I discovered a new resource for cartoonists I really like. Every day they ask a cartoonist 10 questions -- every day the same questions. It is interesting to read how very different every artist answers them. I asked if they wanted to hear the answers from a night-time wannabee cartoonist, and they did. My "interview" is posted today. Check it out here!
A review of Eclectic Comics #1 and #2 appears at Optical Sloth. It's always interesting to see how my work is perceived by others. It's even good to hear the criticism, since friends are usually too nice to point those things out. Comics appreciation is subjective, so what one person likes about something just might be what someone else hates. As the Amish say, "He who builds to every man's advice ends up with a crooked house." So I guess you take what you think you can use and discard the rest.
On February 3, I posted my submission to the sketch game called Art By Committee. Today, the rest of the entries are posted at the Gurney Journey. As an artist, it's really neat to be part of an artistic community, even if it's on cyberspace. It's interesting to see how fifteen different artists take the same line of text and interpret it differently. See everybody else's interpretation here.
I have just finished up six pages of a top secret project. The organizers of the Fluke anthology of comics have saved six pages for me. The book will be published and made available at the Fluke mini-comics festival in Athens, Georgia on April 4. The editors have asked contributors not to reveal their pages until six months after publication, so the panels above will be all you see for some time, unless you buy their book!
Like many of my stories, it features The Mighty Andar, an aging bald superhero who some people say resembles me, but frankly I don't see it. An interesting twist to this opportunity was that the pages of the book are square. I've never done a story in that format, but I enjoyed the challenge and the learning experience.
I almost forgot to mention that for the first time I have a co-writer on this. After reading my comics, Jared Aiosa (owner of Heroes comic shop) had an idea for my characters. He wrote up a quick outline and I took it from there.
Saturday I spent the day at the Ithacon, a comic book convention in Ithaca, NY. I had a table where I sold my artwork drew and talked to attendees. I made a free sketch for any kid who wanted one, of the character of their choice. I sold a few comics and had a good time talking to other geeks --- I mean, comic book fans. I especially enjoyed talking to other artists and writers including artist Ken Wheaton (Simpsons comics, etc.), artist and animator Warren Greenwood (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Duck Tales, etc.). Warren is a veteran creator who has worked with Stephen Spielberg and knew Jack Kirby very well. It is always a pleasure to find out what writer Roger Stern is up to. He is also an industry veteran who wrote Superman and Spiderman as well as many others for many years. He's written several New York Times bestsellers and is a fountain of information about comics. He's probably most famous for his "Death of Superman" stories.
I learned that Joe Orsak is now working on a graphic novel detailing the story behind the song The Yellow Rose of Texas and met fantasy gaming card artist Storn Cook.
There were a bunch of other artists and writers there, including some "up-and-comers" like myself. Many comics dealers had tables as well. You can find anything from recent comics to hard to find treasures, to great old comics from dollar bins and even quarter bins. My son David got a ton of comics and cards for very cheap, including a card signed by Stan Lee for practically nothing! (I'm jealous!)
While I was there I had some of the pages I'm working on. I did some inking, and answered questions about the process of making a comic from thumbnails to inks. For any kid who wanted one, I drew the cartoon character or superhero of their choice. I also sold a few comics, which is always good!
For those of you late to the party, this is how this works -- The ABC Challenge (Art by Committee) is a sketch game run by artist James Gurney. Once a month he posts a random line from a science fiction novel. The challenge to participants is to illustrate that line however we see it. We do not know the novel or the context of the line. I always choose to make a page or so of comics. I'm trying to piece them all together into a long form comic story. Eventually the whole story will be told in the pages of Eclectic Comics, the comic book I publish.
The line to illustrate this time was: “I should stay here and keep an eye out.” I cheated a little, but I'm like that.
This segment of the story introduces two new characters. The previous actions of our hero, The Mighty Andar have also caused two other imprisoned superheroes to regain their powers. The sketches below illustrate how I came up with them. I thought Major Uranus was a funny name for a character. He's the kind of guy that does the right thing but isn't always nice about it. Evidently this is the symbol for Uranus.
I designed a costume that used that symbol.
The name Spinclaw came from a name generating device. I liked the image that came to mind because I always wanted to mock the ridiculous headgear that Wolverine, Hawkeye and many other superheroes wear.