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Old 12-29-2003, 10:59 AM   #1
MattBrady
 
SCALING OLYMPUS WITH BUTCH GUICE

Another CrossGen-fugee has recently resurfaced about as far away from Tampa and the world of sigils as one can go. Butch Guice is teaming with Geoff Johns and Kris Grimminger on the two-book Olympus for Humanoids. We tracked Guice down for a bit more and some sneak peeks.

But first – a tease of the story…basically, hell breaks loose when a team of archeology students and a band of mercenaries are trapped together on Mount Olympus, and they both learn that there was more than a grain of truth in the legends.

“Geoff has been one of Humanoids’ biggest supporters from the very beginning of our US publishing program and we were always waiting for a gap in his schedule so that he could do a book for Humanoids,” editor Paul Benjamin told Newsarama. “As Geoff contemplated a 3-year exclusive contract with DC, we realized that we couldn’t wait any longer. He pitched us this fantastic story with Kris Grimminger, with whom he had just finished the first few issues of The Possessed. It featured every great monster from Greek mythology, from Medusa to the Stymphalian Birds. I am a huge fan of Greek Mythology and their story and character ideas were great, so Geoff and Kris hit the ground running immediately.

“They finished the scripts for both books with about a week to spare before Geoff’s DC deal kicked in. After that, the search was on throughout the world for a great artist who would appeal to both an American and a European audience. Butch was always on our mind for the book, but he was busy drawing Ruse for Crossgen. We began talking to Butch once he became available and Olympus was a perfect fit.”

For Guice, turning to Humanoids after a run at CrossGen (Guice left CrossGen just prior to the layoffs and release from exclusivity status for the staff who remained) allowed him to work with a publisher that, had circumstances been different, he would’ve hooked up with some time back.

“I've been interested in working with Paul Benjamin and Humanoids for several years now,” Guice told Newsarama. “Humanoids' approach to their material, both in quality and design of product as well as the extensive worldwide market they've cultivated with a variety of genres, held enormous interest for me. After my resignation from the CrossGen staff, I contacted Paul and we started talking about possibilities. Once I read the two scripts for Olympus, I knew it was exactly the type of thing I would enjoy drawing. Having it be written by Geoff and Kris was a very pleasurable bonus.”

And while this is Guice’s first non-CrossGen work since he left the company, the artist explained that with Humanoids, neither he nor the publisher were looking to pump something out as quickly as possible, just to keep his name, or word of the project out there.

“One of the things I appreciate about Humanoids is a willingness on their part to take the time to get it ‘right’ rather than ‘yesterday,’” Guice said. “We had design work to conceive, the project to determine, the usual contracts to sign, discussions to be had, etc.; none of which is necessarily of any interest to the outside world.”

But once he was on board, the script pulled him in to Johns and Grimminger’s world where myths are real. “I was very excited by the graphic demands expected within the story,” Guice said. “It's loaded with fast paced action, a time-lost and dangerous landscape, mythic - and in some cases, horrific - creatures, and some very strong emotional human drama. Geoff and Kris delivered on every page turn. By the time I was into the second book's script, I was turning pages of plot as fast as I could skim read.”

Like many children of the sixties, Guice grew up on the films of Ray Harryhausen, the legendary stop-motion animator and filmmaker, and, as the illustrations show, the influence played a role in his design work for the project.

“I took my exposure to the myths and the Ray Harryhausen films as a starting point, looked around online for other treatments of the myths done before, and then sat down and took the approach of trying to visualize these creatures as living, breathing nightmares,” Guice said. “I added old battle scars, bits of armor or clothing, tribal style markings, weird skin textures, etc.; really, whatever seemed ‘right.’ Early on in one of our discussions, Paul happened to ask me, ‘What is the skin texture of a cyclops? Is it like an elephant's hide?’ That type of imagining took hold and dominated my approach to the design work. Is the hair of a Minotaur coarse and thick, or softer and flowing? How does a Cyclops hold its head for best viewing out of its' single eye? That sort of stuff. One question would lead to another…and another…and another.

“My goal was to bring these mythic creatures as much into the real world we were depicting for the students and mercenaries as I possibly could. In the end, everything seems to work. These creatures are definitely not housebroken, but still very believable in a reality sense.”

For readers who will be keeping score of the creatures that show up in the story, take the Greek section of Bullfinch, and expect to everyone. “I’m pretty sure we’ve got all of them by the end of the second book...in some cases, multitudes of all of them...and they all apparently got up on the wrong side of the bed, in our story,” Guice said. “There are some pretty extensive battle scenes filled with hordes of cyclops, centaurs, and all manner of nasty things in the back half of the tale. It should be pretty crazed by that point, but I can't wait. How often does an artist get to cut loose on this type of subject matter, especially in comics these days?”

Guice has nothing but good words to add about the publisher as well. “Humanoids has been terrific...really, far better than just terrific,” the artist said. “Everyone I've encountered so far has made this an extremely enjoyable assignment, in every aspect, and I would enjoy continuing my association with the company for many years to come. Hopefully this is only the beginning of the adventure...”

And currently, Guice is still hip deep in the project, loving every minute of it. “My contribution to the first book - of two - wraps in March. We're then scheduled to start work on volume two almost immediately, so I've still got months of Greek myths and bikini clad damsels to play with on a daily basis. Life can "tough" like that sometimes...”
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Old 12-29-2003, 11:09 AM   #2
John Osen
 
I'm buyin this! Thanks, MattB!

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Old 12-29-2003, 11:11 AM   #3
stlfan79
 
Looks like Ill be buying my first Humanoids book.,
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Old 12-29-2003, 11:20 AM   #4
Scotty Ton
 
Awesome art from an awesome artist.

That Minotaur is a sight to behold. Good to see you back doing what you do best, my friend!

Scot Eaton
Another Crossgen-Xer
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Old 12-29-2003, 11:23 AM   #5
MattBrady
 
Quote:
Originally posted by stlfan79
Looks like Ill be buying my first Humanoids book.,
first? Tsk, tsk....

Can anyone out there help this lost soul out?

MattB
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Old 12-29-2003, 11:26 AM   #6
CountD
 
Not I.

But I may check this out.
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Old 12-29-2003, 11:59 AM   #7
JK Parkin
 
Quote:
Originally posted by MattBrady
first? Tsk, tsk....

Can anyone out there help this lost soul out?

MattB


Sure ... go here:

http://www.humanoids-publishing.com/home.php

and check out many of their fine selections ... I recommend Metabarons and Negative Exposure.
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Old 12-29-2003, 12:02 PM   #8
Fazhoul
 
Well, the art looks great and it's co-written by Geoff Johns. What's not to like? When is this due to come out?
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Old 12-29-2003, 12:13 PM   #9
kossori
 
The first pic link isn't working.
Looks pretty good, though.
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Old 12-29-2003, 12:19 PM   #10
andy smith
 
Sweet looking work as usual from Butch. I'm looking forward to this project, it's right up his alley!
Congrat's Butch.
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Old 12-29-2003, 12:47 PM   #11
rsanta74
 
Looks pretty cool. Always loved his artwork.

Just a total OT, but anybody else wonder why he switched back to Butch professionally? Always kinda thought that Jackson had a better ring to it.

Oh well.
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Old 12-29-2003, 01:43 PM   #12
beta-ray
 
Cool... Ah that darned exclusivity contract business again. Hehehe... Well, glad they could sneak it in before Johns went exclusive. It looks like an interesting book. I haven't bought much from Humanoids, but have been impressed with the quality (especially the art). Guice's work looks looser than I have seen it in the past, but still looks good. Wonder if he consulted the book of beasts? I _love_ Harryhausen, but if you can start over, look at things closer to the source!

Now if we could look at other pantheons too (besides the overdone Egyptian)...
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Old 12-29-2003, 01:54 PM   #13
dr.no
 
Olympus would be great as a movie. I'm going to try this.

Last edited by dr.no : 12-29-2003 at 02:42 PM.
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Old 12-29-2003, 02:10 PM   #14
Drew Geraci
 
Holy Cats!

Wow, Butch! Looks like you're having the time of your life on this project! Amazing stuff, can't wait to pick up a copy (might even pay for it!) Seriously, congrats!


Another Crossgen refugee,
yer pal Drew

www.drewgeraci.com.
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Old 12-29-2003, 02:14 PM   #15
Rawle Austin
 
As a fellow admirer of the Greek myths I am so looking forward to this! Butch's artwork looks fantastic and this will be a great introduction to comic books for the elusive mainstream reader.

Growler
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Old 12-29-2003, 02:27 PM   #16
Warewolf
 
Sweet, sweet candy....
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Old 12-29-2003, 02:47 PM   #17
Redmond
 
Just wanted to say I am a huge Guice fan since way back on Dr Strange. His women look aces.
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Old 12-29-2003, 03:30 PM   #19
OcCaM
 
Wow! Too bad nobody likes anything but cartoony artwork. J/K!

This looks great!

I'm only unsure about Johns, he's so hit or miss with me. I either love or hate his work. For example, I love his stuff on Flash, period! His JSA work about 60-70% of it! John's Avengers work is quite horrible IMO, except those two issues that Gary Frank drew, oh and the Falcon spotlight issue was okay I guess! Finally, there are some real turkeys out there like Hawkman, The Possessed and his short work in the Metal Hurlant #2.

Hmmm, still even if this is bad Johns and not good Johns I'd buy this for the artwork alone! Unless of course it's an overpriced $15 or 48 page HardCover that Humanoids likes to release so much! I'm still at the mindset that 22 pages of comics isn't worth more than $3 , maybe $4 if it's a rare exceptional thing!

It's just amazing how beautiful artwork can look when an artist has the time to do it right, really makes me wish monthlies would go away and nice projects like this would just happen. There's no real need to read monthlies anymore, anyway IMO!
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Old 12-29-2003, 04:12 PM   #20
OM
 
Quote:
Originally posted by Redmond
Just wanted to say I am a huge Guice fan since way back on Dr Strange. His women look aces.
...I got hooked on his work when he was still going by Jackson Guice and had taken over the art chores on Micronauts. The guy deserves all the work he can handle!
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Old 12-29-2003, 04:44 PM   #21
Fazhoul
 
Quote:
Originally posted by OM
...I got hooked on his work when he was still going by Jackson Guice and had taken over the art chores on Micronauts. The guy deserves all the work he can handle!


Same here. I remember him being the best artist on it after Michael Golden left. I also remember a sketch I saw in some comic somewhere. It might have been the X-Men/Micronauts mini-series that Guice drew. It was a pin-up of Kitty Pryde with the note underneath it "Chris, Do I get the job on X-Men after leaves?" or something like that. I would have loved to see him on the X-Men.
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Old 12-29-2003, 05:49 PM   #22
OM
 
Talking

Quote:
Originally posted by Fazhoul
Same here. I remember him being the best artist on it after Michael Golden left. I also remember a sketch I saw in some comic somewhere. It might have been the X-Men/Micronauts mini-series that Guice drew. It was a pin-up of Kitty Pryde with the note underneath it "Chris, Do I get the job on X-Men after leaves?" or something like that. I would have loved to see him on the X-Men.
...I remember that one, and would have loved to have seen him get it rather than those who followed Cockrum, Byrne and Smith. That mini proved he had what it took to do the X-Men justice, and even today he's still got it.

Then again, anyone who can draw noses that don't look like ____ing arrowheads can probably qualify...
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Old 12-29-2003, 06:50 PM   #23
Mauricet
 
Looks amazingly beautiful

Way to go, Butch!

Momo
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Old 12-29-2003, 08:05 PM   #24
Slappy san
 
Price?
Release Date?
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Old 12-29-2003, 10:00 PM   #25
Lackey No. 2
 
Man, I'm such a sucker for Greek mythology.

And Butch Guice art.

And Geoff Johns writing.

...

Oh dear.

Last edited by Lackey No. 2 : 12-29-2003 at 10:02 PM.
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