the DoubleSplash 1

The DoubleSplash was the rage of the 80’s and 90’s. Everyone “art-ing” in major comics wanted to have at least one book where they could drive their fingers into nubs drawing mega-images of the character they loved to draw. Some would have whole books with nothing but splash, DoubleSplash or even a triple gatefold.
I was one of those guys where DoubleSplash would be as far as I can go. Because I knew ME. LORD KNOWS that I would try to fill as much of those pages as possible and although you can LOVE to draw, there’s a sense of anxiety in accomplishing it.

Sometimes, unless you really have something to prove, you just want it to be over.

But the art of the doublesplash is purely to create a mimicked experience of a broader wide-angle shot of cinematic proportions. And I’m a storytelling kind of guy. It’s a great tool. Which means whatever it takes to tell the story, i’ll accomplish it. I stopped doing pinup style splash/DoubleSplash a long time ago. And because of that, I have to think more. And draw more.

This particular DoubleSplash came from the second installment of my 2 issue run on DC Convergence: JLA Detroit. This opportunity to finally get to draw these characters fulfilled a notch on the wish list for me. And that was a “What If?” What if I drew in the ’80’s with what I knew now? And these two books were an answer to all that.

This here is the snapshot of a scene about to explode. Where I come from, they call it “things about to break off in here”. And it’s a classic tension in comics and animation/cinema. So many things can go wrong opening it up to this scale, and if you’re a person who loves a challenge, you salivate.

The Justice League of Detroit vs. The Heroes of the Tangent Universe.

This took awhile, but I dug my teeth into it. Believe it or not, composition is the thing that took the longest on this piece. I needed this to be as close to my mind’s eye as possible. And you have to know how hard that is. It’s the bane of an artist’s existence. I must have redone the concept of the page(s) 5 times before jumping in on it. It was taking FOREVER. THE PROCESS can be unforgiving.

And then again….

So are deadlines. :).

This is pages 2 and 3 without the color of the amazing SNAKEBITE.


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The Valiant connection

    it seems that another collected graphic novel from Valiant Entertainment is out now that has the collected works of many great artists that’s helped those comics become GREAT.  

You may not be able to tell with the Byline, but the Bloodshot Zero I did some time ago… My name isn’t in the credits but I figure I can add that correction here. 🙂

So as I had mega fun with that book, you should order that book and have a ton of enjoyment with those stories.  

Yes!
ChrisCross is indeed in this graphic novel!

http://www.bleedingcool.com/2015/05/20/new-arcs-for-ninjak-x-o-manowar-and-rai-in-the-valiant-solicitations-for-august-2015/

   
 

“KING”KIRBY-Forward

In honor of King Kirby, I’m posting two of his coolest monsters I did in Superman and Batman 84 before the line of books were cancelled. It’s amazing the power that still comes from his images even if you’re drawing it in your style.
 Happy Post-Birthday, Jack!
 And thanks for the billions of oodles of inspiration. 🙂
 
 #kingkirby
 #kirbymonsters
 #DC
 
 


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The SMALLVILLE warm-up

When I got the call to work on SMALLVILLE season 11 in comic form a couple of years ago,  I got excited because I thought it would be great to finally test my drawing skill in drawing likenesses in a superhero format based on what was seeded by television and established for ten years.  Mind you, A great feat by any standard.  People don’t expect a series of any sort to make it five years, which pretty much guarantees syndication, and guaranteed back money for all involved in that show, but you go ten years, we’re talking something special.  

    It’s why I wanted to push that envelope and prove I could do such great feats myself.  So I started to prep.  I went for direct likeness by collecting a half a gig in photos on my computers “SMALLVILLE file folder ” and studied the hell out of everyone to make sure I could draw them effortlessly.  I felt I accomplished the drive-by.

But I would later find out that my efforts would be in vain because the actors couldn’t have direct likenesses drawn and published.  I think it’s some weird contract thing.  I feel people should see the sketches of the actors in SMALLVILLE through my eyes. And what could have been.  

 

The PATIENT BILL LAIT

   I throw some BIG ups towards  facebooker and client Bill Lait for his patience and his understanding in the length of time it took me to finally get his commission done. 

There were a ton of obstacles…. Personal family things and deadlines …. That halted the process of this being done and he was chill through the whole period.  So when he asked me to do his Space Ghost vs Thanos Illo…. I was definitely going to add some features I normally charge for, but I figure he deserves some extra love.  Big deadlines that strangle an artist to very strict living styles is the bane of every freelancer, and THE Bill Lait took it in stride.  No worries, no fear.  

I added Blip, the squeaky monkey and unfortunately, the composition kept me from adding Jase and Jan, so I added marker tones.   

So three cheers to Bill Lait!
(Click to expand)

  

DREAMWEAVER 2: Lonnie Lowe’s E. P. I. C.

Welcome to the second installment of many DREAMWEAVER columns to come. This posting is a bit of a twist. As I’ve been taking on commissions, some have been about fulfilling a dream of drawing another artist’s character(s) as if it were being prepared to be drawn in a comic. Something like having a pro draw your stuff says many things, but for the most part, it inspired me so much , I’d go home and go create more in the hopes of actually working with these professionals on that level.
Trust me, the day you hear Walt Simonson call you “son!”, you know you’ve made it!

In any case, this is a commission that wound up turning into a cover. Lonnie Lowe Jr. is an aspiring entrepreneur who decided he wasn’t going to wait for the Big Two to snag him. He wanted to take life by the horns and create his own I. P.
He’s already ahead of the curve. A lot of people argue about not getting the dream, Lonnie is one of those that went to go make his dream happen. I can definitely help out a brother trying to do THAT regardless of anything standing in his way.

Lonnie has a concept called E. P. I. C. (Earth’s Protector in Crisis), a brand new comic series from his Indy comic book company Dark City Comics. The story centers around college sophomore Christopher “Chris”Tayborne, a young and talented archeology major, that through a series of sudden twists and turns lands his hands on one of the most powerful weapons in the known Galaxy The Alpha Bands. In the same breath he also unleashes a power back into the world that it hasn’t seen for thousands of years and has long since forgotten. Once these powers are release the planet goes from ordinary to extraordinary in a matter of minutes changing the scope of the entire globe and almost immediately creating our Alpha human population thus setting the events into place that give life to the Dark City comics Universe.

It sounds like a great action filled book ready to burn rubber.

This is his reference for me filled with other covers done and sketched costumes of the character.


See, told you! Looks like this has great potential!

So here’s the buildup of my version of his cover starting with open pencils, then inks. He has someone who colored the piece…..


All in all the cover for his concept E. P. I. C. Came out pretty well, and once again a dream fulfilled to have a seasoned pro draw his character.

If you’d like a commission, you can hit me up in the messenger area at http://www.facebook.com/chriscrossrex or email me at thunduhchild@yahoo.com, and let me weave a dream for you!

If you’d like to know more about E. P. I. C. , you can go to http://www.darkcitycomics.com

As artists and writers, let’s help each other sell each other’s dreams to those who need them. 🙂

(And click the images to expand )


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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. 🙂
 
 


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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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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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