Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Moldy Regrets

Epicurus was a satire on Greek Philosophers brilliantly written by my old pal Bill Loebs. The page below is probably my favorite page in in the whole series.  I just like the balance in it. he fact I left the right side of the page blank.. (for a change).

At the risk of seeming immodest, don't think i could have done these kinds of free brush strokes... or negative space back in Epicurus vol 1.

Most of my fans have at least heard of Epicurus, but of course it's hardly shocking a subtle satire on greek Philosophy won't sell as well as Wolverine. It has, pound for pound, probably the more 'tiny little lines' of anything i did, along with the MCP Wolvie covers and the Nemesis stuff.

Now.... HERE'S  something someone no one has seen ever before, check out  the *whole* cover below.

I was too big to print this way, because i added waaaay to much line work in it...

big difference huh?

I thought it might be cool to check out how much got cropped.

Down by my immodestly HUGE signature on the left... is where some water damage from leaving it in a moldy closet.

It molded up all the way along the bottom too.

Kinda a shame, but it happened a lot back then. Mold. Damaged Originals. Poorly stored.

Here's the Frazetta 'Famouse Funnies' cover, that partly inspired me to do it.. I don't think i coped the cracks too much, do you?  It was meant more as a humble wink to him. Not sure anyone would get that but me. Or maybe it's obvious.

Here's a unprinted promo piece for retailers, so few fans ever saw it. Now in this one my signature's microscopic, heck... maybe something in between next time sam? : )

At first it was fun adding all the pen and brush work into every crevice and corner in Epicurus.  But something i didn't like was how the texture of everything looked sorta slick and greasy in early Epicurus stuff.

I remembered when i showed it to Dave Stevens, who was something of a hero of mine... he said it looked terrific, but he wasn't sure where else i could go with all the noodling.

He thoughtfully said, "...maybe less Hal Foster... and more Alex Raymond?"  Meaning less meticulous line work (which is what Hal Foster did),  and instead more fluid brush work.. (which Alex Raymond did so wonderfully).

I couldn't wrap my head around his words at the time. So I just kept on adding detail for details sake.

Here's yet another example why original art collectors loath the white out pen, esp. when the paper browns or yellows over time...

yet another angle of all the cracks in the rocks. In the one above you can really notice the white out parts.

My favorite re-print of Epicurus is a spanish edition. I read it a lot... well, not read, asI don't speak spanish. But the production on this version is just phenomenal.

Here's the three headed Cerberus I did,

Again, partly kinda inspired by the roadside diner bulldog  Dave Steven's drew in his Rocketeer comic.

Below are the original art for the bulldog panels...

the spanish edition of Epicurus even gave a nice warm tint to the rough sketches I sent along for it.

So, here it is saying something about the book in spanish, of which i haven't a clue. But it sure does look nice, eh?

The first 2 Volumes or Epicurus and the follow up years later, (hopefully) showed a major shift in my growth as an artists.

I never got the chance to show Stevens the second edition of Epicurus, the one where i was finally able to loosen up with my brush strokes like below. Regardless of if you like the splash below, it was a breakthrough I was able to value a different line. Different sensibility.

Not bragging or anything.. but i was so impressed that i'd finally been able to 'get' what he was talking about. It may seem off such a detailed artists Stevens was the one who inspired me to step into a more flowing direction..

It's not like i didn't have the chance to tell him, or just say thanks either. I'd see him at comic cons back then... but was always shy about coming up. Dave was a private guy who tended to like hanging with the older pros he admired, i didn't wanna make it all about 'me'. I put it off.  Plus, I knew we'd both be around. I figured... someday i'll tell him.

Then,  he passed away.

So now, i humbly share this with all of you guys.

White-out boo boos i've made.

Regrets i've had.

Stuff i've discovered, both in real life, and in my art.

Thanks for listening.

-  Sam