Tuesday, December 09, 2008

SK8! Pages Two and Three! Updated!

Here are some notes from Matt, the writer. Matt writes:
"Skateboarding is the only sport that is banned in public. Society itself has turned thrashers into cool, young, rebels. In short, the perfect anti-heroes. The neo-Roman design was a great visual device to paint the skateboarders as the barbarians at the gates of civilization. On the first page Bucky and Hal are boarding on the head of Athena, the goddess of wisdom. Yo, Scott, who the hell are the Velvet Batz?"

I did this double-page spread in 2001, soon after being let go from Stan Lee Media. I can't remember the reasoning behind adding this spread and the subsequent fourth page, except that it opened things up a bit. My style had changed slightly due to exposure to artists like Dave Johnson and Dusty Abell during my year long stay at SLM. It wasn't too radical a difference. The "Velvet Bats" are a joke - a goth band name i made up and have continued to use for various graffiti in various comics. I think it's even in an FF comic. Mean Planet was an animated online story that some friends of mine were working on around the turn of the century. I even inked a Mean Planet comic that Art Baltazar pencilled, so it might've been on my mind.

Again, some Roman architecture mixed with slums. That's Perseus holding Medusa's head. I was searching for the right metaphors, and kept coming up with snakes somehow - Medusa, Athena's chest-plate, etc.

I remember doing this spread while suffering through a terrible depression following the implosion of SLM. I had given my all to that company, working 40 days out of every 41 for a year - going through it's bizarre implosion was a very difficult experience for me. I was lucky enough to have unemployment insurance, resulting from the dissolution of the company, but that also weirded me out - it felt awful going through the process of collecting unemployment and suing SLM for the remainder of my contract through the Bankruptcy court.

Freelancers don't normally get unemployment - you're just working or not working and I was used to the rhythm of project, followed by next project, etc. In my 16 or 17 years as an adult employee I've only worked two staff jobs - one at Marvel, which I quit to "go pro," one at Stan Lee Media, where we were all fired. The firing did a real number on my head. My animator friends were used to being laid off, but I wasn't. I had let my New York freelance contacts dry up while I was at the company, doing only one 8 pager for DC early in the year. It felt like forever, but it was probably just two months of unemployment - I did some storyboard work, in retrospect I actually turned down a chance at doing backgrounds for Justice League (a real boneheaded maneuver, I recognize now that I should have pulled my head out of my butt and taken the shot, but my head was still in comics) and Tom Brevoort pulled me back into comics in the spring of 2001 with an inking assignment over Stuart Immonen on Thor.

It was with that book under my wing that I moved back to New York, dividing my time between working on the film Nobody Beats Charlie, freelance and finishing up SK8. I moved back to New York in September 2001. I was glad to have moved back to New York then - I felt really attached to what was going on during that time. I don't think I could have watched those events from afar, it was better for me to be in the center of it, for better or for worse.

Matt's going to add his two cents and I'll post them along with my comments when he sends them to me.


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