TUESDAY, MAY 17, 2016
“The grand old painter
Died last night
His paintings on the wall
Before he went
He bade us well
And said goodnight to us all”
That’s from ‘Picasso’s Last Words’, by Wings. It’s on their 1973 album BAND ON THE RUN.
I Tweeted that the other night when I found out that Darwyn had died. It’s the first thing that popped into my head, and it seemed fitting.
Due to Twitter’s 140 character limit, I couldn’t include the chorus. And I hate string Tweets. Not as much as I hate cancer, but, still. Here’s the chorus:
“Drink to me
Drink to my health
You know I can’t drink
I can hear Darwyn saying that. It’s easy to imagine it. Darwyn always seemed larger than life, a character from a tough film based on an even tougher book.
The truth is, though, he was a real guy. He had a wife whom he loved, a family, and a close circle of friends who are all gutted right now. The hole in their lives isn’t Darwyn-shaped; it’s the size of a getaway truck. Like I said: larger than life.
I sorta knew Darwyn. We were friendly, and we mutually respected each other’s craft. I hung out with him on many occasions, and we got along famously. He was at my wedding reception, and he spent the whole night sneaking ribs from Fat Matt’s Rib Shack to our dogs. This delighted our dogs (and Darwyn) no end.
When we were both working on the mildly infamous BEFORE WATCHMEN, Darwyn called me up. It was just a call to chat up another creator caught up in the controversy, but it went on for HOURS. I could hear Dar drinking while we chatted, and within an hour, he was fucking HAMMERED. Like, “Peter O’Toole on New Year’s Eve” hammered. And, oh, the shit he laid on me.
About anything and everything. Industry stuff I have to take to my own grave. He was just drunk and venting and that’s what you do with people you know, so I didn’t mind. It was nice to know that Darwyn Fucking Cooke felt like he could talk to me.
It WAS running long, and I didn’t want to be impolite and say “I gotta get back to the Blue Penis, man…” I was, as always, running behind and needed to get back to the pages. Now? Now I wish I’d poured myself a drink and just stayed up all night with Darwyn Cooke, drunk and hollerin’ and cussin’ and talking about comics and art.
But. These are the recriminations of the living, standing over the graves of the beloved dead. Woulda, coulda, shoulda.
Darwyn lived life in fifth gear. He loved large, held grudges large, and created large. I once called him the Lee Marvin of Comics, at which he beamed and said “I’ll take that!”
I was wrong. He was the Darwyn Cooke of Comics. He was the metric against which others may be judged. There never was anyone like him, and there never will be again. I’m glad I got to meet him and know him, a little. The next time you have a drink, hold it up and toast the great Darwyn Cooke, who has caught the last train out and now belongs to the ages.
And if you don’t drink, then break a bottle over the end of the bar and beat the living shit out of a small, petty man who needs it.
SATURDAY, JANUARY 17, 2015
I regret to announce the cancelation of my planned appearance at Star Wars Celebrations in Anaheim, CA.
I was very excited to have been invited to participate, and even more excited when my proposed artwork was approved, allowing me to be counted among those artists to appear at the event. Unfortunately, circumstances have arisen that make it impractical for me to attend the show, so I am regrettably forced to make this decision.
As many of you know, I'm a tremendous fan of the Star Wars films. But more than that, I'm proud to call many of the people at Lucasfilm my friends, and I want to thank them whole-heartedly for this opportunity. So it's with a heavy heart that I found myself having to make this decision.
I hope you all have a wonderful time at Celebrations, and I can't wait to read about all the fun and excitement online!
MONDAY, NOVEMBER 10, 2014
Just one week ago, Jeremy Dale left us. He was a friend, a colleague, and a fellow Atlantan transplant.
He is survived by his wonderful wife Kelly and Kirby the dog. He had a great family whom I just met in full this past Saturday night at an after-funeral get-together at our home. I met his father, mother, and 3 brothers, all wonderful, jovial people doing an amazing job of struggling to find the good in tragically bad situation. Chatting with Jeremy’s dad, I couldn’t help but think of that scene in THE TWO TOWERS, where, after the funeral of Theodred, his father Theoden says ‘No parent should have to bury their child.’
I’m sorry that I missed Jeremy’s actual funeral Saturday morning. I spent the previous night in the emergency room, because, the universe loves piling it on when everyone’s got enough on their minds. As I lay there in the ER, getting CAT-scanned and x-rayed and tested – vampires have NOTHING on the blood-draining skills of the midnight shift of the Northside Hospital emergency room – all I could think was “I thank God I’m alive”. Especially because I knew someone who now wasn’t. Someone young and vibrant.
Jeremy was all fun. He had a dangerous sense of humor, fueled by lightning-fast timing. If you were on the inhale when someone proffered up a straight line, Jeremy beat you to it. He loved gaming, talking movies, and enjoying life. Even when he was beset by some problem, the same sort of life issues we all deal with, he talked about them with an eye-roll and a smirk. It seemed like nothing ever got entirely under his skin. If it did, he didn’t let on.
He was a DIY creator-owned comics professional, and now we’ll all just have to dream about where his book SKYWARD could have gone.
He was a great guy, and he’s no longer with us. The next time you have a glass in your hand, raise it to Jeremy Dale.
SATURDAY, AUGUST 9, 2014
I was just informed of the passing of old friend Nick Postiglione, of the Midwest Comic Book Association and The Source Comics & Games in Minneapolis. I’m capricious about death, so I won’t linger on sadness and sentiment, not too much.
I am truly sad that Nick isn’t with us anymore. I just saw him at San Diego, only a couple weeks ago. The Source’s booth was merely 50 feet, tops, from ours and I watched Nick go about his business every day. His business seemed to be, as it’s always been, loving comics and sharing that with as many people as he could. I first met Nick when I started doing the MCBS’s Fallcon in Minneapolis, back in the early 90s. In those days, FallCon was held in an unbelievably wacky place, the Thunderbird Hotel.
Imagine, if you will, if Frontierland had been designed by David Lynch. A relic of mid-20th century pre-politically correct America, the Thunderbird was pretty much as charmingly alien as the 1950s appear in retrospect, the BACK TO THE FUTURE version of the 1950s. Indian motifs abounded. Not Native American, no, no, that would have been sensitive. INDIAN. The Thunderbird had a 30-foot fiberglass Indian on the front lawn, making the “HOW!” sign. It had rooms like ‘the Wampum Room’ and ‘the Menomonee Lounge’. It had probably the largest collection of stuffed animals I’ve ever seen, and I’m PRETTY sure some of the taxidermy there was the last of several now-extinct species. Owls. Wolves. Bears. It was INSANE. We called the dealer’s room of the con ‘the Hall of Heads’. The hotel reeked of old Masonic temples and Kiwanis clubs, of the Boy Scouts of America and cigarette smoke, baked into the worn-down carpeting.
You could get offended at the Thunderbird, pretty easily, and many did. But, if you had a sense of humor and you realized that the way we were was the way we were, that to grow up you had be a dumb kid at one point, you could enjoy the hilarious insanity that was the Thunderbird. And Nick Post (as we called him) laughed at that joint the loudest.
Nick GOT IT. He got the joke. Not just about the weird old hotel, but everything. He understood how things were, and he had the wonderful ability to laugh about it on one hand, and roll up his sleeves with the other. He did a lot of good for people in his life. I never heard him utter a bad word about anyone, unless that person was a bona fide idiot or villain who was out making life unhappy for others. He might rant and rail and concoct schemes to confound the bastards, and then he’d laugh. He always laughed, as I recall. He’d get red in the face, laughing his ass off at a hilarious plan to thwart the crumbums in life. He was mischievous and big-hearted and fun.
I cannot picture Nick without seeing him as the first time I met him, in that glorious old ruin, the Thunderbird Hotel. For me, the two are intertwined, at least in my small memory of the man. Well… Nick, just like the Thunderbird, is no longer with us. They belong to the ages, to the collective memory, to the melancholic remembrance of good times and great laughs and the best of possible times. No one and nothing lives forever, and while Nick has sadly left us far too early, he’s left us for the better, just because we had the outrageous good fortune to know him.
~Adam Hughes, August 8, 2014~
TUESDAY, JUNE 18, 2013
*Disclaimer* My wife says I should blog more, so… here, I be. I’ll probably just rant about stuff that bugs me, praise things that I like, or just ramble on like a Led Zeppelin song. It’ll usually be about fun stuff like movies or comics or games or toys. Don’t expect dissertations on politics or religion or heavy stuff like that: my beliefs in these areas are my own and nothing EVER seems to be gained by arguing them, so I hold that stuff close to my vest. Also, you’ll find no comments section because there’s no greater time vampire or fun bandit than a comments section. If you simply HAVE to discuss with me any topic that I bring up here, buy me a drink at a convention bar.
I know I should blog more. It’s a way for people who enjoy my work (hereafter gratefully referred to as ‘fans’) to know a little more about the cat that produces the art they dig. It’s a useful tool for creating a further bond with the artist and his/her audience.
It’s also a serious waste of time, energy, and electricity for the plain, the vain, and the insane.
I don’t do this much. I’m not on Facebook, and anyone you find there claiming to be me isn’t me, although my wife and assistant DO maintain a FB page for me. I like Twitter, but not as much as I used to. It was fun to Tweet the occasional joke or humorous insight, but eventually I was worn down by Twitter pedants, trolls, and any of the other societal pilot fish that suck the joy out of social media like it’s the last shamrock shake on St. Paddy’s Day. I don’t have the thick skin of a Patton Oswalt or a Mark Waid for doing combat with these folk. I dislike controversy and I loathe unnecessary confrontations. Social media seems to be the home for people who LIVE for confrontations. Why? I’m assuming because most people don’t want to hang out with them in the meat world, so they go take out their angers in the digital one.
One of the reasons I dislike blogging or Tweeting or whatever is that no matter WHAT you say, not matter how profound or life-affirming it may be, someone will take the time to give you shit for it. On my Deviant Art page I once asked (politely!) for a dollar from folks to aid an abused dog in Canada named Sasha. An abused creature, a dollar, a moment of your time. Very simple, very ‘milk of human kindness’. And I got a world of abuse for it. While the vast majority were wonderful, positive, and supportive even if they couldn’t send any donations, there were a few who argued with me. ARGUED. CHARITY. “Why don’t you help people? People are better than dogs!” Stuff like that.
It bothered me, it got under my skin, it ruined my night. I don’t have what it takes to deal with people like that. Friends would tell me ‘Don’t think about the lone assholes; focus on the nice people.” Well, that’s like saying “Pay no attention to the guy who kicked you in the testicles – think about the billions of people in the world who DIDN’T rack you in the jimmies!” I find it impossible. So, I stopped. Farewell, cruel world! I REGRET NOTHING! Social Media Suicide Hotline, hello? It’s Adam. Again. Yes, I’ll hold…
I still Tweet occasionally, usually just in response to someone else, either a fan’s compliment or question, or to say something to someone I follow. You really won’t see me Tweeting about how I really felt about IRON MAN 3, STAR TREK INTO DARKNESS, or MAN OF STEEL (at least, not in the hot moment of their release, when people are itching to fight). I dislike arguing about religion or politics, and refuse to discuss them on social media. I quietly have my own beliefs in those areas, and support them in my own way. I won’t argue them; publicly, at least. I just think there’s no point in arguing if either side isn’t willing to admit even the SLIGHTEST possibility of open-mindedness.
I did have a great, positive argument experience once, back in December 2002. At a Christmas dinner a brother of a friend, a Tolkien fan with whom we had discussed the FELLOWSHIP OF THE RING film the previous Christmas, started off the latest discussion with “Let’s talk about how much we hated THE TWO TOWERS!!!”, which had just come out a few days before.
Before I continue, let me point out something about me: I don’t get involved in arguments unless I’m 99% sure I’m right. I dislike people who argue merely for the sake of argument, taking up an opposing point-of-view simply for the sheer joy of lively discussion. Meaning: if I bother to open my mouth to talk about something, it’s because I’m reasonably sure you’re getting something wrong, or maybe I’m privy to a fact you don’t posses yet. It’s not arrogance on my part: I just don’t get involved unless I’m reasonably sure I’m right. You’d be surprised how many people argue and they’re not entirely convinced of their position.
Story-within-a-story: one time a friend wanted to bet me that the protagonist of Jules Verne’s AROUND THE WORLD IN 80 DAYS was Phineas Fogg, and not Phileas Fogg, as I had just asserted. It was at a public dinner, and we joked back-and-forth in the lively spirit of group gatherings, and even after I’d pointed out that I’d JUST read the book for the first time (by coincidence, I actually had just read it) and that I was surprised that the main character’s name was Phileas and NOT Phineas, as I too had until recently mistakenly believed… this friend wouldn’t relent. He was POSITIVE he was right and I, wrong. He joked “I bet you money it’s ‘Phineas’”. I said “OK!” He asked how much.
I said “$1000”.
Everyone at the table dropped their silverware.
We were all dirt-poor artists, and together we didn’t have a thousand bucks to our names. The friend balked, and said “I was thinking more like $5.” And I asked him: “But if you’re positive that you’re right, I mean ABSOLUTELY SURE, then what do you have to fear? You’ve just made $1000. I’m not trying to bluff you out of your conviction – I just read the book so I know I’m right and that’s why I’m willing to bet money I don’t actually have.” He relented, not taking the bet, and to save face said he’d have to find a copy of the book to check for himself.
I didn’t do that to be a douche-bag or anything: I knew I was 100% right, and that he was in error - the same error I’d made myself, all my life, until I’d actually opened the book just a week earlier. My point being: I really keep my mouth shut unless you try to tell me something wrong like 2 + 2 = 5.
Anyhoo, I loved THE TWO TOWERS. My favorite LOTR film remains FELLOWSHIP, but I thought TWO TOWERS was grand. And unlike the brother of the friend, I’ve never felt that any changes in a story going from one medium to another are necessarily bad ones. I’m not that much of a purist. This other guy, however, felt, as many do, that the original texts are sacred, and that any alterations are for the worst.
I argued that I felt that characters like Aragorn and Faramir were better in the films than in the books. Long before the TWO TOWERS dvd came out with the Making Of filmmaker interviews that backed up my reasoning, I posed the question at this Yuletime dinner: “why is book Faramir immune to the One Ring?” Brother-Friend blinked at me. I went on: “Heavyweights Elrond, Aragorn, and Gandalf are all afraid of the One Ring. The won’t even TOUCH it. It ended the reign of King Isildur. It’s destroyed Smeagol, was on its way to destroying Bilbo when it was WRENCHED from him, and was now doing the same to Frodo. Boromir, the Captain America of Gondor, was completely undone by the mere idea of the One Ring. So, what made an ancillary character like Faramir so special? If he was so immune, why wasn’t he more involved with the fate of the Ring?” Much hemming and hawing usually follows this question, followed by the kind of fanboy rationalizations we’ve all made a zillion times (hey, sometimes I judge a genre film simply by how few rationalizations one has to make to justify the soundness of the story). There’s no real answer for this, other than: Professor Tolkien made a mistake there. Who can blame him: THE LORD OF THE RINGS is the size of 13 phone book; I’m surprised more stuff like that didn’t sneak in. And I’m guessing pride prevented him from revising that fatal logic flaw of Faramir’s in later editions. Who knows. He sure revised other stuff.
So, I argued that film Faramir was better than the book version, because they actually showed him being tempted like everyone else. He commits the EXACT SAME ACTIONS as book Farmair: he captures Sam & Frodo, he has discourse with them, he lets them go with his blessing. No change in his actions. All the filmmakers changed was that film Faramir was tempted by the One Ring first. That’s all. One little thing, and suddenly a plot hole from the book is filled. With delicious cinematic putty.
Brother-Friend was slightly taken aback at my reasoning and logic. He could sorta see what I was talking about. His wife then pointed out the added bit where Frodo faced off against the FellBeast-riding Ringwraith at the walls of Osgiliath. She said that it never happened in the book, and was completely out-of-character for the One Ring. “The One Ring wants to stay with the Ringbearer!” she argued. I pointed out that, no, the One Ring WANTS TO GET BACK TO SAURON. It’s a character, with a goal, and at this stage of the story it’s very weak. It gets stronger the more powerful Sauron gets, and the closer it gets to its master. Ages past, it finds its way into the hands of Deagol, and is just powerful enough to get his more corruptible cousin Smeagol to murder and steal for it. It languishes under a mountain for 5 centuries until Bilbo comes along; Bilbo, who is more mobile than Gollum wants to be, seems a better shot at getting back to Mordor, so the Ring gets itself out of Gollum’s grasp and into the Hobbit’s. Later on, I’m pretty sure the Ring is quite happy to be taken virtually all the way home by its master’s enemies and the pesky business of avoiding the Cracks of Doom will be easy-peasy: the Ring knows it will be VERY powerful once it’s that close to the Dark Lord. Overcoming whoever has it at that point will be no hay problemo, as the Valar like to say.
So, that scene with Frodo in a trance with the airborne Ringwraith? Not in the book, but very in-character… FOR THE ONE RING. It’s got Frodo in a trance, and is trying to get Frodo to hand it over to the Ringwraith. Frodo, somewhere deep in that trance, is trying to stop this, to put the damn thing on, to get AWAY from this exchange. It’s a great moment, and I loved it when I saw it.
Well, Bother-Friend’s wife just kinda humphed at this, but Brother-Friend thought for a second and said “Hunh. That makes sense, too. That’s all food for thought. I’m gonna have to go see it again.” It was my turn to be all blinky and ‘whuuuuut….?’ I’d never had an argument where the other person actually LISTENED to my side, and had the gumption to go rethink their opinion (I myself do it all the time: I never assume I’m all-knowing and I like it when other people enlighten me).
The reason for that whole Tolkien-length anecdote was just to illustrate the one positive outcome of an argument: someone (sometimes multiple someones) walks away with a fresher perspective, and no one’s nose is bloodied. Sadly, 99.9% of the other discussions or arguments I’ve been in have ended with, at best, “let’s just agree to disagree” and at worst, rage and acrimony. It’s just not worth it most of the time. I’d rather be reading a book, watching a sunset, or helping lower the liquor content of the world. I mean, puppies. Helping puppies.
I’m discouraged from blogging or any other form of web-based interaction for these reasons. But! Seeing how the word count of this anti-blogging screed is 2000+ and rising, maybe I CAN actually accomplish the need to fill this space with mindless ramblings and gentle folksy wisdom. But mostly mindless ramblings.
Okay. I’ll try to blog more, right here.
WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 1, 2012
Well, the word is out: DC Comics is returning to the world of WATCHMEN! And I am drawing all four issues of the DOCTOR MANHATTAN miniseries. First sign of the Apocalypse? You bet!
It's great to finally be able to talk about this project. I signed on AGES ago, and have kept mum about it, until now!
WATCHMEN is arguably the greatest superhero comic ever produced, and without a doubt my absolute favorite. Being allowed to draw these amazing characters isn't actually a dream come true: I never thought something like this would happen. I'm pretty nervous, but having fun so far.
My history with WATCHMEN goes way back. In 1986 I was working at Thunder Road Comics in Burlington, New Jersey, and I sold every issue of WATCHMEN as they came out. It was a pretty amazing time: THE DARK KNIGHT RETURNS was also shipping, so superhero comics were enjoying a banner year. The mullets, parachute pants, and New Coke made up for it, though. YIKES.
Several years back, I was one of the first artists to contribute designs to Zack Snyder's film adaption of WATCHMEN. I mean, I only worked on the film for, like, eight minutes, but I cast a long shadow! Did you like Silk Spectre in latex? That was ALL ME. That's right - I'm preening!
So, you see, I have some strange sort of orbital relationship to WATCHMEN. I feel pretty honored to be working it. I'm looking forward to drawing all these characters. Yes, DOCTOR MANHATTAN is an unusual choice to assign me to, but I'm assured that DC has a plan! Maybe they believe that, since I'm well-associated with drawing female anatomy, I'm qualified to handle blue penises. Wait... that doesn't sound right...
I love Alan Moore's canon of work, with special affection for MIRACLEMAN, THE LEAGUE OF EXTRAORDINARY GENTLEMEN, and most definitely WATCHMEN. I hope to do some sort of justice to Dave Gibbon's brilliant art: he's one of the all time great illustrators ever to work in the field of comics, and I have a serious case of "My LAST boyfriend was a porn star!" performance anxiety when it comes to bringing his beloved characters to life. I've only met Dave twice: he was drunk both times, and holding an award both times as well (I'd celebrate, too, if I won awards). I hope that if I get to see him again, we'll manage a congenial hat trick of insobriety, and that he doesn't go all 'soccer hooligan' on my ass. "Those are MY characters, you apocalyptically colonial wanker!!"
I'm fairly stoked to be working with the fabulous J.M. Straczynksi. I loved his THOR run, especially. The man knows how to craft amazing tales, so I feel like you & I are in good hands.
So! I should get back to drawing Dr. Osterman, in all his phosphorescent azure glory: this miniseries has to ship in summer 2012, and no one will ever accuse me of being fast.
SATURDAY, JULY 16, 2011
Hi all; Allison here. Some know me as Miz Allie, others as Mrs Adam Hughes, and still others as "that lady with the control over all the AH! art". Yup; that's me- the redhead you see behind Adam's table at every convention. I'm also the slacker that let JustSayAH.com fall into such a sad state. But no more! Welcome to the new and vastly improved official home of Adam Hughes on the internet.
This blog is really for Adam to use- in the future you will be able to tune in here for Adam's insight and ramblings on everything from art to movies and music and I'm sure he'll even have a thing or two to say about a couple of shaggy dogs we know. But for now, the master of this domain (get it, it's a pun!) is busily drawing as much as he can, trying to get everything done in time for San Diego Comic Con International, which looms ever larger on the horizon. As I write this, we are four days away from Sneak Preview Night. It makes my head -and my feet- hurt just thinking about it.
We'll be at booth 4607 at San Diego Comic Con- come by and visit if you get the chance. And stay tuned to JustSayAH.com; as the convention progresses, there are going to be some very exciting announcements involving Adam. I'll make sure to post as much as I can, as often as I can, and with pictures when I can. My days of slacking are over.