales,” a comic that spent a lot of time on Ka-Zar and gave birth to one S.H.E.I.L.D. agent/super biologist gymnast, Bobbi Morse. And, Bobbi’s origin just so happens to correspond with an appearance of another of my Marvel passions, A.I.M. beekepers. So it stands to reason I have a great affection for Astonishing Tales #13. And this two panel snippet shows why …

Put yourself in a beekeeper’s position:  You’re good with math. You excel at physics. You skip prom to attend a LEXX convention. You get a scholarship and then a fellowship. And, then, a gigantic floating head recruits you to split atoms, carry a gun and get beaten up my the myriad heroes of the Marvel U. Such is the life of a beekeper. And, this is no exception as this poor dude, who finds himself out of the lab and face to face with a sabretooth in a primordial jungle. As we say in the South … bless his heart.

Oh, and kudos to Zabu for showing restraint and only tearing the guys’ shirt. You go, big cat!

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Happy Valentines Day!

It’s Valentine’s Day … not my favorite holiday. But, I did have a great dinner with the wife and found a perfect excuse to wax eloquent about my favorite couples in the Marvel Universe.

If you’ve spent any time on this site, you know that means Hawkeye and Mockingbird. And, it has been since Hawk and Mock got hitched in Vegas & jumped in the heart shaped tub. I confess to being a bit of a romantic and these two had me at, “Hello.” I know they’ve been tagged as the “Mr. and Mrs. Smith” of Marvel, but, to me, they’re the Sawyer and Juliet — two damaged, but noble people who found each other and make one helluva team.

But, who else? Peter and Mary Jane. Sue and Reed. Rogue and Gambit. Hulkling and Wiccan. Tony and Pepper. Cap and Agent 13. Surfer and Shalla Bal. Phyla and Moondragon. Bah! Easy. Who are the unsung romances of the Marvel U.

The original Marvel “Bro-mance.” Yeah, yeah … Beast loved Dazzler and Wondy fell for the Scarlet Witch, but let’s be real. Nothing compared to the brotherly love shared by a They went drinking. They saw movies.  They died and mutated. Please, Heroic Age, we want a reunion!

Okay, so this is like the perfect relationship for Medusa. The man cannot talk. He just has to listen to her. I hate to say it, but I think my wife would adore this arrangement. I don’t quite have the upper body of Black Bolt, but milady does have red hair …


Jack Kirby loved playing with big, big emotions. And, nothing compared to the bond shared by a vicious, yet oddly tender giant reptile and a Rick Jones archetype as the missing link. Too bad Devil ate Moonboy in the unpublished 10th issue.


It’s like the Marvel U. version of  “She’s All That.” Geeky, skinny girl, “Skeeter” is transported to an alien battleworld where Dr. Doom transforms her into Anna Nicole Smith with superpowers. So, she starts dating a jailbird blessed with magical abilities by Loki. Remember: The couple that beats She-Hulk to a pulp together, stays together.

Sure, on the surface, it just looks like he wants to EAT the Earth. But, let’s get real. There are millions of planets out there he could tap. But, he keeps coming back. He sends heralds. He makes demands. He takes up residence. And, every time the Earth plays hard to get and sends him packing … he comes back for more. Baby, that’s codependance.

Move over Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver. Andrea and Andreas von Strucker must be in physical contact to make their powers work. (‘Cause, that’s not weird.) And, when Andrea is killed, well … her dear brother tans her skin and wraps it around a sword handle so he can adventure on and work with Norman Osborn to earn a clone of her. Ew.

Guys … I gotta’ go. I’m gettin’ misty over here.

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A Mockingbird Moment – The Bitch Goes “Blam!”

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Double-Sized Marvel Two-In-One ~ M.O.D.O.K. & A.I.M.

Today, the lady Gracie decided to look into the face of super science villany and draw what she saw there… What can I say, the girl loves her some Mobile Organism Designed Only for Killing. Clearly, I am parent of the year.

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That’s Marvel BadAss! ~ Week Eleven

My fellow smartasses, this Thursday feature, where I set the sarcasm aside and highlight both established and aspiring creators has become my favorite post of the week. I hope you’re havin’ fun, too. Today, there’s lots o’  love to spread around.

When I want a little inspiration, I just pop (no pun intended) on over to the incredible Web site, Kirby Vision, where artists pay homage to The King. And, Marc Basile is a true highlight. He has produced lots of Kirby art, but the Lichtenstein/Warhol inspired Kirby pop art above rocks. I haven’t found a Web site for him, but Kirby Vision says he teaches illustration and design at Sussex County Community College, New Jersey. How much do you want to take that class!?!?! Check out Marc’s art on KV here!

More Marvel BadAssery!
Marvel made some announcements I am really digging!

First, Jeff Parker, one of my favorite writers, is bringing back the Agents of Atlas for The Heroic Age with 3-D Man. I must confess that I didn’t like Triathlon very much. But, the spin Slott and Gage gave him in The Initiative, transforming him into a new 3-D Man … a leader and hero of the war against the Skrulls makes intrigued to see how he interacts with the tomorrow’s team of today!

I’m no Dazzler fanatic. But, I AM an unabashed member of McFanns for Jim McCann. I always find it fun to read comics written by writers who truly love their characters — characters they grew up reading and dreaming about. That joy and love shows through in the writing. And, I know McCann wouldn’t take on his beloved Alison Blaire without a really fun story to tell. Should be a good time.

Finally, I haven’t visited the store in New Jersey, but I have followed Sal (@HallOfHeroes) on Twitter. He’s a nice guy with lots o’ cool superhero swag. Check him out!

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Mockingbird Moment – Mr. I, meet Ms. Robinson!

And now, a word from this blog’s favorite superheroine …

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Heroic Age Teaser Poster with MI-13!

Thus far, I continue to be hopeful about The Heroic Age, if only for the fact that is seems some of my favorite characters — Hawkeye, Beast, Gorilla Man, 3-D Man, Mockingbird and now, another in my Marvel top 5 — Dane Whitman, the Black Knight!

I think the art here is fantastic, but is it me or are all of these heroes looking in, like 245 different directions? And, since when is a hero, who wears chain mail agile enough ro be hanging out on lamp poles? And, what’s with the lady in white in the background (Venus?). So … how cold is it there?

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Marvel THREE-In-One ~ Captain America

So, tonight my four-year-old, Cate, wanted to get in on the action. Juiced up after an episode of “Super Hero Squad” where the Scarlet Witch hexes Cap to sleep, Cate declared it was time to draw the star-spangled one – CAPTAIN AMERICA.

Grace went for the angry, field general Cap. I went with a slightly dopey winghead Cap. But, I think Cate won the day by capturing the pure joy of Jack Kirby and Joe Simon’s Cap — the happy, patriotic hero.

Posted in Avengers, Captain America, Comic Books, Comics, Marvel Comics, Marvel Two-In-One, Super Hero Art by Gracie | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

Secret Avengers ~ Secretier Avengers

Last week, the Heroic Age teasers brought us “I Am An Avenger.” This week, “I A Secret Avenger.” And, they’ve really got us guessing. Sure to add fuel to the fire, my Smartassassins have broken back into the Marvel offices to bring you, my faithful readers, a sneak peek of the next three teaser posters. And, I must say, the Ed Brubaker effect is in full swing … all these dudes have guns!


(I know I’m just goofing around on this, but these three would be sooooooooooooooooo cool together!)

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Pint Size Marvel #1

Okay, ya’ll. Starting this blog was me getting over my irrational fear of sharing my writing and my ideas with the world. Now, the Marvel Two-In-One sketches I’m doing with my daughter, Gracie,  are getting me over my fear of sharing my art, too.

Here is the first of a series of weekly panel comics called “Pint Size Marvel” — featuring two Marvel characters … you know … in a bar. I hope you enjoy. (Pssst … Constructive criticism, ideas and … dare I say it … words of ecouragement are always welcome.)

Posted in A.I.M. High, AIM, Comic Book Humor, Comic Books, Comics, Marvel Comics | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments