Thursday, December 13, 2012

Maxx Commissions and Death's Wall.



Because I'm still swimming my way out of comic pages before the Holiday hits... here's a few extra commissions you may missed, or I forgot to throw up.


This is the first Maxx i've drawn in a ga-zillion years... but don't get your hopes up i'll do the book again. I know it's a losing battle fighting fan's nostalgia, but ere's a few myths about the Maxx:



Myth One: Maxx made sense, sorta... at 2am, if you weren't stoned. Truth: Maxx didn't even make sense to ME... so it's doubtful anyone else could make sense of it. I had a few rough ideas of how 1-20 would end... but you could tell past that i kept trying to cram other non-Maxx stories into Maxx, which didn't work...  and is why it's GOOD news i moved onto to Zero Girl, Four Women, Ojo and Bimbo. Plus THOSE suckers made sense. Mostly.

Myth Two: This was my 'peak'. Creative freedom wise? Possibly.  Ideas we're flying out like sh*t from a goose. So to speak. Skill wise, nope. Maxx was *very* hit and miss. And most fans I talk to agree it the most inconsistent art of any comic I've drawn. Some really ugly wretched panels, and pages... don't believe me? I'll dig a few up someday and show you.  Tiny little line wise: Marvel presents had more tiny lines ( if that's the sophomoric narrow permitters we're measuring 'good' art by) - but Epicurus is actually the best ( detailed ) art I've done in my book.



I know ratings are silly and subjective: But detail wise... I'd rate Maxx art as a C plus, Marvel Presents Covers and a few other pieces as B-, and Epicurus as A-.

Inspiration wise: I'd take some of the paintings I've done over my blog, (and some older ones too) as being valid in their own way. The point of he Museum show is for me to stop quibbling and just be gracious any body likes all four sams: 'Vintage Epicurus Sam',  'Classic MCP covers Sam',  'Underground Maxx Sam', Storyteller Sam ( Bimbo, Zerogirl, Ojo), or ' Weird-ass-Patings Sam' .



I think I added an extra 'Sam' in there somewhere. Oh and there's Weird Antiques Sam, and Trout Sam, and Dana and Nola Sam ( probably better filed under Storyteller Sam, or maybe Trout Sam.) Gets silly in a way... but when someone asks you

Do you like Sam Kieth? The question that spring to mind is:

...which Sam?



Thanks to all the folks who requested these commissions in the first place.  (Hey...Is that SuperMeatBoy in there??? ) And I promise, no more bitching about Maxx.  Ignore any gripes I make. Hey, If i didn't have *some* affection for Maxx (or all my other creations), i wouldn't have dreamed them up in the first place, right?

Just trying to bring all my halves... or fourths... (or sixteenths?) together. That's what all these art books are trying to do... as a shift from 'middle age sam' into 'old man sam'.  Looking for a little Closure. Rest. Compassion on myself.... and for all my various 'drawing highs'.... and 'drawing lows'. It's the lows that make the highs possible. Sublime and Grotesque, that's my art in a nutshell.


Here's Lastly... an old commission I did Neil threw up on his Tumblr account and had a nice word for it.

http://neil-gaiman.tumblr.com/post/37688416396/travisellisor-deaths-trophy-wall-by-sam

Getting a 'wonderful' from Mr. Gaiman... is kinda cool.



11 comments:

Marcus Collar said...

DEATH TO THE MAXX... I think I learned this from reading your stuff "it's not the music or comic or film people enjoy, but the sense of themselves at the time they first encountered this art that makes them like or dislike it"

so great to see the Maxx in a trophy format.

you done good Mr. K!

its exciting to know that possibly one of your new projects will stir the collective conscience as much as the Maxx also the Gaiman stuff seems like a mature look back ... so well adjusted this is creeping me out is it that I'm older, or is it the artwork? lol

seriously great to see the Maxx but I'd love to see an uncle Charlie blast in and kick some bunny ass just for good measure...

(I think I got Maxx #1 for christmas shhhhhh im not supposed to know)

jlosacco said...

I love the Maxx, it's how I first discovered your work. But I also love that you moved on. It was the right time and you made the right choice. You have grown and become a much more well rounded artist and story teller since.

Amy B said...

Oh Maxx. Man, it must be flipping great to get a compliment from Neil Gaiman. As much as I loved the Maxx growing up, I felt Zero girl was 100 times better. Heh. You've been my favourite artist since I was a teenager but yeah, looking back, I always felt way more attached to Zero Girl than the Maxx.

Lucas Irineu said...

To add to what other people are saying, there's one thing about the inconsistent art styles. The way how you switched from one style to another in the same page without any kind of transition, I always loved that in The Maxx. I think it added to the mood of the comic, the inconsistent art quality adding to the seemingly surrealistic plot. If that makes any sense at all.

Anyway, I don't mind the fact you're not going back to it at all! All good things must come to an end, or they just stop being good. I think more creators should learn to add that one last period into their works, to finish things for a change. If you just drag a comic on for too long, it loses it's point. You can see that a lot in mainstream superhero comics. Sure, the first few issues might be good, but once you have seven hundred of them, it's kind of hard to keep up the quality. Maxx had a good ending which left me with a "Okay, I started reading a great comic, and now I have finished it and I'm ready to move on with my life" feeling, which is quite nice.

aftermathcomic said...

I love The Maxx. As Lucas said, there was a sense of the unexpected in the art. I never knew what the next page/panel would look like! The contrast is beautiful, and it made those painted or more heavily rendered sections look THAT much more realistic. You are a master of contrast, I think, be it Maxx or any other work.

I think the thing I love about The Maxx is Maxx, himself. His character design is off the charts. He never gets old. And it is so damn iconic. I love just looking at him over and over. One of the most inexhaustible, bold, simple (in the best way) designs of all time. So expressive and dynamic, on top of it all, even with his abstracted features. Makes him like an everyman in a way...

The second thing about him is that the way you draw heavy, muscular bodies is so inspiring. The sense of fullness and the tension between your large and small shapes (especially in the arms, the traps/back/shoulder area, and the pecs)... it's the stuff artists drool over. Considering The Maxx is a really buff, hunched over dude, I get to look at this dynamic again and again... Love it.

And I am still obsessed with the hulking rounded triangle his feet make, filled up with those small, taught shapes. It doesn't get any better than that.

And that's just surface stuff...

I love all your work, btw. Just putting some thoughts out there.

Derek Oberg said...

Given your feelings on Maxx, would you ever go back and join Neil on a new Sandman project? He's said he's doing one... I for one drool at the thought.

Carlos said...

It's nice to see The Maxx again. The animation was pretty rad too. I hated that it only cover part of the series though.

Also, I thought you didn't take any more commissions according to your F.I.Q. Has that changed?

Jim Doran said...

That Maxx may not be your best/favorite work. But it's my favorite comic. Trapped-on-a-tropical-island-and-you-can-pick-5-titles-to-have-there type favorite, #1. I like that it didn't always make sense, and it thrills me to hear you say that it didn't always make sense to you.

It's nice to see him and Julie again. And I love these insights you share. Thank you.

cody said...

I will always love the maxx, but I think the worse thing a creator can do is continue something that his heart isn't in anymore, a lot of people would have continued just for the money, so I'm glad you left him as is because who knows if you kept going every one could have ended up hating it, (happens all the time). Art wise I loved how each page panel could be so different, same reason I loved all the comics all the different stuff you have done if want to look at some really detailed line work I check out epicurius or MCP, all the way to more "arty" (for lack of a better word) I can check out maxx stuff and even now the stuff you post now is always surprising and new. enough bla bla. Thanks Sam for keepn it fresh and sharing all the radness.

Anonymous said...

I was and still am a big fan of The Maxx (have every issue, even own the glow in the dark #1 and 3D version, and the VHS episodes)... I remember back in the 90s I was a teenager and I had sent you a drawing I did of The Maxx. I was hoping you would have it published in the letters pages (this was back when people actually wrote to comics and there was a culture in the letters pages)... Well sadly, it was never published. I always wondered how you chose to select work. I thought mine was really good. I even ended up later going to college and studying illustration. Those were the days before I could afford to make copies and we didn't have a scanner so I'll never see that drawing again. Do you save fan work or is it trashed?

Joe Latham said...

I know it's daft, but I wanted to post a comment to let you know I find your work and your blog completely inspiring. All versions of Sam.
Anyway please keep writing, it's always intriguing and educating to read.