Running with the Runaways

Picked this up when we stopped in at the Las Vegas ComicCon:

RunawaysCoverThis is a collection of issues #25-30, all the ones that Joss Whedon worked on. I’d never heard of this series, but we’re suckers for Joss so it was an obvious choice. Also, I was intrigued by the snippet on the back cover:

“Rebellious teens Nico, Chase, Karolina, Molly, Victor and Xavin are survivors. All children of super-villains, they turned against their evil elders to become amateur super heroes…[They get themselves in trouble, blah blah blah]…The ensuing disaster hurls the kids a century backward in time, trapping them in 1907 New York—home of child labor, quaint technology and competing gangs of super-folk.”

I think mostly I liked the idea that the kids decided to fight for good even though their parents do just the opposite. And I’m glad we bought this because I liked it enough that I read the whole thing in one night. This was officially the first real comic book I’d ever read. I’d tried some Korean Manhwa but it’s different, you know?

Here are just a few things I liked about Runaways: Dead End Kids:

1. It is so cinematic. Seriously, a couple times it tricked me into thinking I was actually watching a movie. Kudos to all the artists.

RunawaysBattle2. It made me laugh out loud. Thank you, Joss Whedon, for being you.

3. The artists made the girls cute without hoochifying them. (Maybe that’s just because the characters don’t have official super hero costumes yet?)

RunawaysAtTable4. It touched on some complicated and serious issues while still allowing the characters to be teenagers.

5. It tied the story into the wider Marvel universe. (Is this always a thing? I don’t know.)

RunawaysKingpin6. Maybe my favorite part, though, were the character sketches at the end. Pen and ink just speaks to me lately.


Jim Lee, Art Like Magic. Good Tips Too.

Hit up “Amazing” Las Vegas Comic Con over the weekend with the husband and some friends. It was my first time going to something like this and I was pretty excited. Mostly it was just like one huge comic book store, with a bunch of booths full of super hero, super villain, and other awesomely nerdly paraphernalia (as well as a few booths bedecked in heavily breasted ladies—I suppose I shouldn’t have been surprised?)

Some of the shops were really cool, but what made the conference worth the money and time was the live drawing demonstration by comic book artist Jim Lee. I wish there had been more of this sort of thing available the day we went. I’ve been drawing most my life and I’m alright at it, but this guy is like a freaking wizard.

Let me demonstrate. The picture below took Jim Lee at tops maybe seven minutes to draw?


Mostly what struck me was the way he talked about shading. He presented concepts I’d forgotten about or he talked about them in ways that left more of an impression than what I learned in my art classes in school. Just little tips, like the fact that the chin is curved so the shadow from the lip will be too. Or that if the light source is coming from behind the person, their ear will create a shadow. Or that unless the light source is hitting a person head-on the shadow under the nose will be sort of lopsided.

Here are some doodles I did to practice the concepts I learned from Jim Lee. These are all rough sketches of possible looks for the face of the main character in the web comic I am slowly, slowly getting ready to launch. They were all done in pen (and while at church, ha ha—hey, it just helps me pay more attention, right?) so the mistakes are all left in.

This one's more realistic than I think I'm going for. And a little too Zooey Deschanel.

This one’s more realistic than I think I’m going for. And a little too Zooey Deschanel. But I think I used the Jim Lee concepts pretty well.

I'm not loving the head-to-body-size ratio in this one. At least not for what I'm going for.

I’m not loving the head size on this one. At least not for what I’m going for.

She looks a little like she's strung out on something. Oops.

She looks a little like she’s strung out on something. Oops.

I think I'm liking this look the most so far. If it weren't for all the mistakes on her nose.

I think I’m liking this look the most so far. If it weren’t for all the mistakes on her nose.