December 2011

Practitioners 46: Jim Lee

Jim Lee was born in Seoul, South Korea on August 11, 1964 and emigrated to the United States with his family at the age of four, growing up in St Louis Missouri. In Lee’s St. Louis Country Day School his classmates predicted he would found hi sown comic book company. Despite this, Lee seemed resigned to following in his father’s profession of medicine, studying psychology at Princeton University, with the intention of becoming a medical doctor. However, medicine’s loss was certainly going to be popular culture’s gain as Lee became one of the most influential and well known artists on the biggest selling comic book of all time. One that founded movie franchises and supported an ailing Marvel in the late ’90s and found some of the most famous comic companies in the world to rival it.

Lee’s rise to fame with Marvel Comics was inevitable as it was undeniable. In 1986, as Lee was preparing to graduate from his psychology degree, Lee took an art class that reignited his fascination with art at a time when seminal work such as Frank Miller’s Dark Knight Returns and Alan Moore’s Watchmen was reinvigorating the American comic book industry. With the psychology degree complete, Lee did something, with the reluctant blessing of his parents, that shows incredible courage and clarity of mind and self belief. He postponed his medical degree. The rest is without a doubt comic book history. He vowed he would return if he failed to break the comic book industry. Not something that should’ve worried him.

Submitting examples to various publishers, Lee did not see success until a New York comic book convention where he met Archie Goodwin, comic book editor (regularly cited as the ‘best loved comic book editor… ever), artist and writer who introduced him to Marvel Comics. Now it seems hard to believe that Lee was not snapped up immediately by the first commissioning editor to spot him but Lee exposes the nature of the industry. Retrospectively, artists are professional, passionate and confident in the style they work in and seem undeniable masters of their art but even the most capable artist can be subject to the pressures, misunderstandings, bad luck and bad timing of the industry. Lee began on Alpha Flight and moved over to Punisher: War Journal, his work there inspired by Frank Miller, David Ross, Kevin Nowlan and Whilce Portacio, as well as Japanese Manga.

Then came the crossing of two similar talents, one more senior than the other as Lee filled in for regular illustrator, Marc Silvestri on Uncanny X-Men 248, which was, due to positive response and Marvel’s own enthusiasm for Lee’s style followed up on issues 256 through to 258 as part of the ‘Acts of Vengeance’. The timing of this was key as X-Men, under Claremont was not only ground breaking and beautifully written at the time, it was on a meteoric rise in terms of popularity, beginning to challenge the more mainstream titles of Spider-man, Fantastic Four and Avengers. Eventually, Lee became Uncanny’s full time penciller, working for the first time with inker, Scott Williams, who would become his long time collaborator. To cement his position as an X-men innovator, Lee co-created the smooth talking mutant thief Gambit, with Chris Claremont. Lee’s popularity crystallised in these months, becoming more and more representative of what fan’s wanted. He gained increasingly greater control of the franchise and in 1991, Lee helped launch the second X-Men series, X-Men (Volume 2). He did so, not just as artist but as co-writer alongside Chris Claremont, giving the book a more broad and cutting edge feel to it’s perhaps more thoughtful predecessor. X-Men 1 was raw edged, fun comic book pinned with the wisdom and knowledge of an older and more restrained writer. Lee pushed Claremont’s boundaries while Claremont restrained the more inexperienced artist to just the right degree. The result was comic book history and rightfully so. However, Lee redesigned costumes, entirely successfully for Cyclops, Jean Grey, Rogue, Psylocke and Storm as well as creating villain Russian Super Soldier Omega Red.

X-Men 1 (Vol 2) remains the best selling comic book of all time with sales of 8.1 million (and nearly £7 million). This was confirmed in a public declaration by the Guinness Book of Records at the 2010 San Diego Comic con. While one aspect of it’s success was that it was released with five different variant covers as well as a limited edition gatefold edition that revealed it all in its glory, the success was thanks to Lee’s distinctive, modern take on a fan favourite and the development of the X-Men in an exciting new direction. The variant cover trick became a weight around collector’s necks in years following with Gold and Silver foil, holograms and gatefolds every few months for some titles, but this first incarnation was about piecing together a piece of art, mass produced and available to anyone who wanted it. Only Jim Lee and perhaps one or two other legends of the industry could’ve commanded such a response.

The success of X-men saw Lee hungering even more for greater creative control over his own work, and as soon as in 1992, Lee accepted an invitation to join six other artists (Todd McFarlane, Erik Larsen, Marc Silvestri, Whilce Portacio, Rob Liefeld) who broke away from Marvel Comics to start Image Comics, which would release their own creator-owned titles. Lee’s batch of titles included Wild C.A.T.s, which Lee pencilled and co-wrote, and other series created in the same universe, including Stormwatch, Deathblow and arguably the more successful Gen13.

Lee and his close friend, Valiant Comics publisher Steve Massarsky, arranged a Valiant / Image crossover, Lee’s characters being used, alongside those of Rob Liefeild. Four central titles would exist – two from each company – in single edition format, each edition known as a colour rather than a number, plus a prologue and epilogue book. Wildstorm produced Deathmate Black, with Lee himself contributing to the writing, illustrating the covers of that book, as well as contributing to the prologue’s interior links. The assignment was given to Valiant creators against their better judgment, in particular Editor-in-chief Bob Layton, who complained about Image’s inability to meet their deadlines. Deathmate Black came out a few months after Valiant’s Blue and Yellow installments, which had come out on time, and Liefeld’s Deathmate Red was so late that Layton flew to California to procure that chapter personally, and ink it himself in an Anaheim hotel room. Layton see’s Deathmate’s lateness as one of Valiant’s ‘unmitigated disasters’ and views that project as the beginning of the spectacular collapse of the 1990s for the comic book industry. A collpase that would pull in Marvel and a collapse that comics has not, if ever, recovered from.

Wildstorm continued on, expanding it’s line to include other ongoing titles. As publisher, Lee later expanded this by creating two separate imprints for Wildstorm, Cliffhanger and Homage (to be replaced again years later to reform as a single Wildstorm Imprint, now owned by DC).

Moving back, with Rob Liefeld, to Marvel for the Heroes Reborn alternate universe storyline of the mid-late nineties, Lee was given the opportunity to plot the new Iron Man and wrote and illustrated The Fantastic Four. Both used existing storyarcs and developed them, bringing them more up to date. The innovations on these titles, however, were arguably greater than the more successful Ultimate Universe that has existed since as an Imprint of Marvel, though that is more subject to greater popularity of the industry as well as greater sophistication in art and writing in modern comic books.

Lee returned to Wildstorm, where he would publish series such as The Authority and Planetary, as well as Alan Moore’s imprint, America’s Best Comics. Lee himself wrote and illustrated a 12-issue series called Divine Right: The Adventures of Max Faraday, in which an internet slacker inadvertently manages to download the secrets of the universe, and is thrown into a wild fantasy world.

Sourced from HERE Check out the gallery there for more awesome images. Thanks to Alexandre Bihn for the awesome scan.

In a typically astute and decisive choice, Lee sold Wildstorm to DC in 1998 because he felt that his role as publisher was interfering with his role as an artist. In an echo of the choice made many years previously, he put his calling first. In 2003, Lee collborated with Jeph Loeb for a 12 issue Batman run. Introducing a new nemesis from Batman’s past, ‘Hush’ was a tightly packed and neatly executed trip through the Bat universe. Lee’s images were sumptuous, his design work intricate, emotive and innovative. Lee, the artist, through all the pitfalls and difficulties of publishing had lost none of the values and passion he had when working on X-Men 1 more than 12 years before. He followed this up with ‘For Tomorrow’ a 12-issue story in Superman by 100 Bullets writer (and Bunker firm favourite) Brian Azzarelo, although this didn’t achieve the same level of success, Lee’s work showed a maturity and stillness that perhaps wasn’t visible in his earlier career. In 2005, Lee collaborated with Frank Miller on All Star Batman and Robin, the Boy Wonder, a series plagued by delays. Lee’s work was spotless throughout, in particular a redesign of the batmobile and a gatefold image that folded out from the book itself that revealed the full scale of this Elseworld Batcave. While Lee’s contribution was near infallible, Miller’s writing was unsophisticated and cynical in most ways and alienated a great many readers. During this period, Lee returned to WildC.A.T.S with Grant Morrison. The gap between All-Star Batman and Robin 4 and 5 was one year and to date, only 1 issue of WildC.A.T.S (Vol 4 has been published. During thsi time, Lee also drew covers for the Infinite Crisis series.

Lee was named Executive Creative Director for DC Universe Online MMORPG. This was released in 2009, with Lee responsible for concept art for the project.

Lee’s meteoric rise did not falter there, as he has now taken a position alongside Dan Didio as Co-publisher of DC Comics. Despite obvious concerns, Lee maintains that this will in no way effect his capacity as a creative. He cited two projects, Dark Knight: Boy Wonder – a follow up of the Frank Miller series he had worked on and also a painted cover for Giuseppe Camuncoli’s layouts in Batman: Europa 1. Neither projects have surfaced yet. The Wildstorm imprint was officially declared ended by DC in September 2010.

With DC’s enormous revamp of it’s entire line, A-List artists were brought to the forefront to work on the most prominent titles. With a Justice League movie in discussion /pre-production at present DC was always going to put JL first in their choices of creative teams. The illustrious team of Jim Lee as penciller and Geoff Johns as writer is certainly, still, a cocktail that no true fan of the artform can ignore. If anything that is Lee’s great talent. Enduring popularity. His art work remains so fresh and clear, and so respresentative of what people want from their books – in spite of changes in the industry itself – that Lee has proven himself a Practitioner who has wandered away from the thing he is most beloved for, but like a much younger, more south east asian Peter Cook, retains a place in every fan who ever saw his work. This is testament to Lee’s enormous talent. His offers to put out projects reveals a conflict of interests that has taken him away perhaps too much in the last two decades, however he is a brave artist who pursued greater goals. Without finding ourself in the same situation who are we to say we wouldn’t pursue those same goals…. however Lee’s example is certainly a cautionary one. Swathes of exceptional artwork, pages and pages of classic comic work haven’t seen the light of day. From the top down the industry runs on one thing – putting out the best books possible. While we can never undermine someone’s right to do whatever they want – what would we have given to see more Lee?

A Special Christmas Announcement from Beyond The Bunker


 The festive season is right around the corner and we at the Bunker are not the kind of people to shy away from a good celebration. As a special thank you to all of our readers, we are going to be running 2 whole weeks of special end of year content! That’s one new post, every day for the next 2 weeks and culminating in something very special indeed.

20th-24th – BTB Top 5s! We look back on 12 months of Beyond the Bunker and give you some choice cuts from the many articles, photos and videos that we’ve covered since January.

25th – Steve once again brings us a very special Christmas Practitioners article. You can read last year’s article on Grant Morrison by clicking here, this year: Alan Moore!

26th-1st – The BTB Awards 2011. We present our picks for the top films, games and comics of the last year. Eat some turkey, jump on the comments section and join the debate.

2nd – The first Monday of the new year is also the first Moonday of the new year. If you are a fan of the Moon comic then you do NOT want to miss dropping by the site for a major update on Moon #21

That’s your schedule for Christmas at the Bunker. If you find yourself enjoying it, please take the time to share the site with your friends. So long as you keep reading, we’ll keep posting.

Now let’s get this party started!

Dan & Steve

Skyrim Funnies

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=29dzpsf4Uac&w=853&h=480]

Youtuber and animator Ragenineteen, is leading the charge with Skyrim spoofs so I thought it’d be fun to share a couple of them on the site. Granted, if you don’t play Skyrim these gags will be largely lost on you but given the insane number of copies that the game has sold, there’s a pretty good chance that the majority of you will at least titter at these.

There are a couple of naughty words in the second one, so you’ve been warned. (Damn whiny guards!)

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tlC6Z0iRoOA&w=853&h=480]

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Dropping Science: Air-Free Tyres

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mxIaRw4a7GI&w=853&h=480]

Pretty much anyone who’s owned a car knows the pain of having to deal with a dodgy tyre. For decades now, manufacturers have struggled with the problem of creating a tyre that is immune to that particular favour and while the military have had limited success with things like re-inflating tyres, nobody’s really come up with a practical solution for regular vehicles, until now at least.

Bridgestone’s new concept tyre uses a thermoplastic resin in place of air in order to support the tyre. It’s just as flexible but much stronger and best of all it’s easily recyclable. As with all concept designs though, don’t expect to be buying these for your car any time soon. Bridgestone intends to begin work developing versions of the tyres for smaller, personal mobility vehicles first and then start moving up towards road vehicles.

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(Dropping Science will be taking a break over Christmas to make way for our special end of year posts. It will return, wiser and even more sciencey on Jan 7th!)

The Extraordinary Tales of Monsieur Poppaleux #34 – The End

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!

Star Wars Galaxies: An Obituary

Gamers across the world are jointly mourning and celebrating today as Star Wars Galaxies finally closes its servers for good. As the sun sets on today the game which brought the Star Wars Universe to the Massively Multiplayer Online world will stack the chairs on the tables, give the bar one final wipe and switch off the lights on its way into the history books. It may seem odd to write an obituary for a computer game but as a site that frequently covers both games and Star Wars, it seems right to spend a bit of time looking back over the life of a game that has had such a profound impact on both.

Released in 2001, Star Wars Galaxies was a joint venture by LucasArts and Sony Online Entertainment that aimed to allow people to live within the world of the Star Wars movies. Set in between A New Hope and The Empire Strikes Back, the game let players create characters from many of the franchise’s popular races and then set them out into the galaxy to earn a living any way they saw fit. It saw great success early on but a series of unpopular decisions by the development team combined with the monolithic rise of games like World of Warcraft saw the games subscriber numbers gradually dwindle and the decision was finally made earlier this year to pull the plug.

Unlike modern MMOs, SWG was a true sandbox game which in many ways bore more resemblance to Skyrim than something like WoW. Rather than leading players by the hand from quest to quest or insisting on strict class choices, SWG simply allowed players to find their own path. If you wanted your character to be a smuggler, you picked up a pistol, spoke to a guy and started smuggling. If you wanted to be a tradesman and open a shop selling the finest weapons on the galaxy, you could do that too. Heck, you could even be a hairdresser if you wanted to. It was a level of freedom unheard of in today’s world of tanks, dps and healers.

I came to STW not long after launch after a house mate of mine gave me his copy to try and I can honestly say that it was like no gaming experience I’ve had before or since. I rolled a Wookie musician, scraped together the money to buy a flute from another player who was kind enough to discount it for me and started busking on the streets of Coronet City. Before long, passers by started stopping (I’m talking players here, not NPCs) and throwing change in my direction. We’d swap life stories, chat about the galactic civil war, at one point a Jedi even paid me a few extra coins so that I wouldn’t tell any passing Imperials that he’d come by (I sold him out first chance I got). It was a level of immersion and roleplaying that you simply don’t see in today’s world of “LFGs” and “ROFLCOPTERs” but at the same time it didn’t have the kind of scary nerdism that permeates many hardcore RP communities. This was just regular people, playing in the Star Wars universe and totally digging it.

This was all helped by SOE’s relentless focus on pushing community events. Players were encouraged to organise their own in game events and in return the company would advertise those events prominently on the game’s website. If you were stuck for something to do for an evening you could just log onto the SWG site, find that there was a Cantina crawl going down on Tatooine and head on over. Before long I found myself touring the galaxy, performing stand up comedy routines to groups of other players. I even performed at a couple’s in-game wedding (a regrettable incident which ended with me vomiting on the bride after ingesting too much “spice”). I spent days playing SWG.

But it wasn’t all roses. While the community in the game was second to none, the game itself was riddled with flaws from the start. Classes were unbalanced, bugs went unfixed and promised updates were delayed. While this didn’t matter to the roleplaying community, those who craved more action were left wanting. When Blizzard arrived on the scene with its near bug free World of Warcraft, those players began to migrate en-mass. SOE tried to stem the tide with the now infamous “Combat Upgrade” which served only to break the connection between the combat and non-combat classes, effectively splitting the community in half. When that didn’t work the developers went back to the drawing board and rolled out the even more controversial “New Game Experience.” The NGE gutted the sandbox elements from the game and turned it into a straight, class based MMO like WoW. The previously strict barriers to playing a Jedi were dropped and the ability to freely change professions vanished. When the dust settled the number of playable classes had dropped from 33 to a mere 9.

While many gaming communities like to moan about how things were better in the old days, the NGE is a widely recognised example of a cataclysmic failure by a gaming company to recognise what fans loved about their game. By attempting to emulate World of Warcraft, SOE succeeded only in creating a second rate clone. They couldn’t best the newer games on their turf and they had surrendered their own uniqueness in order to wage that war. It is perhaps telling that for a good couple of years post NGE, the phrase “SWG exile” mentioned in any other MMO would almost always reveal one other member of your group to have been a former player.

For the next few years SWG slowly lived out its retirement, sustained by a dwindling cabal of loyal fans. The announcement of Bioware’s  Star Wars: Old Republic in 2008 all but sealed SWG’s fate as LucasArts moved its support away from the old warhorse and on to the new star. When the final announcement came in July this year, fans past and present were expecting it. To SOE’s credit they continued putting out new content right up until the final weeks of the game and the players themselves will doubtlessly give their old playground a hell of a send off. One group of players even got together to create this tribute video to the world they wrote:

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AK6Zv1U2qhw&w=853&h=480]

SWG will always be thought of with mixed emotions by the people who played it. Yes it was a mess in terms of gameplay and yes it was dogged by terrible management decisions at every level. But for the Rancor hunts on Dathomir, for the time spent sitting in a bar haggling with a shady trader over the price of a new speeder, for being the only game that’s ever let you truly LIVE in George Lucas’s universe, it deserves its place among the great games of our time.

Rest in Peace SWG. Thanks for all the stories.

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Thought Bubble Video

You’ll probably remember us raving about how nice a time we had at Thought Bubble last month. Well film maker Anne Holiday also had a lovely time there and has made this excellent short film about the festival. It’s absolutely worth a look as it really captures the spirit of one of the UK’s best conventions.

You can even catch a (very) brief glimpse of me in the background as I desperately attempt to remain concious following the previous night’s party.

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The Lost Jedi: Padawan Mooba Choobi

Padawan Mooba Choobi is under the tutelage of Jedi Master Govija Kaoli. While rumours that the prophecy of the chosen one that would bring balance to the force continue to flow around the Jedi Temples throughout the galaxy, some suspect, mostly those who have never met him, that Mooba Choobi represents an alternative to Anakin Skywalker. It has been observed by both Master Windu and Master Yoda that Mooba Choobi’s innate connection to the force helps him survive in incredibly dangerous circumstances. Although Mooba is unable to harness the force to his own ends it manifests at times of great danger (like a universal survival instinct). Whether Govija Kaoli can survive it is another matter entirely.

Our Friends Made a Charity Christmas Single For Greggs…No Seriously

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=64jp6H_tHug&w=853&h=480]

We’re big fans of Silvers here at the Bunker, they’ve helped us out on a couple of projects in the past and are a genuinely kickass band to boot. This year they’ve taken the next step as a band and recorded a Christmas single however unlike weedier, less pastry loving bands, they’ve recorded it in association with Greggs the Bakers. Greggs are doing a big charity drive for Help for Heroes this year and they recruited Silvers to provide the soundtrack to that push. Given all the elements involved (namely catchy music, good causes and pies) it’d be borderline criminal not to get behind this record.

You can buy the song by clicking HERE. It’s only 99p and every bit of that goes to Help for Heroes.

You should also check out the rest of Silvers’ stuff on their website.

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Practitioners 45: Joe Quesada

Joe Quesada was born to Cuban born parents in New York and grew up in Jackson Heights neighbourhood of Queens, globally, a stones throw from Marvel comics’ headquarters in Manhattan, where he would eventually end up. Studying at the School of Visual Arts, he recived a BFA in illustration in 1984, starting out officially as an artist in the 1990s. While he certainly generated a great deal of material prior to becoming widely distributed in the intervening years it was his work with Valiant Comics, a comic book imprint published as a cooperative between various publishers that caught the greatest interest, pencilling interiors and covers for Ninjak, Solar, Man of the Atom and others. His distinctive blend of styles with the emphasis of large watery, expressive eyes, flowing hair and unnatural body proportions. But the Manga stylism was subdued slightly into a style very specifically and easily recognisable as Quesada’s. His flair for composition and the understanding that a strong grasp on the fundamental layout of the page is what stood him out from other, more chaotic artists from the period.

Later, he and his inking partner Jimmy Palmiotti formed a publishing company, Event Comics, and co-created Ash, a Firefighter with superpowers.

In 1998, Event comics was signed to work on Marvel Imprint, Marvel Knights. As Editor of Marvel Knights, Quesada encouraged experimentation and brought forward seminal artists from the indy scene to work on Marvel’s edgier mainstream talents, such as David W. Mack, Mike Oeming, Brian Michael Bendis, Garth Ennis and Steve Dillon. It was here that Quesada illustrated a Daredevil story with film director and comic nut, Kevin Smith.

Several of his page compositions, even from early work, reflect the art nouveau style of Alphonse Mucha, a Czech artist who lived in the late 19th and early 20th Century and inform and influence the work of other artists in comics such as Adam Hughes. Mucha applied a latticework to his compositions designed to draw out a central figure at it’s heart. Quesada does the same, only applies the same theory to multiple panels and incorporating story pacing and the writer’s script – something that any artist who has worked hard to incorporate story, style, emphasis and balance to any page can tell you is difficult without the additional stylistic demands of art nouveau embellishment and flurries of abstract additions to the page. A clear example of this is in Daredevil Volume 2 1-11 (with Kevin Smith), one of the finest examples of comic book art to appear in a fringe title already made famous for bleeding edge artwork and innovation.

Quesada became the first ever artist editor-in-chief of Marvel Comics in 2000, following on from Bob Harras’ tenure in the same position.Taking the positiohn at the same time as Bill Jemas succeeded as President of the Company saw the inclusion of the Ultimates line; a set of series delberately separated from the main continuity, furthering Quesadas philosophy of experimentation. Marvel had become a commercial giant and fallen from grace some years previously, something that had generated decisions by his predecessor Harras that were predominantly commercially minded. In the time they were made they were undoubtedly the right choices. The greatest of these was at the height of the collapse of comic book collecting in the 90s, when Quesada was cutting his teeth on X-Factor with Peter David. The decision was made that all titles over 100 outside of the still commercially credible X-Men series was to be rebooted back to issue 1 in order to create collectability, effectively rebooting interest in the titles – something DC have done recently. Quesada reversed this while still retaining the Volume 2 number on the front cover, mainstays and long standing books now carry a second, smaller number that denotes the total number of issues the title has enjoyed. This gives back a note of historical credibility to titles such as Fantastic Four, Avengers and Spider-man that had been removed previously.

However, Quesada also saw through a plan that attracted a great deal of criticism and arguably was more damaging than a simple relaunch of a title. He had the Spider-man continuity retconned removing the marriage of Peter Parker to Mary Jane, the youthing of Peter Parker and all associated developments collected by fans removed in a single creative decision. The method, a spell cast by Mephisto to erase the history of Peter Parker also smacked of hurried and an ill-considered lack of concern for story and plausibility in favour of editorial policy which admittedly did Quesada little favours. The level of condemnation prompted Quesada to do a number of interviews to discuss the issue of the removal of the marriage between Parker and Watson, in which he applauded the title Spider-girl in which the marriage survived. Spider-girl was later to be cancelled in 2010.

It is Quesada’s willingness to adjust policy and meet with fans and maintain a forum that sets Quesada apart, as well as the fact that Quesada’s decisions are almost universally based on creative policy and not driven by commercialism – a choice perhaps admittedly denied Bob Harras in the same position.

Another brave decision by Quesada was the ‘dead is dead’ policy across all Marvel titles in which Quesada introduced a moritorium on the all-too-common death/ resurrection of major and minor characters. This was intended to create a greater sense of consequence and meaning to the death of characters, the implication being that the removal of them would result in them never being seen again. Following a series of deaths and subsequent resurrections, Quesada was further questioned on the strength of his intention and he clarified that the policy was for writers to exercise forethought and caution before killing off characters or resurrecting them, so that such plots would not be produced too frequently or without gravitas, and not that it entirely be prohibited.

On February 10, 2010, Quesada apologised and changed panels in Captain America 602 in response to complaints from the conservative Tea Party Movement in America that they were depicted in a rally with Cap’s partner Falcon saying he wouldn’t be welcomed by a crowd of ‘angry white folks’.

Quesada was a great editor for Marvel. He steered a ship that was growing in popularity and made the transition to Entertainment giant and cinema gold seamless and natural. While Marvel comics is economically the bottom of the pile in all of that, dwarfed by the sheer scale of budget and ticket sales from the movies. Marvel has held fast and met the added scrutiny well. Events have run smoothly and included the rest of the titles very effectively.

But it’s as an artist that Quesada really excelled. Abstract, compositional, dynamic, influential and challenging, Quesada was (is) one of the finest artists in the history of comics. His innovations and distinctive style set him apart from all others. Quesada is immediately recognisable. His figure’s physicality is almost always exaggerated, dynamism and strength of compositional angles draw in the eye. Clarity is achieved through clear line work in oblique and unusual angles. Features are extended and contorted to emphasise emotion and effort in battle sequences. Battle sequences themselves are whirlpools of motion and energy. More than that, as a technician he is near flawless. At some point Quesada made a transition from pencil and ink to more sophisticated computer draftsmanship technology but there is no sign of that happening. His work never altered in temperament or design. That is the mark of a true professional. Quesada is a master of the form but also master of his tools. Few are more capable of knowing when a piece is complete or as obsessive and precise about their objectives. That is why Quesada will always be a popular artist and a pair of safe hands.

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