Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Mags - Comic Book Collector #3

Is this the Valiant Age? In 1993, Valiant dominated the sales charts, the back issue bins, the hottest books list, the water cooler talk at comic shops and the comic book press in a way only one other universe of characters has - Marvel Comics in the 1960s (when Stan Lee and Jack Kirby were building the empire that dethroned DC Comics). And in 1993, Comic Book Collector magazine ran a pretty good article all about how popular Valiant was that year (I'll probably scan it and get it up here one day) in an issue that featured a cool Ax (in X-O Commando armor) fighting Bloodshot.

Spoof - Headbanger / Harbinger

How popular is Valiant Comics? So popular that a number of other publishers have produced spoof versions of Valiant comics! I'm starting a new series that will try to catalog these spoofs. First up is a spoof of Harbinger #1 called Headbanger by the aptly named Parody Press.

I only have a scan of the cover but already we can see that they are ape-ing the logo and cover art. Check out the original below.

Fan Art - Magnus Robot Fighter, Leeja & 1A

Nice bit of fan art by a professional. Cliff VanMeter (X-O Manowar) illustrated the below mustached (?) version of Magnus Robot Fighter.

Original Art - X-O Manowar #0 pages 21 - 24

More X-O Manowar original art!  Take a look at these gorgeous pages from the Joe Quesada illustrated X-O Manowar #0.  If I ever run across the rest of the pages from this book I will make sure to post them. You can also check out the color art for the cover of the issue here.

Page 21

Page 22

Page 21 and 22

Page 23

Page 24

Monday, September 27, 2010

Original Art - X-O Manowar #4 cover

I'm putting together quite a collection black and white cover art posts from X-O Manowar. So far, I've got posts for issue #1, issue #2 and issue #17. I'm missing issue #3 but do have a post with the color art for issue #0. And today we have a scan of the inks for X-O Manowar #4 by Barry Windsor-Smith.

What I can't figure out is why the cover has "XO #3" written on in the top left corner. Could issue #4 been originally intended for publication as issue #3? Or maybe Barry Windsor-Smith just got confused? In any event for your comparison, here is the printed version:

Mags - Comics Values Monthly #79

Check out this scan of the cover of Comics Values Monthly #79. It has a kick ass picture of Rai from Rai and the Future Force as well as an interesting subsection on the crazy values copies of Harbinger #1 are fetching.

Unity #0 re-imagining #1

And following up from the previous introductory post, here is the first Unity #0 re-imagining.

Illustrated and inked as a commission by Bob Layton and colored by Randy Sargent, this variation features only Magnus, Solar and X-O Manowar. Here are the inks.

According to the guy who commissioned the piece:

All of the Valiant characters have rushed off into battle, leaving one last second with the Big 3...

Unity #0 re-imaginings

I love the cover to Unity #0.  More specifically, I love the red variant retailer incentive cover to Unity #0.

The regular blue cover is nice too but the red in the logo really makes the colors pop. Here's the blue version to compare.

First, some background on the book. Unity #0 was the first issue of a massive 18 part crossover that spanned every book in the Valiant Universe up to the point and brought every hero together to face an event that threatened to destroy all of existence and all of time. It was a huge undertaking on Valiant Comic's part and it paid off in spades. Every title saw a dramatic jump in sales following the UNITY crossover and the story is still considered the gold standard for crossovers in comics. What's more, in order to entice new readers, Valiant gave the first issue away free.

So what do you do if you're going to give away an issue free with the hopes of convincing new readers to buy 17 more issues to finish the story? Well you put your absolute best creative team on the book. In this case that would be: writer Jim Shooter; illustrator Barry Windsor-Smith, inker Bob Layton and colorist Janet Jackson. The result? One of the best and most beautiful issues in comic history. And extra care was taken with the cover. No wonder then that it has become so iconic and so often mimicked, which brings me (finally!) to the point of this post - Unity #0 re-imaginings. These are variations on the famous Unity #0 cover design often commissioned by fans. These variations may change the line up of characters that appear, the comic book universe that is being show or even the reality the cover takes place in!

Lenticular Shadowman Lobby Card

Found a cool and rare item on ebay today, its a lenticular lobby card promoting the Shadow Man video game. According to the seller its a huge 22' x 28' and was available at Sam Goody and EB Games stores.

I've never seen one before and would be tempted to add it to my collection but the starting bid is a whopping $325!

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Custom Figures - Various at FigureRealm.com

Found a cool website called FigureRealm.com that has a page devoted to custom Valiant Comics figures that I wanted to share here. Each figure is accompanied by some comments by the creator.

Creator: loosecollector
Base Figure: Mls
Height: 6.00 inches

More Valiant love! Every comic company needs a Punisher-type hero. He plays the part well. He has the following parts:

Samurai Wolvie head
TNA torso & arms
Madman hands
Deathlock crotch
Guile legs

Creator: loosecollector
Base Figure: Longshot
Height: 6.00 inches

Do you want to live forever? Like a lot of people, I don't... but this poor guy doesn't have a choice. So he just decided to spend it kicking @$$. He was made from a Longshot figure with a DCUC fist and a Madman grasping hand. Pretty straightforward custom and was fun to make. Hope you like him bros! God bless.

Creator: loosecollector
Base Figure: Mls
Height: 6.00 inches

Following X-O and Solar, here’s our third Valiant character! The guy who wasn’t supposed to die until 1999… Jack Boniface AKA Shadowman! This guy is one of Valiant comic’s most popular characters. He was made from a Madman head on a Bullseye body. Everything else was sculpted detail. Hope you like him guys! God bless.

Creator: loosecollector
Base Figure: Scim
Height: 6.00 inches

This guy was made using a Silver Centurion Ironman. That figure has issues with his arms. They're waaaay too long. It could EASILY touch his knees with them. A lot of work went in making ol' Aric here. Shortened the arms, modified the gloves & boots, sculpted the armour and a special paint-job to achieve the "look" you see here. It was tedious and fun at the same time. Hope you enjoy him as much as I did making him.

Creator: loosecollector
Base Figure: Mls
Height: 6.00 inches

This one goes to Australia along with other Valiant heroes lined-up. Was almost tempted to use the usual Cyclops head on a Daredevil body for him, but we opted to use the following recipe instead: Cap Marvel head-torso-arms, Iceman hands and Falcon legs. Gives a more accurate "look" to him. His chest logo was sculpted-on too. Hope you like him guys! God bless.
So far the figures have all been made by a designer who uses the handle loosecollector. Here is one more image of his figures and then we'll get on to figures by some other designers

Creator: RandysActionFigures
Base Figure: Quick Silver
Height: 6.00 inches

This is Ninjak, a character from the Valiant Comics publishers. I used a quick silver as the base figure and totally resculpt on top of the head, changing his hair style and adding the sweatband. The arms had his trade mark armor added to them and a sweet Sword tucked in his belt that I scavenged from some McFarlane chick with six arms. I made his tunic from cotton as well as his face mask!

Creator: parsath
Base Figure: Wonder Man
Height: 6.00 inches

This next custom is a collaborative effort between myself and vp. He did a great job sculpting and putting parts together. It was made from a wonderman base, hands from avalanche, and legs from iron man. I tried my hand a metallic paints via the airbrush and used gold leaf as a base, then used clear yellow, and a touch of clear orange for the armor. For the blue portion, I used the old silver base with clear smoke blue and then regular blue. My wife made the x portion and I added a clear piece of vinyl over his helmet to complete the look. Thanks vp for letting me paint it!

Creator: fastfreddie 
Base Figure: Legendary Heroes Madman
Height: 6.25 inches

Yes, I know the ponytail is a bit long for this character, but I am no expert on the precise length of Shadowman's ponytail. Besides that, I would rather have gotten it a bit long than too short(it's hard to grow rubber hair...lol!). The owner can trim it to the correct length. I sanded the chest lines off, cut the hair down in the front, cut the mask ouf of vinyl, sclupted the tops of the boots, sprayed it blue with krylon fusion, drybrushed it, hand painted the chest logo and airbrushed a little shading on him and sealed it with krylon uv resistant sealer and then testor's dullcote.

Creator: parsath
Base Figure: Marvel Legends Angel and Xorn
Height: 6.00 inches

I wasn't happy with the eyes and the color of the face so I redid it. I made the eyes smaller, added some color to the outer portions of the face and highlighted the lips. I think it turned out better this time around

Creator: parsath
Base Figure: ML Bruce Banner
Height: 6.00 inches

I was looking for a good base when I stumbled upon a Bruce Banner figure. I cut the lab coat and added a gloss black coat to it, painted the pants blue,the shirt red, added the iconic harbinger symbol, and changed his eyes from green to brown.

Creator: parsath
Base Figure: SOTA Fei Long
Height: 6.00 inches

On past figures with white skin, I have had trouble making the skin look smooth. This time I used an airbrush and it turned out nicely. I used a Fei Long base with a Professor X head, then tried my hand at making circles freehand.

Creator: parsath
Base Figure: DCUC Aquaman
Height: 6.00 inches

Here is my latest rendition of Magnus Robot Fighter from the Valiant Universe. I used an Aquaman from the DCUC Line, Air brushed the skin, repainted the costume and added a cape to finish off his Battle Tunic ( don't call it a skirt!

Creator: parsath
Base Figure: Colossus / Omega Red
Height: 6.00 inches

Here is my rendition of Valiant Universe Hero X-O Manowar. I tried making the Bart Sears version using a ML Colossus from the waist up and Omega Red from the waist down. The top portion was sculpted using Apoxie sculpt. The base color was silver with multiple coats of clear blue and clear yellow. I added highlights using gunmetal.

Commission - Valiant Universe by Jamie Biggs

Check out this huge 4 page Valiant Universe commission by artist Jamie Biggs.

In his own words:

This is one HUGE commission I did for a new friend of mine named Sandra. She really blew my mind when she contacted me requesting a 2-page (DPS) commission of some of her favorite Valiant Comics characters. I must say I was taken aback by her request in that these were some cool characters that I had not seen in many years. Many, Many years! Yes, I am dating myself a little here! I could feel the excitement and love she felt for these characters, so I jumped right on board. I must say that doing this piece was quite an experience. As I said, she had originally requested a 2-page piece, but I wanted to make sure that all of the characters were recognizable, so I asked if I could make it a 3-pager. She said yes, so I set out to complete this monster. Well... as I was bluelining this piece, I noticed that this monster was quickly turning into a Beast! I couldn't stop. I kept going and going and before I knew it, and after many hours of excrutiating pain in my hand and wrist (lol), this 4-pager was born! I had never drawn most of these characters before, so this was something totally new for me. I just hope that Sandra will be happy with this labor of love (I don't even know if she has recieved the final pics in her email yet)and I hope to do more work for her in the future. I decided to go with all of the heroes Sandra requested in the forground, looking like they were on the terrain of some alien world. Almost like they were brought there by a very powerful force, sort of along the lines of Marvel's Secret War. That was where I thought Master Darque would fit in. I made him large in the background and had him with his arms outstretched with those heiroglyphic tattoo things everywhere. Almost like he was spreading them out and using them to create the world that the heroes are on. I put a slight grin on his face to give him that smug, slightly evil look that most villains have. Like he knows he's just a little bit better than everyone else... Even the most powerful of heroes. I was happy with the way most of the characters turned out. I especially like X-O and Turok, but I think my favorite has got to be Ninjak. I just like the way he is sitting there, perched atop that peak. Not really looking like he is bothered at all, just ready for whatever is thrown at him. Isn't that the ninja way though? Just chillin'... Not looking for any trouble, but more than ready to deal with it if it comes along!
Here are some close ups

I'm not crazy about the art (the anatomy is awkward, the characters are overly dramatized, the layout is crowded and many of the characters are off spec) or the artists style (bad 90s Image imitation) but I have to applaud the sheer scale of the job.