Greetings, Groove-ophiles! It's been way, way too long since I've had the opportunity to share a Groovy Guest Post with ya, and boy, and I ever happy to turn today's post over to my pal, Charismatic Chris Nye! Chris is a superior artist and writer, who's work you may've seen on projects like Chad Bowers' Dr. Impossible, various stuff at Flashback Universe, his children's book, The Singing Sword, or maybe, like me, you discovered Chris via his awesome creation Brother Destiny, which ran for two issues from Mecca Comics back in 2004. Chris and Ol' Groove have had many a virtual conversation via social media, and we've been amazed at just how much we have in common. I'm sure you'll relate to his history as a denizen of Groove City. I know you'll dig Chris' awesome art samples. And I hope you'll follow his artistic endeavors from here on (he has a book coming out from Airship 27 Productions a-n-d a graphic novel with novelist Mark (aka James Axler) Ellis). A link to Chris' own site (with tons more info) follows his post! Take it away, Chris!
I guess I must’ve discovered Ol’ Groove’s site back around 2009. So in tune was “Diversions of the Groovy Kind” with my own thoughts and experiences, that I seriously had to check my memories carefully — wondering if I had blacked out and created a blog in my sleep!
I’ve always been passionate about the art of the comic book and comic book storytelling. I mean, I’ve really always been obsessed with it. I always agreed with Will Eisner’s theory that the medium could tell a story like no other — and that it need not emulate movies or television — because ultimately that’s impossible, anyway. No — it’s a unique enough art form to stand on its own, and could do things that are impossible for THOSE mediums.
The art form was essentially consistently operating under
the same set of rules from 1933 to roughly the mid-80s. There were certain
rules, spoken or not, that were followed to make the publication a true “comic
book” or “comic strip.” Captions, non-bleed formats and making what happens
inside the panels the most important part of the layout — these were all
This is where I believe Groove and I are on the exact same page. I love comic books and comic strips going all the way back to the 1930s in their humble beginnings. But I’ve always had this theory that comic books as an art form perfected themselves in the 1970s — particularly the stretch from 1972-78.
|"Conan On Horseback"|
It was the perfect balance of fantasy (taking what was laid
down in the previous decade and expanding on it), and reality (adding more and
more real-world themes, but not so far as the “grim and gritty” approach which
the 1980s would introduce). This obviously impacted my own work and I’ve
enjoyed trying to keep that spirit alive as much as I can. My biggest
influences were without a doubt John and Sal Buscema, Joe Sinnott, John Romita
Sr., Ron Frenz, Milton Caniff, George Tuska, Mike Esposito, and Frank Giacoia.
Throw in some Don Heck, Gil Kane and Neal Adams and I think that about covers
it! Truly Groovy goodness all the way!
And please — let me not forget the writers — and the ones
who really carried the flag for this style of storytelling. These writers were
amazing in their balance of fun and realism — and sprung from Mr. Stan Lee
himself in many ways, expanding on what he started and perhaps perfecting the
approach. I speak of Roy Thomas, Len Wein, Marv Wolfman, Gerry Conway, Archie
Goodwin, Don McGregor, Steve Gerber, Tony Isabella, Bill Mantlo, Denny O’Neil
and Gary Friedrich, to name a few. I can’t say enough about the impact they had
on me growing up. They taught me regular lessons on pacing and how to tell a
story…and I still am learning from them all today.
For a kid growing up in Columbia, S.C., the world of New York and superheroes seemed larger than life — and the idea that I’d ever contribute in any way to the medium would’ve blown my mind as a youngster.
|Your Friendly Neighborhood Web-Slinger|
My late father was a journalist and author — and a fan of the comics genre himself, so he was always encouraging. (Thank you, Dad!) While working as an artist for newspapers was my day job after getting out of college with an advertising degree and minor in art in 1988, I really wanted to pursue comics on the side as much as possible. And while today I still do artwork in my day job for Lockheed Martin, I still hope to go full time into comics one of these days — and maybe bring back traditional storytelling in the process.
For me the comic book road really started with a meeting with Dick Giordano at a 1992 Heroes Convention in Charlotte, N.C. Dick really took me over the coals, in as nice of a way as possible, and told me to go study anatomy and work hard. Eventually (after pouting!) I took his advice, and for many years began working on that and other aspects of comic book making, trying to perfect whatever skill I could.
My last submission to Marvel was around 1999 — and I actually got a very nice note from Erik Larsen who essentially said I had reached a professional level, but my style was probably too old-school and out of step with the times. He was not at all wrong — I agreed with him, but realized if I wanted to do what I wanted to do, the independent route would be the best way for me at that time.
Enter Mecca Comics, a now defunct publisher located in Columbia, S.C. and where I created Brother Destiny. The best thing about Mecca was it allowed me to work with and/or talk to guys like Joe Sinnott, John Romita Sr., Dick Ayers and Al Milgrom — (the latter two did work with me for Mecca as well). They really understood what I was trying to do, and all were just great guys.
After two issues of BD were published around 2004, the publisher soon ceased and I pursued other work. I worked with current Marvel writer Chad Bowers on some of his independently published projects — I had a really fun time with Chad who is a terrific writer! And did some online work for Jim Shelley’s “Flashback Universe” — Jim was also a lot of fun and he really fits right into the world of Groove as well.
I then took several years to try and start up a couple of comics on my own, including a Brother Destiny revamp. But around 2018 it was becoming increasingly clear that to try to write, draw, letter, ink, color and promote all by myself was going to be very difficult. I decided it was time to get my name out there any way I could and thus, with Facebook’s help, my latest projects came to fruition. These projects have been for great guys like writers Ron Fortier and Mark Ellis, for which I illustrated “The Wraith” and “Lakota” respectively.
|Lakota pg. 30|
|Lakota pg. 48|
I am currently connecting with others as well — so there could be more surprises to come soon! I’m enjoying being strictly an artist at this point in my career, though as a journalism major I do enjoy writing and I still hope to get the Brother back out there eventually.
|Chris Malgrain's Sideral|
What makes me happiest is knowing that there is still a love
for traditional storytelling and good ol’ fashioned comics out there! There is indeed hope for us all, if that is
the case! I truly enjoy entertaining people with stories and characters, so I
hope to contribute to the cause for as long as possible.
My thanks to Groove for having me aboard his blog! It is an honor and I’m happy to be on his side of the aisle in this, the Groovy Age of Comics!
|The Boatman and Brother Destiny|