(In the key of The Zombies)
...Or welcome to the new comics campfire!!!
Happy new year, dear reader. Thank you so much for following along this far, and here’s to all of us in the coming trip around the sun. It’s a little bit hard to believe that we launched this newsletter on John’s birthday a couple of months back, as I write this on the eve of my own 45th year. There’s a little joke between John and I every year around this time, as we prepare for another year of ups, downs, victories and setbacks, and everything in-between, all of which have now become yours to share in with us. Well, I promised this year he wouldn’t have to hear me say it, so I’ll leave at that for now. That said, every year is another step on a journey and commitment to the idea that hard work pays off when coupled with vision, and in my case, a little social navigation to always have another call to make and another angle to try.
As I said, every year has its victories, and for me, this newsletter is certainly one of them. I know that John would agree, but today I want to talk about what it means to be a fan AND a friend or colleague.
This past year has been another incredible year for comics. There are more publishers than there have been in decades, and all of them are selling more books than they have in years. Given that I have worked in this crazy little business for nearly twenty years, I am fortunate that some of my favorite things I have read this past year also happen to be by some of my favorite people, with some of them working on characters that I have loved since I first began to read (largely with the help of…you guessed it…comics!).
In case you didn’t see the rave reviews of the collected edition of DC Comics’ Superman Red and Blue, the anthology series which featured an incredible lineup of talent across six issues, including Origin Story’s very own John Stanisci! While John is currently pencilling, inking and even lettering his own series with Lifedeath, as most of you reading must know already, he is known for his inking and finishing across three decades of working with some of the biggest names in comic book storytelling and the most well known characters. In this case, he was again teamed with longtime friend, collaborator and Milestone Media co-founder Denys Cowan, whose name I have mentioned more than once in this very newsletter. Their story, along with writer Chuck Brown, is called The Ghost Zone, a timely release just before social media was full of everyone and their new Oculus Quest 2 VR headsets this holiday season, and features Val-Zod and Krypto the Superdog.
The collected edition was gorgeously executed and one of my favorites of last year, but you don’t have to take my word for it, as you can quickly cruise comics Twitter, or read one of the many rave reviews from ComicBook.com, DC Comics News, and really anywhere you prefer to get your reviews.
Here’s what Denys had to say about it: “When I was given the opportunity to contribute to Superman: Red and Blue, the editors asked me if I wanted to ink this job myself or is there any artist I wanted to work with? My belief is In order to succeed, you work with the very best people you can find and John Stanisci is one of the very best. Always a joy to collaborate with. When John's inking me, or anyone else, he always elevates the art. I'm looking forward to the next time we can do it again.”
So, as we look forward to the coming year with excitement and optimism, let’s take one look back at one of the highlights of the past year’s victories…
Sometimes things work out. And then, sometimes, they work out spectacularly well! What I mean is, in comics, there ARE occasions where you land an assignment and you have to pinch yourself just a little bit. Superman Red and Blue was one of those moments, for a few reasons.
First, getting the opportunity to continue working with the GREAT Denys Cowan. I met Denys MANY years ago when he, along with Dwayne McDuffie, created Milestone Media. I was a young plucky aspiring (more like PERSPIRING) comic artist wanna be that Milestone took a chance on. Somehow, I wound up inking STATIC for them for a while, not sure how THAT happened, but boy, am I SO grateful that it did! Milestone was a very special moment in the history of comics and I will always treasure that I got to be a very small part of it!
As the years have gone on, Denys has asked for me to ink his stuff on occasion. Again, I’m not entirely sure WHY this happens as y’know, he’s DENYS COWAN and he can pretty much get ANYONE HE WANTS to ink his amazing pencils. I’ve heard that he usually has some guy named Bill…something or other, ink his work. I hear that this Bill guy is pretty good and has some potential and just might make a name for himself in comics!
A year ago, Denys asked me to ink this Superman: Red and Blue story. It’s the middle of the pandemic and I’m still pretty much living in a lockdown, so I jumped at it. For those of you following this newsletter, I think you can see that I’m really focused on penciling and inking my own stuff these days. But, when Denys asks me to ink his work, the answer is ALWAYS YES!! …because, y’know, it’s DENYS!!
Here’s what I didn’t realize going into this assignment: this project, and the anthology that just came out, really made me feel connected to the comic community in a way I haven’t since the pandemic began. I haven’t attended any live events, conventions etc since before March 2020. Haven’t had the chance to socialize and commiserate, in person, with fellow comics creators. Doing Superman Red and Blue, in the company that I found myself in, this was it. This was a way we all ‘get together’ around the creative ‘campfire’ and do what we do. Together.
Maybe two years of the pandemic has made me a little…sentimental, but, that is honestly how I felt when the collected edition arrived at my door. I’m REALLY proud to be a part of this. I’m even more proud of the company I’m in.
This one worked out EXTREMELY WELL!!
Here’s some scans of the inks over Denys.
Thanks so much for following!!