Tag Archives: comics

Jack Kirby: The Epic Life of the King of Comics

The Day That Would’ve Been Free Comic Book Day 2020

Saturday May 2, 2020 would’ve been Free Comic Book Day 2020 had it not been delayed. A special free comic book excerpt of my upcoming book “Jack Kirby: The Epic Life of the King of Comics” was going to be released to stores across the country as part of this event, a Gold Sponsor Book. The image above was an early cover concept for the book back when the working title was simply “Kirby.” The image shows Jack Kirby when he was a newsboy, like the ones he would later write and draw when he pioneered the “kid gang” genre with comics like “The Newsboy Legion” in the 1940s. “Jack Kirby: The Epic Life of the King of Comics” is the life story of Jack Kirby told in comics form. It covers the story of his parents, his childhood, his early experiences breaking into the newly formed comics industry, his wartime service, the postwar era of romance and horror comics, his comic strip days, his collaboration with Stan Lee, his auteur ‘70s work, his animation career in the 80s, and the ways his work continues to live on. You can preorder it here: https://www.penguinrandomhouse.com/books/608042/jack-kirby-by-tom-scioli/?pdivflag

Process: Godland Trade Paperback Vol. 6

Godland, as an ongoing series, has ended, but as a creator-owned series it will always be part of my life. I’ve just finished the artwork for the wraparound cover for the sixth and final trade paperback collecting the final 7 issues of the series. It starts with a pencil drawing:


If you want a textured line, rather than a smooth line, you can ink the drawing with a pencil. I did a tighter pencil drawing:


No matter how much practice I get with a brush or pen, it will never catch up with the facility and control I have with a pencil. “Inking” with a pencil feels more natural, it’s easier, and I prefer the results to inking with actual ink. If you want a line with character, pencil is the way to go. Next step is to mess around with digital color and you’re there:




Free Comic Book Day Gold: Transformers vs. G.I.Joe

It’s just been announced, the Free Comic Book Day Gold Comic from IDW will by Transformers vs. G.I.Joe by me and John Barber. We just turned in our script for this issue, and it is hands-down the best thing I’ve ever worked on. I wrote a little bit about the research process at ComicsAlliance. Here’s the cover art:


Initially Ed Piskor and I hatched a plan to create an unofficial crossover with our Free Comic Book Day books. We were both going to use a layout that pays homage to Marvel’s 25th Anniversary covers.


Here’s Ed’s HHFT Free Comic Book Day cover for Fantagraphics (minus the surprise reveal of the issue’s star):


Here’s my initial layout for the Transformers vs. G.I.Joe Free Comic Book Day issue:


I think the end result would’ve been great, but to be honest, as an image, I just wasn’t feeling it. I liked the prankish aspects of us doing an unofficial crossover. I thought it was something that could be highly promotable, the idea of two friends creating an unofficial crossover between their FCBD books. I lament the missed opportunity for those reasons. But as iconic as it is, I’ve just never been a big fan of that Marvel 25th Anniversary layout.

For a comic about Hip Hop, the idea of using a classic superhero layout like this is genius, real outside-the-box thinking, which perfectly fits Piskor’s “Hip Hop as Superheroes” thesis. For a Transformers vs. G.I.Joe comic, where this layout has been used before more than once, it seemed like it would be a bit obvious. These are the difficult decisions an artist has to make. This isn’t your father’s Transformers/G.I. Joe comic. I wanted to show a real break from what’s come before with Transformers and G.I. Joe, the start of a new era that reflects my aesthetic, my strengths as an artist.

Something immediate. Something you’ve never seen before. Something like this:


With a layout I was happy with, I went about penciling:


Then inking and texturing:


Then color (with the assistance of the great Josh Burcham):


So that’s the long and winding road to a comic book cover.

Retailers, order a ton of IDW’s Transformers vs. G.I. Joe Free Comic Book Day Gold Comic. Watch everybody come back a month later to buy issue one.

Comics Fans, ask your retailer to order a bunch of these so you’ll get your copy.

Transformers vs. G.I.Joe Studies 1


Here’s some sketches I’ve been doing in preparation for the upcoming Transformers vs. G.I.Joe. There are two whole universes of characters and concepts that I’ve been acquainting myself with over the last few months.



That means a lot of reading, cartoon-viewing, sketching and writing. The goal is to immerse myself so fully in these worlds that the characters become as real to me as anybody I know.


I want to be so well-versed in this body of knowledge that if I need to know what Megatron had for breakfast this morning, I’d have an answer ready to go.