Friday, December 27, 2019

Dime-A-Dozen Projects #15 - Comic Book / Video Adaptations - Concrete, Warrior in the Mist (Eternal Warrior), Valiant Promos

Comic Book / Video Adaptations.

Comic Book /Video Adaptations was my attempt at what as come to called "Motion Comics", done back in 1991 when computer graphic and computer based editing was just starting. My inspiration was the low budget limited animation TV show of my youth (1960s), Space Angel, Clutch Cargo and the early Marvel Comic TV series that used actually art work of jack Kirby and other artists.

I love the art of Alex Toth on Space Angel, although I didn't know his name at the time as I watched as a kid. I remember making hand drawn flipbooks and drawing cut-away diagrams of the Starduster spaceship,

The first Marvel Comic TV show had a special appeal to me, as they featured the same art I was seeing in my comics at the time.   Other superhero animated shows, although better quality always looked so tame compared the comic book art. It would take decades for the TV animation to get it with Batman: The Animated Series, and X-Men.

My concept was to blend my love animation with my renewed interest in comics after putting comic aside for several years before (late '70's).  While working on the Adventures of the Galaxy Ranger in the mid-80s, my younger co-workers introduced me to the new independent creator-owner comics like Steve Rude's Nexus, and Paul Chadwick's Concrete.  I planed to interest companies like Dark Horse in doing video promos for their comic convention booth, and the longer form videos, for VHS sales.  I actually had contacted Dark Horse and sent them a proposal, with a budget, but nothing happen with. But, that wasn't the last dealing with Dark Horse, I contacted they again for my Dragonfly Flipz Books project, the subject of a future Dime-A-Dozen Project blog.

I choose a story of Paul Chadwick's Concrete as my first attempt. I was a big fan of Paul's work in Dark Horse Presents and the Concrete titled comics DH published during the B&W indie publishing craze of the mid-80s.

"Watching a Sunset" simple graphic presentation seem prefect for animation. My Comic Book / Video Adaptations were done on my Amiga 2000 computer, by using a hand scanner to digitize the comic book panels into Deluxe Paint, an early digital paint and animation program. The color palate was limited to 64 colors. I remember doing the color still shots first, and liking the way they came out, I tried animate shot of Concrete walking underwater and like that, too, So, I committed to doing the whole story. Of course, I never fully finished the coloring, not sure why.

Warrior in the Mist (Eternal Warrior)

Warrior in the Mist video was featured in my DIme-A-Dozen Project #14. The version in the post features the original planned introduction text crawl. The quote seem to fit with the "Eternal Warrior" title better than the "Warrior in the Mist" title, so I cut it from the Warrior final video.

Valiant Comic Book Promos.

The Valiant Comic Promo was attempt to offer my Comic Book / Video Adaptation for comic con use.  I had worked on several Valiant Nintendo comics, and made my promo based on ads for the Valiant relaunched Gold Key comic characters Magus Robot Fighters and Doctor Solar.  all the animation and sound was produced in the Amiga 2000 computer. Somehow, the interest was never there to follow up on the video promos, so this is all that was done.  I concentrated on trying get my Warrior in the Mist comic published (see the full story in Dime-A-Dozen #14}

I also used the graphic images for a ashcan flipbooks.  I give several a couple of Valiant artists.

Here's the Solar: Man of the Atom I pulled the art from for the Solar promo.

About the Dime-A-Dozen Projects:

This video is the latest installment of my Dime-A-Dozen Projects, so named from a conversation with creative friends of mine as we lamented that when we were working full-time for someone else, like Disney, Warner Bros , and Sony, we get these (in our minds) original million dollar ideas, that would, somehow, turn into "dime-a-dozen" ideas when we were out of work and on our own. I have tons of unfinished projects in the form of character sketches, incomplete written outlines, half drawn comic pages, and full illustrations. You get the idea, a "dime-a-dozen" idea. I'm feeling the need to catalog for my own sanity and for a simple record to leave my kids, and as I said above, along the way rekindle my creative juice and start drawing again. Enjoy.

Friday, December 20, 2019

Warrior in the Mist - Revisited - Comic Book / Video Adaptation - Dime-A-Dozen Project #14 Special Edition

Here's new edit of my Warrior in the Mist Comic Book / Video Adaptation (early Motion Comic). I had posted a lower quality version in 4 parts on my Youtube channel many moons ago.  In doing my Warrior in the Mist Dime-A-Dozen Project, personal archive posts, I thought it was time to do a better version, if possible, given the original VHS source is 28 years old.  It was inspired by Space Angel and the old first Marvel Comic animations in the 1960s.

The Revisited edit was done in Apple iMovie and surprising for it's limited features it has a lot to offer in sound effects,  title options, and ease of use.  I was able to lighten up the video over all and tighten the edits. I'm happy with the results. I lot has changed in tech since 1992.

I'm save the issue of name change from "Eternal Warrior" to "Warrior in the Mist" for a future post, if and when, the Valiant characters show up in a movie.  That would be a more appropriate time.

Sunday, December 15, 2019

Sunday Music Muse Day - Jimmy Smith, Gerry Mulligan and Thelonious Monk

This Sunday Music Muse Day finds me enjoying two reissues of classic albums.  First up is Jimmy Smith Bashin' The Unpredictable Jimmy Smith, a 1962 recording by the  soulful organist.  I was 12 yrs old in 1962 and  I remember the first cut, "Walk on the Wild Side", the jazz cover of title song of the movie of the same name (Not to be confuse with the Lou Reed rock classic). I grabbed this CD just for that. The movie original have lyrics written by Mack David and music was by Elmer Bernstein.  The Smith version arranged by Oliver Nelson and features Nelson's Big Band, jumps in into high gear when Smith's organ solo kicks in in the later part of the tune.  It was released as single 45 rpm, with the tune split over both sides.  It reached #21 on the Billboard chart. The CD re-issue  has two cuts not on original LP.  An added plus to Walk on the Wild Side is the beginning jingling bells sound like it's going to be a Christmas,  It would great to slip in the Holiday music play list, to shake things up.

Next up is Mulligan meets Monk, as in Gerry Mulligan and Thelonious Monk.  A great pairing of the famed Baritone saxohonist and the legendary Pianist and composer.  Most of the selections are Monk tunes, plus there are three alternate takes not included on the original LP.  Personally I refer like sound the Baritone sax over the alto sax. So I find this very enjoyable.

So, soon I be picking the holiday tunes to play.  Just the thing to decorate the Xmas tree by.  Until enjoy.

Sunday Music Muse Day - Bob Sneider, John Stowell

The week's Sunday Music Muse day has me pulling out some music as a preview to a duo concert at the Bop Shop Record store tomorrow night.  Bob Sneider, our resident local jazz guitar hero and music educator,  will be doing a duo set with John Stowell, well known jazz guitarist and educator, also.  I've featured Bob many and attend his gigs as often as I can.  I'm looking forward to seeing John Stowell, as I have some of his early albums, his first solo, and several duets with bassist David Friesen from the 70s, and I recent came across his most recent work.

Here a more recent CD by John Stowell.

This Monday night show will be a great way to start off the work week.

Sunday, December 1, 2019

Sunday Music Muse Day - Steve Khan, Tord Gustavsen Quartet

The Sunday Music Muse day finds us enduring a ice rain (sleet) fall, making the driving a dangerous nightmare. So, I'm avoiding going out at all cost, and will stay warm inside, listening to some new music.  First up, Steve Khan Backlot.  Khan has been a favorite guitarist of mine since the 80s. with albums like Casa Loco, with covers by artist Folon.  As described by jazz critic James Nadel, "Steve Khan has undertaken the role of expanding and redefining the role of the guitar in the hybrid genre of Latin Jazz... in the transformation of straight-ahead jazz compositions into unique Khan improvisations drawing deeply from the Afro-Cuban tradition."  Like his contemporaries  Pat Metheny,  John Scofield, and others, he has a unique tone, and you can spot his playing in just a few note.  This a nice addition to my Steve Khan stash and great listening for cold afternoon.

My second pick is Tord Gustavsen Extended Circle, a 2014 ECM released.  It's a spacey, introspective offering, as most of his music is, in a good way.  The laid back, moody feel, and even the extended silence between the notes, draws you in the music.  I admit I'm not totally into the saxophone on this. I find it harsh in spots.  But, all in all, I'm keeping playing this, often. Especially, on day like today.'s time for another warm cup of tea, and settle in for some good tunes.  Enjoy.

Friday, November 29, 2019

Dime-A-Dozen Project #14 - Warrior in the Mist

Dime-A-Dozen Projects is so named from a conversation with creative friends of mine as we lamented that when we were working full-time for someone else, we get these (in our minds) original million dollar ideas, that would, somehow, turn into "dime-a-dozen" ideas when we were out of work and on our own. I have tons of unfinished projects in the form of character sketches, incomplete written outlines, half drawn comic pages, and full illustrations. You get the idea, a dime-a-dozen idea. I'm feeling the need to catalog for my own sanity and for a simple record to leave my kids, and as I said above, along the way rekindle my creative juices and start drawing again. Warrior in the Mist is a original comic book story of mine that has spanned decades and has been woven into various creative projects of mine. It started out in the early 70s as a art sample to be used to break into the comic book as an artist.

Warrior In the Mist. - A History

False Start.
I started Warrior in the Mist as a one-shot, 12 page comic book project in the early 70's. It was inspired by Michael Moorcock's Eternal Champion series and the battle suits concept from Heinlien's Starship Troopers. I did page breakdowns and finished about five page of pencils, than for some reason I stopped. (Most likely it was to find a real paying job and, I admit, I lost interest in comics for awhile in the 70's.  In any case, it sat for about 12 years in it's unfinished state.

The thumbnails roughs.

Then in the mid 1980's , while working on the animated series Adventures of the Galaxy Rangers, the younger staff artists re-introduced me to the comics of the new wave of independent creators and their characters, like Steve Rude's "Nexus", and the Frank Miller's "Dark Knight" for DC Comics. This renewed my interest in the reading comics and in trying to draw them again.

So after finishing working on Galaxy Rangers, I begin not only revitalizing dormant projects like Warrior in the Mist and Blackwolf, but also to developed several new properties like Tailgunner and Nova Corp. (See my other Dime-A-Dozen Project posts)  At first, these too were aimed at the new independent, direct sales comic market. But with the advent of the a "new" personal computer, the Commodore Amiga 2000, the my focus shifted to animation.

The pencil finish art (poor xerox copies)

Dragonfly Presents - Warrior in the Mist - the Comic Book
In the summer of 1992, I finished the comic art for Warrior in the Mist (it's original name was The Eternal Warrior, but somehow Valiant Comic came out with a character by the same name. But that a story for another day). 

I packaged the story, some frame shots of the video and original illustrations as a 24 page black and white comic book, which I intended to self publish. The book was solicited to comic distributors and set for a April 1993 shipping date. Orders were coming in, not big orders, but orders never the less. Diamond Comic Distributors "Previews" give Warrior in the Mist a "Spotlight on"  highlight.

Comic Book /Video Adaptation
The Amiga computer allow me to make simple animation using a great digital drawing program called Deluxe Paint. Deluxe Paint have a animation mode included with it, all this for $120.00. (The Amiga was the original platform for the Video Toaster, an low cost video effects and compositing graphics card and which introduced the Lightwave software, used the groundbreaking sci-fi TV show, Babylon 5)

I planned to call my animation 'Comic Book / Video Adaptations'. The Inspiration for these Comic Book / Adaptations were the old Marvel Comics Cartoons of the mid 60's and other shows in that era like "Space Ghost" which featured the artwork of the great Alex Toth. These animations were done using artwork from the comics directly, "animatic style". They were real "funky" and crude but seeing the same Jack Kirby's "Captain America" drawing, from the page of a comic you owned, move across the TV screen had it's charm. In today's animation market, many great characters are seemingly overlooked by the large entertainment companies. Or worse, they would be changed so much in the transition to film/video that they have little to do with the original source. Did you ever see the 1970's Captain America live-action movie. Enough said.

The Warrior in the Mist video would show that the old "Marvel" format could be updated by using desktop computer video technology, for a reasonably low production cost. This would allow the work of more comic creators , and publishers, exposure in the growing video market. (Sound like the Flash boom doesn't it. But, remember this was 40 years ago.

So,what happened? Well, I actually produced several short Comic Book /Video Adaptations. The first was a based on a Paul Chadwick's "Concrete". It was an adaptation of a five page story "Waiting for the Sunset". It was not completed, the first half was in color and the remainder in black and white. I sent Mr. Chadwick and Dark Horse, his publisher a copy of the video. Months later I introduced myself to Paul Chadwick at an comic convention in New York City. He said you liked the tape but Dark Horse owned the media rights. I later had contact with Dark Horse. They ask for a budget, which I presented to them. But that was far as it went with Concrete and Dark Horse. After the disappointment wore off. I decided using my own creations would be less of a hassle. With that in mind I forged ahead on Warrior in the Mist.

So What Happened?

In March of 1993 I received an job offer I couldn't refused. Six months earlier , in October of 1992, while returning from our honeymoon in Hawaii, my wife and I visited friends in Los Angeles. My friend Ray S. introduced me to Will Meugniot (pronounced "Mineo") who was working on the pitch package for a new animated series "Exo-Squad" for Universal Cartoon Studio. I showed Will my portfolio and a tape of the first part of Warrior in the Mist. In passing he mentioned a possible position as a oversea animation supervisor may be available, if the show got picked up. I said I'd consider it.

Much to my surprise, Will called and offered me the job, six month stay in Seoul, Korea. After a brief talk and salary discussion with his boss, Jim Graziano (which included this inspiring quote, " I don't know why anyone would want to do this, but here's what we paid"...etc.) I accepted the job, but that meant I had to cancel the Warrior in the Mist comic, since it's shipping date was in mid-april and I was to be in Seoul on April 2 and remain there for six months.

So, that's what happened, I cancelled the book, then left for Korea, where I worked as Exo-Squad's oversea supervisor. Warrior in the Mist return to it's dormant state on the back burner.

Warrior in the Mist was resurrected again, for my Dragonfly Flipz books this time I want it to finally see the light of day. I'm still working on that.

Warrior in the Mist  featured in Komikwerk Volume 2, comic book anthology.

Warrior in the Mist was featured in the Komikwerks Volume 2, a printed trade paper anthology series produced by publisher Shannon Eric Denton and Patrick Coyle. This was the long-delayed print premiere of the Warrior in the Mist.  Scripting credit goes to Cyrus Voris, who's Emmy Award nominated co-writer/creator of of the TV, Sleeper Cell, and the co-writer for the Kung Fu Panda movies. The art on this 16 page printed version of Warrior in the Mist was adapted from the same art used in the upcoming Comix Flipz™ series.

So, I not finished with Warrior in the Mist, yet.   I'm considering printing a new version with both the original B&W version and the computer graphic art version, maybe in color.  Time will tell.