Monday, November 27, 2006


My friend and slavedriver Andres Ponce (pictured at right. Not pictured: flurry of groupies stampeding his chair) asked me to talk up our forthcoming collaboration STAR-CROSSED. Personally, I think his art does a far better job of intriguing the reader, but here are some fun facts with which you can amuse your friends.

It ain't Shakespeare, but it is a romance that lays homage at the Bard's ankles. I'm sure you're aware of two houses, both alike in dignity and respect, which lend us our title. I promise, though, it's not just a reading of Romeo and Juliet in a superhero universe where we lay our scene. For starters, our leading lady is at least 18, so you don't have to feel creepy empathizing with their love.
Let's meet our cast!

BLACK DAHLIA: Here's how easy it is to put out a comic book; when we started working on this book, I don't even think the movie was optioned. Now it's coming out on DVD, and we're two issues in. Don't ever write a book in iambic pentameter, kids.

We just thought Black Dahlia was a cool name that had drifted into our headspace at some point, so we made her one of three weird sisters on The Remedy. They serve a small but vital role, but she's easily the most eye-grabbing of the secondary cast.

I asked Andres for a costume evolved from mid-20th century evening attire. And after he got done strangling me, he handed in this look as though he'd had the design in his head forever.Always work with professionals!
SKYFIRE: Skyfire is a 20-something, Londonstani genius who engineers a battlesuit at home. This was just a briefly described "armored superhero" that Andres innovated into a nice, bulky suit, rather than the slick look prevalent in comics. We took this "garage band Iron Man" and refined (or, if you prefer, cluttered) it a little bit more into what you'd get if you designed this stuff without a slick munitions plant behind you, and the backstory created itself.
Skyfire has a little secret you'll be surprised to learn if you're kind enough to pick up the book.
RED RAPTOR: The world's premier superhero, fallen ill after decades of service, continues to lead his team by coordinating The Xentinels' actions from a satellite headquarters. This dying soldier worries how the world and his sons will cope without him.

Andres christened him Xentinel when he was still fit and battleready, but we used that name for the team instead, even though it fit his alien frame best. The costume was nearly a done-in-one, but for the gauntlets and boots. We kept it the same size even as we shrunk him, to impress that he used to be this massive bulk of ubermensch.

One great effect Andres nailed here is that this fairly classic Silver Age look (but still idiosyncratically Andres!) looks more and more like kingly robes as the man inside them no longer fits their cut.

STARLING: Ah, here she is! This tough cookie was once engaged to Red Raptor's son Phaeton, who divested half his powers to her with poppa's technology. Unfortunately, the process couldn't be reversed when she realized they just weren't a match, leaving him bitter and her a touch guilty. She's leaving the Xentinels to find her own path, which happens to include the handsome Argie below, Pulsar.

Everytime I look at this picture I fall in love with this girl. Andres drew hair you could run your fingers through till you died of exhaustion, and the neat cross-hatching is as fine as you could ask of Bryan Hitch.

Look at the seams, the customized gauntlets, the fineline simplicity of the domino mask, and just enough squares in the tunic to suggest a uniform look. Andres has a unique aesthetic. I wish he designed my clothes.

That mask was a late addition, in fact. Starling and Pulsar aren't originally aware of each other's true identity, and while his powers make him completely covert (even to a woman with super-senses), she needed something to hide her alter ego from the world. It's a nice conceit, to my mind, that would never work in the reality of a powerful love, but so well-established in superhero books that it can stand up. It's a little symbolic, but happily forgiven.

Credit the skirt to my Catholic schooling, and the high school crushes she's based on.

Andres was originally going to pick up another book I'd written, STRYCHNINE KISS, when the artist, Jorge Heufemann, passed away to my sad surprise. Jorge had worked on pages right up until his death, and never even let me know he was ill.
At the same time that Andres and I agreed to work on a project, his book FIREBIRDS came out from Image (and written by the talented Jay Faerber). I'd grabbed it on strength of the art without even checking who'd done the pages, discovering to my delight it was my new collaborator. You don't waste costume design skills like that, and few people can make a flying body look so brilliant, so we agreed to do a superhero book instead. STRYCHNINE KISS got shelved for a few years, and STAR-CROSSED opened up.

That's a pretty good start. Enjoy the preview pages below, Where Claire and her boyfriend Marcos meet in Prague for a tender union predicated on their not being ideologically opposed superheroes shaping the world according to their political visions.

Oh, and by all accuonts, Pulsar is Argentina's greatest Thelemite superhero. Enjoy.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Tales of the Teenage Mut....Casey Jones!

Here some pages from my work on Tales of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #31! "All-Casey Jones" issue. Coming Soon from Mirage Inc.!

Páginas del pronto a ser publicado Tales of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #31,... un número dedicado a Casey Jones. Editan los quelonios de Mirage Inc.