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Comic Basics Interviews Altemus & Byrd

COMIC BASICS

This week we sit down and talk to the awesome people responsible for Argent Starr. If you like comics, and we’re sure you do, you’ll want to take a peek at what Altemus and Lyn T. Byrd are up to.

What was your reason for getting into comics? That is, how did you end up involved in comics?

Altemus; Always wanted to be a comic book artist from the time I was a small child, drew every day of my life from age four, started selling drawing to other kids on the school bus when I was in kindergarten. But I was eventually dissuaded from that path when I went to Philadelphia College of Art in the 70s, and they convinced me that comics was not a “viable career path.”

Byrd; Most of my life has been spent involved in all kinds of art from fine illustration, sculpture, graphic design, digital art, as well as music composition and performance. At some point in the nuttiness I fell in love with comics so hard, that when Altemus, one of my favorite artists, suggested we team up on one, I said ‘Si!’

Who would you say is your comic book inspiration as an artist?

Altemus; Originally it was Wally Wood, I was in awe of his spectacular drawings when I was growing up. A lot of other artists and storytellers would inspire me as well; in books, it was Joe Kubert, John and Marie Severin, Carmine Infantino, Will Eisner, Steve Ditko. There’s also a lot I loved and learned from the strip guys — Hal Foster, Milton Caniff, Frank King, Al Capp, Walt Kelly, Alex Raymond. Many newer artists still amaze and inspire me like the Hernandez brothers or Frank Miller. I also think, that looking at my work, one would say that there’s a lot of Anime influence there too.

Byrd; As a little kid it was Tintin’s Hergé. Later, Moebius, Will Eisner, and Frank Frazetta, whose class I used to sneak into at the School of Visual Arts where I was NOT officially a student. I adore historical work like Winsor McCay’s Little Nemo but also current artists like Eduardo Risso, Mike Allred, Mike Mignola, and Miller’s Sin City artwork. I also love Alex Ross and Marko Djurdjević, but, like Frazetta, I view them primarily as traditional illustrators rather than comic book artists. I’ve left out so, so many, Jerome Opeña, Darwyn Cooke, Arthur Adams…
FULL COMIC BASICE INTERVIEW/

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Rich Reviews: Argent Starr: Tales from the Archives Volume 1 # 5

FIRST COMICS

Argent is in a high stakes poker game playing against a most unusual group. They are not playing for money but prizes worth so much more. The finish to this game is not done to bring out the excitement of winning. It just ends.

There is excitement is a high-speed car chase. Lots is happening during it. There are some nice excited facial expressions.

The chase in the sky is exciting as well. Plus the use of alien tech adds to it. The scenery and tech illustrated here will remind you of Blade Runner. Here though it is Argent after an item that is the driving force of the story.

—Richard Vasseur

FULL FIRST COMICS REVIEW

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“…Well aliens do need to have fun too.”

JAZMA ONLINE

“In Cyg City we are treated to a wonderfully futuristically drawn outer space scene. The view from the penthouse spectacular. The variety of aliens shown does indicate a good imagination. There are many different species.

Mrs. Thorne though does look cute with her knives and the flying car is stylish. The backgrounds are all wonderfully done and set the mood for the comic. The star of the comic really did need to be in it more. He comes across as a good character only we need to see him to know that more. The people are illustrated so they fit in with the dark setting in this futuristic adventure.

This story is about aliens on Earth. It is also about the danger this Cardinal Stone can put the Earth in.

In the Sci Files about the hi-tech gadgets we finally learn the bodyguard’s name, Mrs. Thorne. Her suit is a arsenal.”

—Richard Vasseur

JAZMA ONLINE REVIEW

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“What a wild ride this series is…really drew me in…”

GEEKS OF DOOM

“…There is a lot of information in these two comics, creating a very fast paced, albeit confusing, story. No, let me rephrase that. The first issue confused me but the second one brought it all into focus. …I was hesitant recommending this series at first but the second issue alleviated my concerns and really drew me in…I’d say give it a try if you want something different.”

—Gary Makries

GEEKS OF DOOM REVIEW

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“…fun to read…wonderful style and…use of colors…”

JAZMA ONLINE

“The recap was needed to explain what was going on before. It is well written and does catch you up nicely. Argent Starr and his sexy cute bodyguard have a nice little play about with words. Its fun to read. Argent Starr and his bodyguard have some cool futuristic skateboards. The hi-tech is something to see as it is illustrated in a wonderful style and the use of colors just accentuates the hi-tech. The robots add a nice touch to the scenery.

as_ch_02_C1_web_lg-150x228“The Cardinal Stone is what Argent Starr wants and the alien Code do as well. It is a massively destructive object though and a Mossad-trained, highly decorated, US counter-intelligence super-spy has it. He is very nicely illustrated as he drives along.

This story is about aliens on Earth. It is also about the danger this Cardinal Stone can put the Earth in.

In the Sci Files about the hi-tech gadgets we finally learn the bodyguard’s name, Mrs. Thorne. Her suit is a arsenal.”

—Richard Vasseur

JAZMA ONLINE REVIEW

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“…tongue firmly planted in it’s cheek…”

HORROR TALK

“…All of those things mixed together in one funny book sound like something I really want to check out…There’s been a lot of stuffy sci-fi comics as of late so it’s refreshing to see one that looks like it’ll have its tongue firmly planted in its cheek…on the surface this looks like a smarter version of Archer mixed with Men in Black.”

— James Ferguson

HORRORTALK REVIEW

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” I enjoyed it and would definitely be game for future issues”

COMIC BASTARDS

“I couldn’t really describe Argent Starr in any real detail. Its fluff, a bit overstuffed with too many characters and plotlines that I couldn’t quite follow the action or motivations of the cast. The book is pretty pleased with its own coolness, even including a glossary of over a dozen alien slang words for you to consult if you want to decode some of the comic’s dialogue.

And you know what? I kind of dug it.

…I’ll have to read this one again I think. Not because it’s particularly smart or in any way profound, but just because it’s such a neat mess of weirdness smashing together that I want to try and understand. The writing is actually kind of charming, comfortably artificial to fit our cast of weirdos. I’d kind of compare it to The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension, where you aren’t convinced that any of it is really going to make sense, but your kind of hooked anyway. Not to oversell it, I just have a weakness for that kind of thing when it’s done properly.

…It’s a weird messy book. Some of you would probably hate me for recommending it, but I enjoyed it and would definitely be game for future issues. Is it going anywhere? In this kind of book, does it matter? I don’t know, but I’ll show up to find out.

—Jeff Butler

COMIC BASTARD REVIEW

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“There’s definitely a lot going on…something intriguing…”

OMNICOMIC

“So let me get this straight, 57’s the new 51 and a guy named BoB’s got your stones.”

Whenever aliens finally decide to make their way down to Earth, there’s going to be all manner of insanity and general zaniness going on. Having someone on the planet to help handle that zaniness is always a good thing and Argent Starr is that man…

There’s a lot going on the first two issues of Argent Starr; so much so that the first issue feels very overwhelming. The second issue really evens things out a bit and provides some context…

Altemus’ art is pretty solid overall. Every panel handles the action it’s tasked with well, providing a good look at that moment in the story…Altemus does get creative with some of the non-human characters, helping to present a rather diverse universe converging on point that brings them all together. The illustrations and coloring work for the book and effectively get the reader engaged in what’s happening…

—Jonathan Pilley

OMNICOMIC REVIEW