Wonder Woman, Jim Lee, JMS, and the pants
A lot of internet natter following my Wonder Woman concept design sketches for J Michael Straczynski. It’s a good thing I have most comics commentary sites on block or on strict time limits, or I’d have been sucked down the rabbit hole. My editors want me to get my books done, dontcha know.
There were some great comments, very interesting criticisms, and wonderfully funny remarks. “Wonder Cher”…that was awesome.
There are also a few things I’d like to clear up.
As I said in my original post, the concept designs were commissioned by J Michael Straczynski after he worked on the new Wonder Woman which already featured Jim Lee’s design with jacket and pants. This wasn’t an either Jim/or me decision on DC’s part. In fact, JMS ran his new Wonder Woman comic by me shortly before it was published, and I was very interested to see where it would go.
I have nothing against shaking up characters and concepts. Some things go well, and some things don’t. Some people like pants. Some people like skirts.
But, it’s not true that DC chose Jim over me. I not only wasn’t even in the running, but JMS decided to leave Wonder Woman shortly after he ran his new concept by me. It was incredibly cool of him to ask me to do these sketches, and I loved doing them. I never expected anyone to use them, and was very surprised at all the interest in the post.
The concept was for a “high fantasy” version of Wonder Woman, and that is all I can tell you. I don’t recall that he went into too much more detail, but even if I had the scoop, I’d not post it. You never know when those ideas might bubble up and get used later.
DC did not pass me over for the revamped DC books.
Not only am I working on two original Vertigo GN’s (Stealth Tribes and Gone to Amerikay,) but while DC was ramping up the new DC universe, I was finishing up an original graphic novel (Mangaman, with Barry Lyga,) and signing on for a new painted graphic novel for Dark Horse. I’m pretty much booked until the spring.
This does not alter the fact that I will whine and fret at all the cool assignments being given out that I do not get to work on. After all these years, I still delight in getting to play with all my favorite comics heroes. So, if a short story comes my way, or a really cool annual, or a pinup, and it just happens to feature The Legion of Superheroes, or Aquaman, well, heck yeah.
This very nice article at the Comic Book Resources blog notes my career has been flying under the radar for some years. That’s true. Some of you may recall I took a year off work to handle pressing personal issues, and to get some digital art training. Mission accomplished, even though my digital skills still lag. I also worked on several concept art gigs for film and television, and did some illustration. Concept art can take up months of time, and never be seen. That’s the way it goes.
Still, I’ve been working on original GN’s almost exclusively for years now. An original GN is the equivalent of about a year’s full-time work on a monthly comic. So every time I produce a new GN, it’s a year out of my life, and I am working on several at once. I didn’t leave the industry, I just worked quietly on my new stuff, which will all get rolled out over the next couple of years. That includes the final issues of A Distant Soil for Image. Yes, the series will be completed in print before any new pages are available on the website. I will continue to roll out inventory on the website to supplement the comic.
I just spoke with Warren Ellis about Stealth Tribes, and we’ve worked a way around some issues with scheduling and production. And we will finish in the next few months. No, really.
Anyway, some nice folks asked why DC had never hired me to draw Wonder Woman before. Well, I’ve drawn Wonder Woman several times, including a stint as fill-in artist for George Perez. The last time I got to play with Wondy was in 1997 in a 48 page comic written by Trina Robbins inked by Jackson Guice. Jackson is a terrific artist and a wonderful person, but we did not mesh well, and the book was not entirely well-received.
Top and below, a look at a few of my penciled pages from the book. Hard to believe this was so long ago, but I think my pencils still hold up.
I still have some ebay auctions going on, and will add more, including several more Wonder Woman concept design pages, some Marvel Masterpieces artist return sketch cards, and a Captain America and the New Warriors cover I penciled back in the dark ages, which was not used.
These penciled pages for the Wonder Woman book I did with Trina and Jackson look very different from the final version, but it’s no secret I am no fun to ink, which is why I ink all my own stuff now. Thanks for stopping in.