Friday, July 29

Sharing Is Caring: Ides of March

Hoffman and Giamatti? SOLD. 

A hat rack could be playing Ryan Gosling's role. Doesn't matter. HOFFMAN AND GIAMATTI. It's West Wing with bigger-name schlubs than we got on the TV show. And I loved those schlubs. If this movie has a walk-on from Toby Ziegler, I'll have to change my pants.

Magic Week: Zatanna

Her magic trick is to spout spells backward. "Freeze in place!" becomes "ecalp ni ezeerf!" Bad guys can incapacitate her with a muzzle, and she's helpless. I'm sure there's a feminist comment there, like when Wonder Woman loses all her powers if her wrists are shackled. In recent years, she was retconned as a childhood friend of Batman, and that gave her a rationale to branch into meager detective work.

Zatanna's costume is a stage magician outfit, a big improvement over her original, vague, flowing hero drapery. That was essentially a nightgown, conveying, I dunno, mystical regalia.

Wednesday, July 27

The 'Inflated Sense of Importance' Publicity Tour

Hokey smoke.

Thanks to the article in the local paper, I've been contacted to speak about comics to the local Lions Club next Thursday. This is a surprise. I wasn't sure what I could offer a service organization in regards to a mostly solitary avocation, but I was assured I could speak on making comics and comics in general. A QnA session will follow. As will a victory lap.

Why yes, I think I will talk about the new Captain America movie. Also, Scrooge McDuck.

I will of course wear my President Science outfit to class up the joint.

President Science is ready to set you straight.

Tuesday, July 26

Magic Week: Dr. Strange

He looks like Frank Zappa. He dresses like Liberace. Of course, he's magical.

It's possible I drew this just to have an excuse to draw the Mindless Ones. Yes.

Monday, July 25

Bossk Office: Captain America

To properly assess the success of Captain America, we again look to two toy versions of our favorite bounty hunter from Empire Strikes Back.This is Bossk Office.

Chipper Bossk: Just saw Captain America. I can't remember the last time I was so delighted by a film.

Surly Bossk: Scott Pilgrim?

Chipper Bossk: Maybe Scott Pilgrim, but I didn't have the same emotional investment with that film that I do for this one. I mean, I've read Cap since I was hatched.

Surly Bossk: And they got it right? 

Chipper Bossk: So, so right. This is a fantastic boys movie. It's nothing but adventure and resolve. It's funny, it's emotional, it's ... I can't stop smiling.

Surly Bossk: It wasn't too inside?

Chipper Bossk: Didn't seem to be with the audience I was in. They had a ball. There are a lot of comic book touches here. Clearly the filmmakers embraced the source material.There's even a fantastic line referencing a similar film about Nazis and historical artifacts. As a comic geek, there was lots of little trivia bits that made me gasp with, well, I go back to 'delight.'

Surly Bossk: Maybe I shoulda seen this after all.  

Chipper Bossk: You woulda liked the Red Skull. He's got the right attitude. He's not merely cackling and cursing the hero. He's motivated and smart. A good hero demands a good villain, and we got both. This is a credible Cap. There's a fantastic scene between a pre-powered Cap and the scientist who devised his miracle growth. Just two guys in a barracks talking about motivation and hope before we get to the costume and explosions. It elevates the whole film.

Surly Bossk: So no quibbles at all? 

Chipper Bossk: I got some lingering questions. Like exactly why was the English woman so involved in an American effort? Not that I mind her presence, you understand. Also, having not seen Thor yet --

Surly Bossk: For which we are humiliated. 

Chipper Bossk: There may have been references I missed here. But the film starts with a strong connection to the same Thor playground, and I felt that was sufficient for the film's MacGuffin. And speaking of connections, for the love of Dengar, stay after the credits.

I loved this film, I tells ya. It hits home runs everywhere.

Sunday, July 24

Magic Week: Illyana

Her hero name is Magik, but Magic Week: Magik sounds weird.

So, yes, a theme week here at Heygregory, and we start with the X-Men's teenage sorceress. She tends to be evil and not just because she's a teenage girl. As she summons the soul sword, another piece of its accompanying armor materializes, conveying the incremental corruption she suffers. When the armor is complete, she will be the full-blown evil demon girl thing she has envisioned through time travel and magicky magics. Also she can teleport. Also, she's Russian. Also, she died at least once. But then virtually all the X-men have.

Thursday, July 21

Captain America Sketch

Wait, he's got a movie coming out?

Among my hometown comic gang, I am not the biggest Cap fan. By far. Two of my buddies met in a comic store, casually tossing about Cap strength trivia, and became fast friends. If my Cap interest were a candle, theirs would be the sun. Unfortunately, one is no longer with us, but I bet the other will watch this weekend's movie debut dressed in his Cap costume. And I hope he grins like a child the whole way through.

The Missus remembers the theme song to the long-ago Cap cartoon (somethingsomething mighty shield, somethingsomething yield), cementing her status as a hot mama. I had a Captain America book-and-record set featuring the son of villain Baron Zemo.

Me? I collected only a small chunk of Cap comics. This was in the mid-'80s, and Cap was one of the few regular titles carried by the drugstore next to the town grocery store. I happened onto the comic as we learned the origin to the Red Skull and saw him supposedly die of spite and old age. I later bought the title when Mark Waid and Ron Garney had their run interrupted by the Heroes Reborn event. But otherwise, no, I can't say I'm a big Cap fan.

I'll see the movie though. A WW2-era action film always catches my eye, and early reviews say this avoids the b-movie cliches of such films. Plus, the Avengers trailer after the credits is almost worth the ticket price alone.

Wednesday, July 20

Sharing Is Caring: New Spidey Trailer


The cast looks good. The suit looks good. The implication that they are again deviating from the comics is good (Want the comic? Read the comic.).

But I'm not sold on another origin movie. We got the origin on the big screen within the last ten years. His iconic beginnings are known to the mainstream audience. If the movie is only his origin story, you better have great effects/dialogue/chemistry to bolster that new product core.

Thursday, July 14

It's the New Style

After some weekend frustrations with simple sketches, I decided my art style was working against me. I had to fight the art at every level. I needed to open up the style, make it looser and more fun, and for that I looked to Adam Warren's art style (link probably NSFW). I dusted off my Empowered comics and tried my hand at emulating the style just enough to break some art habits.

It's a start. The art was much more fun to work through, and it seems more natural to thicken the lines and rely more on dark areas to build mass. It's not a final victory but a good start. I'd like to copy Warren outright only in printing finished pencils. My inking is as painful to look at as it is to do.

The moral: Make it fun. Because if you're gonna do a comic, you're gonna be drawing and drawing and drawing.

Also, I made the local paper.

Gregory Dickens works at his drawing table in his home office in Brevard. In front of him is his “serial killer wall” which holds samples of drawing, photography and other artwork that he sometimes uses for inspiration or example. Over his shoulder is a collection of science fiction and super hero action figures, also used for inspiration. (Times photos by Robbie Robertson)
Thanks to reporter Robbie Robertson for the fun interview and article.

Friday, July 8

Marvel Girl Sketch

Marvel Girl from the X-Men, seen in her classic go-go costume. Still playing with hair here.

There's some new media exposure happening soon. Check back for details.

Tuesday, July 5

Sharing Is Caring: Twist In My Sobriety

A moody '80s tune that enjoyed regular radio rotation at the time. I can't imagine this going beyond NPR's World Cafe these days.

Monday, July 4

Jedi Sketch

I promised an action pose. This isn't a specific character from a specific story, just a jedi gal leaping toward something that probably deserves to get whoop-ified.

I started this before I realized Spike would show all the Star Wars movies this week. New revelation: Harrison Ford is almost unrecognizable from the first film to the first Indiana Jones movie. I think it's because he's so much more animated in those early films and then he slid toward stoicism, now giving us only the smirk or the angry face.