size. 1875px x 1413px
by. Adam Reck
location. New Jersey
Welcome to Ice Cream Social, the summer's socially distant group art show, featuring creators and makers from all walks of life, coming together to share their love of the greatest treat known to man. Each week through Labor Day, come chill with new artists as they discuss a wide range of topics spanning their personal journeys, art, pop culture, and, of course, ice cream! Week Three's dessert includes chats with the silky smooth artist and podcaster, Adam Reck, and a terrific blend of horror and crochet from Chelsey Scully.
Even though it looks like an ice cream truck, there's no ice cream inside.
Thanks for being a part of the Ice Cream Social, Adam. You're a prolific illustrator, notably the one man show behind X-Men spoof and internet darling web comic, Bish & Jubes. Were comics your gateway into art, or vice versa?
Wow! Prolific? I mean, I try to draw when I can. Whether comics or drawing came first, I was 7, going on 8 when I got really into comics with Marvel’s Transformers. I was definitely drawing before that, but once I got into comics I knew I wanted to be better at drawing.
Sequential storytelling is no easy feat, and Bish & Jubes had an impressive run, so yes, I'd say that qualifies as prolific. How do you stay motivated from panel to panel, when the story doesn't require big, splashy moments to draw?
I tend to actually be terrified of big and splashy because it usually means drawing a bajillion characters in one spread. The big battle scene with Stryfe V and his XSE was actually supposed to have more characters in it, but I had to cut it down or I never would have finished. It’s much, much easier for me to do jokey pages where characters are just talking to each other, for sure.
That's a refreshing take in a world where it seems like some artists just can't wait for the next full page spread pose. You mentioned your affinity for the Transformers, and Grimlock also appears in Bish & Jubes. Was he your favorite robot in disguise? If not, who was?
As a kid I was all about Optimus [Prime] and Bumblebee, but now after drawing Grimlock so much, he’s definitely my fave. What a heroic dum dum.
Transformers is one of those IPs with so many iterations that it's hard to keep track of them all, but to my knowledge, they really dropped the ball by never creating an ice cream truck robot. Would such a Cybertronian be a heroic Autobot, or a conniving Decepticon?
My take would be a surveillance Decepticon. It’s there to keep an eye on Autobots, but loves making kids cry because even though it looks like an ice cream truck, there’s no ice cream inside.
This cracks me up. You've got to give this guy a name now.
Let's go with Bomb-Pop.
Terrific. Decidedly moving away from would-be world dominating robots, your illustration features another pop culture icon, the classic Mickey Mouse ice cream bar. Why this one?
Illustrating ice cream is a little tricky for me since I'm lactose intolerant. But I'm big on Disney, especially Disney parks, so I picked an icon I knew would bring back some good memories the second [people] saw it. I ate my fair share of these when I was a kid, too.
Let's talk about Disney. You mentions being a fan of the parks. What three lines are you cutting with your Fastpass?
I have not been to the parks in a while, so if I can pick three things to Fastpass right now it be the two new Star Wars rides and the flying Avatar ride in Animal Kingdom since I haven’t been able to do any of them yet!
(EDITOR'S NOTE: It's Summer 2020. Don't go to Disney World right now.)
I've only been a couple times myself. But I remember the unbridled joy of being a kid in the Magic Kingdom and seeing all the costumed characters. I was so excited to see Figment, a purple dragon that, honestly, I don't know where he's from. Did you have any favorites?
Favorite character or rides?
I meant character, but hit me with both!
For me, the be all and end all character-wise has to be Donald Duck. I always gravitated towards Donald's short animated cartoons as a kid (y'know back in Disney Channel's infancy when they did Mousterpiece Theatre). And even today, I just really identify with his whole deal: He has a temper, he loves his SO, the delight of his day which inevitably gets ruined somehow and turns him into a grump. I love him.
As for rides? My favorite will always be the Haunted Mansion. It has been since I was a kid, and continues to be to this day. I love the amount of detail in that ride, and it never fails to entertain.
Both excellent choices! Have you gotten a chance to take in the 2017 DuckTales reboot? There's a lot of terrific Donald moments throughout the first two seasons.
I just finished binging all three seasons of Hannibal, I'm still not finished with Clone Wars, and I just dove head into the third season of DARK, but DuckTales is 100% on my list! Everybody tells me how great it is!
It's an amazing series.
I didn't expect to touch on this, but do you ever wish we had to go back to our old viewing habits? Binging is great; you never miss anything, but in a way, you're also sometimes beholden to finishing one thing before you can justify moving onto the next.
The biggest benefit to binging is just the simple fact that I can have what I want immediately: the next episode. For a show like DARK, where its incredibly continuity heavy and I'm trying to keep track of what feels like twenty family trees, I think it's really helpful to have it all at once. But I still enjoy when things are paced out weekly. I wasn't super happy with the way [Season 3] of Westworld ended, but I loved every episode leading up to that finale, and the week in between gave me a chance to get excited about the next episode. It's a different feeling.
Instant gratification has its pros and cons. I feel this way about comic books especially. Gone are the days when you had to hunt for that one issue you missed. Now, we're never be more than a few bucks and coffee shop WiFi password away from filling in any holes in our collections, but we also lose that sense of satisfaction when that missing link is found. Do you ever feel that way?
I've actually been thinking about that a lot because, last year, I finally found the last issues I needed to complete my 80s Transformers run. I did it almost entirely by longbox digging. The feeling of finding the last issue was tremendously exciting. But since COVID-19, I've been ordering online. It's a real change, but still really cool when I can find something that's not always in stock, but turns up.
There is definitely something to be said for the thrill of the chase.
Back to your Ice Cream Social art, I remember a similar Mickey ice cream bar as a kid. It was a vanilla face with chocolate eyes and mouth, but only the ears were dipped in chocolate. You've got the whole thing covered, like a Disney-branded Klondike bar. (EDITOR'S NOTE: This version exists in the wild. CHeck your local grocer.) So in your perfect world, what flavor is hiding under the chocolatey shell?
There is this great ice cream place in Asbury Park called Cookman Creamery that sells the most amazing peanut butter chocolate crunch vegan ice cream. So that. Put that in there and pull the delivery truck up to my house, please.
I'm glad you're able to work around the lactose intolerance to enjoy the world's greatest dessert in some capacity. (Also, high five to Jersey, and shout out to Cookman Creamery.)
"Mickey Bar" is a classic ice cream truck hero shot. Can you describe your process in composing a piece like this?
I just wanted to make it look as appetizing as I could! Hopefully I succeeded.
I'm buying these on my next trip to the grocery store, so mission accomplished.
Before we wrap up, I've got to hit you with some rapid fire questions. As a Jersey guy, you may straddle the line on this debate: sprinkles or jimmies?
Gonna go with sprinkles.
Sherbet or sherbert?
It’s pronounced "sherbert" and spelled "sherbet".
Bold! That reminds me, I'd be remiss to not mention your other claim to fame as half of the popular Battle of the Atom podcast, where you and co-host Zack Jenkins read and rank X-Men comics. As an expert on the subject, which characters are most likely to down a pint of Ben & Jerry's in a single sitting? And the Blob doesn't count.
Oh geez. I feel like given her penchant for junk food, Jubilee definitely had a few pints stowed in the X-Mansion freezer. Now that everyone's on Krakoa, there's probably some kind of crazy tree that makes pickable Ben & Jerry's. I can see kid Cable being really into that.
Rainbow or chocolate?
Cup or cone?
Waffle cone, please.
Last question. You're making the ultimate sundae. What are you having?
Ideally, I'm having some kind of chocolate peanut butter vegan ice cream, then I'm loading it up with Reese's Pieces, Reese's cups chunks and chocolate fudge!
So much respect for your chocolate game. And again, thanks for adding a few more runs around my block, because these Mickey Mouse ice cream bars are calling my name.
More Than Meets the Eye
The Transformers began as two Japanese toy lines, Microman, and Diaclone. Rhode Island-based toy company Hasbro bought Diaclone and hired Marvel to give story, names and personalities to the characters in the line. Acclaimed scribe Denny O'Neil named the heroic leader of the Autobots, Optimus Prime.
The original Transformers comic book was set in the Marvel Universe (featuring guest appearances by popular heroes like Spider-Man) and ran for 80 issues from 1984-1991. Marvel UK, the company's overseas imprint, fleshed out the stories with new material that ran weekly, totaling 332 issues, mostly penned by Simon Furman, widely considered the definitive Transformers writer.
The Challenge of the Gobots, a rival program produced by Tonka, was purchased by Hasbro in 1991, and has subsequently been folded into the greater Transformers tapestry as an alternate universe of robot heroes and villains.
A wildly successful property, there are over 30 TV series (American and Japanese), 6 Hollywood blockbusters that have grossed nearly five billion dollars worldwide, and countless comic book series from Marvel, Dreamwave Productions, and IDW.
Why is Peter Pan
Bish & Jubez
Adam Reck, on his popular X-Men-centric comics: "I started working on Bish & Jubez with a single page gag about Bishop missing his favorite future-snack back in 2016. I kept making pages inspired by a newfound love for X-Men from listening to Jay & Miles X-Plain the X-Men and wanting to practice making comics... Almost 150 pages later, with a huge cast of characters, Bish & Jubez wrapped up with its trade paperback last year.
The original 1980s Mickey's parade ice cream bar.
Adam Reck is a digital artist and raconteur, notably of Bish & Jubez fame. You can hear him each week as one-half of the Battle of the Atom podcast that reads, opines, and ranks X-Men-related comics. Check out his work on Tumblr and Instagram, and give him a follow on Twitter. He's friendly, so don't be afraid to inquire about commissions.