Thursday, July 26, 2012

Show and Tell

Hey Folks!

As today's title says, it's time for a little show and tell by yours truly, featuring some art by........yours truly.
Hey I never met a shameless plug I didn't like, especially if it's mine. Well that, and to show Shlomo that he hasn't totally cornered the market in posting original works:)

Okay so they're not totally original, but fuck it, sue me!

So without further ado, let's get this puff article, ahem, I mean credible piece rolling shall we?

First up is a little project I was inspired to make after re-reading an old article in Wizard Magazine about the then promising concept mini by DC called Countdown:Arena. Remember that abortion? Yeah I guess not, and I don't blame you. Basically the premise was that it would feature a battle royal where various Elseworlds versions of popular characters, like Kingdom Come GL or Vampire Batman would fight it out WWF(E)-style in order to be chosen to join Monarch's(Captain Atom) army. This army would invade countless multiverse worlds, and, I'm not sure what else after that. Nobody planned out what would happen if they actually succesful I guess. Typical DC. Anyhoo, one of the dream match-ups was the Dark Knight Returns version of Batman vs. The Watchmen's Rorschach. 

Unfortunately that one never happened, despite the tease, so I went ahead and set this little piece up myself. Of course it's not the DKR Batman, but it is the current version instead. Maybe I'll make a DKR version later.

Other than the slight differences in choice of logos, I also alter the lightening effect in the 2nd piece. You know, just in case you didn't catch it.

Personally, it doesn't matter what era or interpretation of Batman Rorschach fighting, as I see it Batman's Batman and will win every time. That doesn't mean Rorschach will make it easy on him, as we all saw during his stay in prison and his short battle against the cops, Rorschach may  be nowhere as good a fighter as Batman, but he's also no cherry. He fights dirty and plays for keeps, and is also very resourceful when he needs to be, so I don't see this contest going super-smooth for Bruce. But he'll win just the same. A word of advice to you Bats, whatever you do, don't take his "face" off until he's knocked the fuck out. Trust me. Pulling his mask off, is like spinach to Popeye; it's not to going end well for whoever's on the other side of that ass-whooping.

Next up, is good ol' Superman. I snatched this iconic image off one of the solicitations for another one of his hardcover Showcase editions.

The theme here, and I use that term loosely, is Superman's minding his own business, flying around and all, and then accidently flies into a weird dimensional barrier/nexus-thingy where he encounters a dimensional Bizzaro version of himself. And no, not Bizzaro as in the regular one who's his opposite, but as in a Superman that hails from another dimension. I think.

The last one dimensional Superman piece was done using a filter tool called "Predator." No kidding folks, the very same effect that you see here that gives you the impression that you're using the Predator's infra-red heat vision is appropriately named Predator. I like the effect, but it kinda' gets old quick after the initial fun's run out. Plus, how many times can you truthfully use this effect where it actually makes sense to use it? Yeah me too.

Then there's little morsel I just completed today; It's old stone-face himself, Darkseid.

Finally something I can actually agree with him on:)

This beaut comes courtesy of the new DC Direct Darkseid statue that's coming out this fall. Personally I'll always prefer Papa Kirby's version, but this one isn't that bad. It kinda' looks like he's wearing space armor or something huh?

Now I don't know if they ever did, but if DC Direct ever came out with a "Rock of Ages" statue version of Darkseid, that would be fucking sweet! I didn't think Darkseid could look as bad-ass as he did when Kirby was drawing him, but man did Howard Porter's version of Darkseid filtered through the imagination of Grant Morrison make him look even more like a Bad-ass! I swear that fucker looked pimp! I think DC agreed since a somewhat similar version of that outfit showed up in Final Crisis.

Alright, alright. I can see you're looking bored, so I'll stop. Damn you people are rough crowd. Who shit in your corn flakes today?

I kid, I kid, you guys are alright.

Finally, I was recently re-reading the 1st two issues of Azrael by Legend and master story-teller Denny O'Neil and Barry Kitson. Folks, I'm not kidding when I say that that series was vastly underrated and under-appreciated. It lasted what, almost 90 issues, and featured the guy who was the replacement Batman for almost two years. Trust me, when this first came out, Azrael was hot. And yes I only own two issues of the entire series, but I stand by my assessment of this book. Plus, in an age when like now, creative teams didn't and don't last as long as the team of O'Neil and Kitson did. It just doesn't happen people. Think about it, they lasted(with the exception of Kitson who left shortly before the series was cancelled) the entire length of the series from beginning to end. Say what you will, but that's a hell of an accomplishment by any stretch.

But I digress.

The point I was attempting to make, is that in the back of the 2nd issue of Azrael, O'Neil talks briefly about  where the need for Jean Paul Valley, a.k.a. Azrael came from, and how he ended up with his own series. Well the point that really jumped out at me, was when O'Neil talks about doing research in finding a natural enemy for Bats. Well they don't have any except us silly humans, so that was a no-go. So he looks up religious mythology, and comes across the name "Azrael". He goes "jackpot", and goes from there. Basically if Batman, as seen through the lens of religious iconography, is seen as a demon doing good, then the Azrael character should be seen as an angel doing bad. Nice dichotomy there.

Don't worry I'm getting to the point. While researching natural enemies of bats, O'Neil initially considered using a characters based off an Owl. Hmmm. Does that sound familiar? It damn well should, since the whole "Court of Owls" storyline just wrapped up.

Here in his own words, is the reason why Denny didn't go with the whole Owl concept: "Among their airborne contemporaries, their only real foes are owls. Anything we can do with owls, then? Well owls are predators, but they had great public relations over the centuries: the popular notion of an owl is not that of a feathered terror who swoops from the night sky yo make a snack of a small beastie, but of a placid old critter perched on a limb being benign and wise. Definitely not what we were looking for."

Interesting little tidbit huh? I guess its a good thing current Bat-scribe Scott Synder didn't agree with that opinion or else we'd have been stuck with what? a court of man-people? Pigeons? Koalas?

I don't know if Synder ever read or remembered that, but oh the delicious irony huh?
See, who says you can't learn anything here @ the House of Fun?

Sadly, after re-reading those issues, and writing this post, I've come to really feel bad about not buying that kick-ass Az-Batman DCUC action figure while I had the chance:(

And now for a parting song to usher you all on out of the house.
This song comes courtesy of one of my favorite rock bands ever, and in the top five, and number five, Pink Floyd. Here's their hit(well not at the time) "The Nile song."

I swear if you listen to it, you'd be like "So that's where Nirvana got there sound from..." and you'd probably be partially right. This song is not typical of Pink Floyd, as they really rock here with a very heavy, almost metal-like sound. I love it!

What does it have to do with the title of this post? Other than the band being an artsy/psychedelic/progressive rock band, not much. But I love it, so it stays.

Have a good weekend people!


Omega Agent1 said...

Image software is sooooo fun to play with. It can become addictive, well be calling you Red Bagwell. I'm kidding.

Scott Snyder has really set it off with the court of Owls storyline, but he ran me strait into a brick wall with the brother of Batman thing.

I don't know if you were trying to do it or not but I like the way you drew a parallel between Azrael and the Owls. Both being an offshoot of Batman riding the success of the Dark Knight and adding another Bat title to the fifty or sixty Bat books already on the shelves. WoooHooo.

Shlomo Ben Hungstien said...

careful Dale playing around with that kind of software can become addictive and really time consuming. but it is fun as Hell. i hear ya about Darksied. hence why i did a blog posting a while titled "Pimp Daddy Darksied".

Dale Bagwell said...

@Omega: Oh it really is, it really is. The shit I can now do with the 2 image programs I have is limited only to mu imagination and speed. Look for more Photoshop projects in the very near future.

As for the parallel thing, I think what I was going for was to show how some ideas are thought of then dropped, only to re-surface when you'd least expect them to, especially by different people that may pick up on those ideas on their own.I just thought it was very interesting that O'Neil didn't want to go the Owl route, but Synder did, and Gardner Fox did as well when he created the Earth-3 version of Batman, who we all know as Owlman. Interesting how these things play out sometimes huh?

@Shlomo, oh no kidding on the time consuming part; it really can be, especially when you're constantly tweaking little bits here and there to make it just right, except it when it could be just a little better next time. You know that feeling right?

-Darkseid's always a favorite villain of mine, but I know in recent years he wasn't always treated as a big, unbeatable monster until Final Crisis came along. As much as Kirby built him up, I think Bruce Timm and Morrison really wrote him the best.

Shlomo Ben Hungstien said...

yeah i know that feeling. i run two blogs and i do a lot of the art work myself for both of em. and i go through that same process of tinkering with something endlessly at times. often you'll find the day after you did something it looks different to you then the day you finished it. i often go through that twice. first when i draw or paint something. and then i go through it again after i scan it in and maybe do a little work on it there too. and that doesn't even get into all the chatter with other bloggers. the day is gonna come where i just won't have that kinda time for doing this sort of thing on a weekly basis. but even as it is i spend more time on this stuff then i should.

Dale Bagwell said...

It's the price of being a perfectionist when it comes to art, especially your own am I right?

That's why I'll have like 6-12 different variations of the same piece just with different effects so that I can work on it until it looks exactly like how I want it to. Crazy dedication to a hobby you know?

I give you props though for running two blogs. I've recently thought about doing another myself, but I'm so lazy, doing 4, and sometimes 5 skits or puff articles a week are enough for me.

I'll see how I feel about that topic again later.

Have a good weekend man:)

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