Johnny Bullet
Rough Stuff #6
By Leroy Douresseaux

October 16, 2007 - 08:55

Cover Artist(s): Brian Stelfreeze
96 pp. magazine, B&W, $6.95



Rough Stuff #6 is the most recent issue (having shipped the last week of September) of the magazine celebrating preliminary art for comic books in all its forms – pencils, sketches, concept designs, etc.  Edited by respected inker Bob McLeod and published by TwoMorrows Publishing, this magazine, has in its short run, presented some eye-popping and striking preliminary art.

This issue’s cover feature and “Rough Stuff Interview” is Brian Stelfreeze (interview conducted by Benno Rothschild), the prolific DC cover artist (ironic considering that early in his career, some at DC thought his style was too inappropriate even to depict DC characters for news magazines).  The interview has a generous selection of Stelfreeze’s thumbnails and preliminary layouts for various Batman and X-Men comics, as well as for Codename: Knockout (DC Comics/Vertigo) and Domino (Marvel Comics).

It’s “Rough Stuff Feature” times two with a Butch Guice interview (by Len Gould) and a showcase of comic book artists plying their trade in independent and small press comics.  The Guice feature is a sweet look at a thoroughly underrated veteran comic book artist, whose work looks fantastic in black and white.  The indie cartoonists feature give a small but decent look at three stylish cartoonists, including the imaginative Brandon Graham (TOKYOPOP’s King City).

The “Featured Artists” is my favorite section as it offers not only thumbnails and preliminary art, but lots of sketchbook material and unseen and/or unused concept design work.  The Ian Churchill section has two pages of costume designs, including four designs for X-Men costumes from when Churchill was part of the 2000 X-book revamp.  The rest of the Churchill section doesn’t do much for me.  The generous portion of art by Colleen Doran (A Distant Soil) includes pencil art related to her work on the graphic novel adaptation of Disney’s Beauty and the Beast, so fans of Disney comics will want this.  In fact, all the images in the Doran feature are a testament to an incredibly skilled artist whose talent is way too undervalued.  She’s a goddess.

Best part of Rough Stuff #6: Bob presents a lot of art from the late Dave Cockrum.  Cockrum co-created the New X-Men, and McLeod, in fact, inked Cockrum’s pencils on X-Men #94, which re-launched the X-Men comic book series and launched a new franchise in 1975.  [No, Mark Millar and Joe Quesada did not create the X-Men.]  The selection of Cockrum cover roughs, pre-inked pages, character designs, and sketchbook material is a broad view of the ingenious comic book creator Cockrum was.

[As a bonus, Rough Stuff #6 includes a six-page preview of another TwoMorrows publication, Roy Thomas’ Alter Ego #73.]


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