When Things Get Hairy

amor-werewolf-previewWoke up a bit groggy from a work binge the other day, and I was out of coffee… so after an arctic shower, I warmed up by finishing the line art for the Werewolf Horror Classics piece.  The rough sketch was barely discernible as a lycanthrope, I think.  This illustration was finished live on Ustream while talking shit with a coupla buddies via Skype… I’ll do that more often to get the joints ready in the morning (half past noon), but it’s back to work for now.

Reading: Automatic Kafka

This being a work journal, it’s probably all kinds of appropriate to mostly talk about my own work and what passes for a process behind it.  But like every artist, I steal from am greatly inspired by the things I read, see, watch, taste, or what have you… so this is the closest I will hover to Recommended Reads, if you will…

You know how you can tell the superhero comic you have in your hands isn’t like any other you’ve read before?  When the creators see fit to remind you on the cover: This is a Superhero Comic.

automatic-kafka_01AUTOMATIC KAFKA by Joe Casey and Ashley Wood came out in 2002 through Wildstorm’s Eye of the Storm imprint, and I only got a chance to go over it a few months ago—I wear my shame on my jugular and beg you to bite it.

Ever wonder what it’s like to be violently sexy and decadently toasted… but with powers?  AK addresses that curiosity and then some.  Somehow, someone somewhere thought it was time to indiscriminately expose the seedy underbelly of superhero post-celebrity culture and immerse Superman fans in it—think, if the Thundercats were real people, and were still around, but were living off their millions and living in sin somewhere… and you’ll probably come close to what this book is/was about.  This was Ennis and Robertson’s THE BOYS over five fucking years early.

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Wildly experimental and dripping with contempt for the mainstream, the series was abruptly cancelled after nine issues.  Casey, who was ironically also writing Superman at the time, was showing people something awesome in one hand and slapping their mothers with the other.  Ash Wood’s art was being witty as only his art can.  For such a fresh series, it was criminally shortlived.  If you find it, read it… snatch it from a friend… read it in all its glorious strangeness… and if so inclined, tear out a page, roll it up, and then smoke it.

I promise it will be good for you.

Sleep?

Okay so things are looking busy — between Orlando losing to LA and Hillary fracturing her elbow, I actually have a lotta stuff going on that I’m actually involved in. Whoodathunkit?  So I’m gonna keep this short so I can get back to work and my characteristic self-loathing.  But mostly work.  Schwing!

Quasi-religious Existentialist project with the ever-dashing William Prince just needs a couple more pages to wrap up my part in the pitch process.  Here are some concept sketches from that story.

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Steam punk Battle Chasers-esque Zuda proposal with the well-oiled machine Gabe White is about half way done.  Shouldn’t be long now.  Here’s a peek.

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Crime-horror saga 1888 with Wolfgang “People Pleaser” Parker is practically ready to pitch.  Just a coupla character sketches needed from the only slow guy on the team.  Oh wait… that’s me.

Justin “I know where you live” Jordan is juggling the pitches for OVERTHROW and JENNY STRANGE.  All appendages are crossed.  Do not activate webcam.

The yet unnamable period piece with lord and master Alexis Nolte went to pitch last week with some friends across the pond.  Initial reaction has been positive.

Just getting into the groove of what’s shaping up to be my first solo series after MASK of MANOLO.  I’ve somehow attracted the attention of the lovely Rod Hannah, with ties to cerealgeek.com, to illustrate a three-issue mini about wee super-heroine SOVENA RED.  Designs have been approved.  Scripts have been read.  Layouts have been… laid out.  More on that as the weeks go by.  Here’s a peek though.

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On the homefront, the online game Alex “You should really be drawing” Cipriano and I were hired to do is plodding along politely.  The worst is probably over, with all the human characters done and approved… now it’s just a buncha cool monsters and we’re home free.  After a fashion.

Speaking of monsters, my HORROR CLASSICS are on hold.  Personal projects… bah!  That werewolf sketch I showed off a month ago is here in Fort Bastard somewhere under a pile of Invincible back issues… I hope.

Just got back home from a… well… a “creative summit” with Jad “Why am I still with you?” Montenegro, at her end of the island chain.  HARBINGER WAR is currently in the conceptualization stage, and we’re giggly as fuck about it.  A lot.  Here’s a sketch from the trip.

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There’s that Comic Book Creation Seminar I got invited to speak at, for all the good that’ll do them. HEHAH! That’s set for next month still, but plans are solidifying.  Like a flan.  But creamier.  Maybe I can give out tax advice.

Should look into cloning myself.

More updates as they happen.

Don’t Call it a Collab

As I’m working on a handful of projects I’ve started a little something-something with my lady Jad Montenegro.  We’ll be taking turns talking about our progress:

asaSo John came to me with a proposal to do a comic together, aside from the  sheer audacity of a previously conceptualized “relationship strip” *John slaps hand to forehead*, he wanted to do another project entirely, one that wasn’t borne of a need to shamelessly indulge our egos, and when I heard his idea to wrap the storyline around one simple, beautiful concept, there was nothing I could do but to agree.

I mean, come on:

Cavemen versus Aliens.

.

Tell me how any self-respecting sci-fi lover could resist taking that and not going to TOWN with it, you know?

Drawing inspiration from the likes of sci-fi romance and tall-tale spinning Arthur C. Clarke to the classic iconoclasm (iconoclasstic?) of Isaac Asimov, to Frank Herbert’s Duneverse sagas and Bradbury’s moody, chronicling cynicism (to name just a few of the authors I grew up reading), I guess I’m pretty set for helping create this rippin’ yarn of a graphic novel. If anything, I’ve certainly got the enthusiasm covered.

I’ve never done this before, but that’s where John comes in: he’s good at showing me the ropes.

Huh.

I zoned out for a bit.

Anyway, that’s what me and the boy have got in the kitchen, and hopefully we’ll have something in the coming weeks for you folks to sink your teeth into.

— Jad

Strip for Me…

Someone smart once said, “Part of knowing what you’re good at is knowing how many permutations you can stretch and skew yourself to and safely get away with, without too much bloodshed.” And then I put it in a journal entry and cheapened it.

It was the middle 2005, and the local scene had shriveled up and died, so no one in his right mind was doing independent comics anymore, much less looking to fund any.

dead-whaleIt’s a metaphor

Fresh out of college and taking baby steps into law school, I sought a creative outlet and found it in the local newspaper — though when I say I sought, I don’t mean I needed a challenge or something to do in my free time.  Coz believe me, school plus work was tough enough; and free time was a luxury I devoted to sleep.  Luckily, the summer before shit got real, I had made the right calls and talked to the right people and sent the right hookers to the right addresses, and at twenty years old I got my first regularly paying gig with my weekly serial comic strip, ALTERED EGOS.

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Click.  Big.

The people at the paper had seen my previous comic stuff, and when I first spoke to my editor to pitch another, more action-oriented strip, I realized that I had gotten spoiled from working with friends on SUKOL and POPCORN for so long.  I had grown accustomed to communicating my act structures and story arcs in chirps and grunts.  Had I known how to whistle, it might have helped.  But no, the pre-prod was a mess, and it slowly became obvious that I wouldn’t be able to pull off a series that only worked linear, at least not the way I’d want to.  So I went with comedy and the gag-a-week format.

amor-ae-014ALTERED EGOS was an exploration of the superhero lifestyle minus all the glitz and glamour.  Marvel Team-up meets Seinfeld, written by Bart Simpson.  And it acted like a sort of psychic anchor in a pretty lousy time in my life, which was right around the same time I discovered the bottle.  These characters meant a lot to me and still do, which is why I’m sharing them here.

amor-ae-019Incidentally (and conveniently, transition-wise), I will be starting a brand new comic strip pretty soon with my girlfriend.  Drawing much inspiration from the blunt truths of XKCD and the dry humor of Butternutsquash, Jad and I have put together a… (wait for it)… relationship strip.

.   .   .

And THAT was the sound of the last cries of my mojo whimpering out of existence.

FOR the LOVE OF… (or FTLO) is planned to be a weekly strip, depending on our schedules, and is pretty much being stylistically inspired by Adam Warren’s approach to Empowered over at Dark Horse.  Rough… but not.

It’s five in the morning, kids.

Anyway check back here for the first strip of FTLO soon, as well as updates on a few other projects I have gaining some steam.  Meantime, don’t just thank it.  Spank it.