Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Kirby week-

A lot of Kirby tributes online this week and I would love to find one that didn't villify Stan in order to raise Jack up. Can't we celebrate an amazingly talented and creative individual without beating down the people he worked alongside? And while we're knocking Stan down in order to prop Jack up, where are these defenders of the artists vision when it comes to the characters that say - Don Heck, or Larry Leiber co-created? I just hear crickets. They weren't ALL dragged out of Jack imagination.

Let's even the atributions out a little bit before we cement the tributes in stone.

And Jack worked at Marvel/Timely for the late 50's and entirely of the 60's for a pretty big reason - the editors at DC thought he sucked. And they would tell anyone within earshot that he sucked and they wanted nothing to do with him. Stan thought Jack was the greatest. Which boss and co-creator would you have wanted? The guy who had a bubbling, contagious excitement and a million ideas who wanted you to expand you art and abilities while he took care of the printing and editing and writing and bullpen, or the guy who demanded gorilla covers 4 times a year and didn't want you monkeying with characters that were etched in stone? Seems pretty clear to me.

I think it was only DC trying to tank Marvel that led them to giving Jack a shot with the 4th World. And even then they leaned on him HEAVILY every time he touched the corporate mascot, having Colletta redraw Superman. And Stan would NEVER have exiled his best artist from the main line of his published books - Jack WAS Stan's main line of books.

Jack was a great artist, and by all accounts I've ever heard -a great man. Lets celebrate that.

Monday, August 27, 2007

3 minute sketches at Secret Headquaters in Los Angeles

I'll be helping the HERO Initiative out on this Friday, August 31st at the Secret Headquarters in Los Angeles with Joe Rubenstein (whom I haven't seen in maybe 10 years!), Tone Rodriguez (whom I haven't seen in maybe 3 months!) and Carly Wagner (Whom I haven't seen in maybe 10 days!). We'll be doing little 3 minute sketches for everybody in the 3 Minute Sketchbook books that they purchase. C'mon down and check out what's got to be the coolest comic book store on the planet!

and if you don't believe (or understand) me - check out the press release that I cribbed from the Marvel Gazzette Website

LOS ANGELES, CA (August 27, 2007) – The Hero Initiative launches its newest great benefit product, The 3-minute Sketchbook , on Friday, August 31, 2007 at 8 pm with an amazing comic talent-studded event in Los Angeles! The event will take place The Secret Headquarters, the amazing comic store/art gallery hybrid in L.A.’s trendy Silver Lake neighborhood.

The gallery opening will feature pieces from over 100 artists including Art Adams, Neal Adams, Sergio Aragones, Howard Chaykin, Frank Cho, Dave Gibbons, Gene Ha, J.G. Jones, Mike Kaluta, Josh Middleton, Mike Mignola, Terry Moore, Bill Morrison, George Perez, Andrew Robinson, John Romita Sr. and Jr., Joe Rubinstein, Tim Sale, Walter Simonson, Joe Sinnott, Michael Turner, Matt Wagner, Bernie Wrightson and more. All art is part of Hero’s The 3-minute Sketchbook , a 112-page book that makes its world debut that night! The book carries a cover price of $12.99, but will be available at Secret Headquarters on August 31 at a special opening night sale price of only $10.

In addition, fans in attendance can choose to purchase the book at $10, OR get the book WITH a custom 3-minute sketch from one of the artists who will be on site opening night. Confirmed artists include Carly Wagner (Creepy Carly ), Brian Haberlin (Spawn ), Tone Rodriguez (Conan ), Joe Rubinstein (Captain America ), Scott Koblish (Incredible Hulk ), Bill Morrison (The Simpsons ), Andrew Robinson (Star Wars ), and Mike Mayhew (Vampirella ).

Three original pieces will be auctioned off the night of the 31st at Secret Headquarters: Leonardo by Kevin Eastman, Iron Man by Bob Layton, and Captain America by Bill Morrison.

The remaining 139 pieces will travel to the Baltimore Comic-Con on September 8-9, where they will be auctioned off. All 142 pieces can be viewed at . Proxy bidding is available for those who cannot attend these events by contacting Joe Davidson at .

Collector Michael Finn has been getting 3-minute backing board sketches for years. Finn has donated all the originals over to Hero, which are now being published in this book. “I think folks will be surprised at just how good many of these 3-minute sketches are,” said Finn. “The Hero Initiative is a great organization, and my thanks to everyone who participated."

The Secret Headquarters is located at 3817 W. Sunset Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90026. For more information on The Secret Headquarters, visit .

The Baltimore Comic-Con take place September 8-9, 2007. For more information, visit

Friday, August 24, 2007

Happy review of the Weapon #3

A nice happy review of the Weapon #3 at Chris's Invincible Super-Blog.

"The Weapon #3: I’d just like to point out that in the last issue of Fred Van Lente and Scott Koblish’s unexpected little gem of a comic, the guy who can make kung fu weapons out of lasers crashed a speedboat into a helicopter. And there is nothing about that sentence that is not totally awesome."

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Disney Adventures.- Rest in Peace old gal-

Well, Disney Adventures Magazine is no more.

I just finished working on the final Jet Pack Pets story for the last issue of Disney Adventures ever. I've been working on the Pets for 5 and a half years now, illustrating nearly 45 stories - around 170 pages. It's been one of my longest running jobs.

I'm sad to see Disney Adventures end. I have very fond memories of meeting some of the fans of the Jet Pack Pets at the San Diego Convention four years ago. The fans were mostly girls in their 'tweens, a demographic most of my fellow comic-book compatriots swear doesn't exist, but I've seen 'em, and they read the Pets.

We were grateful for ever fan we had. I think there are some plans afoot to print up a second book of the Jet Pack Pets, I'll let folks know when (or if) that happens.

I'm going to post a few of my favorite pages, before I get too choked up-

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

1/2 Weapon at Drunk Duck-

Evidently, the interface for Drunk Duck does not allow for double-page spreads. Still it's pretty funny to see that you can still make out what's going on, even though the pages are separated out.

Paul Mounts deserves a medal -- is there a medal of valor in comics?

Good Morning Isaac

Yes, you're right, it is a weird way to keep in touch.
Keep the postcards comin'...

Yes - you can buy my art for your cell phone!

I don't know how it happened exactly, but I seem to have finally stepped into the proper century - you can now download my artwork for your cell phone - that's right - you can have a piece of the Weapon on your cell! Just go here and go nuts! I'm going to look into maybe doing something like this for The Jet Pack Pets too...

Monday, August 20, 2007

A Jet Pack Petsian Monday!

Ah, it's nice to be working on the Pets again - and this new story even has Tongeroa in it (although he's not the center of attention) Above is my favorite shot of Tongeroa-

Sunday, August 19, 2007

why there will never be a sucessful subway system in L.A.

The population density per square mile in my part of L.A. - 3.500.
The population density per square mile of my old places in New York -80,000.

And yet, no one can shut up about increasing mass transit here in L.A. - it won't work. Don't try and make the population density 15,000, because there still will be no subway and constant gridlock on the roads.

Friday, August 17, 2007

TGIF blog-

Just finished the cover to The Weapon trade paperback. I tried to drop in everything and the kitchen sink for that one and hoefully it'll turn out the buyers... I think the trade comes out in December or January.

Going to take the wekend off, I think and then it's on to the next thing, whatever that's going to be!

Thursday, August 16, 2007

poem of the day

From Kenneth Fields - you can buy his book here

"When I was a little girl back in East Texas,"
My mother's mother, Beulah, used to tell,
"There was an outbreak of the German measles,
Mama was pregnant, so I went away
To a neighbor lady's, three or four miles from home
When the first signs showed. I was just eight, and sick,
And lonesome for Mama. One day she came for me.
My little sister had broken out, and Mama
Figuring she would die, and the baby, too,
Wanted us all together for those last weeks.
She wanted me home with her. As it turned out
My sister had been reading by the fire
And broke out from the heat, and it was me
That carried the measles home. After Mama died
I used to think of seeing her out the window
Talking to the neighbor lady on that day,
Crying and wiping her eyes with her apron hem."

Monday, August 13, 2007

Art Baltazar is awesome!

Art Baltazar is one of my cohorts at Disney Adventures Magazine (I draw The Jet Pack Pets, he draws Gorilla Gorilla) and he's working on Tiny Titans for Johnny DC. If these things don't fly off the shelves, I'm a monkey's uncle - they're tremendously lucky to have Art on their team.

Sad News in the Comic Book Sphere

Artist Mike Wieringo passed away from aheart attack yesterday at age 44. I loved his work, thought he was one of the best artists of our generation and was always looking forward to reading whatever he drew. I'll miss his work, I'm sure his family and friends will miss him as a man, he was taken too soon. Rest in peace Mike, I thought you were a fantastic artist and a really good man.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Ah - how I love this page/Weapon Countdown at 3 days

Ah - Paul Mounts did a fantastic job on this page. Just think! Bryan Hitch and I are one degree of separation away from one another! Little does he know.
I also love this page because it sets up a really nice calm moment before the storm (the next 8 pages are one gigantic fight scene), and that first panel is soooo big - it really sinks in and holds you there for a second. It creates this air of calm that you *know* is going to be broken as Tommy makes his smarmy little comment in panels two and three.
God bless one point perspective (which is an ironic statement because one point perspective used to be used to locate Jesus in teh frame of Renaissance paintings - see, it all ties in).
Sequioa (the villian) is also holding a Halberd. What a crazy weapon! I don't think I could have made that one up.

Super-Villain Chess Sets!

How many times has that villian playing with the chess set of the heroes thing been done? I just saw it in Countdown 51, a recent issue of Spider-Girl and the JLA/Avengers book from a few years ago. What's up? What kind of villian are you if you're sitting around playing chess? And it seems that only the big evil villians play chess - you won't find Heat Wave or The Prowler playing chess, oh no - only Darkseid.
Checkers anyone?

Romney wins!

Is it really true that half of Americans think that Mitt Romney's name is Mort Romney?

My experience of Chicago Con vs. San Diego Con

Well, I think this weekend proved it to me.

All the comic book news sites cover these conventions so thoroughly - the Pulse, Newsarama, CBR (from where the above photo is cribbed). Couple all the blogs and news and wire reports with a few great podcasts (Around Comics, iFanboy, etc) from the floor of the show and I don't think I will ever need to go to another Convention - I can just live them vicariously. I can even follow individual loons on the Con floor through Twitter - are they eating the nasty plastic pizza? Are they walking by a booth with certified 500-dollar-a-day BoothBabes?

As a result, I feel 10x better about the Chicago Con than I did about the San Diego Con - simply because I'm not there. Goodbye convention floor - hello comfort of my home office.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

The Weapon Issue 3 Countdown at 6 days!

I think issue 3 turned out to be my overall favorite issue of the Weapon. It's the issue where I really felt like my work was all coming together as a whole - the layout, anatomy, sorytelling all seemed to start to really jell in a way I was happily suprised to see.

The first page of issue 3 was a real bitch. As I think I mentioned earlier, we reduced the page count on issues 2, 3 and 4 (rightly so, I think. It caused no damage to the story and resulted in picking up the pace a bit). Fred did an absolutely great job of condensing on issues 3 and 4. He condensed pages 1 and most of page 2 into the first page, which left me in a bit of a bind because I wanted to make sure the first page had a great shot of Tommy before all the exposition started. But this is a real case of necessity being the mother of a invention and of real improvement - Here's the page layout I had as the initial first page of issue 3-

And here's the second page layout for issue 3- Kind of dull and straightforward - they tell the story, but with really very little in the way of pinache-

The layout for the revised first page had to include all of that information, plus all of the dialogue that had to occur between Tommy and the Lin Kuei. But I REALLY wanted to have Tommy big on the page - I kept fooling around with layout after layout and realized that the big square of Tommy leaping down off of the telescope wasn't going to work, I just had no room to have him jump down and THEN establish that he was surrounded by all of these yelling loons - so I took the action of him leaping out. I broke up all the horizontal panels with the Lin Kuei yelling into little overlapping panels and it turned out waaaaaay more interesting visually, as well as more useful, because now I could leave a very large block of space for text without it seeming unnatural. Way better page, due completely to the necessity of combining down information.

The eagle eyed amongst you will notice that I took out the establishment of place (all the backgrounds - the establishment of *where* they are), but I liked that it was slightly disorienting at first, and by page 4 - (you'll see those of you that buy it) it opens up to a 3/4 page establishing shot of the room that houses the giant telescope, stopping the pace of the storytelling completely so that Tommy can asses the dire situation he's in, make a quick joke and create a real pause before an action sequence that lasts about 8 pages.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Well All Right-

Finished the last page of the Weapon.
It felt a little odd during the weekend to be wrapping up something i've been working on for so long, but once I finished the last page an hour ago it felt just kind of nice. 92 pages of story, 4 covers. All done.

On to finishing up the Fantastic Five (part of the little Spider-Girl Universe-That-Could). I'll be done with that early next week and then it'll be onto inking some sort of long-form Daredevil thing. Which I just realized would be my first Daredevil stuff in a Daredevil title. I did a little Daredevil stuff in the Electra book I worked on in the 90's, but it was more of a team-up in her book.

-and I have absolutely no inside knowledge, i post this purely as a fanboy, but i think the FF is working up to revealing that Susan Richards is a skrull. Why else would she just jump back in with Reed, after all that Civil War stuff?

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Turns out I was sick!

That feeling of being run down on Thursday night? - Turns out I was sick. Within two hours of posting on Thursday, I was on the bed - as Violet would say "all shivvery" and sweating away a pretty intense flu. I'm better now - a combination of Veracid, Colloidal Silver, something else I'm forgetting right now, and good old fashioned sweat kicked it out in about 48 hours. Good old Katie knew just what to do to kill it (especially since she had the exact same thing a week before!)

whew - so now that there's only one more page of the Weapon left, I just suggested to the editor a 23rd page to issue 4.

I think either that it might be a nice capstone to the book, or it might be be incredibly indulgent, or a sign that I'm having a little difficulty mentally letting go of a book I've worked on it for so long now, but I can't tell. That's what editors are for, so I tossed it into play with a little sketch. We'll see when the week begins.

Until then - here's the latest page uploaded to Drunk Duck-

I remember adding 2 things to the page as it was - one was a compass in Megan's hand, because I wasn't sure how else they'd know which way to point the sword to get the proper reflection, and two a little dragon figure to the left of Tommy while he assumes "Wu-Shu Position Number 5."

I had to combine 25 pages down to 22 for the second issue and it was in this page that I combined nearly 2 full pages of information into one. I had already done the layouts for the pages before I started to combine them, and came to a bit of a problem with Tommy's placement when he was doing his "Wu-Shu" The figure fell in the middle of the page now, instead of the top of the page and his pose called for a verticle panel, but all I could eak out of the new layout was a square, so i made him smaller and verticle, and added 2 horizontal panels accross his head and feet to connect him back to the rest of the page, but that gained me a huge empty space to his left. I can't let negative space lie (a variant on letting sleeping dogs lie), so I filled it up with a decorative dragon. I thought it was so jarring in the finished ink work, but I had to move on and I left it in there. In the printed color version, you hardly notice it as jarring. I wonder if it's all the text exposition that makes it work, or if the colorwork made it seem completely expected. I don't know - it's the first fanciful element of design that I threw in there without any purpose and I tought it would be a little more of a problem than it turned out to be.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

The Fantastic Five #3 countdown at 5 days-

I finally found a cover to F5 issue 3. Wouldn't want to make it easy to find, or anything.
I'm very tired tonight - I have 6 panels of the Weapon to go until I'm done with the series and I'm just draaaaaging my tail through it. Of course 6 panels sounds small, but those panels are spread over the last 2 pages, with at least one of them covering half of the page.
Should be finished with the series tomorrow night sometime.

The Weapon Countdown at 12 days!

Issue #3 is due in less than 2 weeks.
Here's a shot from issue 2.
I researched the telescope, which I think might have been a mistake, because really, except for their scale, they're kind of boring. Structurally, I think the engineers of the telescope I found the reference on were trying to avoid extra widgets and such, and streamlined the form as much as possible. I should have Kirby'd it up, I think.

This From Yahoo News-

"Much of the Iraqi capital Bagdad was without running water Thursday and had been for at least 24 hours, compounding the urban misery in a war zone and the blistering heat at the height of the Baghdad summer.
Residents and city officials said large sections in the west of the capital had been virtually dry for six days because the already strained electricity grid cannot provide sufficient power to run water purification and pumping stations."

Everythings fine there. After 5 years, the occupation has clearly succeeded. Let's stay there for 10 or 15 more years.

More from the Poet's Corner-

As I mentioned Steve's CD of poetry yesterday, and I should mention that his partner in poetry, Ben Trigg, has a book out this month as well. Both fine poets have run a great poetry series in Orange (rhymes with door hinge) County that has lasted nearly a decade (I think) at the Ugly Mug. Their work and their imaginations have shown themselves to be boundless in enegery and inventiveness. Ben's new Book is called "Kindness from a Dark God." I'm unsure of where to purchase a copy, but I know I got mine!
You can find more of their work, CD's of their best poetry readings and upcoming readings at the Poetry Idiots website.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Pick Up Steve's new CD!

Pick Up Steve Ramirez's new CD "Night of the Living" You shant be disapointed, Steve is a poet of uncommon vision and depth - I highly recommend whatever he's doing-

The Weapon Countdown at 13 days until issue #3!

The Weapon Countdown continues to issue #3 as I'm getting the last 3 pages done for issue #4! Whew! Nearly done!

Issue #6 of the Brave and the Bold comes out on the same day as the Weapon's issue #3, so pick up a copy of the Brave and the Bold while you're at the store! Mark and George did a fantastic job wrapping up their story arc and threw in a whole slew of suprises! I feel very lucky and quite honored to have worked on it.