So, OK, we told you about Bill Walko’s Kickstarter for The Hero Business — which you should support. Now check out his brilliant homages to comics of yore.
Some of these you may have seen, some you may not. But when I talked to Bill about his campaign for The Hero Business — which you should most definitely check out here — I also wanted to discuss his lovely riffs on some of my favorite comics and characters. I dig these so much, I’ve actually purchased these all as prints. And some are available as stretch goals, so again I encourage you to check out our story about The Hero Business.
Here Bill talks about his inspirations for these bits of awesome:
Break-In at Tiffany’s
A number of my works were created while I was an artist for Comic Book Resources’ The Line It Is Drawn series, curated by Brian Cronin. The feature poses a weekly art challenge with a theme, and fans provide suggestions via Twitter. We artists then select an idea and put our own spin on it.
So for this “actors cast as comic book characters” piece, the suggestion was simply “Audrey Hepburn as Catwoman,” which could have gone in a few different directions. I instantly wanted to create an homage poster to Breakfast at Tiffany’s, but then thought of changing it to “Break-In” because that’s so Selina. And Audrey Hepburn in Julie Newmar’s catsuit… what’s not to love?
Another The Line It Is Drawn, this was mashing up Emmy Award-winning TV shows with comic book characters. The suggestion was mashing up “Mad Men with Batman villains.” I then figured out which characters to mash up, and it sorta started designing itself.
Marvel women as Bond Girls
This was The Line it Is Drawn with a James Bond theme. I think the original suggestion was “Black Widow in From Russia With Love”, but then I stumbled on Michael Gillette’s excellent series of covers for Penguin’s James Bond novels. And I thought they were so striking. So I started going wild aligning the Marvel women with the James Bond book titles, and that was a lot of fun!
Teen Titans ’60s and ’70s parties
I am a huge, huge Teen Titans fan. I grew up reading the Wolfman/Perez stuff, and became interested in all the eras of the series. Even the weird ones, like when their headquarters was a disco in Long Island. My goal is to eventually draw all the eras of the team, so I started somewhere at the beginning.
The parties are just a bit of fun. I was always fascinated with what happens in the “downtime” of super-teams between battles. Those were some of my favorite comic books, the quiet stories in between the epic sagas. So this is my take on them. And also, because comics should be a little more fun!
Batman 197 (also for the CBR feature)
Ah, this was a tribute to the late great Carmine Infantino. He really created a number of amazing covers in the 1960s. Since this captured some of the Batman ’66 TV show feeling, I decided to recast the characters as those actors. Because it’s always fun to draw Julie Newmar in her catsuit!
(I also asked Bill to name his favorite established characters to draw and here’s his response, with yet more great examples — Dan)
I like drawing younger teenage characters and the girls. So the Teen Titans and the X-Men are always favorites. I also like to draw old cartoon characters in my style, like Jem & The Holograms and Thundarr and Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends.