Friday, October 14, 2005

From the Department of Corrections: A new look at Alpha Flight #121

So today I get this email today from a reader who was upset that I took the piss out of artist Craig Brasfield’s work on Alpha Flight #121. Since the original post was back in May, I took a gander at the comments and lo and behold, there’s a comment from Craig Brasfield himself on there which I hadn’t seen.

For those of you who haven’t read the post in question, click here. In the post I take Craig to task for directly swiping John Byrne’s art and slapping a photocopied character into the comic. I believe I say, “All those involved in making this comic should be held as enemy combatants. Indefinitely. In a country that allows torture.” Which is kind of funny, really.



It turns out that Craig had nothing to do with slapping the villain Caliber into the art, as you’ll find out below. It was done by the editor after Craig had turned in his work. Why?

Read Craig’s comments for the real truth behind the infamous Alpha Flight #121:

Hi, Dave & Co.

A friend pointed out your site & I felt the need to come to my own defense, if just a little.

It really should be obvious that the disaster of Caliber was NOT the artists' doing. Really, my stuff may not be your favorite but it IS all mine (I despise swipes).

Avoiding drawing that one character in his 3 or so panels would really not save much time.

The original villain was Black Tom, which I loved drawing in an appropriately Cockrum style. Far after the pencils, inks, & letters, the X-Office denied use of that character. Some other villain was suggested & I was going to have to redraw those panels quickly but then THAT villain was vetoed.

Editor Rob[Tokar] had his back against a deadline and just went w/ a villain HE had control over, pasting a Xerox of previous art over Tom. I've peeled those off the original art I've gotten back.


Interestingly (kinda), the Goblin was there in the crowd scene, covered over by a peculiar black blob after the Spider-Eds objected, but is still seen later fleeing the fight. Also, I drew some of the villains here in that month's New Warriors (#36) arriving at the Vault after their defeat here. I thought that kinda neat.

I honestly always tried to do my best for Marvel, being a huge fan of the characters but my work always looked much better in pencils than finished. The inkers I got tended to be on the scratchy side, sort of unfinished. Also being a freelancer, it often happened that I'd go months with nothing then get 3 books in one month.

Check out AF 113, New Warriors 35-6, Illuminator, the Justice mini, and the Toys R Us '93 X-Men giveaway for some of my better efforts.

Thanks for the forum and special thanks to the one kind soul that complimented that Spider-Man What If.

-Craig Brasfield


So there you go.

I thought I’d post that because while I enjoy mocking comic book badness, I think it’s important to mock with accuracy. Craig’s art work is fair game, but I’d hate to diss somebody for something they have no control over and I’d hate to call somebody a swiper when they clearly are not. That’s just mean, and I’m not about being mean. Much.

So thanks, Craig Brasfield, for setting the record straight on the whole swipe thing and my apologies for any hard feelings.

See? We’re all about The Love here at Dave’s Long Box.

23 comments:

Roel said...

So how committed are you to correcting your unfair criticism? Will you actually go back and amend your post and remove the comments concerning his swiping? Old posts live on the internet in perpetuity. Retconning things and fixing your mistake seems like the gentlemanly thing to do.

You know, Craig Brasfield really handled everything with a lot of class. He deserves a lot of credit for that.

Adrian said...

If you look at the original comic, this makes a lot of sense. In the first panel, the word "Caliber" is lettered in a slightly different style than the rest of the speech balloon. In the second panel, the thing that Puck is telling him not to point could just as easily be a shillelagh stick rather than a giant cannon. (Now that's a sentence that's easily taken out of context... And what the holy living fuck is a shillelagh stick supposed to be anyway? I've never been able to figure that one out.)

Cullen M. M. Waters said...

roel: Why remove the "unfair criticism?" That would make this correction irrelivant, wouldn't it? Why not instead a note about it in the article and a link to this one?

Personally I don't see the big deal either way, but...

David Campbell said...

Good point Roel! I'll ammend the old post. I'd hate to have somebody Google Craig Brasfield, find that post, and think Craig was a swiper. And I agree, he handled the whole thing like a gentleman.

Dan Coyle said...

Hey, I'm a Kind soul!!!

And that issue of What If? was very good. Furman nailed the Spider-Angst without making it oppressive or hokey, not easy to do. And Brasfield's art is peachy keen.

G. Bob said...

This whole thing reminds me of years ago when I did a review of a video game called Ultima 9. I started the review this way; Lord British should have just taken a shit in the box Ultima 9 came in. Instead he sent a certificate of thanks. The shit, at least, would have been more in keeping with what the game was going to be like...It's a rocky ride ahead of us as we take a look at Ultima: Asscension....or as I like to think of it "I waited 5 frickin' years for this?" and then I actually started getting nasty. I knocked the game every chance I got. Then later that year I was hired at the company that made the game, Origin.

Oy. Talk about feling uneasy about what I wrote. I would be working next to someone who had spent years putting their heart and soul into the game, and I began to appreciate just how unfair my review was. When I wrote the review, I didn't apreciate how much trouble behind the scenes the company had with the publisher, Electronic Arts, and how hard it was to pull off what they were trying to acomplish. Every person who worked on it was proud of what they acomplished, even if they weren't happy with the final results. The programers pushed the envelope of what machines were capable of at the time, the artists did a spectacular job, and the desginers created some really great systems. Sometimes the best people, with the best intentions, will still produce crap.

Now Craig is no Kirby, but then again who is? I'm not keen on his style but I would be lying if I didn't admit that I would love to able to draw as well as he can. Even if he was a terrible artist (and that's for the individual to judge) he's still better than I am and he gets to make comics. Pretty frickin' cool. Mad props.

On the other hand, Dave was right to call him out, given the information at hand. Now that we know the truth behind that comic, it's a different story. Dave showed, as allways, a great deal of class in correcting his article. Still, every artist deserves to be mocked from time to time. It keeps the artist humble, and gives those of us in the peanut gallery a few good laughs.

Peter said...

Speaking of artists to be mocked, any chance of a Byrne one? Since we all know he doesn't know the meaning of the words "handling with class" anymore, it should be hilarious (yes, I want a sequel to Byrne vs Wikipedia, and I think Byrne vs the Longbox would be hilarious ;p)

I really liked Ultima 8, by the way, but never even saw Ultima 9. It must've really passed by my radar! So what does happen to what's-his-name, the Guardian, big red rocky guy, at the end?

(and oh, I think Craig Brasfield was really cool in his post, and with the snarkiness in the original piece, it says a lot about him that he didn't fly off the handle. Well done, that man!)

Monkey In Blender said...

Speaking of artists to be mocked, any chance of a Byrne one?

Holy crap! Mocking John Byrne - what a concept! How has no one ever thought of this before?

Anonymous said...

Yeah, add my voice. I think both Craig and Dave come out of this looking well.

Thanks, Craig, for being a gentleman; and thanks, Dave, for responding the way you did.


Doug M.

Peter said...

But how many times does Byrne get mocked for any of his art? It's usually about his person, or about his writing (which tends to be linked to his quirks in personality). And I'm sure that in his massive volume of work there has to be *something* that Dave can spoof from here to eternity?

Konstantinos Stamoulis said...

I have seen some samples of uncolored, but otherwise finished art by John Byrne from his latest Adventures of Superman and Blood of the Demon books and they are excellent.

Other than that, John Byrne these days is known for being a jerk.

Anonymous said...

I'm somewhat saddened. This particular entry and the ensuing comments made me feel great about humanity and the inherit goodness of us all. Until, that is, it descended into a Byrne bash-fest. However deserving he may be of such treatment, couldn't we just save it for another day? Amazing this tendency in the blog-o-sphere to assail something/anything even when the initial attitude is one of humbleness and positivity.

Also, I agree with Cullen. Dave, please don't amend the original post. Those who haven't followed you for awhile will miss some of the character of the blog if they can't see the whole picture here.

David Campbell said...

Well, I did add some notes to the original post, but left the original text intact. Best of both worlds.

I shan't join in on the Byrne Bashing, although I have my opinions about the guy personally... I'll just stick to commenting on his art, but frankly, I'm a big fan of Byrne's art. The only mockable thing I can think of off the top of my head is the horrible clothes he puts She Hulk in. You know, that might be a good post in and of itself...

Solario said...

You know, that might be a good post in and of itself...

There he goes. One of God's own prototypes. Some kind of high powered mutant never even considered for mass production. Too weird to live, and too rare to die.

gorjus said...

Here's what we haven't talked about yet: we all blamed Craig for the swipe. We never blamed Marvel for the fact that they a) screwed up the writer, penciller, inker, and letterer of a comic, who had put in one character (and come on, Black Tom?? Who was really using HIM?) and then pasted over some stuff; and

b) ripped off John Byrne yet again, bleeding his work product dry. Say what you will about his character, he was THE definitive Marvel artist of the 80's, bar none. Byrne's "look" WAS Marvel, and the only problem I have about it now is how scratchy/cheaply inked it seems. Oh, and that he destroys my childhood routinely (see: Doom Patrol). But I digress!

I mean, did they PAY him again for using his artwork? They paid Craig, I suspect--and Byrne the first-time out. Did they send him a check for the second use of his initial art? I highly doubt it.

Instead of focusing on how much Craig sucked--or how much the inserted, lame swiping sucked--can we talk about the Sucking of Marvel?? Because, you know, they suxxit.

kelvingreen said...

I'll just stick to commenting on his art, but frankly, I'm a big fan of Byrne's art. The only mockable thing I can think of off the top of my head is the horrible clothes he puts She Hulk in. You know, that might be a good post in and of itself...
Does that mean the long-promised Superhero Fashion Show (clothes, not costumes) is finally on the horizon? Hurrah!

David Campbell said...

Oh, it's on. It's on like Chaka Khan.

Son of Blog-El said...

Oy. Talk about feling uneasy about what I wrote.

It's always easy to mock and laugh from the cheap seats isn't it?
Don't get me wrong, I get a good belly laugh from Chris's posts myself, but something to keep in mind is that in the end, you are usually mocking something that someone(s) put alot of vare and work into.

Certain Marvel titles aside...

Verification word, my cousin "dzokel".

Son of Blog-El said...

I meant "Dave" not "Chris";)

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