Bells’ Art Collection, Part 7

We did it! Or, I should say, I did it and maybe you saw some of this. Or this is your first time seeing my website. Or maybe you’re that weirdo that who searched for “symbiote and black cat have sex.”

ANYWAY.

Finishing off my showing off of my art collection, check out:

  • Tara Chace (from Queen & Country) by Mike Norton
  • A sketch from Tara McPherson
  • Thor by Sean “Cheeks” Galloway
  • Two-Face by Dennis Calero
  • The White Violin (from The Umbrella Academy) by Gabriel Bá
  • Wolfsbane/Rahne Sinclair by Emanuela Lupacchino
  • Wolverine by Ming Doyle
  • Wonder Girl (Cassie Sandsmark) by Franco Aureliani

Click to enhance. Enhance. Enhance.

Other posts of my art collection can be found by clicking the Bells’ Collection tag.

And the whole thing is on the Bells’ Kitchen Tumblr, tagged for easy access. I actually have two blogs there that update everyday: the strictly comics-based Bells’ Kitchen, and the more random bells214. Bells214 may be a Carly Rae Jepson song one day, followed by the Celtics, followed by a terrifying mushroom creature. Come on by. It’ll be fun.

Well this was the last of sketches, but next week I have one more related post. It’s comic art, but something different. You’ll see.

Thanks.

– Bells

Bells’ Art Collection, Part 6

Oh hey. Hi there. I’m not sure I’ve had seven posts in six weeks since I started writing for myself. Maybe ever. But I like showing this art off so …

This week I have:

  • Robin by Todd Nauck
  • Rogue by Melissa DeJesus
  • Sabretooth by Mark Brooks
  • Supergirl by Franco
  • Superman by World Wresting Entertainment Legend, Jerry “The King” Lawler
  • Tara Chace (from Queen & Country) by Leandro Fernandez
  • Tara Chace by Brian Hurtt
  • Tara Chace by Carla Speed McNeil

There’s one more Tara Chace sketch that you’ll see next week. God, I love and miss Queen and Country. I’m trying to get a sketch of Tara from each artist who worked on the book, but some have proven hard to track down.

Other posts of my art collection can be found here.

And the whole thing is on Tumblr.

Next week will be the end of my collection (and these posts), though I may have something related the week after that. Suspense.

– Bells

Bells’ Art Collection, Part 5

Don’t worry. I’m feeling a bit more vocal this week. We’re in the second half of the alphabet, but there is some great art coming up. My Tara Chace pieces, work from a WWE legend, and a big old beard. But that’s to come.

This week I have:

  • Molly Hayes (from Runaways) by Adrian Alphona
  • Nico Minoru (from Runaways) by Christina Strain
  • Niightcrawler by Skottie Young
  • Nomad by David Baldeon
  • Penny B (from Phonogram) by Jamie McKelvie
  • Rachel Summers by Hwan Cho
  • Raven by Franco Aureliani
  • Raven by Mike McKone

Other posts of my collection can be found here.

And the whole thing is on Tumblr.

Come back next week!

– Bells

Bells’ Art Collection, Part 4

My collection. Eight pieces. Seven weeks. Part four.

Old posts here.

Whole thing on Tumblr.

This week:

  • Joker by Lee Bermejo
  • Juggernaut by Declan Shalvey
  • Kabuki by David Mack
  • Loki by Olivier Coipel
  • Madame Masque by Annie Wu
  • Magneto by Leonard Kirk
  • Magneto by Alex Sanchez
  • Magneto by Walt Simonson

Click to embiggen.

See you next week. Same Bells place, same Bells channel.

Bells’ Art Collection, Part 3

Hello again. If you found this through Tumblr or Twitter or wherever, you probably know what you’re about to see. If you found me through a Google image search, welcome to the Kitchen. Each week I’m showing off eight pieces of comic book art I’ve collected over the years. No humble, just brag.

Previous posts in the series can be found here.

And those with no patience can see the whole collection on the Bells’ Kitchen Tumblr.

Featured this week:

  • Gambit by Mike Choi
  • Gronk (from Gronk [in a Rob Gronkowski jersey!]) by Katie Cook
  • Gus (from Sweet Tooth) by Jeff Lemire
  • Gwen Stacy by Tim Sale
  • The Hulk by Tim Sale
  • Jade (from Morning Glories) by Joe Eisma
  • Jamie Madrox, The Multiple Man by Dennis Calero
  • The Joker by Franco

Clicking any of the images will open a gallery, which also links to full-size images.

Some good stuff is coming next week, including another Joker, and one of my absolute favorite sketches, by Declan Shalvey

– Bells

Bells’ Art Collection, Part 2

Hey y’all. For those who were here last week, welcome back. For those who weren’t, you’ve stumbled on the second in a series of posts showing off all the comic art I’ve collected over the past few years. Eight pieces a week for seven weeks.

Last week’s pieces can be seen here.

And those with no patience can see the whole collection on the Bells’ Kitchen Tumblr.

Featured this week:

  • Dark Phoenix by Roger Andrews
  • Delirium (from Sandman) by Becky Cloonan
  • Doctor Doom by Paul Ryan
  • Dodge (from Locke and Key) by Janet K. Lee
  • Dodola (from Habibi) by Craig Thompson
  • Echo by David Mack
  • Emma Frost by Becky Cloonan
  • The Flash by Andrew Charipar

Clicking any of the images will open a gallery, which also links to full-size images.

That’s all for now. See you next Tuesday.

– Bells

The Uncanny XX-Men

A while ago, my friends and I went to trivia at Pint, a bar in Jersey City, NJ. Their trivia night is hosted by Geeks Who Drink, which means each week one category or other is right up my alley. It may be naming which superhero movie a clip comes from or a set of questions where each answer is also the name of a comic book publisher. One week, the visual round was The Uncanny XX-Men, drawn by Jeremy Owen.

The Uncanny XX-MenYes, I got them all.

The discussion about treatment of women, both real and fictional, in geek circles has never been louder. It’s nice to see the imbalance being recognized, even out at the bar.

And let’s be honest, Crossplay Storm is awesome.

Thinking About … The X Schism

Before I read comics, the X-Men were always my favorite superheroes. It wasn’t even the cartoons, really; I played youth basketball, so I wasn’t at home watch TV Saturday morning. It was actually the trading cards. I collected the hell out of the Fleer ’95 series. Albert, Cypher, even Emma Frost, I knew about them before having read any books featuring them. So, even though I’m regularly disappointed in the books, I still have a special fondness for them.

Every time there’s a big X-event, I’m there. Most of the time, I start reading the monthly books when the event ends, but a few months later, I drop them. I was on and off for Mike Carey’s X-Men for most of the run. But I tried to read Uncanny after House of M, Messiah Complex, and Second Coming, and always ended up bored and dropping the book.

So when Schism came. I knew I’d read it. I did and I mostly enjoyed it. I’m not going to read either of the new monthly titles, but I bought the first issues of each, to see how things are. So yeah, I’ve been thinking about the X-Men a lot recently.

Like I said, I mostly enjoyed Schism. I don’t really care for pages and pages of fighting, but it’s a really interesting debate that ended up dividing mutants – the role of children in war. Cyclops and Wolverine each have valid points and each of their views are completely within character. I guess what I’m saying is, the conflict is valid, even though it was shoehorned into five issues to make this whole split happen.

Uncanny X-Men #1Cyclops – Cyclops believes it’s his job to protect the mutant race. With somewhere around 200 of them worldwide, “endangered species” is and understatement. Whether it’s threatening the mayor of a major US city or sending 14-year-olds to kill, he’ll do what it takes. Cyclops is no longer the starched shirt he always was in the old days. “Yes, professor. Whatever you say professor. Oh Jean, you’re so pretty.” Even since Grant Morrison reignited the franchise, Cyclops has really gown as a character. From Morrison to Whedon to Gillen, all of a sudden, Scott Summers has a personality. And you don’t want to mess with him.

Scott runs his X-Men like a military unit. If you’re fit to serve, get on those front lines! It makes sense – he’s been fighting Magneto since he was 16. He didn’t get a normal childhood. Why should anyone else? You want the race to survive? Lace up your boots. Like any good bad guy (I’m waiting for the day everyone sees him as such), I don’t agree with him, but I see where he’s coming from.

Wolverine and the X-Men #1Wolverine – Wolverine’s opinion on children in war is simple: They have no place in it.

He’ll crack a smile when he gets some revenge, but I don’t think Logan enjoys killing. He does it so no one else has to. Think about Wolverine’s history. About his sidekicks. Kitty Pryde, Jubilee, Armor, and now Idie. He’s trained and protected these girls not just to fight, but to protect themselves. He doesn’t want them to be like him. Think back to the formation of X-Force post-Messiah Complex. Cyclops puts Warpath on the team? Fine. But X-23? Not her choice to make. Wolfsbane? Logan pipes up “Don’t pull her into this world.” Before their first assault, he still gives everyone one last chance to drop out. He’s done this before. He can take it. He doesn’t want others to cross that line. And if they do, it better be on their terms.

So Wolverine restarts the school. The Jean Grey School for Higher Learning. “The best there is at what we do.” I love it. And yes, he’ll train them how to use their powers, but he’ll also let them be kids. Imagine a world where mutants aren’t a minority. This is how they would be treated. Like Gandhi said, “Be the change you wish to see in the world.”

__

I know I’m not breaking any new ground here, but this must be what makes editorial retreats so much fun. I go from six to midnight just thinking about that kind of thing.

Thoughts?

That’s What I’m Talking About – Chris Claremont on Character Development

I know I said the next time you heard from me, I’d have something special. And I’m working on it. I’ve got a big piece on Phonogram 2: The Singles Club that I’m working on, but these things take work. In the meantime, I saw the following and had to share it.
___
Swashbuckler
I don’t care when you started reading comics or who your favorite creators are. You need to be reading Christopher Irving and Seth Kusher’s Graphic NYC. There, you’ll find some of the best, most in-depth comics interviews anywhere. This is Comics Journal level stuff. Guests range from Bendis and Paul Pope to Dick Giordano and Chris Claremont, from whom I pull the following quote. It’s a bit long, but it’s all important.
“Len’s vision of Nightcrawler was a bitter, tormented and anguished soul. Dave’s and my response was partly ‘been there, done that, and seen it too many times.’ But when we sat down and kicked it back and forth, trying to hammer it out is that if you’re walking down the street and get hit by lightning, and it makes you look like that, there’s a rationale. But if you’re born like that, you need to have a tremendously offensive chip on your shoulder your entire life—which is valid—or you go the other direction, which is to have him go ‘I’m cool. You guys have no idea: I can walk up walls, hang upside down, I can fight standing on one leg with my two hands, a foot, and a tail holding a sword. And I’m invisible in the dark.
“We thought ‘Why not take the most outrageous looking character on the team, and make him the most rational, human, decent and most empathetic soul?’ Naturally, he and Wolverine would bond because opposites attract. And they work. It was the same with Logan, who we put as much into answering ‘Who is he?’ and ‘Why is he?’ Len originally saw the claws as part of the costume. As Dave and I were doing the character, we thought that made him like Iron Man, and the problem with Iron Man is that anyone can wear the suit, and it doesn’t matter if it’s Tony or Rhodey. What makes him special? What makes him unique?
“ ‘So the claws are part of you?’
“ ‘Yup.’
“ ‘You never told anyone.’
“ ‘You never asked,’ Chris snaps his fingers. “Then you have, suddenly, this interesting physical difference (i.e. he has claws that pop out of his hands), but the implication that it must hurt every fucking time. That sets up the line in the first movie where Rogue asks him ‘Does it hurt?’ and he says ‘Every time.’ That’s one defining moment, but the other is in ‘You never asked.’  That catalyzed a key moment in Logan’s personality. That’s how you put them together: you take all these little bits and slide them in, and build your edifice one layer at a time. You have a general sense of where you want to go and how you want to get there, but the details of how the pieces fit to evolve this three-dimensional character is very much a matter of organic growth rather than construction, so you just follow the leads.”
There are two points I want to pull from this:
1) No character is ever complete. Like real people, they are constantly evolving. Parents may have a strong hand in their child’s life, but he/she is the combined effort of every person they ever meet in his/her life.
2) Look how much thought goes into these character’s personalities. What would make Nightcrawler unique, besides his appearance? Who would he bond with on this team? How does Wolverine’s claws being a mutation rather than equipment alter his personality? Irving points out how this comes from Claremont’s background in theater. A theater major in college myself, he’s right. These are the questions you need to ask. When you’re handed a script, those are the words, those are the actions. It’s your job as an actor to ask “Why does my character have these responses?” A writer then asks the question “What would their response be to …”
Chris Claremont – Still uncanny after all these years.
I love it.

New Art from C2E2 and Boston Comic Con

I’ve been to a couple conventions in the past few months, I so figured I should eventually show off my new acquisitions.

ART!

C2E2 – This may be new my favorite convention. It may be smaller than the big shows, but that just means it’s more manageable. It didn’t have a flashy guest list, but I got to meet dozens of creators over the two days.

Captain America by Sean Forney. I just saw this guy in the aisles and liked his style.
Captain America by Sean Forney

Nightcrawler by Skottie Young. Uh … awesome, much?
Nightcrawler by Skottie Young

Superman by World Wrestling Entertainment Legend Jerry “The King” Lawler. One of the greatest heroes of all time drawn by one of the greatest wrestlers of all time? That’s a two-fer.
Superman by Jerry "The King" Lawler

Tara Chace by Brian Hurtt. Possibly the best drawing in my sketch books. You can’t even call this a sketch. This is a full blown commission. Unbelievable. It’s blows my mind that artists can do something like this, but when they show it to the person who asked for it, they say “Is that good?” Holy hell yes it’s good! Also, Brian knew my name by the end of the first day. May have to do with him having the same one. Maybe not.
Tara Chace by Brian Hurtt

Thor by Sean “Cheeks” Galloway. People hated on the Teen Titans strip from Wednesday Comics, but I liked Sean Galloway’s art. I asked him for a Thor with a big ol’ beard. Well done.
Thor by Sean Galloway

Boston Comic Con – BCC has grown by leaps and bounds since the first one I went to about three years ago. It used to be in the basement of a convention center, now it’s taking over a huge room at the Hynes, in the heart of Back Bay. As it’s gotten larger, to guests lists have been incredible. This year alone had Frank Quitely, Darwyn Cooke, J. Scott Campbell, Art Adams and dozens more. I wasn’t really there to shop, so I finished everything in one day, but it was a fun day.

Gwen Stacy by Tim Sale. I love Tim Sale. His minimalist sketches are really classy. I had him sign my hardcover of Spider-Man: Blue and got this sketch for my friend Jane’s birthday.Gwen Stacy by Tim Sale

Juggernaut by Declan Shalvey. Readers know how much I love the current run of Thunderbolts. Regular artist Kev Walker does a great version of Songbird, but Declan Shalvey has impressed me every time he’s filled in, especially with his Juggernaut. Look at the drawing! All the gray tones, the white out he used for smoke. There’s even sections where you can see his fingerprints in the dust. Pens and brushes be damned! Also, it’s incredible. A new favorite among my friends.Juggernaut by Declan Shalvey

Wolverine by Ming Doyle. Ming Doyle is a local Boston artist. She’s a hip lady with a great style. When I saw her art, I knew she was the one to get Wolverine from. He looks grizzled, haggard and ill-tempered, just like Logan should. Wolverine by Ming DoyleX-Factor #215, pages #7-8 by Valentine de Landro and Pat Davidson. As I said about Thunderbolts, readers know I love X-Factor. One of the main reasons is how far into the future Peter David plans. The Madrox/Layla marriage has been in the works for years. As I flipped through Pat Davidson’s original art pages, I saw this, the proposal scene. I had to have it. At $50 for the spread, it was a steal. I’ve got my fingers crossed I can one day find De Landro’s penciled pages.

X-Factor #215, Pages 7-8