Sunday, February 15, 2009

Young Guns Sketchbook 2009 ... FREE! (Marvel Comics)

Talk about jumping on the band wagon, not so long ago, when I started my recent round robin of "Rayboy’s Reviews", I mentioned that in addition to purchasing the batch of four comics that I was weighing in on, I also happened to pick up a lone freebie.

"Young Guns Sketchbook 2009" was released by Marvel Comics to tout the latest group of art robots that they wanted to crow about, but what do I mean with my "band wagon" comment from above?

On the inside front cover, the following participants are listed; Sketchbook Editors Arune Singh, James Viscardi & Michael Lawson; Editorial Assistant Alex Starbuck; Assistant Editors, Special Projects Cory Levine & John Denning; Editors, Special Projects Jennifer Grunwald & Mark D. Beazley; Senior Editor, Special Projects Jeff Youngquist; Senior Vice President of Strategic Development – Acquisitions & Licensing Ruwan Jayatilleke; Vice President of Merchandising & Communications Mike Pasciullo; Senior Vice President of Sales David Gabriel; Sketchbook Designer Rommel Alama and Cover Designer Jeff Suter. Now, if you actually took the time to read all of those credits, you too may be wondering just why in the hell these people need their names plastered on a promotional handout. There were more names listed there, than there were artists being promoted inside this freebie. What the…?

Daniel Acuna, Stefano Caselli, Mike Choi, Marko Djurdjevic, Khoi Pham and Rafa Sandoval are the "Young Guns" in question, so somebody really should call of those non artist people and scream, ‘Hey stupid! Get out of the way and let’s get down to business.’ I mean, damn, it’s only a little promotional sketchbook. Focus people!

Daniel Acuna is one of those illustrators who go for the painted look. We get a glimpse of his work on Dark Avengers #3, Uncanny X-Men Annual #2 and his current gig on The Eternals. I like the character sketches he provides for Ikaris, Thena & Makkari, but not having been thrilled with his DC Comics series, Uncle Sam and the Freedom Fighters, I don’t plan on picking up Eternals. Too bad, because I really love Kirby’s original 1970's "Chariots of the Gods" riff on Eternals.

Stefano Caselli provides both sketches and completed color glimpses of his efforts on Secret Warriors, but two things come to mind looking at this promo. First, I’m not the least bit interested in investing myself in a bunch of here-to-for unknown characters, and second, Nick Fury is going to be seriously wasted in this book. Guys, Nick Fury is a spy, a soldier, not the guru to a bunch of superhero wannabe’s. Down the road though, Caselli will be one to watch!

Mike Choi also treats us to sketches and color work from the cover of Dark Avengers #2 and X-Force. His art appears to be influenced by Japanese manga/anime and I wouldn’t be surprised to hear that he loves Joseph Michael Linsner’s Dawn character.

Marko Djurdjevic shows off concept art for Spider-Man Noir, Daredevil and Dead of Night: Werewolf By Night, and this stuff looks fairly promising, the sketch pages that he includes show a lot of promise, but I would be interested in seeing him paired up with a seasoned inker. He can draw, but again, his finished stuff may just be too "painterly’ for me.

Khoi Pham can layout an action page for sure, and his penciling skills aren’t bad, but overall his work just doesn’t appeal to me. I wouldn’t buy a book with him as artist. The Mighty Avengers sales may fall with him on board.

Rafa Sandoval closes out the group with a sneak peek at his work on Young X-Men and Incredible Hercules. Out of this entire batch of "Young Guns", he gets to show off the most sketch-style pages. I would also like to see him teamed up with a veteran inker, because his basic penciling stuff is really nice.

It is cool to see that Marvel is attempting to develop an audience for these guys, but I am always a tough sell, so check ‘em out if ya’ wanna, but I will probably take a pass for the time being.

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