Sunday, May 03, 2009

Friday evening Wolverine/LIVE ART gig

Busy weekend for me! A Live Art gig with the Cartoonistas on Friday evening and Saturday morning found me at the Pasadena Library during their FREE COMIC BOOK DAY event. Here's news on the Live Art show:

Friday night's gig was a fundraiser for The Nuvein Foundation for Literature and the Arts (of which I'm proud to say I'm on the Board of Directors). We partnered with Rubio's Mexican Grill and held a Live Art event. Conveniently, WOLVERINE was playing at the Edward's Theatre located right across the courtyard!

The line-up of Cartoonistas for this mission were, left to right, myself, Jim Lujan, Steve Romo and Raul Aguirre.

I was really excited about this event because not only was it outdoors in the evening, but we had a DJ spinning tunes and we were going to focuse on drawing Wolverine. In preppeing for the show and looking at the old Dave Cockrum and John Byrne comics for reference, it really struck me how truly awesome a character Wolverine is (or was?). Something about a short, feral, adamantium-clawed Canadian badass in a super bright yellow and blue spandex outfit really screams comics purity. Too bad over the last 20 years an increasingly number of inane writers and editors and fans have devolved the character into a ridiculous poser with a horribly convoluted backstory. That's the problem with so many creators nowadays though: they get their hands on a great idea and feel they have to stamp their own 'mark' on the character and then eventually leave and another batch of creators continue to bury the character under even more ridiculous contrivances!. But I digress...

My first drawing that evening of Wolverine, with a nod to the current movie....(plus a surprise visit with the real Wolverine!)

Jim Lujan (who has posted some great videos he shot that night) created this cool piece on the classic Hulk vs. Wolverine battle:

I was not even aware that Jim was drawing this when I started my own Wolvie vs. Hulk drawing! I was consciously thinking of the legendary Sal Buscema's version of the Hulk as I drew mine.

Thing about these Live Art events, sometimes I get lost in my own private world when I'm drawing, even though it's a public performance and we had some music blasting (actually, the 80s New Wave music took me back to the last decade I was enthralled by the current Marvel Comics of the day). When I'm drawing these Marvel characters I'm reliving the sheer joy and wonder I got out the comics. The fanciful gratuitous fights, the totally improbable origins, the unending melodrama, etc. Basically, it's a pretty selfish act! But if someone can respond to the piece, and actually buy it and take it home to enjoy, well, that's pretty ideal.

Steve Romo, above, and Raul Aguirre, below, lost in their own worlds.

A color piece I did:

It started drizzling a bit at about 9pm, so we packed up an hour earlier than planned. Considering we had to be at the Library the following morning, it was just as well. I had fun drawing that evening, and glad the event helped raise scholarship money for the Nuvein Foundation. And the Rubio's Shrimp Burrito was excellent!


eric M. esquivel said...

It's funny, but I think everyone has a certain period in time that represents comics perfection.

The Wolverine character never resonated with me until the late-nineties Grant Morrison re-vamp, during which he was portrayed as a Holden Caulfield sort of fella--still fun, but also trying to move out of his comfort zone and become a fully realized human being and not just a toughy guy caricature.

I grew up in the post-Watchmen "deconstruction era" of comics, though--a period characterized by writers congratulating themselves for being clever and insightful enough to ruin what made the characters they were trusted with so primal and elemental in the first place.

To me, at least, it seems like the current guys have found a happy medium between the two. They stay respectful to the source material, but have the good sense to inject some modern pop psychology into the work, so that the fans get that false sense of sophistication that they need to feel good about themselves despite the fact that they're reading superhero comics.

blah, blah, blah.

Javier Hernandez said...

Eric my friend, that's a fair and succinct analysis of current writing, and reading, habits regarding these age old heroes.

What is unquestionable about most of the comic book characters is that after 30, 40 or even 70 years creators still find ways to tell stories about them, and find audiences for them. Superheroes, we can't live with them and can't live without them!

JUNY said...

Hey that's pretty crazy because I just saw Wolverine this last Monday and ate two fish tacos at RUBIO'S after.

Glad to hear all went well. Hope to see you on the 16th.

Saludos desde Hawthorne, CA.