Monday, December 28, 2015

Special Delivery: Meet the Doom Defiers!

Here is a sequence from All-New Megaton Man #4 (pub TBD) that I have been working on, part of which I have posted before. The new pencil roughs frame the pages inked within the past year. Not only is the Devenger's legendary "D" table (from Megaton Man #8, February 1986) transformed, some history of the team and its Bayonne headquarters is revealed, and the current line-up of Doom Defiers is introduced (stage-managing a team book is the greatest narrative challenge I have ever faced)! Will Ms. Megaton Man ever get out of the beach house and join the volleyball practice?! Stay tuned!

(See previous posts on this blog for more previews of the All-New Megaton #1-4.)

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Doomsday Drive: Meet Me in Bayonne!

Rough pencil layouts for the opening sequence to the All-New Megaton Man #4 (publication TBD). Megaton Man returns the trailer he used to move back into his old Megatropolis apartment, in which  he found new roommate and quasi-sidekick Connie Carlyle subletting. The pair grab a convenient cab ride from Alhambra Rasputin, who has been uploading terrorist videos -- but is he responsible for the attacks that brought the Man of Molecules back to New York, or is he just some homegrown nut? And why are the Doom Defiers playing beach volleyball in Bayonne NJ with terror alert levels through the roof?! The answers may lie at the end of Doomsday Drive...

Our lovely and talented model, a die-cast cab I picked up in NYC in 2000, with thumbs for this sequence in the background.
The sequence continues is the previous post.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Sandball: The Doom Defiers' Fabulous Beach House!

These are a selection of rough layouts from the All-New Megaton Man #4 (publication TBD) in which Megaton Man brings his new roommate Connie Carlyle to a beach volleyball practice in Bayonne, New Jersey. The Doom Defiers face a challenge match with the Bronx Bombers, and Connie is a semi-pro sandball player and aspiring Megahero. But will she be accepted by the group? Will they come together as a team? And will they be ready for the match?!

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Trent Phloog, Controversial Columnist!

An Unpublished Page and a Half from 1984!

I drew Megaton Man #1 over a 13-month period between early 1983 and early 1984, and promptly sent off photocopies to 15 different publishers (including First Comics, Epic Illustrated, Pacific Comics, and other imprints no longer around). When Kitchen Sink Press asked me to do Megaton Man on a bi-monthly basis, I threw everything but the kitchen sink into the second issue over the summer of 1984, which proved a fiasco! I produced something like 40 pages of senseless material, crammed with lots of ideas, but no structure. I set all that aside, and took a long walk between the Wayne State University campus to the GM Building on West Grand Boulevard in Detroit and back, and came up with the idea that became the published Megaton Man #2, and drew it in six weeks! After that, I cannibalized scenes and sequences from the 40 aborted pages, reworking much of them for issues #3 and #4, and reworking some scenes completely for other issues in the series.

This is a scene that was redrawn later. In it, Trent Phloog is drafted to take over the controversial column in The Manhattan Project left vacant by the departure of Pamela Jointly, only the job requires that Trent Phloog to become the world's harshest critic of Megaton Man! In another scene, Megaton Man is being supplied with talking points by a government agency that wants him to keep his position at the newspaper.

Friday, July 24, 2015

War on Anti-Terror: The MQHQ Springs Into Action!

Megaton Man and the Reconstituted Quartet check out the new security measures in the MQ HQ (Megatropolis Quartet Headquarters) in my Post 9/11 storyline I've been working on for what seems like forever. This scene, newly colored in Summer 2015, is from the second of three complete issues I have in the can. Read previous posts on this blog about the new storyline (print publishing plans TBD).

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Kozmik Kat, Megaton Mouse, Time Turntable: Alliterations Abound in All-New Megaton Man #2!

Department of a Zillion Loose Ends: I have recently completed the story, art, and lettering for what I'm calling the All-New Megaton Man #1-3 (some 96 pages of all-new material), in which the core cast returns to Megatropolis following a devastating terrorist attack that leaves Our Fair City depleted of Megaheroes (the Man of Molecules has more or less been in self-imposed exile in the Midwest for, oh, the last three decades!). This scene is from the second issue, as the cast becomes reacquainted with the old headquarters of the long-disbanded Megatropolis Quartet (the MQ HQ, for short).

Kozmik Kat is the longtime foil of Yarn Man, but beyond his snagging claws, I've never had an awful lot for this sidekick of a sidekick to do. As I explore the Megaton Man narrative anew, I'm finding all sorts of loose plot threads and undeveloped ideas I want to explore. In this, KK switches on my all-purpose plot device, the Time Turntable, bringing back another loose thread I left dangling around Megaton Man #2 (February 1984). The Sole Surviving Megaton Mouse will be further developed in future issues I already have scripted (and there are already clues and previews in previous blog posts, and on the Ms. Megaton Man blog as well)! Stay tuned for more previews as I develop this material, and as plans for print TBD in 2016-2017 come into focus!

Flashback: The origin of Kozmik Kat and the Megaton Mice in Megaton Man #2 (Kitchen Sink Press, February 1985):

Sneak Peak: More Kozmik Kat and Megaton Mice antics previews!

Thursday, July 9, 2015

The Dirt on Slum Clearance: Trent Gets the Scoop!

Trent Phloog revisits his old stomping grounds, the newspaper offices of The Manhattan Project, to find old flame Pamela Jointly at the editing helm, and his tenuous background as an investigative reporter put to the test. At issue is a redevelopment plan for Ground Zero that will transform Megatropolis into an unlivable city, something Connie Carlyle, entering the narrative here for the first time, protests! Panels from my work in progress (for more previews, see previous postings on this blog!).

Pammy orders Trent to the front lines of urban warfare.

(Little does Megaton Man realize that the protester is subletting his bachelor pad!)
For more on public planner Edie Heidelberg (who also makes her debut above), click here.

The Clarissa Project: The Secret Development of Ms. Megaton Man!

Starting out as Stella's Ann Arbor roommate sidekick in Megaton Man #4 (June 1985), Clarissa James has evolved into one of the most prominent characters in the Megaton Man narrative.
A sophomore infatuated with Yarn Man in Return of Megaton Man #1 (July 1988) and subsequently present at the birth of Megaton Man and Stella's son Simon in Return of Megaton Man #3 (September 1988), Clarissa realizes she has Megapowers and dons the primary-colored costume to become Ms. Megaton Man in Megaton Man Meets the Uncategorizable X+Thems #1 (April 1989). Initially attributed to a sexually-transmitted Megavirus, Clarissa learns that the true reason for her Megapowers derives from the fact that she is the "love-child" of Silver-Age Megaton Man Clyde Phloog and an African-American hippie mother in Bizarre Heroes #13 (September 1995), making her the second cousin once removed (or something) of Trent Phloog, the Baxter-Age Megaton Man. In the current work in progress (release date TBD), we will see Clarissa emerge as one of the most powerful Doom Defiers, the Megatropolis team that emerges after terrorist attacks deplete the city's Megahero population.

Clarissa James in her very first appearance, registering for her sophomore year in Ann Arbor with Stella Starlight (Megaton Man #2, Kitchen Sink Press, February 1985). Original coloring by Ray Fehrenbach.

Originally, Clarissa was just a sidekick whose sole purpose was to show former See-Thru Girl Stella the ropes on campus as she adjust to post-Megahero life (from MM #2; recolored in 2015).

Clarissa was also a highly studious student and something of a Megahero skeptic, or at least someone who thought of Megaheroics as a distant distraction. In any event, the notion of giving her Megapowers was the furthest thing from my mind, and in fact, she doesn't appear again in the first ten issues of Megaton Man. Nonetheless, the collegiate iconography of Ann Arbor already seems to subconsciously foreshadow her Megaheroic future (from MM #2).

Once Clarissa realizes who Stella is, she is somewhat starstruck by her celebrity status (from MM #2).

With Trent Phloog, as a de-Megapowered Megaton Man, Clarissa has joined the communal Ann Arbor household by the time of Return of Megaton Man #1 (Kitchen Sink Press, July 1988).

By this time, Clarissa has become the roommate of Megatropolis exiles Stella (now far along with her pregnancy) and Pamela Jointly, as Trent struggles with his returning Megapowers (from Return #1).

Infatuated with Yarn Man, Clarissa cannot restrain herself when Megaton Man's pal appears at the doorstep (Return #1).

Protecting civilian Trent from a toppling stack of firewood, Clarissa strikes a Jack Kirby "Big Barda" pose, and realizes that she now, somehow, possesses Megapowers. Subsequently, Stella sews her a primary-colored costume patterned after Megaton Man's.  From Megaton Man Meets the Uncategorizable X+Thems #1 (Kitchen Sink Press, April 1989), originally in black and white, colorized in 2015.

Clarissa assumed that her Megapowers were somehow sexually transmitted from Yarn Man, but learns from her African-America mom that she is in fact the "love child" of Clyde Phloog, the Silver Age Megaton Man. From Bizarre Heroes #13 (Fiasco Comics Inc., September 1995), originally black and white, colorized in 2015.

Clarissa in Megatropolis Central Park with Megaton Man, Rubber Brother, Phantom Jungle Girl, and Yarn Man, as a bronze monument of the allegorical figure Columbia, a pre-Liberty national symbol for America from the 19th century, comes to life. From "Megaton Man and the Liberty Alliance: Columbia Rising," in Liberty Annual 2010 (Comic Book Legal Defense Fund/Image Comics, October 2010). Coloring by Paul and Mary Fricke.

Clarissa gets tested by Preston Percy, Yarn Man, and Rex Rigid in the headquarters of the Megatropolis Quartet (unpublished).
What I like about drawing Clarissa is that she is a much more dramatic superhero character, and a nice foil to the irreducibly comedic Megaton Man! -- Don Simpson.

More about Clarissa James!

All coloring by Don Simpson except where noted.