Eduardo Barreto: When A Friend Is FamilyA column article, Busted Knuckles by: Beau Smith
Not every truly talented comic book artist grabs headlines in the comic book news circle. It usually runs in five year cycles of "Current Hot Artists". Sometimes they are great, other times they're middle of the road talent, but well versed in glad-handing, self-promotion and being buddies with editors. (I have been guilty of that many a time and freely admit it.)
Today I want to bring up one of the unsung artists that can go toe to toe and in most cases one step better than any of the current hot artists.
His name is Eduardo Barreto.
Eduardo has been drawing comic books for well over twenty years. He has worked for every major and minor comic book publisher that has come down the pike and to the top. His work in comics is staggering: The New Teen Titans, Atari Force, Martian Manhunter, Superman and Batman: Speeding Bullets as well as being the artist on the famous newspaper strip Judge Parker since 2006. That is just a very small sampling.
I've had the honor of working with Eduardo on COBB: Off The Leash (IDW Publishing) and Captain Action (Moonstone Books) as well as a western trilogy pitch that we currently have in the works, Jefferson Buck-Man Trapper, 200 People To Kill and Cowboy Warrior King. Eduardo has been one of my best friends for over 20 years. You will not find a finer, more hard-working person.
Recently Eduardo has come down with Meningitis and is doing his best to fight it and follow doctor's orders. This has caused Eduardo to have to step away from the drawing board that he loves so much as well as his duties on Judge Parker.
As most of you know, Meningitis is not a easy thing to overcome. Please know that Eduardo is doing his best to beat it like a bad habit. In our recent communications, Eduardo as always, was more concerned with how others were doing rather than talking about what he is going through. He is and always has been not only a true professional, but a full time gentleman as well.
Eduardo and I clicked as buddies the first time we met at San Diego ComicCon many years ago. Eduardo, Chuck Dixon and Graham Nolan and I were at a Dark Horse Comics party commanding the rooftop affair and giving the stink eyes to all that thought they were gonna talk "Angst Comics." As Eduardo and I talked about our childhoods and interests, it was like we were brothers from different mothers. Being both the same age, we found that not only were our interests the same, but so were some life experiences. When we work together it's like our brains are in the same skull. We see things on the same creative wave length and as a writer I am able to see not only what's in my head come to life through Eduardo's drawings, but I also get his added layer of creativity on top of that and what a layer that is.
A couple of years ago we did my creator owned crime series COBB: Off The Leash at IDW Publishing. IDW CEO, Ted Adams had told me that they were really looking for something in the crime genre and that he wanted it to read like a novel and a screenplay within the platform of a comic book. I knew of only one man that could do the art for the job. That man was Eduardo Barreto. Eduardo penciled and inked it all three issues in the series. To this day when I look at the collected edition I am slack jawed at how Eduardo made the series literally a "movie-put-to-print." Through emails while we were working on the books, we were able to lay creative brick upon brick as we built the story from its foundation. Each time Eduardo's pencils would come it I would be motivated to be all I could be as a writer to match his amazing art. (Impossible on my end) I can never repay him for that.
Recently we did a Classic Captain Action story for the fine folks at Moonstone. I wrote the story with Eduardo's art in mind and he showed the world (Well, the folks that bought the issue) that he should really be one of the most sought after super hero artists out there. Too often, writers and artists get passed over by editors because "Oh, yeah…we've worked with you before and you were ahead of schedule, but we're looking for someone new, who "might" turn the work in on time." It's very sad, but oh so true, my friends.
Eduardo is from the professional school of artists that uses reference, wants to know the back story of the character and also strives to hand the very best work in early.
Look at his body of work and you will see his range. From the science fiction future of Atari Force, super heroes of Teen Titans and Batman to two-fisted tough guys and beautiful babes of Cobb. Eduardo's art is like having the leading man, leading lady and cast of character actors all in one solid performance. He is a casting director's dream come true.
What I am asking you all to do this week is to put Eduardo in your thoughts and prayers. I'm asking you to seek out and celebrate his work, to treat your eyes to some of the finest comic book art that is out there. I know that it would not only thrill Eduardo to know that there were people out there looking at his art and being entertained, but I really feel it would aid him in good health as well.
Eduardo is admired by his peers and loved by his friends and family. I hope that with his column, you will discover his work and enjoy it too. If you already love his art, then spread that love to a stranger and let them be a part of Eduardo's comic book family as well.
It'll make his day.
Busted Knuckles Manly Cover of the Week: Cobb: Off The Leash #2
Art By Eduardo Barreto
I remember telling Eduardo that for the cover of issue #2 of Cobb that I wanted Cobb to be up against a giant-sized Russian thug, in a confined space (In this case an elevator) forcing him to "spill his guts, or get his brains spilled." I wanted Cobb to punctuate his request by jamming his .45 Colt auto into the eye socket of the thug. I also added that Cobb should look like the Hanna/Barbera character Jonny Quest if Jonny grew up to be a former Secret Service Agent and 40 years old.
Being a lifetime fan of Jonny Quest as I was, Eduardo chuckled and said he knew just what to do. Boy, did he ever!
The pencils came over my computer and for once in my life I had no words to spit out. This was what I wanted and so much more. Eduardo not only had his own amazing style but he seemed to channel Alex Toth, Doug Wildley, Don Heck, Joe Kubert and John Romita, Sr. as well. That's a hall of fame art club if ever there was one.
Of the hundreds of comics I've worked on, this is my all time favorite cover bar none. I hope you enjoy it too.
Busted Knuckles Babe of the Week: Charisma Carpenter
Yeah, you know her best from her TV work on Buffy The Vampire Slayer and Angel, but did you also know that she was once a cheerleader for the San Diego Chargers? Better news yet, she is starring in the upcoming testosterone fest The Expendables starring Stallone, Jet Li, Jason Statham, Dolph Lundgren, Gary Daniels, Steve Austin, Randy Couture, Mickey Rourke, Danny Trejo, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Bruce Willis and Terry Crews!
The reason Charisma was picked as this week's Busted Knuckles Babe of the Week is because she has always been like an Eduardo Barreto female drawing come to life. So it's only fitting that she get the honor this week. Take a good look; I think you'll agree with Eduardo and I.
The Round Up
Since this is my All Eduardo Barreto editon of Busted Knuckles, I wanted to leave you with a never before seen preview of Jefferson Buck: Man Trapper (Pardon title/Lettering typos) that Eduardo and I are working on in our Western Trilogy. Jefferson Buck is a legendary Mountain Man that is not only educated in the ways of the outdoor life, but a rare college educated man with a Harvard Law degree, pretty rare in the times of the old west. Buck is hired by the Hudson Bay Company to be their "field detective" and insure their people and goods are safe out west.
The company also wants Buck to stop (by any means) the criminal rampage of "Scary Bob", a ruthless psychopath Mountain Man that has put together what might be the first organized crime syndicate known in North America.
It's a slant on the early west and northwest that we don't think has ever been used before. Eduardo and I want to do westerns, but we want them to be special. We want to have everything that all westerns lovers enjoy, but we also want a different twist that will bring new eyes to the western genre. We think our three westerns fit the bill. We hope you enjoy this preview.