Tag Archives: peter milligan

10 YEARS AGO: 2001

MUSIC

The Strokes – Is This It

Weezer – Weezer a.k.a. The Green Album

Gorillaz – Gorillaz

Ryan Adams – Gold

The White Stripes – White Blood Cells

FILM

The Royal Tenenbaums (dir. Wes Anderson)

Ghost World (dir. Terry Zwigoff)

Mulholland Drive (dir. David Lynch)

Donnie Darko (dir. Richard Kelly)

Amelie (dir. Jean-Pierre Jeunet)

COMICS

X-Men #114 marks the beginning of Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely’s acclaimed run on the title.

Batman: The Dark Knight Strikes Again, Frank Miller’s sequel to his massively influential The Dark Knight Returns, begins its serialization.

X-Force #116 marks the beginning of Peter Milligan and Mike Allred’s acclaimed run on the title.

Marvel’s mature readers line Max Comics launches with Alias #1 by Brian Michael Bendis & Michael Gaydos.

Starman by James Robinson, Tony Harris and Peter Snejbjerg concludes with #80.

TV

The Office premieres on BBC 2, July 9, 2001.

– Greg

70 Aspects of Batman: 28

MIKE ALLRED

From Wikipedia:

Michael Dalton “Mike” Allred is an American comic book artist and writer most famous for his indie comics creation, Madman. His style is often compared to pop art, as well as commercial and comic art of the 1950s and 1960s.

Allred began his career as a TV reporter in Europe, and started drawing comics in 1989 with the 104-page OGN Dead Air (Slave Labor Graphics). Following this up with his similarly-titled works Graphique Musique (SLG, 1990) and Grafik Muzik (Caliber Comics 1990/91), he set out the style that he was to become known for with his most famous character: Madman.

The first Madman miniseries debuted from Tundra Publishing in March 1992, and gained higher recognition with its move to Dark Horse Comics in April 1994. Relaunched as Madman Comics, it went on to be nominated for several Harvey Awards. Allred himself gained further mainstream attention with the science-fiction/rock-and-roll comic Red Rocket 7 and his art for writer Peter Milligan‘s series X-Force, which he began drawing in July 2001, and subsequently became X-Statix after X-Force #128.

His more recent work includes The Golden Plates, an adaptation of The Book of Mormon. Other projects are inking X-Statix Presents: Deadgirl, and work on a new ‘Madman’ series. He has also drawn three issues of the Vertigo comic Fables. His wife, Laura, frequently works as his colorist.

Allred is a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, otherwise known as the Mormons.

Currently, he’s performing art duties on up and coming Vertigo series I, Zombie, written by Chris Roberson. The main character, Gwendolyn “Gwen” Dylan, is a ‘zombie girl detective’.

I first encountered Mike Allred’s work in the pages of Madman #1, waaaay back in 1993. When I would stay with my grandparents for a bit in the summer, my grandma would drive me to nearby Iowa City in order to take advantage of some of the things the college town offered that their small town didn’t. Like comic shops! I don’t remember if I read about Madman before I bought it, but for some reason one day, instead of getting the newest issue of Spawn I got Madman #1 from Tundra. I was instantly attracted to Allred’s clean, retro style (though his early stuff had more of a Charles Burns-y feel as well), and read and re-read the issue multiple times. I’ve been an Allred devotee ever since.

Apart from the odd pin-up, Allred’s most substantial work on Batman appeared in his issue of Solo, entitled “Batman-A-Go-Go”. I want to say BAGG was meant to be a miniseries at one point, but I can’t find anything online to support that. I definitely remember it being an idea that was mentioned long before it eventually appeared.

Unsurprisingly, considering the influence the 60s have on his work,  Allred’s take on Batman in this story is steeped in the look of the Adam West starring-TV show. The main plot of “Batman-A-Go-Go”, however, actually concerns Batman’s disillusionment about how the world is changing into a much darker place than the day-glo sound effects-laden one of the show. It’s an interesting take, and it would have been nice to see this story in full miniseries form (if that was ever actually a possibility).

So in closing, Mike Allred has long been one of my favorite comic artists, and you should do your best to seek out his issue of Solo, and everything else he’s ever done.

– Greg

70 Aspects Of Batman: 2

mignola

MIKE MIGNOLA

Mike Mignola is mostly known these days as the creator of Hellboy,  but before the big red guy debuted in 1994 he was a freelance artist who worked mainly for the big two, Marvel and DC. Mignola didn’t enjoy working on the either company’s bread and butter (superhero books) much; he would much rather have been drawing something involving monsters and/or gothic atmosphere, desires which led to the eventual creation of Hellboy. One character he did enjoy working on at the time, however, was Batman. Batman stories allowed Mignola to play up his strengths (moody lighting, gothic atmosphere, bizarre characters), and he would return to work on the Dark Knight Detective long after Hellboy became a success, presumably because he actually wanted to.

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Mignola’s first major work on Batman was Gotham By Gaslight:

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Gotham by Gaslight was DC’s first Elseworlds story, which allowed for interpretations of their iconic characters outside of mainstream continuity. Gaslight detailed a Batman that operated in Victorian London instead of modern day Gotham City, on the hunt for Jack The Ripper (it’s a great read, but I’m biased because it was one of the first comics I have a distinct memory of owning).

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He also drew Batman around this time in the Cosmic Odyessy miniseries with Jim Starlin (which also allowed him to illustrate his beloved Jack Kirby DC creations)…

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and in an issue of Legends of The Dark Knight. He also did some Batman cover work around this time, including one of my absolute favorite Batman stories that has never been collected, entitled Dark Knight, Dark City, which was written by the perennially underrated Peter Milligan.

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After going to Dark Horse and working on Hellboy for a while, Mignola returned to DC in the late 90s for a two-issue crossover featuring his creator-owned character with two of theirs, Batman and Starman. The books were written by Starman writer James Robinson and as that was and still is one of my favorite series of all time, it was pretty exciting for me.

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(Gotham By Gaslight, the Legends of the Dark Knight story and Batman/Hellboy/Starman have all been collected in a Mignola Batman collection, but frustratingly it’s only available in Spain, and in Spanish).

In the 2000s, Mignola had enough confidence in his writing apart from his amazing art that he started writing scripts for other artists to illustrate. One of these was Batman: The Doom That Came To Gotham, another Elseworlds story. I’ve never read it, but judging from its covers it looks like it deals with his usual fetishes of pulp fiction, H.P. Lovecraftesque creatures and the like.

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Mike Mignola has also had a statue made based on his Batman work….

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…and his bold, minimal style allows for great tattoo artwork, as seen below:

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So while Mike Mignola’s body of Bat-work is slim when compared to others in this series, it’s had a great impact.

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G.