Thursday, 27 December 2012

My Thoughts On 'Amazing Spider-Man' #700


I'm about to spoil the hell out of this final instalment, so don't read this blog if you haven't read issue 700 yet.

So after 50 years, 700 issues, dozens of deaths and enough wise cracks to make Russel Grant seem funny, 'Amazing Spider-Man' and the character of Peter Parker have come to an end. Written by Dan Slott and art done by Humberto Ramos, the main story, 'Dying Wish', is set out to settle the unfinished business between Peter Parker and Otto Octavius. 

Now I'm going to get the plot and good of this story out the way first because I got a major problem with the ending and I will probably go into a big rant about it.

Trapped within what's left of Doctor Octopus' dying body, Peter Parker struggles to take his life back, while Doc Ock further exploits the benefits of becoming Peter Parker and Spider-Man. Slott does do a great job of writing the shock and astonishment that both characters are experiencing as they learn more about their new found bodies and lives. Slott has gone all out on this, creating an emotional, impactful and memorable Spider-Man story, while also creating enough creepy, uneasy feelings into the characters around Doc Ock and Spidey to offer the reader hope that maybe Peter can turn things around for himself.

'Doc Ock Spidey taking on Parker in Ock's body.'

Humberto Ramos is becoming one of my favourite artists to draw Spider-Man. His art is lithe and expressive, cartoony and animated, which some readers are not fans of, but I personally love it. With the help of colourist Edgar Delgado, the Doc Ock version of Peter Parker has a much different appearance, posture and twinkle in his eye the true Parker normally has. Delgado's colouring in thfading memories and dreams segments in particular are brilliantly done and suit Ramos drawings really well in my opinion. There are a couple of points where Ramos' storytelling in his drawings are a bit murky (like when Spidey punches Scorpion's jaw off), but Slott's writing more then makes up for it. 

'Peter getting a glimpse of what's waiting for him on the other side.'
The lead story, in and of itself, is wonderful, heart-wrenching and memorable. For me Peter did need to hang up the tights as Spider-Man as I think that, as much as I like the character, Marvel have done everything the could with him and need a fresh start and new era in the Spider-Man legend.

I have one MAJOR issue though.

The new Spider-Man, Peter Parker's replacement and the self named 'Superior Spider-Man', is Doc Ock PRETENDING he's Peter Parker... And not even as a villain  By the end of the story Doc Ock, despite wanting and nearly blowing up the world earlier this year, has more or less vowed to be a hero. Even for comic book logic (and that's sketchy at he best of times) that makes no goddamn sense!

'The new Superior Spider-Man.'

Like I said before, I've got no problem with them killing off Peter Parker. I was actually one of the few people who like it when Ben Reilly took over from Peter as Spider-Man in the 90's. To me that transition felt natural as Peter was married to Mary-Jane and was expecting a child, so running around risking his life now made no sense. Also Ben had taken the mantle of the Scarlet Spider and had been around as a costume alternative to Spider-Man, so fans were use to him. That was originally meant to be the new status quo for Spider-Man and I was annoyed when they decided to switch back to Peter.

This, however, doesn't feel natural. And it is baffling to think how anyone thinks it is a good idea. If you're going to kill off a character, take him out completely. Having his arch nemesis swap bodies with him, with the intention of pretending to be him as a villain, kill his predecessor then have him turncoat by going through old memories in the spam of two issues makes no sense and feels like it's come from nowhere. In the 'Ultimate' universe they killed off Peter, but his replacement was someone completely new with no ties to Peter and didn't try to be him. He is his own character and has become very popular amongst readers of Marvel. Even bringing back Kaine, who has taken the Scarlet Spider mantle, and making him the new Spider-Man would of been a better idea.

Anyone who knows me will tell you that I have been a Spider-Man fan all my life, but this new direction has really put me off it. I might be wrong, it might turn out to be one of the best decisions Marvel have made but to be honest I'm not holding out hope. But despite my feelings of how the story ended, I can't overlook the significance of what this issue represents.

The 700th issue of 'Amazing Spider-Man' marks the end of Marvel's longest running title and the death of one the most loved, world renowned and influential characters in our lifetime. For 50 years we as fans have been with Peter Parker through all the laughter, heartache, battles, trails and retributions that made his story so amazing and compelling. The key to what makes Peter so memorable is that he is someone we can relate to as a human being. For me, Peter Parker the greatest character the comic book industry has ever given us and will the fact that it took 50 years to kill him off, which is something Superman and Batman can't claim, says it all.

The line that is most associated with Spider-Man sums up Peter perfectly so that's how I will end this little review. We salute you Peter Parker and we will always remember that:

'With great power, comes great responsibility.'

Wednesday, 27 June 2012

Open Doors SW9 at the Brick Box

I was fortunate to be involved with the latest Open Doors located in at The Brick Box in Brixton. It was special for me personally for a couple of reasons. It was my first exhibition and it also featured my old mate buddy pal Fuad as well, so it was also our first exhibition we did together.

The art exhibition was themed around a game of consequences. Open Doors had collected words written by local residents about the area. The words have been passed onto artists who will be exhibiting original art directly inspired by the words.


Thursday, 22 March 2012

Friendly Spidey Rivalry: My Ammunition

I have shown you what Tom has brought to the playing field, now I'm going to show all of you what I've been up to.

The one that started it all.

Steampunk Spidey.

Golden Spidey.


Way of the Spider.


Sunday, 18 March 2012

Friendly Spidey Rivalry: Sweeney Tom's Ammunition

As I mentioned in a previous post, me and my good old buddy Tom have been having a competition seeing who can out do each other in terms of a Spider-Man costume design. I thought I'd take this time just to show you guys what this talented young man is capable of.

Armoured Spidey

Grinch Spidey?

OAP Spidey

WWI Spidey


Friday, 2 March 2012

'I love to draw, that's how I do it.'

Why the title? Allow me to explain. The other day I was talking to a close friend of mine, who is an illustrator, about the amount of drawing we both been doing as of late. Now at the moment we're both in simular situations as the illustration field isn't our main source of income, so we both work at jobs doing shift work for ridiculously low pay. Now anyone who has ever done any kind of shift work (retail, fastfood, etc.) knows that it leaves you utterly exhausted by the end of the day, both physically and mentally.

Dispite that I always end up doing some kind of drawing everyday, be it a complete work that I post on 'Ant Can't Draw' and 'The Prophets of Illustration' or just a quick doodle in my sketchbook. I'm pointing this out because my friend ask me how I do it? Because of our situations we both feel like death when we get home and he said he never has the energy to to do anything, let alone draw and couldn't get how I manage to knock out a new drawing every couple of days. So he asks me, "How the hell do I keep drawing?"

My answer was pretty simple. "I love to draw, that's how I do it."

And I do love it. I been drawing for as long as I can remember and it's one of the few things I will brag about as far as my skills go. I went to college and university to do creative courses because I wanted a career doing something I love doing and not once have I considered it a chore. It is a great field to get into as you're always doing something different and seeing a piece you created either on display, printed, in a magazine, etc. is one of the most gratifying feelings you'll ever get. On a person level it keeps me sane as I use it as a way of escaping if I've had a rotten day at work or if I've had an argument and immerse myself in what ever I'm putting on the paper (which these days is a lot of Spider-Man drawings). 

Someone once said if you do a job doing something you love then you'll never work a day in your life and I believe that. I mean when ever I get a comission I never see it as work and I enjoy doing. Drawing, illustration, animation, graphic design and whatever else you can put under this field is my passion.

It's what I love to do.

Monday, 20 February 2012

Friendly Spidey Rivalry

As some of you are aware (and if you're not shame on you) I'm apart of a little collective called The Prophets of Illustration. It consists of me, Fuad Ali, Tom Dryland, Lois Dryland and Hannah MacDouall. Now Tom and I have started a little game of one-upsmanship based around 'Spiderman' in which we trying to see who can come up with a better costume. So far I have done two, a black and red alternative and a steampunk version while Tom has done an armoured spider suit. As it stands now I'm waiting for Tom's comeback to my steampunk, so watch this space.

My first attempt at designing a spider suit.

Tom's spider armour in a very cool pose.
My steampunk Spiderman.
Tom's Grinch Spidey (for lack of a better term).

Sunday, 12 February 2012

New: Death Metal

My 'Death and Me' series has become something of a trademark for amoungst people who know my work, but I ran out of ideas a few months ago and haven't done. Thankfully, I had a new one the other day, now I have a flood of ideas. So here it is, the first in a new series of 'Death and Me'.

Tuesday, 10 January 2012

Inspirations: Comics

Incase you couldn't tell by all the chibi drawings I've done, comics play a big part in my life. The stories have kept me sane, the artwork has kept stunned and both combined have always inspired me.

The Amazing Spider-Man #568
 I have been reading comics for as long as I can remember and I've never got sick of them. When I was a kid I bought them just for the images and drool over how good they were as I never really cared for the stories. That soon changed though after I was given a Spider-Man annual featuring the story "The Sins of My Father". I started reading it as it featured the Hobgoblin and I was curious about who this evil looking villian actually was. As it featured the Osborns, Mary-Jane and various other key elements in the Spider-Man universe it made me go back and actually read the stories. So for my family and friends you find it annoying when I start reading and become antisocial, you can blame my nan for buying me the 1994 Spider-Man annual.

Most of my Chibis.

Random Batman sketch.
I started my collection 'Sonic the Hedgehog' comics (don't judge), but soon I developed some sense I started buying Spider-Man (Marvel) and Batman (DC) comics. They originally were the only characters that had any appeal to me, which looking back at it seems odd as you couldn't get two more different characters. One is a teenager with the powers of a spider who sets out to use them with responsiblity and looking to inspire others, is shy and with practically no social life in the beginning (think I just figured out why I was drawn to him). While the other is a dark, disturbing character who is out to strike fear to the corrupt and unlawful in the world.
Hobgoblin Chibi
McFarlane's Spider-Man #1 cover. (Second printing black and gold edition)
Looking at my collection of old stuff, I seemed to have been drawn to Todd McFarlane's work a lot when I was younger, with my first encounter being the cover above which is still to this day my favourate comicbook cover of all time. McFarlane was also one of the people who created Spawn (Dark Horse), which I fell in love with when I was in my teens. The story, the way it's drawn and the characters are so screwed up that I do wonder what they were on when they created it. I had never seen anything like it before and after a few reads I was hooked.

Another random Batman drawing.

This is actually a tattoo design I did.
Comics have always given me fantastic ideas over the years. And with artists and writers pushing the bounderies of what can be done, I'm sure they will keep inspiring me for many years to come.

Friday, 6 January 2012

Using Instagram A Bit Too Much

Instagram is an app you can download for the iPhone and I've only got into using it recently. Most of the people I know use it and I can see why. It is a quick and easy way to spice up a bland picture a little bit (like most of the examples below) and makes it incredibly easy to share on various social media sites, as well as their own site. Thing is it's so easy that I find myself using it more then playing about with pictures on Photoshop, which can't really be good.  

I mean one of the great things about doing creative stuff in any media is that satisfied feeling you get when you look at the finished product and know your blood, sweat and tears (in my case a lot of swearing) went into it. Learning and practicing the craft then putting the skills into action is one of the most gratifying things you can experience in my opinion, be it drawing, writing, music, photography and so on. Instagram and other apps like it diminish that somewhat as not only is it easy to use, but easy to finish a picture in under a minute, so you're banging out picture after picture after picture. Back in the day making pictures look better then they actually are took real skill, but now it just takes two clicks and you're done. 

Do you think I'm being too harsh? Incidently I'm not saying Intagram is an awful program, after all I am using it. I just think that I would of appreciated stuff like this a lot more 4 years ago as it took a lot of time and effort to create these effects.