Showing posts with label Bill Sienkiewicz. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Bill Sienkiewicz. Show all posts

Sunday, 2 March 2014

Bill Sienkiewicz's Moon Roach

Convention Sketch
By Bill Sienkiewicz & Dave Sim
(from The Art Of Bill Sienkiewicz, 2 November 2013)
...Sienkiewicz began his pro career at Marvel, his style on Moon Knight very quickly shifting from something very influenced by Neal Adams to something far more expressive, and it's this extreme expression most people will think of when you mention Sienkiewicz's name. From here it was on to various projects; Marvel Comics' New Mutants, DC Comics' The Shadow, and on to various other publishers. Famously he produced the first couple of issues of Alan Moore's lost epic Big Numbers, before leaving the project. Sienkiewicz's work is still as visually interesting as it’s always been, mot recently seen in the pages of Brian Michael Bendis' Daredevil: End Of Days….

(Image via Brian Coppola. Thanks!)

Monday, 27 January 2014

Thursday, 10 October 2013

All Time Favourite: Stray Toasters

Stray Toasters (1988)
by Bill Sienkiewicz
(from 100 Internet Tour at MillarWorld, February 2008)
...I'd have to go with Bill Sienkiewicz's STRAY TOASTERS. You can read the whole thing or you can read any three or four pages and get full value for your reading/viewing investment of time. I like his and Frank's ELEKTRA ASSASSIN, too, but mostly as the precursor to STRAY TOASTERS...

(from The Blog & Mail, August 2007)
...Am I the only person who loved this book? It was a little hard to follow in spots but I think Bill did a heck of a job on the lunatic interior landscape(s) he was shooting for. Everyone in the book from the psychiatrist on out is severely dysfunctional. Depending on how you look at it, that's either wonderful comedy or wonderful tragedy. But I did - and do - think it was wonderful...

(from 100 Internet Tour at Comic Book Resources, Febuary 2008)
...when I brought up Bill Sienkiewicz's STRAY TOASTERS at lunch the one time and you'd think I'd shot somebody's dog from the way Seth, Chester and Joe reacted. I reread STRAY TOASTERS at least once a year. It's confusing as heck but, for me it has some amazing moments...but then I like the illustration schools represented in there and what Bill is trying to do (or what I think Bill is trying to do). The use of flat colour in the lettering and the caption boxes which puts everything on TOP of the actual art. That's pretty breathtaking for me as an artist who is known as an innovative letterer. I take my hat off to anybody who can introduce a whole new way of doing work. Dave McKean came out of that. Thematically the SANDMAN covers are Sienkiewicz. Even if it's not your cup of tea, it's nothing to act as if liking it is the same as shooting someone's dog. GASOLINE ALLEY has very, very little to offer me, but I would never call it s--t.

Stray Toasters was originally a four-issue mini-series created, written and illustrated by Bill Sienkiewicz, and published by the Marvel Comics' imprint Epic Comics in 1988. The story revolves around criminal psychologist Egon Rustemagik and his investigation of a serial killer that seems to be targeting women. Out of print since its initial publication, Stray Toasters was finally reprinted by Image Comics in 2008. You can find out more about Stray Toasters at Comics Bulletin, A.V. Club, Pop Matters, Page 45 and

Saturday, 2 February 2013

True Creative Freedom

Glamourpuss #9 (September 2009)
Art by Dave Sim
(from an interview in UK fanzine FA #94, December 1985)
...I talked to Bill Sienkiewicz a couple of nights ago and basically proposed that he do a book for Aardvark Vanaheim. And the way I proposed it to him was that he would have to produce 20 pages of black and white artwork. I would want him to announce how many issues he was going for - I told him I would prefer 30 to 40 as opposed to 4 or 6 or 8 as everyone else is doing that - and that I did not want story ideas, I did not want an outline, I did not want a script, I did not want to see the pencils. Get it in shape, get it in the format, send it to the printer and when the first issue comes in I'll read it. To me that's creative freedom, because it becomes a crutch if I say to Bill, send in a treatment of what you're going to do, it becomes a crutch and an impediment on the one hand because if I write back and say "fabulous, go ahead," then he feels more secure in an illusory sense that now this is a good idea because Dave said so and Dave's publishing, and that's not the point of it. The point of doing a Bill Sienkiewicz book is to say, if you do it for 40 issues it doesn't even have to make sense to you for the first ten, particularly in Bill's case. We have an idea in our mind of what Bill's going to do if somebody just turns him loose and says start doing page one, keep going, when you get near an idea start playing with that, but if you do things that you don't want to play up any more, drop them, and that's true creative freedom to me. If he sends in a treatment and I'm supposed to analyse it, or if he sends in  a treatment he's going to have to nail down elements of the story, to say and this is what happens around issue 30, and this is what happens in 32. Well, if he gets up around issue 15 and it's a Thimble Theatre situation, where it's all this band of characters and suddenly this sailor named Popeye walks in and takes the whole joint over. If he sends me a treatment saying this is where it's going and he can't pursue that, he can't just veer off here and say "here, this is what I'm going to do now." And the only restriction towards him is his own attitude to the sales figures. The first issue shipped 20,000, Bill, we've got orders for 15,000 of the second one, third issue comes out, we've got orders for 12,000 the 8,000 the 6,000, he's going to perform some radical surgery just because his income's at stake. But if he's going completely off the deep end and completely weirds out on everyone the circulation's going to go up, and if it goes up it says let's keep going as far over towards weird as we can get.

Friday, 28 December 2012

A 'Dave Sim' Sketch by Bill Sienkiewicz

Sketch: Dave Sim by Bill Sienkiewicz (1984)
Cerebus #65 (August 1984)

Tuesday, 4 December 2012

Meeting Jack Kirby

1981 Chicago Comicon:
L to R: Julie Schwartz, Colleen Doran, Jack Kirby, Dave Sim
(from the 'Virtual Kirby Panel', The Jack Kirby Collector #27, February 2000)
Okay, before I go, I have to tell you about meeting Jack Kirby at the 1981 Chicago Comicon - I think it was 1981. I was sitting with Bill Sienkiewicz by the pool at this party and I saw Jack Kirby a dozen yards away or so on the other side of a bunch of table and chairs. Bill says to me, "Have you met Kirby?" And I say "No, but I'd sure like to." And Bill says, "Well, come on - I'll introduce you." So we're moving aside the chairs which are sort of jumbled together and making some progress to where Jack is standing and I hear off to one side somebody yelling "Jack! Jack!" which Kirby doesn't hear. I look over and I see Julie Schwartz, and he's got his arm around Colleen Doran (who is like 12 in 1981 - I'm kidding, I think she was 19 or something) in that Julie Schwartz way of his that, for reasons I've never been able to fathom, some feminists like Cat Yronwode find really endearing and other feminists like Colleen Doran find really creepy, and he's bringing her over to meet Jack Kirby. So. It turns into this really strange kind of footrace with Bill and I moving all of these chairs out of our way and Julie Schwartz and Colleen moving the chairs out of their way and I'm thinking, "I have got to get their before Colleen does or I'll never meet Kirby" (because Jack Kirby, whatever you might have heard, was flesh-and-blood and a manly guy and Colleen was about the cutest little thing you ever laid eyes on when she was 19 - not that she isn't now - and from my own experience I have to tell you that if one guy that I know is bringing another guy to meet me at a con and another guy I know is bringing a nineteen-year-old girl to meet me, I can tell you who is going to get the lion's share of the attention and for that I don't apologise one bit). So Julie is going "Jack! Jack!" and just as Bill and I get there, Kirby hears him and he turns that way and Julie pushes Colleen towards him and says, "Jack, I'd like you to meet this lovely goil" (Julie Schwatrz is the only New Yorker I know who actually pronounces it that way) "this lovely young goil, Colleen." And Colleen was charming and starstruck and Kirby was charming and grinning from ear-to-ear and I'm standing behind Bill thinking, "Oh well," but still pretty jazzed that Jack Kirby is only two feet away and that was pretty amazing in itself, let me tell you - and I'm watching Jack Kirby talking to Colleen when suddenly Bill lunges forward and says, "Jack! I'd like you to meet Dave Sim!" And Jack says, "I admire your philosophy." To which I said something like "Abth dahbt bladda thadda thut" and Julie - like any good poker player who knows he has a winning hand - suggests that Bill take a picture of Julie and Jack and "this lovely goil, Colleen." Well, Bill pushed me into the picture, flash. Julie edged me out of the picture and I sort of staggered away leaving Kirby to enjoy the rest of his chat with Julie and the "lovely goil."

Philosophy? Philosophy?

I puzzled over that one for a while and then I remembered that the Comics Journal had just published a piece of mine called "A Declaration Of Independence," which was to be one of a series of pieces by various publishers about their ideas on publishing comic books (or, in my case, a comic book). I had talked about as much as I thought I dare to for a punk kid who had only been in the business for a few years about Kirby's situation at Marvel and what I saw as the origins of the unfair treatment he got. Anyway, it was very reassuring to find out that he had read it and not thought that I didn't know my place. And then to find out that he admired it - well, wow!

Jack Kirby (1917-1994), with writer-editor Stan Lee, co-created many of Marvel Comics' major characters in the 1960s, including the Fantastic Four, the X-Men and the Hulk. Kirby left Marvel in 1970 for rival DC, where he created his Fourth World saga.

Julie Schwartz (1915-2004) was long-time editor at DC Comics, where he was primary editor over the company's flagship superheroes, Superman and Batman. He was inducted into the comics industry's Jack Kirby Hall of Fame in 1996 and the Will Eisner Comic Book Hall of Fame in 1997. 

Bill Sienkiewicz is the Eisner Award-winning American artist and writer best known for Moon Knight, New Mutants, Stray Toasters and Elektra: Assassin.  

Colleen Doran is the writer/artist of the fantasy series A Distant Soil and illustrator of many other comics and graphic novels. Please support Colleen's restoration project to complete 'A Distant Soil'.

Friday, 18 May 2012

Big Words From Alan Moore

The Comics Journal #138 (October 1990)
Art by Bill Sienkiewicz

(from an interview in The Comics Journal #138, October 1990)
Dave Sim and Gerhard. There you've got some consummate storytelling. It's always possible to learn from Dave... His sense of timing. Comics in Dave's hands comes closest to music in some respects, in that he's got such a perfect sense of comic timing. And he's also got - like I say, the thing that's very important to me - the desire to push forward and experiment and move into untested ground. What Dave has managed to do with an aardvark barbarian character that started off as a Barry Smith Conan parody, what he's managed to say in the context of that strip is staggering. I could never do that. I would feel so limited by the restrictions of the character and the world that I would never attempt to do a book as long as Cerebus, but what Dave's done is he's come up and met that challenge. It's difficult to imagine something that Dave couldn't address in Cerebus. Despite the fact that it superficially looks like a limited world, he manages to be able to talk about anything people can talk about in other books. There's not a lot of people who you can learn from in terms of storytelling, but Dave's always one of them.

Friday, 23 March 2012

New Mutants #52

New Mutants #52 (Marvel, June 1987)
Art by Bill Sienkiewicz
Many thanks to Jay for posting this comment in response to yesterday's post about X-Men #160:
[The S'ym character in X-Men #160] always seemed vague (at best). While obviously the name is a poke at Dave, Sym looks NOTHING like Cerebus. He wears a vest. That's all. Even Bill Sienkiewicz, who was friendly with Dave at the time, and drew Sym in a few New Mutants issues, seems to have NOT got the memo that Sym was anything even vaguely Cerebus-esque. Only years later when he did a cover had this assertion (somehow) hit him, hence the actually, and only, Cerebusish-Sym on New Mutants cover #52.

Tuesday, 21 February 2012

The Synchronicity Triptych

The Synchronicity Triptych: Original art for Cerebus covers #74-76 (May-July 1985)
Art by Dave Sim & Gerhard
Sold at auction for $10,100

(from The Synchronicity Triptych Essay, 2003)
The covers of issues 74, 75 and 76 - the Synchronicity covers - was the first time that I realized the extent to which Gerhard's backgrounds really "ground" the book, giving it a solidity and a "look" all its own and keeping my (infrequent at these extremes, anyway) experimentation less jarring, less "over the top" looking. The three covers get progressively more stylized and experimental as they go along. The picture of Jaka in the background of the yellow cover is flat, a series of geometric shapes (the bottom of her skirt is virtually horizontal). I thought that was as far out to the "design" edge from the "illustrative" school as I could go without falling off. Once Gerhard had put in the background, his solid room, done with accurate perspective (except for the arm of the sofa, where he’s trying to get the perspective to compensate for the horizontal bottom of Jaka’s skirt: I drive him nuts with things like that) and put the flat yellow over top, highlighting the darker areas with a sepia tone and adding white highlights with paint, it just looks like a traditional illustrative Cerebus cover. Since I was trying to be very "cutting edge," I bore that in mind when it came time to do the next cover. The picture of President Weisshaupt on the cover of issue 76 is, consequently, the most "un" illustrative picture I've ever done in or on Cerebus, where I really allowed myself to go completely over the edge, not giving a moment’s thought to anatomy, but instead going for a completely dessicated, virtually inhuman picture which was all emotional content. All feel and no think. "Here" I was (in effect) saying to Ger: "Try making this one look normal." At which point even Gerhard got into the "out on the edge, Bill Sienkiewicz" spirit of the thing, not even trying to create the illusion of curvature on the spines of the books on the bookshelf, just drawing and colouring them as a stack of rectangles. Although the door is done with his usual exacting precision. As soon as the cover to issue 76 was separated, I had the three covers matted and framed together as a triptych, which is how I had conceived of them in the first place, even using Bill's distinctive "initials signature" (modifying the "B" into a "D"). 

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Cerebus Jam #1

Cerebus Jam #1 (April 1985)
Art by Bill Sienkiewicz

Cerebus Jam #1 was the only issue published of a proposed series featuring Cerebus short stories created by Dave Sim and Gerhard in collaboration with other comics artists. Issue 1 featured stories created with Will Eisner (The Spirit, A Contract With God), Terry Austin (X-Men), Scott & Bo Hampton (Batman), and Murphy Anderson (Superman). These stories have never been reprinted, with the exception of  Cerebus vs The Spirit with Will Eisner which has appeared in The Spirit Archives Vol 26 and Following Cerebus #4.