DREAMWEAVER: part one, TITAN BLACK

This is going to be a running column on my blog where I do art commissions that inspire. This particular blog column will be focused on those who ask me to draw their own made up character to fulfill a dream where they get to see a professional comic artist realize their characters. I’ve done a couple so far and the first I’ll post is one from a cool guy named Scott Blake on Facebook.
 
  He created and copyrighted a character that he called Titan Black. A cyborg hybrid he has been creating and recreating over the years.
 
  I remember how good it felt and the inspiration born in me when I went to a small con in NY with my homeboys Joe Illidge, Buzz, And Ceasar way back in the days and I brought some art to get a crit from whoever was there. Kyle Baker was there at a table, super young and artistic looking, and really friendly. I showed him a small Superman sketch I modeled after THE Neal Adams and he was so impressed he started inking it right there. Back then, Kyle was just starting out as an inker and he was amazing. Still is. But he did it so quickly and did it so well that I must have been flying in my mind for days.
  It was that “I just drew Superman for DC and inks were by Kyle Baker” fantasy that kept me so juiced that all I did was draw after that.
 
  So I want to pass along that premise. As part of my commissioning, I also take amateur drawing of artist’s attempt at drawing their own heroes or villains and draw them with my take on them. For the normal rates I charge in commissions, of course.
 
  This one was drawn by an aspiring artist named Scott Blake.


He wanted my take on the character, I’m sure one of many….
 … With the assurance that I’m not remaking that drawing, just using my technique and ability to replicate it.
 
 I think it’s a great vehicle to keep people drawing and creating. If they see someone who made it using their skills to give their own imagination credence.
 
 This was my take and he really enjoyed it. If you’re interested in having me do commissions for you, you can always hit me up on Facebook in the messenger section (Www.facebook.com/chriscrossrex) or my email at thunduhchild@yahoo.com.
 
 We can discuss rates and protocols and you’ll always get my best effort.
 
 TITAN BLACK.
 


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So…. Coming back to The Future–ians….

Sometime ago I learned that Dave Cockrum’s The Futurians were coming back to life through the hands of one Clifford Meth. The Futurians always puzzled me as a book, but I always enjoyed it. So Clifford, in an effort to bring back some of Cockrum’s legacies downright, created a Kickstarter fund for the project.
 
  Now, you have to understand I have a bucket list of projects I’ve wanted to work on. SHAZAM! Is one of them. The Futurians are in the high twenties. (Yes… They are numbered in order in my mind. ) and since I’m figuring that they’ve already got someone for the title, I figured I’d donate some art to the cause. I’m usually so busy that I don’t have time to do something like that,so you have to also understand what MOTIVATION means in my visual dictionary. I thought also that I could get Bob Wiacek, a legendary inker in the industry who was/is working on the project, to ink this piece I’m about to repost. Once I finished the art, and sent it to Bob, I couldn’t wait to see his lines on my work. I mean, dude….
 …… It was going to be for free in one aspect… Because he’s inking the book… And in another aspect, this man has inked Paul Smith, John Romita Jr. And John Byrne.
 
 I simply had to know what his talent jamming with mine would look like.
 
 But after a week and a half, going on two, I suddenly realized that Bob was getting swamped under the weight of his own work concerning The Futurians, and that his working on my piece was going to be a fast and furious pipe dream. And I needed to see it done, so I wound up inking it myself.
 
  I guess we can’t get what we want all the time. But I understand the situation. Trust me. BELIEVE me, paying work before pleasure work.
 
 So here it is, my inks on an INSPIRED piece of art for a book that I hope will create great steam in the industry in the near….. Well… The FUTURE!
 
 Hope yuh likes. 🙂
 
 


– Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Dreams made in LIGHT

There are many people that have a job they go to every day, and then there are people who work for a living. Some people have jobs that make great money, but they hate the foundation it was built on. To the point where after a time, they leave that job to get the WORK they’ve always wanted to be a part of. Some WORK and enjoy it so much that they’d do it for free. And with the amount of money they make doing it…. It might as well be.

But every once in awhile the concept of making money and doing great work agree to shake hands. It’s what we’re all willing to be a part of in this here ‘Merikkuh.

I always knew what I wanted to do ever since I was a kid. When it wasn’t architecture or creating cars on paper, it was drawing stories.
When I was in public school, myself and about six other guys loved comics so much, we created our own comics lines and raced to see how many complete stories we could do in a year. The one who did the most would partner up to do a crossover event that would merge our universes together for a time. And that was the sense of fun I wanted to have getting into the world of professional comics.

Here’s the thing: even though I was told by even my best friends at the time that I’d never make it to draw for the Big 2-(Marvel/DC), and trust me… They weren’t my friends anymore after that was said,…. I never had a doubt that I wouldn’t just make it, but that I’d be good enough so that other people in the business would take notice as well. And I knew it would take work.

When I made it to the last year of high school (Abraham Lincoln High School in Coney Island) back in ’86, I heard some classmates talk about going to some art showing out in by the comic book club in The School of Art and Design, another great high school in Manhattan. I wanted to go there but it was outside my zoning and you needed a certain test level to go to schools outside your zone at that time.

I went on a Friday afternoon to this school and this is where I met Aldrin (Buzz) Aw, Joseph Illidge, El Marable, Caesar Antomattei, and a slew of great artists. Even at that time, they were all at great levels and any of us could have been snatched up into Marvel or DC or even the Indy market at any time. But as we got to know more of each other, we all started creating our own stories. Our own books, which immediately reminded me of when I was in junior high.

And we all learned the art of the hustle. At some point, Joe Illidge and Caesar became staffers at Milestone Media and then publisher of comics like Vampirella, Harris Comics…. And Buzz was actually drawing some issues of Justice Society of America for DC… I bumped into a great man named Brian David Marshall who was an aspiring comics writer …. Who gave me a chance to draw from original scripts as we planned on doing creator owned material from the start of the Image Comics fire that was started in the industry.

As I built up my portfolio, I was told that Milestone was looking for artists to help push their brand new comics line… And as I went to investigate, I bump into Joseph illidge. He was an assistant editor at Milestone then. As we re-established our friendship, he always talked about this burning need to get some writing off his chest and we both thought how cool it would be to do it on the pro level. When I discovered that my days of working with Milestone would be done, I sought out freelancing gigs through DC.

One of Joe and I ‘s mutual friends, Alisande Morales, was an assistant editor on a couple of projects and sought out to hook me up with one as a tryout. Little did I know that Illidge had already succeeded in getting one of his scripts okayed by the people at DC.

The moment I saw his name on the script, I immediately jumped for it. It was kinda this promise made without words: “if either of us makes it first, open a door to let us in.”

The moment I got the word that it was good to jump on the script, I called Ali to get Caesar to ink the pages. I just thought it would be great that the first project in DC comics should be done by the same guys who dreamed the same wavelength I did since I started drawing and writing comics for myself in junior high. Joe,Caesar, Buzz, myself…. We all talked about doing these things in group sessions and I figured if there’s going to be a circle of life to this thing, let’s start with the same men who all dreamed in comic book club from Art and Design.

It hadn’t hit any of us three until we actually did the deed. We dreamed and accomplished our goal. And never ONCE fretted or wondered about it. We just dreamed it and went to go get it. Coupled with agents of opportunities serving us the ride.

We became a part of an official march in DC…. Showcasing our abilities to present a spin on a character rarely used. A female, a person of color and a superhero. All in one.

DR. LIGHT.

AND SO the foray into the Big 2 started…..

…. With my best homeboys.

As of right now, Joseph, Caesar, Buzz, and myself are always seeking more pathways for further success. Joe is a partner with Shawn Martinbrough and Milo Stone with their company called Verge Entertainment, I’m a CEO and Owner of my own startup called Eternal Kick with partner Vito Delsante and two irreplaceable associates in Elina Nulman and Mitch Gross…. As we’re working hard to produce our own projects soon…. ” Buzz”Aldrin Is ruling the ComiCon circuit as usual and Caesar Has his own plans…… But
The cool thing about accomplishing a first step in your dream is that in a world full of excuses, it’s a light that will always shine in memory.

Some people had jobs, got paid and hated its existence. And some had work and loved it so much even if the money didn’t measure. They’d do it for free.

Never give up your dreams.
And never let anyone extinguish your light.

Ever.

Hope you like what Joseph, Myself and Caesar started….
….. In case you missed it. 😉


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APRIL/MAY PAST AND THE FUTURIANS

There was a lot, i mean a LOT, going on in April that easily leaked into May as far as crappy negative situations could go. I’m on a major deadline with a company called Kingstone Media, and getting some creator-owned work done when i hear my brother is in the hospital with a brain injury.
The “why’s” and “how’s don’t really matter, but nevertheless, i had to break away from the table to go see my baby bro.

After traveling long distances back and forth to see him, my work time is getting cut into because of wedding stuff…..

(Oh yeah. Im getting married in June )

And things that have to have my artistic touches there need me to let go of the deadline for the night. Then tastings galore and dee-jays and photogs… Then running back and forth to my fiancees home…..

And then my brother leaves the hospital. His first thing to do after a brain injury…..
GO SEE CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE WINTER SOLDIER.

WHICH I STILL HAVENT SEEN YET.

Trying to catch up with work while things start to die down and then another BOOM :…..

My mom is in the hospital now. Even DIES for a couple of seconds on the table in the Ct Scanning room.

Now my brain is shut down.

TOTALLY.

IT WILL NOT START.

My other obligations are on the backburner at this point while I’m privately freaking out inside myself thinking to myself how i’m NOT READY TO LOSE MY MOM….

Lord, Don’t take her home yet. Not the Upper Room. She has to see me get married first. I said that about my grandmother for years. That she couldn’t go to the Lord until i got married. It was a semi-joke, of course….

Accent on the Semi…..

But who thought i’d be dealing with back to back family members going to the same hospital two weeks apart from each other? Or that i’d be talking to my 92 year old grandmother about her daughter in the hospital after years of my semi-joking about not losing her?

I needed a mental break. I put everything down. Knowing my deadline was looming.

And then Dave Cockrum.

Some guy named Clifford Meth…

I kid you not.

METH.

….. Seems to have gotten his hands on a dream book of mine. the Futurians.

Dave Cockrum’s superteam fresh from the X-men and Legionnaire’s thought process, in my opinion…. And Meth was getting high powered artists to donate art to the project in honor of Cockrum.

To those who don’t know, Dave Cockrum was the legend that created the New X-men… A team that comprised of Cyclops, And new additions and the first appearances of Storm, Banshee, Colossus, NightCrawler, Wolverine (Fresh from his own debut in the Hulk) and ThunderBird. And Cockrum recreated the now iconic looks for all the characters.

Well this man created The Futurians. And when he got sick and then died, i wanted to own the IP to do the Cockrum name justice and really push his characters into the forefront. It appears that i was beat to the punch.

I wanted to escape my present mental freeze so i stayed off the project I’m working on and chose to do a pinup for Meth and join in with other artists who were going to do The Futurians concept proud.

So i hit Meth up and told him i was joining in …..

And escaped long enough to produce this….!

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The great Bob Wiacek is going to ink this.

I cant wait! When he does, I’ll post it here.

In other news, my mom is home but not totally out of the woods… But improving.

And that one pinup jumpstarted my brain again.

Btw. I still want this IP.

I want it. 😉

RED CIRCLING

I never really saw myself working with Archie when I was young and first starting in the medium. And I don’t regret chasing them down either. One thing you learn in the medium is to never have a light nose filled with derision when it comes to where you work. As long as it pays, pal. That’s the freelancer credo.

And having fun on projects.

When I heard that Archie had reacquired the Red Circle characters, something in me jumped for joy.

They’re back.

They’re going to get a new lease on life.

And I wanted to get to draw them at least ONCE.

SO… I called up the Editor in Chief after much due diligence and availed of my services.

And this was the result.

And I hope you liked it.

Cuz I had FUN.

THIS batch of heroes are the NEW Crusaders.

And I wanted the new incantation of these guys to feel like a cool ’80’s cartoon. Much like I did with the Mighty 7 cover.

Ah, the ’80’s.

You kids missed the best decade ever. 🙂

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CapMarv’s QUANTUM LEAP 1999

Yup. It’s been awhile since i’ve seen my buddies Genis-Vell and Rick Jones. Im looking around for some reference and lo and behold, i bump into this cover. I thought I had actually sold this one by my art agent Mark Hay. This was a cool time in my career.

When i finished draw The Slingers for Marvel, I git a call-in from Tom Brevoort and he was looking for an artist for a new Captain Marvel. To show you how eerie this is, i remember the series before i started the one that seems to still be popular and i used to buy it as a fan… But no way did i ever realize that i would be working on something that would be a big canon in Marvel history. Heck, i was more into getting paid. :). I just wanted to jump on something where i could flex. I don’t get to do that often. There’s either hurried deadlines or not enough info… But i got to play around with CapMarv for a long time. Like 3 years. Even with the enhanced reboot i did four issues on.

This cover for issue #25 was in the middle of the Avengers Forever run. A future Rick Jones who apparently got the wrong end of a fight with a Skrull, i think. But with this particular Rick, i got to do some really great acting and storytelling. Especially with a potential orgy scene… Yes… I said ORGY…. With a bunch of green skinned female concubines from another dimension.

Anibal Rodriguez, who inked me on the cover, did a bang up job. Its influenced by the intro of Quantum Leap…. And since I wasn’t using computers then, now that i’ve scanned this image, i felt the need to update the cover by adding some things that i probably would have done when i worked on it had i had my Mac….

Not much.

Just a flare or two. :).

Hope yuh likes. 🙂

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The Mighty 7

Sometime ago, Vito Delsante and I , we who are (were) partners at my company ETERNAL KICK, were in talks with The Great Archie Publications about working with the Great STAN LEE And his Mighty 7.

Something we wanted to really work on and hopefully retool so that the mightiness of Stan Lee continued on….
…. But after a year of negotiations, it didn’t pan out. It was kind of one of those losses you just snap your fingers and suck your teeth and go, “Awww, MaaaAAAAaaannn…”

…but…

…we’re still in talks with Archie for some other cool stuff. And I’ll let you know when things are completed and greenlit.

** which also didn’t pan out**

but…. That means you get to see the cover we had worked out that would double as a campaign poster!

And I never hold things back from the fans. Not if I can help it, anyway…

What…? You never seen a hypocrite before?:)

Well this hypocrite comes bearing art. I hope you likes.

The first cover:

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And here’s the cover concept that was supposed to be the first … Or second… Eh… Who cares…:)

It never got done, but it think it would have been iconic…!

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EXES AND OHHZZZ

I’ve been waiting to post this for awhile. And also I’ve been eager to see what my version of X-O Man-O-War would ever look like. I wanted to have fun with it and I wanted to set a tone.

explosions.
EXPLOSIONS!

Yes!

I can be your Michael Bay! One can never have to any bursts of light or smoke….. BIG SMOKE… In a comic cover. And if someone complains..

TOO BAD….!

…it won’t be the last of it!

Avoid those beams everywhere around you, X-O!
They’re just JEALOUS!

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Lost Tribe on small Island in the Indian Ocean remain virtually untouched by modern civilization.

I’m always looking for new material and untouched history as great “canon” fodder for conceptual design for characters and stories. Ive been looking for a culture that would fit in step with one of my characters i’ve been developing ….

One I can use history/culturally/technologywise and just run with it.

I think ive found it.

The Sentinelise and the Andamanese.

Lots to dream over. And lots to make sense of. When i started working with Milestone Media in 1993, fresh from SVA, i was opened to a world where any culture was ready for an imaginative fingerprint…. Something to be read, absorbed and reimagined for the interest of the world to partake.

The term “negrito” meaning “little black” literally was a moniker coined for denizens leaving Africa to forge another way of life in other shores. They stepped out of their comfort zone from one continent to see what was to be explored in the rest of the world. Which is why i laughed my head off when i realized we as students were being duped in high school when we were told of the voyages of Amerigo Vespucci and Christopher Columbus and their “discoveries”.

Can’t discover something that always knew it was there.

I thought i would post this so anyone who wants to have a key into my head would get an idea of the seeds of my imagining process.

So, if youre perusing my blog, stop here and check out an indegenious people unfettered and untouched by the weirdness of our societies.

Lost Tribe on small Island in the Indian Ocean remain virtually untouched by modern civilization..

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BLOODSHOT AND THE H.A.R.D.CORPS 16 cover

Lately, I haven’t gotten cover assignments often.

Don’t think i understand that yet, but its not a big deal.

But when i do get a chance to do one, i like to rock the ‘ose.

I’ve always been intrigued with Bloodshot from way back in the days when Valiant started just as i was moving in full sway with Milestone. When i got the chance to work with Warren Simons (editor in chief at Valiant) , we had been talking about doing some really great work concerning the new direction of the Valiant staple of characters. When he said he wanted me to come up with a great cover for Bloodshot…. I chomped at the bit happily.

Now understand, the cover art on this book is primo and with the likes of super detailed and hyper realistic techniques of Mico Suayan and Grandpa!, i needed to make sure i left my imprint.

Create some WOW factor.

I think i did it. And i had fun with it. 🙂

Don’t push me out to pasteur YET.

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