Tuesday, June 30, 2009

New Website and QUESTION Original Art Now Available!



Check out this cool little website: www.ask-the-question.net!

***

The original art from the Question co-feature I'm doing in Detective Comics is now available at my exclusive art rep, Mighty Nib. It's only the first part for now. More will become available as issues hit the stands every month.


Detective Comics #854, P. 1
$50.00

Detective Comics #854, P. 2
$90.00


Detective Comics #854, P. 3
$125.00


Detective Comics #854, P. 4
$75.00

Detective Comics #854, P. 5
ON HOLD

Detective Comics #854, P. 6
$175.00

Detective Comics #854, P. 7
$150.00

Detective Comics #854, P. 8
$175.00

Friday, June 26, 2009

Wallpaper Is The Answer

Greg Rucka mentioned to me that he'd like some Question wallpaper to post on his blog as a companion to the sweet Batwoman wallpaper that JH Williams III did. So:



Enjoy!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Remember The Time...

Wow. Michael Jackson-- didn't see that coming, at least not like this. But you know, as much as we might dwell on the cloud that surrounded the guy, it's worth remembering that there once was a sun behind it:



For the baby boomers, it was the Beatles on Ed Sullivan; for my generation, it was Michael Jackson on Motown 25. He really was a fascinating, riveting performer in his prime.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

THE QUESTION in DETECTIVE COMICS #854 - UPDATED

...Is out at your local comics shop tomorrow. Greg Rucka wrote both the lead feature, starring Batwoman (and featuring the astounding art of JH Williams III), as well as the Question co-feature with art by myself and colorist Laura Martin. Here's a li'l taste:



I really believe in what we're doing here, so I'm asking you to please go out and hunt it down.

***

Looks like our first review is in over at Newsarama:

Best Shots Extra: Detective Comics #854


By David Pepose
posted: 24 June 2009 04:09 pm ET


Detective Comics #854
Writer: Greg Rucka
Artists: J.H. Williams III, Cully Hamner (Second Feature)
Colorists: J.H. Williams III, Laura Martin (Second Feature)
Publisher: DC Comics


I think I'm in love.

Obviously, anyone who's read any books with Batwoman knows she wouldn't be interested in a guy like me -- or any guy at all, for that matter -- but it won't stop me from following this title like a heartsick puppy dog.

And why shouldn't I? After all, Greg Rucka and J.H. Williams III -- along with Cully Hamner and Laura Martin in this issue's second feature with Renee Montoya, better known as the Question -- craft a fantastic first issue that, while taking years in the making, proves that good things come to those who wait.

The first issue quickly establishes the Batwoman, who she is, and how she came to be. A full origin isn't in the cards for this first issue, but enough is established to keep you excited for more: Batwoman, also known as Kathy Kane, is not only looking to uproot the Thirteen Covens of the Crime Bible, but she's doing it in style. Kathy's charisma is a two-man job, balanced on some clever angles on typical Bat-tropes by Rucka and Williams: "You know what I want, Rush..." she says with a sly grin. "...I want your secrets." And then you're smitten.

This grin plays a big part throughout the first issue, as it's clear that Kathy is only truly free of her inner struggles when they're buried underneath a cape and cowl. But Rucka plays both Good Cop and Bad Cop in a single character: while she interrogates a minor thug named Rush, he sobs, "I can't talk to you. They'll kill me if I tell you anything." And this is where it gets interesting: "They won't," Batwoman says, a swashbuckling smirk on her face as she suddenly -- almost maternally -- holds the surprised Rush's face in her hands. "I won't let them." It's a character defining moment in the first issue, really showing that she may have a Bat on her chest, but she plays things quite differently from Dick Grayson and company. (And that's not even getting into her interaction with the Bat, which gives both characters an interesting and funny dynamic.) Yet Kathy as a civilian is just as interesting, as we see her struggles with romance -- as her girlfriend leaves her, mistaking her prowling as Batwoman as simply playing the field -- as well as dealing with the emotional scarring of being kidnapped and nearly murdered by the followers of Crime Bible during 52.

But credit also needs to go to J.H. Williams III, a modern master if you've ever seen one. Penciller, inker, colorist, Williams does it all, and he does it with style and panache to spare. He takes a page from the Sin City playbook in the first few pages, using just black, white, and red, a nice choice that really lets Kathy pop off the page. And I would remiss if I failed to mention his sense of composition and panel building, which is orthodox but gives this series a gritty, jagged look -- yet allows us to focus on Batwoman's grin, which pops onto pages like an emblem of a new age of Gotham. Yet perhaps the most spectacular element of Williams' work is the fact that he noticeably changes his style depending on Kathy's locale -- water colors, unorthodox panel layouts and thin inks on the Batwoman pages, while he softens the shadows and brings back the colors when Kathy returns to the civilian world. It's fascinating to look at, and brings Rucka's story to new heights.

What could make this comic better? Having a second feature -- and Rucka, along with Blue Beetle alum Cully Hamner -- really makes that shine as well. Surprisingly, the exploits of Renee Montoya aren't quite as dark as Batwoman's, but it's a nice desert for the whopping entree of the first feature. Since we spent a year with Renee during 52, her backstory and motivations aren't as deeply defined, as Rucka smartly works on expanding her supporting cast -- including her lighthouse liar with her amusing sidekick, Tot -- as well as placing Renee into a case right off the bat. Hamner also has some interesting choices, having Renee's eyes noticably concealed in shadow while she's "on the job," as well as some nice combat against a trained guard dog. The weak link in this is colorist Laura Martin, as I'm not quite thrilled with Renee's all-blue look as the Question. But all in all, this is the sort of book that proves why DC is one of the Top Two -- it may have been a long time coming, but Detective Comics is proving that the Batman mythos is being truly reborn, and for the better.

*Thanks to David Pepose for the wonderful review! I do, however, have to take issue with the following:

"The weak link in this is colorist Laura Martin, as I'm not quite thrilled with Renee's all-blue look as the Question."

This was an editorially-mandated decision, and as such, Laura can't be faulted (if one could even "fault" anyone for it). The decision was made above us to carry over the original Question's color scheme, and Laura turned in an impeccable job given the parameters she had.

Trust me when I say that no one could have done it better.

-CH

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Off To Heroes Con!

Shelton Drum is an old, old pal of mine, and his Heroes Con in Charlotte, NC, is my absolute favorite convention in this universe. You will not find a friendlier show than this one, folks. This is my 19th consecutive year at Heroes, if that tells you anything. For me to ever miss one, it'll have to be seriously important.

Anyway, all of us Gaijinners will be there: Brian Stelfreeze, Doug Wagner, Laura Martin, Karl Story, and me. Please make sure to stop by.

Also, I cranked out a quick little piece for the program book/Gaijin booth backdrop/art auction, if anyone's interesting in taking a look:



See you in Charlotte!

Monday, June 15, 2009

BRILLIANT.

From USAToday:

Superman to leap off these pages

Flying defiantly into a digital world, DC Comics will launch a weekly series of superhero comic strips next month, printed on full-size newspaper pages like the old-fashioned Sunday funnies.

The 12-week return to newsprint, called Wednesday Comics, makes its debut at comic-book stores July 8 and will offer 15 different stories for $3.99 in a broadsheet format, 14 inches by 20 inches. (New comic books are released across the USA on Wednesdays.)

Creators include John Arcudi and Lee Bermejo on Superman, Brian Azzarello on Batman, Adam and Joe Kubert on Sgt. Rock, Paul Pope on Adam Strange, Dave Gibbons on Kamandi, Kyle Baker on Hawkman and a pairing of Neil Gaiman and Michael Allred on the obscure hero Metamorpho.

All 12 weeks of the Superman strip will appear in USA TODAY as well, beginning July 8 with a full-page installment in the newspaper. The remaining 11 Superman strips will be available each Wednesday at usatoday.com.

"There's a certain romance to the history of the big old Sunday funnies that I wanted to try to recapture in Wednesday Comics," says DC art director Mark Chiarello. "Why not dust off the format and have a little fun?"

*It's also worth noting that that Wednesday Comics features a "Demon/Catwoman" strip written by the legendary Walt Simonson and illustrated by my longtime studiomate, Brian Stelfreeze. Go and buy it. --CH






Sunday, June 14, 2009

Please, Kathie Lee, Don't Hurt 'Em...!

Wow:



It's nice to see that time hasn't made Kathie Lee Gifford any less vacuous...

Thursday, June 11, 2009

They Don't Make 'Em Like This Anymore...

So, growing up, I loved the original Star Trek, and also really liked its first sequel series, Star Trek: The Next Generation. After ST:TNG went off the air, I sort of fell out of the whole thing by and large, but the new film version has done a lot to rekindle what I loved about those characters in the first place.

Anyone who's enjoying the new Star Trek movie should take notice of actor Karl Urban's performance as Dr. Leonard "Bones" McCoy. It's not the biggest role in the movie, but it is a pretty nice tribute to the man that originated the character. Leonard Nimoy has said a number of times that Urban's introductory scene as the character moved him to tears in remembering DeForest Kelley.

Kelley died exactly ten years ago on June 11th, 1999, leaving behind legions of adoring fans-- many of whom he influenced to become doctors in real life-- and colleagues that have never, ever publicly said a bad word about him. He was an actor that, as director Nicholas Meyer said about him, "had a resume as long as your arm."

I always liked the character of Dr. McCoy, and I think that mostly had to with Kelley's warm portrayal. McCoy was Kirk's conscience, the irascible humanist of the show. His job as a character was to be the passionate counterpoint to Spock's cold reason. His job as an actor was to represent us, warts and all.

All due respect to Karl Urban-- he did a great job, and I hope he's given more of a chance to shine in future Trek films-- but they just don't make them like Kelley much anymore:

More RED...

My pal, Wildstorm Senior Editor Ben Abernathy, has posted over on The Bleed about the end of PLANETARY (written by my RED and DOWN cohort Warren Ellis, drawn by supergod John Cassaday, and colored by my now-studiomate Laura Martin). An interesting bit is at the end, complete with scans of half-finished pages from six years ago. These were hand-lettered on the boards by the legendary John Costanza, the last such job I ever worked on:

We’ve got another bonus this month for Warren Ellis fans—a reprinting of the killer RED series he did with the incomparable Cully Hamner (which is being developed into a movie, too, by Summit Entertainment!). It’s a special treat for fans of the story, as it reprints the miniseries AND has a ton of special “bonus” extras in the back (and it’s a solo reprinting, unlike the original version that had it as a flipbook with another series). Since I worked on the original mini, I thought it might be cool to have a peek at a couple elements that not even this exhaustive reprinting could show off. Enjoy!


I didn't even know he still had these! Anyway, enjoy.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Busy, Busy, Busy

In the run-up to Heroes Con, I'm going to be doing the mad rush to get work done. That said, I'll endeavor to make sure I post something tasty here as often as I can until then.

Speaking of cons, here are the ones I know I'll be at this year (along with the rest of the Gaijin crew):

Heroes Con, Charlotte, NC, June 19-21
Dragon*Con, Atlanta, GA, September 4-7
Baltimore Comic Con, Baltimore, MD, October 10-11

Pretty light con sked this year for me, by design. You never know, there might be another one or two by year's end, but those are the definites. All I know for sure is that I'm taking a break from San Diego, and I already did New York Comic Con for the first time earlier this year. I really love doing cons, but they can be a bit of a sensory overload at times. It's good to take a break from some of them every few years, which is my plan for 2009.

So come and see me while you can at the three above.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

BLACK LIGHTNING Original Art!



It's all up and available now over at Mighty Nib, my official art rep. You'll want to go to there.

So, In Other Words...

...Conservatives are conservative. I mean, really, isn't this just conservatism at it's most basic?

Conservatives Are More Easily Disgusted

People who squirm at the sight of bugs or are grossed out by blood and guts are more likely to be politically conservative, new studies find.

In particular, the squeamish are more apt to have conservative attitudes about gays and lesbians.

Lots of other research has tied politics to biology and behavior. Some quick background:

The new studies

In one of the new studies, Cornell University psychology professor David Pizarro and colleagues surveyed 181 U.S. adults from politically mixed swing states. They used a Disgust Sensitivity Scale (DSS), which offers various scenarios to assess disgust sensitivity, as well as a political ideology scale. They found a correlation between being more easily disgusted and political conservatism.

Then they surveyed 91 Cornell undergraduates with the DSS, as well as with questions about their positions on issues including gay marriage, abortion, gun control, labor unions, tax cuts and affirmative action. Participants who rated higher in disgust sensitivity were more likely to oppose gay marriage and abortion, issues that are related to notions of morality or purity.

The results are detailed in the journal Cognition & Emotion.

In a separate study in the current issue of the journal Emotion, Pizarro and colleagues found a link between higher disgust sensitivity and disapproval of gays and lesbians. In this research, they used implicit measures, which assess attitudes people may be unwilling to report explicitly or that they may not even know they possess.

The studies were funded by the university.

Morals and disgust

Morals and disgust are intertwined. Research earlier this year found that people react similarly to disgusting photographs by curling the upper lip and wrinkling the nose. When judging behavior, our disgust can actually make us feel physically sick.

Pizarro explains that disgust is evolution's way of protecting us from disease. Unfortunately, in his view, disgust is now used to make moral judgments.

Liberals and conservatives disagree about whether disgust has a valid place in making moral judgments, Pizarro argues. Some conservatives think there is inherent wisdom in repugnance, that feeling disgusted about something - gay sex between consenting adults, for example - is cause enough to judge it wrong or immoral, even lacking a concrete reason, Pizarro explains. Liberals tend to disagree, and are more likely to base judgments on whether an action or a thing causes actual harm, he said.

Studying the link between disgust and moral judgment could help explain the strong differences in people's moral opinions, Pizarro figures. And it could offer strategies for persuading some to change their views.

"People have pointed out for a long time that a lot of our moral values seem driven by emotion, and in particular, disgust appears to be one of those emotions that seems to be recruited for moral judgments," Pizarro said.

An interesting related aside to chew on: Research published in 2007 in the Journal of Applied Psychology found that people who think of themselves as having high moral standards often become the worst cheats because they pursue what they believe to be a moral end at all cost.

Robert Roy Britt is the Editorial Director of Imaginova. In this column, The Water Cooler, he looks at what people are talking about in the world of science and beyond.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Yes, I Did

Here are some Obama sketch cards I just sent off, if anyone's interested:



Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Couple Of Quick Bits


Yesterday, a box from DC showed up, and it turned out to be my comp copies of the new edition of RED. As you probably know, RED was a three-issue thriller by Warren Ellis and myself that Wildstorm released in 2003. You may also know that Summit Entertainment is planning to adapt it as a feature film, possibly starring Bruce Willis, and maybe even directed by Richard Donner if the stars align correctly.

I was never happy with the previous collection of the story, because it was paired with another Ellis-written series, TOKYO STORM WARNING, as sort of a flip book. There are a number of reasons why I thought this was a terrible idea-- if you catch me at a con, ask me and I'll tell you. In any case, with the film interest, it seems that Wildstorm has finally decided to do it up right.

RED: THE NEW EDITION features the original three-part series with the original covers, sketch material, Warren's first-issue script, my first-issue layouts, and a brand new cover by me. All that for fifteen bucks. Do me a favor and head out to your LCS on June 10th, and grab a copy, would you?

***

If anyone's interested, my pal Aris has a li'l ol' interview with me up at his "Aris Asks" blog. You'll want to go to there.

***

I've noticed that a number of "media outlets" (read: gossip mongers) are up in arms about the "cost to the taxpayers" of the Obamas' date night. Look, the President of the United States can't scratch his balls without incurring a "cost to the taxpayers," okay? It's part of being president. He has to, by law, travel by helicopter, motorcade, and jet everywhere he goes, accompanied by staff, advisers, and Secret Service, not to mention the White House Press Corps. Get over it. We can't expect them to hole up in the White House and never leave except for work purposes-- they are human beings. What we have here is a segment of the chattering class who are looking very hard for something to criticize. There's a lot going on these days, and there are very legitimate things one could criticize the Obama Administration about. This ain't one of 'em.

Or on the other hand, maybe we should be looking into the "cost to the taxpayers" of President Bush's 977 days of vacation...