Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Missing In Action - Charles Yoakum

OK, I've been a bad blogger. I admit it. I've not posted much in the year 2010, especially in the last couple of months.

Its not that I've not been reading comics, or thinking about comics, or doing some sketching on my recent trip to New York. I just haven't been motivated to talk about comics. In most any way shape or form.

I simply haven't had the energy to talk about finally getting down to reading the entire run of Planetary up to the final trade (when it comes out), or getting to read Madame Xanadu, or getting my Adam Hughes cover parade book or sitting back down to finish up the Human Hourglass pages.

Sorry. My bad. Although I'm not sure that anyone really missed me. There are just so few minutes in life and I wasn't spending any of them constructing great and funny thoughts about storytelling or artwork or anything. Perhaps if I was a faster and better typist it would be easier to get them out, but that would preclude the editing process.

I need to be a Dragon software adoptee. Seriously.

Recent trip to New York: me with an old friend from the Acclaim days to discuss what he's publishing these days. Should anything work out I'll let you all know. Took time in the Met and the MoMA to pull out my sketchbook and draw a little Modigliani and Klimt. The heat and humidity felt wonderful and having my daughters lead me through the subway passages at Union Square made me proud.

New York inspires me and makes me want to do art. There is some vitality in the people and the energy that makes me want to work. You walk around and see everyone and think that somewhere in that naked city area a million visual ideas and they're just bouncing around in your head and you need to get them out.

Stay tuned. Above sketch of my daughter playing on my wife's iPhone on the flight to NYC.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

In Memory Of: Al Williamson 1931-2010

It is sad that just a short time after Frank Frazetta passes from this earth, one of the few men whose touch with a brush was as good would also succumb to illness. Al Williamson was a giant of an artist in his skills, but somehow he was primarily an artist who dazzled other artists but didn't have his name transcend the work the way that Frank's did.

Coming up at a time when illustrators were able to be inspired by some of the classic american comic artist such as Raymond and Foster, as well as seeing Lyendecker and others create what we now know as the classic age of American illustrators, Al had a facility with a brush that was matched only by Frazetta and Wood as his contemporaries. It was technique along with the eyes to saw, really saw, the compositions and the structure necessary to make the whole piece work. There was no trick to it other than bloody hard work.

His work on EC remains my favorite, while some prefer Rip Kirby or Secret Agent Corrigan. Even his work on the Blade Runner adaption in the 1980's is stellar.

Of personal reflections, I have none. I had dinner with him in a group once or twice and I don't think that i ever got the chance to sit next him. Mores the shame. I was just happy as could be to be in the presence of such a great man. I'm sorry that there was no chance to one day wrangle the chair next to Al so that i could discuss brushes with him, or, well... just anything.

The great ones are great and we all just sit back and get mesmerized by their work. Al influenced generations of inkers and artists. As it should be. Rest in peace Al.