Everyone's a Hero in their own not-that-heroic way!
Brace yourself, this is going to be a long, rambling comic book fanboy rant...
I picked up a book entitled Hero Comics at my local comic shop several months ago. It's a collection of random comic shorts and pin-ups by various civic-minded comic book creators to benefit comic book writers, artists, etc who have fallen on hard times. (yeah, so it was the J Scott Campbell cover that drew me to it in the first place and not my civic-mindedness - so what?)
Everyone Deserves a
Give Back to the creators who gave you your dreams
Support the Hero Initiative, the only charitable fund dedicated to helping yesterday's comic creators in need.
There's a whole bunch of great stuff in here, but a couple of the submissions really stood out for me:
A Dr Horrible pin-up (a first peek at the comic that was published a month or two later)
Speaking of the comic that came later, it was great. It did an excellent job explaining how Doogi...er, Dr Horrible was turned to the dark side. I've already mentioned at least a couple of times how great Dr Horrible is, so I won't out you all through that again. There's also a comic book adaptation of The Guild (another Youtube web series, starring Dr. Horrible's Penny, Felicia Day) that I'll ramble on about in a second, so stay tuned...
J Scott Campbell's Eve pin-up (also on the cover)
And speaking of J Scott Campbell's covers, he's done a couple of other covers in the past few months that I've also loved: one for The Amazing Spider-man and another for Zenescope's Escape From Wonderland and Beyond Wonderland. He also did a great Danger Girl cover and pin-up for Liberty Comics #1 (I'll be mentioning Liberty Comics #2 in two shakes).
Mark Schultz's Xenozoic Tales pin-up
Mark's a really nice guy and a very talented artist - his Conan sketches were what led me to discover him a few years back. I try to find him every year at the Comiccon just to get one of his sketchbooks and see if he's been up to anything new.
A portfolio of Arthur Adams illustrations
The sketch above is a two-pager that I inexpertly combined, but there are also several others. I don't know much about Art Adams - other than to pick up any books he's worked on. He has done a few Red Sonja covers for Dynamite.
And speaking of artists that support a good cause, I picked up another tribute comic called Liberty Comics that featured a bunch of comic book creators was published a few months ago to support the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund. Unlike the Hero Comics book, this one didn't have a whole lot of content that appealed to me, other than a Neil Gaiman story.
100 Words by Neil Gaiman
The six page story by Neil Gaiman is called 100 words and was beautifully illustrated in pencil by Jim Lee. Neil is always doing stuff to raise money for the CBLDF.
And speaking of Neil, here's my next tangential comic book leap: Batman. Specifically, to an unusual two-part Batman story penned by Neil Gaiman and illustrated by Andy Kubert called Whatever Happened to the Caped Crusader. It's unsual for a couploe fo reason. One, it starts in one Batman title (Batman #686) and ends in another (Batman Detective Comics #853). The Alex Ross cover for the first part of the Arc is awesome (as are all Alex Ross covers). Another unusual aspect is the revisionist history shared by all Batman's friends and enemies. You never really know who's going to twist the Batman legend in a new direction. And the last reason it's usual: Batman has died.
Andy Kubert shares some of his pencil sketches of the story's charcters at the end of the book. Here are a couple of them. Good stuff.
And on the topic of Batman, another exceptional Batman title came out recently, Batman Confidential (#40-43). It wasn't penned by Neil Gaiman or illustrated by Alex Ross or Andy Kubert, but it's worth seeking out (even if you're really not much of a superhero fan, like me). The four-issue story arc was written and illustrated by Sam Keith and you've never seen Batman quite like this.
And bringing us full-circle, there's a Neil Gaiman ad for National Library Week in Batman Confidential #43.
I mentioned the comic adaptation of The Guild somewhere in that rambling mess above. The comic adaptation is actually being written by Felicia Day (and illustrated by Jim Rugg), so you know it's going to be as great as the web series itself. Unlike the web series (admittedly, I've only seen the first season in its entirety - I need to ctach up), the comic series actually provides a lot of background into Felicia Day's character and just how she started playing the very WOW-like MMORPG in The Guild. The juxtaposition of real life to in-game "existence" is also very well done in the comic (the comic series is on-going). It's interesting that the Penny character in Dr Horrible is much less bean-pole and bland than Felicia Day's character in The Guild comic (when she's not in the game - that one is muy, muy curvaceous).
Every aspect of The Guild is so totally on target for games like World of Warcraft (the only MMORPG to really suck me in). You really do feel like you're accomplishing things and like you're part of something bigger than yourself...and all the stress of the real world just seems so far away when you're immeresed in the game world. All that said, I've actually managed to avoid relapsing and haven't played a second of WoW since my last free two-week pass (a few months ago) ran out. Score!
And before I stop, here's one last tangentially-related random thing I'm going to share. A few weeks (months - I don't remember) ago, the offical Star Wars site had a feature on Felicia Day, Felicia Day is the Geek You're Looking For. Most of the interview is about non-Star Wars stuff, but she does show Star Wars some love.
What's your funniest Star Wars memory?
Trying to make buns on my head and wondering how in the world she had so much hair to make them so thick. Mine stuck out like Frankenstein knobs.
Do you still collect any Star Wars stuff now?
I'm not much of a collector, I don't like clutter, but I definitely have all the DVDs prominently displayed on the DVD shelf.
Which Star Wars film made you become a fan?
The first one, of course. I was in love with Han Solo. I wanted to be Princess Leia. I wanted to have Chewbacca carry me around. Is that so wrong?
And then there's this video that seals the deal. Felica Day is officially awesome (well, the evidence of her awesomeness continues to grow, anyway).