100 SCC Sketch Cards: 91-100 pencils

100 SCC Sketch Cards: 91-100  pencils & roughs

100 SCC Sketch Cards: 91-100 finished

Blimey! Finished! I've drawn 100 SCC sketch cards!
I've posted my reasons for choosing these guys in what became my Top 10 favourite comic book characters at the Swansea Comics Collective blog but as its the last post I'll give you the reasons here too...

 Eric Powell's tortured, tragic, ghoul-battering hero ...and man, can that Powell guy draw good...

Ah, Comics! This card marks one more reason we love you so! What other medium lets you encourage someone to "Check out my Man-Thing!" and not get arrested for it! Indeed, this being a sketch card it is far from the 'Giant-Sized Man-Things' that some have to boast about but I'm proud of it anyway...

Man-Thing is in my Top Ten for another reason, 70s Marvel was an incredible period. Most of my favourite Marvel characters were created in the wave of new titles that Marvel published in the seventies; Power Man, Iron Fist, Deathlok, Shang-Chi, Nova the Human Rocket, Ghost Rider... and the star of my next card. Any guesses?

ADAM WARLOCK, another 70s Marvel comics character and star of Jim Starlin's Magnum Opus gets the number 93 slot. When I got my first job and started visiting the Odyssey 7 comic shop in Manchester, Marvel and DC were reprinting entire runs of classic series like Neil Adam's stint on Deadman, Marshall Rogers's Detective Comics run and Jim Starlin's space-opera Warlock. It was and still is an incredible read, the story was huge taking in (literally) the whole of the Marvel Universe and introducing supporting characters like Gamora, Pip the Troll and The Magus. Unusually for a comic series it also came to a definite (if not lasting) close in two 'giant-sized' annuals co-starring the Avengers and the Thing. Man, I might go and re-read them now...

FLEX METALLO, makes it 94. Flex is really here representing Grant Morrison, the best writer in comics, bar none. I could have easily drawn someone from the massive Seven Soldiers series, or Joe The Barbarian or Seaguy or The Invisibles and I did kick myself when I realised I'd missed a chance to draw El Gaucho from Grant's run on Batman. But in the end I went for Flex Mentallo, The Master of Muscle Mystery! I did read and love the Doom Patrol when Morrison was in charge but Flex is here really for the brilliant nineties mini-series that has only recently been reprinted. I couldn't begin to give a synopsis but the combination of Morrison's script, Frank Quitely's art and Rian Hughes dynamite cover design work makes it one of my all-time favourite reads...

Number 95, THE BLACK FLAME is in my top 10 representing the Mignolaverse published at Dark Horse Comics. BPRD, Lobster Johnson, Abe Sapien, Witchfinder. All consistently the best comics in my pull list. All wonderfully plotted, scripted and woven together by Mike Mignola, John Arcudi, Scott Allie and occasional other writers,. All brilliantly illustrated by the most amazing band of artists that has included; Ryan Sook, Guy Davis, James Harren, Jason Latour, John Severin, Jason Armstrong, Tyler Crook, Cameron Stewart, Duncan Fegrado, Fábio Moon, Gabriel Bá, Ben Stenbeck, Tonci Zonjic and of course, the dynamic duo of Mike Mignola and Dave Stewart.

Thanks Mike and Dark Horse, I hope to be reading these tales for a long time to come...

As Ed Brubaker wrote in the letter column for Incognito, "The secret ingredient is Pulp" and The Crimson Avenger makes it 96 sketch cards while representing this great genre (is it a genre?).

I'm not sure when I first discovered pulp, I read all the Conan, John Carter & Tarzan paperbacks without knowing of their heritage. I learned of Black Mask when reading the forewords of the novels of Raymond Chandler & Dashiel Hammett. Finally, I got hold of a copy of Jim Steranko's History of Comics and the amazing first volume's coverage of the range of titles revealed the full history of Pulp to me and the ground work it had laid for so many comic characters.

I also chose this version of the Crimson Avenger as a nod to DC animation and the triumphant 'Justice League Unlimited' in particular.     

97 - MAN-APE
I love drawing Gorillas! Had to squeeze one into the Top Ten somehow ;)

One of my favourite comics is Fantastic Four #51 'This Man, This Monster' (you'd never have guessed right?) and the Fantastic Four was one of my first introductions to comics through their appearance in the British weekly reprint title 'Mighty World of Marvel'. John Byrne's 80s revamp was also responsible for me getting completely hooked on the 'proper' American issues. And in the Fantastic Four, Ben was always the stand out character and star of another favourite title, Marvel Two-In-One.

This card also represents the genius of Jack Kirby. It is truly amazing how much impact this one creator had on the comics industry and how many characters that he created, co-created or worked on are still around. Thanks Jack.

I mentioned the British weekly comic 'The  Mighty World of Marvel' in my last post, it was a cracking read reprinting American stories of the Hulk, the Fantastic Four and Nova among others but in March '79 it was cancelled and replaced by Hulk Comic. At first glance, it looked like it wasn't going to measure up to its predecessor, gone was the glossy cover, the standard of paper generally was worse and it was smaller. But when you looked inside... original stories by British creators such as Steve Dillon, Paul Neary, John Stokes, Dave Gibbons and John Bolton drawing such characters as The Hulk, Nick Fury and The Black Knight. Yet, best of all, was a new character, created by Steve Parkhouse and David Lloyd, Night Raven!

Night Raven was a prohibition era masked crime fighter whose every episode began 'Night time in the city...' and usually ended with the criminals left slumped in an alley with glazed eyes, a Night Raven symbol branded on their foreheads and a note pinned to their chest reading 'Where darkness spreads its evil wings... The Night Raven Stings!' It was incredible with Lloyd's inky art, the trenchcoats, fedoras, blazing revolvers and sinister hero. It was probably my first taste of Pulp, I'd always enjoyed gangster films and wrote a school project on Al Capone but this masked crime fighter was brutal. He didn't mind killing his foes or scarring them for life. Later stories, introduced Yi Yang, an oriental female warlord, and after his strips finished. His story was continued in text pieces written by Alan Moore and Jamie Delano with illustrations by Alan Davis and Paul Neary. In these tales, Night Raven, became indestructible and virtually immortal but was in constant pain and constant conflict with Yi Yang.

He appeared in a mainstream US title called 'Fury/Black Widow: Death Duty' and a mini-series called 'Nocturne' used some of his history but this story since been ruled out of canon by The Official Handbook (OTMU).

Here's hoping for a comeback soon...

Number 100 had to be special and nothing short of the Comic Book Event of the Year seemed fitting. No, not The Avengers movie, and definitely not some-over long squabble between super-types. No, the Comic Book Event of the Year is Mike Mignola's return to drawing a Hellboy Series! HELLBOY IN HELL starts in December and will continue the amazing series of stories that Mignola and Fegrado have been crafting together over the last few years.

And it's not just the Hellboy series, all the BPRD titles that Dark Horse is publishing are bang on the money, the best comics out there, bar none.

See ya in the funny papers...
This Man This Pete


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