Thursday, March 15, 2012

Of Aliens, Sequels and teddy bears.



In between this alien drawings instead of describing how i work, i'm going to rant a little about the first series and explain why i i'm not a big fan of nostalgia or sequels. That shouldn't take away from the fact if you dig Aliens, cool.  If my doing a new series does if for you, even better.

But i always manage a way to screw it up, sometimes in a good way, like everything i draw.



I've never been a fan of movie sequels. This is why i've always resisted reviving a Maxx comic. Not because i consider myself 'above' it, hey, i'm just as big a whore as any other freelancers. :)  It's mostly because i'm more excited by possibly failing by trying something new, rather than flogging the same old dead horse. Plus fans always see things how they remember, and any style you do that's new kills their nostalgia buzz quick. Not all, but a few.

That said, I made clear to the editor I only agreed to do this Aliens deal if they accept the fact i don't draw the same as I used to now. Not to be an obstinate jerk, but because on a practical level, as we artists morph over time, it gets pointless to explain or apologize for whatever our styles morph into.



Wanting-vs-Hating change is human nature. I do it too. As my old friend Terry Fitzgerald  jokes, if your favorite band puts out an album that sounds *different*, fans are bummed that they changed their sound.  But if your band keep pumping out albums with the same sound, fans bitch because the band *keeps* doing the same old tired thing. I'm guilty of the same thing with artists i grew up liking. I want change, yet I resist it ....because i know, with change, there's always something that's lost.  

The first time i drew aliens many years ago, it was a mixed bag.  Other than the first Aliens issue i drew which i liked, the last three issues were very rushed and pretty bad work on my part. Trust me, the color hid tons of rushed lame art.



Dark Horse got 300 pieces of fan letters from the first series i drew. Unfortunately, only 3 letters liked it. Kelly Jones found out the same thing when he drew an Aliens book too. It seems whoever drew a NEW miniseries was compared to the previous artists, and fans threw tomatoes at you for not looking like the previous Aliens artists.  But, like Kelly, it taught me to develope a thick skin early on. Fans bought it anyway, and in retrospect... nobody seems to mind all the flaws. Or remember the flap over it. 



So I thought, if i took another stab at it, i might be able to, at least.... be more consistent this time.  Some would say a new series will suck compare to the old stuff or won't but others would like it anyway, and most won't really freak out either way.  



I'd agreed only to do this series... if it was understood, for better or worse... I'm a *different* artist now.



...and if i could draw the most unlikely object into an Alien series.

Something just for me.

Something that didn't belong. Something stupid.

Something fuzzy.


a teddy bear.



Oddly enough, they agreed.

John Layman wrote it into the story, and there we are. Warts and all.



So that's why, for me, sequels often seem destined to disappoint. Or 'suck'. Because we can't 'go home'. I sure as heck can't.  I'm usually using an old favorite comic or movie as a way to revisit who i used to be... but instead i only get a vague hazy memory of my old self, at best.

Because, it's too late. I've changed. Maybe you're a different person too.  Different than you were in the 'old Maxx days', or when you first read an old Aliens comic? And if so, glad to hear it. The only thing that's spookier than when people change,

is when they don't.






9 comments:

the danman can said...

I would welcome a new Maxx series, but I respect the fact that you won't likely revisit it and I like all your other work anyway.

Nice post.

juvinwo said...

I love everything you do Sam, an I am SUPER excited about this aliens book, is it limited series? I too would LOVE a new maxx book, but whatever u choose to do, I will always faithfully follow!!

Sam Kieth said...

Cool you guys. I know you all know this too.

It seems like YOU guys get what i'm still trying to get through my head, that there's room for all my stuff, work for hire, creator owned, in fact... to my fans, it's all mixed up together as a big glob of 'sam-stuff'.

I'm the only one dopy enough to bother compartmentalizing all this stuff out. : )

Fessing up: I used spell check for 'compartmentalizing'.

- sam

potatowaste said...

I just bought up as many of your books during the Toronto ComiCon to add to my collection of your work. I love laying them out and watching your style change. It's almost possible to see if you were given direction as to a design versus being allowed to work freely.
PS The last podcast I did was a big commercial for you.

Tom said...

Hi Sam,

I think you've got the right idea about not revisiting things without good reason. The Maxx is a great, great story, just the way it is. Revisiting an old story for its own sake (rather than due to unprompted inspiration) is the sort of thing that rarely measures up.

The Aliens work has been looking brilliant. I think your art style (new or old) is very well suited to it. Looking forward to the final product!

the danman can said...

Somewhat related.

Thoughts, Sam?

I can't f*cking wait.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=HHcHYisZFLU

bryan said...

It makes sense. I like when my favorite bands change it up. Not so much that they don't sound like themselves, but enough to show they've been experimenting. Progress can only come through change.

I think The Maxx shouldn't need a sequel because it can be looked at as a body of work that stands on it's own. It has a first issue and a last issue. It's a complete thought (I'm jumping to a conclusion there, I'm right in the middle of the series right now [late to the party] but I love it and it gave the me confidence I was seriously lacking to work on my own comic. Sam, if you only knew the positive impact and inspiration that book [and your forewords in the Wildstorm tbp collections] has had on me as an artist, you'd be speechless. Basically, your work and words kept me from quitting something I was VERY unsure about and encouraged me to jump into the deep end of the unknown. I'm sure I'm not the only one either.) ...anyway, The Maxx can stand on it's own and there isn't a reason to revisit past successes when you can take the same concepts that made it great and apply them to something new. A unique story and a unique look and not conforming to 'the norm'.

All that aside, I've loved the movie Aliens since I was VERY young. It's a tricky franchise to get right, because it's hard enough to find people that can say they equally love all 4 films. So to do an Alien story that will please all the Alien fans isn't easy. Do you tell a slow paced horror story? Fans of the second movie will be upset there's no action. If you go the action route, people might complain that there's nothing scary about it (not me, I liked Aliens the best and it looks like I'm going to be incredibly happy with what you're doing)!

What about the fans of your old Aliens work who are looking forward to seeing how much you have changed?

That image rocks, by the way! Sorry for the rambling.

november 17th said...

Nice, i will be picking up that Aliens comic.

SGP said...

awesome