I’ve neglected my poor blog. What’s crazy is that it’s not because stuff has been slow. I feel like I’ve been running a marathon for the last 8 months. But I wouldn’t have it any other way. I’m just gonna ramble here…
The book got printed, delivered, and read by our awesome backers. I’m so proud of the work we did on this book. It was so cool to see the pics our backers took with their copies:
So we did a release party at the amazing Challengers comics and a signing at the cool Graham Crackers Comics.
But we have one more event coming up where you can see us and get a copy of the book! Come see us on October 24th at Quimby’s Bookstore:
We’ll have the book up for sale soon online in both print and digital formats. I promise to do another post when we get that together.
Man, I can’t wait for you all to see the new issue of Victus. It has been a BEAST to get through, but I think it represents a big step in my work and hopefully some really intriguing turns in the story. I’m neck deep in figuring out printing, but once I’ve found the solutions, I’ll put up a pre-order page (with some cool bonuses). For now, here’s some peeks into the book:
I’ve still been doing some fan art for fun. Here’s some Prophet:
And here’s some fanart from Spread, by Justin Jordan & Kyle Strahm:
Sadly, one of the greatest places in Chicago, HOT DOUG’s, has closed. It’s cool, as he chose to close, rather than being forced to because of low sales or rent or some other nonsense. Doug’s was a special place that I frequented since college and always tried to take Chicago visitors to. Doug said some awesome stuff about it in this interview, so Read It.
STUFF I LOVE
I’ve been really inspired by this stuff lately…
Grim Wilkins is doing some really cool stuff in Prophet, but in general rocks. Check him out.
Liam Cobb. Basically, everything Liam does is breathtaking. He’s one to watch.
I finally started reading (for real) Hayao Miyazaki’s Nausicaa manga that my pal Dan let me borrow. It be goooooood.
Speaking of Daniel Warren Johnson… his current storyline of Space-Mullet is his strongest work to date. Get on board now!
That’s all for now. I have a lot more to tell ya’ll, but my computer at home just had a major malfunction, so I’m sneaking this out at work. Let me know how you’re doing out there!
Things have been busy here. Very busy. Most exciting at the moment: I got the proof for the Speculative Relationships anthology that we Kickstarted last month!
INCREDIBLY excited! The books printed and delivered en masse is the next step!
This issue is taking me a bit longer. But… not to brag… but it’s because this is some of my best work yet. I’m really excited about the new things happening in the book and new techniques I’m exploring. Here are some peeks:
I scanned in some stuff from the Katsuhiro Otomo special issue of Brutus Magazine, which my awesome friend from Japan (Rinko Endo) sent me. Some really cool stuff in there:
So amazing. Everything about Otomo mesmerizes me.
I went to Starved Rock this weekend with my fiance’ (oh yeah, I GOT ENGAGED). Here are a few pics:
And I guess you probly wanna see the ring…
I designed the ring in collaboration with the amazing custom jeweler Heather Oleari. I’ll try to do a post about that design process at some point in the near future.
FAN ART & OTHER STUFF
As usual, I’ve been up to my ol’ fan-arti-ing
No, from The Spread
The main character in Reid Psaltis’s Kingdom/Order
And a Simon piece to promote the awesome Cupcake Award
And finally I’ll leave you with a moment of zen. Barry Windsor-Smith’s beautiful colors, accompanied by a new Run The Jewels Track…
Wow. I must admit, I was nervous about this whole Kickstarter thing. But we came, we saw, we GOT FUNDED! Seriously, I couldn’t be happier and more humbled by the amazing support from family, friends, and fans. We even overshot our goal by a bit, so I can actually pay the artists! Thanks to everyone who contributed!
If you missed it, we had tons of podcasts and video interviews we posted throughout the campaign. Now would be a great time to catch up on those if you missed them. I’m really proud of the artist interviews in particular:
I’ll probably do a longer post at some point about the whole process. But right now I just think I need a nap.
Man o’ man… so many conventions! I just finished my last show for the season this last weekend. It was a blast! I picked up so much great work at both TCAF & CAKE. Here is the lowdown:
1. Very Crowded!
2. Awesome excited attendees
4. Easily accessible after-parties
People whose comics rocked me:
1. Now officially my favorite show
3. Best Exhibitor List EVARRRRR!!!
4. EVEN MORE accessible afterparty! SO WELL PLANNED!
5. So many good conversations with other artists I love!
People whose comics rocked me:
It was awesome to get to meet new people and talk to some of my heroes. All in all, a great time!
Been posting stuff up in the twitters and tumblrs. Here’s a snapshot of some things…
And that’s all for now folks!
Hey hey, the day has finally come… Victus #2 is ready for public consumption! I’m really stoked about this second issue and I hope you are too. As with last time, I have some special bonus’s so read on…
The Story Continues:
Isaac continues gathering artifacts for Absalom, while also working with Alphonse and Dom to mark the city. A local religious group worships together at a cathedral under watchful eyes. Children are frightened by a strange creature seen near Absalom’s shop. Isaac witnesses a shocking event while spying on Absalom.
More product images HERE
I also have a 5 page preview of the story HERE
All orders placed by 12/20/13 will receive a free 8.5″ x 11″ print:
As before, the first 10 pre-orders will receive pages ripped straight from my Victus sketchbooks…
So, what are you waiting for?
And while you’re over at the store, you can also order the newest Simon mini comic:
This is the second collaboration between my brother Logan and I. The initial print-run is EXTREMELY limited, so go get yours now:
Thanks for all your patience as I worked to complete the second issue of Victus. I am very proud of the work and I think you’ll find it to be worth the wait. More news to come next week!
Been a while folks. Been extremely busy getting Victus #2 ready (I know I know… you’re tired of hearing it). But the files are at the printer and I should be getting a proof this week. Hopefully, pre-order options will be available next week. In the meantime, I wanted to post some of the imagery I’ve used as reference in creating the visuals of Victus.
I discovered Franklin Booth when researching. Check Him Out!
Coat of arms design has always intrigued me.
In a perfect world, this is how the Victus covers would be printed. Hand bound and embossed with beautiful rich colors. I long for the days when books are once again regarded as precious objects to be treasured by the maker and the reader.
I wanted the city to dance between feeling realistic in perspective and having the flat quality of 16th century paintings.
The mood and presence captured in Ernst Oehme’s paintings are incredibly striking. You get a sense of a place, a time, and an emotion in every painting. Check Him Out too!
An early rendition of Nuremberg. This is exactly the kind of city I wanted to emulate in Victus, historically and visually.
Issue #3 will feature something to tie this in…
I encourage everyone to look at as many works of art and nature as you can when preparing for a project. I love the process of discovery that accompanies visual research. It’s like falling in love for the first time. But without the inevitable nasty breakup.
IDEAS MADE OF LIGHT: KATSUHIRO OTOMO
I was honored to be a guest blogger on Ideas Made of Light, hosted by the great Scott McD. Here is a link to my post where I take a close look at this Akira title page by manga-god Katsuhiro Otomo:
Scott’s blog analyzes all different types of artwork. If you’ve never read it, I highly recommend you do so. Every artist or art enthusiast can learn something from Scott’s insights.
If I haven’t mentioned it yet, I’ll be doing a reading at the wold famous Brain Frame in January. I’m composing a performance specifically for the show, so I encourage anyone in the Chicago area that to come out for comics chaos! I’ll have more details closer to the date, but here are some of the sketches I’m working on, along with some Prophet fan art and a creepy pic of me lightboxing:
I have more exciting news on the way, but I can’t quite announce it yet. But if you like Sci-fi, you’ll want to stayed tuned.
Been busy with Victus #2. I’m happy to say there is only 1 page left to draw. But don’t hold your breath just yet. I have to finish the covers and title pages. Here are some peeks:
Last weekend I recorded a time-lapse video of me inking a page from Victus #2. Check it out:
Oh hey, a vague release date! Way to go me. More video content is on the way next week!
Stuff I have been looking at:
Wally Wood tearin’ it up on Weird Science
I love the way Gary Erskine draws wolverine. Check out his ‘disguise’.
I met this dude named Dave Chisholm at SPX who is working on an awesome comic about a guy with a magic trumpet. This is one of the more interesting and well-made comics I’ve seen lately. It’s got the energy of Pope and Jeff Smith. I highly recommend you check it out!
PHOTOS I TOOK
A panoramic of me and Mrs. T’s studio
Some donuts from Do-Rite Donuts!
And of course, I always need to throw some clouds in there.
I have some more exciting projects/announcements on the way. Stay tuned!
Been a while. Sorry about that, but I assure you I’ve been busy. So let’s get to it!
8 THINGS I’D LIKE TO SEE MORE OF IN COMICS
I became aware of this topic via a tweet by Brandon “I will use my comics powers for good” Graham, then followed up on a couple other bloggers thoughts on it…
And immediately I was thinking about how I always complain about comics, but rarely do I say what we really need more of to improve the medium as a whole. All of the above gents make great points, so I’ll try not to just list the exact same things as them (though some of mine are similar). In no particular order:
1. Stylistic Diversity in Artwork
I’d like to see more artists who don’t just ‘look like (name other artist)’. Mainstream comics are like that movie Wrong Turn. They have been inbreeding so long that you end up with deformed characters drawn by artists with no sense of real anatomy and proportion. It’s like an exaggeration of an exaggeration. I don’t want to see a comic and immediately think of another comic book artist. Artists should strive not only to stand out from each other, but to make each work feel unique from the previous one.
Positive Example: Katsuhiro Otomo. We all know him for Akira, but the dude’s short stories span all genre’s and styles.
2. Influences from mediums outside of comics
We need to reach outside of the medium for influence, reference, and inspiration. If you are working on a new project and the only thing you are looking at is other comics, you are failing. We have 100’s of years of art, music, and literature to look back on, so why is it that every sci-fi comic looks like Blade Runner and every Superhero comic looks like Superman? I want to see comics influenced by Davinci! By the Venus of Willendorf or the Lascaux cave paintings! By Brahm’s Requiem and Jackson Pollock!
Positive Example: Reid Psaltis takes a very direct influence like natural history illustration and runs with it!
3. Hand Lettering
The lettering of a comic is not something that should feel pre-packaged. It’s another aspect that gives a creator a chance to literally make their mark. Hand lettered speech, thoughts, and sound effects should feel unique to the story being told and unique to that specific artist. We use hand-writing to identify people in court cases, for crying out loud! What’s more YOU than your handwriting?
Positive Example: Sam Alden (see above) uses a variety of fonts, balloons and sound effects which are tailored to each story.
4. Diversity of genres
Comics should not be a section of the book store next to Romance, History, Philosophy. Romance, History, Philosophy should be sections IN THE COMIC BOOK STORE! We all want to be taken seriously, but the extremely narrow amount of genres and topics covered in mainstream (and indie) comics is absurd. When’s the last time you read a comic about philosophy? Or religion? Or Australian Aborigine tribes? Or history that didn’t involve zombies? AND WHY ARE THERE NO ROMANCE COMICS ANYMORE?
Positive Examples: Rinko Endo makes comics about mental health issues (pictured above). They are absolutely stunning.
5. Odd shaped and non-traditional comics
Comics don’t have to be ‘standard’ sized. Especially independent comics! Why are most comics the same size as the latest issue of X-men? Why are most comics rectangles and squares? Why don’t comics fold out in multiple directions? Why are they all on paper? If a standard size comic can be read on an ipad, why should I buy the physical copy? Comics should be unique objects whenever possible, to give the potential reader a reason to buy a physical object that will take up space in their home.
Positive Examples: Beth Hetland’s ‘Hay!’ comics are unique objects AND choose your own adventure comics
6. Special Features
I love to see the process behind any piece of art. It’s interesting and gives insight into the artist’s thought process. Seeing how others make or struggle to make their work inspires me to continue on in my struggle as a creator. I’m not just talking about some sketches in the back of a trade paperback (though that’s a start). I’m talking blogs that explain how my favorite book of the year was lettered. I’m talking audio commentaries for the comic that can be downloaded and listened to while you read it. I’m talking video time-lapses of the pages being created. There are some folks that do give peeks into their process, but it’s rarely project specific and isn’t usually tied to the release or post-release of the work.
Positive Example: Kenan Rubenstein has a SLICK interface for his webcomic Last Train to Old Town, which shares insight into each pages creation and allows for readers to interact.
7. Digital Comics that take advantage of being digital
Most ‘motion comics’ are absolutely terrible. Just the worst thing that could possibly be done to a comic book. I want to see artists that choose to work in the digital medium take full advantage of it. The tablet devices are full of functionality and features. I want the digital comics to show me that they can ONLY exist digitally. Colors that change in panel. Word balloons that pop in or out depending on where you tap. Sound! And I don’t mean cheesy sound effects, I mean ambience and music.
Positive Example/s: Kenan (mentioned above) and the now-extinct Double Feature from Four Star Studios are both good examples. But my favorite digital comic is hands down Ezra Clayton Daniel’s Upgrade Soul (see above). It’s a tour-de-force in digital comics!
8. Cross-promotion between creators
Comics should feel like a community. Just like anything else we buy, you’re more likely to pick something up if it’s recommended to you by someone you trust or respect. All the advertising in the world won’t help niche weirdo comics (like everything I’m asking for above) get into a reader’s hands. But if they are at a convention, speaking with a creator, and that person is aware of the rest of the community, they can point the potential reader in the right direction. People buying ANY COMICS is good for everyone MAKING comics. So what if they don’t want to buy my book about a serial killer? They might be really interested in Gina Wynbrandt’s Tiger Beat Exclusive. So SEND EM OVER TO HER! We need to promote eachother, not just ourselves.
Positive Example: Brandon Graham is constantly pimping cool creators on his blog and in backup stories in Prophet. Can you imagine if all high-profile creators were taking time to show us the new people whose work they love?
That’s my thoughts on what we need more of. What do YOU think?
NEW BACK ISSUES PODCAST
Justin and I sat down to analyze Sam Keith’s The Maxx on the latest Back Issues. This dude was on the edge at Image, with a bizarre book that took on rape, dreams, and comics industry tropes. Oh… and there was the Crappon. We loved it. Please listen:
VICTUS #2 & SIMON: PUGILIST UPDATES
Still Plugging away at Victus #2, but getting closer every day. Here are some sneak peeks:
And Simon: Pugilist has made some great headway, with my bro really stepping it up on the writing. PEEKS:
Here are some random things I looked at lately:
Got some cool comics over the last couple weeks. Have had ZERO time to actually read them. Kirby’s 2001, Reid Psaltis Panic, Pope’s Battling Boy, Brandon Graham’s Multiple Warhedz, Darrow’s Shaolin Cowboy, Sam Bosman’s Fantasy Basketball, and some Grendels I got from DWJ.
Found this acorn nut thing on one of my walks.
Had some delicious Sukiyaki from one of my all-time favorite places, Sunshine Cafe.
That’s all for now folks!