Saturday, June 27, 2009

Father's Day Roast Comics - Part 2

It's a little late, but here is Dan's contribution to the Father's Day Comics Roast at the Wales' house. Not only is it funny, but it's actually a pretty realistic portrayal of what it's like when I need his help with computers! He will be a good IT person, because he can patiently explain things to me!

Monday, June 22, 2009

Wednesday Comics

This is something I'm looking forward to seeing. In July, DC Comics is going to start putting out a weekly comic in 14 x 20 broadsheet format. "Wednesday Comics" will look similar to what we're familiar with in our Sunday newspaper comics. Each week, you'll get 16 weekly strips -- serialized installments to stories about Superman, Wonder Woman, Sgt. Rock, Kamandi, and many others. To give you and idea of the size, the person above is holding a sample copy. Below are some of the previews of what we'll see, minus the speech ballons.

Father's Day Roast Comics

In lieu of aftershave and ties, I asked my kids to make me a comic strip for Father's Day instead. I know they're broke, and I've got enough Brut by Faberge. Well, before I share their comics, let me show you this piece of art (above) first. I sat down with the first graders one day while they were making Paper People (they aren't called Paper Dolls anymore). I made a set that looked like my family. I brought it home and put it where all great art goes -- on the fridge.

The trick to making Paper People is to fit all the details for each person within the same general shape. The uniformity and repetition evokes a child-like aesthetic. My daughter Anna (third from left) had just gotten a haircut that was alarmingly short. I was soon to pay dearly for my frank, but accurate portrayal, as you will see later.
Great comic, huh?

My daughter attends BBC, or Baptist Bible College. It's a good school, but they're pretty strict about what they allow on the television in the lounge. I have to keep her informed on what she misses because of this media blackout.

Next comes David's. First, he draws Andar as he might behave if he were under the control of the Puppet Master.
Next, it appears that someone has turned me into a snowman. I really like my Father's Day gifts!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

A Drifting Life

This book was recommended to me by Marek Bennett. It is a huge (over 800 pages) autobiography told in comic strip form by one of the manga masters of Japan, Yoshihiro Tatsumi. I thought it was fascinating to learn about the history of manga from its humble beginnings in post-war Japan and the devotion and creativity of the young men who showed amazing devotion and innovation to their craft.
Manga, or Japanese comics is an amazing story in itself. Tatsumi explained in an interview,

Manga owes itself to the phenomenon of rental shops. This was a time when the Japanese had no disposable income but for five cents, kids could check out 10 comics and could be influenced by 10 totally different styles. It’s because of this economy of comics that everybody was able to read all these different things and that’s why I think that manga is what it is today, because everyone had a chance to read a lot of different manga.

Manga was born in a time of economic hardship in Japan. And here we are in the present with one magazine after another tanking. Shojo Beat, then Nick Mag. I don't think it spells doom for comics. Look at the comics that kids are eating up. They can get a lot of story for $10 with manga or pay $4 for hardly any story from DC or Marvel. It was neat to read in A Drifting Life how manga at that time really invited reader participation and showcased the efforts of the kid creators. We could learn something from their approach. Make it cheap, and invite kids to participate. I don't think the slickness and glossiness of American comics really matters to kids.

I highly recommend this book to adult readers interested in the comics making process or this time period. Due to some adult situations in the book, however, parental guidance is suggested.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

The Machine is Humming

Sketches from an old Avengers comic.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

The Calling of Andrew

I found this drawing at my parents' house yesterday. I think I was in third grade when I drew it. I can remember being very proud, that one of Jesus' disciples was named Andrew. My mom had told me the story of how Andrew was fishing when Jesus said, "Follow me, and I'll make you fishers of men." Then Andrew went and got his brother Peter. You can see in my drawing that Peter is unaware of Jesus at this point, even though he's standing quite close. You can also see that I gave Jesus a uni-brow!

The Bean Trees

Dan was assigned this as summer reading for AP English next year. He read it in one day, before school even let out. "Must be good," I thought, and gave it a try. Wow, I read it in two days. Couldn't put it down. It is one of those books that instantly takes you into another time and place and other peoples' lives.

Here's the Publisher's Weekly description of the book, since they can explain it much better than I can,
Feisty Marietta Greer changes her name to "Taylor" when her car runs out of gas in Taylorville, Ill. By the time she reaches Oklahoma, this strong-willed young Kentucky native with a quick tongue and an open mind is catapulted into a surprising new life. Taylor leaves home in a beat-up '55 Volkswagen bug, on her way to nowhere in particular, savoring her freedom. But when a forlorn Cherokee woman drops a baby in Taylor's passenger seat and asks her to take it, she does.
I won't tell you any more about it, but I'll leave you with one line from the book,
"In a world as wrong as this one, all we can do is to make things as right as we can."

Thursday, June 11, 2009

ABC Challenge: The Origin of Clipboard Girl

This month's ABC Challenge is to somehow use the business card above as inspiration for a work of art. To me, it led to the origin of Clipboard Girl, one of the characters in my comics.

Friday, June 5, 2009


In this age of decompressed storytelling and photo-realistic computer coloring, the comic fans of today don't know what they're missing! Where is the melodrama? the hokey concepts? the absurd costumes? The sketch above is from a John Byrne issue of The Champions from the Bronze Age. What amazes me is the amount of dialogue they get out in the time it takes to take one punch! The scene above, written by Bendis, would take up half an issue.

Excelsior! 'Nuff said!

Thursday, June 4, 2009

David Carradine

In the news today is a sad announcement that David Carradine past away. When I was a kid, Kung Fu was my favorite show.