Category Archives: Comic Book Creators

Nepotism Friday! Keiren Smith edition!

I always talk about how busy I am around here, creating fine comic book based entertainment for the masses with all those crazy knucklehead characters I get to write and draw….

Like my wildly hysterical script for Avenging Spider-Man #8, (cover by Shane Davis, interiors by Matt Clark), due in stores in just eleven weeks! Silver Sable and Doc Strange Guest Star! Order yours today!

…but my wife has been doing so much colouring work around the funnybook biz lately that this month, she’s got more to read out there than I do.

So, because you should love her as much as I, I’m showing off some pages from her most recent work, with links to where you can read it online.  Who says my home in Toronto isn’t the House of Ideas?  Oh, this Cease and Desist order from Marvel  does.    Well, OTHER than this legal restraint?  Who?  Who?

First up:  A few teaser pages from a HEROES OF THE NORTH story about their characters Nordik and Eightball, available as an online comic book before the print edition comes out later (from Ardden Entertainment; the first omnibus collection sold out, so grab the second one as soon as you see it!-kts).  Read it while it’s free, fans, it just went online a few days ago.

I LOVE the blues she chose.  The pencil and ink artwork is by my friend David J. Cutler, who did the fun-but-hard-to-find-a-copy-of Johnny Canuck and the Northern Guard comic book with me last year.  I just can’t seem to quit David J., but one look at these pages and you can see why I’m a fan.

The lesson of this tale seems to be:  Ladies, dress warmly for cold weather.  Either that or it’s a thrilling murder mystery with cool action sequences and gunfights and stuff, like a good comic book should be.   All in glorious colour for LESS than a dime!  Beat that!

I dig the first panel on this page!

So click on over and read this story and show our Canadian comic book creators a little love.  It’s even better with the word balloons, though it covers up the pretty drawings and the pretty colours.

Keiren also just finished colouring a project called “Taking Flight” for writer Stephen Sutherland and artist Garry McLaughlin, who hail from Glasgow, a town with even more foreboding weather than Toronto.

If you're getting a "Frank Quitely" vibe, you're not alone.

This is the just the first three pages.  It’s available for pre-order at Laser Age Comics, but it won’t be printed up until April 9, so you’ll have to pace and bite at your nails until then.  I really like the colour work my one-and-only did on these pages.  The sense of quiet and peace as this character learns what it’s like to fly is really brought across by the palette she chose.

Here’s a page from a YMCA comic book project Keiren finished a few weeks ago…

The Adventures of Y Guy, written by another Holmes Inc. alumnus Kathleen Gallagher

Pencil art by Christopher Yao this time around…an alumnus of the Holmes Incorporated comic books I put out every year with the Toronto Cartoonists Workshop.  You can read the story here, and pick up the comics at local YMCAs in the Toronto area.

Just so you don’t think I’m a completely lazy sod, I have an issue or two of Ultimate Spider-Man Adventures coming up that I’ve done script and art chores for a story, as well as an issue of the Simpsons I wrote and drew, due in stores any time.  And my OWN Heroes of the North 12 pager in the pipeline for early summer.  Oh, and don’t forget tasty, tasty BACON!! (more on this as it crisps and develops).

But you guys get enough of me around here.

Check out the work of my own personal comic book colourist (her deviantART site), and let her know she’s pretty good at this gig.

Ty the Guy OUT!

Here now, your Keiren Templeton-Smith Bun Toon Bonus Moment:

One of Keiren's first appearances as a bunny in a Bun Toon from the early 90s!

Happy Birthday Will Eisner!

A portrait of Will I did for the Comics Jornal when he passed away five years ago.

If Kirby was the King of Comics and Stan is still the Man, then Will is the Wizard. His potions and alchemy are still vital today, years after he left us.  And like a wizard, he’s still doing magic, for instance the Google search engine logo today looks like this:

Only for Google.com, though, as the Canadian Google (google.ca) header is the same old same old.  Catch up, Canada!  Eisner is worth it.

Though Eisner may not have invented the long form comic book, he did invent the term "graphic novel" for his masterpiece, A CONTRACT WITH GOD. A term MUCH used ever since. If you haven't read this, you're missing an essential part of comics history. Plus it's an astoundingly smart and touching piece of work. In many ways, A Contract with God is our industry's "Sgt. Pepper".

Will was a magnificent comic book creator, and to those of us privileged enough to have known him, he was a magnificent person as well.

Still love you, Will.  Still miss you terribly.

Ty the Guy OUT!

Here now, your Templeton/ Eisner Moment of the Day:

Somewhere at my son’s apartment is a lovely drawing of Denny Colt that Will did for Kellam many years back, but I don’t have access to that to scan it, so:

A page from my one and only Spirit story in DC's Spirit #13 (the Holiday Special). It was written by Denny O'Neil, so I bagged working with TWO of my childhood heroes with this one assignment.

Roy Thomas and Ty Templeton? Sometimes things work out perfectly!

I’ve mentioned once or twice on this blog that my first ever comic book that I purchased with my own money was Avengers #58

Start collecting comics right here, and then get back to me.

Rascally Roy Thomas, Big John Buscema, Gorgeous George Klein…PLUS the Vision joins the Avengers, and has a good cry.   I suggest that it’s one of the best comics of the Sixties, and certainly one of the reasons I’m addicted to these funny books in general and the Vision in specific.  I had older brothers, and had read comics for a year or so previous, and even had a copy of the Avengers from just two months before, bought by my Grandmother I believe…

I still have these original copies, still in pretty good shape after all these years. Thanks Grandma.

But #58 is where I start spending my own 12 cents a month on these things, thus Roy Thomas and Ultron and these characters mean a LOT to me.

So you can imagine my unspeakable joy in being asked to collaborate with Roy Thomas on an Avengers project.  The Hero Initiative (a charity organization that helps out comic book creators in retirement and in need with medical expenses and other necessities) wanted me to ink a cover that Roy Thomas had penciled.

Fig. 1. The Rascally One himself.

You heard me right.  Roy Thomas pencils.

He edits. He writes. And now, he draws!

Mark Waid, and Jim McLauchlin, the two folks who asked me to help out, asked me to “tweak” the art so it was a little more “on model” for the characters, but I was torn…I figured anyone who might want to bid on a Roy Thomas original comic cover for charity might not want it obscured by the inker.  I sure wouldn’t.  So I tried to clean up the drawing without obliterating the one-of-a-kind Roy Thomas pencils.

Here’s what I came up with.

I added a wing to Thor's helmet, and those little round things to Iron Man's hips, but otherwise tried to keep as much to the original as I could manage...while tarting it up with shading and linework.

And I couldn’t be happier.  How often does anyone get a chance to work with one of the people who inspired them as a young child?  And with the very characters that were involved in that inspiration?  And for a good cause?  Sometimes things work out perfectly.

Go here to check out the Hero Initiative Website and their entry on this cover.

And if you’ve never heard of Roy Thomas, SHAME on you.  He’s one of the most important creators in comics, and besides being responsible for about a third of the Marvel Universe, and a small chunk of the DCU,  Roy is the reason you’ve heard of Conan, and probably the reason you’ve heard of the Golden Age of Comics.

Ty the Guy OUT!

Here now, you Roy Thomas Moment from Avengers #58:

ALSO:  He apparently played baseball in the Seventies…

 

Unless it's just a common sounding name...

 

Clement Sauvé 1977-2011

This is stunningly difficult to write.  Clement Sauvé, the brilliant Montreal comic book artist, has lost a brutal fight with cancer at the age of 33.

Clement and I worked together a while back, creating the HUMAN DEFENSE CORPS comic book for DC.  As a writer, I couldn’t have asked for a more beautiful and faithful version of my scripts.  As each page came in, I was elated at the work, and a little jealous that Clement was so much better at drawing than I was.

A cover we produced together. Sketch by me, finished art by Clement.

I only found out Clement was sick about 48 hours ago, and was planning a wonderful tribute to him on Friday, to give him a nice shout out while he was in the hospital to lift his spirits.   But we didn’t have even that long.

 

Look at how GOOD this guy was at drawing hardware and soldiers. Amazing levels of detail and care.

I’m thrilled I got to work with Clement.  Equally thrilled I got to meet him and hang out at a Toronto convention a couple of years ago.   He recorded an interview for a Hoverboy documentary for me, and it was screamingly funny.  I’m going to pull out that footage soon and cry my eyes out.

33 years.  That’s just wrong.

Ty

To check out more of Clement’s work, click HERE for his Deviant Art page.

Happy Birthday Stan Lee! And the Top 5 Bun Toons Countdown Begins!

First…  Respect must be paid.

Stan (the Man) Lee is birthdaying up today, so we tip our hat here at Art Land.   Besides being the consummate showman, and the best “artiste de la hype” since P. T. Barnum, Lee IS actually one of the best writers to ever work in our biz, of that there is no question.  You’ll always find something  fun, or  something  hokey, corny, brilliant, dramatic, or two parts genius in every script the Man writes.    He’s at his best when working with other geniuses, like Kirby, Ditko, Romita, Colan, Buscema

Pamela Anderson and others, that’s true, but somehow Lee manages to be the one pulling his weight in those genius team-ups every time.  That’s his real talent, that he believes in himself like a Super-hero, and he’s kinda earned it after all this time.

Stan Lee, being accused of loving the big, fat dollar.

I have a really funny Stan Lee anecdote to tell on this blog someday…a fun moment I shared with Stan, Mark Waid, John Byrne and the Great Robert Loren Fleming at San Diego some years back that I plan to draw up as a Bun Toon, and then you’ll see…you’ll ALL see!  I’ll show you…!

Stan Lee and George Bush - both squeezing as hard as they can to see which one shouts "ow" first. The shake lasted three minutes, until Secret Service agents wrestled Lee to the ground.

I freely admit, I stole Ty “the Guy” from  Stan “the Man” (just as Stan stole it from Stan the Man Musial),  and I salute Marvel’s Great One on his 88th  birthday.

Love you lots, and lots Mr. Lee.  I just can’t help it, I’m a True Believer.

———————————————

Enough fawning over a legend, let’s pay more attention to me.  It’s the…

I started my little webcomic back in April of 2010, and have enjoyed this fun place to play and giggle – when I get an idea that simply won’t work in a Marvel or Simpsons script, it goes here.  Some toons are surprising hits, read by tens of thousands of people, and some are read by merely hundreds.  I never know what’s going to “go viral” around here, and what’s going to lay there like a lump.   So, betwixt now and New Year’s, I’ll be counting down the top five most popular Bun Toons, mixed with the five that no one read.  HAH!  I’m shackling my successes to my failures, which keeps my ego in check, and the glass half empty, because that’s how I roll, bitches.

Our first entry was much liked and commented on, passed around the net on a couple of sites, and read by quite a few people.   Every word of it is verbatim true.

——————————————————–

This next Bun Toon was put online early in the series, before anyone was reading them, or knew I was even doing them.  Poor little Bun Toon spent the year at the bottom of the “hits” pile on my blog stats.  Never got over two hundred hits all year.   Lonely little thing…here it is again…

See you tomorrow with some more grand triumphs of the Bun Toon Arts, and another ignoble failure to embarrass myself with.

Ty the Guy OUT!

Here now, your end of the year comic book Moment of Zen:

It’s the Top 20 Dumbest Issue of Mad Magazine, and I’m the 20th Dumbest!  Or at least, I illustrated it.  On sale now, wherever magazine stores still exist in this digital world of the future.  SHAMELESS PLUG ZEN!

 

Mike Esposito and Mickey Demeo, R.I.P.

Ah, darn it, I hate this sort of news.

Mike Esposito, two of my favorite inkers of the Silver Age (and beyond), has passed away at the age of 83.   If you’ve read a comic drawn by Ross Andru (and who of my generation hasn’t?  Ross Andru drew Spider-Man, Wonder Woman, Superman, Marvel Team-Up, and a host of other books) then you’ve seen Mike Esposito’s inking, as Andru VERY RARELY drew anything without his life-long friend Mike along to do the finished art in brush and pen.  They met in high school, I believe, and were attached at the hip for decades.

Yup, Ross and Mike were responsible for the SILLIEST villain in the history of comics:  the mighty “Egg Fu”, and I couldn’t have been happier.  But it didn’t just stop there, Mike contributed his brush to the INFERIOR FIVE, the MANIAKS, and a host of other bizarre Silver Age treasures that no one read but me.  And if his astoundingly prolific DC career wasn’t enough, Esposito was also an entirely other person:  Marvel inker, MICKEY DEMEO, who inked more of Marvel’s Silver Age than you’d believe.  (Mike was worried his DC work would dry up if he was known to be working for the competition, so he used a pen name at Marvel for about a decade, working on  some of the earliest and most “key” issues of the Marvel Sixties with Buscema, Kirby, Gil Kane, etc.).

It’s almost impossible to find a major DC or Marvel series that didn’t find their way under Mike (or Mickey’s) hands at some point, and we all owe both of him a huge thank you for the pantheon of memorable characters he helped bring us.

As always, Mark Evanier has the details.

No moment of zen for this one.  I’m in no mood to be amusing.

Ty the Guy OUT!

Happy Birthday Joe Simon!

MARVEL COMICS first ever editor-in-chief is 97 years old today, and looking damn fine.

The man c0-created Captain America, the Sandman, Newsboy Legion and a host of other characters, and managed to do it in an era when a black soul singer could not have had an easy time of it in the New York publishing industry.

Oh wait, that might be the wrong Joe Simon.  Wait a second…

That’s better.  Joe Simon, co-creator of Captain America and a host of other titles.

He’s known primarily for his work with Jack Kirby, Timely, and DC, in the Golden Age of comics, introducing the world to the BOY’S RANCH, THE BOY COMMANDOS, FIGHTING AMERICAN, THE FLY, SANDMAN AND SANDY, and romance and horror comics in general.  Simon, along with Kirby, were the original “IMAGE” comics, as they formed their own creator-based company, called MAINLINE COMICS, in the fifties, long before disgruntled Marvel employees of the nineties were a gleam in their disgruntled parents’ eyes!

So much of this was before my time, I only know about it through reprints and history books. …HOWEVER, I am old enough to recall the Joe Simon comics of the late 60s and early 70s, and they were so F***ING WEIRD that they remain amongst my favorite comics of all time.

Who but Joe Simon would have given us BROTHER POWER:  THE GEEK?

 

No biting the heads off of chickens in here...it's actually far weirder.

 

Crazy bikers, hippies galore and midgets in turbans is the standard for this title, only two issues of which were ever published.  In the late sixties, if you wanted a writer to talk to the new generations of peace and love, turn to a man in his fifties and let ‘im loose.  This wasn’t Joe’s only foray into talking to the young…just a few years later, Joe Simon would create the BEST comic DC would ever publish about teenage politics.

 

See what happens when you let 18 year olds vote?

 

The loons in the car with Prez are his cabinet, I kid you not.  The Native American fellow was Secretary of State, and he never wore a shirt, even to peace talks with Israel.  Go daddy, go!   When I was 14, this comic spoke to me, but mostly it told me to go kill the neighbor’s dog.

 

Because money solves everything.

 

Another of the Joe Simon lunatic-masterpieces of the 70s.   It’s Richie Rich meets the Newsboy Legion, and it lasted three issues, only ONE of which was actually published.  My favorite part of this comic was the subtle racism that the white kids either inherited or earned their millions…but the black kid got his money through a glitch in the bank that accidentally credited a shoe-shine boy’s account with a million dollars, because, you know…well…he was black.

My all time favorite of the wacky 70s Joe Simon creations was his last pairing with his original partner Jack Kirby for another run at the character name “SANDMAN”.

It was a precursor to the Vertigo series.  The main character lived in the “Dream Dome” and was able to enter the dreams of living people, and fight their nightmares.  And it was drawn by Kirby and inked by WALLY WOOD!  Talk about a Dream Team!  Unfortunately for DC and the rest of us, Simon, Kirby and Wood weren’t available for an issue #2, and they handed it off to lesser teams until the book was canceled 5 issues later. (Kirby did a couple more art jobs, but without Simon and Wood…meh).

So HAPPY BIRTHDAY JOE SIMON!  Marvel Comics, and the industry in general, would be nothing like it is today without you.  Thanks for helping Kirby find his style, and this youthful comic fan his joy in Oddball Comics.  You continue to be the legend you are.  Many more to come.

TY THE GUY OUT!

Here now, your comic book moment of zen.

Steve Rude Needs Us!

I just read today that Steve Rude is in dire money straights, and needs some help to save his home.  Seriously.

Steve is the one on the left.

The following is re-posted from THE COMICS REPORTER, from an email Rude the Dude sent out to his subscribers last week.  I just found out, and am forwarding it to the dozens of folks who read this blog, just in case…

S.O.S. — Help Steve Rude keep his house

Hey Guys,

Sorry for the dramatic headline but it really is appropriate. Like everyone else, Steve has been effected by the economic downturn, so much so that his house will be up for auction November 15th.

Link to Steve’s Facebook blog here

In an effort to stave off the foreclosure, Steve has put up pages from The Next Nexus mini-series on eBay at really low prices. Pages from issues #1 and #2 are already up on eBay and issues #3 and #4 will up in a week or two.

Link to Steve’s eBay auctions here

Link to Steve’s store where all the issues as well as other art are shown. here

There’s a lot of pages with the main characters left as well as plenty of pages with his fantastic spaceship designs (they are so very cool.)

His commission list is temporarily closed until he whittles down his backlog a bit but will be opened back up shortly

I want YOU for the Steve Rude Rescue Army

Steve is one of those artists who keeps the rest of us honest.  We look at his work and honestly want to break our own fingers because we know we will never be in his league.

If he needs help, let’s go help.

Ty the Guy OUT!

Here now, your comic moment of zen:

(cartoon by Bob Gorrell)-

Joan Hilty might have a reason to be Bitter Girl.

Ah , the restructuring at DC continues, and it’s hit at a couple of my peeps , downsizing DC mainstay Joan Hilty this week (creator of the comic strip BITTER GIRL, if you didn’t get the reference in the title).

Editor Joan becomes freelancer Joan!

Joan and I worked together a few times, and made some great comics while we did, so I’d like to give her a proper send -off with a quick Top Seven list.  Here now, the Top Seven books Joan Hilty edited while at the home of the Bat and the Cape.

7.  Flash

Waid is back. Acuna is off and running!

- Everything about this run of the Flash was delightful. The creative team, the covers, the plots, the whole feel of it all.  When it ALL feels right, you know there’s a hand on the wheel, steering.

6.  Flinch

Beautiful and creepy. The comic equivilant of a peanut butter cup.

- a daring, fun run of creativity.  Joan does the thankless job of editing an anthology with lovely results every damn time.  The line up of talent was stunning.  Go find ‘em and read em.

4. Steve Gerber’s Hard Time

Brilliant, and no ducks, whatsoever.

- unquestionably the best of the DC FOCUS books, and Gerber’s last GREAT series.  I thank the lucky stars that we all got a chance to join in.

5.  Blue Beetle

Say goodbye to the goofy super-hero.

-The Silver Age Blue Beetle was beloved by JUST enough people to ensure he’d never succeed in his own series.  This series proved you can re-invent for the modern reader and make it work.  Hilty goes stepping into the shoes of Julie Schwartz quite well.  (For other fun re-launch Joan comics, see OMAC PROJECT and MANHUNTER)

3. Birds of Prey

word balloons on a cover! Be still my heart.

-one of the best runs of the series since Dixon and Land started it all.  Joan presided over its re-birth as one of DC’s most fun books after a bit of a lull.  Simone and Benes certainly helped.  Great team, all around.

2.  Batman Adventures, (and related series).

Batman-less Batman at its best.

-People seemed to like this world of stories, so I include them.  I can’t gush too much about the whole enterprise without seeming like a ego-maniac as I wrote about a quarter of ‘em, but let’s point out how wonderful ALL the issues were, not just the ones I grubbed my hands all over.  Dig those crazy Gotham Girls!  And how beautiful were those BATMAN STRIKES covers?

1. LOONEY TUNES

Chuck Jones would be proud

- For years, this was my hands down favorite DC comic, I kid you not.  It was funny, witty, beautifully on-model and in the spirit of the original Termite Terrace, no matter who the writer or artist was.  One of the unsung GREAT DC series that no one read, and making it this consistently good when it was that far under the radar is the proof that Ms. Hilty knew how to do her job.

Honorable mentions:

Along with Looney Tunes, Joan did fantastic work keeping other “toon books” the best they could possibly be for years.  Anyone with an appreciation for this almost lost craft should check out Joan’s high water runs on Krypto the Superdog, Scooby Doo, and Powerpuff Girls.

-On the Road To Perdition

This unexpectedly terrific sequel to the original masterpiece deserves a special mention just for Joan coaxing the legendary Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez into a graphic novel’s worth of new artwork.  Anyone who hires the bizarrely-underused greatest storyteller of a generation gets my thanks.

Way to go, Joan.  You have much to be proud of for your years at DC, and your contribution to comics and art is assured.  See you ’round the funny books.

Ty the Guy OUT!

Here now, your comic book moment of zen

The farcical and the fleeting

Canadian Superheroes cont’d

Ty did a post on Johnny Canuck and Heroes of the North yesterday, focussed on little ol’ me, because we were talking about the work I’d done on the weekend. But there are quite a few other people involved in these projects, so I’m going to post ‘em here so you can take a look at their work:

Northern Guard/Moonstone Books

David Cutler, artist

8

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Jason Edmiston, cover artist

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8

Heroes of the North

Marcus MASman Smith/artist

(Check out MAS’s colouring–there are other examples on his site. I have to turn from lettering to colouring some pages and I’m having some serious artistic insecurities after working on MAS’s pages)

(not a relative btw–I didn’t get the lettering gig through nepotism! At least I don’t think he is, hard to tell with us Smiths)

Will add more links as I find them…

Keiren

Ty tells me that I’m not supposed to post anything without adding a Comic Book Moment of Zen. I’ve got nothing “comic book” that fits so I’m going to post Keiren’s Moment of Zen…a Canadian Superhero! (he’s Canadian, and he’s a superhero–it fits)