The Original Mutant Massacre!

The Mutant Massacre storyline from Chris Claremont’s legendary run on Uncanny X-Men remains fondly remembered by X-fans of the mid-1980s. Marvel collected it recently in a 320-page The Mutant Massacre. But before the X-men, Captain America faced the original mutant massacre in Jack Kirby’s Captain America Annual #4.

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Magneto plays the villain here, with the fate of a horrifying but sympathetic mutant driving Kirby’s plot. Conceptually and visually, Annual #4 has much to offer. Just look at these splash pages! On the other hand, Kirby’s Captain America run in the 70s did little with Cap as a character. In this and other Kirby Captain America stories, Cap functions as a pretty generic action hero. The interest lies in Kirby’s penchant for exploring mind-blowing science fiction concepts, and rendering them as no one else can.

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Not nearly as far-reaching in scope and consequence as Claremont’s mutant massacre, Kirby’s The Great Mutant Massacre nonetheless planted the seed. Perhaps it even laid the foundation for Claremont’s development of widespread societal hatred of mutants in his stories. Would we have Days of Future Past without Kirby’s oft-forgotten Captain America Annual? Pick up a copy and judge for yourself!

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More missives manifested in the Martian mailbox this month. We will let you guess which one came from mom… and which one did not!

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sketchbook sundays

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For last week’s sketchbook sunday, we explored rendering shapes, colors, and high-contrast areas with nothing but a black marker. But, something was missing. This week, we relented and allowed one more tool to achieve mid-tones: the Pigma Micron 05 fine-point pen. These drawings combine it a twin-tip Sharpie (fine tip on one end, chisel on the other) and liberal use of white space.

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After practicing portraits and rendering for what seems like a year and a half now, on top of countless studies of comic book art for twice as long, we’re putting together some concept art and bios for a cast of characters. The main character will have her own blog to lay the conceptual groundwork. After that, we can move into producing some comic strips and full pages. And, who knows, maybe even an animated short. Wouldn’t that be fun?

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More than once this year we have been thankful for the practice of sketchbook sundays. Sometimes, we need the reminder to set aside life’s little stresses and just draw. When you become absorbed in drawing, everything else just kind of fades into the background.

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art sales today

We sold two paintings today. We had our doubts that anything would ever sell due to a Craigslist ad, but we were happily proven wrong.

Guitar #20: Frozen Coast caught an art lover’s eye on Craigslist. While she was here, she took a liking to Dream Journal #8: Night at the Lake. Good choice! We are very fond of that one, and miss it already.

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You can read more about Guitar #20, or Dream Journal #8, in our archives. Their original posts include detailed close-up photos.

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epiphone les paul standard


A friend asked if we could help sell his guitar. He had a beautiful Epiphone Les Paul Standard, built especially for left-handed guitarists. We did find it a new home, and enjoyed the opportunity to snap some photos.

Why don’t we just put the best ones all in a little gallery like this:

Indie Comics Spotlight: Under the Flesh!

TEMPLATE PAGE SET UP.inddA new independent comic book called Under the Flesh makes its crowd-funding debut on Kickstarter today. We enjoyed the first issue and so can you, right here:

Under the Flesh promises action and horror in a country ravaged by a virus in the not-so-distant future. Will the characters survive the wastelands of America only to have their personal struggles tear them apart? Writer Gilbert Deltres and artist J.L. Giles set out to keep us wondering, while delivering a gritty blast of sex, horror, and sci-fi in the process.

Some of the ideas forming the conceptual foundation for Under the Flash may seem familiar, but the creators give them a unique blend. A super soldier, like Captain America but with a bad temper, finds himself joining forces with a group of women. They have survived the outbreak of a virus that only affects males, turning men into savage cannibal zombies. Males still unaffected form violent biker gangs with some of the females, and a brutal anarchy consumes what was once civilization.

TEMPLATE PAGE SET UP.inddIn a world made of equal parts Stephen King’s the Stand and Y: the Last Man, the creative team has the set the perfect stage for playing out interpersonal conflict and combat. The first issue of Under the Flesh begins by ending the world as we know it. Then, it quickly introduces our heroes: a soldier and the women holed up with him in an abandoned library. Through dialogue, we get to know the cast and a hint of their past. Some bad bikers promptly arrive outside the compound to raise hell and get the plot rolling, and the series seems off to a solid start.

Under The Flesh did well with its initial release as a free, weekly web-comic on March 30 this year. To bring the first issue of their insane post-apocalyptic horror to print, Deltres and Giles launch a Kickstarter campaign today, Sunday, July 6.
Show them your support here:


love and rockets tpb set

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Before packing up our modest collection of Love & Rockets paperbacks, we snapped a few examples of the dramatic and personal artwork inside. Let’s just admit the photos aren’t the greatest, and offer this as merely a peek – a glimpse – of greatness. The Hernandez Brothers treat their cartoons with love. Though many of these stories resonate with us more than others, you won’t find any poorly done stories.

Highlights include the book Love & Rockets X, a riotous melting pot of ethnic, generational, and gender identity conflicts rendered with humor – but not so much sensitivity it doesn’t sting. The stories of female wrestlers remain our favorites, with loveable and pleasingly plump heroines rendered in black-and-white perfection. Our collection held a large chunk of the critically-acclaimed Palomar stories and the earliest Mechanics stories. If you haven’t read any of this historic series before, see if these pages catch your eyes.

Fantagraphics continues to publish new printings every few years. You can browse the Fantagraphics Love & Rockets selection to see what they currently have in print and in stock. Happy Reading!

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