Tagged: David Mazzucchelli

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Creative Conversation: Ibrahim Moustafa

Welcome to a Creative Conversation with creator Ibrahim Moustafa. Here we give you a chance to get inside the mind, learn some in depth background, and discuss the creative process of some of comics’ best writers and artists. In our first Creative Conversation I had the opportunity to speak with the artist behind Vertigo’s smashingly good new series, “Savage Things.” If the Bourne franchise went down the horror route, you have an inkling of what’s in store for you with this book. Ibrahim gives a better sum up a little further down. We talked about first comics, must reads, stories that stick with us as young comic fans, how this new series came about and who would be on Ibrahim’s own personal Mount Rushmore of comic book artists. Agree? Disagree? Find out!

MK: So let’s start with a little background because in all our conversations I’m not sure I know this: How did your journey lead you to working in comics?

IM: I was always drawing as a kid, and some of my earliest memories are of watching the Christopher Reeve “Superman” movies. Not long after that I discovered the Ninja Turtles and Batman 66 TV shows, and was obsessed with them all. I had and read a few comics as a kid and was always drawing the aforementioned. I got much more into collecting and reading comics when I discovered the X-Men cartoon in the early 90s, and I would hoard those Fleer Ultra 93 and 94 X-Men cards sets as a kid.

I fell out of comics for a long time as I got into sports a bit. And then in high school I was heavily into drawing graffiti art and breakdancing. When I was a Junior, “Smallville” had come out and rekindled my love of Superman. Someone gave me a book called “The Complete History Of Superman” and it had a few Alex Ross paintings in it, which completely blew my mind. I had no idea you could do *that* with superheroes.

That sent me down the rabbit hole of “Who is this guy? How is he doing this? What is he painting with? What else has he done?” From there I found “Kingdome Come” and started going to the comic shop, and that ignited my interest in drawing superheroes again. After a short while I realized that people were drawing comics for a living, and I began a very disciplined, regimented plan to make that my reality as well.

It worked (laughs)!

MK: That’s epic! What was your local comic shop when you were getting heavily into it?

IM:The first one I wandered into was a small one-off called Hidden Treasures or something to that effect, but they closed down shortly after. Then a friend that I worked with told me that there was a place called Things From Another World that was literally blocks away from our job. And they became my regular supplier in the formative era of my comics addiction, haha.

MK:They’re a great operation out in the Portland area. Other than Alex Ross, who were some other artists that got you jazzed into drawing superheroes and comics again?

IM: There have been SO many, but the ones that have stayed an influence/inspiration regardless of my changing interests are probably Stuart Immonen, David Mazzucchelli, and Lee Bermejo. As I’ve burrowed deeper into comics and it’s artistic masters, I’d say my Mount Rushmore consists Alex Ross, Stuart Immonen, Alex Toth, and Jorge Zaffino.

MK: That’s an eclectic looking Mount Rushmore.

IM: It is!

MK:I dig it. Before we go too far off topic: Favorite X-Men character?

IM: Cyclops (I know), Wolverine is a close second, though. You?

MK: I feel like Wolverine is everybody’s top one or two but personally, especially since Grant Morrison brought her into the mix I’m an Emma Frost man. Which doesn’t make me a “real” X-Men fan in most folks’ eyes but it is what it is. What is it about Cyclops for you?

IM: 1) You can like whichever X-Person you want and damn anyone who tells you otherwise!

MK: Thank you!

IM: 2) Honestly, I think Cyclops was the most like Superman, aesthetically, and that really appealed to seven year-old me when I discovered the show; he was the do-good leader, he had red blasts from his eyes, and he wore all blue with yellow and red (laughs).

But there was something about the idea that he was encumbered by his power that really hit me as a kid. The fact that this thing he could do made him an outcast and made his life difficult, but he used it to help people anyway…That always got me.

Also, his mutation didn’t cause him to have a drastically different outward appearance, but it was enough to make him an other. And growing up half-Egyptian, I experienced a lot of cultural differences from the kids around me. Questions like, “Why can’t you eat pork?” are a lot like, “Why are you always wearing sunglasses?” So, I think that appealed to me about Cyclops as well.

MK: Take that Cyclops haters! That’s really inspiring how you were able to have that relation to Cyclops. For you, do you think comics has a special place as far as storytelling in a way that movies, TV, theatre, or other mediums don’t quite?

IM: I do, absolutely. I think that there are more opportunities to play with the passage of time visually on a comics page than with other mediums. In comics, for example, you can have a splash page of a scene that is split into four different panels across a single image of say, a park. And each panel can represent the four seasons in a year.

Comics also allow for opportunities to echo imagery from one page or one sequence to another. So let’s say you have a page where a character is a child, and they’re playing, and they fall down and scrape up their knee. Then, you cut to them as an adult in a few chapters and they’re in a completely different scenario, but they go through a similar accident, and you’re establishing that they’re prone to this kind of thing in their life.

In comics, seeing all of those panels in one page as a whole creates a different experience than film or TV where you would see that happen one shot at a time. You’re taking in the gestalt of the moment on a page rather than the disparate parts that make the whole. Symbolism, the efficiency afforded by narration paired with a parallel image to the text, the pacing of a page-turn into a splash. There are tons of cool ways to deliver a moment in a comics page that are unique to the medium, and that’s probably what I love about it the most.

MK: That’s an amazing answer. Thank you for that. To switch gears a little, let’s talk about your new series out which I think definitely displays some of those elements you’ve so eloquently discussed. “Savage Things” which you draw, and is written by the one and only Justin Jordan, hit shelves on March 1st. Did you and Justin know each other much prior to working on the book? Was it an arranged marriage by Vertigo? How did your collaboration come about?

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Savage Things #1

IM: Justin and I had met here in Portland back in 2012 or so at a great indy comics show we used to have here called Stumptown. We’ve bumped into each other a few times since then on Twitter, and I’ve been a fan of his work since I first read “Luthor Strode” but when our editor Jamie S. Rich reached out to me to draw the book he facilitated a wonderful reunion for the two of us. So, pretty much an arranged marriage and the dowry was a super-dope book that I get to draw

MK: I love it when an arranged marriage blossoms into true love and kick ass action sequences.

IM: (Laughs)

MK: If someone asks you to describe “Savage Things,” what’s been your favorite answer to give?

IM: “Savage Things” is what you get when a bunch of Dexters are kidnapped and raised by the government to be Jason Bourne.

MK: That’s maybe the most badass way of summing up a book I’ve ever heard. Here’s a two-parter: What’s been one of the most challenging and what’s been your favorite thing to draw so far for the series?

IM: The book is full of excellent opportunities to create cool action sequences, and I think that’s been my favorite part so far. There have also been a few types of locations I’ve never never drawn before (a hospital, a power plant, a few others) so that’s been a fun challenge.

The most difficult thing has been figuring out how to draw expressive faces on sociopaths (laughs).

MK: That seems like a challenge on several levels (laughs). Can you perhaps tease us about something readers should be super excited to discover in issue two and beyond?

IM: Yes! The next few issues pitt our lead character, Abel, against six of the other sociopathic, trained murderers that he grew up with. So as you can imagine, issue one was just a tease at some of the brutality that these guys are capable of, especially toward each other. By the end of issue three, we pull back the lens and broaden the scope of the battle quite a bit. I’m very excited!

MK: Man, I can’t wait to see how you and Justin up the ante! Final two questions before our time’s up:

1) For someone new to comics, what are five essential must reads you’d recommend?

2) For all things Ibrahim Moustafa, “Savage Things,” and your ridiculously amazing James Bond posters, where can fans keep up with you on social media and the web? (Seriously, his James Bond posters kind of cray cray. Don’t believe me, click here!)

IM: 1) This is a tough one! These are certainly slanted toward things that I love, so your mileage may certainly vary.

Scalped” is my favorite book of all-time. It’s a crime drama a la “Breaking Bad” or “The Wire.” Anyone can dive right into it.

“Kingdom Come”: I read this pretty early on and loved it. There are a ton of references and characters in it, but as long as you know who Superman, Wonder Woman, Batman, Shazaam are, the rest falls into place.

The Losers” is a great book if you love action movies with fun characters, a cool story/lots of intrigue.

Old Man Logan” is almost a companion piece to “Kingdom Come” in that it’s a look at a possible future, full of cool stuff and references but mainly if you know the X-Men and the Avengers, you’re solid.

Batman: Year One.” One of the greatest comics ever made and a perfect primer for Batman fans looking to give the comics a try.

2) I’m on twitter at: @Ibrahim_M_ and my official site is http://theartofibrahimmoustafa.blogspot.com/

MK: Ibrahim, you’re a class act, thank you for being so generous and gracious with your time in joining me in our first Creative Conversation.

Check out “Savage Things #1” now and get ready for “Savage Things #2,” on shelves Wednesday, April 5th, 2017. Stay tuned for our next…Creative Conversation.

Please send love/hate messages to Matthew via Twitter @matthewklein316 and on Instagram. Matthew loves all things Batman, Valiant, and pro-wrestling related. He’s also pretty sure that it’s not recommended to spend more waking hours watching reruns of “Chuck” than sleeping but hasn’t been able to prove this theory.

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SDCC: Eisner Award Winners 2010

The Eisner Awards were presented Friday evening in concurrence with Comic-Con International at the Hilton San Diego Bayfront.  Onstage guests included the cast of the imminent Scott Pilgrim film, Thomas Jane, Ben Garant (Reno 911), voice actor Phil Lamarr (Futurama, Samurai Jack). The event was MC’d by Maurice LaMarche (“The Brain,” from Pinky & The Brain and notable veteran of many other cartoons).

There were also some real life comic creators there, presenting awards to their  peers, the likes of which included Chris Claremont, Milo Manara(!), James Robinson, Berkeley Breathed, Peter Bagge, James Sturm, and Jillian Tamaki.

The works below are linked to either the item on the FPNYC webstore or the winner’s homepage where applicable.

Best Short Story
“Urgent Request,” by Gene Luen Yang and Derek Kirk Kim, in The Eternal Smile (First Second)

Best Single Issue (or One-Shot)
Captain America #601: “Red, White, and Blue-Blood,” by Ed Brubaker and Gene Colan (Marvel)

Best Continuing Series
The Walking Dead, by Robert Kirkman and Charles Adlard (Image)

Best Limited Series or Story Arc
The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, by Eric Shanower and Skottie Young (Marvel)

Best New Series
Chew, by John Layman and Rob Guillory (Image)

Best Publication for Kids
The Wonderful Wizard of Oz hardcover, by L. Frank Baum, Eric Shanower and Skottie Young (Marvel)

Beasts of Burden, winner Best Painter, Best Publication for Teens
Beasts of Burden, winner Best Painter, Best Publication for Teens

Best Publication for Teens
Beasts of Burden, by Evan Dorkin and Jill Thompson (Dark Horse)

Best Humor Publication
Scott Pilgrim, Vol. 5: Scott Pilgrim vs. the Universe, by Bryan Lee O’Malley (Oni Press)

Best Anthology
Popgun, Vol. 3, edited by Mark Andrew Smith, D. J. Kirkbride and Joe Keatinge (Image)

Best Digital Comic
Sin Titulo, by Cameron Stewart

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A Drifting Life, winner Best Reality-Based Work, Best U.S. Edition of Foreign Material (Asia)

Best Reality-Based Work
A Drifting Life, by Yoshihiro Tatsumi (Drawn & Quarterly)

Best Adaptation from Another Work
Richard Stark’s Parker: The Hunter, adapted by Darwyn Cooke (IDW Publishing)

Best Graphic Album — New
Asterios Polyp, by David Mazzucchelli (Pantheon)

Best Graphic Album — Reprint
Absolute Justice, by Alex Ross, Jim Krueger and Doug Braithewaite (DC Comics)

Best Archival Collection/Project — Strips
Bloom County: The Complete Library, Vol. 1, by Berkeley Breathed, edited by Scott Dunbier (IDW Publishing)

Best Archival Collection/Project — Comic Books
The Rocketeer: The Complete Adventures deluxe edition, by Dave Stevens, edited by Scott Dunbier (IDW Publishing)

Best U.S. Edition of International Material
The Photographer, by Emmanuel Guibert, Didier Lefèvre and Frédéric Lemerier (First Second)

Best U.S. Edition of International Material — Asia
A Drifting Life, by Yoshihiro Tatsumi (Drawn & Quarterly)

Best Writer
Ed Brubaker, Captain America, Daredevil, Marvels Project (Marvel) Criminal, Incognito (Icon)

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Asterios Polyp, winner Best Writer/Artist, Best Graphic Album, Best Lettering

Best Writer/Artist
David Mazzucchelli, Asterios Polyp (Pantheon)

Best Writer/Artist–Nonfiction
Joe Sacco, Footnotes in Gaza (Metropolitan/Holt)

Best Penciller/Inker or Penciller/Inker Team
J. H. Williams III, Detective Comics (DC Comics)

Best Painter/Multimedia Artist (interior art)
Jill Thompson, Beasts of Burden (Dark Horse); Magic Trixie and the Dragon (HarperCollins Children’s Books)

Best Cover Artist
J. H. Williams III, Detective Comics (DC Comics)

Best Coloring
Dave Stewart, Abe Sapien, B.P.R.D., The Goon, Hellboy, Solomon Kane, Umbrella Academy, Zero Killer (Dark Horse); Detective Comics (DC Comics); Luna Park (Vertigo)

Best Lettering
David Mazzucchelli, Asterios Polyp (Pantheon)

Best Comics-Related Periodical/Journalism
The Comics Reporter, produced by Tom Spurgeon

Best Comics-Related Book
The Art of Harvey Kurtzman: The Mad Genius of Comics, by Denis Kitchen and Paul Buhle (Abrams ComicArts)

Absoloute Justice, winner Best Graphic Album (reprint), Best Publication Design
Absoloute Justice, winner Best Graphic Album (reprint), Best Publication Design

Best Publication Design
Absolute Justice, designed by Curtis King and Josh Beatman (DC Comics)

Will Eisner Spirit of Comics Retailer Award
Vault of Midnight, Ann Arbor, Michigan

Hall of Fame
• Burne Hogarth
• Bob Montana
• Steve Gerber
• Dick Giordano
• Michael Kaluta
• Mort Weisinger

Bob Clampett Humanitarian Award
Jeannie Schulz

Bill Finger Award for Achievement in Comic Book Writing
Otto Binder, Gary Friedrich

Russ Manning Most Promising Newcomer Award
Marian Churchland (Beast)

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Tales From My Coffee Table

Plaque, Legos, Dozers…  These things build up.  So too does the rather heaping mound of comics, books, and assorted curiosities on the coffee table back at Casa de Ayers.  I get sent and/or buy a whole lotta stuff in my capacity as buyer for FP (not to mention my lot in this life- Jeff Ayers, geek) and most weeks simply cannot keep up with the volume.  Don’t get me wrong, there are worse problems to have, but there are many quality works that need to be rescued from this oblivion periodically.  Let’s see what’s currently mixed in the pile.

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TRON Ghost in the Machine I’ve been gobbling up nearly everything I can in terms of news, tidbits, and images in anticipation of next year’s TRON sequel, Legacy, and this book just adds fuel to that fire.  This was originally released by Slave Labor in single issue form over the course of some years due to long delays between installments.  As such its already shaky plot became much more tenuous, though it works much better here in this collected edition.  The story concerns Jet Bradley, son of TRON programmer Alan Bradley and yadda yadda…  It’s no masterpiece (and I deplore the book’s look/design, shrunken down to Manga sized trade with slick paper presumably so that such a specialty book might sell in a Barnes & Noble in Tuscaloosa),  but if you’re fiending for a TRON fix as much as I am right now then this’ll do nicely.

And be sure to watch the rather thrilling trailer for TRON Legacy  for the umpteenth time.  And get some exercise.  Some fresh air would also be nice.  Maybe some sun.

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thcoverTranslating Hollywood– Ah, movie posters. Those often iconic images commissioned by Hollywood to help get you to plunk down your twelve bucks that many of us end up plastering  on our walls for years to come. Picture your favorite film, hell, even one of your least favorite, and it’s a good bet you can also picture its theatrical poster (or DVD cover, which is the same more often than not).  Since World War II, when Hollywood really stared to ramp up international marketing, much of what Americans would consider an iconic movie poster is entirely different from what our human brothers and sisters around the globe would.  Translating Hollywood documents nearly sixty years of international movie poster design, offering side by side comparison and cultural insight as to the differences.

As an added bonus, for the book fetishist in me, it’s a really well put together, gorgeous tome.  Casebound hardcover (no dustcover to maintain through the years) always goes down well.  What a swell book!

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Asterios Polyp– There’s little else for me to add that hasn’t already been said about this phenomenal story by David Mazzucchelli (Cityof Glass, Batman Year One), except that having finally read the entire book I can unequivocally write this about it:  Book of the Year.  Easily.  Next time you have a chance to pick one up don’t hesitate.

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And that’s it for this edition, sure to be the first of many. There’s a never-ending avalanche of geekdom sliding down upon me.  Keep it comin.

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