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.