Thursday, June 30, 2011
Check out my latest Comic Forge review here:
Wednesday, June 29, 2011
Time to dissect a new Hack/ Slash storyline over at The Comics Forge here: http://comicsforge.com/2011/06/hack-slash-18-closer-part-i/
Monday, June 27, 2011
I've reviewed the "Oz issue" of Hack/ Slash - issue # 14, "Over the Rainbow", over at The Comic Forge here: http://comicsforge.com/2011/06/1815/
Sunday, June 26, 2011
Check out my thoughts on Hack/ Slash in my very first post on The Comics Forge: http://comicsforge.com/2011/06/hack-slash-revenge-of-the-return-part-4/
I've been terribly sad about Mr. Colan's passing. He is my all-time favourite comic book artist. Nothing I could say would adequately express how I feel, so I thought I'd just let Gene - through his amazing work - speak for himself. It was nearly impossible to limit myself to a small sampling of Gene's genius. Above is a plethora of images, mostly comix covers, featuring my trifecta of favourite books Gene worked on: Tomb of Dracula, Howard the Duck, and Dr. Strange. Enjoy!
RIP September 1, 1926 – June 23, 2011
Saturday, June 25, 2011
These clips were alternately acclaimed and pilloried by the ever-insightful throng on YouTube, but I find them timelessly brilliant. Those trolls can have their Neil Pearts anyway. I'm sticking with these cats and their glorious ilk...
Wednesday, June 22, 2011
I illustrated six of my favourite Justice Society of America members in 1984 (is it obvious I was - and still am - hung up on the linework of John Totleben?). I envisioned these when I was a 16-year-old All-Star Squadron fan as a tryptych, but didn't draw the last 3 (which would've been The Flash, The Atom, & Wildcat). The JSA is, after Marvel's Defenders, my 2nd all-time favourite comix super-team.
Monday, June 20, 2011
From the Official Snow Leopard Fan Page on Facebook:
"Zhau Qi was an 11 Chinese year old girl whose parents, Zhau Mu-wan and Zhau Li, took her and her twin sister, Nin, on an obsessive trek up the icy slopes of Mt. Cho Oyu in Nepal. Mu-wan wished to reach the summit of the mountain, where he hoped to find the legendary Blind Eye of the Mountain, an aperture in the craggy peak where, it was rumoured, one could find peace, enlightenment, untold desire - or untold power. For twenty years, Mu-wan had trained for this journey and to divine the secrets of the Blind Eye. In so doing, he had lost all that he had - save for his family. Against all better judgment he took his daughters along with he and his wife, who had made her husband's quest her own.
Nearing the summit, Li was shot and killed by an assassin called Trandem, an old enemy of Mu-wan's, and Nin fell into an icy crevasse between the peaks. A huge snow leopard called Erizu tried to save Mu-wan from Trandem's fire but to no avail. Her parents dead and slowly disappearing beneath the snow, Qi was taken under the care of Great Erizu (an old ally of Mu-wan) and his pregnant mate Pura, both of whom possessed "mindspeak", a telepathy that bridged barriers between languages and species. Erizu had spent years inside the mountain, and the Eye's mystic energy had made him a telepath and dreamscryer - vastly more intelligent and psychically attuned than any beast - including most men.
Pura soon gave birth to the cub Kira, but Trandem reappeared and slew Pura. Erizu died shielding his cub and Qi from Trandem, who was an old and bitter foe of the great leopard. Dying, Erizu imparted visions to Qi - subconscious wisdom that she would only begin to fully comprehend when she was older. These visions held warnings against Trandem and his true nature and that of the Blind Eye of the Mountain. Qi bonded with Kira, who already possessed an infantile "mindspeak". The two orphans miraculously arrived at an opening in the mountain. The light inside temporarily blinded Qi, and she and Kira were cared for by a man called Seijun Ko, an old acquaintance of both Qi's father and Kira's. Ko told the girl and the cub that they had found the Blind Eye of the Mountain. Ko vowed to train Qi in order to find and exact her vengeance on Trandem. When Ko asked the girl her name, she spoke as one who had died and been reborn and answered, "Snow Leopard".
Almost nine years later, Snow Leopard - now a master of martial arts and exotic weaponry - and Kira - unmatched by man or beast in powers of the mind - wander Asia tracking all who possess the symbol of the Blind Eye of the Mountain. This sigil has spelled immense suffering for the pair, but has also led them to the power they need to gain at last their revenge on the man called Trandem."
The Snow Leopard Page on Facebook can be found here:
Please drop by and, in Facebook parlance, "Like" Snow Leopard!
"Snow Leopard", Snow Leopard, Zhau Qi, Kira, Erizu, Pura, Zhau Mu-wan, Zhau Li, Zhau Nin, Seijun Ko, Trandem, and all related characters, designs, and story elements are Copyright 2008-2011 George Henry Smathers Jr. (AKA Henry Zeo Covert). Art above Copyright 2009-2011 Albert Luciano.
Here is a cherished piece of original art from my second favourite Man-Thing story, "A Book Burns in Citrusville" (top honours go to issue # 15, "A Candle for Sainte-Cloud"). Jim Mooney sold me this gorgeous page from his own collection for $20.00 at the 2006 San Diego Comic-Con. He was such a gracious gentleman. Sadly, he passed away the following year. I wanted to get him in on my Defenders Inc. pitch to Marvel but it was not to be, and not just because of Jim's death (a story for another blog). We lost Man-Thing writer Steve Gerber in 2008 as well, not terribly long after Jim's passing, so this page holds even more meaning to me. It is a piece of our collection that I will never sell.
Sunday, June 19, 2011
"Snow Leopard" began as a pitch that I made to the Comicbook Artists Guild (or, CAG) at the end of 2008 for With Honor, a projected "American manga" anthology conceived by CAG executive officer and comix creator Shawnti Therrien. Shawnti envisioned a graphic novel collection designed to replicate in all ways the look and flavor of genuine manga (except that it would be in English). In 2009, my concept was approved, a script written, and I laid out the majority of the story myself in detailed thumbnails. In February 2010, I was paired with a "dream team" - CAG veterans Albert "Albie" Luciano (who assisted me on layouts and provided the pencilled art); Alex Rivera (who inked); and Shawnti herself, who lettered, edited, and later added tones to Alex's inks.
I worked with Albie, Alex, and Shawnti on the 16 page story throughout 2009, in between our other gigs, jobs, and personal lives. My own life changed immensely that year. By the end of the year, I had lost my mother and my best friend, and dissolved a long-term relationship. In late October 2009, I met my current wife, Sarah, and December, my work on "Snow Leopard" was done and the story was advertised in Dark Discoveries, a magazine I was writing for at the time. The story was mostly done save for extra tones to be added to Alex's inks by Shawnti, and a few pages of lettering left to be done. Shawnti worked on the tones and lettering in early 2010, often going through each page, step-by-step, with me over the phone as she worked. With Honor was originally slated for an early 2010 release. It was nationally advertised and boasted a 1000 member strong Facebook group that I created and co-administrated with Shawnti. I also created a Facebook "fan page" that has peaked at 350 folks "liking" it (in Facebook parlance).
With Honor was stalled for the remainder of the year, however, due to various production issues. As hard as I tried to promote the book, matters were out of my hands. I had to wait as patiently as possible while Shawnti finished her work on "Snow Leopard" and on a story by comix vet and CAG member Rusty Haller,who had sadly passed away early in the book's production. Throughout 2010, Shawnti and CAG President Keith Murphey sought to finalize financial plans and set a schedule for publication. Meanwhile, I tapped Albert Luciano as a possible collaborator on various web comix projects I was planning, including a possible continuation of "Snow Leopard", but Albie was unavailable due to other projects.
In September 2010, Creating Comics: 47 Master Artists Reveal the Techniques and Inspiration Behind Their Comic Genius, edited by Spencer Drate and Judith Salavetz, was published. I was profiled, and the focus was on the creative process behind "Snow Leopard" and spotlighted page 12 of the story from my rough layouts to the finished page pencilled by Albert Luciano, inked by Alex Rivera, and lettered, toned, and edited by Shawnti. Also featured was the now-iconic Snow Leopard illustration (pictured at top of this post) pencilled by me and digitally inked and coloured by Shawnti.
As interest in With Honor peaked and a Winter or Spring 2011 wide release was planned, Keith Murphey decided to publish a galley-style vanity run for the creators to have comp copies and to coincide with summer comic cons. Due to unfortunate post-production errors on this first run of "Snow Leopard", two pages of the 16 page story were cut, so I decided to post the entire uncut story exclusively on Facebook - on my own profile and now on this page:
Now readers can see the story as it was originally intended by its creators until a definitive wide release of With Honor becomes a reality. With Honor is now tentatively slated for a Fall 2011 release. The uncut "Snow Leopard" by Covert, Luciano, Rivera, and Therrien will make its wide debut online by September 2011 to inaugurate the launch at last of my official website (www.purpleserpent.com - under construction), largely designed and constructed by my wife Sarah as an adjunct site to her site, She Never Slept, which I currently write articles and reviews for at: http://sheneverslept/newsandreviews
As a follow up to the original Snow Leopard story, all-new installments will begin as web comix on www.purpleserpent.com by October 2011. The extremely talented C Lue Disharoon will be pencilling and inking, with yours truly once again writing and laying out the ongoing saga of Zhau Qi AKA Snow Leopard and her companion, Kira (an actual snow leopard). The new creative team is currently searching for a letterer.
"Snow Leopard", Snow Leopard, Zhau Qi, Kira, and all related characters, designs, and story elements are Copyright 2011 George Henry Smathers Jr. (AKA Henry Zeo Covert).
Here are five amazing video clips of Ronnie James Dio playing Gothenburg, Sweden through the years. These clips span 1997 to 2001. Three clips are of the band Dio performing two Dio tracks and the Rainbow classic "Catch the Rainbow". Two clips are of Ronnie singing tunes from Roger Glover's classic "The Butterfly Ball" with Deep Purple (what a backing band). Enjoy!
RIP Ronnie James Dio July 10, 1942 - May 16, 2010
Still I'm sad....
RIP Ronnie James Dio July 10, 1942 - May 16, 2010
Still I'm sad....