Saturday, April 16, 2016

The A-To-Z Challenge 2016: Todd Nauck

I'm not an art-motivated person when it comes to buying comics. If I'm drawn to a book, it's usually the writer or the concept that motivates me. I never got into Image Comics in the Nineties, where the fanboy-geared art was the selling point. These days, there are artists I try to get sketches from whenever I see them. Sometimes, I get stuff from artists whose work I've grown to like.

Take Todd Nauck, for example. Originally, I got in on the "ground floor" of Young Justice (not to be confused with the animated series of the same name) because I liked the concept of a "JLA Jr." Written by Peter David, the book lasted for years with Todd handling pencils for most of the issues. To me, there was a lot to like . . . the sort-of-dead heroine Secret, junior archer Arrowette (who was the daughter of a woman who called herself that while teaming with Green Arrow in the Fifties), the Teletubbies-themed Hugga Tugga Thuggies, the mysterious Empress, a de-aged Lobo . . . I could go on. And I consider David and Todd to be the second-best portrayers of Bart Allen/Impulse after Mark Waid and Humberto Ramos. While I understand why Geoff Johns felt compelled to evolve the character into Kid Flash, I have a soft spot for the big-haired, big-booted knucklehead. As a result, I wound up getting three YJ-based sketches from Todd.

Todd would go on to creating WildGuard for Image. I remembered the original concept in a preview book in the Nineties, where it was going to be a superpower-tinged take-off of The Real World. By the time it was launched in the 2000s, Todd incorporated American Idol into the design, going so far as to let readers vote a character on the team. Since I was heavy into reality television at the time, I wound up getting all of the printed issues. Todd also had great names for the heroes and heroines. Yes, the Thor-esque girl that made WildGuard was named Lily Hammer.

Nowadays, I don't get to hit up Todd. Usually, I'm watching my wallet carefully. I do say "hi" to him most of the time, because I like the guy. The last three sketches I've gotten from him have been on blank covers, including a quick head shot of Spider-Man at the Marvel booth during New York Comic Con last year. Four years earlier, he did a great commission for me: Ant-Man and Wasp from Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes, which might be the best animated series in Marvel's history.
HONORABLE MENTIONS: J. M. Ken Niimura (one sketch based off the acclaimed I Kill Giants written by Joe Kelly), Mike Norton  (two from The All-New Atom; one day, I'm going to get a Battlepug from him),  Phil Noto  (two Birds of Prey and Chewbacca).

1 comment:

J Lenni Dorner said...

J here, of the #atozchallenge Arlee Bird's A to Z Ambassador Team.
M marked the halfway point!
On Sunday, there's a post about how to better use the image alt code-- featured on the main A to Z blog as well as my own.
I've followed your GFC. The Red Rover drawing cracks me up. Thanks for your comments on my blog.