Sunday, September 18, 2016

Collected Comics Wishlist

I recently make a few new mockups for Marvel Omnibus collections I would like to see get made. Check 'em out:

Marvel Bronze Age Treasures


Marvel Bronze Age Monsters Omnibus

And finally, an Invaders Omnibus

Hope you enjoy seeing these!

Sunday, September 4, 2016

FBU Videos on YouTube

Pierre has recently been on a kick of creating some cool videos of Flashback Universe stories and artwork on YouTube. Check 'em out!

Monday, August 15, 2016

Return of the Collected Comics Wishlist

We are definitely living in a Golden Age of repackaged comic book collections. Some of the books that have come out in the last year just blow me away. (A Master of Kung Fu Omnibus? A Task Force X Omnibus? Who would've thought those would ever be possible?) Yet, even in this gilded time, we seem to be missing a few collections I would like to see. So, in typical fashion, I mocked up some covers which will hopefully spur the powers that be to get moving on these books:

First up - A Shazam! Omnibus

Credit: That awesome Captain Marvel comes from DC Comics artists Tim Levins 
Check out his Deviant Art page. He's a very talented artist with a lot of beautiful pages on his DA site.

Outside of the Omnibuses, I would also like to see some new Anniversary collections. Typically, these focus on the 75th Anniversary, but I've seen a few 50th celebrations here and there. In some cases, the 50th Anniversary has come and gone, but DC could accommodate us with 60th Anniversary editions.

What would you like to see DC come out with?

- Jim

Saturday, July 2, 2016

Happy July 4th!

In honor of July 4th, I made a back cover to go with the awesome Freedom Fighters Lost 100 Pager (originally posted here)

Here is the back cover, with art by Pierre Villeneuve!

And here is the Front Cover with art by Seth Frail.

I'm also posting this cool WW II themed Pin Up Pierre made for a comic we were working on many years ago:

Hope you have a great 4th of July!

- Jim

Saturday, June 25, 2016

No Doom Patrol in Justice League of America

Back in the 60's, the Justice League of America was the hot title for DC characters to appear in. During this time, they had a number of guest stars that joined the league. Yet in all that time, the Doom Patrol never guest starred. Check out this timeline:

I don't know why this might have been the case, but I can speculate on a few reasons:

1) Editors weren't used to the idea of books crossing over.
2) Having so many characters in a single title probably sounded daunting for both the artists and writers
3) The JLA editors probably just thought of featuring guest stars that were perspective members

For whatever reason, the Doom Patrol wouldn't end up guest-staring in the Justice League of America until 2004.

This was a lead in that introduced the team to a new generation of readers. In a perfect world, it would have given John Byrne a perfect kickoff for his take on the team.

Unfortunately, Byrne's take on the team just didn't click with readers at the time and the book was cancelled by issue 18.

Since then, there have been a few other attempts to revive the team, but they haven't been very successful either. Now we have a new version coming out written by Umbrella Academy's Gerard Way:

And while the version probably won't please the purist, I do think it will be worth checking out. The
Doom Patrol is a group that you can use to tell stories that might seem out of place in your typical superhero comic. I think that's a core trait to the team that has survived even into this jaded age.

- Jim

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

How Neal Adams Improved DC's Colors

This weekend, I was at HeroesCon 2016 where I got to meet Neal Adams who kindly signed my Deadman hardcover.

I took this opportunity to ask him about a remark another guest (the incredible Ramona Fradon )  had made about how Neal had improved DC's colors in their comics.

Neal told a wonderful story about the early days of comic production that I will condense and illustrate for you today.

First, to follow any of this, you need to understand that comic books used to be printed using just 3 colors: Red, Blue and Yellow with very limited tonal difference (100%, 50% and 25%) This gives us Nine (9) colors to work from:
Why the lightest shade of each color was designated with a 2 rather than a 3 is beyond me, but that appears to be how it was done.

While this doesn't seem like a lot of colors, when you combine them in various ways (like using R2 with Y1) you get a range of 64 colors as this chart which I got from Todd Klein's site demonstrates.

With me so far? Good. Because here's where it gets crazy.

DC was not using all 9 of the base colors. This caused them to only have access to 32 of the 64 colors. Here's an version of Todd's chart showing which colors DC was able to print.

Because of this limited selection, you'll notice (among other things) that the skin tones in Marvel comics look better than they do in DC books during the 60's.

The reason is this: DC was using TWO antiquated rules from the 40's to color comics in the 60's when printing press improvements had rendered those rules unnecessary.

First: DC was not using Y2 and Y3.

And while it might not seem like a big deal, removing 50% Yellow and 25% Yellow cut their color palette down quite a bit. (Look at the chart above and see all the places where Y2 and Y3 appear.) Now, the repetitive nature of the Legion of Superheroes costumes starts to make sense, aye?

The explanation for *why* DC was not using Y2 and Y3 seems to be lost to the ages, but there is a suggestion that it was an accounting decision made some time in the 40's or 50's that was never revisited.

Second: DC was not using any combination of colors that totaled more than 200%.

This means that while the could print Superman Red (Y + R = 200%) just fine, they could not print a deep rich brown (Y + R + B = 300%) - until Neal came in and changed the game:

How Neal did this was through some skilled office politics involving the then current Production Designer Sol Harrison, Carmine Infantino, Joe Kubert and Jack Leibowitz wherein Neal convinces them Marvel is getting a better deal than DC. He then used that as the fulcrum to get DC to revoke its antiquated coloring rules. That part of the story isn't something I can really illustrate, but if you are interested in the full details, you can read a transcript from an interview with Dave Sim here.

I gotta say, if you ever get the chance to see Neal Adams in person, get him to tell this story. His version is a rousing, pejorative laced tale which will keep you glued as he describes some of the people working at DC at the time, often supplying voices.

It was easily my favorite FAN moment of the con!

btw - we got a lot of cool photos from HeroesCon which you can check out on our NorthStars facebook group. 

Have a great day.

- Jim

Saturday, June 11, 2016

Metamorpho Lost 100 Pager

Before we get to this weeks Lost 100 Pager, I have a public service announcement. Next weekend I will be at HeroesCon promoting NorthStars. Feel free to come by and say Hi! I will be in booth 423.

With that out of the way, here is today's Lost 100 Pager featuring the Malleable Metamorpho with artwork by the Randy Valiente (who gave us the amazing Aquaman 100 Pager)

 Here is Randy's Original in it's full glory:
I added a background to break up the colors by using an old page of the Saturn Knight comic Pierre and I worked on many years ago. If you haven't read that comic, check it out on our downoads page.

If you want to see more of Randy's art, check out his website and deviant art page at:  and


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