CMXtraneous: Using the Web

Right on the edge of useful

Why I love Google & Alta Vista...

Posted Thursday, February 03, 2005 4:42:16 PM by Chris Flick

Chris Flick

Okay... so there I am this morning opening my FREE CommunityMX newsletter as it pops up in my e-mail client of choice (Entourage) when I scroll down to the part about "Our Spidey Senses Are Tingling". Of course, being a big comic book nut since high school, this immediately catches my attention. Then, I click on the link and one thought races through my mind:

"HOW THE HECK DID THIS SLIP UNDER MY COMIC BOOK RESOURCE RADAR????!!!"

You see, I'm a member of various list groups or forums devoted to comic books and/or comic book art. I also have a subscription to Wizard magazine which keeps me up to date on just about anything happening in the comic book field. Yet, this one got by me completely.

Now, some of you may be asking how Marvel and Corbis teaming up can help you and, honestly, I can't say. Your individual projects will determine that. And really, I'm interested in seeing how this progresses because "back in the day", any advertisements using Marvel characters usually only appeared in Marvel comics themselves. For those of you who are old enough, you might remember the old Hostess ads in the back of your favorite Avengers or Captain America comic book you read as a kid. Those usually were done by "bullpen artists" that were on staff at Marvel. These "bullpen artists" generally weren't published artists themselves or they might have been responsible for doing tasks regular artists didn't have time to do - such as draw backgrounds and such. Occasionally though, a "name" artist - such as Neal Adams - would do an ad but that was rare.

So how this partnership between Corbis and Marvel - and how it affects the commercial advertising industry - will be interesting to watch. For me though, I have a much more personal interest in this particular team-up. As a traditional-based illustrator and cartoonist, I have yet another valuable source of reference material I can draw from. Something I can add to my "morgue".

The difference between a county morgue and an artist's morgue..
or why I love Google so much...

When I teach my cartooning classes, I always explain that "in the old days", a lot of illustrators had what they referred to as a "morgue". Basically, this morgue was nothing more then a file cabinet with tons of reference material. It would consists of newspaper clippings, magazine pages, or maybe even photos taken by the artist himself. And, depending on how organized that particular artist was, he (or she) might have folders totally devoted to nothing but "eyes" or "feet" or "hands". You get the idea.

But these days, thanks to search engines like Alta Vista and Google, artist's morgues are quickly becoming a thing of the past. At least my own personal morgue hasn't been used in years. These days, if I have a need to draw - say, a masked wrestler... perhaps even a Canadian masked wrestler with moose antlers on his mask that goes by the name of "The Nuclear Moose" - I can just go to Alta Vista or Google, click on the "image" link and type in "masked wrestlers" and I can get a variety of photos of masked wrestlers taken over the years. I can then use these photos as a source of inspiration when designing and illustrating my Nuclear Moose.

So how does this whole Corbis / Marvel thing come into play?

Well, as I mentioned before, it gives me another source of reference to draw off of. I can't tell you how many times I've been asked to draw someone in a Captain America, Dr. Doom or Iron Man outfit. Now, I could easily pull out my big box of comics and slowly go through them until I found what I was looking for but who has time for that? Now, all I have to do is go to Corbis and search the Marvel archives until I find the character I need and see what his (or her) costume is supposed to look like.

Isn't the internet great?

Category tags: CMX Suite, Community MX, On the Personal Side, This and That, Using the Web