Friday, August 8, 2014

Maxx Limited Sketches... and Mars Attacks is DONE!!!!!!

Maxx Limited Edition Prints

Things have opened up enough for me.....

.... to finish off these 25 Maxx sketches.

Although their not always OF the Maxx himself...

I tend to like doing outback creatures like this odd looking "Outback Bird"...... so they may tend to have a splash of color on them, not always, but sometimes..

Sometimes I'll do Julie,

..... or maybe Gone,

.... or even Maxx once in a while ...

...but I don't wanna burn out too soon.  Remember: A little Maxx..... goes a looooong way.

Kinda got burnt out on commissions, no one's fault.  Probably mine, took on too much.  That's why i stepped away from them for a while.

Trying to make these fun..

...doing them as if I'm drawing them... for myself... mostly.  Which usually works best for me.

Which explains why their all done in different colors ink or paint,

Like this guy... another long necked. Outback Creature.

Yeah, sometimes they look simple and scribbly ... sometimes rough and abstract...

Sometimes they spill out of that little square too!

sometimes like a doodle... Here's a julie who looks to slim-fast for my taste, so will add a little weight to her. You can see I've already moved her boobies down, so they droop a little.

Hey... Time and Gravity... affects folks in the Outback too!

and sometimes just plane weird. this Gone, done in brown ink.

why in brown?  why not?


Kinda cool to think one of these will be in someone's hands someday soon.



Finished Mars attacks!  Here's two version of a splash page for issue 3, which do you like better?

The white one appeals to me, but the brown background is probably more dramatic.

- actually felt pretty good about this series... i like my hand drawn style, kind or an evolution of what I tried in the Hollows.  It's not just the art that I enjoyed doing, but the story too.

Writer Chris Ryall was nice enough to let me co-plot..

Meaning after we discuss a rough plot, i basically draw whatever the heck i want, and *then* we try to make sense of it all.  Takes a lot of trust for a writer to do this. Course it helps i'm invested in the story too, plus Chris is talented enough to pull it off. He's my 'net' for plausibility, continuity, and logic.

Here I was caught miss spelling the word "Trauma" ( on the left ) ... even after i googled it to make sure it was spelled correctly, wrote it down... somehow, by the time i got back to my art table... i lost an 'a' somewhere.

I think I'm also proud of the story because I was able to work in an older grandparent figure and a little girl.  ( Notice here, i double checked before i added Trauma again! )

My subconscious seems drawn to this combo of kids and grandparents. I notice Director Miyazaki has lots of kids and older people in his stories. Maybe that's why were all drawn to his sensibilities as a storyteller.

Funny how often 'old people' are left out of a lot of modern stories.

Another issue dealt with was Grief.  Loss. Here i didn't even realize a panel i drew at the bottom of this Marks page, Clair struggling with her attachment to the baby marian...

which partly echos Annie giving up little Ojo ...

And also, Lo in Bimbo waiting for his wife to return.. staring wistfully.

Same lost figure staring out the window as he is dealing ( or afraid he'll have to grapple with) some future loss.

And  I won't even get into Maxx lying around on chairs and couches in a fetal position,

....that's *another* story.

* * *

Thanks for listening. And Thanks to Chris Ryall for enduring me as both collaborator...

and friend.

- Sam

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Call Off the Search Party...!!!

After an absence this long, not mentioning it is pretty silly, even for someone as sporadic at posting as I am.  However whatever personal issues I was or continue to go through, my dirty laundry - is not why you check this blog, is it?

I don't mean you don't care - I just mean.. Your mainly here to look at cool crap. Or hopefully 'interesting crap'.  Or even 'crap that totally fails', but hey... a 'look' is free, right? Esp. online. So remember, when i 'disappear'.

There's is always a valid reason. No snub or disrespect intended.

'nuff said.

Above is a brief evolution of Maxx Cover 13.  I kept avoiding adding to much color to the maxx..

.. preferring the 'brown paper' version of Jungle Queen Julie with her hair up..

But it's unavoidable. For better or worse... purple guy always sticks out like a sore thumb.

I came across this in a pile of art, it's a film for the printer, back in the negative days.. you'll recognize what page it's from.

Notice the primary colors on the left, the gray bar on the right. Kinda creepy image with the light coming through isn't it?

Was thinking when i die someday and - out of context, if somebody came across this in a thrift or garage sale.. somebody who didn't read comics of know the Maxx,

...they'd have no friggin' idea what the hell it was... would they?

Here's a Heros cover I did for their charity. Nightcrawlers hair is the star of the page. Weird to think for most kids who know him from the X-man movies, he's not gangly or skinny at all.  A deign or 'character language' that only exists in comics.

Here's another Heros cover, just parody of my cover above. Just for fun. No idea what Adventure Time was, had to google it.  Took ten minutes to draw, and it shows. But It still cracks me up.

If anyone bids more than 5 bucks for this sucker, their getting ripped off. : )


Highlights off of wet ink on a page. Nothing like it.

Here's the third piece i did of these "Two Sisters" artwork, which i've posted before. Here's the anima version.. only i had to 'ruin' one of them.

The point of the original one was looking past an idealized view of women. Of in this case, an asian woman in a kimono.

Huge fan of Junko Mizuno, so part of it is just loves the cuteness of Anima/Manga, yet another part of me that gets sick of how cute it all is. Notice i made a smudge on the sister on the right, so i HAD to add a smudge to the sister on the left too...

So here's the next in the series. I didn't feel I'd 'messed up' the sister on the left enough. Yeah, her eyes were wonky, but i had to go further... ... *that's* more like it!  Gold-Green-Orange is a jarring combo.

Now before you freak out, just calm down. It wasn't that great looking of a face, was it? The point is the facade of beauty, or at least that's what i intended..

Gold paint's always a bitch because it usually scans so it looks flat. It's seeing the highlights in person that adds to the glowing effect.

Now before you have my guts for garters,  remember i did a similar defacing of the original Sisters artwork too. But you know what... much as a lot of people scratched their heads, or wondered " aww, why'd he have to screw up those faces?"... ( which is a valid question ) ...

My heart was touched by one fan who stood in line at the Comic Art Museum. He pointed out this  specific piece (below), and he thoughtfully explained me how, in his opinion, he felt it was not just a moving piece of art, but that it really touched him personally.

Geez.... that really melted my heart to hear that.

He's not alone either.

For some people they feel that same way about the Maxx.  I think anybody who was open minded enough to pick up the Maxx in the first place.. is obviously open to new unusual kinds of illustration and story telling.

Heck, if a comic fan hated my art that much, they'd have to be *masochistic* to keep reading that book otherwise.. right?

I mean, i'm not even ashamed or bothered by it anymore...

My art's messed up, and so am i.

Come on, admit it...  compared to most comics ~ the Maxx it IS...... a friggin' weird-ass looking book!

..but then, i guess, basically... everything i do pretty much is.

Thanks for hanging in there for me.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Maxx, Worlds Sketches. . . 20 years ago today. . .

            ( Update added to bottom of this post! ) 

FYI:  The Sandman exhibition at Cartoon Art Museum ends on April 27th. 

There's a sandman piece Mike penciled and I inked in the a Museum catalog, limited to 1,000 copies pre-order copies now, since they won’t be going back to press with this one once it sells out. (I didn't post it because i forgot to scan it - sorry.)

If your a sandman freak, GET this book. 
Just remember my and Mike's Sandman pin up are only one one page of it. But it does help a worthy cause, (the Museum), so here's order info

Hopefully your not too sick of the Maxx. . .  

. . but here's a few versions of another painted cover.

Thanks to everybody - looks like IDW blew through those Maxx Limited books pretty quick. 

Promise to make the Maxx sketches worth it - I'll throw them up online as I work my way through them . . . so everybody gets a chance to check 'em out too. (remember, *this* one is a Maxx cover, not a sketch!) 

I'd be forever if i tried to draw every sketch with this much detail. 

Wanted to try something a little different with this Maxx cover, hmm. . . . not sure about the orange under-lighting.. 

getting a little psychedelic. .  even for me. Let's see if i can't save it.. 

. . or make it LOTS worse...

 either one. Okay, still a little busy? Too much going on? Probably.

 Above's an earlier version and one i painted a little later, side by side. Tried to ground all that orange in the 2nd version. 

Which do you like better? 

Notice i painted over my signature. it was too big anyway. : )  

I still think i can make the top of the 2nd version darker on the edges. 


I'm also doing some sketches for a few friends in some Worlds books too. 

Notice the ink's still wet here. Can't close this cover yet. I love working on this brown paper.  So restful this stained coffee brown isn't it? I love 'defacing' all my own art here.. scribbling over the inside pages like this. 

Here's another one.  

i'm not sure this is enough, seems kinda boring... 

let's adding something else here. little blobs of white out floating up from this guy's eye ball... 

Okay, this one's totally out of control now! * sigh * 

In fact take a look at the same page ( below) in another Worlds book for comparison, see?  

By now you've spotted the third book, and the little orange guy. 

Just another weird same monster. Outback creature. whatever. Just more weirdness. 

if the eye looks a little odd around the edges it's because i pasted it in. couldn't get the acrylic smooth enough. 

That's what sketches are always hit and miss aren't they? It's like musicians playing live. No safety net. Esp. if you doing it in a big-ass art book, more pressure not to screw up. 

But this (my worrying) is just me psyching-myself-out. . . because you couldn't ask for a more appreciative buncha fans than you guys n' gals out there..  'course with friends there's should be even less pressure, right? 

But it's fun too. A challenge. I'm leaving this guy alone. No need to busy it up top any, less is more here, eh? 

Check out how the flash caught some of the paint texture in one pic, and hid it with a secondary source of light.  Funny how light can either . . hide. . .  or expose. . .  brush texture, isn't it? 

Okay, enough of this little guy... 


It's weird looking at all this old Maxx art. Most of my problem with Maxx had to do with publishing/editorial/printer things that had nothing to do with the story itself.  Production crap, and various professional 'dirty laundry', ego, greed, gossip, tons of worthless crap that won't help anyone by being aired publicly and most of which have - thankfully - faded from everyone's memory. 

For me, Maxx is like having Four Ex Wives, all getting together and revisiting you, and each compare notes.  Tons of mixed feelings, affection, regrets, embarrassment, ambivalence. All that. But that's MY own personal baggage and neurosis, and damage, not yours. 

Yeah. Maxx lasted. Weird. Kinda pretentious sounding, but I don't mean it in an ego way either. For some odd reason, it HAS left an imprint. 

I know for a fact it's changed some people. . . because of the TONS of letters I've received over the years. 

And even at SDCC, various strangers, who in an instant touched my arm, leaned into me, looked eyes with mine, and this weren't strangers at all... people who assured me yes, they *were* deeply moved by something in Maxx. Or that something happened in their life, *while* they were reading it. 

Key moments, teen angst, someone they loved, lost, or discovered. Personal hardship. Trauma. Abuse. Broken heart. Healing. Recover. In the middle of a whole world or crap, they found . . . some glimmer of hope in the stories. words. ideas.  

I know, because you've been kind enough to share it with me. This humbles me.  Drawing him is second nature to me.  All this, reminds me that, in a way, " I ", really have nothing to do with the Maxx. 

It's something that travels far beyond me . .  

even if it happened to have started  because of me, you know? 

Okay, enough of my babble. Thanks for listening. 

. . and looking. 

- Sam 



Also, kinda interesting fact, as you can see above, the original Maxx 9 panted cover is NOT red colored.

The original art's (right) was actually PEACH colored..!!! ~  years ago, i had the production guys at Image reddened  the cover up in photoshop because i though the original didn't look 'violent' enough. Now, i actually prefer the original peachier colors. Which do you like?

Above is a cool contrasts.. my New Maxx 9 cover. on the left, and the classic Maxx 9 cover on the right. In some ways, how i paint Maxx is totally different than how I used too, and in other ways, some of same weirdness. . . .  carried on with a changing bag of tools, tricks, ideas.


Here's the same cover, hours earlier. Paints still wait on top, as I've darkened a new upper layer.

This is like the third variation on this cover's background. So much gets lost in the printing too.

Started so bright and psychedelic.  Now look at it..

Another shot, but this one catches more of the texture.

Some things i would have never done back then, like the orange under-shadows.. also Way$hak pointed out for some odd reason i'm making Maxx's claws curlier now.. never noticed that.

I threw it up here again, since my black Maxx logo covers the top background,  so now you can *what* the black logo actually covers up. Notice once it's dries, much of the texture is lost in a scan. But that's what's cool about seeing art from different lighting angles.

Okay - enough already! 

- Sam