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Sep 302009

I have LOVED comics my entire life.  I still do.  To me there is something magical about telling a story with pictures!
The magic comes from the transitions. When we go from one panel to the next.

Transitions in real life are just as interesting. As you will soon read.
I left art school in 1992 and was all ready begin a career in comics.

I was scared away by the over saturated, variant cover, chromium card, gimmicky sea of rip-offs where mediocrity and flashiness were celebrated, and hailed as genius.

Now, I’m going to pick on Mcfarlane, but that’s OK.

He’s a big boy,  I’m sure he’ll be fine in his castle where he laughs at me from atop  a  big pile of money.

spiderman #1 by Mcfarlane

spiderman #1 by Mcfarlane

Notice how the vanishing point on the webbing  is Spider-man’s spider sack. Why?

Showing originality and unending imagination! Wow!

Showing originality and unending imagination! Wow!

Here Spewn, oh I’m sorry.  Spawn looks like he’s trying to push a battleship anchor chain out of his bowels.  Or like my 3 year old nephew Aiden says. “Spawn poops chains.”  Glittery chains I added.

The overdrawn badly crap  even made it’s way into sculpture!


not just awful.  Gawd Awful!

not just awful. Gawd Awful!

He is easily amused boy!  He wears a trenchcoat every day but lives in Phoenix.

He is easily amused boy! He wears a trenchcoat every day but lives in Phoenix.

“WOW look at all the detail!”

Kent Melton.  Now those are sculptures!

Wow geta load of these!  The poses! the expressions! The quality!

Wow get a load of these! The poses! The expressions! The quality!

Mcfarlane’s work was really all over the place.  Absolutely no planning went into his layouts or pages.  I can prove it.  Look here!

He is easily amused by bad OVERdrawing!

He is easily amused by bad OVERdrawing!

What is Spawn doing on page one? Hovering menacingly 11 inches  off of the ground battling his own cape? Obviously Mr. Baseball wanted to show Spawn hovering above the band Poison  as they menaced a girl atop a pile of rubble in an alley.  Obviously he choked.  But look at the DETAIL!!!

Why did so many of his pages have panel’s like the last two on the top row of page two?  What i s that? Half an eye? Twice?  He didn’ t leave enough room to draw a complete eye people.

Okay and the guy going through a window.  Take a good look.  According to the first page they are outside.  In an alley.  The guy is being thrown through a window outside from the outside? OR is he being thrown into a room?  WTF?  And here’s a classic Mcfarlane CHOKE!  Look at the detail in the broken glass!  It matters not that glass does not shatter in this way, look at that golden brown thing coming through the glass along with punk #1.  Cloth of some sort?  Curtain?  Nope it’s a brown useless blob supposed to indicate force but really was so that the crappy broken glass doesn’t interfere with the line work on the character.  A little planning could have solved it.  NO thanks, Mr. Baseball took the easy and ugly way out.

What do people mean ” Detail?” From what I gather  arbitrary pen scratches that serve no purpose much less define a form equals “detail.”  I can stare at this inadvertent optical illusion panel from Rob Liefeld’s Judgment Day for hours.  Just who is standing in front of who?  Hmm?

I for one saw the emperor had no clothes.  “It’s a cookbook!”  I  screamed to no avail.  Comics had become pointlessly  dark and all of my beloved childhood heroes became gritty blood thirsty psychopaths or got killed and replaced by gritty blood thirsty psychopaths.  I couldn’t argue with Spawn’s numbers.

No critique of comics would be complete without reaming Liefeld right?   It’s like shooting Skrulls in a barrel! So I let Che have a go at it in the podcast.

The following images are visual aids for Che’s bit.

The Talking Che Guevara T-shirt takes a few jabs at Liefeld.

The Talking Che Guevara T-shirt takes a few jabs at Liefeld.

What are those stupid steel fins for? To impale your head?!!

What are those stupid steel fins for? To impale your head?!!

And finally The worst drawing I have ever seen.

What’s up with the hooters CAP?

No wonder Marvel Blew his brains out.



Meanwhile Disney had recently put out Beauty and the Beast and Aladdin.

The Beast by my Mentor Glen Keane.

The Beast by my Mentor Glen Keane.

Without hesitation, I went into animation and was immediately hired by Disney at 22.  For reasons of taste as well as safety, it was mandatory that artists wear vests back then.  Instead of action figure collections on our monitors we wore vests.

Here's an old Photograph of me and the gang at Disney back in 1995!

Here’s an old Photograph of me and the gang at Disney back in 1995!

My eight year stint at Disney consumed  my youth and almost cost me my marriage.  Then  in 2002 some suit in a boardroom decided that suits could get a bigger bonus if  American Hand Drawn Animation was done in India. Rather than move to Calcutta, or give up drawing for digital animation,  I went into TV animation and did storyboards and character designs for a bunch of different places.

There it was again another transition.  I was beginning to see the pattern. I remember reading the scripts at these places and thinking how terrible they were.  Written by people with no imagination .  I started writing the story of an ex-thief ‘s  transition into the world of international espionage.  It sat on my shelf, every once in a while I added something new or changed another thing but for the next seven years it was always in the back of my mind.

In 2006 I wrote directed and produced my own short at Nickelodeon called Hero Heights.

An animated homage to comic books.  Since then the animation jobs have been harder to come by and the projects have gotten lamer and lamer. So once again I have been transitioning this time into many different areas.  Comics, Fine Art, Writing and  Development, Web Design, and Podcasting.  I have designed and built my own website studioraul.com as well as my own blog manvsart.com and  I produce the weekly podcast Man Vs. Art about art, animation and comics. Also in this time I have developed almost a dozen properties for animation, comics, videogames and web.  All modular in terms of medium. All super kick ass in terms of kick ass factor.

Finally in 2009 the crappy economy gave me time to finally do my book. This comic is a result of all those years of slaving in animation only to be rewarded by a kick in the balls from the studios and betrayed by a lazy, greedy, halfwit of an assistant.  Here in my own independently published comic book no one is telling me what to write or draw. Also there is no danger of some other knucklehead like my greedy, halfwit of an assistant destroying my work.  I alone decide everything. That way if anything goes wrong I  have only myself to blame.

Codename Sparrow is about a guy at the top of his game who through no fault of his own has it taken away.  Rather than rot in prison he accepts an offer to be a covert operative for a  private “Good Guy” agency. The first  story HOT ICE is about Eddie’s Cat Burglar days.  In order for you to really know him I feel it will be necessary to do some stories set in that time.  The second story “ The Name of the Game” is about his early days in the agency more specifically it’s about how he got his cool Codename.  A time when he was transitioning from being a thief to being a covert operative. As an artist and especially writer I found this time to be very juicy.

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 Posted by at 1:11 pm

  4 Responses to “Man Vs. Art and the finely inked line between Comic Books and 2d Animation. Why I walk the line.”

  1. The difference between the Spider-Man sculpt and the drawing it’s based on is that, the sculpt has muscles on it that truly exist and it actually works in three dimensions.

    • Very good observation! Imagine the pain in the neck it must have been for the sculptor to make this work! I bet he said something like”Well, I did the best I could with what I was given to work with.”

  2. Love the points you made in this post. I would definitely kill to learn my fundamentals at Disney’s old animation school! Your output of work is an inspiration for me to get off my ass and draw!!

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