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




10 comments:

Anonymous said...

Epicurus was and still is one of my favorite comics to read and look at. I actually gave my mother (a degreed philosopher) a copy. I'd completely forgotten that was your work too, and just never made the Maxx connection.

Daniel said...

Sam, the guys that made the spanish edition of the book are awesome. They are very well known in the spanish and Latin-American market. They made every good book around there translated in spanish from every great artist you can imagine in the world.

Great stuff always coming from them. I had a bunch of stuff of them, sadly when I came to USA I had to sell most of my comics collection, thinking that it would be easy to find them here in USA. Is very difficult to find some european stuff in comic book stores, even in Manhattan.

Thanks again for sharing this really helpfuls "how-tos" :-)

Georgia said...

I admit I have not read this yet--however, I'm inspired to immediately hunt down a copy. :)

I'm sorry you never got to tell Dave. There was a teacher who I was close to in high school, who was always very encouraging and supportive of me, and he gave me his phone number to keep in touch after graduation (maybe inappropriate, but well meaning I still believe). I really wanted to call, but kept thinking, 'when I'm a little older, just a little older, I'll have more to say, I'll be more interesting--' and then he passed away very suddenly my junior year of college. It's rough to look back on someday lessons, you always want to give yourself a little shove forward to speak to the hero, or at least I do.

Frank Patriot said...

I loooooove this post. I bought Epicurus when I was in, like, 8th grade. It's still one of my favorites. I still have it, in fact. Actually, the two pages where you drew Demeter in all her glory (very well, I may add) are missing. I had to 'remove' them so my fundamentalist parents didnt find them and burn them. (You think I'm kidding). I studied the linework in that book more than I studied for Algebra tests. That's how I learned to draw my rocks/cliffs so full of cracks. I came across that Frazetta piece in his 'ICON' book and just 'knew' that's what inspired you. Epicurus' buddy, Plato, is the reason I draw my amish people the way I do. (Dont ask why i draw amish people). Seeing some of Frazetta's and Wrightson's stuff and seeing how your earlier stuff showed a lot of admiration for them, makes me feel better about how I draw a lot of stuff that is inspired by your art, Sam. I have felt like a copycat at times, but I have learned that everybody's work has traces of their favorite artists work in there somewhere.

And, to show what a huge nerd I am about Sam's stuff, if you search the pages of 'Blood Hungry',folks, there's a page where Wolvie is talking to Tiger Tyger in her apartment, and there is a framed picture of the Epicurus cover seen above on the wall. Also, the roadside doggy diner mentioned above shows up in the scenes where Logan is conversing with Janet at the drive in diner. Aren't you people impressed? Hell, I just impressed myself.

jennifer kraska said...

It's always cool to dig back into older work. Its always uncool to find it moldy or partially eaten by a critter.

'learning' pieces are always special. It's like sometihing just clicks and you get it.....you're left going 'duh! Why didn't I see that before?!' Thanks for sharing one of yours.

Sorry you never got the chance to show Dave. I hate that feeling....hate saying 'I wish I would have'. It weighs heavy sometimes.

Take care and as always thanks for another great post.

Sam_Kieth said...

Anonymous, i think i remember you mention your mom liked Epicurus, too cool! It was supposed to reach older folks too, ( that was the plan anyhoo... )

Daniel - cool to know the publishers of the Spanish Epic stuff are way respected. It shows in their product - and yeah, i dug that maxx you posted!

Georgia and Jennifer ( since you were both sorta on the same subject)... yeah. missing someone you maybe catch yourself taking for granted, that stuff does stay with you. But even if Dave never knew it, maybe like Georgia's teacher, maybe Dave left me not just with his technical tip, but also a reminder how fleeting our chance to connect with someone can be.

Frank, talk about impressive geek-dom, your so good even *i* forgot i drew Epicurus into Blood Hungry, in fact i'll need to go dig out out because i just clean can't even remember doing it. I DO remember the bulldog though.

We're all like little individual little waves.. making up a huge ocean of geek-dom. In a stupid sort of way it's kinda poetic huh? Seriously, it's cool to know whatever i create or draw... others hungrily dig under rocks to find creative nourishment in all sorts of places and through tons of different folks.

You guys are awesome!!!!

Daniel said...

Thanks Sam for you comments about my version of The Maxx...


You made my day. Thanks!
:-)

VeganMike said...

Hi Sam,

My Spanish isn't great, but I'm 99% sure that the back of your copy of Epicurus is a series of puns (in Spanish) about Greek philosophers' names that translates to:

"Do you think Plato is a big plate? [because Plato in Spanish is Platón, which also means platter]

Do you only know Socrates as a Brazilian who plays soccer? [I'm not exactly a sports buff... guessing there was a big player at the time]

Have you never heard of Aristotle?

With Epicurus the Sage from Sam Kieth (Zero Girl) and William Messner-Loebs, discover the real meaning of philosophy. Moreover, enjoy a fun adventure with Epicurus, Plato, Socrates, Aristotle, and Alexander the Great as protagonists.

Welcome the classic history from the unmistakable hand of Sam Kieth!"

Marcus Collar said...

Frank Patriot is dead on and there is a the kid at the dinner from I before E in the Wolvie thing

I HATE LIMERICKS!

José A. García said...

Epicurus ist a great work in many levels. I love it!

J.