Future Comic Rock Stars – “Savage” Greg Smallwood

dream_thief_teaser_by_gregsmallwood-d5wqgwyWelcome to my column showcasing up and coming or undiscovered talent, bringing to your attention creators that I feel will be break-out stars in the near future. Some are already well on their way to super stardom, while some are just on the outskirts breaking in.

Everyone has a favorite comic book creator. One they’ve discovered recently, or maybe followed from the very beginning of their career. Some have so many favorites it’s hard to choose just one.

Every single one of those creators started somewhere, be it by producing photocopied mini comics to sell at their neighborhood comic shop, getting a table in the artist’s alley at their local comic convention, publishing fan fiction, posting images to deviantart.com, or doing commissions through the internet or at conventions. Some come from the world of graphic design, advertizing illustration, or fine art, using those jobs to pay the bills in the meantime.

Then came their break. Something they did got noticed, an editor got in touch, and they were on their way. A fill in page here, a small press book there, maybe a miniseries or one-shot for one of the big two. Something about their style catches fan’s eyes, and their star begins to rise.

marvel_a_x__15_cover_art_by_gregsmallwood-d6yurftGreg Smallwood came to my attention through his work on A + X #15.

I’m a sucker for Doctor Strange, and as soon as I saw the cover I knew I was in store for something fun. As I turned the last page I knew I was going to have to track down every piece of Greg Smallwood work I could find. Unfortunately there wasn’t much out there, which surprised me because his work has the touch of a seasoned pro. Other than Day of the Dead: The Rising of Bub #1, from Dead Dog Productions in 2007, he didn’t have anything else until 2013’s excellent Dream Thief with his A + X writer Jai Nitz. As far as I know that Day of the Dead series never saw another issue published.

Just over a year ago saw the release of Dream Thief #1, a supernatural revenge tale about a thief who steals an ancient mask and becomes possessed by spirits that make him enact their revenge while he sleeps. The concept itself isn’t THAT original, but what Nitz and Smallwood do with it sure is. It became one of my favorite books of last year, a year already filled to the brim with brilliant new series after series. The story itself was great, full of action, excitement, and pathos, as the main character, a man of dubious morals, struggles with the things these spirits make him do. But man, that art!

robocop__beta_cover_art_by_gregsmallwood-d6yurk2As a regular reader of this column can probably tell I’m not a fan of the slick and polished work of many Big Two artists. I don’t dislike it, by a long shot, but to me there’s something to be said for an artist like Sean Phillips or David Aja, and Smallwood’s work occupies the same class of draftsmen. His brushwork has a loose quality to it, not sloppy by any means, just free flowing and organic. If Jim Lee is the digital of comic artists, Greg Smallwood would be the analog, and I always preferred analog. He sometimes uses a dry brush technique that really adds depth and texture to his work, giving it a weight that isn’t found in many artist’s work.

His covers for Dynamite’s Grimm: The Warlock series, as well as the Robocop: Beta cover, show his ability to not merely capture the looks of real people, but to distill their essence into as few lines as possible. The reflection in Robocop’s helmet doesn’t clearly show Michael Keaton’s Raymond Sellars, but implies him with a simplicity of line that is just fantastic. No matter what you thought of the movie itself, that cover is beautiful in it’s design and execution.

Moon-Knight-7-CoverHis page layouts are smart, nothing too flashy or experimental, but easy to read, drawing your eyes from one panel to the next. A consummate storyteller, Smallwood would probably make a good director if this comic thing doesn’t pan out. But of course it will, or I wouldn’t be writing this. His panel backgrounds are full of life and motion, not to the point of distraction mind you, always just enough to make the world feel lived in. That and his attention to detail make his pages ones to linger over, to hold your breath and just dive in, swimming in them for a while until jumping into the next page. Ordinary objects placed just so, giving his worlds scale like our own.

Along with Dream Thief and Grimm, Smallwood is about to take over from previous future comic rock star Declan Shalvey on Moon Knight as of issue #7, with Brian Wood on writing detail. This is an inspired decision, as I can’t think of a better artist to come in and put his own stamp on the title. I have no fear that Smallwood will be an excellent successor for Marvel’s latest hit, and that he is a future comic rock star. Next week I’ll bring you another.

You can see more of his work here and here, and be sure to follow him on Twitter for updates.

Shop Deadpool tees in our officially licensed Marvel store!

Leave a Reply

Animation/Anime Interviews Animation/Anime News Animation/Anime Reviews Film/TV Interviews Film/TV News Film/TV Review
Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri Trailer
Red Band Trailer for Martin McDonagh’s ‘Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri’

We’ve been long overdue for a new film from Martin McDonagh,...

Life
‘Life’ is a Lean, Mean ‘Alien’ Knockoff

Like so many great films, Alien spawned a whole slew of...

King Cohen
Trailer for ‘King Cohen’ Looks at the Life and Career of Genre Master Larry Cohen

There aren’t many filmmakers like Larry Cohen. For over 40 years, Larry...

Enabled Gaming Gaming News Gaming Reviews
New Frontier Episode 3 Release Date
Official The Walking Dead: The Telltale Series – A New Frontier Episode 3 Release Date

We finally have the official The Walking Dead: The Telltale Series –...

Injustice 2 Shattered Alliances Part 3
Supergirl Gives Us Hope in the New Injustice 2 Shattered Alliances Part 3 Trailer

The House of El has a new hero, Supergirl looks to...

Injustice 2 Cheetah
A Cheetah Has Been Spotted – Injustice 2 Cheetah Gameplay Trailer

Eeny meeny miny mo, catch a Cheetah by the toe- Wait, that’s...

Comic Creator Interviews Comic/Graphic Novel News Comic/Graphic Novel Reviews Manga News Manga Reviews Novel/Novella Author Interviews Novel/Novella News Novel/Novella Reviews
Boruto
VIZ Media is Bringing Boruto to North America on Blu-Ray and Manga

VIZ Media announces North American Home Media Release of Boruto: Naruto the...

An Interview w/ Cyanide & Happiness Co-Creator Dave McElfatrick

Since the mid-2000’s, the insanely popular web comic Cyanide & Happiness...

8.5/10
Divinity III: Escape From Gulag 396 #1

Divinity III: Escape From Gulag 396 #1 Story By: Eliot Rahal...

Apparel/Personal Maintenance News Apparel/Personal Maintenance Reviews Entertainment Product News Entertainment Product Reviews Food/Beverage Reviews Hardware News Hardware Reviews Mystery Box News Mystery Box Reviews
Solo Backpacks
Protect Your Tech in Style With the New Solo Backpacks

Nerds, we are no longer limited to pocket protectors and neon...

Eyezen Glasses
EyeBuyDirect Eyezen Glasses Relieve Digital Eye Strain

EyeBuyDirect Eyezen Glasses help relieve eye strain and potential damage caused...

SteelSeries Headband
New SteelSeries Headband Accessories for Arctis Headset Line

Just unveiled today, new and bold SteelSeries Headband Accessories for the...

Arena Football Automotives MMA, Kick Boxing & Boxing Professional Wrestling
Vampiro Named the Head of Talent Relations for Lucha Libre FMV

From El Rey Network – Los Angeles – March 13 2017...

GLORY 39 Brussels and GLORY 39 SuperFight Series Fight Cards Finalized for Saturday, March 25

AMSTERDAM – GLORY, the world’s premier kickboxing league, today announced the...

KOTC Signs 14 WMMA Fights to Exclusive Contracts

RANCHO CUCAMONGA, CA. (March 7, 2017) – King of the Cage has announced...

Adult Continuity Comics on the Can Cultural Junk Drawer Future Comic Rock Stars Is That Racist? Revisiting the Reviled THAT'S NOT ROTTEN! The B-Reel The Cantina Scene This Week in Crowdfunding What the HELL Did I just...?
12 Incredible Assyrian Women Around the World (Reposting)

March commemorates Women’s History Month in the United States of America,...

Comics on the Can – Amerikarate #1

Amerikarate! Writer – Corey Kalman, Brockton McKinney. Illustrated by Devin Roth...

Best Picture Nominees Ranked
2017 Oscars Preview: The Best Picture Nominees, Ranked

It’s that time of year again where Hollywood gathers and pats...

Event News Event Reviews
WWE Slam Crate Event – Stone Cold Stuns Meltdown Comics

WWE Slam Stars is an upcoming series of figures that will...

Chris Hardwick Launches First-Ever ID10T Music Festival + Comic Conival

From Live Nation Entertainment – Los Angeles, CA (March 6, 2017)...

‘Jeff & Larry’s Backyard BBQ’ to Feature Musical Guests Eddie Money, The Marshall Tucker Band, Foghat & More

From Live Nation Entertainment – Two of the country’s most renowned...

Gaming Uncensored Toon-In-Talk
Gaming Uncensored: Year in Review 2016

A look back at the year in gaming.

Gaming Uncensored Roundtable: December 2016

December’s roundtable discusses story in games with Chad, Josh, and Spencer....

Gaming Uncensored: Podcast #349

Jamie reflects on some of his time with the HTC Vive....

Music Interviews Music News Music Reviews
Lebanese Englishwoman, Nadine Khouri Lulls you with ‘The Salted Air’

There is something fitting about a woman who’s last name translates...

Stan Lee’s LA Comic Con: Interview w/ Sonya Belousova

At last month’s Stan Lee’s LA Comic Con event, I had...

Mike Hill Bass Lives for ‘Love and War’

Love and War is a pop rock collaborative project that is...