Lost in all of the excitement over the upcoming super-secret T.V. PROJECT is that other upcoming super-secret COMIC BOOK PROJECT slated for early 2012 release.  I exchanged emails with our story editor late last week and the subject of potential artists came up.  He wrote: “If you have names of artists you’d like to see (or styles you think would work) — let me know!”  Aside from reading a few select trade paperbacks (Secret Six, Scalped, DMZ, Irredeemable, The Walking Dead, Chew, Sweet Tooth, and sundry Batmans) I’m woefully out of the loop on the current comic book scene.  And so, I swung by my local comic shop this afternoon and picked up a smattering of titles with an aim to checking out what I think would be a good stylistic match.

At this point, I can’t say much about our series except that it will be SF, epic in scope yet character-driven, dark and mysterious but with a prevailing sense of humor that we really need the artist to capture in his/her work.  So given this vague description, is there a particular artist out there you comic book aficionados would recommend I check out?  Any input would be greatly appreciated.

Since it looks like I’ll be spending the better part of the year away from home and my sizable library, I’ve decided to top up my kindle reserves.  Thus far, my 2011 exiled-in-Toronto kindle line-up looks like this:

A Visit from the Goon Squad, by Jennifer Egan

Skippy Dies, by Paul Murray

Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand, by Helen Simonson

Super Sad True Love Story, by Gary Shteyngart

Solar, by Ian Mcewan

Slightly Behind and to the Left, by Claire Light

How to Life Safely in a Science Fictional Universe, by Charles Yu

Bitter Seeds, by Ian Tregillis

Bone in the Throat, by Anthony Bourdain

The Nasty Bits, by Anthony Bourdain

Kitchen Confidential, by Anthony Bourdain

Medium Raw, by Anthony Bourdain

Kitchen Confidential, by Anthony Bourdain

Full Dark, No Stars, by Stephen King

The Men in the Jungle, by Norman Spinrad

Again soliciting your opinions, this time on the aforementioned titles.  Which ones should I put at the top of the list?  Which one should I save for late afternoons when I should be doing my rewrites?

An awesome dinner tonight at Miku with two great guys –


Mike Dopud – aka Varro, aka Kiryk, aka Odai Ventrell, aka Colonel Chernovshev.
Ivon Bartok – aka Hip Hop Holla, aka Shoesy Shoeserson, aka Spider Magnet, aka Luggageless Larry.

They almost ate 60 pieces of sushi and four desserts between them (Oh, I may have had a bite here and there).  Please do not attempt this at home.  These men are seasoned professsionals.

P.S. Akemi responded to your February 25th comments in the February 25th comments section.

Today’s entry is dedicated to PBMom.

61 thoughts on “March 1, 2011: Soliciting your opinions on comic book artists and books! Sushi with Mike and Ivon!

  1. Some favorite artists of mine would be

    Ron Garney, George Perez, Carlos Pacheco, Gary Frank
    Dale Eaglesham, John Romita JR, Kevin Maguire is still one of the all time masters of conveying humor via facial expressions and body language. He’s dynamic that way. Hmmm…I wonder what J Scott Campbell is doing these days…He’s worth a look. Course…its possible you’re very familar with all of these since most of them have been around for many moons indeed.

  2. Haven’t read any of those books and have zero comic book knowledge (great help I am huh?), but I am going to be checking out How to Life Safely in a Science Fictional World purely because of the title.
    And go and read Akemi’s comments.


  3. Joe – pretty tired tonight. Will think about the comic book artists. However, sometimes they’re committed to one company or the other, so you may not have your pick of the litter.

    Huge evening tonight. The day was pretty lousy (felt yucky, paying bills, car insurance went up due to no fault of my own, cat wouldn’t shut up, etc…), but then, as the afternoon came to an end, Mr. Das and I decided to jump in the car, and drive two hours at top speed (like, 80 mph most of the way – that’s pretty fast for the little tin can I drive), to make it to a book signing WAAAAAY up in Princeton, NJ. It was so worth it! I got to meet Special Agent Pendergast’s two daddys, Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child! (Mr. Das doesn’t like his picture, his eyes are closed and he looks fat, but that’s all sweater.):


    We only had a couple moments to chat, but it was well worth the trip, and the adventure! Now? Now, I’m pooped. 😛

    Nites, sir!


    PS @ Sparrowhawk – If you’re out there, check your e-mail!

  4. I’m probably way late to this somewhat obvious idea..but
    it just hit me so I’ll share the thought.

    Mr. Mallozzi needs to somehow easily move his little
    ones eastward towards Toronto.

    Mr. Mallozzi is in need of….a Transporter.

    (..and I’m not talking about the kind from the
    Star Trek series….or am I?)

  5. I’m amazed that all of the actors I’ve ever seen appear in your blog, actually look recognizable without makeup and costumes, unlike alot of other well known actors.

  6. I’d suggest Alan Davis, Jim Lee, John Romita JR or Leonard Kirk.

    Alan Davis does a lot of work – he did Excalibur and X-Men too. Jim Lee did X-Men and lots more stuff and founded his comics company too.
    JR JR cut his teeth on X-Men.. he’s good and has done a lot of work lately. And if you need an inker, try Mark Farmer.. he’s very good.

    Leonard Kirk was the penciller on Captain Britain and MI13. Jay Leisten was the inker on that series. That would be a good team for your comic too.

  7. Ah forgot to tell you.
    For the humour bit you MUST get Alan Davis.

    Check out his original run on Excalibur (Marvel Comics) vol 1. Serious but FUN. Great fun… Nobody did stuff like this and rarely does even today.

  8. http://www.cartoonistsleague.org/

    You could talk to these guys. I should disclose that my husband is a member. They are a group of professional cartoon and comic artists who try to help the younger artists in our community.

    I don’t know who is available – or even if any of them have a style you like – but I’m sure if you told them the style you wanted they could give you a list of artists to consider.

    Of those in CLAW – I personally like the art of: Stowe, Brill, Shaudis (my hubby), Zimmer, Shaw, and Tirri. For production work – Stowe, Brill, or Shaw would be good bets.

  9. Joe,

    eBooks: I’ve seen you have Stephen King on your reading list a couple of times now – Have you checked out the works of Joe Hill? Mr King was until recently my favourite author of all time – but Joe Hill has gone one better and is my new top. And he’s Stephen’s son. Small range so far – two novels and one collection of short stories – but HIGHLY recommended. They’re simply amazing. Also a brilliant budding comic author (more on that in a moment). That said, of course, I’d say to push Full Dark No Stars high up in the reading order. It was awesome.

    which leads me to…
    comic artists: Check out Gabriel Rodriguez. (related to the above…he’s the artist on the comic series called Locke & Key – written by (surprise) Joe Hill. Gabe’s artwork is too hard to describe. Samples on his deviantart site here: http://gabrielrodriguez.deviantart.com/gallery/ Especially of note is this one: http://gabrielrodriguez.deviantart.com/gallery/?offset=216#/d1xuqta

    Funnnily enough, Locke and Key has been turned into a tv show, they just filmed the pilot the other week…

    But anyway, for worth reading and for good art, I can’t go past these two.

  10. Hey Joe

    How about Jackson Guice, Esteban Maroto or José Ortiz? I’d add Frank Frazetta but apparently he died.


  11. Major Pettigrew is a lovely story. It’s not life altering or deeply provocative, rather it’s more of a slice of life that looks at tradition, changing societal expectations and the ability to adapt and decide what is really important in life. I would also suggest Fannie’s Last Supper by Chris Kimball which chronicles his recreation of a 12 course 19th century dinner.

  12. I’ll throw a couple of artists’ names into the ring. First is Dennis Calero, who did some the “Heroes” comics and is currently doing the artwork for my buddy Todd’s web comic “Devil Inside”:


    Completely different, style-wise, would be Chris Shy, who I worked with years ago making video games. He’s done a bunch of comic / graphic novel projects:


    Of course I love the style of Alex Garner, but I have no idea what he’s bound to these days, if anything:


  13. What a cool question; I know I love certain artists but then it’s not something you get to chat about around the water cooler (at least not in the hell dimension of my office).

    I came across George Jeanty at Dragon-Con signing his work in the Dark Horse Buffy season 8 comix, and he was just so sweet; I was actually hunting down my nephew at the time so it was a lucky break to get his autograph; he was so very kind and sweet. And a wicked awesome artist:


    The Buffy cover art was done by Jo Chen, who also rocks:


    Last year I was grooving on Darwyn Cooke’s adaptation of The Hunter; the art was gorgeous and brutal, very dark noir.


    Just one pic of Mike Dopud? Grumble, grumble! Love Varro and all of Mike’s work.

  14. What you need is an unknown artist just waiting for the big break into comics. Someone who can make your characters and settings more real than you ever imagined. One whose art, along with your words and plots, catapult your series into superstardom. In short, I have no idea of who you should get for the artwork. Most of the artists I’m familiar with are getting, um, a bit long in the tooth, or moved on. Luckily, you have readers more up to date on the comics scene than I am, so you should get some better input.
    Great to see familiar faces joining you in your final(for now) dining outings in BC. Any chances we’ll be seeing either or both of these gentlemen in Toronto at some point during your upcoming project? One always holds out hope.
    Many thanks to Akemi for responding to peoples’ comments. If I read the emoticon right, I’m relieved to see I have not caused any apparant offense. If I’m reading it wrong, I beg for forgiveness. And two other things in reference to Akemi. One, please find her a better avatar. While my avatar certainly fits me, hers is a total mismatch. Besides, she’s worth some customizing, I would think. Second, perhaps Akemi would be ameniable to posting a recipe for the readers once a month or so? Starting with the Miso soup, of course. Unless she would like to start with another one…
    Thanks as always, and good luck on the countdown. Now you can’t say it’s “next month” any more…

  15. I’ll have to ask my brother about comic book artists. He’s the seasoned professional. He had to get a storage unit for all the comics he’s collected over the last thirty years.

    Looks like fun at the dinner.

    Well, hubby didn’t get the interview for the position that the person at the agency thought he’d be a perfect fit for. *shakes her head in disbelief* Back to the drawing board.

    Hope you have a great day!!!!

  16. You know, when Mike Dupoud showed up, I just pretended he WAS Varro. After he took out Netan, the Lucians broke up into warring factions and he got involved with one. His sympathy for the SGU crew is because he knew SG1 spared him so he owed them.

    Made the character better!

  17. Hello Joe and everyone,

    Catching up on a few days of the blog but I have a really good excuse – I’ve been in Sydney at Armageddon hanging out with friends. Met Colin Cunningham, David Hewlett, Ryan Robbins and Chris Heyerdahl. Soooo much fun!!

    Sooooo happy it’s March too and to celebrate you give me some gorgeous dinner photos, thanks Joe!!! Topped off a great day.

    I loved reading about Akemi’s cute mispronunciations. A friend I used to work with is Greek-Australian. Her Dad used to say Bloody Health instead of Bloody Hell. We started saying it too…was more fun. I was wondering Joe if Akemi had similar cute stories about your Japanese mispronunciations.

    I haven’t read any of your Kindle books so I’m not much help but I’d break up those Bourdain books instead of reading them back-to-back but you’d probably do the opposite wouldn’t you? *sighs*

    Any cool photos of you lately? I still need one for my birthday project. I just realised that this is the last month for your calendar 🙁

    Question for the mailbag:

    When does your new show premiere and on what network? Do you know if it will make it to Australia?

    Will comment on the rest of the week’s posts tomorrow maybe…tis late.

    Cheers, Chev

  18. I’m not really into comic books these days and so cannot comment on any individual artists. However, I will look up the ones mentioned by Don, if only to expand my knowledge.

    That said, I like the style as shown on the following covers that you show,

    “the Shield”
    “Dark Knight”

    I’m pretty traditional and that’s why I like those two styles. The furthest I would go towards modern is, “the X-Men” cover, which leans towards modern and simple, but is still intricate. I like the more intricate graphics art than simple modern.

  19. Don said,”Some favorite artists of mine would be Ron Garney, George Perez, Carlos Pacheco, Gary Frank Dale Eaglesham, John Romita JR, Kevin Maguire is still one of the all time masters of conveying humor via facial expressions and body language.

    Wow, Don – I never thought about the artists behind the comics til you brought up some names. Yep, I definintely like the styles of the above men. I really like more substance and information in the comic rather than simple short-cut lines.

    How about that – I learned something today.

  20. Aaaaaaa yes watch me date myself as I recall only two artists that I have retained in my mind over the years…

    Todd McFarlane and Jim Lee.
    Their artwork was/ is epic when I was into comics!
    I think Todd has moved onto even more projects like his own comic company and doing work along with Halo.

    Jim Lee, I believe has become apart of DC comics and has worked on some Batman stuff.

    And here it comes…. If only I had held onto those comics by those guys and the others right now I would be…. 🙂

  21. This seems like a no-brainer! The Wise Man’s Fear – Day 2 of the Kingkiller Chronicles by Patrick Rothfuss was just released yesterday and it is available on Kindle. The first book in the series, The Name of the Wind, is one of my all time favorites.

  22. Shiny said, “Just one pic of Mike Dopud? Grumble, grumble! Love Varro and all of Mike’s work.”

    Ditto, but thanks anyway, for the pics.

  23. Ben Templesmith. He’s a fantastic comic artist with a very unique vision. His stuff is not traditional comic fair. His books include 30 Days of Night, Fell (with the equally fantastic Warren Ellis), Wormwood: Gentleman Corpse, and Welcome to Hoxford.

  24. @ das, very cool floating pic! At first I thought it was some cool way to hang framed paintings so that they appeared to float over the wall. One of my sisters had a magntized picture cube that floated on a pedestal.

  25. Oops, meant to say to das that the term “Floating Picture” made me think it was some cool new technique to hang paintings so that they appeared to float!

  26. A lot of comic book artists nowadays are tied down to specific companies with contracts so I’m not sure which ones are currently available for work. Some suggestions though: Matthew Clark (Doom Patrol), Bryan Hitch (Ultimates), Nicola Scott (Teen Titans, Secret Six), Alan Davis (pretty much everything), Howard Porter (JLA, Flash), Ethan Van Sciver (Flash: Rebirth, Green Lantern: Rebirth).

  27. Hi everybody, some sad news for my family today – had to put our beautiful and sweet cat, Spot, down. We’ve been hanging on for a few months, but there was nothing to be done. He went peacefully, and for that I’m eternally grateful. Love on all your pets a little extra for me today. Deni

  28. @ Elminster

    Hey Joe

    How about Jackson Guice, Esteban Maroto or José Ortiz? I’d add Frank Frazetta but apparently he died.


    That shouldn’t be funny but it was.

  29. Mike Dopud must be a really, really brave man (maybe even super-hero material) or foolish – going out for dinner with a white (looking) shirt on. I seem to be incapable of eating in any type of restaurant without evidence of what I have eaten being painted onto my top.

    I am tired and off to bed – it is 2109hrs here in sleepy Scotland.

  30. Hi Joe!

    Hope u & your family and friends are feeling very well…

    Nice shot from the charismatic actor Mike Dopud.
    His aka names in the SG shows aren´t complete, or i´m wrong? I mean i saw him as a Jaffar in one season.
    btw, the same procedure as every time…: pls try 2 save THE ONLY show – SGU! Have a nice time and food 😉

  31. @ Shiny – I know the sort of picture you’re talking about. But as you can see, I’m not much into ‘modern’. 😉

    @ Deni – I am SO very sorry! 🙁


  32. Well, if we’re just naming great comic artists we wish could work on your comic without regard to their actual availability…

    Check out Ryan Ottley and Cory Walker’s work on Robert Kirkman’s “Invincible.”

    Check out Dustin Nguyen (the artist, not the actor) and his work on various Batman titles.

    Check out Mike and Laura Allred’s work on “Madman.”

    Check out Tony Moore’s art in the first few issues of “The Walking Dead.”

  33. Sorry, wasn’t sure to answer or not. I usually don’t check older entries for comments aimed at me lol, sorry if it seemed like I was ignoring.

    @is there a particular artist out there you comic book aficionados would recommend I check out?

    Too bad you’re not in Japan Joe, could give some manga artist names lol
    Speaking of which, plenty of great anime names/manga names in Japan are super old. You could always try breaking into that market if you ever felt like retiring in Japan in the distant future.

    Anyway sorry I couldn’t be of any help suggesting any comic book artists, I haven’t read an American comic in ages.

    Speaking of Mike Dopud, I only really remember his role as Varro =/ Despite thinking he did amazing as Varro, I feel sad not remembering his no doubt great apperances in other SG shows lol

  34. @Debra – It was early when I wrote that. 🙂
    It was Frank I wanted to mention but being not sure how to spell his last name I went to google. That popped up the wiki page and his death.


  35. Maybe I know of an artist who has proven his ability to work to a targeted style while adding a special something to a science fiction/fantasy universe such as atlantisonline dot com. Maybe I’d have to think about whether I’d want to share such a jewel.

    There are some lessons learned from the process of finding such a person I’d be easily forthcoming with. It’s not an overnight process. Finding the one with the talent and right style is work, but not the hardest part. Finding the one who is consistently available over a long period of time…well, send that jewel some Vitamin D3. You don’t want him dying on you.

    Lemme’ know if you’d like to hear the Adventures in Artist Finding.

  36. I’m sitting here reading this entry when a large stuffed doggie rhinoceros falls from heaven and lands on my keyboard. My crazy beagle loves throwing her toys around and occasionally she gets a little wild. Anything for attention…

    Mike Dopud is so handsome!! And of course, Ivon is a doll. I’m surprised ya’ll didn’t get noticed by fans while you were eating. Is either one of these gentlemen going to join you in Toronto for your new secret (thateveryoneknowsabout) TV project? Do you have a star for new your series yet? I hear Charlie Sheen is looking for a new gig…

    Akemi San could practice her English writing skills on us and this blog. If she is actually studying English, she is probably already smarter than me!

    @ Das – pretty cool to do something spur of the moment. I love doing things like that. I also love what you’ve done with your floating picture.

    @ Deni – very sorry about your little fur baby. I bet he enjoyed a great life. If my crazy beagle will hold still long enough, I will give her a warm long hug in memory of your Spot.

  37. @Deni – *mega hugs to you & your family* so sorry to hear about Spot but he had a loving family and for that we can be grateful.


  38. @Deni, so sorry about your cat. 🙁 It is never ever long enough or easy to let them go.

  39. Deni, am so sorry you lost your kitty boy. Nursing an elderly “Baby” for so long makes you love them even more, if possible. Losing them makes you feel like you just broke into a gazillion pieces. Sending prayers for your broken heart. {{{Deni}}}


  40. Wow, I missed a blog dedication with three of my favorite guys? Joe, Mike and Ivon?

    Thanks everyone for your well wishes and thoughts. Good news — Finger is not broken, just badly sprained. He bandaged it in such a way to lessen the pain while typing. I was impressed.

    Still nervous about tomorrow. Singing at the top of my lungs seems to help. I’m sure the other patients won’t approve if I have to do that in the preop area. LOL.

    I’ll let you guys know when I get home.

  41. Hi there…. Im a little behind the curve comics wise right now but I would look at the work of Pascal Ferry, Chris Sprouse and Scott Collins and hell anyone working on Green Lamtern recently….

  42. In your search for a comic artist with some vision, you may wish to have a look at this guy’s work:


    Btw, I recently discovered SGU on Netflix and have been in Google sponge-mode looking for SGU trivia ever since. Found your blog as a result and enjoy it very much! I have been enthralled by this darker, rustier, more grown-up cousin of SG-1 & Atlantis. There is so much depth left to be plumbed with SGU, it should curl James Cameron’s toes. The pox on those suits who wield their “canceled” rubber stamp with such reckless abandon.

  43. It takes a real man to wear a beaded bracelet given to him by a munchken who wants to be remembered…. Good man, Mike! 🙂

  44. I hope Mike Dopud takes the lead in your next series. He’s really a first class actor. So make sure you don’t miss out on his talents 😀

    (Say hi to him, from a fan in Belgium:)

  45. I had to ask hubby for suggestions on the comic book front and for starters he would recommend:

    Magasin General
    (by Loisel & Tripp)


    The Walking Dead


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