Young Avengers and More With Ramon Villalobos

Nerdcenaries: Hello Ramon!
Ramon Villalobos: Hi.
Nerdcenaries: How are you doing?
Ramon Villalobos: I’m doing alright.
Nerdcenaries: Well, you got done with your What If: Age of Ultron issue and you are doing Young Avengers next but I think there was something else you had that came out recently. Am I mistaken?
Ramon Villalobos: Yeah a book called Abstract 3 that my friend Frank is inking for me, written by Seth Jacob.
Nerdcenaries: What is it about?
Ramon Villalobos: Well it’s about a group of superheroes called the Abstract 3 that have a reality warping crisis but I can’t really talk much about the plot.
Nerdcenaries: Ah. Well it has your art on it which is a solid selling point.
Ramon Villalobos: Haha thank you.
Nerdcenaries: Your style to me kind of seems like a Rafael Grampa crinkly-ness meets the sharp cleanliness of Mike Allred. Were either of them inspirations?
Ramon Villalobos: Definitely both of those guys are yeah. Probably Rafael Grampa is a little more apparent in my art. I like the really classy grit in his drawing. Allred I really like because he kind of has some of the quirky silver age stiffness that I really dig but it’s not as conscious of an influence as is Grampa.

from What If: Age of Ultron #2

from What If: Age of Ultron #2

Nerdcenaries: Is there sort of a dream comic you’d love to see either of those guys on for the art? Or an Allred written, Grampa illustrated series?
Ramon Villalobos: Probably Doom Patrol for either one would be amazing. Or the Demon for Grampa and like a 60s Spider-Man story for Allred. I think by this point I’m just saying things I really want to do though haha.
Nerdcenaries: Haha. I’d be opposed to none of those. When it comes to writing, is what you normally get asked to illustrate different than what you prefer reading?
Ramon Villalobos: No, not really. I think I’ve sort of put enough bait out into the void about what I’m good at doing and the kinds of things I like that usually like minded writers see that and make the connection that I’d be perfect for that idea. It probably used to happen more when my style was a little less individualistic. Also, I’m not really afraid to just say no to things I can’t see myself doing a good job with.
Nerdcenaries: That can be a pretty important skill, especially starting out – both for writers and artists.
Ramon Villalobos: Yeah, its something I’ve seen people struggle with and I’m fortunate to never have been really in that position. But yeah, if you are deliberately drawing a lot of Grant Morrison characters, people that like Grant Morrison are going to see it and think, “Hey maybe I should work with that guy.”
Nerdcenaries: It’s like the whole if you wanna draw Star Wars stuff professionally, draw Star Wars stuff
Ramon Villalobos: Well that’s a little hyper specific but definnitely, if you want to draw Star Wars stuff, show that you can draw cosmic stuff and that sort of thing. Brand yourself. I love wrestling so I draw wrestling and then opportunities arise for me to get paid to draw wrestling stuff but I don’t think drawing John Cena will make the WWE hire me for anything.
Nerdcenaries: Haha, yeah, It can very between markets and industries. So what comics are you currently enjoying, old or new?
Ramon Villalobos: Haha oh man, I’m so out of touch with most new stuff. I trade wait almost all new stuff and have a big pile of things I just haven’t found time to work through. I try to read a lot of like… just regular books when I’m not drawing. Been reading this book Paradigms Lost: Images of Man in the Mirror of Science. It’s pretty cool. But yeah, like Wonder Woman is the most recent of anything that I’ve read. I read Young Avengers before starting this recent project. That was cool. Oh, I also got some Reggie and Me comics. I like those. Reggie is the purest agent of chaos in all of comics.
Nerdcenaries: Since you are going to be doing art for the Young Avengers miniseries with Ryan North, have you just been reading the recent stuff by Gillen and McKelvie?
Ramon Villalobos: Yeah, I they gave me the first 15 issues. Cool stuff.
Nerdcenaries: Who is your favorite member of the team?
Ramon Villalobos: Marvel Boy but that’s because I loved that series with Morrison and JG Jones so a lot of that carried on from other things he’d been in. Bachalo and Bendis did a sweet one shot with him awhile back that is really sweet. He’s just cool as hell.

From Dark Avengers Annual #1 by Brian Michael Bendis and Chris Bachalo

From Dark Avengers Annual #1 by Brian Michael Bendis and Chris Bachalo

Nerdcenaries: Oh yeah, the Dark Avengers one?
Ramon Villalobos: Yeah, the annual. They went in on that.
Nerdcenaries: Yeah. Though even better was Dark Reign: The List: Wolverine by Jason Aaron. It was really Marvel Boy’s only other big moment in Dark Reign which was sad since he is an interesting character.
Ramon Villalobos: yeah, that was the first time Chris Bachalo did white gutters with no panel borders, it blew my mind. Made it look so clean and fresh for some reason. Similar to how Quitely uses all black gutters in Batman and Robin and We3 and it gives a weird cinematic quality to it.
Nerdcenaries: Yeah, they also did the black borders in a lot of Ultimates Comics when they wanted the cinematic feel as well which is kinda crazy because you are making comics, make comic stuff that you can only do in comics.
Ramon Villalobos: that’s still something you can only do in comics when you subvert it the way Quitely does. In that you can change the dimensions of the screen and make it not even be rectangular at a moments notice. It’s just another approach to comics, its not trying to be movies.
Nerdcenaries: So where can people find you on the internet?
Ramon Villalobos: @ramonvillalobos on twitter, on facebook, on tumblr, @thelastramon on instagram um… my website is but that just direct links to tumblr.
Nerdcenaries: Thanks for taking the time to do the interview Ramon!

Struggling With Faith While Drinking With Herc: Religion In the Marvel Universe

In Jason Aaron’s first arc of Thor: God of Thunder, he introduces a character known as Gorr the God Butcher, an alien who saw his fellow people die when the gods they believed to failed to save his world from drought, famine and injury. The faithful were seen as brutal but weak minded people, driven by conviction in the face of proof via absence that god did not exist. Driven out Gorr eventually finds two of his gods, leads to the death of both and then using the weaponry of one, begins a campaign of slaughter across the universe killing gods, culminating in him rewriting the timeline so that he might kill all gods of the universe using the God bomb. With that power to shape the world, to fell deities, he becomes recognized as a god himself, but does that make him a god?

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What A Comic Museum Should Be

I’ve been to a few comic museums – Toonseum in Pittsburgh, the Cartoon Art Museum in San Francisco and recently the Billy Ireland Cartoon Museum at OSU and so far I haven’t seen that perfect cartoon museum, or at least the one big feature I want to see. I mean all of the facilities I mentioned are very nice – but none of them are made for the comic medium itself and that is the biggest issue.

Comics are sequential art. Comics usually tell a story. Comics usually are not a static moment like paintings are, like photographs are, like statues are. Comics are a serial art form and while a single page can show a lot, it doesn’t capture what a comic is – a way to tell stories. If you only give part of a story, devoid of context, you loose a lot. It becomes all about the art and writing for that page, not how everything ties in, and it removed the comic as a tool to tell stories. When you start posting single pages of original sets of art on the wall for a comic museum, devoid of context, unless that page is an entire story, you’ve messed with the art form. You don’t cut a hand off of a full body statue and put it in a museum as a solitary piece of art. If you post a single movie still, that is not the same as showing the actual movie – and sure it may be helpful to illustrate a directorial style but you miss the context and the actual format of the art itself. A well shot still from a movie is not a movie itself. A single page from a multi page story is not itself.

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The Wolf of Wall Street: Howling At The Gates

The Wolf of Wall Street Poster

The Wolf of Wall Street by Martin and Other People.

Powered by a dangerous intellect, a dash of sardonism and the ability to get away with crimes of any and all calibers, Leonardo DiCaprio’s character in The Wolf of Wall Street, Mr. Peabody, is one of the most shocking characters to enter the silver screen in decades. The film follows the irascible Mr. Peabody as he adopts Sherman, played by a very off sounding Jonah Hill, as they help to shape the course of the world, fight several government organizations, and in a shocking twist, are praised for bringing the world safely back from a near-collapse that they actually caused.

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Marvel RPG One Shots: Avengers Assemble!

I am a fan of RPGs and it is so much easier to get players into RPGs that they can easily visualize what is going on and even more so when they can learn the game easily so my interest in the TSR Marvel Superheroes RPG has been steadily growing because it uses Marvel characters, it is super easy to visualize and the rules make sense. If they don’t I honestly go by feeling like a real Marvel Editor. In addition, all of the books are in a strange legal gray area so you can download them all here, – really you just need the player’s guide and the judge’s book for this.

So now my goal or one of them is to try and make some new content with the Marvel RPG system – update some characters and try some new rules (so many characters had radios as important technological features), especially since Heroclix makes is easier to get exact figures of most of the characters you might want to use, and usually you can get them on a budget (except for a good Janet Van Dyne Wasp and Clint Barton Hawkeye and a few other weird ones). Anyway, go Marvel RPG!

Below is the guide for the Avengers Assemble one-shot which pits the Avengers, or really any team of your choice, against a strong set of interesting enemies while letting your players and yourself learn the ropes of the game. The game works best though with the recommended characters.

Also a big thank you to Chris Sims for suggesting the enemies for this one shot.

Originally played at UD Con 2014.

Avengers Assemble!


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Organizing Crime: Where Osborn Failed

from War Machine #9 by Greg Pak, Allan Jefferson, Nelson Pereira and Jay David Ramos

from War Machine #9 by Greg Pak, Allan Jefferson, Nelson Pereira and Jay David Ramos

The Dulles Brothers lead the fight against communism. They lead the presidents to the targets at Allen Dulles was the Director of the CIA and his brother John Foster Dulles was the Secretary of State. Two men had the power, connections and belief that shaped the world during the Cold War leading us into Vietnam and the Middle East and without them, the entire world would be vastly different.

Norman Osborn had the power, he had the connections and the beliefs but what ultimately lead to his downfall through the events of Dark Reign and Siege are what made him a fascinating figure.

Osborn became the director of HAMMER after using his Thunderbolts (and information he stole from Deadpool) to stop the Skrull Invasion. He was able to completely oust the former administration, he was able to turn those would would oppose him into pariahs and outlaws and with his public support he could have ruled indefinitely except for one thing – his partners – The Cabal and The Dark Avengers.

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FASE-R.I.P. Aunt May

Screen shot 2013-12-02 at 11.41.31 AM

My slowly growing collection of Heroclix figures has once again lead me to check out the Marvel Super Heroes RPG. I mean, where else can you play with a bunch of Marvel characters and also have most of them with stats – at least for the mid-80′s when the books for the game were coming out.

Unfortunately I’ve discovered the dark secret about how these stats were generated and how we lost national wheatcakes icon, May Parker.

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Pitch Week: Aquaman Movie!

I really don’t care too much, nor do I know that much about Aquaman. He’s not one of my favorite heroes. He lives in a state of almost universal derision, except by his strange cult like following. I’m in the middle ground – Aquaman seems like a pretty cool guy. I wish I could have his powers to be honest. But the thing is where do you approach his story for an Aquaman movie. What is important?

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The Gutters Is Generally Horrible

The Gutters is a comic written by comics fan and creator Ryan Sohmer that attempts to address current comic news and events. There is nothing wrong with this in and of itself, but ultimately Sohmer often seems confused with what the issue actual is failing both discerning readers and… well everyone who unfortunately chooses to read The Gutters.

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Knuckleheads #4 Review: Hangover Cure


Screen shot 2013-11-13 at 10.55.01 AM

Written by Brian Winkeler
Art by Robert Wilson IV
Colors by Jordan Boyd
Letters by Thomas Mauer

As a fan of horrible breakfasts, I can empathize with Trevor in the newest issue of Knuckleheads which overall, I enjoyed more than the first three, which is always a good sign. If you recall, he said casually linking back that earlier article, the first arc of issues was good but it felt tied to the past, like it was just telling the first story over again to get it done with, needed some more splash and action. And here we get less action but we get a whole bunch of splash along with a side order of heart disease in about 20 years if we don’t start exercising more and eating better.

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