Sunday, August 9, 2009

More Nova Sketches!

So, I haven't been around here much the past couple weeks. Y'see, after San Diego, I had to catch up on work and sleep, but then I had to go back to Boston for my cousin's wedding, and then there was more work and sleep to catch up on, and then I had to go back to Boston again for my college buddy's wedding...and so on.

I'm getting some minor nasal surgery this Wednesday, so I'll be laid up here in the house for a few days, and the my posting will either spike or do another fade depending on drugs, but first...

Some more Nova sketches!

Erik Larsen
The very first Nova sketch I ever got, from the Image founder and one of the character's biggest fans among pros back at a Big Apple Con in 2005. I actually saw Erik doing a Nova for the guy right ahead of me in line, so that gave me the idea to do a theme sketchbook in the first place--thanks, Erik! My sketch ended up looking almost identical to the other guy's, so I take it Erik gets a lot of requests for the character, though he still actd surprised when I asked for one. The most incredible thing about watching Erik work was the way he holds his pencil: as opposed to how most people hold writing implements, he treats it almost like a thin paintbrush, making a fist and then drawing from above. It was very cool, very different, and a great start to my collection.

Chris Marrinan
I was wandering Artist's Alley at WonderCon back in 2006 when I spotted Chris Marrinan, who was doing sketches and had an opening. Now Chris was mostly displaying DC stuff he had done (primarily Superman work), but I fondly recalled his stint as both artist and writer of Nova circa 1995. I had a nice chat with him about his time on the book, something I gathered he didn't get to discuss a lot, and told him he was a dude whose stuff I really dug as a kid; in return, I got a nice sketch.

Steve Lieber
At that same WonderCon, Steve Lieber was offering free sketches to any member of Comic Bloc, so I cheerfully took him up on his offer. Having only gotten fairly traditional takes on Nova from guys who had actually worked on the character in the past up to this point, Steve was a cool change of pace, and I love the darker, moody look he went for; it's really a beautiful piece and reminded me of something Neal Adams might have done (that's high praise).

Todd Nauck
This was Todd's first go-around drawing Nova for me, and you can check out my previous post to see how his take has evolved over the last three years. Todd has a lot of the same tastes I do when it comes to the comics, so I was not surprised to learn he was a fellow Nova devotee and had tremendous enthusiasm to draw the Human Rocket. Perfectionist that he is, Todd wasn't fully pleased with this finished product (hence one of the reasons he did another one for me so recently, I presume), but I think it's rad and he's at least half-crazy. I dig the way he really accentuated the big, bright shapes, from Nova's helmet starburst to the stars on his upper bodies; this sketch makes Nova like appropriately heroic and larger than life (much like Todd Nauck himself).

Jim Lee
The unquestioned crown jewel of my collection in many senses: it's an amazing "sketch" (I hesitate to call it that), most people can't believe I got a Jim Lee sketch, just as many people can't believe I got Jim Lee to draw Nova, and Jim Lee was my absolute favorite artist when I was growing up (he's still up there today). The way it went down was at WizardWorld Los Angele in 2006, I was up in the Green Room when Jim came by to take a load off in between signings and my bosses asked me to do an interview hyping the show; this was actually my second time meeting Jim as we had met over Korean food at WonderCon to discuss WildCats a couple months before and he remembered me (he has remembered me every time since, from saying polite hellos in the halls of the New York show to yelling my name outside of L.A. bars in front of my then-girlfriend, and for Jim Lee to know my name is a huge deal for me to this day). After we wrapped our interview, I innocently kidded with him about whether or not he did sketches at shows anymore, never in a million years expecting him to say he did, but instead he just went, "You got a sketchbook?" Instead of fainting with delight, I pulled out my Nova book, explained to him the theme (which drew a chuckle) and became to my knowledge the owner of the only Jim Lee Nova sketch in existence.

Watching Jim work was absolutely incredible as he only had about 15 minutes and had certainly never drawn Nova, but he just went into a zone and produced this incredible piece of art; the thing I remember most was that after doing an initial pencil layout, rather than go over the lines with a marker or anything, he just dumped a ton of India ink on the page and then basically used Witeout to noodle in the details from memory, so he basically worked in reverse of any other artist I've ever seen. At one point he spilled a bit of Witeout, but ended up just making it into the little glint coming off the helmet. He capped things off by using an empty glass to make a perfect circle for the moon and then signed it and bid me adieu; absolutely incredible. Jim Lee rules.


Rich said...

That Jim Lee Nova pic may be the greatest thing I have ever seen.

And that's a great collection of sketches from everyone else too!

Ben Morse said...


I forgot to mention that the Jim Lee pic says "Scan courtesy of Ben Morse" in the corner because I was too lazy to scan it in myself and instead used a scan I sent from the Wizard offices to Doug Smith over at

Rickey said...

Can we get serious for a second and talk about these drugs and how much of them you're sharing with your friends, Ben? Specifically: how much you're sharing with me. Tomorrow. On the train.

Ben Morse said...

What do you think I'm paying you in for comics on Wednesday?

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