Thursday, February 25, 2010

Progress report: Hydra

I posted this on my other blog as part of a lame joke I made there. But I figured I'd share this with you all (seeing as how I scanned it and all already). This is Heracles facing off against the Hydra, a monster who, every time a head is cut off, two more grow in it's place. As you can see, Heracles has been pretty busy. Enjoy!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Sketchbook Sneak Peek: Apollo and Artemis

This installment of the sketchbook sampler is a shot of those divine twin archers, Apollo and Artemis. So far in the series they haven't had that much to do, storywise-- unlike, say Hermes or Athena, they tend not to be "guest star" gods in other myths. A myth that features Apollo or Artemis in it tends to be all about Apollo or Artemis. Their own books aren't scheduled for a few installments down the line, so for now, they will tend to be background characters. I like to keep in shape drawing them, though, because when the time comes to tell their stories, oh man, you'd best believe they'll shine.

Progress report: The Glory of Hera-- wedding of Zeus and Hera

Update on Olympians Book 3: The Glory of Hera-- at least , that's the title for now. The higher-ups at First Second, my publisher, want to include Heracles's name somewhere in the title. In a sense, the book is completely named after Heracles-- Heracles is a title that translates as "The Glory of Hera". But they want something a little more apparent. So far, we have ideas along the line of "The Glory of Hera: The Twelve Labors of Heracles". What do you think? Any ideas?

Above we have a page of finished black and white art from "Glory of Hera", a scene from the wedding of Zeus and Hera. I was very happy, after their (mostly total) absence from Athena: Grey-Eyed Goddess, to have the opportunity to draw Titans again. I do so love the Titans.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Guest Artist Gallery: Dean Haspiel

Well, I suppose I should start this installment of Guest Artist Gallery with a disclaimer, that the character pictured is copyright the Marvel Comics group. Mr. Dean Haspiel has chosen his depiction of the greatest of Greek heroes, Heracles, to be based on the classic Jack Kirby design of the character Hercules as he appeared in The Mighty Thor, The Avengers, and other classic Marvel Comics titles.

Here's what Dean "The Mean" Haspiel has to say about his mighty drawing above:

"It was Jack Kirby and Stan Lee who taught me everything I knew about Norse and Greek mythology. Sure, I read some Bulfinch and steeped in movies like JASON AND THE ARGONAUTS and CLASH OF THE TITANS, but, little did I know that those awesome Marvel Thor vs. Hercules fisticuffs were fan-fiction of the highest order. Still, what is mythology but a good yarn, anyway? So what if it was made up. And, who better to fudge the legends of gods and monsters than a bunch of cartoonists who have managed to grab the story-making baton and honor our original heroes by extending their stories? A baton I hope to grab -- soon!"

Always gregarious, frequently shirtless, Demi-God Dean Haspiel is a native New Yorker and the creator of the Eisner award nominated, BILLY DOGMA, the semi-autobiographical, STREET CODE [at Zuda, DC comics online comics ubersite], and the webcomics collective, ACT-I-VATE. In his fabled youth he was apprenticed to a veritable who's who of influential comics gods, such as Bill Sienkiewicz, Walt Simonson, and Howard Chaykin, among others. If you work in comics and do not know Dean, then I am sorry-- you are mistaken. You must be doing something else, and are suffering from some sort of psychotic delusion. I recommend rest, and lot's of it.

Dino has drawn comics for The New York Times, Marvel, DC/Vertigo, Scholastic, Dark Horse [where he drew Michael Chabon's THE ESCAPIST], Francoise Mouly and Art Spiegelman's Toon Books, and other publishers. He is best known for his semi-autobio collaborations with Harvey Pekar on THE QUITTER and AMERICAN SPLENDOR, and with Jonathan Ames on THE ALCOHOLIC, as well as HBO’s “Bored to Death.” This Fall, Dino's new graphic novel, CUBA - MY REVOLUTION, an original collaboration with Cuban writer/painter, Inverna Lockpez, will come out from Vertigo.

Dino is also the curator of COMIX BLOCK for Cousin Corinne's REMINDER, and is a founding member of DEEP6 Studios in Gowanus, Brooklyn, where he can be found toiling at his drawing table, beneath the bridge, like a common troll. Dean is plugged in to the internet 24/7, even while sleeping, and has a diet comprised of 75% MSG due to what could only be described as an heroic intake of Chinese take-out(the other 25% is probably roughage in the form of pencil shavings). Check out his website at

Can you draw, paint, operate a camera, sculpt, etc.? Have a desire to capture the essence of your favorite figure from Greek myth and see it pictured here on this site? Send me a scan of your work, a few words about yourself and the piece, and I'll put it up!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Antique of the Week: The Hephaisteion in Athens

This week's installment of Antique of the Week is the Hephaisteion, or Temple of Hephaistos, that has stood overlooking the Athenian Agora (literally, "open space", the Greek equivalent to a Roman forum) since the 5th Century BCE. It is often cited as one of, if not the, best preserved ancient Greek temple.

The Hephaisteion has also been known as the Theseion due to the belief that it housed the mortal remains of the famous Athenian hero Theseus, best known as the slayer of the minotaur. This was probably due to the fact that the temple formerly was decorated with sculptural representations of Theseus and his adventures, amongst others. A few pieces remain on site,as can be glimpsed in the photo below

In the time when this structure was still used as an actual temple, it held bronze statues of Hephaistos himself, as well as another statue of Athena, in her aspect as the goddess of crafts (both statues are now lost, unfortunately). Appropriately, the Temple was formerly surrounded by many workshops, clayworkers and forges.

On the day we visited, amongst the other pilgrims was this tortoise, which seems to me to be a particularly Hephaisteion type of animal.

Sketchbook Sneak Peek: Hephaistos

For today, a nice, energetic sketch of Hephaistos, Blacksmith of the Gods, hammering away on some marvelous treasure at his forge. It's surprisingly refreshing to draw the misshapen and hulking Hephaistos after drawing nothing but perfect gods and goddesses all day.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Guest Artist Gallery: Tim Hamilton

It's the latest installment of a new feature where some of today's most exciting artists lend us their own vision of a favorite god, monster or hero from Greek mythology. In this edition, Mr. Tim "T-Money" Hamilton shares with us his jaw-dropping depiction of Artemis, Goddess of the Hunt and the Moon.

When the other guest artists saw his entry to the Guest Artist Gallery they gnashed their teeth and cursed Hamilton's name, so beautiful is his piece. A few people redid theirs, to compete on the new playing field Tim had elevated. This is what the man has to say about his amazing mixed-media masterpiece: "I love dogs but have never hunted. Females surely are the stronger sex in every culture. Artemis, I fear her and I love her."

The early life of the man called Tim Hamilton is shrouded in mystery-- he is rumored, like Romulus and Remus, to have been raised by wolves, which may account for both his love of dogs and love/fear of the Goddess of the Moon (Werewolf, perhaps?). What is known for sure is that he has been active in the comics field for over two decades-- first coming to prominence as the penciler of the Gerard Jones-written satire "The Trouble with Girls".

He is a founding member of the web comics collective Act-i-Vate, contributing both the dog-themed gangster story Pet Sitter and the ongoing time travel mystery Adventures of the Floating Elephant. He has recently released the graphic novel adaptation of Ray Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451, which hit the New York Times bestseller list. More recently, and this is absolutely true, Tim appeared as part of a $1,600 question/answer on the the famous television game show Jeopardy's College Tournament. The category was "Graphic Novels." The answer was: "Tim Hamilton illustrated the graphic adaptation of this Ray Bradbury novel."

Having achieved the highest standard of fame attainable by a cartoonist, being a Jeopardy question, Tim Hamilton has unfortunately peaked, and will begin his slow, painful decline at any time now. He is able to grow a full beard in under twelve hours and has no qualms about wearing biking shorts to the studio.

Can you draw, paint, operate a camera, sculpt, etc.? Have a desire to capture the essence of your favorite figure from Greek myth and see it pictured here on this site? Send me a scan of your work, a few words about yourself and the piece, and I'll put it up!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Sketchbook Sneak Peek: Polyphemos

Here's something to give you an idea how far ahead I work on this series. Both this monster, Polyphemos the Cyclops, and the previously spotlighted Minotaur, are not due to make an appearance until Book 5 of Olympians, dealing with Poseidon. Right now, I'm hard at work on the finished art for Book #, The Glory of Hera, and so far, only book 1 Zeus: King of the Gods is available in stores. Still, these guys are appearing in my sketchbook now so that when it comes time to draw them down the line, I've worked out all the kinks of their design.

Myth records two very different interpretations of the Cyclopes. There's the Earth-born "uncles" to the Olympians, allies of the gods, whom we've met already in Zeus. Then there's the terrible cannibalistic brute Polyphemos as depicted in the Odyssey. I've opted to depict them as different species entirely, with no more in common than they both must have monocular vision. The head of Polyphemos here is based off an elephant's skull, as it has been often theorized in modern times that the Ancient Greeks would find the skulls of extinct pachyderms and mistake the trunk-hole for a giant eye cavity. I can definitely see that. Looking at the skull now, I wonder if I shouldn't give my Polyphemos some tusks?