Superheroes are pretty pathetic if you think about it. And the more powerful they are, they more impotent they seem to be at effecting any real change. Let's face it, instead of spending hours punching bad guys as Batman, billionaire Bruce Wayne could do more a lot more for Gotham by creating some Green jobs for the unemployed.

Of course, it’s not too big a leap to say the same about any real person, especially those whom our society deems “important”: millionaires, politicians, celebrities. Imagine if they used their vast resources to make a real difference instead of just further self-aggrandizement. Maybe if we had more heroes in real life, we wouldn't have so great a need for them in comics (or film for those of you who don't read comics).

That said, I would absolutely fight crime in other universes if I had the opportunity.

What Do You Think of Spider-Man?

Click to enlarge.

Growing up, it always drove me crazy that the Marvel Comics heroes would stay in costume while partying or hanging out by the pool. It made no sense to me that they wouldn't wear civilian clothes while off duty.*

As I got older and became more interested in character than in punching, I looked on these off duty scenes as a great opportunity to develop the characters. Alas, the heroes either talked about work** or something relatively neutral. I suspect that the writers feared that too much human interaction might turn off their action-oriented readers.

But juicy conversation topics are a great way to reveal personality traits and round out a character. Ultimately, a character's quirks make you care more about her/him. And nothing says more about a person than the way s/he talks about you behind your back.

These are the kinds of scenes that I'd like to see more of, and I suspect that having them would make superhero comics more accessible.***

* Obviously, it's harder for readers to recognize (and for Marvel to trademark) a guy in his civvies. ** "Work" being defined as "whom they are currently punching." *** There are lots of great character-driven comics; but most of them are not in the superhero genre.

All characters appearing in the above comic are (C) and TM Marvel Comics.

Man Without Peer

Daredevil: Jerk Click to enlarge.

Drawing Board Happy Birthday, John!

A few years ago, I pointed out that Daredevil sure seems to get beaten up a lot. Well, as you can see from this comic, the reason DD gets beaten up is because he's a real jerk.

As any true fan will instantly recognize, this comic is based on "classic" Daredevil covers. When John and I were young, we collected comics, and we loved them so much that we hung dozens of our most prized possessions on our bedroom walls like fine art. We'd stare at our valuable treasures for hours as the sunlight and poor packaging slowly degraded them before our innocent eyes. As we got older, we'd sometimes try to copy (or make fun of) the artwork of some of our favorite (and not-so-favorite) artists. This comic is both an homage to some of those cool covers and a fond remembrance of days gone by. Probably only John will appreciate it, which is why it's a birthday gift to him.

I drew this comic freehand, while looking intently at the original covers. If you look closely, you'll see how far off my version is from the original, as well as how many shortcuts I took. It's a little disappointing, but given that I was drawing at about 1/5 to 1/4 of the original size, I think I came reasonably close.

I drew this all out in pencil on tracing paper, where I worked out all the kinks. Even so, it was difficult to get everything to fit, which is why the characters break through the panels in several instances.

Click to enlarge.

With the sketch finished, I used a lightbox to trace the image onto Bristol paper while cleaning up some of the problem areas. Then I inked it all using pens. I would have liked to have used a brush, but the details are just too fine and my brush skill too brutish.

Click to enlarge.

Next, I scanned the image into Photoshop, colored the whole thing, and cleaned up the lettering. (That makes it sound quick, but this was a time-intensive project. The whole thing took many days.) I knew that I was going to re-do the lettering. The only reason that I hand-lettered the original was so that I could give John the artwork. I got done earlier than expected; John's birthday is April 18.

Here are the original covers. For some reason, I can't seem to find that last one.


Click to enlarge...

Special thanks to the ArmzRace gang for helpful comments on this one. It still needs a title, in the neighborhood of "Super Ego" or "Holy Neuroses, Batman!" or even some cool meaning for the JLA acronym (the best I could do was Just Leaveme Alone).

Anyway, enjoy.

Ratman v. Republican-all-Ghoul

This one was "completed" 6 months ago, but I always intended to touch it up a bit based on ArmzRace members' input. So here's the final version. Looking back at it, I think the primary problem with it is the set-up: if you aren't familiar with Batman Begins (or even seen it recently), you probably won't understand the motivation* of Ras-al-Gul (here Republican-all-Ghoul). The final panel is kinda unclear too.

And the middle could use some work.

But other than that....Oh well...

Click to enlarge.

*He wants to destroy the city because it's a symbol of failure; but he seems to forget that it was his people who were doing things to make it fail. His logic makes no sense; and it sounds very similar to Republican rhetoric to me, hence this comic response.


So this is the birthday present that I intended to give John back in April. But then I had a little bout with an appendectomy. And then I got lazy for a good long time. So, roughly 8 months late, here it is. This was an idea that John came up with, I just did all the heavy lifting. Really, this is the kind of comic that makes you think how ridiculous cartooning really is. It may take you all of 5 seconds to read this thing. It took me about 5 days to make it. Something is very very wrong. Click to enlarge:



A few things really bothered me about the movie Batman Begins. One was the idea of Batman driving the Batmobile over rooftops and endangering dozens of innocent lives. The other was Ras-Al-Ghul’s plot against Gotham City. It sounded like something out of the right wing’s spin machine. It inspired this cartoon.

Click to see the full image.