Archive for Lubbock’s Comics Connections

Local Heroes


The New Fantastic Library for Curiosities #1

Hey, it’s a comic from a local artist! Let’s review it!

This is a comic by Colin Morse, who graduated from Texas Tech a year or so ago. And I have it on good authority that he’ll be at the Lubbock Comic Book Expo, this Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the Science Spectrum!

Anyway, we got a couple different parts of this comic. First, there’s an odd little comic called “The Statue in Space,” starring an astronaut called the Action Man. As he’s exploring a gigantic statue floating in space, he discovers that it’s inhabited by a very unexpected variety of creatures. Second, we’ve got a straight prose tale by Morse and Jason Rhode called “The Dreadful Business of Cultists,” which focuses on a Holmesian detective named B. Henry Montaigne.

Oh, I know, I barely described what went on at all. Listen, both stories are pretty short, and I ain’t interested in spoiling them.

Verdict: Thumbs up. “The Statue in Space” is really wonderful — simple but clear illustrations, a fascinating and profoundly weird story. The coolest thing about “The Dreadful Business of Cultists” is how perfectly it replicates the style and language of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes stories. I’ve tried to write like this before, and it’s not at all easy to duplicate that archaic style of writing.

This one is not for kids, mind you — there’s some thoroughly adult content here. But you grownups should enjoy the heck out of this one.

And again, Colin will be at the Comic Expo this Saturday. If you’re not there to tell him how much you liked this, he’ll be very disappointed.

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Interview with Will Terrell


Will Terrell by Will Terrell

This past weekend’s “Texas Country Reporter” segment on the Lubbock Sketch Club seems like a good time to present this short interview I did with the Sketch Club’s head honcho, Will Terrell.

Could you tell us something about yourself? Background, history, age, biography, etc…

I did not grow up in West Texas, in fact I moved around a whole lot before I ended up here. From Austin to Dallas to Denver to Houston and so on. Nine times in all. I moved to Lubbock my Senior year of High school and graduated in 1995 from Lubbock High.

I decided I wanted to make comic books for a living after graduation, mostly because I couldn’t really picture myself doing anything else. I’ve pretty much always been a storyteller. Even as a little kid I would make up invisible worlds wherever I was. Moving around so much, your imagination is pretty much all you have. I’d lay in bed, or in a field somewhere, and make up stories involving every person I knew going on some strange adventure or another with me. In retrospect, it was only natural for me to do that for the rest of my life.

How did the Sketch Club come about?

The Sketch Club came about from my experiences living in San Diego. I worked as a caricature artist out there at Seaworld and Legoland California. While there, I worked with hundreds of other professional artists — cartoonists, caricature artists, comic book artists, and so on. This environment, combined with the knowledge I attained studying at the Watts Atelier of the Arts, allowed me to learn more in a six month period than I’d learned in 10 years in West Texas. It was the entire culture of learning as a group and constantly challenging each other that inspired me to start the Sketch Club when I returned to Lubbock.

I don’t believe that Lubbock has any less talent than other cities, the problem is that there aren’t enough resources or opportunities to do something with it. In this I saw an opportunity for the Sketch Club. I’d been trying to start some sort of comic book artists group in Lubbock since the very beginning. I’ve tried lots of different ways of doing that. From publishing companies, to artist studios, to teaching classes and workshops. None of those seemed to work though. I can honestly say though, that the Lubbock Sketch Club is already enormously successful at what I intended it for. And it is only getting better and better.

Things look to be moving forward very quickly for y’all, especially with the new space at Asbury. Please tell us a little about the new space and all it entails? How quickly is the Sketch Club growing?

The Hope Shalom Community has provided a space for the Sketch Club to give hands-on art education to the community. We are very grateful for this opportunity. Our attitude is to be interactive with teaching and learning. To make the process fun and easy, and teaching people to teach themselves. This is why you’ll see us at local events covering 4 or 5 tables with artists of all ages drawing and having fun.

The new spaces at the Asbury United Methodist Church allow us to do several things. We’ve started with a weekly figure drawing/painting group and that has been very successful so far. It’s training that is available to anyone, that might otherwise be very hard to come by outside of a university (sometimes even INside of a university). In the spring we will begin the next phase of the Sketch Club by hosting monthly workshops on illustration, digital painting, cartooning, etc., as well as a weekly after-school program. We’re very excited about that.

The sketchclub seems to be growing at a steady pace. We just passed our first birthday in October, and we had 35 people show up to our weekly Freebirds Saturday Sketch Night. The numbers tend to fluctuate each week, but we average 20-30. And we’re constantly getting new people along with our regulars cycling through depending on their schedules. Our figure drawing group averages 6-10 people every Wednesday night, and we intend to grow that into multiple nights.

What do you have planned for the Sketch Club’s future?

In the immediate future, we are planning to publish our 3rd issue of the Sketch Club Sketchbook in January. Along with our first comic book anthology. We are also putting together our first comic book CONVENTION in conjunction with the Science Spectrum and Star Books and Comics scheduled for Saturday, May 3rd, 2008 (Free Comic Book Day!).

In the near future, we would like to do a lot more public events where we have tables set up where the general public is invited to sit and sketch with us. We did 4 this year. My favorite was the Lubbock Arts Festival, where we had over 400 people sit down to draw with us, and we did cartooning for kids workshops for more than 3,000 kids. I’d also like to start taking that into the local school systems.

In the long term, we intend to incorporate the Sketch Club and file as a non-profit art organization. And focus a lot of our energy into training artists to teach and putting them in after-school programs around the city. With an emphasis on teaching young artists to make a career out of their art, and providing the resources and opportunities for them to do that… while enjoying the process.

Is there anything else I should have asked you but forgot to?

There is no fee to join the Sketch Club. Just show up and participate! We meet every Saturday night from 7-10 p.m. at Freebirds world burrito, 4930 S. Loop 289. Also visit our website for more information:

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The War this Week

Let’s check in with this week’s Sinestro Corps War crossover comics…


Green Lantern Corps #17

This is the comic that I mentioned a few days ago that features a scene where some Green Lanterns are dispatched to Lubbock. Do we get to see our fair Hub City? Kinda. We get a half-page of two Green Lanterns wiping out some Sinestro Corps members. We also see some pumpjacks. Apparently, the Sinestro Corps came to Lubbock to set a bunch of oil wells on fire. Not that we have all that many oil wells, but maybe they decided that saying the Sinestros came to Lubbock to burn up the cotton fields just wouldn’t sound very dangerous.

Aaaaanyway, the Lanterns spend most of this issue carving up the Sinestro Corps. Kilowog stomps the tar outta the evil Arkillo. And at the end, the Anti-Monitor himself shows up and almost kills Sodam Yat, a rookie Daxamite Green Lantern. But the Guardians of the Galaxy make an appearance and fuse Yat with Ion, the green-energy symbiote that used to live inside Kyle Rayner. But can this new Daxamite Ion hold up against the evil Superman-Prime?

Verdict: Thumbs up. Sure, most of the plot devolves down to shooting cannon-fodder Sinestros. Sure, some of the art is less than ideal, and the layouts could use some work. Sure, the ending was telegraphed from the first page. But it’s still fairly entertaining, and it’s nice to know that an intergalactic police force feels that Lubbock’s plentiful oil wells are worth saving.


Tales of the Sinestro Corps: Superman-Prime

And speaking of Superman-Prime, here’s his story. Basically, he’s a comic-book geek from an alternate universe who actually ended up being his universe’s version of Kal-El — a Kryptonian survivor who gained superpowers as a teenager. During the Crisis on Infinite Earths back in 1985, his universe got wiped out, and he ended up staying in a sub-dimensional quasi-paradise with the elderly Superman and Lois Lane from Earth-2 and Alexander Luthor from Earth-3. Superboy-Prime and Alex Luthor went bad during the Infinite Crisis a couple years ago, and killed a bunch of people. Luthor got killed by the Joker, and Superboy-Prime was imprisoned inside a red sun by the Green Lanterns. The Sinestro Corps broke him out, and he’s working with them until he can figure out how to kill off all Earth’s superheroes and get the Anti-Monitor out of the picture.

As far as plot goes, there’s not a lot of it. Most of the planet’s superheroes show up to try to stomp the renamed Superman-Prime. He’s wearing special armor that gives him powers, so everyone’s trying to get rid of his armor before the sun rises and he gets real powers from the yellow sun that gives all Kryptonians their powers. (Of course, he’s been sitting on the moon for long enough to get some solar exposure — but that wouldn’t be properly dramatic, would it?) And of course, he’s able to last ’til the sun rises, so he can try to beat up the new Ion.

Far better than the main plot is a short and very creepy backup story about a Sinestro Corps member called Kryb. A crone-like alien, she kills Green Lanterns, kidnaps their infant children, and stores them inside a hellish biological crib in her own back.

Verdict: More or less, thumbs down. The main story is fairly pointless, meandering, and brutal (Did we really need to see former Teen Titan Risk get his other arm ripped off?) and could’ve been replaced admirably with, well, a story that didn’t involve tons of super-people beating each other up. But that backup story about Kryb? Holy moley, that was seriously disturbing. I don’t know that it’s worth the cover price all by itself, but it’s a really, really good story, especially this close to Halloween…

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Alien Invasion in Lubbock?

If you check out Newsarama’s DC previews for the upcoming week, you might notice something very interesting. Namely, “Green Lantern Corps #17,” which features the many members of the Green Lantern Corps fighting off the invasion of Earth by the evil Sinestro Corps. As the various Green Lanterns are dispatched to cities around the world, we find this on page 3:


“Lanterns Sarn and Kol. Protect location downloaded to your power rings. Local name Lubbock, Texas.”

I have no idea whether Lubbock itself will make any sort of appearance in the comic. That may be the extent of it right there — two Green Lanterns getting told to go protect a city that the writer picked off a map.

Still, it might not hurt to pick an issue of this one up, just in case. Wouldn’t it be cool if this one features the GL Corps driving the Sinestro Corps away from United Spirit Arena, the NTS Tower, or the Buddy Holly statue?

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Home-Grown Artistry


Lone Star #1

Hey, instead of mini-reviews of comics, let’s have a review of a mini-comic.

“Lone Star” is produced here in Lubbock. It’s written by Linda Shuferty, drawn by Charlie Tucker, and lettered by Mike Panzer. It’s less than 20 pages long, and it measures about 4″x7″. Pretty standard for a mini-comic.

Most minis you see out there are going to be personal and autobiographical. Not this time — it’s about a guy named Lone Star, part superhero, part time-traveller, who fights against a fella who keeps sending jet fighters back to the Civil War to help the South defeat the North. There’s not a whole lot of story beyond that, mainly because there’s not really enough room in less than 20 pages to flesh that out. I assume future issues will detail more of the plot, characterization, etc. — this is really more of an introduction to the comic and its concepts.

The art looks pretty good, if a bit quirky at times. Lots of really beautiful detail work here, and some of the backgrounds and long-shots are really striking — stuff like the sky filled with jet fighters, a view of a distant battleground as viewed from the cockpit of a plane, the shot of Pickett’s Charge.

Yeah, there are some things I could criticize and nitpick over. But I prefer not to talk smack about most comics creators unless they’re pros. You don’t talk smack about people who are making comics for no reward other than the joy of making comics.

Verdict: Thumbs up. It’s just a buck, so go pick it up.

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The Lubbock Comics Connection

No one will ever be able to claim that Lubbock is a major comics/cartooning center. Sure, we’ve got a good comics shop, our local library stocks comics, and we’ve even got the Lubbock Sketch Club, which works to nurture local artists and cartoonists. But we certainly don’t have a reputation as a comics hub.

However, you’d be surprised how many connections to the comics and cartooning world that we do have here. Let’s take a quick look at our hometown heroes…

1. Dirk West: Probably the artist that Lubbockites are most familiar with, West was born in Littlefield but grew up in Lubbock. After graduating from Tech, he spent a few years working as Uncle Dirk, the host of a local children’s TV show, and opened up his own advertising agency.

In the early ’60s, West started contributing single-panel sports cartoons to the A-J that featured the mascots of the teams in the Southwest Conference standing around and talking about SWC football. He created Raider Red and Nebraska’s Herbie Husker, and his weekly cartoons were must-read events here in Lubbock. They got lots of attention throughout the SWC — usually because some team (Ahem: the Aggies) would get mad about how they were portrayed.

West served a term as Lubbock mayor in 1978 and died in 1996.

You can see a gallery of some of West’s cartoons right here, and I’m posting a couple of my personal favorites below.


2. Alex Ross: One of the best known comics pros anywhere, Ross was born in Portland, Oregon, but spent much of his childhood here in Lubbock. His specialty is not traditional comics art, but painting — specifically beautiful, photorealistic painting of superheroes. His characters don’t look like steroid freaks wearing painted-on costumes — Ross knows how to draw realistic muscles (and realistic fat!), as well as clothing that actually wrinkles like clothing. He knows how to use light and shadow, how to make super-people look like people — and his artwork is still incredibly exciting and cinematic.

Some of his best known works include “Marvels” and “Earth X” for Marvel, “Kingdom Come” and “Uncle Sam” for DC, and covers for “Astro City,” “Justice Society,” and more.

I’m plugging in a few examples below.


Above: Giant-Man from “Marvels”


3. Jack Tippit: A gag cartoonist, Tippit attended Texas Tech but tranferred to Syracuse. He was a pilot in both World War II and the Korean War. His best-known work was a gag strip called “Amy,” who was basically a female Dennis the Menace. He also drew a strip called “Dr. Bill” and published cartoons in the New Yorker, Look, the Saturday Evening Post, and other magazines. For a while, he drew the “Henry” comic strip.

Here are a couple of his cartoons.



4. Scott Williams: I know almost nothing about him, to be honest. Yes, my Google-Fu is weak. But Robert Mora, who runs Star Books and Comics here in town, says that he’s a Lubbockite.

Williams is an inker — in fact, he inks almost all of Jim Lee’s work. If you don’t know Jim Lee, he’s one of the big artists, pencilling everything from the X-Men to Superman and Batman, and he was one of the founders of Image Comics in the 1990s.

“Aww, who cares? Williams just traces Lee’s stuff!” Ohh, that’s what you think, kid. You can’t be an inker without displaying a heck of a lot of artistic skill. Don’t believe me? Okay, here’s a sample of some of Lee’s uninked pencils:


And here’s the same piece after Williams inked it:


(Both of the pictures above come from, a blog produced by professional comics inkers. Check them out if you’d like more info on inking as a career.)

Pencillers are always very picky about their inkers — a good inker can make good artwork even better, and a bad one can doom the best pencils in the world. There’s a reason why Lee has stuck with Williams for all these years.

5. The Blob: No, not the evil glob of protoplasm from the 1958 horror flick — this is Fred J. Dukes, a mutant supervillain who was created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby in 1964 for “X-Men #3.” He’s not a particularly handsome super-guy.


His primary powers involve superstrength, toughness, and gravity control — basically, he can increase the pull of gravity on himself to make it almost impossible to move him.

Yeah, the Blob’s mutant powers involve him being really fat. Nobody ever said Marvel Comics was a very politically correct place back in the ’60s.

So what’s he doing on this list? Well, according to his official Marvel Comics biography, Fred was actually born here in Lubbock.

Gee, since he’s a native son, maybe we should name the Walk of Fame after him?

So how ’bout it, folks? Do you know of any other comics professionals who are from the Lubbock area? How about comics characters? Drop me a line and let me know, and I’ll add ’em to the list…

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