June 2011

Fallen Heroes 2 Page 1

Fallen Heroes 2 is underway – pages well on the way to Mr Gat Melvyn on the great South peninsula of Africa. With Unseen Shadows building up momentum Fallen Heroes 2 has to get ahead of itself in order to be prepared for the big launch later on this year. Will be trying to post up updates of Fallen Heroes regularly here on Thursdays along with any other Unseen Shadows updates.

One with everything: How not to tell the Dalai Lama a joke..

Australian News Anchorman tries to tell the Dalai Lama a Dalai Lama joke to much better comic effect than expected. The decision to try to tell a religious and theological world leader from Tibet a bad joke about himself involving a pizza shop is monumentally silly in the first place but to do it through a translator makes the whole thing funnier than anyone could’ve expected. The Dalai Lama is a good sport by any stretch of the imagination but probably had to understand the joke in the first place to laugh at it. Hats off to Karl Stefanovic for giving it a go though. Well worth a try.

Lost Jedi: The Clawing Legion

Based on characters and actors from the Star Wars Exhibition in London in 2007, the Lost Jedi is an epic tale featuring unknown Jedi and Imperialist forces as well as some well known faces (Darth Sidious, Vader and Jedi Master Yoda are all featured in the collection). Collected here are the developed character designs and intended basic plot lines for the Lost Jedi. The Lost Jedi is a non-profit fan project based on Star Wars.

The first specialist, non-clone forces chosen to wear Imperial armour, each is handed an entire unit of specialist Clone Troopers and sent out into the galaxy to locate and destroy any remaining pockets of resistance – and specifically, Jedi. Specialists in various fields they are each chosen on the merit (or demerit) of their past. With nothing to lose – facing death sentences in each of their respective systems – this is their final reprieve. Do or die. Between them they are responsible for more than 12 Jedi kills during the course of the Lost Jedi. However, not without enormous losses, including their own lives. Only one member of Clawing Legion makes it to the Barren Moon for the final showdown. But which?

Trooper Schemi Ikel

Commander Tee Ald

Trooper Wes Nadir

Practitioners 33: Ivan Reis

Born in 1975, Rodrigo Ivan Dos Reis was born in Sao Paolo, Brazil and is a penciller with projects under his wing for Marvel, Chaos! but most prominently – and most recently – DC.

Blackest Night

For three years, Reis worked under Mauricio de Sousa in Brazil. De Souza is a prominent cartoonist who has created 200 characters for his popular series of children’s comic books. His characters are more Jeff Smith than Alan Davis and Neal Adams (as recent collaborator Geoff Johns described Reis’ drawing style) but clearly this time under the tutelage of such a prolific cartoonist taught the young Reis lessons in productivity.

He began his international career for Dark Horse working on titles such as Ghost, starting with Issue 17 and acting as regular artist until the title ended at Issue 36. During his tenure working on Ghost, he also worked on The Mask, Time Cop and Xena. Later, he worked for Lightning Comics (a fairly shameless comic company from the mid-nineties that offered nude variant covers for their female character titles; Hellina, Catfight and other female heroines).

For Vertigo, Reis pencilled an issue of Grant Morrison’s The Invisibles. He became better known for his work on Lady Death for Chaos! Comics. Written by Brian Pulido, Len Kaminski and Bryan Augustin, Reis drew for the title for three years (from 1999 to 2002). Lady Death was a Previews favourite, enjoying large scale pre orders and carrying a lot of popularity from the success of the nineties. It was from this good girl art that Reis enjoyed popularity, however it would be in working on much more unconventional artwork for a mainstream title that Reis would find legendary fame.

For Marvel, Reis worked on the Thing & She-Hulk: the Long Night, Avengers Icons: Vision, Captain Marvel, Iron Man, Defenders and Avengers. It was on Avengers Icons: Vision that Geoff Johns worked with Ivan Reis for the first time and formed a partnership that would literally turn a major publisher on its head and redefine the popularity of a 60 year old character.

It was with DC, after a series of short stints on a number of titles that Reis arrived at Green Lantern volume 4. A well known but slightly unnoticed character in the DC Universe, the number of Volumes was indicative of GL’s troubled past as a title. Consistently reinvented and repackaged, the story of Hal Jordan; test pilot and interstellar police officer with a magic ring had been transposed regularly. Driven nuts and killed in the 90s as part of the Return of Superman storyline and replaced by another character entirely noone was expecting great things from Green Lantern. However, under Geoff Johns the title was beginning to pick up considerable pace. The scope of the burdgeoning conflict and the introduction (after 60 years!!) of the idea that there might be other rings of alternative colour out in the universe that represented danger broadened the scope of the title considerably. Reis worked from Issue 11-38 alongside Geoff Johns, presiding over the introduction of the now famous Sinestro Corps storyline that kicked off the enormous Blackest Night storyline.

Throughout all of this Reis maintained an even tiller at all times. As Johns clearly became increasingly convinced of Reis’ capacity to produce highly detailed and dramatic artwork at incredibly short notice the scope of the title gained considerable pace. More than pure talent, Reis offered Johns a reliable and dependable creative crucible from which to expand the embryonic saga that would incorporate the entire DC Universe.

Not only in Green Lantern but in the Rann / Thanagar War mini series (written by Dave Gibbons) Reis demonstrated an incredible eye for detail, composition and anatomy. His grasp of an empty page allowed him to fill the page with hundreds of variant starship of a multitude of designs, realise the designs of almost limitless alien characters and still maintain scale and scope as a hole in the size of the universe was torn open by giant hands. The requests placed on Reis in the Rann / Thanagar war show a resolute faith in Reis’ capacity to complete the storyline and present it effectively. The complexity of what Reis has been continuously asked to do on behalf of multiple DC writers suggests that writers, if told that Reis is the assigned artist, know that they can let their imaginations run wild. In an industry that still relies on deadlines, even with increasing expectations being placed on artists in terms of quality and precision – that truly is priceless.

Reis simply makes it work. Whatever the script demands appears and is perfectly well realised. Features are precise and emphatic, representing the thoughts and feelings expected in any scenario. If thousands of figures are required they are provided in bold detail. Increased objects on a page in no way denotes how much or how little detail is applied either. In Reis’ work there are no shortcuts.

Green Lantern threw up yet more challenges. In order to create Red, Orange, Sinestro, Blue, Indigo and Violet corps/tribes each had to have all original characters, each with their own specific designs and detailing. Reis not only designed his own but then enhanced the work of others, adapting them into his own naturalistic style without losing the dynamism of the work being done in GL’s sister title, Green Lantern Corps. As the title that centred the epic, Reis was handling hundreds of different alien designs, at least 7 variants of uniform and insignia design which was then extrapolated and different for each different character of any shape in any Corps, as well as the introduction of DC’s Hall of Heroes as well.

It was with Blackest Night, the final part of the epic that Reis came into his own. 7 Lantern Corps, the entire frontline cast of DC, alien entities, dynamic twists, almost unlimited environments, all colliding on Earth. Reis didn’t miss a panel. Consistent, epic, engaging and faultless – cities collapsed, Lanterns were born, literally thousands of dead aliens fell from the sky, people turned to salt – all of it was incredibly realised at the hands of Reis. Whether it was stormy coastlines in battles against undead merpeople and sharks or porting into a Telephone call centre, Reis struck the right chord in every single scenario.

In Blackest Night his lack of ego and professionalism was there for all to see. It was never about quick tricks or advertising himself as artist but realising as perfectly as possible the best way to present an enormous, sprawling epic, incorporating literally hundreds of characters and incredible events. Reis proved himself a true Practitioner by being put in the spotlight and never missing a beat. His art is so advanced, every aspect of it so precise and well realised that it is impossible almost to fathom how he achieved it in the short time available to him. That is the mark of the true artist, to move beyond what can be done and instead extend to what is needed.

The cast of Brightest Day - Geoff Johns' and Ivan Reis' follow up to Blackest Night

Ivan Reis could’ve come from nowhere (as his Wikipedia profile suggests). His pencil work is now synonomous with the most prominent work being put into the public eye. Seemingly without faltering he has drawn every member of the DC Universe and incorporated a thousand different species into the Green Lantern Corps, a feat that the Green Lantern movie with literally hundreds of technicians and special effects experts are struggling to bring to the big screen. Ivan Reis is the epitomy of big thinking artists.

Monday Movie: Eskimo Bob

Eskimo Bob. Eskimo Bob. He eats raw fish. There is almost nothing more you need to know about Eskimo Bob except that he also has a friend called Alfonzo. This is something you have to start from Episode 1 with. For the sake of completeness below is Episode 13 to give you an idea of how it all develops….

You can find more Eskimo Bob at Eskimobob.com

Moon 2, Page 1 in Ink

Moon 2, page 1 as god intended her (all that's left is getting it as Iv intends her)

I remain excited at the prospect of being able to offer up the inks for Page 1, Issue 2 of Moon. This was a tester for me as we got back in the game to bring you the lunar shennanigans before. In my time off I was very clear in my mind as to what the drop points of the original were, not that anyone seemed to notice. The linework lacked the sharpness I was looking for and the clarity of composition I was hoping for. So I went in on 2 (and FH 2 – and even more so on Cy’s Reverend) with the intention to develop what had already been done without losing the tone of the original.

It can be difficult to develop within a series as the artwork shouldn’t change too dramatically from Page 1 to Page 150 frankly but when you’re in your early days – like I am – there’s a curve and it’d shortchange readers if you don’t follow that line. I’ve tried to hard to maintain the tone of Issue 1 but I hope Issue 2 proves sharper and cleaner, funnier and more engaging still than the original. If Issue 1 was the intro, this is now the proving ground. Here’s hoping we’re up to it.

All that’s left to do is send it over to Iv. She’ll do what she always does and blow it clean out of the water with deft application of creation-like colour work. We love Iv and I personally have to thank her for being so patient while waiting for pages. She’s a colour obsessed angel. The end results of her efforts’ll be posted here as soon as they’re back.

Semper procedens.

Steve P (Penners)

First Page From Band of Butchers

I held off on posting this for a while because I wanted to give the other guys a chance to show it off, but with Page 2 already in my inbox and preliminary colours starting to roll in as well, I think it’s about time to show it off. The pencils and inks here are the work of Rob Carey and I hope that you’re as excited about them as I am.

Band of Butchers is a one shot comic, written by myself, which details the early career of mercenary, Clancy Wallencheck. For regular updates on the project keep coming back here or check out the UNSEEN SHADOWS WEBSITE.

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Dropping Science: 200 Countries, 200 Years, 4 Minutes

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jbkSRLYSojo&w=560&h=349]

In this clip from BBC Four, stats lover Hans Rosling sets out to chart the evolution of global society over the last 200 years. It’s an incredible illustration of the rise (and in some cases, fall) of 200 different nations and a real exercise in perspective for the concept of Western dominance.

More than that it’s big pretty graph with enough cool effects to make Jeremy Vine wet himself. Love it.

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The Extraordinary Tales of Monsieur Poppaleux #18 – We All Die Alone

In 1993, famous Belgian author and spring onion connoisseur, Dr Jean-François Bacharach created a series of books for children. The aim of the project was to use state of the art digital technology to educate and inform on a wide range of topics from maths and theology to poetry and tennis. Using pioneering clip-art techniques, he produced a staggering portfolio of work that continues to be widely distributed in schools across the world and Belgium. Sadly DrBacharach himself was eventually imprisoned due to his being ahead of his time and because he killed a quite staggering number of cats. However his work lives on here at the Bunker! We have secured the entirety of Dr Bacharach’s monumental work and now present it to you. C’est formidable!

New Captain America Trailer!

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oC1kplvIXCI&w=560&h=349]

It’s been a while since I laughed and cheered as much during a trailer as during this one, it’s absolute gold. If the final film is anywhere near as entertaining as this then we shall all be very happy geeks this summer. Time shall tell.

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