I haven’t looked back to acknowledge a source for the inspiration that lead to Trekker for a while. I realized that while I dropped Alex Raymond’s name when I talked about Flash Gordon in an erlier post, I really passed over him in favor of Al Williamson, who was my personal entryway into the character. Al did some stellar, signature work on Flash, no question. But he had been inspired by Raymond, who created the strip back in the ’30′s and in doing so helped give birth to the whole adventure strip phenomena and turned artists like himself, Al Capp, Milton Caniff and Hal Foster into cartoonist superstars– virtually household names. Raymond achieved this by creating characters, situations and worlds that were iconic and yet also vivid and immediate to the reader. Some of that was taken care of by his breathtaking figure drawing and inking techniques, his over-all peerless draughtsmanship, and his eye for the dramatic image. But nice visuals will only take you so far if your task is to tell a story. For a reader to embrace a series and stick with it through a long, twisting tale, you need a world that lives, and characters that feel true. And for his time and era, Alex Raymond created those as well as any of his peers.Trekker is my shot at doing the same, in my own way and given the times I swim in as a comics creator. A lot has changed in the culture since the pre-WWII days of Flash Gordon. But while the trappings might have undergone some minor updates, the impulse to create a solid story that entertains with each twist and engages the reader through strong characters that they connect with remains the formula that I believe in and strive for on each page.
Posts Tagged ‘comic book’
The TREKKER OMNIBUS inspired me to travel far and wide this fall– four conventions in two months. That’s a lot of travel for a sedentary cartoonist. But it was full of great conversations and connections with fans and Trekker enthusiasts both brand-new and “experienced”. Now I’m back in the familiar saddle and back to work in earnest. And first up is this over-due blog up-date.
First, I HAVE to mention one of the great thrills of my traveling was to discover the amazing, award-winning LEGENDS Comic Shop in Victoria BC. The proprietors, Lloyd Chesley and Gareth Gaudin, are both exhaustively educated and enthusiastic about comics and creators from the birth of the business up to the very latest worth-while publications from around the comics world. Any conversation in this shop is sure to inspire and inform you. If you’re at all like me, you will not want to leave.
Next, I cannot let the passing of comics great Nick Cardy go by without comment. I can across only a handful of Cardy’s comics in my youth, but what an impression they made. Cardy’s work was full of texture and life, and of course his women were always gorgeous. The few issues of Brave and the Bold and Teen Titans that I found remain treasures to this day.
And lastly for this post-con update, I have to correct a huge oversight. One of the absolute profound influences on my whole idea of what comics should look like was shaped very early on by the work of Wally Wood. I was reminded of this in a very indirect way. At the New York convention, someone commented that they really liked the low-slung gunbelt that Mercy wears. And in a flash, I remembered Wally’s stunningly sexy “Iron Maiden” character, for Tower Comic’ T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents, who also worn a low-slung pistol belt to great effect. Can a woman dressed from head to toe in an iron suit be fetching? If the artist is Wally Wood, the answer is “of course”! The low-slung piston belt is just part of the appeal. But again, as a young comics fan and aspiring artist, it sure made a lasting impression.
I could go on and on about Wood’s art and it’s profound influence on me (as well as on a legion of other artists, of course), but he makes his own best case in every immaculate, sensual image he drew. Wood mastered everything from classic 50′s sci-fi, to larger-than-life 60′s superheroes to slapstick cartoons for the early Mad magazine. Absolutely untouchable, and a total original.
Okay, now back to work. I am in the midst of drawing the follow-up story to the currently-posting Avalon Bay. Mercy gets lured into an adventure that raises the stakes and the scale of things higher than she could imagine, and she’ll experience a profound seismic shift in her world. Can’t wait to have it ready to share with you!
With “The Train to Avalon Bay” we open a new chapter in the story of Mercy St. Clair in more ways than one. First, it marks the beginning of the all-new, never-before published Trekker stories (and please note “Avalon Bay” begins being serialized THIS MONTH in the pages of Dark Horse Presents #24!). That’s important news for long-time Trekker fans who have been waiting patiently for me to pick up the tale from where it left off years ago, when “Trial By Fire” first appeared as a stand-alone issue from Image Comics. And it’s important for me, personally, because with this story I finally make good on all the promises I’ve made to fans over the years about my intentions to get back to Trekker. And it also marks the return to what has always been far and away my most rewarding and meaningful project. And for readers both old and new, “Avalon Bay” will mark another significant development in the lives of Mercy and her world.
While this tale was primarily designed years ago to re-introduce Mercy after yet another in the long breaks in her appearances, it was also planned from the beginning to be a next step in “upping the ante” in Mercy’s emotional life, and also to set the stage for events which will pull Mercy into a broader, more complicated and dangerous world than she has yet encountered. All of that is a long way down the road at this point, but I can promise you, the tracks are all laid out, the hammers are ringing and the nails are going down. We’ll hit some bumps and detours along the way to keep the journey surprising and interesting for both you and me, but we’re bound for new, broad and exciting horizons. All aboard!!