Monday, February 19, 2007

POST 499 PART 2: THIS TIME IT'S PERSONAL

or: Oh those trixty numbers. They'll get you every time.

Wonderful problem with counting this weekend. It turns out that one doesn't count 1, 2, 2, 3 anymore. Had to re-letter a page because this new "1, 2, 3... Math" ruined the space-time continuum on the page. Also, apparently, when Blogger tells you that you have 297 posts on your blog? Yeah, that means the next post is probably going to be number 498, not 499. Steve Albini promised me a new number order and failed to deliver. I also screwed some other numbers up this weekend. The hardware store closes at 3:30 on Sunday. Which means they aren't open at 4:45. Returning home after failing to get inside the hardware store, I managed to turn down the wrong stree coming home. And then I couldn't figure out why my building looked so different.

At least I don't get paid to work with dates, APRs, point-redemption plans or numerically designated periods of time. Oh. Wait. Crap.

In the interest of preserving the BIG POST for number 500, I present to you the second half of Page 2 for EMAW #8:



Saturday, February 17, 2007

POST 499

This is going to be the last post for a bit, as I have something big in store for the GINORMOUS 500th post.

In the spirit, a threefer. Panels 1-3 of PAGE 2:



Friday, February 16, 2007

I'D LIKE TO

I'd like to do a bit more commentary on this later in the weekend, but Brian Hibbs Year-End look at Bookscan Numbers and some Direct Market Numbers?

Absolutely fascinating reading. One of these days, I need to read a volume of Naruto just to see what makes a juggernaut.

To work!

PAGE 1

Some cleanup aside, this is the new page 1:

Thursday, February 15, 2007

GO!



Seriously. Nothing but drag racing and transvestites. It's a friggin' breakthough.

GET READY! GET SET!

ON YOUR FABULOUS MARKS!

ON LINE TO PRINT

Chris Butcher on Phil Foglio's move of Girl Genius to online serialization combined with trade collections. Butcher is pretty high on the idea and says that it seems to have improved the trades' success at his store.

He promises to look at how Carla Speed-McNeil is doing with a similar venture. She talked about potentially making the move in the last Comics Journal. The interview was done just prior to her making the move. Which means the interview was conducted in 2005. And seeing print in 2007. The followup questions don't go into asking how well the move has worked (although, she's still at it, so it must be doing reasonably well). I also wonder how it's worked for Batton Lash.

It's a move marcos has essentially made with Carl is the Awesome, although the collection is a ways away.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

HONESTLY?

I think this is the best thing I've ever drawn. I should seriously consider only drawing future drag-racing transvestites forever.

I JUST CHECKED

The one-year anniversary is coming soon. Just befor my Quirth Day. Wow. A year is time.

AN UNEXPECTED ACT OF KINDNESS

Or just when I think I'm out, they drag me back in.

So, last week, I was working on my exit strategy. Get out of my job, get out of New York, get into doing nothing but comics... no serious thoughts beyond, "I just can't stands it no more!" though.

Today, I went in Uncle Moe's on 19th St., between 5th and 6th Aves. Uncle Moe's has the best burritos in New York, the city that never sleeps as it's trying to figure out how to make a decent burrito. I go there just about every Tuesday, or once a week if I miss Tuesday. Like most of my lunch stops, I don't even have to order anymore. The guys there just start making my food when I get to the front of the line. That alone, is awesome. I love being a regular.

Anyway, today they prepared my East LA and I went to pay. "Pepsi?" "Yes, please." "One pepsi." I went to hand the guy a ten, and he said, "This one's on me." "I'm sorry?" "This one's on me. Enjoy."

There is such a thing as a free lunch in this town, afterall! I enjoyed my burrito and read some of Kim Deitch's Shadowland, all the while thinking, "It's good to be me. In this town. With this job, so close to Uncle Moe's."

Do I have to pay this forward now? Hmm... I'll have to think about this. Who can I kindness unexpectedly. Something to mull.

Anyway, panel! Panel 2 of the new page one. I think Stelldora's finally got her groove back and is trusting her breadsticks. The rest should go down smoothly, unlike me, sporting three weeks of beard.

Monday, February 12, 2007

OKAY, I THINK IT WORKS



I reduced it to print size and did a test print. It's one sixth of a page. It will probably stay in a readers' mind for 1/6 of 1/18 of a second. BLAM!

Insanity now.

On to panel 2...

Sunday, February 11, 2007

DR. FEAR OF NAILING IT

or How I Learned to Start Caring and Loathe the Art

Sham On. Last night, I was inking the first panel of the new page one. I was liking it. Things were loose. Times were high. Moved it from the light table to the drawing board once the forms were down. Put the second panel on the light table and started that.

I always like to work on one or two things at the same time. Helps with making sure things are dry and gets your eyes focussed on something else for a moment. Breathing while working.

So, I'm coming close to finishing panel two when I stopped. Wha hoppen? Something went wrong. I couldn't see the image anymore. Or, rather, I could see it and it had sort of dissolved into some abstract mess. All the positve spaces were the same size and shape. The negative spaces were all the same size and shape. Even the lettering seemed to dissolve into the overalledness of it. "Here's your wallpaper, Mr. Smith, I hope it won't distract from the furniture."

Out came the correction fluid. (Side note: this is the term an ex thought I should use to refer to spermicide. Aw, snap! Oh well, she's an ex now. How you like THAT correction fluid, toots?*)

After whiting out a ton of ink, I started losing some of the proper lines. And the thing was turning into a sloppy mess.

I knew I was going to have to redo the whole thing, but I was frozen. I couldn't work my head around what was right and what was wrong. Worse, I was suddenly terrified of finishing the first panel. What if I poured it all out, in an effort to seal in the greatness, and wound up with another complete mess? So, I cracked wine and popped Infernal Affairs. The joy of drink and convoluted plot structures helped heal the wound.

I came back to the panels today. I realized two things:

1) I needed to rethink that second panel with freshness.
2) I was going to have to finish the first panel on tracing paper to make shure things worked.

Well, things look like they're going to work, but I need to redo the first panel anyway. I actually need it to be less loose. More tight. Born-again virgin. More stylized, less Bettie Davis eyes. We don't need another hero.

Now I'm just hoping I can get through these first two panels before the weekend is over...




*This story isn't even remotely true. I wish it was, though. That would've been awesome.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

PENCIL PAGE TESTS

I was a little nervous that these pages would be too dense for the 6-panel grid, since I was drawing them so large. I shouldn't've worried. The layouts are a bit slapdash for speed, but I think they look pretty awesome.

Page 1:



Page 3:



And now... inks! Let's see if I can completely ruin them.

PASS ME OUT AND DOPE TO BUY



Sleep up! Inks tomorrow! Wait... wine. Then sleep! Then breakfast! Then inks! INKS!

A LITTLE HWINE AND LEMMY FROM MOTORHEAD



Where's MY rain, sleet and hail? I ask... because I AM THE POST MAN! Or Waterworld. One of those.

ACTUAL 2/3



I'n losing track. Doing these as batch, my post is well behind my draw. The next panel is drawn, but not scanned.

Here we go!

2/3 DON, 1/3 JOHNSON

PEE PEEING PISS GOLDEN SHOWERS URINE URINATION MAN AND WIFE FETISH HAIRY BATHROOM TOILET



Hello google visitor!

More of this. Safety glass. Cartoon man peeing in a toilet with lots of splatter. Yelling. To his wife. Spikes stab skull! She is calm. Books, Honey. Dutch girls must be punished for having big boobs.

Friday, February 09, 2007

BEGIN PAGE 4

ON YOUR HIGH THREE-QUARTER MARKS!



Seventy-five cents done.

I promised myself I wouldn't buy any new comics until I finished the ones I already had. But then I finished the ones I had on me at work.

Paul Pope's tightest work to date was his new Batman Year 100 book. It was also the first time I've seen his work work well with color (in a comic). He's got a bit in the Fantastic Four anniversary issue coming out and then... that art book, I guess. He promises more announcements in the future. Hopefully something tight like Batman but not... well, you know.

Atlas #3 is the latest in Dylan Horrock's new series. The first issue came out in... I think I was still in college. At this rate, he should get to the actual story sometime in 2035. The good news is, the book looks nice. I think it's his best cartooning to date.

Mushishi is teen Hellblazer with ameoba-insect-bacteria things for demons. Enjoyable. More promising than successful, but pretty successful. Next one's in May, probably before the next Atlas. Ouch.

Tank Girl 3! This is the first Hewlett-arted Tank Girl I've found in my 'quest' (I think you need to spend more than forty minutes over two weeks to qualify what you're doing as a quest). This was collected after the movie was made and features some bits where writer Martin bemoans the whole of Hollywood. So far, the book is quite fun, but I'm trying to decide if the occaisional unreadability of the thing is part of the genious, a flaw or just the price best paid. I have this question about a lot of the olde Britishers...

Thursday, February 08, 2007

IT'S NOTHING AT ALL

Sunday morning...



There's weaknesses in all of these images, but I'm waiting for that iredeemable crap panel to pop up. I don't think it has yet (in these new pages). Oh well, maybe when I do the final inks.

JOHNSO?



Two-thirds of my way to 3/4 of the new pages — pre-finals. Finish by end of weekend? Or Finnish by end of weekend? You make the call!

IT'S NOT YOU

Listening to Smokey Robinson's The Ultimate Collection. Smoke wrote a number of songs with this theme: "It's not you, it's me. And I can do a lot better." Ah, Smoke.

Of course, a lot of his other hits are on the themes: "You cheatin' bitch!" or "Wha hoppen? Oh. You're a cheatin' bitch!"

Here's a panel. If it seems like it sucks, it's not you — it's me. And I can do a lot better. What?

X? IS THE NEW BLACK



Manny Thangues to Kenny, Marcos and Rob for kind words. What good is delusion if no one's reinforcing it?

MY OWN SON!



I actually turned the computer off and was heading to bed, but I walked in the opposite direction of my bed and sat down to draw. This is the first panel of the new page 3. I think dad's hand should go behind son's head. It will get those eyes going in the right direction.

NOW I'm off to bed.

THAT'S ONE KISSER OF A BOO-BOO!



I just realized, I screwed up my bizzare naming convention for this whole page. Oops.

I also put the word balloon in the wrong place. But that's because I did it before figuring out exactly where the figures were supposed to be. This was, again, a complete redraw from my original pencils. The characters kept switching positions on me.

One thing I'm sure of though, these two are getting their own chapter. Somewhere down a line.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

I'M TOM, BY THE WAY

BIGGER JOBS!



Marcos got quoted on the latest izzer. It's towards the end, and is pretty much the Cliff Face motto.

There's a robot bulldozer named Mek-Quake in Nemesis the Warlock who speaks a little bit like Carl is the Awesome. Always shouting, "Big Jobs!" Robot street cleaning in the distant future might be "Bigger Jobs!" Who is to say? Me.

Speaking of Mek-Quake, Mr. Britcoms, The Bad Librarian posted a link to David Bishop's blog. Bishop is a former 2000AD editor and is posting his and other employees reccollections of that mag's history. The Pat Mills bits are my favorite. He's becoming a must-read writer for me, and I love his angry talk in this and this interview. Also: Kevin O'Neill! There should be 21 more days to go in his 28-day series. Should be some interesting stuff to come.

I'm glad I got to crank some less-detailed panels out tonight, so far. It makes it look like progress. After some flooding last night (YAY! Flooding! It's been years. How I've missed your dirty trickle.)

I might do one more before making some dinner and cuddling up with the first new episode of Lost in months. YAY! 18 straight weeks to go, I think. Who else can claim that?

OL' FACEFUL

STRADDLER!

I AM. REALLY. I AM.

CLOSING OUT THE NEW FIRST PAGE



Completely redid the pencils on this one. The original bears no resemblance to this one, except that it's a reverse orientation image featuring the same characters. I'll see what I think about doing another pass when I revisit it.

I also left out some of the details. Huh. Didn't realise that until I started posting.

And I still haven't gotten Boo Boo's hair where I want it, but the left side is a lot closer. There's a panel in Marshal Law: Blood, Sweat and Fears where Kevin O'Neill has drawn a 'super hero strip club' sign. The girl in the sign has "Passion Pit" written in her hair. Awesome. I think Boo Boo styles her hair after that image, except she does it a bit more Filmore West. Awesomer.

A VOUPLE PASSES



This took me a couple passes to get the poses where I needed them to be. The initial pencil was a little stiff.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

ON YOUR FABULOUS MARKS!



Widen the gap between buildings and silouete 'em

TRES TRACE



Needs more roof.

Monday, February 05, 2007

MY SIN MEN

Ah those plans laid best...

Whoah. That post title was just supposed to be a little Sly Stoning, but I think it kicked a nut left. I think it might show up in printed form, if I do say so mice elf.

Went to bed after posting last night... and had a bit of an idea. Not a huge idea, but it fired a neuron that pinballed through my head all night. For no good reason, too. I should have just been able to have the idea (it's not even an original one), decided to make it happen and then drift off into a slumber tossed to and fro between the jacked up baseboard heating and the artic winds.

But no. The last time I looked at the clock, it was already 6:30 and I was considering just going Hard Grove and getting breakfast. Then I passed out and woke up with my alarm. I figure there's about 90 minutes of sleep in me at the moment. Might as well change my name to Jack. When I start screaming at you uncontrolably, that's what I'll be screaming. "MIGHT AS WELL CHANGE MY NAME TO JACK!!!!!!"

Anyway, the idea will be going live sometime this week and shouldn't require much thought, work or time. Those are the sort of ideas I should be implementing more often.

Still, the idea will allow me to bandy about some words I love using. Words like Masterworks, Omnibus, Essential, Showcase, Absolute, Complete, Compendium, Collected, Carl is the Awesome and Kevin Church (and no, not exactly because of this, because it's not that — exactly). Anyway, I'll be doing it for the kids. And for Lil' Kim's criminally under-rated album, The Notorious K.I.M..

And, no, the curveballs in that paragraph are not the curveballs you're looking for.

Now for some work and hopefully some sleep, sleep ketchup.

ONCE MORE, WITH FEELINGS

The felt-tip 'pencils' for panel 2:



And now it's time for bed. If I stay up any longer, I'm going to have to eat another dinner.

"PENCILS" ROUND 2

Here's the second round of pencils for the first panel of the first of the new pages. The pages use a 6-panel grid, but I may break those in half (upping the auntie to 8 pages) if I think it's all getting too small. The beats all happen on every third panel, so it shouldn't ruin anything.

Still, the idea of super-density appeals to me. We'll see if it works. If not, harmy fouls, as the kids say.

The thumbnails, where I wrote the pages out, were done in check-fraud-preventitive purple pen. Apparently, the ink absorbs into the paper to such a degree that it can't be erased. Who knew? Anyway, six panels on each 8.5x11 sheet of paper. The backsides of a certain old movie script.

I then pencilled each panel on 8.5x11 paper. Each panel is 9.75x8. Done in 8H pencil (the actual 8H of Turquoise brand and the soft-enough-to-be-HB 8H of Kimberly). I had to use what was already sharpenned, because I killed my pencil sharpener two weeks ago. I haven't replaced it because, I haven't had to do any pencilling until this weekend. Now I'm creeked up the shit.

I'm then light tabling those pencils onto 8.5x11 graph paper. With so many rounds, I'm trying to keep the thing loose, so, it's freehand. The graph paper helps keep lines from squiggling to far in any direction. These 'pencils' are actually felt-tip flair pens. A couple reasons. 1. I have no sharpened pencils left. 2. the felt-tip will read a lot better when I light table the final inks. A few, really. 3. The pens keep the liine loose, and I'm less likely to be overly careful. Ah-hem. Several. 4. The pen line is thicker and blunter than a pencil, giving me a better sense of line-negative space relation.

Anyway, here's a future city in lou's pen, proper perspective be dams:

Sunday, February 04, 2007

WHERE"S THE RING GIRL?

First round of pencils is now done.

Onto round deuce. Some wild shit goin' on in these pages. Cross your legs and hope for the beast.

Saturday, February 03, 2007

DOWN

Finished the pencils for the first of the four new pages. Sort of. I'll probably take two passes on the pencils for these pages, really nailing some shit to the wall. As such, this will probably put finishing these pages somewhere around next weekend.

That's good, it will give me a chance to catch up on some of the digital aspects of the production.

FOUR MORE PAGES

Ok. I think I have what was missing. Drag racing and family drama. Four pages to open the book with a slightly different energy and characters that aren't quite as cypherish as the other characters start out. Also, it's gonna have exclamitory captions and thought balloons. Sweetness.

Anyway, these will be pages 0a-0d, and the pencils will start shortly.

ULTIMATE

The last panel drawn of chapter 3 is the first panel of page 39.



Time to pop a cork of the good stuff! Or, at least, the stuff I have on hand.

I'm alternately pleased and appalled by the book right now. Of course, that's a lot better than how I felt about the last issue. Good signs!

I do, however, feel like something might be missing. While I want to get the book done, I also don't want the issue to beef, forcing people to inhale the whirlwind.

I think I might want to Tharg this a bit. I was going to do a 24-hour comic to get me into a place for the next issue. Now I think I'll spend this weekend working on a little something extra for this issue.

Not done yet!

ULTIMATE PEN

The penultimate panel! The second panel of page 39.



Now onto the first panel of page 39...

Friday, February 02, 2007

TOP OF 38

Page 38 is done. I had to, once again, see if one of the images even works...

BOTTOM PAGE 37

The bottom half of page 37:

SHOOT ME WITH THE BISLEYGUN

Hey, next time I come up with a great idea (like draping a character entirely in an elaborate lace pattern), feel free to walk up behind me with your giant Bisleygun and shoot me in the back of the head, splattering my grey matter and skull fragments all across the wall.

Speaking of giant Bisleyguns, I've been inspired by the recent Complete Nemesis the Warlock collection to seek out a whole bunch of old 2000AD comics (some 4
years after DC's aborted attempt to collect them). A lot of this stuff is out of print or hard to find, but I was able to get my hands on a few books.

I'm loving the energy and inventiveness of these British sci-fi comics and thinking about what they might be able to offer my own sci-fi comic. O'Neill's growth as an artist is something amazing to behold, especially if you also sneak some peaks at The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen whill reading his stuff. Some of the work is rough — really rough — as 2000AD was often the place new cartoonists started out. Still, what the artists lack in honed skills and storytelling ability, they more than make up for with a unique visual sensibility. It's not always the case, but people like O'Neill, Talbot and Bisley often only show the promise of what they would become.

For the record, I've gotten an ABC Warriors book, The Black Hole, featuring Simon Bisley and S.M.S. on art and a Marshal Law book, Blood, Sweat and Fears, with Kevin O'Neill on art. Both books were written by Pat Mills (Mills and O'Neill were also responsible for Nemesis). I got The Complete Indigo Prime by Smith & Weston and Hadley. I've like Weston's art on The Invisibles and The Filth (among others), but Weston's Indigo Prime might make those books appear as dull phantoms when sitting next to one another. I got Hewligan's Haircut by Milligan and Hewlett, which looks nice, and something else I can't think of. Hmmm...

And I'll be on the lookout for The Mills/O'Neill/Brendan-Freakin'-McCarthy ABC Warriors as well as The Complete Judge Dredd Case Files volumes with art by Gibbons, Bolland, Bond, MacMahon, O'Neill and Brendan-Holy Shit-McCarthy.

I also want to get some Hewlett Tank Girl. Someday, I'll find it. The rainbow connection. The lovers, the dreamers and me.

Accompanying my ink hell, and a synchronistic link with my newfound Britcomics love, I've been listening to these great podcasts:

Eddie Campbell's "Man at the Crossroads" (And possibly the inspiration for his Mr. Simpson? Certainly, the voice matches what I've always had in my head), Mr.
Paul Gravett
Part 1.

And Paul Gravett Part 2.

Also, on The League of Extraordinary Gentlmen past, present & future, Kevin O'Neill, Rob Liefeld and Chris Ware: Alan Moore Part 1.

On magic, Promethea and comics techniques, Alan Moore Part 2.

And assorted other stuff with Alan Moore Part 3.

All part of the "I'm Ready For My Closeup" radio show.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

PAGE 36


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