Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Changing up Studio Yoakum

Spent a little time to change up the wall in Studio Yoakum. here is a quick pic of the wall o' artwork after changing out the art in the frames. Now up are:

- A George Perez/Pablo Marcos page from Avengers #167

- A two page spread from Sandman Mystery Theatre by Guy Davis

- the final page of Wardancer #3 by Weiss and myself

- A Rusty and the Big Guy sketch from Darrow

- an Invisibles page by Fegredo

- an old Iron Man page by Tuska and Johnny Craig

Inking page 19 of The Human Hourglass as we speak. Almost done!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Here's Hoping For: Ben Caldwell's Manga Wonder Woman

Is there any format or new idea that DC won't retreat from? Odd, isn't it, that DC decided not to do the stand-alone series of Wonder Woman that Darwyn Cooke and J Bone were offering to do, when they're put so much muscle behind New Frontier? Odd that DC is more remembered for putting out The Dark Knight in the 1980's than the '60's TV show finally, a comic that was a radical departure from anything that they had ever done with the Batman franchise?

And now here comes bits and pieces of Ben Caldwell's Manga Wonder Woman pitch and i'm stuck thinking that, given their recent retreat from anything that was DC "go-go" checks approved, its just all wasted time and energy. Carmine Infantino must be running the company again.

Caldwell's stand alone Manga series makes so much damn sense both in format and art that there is no way it will go forward. The sense of retreat and retrenchment at DC seems simply to be too much to overcome.

And I love the samples. They're great fun and I would buy this in a second for my daughter. Who, by the way, has totally been put off Wonder Woman by the endless crossovers and retrenchments on the character. DC lost her, and they totally had her during the Gail Simone run. How can I addict my daughters to comics if the companies that put out the comics continue to not give me anything for them to read?

Format, format, format. It has so much to do with how we perceive the material. The success of Scott Pilgrim should be a perfect example that the digest format can work, especially when you don't have to flip the pages and translate them. How better to break into an entire market that should love WW?

Man, I get so tired of saying the same thing over and over. I'd love to know what the sales figures were for Wednesday Comics...

Friday, August 13, 2010

In Review Of: "Cathy's" retirement

Cathy is dead. I type those words with joy in my heart. Seriously.

Not since For Better or Worse threw salt into the eyes of all its regular readers has a comic needed to bow out, go away and be as forgotten as the Gumps.

It may not be a stretch to say that Cathy set the women's movement back by years as well.

There are a notorious number of things to hate about Cathy: her ending up with Irving, the poor state of the drawing, the limited number of punchlines that were regurgitated over the decades... its rather mindboggling. Even Lynn Johnston made some interesting strides in her artwork, as the reprinted early FBOFW strips show. Not Cathy Guisewite. Her generously proportioned stick figures had the same level of incompetence 20 years later. When the old Cathy jokes were aged and yellow and peeling off of the office cubicle, they could be replaced with identical fresh ones and no one would ever be the wiser.

Did Cathy end up with Irving simply because Ms Guisewite was unable to come up with a single other male character? Sure looked that way. In her own way, Ms Guisewite hit the jackpot. With nary a bit of artistic talent on the page, she was able to craft a career that many far more talented cartoonists would envy, if they weren't working at convenience stores or driving UPS trucks.

Rest in Pieces Cathy, you will likely be forgotten as soon as the final strip goes into the recycling.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

DC and the Format Wars: Giving up before the first shot is fired

I was fascinated by th3e idea that DC would be doing original graphic novels next year on superman and batman as a way to introduce new readers to the continuity without having them struggle with just where to begin. Overall, i was willing to wait for what i was sure was going to be a spectacular failure.

As Johanna Draper Carlson points out, DC is already backing away from the original version of the OGNs, which brings us right back to a subject that i feel i've covered ad nauseaum over the last few years: the format wars.

How to present the material hat you have to a diverse clientele is a tricky one, especially since you have such different markets with Borders and Barnes and Noble in competition with the Local Comic Shop.

But how many cross over customers are there? The large bookstores that are in my area essentially eschew the weekly pamphlet format in favor of TPBs, while the LCS tends to carry a mix of both. How many people are really shopping both at this point?

DC has become, with the cancellation of essentially every experimental line that they have, from Minx to their manga line, relentlessly conservative. They have retrenched physically and mentally, deleting the new versions of their heroes in favor of the silver age versions, why should it surprise anyone that they've also deleted all the different formats that they've experimented with?

DC Comics has returned to the Silver Age. Unfortunately, their audience is living in 2010.

Doing manga? nope. Digest books? nope. Diversity in heroes? nope. Comics for girls? nope. Keeping Vertigo running? barely. Original Graphic Novels? nope. Monthly pamphlets about white males? Yup.

How's Milestone doing these days?

What's fascinating is that pretty much everyone else is able to make interesting things happen with the OGN market except a company with the greatest outreach and resources to do it. If necessity is the mother of invention, then perhaps corporate resources are the father of conservatism here.

Work In Progress: The Human Hourglass Page 18 part two

This panel is coming along nicely. page 18 is almost done and, as always, art surprises you. panels that i thought were somewhat boring are turning into far more interesting bits and pieces.

A few more pages to go...

Friday, August 06, 2010

Work In Progress: The Human Hourglass Page 18

Working away, and was rather pleased with this top tied of page 18 about to be inked.

I'm not fast, but i think that i'm getting better.

For those in the SF Bay Area, i'm trying to get into APE in October. Haven't heard whether or not I've got the table, but I'll let you all know the minute that I know!

Thursday, August 05, 2010

New Work: The Carnival - The Human Hourglass page 17

a new page posted at as I get closer to the finale of the first Carnival story. Of course you can click the link and go straight to it, or you can do what my friend Sam is doing, which is simply wait til i finish the damn thing, then go read it all at once.

But then you miss a bit of the voyage doing that. I suppose.

The Human Hourglass has been running around my head for a number of years, but i lacked a few of the pieces to pull it all together. Odd how life works, it finally came together on a plane, far from anything even resembling noir. More like small inedible dinners served on biodegradable plastic. Inspiration comes from weird places. Being a mere 5 pages from the finish is rather invigorating.

Also, the first issue of Radical Publishing's TimeBomb is out on the stands as off last week, so go take a look. I ink the first 21 pages of Paul Gulacy, and you'd have thought it was 1999 and we were working on Batman: Outlaws. Except this time with a really cool story and killer coloring. Take a look and let me know what you think. Been ten years since i've had anything out on the stands.

Monday, August 02, 2010

For Olivia: Do Something!

My youngest daughter threw the blank 8.5x11 paper at me with the title (in her mind) Do Something! so I whipped up a strip over breakfast about our usual breakfast time during school.

I'm not the average house husband, but i usually do the morning ritual, this the pretty damn true to life. Olivia cracked up when i gave the artwork back to her.