Personal blog - and temporary home page until new website is finished - of writer, editor and graphic artist Christopher Mills

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Wednesday Cover: Northwest Of Earth

I'm currently reading the Paizo Press/Planet Stories edition of Northwest Of Earth, a collection of gothic space opera stories originally published in Weird Tales back in the 30s. They're written by C.L. (Catherine) Moore, a well-regarded pulpster best known for her sword & sorcery heroine Jirel of Joiry.

The Paizo Press/Planet Stories hardcover I own has a nice enough cover painting, but I prefer the vintage duotone illustration above, which graced a 50's edition of the material. I don't know who the artist is, but I really dig the Old School space opera vibe of the illustration.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Wild Adventures On Weird Worlds!

Okay, I can't resist sharing this here:

This is a preliminary sketch by artist Peter Grau, who comic fans may remember from his stint at Valiant Comics back in the 90s on titles like Solar, Man of the Atom and Secret Weapons, for a new graphic novel project we're just beginning to collaborate on.

I've been a fan of Peter's for years, and when I was an editor at Tekno*Comix in the mid-90s, I hired him to draw several issues of Mickey Spillane's Mike Danger. I've always thought that he was a terrific, underrated visual storyteller and illustrator in the classic "adventure comics" style, but I don't think that the material he was assigned at Valiant (or by me at Tekno) really played to his strengths. He basically retired from comics in the early '00s, and has been doing commercial illustration in recent years. To my great surprise, he's chosen to return to the medium for this project. I hope that this graphic novel will be a proper showcase for his talents.

I don't want to go into too many specifics about the book, but it is a retro-styled space adventure with square-jawed heroes, pretty space girls, rocketships, rayguns, aliens, monsters, robots, cavegirls (and cavemen), dinosaurs and lots of two-fisted action.

It's not intended as a spoof or pastiche, but the best, most sincere, Gardner Fox-styled, Old School space opera I can manage. Regular readers of this blog may be able to make some educated guesses as to the particulars of the project, but I'm going to try and not get too far ahead of myself this time. To often, out of enthusiasm, I've discussed comics projects here on the blog that ended up fizzling out before completion... but I feel really good about this one.

The plots are finished, and I'm starting the scripts this week; I don't know exactly how long this book will take to complete (though we're shooting for about this time next year), or even where it will end up, but - obviously - I'm very excited about it.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Wednesday Covers: Man-Wolf

Art by George Perez & Bob McLeod
Marvel's Man-Wolf was a weird character. Originally John Jameson, astronaut son of Spider-Man foil J. Jonah Jameson, he was briefly known as the super-powered "Jupiter Man," before discovering a strange, supernatural ruby on the moon, which caused him to transform into a pseudo werewolf. Later, he journeyed to an alien dimension, where he became a sword-wielding barbarian hero fighting wizards and other fantastic menaces.

Art by George Perez & Terry Austin
Anyway, I enjoyed some of those sword & sorcery-styled exploits when the character took over a couple issues of Marvel Premiere in 1978. Here are the covers to those issues, penciled by the great George Perez!

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Coast City Comic Con Is Coming

My only 2013 convention appearance will be at the Coast City Comic Con, in South Portland, Maine, the weekend of November 9th and 10th. It looks to be a surprisingly "big" show for this neck of the woods, with a bunch of notable comics guests - Mike Norton, Larry Hama, Ed McGuinness, Ben Templesmith, Erik Burnham and many others - and film/TV celebrities, including most of the Mystery Science Theater 3000 cast, and a reunion of actors from the 1984 cult film Savage Streets!

I’ll have a table in the artists alley and will have copies of my comics, graphic novels and prose anthologies on hand for purchase. I’ll try to have some Gravedigger and Perils On Planet X stuff there, too. Hope to see you there!

Monday, September 09, 2013

Return Of The Ninja

I enjoyed 2009's Ninja, starring British martial arts star Scott Adkins. It wasn't a great film, nor even particularly original, but I thought it was a better-than-average direct-to-DVD action flick, and an entertaining throwback to the 80's heyday of Cannon's classic ninja movies. Well, director Isaac Florentine and Adkins have reunited to chronicle another adventure of Occidental ninja, Casey Bowman, with the oddly-titled sequel, Ninja: Shadow Of A Tear.

From the trailer, it looks like it could be fun. I'm particularly pleased to see little Kane Kosugi all grown up and playing the evil ninja in this entry. As a child, Kane frequently appeared alongside his father, the legendary "ninja star," Sho Kosugi, on films like Revenge Of the Ninja, 9 Deaths Of The Ninja, Black Eagle and Pray For Death. His presence just adds to the nostalgia factor for me. Looking forward to this.

Wednesday, September 04, 2013

Wednesday Cover: Man O' Mars Redux

A couple weeks ago, I chose as my "Wednesday Cover" the 1953 Fiction House sci-fi one-shot, Man O' Mars. Well, that comic, featuring the heroic John Hunter of the Marsmen, has been reprinted a couple of times, including this edition from a shady outfit known as I.W. Publishing in 1958. The Grand Comics Database tentatively credits the art to Sid Check.

Whoever actually drew it, it's a terrific pulp space opera tableau, with all the elements - flying saucers, bubble helmets, rayguns, etc. - that make the genre such a personal favorite.

Sunday, September 01, 2013

This Week's Atomic Pulp Webcomics

 Here's what's going on with this week's Atomic Pulp line of free webcomics:

As noted in the previous post below, Monday debuts the the long-awaited (9 years!) Gravedigger: The Predators, by Yours Truly & Rick Burchett! For the better part of the last decade people have been telling me how much they wanted to read more Gravedigger stories, so I'm expecting a lot of hits on the site on Monday. Don't disappoint me!

On Wednesday there's the fourth installment of Femme Noir, "Blonde Justice," with art by Joe Staton, inks by Horacio Ottolini and colors by Melissa Kaercher.

And, of course, the interplanetary swashbuckler Perils On Planet X continues this Friday, with page six of Chapter 2, "Flight Into Terror." Art by Gene Gonzales with colors by Ian Sokoliwski.