Archive for February, 2010


Black Future Month ’10: Julian Lytle

February 18th, 2010 Posted by david brothers

I’ve known Julian for a few years now, and he’s even contributed to a couple of posts I’ve done here. We came up around a lot of the same stuff, though several states and a couple years apart, and his perspective is always something interesting and engaging. I’m pretty sure I spent most of one New York Comic-con chilling at or around his table while he was hustling to get some commissions done and chatting about ’90s rap, superheroes, and where comics need to go. Pay attention.

His style is something like modern pop–something you could describe as “ripped from the headlines” if it wasn’t just slightly ahead of the curve. Bright colors, bold design, and slick composition make up his Guns’n’Honey series, while his figure work is part-manga/anime, part-superheroic style, and part-something else. We’ll call it Future Pop. Right now, you can check his website or his webcomic Ants. Click any of the images in this piece to be taken to his Flickr account. If you see him at a con, hit him up and get on his list for art. You won’t regret it.

We’re around the same age, though I think you’re a little older than I am. What’s your genesis? How’d you get into comics and what made you pursue in art? Basically, who is Julian Lytle, and how did he come to be? 

Yeah, man, I’m getting old. It’s all mental though. When I was little, I wanted to be an “everything scientist.” I can’t tell you what that is, but then I saw the original weeklong Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles cartoon. That got me hyped. I started drawing really back then. I could draw a perfect copy of the cartoon-style Turtles. I also used to watch this show called Secret City on PBS. It was like a personal art class everyday. I used to tape it. I loved to watch Bob Ross, all the landscapes and happy trees.

I didn’t fall in love with comics or anything until X-Men #1, which I think is one of the best superhero comics ever made. Jim Lee was gully on that book. The opening with the training to this day looks beyond what I can do to me. I was hooked on X-Men from that day. I had all the trading cards. My first comics were DC though. But, comic books wasn’t my thing until 12. Before that, the comic strips were my thing.

Another thing that got me into art was popularity to a degree. I wasn’t an athlete or the smartest or the best looking, but I could draw the best. And as a kid, being the guy that could draw a Ninja Turtle was some juice. Even girls liked them. The schools always pushed me, like them kids who could play basketball and stuff. I never felt like the ostracized fanboy, I guess ’cause I liked video games and sports. I think that helped my art, I try to stay with what’s current, what’s poppin’. 

Your style is pretty distinct. If I had to describe it in terms of genre, it’s like “retro future pop.” Your style brings throwback designs, trends, and styles into the future, updating them for the modern day and adding a splash of bright color into the mix. I’m thinking specifically of the Jubilee picture you did a few years back and your Guns’n’Honey series. They aren’t in a typical pinup style, but still manage to work extremely well. How’d you develop this style? 

Well, my mom died in the summer of 2006 and I didn’t draw for a couple of months. I was watching some videos on TV and it got me thinking. My friend gave me the line “guns and honey” and I started drawing a cute woman from a picture and she had a gun. I changed some stuff that I didn’t like. I did another one and another.

Those are the first Guns N’ Honey. Kind of just experiments and getting my feet wet again. Then I started thinking about what I was seeing in rap videos. The things you see the most are women, usually objectified. They also, most of the time, talk about violent acts. Rap also has a need to boast about things, particularly fashion–Gucci, Yves Saint Laurent, Louis Vuitton, all of that. So I mixed all that up, but instead of men with guns, like others have done before, I used women. But I wanted it to look like a fashion spread you’d see in Vogue or V.

I used design elements and typography to set apart my pieces from the most. I want to use bigger, coloured, zip-a-tone style shading. I started taking lyrics from songs I listened to. I got “Talk to the Cannon” from Weezy on that Dedication 2 mixtape. The piece made itself. I found the reference on my computer that I knew would work, changed some things, had my colourway set, and laid out the type and bam, it was done.

Over time I started trying to make them look like old genre movie poster or pulp novels. Robert McGinnis is a big influence, but so is Hype Williams. I’ve also always wanted to get into fashion illustration since I was really young. So, this is, in a way, me just doing stuff on my own for myself.

I’ve been told I draw the type of girl I want. I don’t know about that, but I do try to draw women that look strong and dangerous, but not all naked for any old reason. Not every woman has huge breasts, and, you know, a woman with a B-cup and a t-shirt on looks good too. I also like taking poses of men and flipping them with women, like Malcolm X’s window picture and James Bond’s Quantum of Solace newspaper ad.

So, you could say that my style is from consumption and regurgitation. It is pop culture because that is where it comes from. What’s funny is that I couldn’t draw a female without copying from a comic book until I was like a senior in high school. I sucked at drawing women until college. Now, that is all I draw.  
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What’s Under the Hood

February 17th, 2010 Posted by Esther Inglis-Arkell

Judd Winick’s Jason Todd resurrection story, Under the Hood, is coming out in straight-to-dvd animated movie form this fall.  So far, they’ve released few details.  There’s talk about how the story will be dark.  And there is a model of Nightwing.

This angular style seems to be the new trend in animation. 

Batman from the The Batman Strikes.

Martian Manhunter from Crisis on Two Earths.

Seriously, every superhero’s head seems to be modeled on Tahmoh Penikett’s skull.

There is also a quote from Judd Winick.

“What I loved best about it is that it had a really amazing beginning and a really strong ending, which pretty much most movies ride on.”

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Glyph Comics Awards Nominees

February 17th, 2010 Posted by david brothers

Glyph nominees! I’m pretty happy with how these turned out. All of it’s worth reading. Vote for the fan awards here.

This was a real eye-opening experience for me.



Last year, Jeremy Love’s Bayou made history at the Glyph Comics Awards (GCA) by winning five times, including for Story of the Year; a new record. In this, our fifth anniversary year, many new faces are in the running from all across the industry.

The nominees for 2010 are:

Story of the Year
Luke Cage Noir; Mike Benson & Adam Glass, writers; Shawn Martinbrough, artist
The Original Johnson; Trevor von Eeden, writer and artist
Unknown Soldier #13-14; Joshua Dysart, writer, Pat Masioni, artist
War Machine: Iron Heart; Greg Pak, writer, Leonardo Manco, artist
World of Hurt, Jay Potts, writer and artist

Best Writer
Joshua Dysart, Unknown Soldier
Jeremy Love, Bayou
Greg Pak, War Machine
Jay Potts, World of Hurt
Alex Simmons, Archie & Friends

Best Artist
Chriscross, Final Crisis Aftermath: Dance
Jeremy Love, Bayou
Shawn Martinbrough, Luke Cage Noir
Jay Potts, World of Hurt
Trevor von Eeden, The Original Johnson
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February 16th, 2010 Posted by Esther Inglis-Arkell

There was a huge upset, over at scans_daily, about a week ago.  I know.  How could that happen?  But some of us like scans_daily, in part, because of the fights.  This fight, however, frustrated me, because I’ve seen it too often.

I’ve seen a few too many arguments like this, lately, where someone does something dumb and offensive and then shouts at everyone who bothers to tell them that it’s offensive.  Here are the arguments that they always, always, without fail, make.

1.  But I didn’t know it was offensive.

2.  But I didn’t mean it to be offensive.

3.  But you should have been nicer to me when you explained what was wrong.

Number two has its variations (it was supposed to be funny, it was supposed to be satire, it’s not really important anyway), but number three?  Number three is the catchall.

People who invoke number three will use any excuse in the book to make it work.  They will use the excuse of politeness (there are certain ways we do things), and morality (don’t ever sink to their level!), and location (this isn’t the place for it), and loyalty (but I’m really on your side), and they love using practicality (You shouldn’t have to explain this but otherwise how will they learn?  However will they learn?).

I hate all of those arguments, because all of them – every single thing I’ve listed above – boil down to this assumption:

You have consider my feelings, and I don’t have to consider yours.

That’s what every single person who ever makes those arguments is saying.  That’s all they’re saying. 

And when the original offender himself comes on in the second page to thank the people who ‘defended’ him, and not the people who acquiesced to the demands of all the idiots, waded thigh-deep into the bog, and educated him? 

Man, I’m glad I can’t comment on that site since they moved to dreamwidth.  Trying to get through to him would have been one hell of a waste of a few days.

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Black Future Month ’10: Things Are Getting Better

February 16th, 2010 Posted by david brothers

The first all-black comic was 1947’s All-Negro Comics. Everything I know about it I read from this site. It’s a somewhat lengthy read, but well worth your time.

All-Negro Comics once attempted to be a representative and standard-bearer for an entire race. The situation was so off-center and dire that an attempt to educate both blacks and whites as to the history and prestige of the black race was seen as necessary. I transcribed the introduction that Orrin C Evans wrote, because I find it pretty fascinating.

Dear readers: This is the first issue of All-Negro Comics, jam-packed with fast action, African adventure, good clean humor and fantasy.

Every brush stroke and pen line in the drawings on these pages are by Negro artists. And each drawing is an original; that is, none has been published ANYWHERE before. This publication is another milestone in the splendid history of Negro journalism.

All-Negro Comics will not only give Negro artists an opportunity to gainfully use their talents, but it will glory Negro historical achievements.

Through Ace Harlem, we hope dramatically to point up the outstanding contributions of thousands of fearless, intelligent Negro police officers engaged in a constant fight against crime throughout the United States.

Through Lion Man and Bubba, it is our hope to give American Negroes a reflection of their natural spirit of adventure and a finer appreciation of their African heritage.

And through Sugarfoot and Snakeoil, we hope to recapture the almost lost humor of the loveable wandering Negro minstrel of the past.

Finally, Dew Dillies will give all of us–young and old–an opportunity to romp through a delightly, almost fairy-like land of make-believe.

And we’re proud, too, of our big educational feature–a monthly historical calendar on which the contributions of the Negro to world history will be set forth in each issue.

What’s important about All-Negro Comics is that it is an answer to a trend in comics. A conscious answer, one calculated to present something that hadn’t, to my knowledge, been properly represented in comics. In mainstream comics at this point, Whitewash from the Young Allies and Will Eisner’s Ebony White were par for the course. Clumsy, bumbling racial caricatures were, as near as I can tell, the norm and accepted by polite society. Will Eisner himself accepted that White was a racial stereotype with an excuse that boils down to “it was funny back then.”

All-Negro Comics, then, was a shot across the bow of pop culture racism. It is counter-programming against the cultural politics of the era it was written in. It puts the lie to the flimsy excuse of “It was just a product of its time.” Accepting that excuse means assuming the worst about the people of that time, that they were okay with denigrating and marginalizing an entire culture. It reminds me of the saying about how all evil needs to triumph is for good men to do nothing. At the same time, if you’re doing nothing, are you really that good?

Evans’s opening editorial begins combat against the idea of the shiftless, lazy Negro. It introduces Ace Harlem, a positive black role model intended to represent the modern black male. Ace Harlem was cast in the same mold as Dick Tracy or The Spirit- an upstanding man out to do good simply because it was the right thing to do.

There’s a message implicit there. Ace looked out for his people, tried to do the right thing, and was specifically intended to represent the black community. As near as I can tell, he was created to be what we often mistakenly assume a lot of black characters to be nowadays: a representative for the community at large, rather than a specific person. The existence of Ace meant that black people, just like whites, weren’t born criminals or inferior. They had just as much drive, just as much of a sense of justice, as anyone else did.

Ace Harlem says what everyone should have known already, is what I’m saying.

All-Negro Comics puts me in mind of Spike Lee and, more recently, Tyler Perry. Spike has a rep for being a loudmouth jerk, but he’s a guy who also aggressively pushed a very specific agenda: movies should reflect real life. Sometimes this meant a majority white cast and sometimes this meant majority black. He wanted to show that, at the heart of things, we’re all the same. If you look at the casts of his movies over the years, his track record reflects that. He saw a gap and he worked to fill it.

Tyler Perry, on the other hand, saw a different gap. He saw that no one was really marketing movies to black women and leapt upon it. He pounded out cheap movies aimed at that demographic and look at that– little old black ladies hit the movies in droves, bringing half the church with them, and Tyler Perry sleeps on a mattress made out of dollar bills.

Between then and now, there was a hole in comics. All-Negro Comics, like Spike Lee and Tyler Perry, attempted to patch that hole. It lasted long enough for only the one issue, but it shows that the thirst was there. Someone recognized the hole and attempted to fill it.

That market is out there. Black people, just like everyone else, will read comics. Black people will make comics. Black people are doing both. Where All-Negro Comics was meant to be counter-programming in 1947, what we have now is even better. Take a stroll down artist’s alley at your local convention. There are black creators doing their thing in a variety of genres and styles.

The rise of the internet, graphic novels in bookstores, and affordable print on demand turned black comics (for whatever definition of “black comics” you’re using) from something with a niche appeal into something that can genuinely be considered a success. You can buy Aya at the same place you buy your Stephen King novels, you can read World of Hurt or Ants on your lunch break, or you can order Ho Che Anderson’s King off Amazon and have it the next day.

Things are better than they were before. We don’t need one single comic to represent the fact that black people, like white people, are human beings. I’d rather that the mainstream comics didn’t marginalize or exclude their black fans and characters, but you know what? Comics has plenty of Spike Lees and Tyler Perrys. I don’t have to beg Mark Millar for table scraps when Dwayne McDuffie is ready and willing to provide a full course meal.

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Fourcast! 33: Last Week in Comics

February 15th, 2010 Posted by david brothers

-6th Sense’s 4a.m. Instrumental for the theme music
-Oh snap, comics reviews!
Batman & Robin #8? Good stuff! Cameron Stewart drew a great fight scene, Grant Morrison writes a fun Batwoman (“I have to die.”) and the British stuff is pretty fun.
-Esther wants Damian to disappear, though. That sucks.
Amazing Spider-Man #620? Pretty good, with a great Mysterio bit and amazing art from Marcos Martin and Javier Pulido.
Secret Six #18? Blackest Night crossover, Amanda Waller runs things, and Deadshot shoots dudes.
-Fact: I cannot say “Deadshot” without saying “Deathstroke” first.
-Fact: Deadshot’s miniseries from a while back ruled.
Jormungand volume 2 from Viz features a child soldier who goes into two separate suicidal rages in this volume, a wacky arms dealer, and the hijinx they get into. David likes it because he probably has a gun fetish. Good stuff!
-See you, space cowboy!

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This Week in Panels: Week 21

February 14th, 2010 Posted by Gavok

So, Street Fighter II Turbo #11 came out last week, but I’m putting it here anyway. My shop got it late and hermanos’s SF2 Valentine thing means I kind of have to include it. Besides, half of the issue is Akuma showing M. Bison how he ranks. That makes it worth looking at more than anything.

Amazing Spider-Man #620
Dan Slott, Marcos Martin and Javier Pulido

Batman and Robin #8
Grant Morrison, Cameron Stewart

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Be Kind to Your Valentine

February 14th, 2010 Posted by david brothers

If you’re running late on your Valentine’s Day shopping (shame on you, by the way, we’re all very disappointed), your pals at 4thletter! got you covered. We’ve had these Street Fighter Valentine’s Day cards kicking around on the hard drive at 4l!hq forever, but they date back to the good ol’ days of 1992.

Print one out, throw a quick inscription inside (make it sheepish to avoid a fight), and hand it over. That’s how you save Valentine’s Day. You’re welcome in advance.

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It simply cannot be. But is it?

February 12th, 2010 Posted by Esther Inglis-Arkell

I have a friend, who shall remain anonymous for reasons that are going to become clear.

She insists that sometime post-Dinah and pre-death, Green Arrow actually hooked up with Catwoman.  I know and you know that this is a scandalous falsehood.  But could it have actually happened?

I leave it to you, internet.  Have you heard of this issue?  And if so, what are the odds that Ollie turns out to be the father of the Catbaby?  (Yes, I know, in canon it’s Sam Bradley.  Still, imagine the dramatic story that will be the origin of The Green Kitten.)

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Batgirl #7 Play-by-Play

February 11th, 2010 Posted by Esther Inglis-Arkell

As always; Spoilers.

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