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What's HE up to?

Norm Breyfogle! Famed for his work on DC Comics' Batman, Norm was responsible for the design and aided in the introduction of Tim Drake (currenty Red Robin). He also helped further establish the Malibu Ultraverse with his long-running work on Prime.

He's known to us at A First Salvo, as the series artist for The Danger's Dozen. Across three and one double-sized issues of the Dozen, Norm crafted the first arc in the untold adventures of Aman and his crew.

Closing the arc, Norm sought future work in the industry, and an unusual partnership arose!

The new direction, realistic version Archie, sought to give a new look to Jughead and the gang. While the Archie/Red Circle heroes made the move to DC Comics, Norm found a new home in Riverdale.

Easily one of the more dynamic of the new direction artists, Norm's work is fluid and even "cartoony" enough to strike a happy balance.

The Dan DeCarlo and Stan Goldberg styles may be THE look of Archie, but Norm's take is nice to look at.


The World of Contract

Recent destruction in Haiti brought some questions to mind regarding the world of Contract. Think on it - everything is put to tender. When devastation strikes, who responds? Who would in a world such as this? Who would bid on the need for doctors, for rescue teams, dogs, reconstruction resources, medicine?

Stands to reason, some like-minded individuals would already have bid on such things. Having a standard force ready to mobilize and in that regard, a means to both fund and recoup the resources used.

We often look to the Red Cross and United Nations for help. But what if the peace-keepers were not simply that?

Following World War 2, the United Nations Organization was created to replace what had been a terribly ineffective League of Nations. The League had been developed after WW1 and, as the members where the victors, problems plagued the organization from its inception. Many say the same of the United Nations, gridlocked by Russia and China, and the fact that military forces where never dedicated to the UN by any nation. But what if a global peace-keeping and relief force had been created as an Organ of the UN? A global rescue force able to mobilize hospital ships, aircraft carriers, vtol and landing craft and large-scale helicopters? Perhaps the world was so focused upon war and its aftermath, that the idea of natural disasters was not on anyone's mind. But after the Boxing Day Tsunami, three or four mammoth earth quakes, multiple killer hurricanes, repeat flooding, a pending volcanic eruption or two and the possibility of "The Big One" in California, can we afford not to?

Red Cross



What fine friends in the industry! The folks at Comixology had a Salvo Jam with us some time ago, interviewing and passing out copies of the Danger's Dozen...

But the best was yet to come!

Learn how to use the Comics Reader APP!

Something cool was in the works - research and development. A way to further the good of comics everywhere - the future!

A comic-reader app was developed for the iPhone, with downloads available from Comixology (make that a link) and iTunes.

Asked to take part, the First Salvo Partners turned to GaranMad and the Contract comic series. Already proven as a fan favorite, the image files for printing, were easily adapted for the App. History was made, and a future secured.

Those who missed out on the printings in the first go round, are able to purchase digital copies.

Purchase Contract or download a free copy :)


Painted Contract

A fair amount of pin-ups for Contract have come as digitally-painted masterpieces. Some stunning stuff. The latest being one of Tsumi.

That's some fine paintin' by Reza ilyasa, a talented Indonesian artist who also produced this stunning piece of ol' Panzer:
And that's not all, his own varied works over at DeviantArt include varied work...
Yup, that's just cool. It's DJ Goh Goh, who also just happens to be in this image:

SketchDump Saturdays will be starting soon, featuring varied work in progress by the TAG team - the First Salvo Partners' work. There will also be varied work on Contract from artists commissioned or volunteering pin-ups, and some of their work as they develop images.

Here's a penciled Jessie Garrett shot, also by the talented Carlos Gomez.

And an example of roughs as will be found in "SketchDump Saturdays"...
Karla Diaz recently painted a jam session of the Stellar Rangers. As you can see, a drawing always goes through a number of stages before completion.
She did an awesome job, ending up with a fun, stylized version of the Contract crew! Jessie and the gang.


The iPad

Said to revolutionize online reading of comics and ebooks - all in living color - response to the iPad hasn't been much to write home about.


Maybe it's the size of the thing. Sure, that's the point - the size, more can be seen - both of movies (a screen size comparable to a compact DVD player) and anything else. Watching movies on the PSP? Surely it would be better to do so on a larger screen. Family photos on the phone? A 4x6 is certainly better on the iPad than a phone. But are people ready to carry around something that big? Well, why not? They carry laptops and with a variety of apps, the iPad could be just as useful. A personal access device. The pad of Star Trek the next gen made real. First the communicator, now the pad. Next the tricorder - we aren't there yet, not those scanning capabilities.

The Kindle is popular for ebooks. And books are generally formatted solely for text. Yet the iPad opens the digital distribution market further - for color, especially with specialized apps for readers. Broaden horizons, including magazines.

Despite the blockbuster theatrical releases, the monthly comic seems no more popular. Distribution is nowhere near 1970s numbers. Nor is the variety of genre. Can the iPad help? Apps exist for this purpose. Some may cry foul at the death of the monthly comic, but it need not be true. Digital comics can be daily, weekly or monthly - dependent on number of pages. A page could be released daily and at the end of the month, a full 22-page book would have been completed, ready for the next daily dose, or a few days of bonus material.

More comics, more genres, and more color would be available for the small press and smaller companies - with the selling of comics for download. Comics could be half the price they are now, and many production costs eliminated to ensure pay remains constant. Micro-payments for pages would be a little crazy, so monthly subscriptions with ease of cancellation without the hassle, would be incentive enough for many. On the go, any time, they'd always have content. Print could remain in place for collections and store distribution.

The question then, would be how to support local stores. Not Barnes and Noble or Amazon, but the direct market. Keep digital editions 3 months delayed? That is a complex subject.

The iPad is here! What will it be used for?


KATHOOM! The men of Marvel

Artie Simek and Joe Rosen; banners, balloons and sound effects. These mighty men of Marvel, brought sound to the stunning visuals of a fledgling Universe.

Working by the "Marvel Method", these fine fellas further honed their skills, lettering around the art, finding a sure way not to intrude or interrupt. Aided by the masters like Kirby and Ditko, who knew well to leave ample space, this by no means, diminishes their accomplishments.

Mammoth sound effects and bold title pages - and credits - were their stock in trade.

The Marvel Age truly began with a boom as Marvel expanded, and it was under the pen of Simek and Rosen, that it was 'heard'.