Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Con Report, Part 2

 Saturday was another fine day.  I understand that next year the con is going to be in February again.  Too bad!  This year having it in April made getting to and from the Javits Center much pleasanter.  I'm sure the fans waiting on line outside were much more comfortable, too!  Oh well, be prepared to freeze your tuchus off next year.
 I can understand why they want to move it back, tho.  As I mentioned in my last post, Joe Rubinstein had to leave early Friday for Passover and return Saturday afternoon.  I'm sure there were lots of other Jewish professionals-and fans-who weren't at the con as much as they might otherwise have been.  It was also close to tax time, so I think folks might not have been as free with their cash as they might otherwise have been.
 Anyone seen Bob Wiacek lately?  There he is, right at the top of the page!  Hadn't seen Bob in a very long time.
 Next we have Sebastian "Sal" Mondrone and Winston Wolff (not the guy from Pulp Fiction) of Stratolab.  I spent a good deal of time at the Stratolab table Saturday.  Sal is also the co-creator and writer of Beastball, which I swear you'll see as soon as I can put it together with lettering and coloring, etc.  I had also done some work for Stratolab--check my site under "illustration".
 At the table next to Stratolab was Griffons Claw, headed by smith Aaron Schwartz.  He makes a lot of very cool one-of-a-kind knives and swords.  They're real too, and real sharp.  Wish I'd gotten a photo of that table.  All the girls wanted to check out the pointy shiny things, too, which made me wish I were sitting at Aaron's table.  I like the kind of chicks who like fantasy blades.
 Jamal Igle is at the bottom of the column of photos.  He had the table next to Rubinstien's, so we got to chat a bit.  He kept his cel phone handy at all times because his wife was expecting and it was possible he could've gotten "the call" at any time.  The baby stayed in for the duration of the con, tho.
 Sunday was, well, mostly more of the same.  I ran around talking to publishers of various sorts, looking for outlets for my various creations.
 I was at Rubinstein's table for most of the afternoon.  Carolyn Kelly stopped by and we chatted for a long while.  Carolyn is, among other things, Walt Kelly's daughter and an artist in her own right.  She was continuing Pogo at one point--gee, I guess it must have been about a decade ago now.  I even inked some at the time.  Mine didn't look like Walt Kelly.  It looked like Dave Simons imitating Wallace Wood imitating Walt Kelly, and that's about the best that can be said for it.
 Towards the end of the day I finally ran into Alan Weiss and we dashed over to Rich Buckler's table to say hi.  It seems that another Weiss dinner excursion was in the offing, but I had set up a meeting of my own at a nearby diner.
 That meeting was with my writers:  Joe Donnelly (Helldiver), Sebastian "Sal" Mondrone (Beastball Saga), and Judson Femine (The Citizen).  More for marketing strategy than story, it was the first time we'd all gotten together.  Quite productive, now we just have to follow thru on our plans, or "action items" as Sal calls them.  I think I started referring to them as "funtime action plans" or something.  I've worked in children's television too long.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Con Report, Part 1

 Friday, 18 April 2008.  First familiar faces I ran into at  the con were Pauline Weiss and Alan Kupperberg, who were with Mary Skrenes and Paul Levitz (in order, l-r, above.  Mary was in for the Steve Gerber Memorial.
 Earlier, before the con opened to the general public at 3:00, I got to spend some quality time with my own personal art hero, Jim Steranko.  No photo, but he was looking well and (as usual) well-dressed.  There will be a new Steranko art book out this year and you can be sure I'll be ordering it, since it promises to be fairly definitive.
 Saw Joe Rubinstein and finally got to give him the pages from the Danger's Dozen back-up story I pencilled.  That's Joe above with the chrome dome.  Joe had to leave early for Passover, so Gerry Acerno and I got to use his table.  I sold a sketch or two.  Speaking of chrome domes, I don't have much left to work with myself.  Plus I look like I've had way too much coffee.  That's me and Gerry at the top.
 Afterwards, I went home via my old neighborhood, Greenwich Village, to catch the PATH train back to New Jersey.  I expect my exile to end this year, and if things go as planned I should be able to move back into Manhattan this year.
 Next--Con Report Part 2!

Saturday, April 26, 2008


 Okay, so it's not the con report, exactly.  I haven't had time to load the photos.  In the meantime, here's a Skrull!  Skrulls are all the rage right now, with Marvel's Secret Invasion coming out.
 Anyone ever notice that the Skrulls that initially appeared in FF #2 were a lot less impressive than later versions?  This Skrull is more along those lines than the later versions that appeared.  My theory is that the Skrull throneworld thot that Earth would be easy pickings and so sent loser Skrulls.  This could have spun into a sort of Sgt. Frog direction, I suppose.
 Might be fun to explore a comedy series with these guys, but I won't even bother to propose that to Marvel.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Coming Distractions

Next week:  con report!

Monday, April 14, 2008

Big John

 Like I said in my last post, I've been working on a series of Fantastic Four cards for Rittenhouse Archives.  It didn't take long before I found I needed some inspiration.  Jack Kirby was the first place to look.  It wasn't easy.  Of course, when I Googled "Fantastic Four" and hit "images" I got a lot of shots from the movie.  Same as when I Googled "Silver Surfer".  About the third page in I started getting images from the comics.  Like this swell cover, above!
 When I went to do the Black Panther, I was having even more trouble finding images I liked on the internet.  I found one or two nice Kirby pieces, but I'd seen some John Buscema while I was searching the Surfer.  I thot I'd like to see John's take on the Panther.  Not easy to find online.  Then I remembered I had Essential Avengers #3, loaded with John B!  
 An examination of the volume revealed lots of Panther.  John captured the feline grace of the Wakandan monarch as well as the all-out action poses.  I occasionally forget (shame on me!) what a great artist John is.  Just amazing.  Anyone could learn a lot about how to draw super-heroes by looking at John's work, even the stuff that was inked over breakdowns.
 Don't bother writing to tell me John passed away a few years ago.  I used the present tense above because to me ALL artists are as alive as we can view their work.
 I took John's workshop class at the old Commodore Hotel 1975-1976.  It was the only art education I ever had.  A fair amount of pros came out of that class: Bob Downs; Bruce Patterson (an Adams assistant at the time); Juan Ortiz, who worked for DC briefly and then left comics; Bob Hall, who was already working for Charlton; and Larry Mahlsted.
 We mainly learned by watching John draw stuff.  He wasn't the world's greatest teacher.  Straight outta Brooklyn.  He spoke with "dese" "dem" and "dose".  And people make fun of my accent.  Watching him draw anything was worth double what we paid for the class, tho!  
 I hope some of the guys currently pencilling comics take a look back at his pre-Conan stuff to see how super-heroes should be done.
 Getting back to the cards--I can't show you any of the  FF cards yet due to my agreement with Rittenhouse.  I can show you something from my "Women of Marvel" series, tho (above).
 My method for these was to loosely pencil a figure, often based on a pinup type shot I found online.  I'd do a set of ten of each character.  After pencilling in enough to know what I was doing, I inked them with Micron Sakura markers.  I principally used the 01 with some use of the brush marker.  I've also used the Faber-Castell Pitt artist pen in the past.  I see no difference between the two products.  Gerry Acerno swears by the Pitt.  I use the Sakura because I like the name.  It's prettier sounding than "Pitt".  I colored them not with markers, but with good ol' Dr. Martin's Dyes, just like Marie Severin taught me.  Dr. Martin's (not to be confused with the boots) come in little bottles.  They can be diluted and mixed like watercolor.  They're also brighter than watercolor.
 In fact, you have to mix them for a flesh tone.  The formula I use is 2 drops chrome yellow, 2 drops rose charthame, 1 drop olive green.  Then that gets diluted.  If it looks wrong, I add a little more of one of the above until it looks right.  For you PC types, yes, I know everybody's flesh isn't that color.  Maybe I should call it honky tone.
 For the effect of Susan Richards turning invisible, I wet the figure down first so that the blue of her costume would thin out and appear to fade.  Then, when it was dry, I scratched it with an X-acto knife.
 Hope this was informative.

Sunday, April 13, 2008


 This is my first posting.  
 In case you're wondering, I'm the Dave Simons that worked for Marvel back in the 80s.  Since then I've mostly been working in the animation field.  See my website
 Currently I'm hard at work on a series of Fantastic Four cards for Rittenhouse Archives.
 I'll be at the New York Comic Con at the Javits Center April 18-20 (next weekend).  Look for me at the Stratolab table!