Monday, April 30, 2007

THE POETS CALLED IT LOVE AT FIRST SIGHT

Well, it's about time we got to the villains of the piece. Page 9, panel 2, pencils:



There's an old image I drew (that is the basis for a later scene in this book), with "mustache man" and the character on the right. I instinctively drew the second fellow as a short, squat man. As placeholder names, I just started referring to them as Stan and Ollie. Well, the placeholer names started ingraining themselves in my head. All my life, I've been fascinated with the way Oliver Hardy would play with his tie. It's a bit of character genious, immediately conveying his characters' poor-man's desire to appear well-bred and fastidious. The idea of Oliver Hardy as a really despicable man made me laugh every time I wrote one of his scenes. I had to keep a bit of that in.

He lacked a distinctive voice, though, and spoke in dull exposition until I became obsessed with the BBC program QI. It's unavailable in the US, so I had to youtube it. This led me to an earlier program, A Bit of Fry and Laurie, starring QI's host, Stephen Fry and Hugh (House) Laurie. It's a sketch comedy show and had one particular running bit that worked splendidly. In it, Fry plays off his reputation for erudition and scholarliness in a portrayal of a guest (on Laurie's talkshow) who tries to describe the beauty of language as it pertains to a simple subject. That doesn't sound even remotely funny, I know, but it is.

That's when, sitting in Union Square, all the pieces fit together, and I fell in love. I'm so happy I'm finally filling him out, as it were, so to speak.

HOLY SUPER CRAP SHUT UP!!!

At what age does a child have the ability to run full-bore through an apartment (with such heavy steps that I thought the kid lived above me, not below me) but still cries and wails — incessantly? Seriously. This kid will not shut up.

It's been a month of this. SHUT THE FUCK UP.

I used to think the stray cats in heat outside my old apartment produced the absolute worst sound known to man. But they've been absolutely trumped by this kid. And I just don't understand it.

Apparently, I never cried as an infant. Never. Which sounds a bit weird, actually. But my mother insists that I was an abnormally quiet child. No, I didn't start crying until that one night my roommate found me naked, upside down on a fully extended recliner, with an empty dime bag, a nearly empty bottle of whiskey and a tape of Oliver Stone's Nixon playing on the tv. Since then, it's been non-stop. But at least I have the decency to to sob silently!

Now I'm off to plan the perfect murder...totally unrelated, of course.

Sunday, April 29, 2007

BEEF-MASTER

Well, we see how this works. I finally hooked my scanner up to my laptop. Everything worked fine until I went into Photoshop. It seems the 'save for web' function doesn't on my laptop. I could've sworn I'd done it before, but I guess not.

So, I saved it as a Photoshop jpeg. The preview looks fine. Here's hoping.

This is the penciled 5th panel of page 8. Getting closer to being on schedule. Whoopee!



This whole thing started super dense, and it's getting denser as I work on it. Soon, it will be ultra dense. After that? OMEGA DENSE. Beware the OMEGA DENSITY, for it is coming. For YOU.

MoCCA is now only 7 weeks away, so I really need to pick up the paces, one time.
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I'm reading Nick Bertozzi's The Salon. Only about 20% through it, but I think it's the aces. I'd read a few issues of Rubber Necker ages ago, but I don't remember anything really grabbing me about them. I actually can't remember anything about them at all. And they're buried at the moment, so I can't even refresh my memory. However, I've kept his name in the back of my brain, probably in anticipation. I guess it clicked enough for me to be on the lookout for the next thing he did. And I was impressed enough by the visual element of his Houdini book (with Jason Lutes) that I wasn't deterred. Really, the cartooning and the drawing are the draws for that book (the story, not so much).

But The Salon is, so far, satisfying on every level. I'm so running around the towns, talking like Picasso: "Always my mother make piss before a fight."

Visually, it's scrumptious. Lively brush strokes, character designs full of... well, character, and wonderful depth to the compositions. It's pretty inspiring work, as well. His panels are just a bit wider than mine and about the same height, so it's nice to see someone pushing in that direction.

Maybe I'll write more when I'm done with it. Here's a good, short interview with Bertozzi.

I'm also plowing through the first Fantastic Four Omnibus. It took me a while to dig into it, partially because the book ends right before the title really exploded into awesomeness. Still, I'm glad I resolved to start reading it. The stories are pretty sparse and sometimes questionable, but it's a lot of fun watching Lee and Kirby discover the rules they were inventing on the spot. They clearly had no idea what they were doing from issue to issue. Sometimes it seems like they didn't know what they were doing from panel to panel. There's been a couple pages where some MacGuffin device of Doctor Doom's has been described as three completely different things. It's also obvious that Doctor Doom himself was more a work in progress than a fully formed idea. I do wish he used that shark-faced helicopter more often, though.

But some of the brilliant touches were in there right from the start, and just kept getting better. The interpersonal relationships and small character details that fill most of these stories are where all the fun is at. The Thing with the teacup is my favorite, so far. Just a perfect little image you know was done just because it made Kirby laugh to do so, but that spelled volumes about what it was they were on about. And the famous letters pages are some of the best examples of fan interaction I've ever seen.
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Okay, enough from me. It's time to crack some wine and finish watching a Bret Hart/Ted DiBiase match from 1989 before heading to bed. Man, I wish I had some more DiBiasse to watch. He was really good. I wonder if he'll ever get a dvd.

Friday, April 27, 2007

THE GREAT FLAME WAR PART II

It occurred to me that I didn't actually HAVE Graphic Novel Review (or The Daily Cross Hatch) in my sidebar, because when I've looked at it (them), I looked at it (them) from work, where I'm blocked from actually using my own blog.

Anyway, my flame war might've been more explosive if I had. Then I could've made a big show of removing the link for a day or two (well, a couple hours). Oh well, live and learn.

Also, certain aspects of those sites are blocked at work (which is all part of our arbitrary blocking settings), so it's probably a good idea to have the links handy at home. Hey, look: There's art on them there pages. Who knew?

I also forgot to post (a couple posts back) that I also got a prize in my crackerjacks as part of the Belasco collection. You can see it here. Original painted Killer Moth, baby.

FLAME WAR: ENGAGE!

As I was perusing the net this evening, I discovered this link back to this blog from Graphic Novel Review. "Ooh," thought I, "I'll check this out."

Apparently, Joey Manley does a little round-up of other people's writings on the topic of his given review (something I never noticed before).

Here's the relevant quotes regarding my review of The Squirrel Mother and Other Stories:

"Much of what I found, though, struck me as strangely curt and cursory, regardless of whether the opinion proffered turned out to be positive or negative in the end. Maybe Kelso’s minimalism has rubbed off on the reviewers? (No danger of that here at GNR, my friends, never fear! We never saw a ten dollar word we wouldn’t gladly pay you twenty for).

"Earth Minds Are Weak:

""The book is named after the first story in the collection, a gorgeously depicted piece about… well, it’s a bit hard for me to say."

"See what I mean? Lots of people are talking … but they’re not talking a lot. That doesn’t mean that the book didn’t have an impact on them, of course. Sometimes the best works of art leave us without words. For example, Justin Fox, the “Earth Minds are Weak” blogger quoted immediately above, went on several months later to declare the book his #1 favorite comic of 2006."


Now, here's my review. I'm rough estimating that it's about 1,080 words. Manley's comes in at about 940. Excusing a broad margin of error in my calculations, I'd say our pieces are roughly the same in length, and mine might actually be longer (eh-hem).

This is ridiculous, I say. Ridiculous!

Had Manley criticized the writing style or content, that would be fine. But he didn't. In fact, he avoids steering readers away from the post (as he did another writer's review). He even further links to the best of list I did, where it would be fair cop to say I didn't say much about the book. He could've criticized the conclusions I arrived at, but he didn't. He didn't even really criticize my brevity, simply called attention to it.

But what he called attention to was fallacy. Pure fallacy. And it's simply unforgivable, what he did.

Seriously, I spend all day mining coal and smelting iron. When I come home, I expect a little gratitude. Just a little sugar. Instead, it's "Oh, I wish it was longer! Oh, Rob Clough's is much thicker and goes deeper!" There's just no pleasing some people.

By the way, you should totally read Manley and Clough's reviews, as they're quite good.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

THE BELASCO COLLECTION

Kenny is moving in with his girlfriend like a crazy guy. And I'm the one benefiting from his crazy (well, Marcos is too). Before his move, he's decided to purge his comics collection and he just came by bearing a huge box of books. I can't believe he actually carried all these over here. Love makes Kenny do crazy things.

So, what did I score?

Let's see...

Gahan Wilson's Still Weird
Paul Pope's Escapo (I have the version in Giant-size THB or Buzz Buzz or something, but this is the expanded version)
THB 6a,b, and d (I only owned c — huh.)
Sam Hiti's Tiempos Finales
Eddie Campbell's Bachus Book 9: King Bacchus (the only one I didn't have)
The pixelated version of Nate Powell's Sounds of Your Name (it's HUGE)
A Shazam Annual reprinting old Captain Marvel stories
Shazam Archives Vol. 1 (oh, how I love that C.C. Beck subway car from the first story)
Justice League Archives Vol. 1 (I think these are the same stories that appeared in the Showcase book, but in colors!)
Watchmen (I've never actually owned this. Read it manny time, never owned)
Swamp Thing: Dark Genesis and the six Moore Swamp Thing collections
Mickey Death
The two Persopolis books
Crisis of Infinite Earths!
Guy Davis' Baker Street
Those Ted McKeever Elseworlds
Ted McKeever War of the Worlds (?!)
Wolverine: Snikt!
Sharknife
Tales of Durga Vol. 514 An Indian religious comic with a goddess swinging an elephant by its trunk. Beat that, Jesus.
Bombaby (sexy Indian space goddess thingy)
Totems (I guess this was supposed to be a Vertigo teamup book with art by Richard Case, Duncan Fregredo and Dean Ormstrom)
Two issues of Shaolin Cowboy
Deadline (a reporter in the Marvel Universe thing)
Some minis by J Hindle (I don't know who that is)

Also, there was a bunch of stuff I already have. Still, pretty awesome haul.

Marcos got the Eddy Current hardcover I've craved since sophomore year of college. Meaning I have another reason to hate him. I wish they'd reprint that. And Metropol in a single, more sensible edition. And an absolute Industrial Gothic while I'm fantasizing. And a big softcover of his notorious (but better than haterz claim) Doom Patrol run with Rachel Pollack. And the Anne Nocenti/John Romita Jr./Al Williamson Daredevils. And the Mark Gruenwald Captain Americas.

Hmm... got off track there.

Monday, April 23, 2007

SHAKIN' FIST AT ALIAS THE WEATHER

Okay, I KNOW I was one of many people waiting for the snow and cold rains to end so that spring could get it's warm on, but did it really NEED to be in the mid 80s today? I was ill-prepared for summershock.

I also didn't get a chance to eat lunch today, because I had some unnecessarily complicated work to do in the office. It took me four hours to do something that should've taken one or half of one, really. Maybe fifteen minutes. But our client gave us a form in Excel, the stupidest, most non-versatile program ever devised. Why on the earths would someone make a program that actually defies printouts? That has almost no functionality? Really, if PCs weren't so cheap for so long, no one in their right mind would use them. Stupid machines with stupid software.

Of course, the owners of our company could make my life a lot easier. They have standard answers for these forms that I have to read every month or so. And every time I have to correct the same spelling and grammatical errors because they NEVER use the corrected pieces. They just resubmit their same English-as-a-foreign-language text pieces. No one even bothers to run spellcheck on the damn things.

And we were still without coffee in the office for most of the day. That was two weeks of pain and annoyance. So, I was starving, caffeine-deprived and nicotine fiending and working in the most inefficient manner possible. Then some of my co-workers decided to throw a hissy fit because what I was doing meant I wouldn't be able to do their work for those hours. Their work that never came by my desk, mind you.

By the end of the day, my body must've time traveled back to Friday, because I felt stoned out of my mind. Heat, starvation, stimulant deprivation, staring at a computer for hours — my brain went kablooey. I pretty much swooned through the last couple hours there.
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Marcos picked up Kim Deitch's Alias the Cat! last week. I thought about borrowing his, eventually, but I couldn't resist buying it myself when I saw that awesome cover. Teensie-weensie image here.

Jog
wrote, "If you like last year's Shadowland collection, do not hesitate to pick this one up." So, I didn't. Because I do. I'm only about halfway though it now, but I think this is his absolute bestest book yet. I didn't read the original serialization, so this is all new to me. New and wonderful. Can't wait to finish it.

THIS RAPPIN'S LIKE ZITI

With my desktop crashed, I'm sort of limited as to what music I can listen to while I'm working. Luckily, I loaded up a 15Gb iPod a few weeks ago (I can't use the 80Gb iPod until I update to Tiger, which is OS 4, not 3. I missed 3 entirely). But I couldn't put anything on that iPod that was purchased off the iTunes store, because it runs on an even older version of iTunes (it was my sister's iPod from...2004?), I could only import songs burned from cds or acquired on iTunes 4 (I think).

Anyway, that means I can't listen to my whole library, which kinda sucks. However, there is some good stuff on there. Including some prime Ghostface. I was struck by how great the beats are on the first few tracks of More Fish. The first track in particular marries an awesome beat to Ghost's Fishy crime story delivery. More Fish is a pretty good outtake+ album, like Radiohead's Amnesiac, but I think the Theodore Unit tracks are a bit unnecessary. There's a reason I have all the Ghostface albums and don't have the Theodore Unit album. Side posses just never turn out that great, do they?

Anyway, the post title comes from the greatest chorus on one of the greatest rap albums of all time, Apollo Kids from Supreme Clientele:

A-yo, this rappin's like ziti
facin' me real TV
crash at high speeds
strawberry kiwi
as we approach yo herb, the gods bail
these Staten Island ferryboat cats bail
Fresh cellies, 50 thief up in the city
we banned for life
Apollo kids live to spit the real

I'm not even sure that's stream of consciousness. It's Ghost of consciousness.
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Inks are done on pages 1-3, putting me closer to my schedule than I thought I'd be, when the weekend began, at this point. Of course, I should get further behind once I start drawing the parade. But I'm definitely flowing now. This weather has been a huge help. The rain was just killing my brain. And I love the fact that the windows are still open at 3AM. Hopefully, I'll be able to do some serious plow this week and actually catch up to where I'm supposed to be.

I think it's all good stuff in there, too. Although, looking at my thumbs, I realize why I found myself paced for 13 panels instead of 12 on the first two pages. I was writing out the dialog and kept running into this weird hurdle at the end. I think I should've turned panels 1 & 2 into one panel. That would've given me a bit more space at the end. But, now, I think I got the gag to work, so I'm only looking back in my rearview.

Anyway, my schedule has me finishing the week after MoCCA. And that's no good. I want to have 8 & 9 FOR MoCCA. And it's now only 2 months away. My very optimistic schedule has me finishing a week before MoCCA, which would be splendid. My supercalafragilistic schedule has me finishing at the end of May. If I can do that, then there might be a little something added to the book. We'll see. There will be hints about that once I start posting pages again.

Oh, that reminds me, I figured out how to solve a problem I was having scanning work onto my laptop. I should be ready to go on that front tomorrow. There's something I've been meaning to scan for a while now, and I'll start with that.

And I've heard news from APE that the fifth issue of Hecter the Collector debuted there this weekend, that's put a smile on my face.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

IAN O'LIMP

If there was an Olympic game for killing hard drives, it would be called the Hardathalon. And I would be the Hardathalon Gold Medalist. I could hear it going in my tower all week, and then it took an hour and a half to boot it up this morning. That's the first one I've killed on that computer. I killed three on the previous machine.

I'm sure the smoking and the candles lit to hide the smell of smoke and the not dusting all contribute to these murders, but I've been killing home electronics for decades. So, some things died long before I could curupt them with carcinogenic dustups. Boom boxes, stereos, vcrs, dvd players, walkmen, tvs. I'm sometimes surprised when a machine lasts 6 months.

Can't wait to waste half a day at Tekserve finding out what I already know, but I gotta be sure. I guess I'll finally beef my OS to 10.3 as well.

The downside is that I'm not going to be scanning any images until I do unless I hook my scanner up to my laptop. And I'm not doing that just yet out of principle. I'm not entirely sure what principle I'm standing upon, but I like the way it shake.
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What wonders await you once I'm up and running again? New lettering style is one. I was a bit disappointed by the way the letters looked on the last book. Finding the right technique has alluded me for forever.

I decided to scan a page from the latest Fell, with Chris Eliopoulos' computer font and stick a few of his word balloons onto one of my panels at 100%. Then I blew that up to the size I'm drawing at. For some reason, I light tabled a printout of this with a sheet of graph paper. It turns out that Eliopoulos scales to exactly 1/5" high with a 1/10" space between lines. And my graph paper is subdivided into tenths. Very weird, but convenient. That meant that I could just figure out all my text on the graph paper. Whoah.

The next problem was figuring out what to draw the letters with. I decided that the 659 nibs I finished off with last issue were part of my disaffection with it. I went out to pick up some D-4 Speedballs, the nibs with the turned up tip for smooth writing. Unfortunately, the D-4 is WAY too wide. It looked so small in the store, but it was enormous when I tried it out. If I had a nickel...

Had to look at my home selection of tools for solutions. Right now, I'm kind of happy with the way the #2 brush is working out. Color me shocked. It's not perfect, but I'm really looking forward to seeing how it looks scaled down.

Speaking of ch-ch-ch-changes, I redid the background for the first two pages again. I think I finally nailed it. We'll see. Also, I'm working on tracing vellum again. Haven't done that since EMAW #4. It's been fun so far.

Still aiming for a MoCCA de Butte, even as that deadline gets increasingly improbable.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

STOP DOING YOUR YOGAS IN MY FACE

Must be all the rain and unseasonably cold temperatures, because people sure do seem to be getting cabin fever.

Okay, just because you can stand on one foot while putting your other foot behind your head and then kick straight up and then jackknife the whole works doesn't mean you should do it when you're standing next to the printer in the office, because that's where I keep my face. And then, suddenly, there you are, spread and contorted where I keep my face. That's no good. It's just no good. 'Cause sooner or later you're going to get all creeped out, and I'll only be doing what comes naturally. Let a man be, please.

Here's the felt-tip overlay layouts of the first four panels of the second page of the fifth chapter of the second part of Kaiju Jugoruma in the upcoming ninth issue of Earth Minds Are Weak. See? I do all my contortions at home.






I'll be incorporating a variation of the woodland scene (seen in previous posts) in the background.

Monday, April 16, 2007

SLOW ACCRETION OF LINES

Adding more ink to the background panel. Trying to get it just right. Some spots are pretty much untouched, while others are still building. The hardest part is getting it so it reduces properly. This is going to print at about 3" wide, and I don't want the details lost. Also, the smaller it is, the harder it is going to be to convey depth. But hey, why should anything be easy?



Worked out all the figure placements and came upon the actual dialog for this page. While the majority of the book has dialog firmly loosely in place, my notes for the first two pages amounted to: "6 months ago, Somewhere deep in the 'Sprawl', 2, 4, 8, 12, exposition, then do it."

It's like my very own U2 song.

I had a feeling it would be easy to throw word down though. The scene features Erik and Sylvia from the first chapter in EMAW #8, and those two just have a wonderful inner life to them and a relationship that seems more nailed down every time I use them. I also wanted to hold off on writing their words here until I'd written the rest of the issue. It's a gambit that payed off, since I wasn't thinking about glaciers or human migration when I started writing this issue. But, now that I've written it, it might seem like I was thinking about them the whole time. Mwah-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha! Or not.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

BEEFY PENCILS

Pencils on the bristol. Light tabled the marker drawing from the last post and did a final pencil drawing in 9H pencil. The scan is super-beefed contrast.



Next step is inky inky inky.

STARTING EMAW 09

The first two pages of EMAW #9 will be taking place against a more-or-less static background. Since that what going to be the case, I really need to nail that background. It was also important that the scene looked particularly New Jersey. This takes place out in "The Sprawl": land outside the city that's been abandoned somewhat but still maintains some of the markers of suburban/rural life.

I grew up in Morris County, New Jersey, near the Great Swamp and Jockey Hollow and less than an hours drive away from the Meadowlands, the Delaware Water Gap and maybe a little further away from the Pine Barrens. So, I sort of know what the North Jersey woods look like and maybe have a better idea of what makes them distinctive from other woodland areas. North Jersey is made up of land cut and shaped by a glacier and it has it's own particular brand of foliage. I'm not a botanical expert, but we have a lot of pine, maple and oak. And these trees have there own way of growing and shaping the foliage around them. And that's what I'm trying to capture.

Anyway, after the thumbnail, I photoshopped some images of Morris County woods together in a way that I thought looked authentic. I then figured out the approximate scale that I wanted everything to appear. I printed out the altered image and lightboxed it onto scrap paper with a felt tip marker to find the shapes I wanted and to add in a stone wall.

I then took that image to my drawing table and traced and refined it a bit (the paper is thin enough that I don't need to lightbox it, especially since there were few actual detail to transcribe. I kept the original photoshopped image handy to reference.

Then I produced this image with felt tip marker and 6B pencil:



I'm kind of proud to say that I actually have quite a bit more work to do on it, but the nice thing about it is that I can almost treat it as the background on a animated feature for the 12 panels it will be appearing on. I think it will be a cool effect, if I can get it right.

The secret is to not make it look like some crap comic that reuses the same images over and over again like some lousy photo-reference artists you might find working for DC, Marvel or Image. It's important that each panel remains somewhat distinct and alive and various elements all work well together. Hopefully, I can do that. It's an exciting challenge, at least.

Friday, April 13, 2007

THIS BOOK IS BUT A DREAM (MOME 7)

I was going to do this whole thing about dreams, dream comics being the disproportionate device used in Mome stories. I had the whole structure ready to go in my head, and was prepared to seriously deliver the goods. But then I didn't. So you'll have to settle for what I did write, an attitude that might make me a perfect candidate for the next artistic shakeup in this anthology.

MOME VOL. 7 Ah, Mome. I was quite prepared to leave this one on the shelf for a while until Jog pointed out that Eleanor Davis would begin contributing to the book. Added to that, Tom Spurgeon revealed that Al Columbia would also have work in it. This meant I was fully primed to read it right away. Well, Mome never fails to disappoint at least a little bit, and this issue continued that grand tradition.

The Davis piece is absolutely gorgeous, and the story does have a little more going on below the surface, but it's not the most evocative piece she's ever done. In a way, it's more reminiscent of Slow Form to Worm, her comics scrolls. There's nothing wrong with it, but this isn't a story that's going to blow you away. You'll simply enjoy it.

Kurt Wolfgang's Nothing Eve is still entertaining. He seems to be the one person most at home withing the format.

There's something funny about Al Columbia's pages. They're the only ones set off by their own title page, as if announcing a major event, but then we just get 8 pages. Beautiful, wonderful pages, but I do feel a bit cheated. We've waited a long time for new work, and I expected a full song, not a short jingle. But that's the fault of my expectations, not the work as presented.

David Heatley supplies two dream comics that sort of just sit on the page without ever getting too psychologically revealing. There's one panel in the first story that's a visual treat (the elevator descending through an office), but nothing else really seems to take off. Adrice Arp and Sophie Crumb deliver more dream comics (Arp's is the more successful, Crumb still hasn't done anything I've enjoyed). Anders Nilsen and newcomer Tom Kaczynski provide two dream-like comics. You can count me as one of the people who found Kaczynski polemics, as Jog says, "a bit much", but the whole thing does have a car-crash quality to it. It's visually lovely, and wonderfully Ballardian, but the philosophy never seems to rise above itself.

Trondheim continues to be introspective, but funny and entertaining. In his quest to prove his theory that all cartoonists become crap once they reach a certain age, he manages to find and provide evidence to the contrary. Possibly trying to prove Trondheim's point for him, Gary Groth interviews Nilsen. Groth's interviews are more interesting when he's combative or when he can come across as incredibly knowledgeable about a topic. But all of these interviews have been puff pieces more than engrossing works of journalism and he spent so long out of the emerging cartoonists loop that these conversations are more like the sort you might find yourself in when an aging rock fan decides he needs to tell you how hip he is while simultaneously telling you how much better it was back in the day. "Oh, now this, this is Skynard. SKYNARD. Do you know Skynard? I mean, I like U2 and Bon Jovi just like you kids, but you should've been around when Skynard was in it's PRIME. I bet they'd STILL rock the house. Or do you all say, "crib" now? Skynard would rock this crib." You can almost see him gasping for air while Nilsen discusses gallery shows and installations, and he even says, "Oh good" when Anders throws him a Jules Feifer bone. Unfortunately, Nilsen never quite gets the opportunity to say anything he hasn't said in other interviews.

Oh, and Paul Hornschemeier may have rendered himself must-wait-and-see with his two pieces.

Al in all, worth it for the Wolfgang, Trondheim, Davis and Columbia, as long as you're expectations are lowered a bit for the latter two (it's very good, but not pedestal worthy). But still not an entirely satisfying experience at all.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

EVERYBODY WANTS TO TALK

BUT NOBODY WANTS TO TELL ME

I had one of those days where everybody wanted to talk to me. It freaked me out quite a bit.

One of the cashiers at Forbidden Planet (the store to go to on big manga days) decided to tell me about every manga and asian movie ever. She was very nice and pointed out some things I might want to check out, but I'm not really the most social person ever. Also, I've never gotten used to talking to people in a comic book store. Comic book stores and talking are like like libraries and dancing: I really should get better at it, 'cause that's the wave of the present. What?

Then I went over to Blimpie for a sandwich, my luch hour getting real short. It's a regular stop for me, and everyone knows what I want and how I want it. I don't even say words to order anymore. But then one of the guys decided that he wanted to know all about my job and whatnot. This further cut my lunch hour down to about seven minutes.

Then there's the crazy new girl at the office that keeps trying to strike up converations with me. That's just crazy.

Then, as I was leaving the office — running to get home and curl up all alone in a corner of my safety closet — some guy shouts, "Hey! Is that a Forbidden Planet bag?" I turn around, and it's one of the retouchers, a guy who I've managed to get all conversation down to a series of acknowlegment grunts. He wants to talk about the comics I got and tell me all about Marvel Zombies.

What's wrong with people? I'm not likable, pleasant or welcoming. But maybe no one can see that anymore. I must seem lovable with my new beard. Like Santa Claus. Stupid jolly beard. That and the comics. It's suddenly perfectly ok for people to talk about comics openly and without shame. What happened to our secret club with its secret roster? It was like being Masons or Cold War spies from allied nations. Now it's all pride pride pride.

I need to find a hobby where people still feel shame. Perhaps I'll look into reading legal briefs.

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But there's one thing no one told me about. Or, if they did, I missed it, trying to plot my escape. Hikaru No Go Vol. 9 came out! Not this week, maybe the last. And it's probably the best one yet. It's very funny and the tension is is ridiculously high. Hotta and Obata have done a great job preparing us for Hikaru's failures, as well as his successes, so the outcome of any game is entirely in doubt. This issue is increasing the stakes by introducing more inernational characters and, specifically, a character that looks at Hikaru the way Hikaru looks at Akira.

Did I mention that the entire volume is centered around the challenge of intentional tying. Tying! Seriously, tying has never been so exciting.

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Also gotten was the new Mome #7 (Eleanor Davis! Al Columbia! Lewis Trondheim, David Heatley, Paul Hrnschemeier, Anders Nilsen Andrice Arp, Kurt Wolfgang and others might make this the best Mome yet)the new Fell #8 (which actually doesn't look super promising, but may surprise), the new Death Note #11 (only one or two left to go!) and the old Times of Botchan #1 (I read the third volume and absolutely loved it).

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

LIKE A SCHOOLGIRL

So, I was updating my netflix queue and noticed that Season 2 of Twin Peaks had finally come out. This was something I never really believed would happen, so I had to see it for myself.

I ran over to Best Buy after work and... couldn't find it. Clearly, the fates continued to conspire to keep this out of my hands. So, I started looking around, trying to figure out if it was in a different section (they have the tv section broken up by studio and not. Then, what to my wandering eyes should appear, but a third spine amongst the Newsradio discs.

Could it be? Did the fourth season of Newsradio come out, and I somehow — YES! Yes, it did. And — And, what's this? THE FIFTH SEASON AS WELL! I shrieked, "EEEEEEE!!!!!" (in the gruffest, manliest way possible.)

And then I found the Twin Peaks box. So, tonight is all about reliving the past. I plan to dig a hole in the couch and watch something wonderful (later in the week, I'll watch the post-Laura Palmer episodes of TP).

EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Monday, April 09, 2007

OKAYOKAYOKAY

So, I know I was supposed to do a bunch of things tonight. I know. Stuff that really NEEDS to get done. But I wound up writing instead.

I think I've got it. Really got it. I think that this is the holy shit issue. EMAW #9 is going to be holyshitholyshitholyshit if I can pull it off. All the writing is there. I just need to translate it into fool pages.

I'll give it the fresh eyes tomorrow, but I think it's all there. Including the cover.

It's 19 pages. But it's pretty intense. I'm actually surprized it's only 19 pages. The good news is, I think I can do that for MoCCA. Stick the thumbs and prelim drawings in there and I think I'll have the book. If I get crazy ahead, I'll— no don't think about that, fool.

19 pages of tight focus. Action. Romance. Big set pieces. Shooting. Punching. Yelling. Mystery. Comedy. Tension. Crizzee action. And lots and lots of drawing. This is gonna be one dense muther.

Sunday, April 08, 2007

INTERESTING PROBLEMS

I have an interesting problem, as I work out the next issue. The cover. The thing, I think, that made the cover for #8 was finding an image that was "missing" from the book itself. It was a chance to feature something from the first "big moment" of the main story that could use a little expansion.

Well, the next book is going to be very gag heavy. Lots of little cymbal hits on the main beats. So many, I'm actually moving my big anchor to the back of the meat. For close to a year, it was my opening splash, and now I'm moving it to the end. It's so crazy, I'm mixing metaphors like nuts and gum.

It should be interesting to figure out what it's going to be.

I'm also certain that I'm not going to be able to deliver 43 pages of comics by MoCCA. That's ok. I've been wanting to backmatter the book, all Ellisfractiony, anyway. I think this thumbnailed script with some annotations is a good place to start. Show the I-Beams beneath the brickface, in a similar way (but expanded) to the blog.

If I do that, I should also mitigate another problem. I estimate that EMAW #8 should lose at least $4 in ink costs alone per issue sold. Nevermind paper costs, labor, drawing supplies, etc. Just the printer ink on pages that actually get bound. I think that back-mattering the next one up should use less ink. Lose a bit less money. Not that I mind losing the money, I'd just like to have some left over to make more. Some day, I'd even like to find a way to break evens without jackin' price too high.

Interesting problems.

SQUATING IN MY OWN HOME

That's how Marcos described the appearance of my apartment. The sad thing is, I've been CLEANING. Bit by bit, two steps forward and one step back with an animated cat, but cleaning nonetheless. Alright, that's not the sad thing, the sad thing is that he was being nice.

Job's been a bit on my back this week, but I managed to spend a fair amount of time writing the next issue. Or, rather, re-writing. I thought I'd start re-writing before drawing this time. Measuring twice before cutting seven. Should be ready to start image posting soon.
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You know that dream where you show up naked at the blogosphere and you've forgotten where you put the dog that ate your homework and everyone is pointing at you because you forgot your lines? Yeah, that's how I've felt this weekend.

Jog posted a link to my Best Of 2006 lists and suddenly I'm Leonard Cohen getting a mention in a Nirvana song.

I haven't gotten so many hits since that night I woke up in in Bellvue with hand-sized contusions on my neck. Many thanks to Jog for giving up the worst best-kept secret on these here internets: my words.

And just in case you thought it was safe to not read the comments section, he drops some news I'd not heard in those to part 2. The next Mome is going to be something we'll all want to buy.
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In news of here, I've updated the sidebar. One-third of my regular readers requested that I include links to some of my more notorious posts. So, them's there for easy reference.

I've also redone the outside links, bunched 'em up in one long alphabetized list. Added a few things I click regular. Regretfully deleted a few that have been discontinued, officially or 'oh, come on!'. Changed Tom Spurgeon back from Floopie Spurge. That sort of thing.

It's thrill a minute here at the squater's.

Friday, April 06, 2007

EARTH MINDS ARE WEAK #8

The cover and first three pages of Earth Minds Are Weak #8: Kaiju Jugoruma. A 15-page preview is up here. It's not live at the store yet. But if you actually want it, order something else for a total of $3, include a message in your order that you wanted #8, and we'll send you both. It's like a buy-one-get-one-free sale!

Begining in issue 8, it's a brand-new serial: Kaiju Jugoruma!

It's about 100 years in the future and things are much the same as they are now. Except the buildings are much taller. And some of the cars can fly. It's while flying in one of those cars, among those tall buildings, that a man has his day interrupted by another man falling out of the sky and car-jacking him. Featuring transvestite drag racing, robot road vacuums, rubber-masked secret police, excessive pet ownership, a night club chanteuse, psychedelic ingestion, shady club owners, geriatric street gangs and an aggressive ad campaign featuring a giant bullfrog.

Contains the first four chapters of Kaiju Jugoruma. 44 B&W pages and full-color covers. 7"x8.5". $3.00




Thursday, April 05, 2007

UPDATE APACE

Updated the EMAW page a little. You can click on #7 and #6 to see thumbnails of the preview pages. Fool sizers up this weekend.

Part of me wants to get it done in one go and part of me wants to do some new work and update the page a little each day. Guess who wins.

I also realized that I need to update the links on the sidebar here. Somethings are now de funk and there's a bunch I should add.

I'm still in the writing stage of EMAW #9. Like a mirror universe Marcos, I'm trying to force a bit of structure on the damn thing. Note to self, don't watch Hitchcock or Hitchcockian episodes of Lost when in writing stage. Also, try to avoid dvd commentaries at the same time.

Alanis Morissette

I'm sure everyone in the world has already told you about this, but...

THE SEMIBIG

Well, it took me a bit longer to do, and will take a bit longer still to finish. HOWEVER...

The new Earth Minds Are Weak Page is coming together.

If you don't want to see the page until it's done, might I give you a direct link to the Earth Minds Are Weak #8 Page? There's a 15-page preview of the new issue there.

When he's got the time, Marcos has agreed to add the new issue to the Cliff Face Store. I'd do it myself, but it involves one or twelve steps I don't quite have a grasp of.

The first store order is in, and issue 8 should be on the Jim Hanley's Universe shelves by next week.

I'm looking forward to having most of the webniz done tomorrow, so I can get back to the meat of things. I'm still crazy planning Issue #9 for a MoCCA debut (June 23-24, Puck Building (293 Lafayette at Houston), New York City, Hours: 11:00am - 6:00pm).

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

DEUS MONTHS!

or WELCOME TO THE MOONSHEEN

Two freakin' months without proper posting! Wow. Miss me? Well, I'm BACK, baby! Now with vengeance!

The big Earth Minds Are Weak post comes tomorrow. For now, enjoy the Top 20 of The Top 60 (or so) Comics of 2006! I worked the long hards on it.

Much has happened since I last posted. Much. Also, very little. We'll see how hard it is to get back in the gams (sic!). Will it be like that time you saw Olde Frenz and the two of you exchanged awkward silences for a bit until the nudes started spilling from your tongue sack? Or will it be like that time you got together with the passed gang only to find out you weren't going to clique again? Only thyme will tell. And he just got slapped with a big fist of shuddup.

Good night, sweet prints. I'll see you again in the marrow.
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