Tagged: Moebius

Creative Conversation With Adam Gorham

Adam Gorham is a rising star in comics. Don’t believe me? What else would you call someone who’s being shot straight to the stars by drawing one of Marvel’s highest profile characters with a movie coming out? Plus, the fact it’s a cosmic character with space crime overtones. Adam Gorham’s a model of work ethic and determination, not to mention humility. He gives us a rough outline of his journey thus far, what we can expect from the upcoming Rocket #1 out on May 10th and offers sage advice to artists drawing their own path in the industry.

MK: Adam, thank you so much for having a Creative Conversation with me today. One of the questions I always like to start with is, do you remember the first comic you owned or the first one that made an impression on you?

AG: the pleasure is mine! I’m excited to talk about Rocket with my pal Matt Klein!

MK: Nice rhyme.

AG: Totally unintentional. I amaze myself (laughs). The first comic I owned and really cherished, and has left an impact on me to this day, is Batman: The Cult, the graphic novel. My father got it for me, probably without even looking inside of it. This was when comics were at their height in the 90’s and the local newspaper and cigar shop sold comics. Bernie Wrightson’s work was my first major influence.

MK: I freaking love that book. I mean, Jim Starlin and Bernie Wrightson, it’s a gem. In talking with people in shops that’s an often undiscovered gem. You mentioned Bernie Wrightson as your first major influence, who were some others at different points in your journey to today?

AG: Well, I loved comics as a kid, but rarely read them. I liked them for the art and would draw what I saw. All the mythos and lore I got loosely from 90’s cartoons like [Batman: TAS], Spider-Man, X-Men, etc. so without knowing many names at the time, I was certainly informed by the heavyweights of the 90’s. However, I fell out of comics around ten or so, about the time when kids let go of their “kids stuff”. I didn’t get back into loving comic artwork until eleventh grade, and that was after discovering Alex Ross, particularly Kingdom Come.

MK: So good!

AG: It was a revelation for me. Ross’ work was the first time for me that comic art felt like classic works of art that could be hung somewhere.  When I started getting back into it, I was in love with what Bryan Hitch was doing on The Ultimates. In fact, I really liked Ultimate Marvel at the time. Leinil Yu was another favorite.

MK: There was a ton of top talent working on Marvel’s Ultimate Universe at that point. Do you have a favorite Ultimate Universe run or story?

AG: Well I really liked the Ultimate X-Men stuff for a while. The first arc was epic. I enjoyed most of Return to Weapon X. Ultimates 2 probably stands apart though as the height of those titles.it took FOREVER for it to come out, but in the end it was pretty satisfying

MK: Great art can be worth the wait. How did you come to the decision that working in comics was what you wanted to do?

AG: I drew all my life. That’s not saying much. Most kids love to draw. However, I was always applauded for how well I drew for my age, so I grew up with drawing as “my thing.” And for a long time that was enough. I didn’t have a direct application or career in mind for it, but I excelled at drawing superheroes, so comics seemed an obvious choice. The only thing is, I was a terrible student with no ambition. Drawing comics as a career was an easy thing to talk about, but pursuing it was murky and not always tangible. I did go to art school and flamed out because, as I say, terrible student. Ultimately, after a few years of working one dirty job or another, my partner dragged me to my first comic convention and really opened up my eyes to this world I’d previously only known through Wizard magazines and comic shops. I was working in a grocery warehouse. Things with my significant other were getting serious. We wanted to start a new chapter in our lives and it became clear I needed a new goal in life. Or a goal in life. So when I left the warehouse job, I went for broke and looked for a job illustrating. I found one off Craigslist (laughs).

MK: What was the job?

AG: My first ever gig drawing comics was a 128-page graphic novel, written by a Canadian film director who wanted to adapt his indie vampire movie into a comic. Before that I had drawn a few scant pages for my own ideas. And once I started there was no looking back.

MK: That sounds a bit like you jumped into the deep end with a 128 page project right off the bat!

AG: Totally. It was the first opportunity I found and I seized it. I didn’t know how or where else to find work. In the past I had sent submissions to publishers, back when most publishers still took open submissions. I have a polite and informative rejection letter from Marvel, actually.

MK: That’s freaking awesome though! You talked about going to a convention kind of blew open your mind about comics and the industry. As an artist, how do you like conventions now being on the other side of the table? because I remember that’s how we met and i bugged you for a sketch that i recently proudly showed off to io9.

AG: Going as a fan and going as part of your job are two very different experiences. Pros and cons to each side. When I went as fan all I could think about was getting comics signed and saying, “Hi” to people I admired. I put myself through crazy lines and jumped through hoops to meet creators like Alex Ross, Brian Bolland and so on. It was fun but exhausting. You really invested a part of yourself. As soon as I started tabling, that was out the window. It’s not like I made a conscious decision to regard conventions differently. It’s just that creating a book and taking it to market changes your priorities.

MK: it’s part of your business. you’re a brand now with obligations.

AG: Precisely.

MK: Do you have any memorable requests from fans at conventions? Or any favorite sketches you’ve done?

AG: I’ve never had a bizarre request. Everything I’ve been asked to draw has been pretty fun, although I think I’ve only recently started drawing well at conventions. The past couple years I’ve improved, whereas drawing at a table was an uncomfortable experience. I got the hang of it though. So anything beyond a year or two ago I look back on and cringe. Your Man-Bat is a favorite of mine. I did a Frank Miller Dark Knight at NYCC that was very nice.

Man-Bat sketch by Adam Gorham

MK: if you could go back some years, what advice would you give yourself about being a comic book artist?

AG: With hindsight there’s so much I would impart. My problems starting out was, I thought I knew just how much work was involved with making comics. I would go back and tell myself “Nope. Work harder.” One thing I tell others is not to feel beholden to any one thing they’ve drawn. Draftsmanship is so very important. teaching yourself to draw things over and over, refining, and not being precious about something because you spend an hour on it. Your ideas and skill will always improve with every pass if you put in the effort, so it’s crazy to me to draw something once and thinking, “Well, I can see this is off, this other thing is wonky, but I just spent two hours drawing it, so good enough.” I’ve redrawn entire pages because a better idea struck me while I was driving home or at the store or on a walk.

MK: How many hours a day do you draw?

AG: I draw every day. Working constantly. Some days I work eight hours and others twelve or sixteen. Depends on where I’m at. I have two kids that, once they’re home, I can’t do anything else until they’re in bed. So I don’t always draw as much as I want to in a work day. But I try to make up with time later

MK: That’s incredibly intimidating and inspiring at the same time (laughs). Let’s pivot real quick to your ridiculously exciting new series coming up. So, congratulations on being the artist on the upcoming Rocket #1 with Al Ewing. It seems like a pretty awesome moment to be working on this character with Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 coming out so close to the release of the series. When you got the gig, how was the book described to you?

AG: It was a thrilling experience for me because of the sheer amount of suspense involved.

I was wrapping up The Violent at Image.

MK: Lovely book if i might add.

AG: I was worried what I’d move on to. Like, I had some options, and I had some ideas of what step to take next. I was gutted, to be honest, because i wanted The Violent to carry on. Ed [Brisson] had this great idea for the next chapter and I was ready for it. So, I was sweating it a little. Then later one afternoon while I was at the supermarket Ii got an email from Marvel asking if I was interested in working for them. That alone was very exciting, but it could’ve meant anything from a cover to a tie-in or whatever

MK: Sure.

AG: But naturally I said yes. they told me they’d have some information in a couple days. For two days my mind went WILD with possibilities

MK: Was Rocket Raccoon on that list of possibilities?

AG: Ha! No. I figured since I had just done a street level crime comic, something like Punisher or whatever would be the obvious route. I met with a good friend of mine, Michael Walsh, who was doing Rocket and Groot at the time. We were giddy over what it could be, no matter how small. When Marvel offered me a new #1 ongoing, I was intoxicated. Like, it wasn’t even that it was Rocket. At the time, we were calling it something else. The change of name was also in the cards. But the fact I’d be coming on with such a great opportunity was unreal. Anyway, when we finally got talking about what the book would be, my place as an artist began to make sense.

MK: How so? And this is an interesting pattern here, your first comic is a 128 page book, your first gig at Marvel is an ongoing for one of the most publicly recognized characters! You’re really seizing these opportunities that not everybody gets. It’s inspiring.

AG: I forget who exactly gave me the lowdown, but they said the vision for this book would be Rocket in his element pulling heists in space. In conversation we compared it to Parker graphic novels. Al [Ewing] had this idea to use prose, reinforcing the theme of a hard-boiled thriller. So right away we talked about how pages would be structured to accommodate Al’s prose. and how Rocket’s default outfit in this series would be a suit, open collar, no tie. Parker, even Daniel Ocean make good comparisons, but our Rocket has a broken heart that reminds me more of George Clooney’s Jack Foley from “Out of Sight.”

MK: You just named one of my top 10 favorite films of all time!

AG: IT’S SO GOOD! Fun story about that movie. When I was a kid I was grounded. I forget why, but I know I earned it. My parents left to get groceries one saturday afternoon. While they were out my friends called asking if I’d go to the movies with them. Somehow I thought I could sneak out, see a two hour movie, and bus it home before they ever got home. The only thing playing at the theatre was “Out of Sight” which I had seen ads for but wasn’t the type of movie I was rushing to see at the time. Man, oh man, it was the coolest thing I ever saw at that point.

MK: Uh, yeah! Seriously, anybody reading this who hasn’t seen “Out of Sight” needs to immediately go watch it!

AG: And I felt like such a smooth operator for sneaking out to see this slick flick. I was like, twelve or thirteen at the time. I can’t recall. But I walked out of the theatre like, “Look at me now, world!”

MK: Did you get busted?

AG: Oh, of course! My parents were out of the house for maybe an hour, discovered I took off, and had three hours to sit and plan my punishment. I walked into verbal cannon fire.

MK: That’s epic. Okay, we’re in the home stretch here. If someone’s been living in a bubble for the last few years and has no idea who Rocket is, how would you describe your new series to them?

AG: First off, congratulations on leaving your bubble. Let me introduce you to Rocket: he’s a scruffy outlaw, a lost soul, a space raccoonoid looking for his place in the galaxy when he’s not saving it with the Guardians. That place usually ends up being a dangerous one, where he’s risking it for, surprisingly, a chance at love lost. If that doesn’t work out, then cold revenge.

MK: Who is on your Mount Rushmore of comics?

AG: I forget how many heads are on Rushmore, but let’s say four, and my Rushmore of Comics is comprised of: Frank Quitely, Alex Ross, Bernie Wrightson, and Moebius.

MK: That’s an eclectic looking Mount Rushmore!

AG: Rushmore is really weird, when you think about it.

MK:  Last but not least: If you meet someone that’s never read a comic before, what 5 reads would you tell them to pick up?

AG: For Golden Age adventure, I recommend Prince Valiant. For super heroics I recommend All-Star Superman. For horror I’d suggest Afterlife With Archie. For great crime, if you’ve already read The Violent, be sure to check out Ed Brisson’s Murder Book. For sci-fi, Black Science is pretty neat.

MK: Adam, thank you so much for giving me this time. I really appreciate you, man. I can’t wait to read Rocket #1.

Make sure you pre-order Rocket #1 at Forbidden Planet now and pick it up on Wednesday, May 10th when it arrives in store.

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Get Your FREE Jodorowsky’s Dune Posters

Come on by the shop this Saturday, March 15th, and ask for a FREE “Jodorowsky’s Dune” poster! They’re totally rad and won’t last long. Be sure to get here early- we start distributing them at 9am. Jodorowsky's Dune, poster,ForbiddAlso, be sure to keep an eye on our Facebook and Twitter accounts that day… we’ll be running a really super dooper nifty keen giveaway contest relating to the film starting Saturday at 9am.  What is Jodorowsky’s Dune? Well, it’s a long story, but the movie’s tagline (“The Greatest Science Fiction Movie Never Made”) is spot on. Here, why don’t you watch this trailer:

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The film opens here in NYC at Film Forum on March 21st.

See ya there.

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THWIP!

The Amazing Spider-Man is the summer superhero film I was excited about. Yeah sure, I liked the Avengers, and I’m hoping Batman will be good. Thing is…those movies don’t have Spider-Man in them. So, in the grand scheme of things, who really cares? Spider-Man is the world’s greatest superhero. It says so right on the cover every month.

Anyways, my verdict? I liked it. It lacks the straight-up, nostalgic fun of the first two Raimi flicks, but in many ways it’s a better film, and it updates and re-examines the Spider-Man mythos in ways I (mostly) find fascinating. (Although Brian Michael Bendis did most of it first in Ultimate Spider-Man). I’m gonna break the film down and try to explain what went right and what went wrong. There may be spoilers. This could go a bit long, so try to stick with me.

The Origin – Hollywood needs to learn that origin stories don’t really matter. The problem isn’t just that Sam Raimi covered this a few years ago. The problem is that every super-hero movie covers this, and it’s not that important. Go watch just about any super-hero cartoon ever made, and you’ll notice they have one thing in common – they never start with the origin, because it’s way more fun to start with a big fight scene.

However, I enjoyed the tweaks made here. I like that Peter is made even more complicit in his Uncle’s death. I like that it takes a little longer for him to accept his responsibilities. I like the Ultimate universe scientist-dad/abandonment issues stuff. Good times.

The Cast – Great. Andrew Garfield gives an excellent performance, giving Peter Parker a natural twitchiness and exuberance sorely missing from Tobey Maguire’s wide-eyed, aw-shucks shtick. While he’s a bit too cool, he’s funny, and he doesn’t forget what a total dick Mr. Parker can be a times. Emma Stone more than makes up for the robotic nightmare that is Kirsten Dunst. Rhys Ifans may not keep his appointments, but he chews the scenery like the Lizard chews stupid mammals.

Cinematography – Gorgeous. There’re a lot of sweeping shots of Manhattan which emphasize just how small Spidey is against it all, and how intense swinging around those buildings would be. The POV shots – which I was sure would suck – work nicely. On the other end, the camera gets in nice and close for the fight scenes, making the threats feel very real.

Supervillainy – I really dug the Lizard. He looks much better than than I expected from the trailers. And his size makes him come off as a real threat. I like his plan. I like his sewer hideout.

What I don’t like is that Curt Connors family doesn’t even exist in this film. Since day one, the Lizard has been dedicated to destroying Connors’ wife and child, and Connors’ has been driven by his guilt for the danger he put them in. Not only is it central to his character, but it’s a perfect reflection of Spider-Man’s own guilt. No excuse for this except time constraints, and those only apply to people who don’t want to watch a four-hour Spider-Man film. Screw those people. Which brings us to…

The Story – I wasn’t joking. This movie needed to be longer. There’re way to many dangling plot lines, and like used webbing, they all seem to dissolve without a trace. There’s a lot of great stuff here that I really enjoyed, but none of it really gets the time it deserves.

Secret Identity – This is another pet peeve I have with Hollywood –  everyone there seems to hate secret identities. In the comics, Peter’s secret was a major factor in his relationships with everyone, especially Gwen and every other girl he dated. Here, the secret’s just thrown away for nothing. And then again. And again. Considering the film’s emphasis on secrets, why the hell couldn’t its central secret STAY SECRET?

This has gone way too long, so here’re a few final notes.

–      Web shooters! Hell yeah!

–      Flash Thompson is portrayed as a as a person, not a one-note bully. I love it.

–      A supporting character robs Spidey of a “Yeah science!” moment. WHY?!

–      The sewer fight owns.

P.S.  –  Want more Spider-Man/Lizard action? With a side of Moebius, the Living Vampire? Pick up the Amazing Spider-Man #688 and #689 to get on board Dan Slott’s killer story “No Turning Back.” So far, it’s one of his best yet.

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Rosie Psalm

Did you get some really cool comic books for free on Free Comic Books Day? Good! BECAUSE I GOT ARRESTED FOR PUBLIC NUDITY IN A CHURCH!

It’s all a big, stupid misunderstanding. There were these guys who were saying that Brandon Graham’s King City wasn’t one of the best graphic novels in the past five years, and I took great umbrage with that statement as I believe the antithesis. Go read that sentence back if you don’t believe me. NOW believe this: Brandon Graham’s King City is NOT ONLY one of the best graphic novels of the past five years, it’s also ONLY $19.99 for over 400 pages of pure comics dynamite!

KING CITY


There’s this guy with a magic cat trying to either win back his ex-girlfriend or stop the hell-beast of the Apocalypse from destroying the eponymous, sprawling, insane city he calls home. He’s on the fence because he can’t really figure out if he still loves this girl, or if it’s just his love of nostalgia, OR if this hell-beast thing could blow over without him getting involved because, really, he should probably be helping his luchador roommate rescue a water alien before she’s thrown into intergalactic sex-slavery by mobsters.

THAT is essentially the plot to King City as I loudly explained it to the two gentlemen in question right after they said that King City could “Eat it.” Now that I think about it, they may have been saying “Take this, all of you, and eat it, this is the blood of my body.” I did so many whip-its that day, it’s hard to remember. As I walked up the aisle of the bar to explain further, I rolled up my sleeves anticipating trouble, as well as taking off my shoes so I had a place to keep my glasses safe. I took my sock off so I had something to protect my other sock in, and I took my pants off to keep my socks company. It was only once I was PARTIALLY naked that I realized I wasn’t in a bar, but a church.

“Didn’t I hear you two guys about five minutes ago reading the new Image comic, Prophet?” I slurred. “EVERYBODY knows that this new Prophet reboot is amazing, and it’s drawn by Brandon Graham, too! LOOK at the difference in art styles! Graham has such a versatile pen that Prophet is the best looking sci-fi comic since Moebius, but King City is all in a fluid, funky cartoon/graphiti style…almost like Crumb drawing the Muppets!”

Now this smarmy SOB tried to take it all back, saying he was talking about “The Lord, our Prophet,” and not Image’s Prophet at all. Pfff. Like THAT’S a comic book at all.

By this time these two yutzes up at the roster where getting really pushy, and I noticed a crowd had gathered in the pews to watch the fight. First they just chased me, grabbing my shirt to try and pin me to the floor, but I escaped by wriggling out of what clothes I had left. HA! Grab THAT, Mr. Funny-Hat. Continue reading

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Segmentation of the Innocent

I had a whole column planned this week about “The Complete History of Earwigs in Comics,” but as my agent pointed out, emphatically and with much passion, “Readers don’t like earwigs.” There’s no accounting for taste. To sum up the article in brief: “there aren’t many.”

We must note the passing of Ralph McQuarrie and Jean “Moebius” Giraud, two of the finest concept illustrators ever to raise pen to paper.  The Forbidden Planet keeps a pretty good stock in movie art books, concept art and other illustrative tomes of nifty drawings. Help yourself get over these sad passings by reminiscing with friends over some collections of their finer stuff.

They say famous people die in threes…I wonder if concept artists count as famous? If they do then H. R. Giger and Geoff Darrow better look both ways before they cross the street. There’s not that many famous concept artists left!

THIS WEEK

Buffy Season 9 #7 hits the shelves when we see print. YEARS ago a new Buffy would have been Earth shattering news, but it seems the ardor has cooled. I might pick this one up…it promises to have Spike and “Big Changes for our Slayer.”

I have NEVER plugged an Aspen book in my life, but I’m intrigued by the premise of Dead Man’s Run, which has a reprint of #2 and a new #3 out this week.  In Dead Man’s Run a cartographer dies and goes to Hell to find the afterlife is like a fiery, maximum-security prison. Dead set on a jail-break, our “hero” is trolling hell to find the toughest dead scofflaws to assist his scheme.  Sure, sounds fun! Continue reading

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