Super Mario

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I’ve been chipping away at this 24×24″ collage for months, maybe since February or so. I used a ton of shitty, old comics that would otherwise serve no purpose in this world. Comics like Wild Thing from Marvel UK, and Clive Barker’s Hyperkind, from Marvel’s Razorline imprint. Basically, a lot of forgettable early 90s comics. There’s also some Comic Shop News bits in here, as well as the cover to a brochure for Stony Brook University, which I’m not entirely sure why I own in the first place.

I’m not sure what my next collage will be, but I’ve got a short list of cereal mascots – Lucky, the Trix Rabbit and Sonny (from Cocoa Puffs) – and other Mario characters –Luigi, Dry Bones, Toad, Bowser, the Koopa Kids – I’d like to explore.

Iron Man as New Jersey

I used to be a great drinker. I don’t do many elicit or illegal or even mildly hazardous activities anymore, but I did have two glasses of wine at work just now and sweet maple syrup, do I feel wobbly. And in that time, I also painted/drew this commissioned Iron Man as New Jersey. (11×14″, watercolor and gold ink)

 Iron Man

22×11.5″ Avengers USA (2015)

Brand spanking new Avengers flag made from pretty much older scraps of comics I cut out over the past two years. A lot of my original flags were too loose with the lines delineating red and white, so I’m going back to fix them up, because I plan on hitting the convention circuit in 2016, and I want blow people away.

Completely unrelated, but when the first person said, “This blows my mind!” did they mean that whatever amazing thing was fellating their brain? I really want to believe that, yes, yes they did.Avengers (2015)

Also, not to bury the lead, but, AVAILABLE HERE.

REVIEW: Guardians of the Galaxy

Every since last weekend, Movie Squirrel has encouraged that I go to the theatre to see Guardians of the Galaxy. Saturday rolls around, and the baby spills Friday night’s red wine on the white carpet. I forgot to pay the rent and realized I lost my checkbook. I call the bank and there’s the whole process of locking my accounts, sprinkled with mind-numbingly retarded questions like, “Do you think your checks are indoors or outdoors right now?”

“Let me text them.”

“I’m sorry, sir.”

“Let me text my checks and hopefully they’ll get back to me fairly quickly and they can resolve this dilemma of where they’re hiding.”

Then I bought the wrong carpet cleaner. All in all, AWFUL morning and it’s barely 9am. So I bolt for the mall, my car filled with Babies R Us and Bed, Bath & Beyond returns. I stop at the AMC first and from the moment I got there, my spirits were lifted. I spent four years in New York City going to the movies by myself during the day, and its been over a year (Man of Steel) since I’d seen anything. A small popcorn and a large Cherry/Diet Coke mixture later, and I was a happy camper three rows from the top.

And it only got better because Guardians of the Galaxy was greater than my daughter’s birth. Sure, last year, I created life, but this year, Marvel, director James Gunn and writer Nicole Perlman made Yondu fucking Udonta a hardcore badass.

I’m ashamed to say I was worried about that big dumb stiff oaf Dave Batista playing Drax, but in the comics, Drax is a big dumb stiff oaf. So… NAILED IT.

It just never ceases to amaze me how Marvel is consistently turning C-list characters – Star-Lord, Ronin the Accuser, all the other Guardians – into rock-solid franchise-in-the-making A-list power players. Story, world-building, and casting, DC. Story, world-building, and casting.

Seriously, Rocket Raccoon is going to be the biggest Hollywood star coming out of the summer. I still can’t believe this throwaway character has his own plush doll at Toys R Us. Ronin is a bullshit character from the comics. No one really cared about him. EVER. And he’s SCARY in GOTG. And like I said, Yondu. Fucking. Udonta?!?! It’s incredible what we’re witnessing.

For all you naysayers, this is the perfect example of how and why Ant-Man is going to kick ass next year. (Or is it 2016? I forget.) Guardians‘ story was rich with twists and turns with a handful of different players and angles, but it was still easy to follow. It builds on the Marvel Cinematic Universe we’ve already seen, and the inevitable Infinity Gauntlet story is going rock all of our worlds when it hits the big screen.

And that brings me to my nerdliest point: what we are witnessing is the most magical thing in comics AND cinema in over 50 years. Crossovers have become so common in today’s books that they don’t even mean anything. The Avengers dominating an X-Men comic is just another Wednesday. But back in the 60s, it was a big deal for X-Men to meet the Avengers, or Spider-Man to face off against the Fantastic Four. The novelty of disparate characters inhabiting and sharing the same universe… it was momentous. And now that same excitement and anticipation is happening in movie theatres. Seriously, can anyone else not wait for Peter Quill and his ragtag gang of jackasses to butt heads with the Avengers and Thanos?

Here’s to hoping the sequel is more Thor 2 than Iron Man 2. Now bring me a Nova movie! I need to compare it to the second child I plan on making.

Flagneto (22×11.5″)

Back to my wheelhouse, here’s a flag of my favorite mutant ever, Magneto:

22x11.5"
22×11.5″

Nova, the Jersey Rocket

9x12"
9×12″

I’m going balls to the wall with these New Jersey sketches for the Asbury Park Comic Con. I think there’s an audience there, and I’ve got a wedding to pay for, a house to find, a new car to buy and a daughter that grows out of something every day.

This one is of my current favorite hero, Nova. I’ve been high on the hog (terrible expression) on this character for about ten years now, when Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning took Marvel’s much-neglected cosmic characters – space farers like the Guardians of the Galaxy, Silver Surfer, the Kree, Nova, etc – and thrust them to the forefront of Marvel’s storytelling with a series of events, starting with Annihilation and running through Annihilation: Conquest, War of Kings, The Thanos Imperative and a bunch of other shit I already forgot.

I have my own theories as to why Marvel finally shone a much-needed light on its C and D-list characters, which, let’s be honest, is exactly what all the cosmic characters were.

1. The Disney Machine: No organization gets as much out of its properties as Disney. Now that Marvel is under the rat’s banner, the sky’s the limit for everyone from Moon Knight to Misty Knight to the Nightstalkers to Sleepwalker. It’s not just a Spider-Man/X-Men one-two punch at the House of Ideas anymore.

2. Hollywood: Speaking of Spidey and the X-Men, back when Marvel was broke as a joke in the late 90s, they sold the movie rights to those properties (as well as Blade, Daredevil, Ghost Rider, the Fantastic Four, and others). According to the agreement, the studios (Sony for Spidey, Fox for X-Men, FF) had a set amount of years to produce a new film for each respective franchise, or the rights would revert back to Marvel. That’s why we see shitty new Spider-Man, X-Men and Wolverine movies every 45 minutes. Those studios make too much money to ever let those cash cows go home, so as a result, Marvel is finally forced to elevate their lesser-known characters.*

This is why Iron Man is suddenly the cat’s meow. Ask any diehard comic book fan. In over 50 years of Iron Man comics, there are maybe two stories – the origin, “Demon in a Bottle” – worth mentioning from the 20th century. Captain America, Thor and the Avengers at large also rode in the back seat of the Spider-Man and X-Men money-making Mercedes for DECADES.

Now, with the two biggest properties off the table, Marvel is dusting off the rest of its spandex wardrobe. The Avengers will only go so far before its overkill, so here come the Guardians of the Galaxy, Ant-Man, and rumors of Dr. Strange, Black Panther and others. I think it’s only a matter of time before Nova hits the big screen, too. And the focus group for this and every other Marvel property will be the local comic shop. And let me tell you, they’re KILLING IT in the funnybooks.

RELATED: Check out this Nova gallery, courtesy of Longbox Graveyard.

*I do think that some day, maybe within the next 10 years or so, Marvel/Disney throws out some obscene number (a billion dollars? ten billion?) to buy out the other studios and retrieve the rights to their heroes, so we can finally see Peter Parker interact with the Fantastic Four, or Wolverine team up with Captain America in a World War II adventure.

Badass NJ: Captain Marvel

The march to the Asbury Park Comic Con continues. Here’s a Carol Danvers/Captain Marvel New Jersey that I really hope some little girl excitedly takes home from the show.Captain Marvel

In related news, I had purchased the first two or three issues of the last Captain Marvel series, by Kelly Sue DeConnick. I thought it sucked balls with not much happening. Or, rather, the stuff that did happen (time travel, World War II nonsense) had been done sooooooo many times, that I found it nothing special. (Apparently, I was the only one, because that book got rave reviews.)

The other day, I saw a brand new Captain Marvel series on the rack of Midtown Comics, and I picked it up so I could have a female-led comic book to read to my daughter when she’s old enough for bedtime stories. I haven’t read it yet, but Carol Danvers has 20 pages to hook me, or Lila will have to acept that we’re reading Spider-Man and X-Men together.