Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Artist Rian Gonzales’ work on Marvel Comics’ Amazing Mary Jane

Artist Rian Gonzales’ work on Marvel Comics’ Amazing Mary Jane
By Rick Olivares

Rising cover artist Rian Gonzales has her work featured in Marvel Comics’ The Amazing Mary Jane #4 (the girlfriend and wife of Spider-Man’s Peter Parker).

Gonzales’ cover art debuted with Betty and Veronica in 2016 and since then she has seen her stylish art adorn the covers of Josie and the Pussycats, Jem and the Holograms, Marvel Rising, Spider-Geddon, and Venom.

In her latest published work, she depicts Mary Jane Watson getting dolled up by miniature versions of Spider-Man’s villains such as Kraven the Hunter, the Vulture, Doctor Octopus, and Electro.

“It’s always fun to be able to do iconic characters such as Mary Jane Watson. After all, as a young comic book reader, Spider-Man was one of my favorites,” said Gonzales during a book signing at Comic Odyssey at Eastwood Mall last Saturday, January 11, “I know it’s just a cover or a variant cover, but it is a start. It feels good when people collect your art.”

Gonzales style is a candy-themed style that while appearing to be feminine, appeals to all audiences for their striking vibrancy.

“Getting to do covers isn’t an easy one,” shared Gonzales between book signings and sketches by fans. “There has to be the right moment for the book and even the right feel to what is going on.”

Gonzales’ work will next appear on Sabrina, the Archie character who has returned to popularity with its horror-themed comic book revamp in The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina n 2014 and its wildly successful Netflix series. “That should be out soon. Probably around March or April. Then I have a couple of more works for Marvel that I cannot talk about right not. But it will be worth the wait.”

The Amazing Mary Jane #4 and back issues of Rian Gonzales’ work can be purchased at Comic Odyssey or through Filbar’s

Monday, January 13, 2020

2020 31 Days of Comics Challenge - Great Holiday Comic Starman #27

2020 31 Days of Comics Challenge - Great Holiday Comic
Starman #27
Starman has to be one of my all-time favorite comics. Although Jack Knight isn’t technically a Golden Age superh-hero (I love all these Golden Age stories), he is the son of Ted Knight, the original Starman. 

Writer James Robinson, who wrote one of the greatest stories ever in The Golden Age (although an Elseworlds tale), has the knowledge and respect for these characters and Starman is a love letter to those halcyon days.

Now, Christmas stories are pretty hard to write. Many of them are really fluff pieces. But Starman #27 isn’t.

There are two stories weaved into one here. The O-Dare family (a family of cops) in Opal City prepare Christmas for their extended family while in the other story, Jack Knight, who inherited the mantle from his older brother, David, and father, Ted, helps a mall Santa Claus find the memory of his lost family. 

It is a poignant story and only shows the heart that Jack has; one of the aspects that endeared me to this character and comic book.

It is a contrast of stories on this special evening and I’ll say they do have a lot of heart.

Friday, January 10, 2020

2020 31 Days of Comics Challenge - A Comic That Totally Blew Your Mind Daredevil #227

2020 31 Days of Comics Challenge - A Comic That Totally Blew Your Mind
Daredevil #227
By Frank Miller and David Mazzuchelli
I have read ten thousands and thousands of comic books in my lifetime. There have been a of comics that blew me away – the Neal Adams X-Men were some of the first but that was because of his awesome art. I’d say Uncanny X-Men #107 with the introduction of the Shiar Imperial Guard. Crisis On Infinite Earths also blew me away at certain parts. The Ultimates are certainly a comic that had my mouth agape. But if there is one comic storyline that I never saw coming it was Daredevil #227 that kicked off what is now known as the Born Again Saga.

From almost every page I was going like, “Oh, crap!”

Karen Page turns into a junkie. Sells out Matt Murdock.
The prose that Frank Miller wrote with Daredevil on the rooftops.
He wakes up one morning and his electricity has been turned off.
His account is frozen.
A cop testifies that Matt Murodck committed perjury.
Glorianna O’Breen breaks up with Matt.
Matt’s apartment blows up. And Matt knows it’s the Kingpin behind all this.

With every page turn there was this feeling of dread that I felt. Now I read this when this first came out and it was pure agony to wait for the next issue. What was going to happen? How will Matt/DD survive this?

I must have read the entire saga over a hundred times in my lifetime and I can quote lines and conversations from the entire series. When I read it today, it still has that same effect that it did all those long years ago. Right away, I knew I held a special comic in my hands. 

There were no Diamond Previews during this time. No internet. No promos. Nothing. Just pure storytelling. A sleeper that no one saw comic a mile away even if Miller had revitalized Daredevil.

Wednesday, January 8, 2020

2020 31 Days of Comics Challenge - Your Comfort Comic The Rocketeer

2020 31 Days of Comics Challenge - Your Comfort Comic
The Rocketeer 
The late Dave Stevens’ The Rocketeer from Pacific Comics to Comico to Dark Horse Comics are my comfort reading material.

I wasn’t fully into indie comics during my high school and college days. It seemed such an unknown thing for me then. I was intrigued by The Elementals that were sold at this stall at the top floor of the old Virra Mall. Nexus practically scream at me on the racks of Filbar’s – buy me. I held off because they didn’t seem as slickly packaged by the Big Two of Marvel and DC. 

When I saw Pacific Presents #2 at the cheap bins of Booksale at the old Fiesta Carnival, I flipped. What a cover – someone holding a jetpack but his shadow was completely different. 

It was only 10 bucks so I bought it. And I was immediately hooked. Set in 1939 right before the world plunged into a global conflagration, it was a simple adventure story that hooked me. It reminded me of those old Time and Life magazines that my grandfather collected and him of course. He was of that generation and I could really picture those dime-store Indians, Lucky Strikes, Bazooka Joes, pin-up girls, and moonshine bottles. 

It took me a long time to complete all eight issues of Dave Stevens’ The Rocketeer. And I own every version from the singles issues to all the collected editions, hardbound tomes, and even the movie adaptations. And I have the massive Artist’s Edition from IDW that cost an arm and a leg. I even have the 3-D version with an audio recording! And that film adaptation? I have the Laser Disc, DVD, Blu-Ray, VHS, VCD, DVD, and pirated copy. I have the first ever toy from ReAction to the Funko Pops. 

When I interviewed British actor Paul Bettany who played the Vision on the Avengers films, I had to ask him about how it feels to be married to an actress who came out also in a “superhero” film? That of course is his lovely wife and my eternal crush Jennifer Connelly who played Jenny (they changed the name from the comics’ Bettie) in the film version of The Rocketeer.

Reading this always brings me back to my teenage years. They remind me of my grandfather who lived through the years set in the comic book. And they too remind me that good writing and lovely art are simply timeless.