SPECTATORS - Part 54
Plus, a new Artopsy from Niko Henrichon, and a top-secret announcement for The Tower!
Did a yellow-rumped warbler also wake you up early this morning?
Brian here, and on my recent constitutionals, instead of podcasts or my own poisonous thoughts, I’ve been listening to all the weird birds in my neighborhood, and attempting to identify them with my favorite app, Cornell Lab’s Merlin Bird ID, which is kind of like Pokémon GO for melancholy middle-aged oddballs.
I’m constantly holding my dumb phone aloft in the middle of suburban streets, like a redshirt on Star Trek taking their final tricorder reading, so I know it won’t be long before I’m inevitably creamed by a Prius… but now that I’ve got a taste for the music of those sweet dark-eyed juncos, I just can’t quit.
Speaking of untimely demises, let’s get to back to our dearly departed degenerate Val for this week’s installment of Spectators, brought to you as always by the dramatic duo of artist/co-creator Niko Henrichon and letterer Fonografiks.
A reminder that new readers can get caught up on all 140 previous pages of Spectators anytime for free in our handy Archives, but for the rest of you, we now rejoin a miraculously armed Sam, who just scared off Val’s spectral stalker.
From Cowboy Ghosts to Future Marines, Niko absolutely kills it with his costume designs every single week. So grateful for his limitless range, impeccable taste, and intimidating work ethic.
Not to mention his generosity! Every single month since we launched Exploding Giraffe, Niko has been giving away one page of his invaluable, hand-painted original art to one of you lucky random subscribers. This week, he’s crazy enough to be parting with this still-drying beauty from today’s vignette:
If you’d like a shot at hanging that masterpiece on your wall, all you have to do is join us a paid subscriber at any level, and you’ll be automatically entered in this ongoing contest every single month.
We’ll announce the winner of that Spectators page next Monday, so you fence-sitters still have a few days to sign up and be included in the drawing. Thank you so much again for continuing to support Niko’s hard work and a story we both love telling.
In last week’s chat thread with The Tower, we were discussing something I asked James Tynion IV in my exclusive interview: what’s the best television pilot of all time?
Lots of love from Tower members for Twin Peaks, Futurama, Six Feet Under, and James’ pick of Freaks and Geeks, but I’m grateful to reader T. Miller for reminding me about Lookwell, a cult comedy pilot from 1991 written by Conan O’Brien and Robert Smigel, starring the late Adam West. You can find a few different cuts on YouTube, and they’re all fucking hysterical.
But only one commenter can win this variant edition of Blue Book by Mr. Tynion and Michael Avon Oeming, published by our friends at Dark Horse…
…and our intern Genesis the Exploded Giraffe has randomly selected Beck S., who wrote:
I’ve read the pilot scripts for two unmade Charlie Kaufman tv shows: Depressed Roomies and How and Why. I think it was How and Why, anyway. You can find them on the Being Charlie Kaufman fansite. They were both great but How and Why was more ambitious so I’ll pick that.
More ammunition for procrastination? Many thanks, Beck.
While I go hunt down those scripts, please allow me to hand you over to my esteemed partner Niko Henrichon for another of his awe-inspiring artistic autopsies, but I’ll be back for a TOP-SECRET UPDATE just for you loyal Tower members after the paywall.
Take it away, Niko!
For this new Artopsy, I’d like to tackle a period just after my first substantial work for DC Comics (a book titled Barnum!, written by Howard Chaykin and David Tishman).
Back then, I had a nice opportunity to work an office job for a small company named Grafik Sismik in my hometown of Quebec City. The small startup company was specialising in various digital services like comic book coloring, design for animation and video games, and other things. I started working there with very limited experience in computer coloring, so I had to learn everything on the spot.
The people working there were great and I learned a lot in their company. But the trouble of working for such a structure is that you can’t really choose the projects on which you’re working on. I had some very interesting projects like doing the colors on Masters of the Universe comics and Star Wars comics, as well, but I also had to work on the Dora the Explorer tv show, on which I had to color backgrounds. I remember struggling a lot on this one as my backgrounds were often denied by the producers of the show. They were too far off from the house models. Sorry, you won’t see those here, as I kept no copies of them (and I’m trying to keep no memories either).
But the most interesting jobs I got were in development. Sometimes, the studio was invited to create a pitch for projects, and they often threw those to me. If I remember correctly, most of these projects never really came to life and the studio closed after two years or so. But here are some bits and pieces from that time, just before I started to work on a certain Vertigo graphic novel featuring lions, monkeys and battle tanks.
These are various designs for a science-fiction project that I forgot the name of:
Brian jumping back in to let you know that there are another ten or so extraordinary never-before-shared, full-color images from different stages of Niko’s career after the jump, as well as our top-secret update, so I hope you’ll join us!
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