Saturday, June 28, 2008

Michael Turner…

Comic Artist dies at 37…

I have just received news of Michael Turner’s death at age 37. Below is the official statement:

From Aspen Comics' Vince Hernandez

Hello all, Unfortunately it's with great sadness that I must inform everyone that Michael Turner tragically passed away last night, June 27th at approximately 10:42 pm in Santa Monica, Ca.

Turner had been dealing with recent health complications arisen in the past few weeks. More details concerning Turner's passing, and services, will be given shortly.

Anyone wishing to send their condolences to Michael Turner's family is encouraged to send to:

Aspen MLT, Inc.
C/O Michael Turner
5855 Green Valley Circle
Suite 111
Culver City
CA 90230

Aspen also encourages anyone wishing to make a charitable donation to please send to Michael Turner's requested charities:

The American Cancer Society


The Make-A-Wish Foundation

Michael was diagnosed with chondrosarcoma (a bone-based cancer that attacks the cartilage) in March of 2000, which ultimately cost him his right hip, a portion of his pelvis and several pounds of bone. He was very open about his cancer, making convention appearances throughout the entire time, and never giving in to the illness.

His first break in comics came on the Witchblade comic for Marc Silvestri’s Top Cow studios, where his style was very reminiscent of the studio’s founder. In 2002 he formed his own imprint under the name of Aspen MLT Inc. where he worked on such titles as Soulfire, Ekos and the return of his earlier produced creator–owned title Fathom.

Over the years he has produced many covers for DC, including Flash and Identity Crisis and the “Godfall” story arc in Superman, which he also co-wrote.

In more recent months he has provided covers over at Marvel comics, including the landmark X-Men issue #500.

He was eager to honour his commitments to the other companies, so that he could finally get back working on his own projects at Aspen. I never met Michael, but from all accounts, even despite his diagnosis with cancer he continued to work and speak to fans in a very positive way with a happy demeanour.

Since his initial diagnosis in 2000, Michael had several ups and downs, but, surely thanks in part to his positive attitude, he was seen as the guy who was going to beat it, and be drawing for years to come - he just had to kick this thing first. He was 37.

As usual with these sad things, I’ll leave you guys with some of Michael Turner’s great artwork…

I am sure you will agree there is some fantastic stuff here.

My thoughts and prayers go out to his family and friends.

Until next time have fun!

Tim Perkins...
June 28th 2008

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

O.M.A.C. One Man Army Corps…

A look back at the Science Fiction Series by Jack Kirby…

Cover to the new hard backed collection

Cover to issue #1 of the original comic

Issue #2 Page 5 OMAC original comic version sans colour

I read recently that when OMAC first hit the stands, most fans didn’t understand the concept, even after reading issues several times and that was why it was cancelled.

Jack Kirby had already decided to go back to marvel by the time of the last issue and that was why issue #8, the last one for Jack, sported a Joe Kubert cover and a very abrupt ending on the last panel, which would have contained a “…to be continued” tagline if the series had continued. Kirby had intended it to be a longer series, but when his contract with DC was up, he was off to Marvel again. I suppose we’ll never know what Jack had planned for OMAC.

I was only in my early teens when I first saw the concept. I had seen an advert in a DC comic that week and whilst at my grandparents on the coast went into a newsagents, with my younger brother Chris, and there was a copy of issue #1 ( a rare event here in the UK for most comics at the time) waiting for me to buy it.

I took the comic book back to my grandparents and was instantly hooked. I remember even as a teenager I understood the premise, which is why I find my opening comment really quite strange to fathom.

The cover said it all…this was THE WORLD THAT’S COMING! It looked at modern day, breaking technology and pitted against jack’s views of the future outcomes of such technology and its possible impact on its usage on mankind it all made complete sense, to me at least. It looked again, like his Fourth World series and others, at war, especially modern warfare and the possible implications of suggested technologies for things like video guided “smart missiles”.

You see this was Kirby’s gift he could take a subject, turn it on its head and then show us myriads of potential variations with all the ramifications of misuse in the wrong hands.

Jack didn’t deal with the human condition in the now, mirroring reality; in his own words his belief was that comics transcended reality. For me, personally, he did just that. Back when I was a teenager in school, it was Kirby’s Thor I saw in my imagination when talking of the Vikings and their gods, it was Kirby’s Thor I saw visiting the Norns when I read Shakespeare’s Macbeth, it was Kirby’s questions about science, deep space, DNA and technology I heard and saw, when I read books about science fact.

Jack’s work was so immense it nearly always dealt with matters in the future, even when he was talking about today, because his work asked many questions, many of which he never answered himself, because he didn’t know the answer, the question shared with the reader was enough.

With OMAC we can see Jack looking at where the technologies were going. How far would mankind push the boundaries of science, technology, medicine and life itself? Here was a man asking questions about mankind’s morality or lack of it.

Man’s greed and need for conquest of others that are different is as relevant today, as it was back when Jack was asking his readers the same questions. For that reason alone the questions are worth their weight in gold, just in the asking.
If the rich had the means to extend their life would they endorse the death of the person whose body they would use in brain transplant surgery, to gain a young body again?

If mass warfare was outlawed, would all countries abide by that decision, or would they see that as weakness in the others and invade anyway?

If a person needed to be stripped of his individuality and his own thoughts to serve a greater end, would that event take place? – if so then we would see OMAC.

A lot of Jack’s ideas now exist for real, some due to his reading of technology and where it could be going for real, others I think maybe just down to the man’s wonderful and unique vision of his immense imagination.

Is it likely that the Mobile phone is fast becoming our “Mother box”? Its circuitry certainly does a lot of what the Fourth World gadget could do and as it becomes more sophisticated and we all find ourselves naked and “alone” without its presence, is this not the Mother box of the New Gods?

Is it not true that we now have the true potential for the manipulation of DNA to create new and artificial alien life forms?

Do the satellites around our planet, the equivalent of OMAC’s Brother Eye with their ability to track our movements and enable us to track and find places, even down to the nearest fuel stations, restaurants, hotels, etc draw many parallels?

Do the faceless, multinational, Global Peace Agents, who hide their faces with cosmetic sprays to supposedly represent all nations by looking like citizens of none not remind you of the faceless people responsible nowadays behind the governments for truly running things behind the scenes?

Does the way in which OMAC’s “parents” are chosen by computer not remind you of the way in which a great many people now meet each other for relationships in this fast paced world?

The collected OMAC hard cover book is a great addition to any comic collector’s bookshelves, especially fans of Jack Kirby, but if you want to read stories from thirty-four years ago, which have a frightening resonance in today’s world full of the terrors of the threats of recent years, then this is a must-get book for you too.

Written Drawn and Edited by: Jack Kirby
Inks by: D Bruce Berry and Mike Royer
Lettered by: D Bruce Berry and Mike Royer
Colours by: Drew R. Moore

Based on ideas for a future Captain America, which he withheld from use at his earlier stint at marvel, when it became apparent he may have to move to another publisher, OMAC was an ideal concept to fulfil his 15 page per week page count quota (yes you read that correctly) for DC. The character OMAC sporting a Mohawk hairstyle like a Greek god of war is a great design and worth a look at book, just to see Jack with another concept.

There are a great many other things of which Jack Kirby spoke, not just in OMAC, but his other work as well, many more questions he asked and the frightening thing is he was bang on the nail with most of it, so could we be looking at any of the other “outlandish” scenarios as well?

It’s a scary thought and one I will leave you with…


Until next time have fun!

Tim Perkins…
June 24th 2008

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Herobear and the Kid…

A Review of the comic book/graphic novel by Mike Kunkel…

It’s quite a while ago now that I chanced upon this wonderful book, whilst looking around a comic shop. I had heard of the original comic version, but had never seen it to pick any issues up. Anyhow I picked the collected book version up and it certainly passed my three to six page flips method of checking new stuff out. If a book doesn’t catch my interest by the time I have flipped that amount of times, down goes the book.

I was first of all smitten by the fantastic cartoon drawings using only graphite pencil and a very controlled use of red throughout the book. What happened when I began to read it was nothing short of magical.

There is a warmth and understanding of the true manner of innocence with childhood dreams within the writing. It takes you back to days when the world seemed a much simpler place and only few bad guys lay outside the confines of your home…and they were only in stories…one never actually saw any, unless you counted the school bully.

When I was thinking of a book, which I would like to share with you for this Blog, it jumped out at me as something I can imagine few folks not enjoying.

I was hooked like so many others from the first page onwards. The series was collected under the heading “The inheritance”, an apt title indeed for this particular book.

Mike Kunkle, the writer and artist of the story has worked as director, animator, and story artist at Sony, Warner Brothers and Walt Disney and I for one am extremely glad he decided to use the comic book form to tell this particular story, although it would not look out of place on the big screen by any means.

The basic thought given to the reader is quite simply, remember your childhood and pass it on, what a lovely thought. On the front cover fold it says:

“Herobear and the kid, a nostalgic view of childhood, complete with new schools, bullies, true love, imagination, superheroes, and a magic bear.”

“After his Grandfather passes away, young Tyler inherits an old stuffed, toy bear and a broken pocket watch. He soon learns that things aren’t what they seem, and that you shouldn’t judge a bear by its cover.”

“Come remember your childhood, as Tyler remembers his.”

This book has it all, the girl, family, happiness, sadness, toys, bullies, superheroes, villains, robots, Santa Claus and far much more. I would recommend this book be read anytime of year, really, but the run up to Christmas is perfect to do so…you will love it I promise.

The only question I ask is why aren’t there more stories like this out there? I know a few people are working on all-ages books even as you read these words and I include my own Worlds End here, but there should be far more.

If you want a book you can share with your kids, or your grandkids or that will take you back to simpler times, reminding you how all you needed long ago was a friend, a toy and your imagination, then this is the book for you.

The Eisner-Award winning book comes with two introductions, one by animation producer, Don Hahn and the other by comic and screen writer, Jeph Loeb. To round the book off there is a sketchbook section at the back, showing the book’s many conceptual changes to achieve its look and more.

I just may find myself sat around the fire one winter’s night, later this year, to return to old friends…the Herobear and the kid…

Until next time have fun!

Tim Perkins…
June 22nd 2008

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Jack Kirby King of Comics…

A Review of the Jack Kirby Biography by Mark Evanier…

I have just finished reading the new Jack Kirby biography by Jack's official biographer Mark Evanier. It’s a great read with some wonderful personal anecdotes from his time as assistant to Jack.

There’s lots of imagery from through Kirby’s illustrious career and points out the frustration that he felt with the way he was dealt with by the publishers. Jack Kirby should have been a multi-millionaire with all the IP’s he created throughout his five decades in comics, but it never happened.

The book is a very positive look at the man and his work and although it touches on his treatment by the publishers throughout his career it is not a book that dwells on the negatives.

For anyone that has never read anything on Jack or his work, this is a great book to bring you up to speed. If you have then you still won’t be disappointed as there is quite a lot of clearing up of certain facts about his ongoing relationships with the publishers and his work ethic and speed.

The size of the book is great as there are some full-page pieces of artwork from the legendary comic artist. There are some photographs throughout as well.

Jack Kirby’s story is a warm study of an writer/artist hell bent on providing for his family by doing what he did best, telling stories. But there is a tinge of sadness there too, as anyone aware of the man and his work will know, in his treatment by the publishers on many occasions.

He should have been rich from his creations, which we know isn’t true, although he helped make those in power around him rich.

Like it says in the book and was being bandied about back when he was fighting for comic artists and writers rights, Marvel is, “The House that Jack Built”.

It is his legacy to comics’ creators and fans throughout the world however that makes us the richest in the truest sense though. Jack’s struggles for creative rights and recompense may have come late in his life, but his and the struggles of those battling in his cause made simple things such as the return of artwork and royalties above certain thresholds a part of working in comics.

Now you are probably saying to yourselves, well he would say that wouldn’t he, he loves Jack’s work. My answer to that is, if the book wasn’t up to it then I wouldn’t be plugging it, due to the fact I have so much admiration for his work.

Mark Evanier knew the Kirby’s from being around eighteen and worked as an assistant to Jack, and it shows. There is a great deal of respect for the family and this book is testament to that fact.

If you haven’t seen the book, please do yourself a favour go out and buy a copy…you won’t be disappointed. Whether you are already a fan of his work, or just want to learn something about the guy ‘probably’ most responsible for making Marvel comics the force they are today, the book is a must buy.

My thanks go out to Mark Evanier for sharing his thoughts and anecdotes with us with this wonderful book, which now sits with my many other Kirby books, in my studio.

For more information on Jack Kirby please go to the on-line Kirby Museum:

For more information on Mark Evanier please visit his website here:

Until next time have fun!

Tim Perkins...
June 21st 2008

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Hot Wheels Issues 47 & 48

A look at the latest two cars in the Toontastic Comics...

Hi Guys,

Here is a sneak peak at the cars you’ll see in issue 47 and 48 of the Hot Wheels comic, to whet your appetite.

The next two issues of the comic are sporting one episode each to buy us a little time, although my monthly production schedule will be the same here.

The two cars are respectively:

Nitro Doorslammer – From the story: “Racing Mean!”

Ground FX – From the story: “Ground-Hug Day!”

My son Simon, has again, due to time constrictions this time around with all the madcap mayhem that is the Keep, jumped in at the last second to help me out by providing the flat colours.

Both stories are produced by the same gang as always:

Written by – "Imaginative" Ian Rimmer
Pencilled, Inked and Computer Coloured by – "True Blue" Tim P
Ably assisted by - "ma boy" "Superlative" Simon Perkins
Edited by – "Journeyman" James Hill
With Production Design by – "Rhythmic" Rob Sharp

I am looking forward, as always, to hearing what you think of this latest artwork. The comics will be on sale soon, so don’t forget to order a copy!!!

As a teaser for the next issue following, Issue 49, which I am pencilling even now, the two cars for fans of Hot Wheels will be Cockney Cab II and Hyper Mite and if you haven’t seen the toy for the latter yet, it’s brilliant!!!

Until next time have fun!

Tim Perkins…
June 19th 2008

Monday, June 16, 2008

Jack Kirby’s Fourth World Omnibus Volume 4…

The Grand Finale to the classic EPIC series!!!

This book in the series contains the last of the Fourth World stories created by Jack. It’s a sad event but one that means you can start to read them in their entirety all over again, whenever you wish to do so. It’s sad none-the-less though as there can be no more. Jack’s work here pushed the envelope for comics in the seventies and the resonance of this seminal work still echoes throughout the grand halls of comicdom like the sounds of battle in any of the epic halls in which he placed his “gods”.

The fourth and final volume of this wonderful series arrived a while ago and just like earlier, when the first three books arrived, I found myself once more feeling just like being a kid all over again. The Art, as always, is dynamic, powerful and full of energy. The epic, cosmic stories are even more massive in scope, as they are engaging and full of wonder. The evidence of the limitless imagination of Jack Kirby is still self-evident here, as he continues to throw new ideas and concepts about with a nonchalant ease.

The book contains stories from all the remaining “Fourth World” books:

The Forever People
The New Gods
Mister Miracle

Jack Kirby pencils all the artwork with inks by Mike Royer, D. Bruce Berry and Greg Theakston.

There is a foreword by Paul Levitz, President and Publisher of DC Comics and another afterword by one-time Kirby assistant Mark Evanier.

There is also a section, between the last episode of Mister Miracle (issue #18) and the eighties reprint series tie-up New Gods finale, which contains the New Gods reprint series ad and reprints of the covers.

This is followed by the episode “Even Gods Must Die”, which was written as the new ending for the reprint prestige format series back in the eighties and the graphic novel “The Hunger Dogs”, which pitched Darkseid (the father) against Orion (the son).

There is a section at the rear of the book showing Mike Royer’s original inks to the Hunger Dogs, which was originally commissioned as a 23-page finale to the comic series in the eighties and was then enlarged into the graphic novel version.

This is followed by Jack’s Fourth World Profiles for all his characters from the series in DC Comics’ Who’s Who Profiles, followed by a section at the back showcasing more of Jack’s original pencils to some of this volume’s work, so you can compare them to the inked versions.

The book finishes with a self-portrait of Jack and some of his Fourth Worlds characters around him at his drawing board, inked by Greg Theakston and originally in the Hunger Dogs graphic novel.

There are some great again stories here in this last volume. It is incredible to think he continued to produce great things, despite knowing his books were being cancelled. Once more I would advise anyone, who hasn’t yet purchased one to do so.

I for one wish there could have been more, but with Jack’s passing in 1994 I can only hope that Jack continues his fine work in Heaven and wouldn’t it be nice to think that when it comes time for us to pass over maybe, God willing, we’ll see his new work.

What an incredible and “must have” series of books though to have in a collection, especially for any students of comic book storytelling.

If you haven’t already, go out and buy the ENTIRE series NOW!!!

It will be money well spent.

Ask any of us pros that have followed in his great footsteps and we’ll say the same thing.

Comics would be a whole different place if not for Jack Kirby. He gave us Cosmic, he showed us Epic, he journeyed with us through Mythologies, whether old or new, he revelled in Power and Majesty…he loved the medium of comics and his thoughts on how the world of the comic book could progress are now beginning to look an awful lot like how he envisioned things back then, with graphic novels, fantastic block buster films, video games. Different and yet basically the same – all of them telling larger than life stories, but stories about how the little man, the common man, us, copes with things when we come across powers far, far superior and greater then our own.

Like it said on his first cover to the New Gods comic book, when you pick up his Fourth World series and read it you will witness: “An Epic For Our Times!”

Thanks don’t come close Jack…

Until next time have fun!

Tim Perkins…

June 16th 2008

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Boxcar Astronaut

A look at the Web Comic...

Hi Guys,

Every now and again something happens in the publishing worlds, be that the printed or virtual versions that makes you feel good all over, again.

The other day I was answering some messages, which had come through from my ComicSpace page, when I noticed a banner ad that got me intrigued.

I checked it out and what I was faced with reminded me of the kind of fun thing you see when looking at when Peanuts, with Charlie Brown, Snoopy and the rest of the gang or Hero Bear and the Kid (I must write a Blog about that wonderful book too, soon).

The warmth, charm and general fun feeling that comes from Boxcar Astronaut is beautifully realised. It takes you back to simpler days, when a box, some wood, a few breeze blocks, some plastic tools, your pet dog, best friend, and a vivid imagination where enough…

Written by Jeff Carter and Drawn by Marc Lapierre, this web-comic is superb! I absolutely recommend it to everyone passing on by here and will be keeping up to date with the episodes, as they appear…yes I am a FAN of theirs, now.

Thanks for the ride guys thus far…

Okay guys…what are you waiting for already…

Go…check it out:

I would also like to say a Very Happy Anniversary to my Mum and Dad, who are celebrating 50 years of marriage today!!!

Until next time have fun!

Tim Perkins…

June 14th 2008

Saturday, June 07, 2008

Hot Wheels Issue 46

A look at the latest two cars in the Toontastic Comic...

Hi Guys,

Well I am still having great fun with the Hot Wheels cars and I thought you may like to see the cars you will find in this month’s issue 46 of the Hot Wheels comic, out now from Toontastic.

The two cars in this issue are respectively:

Mega Thrust – From the story: “Air Raid!”

Hyperliner – From the story: “Pop-Off Pursuit!”

Both stories are produced by the same gang as always:

Written by – Ian Rimmer

Pencilled, Inked and Computer Coloured by – This very Blogger
Edited by – James Hill

Production Design by – Rob Sharp

I am looking forward, as always, to hearing what you think of this latest artwork. The comics will be on sale soon, so don’t forget to order a copy!!!

Until next time have fun!

Tim Perkins…
June 7th 2008