Instagram Roundup: Skottie Young’s ParaNorman Special Delivery

Posted 8 years ago by Comics, Movies

After many years removed, I am finally journeying back into the world of comic books. I’m just now discovering the amazing talents of artist Skottie Young. He has to be one of the best fantasy illustrators working today. His work on the Oz series is nothing short of spectacular.

Of course I follow this talented guy on Instagram (username skottie) where I hope to get glimpses of his new work. That wasn’t exactly what I discovered on the photo-sharing app today but what I did see had me even more enthralled. Young had posted a very interesting series of snapshots. He chronicled the opening of a special shipment he had received from LAIKA, the animators behind the upcoming film ParaNorman.

Just as he has a talent for telling a story through his drawings, Skottie had created an excellent narrative by slowly unveiling the package’s contents through photographs.
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Cowabunga! How the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Killed My Childhood

Posted 8 years ago by Comics

Even though we were “too old” for themed birthday parties, my 11th birthday had a definite undercurrent of comic books.  My mom had taken me to the local comic shop so we could dig through back issue bins and pick up three or four cheap comics for each of my guests as party favors.  While the rest of my friends were busy reading “unrealistic” comics like the Chris Claremont run on X-Men, I was really into the “realism” of Marvel’s G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero.  So the gifts that day included an awesome G.I. Joe poster based on the cover of Yearbook #2, a handful of Joe back issues that were missing from my collection, an action figure or two (I was, oddly enough, never into the toys), a pristine copy of #1 that my parents paid $35 for (and is now maybe worth $5), and…eight issues of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles?

If this was a trailer for a terrible movie, there would be a record scratch right here, strategically timed for the middle of the “Oooooh” part of Maroon 5’s “Moves Like Jagger”.  The soundtrack would go silent, and maybe a Great Dane lying on the floor would cover its head with its comedically massive paws.

As I read the title of the comic books in front of me – each bagged and boarded, of course – I laughed. So did the rest of the guys gathered around my dining room table.  Even the guy who gave me the comics, Josh Banner, thought it was funny.  He didn’t buy them for me as a joke, but there was no question that a concept as absurd as turtles that were ninjas was funny.  He tried to convince us all that they were actually really cool, but none of us believed him.  Until that night when I sat down and read the comics.  And was instantly hooked.
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Artists Give the Marvel Universe Handbook a Much-Needed Makeover

Posted 8 years ago by Art, Comics

Back when I first got into comics in the early ’80s, I was a bit lost when it came to the back stories of my favorite Marvel characters. Well, the collective Spidey Sense of the Marvel honchos must have been tingling as they produced “The Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe” as regular installments starting in 1982. In encyclopedic fashion, the issues pieces together the history of various heroes and villains in Marvel history. I collected as many of the issues as I could, poring over the data sheets of every character from Marveldom.

Flash forward 30 years and a handful of various comic artists are breathing new life into the classic OHOTMU. The OHOTMU Reduxe Edition blog is similar to other recreation sites like Covered, Relaunched, and Repaneled where today’s comic artists take classic images and bring their own style to new illustrations based on the source. They’re equal parts tribute and artist showcase.

The OHOTMU Redux effort is led by the great artist Calamity Jon Morris. Morris brought us the Cornered blog for recreations of comic cover name plates. The new site has only been in existence since June 13 and has already featured contributions from over 25 different artists.

My pre-teen eyes didn’t realize it way back when but it’s now easy to see how much of a rush job the original creations were. There were never more than two illustrations of each character, the largest of which was one a plain background. Perhaps that’s why this Redux effort is so appealing. These artists are giving even the most obscure characters considerable attention and care. If the artists can skewer the subjects just a little bit—like in the case of Brodie Brockie’s Doctor Octopus—well, that makes it even more awesome.

Comic Book Review: Nature of the Beast

Posted 8 years ago by Comics

Bruno Bolo has issues. His wife died a few years ago, leaving him alone to raise his rebellious daughter. He has a bit of a drinking problem, and his one and only friend is The Duke, one of the largest alligators in captivity. To eek out a living, Bruno stars in a small roadside attraction where he and The Duke wrestle a couple of times a day to the oohs and awes of easily impressed tourists. So when he’s approached by a reality TV producer looking to stage Beast Wars, a battle royale of the meanest animals on the planet to determine who the real King of the Jungle is, Bruno agrees to enter The Duke into the contest in exchange for $100,000 a match.

Held on a remote island away from animal cruelty laws, Beast Wars is a truly savage contest featuring fight tickets that seem to have been inspired by listening in on a group of middle school boys at recess, like Shark vs Polar Bear and Alligator vs Gorilla vs Lion. Of course it’s not exactly natural for a gorilla and an alligator to fight (especially to the death), so the showrunners have developed a special spray that greatly enhances an animal’s aggressive tendencies. Curious, Bruno decides to try out a single shot of the stuff himself and it sends him into a berserker rage, letting out all that pent up anger and the feelings of helplessness that he’s been holding back since his wife died and his life went down the tubes. He quickly becomes addicted to the spray and its sense of raw freedom, finding that the more he inhales the less human he becomes.
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Instagram Roundup: Dave Daniels’ Star Wars ABCs

Posted 8 years ago by Comics

There have been Star Wars-themed alphabets before. Creating a children’s primer of Star Wars ABCs or turning a Stormtrooper into an “S” letter form is nothing new.

However, the current series of illustrations by Dave Daniels is the best I’ve seen. The Toronto-based artist and self-proclaimed Star Wars fanatic is posting his creations within the popular photo sharing app Instagram.

Daniels has worked up to the letter K so far. Each letter gets a wonderful caricature of a Star Wars character representing that letter: A for Ackbar, B for Bossk, C for C-3PO, D for Dengar, E for Ewok, F for Fett, G for Greedo, H for Hutt, I for IG-88, J for Jawa, and K for Kenobi.

You can see all Dave’s creations on Instagram under his username “jaggedgrace.” If you’re iOS-less, you can view them all over at Webstagram, a web viewer for Instagram photos.

Dave told me he’s doing the drawings “just for fun.” They definitely brighten my day and I look forward to what he has in store for the rest of the alphabet. Here’s hoping he draws an Ugnaught for U.

Incidentally, I’m compiling a list of comic artists and illustrators on Instagram. If you have a suggestion for creators who routinely post their work on there — or you are an Instagram artist — please include a comment below with their/your username. I’ll be posting some of my favorites (along with yours) in a future THS post.