I'm slowly realizing I'm getting old and might have a few things laying around that young artists out there REALLY NEED to have. I guess I was lucky with working with the gang at Artamus Studios when I was just starting out at 19 -- those guys all had 10 years on me and would point me in the right direction. Many times they would share some cool books I never knew about, so I thought it would be fun to dig up some stuff like that to share with other 19 year-olds who might appreciate it.
First up is Marvel's Bizarre Adventures #29. After seeing the VERY cool Toppi-inspired Batman covers that Dustin Nguyen did recently, it made me dig out this classic Walt Simonson job. Man, is it awesome. This job always stood out as one of Walter's best, and it's definitely the one where you can see his Toppi influence out in full force. Simonson is known for spreading the gospel of Sergio Toppi early and often, and it's fun to see how it pushed his design work and rendering style. This Bizarre Adventures is one of Marvel's black and white magazines, so it might be a little hard to track down, but it's definitely worth it. I talked to Walter about it when I had him sign my copy a million years ago and he had some great stories. It's an adaptation he did of Stephen King's The Lawnmower Man short story from Night Shift (I think that's the collection). I think it was probably the first comic book project Stephen King had been involved in and it's great that he was so loose with it and let Walter adapt the story as he saw fit. Walt said that his pages came back with King's pencil notes beneath each panel and how painful it was to erase them when he did the inking. Either that, or he didn't actually erase them -- like I said, it was a million years ago. Anyway, this story is just prime Simonson and one that you might have seen before. Go pick it up!
And, a big tip of the hat for Dustin on those Batman covers! It's really exciting to see him charged up and inspired by a master like Toppi -- and fun to see how different artists can use the same influence in different drawing styles. Always interesting to see the results.