Patrick Gleason’s BATMAN BLACK & WHITE

Patrick Gleason creates a rough, tough Batman for the growing Batman: Black & White line of gorgeous monochromatic statues. Cold-cast porcelain, this rendering stands measures approximately 7.75″ high, is 5″ wide and 3.25″ deep. Perfect for display, the statue also features a Bat-logo-shaped base and is packaged in a black and white box.

And a bit of info on the designer: Patrick Gleason is a comic book artist. Among his credits are the 2005/2006 miniseries Green Lantern Corps: Recharge. He has also worked on such titles as Aquaman, JLA: Welcome to the Working Week, JSA, Noble Causes, H-E-R-O, and X-Men Unlimited.

STAR WARS: The New R2-D2 Bank!

A new addition to our incredibly large (and growing!) Star Wars collection is this R2-D2 Bank!

Description: Add the droid that started it all to your collection and start saving the galaxy one coin at a time with this all-new Star Wars R2D2 Figure Bank! Perfectly in scale with your Ultimate Quarter Scale action figures, this Oluf Hartvigson sculpt measures approximately 11 inches tall and features all the style and precision details of an expensive statue at a fraction of the price!

Film Noir Comic Covers by NINJA INK!

Over at NinjaInk’s Deviantart Page, there’s a stunning collection of Film Noir style posters based on a number of superhero and comic book properties. Just take a look at this one!

Very much inspired by film noir and grindhouse posters. This was a collaboration between myself and my friend and fellow artist, John Liem, whom I can’t link to because he lives off the grid in anticipation of the day that Skynet takes over.

He came up with the text, I came up with the illustration based on his descriptions.

The rest of the Noir gallery includes Spider-Man, Batman and Transformers images, plus a ton of other great original and fanart pieces. He’s a real talent and you should definitely make sure to check out all of his DevArt folders to see more of the incredible images he’s created. Click here!

Where in the World is Artists’ Alley?

One of the things I noticed at this year’s Comic Con was that Artists’ Alley has officially been pushed to the furthest possible wall, tucked away and hidden from absolutely everything. As a fan of comics and a strong supporter of amateur illustrators, I wasn’t exactly sure of how I felt about this or, really, how to put it all into words. But over at The Onion A/V Club, writer Todd VanDerWerff does a beautiful job of it.

When Al Wiesner looked at the superhero landscape in the late ’80s, he thought something was missing: Judaism. Naturally, he responded by creating his own superhero, a strange rock-turned-man called Shaloman. Shaloman rides the uneasy line between parody and straight-up superhero comic, and it’s never immediately clear if even Wiesner knows his true intentions, outside of one issue, his favorite, which he constantly refers to as “the parody issue.” But the parody issue doesn’t look appreciably different from the regular issues, outside of jokes like “Nosir Nyafat.” (“Instead of Yassir Arafat,” he says.) Behind him, a woman I take to be his wife is digging into a bagel and lox. She’s tired. He’s tired. Last day of Comic-Con, and the last chance to pitch Shaloman to people like me, who stop by, curious about what the hell “Shaloman” could mean. Prices have been drastically reduced, and he assures me, once he sells out issue 1, he will print no more, not like Marvel or the other big boys. The woman just stares into the middle distance.

I’m in Artists’ Alley, one of the elements that the original San Diego Comic-Con grew out of years and years ago. This was the place for comics artists to set up booths to show off their artwork and network with each other. Over the decades, it’s shifted from the center of the convention to the far corner of the show floor. Has it gotten smaller? Larger? I get different answers from different people, and I think the truth lurking behind the conflicting statements is that the Artists’ Alley section of the Con has gotten definitively larger, in the sense of size and area, but has gotten smaller in terms of how important it is to the show. Now at the center of the show floor, as near as I can tell, is a perfect recreation of Bumblebee from the Transformers movies.

Creativity always, always gets shunted aside by commerce. It shouldn’t be as depressing as it is, but the constant reminders of this fact in seemingly every aspect of our lives somehow don’t stop feeling like new, fresh stabs at the vital part of ourselves that demands something GOOD, for God’s sake. Something true and original and bold and precious, something driven by a person or small group of people that has something to say, even if that something to say is as basic as, “I wish there were a Jewish superhero.” There’s a reason so many movies pitch the scrappy underdogs beating the giant, corporate behemoth, beaming with pride at the end as the big guys realize that they were wrong all along. There’s also a reason these movies have multi-million dollar advertising budgets.

I keep trying to slot Artists’ Alley into my preferred story of the Con: Artists’ Alley has gotten less and less important as time has gone by because the organizers behind the Con made a deal with Hollywood to bring in panels geeks might be interested in, then let the money Hollywood brought lead them down a path paved with good intentions but ultimately leading to ruin. The problem, though, is that this story just isn’t true. Every artist I talk to says that having more people at the Con means more people wander by their booths, means more of them stop to talk, means more of them buy sketches or merchandise or stuff. Having more people visit the booth allows them to float along on commissions or sketch sales until one of the comics companies comes calling, and having a very popular booth is also a potential way to attract the attention of those companies.

The comics industry, for the most part, is sort of like that “Gotta Dance” number in Singin’ in the Rain, at least to hear some of these people tell it. It’s all about knocking and knocking on doors until someone answers and sees you and likes what you have to offer. Obviously, it’s not like that completely, and it’s not nearly so egalitarian, but the industry remains small enough that someone like a Chrissie Zullo – whose covers for a Fables miniseries have been justly celebrated – can get a job simply by sending an attractive image as an e-mail attachment. Sure, she has to find that e-mail address somewhere, and she has to have the talent, but there’s a sense that these doors are easier to knock on than the doors in other entertainment industries. (Granted, the people I talk to have mostly broken through. For many with talent who haven’t broken in, it must feel as impossible as winning So You Think You Can Dance? feels to me.)

I talk to Richard Peter Han, who’s here with his creation, Sprocket and Gear, which is a tale of a friendly cat and rat who use crazy inventions to accomplish their tasks. Han’s sketches of the characters burst with color and life, and somehow combine the influences of cute animal cartoons, early Disney, Depression-era comic strip street scenes, and the inventions of Leonardo da Vinci into a blend of influences that feels new. The sketches, at least, are enough to make me want to see a full comic featuring the two characters. Han’s hoping to turn them into a TV series. He came out of video games, and he’d like to break into that industry. All along, his high school art teacher sits off to the side, a quiet smile on her face. She knows this stuff is good. She knows he’s got the initiative. Sprocket and Gear will likely go somewhere. Han just has to find the right medium for his characters.

But the experience of Artists’ Alley also requires seeing people who are just here because they’re hanging on to a dream that will likely never come true, a piece of themselves that is dedicated to something that will always exist outside of themselves, no matter how hard they might race after it. You can almost see the difference in their eyes, a kind of quiet panic, a brain firing synapses that keep saying, “This isn’t right, this isn’t right, this isn’t right.” They were supposed to be famous by now. They were supposed to be something other than this, something other than people trying to get a flood of fellow humans headed toward Bumblebee to stop for a second and notice them and say, “Hey, you’re the best artist ever.” But the flood rushes past, not even having the dignity to sweep them along with it.

Artists’ Alley is the best part of the Con because it’s the most HUMAN part of the Con. Every booth is a little story of its own, a narrative in process. Katie Cook – whose blog I read regularly, so I sought her work out – is pregnant and recently quit her full-time job to pursue her bright, cartoon-y art. I buy a handful of her drawings, thank her for her sunny characters. Jackie Huang wanted to find a new kind of toy for a newborn child and took up needle felting, something I’d never heard of. Now, he’s surrounded by little stuffed toys that gaze out from wide, uneven eyes, a unique expression in plushie form. A giraffe towers above him, and he kindly smiles at someone who asks if it’s for sale and says no. He’ll be hanging on to that one. Over there is Gary Friedrich, co-creator of Ghost Rider, who shuffles his sketches and script replicas with wrinkled hands and watchfully scans the crowd for anyone who might stop by and say, “Hey, I LOVE Ghost Rider,” so he can smile and say thanks and show off his wares. And next to him is Al Wiesner, insisting to anyone who stops that Shaloman isn’t a Jewish story, it’s a human story, and the woman, still staring into the distance, still working through that bagel, still looking as though she’s just ready to pack up and head home.

Creativity can be the most horrible thing in the world. It’s a piece of yourself that breaks off and wanders out into the world, where everyone else can see, on some level, who you really are. There’s a mask between you and the rest of the world, most of the time, but a creative work removes that mask, asks people to judge you, on some level. That’s why so many creative people never risk sharing their work. To be told it’s not good enough, that they’re not good enough, is simply too painful. It leads to a long, slowly decaying life of trying to find that person who thinks you’re good enough, a long life of panic growing tight behind the eyes, the mask working harder and harder to contain it. I don’t terribly understand Shaloman, but I buy an issue anyway because I like Al Wiesner a lot. I read it later while sitting in line for a panel filled with the people who let that piece of themselves out and found others ready to embrace it, and I still don’t understand it. It is a thing Wiesner is desperate to tell me that I can’t wholly grasp. Somewhere along the way, I lost the ability to decode it.

Inside Ballroom 20, teenagers shriek for the cast of Glee. I look up from Shaloman to see TV cameras sweeping along the line of us waiting to get in – we won’t. Downstairs, I know, similar cameras are trained on the people around Bumblebee, all part of an easy local news piece on the craziness that is Comic-Con. They’ll pack up and go, too, and they’ll all file reports filled with footage of people in elaborate costumes, complete with reporters giving the raw numbers of how many people attend the Con and how many went to the Hall H panels. The anchor will smile at the camera after the report is done and say something like, “Looks really fun, Jeff,” then cut to the weather.

And there you go. That’s the story. Cut and print.

In Artists’ Alley, they’re packing up, too, putting the pieces of themselves back in the trunks they brought them in and wearily making their way to their cars. Maybe it was a good year, maybe it wasn’t. Maybe this is it. Maybe they’ll never be back. Maybe 50 people will be dressed up as Sprocket or Gear next year. Maybe that giant giraffe will get sold and Jackie Huang will always regret it. Or maybe he’ll hang onto it and be able to spend the rest of his life looking at it and knowing that he, at one point, driven by something he maybe didn’t even fully understand,made that. And no one can take that feeling of accomplishment away.

They say goodbye to their friends from the next booth over and head out on the road into the California never-dark. And no matter how disheartened or enthused the reaction to their works at Comic-Con made them, they will face a point in the next few weeks where an idea will spring to their minds, unbidden, while doing the dishes or taking a shower or walking the dog. And they will find a blank piece of paper or pick up their needles or grab their watercolors.

And they will begin.

New 8-inch Juggernaut Figures from Marvel Select

Two new Juggernaut figures are being added to our Marvel Select action figure collection. They both stand 8 inches tall and feature him in his classic costume complete with half-sphere helmet and angry-looking eyelets. He’s hand-painted and part of the deluxe Select line for his solid sculpting and multiple points of articulation.

The reason for the doubling up is that one of the figure is the version with helmet and the other is without helmet. Naturally, if you can’t decide, we do offer them in a set of two.

These items can be ordered now, but the shipping date has yet to be announced. Don’t worry too much: we DO know it’s this year, it’s just a matter of when.

And while we’re on the topic of X-Men, here’s a great image by DeviantArt user gottabecarl that brings together two big geek loves, X-Men and Futurama:

Alex Ross’ KINGDOM COME Superman

Alex Ross has produced some of the most memorable superhero and comic art seen in the last few years. The realism and retro sensibility in every one of his paintings is stunning, the style all his own while still encompassing what was beautiful about so much of the art that’s come before.

Naturally, a style as distinctive as Ross’ is something that is perfect to be captured in three dimensions for figures and statues, but it’s also something do distinctive that it would be very easy to make mistakes. Fortunately, the folks at DC Direct got it right on the original Justice and Kingdom Come and they’ve continued this trend on a brand new 12-inch scale figure of the older Kingdom Come Superman. Check it out!

And if the 12-inch figures aren’t enough or you’re just looking for something with a little more variety, check out the complete collection of 6-inch Kingdom Come figures, featuring all the characters from the epic story.

H.R. Giger’s Batmobile

Despite the varied nature of all the artwork he has contributed to the world, H.R. Giger is still probably best known for his (shamefully underpaid) work on the designers for the eponymous creatures of the Alien film franchise. Though he didn’t directly contribute to most of what you see in the later films (and certainly not the AvP revival), there’s still so much to be said for the amazing creatures he created. Over in our Aliens & AvP section, we just opened up pre-orders for the original alien Giger designed. Known as “Big Chap”, he looks a little something like this.

But what’s even more interesting is that we were recently given our first look at Giger’s work on another massive film franchise: he contributed a strange, organic Batmobile design for the hit Batman Forever, starring Val Kilmer, Jim Carrey, Tommy Lee Jones and Nicole Kidman. His design was definitely a far cry from the original, which you can see here in this article by

In 1994, “Alien” concept designer HR Giger was hired to design a new Batmobile for “Batman Forever,” that saw Val Kilmer don the Batsuit to battle The Riddler (Jim Carrey) and Two-Face (Tommy Lee Jones).

Giger’s unique “X” shaped design was to include articulated front legs/mandibles, retractable fins, and gatling gun emplacements on each of the four pods on the sides of the vehicle. The design also combined side and forward intake ports with spines and a central pod connecting the four legs.

Director Joel Schumacher eventually decided against the design and went with a slightly different and monstrous version of the Batmobile. Check out the designs below.

Original Fanworks: Check ’em out on Etsy!

If you’ve never checked out, now’s the time. Online shopping has been around since the first wave of internet popularity, but if you’re a fan of…well, pretty much anything, there’s a world of unique items available and usually made by fans for fans. Naturally, a wealth of original items can also be found on the page, so you should take a look at those while you’re snagging the best of the best fanworks. From Harley Quinn earrings to Spider-Man cross-stitches to the awesome Rorschach iPhone case above, it’s definitely a place worth exploring!

Blog Rec: Make Something Cool Every Day

For those seeking motivation from the outside or a source of inspiration when it comes to art and creativity, check out Make Something Cool Every Day (or the Make Something Cool Every Day Flickr), a blog devoted to creating something new and interesting each day.

Admittedly, the blog is now just a little behind, but the Flickr is still going strong, so be sure to check it out. It’s got some truly inspired stuff that ranges from eerie to hilarious, adorable to strange.

Dr. Horrible: A Sequel and a New Look!

Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog was a massive success when it premiered online last year and it continues to delight as it does the rounds at convention sing-alongs and parties across the world. But now there’s some great OFFICIAL news on what’s next for Billy, Penny and Captain Hammer. Newsarama‘s got the details…

Joss Whedon may have a lot of projects in the works, but the writer said no matter how busy he gets, he intends to do a sequel to Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog, the Emmy-nominated musical about a wannabe supervillain.

“We’re looking at Dr. Horrible and how we can put it together,” Whedon told Newsarama, adding that he could easily use the excuse that he’s too busy. “But ‘too busy’ is not really a concept in my world. I’ve never not been ‘too busy.’ And believe me, I’m going to burn out in the next two months, and then it will all be over. But until then, nothing can stop me. Nothing can possibly stop me.”

The writer is currently working with co-writer and director Drew Goddard on the 2010 movie Cabin in the Woods, a horror film for MGM, as well as the second season of his Fox television show Dollhouse. He’s also got comic book projects brewing at publisher Dark Horse Comics, including plans for a Cabin in the Woods tie-in series and a Season 9 volume of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, once the Season 8 series finishes.

There will also be a Dr. Horrible one-shot comic book for Dark Horse, with a targeted fall release.

The writer’s self-produced, self-funded, Dr. Horrible musical was released in three parts in July 2008 as web-only streaming episodes. The musical was free for a limited time before being offered on iTunes, where Dr. Horrible topped the charts. The series was later released on DVD, and a 14-track soundtrack became available on iTunes and CD.

Not only has the series made a profit, according to Whedon, but it received critical acclaim, including an Emmy nomination for best short-form live-action entertainment program.

Starring Neil Patrick Harris as the title character, Dr. Horrible tells the story of an inexperienced supervillain who is hoping to get into the Evil League of Evil while also pining for a girl at the laundromat named Penny, played by Felicia Day. His efforts on both fronts aren’t helped by his nemesis, the self-important Captain Hammer, played by Nathan Fillion.

When asked if he already knows the entire story that will be featured in the next chapter of Dr. Horrible, Whedon said, “Of course I do!”

The show was produced for internet distribution only, something that was almost unheard of for a project with such recognizable names involved. Whedon said he was hoping the success he experienced with the “webisode” concept would inspire others to explore the market.

“I’m kind of waiting for other people to do the same thing. Sitting here waiting. Still waiting,” he joked. “I thought there would be more more than there is. There seems to be less more. So I’m hopeful, but it’s true that I haven’t really seen anything comparable. And that makes me sad.”

Whedon said his time constraints aren’t as big of a problem with Dr. Horrible because it’s a small commitment when compared to much larger projects, and he wishes others would view webisodes the same way.

“Nobody seems to be willing to make a really small commitment, at least not people in the business with the wherewithal to make something that’s on a bigger scale than just anybody could,” Whedon said. “Very few people seem to be willing to do it. They either want to find a way to create a series that helps something that already exists or is a springboard to something else. Nobody seems to want to spend the time to do something that will inevitably be, no matter how profitable it is, kind of small, which is too bad, because the artistic freedom and the joy of making that thing is unparalleled, and the return has been profitable. So you’d think that somebody would jump on. But so far, not so many people.”

Another of Whedon’s favorite projects, the “Epitaph 1” episode of his Fox series Dollhouse, was also something Hollywood didn’t embrace. Although Dollhouse was renewed for a second season, the innovative “Epitaph 1” episode wasn’t part of the studio’s initial order for Season 1, so it was never aired.

Whedon shared the entire unaired episode with fans at San Diego Comic-Con, as well as including it on the Season 1 DVD. But he was still hoping to convince Fox to air it.

“I begged them to air it. I begged them. I called the executives at the studio, at the network, and begged. They just didn’t want it,” he said. “You know what? I don’t even want to talk about it anymore because it makes me sad. I just made one of my favorite episodes of a TV show that I ever made and they didn’t air it.”

And until the sequel sees the light of day, we’ve got the aforementioned Dark Horse one-shot to look forward to! Illustrated by Joëlle Jones, here’s a peek at the art you can expect to see when it hits shelves in November! Check Superpouvoir (French), for more, or take look at Dr. Horrible himself right here!