Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Happy birthday Pasqual Ferry !

Today my paisano, artist extraordinaire Pasqual Ferry celebrates his 50th birthday. Feliz cumpleaños, maestro.

Pasqual is one of my favorite artists and not only because he´s also from Spain, namely from Barcelona, city of cities in the old country. I think the first comic I bought because of him was DOCTOR STRANGE 86 - which was too bad because it was drawn by somebody else.

I had just gotten into the storyarc with issue 85 that somehow involved Baron Mordo doing bad stuff to Dr. Strange like forever and it was drawn by that guy I never heard of. Really weird art but in a good way. So I got the next issue but the thing was Mark Buckingham was the regular artist and Pasqual Ferry was just the fill - in artist for one issue. I was never more sorry to have Mark Buckingham draw an issue.

In any case, I put this Pasqual Ferry dude on the list of artists to keep an eye out for and when he started on HEROES FOR HIRE my brother put that title on his pull list. I´m not sure if I read the whole run but the way my brother keeps his comics it would be easier to find the lost arc.

And speaking about pull lists, it took along time for Pasqual to land on my pull list. I remember buying all his WARLOCK issues ( except the last two I think ) but they were not on my pull list. Somehow I was undecided to put WARLOCK on my list and by the time I had reached a decision it was already at issue 3. Luckily my old comic shop ( the one I went to before the Sammlerecke ) was big on back issues so I bought the first three issues on the same day and every month I went to pick up my comics WARLOCK went on the pile of comics I bought that were not on my pull list. Which was a bigger pile at that time because comics were not as expensive as now.

If there ever was an artist born to take on an artistically challenging character like the ever - changing mutant shapechanging morph - robot known as WARLOCK it´s Pasqual Ferry. And with his excellent page layout this series should have been a success. Why it never got off the ground and was cancelled after 9 issues ( even with guest stars like IRON MAN and SPIDER - MAN ) is hard to tell.

Maybe the character was too unknown or maybe MARVEL was flooding the market with too many titles that it got lost between all the heavy hitters ( my money is on the latter ). Or maybe nobody was interested in the adventures of an artificial lifeform that tried to be human and had the ability to infect people and stuff with a techno - biological any case the series ended. Maybe Pasqual´s time hadn´t come.

article on warlock ( in spanish )

He went to DC where he worked on SUPERBOY but he still didn´t make it on my pull list. There were some artists doing issues in - between so I only got the issues done by him. He then went big time when he finally did SUPERMAN which was on my brothers pull list but I also bought the issues I liked. Nothing spectacular happened.

article on superman by pasqual ferry ( in spanish )

Well, this was all about to change when ADAM STRANGE - PLANET HEIST came out. Adam Strange has always been one of my favorite character, not a member of the Justice League, more an associate and a throwback to the spacefaring adventure heroes of the newspaper strips like FLASH GORDON or BUCK ROGERS. Archeologist Adam Strange one day found himself transported to the planet Rann via the " Zeta Beam " to protect the planet from extra - terrestial threats because the people of Rann had become too evolved to remember how to engage in such ancient techniques like " fisticuffs ".

adam strange picture by fwatanabe on deviantart

As romantic science fiction stories go Adam fell in love with Alanna, daughter of Sardath the scientist who invented the Zeta Beams but at the end of the adventure the effects of the Zeta Beams wore off and Adam was returned to Earth. But before Sardath managed to provide Adam with coordinates for subsequent beams firing on earth. So Adam Strange was always waiting to be hit by the next Zeta Beam to be reunited with his love on another planet.

Of course the beams would sometimes hit places that were difficult to get access to, like a guarded museum or the inside of a volcano - or they ended 100 feet above ground which added an element of excitement to the series.

Like Batman, Adam Strange has no superpowers and solves all his problems with his brain and his scientific knowledge. He also was in a JUSTICE LEAGUE story by Mark Waid - a two part story during the Morrison run - where he salvaged a seemingly impossible situation by thinking four steps ahead.

So when Andy Diggle started his new interpretation of the character - with a new spacesuit designed by Pasqual Ferry - the miniseries went instantly on my pull list. In the story Adam Strange tries to convince the Justice League that he is a hero and that they know him. Somehow nobody remembers him and when they try to find out why the latest Zeta Beam that was supposed to bring him to Rann never arrived they find out that Rann has been destroyed - and Adam Strange is blamed for it.

I don´t want to spoil more of the story but whatever his former projects had been missing this 8 part miniseries had it all, a solid story that was fun and exciting and intriguing, a fan favorite main character and the possibility for Pasqual Ferry to flex his artistic muscles. It was also the first series where Pasqual used his new grey tone technique that looks so much better than the colored version.

And it seems that I was not the only one who was a big fan of PLANET HEIST, the 8 part miniseries as it got high praise from fans and roaring reviews from critics. If you´re a fan of Adam Strange you should already own this and if not you will become one after reading this. It comes with the highest recommendation and it´s a must - read for all Pasqual Ferry fans. This is a comic well worth your money.

planet heist review by collected editions ( with spoilers )

planet heist review at it´s a dan´s world ( with spoilers )

planet heist review on now read this

a year of cool comics day 74 - planet heist

After the success - and finally getting the recognition he deserves - of the ADAM STRANGE series Pasqual Ferry returned to Marvel where the series he worked on were pretty well received. He worked on ULTIMATE FANTASTIC FOUR, ULTIMATE X - MEN VS FANTASTIC FOUR, ULTIMATE IRON MAN and ENDER´S GAME : BATTLE SCHOOL based on the popular ( and winner of the 1985 Nebula Award as well as the 1986 Hugo Award for best novel ) science fiction novel series .

Right now Pasqual is ending his run on the THOR book before Matt Fraction and Olivier Coipel relaunch the title as THE MIGHTY THOR with a new number 1.

I have to say that I buy the issues mainly for the art ( it is four bucks after all ) as there are certain aspects of the story that don´t sit well with me - speak : don´t make any sense. I had left the title after JMS´and Olivier Coipel´s departure but Pasqual brought me back.

Warning : don´t read the following paragraphs if you don´t want to be spoiled about the lastest things in Asgard


1 - Asgard not being in Asgard but on Earth

Okay, who thinks it´s a good idea to take a whale out of the ocean and putting it on top of a Martini ? Because that´s basically what Thor did by bringing Asgard to Earth to " inspire mortals ". Not only that it didn´t work ( earthlings are a difficult breed to inspire ) but it also left Asgard vulnerable to attacks like in SIEGE or the current storyline. Tactically speaking not the best move to relocate your base of operation from a strategically well guarded area to a more accessible locale.

And besides all that it´s just a bad idea. Everybody tells Thor it´s a bad idea but he just doesn´t listen. Because not only is Asgard not where it belongs disrupting the cosmic order of things it also creates a void by it´s absence that has got to be filled somehow - and you can bet your uru hammer it´s not going to be something good. The whole thing just reminds me of the time when Asgard was floating around the cosmos and ugly aliens like Annihillus tried to invade it.

2 - Thor bringing back Loki from the dead

Yes, you read right. Loki died. Deal with it. He died and as far as comic deaths go it was not an entirely stupid way to die - like when Hawkeye´s quiver caught fire and he was to stupid to just take it off ( you still owe me for that one Mr. Bendis ). And what is Thor´s reaction ?

" Oh, I don´t know. Now that my half brother is gone I kind of miss him. He was quite the prankster when we were little kids and he always made me laugh. I could use something to cheer me up. Why not bring him back ? "

Oh, I don´t know, maybe because he´s grown up to hate you and all Asgardians and has always tried to KILL YOU, KILL ALL ASGARDIANS, DESTROY ASGARD, THE NINE REALMS and THE WHOLE UNIVERSE while he´s at it ?

Man, that Thor got some tunnel vision.

Affirmation : you can continue reading - the spoilers are over

So, if you can overcome this things that make absolutely no sense - and the fugliest Thor costume ever that Marvel solely came up with because of the upcoming film - Pasqual Ferry delivers his usual stunning visuals to the title.

What bugs me is that Marvel still hasn´t the stones to print Ferry´s work in the greyscale version as I think it looks much better this way. But Marvel´s not exactly known for having cojones, just ask Mr. Quesada when the uncensored version of SHANNA is going to come out the next time you see him. Anyway, you can judge by yourself :

Ye olde link section : pasqual ferry on lambiek / profile on guia del comic ( in spanish ) / preview thor 615 / 616 / 617 / 618 / 619 / 620 / 621

As far as Pasqual Ferry´s future projects are concerned he´s slated to come back to Thor in an upcoming storyarc on THE MIGHTY THOR " that couldn´t been drawn by anybody else ". In any case I´m excited about his next work, I say thank you for all your wonderful work and I wish him all the best for his 50th birthday, he´s earned it.

Since I already used the AVENGERS - EARTH´S MIGHTIEST HEROES video in my last post here´s an interview with Pasqual Ferry. Sorry, it´s in catalan.

New to the blog ? Everything you need to know about TALES FROM THE KRYPTONIAN : top ten posts / more posts of interest

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