Finally- some COMIC stuff

January 29, 2009


Recently a friend sent me an email chewing me out for a lack of art related postings, so this will be the first in a several attempts to remedy that. Most of you probably know already that I’m one of several artists producing books for IDW based on Hasbro’s G.I. Joe, and Dreamworks’ Monsters Vs. Aliens for Titan Publishing. Sadly, until the books hit the stands I can’t post any of the artwork. For now what I want to do is take some pages from previous works and talk about the process involved.   

The images below are from the series “The Executioner: Mack Bolan” that I drew for IDW. What follows is the script,and later I’ll post thumbnails based on that, and then the final pencils for the page. The book can be found in a trade paper back now, so for those of you truly interested you can purchase that online or thru your local comic shop.
The following is the script that Douglas P Wojtowicz, who is one of the official writers for the Don Pendelton estate, so he really knows these characters. Luckily, Doug made it quite easy for me to work on this, Doug had the nice habit of including descriptions of characters that made sense to me. He often referenced things that a comic fan would know; for example, he described one character by saying “… he looks like Walt Simonson’s Thor”. It was helpful for me because it put us on the same page, so to speak. I often ask writers to give me names of actors that they would cast, that can really help keep things clear. After all I don’t want to draw Nimoy when they wanted Shatner. 
Take a look at the script and try to picture it in your head. If you haven’t seen the book, then this will be a nice exercise. If you have, sorry, you’ve been tainted. Later on I’ll post my thumbnails and discuss why I made the decisions I did and what I was attempting to do. 
Five Panels
Panel One
Wide angle shot of BOLAN approaching the Thugs, still in the shadows.
1) Bolan: Pardon me, please.  I’m lost and late for an appointment. *
2) Thug #1: Esse, you shouldn’t be in this place.  This is what they call a bad neighborhood.*
3) Bolan: I’m sorry, but I’m really running late.*
4) Thug #2: You didn’t listen to mi hermano?  This is a bad place for white assholes.
5) Caption: * Translated from Spanish
Panel Two
Wide angle shot of BOLAN in closeup, frowning, but without anger.  It’s almost as if he’s sad about what he’s supposed to do next.  STRAKHOV is visible in ghostly inset over his shoulder, talking.
6) Strakhov: We need to put together what we know about this man.  The Executioner has had plastic surgery several times over the years, but there are certain unchanged details.
7) Strakhov: Jet black hair.  Height of six foot two to six foot three.  Blue eyes.
8 ) Bolan: I would just like to get to the shipment before it comes in.  No reason to be violent.
Panel Three
Wide angle shot as Thugs 1-4 draw weapons.  Thugs 1 and 4 draw knives, Thug #2 has a pistol, and Thug #3 has a lead pipe.  Thug 1 has a nervous look on his face, while the other three are a mixture of hostility and glee.
9) Thug #3: F— this chump up! 
10) Thug #2: Oh, you just made my night.
Panel Four
Wide angle shot of  BOLAN as he grabs the wrist of Thug #2, turning his gun to one side.  BOLAN’S other hand is a fist, smashing the teeth out of Thug #4’s face with a vicious backhand.  STRAKHOV continues to speak in ghostly image.  Thug #3 rushes in, poised to cave in BOLAN’S skull with his pipe.
11) Bolan: Only if you’re a massochist.
12) Strakhov: (narrating) Bolan is capable of appearing as fearsome or helpless as the situation warrants.  He is a master of role camouflage, able to fit into almost any social situation.
Panel Five
Wide angle shot of Bolan pushing Thug #2’s face into Thug #3’s, with a sickening crunch.  Thug #1 watches in horror, holding his knife like a crucifix to ward of a vampire.  STRAKHOV continues to speak in ghostly image.
13) Strakhov: (narrating) Even unarmed, he can be very dangerous.
Check in later to see the thumbnails!