Monday, June 14, 2010
Athena Voltaire and Al Williamson
I have some other cool artwork pertaining to Athena Voltaire week at Comic Twart, but I'll link to that tomorrow. Today's entry is devoted to Al Williamson, who passed away yesterday. I wrote about Al and his influence on me and my work over at my blog.
However, I also referenced Al throughout my run on the Athena Voltaire webcomic. Al's layouts on his Sunday Star Wars strips were my education on how I wanted to handle storytelling in a horizontal format. It's masterful work—clean storytelling with all these gorgeous insets, really inventive stuff that never loses its clarity.
That, coupled with the spirit of Adventure in Al's work, particularly Cliff Hanger, a serial that Al did with Bruce Jones in the back of the 80s series Sommerset Holmes (reprinted in the excellent Al Williamson Adventures published by Insight Studios a few years back), defined the feel of AV.
The strip at the top of this entry was the end page for the first adventure, The Terror in Tibet, which reflected the rollicking adventure of Al, as well as his collaborators/peers/friends, Archie Goodwin and Mark Schultz.
For the swordfight scene in The Wrath from the Tomb (middle and bottom strips), I swiped a few figures from Al's Secret Agent Corrigan strip where he was swiping from stills from The Prisoner of Zenda. The Secret Agent storyline was a riff on Zenda, so Al had fun with it.
I, in turn, had fun with my swordfight scene. I "acknowledged" my riffing on Al by using a photo of Al as the basis of one of my swordfighters. The shot of the hero removing his jacket was a reference photo of himself that Al had used and had been reprinted in James van Hise's 1984 volume The Art of Al Williamson.
I don't know if anyone ever got the joke I was making, but I had fun with it.