Monday, June 29, 2009

Wizard's Keep Corrections: Coffee and Croissants

Tim Perkins over at his blog has been chronicling the beginnings, middle and probably the end eventually of Defiant Comics from his perspective.

He also remembered to take photos, which I never did, as those days were seared into my brain. But I'm glad that he had the smarts to take snaps, so that I now have a hard copy of as well on the internet.

I've shown up in few of his posts, but figure a little more prominantly in this one. Which, of course, I have no problem with until I got to this paragraph:
When Charles, who has a wonderful Californian accent, said he was going to order a coffee and a croissant on the way in I didn’t catch what it was he was going to get. That was down to the different pronunciations though. He was going to ask for a “cresahnt”, whereas I would have asked for a “quoissahnt”.
lets set the record straight: Californians don't have accents. We're just about the blandest speakers on the planet. But, yes, I do like croissants. So for a healthy heaping dose of mid-90's comics content, go over to the Wizard's Keep blog.

In the meantime, working on a new Red Sonja piece, as well as a few others. Scans coming soon!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

The LA Times Boondoggle: Girls Guide to Comic Con 2009

The LA Times, which you think would be a little more hip to how these things would be preceived, has published a "Girl's Guide to Comic Con" that is either somewhat low or fairly high on the offensive meter, depending on where you stand.

First off, LA Times, I know that you've been down to Comic Con before, and, you know what? You should know better. There have been thousands upon thousands of women who have been down to Con, and they all found better things to do than follow the lightly regarded sexism in your Entertainment article.

Secondly, in a world full of this novel thing called the internet, I find it hard to believe that there are groups of people out there that aren't hip to the idea of female fans of SF and fantasy and comics and videogames. Its not novel anymore. Then of course, the 4th estate is still busy running articles titles "Pow!Zap!Bam! Comics aren't just for kids anymore!" proving that they haven't moved beyond the 1970's. Is it really any wonder why newspapers are dying with that sort of brilliant writing?

Get it through your thick heads LA Times: Women go to movies, they read comics and fantasy and science fiction and they spend money on them. Very likely more money than men if we can believe that that much of what happens in other parts of retail hold true.

My own experience was watching the Sandman series in the 1980's turn comics demographics on their ears: women loved comics, when they were written like that. The Vertigo line was essentially a women's comic line, since women will buy horror and fantasy and it just goes to show how far off Minx was in buying material when they decided not to do a single fantasy book. Checked out any of the manga demographics or storylines? Nana is not the leading example.

Seriously, I'm literally out of breath with shock and surprise over the LA Times who you just think would know better but clearly didn't. When my wife gets angry at me for schooling my two daughters on the finer points of the Time Lords and trans dimensional engineering (You're turning her into a little geek! she says, quite rightly), I have to point out that the geeks won.

And yet, now I'm worried that the geeks who won are the ones that never got laid, never appreciated girls as equals but different equals and only celebrated the ones that basically pretended to be guys with breasts. I'm worried that these geeks never moved beyond the masturbatory fantasies of what "they would do with girls when they got them" as opposed to having actual partners in life, in sex, in pretty much anything. I'm worried that they won't recognize that Gwen in Torchwood is a more well rounded character than anything they've put up on the screen in all these damn comic book films. i'm worried that they never figured out that there are a whole host of different stories other than power fantasies out there.

The women I know become passionate lovers of characters and franchises when the stories are good. That doesn't mean that they need a token character with boobies to act as their stand in, it does mean that they expect a level of characterization and cleverness well beyond the usual crap. Yes, they will buy the tie ins, yes some of them will pick up the action figures, but then they're no different than the boys when it all comes to it. Perhaps this will galvanize the folks at Comic Con to release demographic information on attendees this year. Who are those 140,000 unique visitors that they capture each year now? Wouldn't we like to know?

Monday, June 22, 2009

Ink Work: Rod Sonja!

nuff said. Pencils by Adriano Batista.

sorry to have disappeared for a bit, but real life and lots of work going on, so, hey, blogging has taken a bit of a back seat for the last week or two!

Monday, June 08, 2009

Work In Progress: Panel 5, Page 7

Damn captions!

I guess that i have to put them in.

A fellow comic artist, (who i was going to keep nameless, but who the hell cares?) got on me for putting the captions and balloons on the artwork. I respect Bernard Chang's opinion, but I realized that i didn't like the new artwork without the story "attached". The artwork looks unfinished to me, especially when you realize that white of the balloons makes, along with the gutters, a great deal of negative space that needs to be accounted for on the page. i like to be able to balance that a much as possible, especially when the captions that i write get in the way of the layouts that i've drawn.

So yes, the artwork has the story included, and if I need to make a final revision in photoshop I will, but like an old DC or Marvel page, you can pick these up and get an experience reading them as well as looking at the pretty pictures.

Damn old skool thinking.

More ACBA scans to groove on...

A new collection of pieces from the 1973 ACBA portfolio. John Romita, Mike Royer, Jim Starlin, and Jim Steranko. of all of the them, the Starlin piece is the oddest, a mix of swampy comic characters piled on each other for no other reason that it looks silly. A drunken dare at a con?

Thursday, June 04, 2009

In Review Of: the 1973 ACBA Sketchbook

The semi-legendary Academy of Comic Book Brts (ACBA) 1973 portfolio is an interesting period piece from a time when, yet again, the freelancers of the comic book world were trying to organize for better pay, return of artwork, reprint royalties, some, ANY respect from their employers. Sales from the sketchbook would generate over $3000, money that would be used to fund the Bill Everett Fund for creators suffering financial hardship.

I had bought this, and the 1975 sketchbook without knowing what the money was going to, only that I thought it was an interesting artifact from its time. I probably purchased this in the early 1980's when had had the chance to see the career arc of some of the artists represented in the portfolio.

Unlike the black and white stapled 1975 sketchbook, this one was printed in loose sheet of semi gloss paper suitable for framing if one was so inclinded to do that to a Neal Adams or early Jim Starlin piece. Not sure how many are still out there in a completed form, I thought that I'd scan a number of the pieces for those who don't have this particular artwork in their collection.

Four today, more soon!

Monday, June 01, 2009

Herge and the Museum: two bad examples

Given the flap over the newly opened Herge Museum in Belgium, you begin to wonder if Herge's heirs can do much more to turn the public off to the man's work. From the Forbidden Planet blog:
The event was considered important enough by quite a lot of international media to send reporters over. However, all excitement about the new museum quickly turned into frustration when it turned out that no photography or filming was allowed inside museum and that Fanny RĂ©mi and Nick Rodwell, the people behind Moulinsart, didn’t feel like being interviewed. And to top it off, none of the representatives, except Joost Swarte, appeared to be able to speak any other language but French.
Fabulous public relations. Much of the media swanned off, completely pissed. I sometimes wonder if these people actually think things through before they do them. As I usually say, treat someone well, they might tell 2 people, treat them poorly and they'll tell 10.

Reminds me of taking the time, while in France last summer, of trying to track down the one page of Herge artwork, a Tintin page, hidden somewhere inside the vast, overrated collection of crap that is the Centre Georges Pompidou. it was not easy, let me tell you, amidst all the modern "art" ( and I use the word loosely) to find the page, on the fourth floor.

But then you had to see the single page of art from 16 feet away or so, as they had put the page at the end of a long inverted pyramid of black and white squares. So, lets reiterate again: a single piece of artwork of 10 x 15 inches, and not even that great a page really, is held in the middle of an escher illusion at the distance of 16 feet away.

and now I'm wondering if it wasn't the curators of the Pompidou but maybe a suggestion by the Herge people? To keep people a distance away from the precious artwork? In any case, this international comics fan, who has looked at comic artwork all over the world, would like to say that he's seen original Herge art in the flesh... but i don't think i can say that.

And, if you want a brutal satire of Tintin, in all his european colonial glory, check out The Rabbi's Cat 2. The two Rabbi's Cat volumes are maybe the best graphic novel i've read in the last year.

Page 5 for The Human Hourglass is up!

A quick update: page 5 of the first Carnival story, The Human hourglass is now up and its a doozy. You can go straight to it here, or check out the front door of and read from the beginning.

Still getting the hang of the black and white tones. I'll probably keep doing them on computer, but the impulse to pull out the Coptic markers is hard to resist.