Saturday, September 26, 2009

Baltimore Comic-Con Creator Profiles

BERNIE WRIGHTSON - This hometown boy is probably the most famous name in horror comics. While Wrightson has worked for various publications over the years, including Marvel, DC and famous horror publisher Warren Publishing, his best known creation is still the Swamp Thing, who he created along with writer Len Wein in 1971. But to remember Wrightson only for his shambling superhero would be a mistake. A prolific artist to say the least, Wrightson has brought the works of such horror luminaries as Stephen King, H.P. Lovecraft and Edgar Alan Poe to skittering, slithering life. In 1975 he joined The Studio, a group of creators looking to break out of the confines of comic books and produce art in various other mediums. Wrightson certainly had success at this, as his non-comic career led him to various work designing posters, prints, calendars, etc. A venerable industry elder, Wrightson has inspired (and worked alongside) a new generation of creators that includes heavy hitters such as Joss Whedon and Ben Templesmith.

NEAL ADAMS - If you were holding a contest to determine the most influential comic book artist of all time, Neal Adams would certainly be one of the finalists. An industry veteran of over forty-five years, Adams is best known for revolutionizing Batman in the 1970s. But it's not only Batman that Adams lent his expert's pencil to. Over the years, he's had the honor of creating some of the most memorable moments in the history of the X-Men, Green Lantern and Green Arrow. Along with writer and longtime collaborator Denny O'Neil, Adams helped revolutionize some of DC's major characters in the 1970s. The 1960s had offered campy, colorful and whimsical interpretations of many of DC's characters, but that candy-coated Silver Age wasn't the world O'Neil and Adams saw when they looked outside their windows. Together, they brought the dangers, controversies, tragedies and triumphs of the real world to the pages of Batman and Green Lantern/Green Arrow. Today, Adams's influence can be felt all around the industry, specifically in the work of creators such as Ivan Reis, Bryan Hitch and John Cassaday. Now it's come to light that Adams has some (less than secret) Batman project in the works with divisive creator Frank Miller. When you see him in Baltimore, see if you can't get him to spill the beans.

ROBERT KIRKMAN - Robert Kirkman is the fan favorite creator of such successful series as Invincible, Marvel Zombies and the Walking Dead. An outspoken defender of the medium, Kirkman made waves with his mission statement for comics last year, where he challenged the major publishers to give new talent a chance and the old dogs to try a few new tricks. It's hard to argue with Kirkman's experience in the matter, considering he's more than put his money where his mouth is. His most famous works, Invincible and The Walking Dead are two of the most successful creator-owned properties in comics. And 2009 has been a big year for both series, as Walking Dead is veering off into unexplored territory and Invincible saw the publication of its 65th issue. Recently, it was announced that AMC, the network behind successful dramas Breaking Bad and Mad Men, have bought the rights to produce a Walking Dead television series. It's been a good year for Robert Kirkman and things are only getting better.

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