“Today, in our field, there is so much talent and recognition that we are reaching a saturation point. An artist should no longer strive only for breathtaking craftsmanship; he should, instead, try to help us live better, either by dressing the wounds that are constantly being opened by society, or by offering solutions to get us out of the mess we’re in…But it’s going to be difficult and we have a lot of work to do.” - Jean 'Moebius' Giraud
Monday, February 11, 2008
Done and done. Last line on paper, last panel border, last page uploaded to the FTP. At last.
So....IRON MAN: ENTER THE MANDARIN.
It has been nothing but a pleasure doing this book and by far, in my opinion, it has been the best panel to panel work I've done to date. There were times - and thank goodness it wasn't until towards the end there - when a thought sneaked into my head that said, "Um....yeah, I can't possibly draw that. I don't have it in me. I don't know how. No f*cking way." But I did it anyway - because when the right people ask you to draw Iron Man, you ignore bouts of insecurity, set aside moments of self-doubt and you draw your ass off.
I'm about to talk about those "right people".
From the beginning I was challenged by JOE CASEY. In every script he wrote, in every aspect, on every page and sequence, on all fronts regarding my current work, Joe pushed me because the story deserved no less. He has been a quiet, supportive collaborator who has had nothing but positive appraisal of the work that he saw as I turned them in and he always looked forward to the next set of pages. As ever, I am honored and humbled by my opportunity and for the fact that he let me play along with him. Joe, if you're reading this, you're a wonderful, creative beast and thank you *SO* much for letting me tag along.
DAVE STEWART is, by their very definition, an artist and a professional. Initially, I didn't know that I would be able to work with him and in a pie-in-the-sky request to my editor, I threw his name out there thinking that there would be a very slim chance he'd take me up on it. Six issues later, and five issues deep, he hasn't stopped pulling my artistic fat out of the fire. I've posted a page of color that he did for the series on this blog before believing that's the best I'd ever been colored. I am so happy to realize I was terribly, terribly wrong. Every page and panel thereafter, Dave has rendered my work in such an unbelievable manner, I believe myself spoiled for all future projects. He is the main reason why IM: ETM is a more than bearable visual ride - he save's my ass issue in and issue out and I owe him more than the minuscule KUDOS I'm about to give him now. But it has to start somewhere, so...thank you, Dave. Thank you for your speed and diligence, and for your embellishments. I stumble forward to do my best, but you always made it look better.
People don't realize that as well put-together a project may be on the creative front, the it's only as good as the people fighting and working for it in the front offices. In my case, in the case of my work and oft-times anemic rate of turn-around of my pages, my standard bearers are Editor STEPHEN WACKER and Assistant Editor THOMAS BRENNAN. I don't know how he manged it, but Stephen was the guy who convinced Dave to come on board - a HUGE coup for the series. He's taken the time out to walk me through the massaging of schedules and he fought to keep the creative and artistic integrity of the book in tact. Thomas was tasked with wrangling artwork out of me week in and week out. The guy deserves a gold medal of some sort (or perhaps a crap load of those gold coins that have chocolate in the middle of them), as dealing with me is by no means a walk in the park. The load is less heavy when these two gentlemen are helping to push and pull and they have shown unbelievable levels of patience. They do their jobs above and beyond - they knew when to leave me alone and when to lean on me. But most importantly, they've become extremely proficient at doing the job of the thankless and the invisible. They're the best that I've worked with and if the book is to be credited for any sort of success, I'd have to put them front and center for the reasons behind that. I hope I didn't make either of them lose too much hair or sleep and I hope they invite me back to the big game again some day. I could only hope to be so lucky.
And speaking of front and center, I'd like to thank ALL OF YOU who have bought and supported the series. I've heard tell that the mini isn't exactly 'flying off the shelves', but I think I'm less concerned about that and more concerned about making sure that those of you who *did* buy it felt like you got all for your money. The gentlemen I mentioned above have done nothing short of their best and it is a validation to all of their hard work that you have enjoyed the series as much as I hope you have. I'd like to shake the hands of each and every single fan of the book individually and tell you how appreciative I am for all of your readership (and perhaps at some of the upcoming conventions I'll be able to do just that) but for now, let me say how easy you make my job, how pleasurable you make the late nights trying to meet deadlines, and what an absolute blast and honor it has been to draw this series for you. If I had any reservations regarding the success off this endeavor, I should have given you guys more credit for your unending and loyal support.
So there it is. That'll be the last of that for a bit. Last line, last panel and last page. But if this experience is any indication, this won't be the last time I give my thanks. It's been a quite a ride.
at 8:22 AM