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Michael Moorcock's Multiverse

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  • Michael Moorcock's Multiverse

    I hope you gentlemen don't mind visiting the past for a bit, but I'd like to talk with you about MMM. Many of Michael's readers have had difficulty enjoying The Second Ether series started in BLOOD. Those books are my personal favorites and they are so different from the earlier Eternal Champion storytelling that a lot of readers just don't get into them. I think it is unfairly criticized too. As Michael has a way with telling the story of larger than life Walter has a way of showing the story of larger than life. A great panel in MMM has Pearl Peru encapsulated in a buckyball which fills nearly the entire page. I mean, Walter gets what Michael is thinking and Michael obviously stimulates Walter's work tremendously.

    How the hell do you guys pull it off? Do you discuss these things in person? Do you rely on phone conversations? Is email enough for a project like MMM and the current EMS project?
    The cat spread its wings and flew high into the air, hovering to keep pace with them as they moved cautiously toward the city. Then, as they climbed over the rubble of what had once been a gateway and began to make their way through piles of weed-grown masonry, the cat flew to the squat building with the yellow dome upon its roof. It flew twice around the dome and then came back to settle on Jhary's shoulder. - The King of the Swords

  • #2
    A great deal of personal brilliance from both of us, I think. Wouldn't you say so, Michael?



    And an awful lot of conversation. I think during the MMM project, we must have been chatting on the phone somewhere between 1 and 6 times a day. I know that I took away a great deal more understanding of what Michael was doing because of the chats, certainly more than I would have gotten if I had just been reading the script without amplification.

    But I also took in a lot of other stuff as well. At the climax of the story, where the polarities are reversed, there's a little framed shot somewhere of a face in that panel that's based on the Stormbringer demon Craig Russell drew in his adaptation of STORMBRINGER. (At least, I think that's where I got the inspiration from; it has been awhile!) And there's a reversed mirror image of the face on the opposite side of the page.

    There are also some big electric plugs toward the end of the job--three I think although I've forgotten exactly how many there were now. But I seem to remember one of them sitting amidst the buildings of Morocco at the end of the final issue, the result of an earlier action by one of the characters.

    We haven't been chatting as much (per day) during the EMS project, probably because I've been traveling a lot more myself off and on and partly because I have a lot of chats stored up! Also, the EMS series is a bit more linear than the MMM story, and since I'm the only artist this time around, I don't have to match course and speed with anyone else.

    But I will say that cramming all of Michael's visual ideas into a single page is a challenge, both in the MMM and in EMS.

    Best/Walter

    Comment


    • #3
      A great deal of personal brilliance from both of us, I think. Wouldn't you say so, Michael?



      And an awful lot of conversation. I think during the MMM project, we must have been chatting on the phone somewhere between 1 and 6 times a day. I know that I took away a great deal more understanding of what Michael was doing because of the chats, certainly more than I would have gotten if I had just been reading the script without amplification.

      But I also took in a lot of other stuff as well. At the climax of the story, where the polarities are reversed, there's a little framed shot somewhere of a face in that panel that's based on the Stormbringer demon Craig Russell drew in his adaptation of STORMBRINGER. (At least, I think that's where I got the inspiration from; it has been awhile!) And there's a reversed mirror image of the face on the opposite side of the page.

      There are also some big electric plugs toward the end of the job--three I think although I've forgotten exactly how many there were now. But I seem to remember one of them sitting amidst the buildings of Morocco at the end of the final issue, the result of an earlier action by one of the characters.

      We haven't been chatting as much (per day) during the EMS project, probably because I've been traveling a lot more myself off and on and partly because I have a lot of chats stored up! Also, the EMS series is a bit more linear than the MMM story, and since I'm the only artist this time around, I don't have to match course and speed with anyone else.

      But I will say that cramming all of Michael's visual ideas into a single page is a challenge, both in the MMM and in EMS.

      Best/Walter

      Comment


      • #4
        Sorry about the double post. I was being told by my computer the first time around that it couldn't open the page. Lying scum!

        Best/Walter

        Comment


        • #5
          Well, also I included the phrase REVERSE THE POLARITIES because Walter had been saying he'd always loved that phrase from old fantastic movies. And it suited me to run with the joke, since it also sorted the story. I particularly loved Walter's Terminal Cafe and pictures of trams.
          We used an awful lot of research material in that project. I think I told Walter that the 'oriental city' in an early copy of MMM is actually the back of the Whitehall buildings seen from St James's Park, London. Check it out, you Londoners!

          Pre-order or Buy my latest titles in Europe:
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          Doctor Who: The Coming of the Terraphiles - Kizuna: Fiction for Japan - Modem Times 2.0 - The Sunday Books - The Sundered Worlds


          Pre-order or Buy my latest titles in the USA:
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          Kizuna: Fiction for Japan - The Sundered Worlds - The Winds of Limbo - Modem Times 2.0 - Elric: Swords and Roses

          Comment


          • #6
            Prince Gaynor's armor

            I noticed the other day when re-reading MMM that the armor and particularly the face plate of Prince Gaynor seems to have been based on that designed by Barry (pre Winsor) Smith waaaaay back in the early 1970s Conan/Elric team up in Marvel's Conan the Barbarian. Was this Walt's idea? It's a nice touch.

            Comment


            • #7
              Well, I finally tracked down a copy of the g-novel, and just wanted to take this opportunity to lay some heavy praise on you both (assuming you're still reading this section!). It arrived this morning, and the weather was so terrible outside (I assume it's much nicer in Majorca, yes?) I just had to read the whole thing cover to cover.

              Without wishing to be mean to the other artists, since those who can't draw glass houses shouldn't throw stones, I would say that Mr S's work stands head and shoulders above the rest. I've never been one for picturing characters when I read a book, but as soon as I saw Rose walking the moonbeam roads in issue one, I knew that was exactly how she had always looked... everything about her "armour", and the stems wrapped around her, and the sword blade was just perfect. All of the characters looked exactly "right", as far as I'm concerned. In a way the joy of the Second Ether stories is in how fluid they are, and there is a danger in trying to set them down in concrete visual form that some of the fun might be lost, but I thought you both navigated those waters brilliantly, with enough of an abstract edge to keep things interesting, without losing the flow of the story. There were so many panels which I could happily fall down on my knees and worship, but I especially liked seeing the Straight Arrow ships in flight for the first time... there's something about their uniform pointiness that makes for fantastic eye-candy (even if they are up to no good).

              Of course the writing was excellent too, with enough jokes and action to keep my mind from bending entirely. Like Berry I am very fond of Jack and co., although I'm not so familiar with Rose's book or the later Elric novels. I felt I was missing something, and a shot of Rose apparently in the role of Una just raised more questions than I knew what to do with! But that, of course, is the beauty of the Multiverse, and I wouldn't want it any other way. :)

              Of course, it's impossible to really describe the flash in your brain that's caused by an inspiring idea, or a gorgeous bit of line-work, but this book certainly hit the spot.

              Thanks pards! :D
              "That which does not kill us, makes us stranger." - Trevor Goodchild

              Comment


              • #8
                noticed the other day when re-reading MMM that the armor and particularly the face plate of Prince Gaynor seems to have been based on that designed by Barry (pre Winsor) Smith waaaaay back in the early 1970s Conan/Elric team up in Marvel's Conan the Barbarian. Was this Walt's idea?
                I keep finding stuff I should have replied to earlier and somehow missed. Sigh.

                Just to answer this in the forum, yep, Gaynor helmet in the MULTIVERSE GN is based on Barry's design. I spoke to Barry about it before it did it.

                When the original CONAN comic book came out, I was delighted. I had read the first two Elric books that had been published in the States--STEALER OF SOULS and STORMBRINGER I believe--in their Lancer editions. Loved them. So I was really keyed when Roy wrote an Elric story into CONAN. I'd come to enjoy the CONAN comic a lot--both Roy's stories and Barry's visual storytelling. Consequently, when I got around to drawing Gaynor myself a zillion years later, I went back to look at that material. I've always liked that helmet that Barry drew so I used a variation with my own version. I think I added a rose design above the visor although I don't have a MULTIVERSE copy handy and can't check right now.

                I freeformed more with the armor because as I recall, I looked at Barry's design and it wasn't completely clear what it looked like from his drawings. A swirling cloak or maybe just the way the figure was cropped made it difficult to get a complete read on it somehow. So I just went my own way there.

                Michael's work has so many points of reference--or to put it another way--his universe is so fluid--that I enjoy including both 'historical' points of reference and inventing things myself when I'm drawing it. And I like changing things to match the fluidity as well. Seems terribly appropriate for an interpretation of his work somehow. Like using variant versions of Stormbringer in THE MAKING OF A SORCERER.

                ;-)

                Best/Walter

                Comment


                • #9
                  but I especially liked seeing the Straight Arrow ships in flight for the first time... there's something about their uniform pointiness that makes for fantastic eye-candy (even if they are up to no good).
                  Thanks. I loved those ships myself--especially the part when they all clang together and make a giant pie--sort of!

                  :lol:

                  Best/Walter

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Walter Simonson
                    At the climax of the story, where the polarities are reversed, there's a little framed shot somewhere of a face in that panel that's based on the Stormbringer demon Craig Russell drew in his adaptation of STORMBRINGER.
                    You can see the page Walt is referring to on page 273 of Michael Moorocck's Multiverse graphic novel. Little Rupoldo, at the center of the page has connected two plugs above his head and is saying in apparent understatement, "Wow! This is cool!" as he reverses the polarity of all existance.

                    The Craig Russell Stormbringer I think Walt is referring to is this one: [broken link]

                    Originally posted by Walter Simonson
                    There are also some big electric plugs toward the end of the job--three I think although I've forgotten exactly how many there were now. But I seem to remember one of them sitting amidst the buildings of Morocco at the end of the final issue, the result of an earlier action by one of the characters.
                    The giant plug is on page 285 in the last panel on the left hand side and is, now, very conspicuous.
                    Last edited by Rothgo; 04-24-2010, 05:41 AM.
                    The cat spread its wings and flew high into the air, hovering to keep pace with them as they moved cautiously toward the city. Then, as they climbed over the rubble of what had once been a gateway and began to make their way through piles of weed-grown masonry, the cat flew to the squat building with the yellow dome upon its roof. It flew twice around the dome and then came back to settle on Jhary's shoulder. - The King of the Swords

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Walter Simonson
                      noticed the other day when re-reading MMM that the armor and particularly the face plate of Prince Gaynor seems to have been based on that designed by Barry (pre Winsor) Smith waaaaay back in the early 1970s Conan/Elric team up in Marvel's Conan the Barbarian. Was this Walt's idea?
                      Just to answer this in the forum, yep, Gaynor helmet in the MULTIVERSE GN is based on Barry's design. I spoke to Barry about it before it did it.
                      The armour drawn in the Conan issue being referred to looks like this:
                      [link expired]

                      You can get a good look at Walt's Gaynor on page 239 of MMM gaphic novel. But until then, check this out:
                      [image moved]
                      The cat spread its wings and flew high into the air, hovering to keep pace with them as they moved cautiously toward the city. Then, as they climbed over the rubble of what had once been a gateway and began to make their way through piles of weed-grown masonry, the cat flew to the squat building with the yellow dome upon its roof. It flew twice around the dome and then came back to settle on Jhary's shoulder. - The King of the Swords

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Walter Simonson
                        but I especially liked seeing the Straight Arrow ships in flight for the first time... there's something about their uniform pointiness that makes for fantastic eye-candy (even if they are up to no good).
                        Thanks. I loved those ships myself--especially the part when they all clang together and make a giant pie--sort of!

                        :lol:

                        Best/Walter
                        The pie Walt refers to can be found on page 78. It's going to be difficult to explain why about half of those ships are pointing in the wrong direction, but I'll be content to suspend my disbelief until we get an explanation.

                        We see the first flights of those pointed arrow ships on pages 23 & 36.
                        The cat spread its wings and flew high into the air, hovering to keep pace with them as they moved cautiously toward the city. Then, as they climbed over the rubble of what had once been a gateway and began to make their way through piles of weed-grown masonry, the cat flew to the squat building with the yellow dome upon its roof. It flew twice around the dome and then came back to settle on Jhary's shoulder. - The King of the Swords

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          The pie Walt refers to can be found on page 78. It's going to be difficult to explain why about half of those ships are pointing in the wrong direction, but I'll be content to suspend my disbelief until we get an explanation.
                          Just think of it as a foreshadowing of the upcoming reversal of polarities at the end of the story.



                          Besides, the entire pie fits together much better if the ships are alternately facing one way or the other. And since the pie is actually being formed in 3 dimensions (instead of the 2 we see in the drawing), the ships are coming together from all over in different directions. Order being what it is, the pie developed as you see as the ships collided with each other.

                          I suppose they could have formed a sphere like a sort of mad Bucky ball but that would have been harder to put across in a drawing. And besides, I didn't think of it till now.

                          Best/Walter

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            lol
                            The cat spread its wings and flew high into the air, hovering to keep pace with them as they moved cautiously toward the city. Then, as they climbed over the rubble of what had once been a gateway and began to make their way through piles of weed-grown masonry, the cat flew to the squat building with the yellow dome upon its roof. It flew twice around the dome and then came back to settle on Jhary's shoulder. - The King of the Swords

                            Comment

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