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.

Strange Days

First official post at the new site?  Should come as no surprise that the first blab is about a new project, yeah?  But first!

OVERTHROW, what I like to think of as mine and Justin Jordan’s love letter to NEXT WAVE (stylistically anyway), is looking to be headed to full-on pitch stages pretty soon, so I’ve still got my manties in a bunch waiting on that.  He got to be a whore at the NY con about the project, so that’s pretty sweet.

jenny-conceptAnyway… not being completely sick of each other just yet, Justin and I are working on a new comic entitled JENNY STRANGE.  It’s pretty much my first attempt at doing something ZUDA-worthy; and to be totally honest, the landscape format to the page took quite a bit of getting used to.  For those of you who’ve been under a rock this whole time, Zuda is DC’s virtual slush pile.  That probably makes it sound dirtier than what it actually is, but suffice it to say it’s a webcomic… monitor-conscious… page browser… thing.  (It’s two in the fucking morning, give me a break… and no, I’m obviously not the writer in the tandem) Buncha guys get weblished, buncha other guys vote for who gets to stay online and finish their story.  Bam.

I’m pretty excited about JENNY coz I’ve been jonesing for a strictly pulp book for a while now.  That and GEN13’s vibe had a pretty huge impact on me as I was getting serious about comics in the 90s (yeah, I know).  Little bit of Doc Savage thrown in there as well.  Aesthetically speaking, I’ve been pouring over some recent Ultimate Spider-Man stuff and even some BRIT to harness the right vibe I want to wrap my art in for the project, but that coupled with the landscape format is taking a bit of doing.  Anyway, that’s all on that for now.  I plan to go into gory details about the zuda page orientation and the attendant storytelling mindfucks, but that’s for another post.  Till then, keep ’em warm, ladies.

Strip Teaser

overthrow-teaseJustin Jordan’s superhero quasi-political kicksplode punchfest goes to pitch in a coupla weeks, and both of us have invested quite a bit in this project (basic hygiene and social lives notwithstanding) so… wish us luck.  Here goes nothin’.

OGN

Everyone tries to write Watchmen the first time around. Cop to it, kids. We all want our first foray into the world of comics to be loud. To be a hit. And I don’t blame you. Who doesn’t want to be the guy who came out of nowhere and just punched everyone in the face with something awesome? It’s not wrong to want that, but it is harmful to hope for it and, by extension, pin your tragically fragile comic creator self-esteem on what may very well be a shitty Original Graphic Novel.

My friend Matt and I are currently bringing a year’s worth of scripts for INSTRUMENTS to a close. The process is done via skype… with beers… so it’s not the smoothest of creative processes. I currently have about 90% of the first issue completely drawn and toned (we’re planning to release it black and white), so all that’s needed for a proper pitch is the clean script for the first year’s worth of monthly issues. You read that right: the first year. And therein lies the rub — What are the odds of a coupla nobodies getting a publisher to commit to an entire year’s worth of monthlies? Granted of course that our story is mind-numbingly awesome (Who else is gonna say it, asshole?), our operation can’t exactly hinge on the script alone when Image, Boom, Avatar, or whoever else can’t tell us apart from a dead dog’s cock now can it? They don’t know who the hell we are.

So I start small.

I’ve got a bunch of solos I’ve been meaning to start fleshing out, script-wise. I can’t pull off ICELANDER with less than eight issues, so that’s out. JOHNNY BEASTLING only needs six for the first arc, but I really really really don’t want to have to use it until I know I can write it well. THREE BLIND MICE needs more research. So that just leaves the pirate story…

Let’s call it ALL HANDS for now. And let’s say it’s what Lovecraft wanted to see when he watched Pirates of the Caribbean, and Harryhausen was right beside him, stealing his popcorn. (I draw comics, were you really looking for a profound metaphor there?)  But the best part is it works as a one-shot.  An oversized one-shot, sure, but much easier to sell than a twelve-issue maxi-series written by two drunken nerds.

So that’s going on. I wish I could say I arrived at this decision to write a pirate story via logical reasoning, but the fact is it’s nothing but what I’m calling a resultant… I don’t know… mental state? Gestalt?… of a series of strange coincidences. Take from that what you will.

::: ::: ::: Keeping it Relevant Department ::: ::: :::

MASK of MANOLO #2 is experiencing logistical hitches. More on that as I get news.

Page layouts for HORROR PROJECT are coming along nicely. Thumbnails are being a bit of a challenge, but live and learn I suppose.

Tomorrow will be about reading JENNY STRANGE scripts for Zuda.

OVERTHROW #1 is done and done. All that’s left is the cover concepts before we take it to pitch. Justin suggested I study some old posters and go all Soviet Propaganda on everyone’s asses, so that should be fun. See?

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Just the Tip

Got a fair amount of work sorted out this week, schedule-wise, which (and you gotta give me this, at least) is no small feat, given that it’s Christmas time.  I may not be the most disciplined guy around when it comes to sticking to time tables, but god damn it I can juggle like you wouldn’t believe.

Also, I’m a douche.

But anyway…

Promised myself I’d put a real effort into getting more indies in 2008, and I think I’ve pretty much succeeded, on the most part.  Tail end of 2007 saw me get that Cebulski project, my first gig, through a ridiculously coincidental series of events — one of those right-place-right-time type deals — so ridiculous in fact that it involves my quitting law school, my working in a call center, and even a messy break-up some two-three years ago.  Shit you not.  It’s a Bendis plot, is what it is.  But you only get lucky once, right?  So this year had me working for it.  And well… I like to think I tried hard enough.

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Didn’t make it into Marvel just yet, but they know my name… that’s as good a start as any, I suppose.

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To my three returning readers, here’s some stuff to watch out for: My first solo book, The MASK of MANOLO, from Patchwork comics should be hitting the stands within the next month or so.  Alveraz and the gang are cranking out the proofs and working through the Christmas season to make sure Slominski and I start polluting the scene early next year.

First issue of OVERTHROW! is just about wrapped up; As I’m writing this, I’m finalizing the inks for the last page… with my feet.  Took longer than I care to admit, but Justin’s been a real sport about it.  Of course, he’s probably just lulling me into a false sense of security before he strikes.  The book goes to pitch early next year, so we’re both holding on to our skirts about that.

First few pages of the yet unnamable horror project are beginning to zygotize in my thought-peach.  It’s a bit of a departure from my super hero and modern fantasy stuff, so it’s taking a bit of doing.  I’m to expect a box of reference material in the mail, a cheery package of crime scene photos from Victorian London (hint, hint), but it’s Christmas… so yeah, that’ll have to wait I guess.  The script is in though, and it’s a mean mother.  Like OVERTHROW!, this will probably go to pitch early next year as well.

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It's a metaphor.

These are all collabs though.  Should devote some real time to properly scripting my solo OGNs this year as well.  INSTRUMENTS is chugging along nicely with Matt being sober most of the time these days, so that’s cool.  Speaking of personal projects though…

The Horror Classics series is on hold until I get a proper foot-hold on the books i’m whored out to, timeframe-wise.  Though I really should get back to that soon, coz the scary faces in the noggin aren’t exactly helping me relax much on my downtime.

I quit my office job precisely so I wouldn’t have to deal with scary faces anymore, right?

Zing.

So yeah, it’s been more or less a pretty good year.  Dark Knight kicked ass, Obama won the election, and I drew a gutted elephant.

Here’s to 2009.

Merry Christmas, everyone.

Housed

Getting caught up on House episodes. I was relatively late to the whole TV-series thing, and so I’ve got a whole zoo of stuff I’m yet to watch.  The Shield, CSI, The Wire, The Sopranos — you name it, I haven’t seen it.  Unless it’s Entourage, which is the shit.  My brother collects DVDs as opposed to my comics, so I sure don’t have a problem getting new flicks and shows.  I should do a “things I watch(ed)” journal entry or whatever.  Currently on season two of House. The Leonard-Laurie bromance is always fun.  Doc Cameron is hot.  And the soundtrack is flawless.  Good show.  Apparently a coupla years’ worth of Emmys can’t be wrong.

doc-cameronWoof!

In one episode, Hugh Laurie goes, “I don’t work hard.  I work smart.”

Ouch.

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Internet did it’s job perfectly and very efficiently distracted me from work this week.  And that’s not even counting the hours I spent Wednesday morning glued to CNN for the election coverage.  So… no, not a very productive week, work-wise.  Only got a total of two (maybe three, if I tighten this WWII scene tonight) inked pages of OVERTHROW! out the door, though I did get to do revisions on some old pages.  I’m quite happy with how those turned out, so it ain’t all bad.  I’ve apparently arrived at some action scenes in the issue (finally!), and I work fairly quickly through those.  For some reason though, I always hit a slump after every action page.  I don’t quite know why that is yet, but the pre-work warm ups are definitely helping me not to cool too far down. More on those later.

Taking my sweet time with the concept sketches for the horror project. I’ve stumbled upon an approach that has somehow allowed me to maintain my style but adopt a whole new aesthetic to it. It’s subtle, but it’s there.  Been studying the little differences in Humberto Ramos’ work between Crimson and X-men, that sorta thing.  Buncha Hellboy trades are helping too.

::: Tres Komikeros Episode 10 :::

I said I’d do a  sketch a day this week, and so far it has helped a lot in getting me in the groove in the mornings (read 2 pm… heh…), so here they are, along with some commentary.  They each took about an hour tops, that being the time limit I gave myself, me being great with deadlines and all:

sinestro-11-03-08-bbMONDAY: I read a Red Lanterns book for last week’s podcast and I just suddenly found Sinestro cool, despite me never having been a fan.  This is a shot of him inviting you to be part of his corps.  My foreshortening needs work.

darkseid-11-04-08-bbTUESDAY: Again, inspired by a previous episode of the podcast, I couldn’t resist doing a Darkseid piece after seeing the last page of Final Crisis #4.  Nothing special to say about this though, it was just fun.

crichton-tribute-by-john-amorWEDNESDAY: Michael Crichton’s books and resultant films played a pivotal role in me getting serious about art — this was for him.

power-girl-11-05-08-bbTHURSDAY: Election day, so I couldn’t resist writing a little something extra on PG’s cape… clasp… thing.  She’s actually a bit tough to draw without making her look top-heavy.  i might’ve fucked this up.

zatanna-11-07-08-bbFRIDAY: Took a suggestion from Viking Alex so I wouldn’t end up choosing easy characters to draw.  Having lotsa blacks on a character is always fun… and speedy!

Marvel stuff next week.

Don’t Miss Deadlines

FYI #1: I’m currently drawing a comic called OVERTHROW!, a superhero/political thriller written by Zuda veteran Justin Jordan.

FYI #2: One of my favorite things about using WordPress is getting to see my blog stats in the dashboard. Among other things, I get to see search terms people put into engines to find their way to my site.

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Y’all tryin’ ta tell me something?

Week Five

Holy shitcocks! We’re closing in on the deadline week! I haven’t exactly been slacking or anything, but I think it’s safe to say I’m not gonna make the October 15 deadline unless I make some serious sacrifices in quality. No one’s been sending angry emails or anything… yet… so I’ll just carry on at this steady pace. Not too happy about missing my first professional deadline, but I am juggling two books. Looking back, overcommitting might not have been the smartest, most responsible course of action possible… but fuck it but I gotta focus on making these pages the best they can possibly be.

Still in talks about doing that horror book with the horror guy, but I haven’t had time to do the concept sketches yet. Watched From Hell for reference though. Hint. Also, Heather Graham as a redhead prostitute? Win. I’ve had to make the horror guy wait, though he does know I have books on my plate. Oh well, he’ll drop me if he drops me.

Cut to image of a battered Luke Skywalker from Empire, “Don’t drop me, horror guuuuuuy!!!”

Yeah, that was in the special extended edition.

Also had to turn down a potentially fun project with a published writer this week on account of the fact that the logistics of it weren’t quite… desirable. Wow. Welcome to Vagueville. The split-ownership deal was sweet though, so it’s definitely worth revisiting. Cool guy too, so we may yet get to do something in the future. Hope hope.

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Sully’s finally piecing together a mini to pitch. Whether or not I’m the guy to draw it still remains to be seen, but I’m just glad he’s actually moving on it already. Guy’s got some good ideas. Short attention span? Sure. Gaming addiction? Definitely. But I’ll bet my Pope John Paul II comics (really) that whatever he’s got up his sleeve is just gonna melt everyone’s balls off. Chunkily.

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A buncha friends from town are returning to their roots and stepping up their sequentials as well. Fantastic, that. Couldn’t be more glad. Coz when you’re the only one ever doing it, the feeling that it’s all self-indulgence honestly can’t be avoided. Being in a group lends it a semblance of legitimacy at least. Viking and Mike are whipping up Hellboy five-pagers based on a plot I hacked out while Santini’s doing Spidey. I can’t be more excited.

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Sifting through Suicide Girl photos with co-genius Matt.

Research.

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BEAST BOY JOE (yes, yes, I know) will be scrapped, reconceptualized, and rebooted. The tentative new title is JOHNNY BEASTLING since JOE EVOLVER just sounds too much like… vulva. No yeah really, that is the only real smidgen of real thought that went into that. I don’t know. I’m dumb. Traded brainfarts with Derrick Fish via magical clicky machine about how to make the main character not seem like too much of a furry. God help me.

Week One

So I’m alive… after my first week of working on my first actual books. It’s funny doing this instead of an actual day job coz you realize how terrible a manager you’d end up being. Essentially been picking up the pencils right after lunch and working non-stop till about three in the morning the following day. Then sleep till about lunchtime, and the cycle begins anew. The schedule is actually not as bad as it sounds, but sometimes I just roll back over and go back to sleep, wishing I was Travis Charest. That being said though, I finished five pages and a cover this past week. So yeah. Not terrible.

It’s interesting having two books to work on that are so different from each other. And I don’t even mean story-wise either. See, MASK of MANOLO is fully intended to be a black and white book, whereas OVERTHROW! is going to be colored. And as I’m working on these pages throughout the week and alternating which books to work on and when… I realize that it’s a different set of artistic muscles that gets exercised every time.

When I know that a book is going to be black and white, I’m very generous with my hatching. There are lines literally all over the place. Even if I know that I’m going to apply tones to every single page later on, I still apply my hatch lines. That might very well be a waste of time, but it just helps me put it in a different place, y’know, mentally as well as visually.

OVERTHROW! is going to be colored, and I’m helping Justin scout for a colorist. I think I’ve already spotted one, but I’ll let you guys know when it’s solid. I’m not very hatchy when working on this book. My blacks are quite a bit more solid and defined, and I leave a lot of space for a colorist to interpret slight tonal shifts. For instance, while I would apply hatching to a slightly darker (read: midtoned) side of a rock in a black and white book… I would leave it untouched in a colored book and leave it to the colorist to give it a shaded hue. Color me noobish, but I feel like overdoing hatch lines muddles the colors quite a bit.  But when used right and just suggestive enough, it can be a powerful unifier for when a colorist does his magic.

I don’t know if I’m doing it right yet though, but the colorist candidate guy says I’m on the right track, which is encouraging. Go me.

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Eno’s Oblique Strategy Card says: Cluster Analysis

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For those of you who missed it, a coupla friends and myself have decided to kill what little free time we have left to do a comics review show. It’s in the journal entry right before this ‘un. Tres Komikeros is/was/will be a podcast hosted both here and on The Independent Comic Site. ICS has pretty much identified itself as Newsarama’s evil twin, which I think is a really fresh take on comics journalism. Matt Brady meets Maddox.  I have great respect for Dominik, the EIC, and I just know that site’s just waiting to explode. I can feel it in my amateur podcaster loins.

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I’m not allowed to show anyone any MANOLO stuff till November, but Justin’s been posting some previews of OVERTHROW! at his work blog. Go check ’em out. Laterz!