Under Appreciated Comics

Hey y'all,
I was thinking about putting together a list of comics that are under appreciated and I need some suggestions. That's you where you all come in.  Please leave comments about books and series that you love and why others should give it a chance.


Day 1: Zero to Hero

I was lucky enough to get a beta key for DC Universe Online. Here are my experiences...

Lex Luthor messed up. No surprise there, but his story of victory and defeat pales in comparison to the stunning visuals of the opening cinematic. Every character seems to have been designed to be true to their portrayals in comic books. Admittedly, Superman looks like the lame emo Superman from Superman III. No one wants that Superman to come back. Ever. No one wants to be reminded of that atrocity.

After the cinematic—in which the Lex from another world explains that we need more heroes to defeat Brainiac—it is time to create your character. With at least ten different categories to customize, DC Universe Online gives a player ample opportunity to create a unique character with all sorts of different power sets.

The only drawback is that character creation does take a while. Though if you don’t want to spend the time sifting through the multitude of choices, they do have preset characters based on popular DC heroes and villains such as Superman and the Joker. Not being one to follow in anyone’s footsteps, I chose to completely build my own character.

Since I am a female, I figured I’d like to have boobs in the virtual world too. And after much deliberation, I chose to be a hero, which surprised many of the people in my life who believe me to be a secret maniacal evildoer. The rest came easily. A flirty personality which seems to only affect my stance while idle.

The next choice is that of mentor. As a hero, you have three choices: Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman. Each one has a different start point in-game and origin. Deciding that magic it is awesome—and I can beat down Superman if need be—I chose Wonder Woman. The rest of the choices came quite easily. I’ve always want to wear a cape, so flight was a must. Now costumed and named her after the Hindu goddess of death—the dark one—Kalika burst onto the DC Universe scene. On Brainiac’s ship. Which is full of deadly robots. And I seem to be all alone. Oh boy.

To read more and see all the screen shots I took, Click Here! And keep checking back on Kalika's further adventures in DC Universe Online.


Baltimore Comic-Con Travel

I just found out that the trains in Baltimore don't run on the weekend (How stupid is that? Probably just as stupid as me assuming they did run :/ )  Anyway, I was wondering if anyone was going to the Con and then driving back on Sunday and passing by one of the DC Metro stations on their way home, who wouldn't mind helping me out of a bind.


Shawn Crystal Interview Part 3 (the end)

If you were given the opportunity to draw any comic book what would it be? Why?

This is frequently changing. I have issues. I’m also a comic geek, so I’ll name a few…

1) Scalped. My favorite monthly book out there. Maybe my work doesn’t fit it, but you gotta have dreams, no?

2) B.P.R.D . I LOVE what Arcudi and Davis are doing on this book. Great character studies and Wild and imaginative stories. Though if I did get to draw it; that would mean that Davis wouldn’t be, and It wouldn’t look nearly as good.

3) Wolverine and or Punisher. I think these books would be a good place to work on some of the inking techniques I’m investigating. My style isn’t terribly mainstream, but I think it would fit in with some of the solo books at Marvel. These two books seem to work with a grittier and cartoony style. Maybe one day soon.

Are there any writers and/or artists in the industry you’d like to work with?

Jason Aaron. He’s a writer in every sense of the word.

Garth Ennis. He’s another writer with a unique voice. What really amazes me about Garth is he’s never seemed to put his “name” before his writing. He’s a guy who could be the biggest name in comics, but has chosen to (at least seemed to) stay on projects where he can write from his heart. Not that he’s some small timer, he’s a powerhouse, and thus ends my dream of working with him.

Cullen Bunn. Another guy who’s tearing it up. Read “The Damned” now! Six Guns will be out soon to tear us all a new one.

I’ve worked with a great group of writers so far, and have plans to work with several others. All of which have been great experiences. Mike Benson and I had a great time on Games of Death, and have plans to team up again. He is really paving a blazing trail in comics. Adam Glass and I are also talking; we’ll cook something up soon.

Do you have any advice to those trying to break into the comic book industry?

DON’T DO IT! LEAVE NOW WHILE YOU CAN! Now, those of you who are still here, my misguided advice is simple… “Make it happen.” It’s an extremely tough field. It’s a freelance based industry, so money can come in waves, be prepared for the down times. Also, insurance is tough one. Those of us in it, and those of us who will be in it, are doing it because it’s a calling. It’s not a choice; we do it because it’s what we are. When I say “Make it Happen,” I mean it. Every artist has a different story about how they got in. There is no one road in; you need to find your way. Make comics and keep making them, even if you’re not getting paid. If you do this, and you do it well, one day you will be paid. Make Web Comics. Make Mini Comics. Go to conventions and network. Network A LOT. That’s my guess, I could be wrong ;) It worked for me…. So far.

What’s next for Shawn Crystal?

I am currently working on an issue of Deadpool Team Up with writer Stuart Moore. This book is a WILD ride. I wish I could say more, stay tuned to my Blog or my DA page for updates. After working with Stuart, I can say I’d truly love to work with him again. He really understands the responsibility of a page. After that, I just found out I’ll be working on something VERY exciting for me. I can’t wait to shout this one from the rooftops.

And lastly, what comics are you currently reading?

1) Scalped. This book is simply amazing. Jason has convinced me he grew up on an Indian reservation and has a meth lab in his back yard.

2) Punisher Max, the Ennis Parlov Stuff. I geek out on this stuff. HARD.

3) Shaman Warriors. A kickin’ Korean series. WOAH.

4) Asterios Polyp. Just finished it. To say anymore would warrant a dissertation on David Mazzuchelli. Knowledgeable
Thanks for reading!
Susan (twitter: ComicBooksGirl
Arlington Comic Books Examiner
Start the Conversation

Shawn Crystal Interview Part 2

You’ve said your comic career began when you penciled the Wildstorm series Resident Evil: Fire and Ice in 2000, how did the news of receiving that job differ from when Marvel hired you to work on Deadpool ?

That’s a great question with an interesting story behind it. I was in grad school when I got the Resident Evil job. I probably wasn’t ready to be working, but I was lucky. I finished the job before I graduated and assumed my career was paved. Nothing came my way. I graduated and looked for jobs, aggressively. I found small gigs here and there, for small publishers. A decade went by. I had been talking to Axel Alonso. He liked my work, explained it was a hard fit at Marvel and he’d throw something my way when it fit what I did. I thought it may have been more “Editor Speak.” I had heard a lot of this over the years. Then he called with the Deadpool annual, “Games of Death.” I understand what he meant now. My work fits there and I am now busy with comics work. I think the more work I do there, the more likely I am to be able to work on other titles, as my craft grows and my work becomes more familiar to the audience.

Can you describe your process in creating the art for an issue?

Yes I can, in depth

First, I read the script. Then I work on the character designs. Knowing what the story demands of the characters, allows me to understand how to draw them. I also use this phase to get familiar with the shapes that compose the characters. So, yes, even when drawing established characters I have to spend time figuring out how I will draw them. (After each stage I scan the work in, and talk to my editor about what works and what doesn’t and make the necessary changes.) After that, I do my thumbnails. I put a lot of time into these, figuring out the storytelling, page designs, and spotting blacks. I draw these fairly small, about 2.5 inches tall. They are done in black and white so I can make sure everything is clear, and the design issues work out. There are like mini versions of the final page.

Next, on to the pencils. I pencil smaller than print size, about 7 inches tall. This forces me to stay with simple shapes (the complexity of form comes in with the inks.) I spend this time making sure I understand the surface planes of the forms and clearly define the spatial relationships. The storytelling has been figure out earlier, so I just need to stick with that. I take the pencils and blow them up to 11” X 17” in Photoshop. Turn them to a light blue, and then print them out on the bristol board. From here, I tighten the areas that need it. I try not to spend a lot of time doing this because if I over render the pencils, my inks will die. Then I go in and ink. If I’ve done my job right, there is enough pencil information down to play with, but no too little that I make a mess. Then I scan it, clean it up, and send it to my editor. 
 To be continued.
Susan (twitter: ComicBooksGirl
Arlington Comic Books Examiner
Start the Conversation
  • 18 results
  • 1
  • 2