Another week, another gorgeous set of Walt Simonson’s pencils to ink. This one is one of The People of Peace.
From Walt: “‘People of Peace’ was a euphemism from folklore used to refer to those from the realm of faery. One did not name them directly for fear of offending them, as they could be quite powerful and easily provoked.”
Artist Aaron Pocock of Valiant fame put up a quick warmup sketch on Facebook tonight. Now, Aaron’s warmup sketches have more charm and style than most people’s finishes, and I really loved it: a classic Halloween pic. I asked him if he’d mind me inking it. 45 minutes later, the inks were done and I took a quick whack at some color. The result, this nice piece. Nice work, Aaron! I look forward to many more collaborations like this.
For you process junkies, the side-by-side, below. Do yourself a favor and check out Aaron’s blog. It is a thing of beauty.
When Halloween’s close, evidently I draw this character (this picture is a composite. Two on the right from last year at this time, the big one is from this year, and the little one from the year before…) Ever have one of those ideas you just can’t get out of your head?
It’s funny because I have this whole idea for a comic based on this guy who has to go off and fight monsters and demons. Two people I’ve shared it with are begging me NOT to do it. Too much like Spawn. Or Hellboy. Or Constantine. The real question is – how could it be like all of those? People are always telling me not to do stuff. What the hell?
FINALLY, the Audiobook is out!
There are now multiple ways for you to enjoy Headstones and Monuments:
Kindle, PC, Mac, iPad, iPod -
Frequently Asked Questions about Headstones? Find out more at steveogden.com/headstones!
I should say that Walter Simonson is one of my art heroes. Between him, Mike Mignola and Bill Waterson, I had some good teachers (disclaimer: none of these men taught me, per se. I’ve been copying them for years, and hopefully some of it rubs off.) I think my natural style is more closely aligned with Walt’s style, though. So, it was with pleasure I took on an exercise to ink over the pencils Walt did for his forthcoming creator-owned comic, Ragnarök. Walt’s pencils, on the left, above. My inks, such as they are, on the right.
For more on Walter Simonson’s Ragnarök, see his Ragnarök Facebook page. See you there!
In fiction, there is a principle I call The Gandalf Problem. Basically, it means one of your characters is so strong, they can rescue your protagonist from pretty much anything that happens. Think about it – nothing really bad can happen to Bilbo or Frodo so long as Gandalf is there.
The author’s solution is to pull the strong character out of the story over and over again. Next time you read or watch Lord of the Rings or The Hobbit, think about how many times Gandalf runs off to do something else and the Hobbits wind up in trouble. Notice how sometimes he shows up in the nick of time and rescues everyone, which we can assume would have happened much earlier, before the trouble began, if he’d only have remaind with them. But then, no adventure, right?
It’s an extension of something I first noticed in children’s literature a decade or so ago while I was reading Harry Potter, a concept I call The Parent Problem. When you have children as protagonists in a story (and arguably, the Hobbits are child-like) the author is tempted to remove the parents, because, once again, the parents are going to try to protect the child. So, what’s easiest? Kill off the parents. Boom. Now, the kid is free to have all the adventures they want.But, wait… now, there’s no parental figure to provide moral balance to the unleashed child.
So, it’s off to Boarding School with you. Hogwarts. There. Now, you have a parental figure, but it’s not *really* a parent. So Dumbledore is free to come and go in Harry’s life. If Dumbledore isn’t there and something bad happens to Harry, it’s not that Dumbledore is a bad father. It’s that he’s the School Master, and was busy attending to other things.
Or you have Madeline. Madeline is a girl living in some sort of group home with – apparently – a nun, Miss Clavel, overseeing her upbringing. With no parents in the way – and one nun overseeing a group of girls could be forgiven if some adventure slipped into their lives – Madeline is free to have adventures, such as they are. (NOTE: This morning, I heard an interview with the grandson of that book’s artist and author Ludwig Bemelmans’. Even though anyone reading the story would conclude Madeline takes place in a French orphanage – the girls to on a field trip to the Eiffel Tower – Bemelmans’ grandson says, “It’s not an orphanage, Miss Clavel is not a nun, and Madeline is not French.” OK. But, still… the parents are out of the way. Gandalf problem solved.)
You can listen to that interview here: http://www.npr.org/2013/10/11/230949629/at-75-shes-doing-fine-kids-still-love-their-madeline
Note Disney films by the score, who kill off or remove one or both parents so the young protagonist can go adventuring without Buzzkill Mom and Dad spoiling all the potentially lethal fun. Bambi. The Lion King. Aladdin. Snow White. Lilo and Stitch. Mowgli. Peter Pan. Google it and you will find more than I want to list here.
If the Gandalf Problem is solved by continually removing and reinserting your Most Powerful Character, then the Parent Problem is solved by killing off one or both parents.
What are some other ways you can think of to solve the Gandalf Problem or the Parent Problem?