Sat, 25 April 2009
Some days podcasting is so much fun, we'd almost do it for free.
(Hold up...we ARE doing it for free!) **stops to call his agent**
Well, I'm sure if food and shelter weren't such a looming factor, DC might be able to get Dustin Nguyen to draw Batman for free. Might! The guy has such a thing for that character and we ain't mad at him—he draws the hell out of some Batman!
He's been the regular artist on Detective Comics for a year now, alongside his faithful collaborators, writer Paul Dini and inker Derek Fridolfs. Those three have been putting it down on that book from day one and I for one, dig it!
A quick moment to gush, if I may. Nguyen's covers for Detective, especially the super-gorgeous watercolor ones he's been doing lately, are like whoa! We have a saying here down South that I must apply—"Dude put his foot in those damn covers!" Don't worry, it's a compliment.
In our chat with him, we discuss his beginnings in Georgia, before planting roots in California, the industrial design work he did prior to getting into comics, some fun times at Wildstorm Studios, and a few titles he's worked on like Wildcats 3.0 and Manifest Eternity.
Also covered is his new Batman series—Streets of Gotham, friends and mentors like Eric Canete, Sean Murphy and Jim Lee, and a couple of personal projects he's got cookin', too.
Never a dull moment hangin' with Mr. Dustin Nguyen. He's got energy for days and I for one, am jealous!
**And post-interview congrats to Dustin for Batman: Heart of Hush hitting #2 on the NY Times Best Sellers List for graphic novels.
Tue, 21 April 2009
This one's sorta NSFW, kids, so don't play yourself at the Joe Job.
We talked to Bob about coming on the show when we ran into him at the NYCC and had no idea how uncensored it would get. Not that he's all about the filthy language or anything (notice I said all). But colorful adjectives aside, he was very candid and very, very open about his life and career. The guy laid it out there.
Backing things up a bit, our connection to the man, of course, goes back to his stellar runs on Iron Man in the '80s with writer David Michelinie. I read those books as a 17 year old kid and loved 'em! Iron Man had everything I wanted in a comic—over the top fight scenes, cool characters, fun stories, drama! It was just the best!
Later on, I ended up checking out his Hercules mini-series and a few of the titles he worked on over at Valiant Comics. And I must admit to being a little less familiar with the Valiant stuff, as my fascination with girls at the time began to emerge (boo-yow).
After Stan Lee, Layton's name is probably the next one to pop up if you're talking about Iron Man. He and David's contributions to the character are indelible, and their "Demon in a Bottle" storyline truly broke new ground during the Bronze Age.
We get into all that in the interview with him and thankfully, a few more goodies too! Like his early days in Indianapolis, being an apprentice to the late Wally Wood, how he and Michelinie got the job working on Iron Man, and his persona back then as a flashy dresser (dude, looked like a straight pimp!).
He also shares a few fond memories from his Valiant days, describes his departure and return to comics, and tells us about all the stuff he's got comin' up.
This one was a hoot and indeed uncensored, but in Bob's own words, "I've always tried desperately to keep one foot in the real world."
Tue, 14 April 2009
An artist friend of ours once referred to Tommy Lee as "Boss Player" and I guess we can we can see why. Even though the guy is way laid back and approachable, you can just tell he's got some cool stuff goin' on behind the scenes. And he does—trust! But more on that later...
I first got hip to Tommy back when he and Rick Veitch did that Question series for DC in 2005. His lines had all this crazy energy and charisma to 'em. I remember looking at those bold ass gestures and thinking, "Man, this guy has no fear!" Plus, he colored the book too, which also stood out to me.
We ended up meeting him and the rest of The BLVD Studio at a Heroes Con in Charlotte the next year. All super nice guys, by the way, and all major talents in their own rights.
After The Question, Edwards worked on Bullet Points, What If, covers for Daredevil, and 1985 with writer Mark Millar. All over at Marvel. As a matter of fact, most of his mainstream comic book work since '05 has been for Marvel. Hmm...
Beyond comics, his name is also a staple in the movie world. He's contributed to the style guides on a couple of films you may have heard of: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, Men in Black II, Batman Begins and Superman Returns.
Not to mention, he's doing concept art for a Hughes Brothers picture that's in production right now. Here's a teaser for you—there's an Oscar-winner in the lead role who's a huge star. Now, that's what we call makin' moves!
We cover that project, his craft, Star Wars, conventions and comic shops, and everything else we could in the time we had with TLE. Hope you enjoy this special extended episode and we'll see ya next time!
**For this one, we played snippets of the following: Will Smith's "Men In Black", Red Hot Chili Peppers' "Dani California", Montell Jordan's "This Is How We Do It", "Duel of Fates" from Star Wars and Steppenwolf's "Born to Be Wild".
Sun, 5 April 2009
My first real connection with John Paul's art was at a Heroes Con back in 2006, I think. I had, of course, seen his epic work on Marvel's Earth X series, but up until then, was more a casual fan. That weekend, we met all the guys from The BLVD Studio and Dwight picked up their three sketchbooks (all of which are great, by the way).
Later that night, we attended the Art Auction which is always one of the high points of the convention. I'm standing in front of the original art display, floored by this one killer Wolverine piece, and I can tell this guy next to me is feelin' the same way (it was the hotness).
We go back and forth for a minute, then I look up and realize the guy is Tony Harris---the artist from Ex-Machina! Tony is pretty amazing himself and apparently, a big Leon fan (later that year, JP ended up doing an Ex-Mach Halloween special). You just never know...
The man's vitals are these: he was born in NYC, but makes his home in Miami. He started working professionally at the age of 16 doing stuff for TSR's Dungeons & Dragons magazine. He graduated from SVA with a bachelors degree in fine art. He's a member of The BLVD Studio with four other exceptional artists---Sean Chen, Bernard Chang, Trevor Goring and Tommy Lee Edwards. He created licensing artwork for the mega-hit film Batman Begins and also contributed to the Superman Returns style guide.
And he rocked it on all of the following comic titles: Tom Strong, Wintermen, Midnighter, Scalped, both Ex-Machina specials and DMZ.
I've been a staunch JP fan ever since that time in Charlotte (isn't it obvious?). In my almost never humble opinion, you'd be hard pressed to find a bolder, more dramatic storyteller working in comics today. Leon's approach is near-cinematic, to quote a friend of mine, and I can't front---I'm lovin' every frame of it.
Oh, and he's famous on YouTube, too!