Thanx for this. Speaking for the art team, we did our best to honor the character. We def. knew what was at stake.
It’s been two years since I first saw the cover of Static Shock #8, drawn by Khary Randolph, inked by Le Beau L. Underwood, and colored by Emilio J. Lopez.
It was the final cover of a title that had been maligned by an artist/editor tandem with no understanding of the original character at all (they never even seen the award-winning animated series) forcing out a writer who not only knew the characters but actually written them for the original publisher two decades earlier. By the time this issue was done, complete with a new writer onboard, the damage was already done and DC decided to kill the book and, unfortunately, any chance of Static or any other Milestone characters being seen in any DC books (aside from the one scene Static was in during the first Teen Titans series and the appearances of Icon and Rocket in the adaptations of the Young Justice animated series, they pretty much vanished without a trace).
When I saw this cover a few years ago, it hit me hard.
I wrote the following to Mr. Randolph because I was a fan and wanted to thank him for making this great image that bridged the Static Shock series with shadows of the Milestone days. The feelings remain the same as it did when I wrote this:
I was 14 when the books were announced. I still have the Va Pilot article with the first sketches and the interview with Mr. Dingle. I read the Milestone books when I could find them. Hardware. Blood Syndicate. Icon.
Static broke out, and rightfully so because he offered something different. Heck, the entire Milestone line brought out a world of comics that were entertaining with something to say instead of just battering our heads with a morality lesson like a lot of books did. Finally, books where the lead Black character wasn’t an ex-con, an African prince or princess, or a hell-borne demon with some unearthly voodoo spellcasting. They were relatable, and they were real, if not in flesh and bone, then on the printed page and, for 52 glorious episodes, on Saturday mornings.
I think the Milestone books were the reason I wanted to pursue creating my own comics, my own characters, my own voice. I was just lucky I told Mr. McDuffie that while he was still with us. I look at how he and so many others kept Milestone’s legacy alive over the years in other media, and I look at them all with a sense of pride. Proof that in the great cosmic sense of comic book myth-making, we exist. We may be shrouded in shadows most of the time, but when we’re out in the light, it’s a beautiful thing.
I look at this cover, and I see that you feel this too. You see the present but don’t ignore the past, and every Milestone fan out there recognizes that the final issue of Static Shock is AN end, not THE end. He’ll be back one day, but time goes on and the volatility of the market and the unspoken bigotry of the direct comic shop marketplace still exist.
You have made a very impactful cover, Khary. I probably talked way too much here (I have a sickening need to do that from time to time). Much success to you and your colleagues in the months and years ahead.
Here is the article in question that’s making the rounds:http://multiversitycomics.com/columns/diminishing-role-of-artists/
All in all, I thought the article was great and I agreed with quite a bit of it. Pretty insightful and what I believe to be a fair assessment of things as they currently appear in the industry today. Now, for the things I’ve been asked on my FB Page to give my PERSONAL thoughts on things the article brings up…
Page Rates: I’m pretty sure I’m at the entry level of the pay scale. Around $150-$200 as a freelance penciler, but I also knew guys just getting in that started higher than that AND given entire single issues out the gate. So, I don’t know what the protocols are, really. I’ve contributed to about 9 assignments/books in the last 7 years since I broke in and my rate hasn’t changed. I was uneducated in the ways of negotiating a page rate because I didn’t know what other people were making or what options I had. It was taboo to discuss it with anyone, also. So, I took what they offered me.
Can a page rate of $150-$200 be a good wage? Only if you’re consistently doing 22pgs per book and at least 8 books a year. As I spent most of my current career at Marvel up to this point as a fill-in artist with my best year doing …MAYBE 55 pages …It definitely wasn’t enough to live off of. Especially because I live in California. Yet, I understood that I was paying my dues. So, it was workable as long as I also did work for Hasbro or some other company as a supplement. This also proved difficult because making the deadlines were tough. More cases than not, I did make it work….which kept me working and getting assignments… For a time. I guess….well, I KNOW that’s why a lot of my peers went into animation. Most people who get into comics that I know never wanted to break in to get rich. They just wanted to draw their favorite characters in their favorite comics for their favorite comics companies, but it’s hard to do that when you can’t afford rent.
Artists Title Runs/Fill-In Issues: This is something that’s kind of personal to me as EVERY book I’ve ever done at Marvel I’ve had to share with another artist. Consistency is key and the only way to truly develop a series AND an artist. A book like INVINCIBLE comes to mind. Not counting back-up stories, it’s only had 2 artists on the book. Period. Ryan Ottley developed as an artist because he worked out a LOT of artistic growing pains in those early issues of INVINCIBLE after taking over for Cory Walker. Finding out what worked and what didn’t and chiseling out his own voice over the course of the series completely separate and distinct from Cory’s. Ottley’s contribution to that book is just astounding and his skills as an artist are razor sharp due to his consistency. I strongly believe that wouldn’t have happened if he was jumping around from book to book every 1 or 2 issues to do the occasional fill-in. Each new title an artist works on requires something different from him because every one of them has different needs. I wouldn’t approach Daredevil the same way I’d approach Guardians of the Galaxy and it would take me a minute just to get the basics of the characters, environment, and story beats……and even LONGER to get comfortable and make it my own. If doing a single issue is like putting a Band-Aid on a gunshot wound, then doing a few pages of that issue is like squeezing lemon juice on it. Yet, it is a necessary evil and fill-ins aren’t going anywhere anytime soon (um…ever). As for me, I’ve vowed that I wouldn’t be taking any more fill-in jobs unless I get the entire issue. Though, I DO have a theory on how fill-ins should be done. A nice ratio would be 2 regular artists on a single title i.e. the regular penciler and the regular fill-in penciler…who pencils full fill-in issues. This way the readers will know what to expect and so does the 2 pencilers.
So, those are my personal thoughts on some of the things addressed in the article. At least for the most part.
it is so much better than it used to be. that I can promise you.
The best thing about this never-ending tidal waves of superhero movies and nerd culture pummeling people from every angle is that those who think themselves at ‘cool’ don’t have much alike to stand on anymore.
I went out to dinner with some friends, most of us comic book creators, and one of my wife’s friends husbands was there with us and he was listening to us talk shop and he said: why would I read a comic book? when I could read Nietzsche.
Kelly Sue said: do you read Nietzsche?
he said: no. but I would.
we all looked at him accordingly and went back to talking amongst ourselves. I literally haven’t spoken to this person since.
so don’t hide who you are and don’t let people shame you, that includes idiots on message boards who can’t let other people enjoy themselves. like what you like. enjoy what you enjoy.
be pat loika
Welcome to the first ever MAINSTREAM MONDAY where I’ll be drawing a mainstream or pop culture character and posting them here on my tumbr. Since my commission list is full/closed and I’ve no clue when I’ll be taking more…everything I do will go up on ebay that same day starting at $40. All pieces will be colored and on either 6X10.5 backing boards or 10X15 art paper.
I kick this off with Nova in honor of Marvel’s New Warriors relaunch.
Here is the ebay listing: Nova
Tools: G-Pen, SpeedBall Super Black Ink, Copic Sketch Markers
See you all next Monday!
Young Justice & DCAU Lead Character Designer, the impressive PHIL BOURASSA.
Check his gallery here : http://philbourassa.deviantart.com/gallery/
Phil Bourassa has been an inspiration since the first time I saw his work.
Starting my relaxation with this and the premiere episode of Black Sails! #relax #dayoff #comics #bluebeetle #DC #BlackSails #Starbucks #Starz
Warm-up sketch I did yesterday morning. Decided to color it this morning before I started work. Think these guys look good together? Maybe they can play nice :)