“Today, in our field, there is so much talent and recognition that we are reaching a saturation point. An artist should no longer strive only for breathtaking craftsmanship; he should, instead, try to help us live better, either by dressing the wounds that are constantly being opened by society, or by offering solutions to get us out of the mess we’re in…But it’s going to be difficult and we have a lot of work to do.” - Jean 'Moebius' Giraud

Sunday, October 28, 2007


Took a little break and drew 'Skeletor'. I forgot the name of his cat friend. I thought it was 'Panthro' but that's wrong. That's another kind of cat - a Thundercat.

Wanna see a real Thundercat? Visit my friend NAOMI BAKER and her blog! Click on her name either in the right-hand side bar there or above. You'll find all of her development work and paintings that she does either for fun or (ready to get sick?) ...school. The woman is still in *school*. Ugh. That makes me queezy just thinking about her potential.

Anyhoo, she's awesome like you wouldn't believe. Like Panthro.

Friday, October 26, 2007

CHERRY_90 minutes

It's either 'T' or 'A' when it comes to my blog. Or both 'T&A'. This one's more 'A' than 'T'. Actually, it's more crotch, isn't it? That would make it a 'C'. And thusly 'T&A&C'. Or 'C&A&T'. That spells 'CAT'.

Nothing but CATs. It's an uneventful Friday night here in the house of smoke and mirrors, folks. Enjoy your weekend.

MORNING DEW_90 minutes

So, I finally got the sprinkler system fixed in my lawn and the reseeding is going well. Grass is beginning to sprout up and the area in front of my house (and in the back yard as well, but that is less important to the totalitarian, big brother-like governing system that's in my city) doesn't look like a total wasteland anymore. This is a good thing because the city in which I live had given me notice that my front yard, and I'm paraphrasing here, "...isn't up to par," and I that I should do something about it before they fine me.

Oh, good.

Anyway, in order to commemorate my lawn turning away from death-knell brown to spring time green (during winter season, no less) I started drawing Poison Ivy, then I realized Ivy doesn't really wear a dress or sit around being nude, so it turned into something else; a springtime tribute to my lawn during the winter season. If you haven't noticed by now she's unfinished and that's because I ran out of time. Coloring something, as opposed to just inking it, takes longer than 90 minutes to complete. That's good to know.

Have a great weekend all!

Thursday, October 18, 2007

FOR MR. BEATTY_90 minutes

Mr. John Beatty (if you don't know who this man is...well, shame on you for and go look him up, why dontcha'?!) e-mailed me a month or so ago telling me it would an interesting thing to post a small step-by-step of how I get through one of my drawings. I didn't' have time to do it then, nor do I have time to do this now, but I figured now is better than later and here we are.

Here's the WIP for one of my 90 minute exercises - as ugly and unrefined as it looks. This is actually the second of two attempts at Phoenix because the first one was stiff as hell - not to say that this one *isn't*, but I ran out of time.

STEP 1 - So yeah, here's the initial rough. "Where's the construction lines," you ask? The answer is: "I don't do them. Natch!" Well, that's a lie - I didn't do them for *this* one. There were no construction lines as the image was already pretty strong in my head. Hooray ignorant bliss! Seriously, no construction lines not because I'm cool and definitely not because I'm such a pro...but because I really don't know what I'm doing. And if you're here to learn something you can apply to your own work I have to wave you off with the biggest red flag possible; put simply - learn from better people. I am not better people. Anyhoo, I drew through her torso in order to make sure that her right hand (which her head is resting on) makes sense to be there. It kind of, sort of works - composition, the pose, her cuteness and over all balance was okay and I decided it was good enough:

STEP 2 - Now I go in and block in the spotted blacks in order to indicate a light source. Yeah sure - I cheated it, but my intent is not to capture reality (I draw cartoons not photo referenced images) but instead to give the character mass and to define contour and shape. Light sourcing and spot shadows also helps to solidify the weight and/or balance of an image. That said, it made sense to me (but don't ask me why) that the light source came from her head. I don't know if that's valid, but in Canete World it seems to make sense. The image is still rough, but at this point, I'm hoping the image in my head is as good on paper or else I'm in trouble like you wouldn't believe; I was running out of time:

STEP 3 - A step later, I add her sash and the fire bird thingee to complete the composition from the initial sketch and I got damn lucky it sort of looks like a bird. Sort of. BTW, you'll come to learn there's a whole lot of "...sort of works..." in my drawings. But whatever - I wanted to start inking:

STEP 4 thru 7 - The next four are a progression of images at different inking stages. I start with the face (just so I know whether or not she's got that 'look' that allows me to communicate her attitude - this is an important step for me and many a-drawings have been scrapped because I drew a 'dead' face on on a character) and just let the drawing progress where it takes me. It's an organic process and not at all efficient, but again...whatever. I love the inking process. It's like watching the whole thing come together. If I made mistakes in the pencilling stage - in my structure, composition, anatomy (haha!) - it's going to be so ridiculously evident when the inks are applied. Honestly, it's still a crap shoot at this point. But it's too late: time's running out and I'm definitely committed to this thing regardless of how F'ed up it is:

STEP 8 - Last one and done. I bump up the contrast and brightness in Photoshop in order to get rid of some of the grays and scribbles. And to make sure that people kind of, sort of know that it's my work, I add my little 'month + (e) + year' signature. Let me say that I despise... again... I DESPISE seeing my rough art. It feels really gross and I can't stand looking at it, so having it all inked up like this calms my neurotic soul. Here it is:

So there you go. If that bored the hell out of you then it's your fault for reading. For me it's another way to put something up on the blog that seems like I did a lot but I really didn't! Haha! Suck on that efficiency! It's the same damn image posted X amount of times and my blog is once again updated! Also, please keep in mind that I don't know what I'm talking about half of the time and the other half I'm talking out of my ass. I think this entry falls under the category of the latter. Take it all with a grain of salt.

It's all a bunch of smoke and mirrors, folks. Smoke and mirrors.

Friday, October 12, 2007


Okay, I've got a winner. The new post has been up for all of 5 minutes and I've got 20+ responses.

Geez, you guys are glutton for some Heroes punishment. God bless you all!

Enough with the e-mails already. Thanks.

IM: ETM #3_cover

Again, I got nothing new. Just didn't want to go another day without posting on the blog. IM is kicking me in the seat bottom and I'm trying my darn-dest to keep up schedule-wise. BTW, this cover has been posted around someplace, right? I hope the Marvel boys don't get upset if it hasn't.

Anyhoo - here's the cover to #3 before Dave Stewart pulled my proverbial fat out of the fryer by adding his lavish colors. Dave is the man.

Also, thanks to those who have left comments, e-mailed, and posted about how much you folks are enjoying the book thus far. It's really flattering and humbling and very gracious of you all. I am happy beyond words about the response and I hope you continue buying the book.

Aside from that, I hope you all have a great weekend!

Ah, wait! I *just* finished the 'Heroes' Season 1 DVD box set. Remember when I said I realized why everyone was on its jock, and it's an enjoyable show, and blah, blah, blah? Yeah, well that was all horse sh*t. The show is so full of plot holes (gaping, obscene plot holes) that I could barely get through this 6 (or was it 7? Ugh, really? 7? It took 7 discs to tell this story that could've wrapped up in 5 episodes? Ugh.) disc blunder. And plot holes is only the least of it's crimes! I'd like to get rid of this thing as soon as I can - and that's saying A LOT considering that I have more than a few terrible/questionable movies in my collection. That said, and especially because of my *glowing* review, if you'd like to have this set for your very own collection, drop me a note and I'll send it out to you. It's on me. Seriously. That's how much I dislike this show. So if you don't mind a slightly used, but gently handled DVD box set of Heroes: The Season 1, and you live in the continental United States (you know - 'cause this thing is Region 1 coded and all), send me out an e-mail with your mailing address and I'll get this damn thing out to you ASAP. For free. Seriously. That's how much I despised this show. I just figured I'd pay it forward to someone who may find enjoyment in NBC's 'original' programming. I only got this one set so the first one to claim it is the... um... lucky(?)... um... winner. So, yeah... I'll send it out to you. Immediately. Seriously. Take it. You really should. Please.

All right - *now* have a GREAT weekend.

Friday, October 05, 2007

IM: ETM#2_reviews

I've got nothing new for today except for this little ditty I drew after I got an email from an enthusiastic fan that had a bunch of compiled reviews from both ETM #1 and #2. Very nice of your, sir. Much appreciated.

But my masochistic side thought, "Well, they can't all be positive, right? Let's try to find some of the ones that aren't as high on the praise, shall we?"

And thus was born the first few entries of today's blog. While I appreciate the rest of the reviews which are genuinely wholly positive, enthusiastic, etc...one of my personal favorites is the one where the guy said I can't draw feet to save my life. Which has been a personal shame of mine since forever and have lost several lives over the fact. I've just never been called out on it before. Oh, thank you sir, for airing my dirty little secret so now I may try to live my non-feet drawing life without such a hidden shame. Thank you!

Seriously though - thanks to all that have said such tremendously kind words about the book thus far, either through message boards (which I've only recently become privy to - there's that much talk over comics and how they don't fit into continuity? Geez, people...c'mon!) or via direct e-mails to me. You are all awesome in my book. BTW, the project has only been as great as it has been because of the great people associated with it. Much love and KUDOS to Joe Casey, Dave Stewart, Thomas Brennan, and Stephen Wacker These guys are a riot to work for.

BTW, Iron Man: Enter the Mandarin #2 came out today. Please go pick it up and watch the Golden Avenger duke it out with a really mongoloid looking Mandarin. I'd certainly appreciate the support.

Okay, here are those reviews:




The Mandarin is by far my least favorite character in all of comics and Eric Canete will always be the crappy artist who took over Mr. Majestic after McGuiness left.


Iron Man: Enter: The Mandarin #1 (of 6)

Writer: Joe Casey; Artist: Eric Canete

By Phil Mateer

Marvel, obviously, would like a few stand-alone trades ready for the movie, ones that don’t need explanations involving the words “S.H.I.E.L.D” or “Civil War,” and it’s logical to have one with the Mandarin’s origin. Casey is good at this retro-continuity stuff; Tony’s in the Avengers, and everyone still thinks Iron Man is his bodyguard, but the electronics are reasonably current, and the timeline is within the last ten years or so (the Mandarin’s still a Chinese warlord who boosted his rings off of an alien spaceship in the 1950s). Competent, and it moves along well enough, but the art is better at the page design and tech than it is at actual figure drawing (for example: Canete can’t draw feet to save his life — look at the book’s final panel), and I’ve already read versions of this origin a couple of times before, so it’s easy to pass on this one.


Iron Man: Enter the Mandarin #1

Posted: Friday, September 7

y: Kevin Powers

Writer: Joe Casey
Artist: Eric Canete Published by: Marvel Comics

The new Iron Man trailer will be debuting in a few days and as anyone who saw the ComicCon footage knows, this movie has he potential to be Marvel’s best. I personally can’t wait. With Marvel in full creative control of the film, the possibilities are endless, not to mention Sam Jackson will be Nick Fury. There is one aspect of this film that has left me completely baffled. While Obadiah Stone/Iron-Monger seems like a very plausible villain, I’m surprised that there hasn’t been much speculation or wonder about the Mandarin. I’ll be interested to see how this plays out, especially with this week’s release of Iron Man: Enter the Mandarin. I know that the main Iron Man book is gearing up for the Mandarin’s big return, but this series, as well as the main series, will feature the Mandarin coinciding with the film’s release in February. While director Jon Favreau has stated the characters presence will be felt, I hope it is done so in a manner that makes any possible sequel a “can’t miss.”
Iron Man: Enter the Mandarin is a unique way to introduce readers to the power and the influence of the Mandarin. For younger readers it is especially so because the style of artwork resembles that anime-style kids’ love. Honestly, one of the things to really grab me was the cover art. The cover is fantastic, reminiscent of pulp heroes and an older 40’s style of work. The cover also shares a resemblance to one of the finer “modern pulp” films of my generation, The Rocketeer. Nonetheless, this style of cover looks quite fantastic. Joe Casey does something with this story I really didn’t expect. To be honest, I didn’t expect a whole lot from this issue other than a re-telling of the Mandarin’s origin and Iron Man’s first meeting with him. Casey goes a different route; the Mandarin already exists and S.H.I.E.L.D. has recruited Iron Man to investigate the villain’s influence in China. It seems simple enough but Casey makes the wise choice in setting this tale in a more modern environment. There’s e-mail, modern spy equipment, and a B-2 Stealth Bomber. This works well not only for younger readers, but for regular Shell Head fans as the story is given the feeling that it’s happened in the past twenty years and can be utilized in the modern Iron Man stories. This story is and isn’t something special. It’s not special in the fact that it doesn’t seem like it will break any new ground in terms of Iron Man and the Mandarin. But this title is very special in that it takes the classic iterations of both characters and pits them against one another for the “first time.” The Mandarin is going through some physical changes in the main Iron Man series, and to see the classic version of the character in action is really fun. The dialogue he spits also fits true to the character, exerting his power over the communist regime in China. Casey manages to show both a reasonable and overly-aggressive character in the Mandarin that fits well with the character’s ancestral ties to Genghis Khan. I am not the biggest fan of the artwork in this issue. A lot of that comes from my distaste for the anime-style being in American comics. I’m not a fan at all of manga and that can often sway my opinions on certain matters. While the style here isn’t completely manga, it’s just not my cup of tea. I will say though, that the Mandarin looks fantastic in his classic robe. While this story may not be completely mind-blowing, it’s a whole lot of fun. It’s got the potential to be entertaining and exciting and that’s really all one can ask for from a series pitting two classic arch-enemies against one another. I hope Casey can keep the exciting and energetic tone that this issue established, as I feel this series will definitely be a fun experience.



Review by: Blake M. Petit Blake@comixtreme.com

Quick Rating: Good

Rating: A

Iron Man faces the Mandarin in their first battle!

Writer: Joe Casey Pencils: Eric Canete Colors: Dave Stewart Letters: Comicraft Editor: Stephen Wacker Cover Art: Eric Canete Publisher: Marvel Comics

Joe Casey’s career path seems to have lead him to a comfortable niche in the past, telling stories of the early years of various Marvel characters, and Enter: The Mandarin is proving to be a quite worthy addition to that line-up. This issue, Iron Man meets his arch-foe, the Mandarin, for the first time, and the battle doesn’t necessarily go the Golden Avenger’s way. The story isn’t bad (although, like I mentioned last month, I still question the real need for a Mandarin miniseries), but for me, the artwork is the real selling point. I really like Canete’s work – beautiful, fluid and full of energy. He has a distinct retro feel, but whenever he brings in modern elements like Tony’s high-tech lab, or even the series of e-mails he trades with Pepper Potts, it doesn’t feel out of place. While it’s unlikely that anyone but serious Iron Man fans (if there are any left) will pick up this miniseries, it’s a fun little book that’s worth looking at for anyone who enjoys a book with a nice Silver Age/early Bronze Age feel to it, and particularly satisfying for those of us unhappy with the way Tony’s being portrayed in the modern comics these days.



Joe Casey writes, Eric Canete draws, and while I'm not sure what the point is (which, sadly, is a feeling I get with most of Casey's Marvel work) , it's charming in its own way.
Basically updating the Mandarin's origin story, but in a way that we don't even see most of it (!), this shows Iron Man being asked to investigate some mysterious new power broker in China (guess who), Mandarin telling the Chinese government that he's more powerful than they are (and that takes waaaaaaay too long), and IM and Mandy getting ready to throw down by issue's end. I mentioned early on that it's charming, right? That's due almost entirely to Eric Canete's artwork, which is so different from your standard superhero fare that it reminds me more of something you'd see in Mad Magazine, believe it or not (and I'm thinking of a specific MAD artist, but damned if I can remember his name). And I think it works beautifully, really setting itself apart style-wise. Best Moment: Seeing Tony, Happy, Pepper and company interacting like we're used to seeing them, back in the day. This is definitely old-school. Worst Moment: That whole pissing match between Mandy and the Chinese generals could have (and probably should have) been done in one page. Comic Book Goodness: 3/5. Interested to see how they're getting 6 issues out of this, I love the artwork, and it's old-school Iron Man. Yeah, I'm on board.


Iron Man: Enter the Mandarin #2 Review

Iron Man and his archenemy throw down old-school style.
by Jesse Schedeen Comics like Iron Man: Enter the Mandarin exist for a reason. Comics were comparatively silly back in the day. Any character who was introduced longer than 20 years ago probably came onto the scene with a frantic one-page introduction sequence full of arcane dialog. Modern comics are useful as a means of going back and re-exploring these origin stories in greater depth and with more mature sensibilities. The Fantastic Four didn't just spring to life while a gaggle of well-groomed children stood around licking over-sized lollipops and saying, "Gee, mister. That rocky skin of yours sure is swell!" Joe Casey understands this. Last year he revamped the FF's origin with Fantastic Four: First Family, and this year he's doing the same to the Mandarin. Of all the many Marvel villains, the Mandarin is perhaps most in need of a revamp. For me, the character has dangerously skirted the line between credible counterpoint to Tony Stark and poorly realized caricature. I like what the Knaufs have been doing with Mandarin in the ongoing Iron Man series, but it doesn't really change what's come before. Casey's Mandarin is a man who discovered great power in the form of an alien spaceship, and now some fifty years later has become a major force in Chinese politics. It's not political intrigue on the level of something like Checkmate, but it's a darn sight better than having Mandarin twirl his mustache and threaten to blow up 20 orphanages if the U.S. government doesn't pay him one billion dollars. Interestingly, Casey downplays the dynamic of good versus evil. Despite his sinister overtones, Mandarin doesn't exactly instigate the conflict with Iron Man. Instead, Stark agrees to be part of a covert military operation that goes awry. This issue showcases the first real fight between the two. Yes, even in this day and age, superheroes and villains often solve their difference with fist fights. One thing to notice during the many pages of fight scenes is Eric Canete's art. The cartoony, bombastic pencils are about as far as you an get from the very realistic tone of the Iron Man ongoing, but they aren't a bad fit for this comic. Despite its mission to modernize a classic Marvel story, this comic is very much a throwback to the "good old days." If a post-Civil War Tony Stark rubs you the wrong way, this comic will give you a glimpse of Iron Man before his armor got all tarnished.

RATING: 8.1 out of 10


Iron Man: Enter the Mandarin #2
Writer: Joe Casey Artist: Eric Canete Colorist: Dave Stewart Letterer: Comicraft Cover: Eric Canete

Review: Tim Glancy

Last week, while reviewing Iron Man #22, I went on somewhat of a rant about Iron Man's place in the current Marvel Universe. In short, I was rather frustrated that he went from being a pretty fun, but flawed, character, to a supremely powerful character that never loses a fight. This was exceptionally hard for me to take, because I was, and am, a pretty large Iron Man fan. I see the need to involve Iron Man in a lot of books and all over the line right now, because there is a huge movie coming out next May starring the Golden Avenger. And, unlike Spider-Man and the X-Men who were huge worldwide long before their movies, Iron Man is of a lower profile, so he could really use the exposure he's been receiving over the last two-ish years.
However, it seems that Marvel may have realized they are alienating a certain percentage of Iron Man fans. First there was Marvel Adventures Iron Man which harkened back to Iron Man's old, tech-based adventures. The drama and continuity might be missing, but it's really a fun book with lots of action. And now, with Enter the Mandarin, Marvel has reached back into the character's history and is allowing us to revisit the never before seen first battle between Iron Man and his greatest villain, the Mandarin. Joe Casey handles the writing chores here, and does a tremendous job of taking a story that we can all assume the outcome of and makes it feel exciting and fresh. Casey has long been a favorite of mine, especially his runs on The Adventures of Superman and G.I. Joe: America's Elite. Casey has a great way of humanizing characters, even Superman, and he does a great job of that here as well. We get to see Tony Stark get his ass kicked and we see how he deals with that, which is something that you would not see nowadays. Casey breathes life not only into Stark, but also Mandarin and another longtime Iron Man villain (who will remain nameless to not spoil the book for anyone). He also gives us an interesting reason to care about these characters. Mandarin, like all good villains, is only evil because of his methods, not because of his intentions. And Casey really puts that on display here, fleshing out a character who's often referred to as "that guy with all the rings." From the plot to the pacing to the dialog, every bit of writing is handled tremendously well. The art, while different from what you will see in any other superhero book, is just spectacular. There is really an old school feeling in the rough look, but an overall polish that makes the art standout from the rest of the pack. Eric Canete is someone who I had never even heard of before this book, but rest assured that I will be looking for more of his work in the future. His style is just so unique and attention-grabbing. He handles every aspect well, from the action to the details and even to the cover (which is tremendous). He really needs to have his worked seen and spotlighted. I hope that Canete continues to work with Dave Stewart on colors, because the colors really compliment the art. As a whole, this book is just a fun romp and a pretty good story as well. The only negative that I can think of is the lack of long-term effects that will come out of this book. Therefore, I have to give two recommendations. If you are in a place where buying one more book won't kill your financial standing, then please buy this book, because it is just so damn fun. However, if you are in the same boat I am in and your comic buying is severely limited, please borrow this from a friend. After reading it, you just might drop another comic for this one.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

BABS, HARLEY & PAM_commission

I've got to get a new, large format scanner just as soon as I can afford it. The one I have now isn't very good. I'm sure I could make-do with slapping a larger image end over end using a standard sized scanner, but it starts to become really inconvenient when it comes time to compositing it on Photoshop, then cutting and trimming and blah, blah, blah. I mean, this image isn't all that detailed but the finer points are totally blurred out because the large format scanner I have doesn't do it's job very well. Ugh! Such an annoyance - when things that don't work as well as they should!

Heh. I'm laughing at myself because I'm griping on my own blog. It's like talking to myself, but not as many funny noises.

Anyhoo...I'll upload another, better quality scan later when I get the...

You know what? I'm gonna re-scan it right now using the other scanner. Hold on a minute....

Okay, cool. All done. And here you go.

Yep, I've definitely gone mental.