Monday, October 24, 2011

Spooky Halloween Shorts, part 2

Donald Duck and the Gorilla, 1944

Hair-Raising Hare, 1946

Scaredy-Cat, 1948

Trick or Treat, 1952

Transylvania 6-5000, 1963

I was going to wait until Friday to post this week's scary shorts. But I thought it better to post them on Monday and scare your shorts all week!

Friday, October 21, 2011

Spooky Halloween Shorts, part 1

The Haunted House, 1929

Hell's Bells, 1929

The Skeleton Dance, 1929

Bimbo's Initiation, 1931

Lonesome Ghosts, 1937

Here is a rotten roundup of some great spooky shorts! I love all of these and have posted them in chronological order. Next week, my boys and ghouls, I will post another five shorts, mostly from the 50's and 60's! Don't die before then...

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Birds in the Bushes sale!

Fall is here and I have copies of the second Grune story, Birds in the Bushes, for sale! What happens when Rola, Varli, Gilda and Zuu become captives of a mysterious, all-male cult? 32 b&w pages for just $5!

And for those of you who preordered the book oh so long ago, they will be mailed out next week!

Thursday, August 18, 2011



Fanart is simple. It's a drawing of an existing character done by someone who is a fan of that property. Nothing more, nothing less. Everyday, I see a lot of fanart - A LOT of fanart - posted by amateurs and professionals alike. In fact, many people have made their reputations, even careers, essentially on fanart.


I don't really have one. I do it from time to time myself. My problem is the absolute pervasiveness of it. When I log in to Twitter, or Tumblr or any of those, all I seem to see is fanart. People post or link to drawings from Adventure Time, Avatar, video games, or any number of webcomics which I have no earthly clue about. Many (nay, most) of these artists have such tremendous skill and design sense and much of what they post can be downright beautiful or even a jazzy remix that highlights something new about the property.


As artists, we put ourselves out there and place our guts on the page hoping for a positive reaction. What better way to do that than cook a meal that we KNOW is our diner's favorite food? Fanart is a crutch. For many, the recognition is addictive. It validates them. But I really feel that it can be a false validation. It's not a recognition of someone's skill or heart, but merely the statement "Hey! You made a burger! I love burgers!" I have two larger problems with this. For one, I think the constant barrage of fanart will only stunt someone's growth as a creator. It's a fantastic way to start and a great way to learn. Most art school REQUIRE students to copy existing works as a matter of course. But one has to move beyond that at some point and flex their wings and discover what they truly have that's original to offer up. Why keep yourself confined to a limited box?
My second problem is with the world of art and entertainment in general. I always hear the phrase "Hollywood is out of ideas", and I feel it's absolutely true. But can you blame Hollywood? Can you blame publishers? As consumers, haven't we just continued that trend by supporting the latest remake of a forgotten 70's tv show and let our disinterest in a new, original storyline allow it to fall into obscurity? I can't help but feel that fanart is symptomatic of this same thing and in a "butterfly's wing starting a tsunami" sort of way, a contributor to the state of stagnant creativity in a lot of our media.


I don't want anyone to stop creating or posting the things that make them happy! Here's what I DO want. I want FAN ART FREE WEEK. For one week (five business days) I want everyone to ONLY post or link to original art. It can be their own, or someone else's. I think taking a week to challenge ourselves to create original stuff is absolutely okay, don't you? I want to see what you can do that springs from your mind! I want to see the images you really enjoy, and not merely because they are from your favorite show! I want just one week where I am exposed to original art by the original creators. That's all. You can hold off on posting your Thundercats until next week, can't you?


Here's what I'm doing, and I would love it if you joined me! Every day next week (August 22-26) I'm going to post at least an image a day of something original I've done, or something original a fellow artist has done. I'll even be marking everything with the tag FAFW (Fan Art Free Week). If a lot of us do this, think of what new and cool stuff we might discover! And think about who might even see YOUR originality and enjoy it.

Who knows, maybe they'll even *gasp* create fanart of it later!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Mega Man Dreams

Every so often in our careers, we get to be a part of something nostalgic or special to us that we're proud of. I have friends who have officially written comics based on tv shows they loved, adapted favorite childhood books to comics, or contributed art to trading cards based on a beloved movie franchise. This story isn't quite as encompassing as those, but I'm really proud of it nonetheless.
As a kid in the 80's plugged in to his NES, I loved the Mega Man games. My first exposure was when a babysitter of mine brought over the first game. She explained the rock-scissors-paper mechanics and I was happy to sit and watch her blast through the various Robot Masters (You could battle them in any order you wanted! It was AMAZING!). She was stuck forever battling - and losing to - Ice Man and thought for sure that he would melt under the fire weapon. I remember suggesting that maybe electricity would work instead, and the rest was history.
But the games aren't really what this is about. Just after college, I discovered the existence of Mega Man (or rather, Rockman) manga that existed in Japan. Like most dorks, I'm careless with money and saw it fit to purchase whatever volumes I could find, mostly on eBay. And no, I couldn't read a word of them. But I didn't have to! I knew the stories and the artwork was fun enough for me to follow along and wish like crazy that I had had comics like these when I was a kid. I hated the Captain N and Mega Man cartoon versions of the blue bomber. I always thought they were made by people who didn't know what Mega Man was, or just didn't care. But these comics seemed more true to Rock's roots and I got a thrill out of them. Then I discovered Hitoshi Ariga.
Ariga was creating Rockman manga based on more or less original stories rather than strictly following the plots, thin as they were, outlined in the games. He infused the tiny flashes of light on the screen with personalities and motives and generally expanded the entire world of Mega Man into a wonderful comic universe that even someone unfamiliar with the games could enjoy. I remember being totally jazzed when Ariga embellished the original six Robot Masters. In the first game, the story claims that they were creations of good Dr. Light, stolen and reprogrammed by villainous Dr. Wily. Rather than have Mega Man merely blast them to smithereens, Ariga has Mega Man free his brothers who go on to form a kind of heroic super fighting robot team!
It was at the MoCCA Artfest that I totally by chance happened to meet Jim Zubkavich. Both of us were working on our own mini comics and both of us had some interest in videogame comics. At the time, the first Lifemeter anthology I had helped edit came out. Jim, however, was the project manager at Udon Entertainment. It wasn't long before we were talking Capcom and Mega Man. And in a heartbeat, I was talking about Ariga and his loose, infectious style.
Jim gave me a bit of a hush-hush wink. “It looks like we may be getting the Mega Man license soon.”
“You've got to see these books.” I said. Jim, himself one of the biggest and most genuine fans of games, comics, art and Mega Man I have ever met, was interested and told me to send him the covers and whatever information I had on them. I think it was the first thing I did when I got home.
Weeks, months, YEARS went by! I would often see Jim at other conventions and he would talk about successfully getting the license to Mega Man. Then he would let me in on all the red tape to cut through getting the books and the rights to publish them officially in North America. It was slow going, like most thing in publishing are. But it was exciting knowing that each time we met, I was a little closer to holding the books and being able to read them on my own.
Sure enough, in 2009, the first volume of Mega Man Megamix by Hitoshi Ariga and published by Udon was released. As I understand it, the books have been doing well and the Mega Man fan community is pleased to finally have them official and in English. The lettering, translation and localization are all stellar. This year, I even received this amazing piece of original artwork of my favorite Robot Master sent to me by Jim from the hand of Hitoshi Ariga himself.

And, if you look in the back of each volume of Megamix, there is a list of thank yous. At the bottom of the list, past all of the Japanese names of folks who actually did something, is my name. It's a small thing and yet one that I am really excited by. It makes me proud to have my name attached to something I've loved since boyhood in a small way.

Mega Man Megamix volume 3 was released on November 17, 2010 and would make an amazing holiday gift for any fan of the Blue Bomber!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Con Wisdom #1

Since about 2005, I've been hitting various comic and anime conventions as an exhibitor, and as an attendee for a few years before that. Conventions are something I really enjoy doing. It lets me travel, see friends, and meet all sorts of new people in the industry. Plus, there are worse ways to spend a weekend than making a little cash from selling your work! Con-going has been essential to my career and it will be for yours, too.
Now, I've seen a lot of tables and con-goers and exhibitors while in the trenches. Some of it good, some of it really, really off-putting, all of it from either in front of or behind the table. So, I thought I would throw together a rather ad-hoc list of tips and tricks for your next comic show! It's a really simple bullet-list for exhibiting, and is in no way complete or a primer for such a thing. Although it might be a step in that direction. So, without further ado...

- If you don't talk to them, they won't talk to you. When people come to the table, I usually say hello. Say hi. Acknowledge their presence. For goodness' sake SMILE! It's a big turn-off to visit a table and feel like you're intruding or interrupting or are otherwise not welcome. But-

- Don't make your epic comic sales-pitch unless you are asked or unless it is DAMN SHORT. Really. Going to a table and automatically receiving an impassioned dissertation on why I should read your comic is kind of a red flag. If I want to know, I'll ask. Otherwise, I feel like you're pushing it on me and at best, I will be listening out of politeness, not interest. Now, if you can give me an idea of what your comic's about in a sentence, then go for it. But use your judgment. To that end-

- Avoid cute pitches or calling out to people unless you actually are charming and welcoming and a good people-person. And chances are, you're not. At San Diego Comic-Con, a friend and I were wandering the floor. While idly passing a table, a voice rang out "Hey! You guys like dark comedy?" My friend responded, "Yes, but I hate a hard sell." and we kept walking.

- Remember, there is a direct correlation between the quality of work and how hard someone hustles. I have never bought a comic because a freebie or flier was shoved under my nose.

- Freebies: To sample or Not to sample? A lot of people think logically, that offering a free sample of their comic will draw folks in. And it will. But honestly, 9 times out of 10, that's all they'll take. Postcards, fliers, and bookmarks are all okay for free promotion I think. And people do take them to legitimately remember a comic that they either don't have the time or money to purchase on the spot. But free comics or previews are tougher. First off, that's your main work and it should be of value. In my experience, when someone gets something for free, that is exactly what it is worth to them.

- Don't put out a bowl of candy. It's a lame ploy and disingenuous. I can think of exactly one example where I've seen a bowl of candy that was acceptable and relevant to the rest of the table. Unless you're that person, don't do it.

- Think about your display and placing interesting items out. Figures, cut-outs, relevant objects; they can all be useful in attracting people to the table. This is especially true when 95% of what 95% of the people are selling at these cons are rectangular and flat. But be prudent! Having a lot of junk out will minimize your table's real estate and, worse, will visually overwhelm your visitors. Also, think twice about fragile or precious items. You can put up as many signs as you want, but they WILL be handled.

- Commissions? If you want to do commissions or not, it's your choice. Sometimes I do, sometimes I don't. But I've found it very helpful to display sizes and prices. 9 out of 10 folks will know they want a drawing, but not in which format. Having predetermined sizes and prices will help both of you out immensely. And, you can always negotiate other types of commissions if the case arises. Also-

- Don't take commissions you can't finish! Granted, this may or may not apply to you based on your schedule or work ethic. But if you're anything like me (and I know I am) a take-home commission will get finished 9 months to a year after the con has ended. Yuck.

Well! That was a decent start! granted, I think this list focused on what NOT to do. But in a future Con Wisdom, I promise to rely more heavily on the great things you SHOULD do! Also, feel free to comment with any thoughts you might have. My list here is based purely on my own experience, which is the only experience I have. Til next time!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Grune #2 is available!

  For those of you who couldn't make it to MoCCA this year, Grune #2 is now available to you, too!

  Grune #2 continues the story started in Grune #1. A comatose monster is taken prisoner by three traveling refugees. But things take an unexpected twist in a massive Monster vs. Monster fight!

Grune #2 is 16 pages and includes a back cover by the great and mighty Miss Monster!
$4, includes shipping.
PS- To those who preordered Grune #2, your books will be shipping out next week!