Category Archives: Batman

Plug, Plug, Plug. Baby needs new size twelve shoes.

Plug.

Plug.

Spider-Man Plug.

On Sale Tomorrow.  I wrote it (Dan Slott helped).  Matt Clark drew it.  Marvel printed it.  You’re going to love it, I promise.  MOST. FUN. MARVEL. STORY. I’VE. EVER. WRITTEN.

Plug.

Ultimate Spider-Man Adventures #3.  Coming next week.  I drew one of this issue’s interior stories.   Two Spider-Man Comics in two weeks!  Plus:  Spider-Man in the movies, yo!  Spider-Man on the comics’ stands! I’m at pop culture ground zero, fellow babies.

Batman plug.

Plug.

On sale in July.  I drew this one.  The true story of Batman’s creation, finally giving due to BILL FINGER, the REAL creator of Batman.

Plug.

Some pages from Bill  The Boy Wonder.  This scene recreates the moment Bob Kane “created” Batman.

Plug.

Another scene from Bill  The Boy Wonder.  This the moment that Bill Finger explains to Bob Kane how to fix that first version of the character so that people will actually read it.

plug.

On Sale in July.  The Bat-Fan in you needs this book.

Ty the Guy OUT!

Here, now your Bonus Plug:

naughty Halloween revellers ruin it for the rest of us.

Unseen Batman Art…unseen by me, at least.

A good number of years ago, I had the lovely privilege of getting to draw a McDonalds Happy Meal box (original art for sale HERE) featuring Batman, Robin and their supporting cast of villains.   I was sent a set of the toys available with the promotion…

And I still have the original artwork (which you can see for sale on this very blog…).  But I never got a chance to see the actual box itself as it was only part of an American promotion, and we didn’t get the boxes here in the Northern land of frozen igloos and French hockey.    But at a convention a couple of months ago, I was given a copy of the box in mint condition from a fan.  Very Cool!

That’s the “front” (if there is such a thing on a Happy Meal Box).

And that’s the back.  I’m delighted with how it looks in colour, and delighted that my copy is flat, and free of French Fry grease.  It’s one of the few things I’ve done that I never had a copy of, and though it was a long wait, I’m really happy to have the box.

Of course it turns out, I could have bought one off of ebay for two bucks.  But how was I to know?

As for today, I’m back to work drawing Batman doing something awful with a toaster, I’ll let you know when it’s coming out (soon, I hope).

Ty the Guy OUT!

Here now, your bonus Gotham City/McDonalds moment.

Unseen Mr. Freeze Cover Artwork from Gotham Adventures.

The first appearance of our villain, from 1959, by Curt Swan. He was "Mr. Zero" back then.

George Saunders: The FIRST Mr. Freeze on TV.

I got an email yesterday requesting I return to my series of never-before-seen cover sketches for my blog, and I do what I’m told, so today we look into the cover for Gotham Adventures #5, which featured the frozen monster, Victor Fries,  vs. Batman on the rocks.

Otto Preminger. Freeze #2

I normally did three cover sketches for each one we used, but this cover got up a little higher, and the one that ended up being chosen was unique for a reason I’ll get to at the end.

Eli Wallach as the sub-zero bad guy. Clearly he went through a few versions as well.

I’ll start with the three cover sketches I sent in first.  Let’s see if you can play Armchair Editor and figure out what went right or wrong with these, as we play Rejection Roulette.

Okay, not bad.  A little too symmetrical perhaps, but all the elements are there.

Pretty well the same design.  I’ll be honest, I was padding the trio of designs because I liked the third one best, and felt if the first two were essentially identical, I’d make the third one look interesting to my editor.

Now we’re talking.  The interior  story was about the TWO Mr. Freeze characters locked in a duel, and this cover told the story well.  I noted that this was my favorite, and felt the editor would agree, and off I’d go to draw it.  But the response was cold.

(I know that was unforgivable, but that’s what happens when you start to write about Mr. Freeze.)

I am to blame for all the puns.

So I did another one later that day, featuring the disembodied head-spider that Freeze was sporting at that point on the TV show.  It was creepy and the cover featured Nightwing and Batgirl, just to shake things up.

Rejected again.

So the next day, I went for a cover featuring a big action scene from the story, where Robin has to free a suffocating Batman with a baseball bat to the ice-encased head.  I tried two different angles, to give the editor a choice.  But I was sure THIS time, I’d come up with a dramatic moment and we were good to go.

This one had Freeze in it, in case there was confusion as to who was the villain.  Never mind.  They were both still rejected.

Finally the JACKPOT!  It had the spider-head Mr. Freeze thing.  It had Robin smacking Batman with a bat.  It had Nightwing and Batgirl, and it had a lovely design.  This was, by far, my favorite of the covers, and I was happy that the editor made me keep going until I had a truly memorable image.  That’s an editor’s job, to push until you hit the zone.

So I was quite surprised to see it get rejected.  Instead the editor went with:

Number Two.

This marks the ONLY time of the fifty or so covers that I worked on for Batman Adventures, where my LEAST favorite cover was chosen.  Don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t submit a cover if I didn’t think it had merit, but this one was as close to filler as I’d ever sent in.  Still, it was fun to work on, as I was really starting to learn how to colour on a computer, and I got to choose the trade dress colours as well as the image itself.

Here’s the cover, without the logos, etc, straight from my files.

I had this up on the wall over my desk as a really nice print for about six months, because I really liked the colours.   I wish I’d gotten to do cover #7 though.  Sigh.

Ty the Guy OUT!

HERE NOW, YOUR BONUS GOTHAM ADVENTURES #5 MOMENT:

Choosing sketch #2 affected someone else’s life FAR FAR more than it did mine.  Meet Craig Kandiko, or at least a small part of him:

Craig is one of the biggest Batman Adventures fans out there, and he has quite a number of tats all over his body featuring artwork by Bruce Timm, myself and a few other BTAS artists.  Craig liked the image of Freeze on Gotham #5 enough to burn it into his flesh, so maybe I’m not the best judge of what makes a good cover.  You can see a little more of Craig’s ink here, where you’ll also find a link to his facebook page.

Unseen Batman Gotham Adventures Artwork…Two-Face edition

Time for another installment of “How Many Cover Sketches Can be Rejected?” before we land on the right one?  Today’s contestant is Gotham Adventures #2, perhaps one of my favorite covers for a bunch of reasons.

Let’s start with the first round:

Rejected. Probably a little too complicated for an Adventures book.

For the time I was on the various Batman books, I tried to make sure all the #2 issues (including #12 and #22) were Two-Face stories.  Not just because of the obvious connection to the #2, but it allowed me to write a Two-Face story at least once a year.  Considering he’s one of the best characters in fiction, I’m no fool, and I wanted at him as much as I could.  Gotham Adventures #2 was about Harvey Dent meeting his father on the set of a live TV show, to steal his prize money and destroy his father’s life.

Rejected. Probably because it didn't give us Two-Face

That’s why there’s lotto machines in the background and money on the ground.  I was very interested in making sure BATGIRL was on the cover, since she was a new regular addition to the series at this point, I wanted to feature her as much as I could.

Rejected. Probably too passive an image.

  I usually give the editor three sketches as a rule, but all three of my first group were passed up and I was asked to do another sketch to get to the right one.  So back to the drawing board, I came up with a few more, focusing on the black and white element to the animated Two-Face design.

Going back to the big fight scene, this time with Two-Face more featured. Now we're talking....rejected.

In the same batch was the following image, which I strongly pushed to be the cover…but was leery, because it didn’t have Batman on it.  (Something I usually included in my group of sketches, as the editors often allowed it).

Despite my pushing for this one....rejected.

But I was on the right track, and this final sketch was the one that we all liked.  It still didn’t feature Batman, but it was striking enough to get that thumbs up.

Maybe it's because there's so obvious a "thumbs up" on the image itself.

Normally, I get a little testy if I have to do more than three sketches, but in this case, our fearless editor (Darren Vincenzo at this time) pushed me for the right reasons…as the final turned out GREAT.

And look, not a colour to be seen!

I LOVED that they let me play with the logo.  I loved that I was allowed to run a cover in black and white on a “kids book” which is usually VERY colourful on the cover.   And I love that it feels balanced between the black and the white, without being symmetrical.  A winner all around.

The best part was that the cover was so simple in its linework, that I penciled and inked it at print size…the size of the original sketch, in fact.  The original art for this was ten inches by seven inches…MUCH smaller than the average cover would be drawn.  Because if its tiny size, it’s one of the few Gotham Adventures covers I still own, as I can’t really sell something that’s so small to a collector.

I don’t recall why, but it’s one of the few covers I didn’t sign.

Ty the Guy OUT!

Here now:  Your Gotham Adventures #2 bonus moment:

When the cover ran in Previews and online, someone from the art department had added the yellow of his eye, believing that I meant for that “spot of colour” to give it extra oomph.  Fortunately, I happened to spot this before it went to print,  it went out without the yellow.

———————————————————————————————

Tune in later this week, I’m itching to start showing off the goodies that are coming up in the all-new Holmes Incorporated Comic that I edit for The Toronto Cartoonist Workshop.  You can check out the early, early previews HERE.

Unseen DC: Rejected Batman And Robin Adventures #6 Covers!

Before we get to the unseen goodies from B&R Adventures #6, I have to  follow up on the LAST unseen DC post about the cover for Batman and Robin Adventures #7.  I had originally published the set of rejected cover sketches that looked like this:

Before the final one that got accepted…

And I thought that was the end of it.  But while going through the files for this week’s post about a different B&R ADVENTURES cover, I found another  rejected Ventriloquist sketch, that I’d forgotten until I saw the art today.  I really like this one.  I wonder why it got turned down.

I like the movement, the crying the gun to the puppet’s head and the basic composition.   And no, I have no idea who Eric is, and why his name’s on there.

HOUSEKEEPING OVER:  

We move onto Unseen Batman And Robin Adventures #6

For reasons not worth going into, this issue required an eighteen page rewrite over a single weekend, and that required a sleepless 72 hours, and a clever, helpful wife to get the final script to the office that Monday morning.  It’s about a newspaper tabloid that makes up a story about Batman firing Robin, and a dozen kids show up to audition for the job, one of whom gets kidnapped and held for ransom.  With all the drama,  it ended up one of my favorite issues of the run, and I always wanted to return to some of the “auditioning Robins” someday.     Here are the proud, the strong, the rejected cover sketches:

I was going for a “Silver Age” type of image here…something that Carmine Infantino or Neal Adams would have drawn in 1968….That sweep of Batman’s cape as he exits towards the reader is a little like a Neal Adams cover of that period, where Batman tells Alfred to close up the Batcave…FOREVER!

Focusing on the kidnapping element of the story.  There’s no Batman on this cover though, which may have been why it was turned down…

Hmm…needs more Robins. Rejected!

And here’s the cover that was finally chosen:

Now, here’s how much of a knob I am.  When I was drawing up the cover, I wanted to make sure the photograph of Batman and Robin looked as much like an image that was printed flat and lying on an angle, so I drew the image up properly, and figured out a grid that would allow me to transfer the image into perspective.  Oh you kids today, and your Photoshop transform commands!  Back in the day, we had to use our brains to do this stuff.  Of course, I could have just freehanded it, but I mentioned; I’m a knob.

Enough looking at rejection and misspent youth!  I have new drawings to get back to!

Ty the Guy OUT!

Here now, your bonus Unseen Batman Adventures Art:   The sign I used to tape up over our TV screen when I was out of the house during Batman time, in case one of my roommates was tempted to change the channel.

More Unseen Batman Adventures Rejected Covers!

Ol’ Batman has been hovering around my drawing board this week, as I’m doing portraits of Bob Kane and Bill Finger all day long for the Finger project.  But since I’m rummaging through the Gotham City wing of my studio anyway, I dug out some unused designs sketches for past Batman Adventures covers that were cruelly rejected…and since I’ve been encouraged to toss these unseen bits of nonsense up on the blog in the past, I’m going to do just that, because that’s my way.   If people like it, this may be the first of many such posts.

These thumbnails were for Batman And Robin Adventures #7.   I don’t recall why these first two ideas were turned back.  It might be that Batman was too small on either of them…

Or it might have been the live gunfire, or smoking guns on the covers, I do recall that the policy about guns was pretty strict.

Unless you were pointing the gun at a wooden puppet, then it was okay.  Still they rejected this one as well, but I do recall that I was encouraged to go back to this theme and try another angle of this idea.  Aiming the gun at the puppet was fine.

The final sketch that was approved.  This might have been the first of many covers editor Scott Peterson said yes to, that didn’t have Batman on them at all.  As I look over the run of many dozens of issues, it’s odd how many don’t have Batman on the cover.   I love that openness in an editor.

You’ll notice how little changed from the original little sketch to the final art.  I was so happy with the big bold lines on the sketch (originally three and half inches by five inches high!), that I blew it up and light-tabled it at 10 x 15.   That was a pretty common trick for me, to keep the simple look of the designs.

So do you agree with the editor?  Did we do the right one?

Ty the Guy OUT!

Here now, your BONUS rejected cover moment:

This is the ORIGINAL cover to Amazing Fantasy #15, drawn by Steven Ditko, and rejected by Stan Lee, who asked Jack Kirby to re-design the image into the famous cover we know today.   Which looks like this:

…in case you’ve never seen it.

Unseen Batman Adventures from Beyond Time!!

The other day I was cleaning up the studio, and I came across the one and only rejected cover I did for the Batman Adventures series.  It was the original version of the cover for #4 (from the first series).  It’s never been put online or shown at a convention or anything, so I thought it might be fun to show it off here.  It was rejected because 1)  It’s not very active, and 2)  The logo was too small in the image.  I’m not sure why I penciled and inked it, as mostly we chose covers from layouts, but this one somehow got penciled and inked before everyone decided it possibly sucked.

That’s not the original colour, as it never got THAT far through production.  I just tossed some colours on to give a sense of what it should have looked at in final form.

The story was a two part script about Scarecrow taking away the ability to read from the citizens of Gotham, which naturally frightens everyone.  Here’s the cover we did use…much better in the long run, so no harm done in tossing the first idea.

And just to finish up the thought…here’s Mike Parobeck’s cover for #5, the second of the two parts, which finally featured the not-being-able-to-read aspect of the image from the rejected cover.

There’s still tons of unseen Batman Adventures stuff in my studio, including T-Shirt designs, style-guide art, coloring book covers, product art and bunches of stuff….but this is the only actual comic cover we never used.  Since I found it this week, I put it online this week.

Maybe not the greatest work I ever did, but still fun for folks to see it, nevertheless.

Ty the Guy OUT!

Here now, your Batman Moment of the Day:

I wish I knew who created this image originally so I could credit their great work.  I saw it online a couple of weeks ago and tried to track down who did it, but have turned up nothing so far.  If you know who made this, please let me know, he deserves a salute!

————————

And CLICK HERE for The Top Ten Catwoman Actresses!

The Flying Fickle Finger of Fate points at ME!

That’s a trading card from a “Comic Book Creators” collector’s series put out by Eclipse Comics in ’92.   For those who don’t know, Bill Finger is more or less, the secret creator of BATMAN, never credited in print, never acknowledged by the general public, and badly mistreated by Bob Kane (the “official” creator of Batman).  What was done to Bill was a crime, pure and simple, and he deserves the recognition that he never got while he was alive. Somebody should DO something about this.

Well, somebody is, and I get to play along.  Mark Tyler Nobleman has written a book about the creation of Batman and Bill Finger is the center of the story FINALLY.  And I get to do the illustrations for this important story!!  As a lifelong Batman freak, I’m thrilled to be involved.  As a lifelong Bill Finger fan, I’m hyperventilating with joy that I get to be part of setting the record straight about Bill and Bob.

This isn’t Mark Tyler Nobleman’s first foray into the world of comic book origins-behind the scenes.  Mark gave the world an excellent book about the creation of Superman a few years ago called BOYS OF STEEL:

Illustrated by Ross MacDonald, it’s a delightful telling of the story of Seigel and Shuster and their moment of genius in creating that strange visitor from another planet who can bend steel in his bare hands.   The success of Boys of Steel led Mark to want to tell the story of Batman’s creation, and he’s done it in a succinct and touching narrative that will pull at your heart strings.

I’d love to show you some of the artwork that I’ve been working on for the last while (this is the secret Batman project I’ve mentioned once or twice here in the last few weeks) and as soon as I’m allowed I will….but for today, I’m happy to finally let people know I’m working on this.  I want people to buy it when it comes out, not just because it includes my work, but because Bill Finger deserves it.

Is it just me or do those look like bat wings on the finger?

Ty the Guy OUT!

Here now, your slightly inaccurate Bill Finger Comic Card moment:

The back of Bill’s trading card needs two corrections:  Finger did not die on today’s anniversary as stated…he died on January 18th.  Don’t know why they got that one wrong.  Also:  He was born in Denver.  Oops!

Go West, Young Man

Just found out!  Sketched this as FAST AS I COULD!

And just so folks don’t think I’m trapped in a forever-Batman past, here’s a much more recent photo of the birthday boy.

Though, it’s clear he’s had work done.  You can see erase marks around the eyes.

Ty the Guy

Bun Toons Continue To Blaspheme!

Bun Toons,  Bun Toons

Rolly Polly Bun Toons

Bun Toons,  Bun Toons

Eat them up.  Yum.

Take THAT, complex theological discussion.

Back to my thankless task of drawing my favorite cartoon characters for quite reasonable pay.

Ty the Guy OUT!

DAMN!  Beaten to it.

Here now, your comic book moment of zen

For previous comic book blasphemies, click HERE to read Superman vs. Jesus, and HERE to read Hulk vs. Buddha.