Thursday, 27 October 2011

Here comes… Daredevil

Yes that’s the text that accompanied the very first issues of Daredevil



And I think fits nicely into the next completed page below, brilliantly drawn by our very special guest artist Alexander Hunt (on whom a lot more follows below)

Where having being dropped like a hot potato (or is that “Potata”?) by Turk as Stilt-man, Lavender is probably only now just realising that even Turk cant muck up enough to revoke the law of gravity

Her fall, to my eye very closely evokes the cover of this issue where Daredevil is failing albeit into a much more abstract or stylised realisation of a cityscape than what appears in Lavenders panel

But I have to think that this must have been deliberate, the pose and the facial expressions are pretty close to one another – but we haven’t seen Daredevils fall so far (or have we?)

I think the message here is that Lavender is very much a part of the fall shown on the cover, an integral part, essentially without her part in the story the fall would not happen.

We have already seen what Lavender has done so far processed (and accepted) those copies of copies of damming documentation about Heathers company from a vigilante, although she questioned Daredevil’s motives and ethics in doing so, she nonetheless has pushed these forwards

Forewords enough to become a target for initially Wilbur Day as Stilt-man who got duly paid (what happened to that money anyway?) and now Turk who presumably hopes that stealing the job as well as the suit will get him a similar reward

There is no introspective dialog or caption along the lines of “the life flashing before the eyes” of Lavender, her facial expression and the pose has to totally sell the panel

But then this is literally a couple of seconds of real time as here comes Daredevil a small figure down below on the first panel, literally jumping up and catching Lavender in mid-air across the page to and neatly at the end of the last panel

In-between this we get a little twist from Turk (presumably to actually make him seem a bit more of a threat than to date), as he produces a hand gun and starts shooting at Daredevil (or where he was) – quite why this gun wasn’t produced before to threaten Lavender isn’t made clear (though he probably didn’t have time) and it doesn’t even to have been visible in Turk’s earlier appearances either

But it might as well not exist for the difference it makes as Daredevil deftly avoid all the shots fired at him without apparently even trying and being totally focused on giving Lavender a soft landing

So the hero has just saved the life of a person, is this redemption enough and if so what is it redemption for?

Just knowing that even this clich├ęd action (“help, save me”) is mired in layers of conflicting emotions and motivations among a host of characters gives you a clue as to the kind of storytelling that Frank and Klaus brought to Daredevil

But battle has commenced (or will do so on the next page) – will it be “a battle royal” or something of much different nature…

We will see as the story progresses

IDFW 6

Here we go with issue 6 of Images Degrading Forever Weekly, it does look like some of you are shifting from reading the print edition to this blog, which is great! Don't forget to say hello :-)



Alexander Hunt
I am very proud and please to introduce to you all the excellent Alexander Hunt who has very generously drawn by his own hand this weeks page of the Daredevil project, which makes for a refreshing change from yours truly!

I think Alex did an fantastic job at this, the right type of lush inking that Klaus Janson heavily used in this issue while retaining clear definition on all those tricky to do tiny bits

I asked Alex what he would like in return for his efforts and he chose the cover to Iron Man 230 which I did a while ago. Just to remind you all that anyone is more than welcome to have a go and make a contribution and I am more than happy to trade art for art (it can be anything you like)

I thought it would be really interesting to interview Alex, as I think he is exactly the kind of person who is bringing enthusiasm and freshness to this medium and his motivations I hope will be interesting and inspiring to you all - and its a chance to hear from someone other than me, that can only be a good thing!

Interview

IDF: What was your first comic and what do you remember about it?

Alex Hunt: When I was young I had no way to get access to comics as I lived no-where near a comic book shop, so I read alot of the Beano. 

But one day my mum came home with a stack of old american comics from a charity shop, I remember that the titles weren't the really popular ones such as Spider-man and Batman, but ones such as Marvel Comics Presents, The Thing, a Silver Surfer Annual, The best was Iron Man #241. 



It really stood out, the cover had Iron man frozen in a pose, trapped by the clawed hands of the Mandarin ensnaring the hero. On the cover was written 'In the Grip of the Mandarin' Inside got even better, I couldn't believe the art as I had never seen anything so well drawn, and I couldn't believe how this guy Bob Layton made the armor so shiny! 

This issue really showed what the armor could do, including a memorable panel where the reader can see the inside of the helmet, showing all the flashing lights, and beeping buttons. The finale ended with the Mandarin challenging Iron Man to a fight, sadly I didn't have the next issue, so I didn't get to find out what happened until about 8 years later.

I also had a Marvel uk Annual, ' The Super-Heroes annual 1991'. Inside was another excellent Iron Man story 'The other side of Madness' which I later found out was Iron Man #154, This excellent issue had the Unicorn determined to Kill Iron Man as his mind was rotted by the Titanium man. 

This story stood so firmly in my memory as Iron Man came across as such a hero, he saves so many people in this one. My favorite scene being when the Unicorn fires a stray laser, knocking out the wooden supports of an ocean liner, Iron Man somehow holds up the ship, while innocent bystanders make their escape. 

Also, there was an extremely powerful ending where the Unicorn realising that the Titanium Man is in Russia, and with his mind rotted rotted walks into the ocean to get there, never to be seen again. Our hero, who is so exerted from holding up the ship, can only sit and watch the Unicorn commit suicide! this was the first time I read those three magical names together, Michelinie, Layton, and Romita JR, and they've been with me ever since, creating in my opinion some of the greatest comics.

IDF: When did you start drawing and do you remember what you drew?

Alex Hunt: I can remember drawing from quite an early age, usually it was Batman or Spiderman as I loved watching the animated series that were running at the time, but some of my earliest memories are of drawing Elmer the patchwork Elephant, I loved filling in the squares, I still have alot of those drawings.

IDF: At which point did you decided you wanted to study art / drawing and what motivations did you have for making that decision?

Alex Hunt: I've always loved art, but the thing that really got me into it was a very inspiring teacher I had in Secondary school, he really believed in all the students, and was extremely encouraging. He was so engaging, and always tried to help you to expand your way of thinking, and to open your mind to new styles, and different approaches. I think without that guy I wouldn't be saying this right now!

IDF: Is there a place where people who are interested can check out your work (if not can you provide one example in reply for inclusion)?

Alex Hunt: There is a blog - www.finestworlds.blogspot.com - (IDF: Check it out!)

IDF: Are you working on something specific, a story, a series of related drawings, a project anything along those lines in your spare time?

Alex Hunt: I've just started a project where I'm going to try and write and illustrate one issue of a comic book, the idea is to try and bring something new to comics, that will hopefully attract others, It all came about from the big debate - will digital kill the printed comic? It's a harrowing thought as I couldn't imagine a world without the printed comic book, and I want to try and preserve it for as long as possible.

IDF: What influences do you think get pulled into your art?

Alex Hunt: The main inspiration I get is just from my favourite artists, I'm a big lover of style in comics books, and I follow alot of artists. When I discover a new one I love i'll buy up all of the back issues which they've pencilled, and I'll study the art, and try to learn from it. My favourites are Todd Mcfarlane, Frank Miller, Klaus Janson, Jim Aparo, John Byrne, Jim Lee, and so many others, I love the detail, the poses, the blatant over musculation, the dynamic posing, everything! At the moment I'm really into Mike Deodato. Jr, It's so interesting to see how much his art style has progressed. His work, aswell as his positive attitude towards his craft are exactly something I would want to include into my own.

IDF: When you finish your study what would be your ideal assignment and why?

Alex Hunt: The dream is to work for Marvel Comics, but I would be happy doing anything to do with comics, be it working in a comic book shop, or a job writing about comics, I just love being around them.
It's my passion in life.

IDF: What do you (and your friends) think of your Daredevil drawing?

Alex Hunt: To tell you the truth, I actually didn't show anyone the drawing, it was just between you and me! (IDF: Not anymore!) I was really pleased with the drawing though because I found the page so difficult to draw.

Thursday, 20 October 2011

Breaking the fourth Wall / Jive Talking

Turk is doing both of these in this next completed page:-



With the very dramatic and angularly posed fist going right through from one panel to another, punching the fourth wall to smithereens.


While at the same time espousing what one can only assume is now some rather antiquated variation of street talk, referring to Lavender as a “ya lousy bim” ( Turks emphasis, not mine).


But hang on a moment let’s rewind back to the start of this page and focus on what made that moment happen.


We start with Lavender absently minded opening the window thinking its Daredevil only to be grabbed and snatched out the Window by Turk.


Then we see that straight away Lavender is fighting back and grabbing Turks face.


What is most telling here, is Turk seems to immediately have lost any sense of surprise as well as being immediately dismissed as being anything like a threat  of any nature whatsoever in-between panels


This is without even considering  the fact of how unfeasibly high up they both are, which you would think in and of itself was a good a reason as any not to hit the man who is holding you that high.


So the message of Turks total ineptitude as Stilt-man (or in general) is literally hit home by Lavender herself.


So that’s why Turk felt the need to hit back in such a dramatic fashion, it’s almost as if he recognised that if he can’t even kidnap someone and rely on the stolen stilt man suit and the height it brings to anyone he is grabbing hold of then what use will he be to anyone.


The Punch also gets extra emphasis in part as a response to the Kingpins earlier dismissal– Overall this page is another big hit against the stilt man characters usefulness as a villain overall.


This I suppose justifies Turks reaction he is angry and fed up of being dismissed, ignored and not taken seriously and this event was just the straw that broke the camels back, as the expression goes.


But it’s not just height that the Stilt-man suit has given Turk, as Frank and Klaus absolutely deliberately decided that Turk wearing the suit had to be defined in super villain proportions, particularly in terms of showing that suddenly Turk has gained muscle definition whereas previously he had none.


How much of that is a nudge and a wink at this common practice and how much of this is Frank and Klaus saying that the suit comes with some fake muscle pre-installed (as Wilbur day isn’t shown as being remotely muscular out of the suit either) is an interesting point to consider. 


But if we bare in mind most of this issue is focused on obviously having some fun at poor Stilt man’s / Turk’s / Wilbur Day’s expense then I tend to think it’s a bit of the former as well


Next week I am very proud to introduce and feature guest artist Alexander Hunt, who has very generously contributed his own, much more considered and defined efforts to the next page of Daredevil as well as agreeing to talk a bit about himself!


As I think I have mentioned a few times, anyone is more than welcome to contribute to this in any way they may like!

=========

IDFW5

The print edition of IDF continues to be popular and may well even start appearing in more than just one location, which will obviously be very good for me if that does happen

Here it is, as usual a few days ahead of seeing print I hope  you enjoy it

Thursday, 13 October 2011

Some Enchanted Evening

Let’s set the scene

There are ornate chandeliers overhead, the stars are out to play in every window

a man and woman sit opposite each other at a table in what is clearly an expensive / exclusive restaurant:-

This must be Some Enchanted Evening - right?!




well it all depends on what kind of Enchantment you mean –

As we see Heather is drinking coffee or tea as opposed to wine or champagne (as she is an alcoholic or is on the way to becoming one –which is not covered in this issue) and the conversations is millions of miles away from love.

as she is with Foggy his finger pointing from earlier leading him to meeting with and gently questioning of Heather with a

“Matt's been acting so Strangely… “

Heather counter points with a "he starts tearing my life apart" but then says she “shouldn’t have said that” and then observes “Matts all I’ve got left”

Foggy replies "you don't think he's counting on that?"

"No foggy of course not" confirms Heather

And the conversation ends with a silent stare by Foggy

Quite a lot is confirmed / established in this short conversation

Firstly we can see Foggy has not forgotten what prompted him to point fingers at Matt Murdock and to indeed ask him “is something wrong” and felt strongly enough about it to check how Heather herself feels – seeking to define if further action is needed by how much Heather is hurt or could be hurt by what is or could be happening

Then we have Heather herself, although shown as uncertain and weak personality in earlier issues has now been fleshed out to much more multi-faceted and shows she can stand up for herself (the earlier page where she confronts the boardroom) and can see what’s happening between herself and Matt

But she still apologies for expressing her feelings, her mind torn between the emptiness she feels and need for someone to be with her and the pain that being with that person may bring – she is to a degree blinded by her love for Matt, as this feeling overrides her other vocalised concerns

So this is very much the enchantment in question

The silent stare from foggy says it all, as far as he knows or feels it is not going to end here, which makes perfect sense

Foggy has now got confirmation from Heather herself that his own earlier observations and feelings on Matt’s behaviour are valid and that part of the something that is wrong with Matt Murdock is what’s going on between him and Heather, but what he does not or can not know is where it’s going to go or how far it will go

Foggy is himself if you forgive the pun a bit lost in the fog himself, but possibly a bit more understandably than Heather as he is basing his approach on what he knows about Matt Murdock and how he sees him normally behave

The thing is there a whole lot of stuff Foggy doesn’t know about Matt, that he is Daredevil and all the things that have happened to Daredevil are affecting Matt being two prime examples...

Next week - we break the fourth wall, quite literally....

Images Degrading Forever Weekly 4


Here is issue 4 of IDFW which continues to be completely "sold out" in its rather limited print run - I am hoping that anyone who has got at least one issue of this is visiting here to get hold of the others as I continue to make them.

As usual this proceeds the print version by a couple of days.

I hope you like it!

Thursday, 6 October 2011

NYPD BLUE / Sound The Strumpets

Is this Dennis Franz on the next completed page of Daredevil?



 Well obviously not as this page was made years before NYPD Blue hit our screens… still look for yourself


They do look similar

And the NYPD officer in this issue, Lieutenant Nicholas Manolis even spouts similar dialogue while simultaneously having a Cuban type cigar and a cup of coffee in one hand.

But this being only a semi-serious issue the fun starts straight away, with Wilbur Day (stilt man’s alter ego) going to the NYPD to report the robbery of his suit “declaring he wasn’t intending to use it for criminal purposes or anything like that” and asking to contact Daredevil

In response to being told the NYPD don’t know how to do this, Wilbur says "thought you'd have a hot line…or beacon…or something…" says Wilbur – another loaded statement of Frank Millers

This time Frank is clearly tipping his hat in the direction of the rather infamous Batman Tv show, alluding to Commissioner Gordon and Chief O’ Hara


And Frank is again using this to point out there’s nothing like The Batman Tv Show in this issue and no room for similar, even though it is clearly a bit of a tongue in cheek story – Frank is defining the line between retaining the form of daredevil he has established and an outright parody.

"all you super types gimme a pain" replies the NYPD officer

At which point Daredevil arrives in the office drops down a pile of those copies of copies and is "all ears" for Wilbur’s story

It’s interesting to ask how much is said by just having Daredevil drop in when he does as he effectively blows his and the NYPD's cover for doing so, its liked dropping in those copies of copies was more important.

And it would not have been a case of Daredevil not knowing what was going on in the office as by definition he is all ears and has hyper sensitive hearing.

So he didn’t care basically? Yes though subtle this is a link back to the on-going degradation of Daredevil / Matt Murdock, but when does the cover lead “fall” come into place

We will see as the story progresses – next week…

---
Sound The Strumpets

Being someone who appreciates the effort it can take to make a even half decent comic, I always find it very interesting and inspirational to meet up with anyone who has not only made their own fully defined works of art, but has done so in a way that is clearly their own and has rightly captured the imaginations and attention of a number of people.

Such a person is the incredible Ellen Lindner, who is probably best known for her graphic novel Undertow and to my eye has a very european feel to her line work combined with a 60s america look (mostly on her self caricatures).

If this was not inspiring enough - then the fact that Ellen herself is part of what could be seen as a whole movement to make the kind of self published material that the Guardian Newspaper should give their eye teeth to get reprint rights for, while working co-operatively and collaboratively with a whole bunch of equally inspiring artists, fostering talents and always having the door and the eye open for more collaboration should be even more impressive.

The newest result of this frisson is a brand new magazine called The Strumpet (cover art by Ellen herself)



You can check out more about this great publication, watch a cool video and even say Hi to Ellen - all at this link:- The Strumpet

Its only $2 for a PDF of the issue which will be packed with quality material and well worth a read!

IDFW3

Speaking of inspiration, I have been fortunate enough to get some feedback as a result of my small print run of IDFW - only 2 weeks (and issues) in! 

Which to my mind more than justifies that going to print was worth doing, this and the small fact that all the copies of issue 1 went in a week!

So (at least at the moment) a Hello and a Thank you to Alexander Hunt, who hopefully we will be hearing some more from in the not too distant future

Which is a good a place as any to remind you all, that the door is open for feedback contributions etc, just get in touch - there is quite a few ways to do that these days!

Here is IDFW3 again a few days ahead of its print run this Saturday, enjoy