Beauology 101: Random Thoughts That Pop Cultured Into My Brain

Beau Smith, Your Random Host.

Beau Smith, Your Random Host.


by Beau Smith

** Avengers Infinity War: Why didn’t Thor just cut off the gauntlet arm of Thanos with that amped up axe?

Zot #1 By Scott McCloud From Eclipse Comics

Zot #1 By Scott McCloud From Eclipse Comics


** Not enough thanks is given to the independent comic books of the 1980s; those risk takers and rule breakers that were brave or dumb enough to think that they could write stories just the way they sounded in their heads, or the artists that truly believed that superheroes didn’t have to be drawn just like those by John Buscema. Because of those outpost creators we are all now able to enjoy the words and pictures of those that would’ve been rejected decades ago in a mainstream book. Editors and publishers will now not only give them a second look, but will hire them without any bias.

Aquaman Before…

Aquaman Before…


** Aquaman, of DC Comics/Entertainment, once the springboard of superhero snickering is now not only accepted, but has the title of the number one movie in the world. I always knew this could happen, even in the 1960s. My next goal is to see the same happen for The Sub-Mariner at Marvel Comics/Entertainment. If I’ve figured out how to do it (And I Have.), then I challenge those with clout and power within Marvel to do it.

Art By Scot Eaton

Art By Scot Eaton


** I really miss not seeing artists Billy Tucci, Scot Eaton, and Ron Frenz not doing regular, monthly superhero comic books. These three guys are producing the best art of their lives right now, they are deadline machines, and also textbook example of professionalism. I’m quite sure I’m not the only one that feels this way.

Parts Unknown Art By Brad Gorby.

Parts Unknown Art By Brad Gorby.


** Speaking of artists, I have worked with five, seriously BRILLANT artists in my career that the bulk of the pop culture world only knows the tip of their iceberg of talent. Those artists are Flint Henry, Brad Gorby, Gary Kwapisz, Tim Harkins, and Mitch Byrd. I worked with Flint Henry on Beau LaDuke and The Dogs Of Danger and Guy Gardner Warrior. I worked with Brad Gorby on Parts Unknown, Guy Gardner Warrior, and Spawn. I worked with Gary Kwapisz on B’Wana Beast and Lost And Found, I worked with Tim Harkins on Beau LaDuke’s Tips For Real Men and Boof And The Bruise Crew. I worked with Mitch Byrd on Guy Gardner Warrior and Primate: The Sword Of Darwin. When I say Brilliant, yes, I’m speaking of their art, pencils, inks, painting, toy design, animation…but even more, I’m talking about their storytelling, and their limitless sense of creativity on all levels. Something else that each of these five artists share is their unique personalities. They are gifted beyond words with the way their creative minds see things. You learn every time you are with them, see their work, or listen to their opinions on art and life. Most folks like me are privileged if they can say they have known or worked with one person with their traits, but I have been honored to have worked with five. These guys are their own planets with their own orbital paths.

COBB Art by Eduardo Barreto

COBB Art by Eduardo Barreto


** Speaking of artists part two. Not a week goes by without me thinking of two other artists that I have been so fortunate to have worked with and more importantly, been close friends with, Eduardo Barreto and Enrique Villagran. Both my brothers from different mothers in South America. Both have passed away, but will be forgotten. I worked with Eduardo on my creator owned series COBB and Wonder Woman Vs. Xena: The Princess War Diaries, as well as other projects we had developed such as 200 People To Kill, Jefferson Buck-Man Hunter, and Cowboy Warrior King. Eduardo could finish the stories in my head with his pencils and pens like we had telepathy. Enrique was an incredible professional that shared with me the ins and outs of creating a solid story with all the realistic flair that oxygen gives the human body.

Wynonna Earp: The Yeti Wars. Art by Enrique Villagran.

Wynonna Earp: The Yeti Wars. Art by Enrique Villagran.


Enrique and I worked on Wynonna Earp: The Yeti Wars, Beau LaDuke, Probert-The Bad One (my first DC Comics work) and 200 People To Kill. Enrique, like Eduardo, came from a family of talented and creative people. I miss my brothers from south of the border.

Guy Gardner Warrior Issue #30 vs. Superman

Guy Gardner Warrior Issue #30 vs. Superman


** I will never forget one very late night when I was the regular series writer on Guy Gardner Warrior for DC Comics. I was right in the middle of writing the script for Guy Gardner Warrior issue #30, the issue where Guy and Superman go toe to toe. This was to establish to the readers just how powerful Guy’s new Warrior powers were. There I was, halfway through the story when it hit me…..”I’m putting words into Superman’s mouth.” In that moment I was overcome by just what I was doing not only as a writer, but as a lifetime comic book reader, and a human on this planet. I had been trusted to, for a short time, represent one of the most well known fictional icons on the planet. This was massive. Without sounding corny, I truly felt honored, and still do today. Yeah, other guys, friends of mine, have written tons of Superman comic books, and continue to. I hope they feel the same as I do. I just know in that one quiet late night moment, for just those few hours, I was Superman. I have never taken moments like this for granted in my career. I have been so lucky to have written iconic characters like Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, and even dwelled in the Star Wars universe for a bit. All honors, all a privilege. I will always thank those editors and publishers that trusted me to be the caretakers for those characters. Dreams do come true, and if you’re lucky like me, those dreams continue even after you wake up.

Guy Gardner Warrior Annual #1 Art By Joyce Chin

Guy Gardner Warrior Annual #1 Art By Joyce Chin


** Speaking of Guy Gardner Warrior, during my run on the book (Issues #20 through #44 and two annuals), I got to work with the amazing Joyce Chin, when female artists were not as plentiful as they are today (Still not enough). Joyce always knocked it out of the park with not only her detailed art, but her real superpower was she always “got” the attitude of the characters and made that as important as the art. During my run I also remember when we were looking for new artists requesting Amanda Connor, who was working on Gargoyles at Marvel. I didn’t personally know Amanda at that point in my career or hers, I just knew her art had that look and most importantly , that attitude needed to make the character like Joyce did. Nicola Scott was another artist that I requested. If memory serves me correct, she was just starting out then, I think it was samples of her work that I had seen in a possible fanzine, or sent to me from someone in Australia….I’d have to check my old files. I could see such a huge talent there, and at that point in the Guy Gardner storyline, I had DC Editorial close to letting me have Guy and Wonder Woman get married…for the storyline’s sake, for a few issues. I thought Nicola would’ve been so perfect. The samples I had seen were of Wonder Woman. I’ve always cared a lot for the Wonder Woman character since I was a kid. I always felt that she and Aquaman were never given the proper respect that they deserved. I wanted to correct that in this storyline. I got close to making it happen. At that time at DC Comics, there was a LOT of creative freedom with books. I was rarely if ever denied any storylines or plot twist during my run on the book. All you’ve gotta do is check the issues and you can tell….I was running amok. Before I close this random thought, I just wanna add that I had also put one of my favorite artists of all time, Ramona Fradon, on my editorial request list for Guy Gardner Warrior. I loved her work on Metamorpho and knew, with Guy’s new Warrior powers and look, she would’ve been a match made in comic book heaven for one of the Annuals. I’m sorry to say it never happened, but I can still see what Guy would look like in her pencils.

Wolverine vs. Shi Art by Billy Tucci Words by Beau Smith

Wolverine vs. Shi Art by Billy Tucci Words by Beau Smith


** I’ve written for just about every major and minor publisher in the last 32 years. Far beyond what I deserve…yet they only publisher that I have not worked for is the one that got me into comic books as a six year old kid….Marvel Comics. You might be able to say I have if you count the issue of Woverine Vs. Shi that I did with Billy Tucci, but technically it was published by Billy’s Crusade Fine Arts. I get asked a lot why I have written anything at Marvel. To be honest, I’ve never really had an editorial relationship with anyone at Marvel. My contacts, relationships and friendships have always seemed to be with my fellow creators, and on the business side. So that’s the answer I can best muster. So yeah, I would love to write for Marvel. Not for the stat sheet or to fill in the last blank spot, but because I will always owe Marvel Comics thanks for bringing me into comic books for the long haul. I’ve lunched with Stan Lee, hung out with Jack Kirby and was proud to call Don Heck a close and personal friend. So, yeah….I’d love to have my comic book circle fully connected. If you know me, then you know….nothing can stop me.

Guy Gardner Warrior. Art by Flint Henry

Guy Gardner Warrior. Art by Flint Henry


Thank you for letting me use this space to share some of the random thoughts that Pop Cultured into my brain.

Always thinking,

Beau Smith

The Flying Fist Ranch

@BeauSmithRanch at Instagram and Twitter

 

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  1. Chuck Says:

    Great essay as always, Beau! One minor correction – those artists “will not be forgotten.”