BONUS: Original sketch! (9k)

I’ve always liked the dumb Hulk the most. I think a lot of us can relate to that feeling that the whole world is out to get us. Of course, I never had Thunderbolt Ross commanding a battalion of tanks to interupt my solitude. Not yet, anyway.

I scribbled this on a sheet of paper (gasp!) and traced a scan with the Wacom to get the clean lines… the most indirect one yet! I like this techniques because I can watch TV and draw at the same time. I got a half hour or so into Terry Gilliam’s Jabberwocky earlier, and now that I’m done with my silly image of the day, I’m going to finish it off!

Side Note: I like how when I squint at this drawing it looks kind of like a disembodied brain. What does this mean, I wonder?


WTF!? This is funny.

(from Comic Book Resources)

Wanna differentiate yourself from the competition? Why not have your product delivered to your customers by Spider-Man! Those lightning reflexes and that spider sense are the perfect way to protect sensitive goods en route through the mean streets of Bangkok.

That’s exactly what this company in Thailand did, at least until Marvel found out and tossed a few lawyers their way. No moonlighting for the wall-crawler, so Spidey’s out, and Austin Powers is in! Yeah, baby, yeah!


Well, it looks like things for Marvel and the comics industry in general are going better than I thought:

(Some of this is pretty old news, but I haven’t been paying attention)

I wonder how long this current upward trend can continue… I want to believe that comics sales follow the quality of the output, which in my opinion would track perfectly with the slump that began in the mid-nineties and continued unfettered through to 2000. Obviously, inflation and the encroachment of anime and video games were big contributors to that slump, but it’s not the whole story. Comics rather sucked through most of the nineties. The Lee/Liefeld wannabes, the multiple embossed dice-cut holofoil covers, the 22 straight splash pages, how everybody started wearing bandoliers, strapped a beltfull of pockets on their thighs, ran around with dinner plates on their shoulders and two-fisted toaster guns. It was a horrid time.

But now, comics are good again. Marvel is making a lot of bizarre and rewarding editorial decisions, and the industry is following them back into prosperity. Of course, the Spider-Man flick is a huge part of this, but we know from the X-Men film that a blockbuster alone can’t get people to buy comics if they aren’t any good.

Maybe if comics continue not to suck, things will continue to get better. Eventually, the pulp will be left behind, and we’ll be readin comics online, but that’s not the death of the artform so I can live with it (even though I prefer paper aesthetically).

So, way to go Marvel! And everybody, quick! Sell your collection before the bubble bursts again!

BTW, go check out these guys… they are why I didn’t give up on comics while the mainstream was still sucking (yeah, I know, everybody’s list looks like this):


Check out this article from Newsarama!

Copyright issues are a real bitch, aren’t they?

Take this recent semi-scandal between comic book artists Ben & Ray Lai and MIT. The Lai brothers put out a comic through Image a while ago called “Radix,” starring a hot chick in battle armor with mystical powers. Later on, they were surprised when an image that was an obvious swipe of their cover for issue #1 was all over the news as a conceptualization for a real-world, $50 million “Soldier of the Future” contract that MIT successfully won with the US Army.

The Lais were understandably upset to see that their artwork was used without their permission, and immediately issued a cease and desist to MIT to have them take the image down from their project website

MIT obliged, saying they had no idea the artist they commissioned had swiped the images, but the Lais aren’t satisfied. They claim that the very existence of this image calls into question their ownership of the armor design, which has hurt their chances to cash in on the Hollywood buying frenzy of comic book properties that kicked off when the Spider-Man movie turned out to be such a big hit.

But it’s also clear that there is some bitterness involved, considering that their art was used as part of a $50 million winning proposal, and they won’t be seeing any of that cash.
So the Lais are currently speaking with their lawyers… exploring their “options”…

What a mess!

First off, the proposal was in the area of 100 pages long. One would hope that the decision makers at the Army didn’t just look at the drawing and rubber-stamp their approval right away. What, did the competition all use stick figures? For all we know, the competition wrote Luis Royo a fat check to paint a mural of their super soldiers.

Second, it’s not like the armor design is the most original one ever made. It has basically the same lines as a typical superhero outfit, only it’s bulkier and made of metal rather than spandex. This is exactly the kind of design I used to crank out every day when I was a kid. I’m not saying there is nothing unique to Radix (since I’ve never read it) but if there is, it’s definitely not the armor design. The same goes for the specific pose and detail of the artwork. It’s nothing you don’t see every day on the stands.

Third, there is no doubt who owns the armor design, since neither MIT nor the Army is contesting the allegation that the art was swiped (any more). So if Hollywood isn’t pounding down the Lais’ door now, it’s because they’ve found some other hot chick in battle armor to make a movie about.

Fourth, it was an honest mistake (at least for those at the top). One of the faculty members commissioned his daughter to do the drawing based on his description, and she’s the one who used Photoshop to composite scans from Radix #1 into the final art. Before the bid was won, the art was only seen by a handful of people. It wasn’t until the news broke that anybody saw it, and it wasn’t until they got the “cease and desist” that anybody even knew there was an infringement, and at that point they stopped using the image (at least at MIT).

So, all that said, it was still plagiarism. Would this be treated the same if the bid had been lost and only those involved in the bidding process had ever seen it? The big money and the news blitz cloud the issue, but at its core it was still one artist using the work of another artist and putting her own name on it.

If this were the People’s Court, I would probably have the artist give her commission to the Lais and call it a day.

Here’s an interview transcript from CNN with one the Lai brothers.



Kathleen probably predicted this centuries ago. How long could I resist my Marvel Zombie brainwashing..? Well, 4 days I guess…

But — Oh, the humanity! I had such high hopes for this one, and so much went wrong! What possessed me to attempt such a difficult character so early in my Wacom tablet boot camp? I’m still having a lot of coordination problems, obviously. The webbing was a real challenge, and the head just kept coming out melon-shaped, so eventually I just went with it. It may be that I am permanently on the path of further cartoon abstraction, since this isn’t anything close to what Stan Lee & John Buscema taught me all those years ago in “How To Draw Comics the Marvel Way”… I think James Kochalka, Brian Ralph and the rest have had an irreparable effect on my style. Hmmm… well I guess I can live with that.