Thursday, May 15, 2008


I was feeling so disgusted with myself about losing the sketch (which was of one the characters from the story I was writing when I had the time for that sort of thing) that I forced myself to crank this sketch out on my lunchbreak a day or two ago. I was recently reading an issue of Rough Stuff magazine and they showed some great artwork by Nick Cardy and Tony DeZuniga. Those guys drew really loose but no line was ever out of place. It got me thinking about all those amazing artists from the Philippines like Alfredo Alcala and Rudy Nebres that I loved so much as a kid. (And still do.) They did all this great rendering and, damn, could they lay the ink to paper!

I wanted to see if I could do some freehand rendering in ink. So I whipped up a very loose pencil sketch and then just went to it with the Pitt brush pen. I tried not to worry too much about where the brush fell and just went with it. Almost a stream-of-consciousness thing but with drawing instead of writing. I really like the way it turned out. In the future, I'll pay a little more attention to what I'm doing but this was just an experiment. This is what I wish I drew like all the time. Well, close to it. I love the carefree feel it has but some of the rendering is a little too carefree if you know what I mean. Anyone who's known me for a while knows I idolize Darwyn Cooke and his deceptively simple illustration style. Particularly his Kirby riffing in DC's NEW FRONTIER. That's what I shoot for when I ink my own stuff. Unfortunately, my pencilling style is too tight for that. I end up drawing like what John Byrne calls the "cut glass brigade." That's why I didn't erase the pencil lines before I scanned this piece. I wanted Craig to see that I could loosen up a bit. :)

I chose Tiger-Man for this because I've been thinking a lot about the old Atlas comics that came out in the 70's. Most of the books only lasted 3 issues or so and no two issues were alike. Rather than give a book time to find an audience, each book's direction would change almost issue to issue. Characters would get new costumes or even new names. Mike and I each had our own favorites. I was absolutely in love with THE DESTRUCTOR and Howard Nostrand's TARGITT, particularly when they changed him into a costumed vigilante. (Of course.) Something about Nostrand's bold, cartoony art spoke to me. Being a life-long horror fanatic, I was also quite taken with PLANET OF THE VAMPIRES. In fact, when I found out in college that Mario Bava's movie was NOT an adaptation of the comic, I was sorely disappointed. Mike preferred Ernie Colon's elegant artwork in the more consistent GRIM GHOST and the science-fictiony MORLOCK 2001. But we both got into TIGER-MAN. The idea of were-beast as superhero really grabbed us. (I guess it's why I like Robert Kirkman's WOLF-MAN so much.) And Ernie Colon's art was as great as ever. Steve Ditko even did an issue, I believe. I wanted to see what I could do with inking hair and so Tiger-Man seemed my best candidate with his long locks. I made him a little more bestial than he appeared in the books but I think a Tiger-Man should look like a tiger, man. Anyway, I hope you like it.


This is my week for double posts. Jim McLauchlin (I misspelled him name last time.) sent out an email to everybody involved with the HERO INITIATIVE tribute to Mike and shared the cover with us. This was originally intended to be the splash page of the WHAT IF? book Mike was working on when he died but I guess they figured it would make a nifty cover. Karl Kesel inked it and Paul Mounts did his usual stunning coloring job. He never fails to amaze me. It breaks my heart that Mike never finished this because he was doing such a beautiful job on the book. But the fine folks they got to finish it in his honor have done a bang up job. I've been fortunate enough to be included in the emails when the pages were making the rounds and, rest assured, Mike's friends have done him proud.

The finished book, including some additional tribute illustrations and prose by the people who knew and loved Mike (including one incredible piece by Richard Case that, I guarantee you, will make you smile and cry at the same time) will debut at the Heroes Convention in Charlotte, NC June 20th through June 22nd. The rest of you will be able to buy it at your LCS on June 25th. Make sure your shop owner's order it. Jim tells me sales have exceeded expectations but all the proceeds from the sale of this book are going to a great cause so lets exceed those expectations even more.

Okay, that's it. As Suzanne would say, "Peace, out!"


Rich Faber said...

Great work, Matt! You're really shining on this one. I'll tell you a little secret: the trick to good loose inking is to NOT think too much about it. Let that brush (or brushpen) flow! I can't wait to see more work like this from you.


Anonymous said...

Everytime you throw a piece of art out there, it gets the brain thinking, and then the jealousy hits, darn you!
Awesome as always, Matt!
Tiger Man looks a lil mean...gets me thinking of a theme song for him..
Ti-ger Man!
Ti-ger Man!
When he stares at me
I wet my pants... needs some work, I know...

Brian said...

Really like the Tigerman, Matt.

Jim had a few of the pages from the What If book on display in Seattle and they all looked great to me.

renecarol said...

Gorgeous piece Matt. Your work is amazing.

Warren said...

Great work on Tiger-Man! It is alot looser than some of your other stuff (though I think your other stuff is plain awesome!)

I remember those old Atlas books with a lot of affection. Phoenix was one of my favorites, although I can't quite remember who wrote and drew it. The Destructor by Ditko was fun, if not his greatest creation. Grim Ghost, Morlock 2001. All fun stuff, though it never caught on. A little consistency, and a little time, and Atlas could have made it the Big Three instead of the Big Two.

Aaaand... shameless plug: I'm trying my hand at a web comic. I trust you guys to tell me I suck in a nice way. So if one or two of you could take a look, I'd really appreciate it.

Hope you don't mind me doing that, Matt.

Matt Wieringo said...

Thanks, Warren. And I don't mind at all. I like your web comic. I tried to post a comment but there was a glitch that wouldn't let me. Keep 'em coming!

Thanks everybody else, too. McGill, I love the song!

Leaf said...

Would it be bad taste to call that drawing, "Purrrrfect?" Hahahaha. Nicely done, lad. You don't need me as a tracer at all.

rhombus said...

Yeah, baby. Love the loose inks you've got working for you here, Matt. Let's see some more! (I'm greedy, what can I say?)