Tagged: Smallville

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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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Robert Picardo Signing @ Forbidden Planet NYC 6/5

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Hey!!!  In a rare NYC appearance, Robert Picardo’s gonna be signing at the shop on Saturday the 5th at 1pm!

Robert’s genre credits are numerous (to say the least… Smallville, Stargate’s Richard Woolsey, The WonderYears’ Coach Cutlip, and of course, Star Trek’s Holographic Doctor) so this event should appeal to a broad range of fans.  Plus, we hear he’s a terrific fella… so come on by and get an autograph!

This will mark our first with a Star Trek celebrity since 1998 and we’re thrilled beyond belief.  Hope to see you there.

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What to Watch.

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This week is chock full of season premieres.  Here are a listing of some of the genre-friendly things I’ll be setting my DVR to.

  1. This is the first time I’ll admit on the Internet that I’m a fan of Ghost Hunters. The show on Syfy follows a bunch of New Hampshire plumbers who use scientific devices to detect ghosts. Its actually  kind of interesting in that documentary style in the sense they use devices like digital recorders, infrared cameras and electronic magnetic detectors to prove the presence of ghosts.  Sometimes they catch some stuff on camera that is actually pretty neat. My girlfriend likes to give me crap that the reason I watch it is for Kris Williams, but the fact remains I’ve watched it long before she was on the show.  Regardless, I’m not going to deny that she is popular and judging by her 15,000 Twitter followers, I’m not the only one who digs her presence. The show is on tonight at 9pm.
  2. Everyone won’t shut up about Flash Forward. Coming from Batman Begins and Dark Knight screenwriter David S. Goyer, this show promises to have a Lost level of annoyance. At least in my mind, but it does seem to be a cool concept. The show premieres tomorrow night at 8pm.
  3. Friday night has a few reasons to stay home.  Smallville in its new time slot at 8pm will open with Lois Lane (the awesome Erica Durance) meeting the future Metallo (Brian Austin Green).
  4. Also on Friday night is Dollhouse.  Joss Whedon’s show that got a second chance, premiering at 9pm.  I’m kind of intrigued to see why it got a second chance because the first few episodes I watched last season had me walk away from the show pretty quickly.  Throughout the three episodes I watched I found myself saying out loud: “C’mon, Joss, you can do so much better than this.” Apparently the show got ALOT better as the season progressed, which I would say isn’t that hard to do because it started out terrible.  Though, it had its problems with network interference according to Joss’s talk with Ira Glass last night.  Regardless, check out the new trailer for the show.
  5. The other show I’m pumped to check out is Stargate Universe, that doesn’t premiere until Oct. 2. From what I understand its supposed to be very much in line with the original Stargate movie, which as a seventh or eighth grader was totally awesome.  Especially with the spectacular Robert Carlyle and freakin’ Lou Diamond Philips.

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The Hollywood Lot Tour.

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In this week’s edition of the Hollywood Lot tour we have a replacement for Nicolas Cage in The Green Hornet, news on a possible Lobo star, Mark Millar, the awesome Bruce Campbell, and Julian Sands has been cast on Smallville.

  • The brilliant Nazi traitor from Inglourious Basterds Christoph Waltz has replaced Nicolas Cage to play Seth Rogen’s nemesis Chudnofsky in the Green Hornet. Well, that’s a step up certainly.  Previously, Rogen said that the character was meant to be scary, but “not over the top”. Sounds like Waltz is perfect for that angle.
  • The Comedian (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) aka as Katherine Heigl’s dead boyfriend from Grey’s Anatomy wants to play Lobo, according to MTV’s Splash Page.  I think that’s possible, he seems like a guy who could do that. Sure.
  • Lobo creator Keith Giffen couldn’t be more thrilled with Guy Richie directing the Lobo movie. Shockingly, I don’t think I’ve ever read anything Giffen has been ecstatic over. But that’s cool that he digs this idea. Giffen said Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels was one of his favorite movies in ages.
  • Sam Raimi cameo artist Bruce Campbell will have a “major” part in Spider-Man 4, reports Access Hollywood.  From the report it sounds like the Burn Notice star will play a key role in the film. Access went off about him playing Myserio but I laughed loudly and shockingly at this statement to the point that the next door neighbor knocked to make sure I was okay.  Anyway, I love Campbell’s cameos, and more of him in the Spider-Man franchise the better.
  • Michael Ausiello sleuths that Julian Sands will play Jor-El on Smallville.  The Warlock star (wow, way to bust that one out) will make his first appearance as Clark Kent’s biological father in an episode titled “Kandor” and will establish his connection to General Zod (played by Callum Blue). I’m pumped for this season which premieres next Friday, Sept. 25, at 8pm.
  • Mark Millar opened his mouth again about his epic Superman movie trilogy.  He says he thinks he’s too expensive for DC/Warners now with his success in regards to Wanted and Kick-Ass. That’s fine, Mark, they weren’t interested anyway, you just sound really bitter. Regardless, they have no plans for Superman, says newly minted DC Entertainment President Diane Nelson.
  • Chris Evans is likely to not be in the Fantastic Four reboot which is a shame because he was the best part of that series.
  • Finally, the movie adaptation of Greg Rucka and Steve Lieber’s Eisner award winning Whiteout was a flop this weekend.  The Kate Beckinsale staring film only raked in $5.1 million this weekend.  Haven’t  seen it yet, but considering my love for all things Rucka related, I’ll endeavor to make it.

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In which we talk about Superman-related actors.

Its nice to see people branch out. Especially when you see such fine people as Kristin Kreuk jump the ship that is Smallville and move to Chuck with other Superman alum Brandon Routh.

Entertainment Weekly reports that Kreuk will play Hannah a new love-interest for Chuck in a multi-episode arc where she goes to work at the Best Buy…errr, Buy More. Routh, will play the new agent in charge of the Bartowski Project.  Regardless, this stunt casting has worked out for Chuck to say the least with last season seeing  fan favorites Chevy Chase, Scott Bakula, and Tricia Helfer.  I personally can’t wait for Chase’s new show Community with Soup host Joel McHale.  Though the best thing to come out of the Chuck ‘verse was the miniseries written by show staff writers Peter Johnson and Zev Borow and drawn by Jeremy Haun.  It just kind of confirmed the fact for me that the series would excel as a comic.

In other Superman actor news, MTV’s Splash Page has the first picture of Tom Welling as Neo.  And I have to ask: WHAT WERE YOU THINKING?!  I would really love to know the reason behind saying yes to this design, because I can’t see it making any kind of sense at all. Have a look:

Egad.

Barring that, there are many good things to look forward to in Smallville this season including a Geoff Johns written episode introducing the Justice Society of America,  General Zod, Metallo and, yep, the Wonder Twins! Yes way! Set DVRs to obliterate. Smallville premieres Sept. 25 with “Savior” which is written by fan-favorite Geoff Johns, according to Splash Page.

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Today in “What Does This Remind You Of?”

For your consideration:

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Brian Austin Green as Metallo on Smallville.

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Mickey Rourke as Whiplash in Iron Man 2.

Heh.  Well, this is awkward.  No, not that the fact that the former 90210 alum is sticking close to something that he previously did on Sarah Conner Chronicles BUT the fact that he looks so much like the new design for Whiplash.  I guess it would be tough for him not to look like that.

I have to say I applaud Smallville.  The first couple of seasons were really stagnant, boring, and like watching a broken record season after season. However, that changed quite significantly after they killed off Jonathan Kent and to say the least, the show has become its own thing.  Its not afraid to do something different with the Superman mythology and has continually broken expectations towards what “should” happen in the mythos of the character.

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Final SDCC News Tidbits.

Sorry for this not coming on Sunday, but there was no coffee in the house and I don’t function without coffee in the house.  So, spinning out of Comic Con we got quite a number of the the answers we were looking for.  So here we go:

Coming up we’ll have a list of all the things that came out of Comic Con that’d we like, David Tennant’s final thoughts on leaving “Doctor Who” and some other announcements.

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DC wins ruling in Siegel/Smallville case.

A big thanks to Jeff Ayers for that message and the compliment yesterday, and also to Heidi MacDonald for the link.

Earlier today, Heidi informed us of the Comics Interweb on a recent ruling in the Superman case. It’s a ton of legalize in the release statement but essentially, a court ruled back in 1999 that the Siegel family had a legal right to royalties from the Superman property, but recently the family pushed to get some of those royalties for the “Smallville” property, since it is Superman-related.  Excuse the Sportscenter reference, this may be the wrong crowd, but DENIED. From the ruling:

Accordingly, the Court finds that the non-exclusive rights conveyed by DC Comics to Warner Bros. in the Smallville television agreement was not for below fair market value and, therefore, finds for the remaining defendendants on this point as well.

Conclusion: The Court decides this case, as it must, not on the evidence that could have been submitted or even the evidence that should have been submitted, but rather on the evidence that was in fact admitted at trial.  Based on the preponderence of that evidence, the Court is compelled to reach the conclusions set forth above and accordingly finds in favor of the defendants [DC Comics] on the issues before the court.

Looks like they won’t be getting anything from the eight seasons of best selling DVDs of Tom Welling running around in a red jacket and blue Levis.  Its a shame, but at least they are getting something from DC, it only took 60 years.

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