Sunday, April 24, 2022

2019 Dawn of the Dead Joe Shelleby as Martinez commission by tOoNzDAy

The 2016 Aliens 30th anniversary reunion commissions were a good experience for me, and a welcome change of pace from the various super-hero comics projects I'd done prior. My next big swing was supposed to be an Image Comics 25th anniversary jam, done entirely at my first (and to date only) trip to Heroes Con in 2017. While planning for that trip, I stumbled upon Living Dead Weekend, devoted to George A. Romero's Dead pictures. As it happens, Dawn of the Dead is my official answer for favorite movie of all time. It's more competitive than I make it seem, with Aliens having held that position for many years, and Pulp Fiction disqualified on account of the poster being on the wall of every film bro since it came out. That said, I'm pretty sure by this point that I've seen Dawn more than any other picture, and retain my passion for it, which is a rare thing. I desperately wanted to attend the convention, but I think it was (and remains) within a week of HeroesCon, and I can't afford two out-of-state shows in that span of time. Committed to meeting friends in Charlotte, I deferred until 2018.

The show celebrated the 40th anniversary of Dawn of the Dead in 2018, which I continue to call bull on, since that was only in Italy (and presumably the inferior Argento cut). The rest of the world, and perhaps most importantly Pittsburgh, didn't see Romero's vision until 1979, and the filming began in 1977, so there's no strong justification for declaring 2018 as "the" date. Anyway, I waited too long to buy the tickets I wanted, so I decided to wait for the real anniversary in 2019. To that end, I started preparing for the sequel to the Aliens commissions with the sequel to Night of the Living Dead. Well, I guess variety is the spice of life, because that year they decided to focus on another Romero project, Creepshow, which I never cared about. We ended up taking a road trip from Canada to Boston, where we'd reunite with the same friends we'd gone to North Carolina for. Continuing to drift away from Dawn in 2020, the focus of that con was meant to be Return of the Living Dead and Day of the Dead, so I made plans to go to Dragon Con instead for another friendly get-together.

I'm sure you're well aware of how many plans got nixed or deferred in 2020, and when the intended guest list finally held a show, it was the following year. We still weren't traveling then, so I have yet to actually attend a Living Dead Weekend after six years of awareness and expressed desire to do so. The Image jam ended up taking another couple years for the finished linework to be in hand, and then I proceeded to begin having it colored piecemeal. My hope is to finish it this year, the thirtieth anniversary of Image Comics, though comic conventions are still sputtering in the wake of COVID. My work on the Dawn commissions is very ongoing, as I'm headed to a con this very weekend. We'll use these art posts to cover the details, and since I have a few pieces by Jarrod L. Perez, I figured to just let one of them illustrate this introduction. I will say that there are faint background materials lost in the scan, which I tried to capture in a direct scan instead of a resized color Xerox, which also more accurately reflects the piece's colors.



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