Artist Spotlight: Howard Simpson
Digital Renaissance Man
Today, we feature a powerhouse creator, who's work you've seen in DC and Valiant comics. He's an artist whose ever popular dance card includes Disney, Warner Bros. and HBO. We speak of course, of the talented and gracious, Howard Simpson.
Simpson's love of comics goes back to his childhood in Newark, New Jersey. At the age of five, he found some discarded comic books in the basement and he knew even then that he wanted to be an artist.
Simpson broke into the business at DC Comics in the early 90's, working as a fill-in artist. From there he built a name for himself at Valiant working on such popular titles as Harbinger, Turok, and Psi-Lords.
"I started just before the Unity Saga," says Simpson. "The atmosphere was much like I imagined how Stan Lee described the Marvel Bullpen. All the creative people were working in one spot, It was a very friendly, fun atmosphere."
As an artist, Simpson has fully embraced the digital renaissance. "Currently about 90% of what I draw is a result of using digital tools," he says. "I use a Wacom tablet and stylus and a variety of software. I’m not a purist, so I mix-and-match and use whatever I need to get the job done. So that software includes Art Rage, Clip Studio Paint, Sketchbook Pro, Photoshop and others.
This flexibility with technology also extends to his art style. Simpson says that he never developed a singular style, preferring to let the needs of the story dictate the form.
When asked for advice, Simpson states, "My advice is to learn the basics; anatomy, composition, perspective, color theory, and to not try to learn short cuts right away."
Batman Meets Godzilla
"I was introduced to Batman by my mother, who also introduced me to Star Trek and Xena: Princess Warrior," says Simpson.
Simpson joined the Batzilla Team towards the end of production on Batman Meets Godzilla issue one. "We had an artist drop out of the project due to the Australian brush fires," says writer Eric Elliott. "Howard jumped in to fill the gap."
Simpson turned in an iconic splash page that introduced Godzilla in that issue. "The fan feedback was so positive to Simpson's Godzilla," says Elliott. "And his Batman and Robin too. I basically begged him to do any four pages he wanted in the next book."
For issue two, Howard took on an even larger role. "He's really the unsung hero of issue two," says Elliott. "He took the four hardest pages in the book. He did all the lettering. Plus he did five pages of colors for the other artists."
When asked about Batman Meets Godzilla, Simpson says, "This project was a lot of fun to work on I enjoyed putting Batman and Robin in the same world as Godzilla. I used the chance to experiment with some storytelling techniques and to experiment with coloring. I wanted it to look more natural and less computer-generated."
Howard Simpson is the creator/owner of Abba Studios. You can follow him on Instagram. Check out his work on Batman Meets Godzilla Issue Two, available now for free.
In February, we released the first issue of this historic matchup of titans. In the left corner was our beloved Caped Crusader and in the right, the gargantuan, King of the Monsters!
Godzilla got in the first blow, sinking the Dynamic Duo to the depths of Mikawa Bay, where they were recovered by the evil Professor Hugo Strange. Can the Caped Crusaders survive the deadly clutches of Strange? Can they Get By With A Little Help From Their Friends? Can they save Tokyo and ultimately the world?
Find out now!
Click here for Issue Two.
THIS IS IT!!!
Three months ago a group of fans set out to resurrect the lost film, Batman Meets Godzilla. We survived PC meltdowns, brush fires, flu epidemics, and trips to the ER. But nothing deterred us from the mission.
Now issue one is here for all the world to see. So what are you waiting for???!!!
Read Issue One here: Batman Meets Godzilla Issue One
Thanks for Your Support!
Thanks to all the fans who supported us along the way. The reaction has been tremendous! We really appreciate all of the positive feedback.
Speaking of feedback...the reviews have been great!
You can read about us over at 13th Dimension: Batman Meets Godzilla Issue One Review
You can also read about us at over at Four Colour Fantasy Comic Reviews: Batman Meets Godzilla Issue One Review.
Spotlight on Charles Butler
Today we shine the spotlight on a UK artist and writer who typically thrives in the dark: Monster Maker, Charles E Butler.
Butler made a name for himself ten years ago as the author of The Romance of Dracula, a book chronicling 85 years of movies featuring Bram Stoker’s creation.
Since then, Butler has built a massive cult following of Twitter fans who devour his daily, gothic portrayals of classic monsters. His art frequently features Count Dracula, as well as Werewolf, and Monsters of Frankenstein.
At a young age, Butler developed a taste for the fantastic through comic books and movies. He dreamed of being a full-time artist, a dream he achieved two years ago.
But being a full-time is hard work. “I literally work 24 hours a day sometimes,” says Butler.
But the demand is high for Butler’s commissioned work, which he promotes on his Facebook page. His buyers include actors Susan Penhaligon (Count Dracula 1977) and Ron Scribner (Salem’s Lot).
When he’s not drawing, Butler is writing books and appearing at conventions. Last year he spoke at the Vampire Film Festival on the film history of Count Dracula.
Butler’s own short films have shown at festivals around the world.
Batman Meets Godzilla
The Batman TV series informed Butler’s view of the character. “The Batman TV series was born the same year I was. It was my first exposure to the Dark Knight, thereby setting my standard. I'd never read a DC comic,” says Butler.
When asked about building an online following, the artist says, “I'm not sure about an online following? I've been on the internet for 10 years now and been involved in all sorts of creative endeavours. I think my enthusiasm for my projects draws people to my platforms as regards anything else. It is in your promotional aspects that keep you afloat and that is the hardest work. If you nail that, you're onto a winner.”
Spotlight on Ian Miller
Comic Book Entrepreneur
This week we shine the spotlight on a young and talented entrepreneur who turned his passion into a business. New York artist, Ian Miller, is the co-owner of Triple Threat Comics and creator of the Codename Hunter comic series.
Miller began drawing comics at the age of seven. He was introduced to comic books by his godfather, who used them to help Ian with his reading.
Regarding his early reading Miller says,
“My favorite comic was Batman. Always Batman. Then I got into Superman comics, Green Lantern and The Flash.”
He fell in love with the art form and eventually earned a degree at the School of Visual Arts in New York City.
He counts among his influences Bruce Timm (Batman: the Animated Series), Frank Miller, and Jim Steranko (Nick Fury: Agent of Shield). Sterankos’s take on the spy genre inspired Miller to pursue his own secret agent comic.
Last year, Miller released his first comic, Codename Hunter, through his indie comic company, Triple Threat Comics.
The sci-fi thriller follows the adventures of Sean Wade, an intergalactic spy charged with protecting the allied planets from internal and alien threats in the year 3039.
Issue one finds Wade pursuing an arms dealer who is selling more than just weapons.
Batman Meets Godzilla
Miller says that he was a fan of Adam West's Batman before he became a fan of Godzilla.
“I first saw Batman '66 when I saw the movie,” says Miller. “Then they started showing episodes of the TV Show on TV Land. I wanted to drive the Batmobile. I did get a chance to sit in the driver's seat but that was later in life. I saw the first Godzilla film on TV one night and never looked back.”
Miller is a regular at local comic conventions like Eternal Con and Wintercon. He loves meeting fans and drawing sketches. You can follow Miller on twitter or pick up the latest issue of Codename Hunter here.
Artist Spotlight: Josue Cubero
Call Him Young Gun
This week we shine the Spotlight on a young artist we’ve come to love and appreciate, Josue Cubero.
Growing up in Costa Rica, Josue Cubero, loved drawing. As long as he can remember, he wanted to be an artist. He eventually set his sights on being a graphic designer.
But Cubero never considered a career in comics until he attended a local comic book convention. There he met Marvel comics artist and fellow Costa Rican, Dan Mora. Mora inspired Josue to try his hand at comics, leading to Cubero’s first comic series, Zyrk.
It wasn’t long before Cubero’s talent was recognized in Costa Rica and the comic conventions started inviting Josue as a guest artist himself.
Cubero is also an experienced writer, penning his own stories. In his upcoming book, Blackbird, Cubero delivers his own take on the urban crime fighter.
Blackbird features Cubero’s hyper-kinetic style.
Batman Meets Godzilla
Cubero’s Deviant Art page tells the story of an artist who is intimately familiar with American comic books. Thanks to his Grandfather, Josue was steeped in American culture as a chitold.
“My childhood, I spent a lot of time looking at those series that my Grandfather watched and he was very big fan [of the Batman TV series],” says Cubero.
Regarding the Batman Meets Godzilla project, the artist says, “This is my first project with this kind of team and idea. To bring back this idea of the crossover of Batman and Godzilla is amazing.”
For more of Cubero’s work, follow him on Twitter.
The Monster Mashup
Today we take a look behind the scenes with Batman Meets Godzilla artist, the wise, the awe-inspiring, Stephen Schilling.
Schilling’s credits are as varied as they are unique. He has storyboarded for Jack Films, illustrated charity graphic novels, self-published his own graphic novel, and recently relaunched Red Panther for Lucky Comics.
Schilling counts John Byrne, Arthur Adams, George Perez, and Jack Kirby among his influences. But just one look at the artist’s Deviant Art page, and you know he is perfect for this project.
Schilling resides in Hollywood and can be seen at local conventions like Wondercon and Comic Fest where he sells art and performs commissions. He is currently working on the relaunch of Crom the Barbarian for Lucky Comics.
Schilling has a fondness for Mash-ups. In fact, he worked on his own version of the Batman-Godzilla mashup.
“Basically its a noir-ish take on Batman having to take out Godzilla because Clark is off planet. And he ends up getting assisted by a very surprise cameo,” says Schilling.
Batman Meets Godzilla
The artist also grew up on the Batman TV series.
“I loved the Batman TV show as a kid...and I have been a Godzilla fan since the 60s,” says Schilling. “My favorite Godzilla is the less humorous take. basically I like it all...but the Godzilla that speaks to me is Gojira and Shin Godzilla and anything with that kind of tone.”
When he’s not drawing, Schilling is teaching Shakespeare and Martial Arts. In fact, we like to think of Schilling as our own Batman. He holds 2 blacks-belts and practices Wing Chun, Bujinkan, Tai Chi, and Aikido. He has worked as a stunt fighter and choreographer, and knows his way around most weapons. Hello Batarang!
Schilling’s talents will be on full display when he kicks off the first four pages of issue one.
Writer Spotlight: Matthew Dennion
I Like Big Beasts and I Cannot Lie
Today we go behind the scenes with Batman Meets Godzilla writer, Matthew Dennion, a man who really loves Japanese monster movies.
Growing up in New Jersey, Saturday afternoon creature features were a staple of the Dennion Household viewing diet.
“Dad got us hooked on the likes of Toho, Ray Harryhausen, and such, at a young age,” says Dennion.
Matthew’s interest in monsters continued to grow until he began writing about his own. He is now the author of numerous kaiju novels including: Chimera Scourge of the God, Operation R.O.C., Atomic Rex, and Polar Yeti.
Dennion’s monster stories can also be found in the “Kaiju Tales” section of G-Fan magazine.
Writer Spotlight: Paul Brian McCoy
Today we go behind the scenes with Batman Meets Godzilla writer, Paul Brian McCoy, or PBM as we call him around the office.
McCoy is the Editor In Chief of Psycho Drive-in, a site that features movie news and reviews. He has written, edited, and contributed to fourteen books, including the Mondo Marvel series that chronicle the creation of the Marvel Universe.
Batman Meets Godzilla is not McCoy’s first venture into comics. He recently completed his first comic, Damaged Incorporated, about a team of government psychics who fight evil in the dream realm.
Damaged Incorporated spawned out of the dark sci-fi/horror novel, The Unraveling. McCoy says that in addition to the comic, a second novel is in the works.
McCoy’s influences include Philip K Dick, Robert Anton Wilson, Warren Ellis, and William Burrows. His work is as original and deliciously disturbing as you would imagine based on his influences.
Script writer, Eric Elliott, says, “Reading a PBM story is like going on a super smart acid trip. You get a hundreds ideas thrown at you but they’re wrapped in a compelling story, with these wonderfully, strange characters.”
Batman Meets Godzilla Writer’s Room
The basis for the comic is the nineteen page movie treatment found in Batman TV producer, William Dozier’s collection. But the treatment contains no dialogue. Plus there are certain plot holes to contend with in bringing the story to the page.
The Project Batzilla team collaborate in a virtual writer’s room to brainstorm dialogue and to pitch ideas to flesh out the characters.
“It’s rare to find a project that promises to be this much fun with this much collaboration encouraged,” says McCoy.
The Project BatZilla team is now wrapping up the script for issue one. Art director, Jorge Luis Gabotto, is working to assign those pages to the project’s artists, with the hope of completing issue one in the first quarter 2020.
When asked why he joined Project Batzilla, McCoys says, “I love mash-ups and this sounds like an exciting way of combining two distinctly, different worlds that pays tribute to both.”
Artist Spotlight: Kero Wack
Today we go behind the scenes and take a look at the work behind the cover for Batman Meets Godzilla issue #1 by artist, Kero Wack.
Kero Wack, a former MTV animator, made a name for himself among fans this summer for his web comic series, MASK 85.
Kero Wack developed the story for years before committing stylus to tablet and creating the best fan project in recent memory.
Spanning four issues, the MASK 85 comic harkens back to those classic 80’s mini-series published by Marvel and DC.
So when the Batman Meets Godzilla project began, Kero Wack was a natural fit. It didn’t hurt that he was a huge Godzilla and Adam West Batman fan.
Batman Meets Godzilla writer, Eric Elliott, asked Kero Wack to create the first artwork for the comic to help generate interest in the project and set the tone for the series.
The writer says, “Kero Wack did this amazing web comic, MASK 85. It was done with so much heart and talent. So when the [Batman Meets Godzilla] project started, he was the first one I thought of for the artwork.”
Elliott discussed the cover with the artist, describing some of the story’s key action sequences. It was Kero Wack who suggested illustrating Batman and Robin running from Godzilla.
A few hours later, the artist sent over a rough.
Kero Wack felt that a simple composition - Godzilla in the back and our heroes in the foreground, would be an exciting way to get the concept across to readers.
After Elliott signed off on the rough, the artist quickly got to work, refining the art and adding details.
By the end of the day, Kero Wack had completed the line art and logo.
The artist also added a crushed Batmobile to create some action.
The next day, Kero Wack delivered fully colored art. He added a classic Batman sound effect to give it the 60’s feel.
For the final artwork, Kero Wack, cooled the color pallet and adjusted the logo. The whole process took less than 24 hours, making him one of the fastest artists working today.
Kero Wack, who teaches high school art classes, says that his whole classroom is papered in Godzilla posters.
”The whole idea is right up my alley,” says Kero Wack. “Wish it would’ve been a real thing!”
So what’s next for the artist? MASK 86 naturally.
Fans can follow Kero Wack on Twitter, where he posts drawings daily.
Project Batzilla is a group of fans dedicated to resurrecting the lost Batman Meets Godzilla movie.