Hello, all! How was everyone's Free Comic Book Day? I was once again able to travel to Boston for the event and I had a great time. I'm glad to see that the new Tick issue is getting some positive reviews and it seems that most people were able to grab a copy if they wanted one. I walked away with a big stack of books and, surprisingly enough, some original art from an upcoming issue!
The image you see above is what will soon become the cover to this year's convention issue. The issue will first debut at the San Diego Comic-Con with a different cover, and will be offered with the above cover for the 2016 Boston Comic Con.
Ian Nichols, who drew the "Tick, P.I." story in the FCBD issue, is on hand for the Boston exclusive cover. There's a lot to like about the cover, especially how many important Tick characters are featured on it! Beyond the Tick and Arthur, there's original series characters like Paul the Samurai, the Running Guy and the Chainsaw Vigilante, newer additions like Caped Cod and Bumbling Bee...
...there's the Man Eating Cow...
...and wouldn't you know, at the top, tumbling backwards out of the boat is none other than Roger, the Tick's maybe-one-time sidekick, who first appeared in the 2015 FCBD issue! Ah, Roger, we hardly knew ya.
I'm obviously thrilled to have this new page of art to add to the collection. Look for the book itself to show up in the next few months!
This Saturday is the 15th annual Free Comic Book Day celebration at comic shops all over the world. Once again, there's a new Tick book coming out. The cover is above, and it's a take on a classic Adventure Comics cover with Superboy and the Legion of Super Heroes!
Joining me again on art is Duane Redhead, who has done some really nice work for this issue. There's also a backup story with art by Ian Nichols that ties into the main story!
In a few days, I'll be traveling to Boston for the weekend to sign some copies of the new issue with lots of other guests. I'll be at New England Comics' Norwood location from 10:30-5:00 on Saturday. These signings are always fun and it's great to see people and explain that I'm not Ben Edlund. If I have the opportunity, I might try and sneak over to another store after my signing is over. If you're in the Boston area, I hope that you'll stop by and pick up a book!
In other (very exciting) Tick news, the Amazon Prime pilot will be filming soon! Several of the actors have posted updates online, including this picture of the pilot script from Brendan Hines, who will play the new character Superian! I am obviously thrilled that this is happening. Here's hoping that it moves forward to a full series soon!
Well, it's that time of year once again where I show off some of the stuff I have. I guess I do that more than once a year. I'm okay with this. Anyway, my birthday has come and gone as it seems to do, and I got some neat things. So you get to see them! But first, check out this sketch of The Tick and Arthur from Rob Crooenborghs! I thought that this was pretty cool.
First up on the docket is the Big Guy and Rusty the Boy Robot hardcover collection from Dark Horse Comics. I'm excited to break into this as I've actually never read the story before and it's, if you can believe it, one of Frank Miller's stranger co-creations. I wonder if the '90s cartoon is out on DVD? Hmm...four seconds of Amazon research tells me that it isn't. I wonder why?
It was recently announced that "Weird Al" Yankovic would be the new co-host and band leader of IFC's "Comedy Bang! Bang!" beginning in season five. This means, of course, that it's time for me to catch up on the series so far, and I got the first two seasons that I'm pouring through. It really is a fantastic program. It's weird and irreverent and it suits my sense of humor just fine.
Also in the stack is a book all about old comic book ads, "Mail-Order Mysteries"! It shows the actual products behind many of the more ubiquitous ads that showed up in comics. It does not disappoint and seems oddly tailor-made to me specifically.
Lastly you'll see "Save the Cat", a book on screenwriting for jerks like me who will one day probably sell out and write a screenplay. If I haven't already.
Next up, we've got some more DVDs, including the second volume of the Conan the Adventurer series, the complete Planet of the Apes tv series, and the first season of very Clone High alumni heavy "The Last Man on Earth".
Just as I predicted, I'm getting sucked into the amiibo fad and now I own two. I keep telling myself that I'm stopping with Pac Man. Who knows if this is true? I also picked up a new audiobook set in the "Ender's Game" universe. "Ender's Game" was such an incredible book and everything afterwards just slowly and unfortunately went downhill. I guess I'm still trying to recapture that initial wonder.
Oh, and I spent all of last month stalking Larry with a fake Twitter profile before revealing it to him with a birthday cake from (of course) Dairy Queen. Revenge isn't the only thing that's best served cold. Ice cream cake is. Because it's made of ice cream. You get it.
The Pittsburgh Indy Comix Expo is this coming Saturday, and I'll be there with a new issue of Teddy and the Yeti!
I went to PIX last year for the first time and had a lot of fun. This one-day convention is a small affair, and most of the attendees are local creators. I just booked a table because I also just got a brand new issue of Teddy and the Yeti back from the printer.
This issue is half the size of a standard comic (similar in size to the Naked Man at the Edge of Time comic) and has art from Pittsburgh's own Meredith Moriarty. I think Meredith did an outstanding job in capturing the characters while giving it her own flair. On colors we have Tomas Marijanovic; Pietro put together the gatefold cover and Joe Badon drew a pinup for the back.
Here's a three-page preview of the issue to go with the cover. I'll have it on sale at the convention for the first time - and I might even have a new trading card to give to anyone who buys a copy as well (because I can't resist).
The show runs from 11am-6pm with programs from 7:30-11 at night. There's no charge for parking or admission! So show up! You can find more info here: http://pixcomics.blogspot.com.
Earlier today I learned that one of my favorite artists, Paul Ryan, had passed away at the age of 66. I haven't read anything about a cause, but I was stunned to learn this not only because Ryan was still relatively young, but also because I grew up reading his run on Fantastic Four with Tom DeFalco. Ryan is one of the reasons that I love the FF so much, and his years-long stint on the book is still the third-longest in the title's history, behind only Kirby and Byrne. In fact, I learned today that Ryan's first Marvel work was as an inker on the '80s Thing series!
Ryan drew in a classic style that I've only become more appreciative of as I've gotten older. It was the perfect amalgamation of Kirby, Byrne, Swan, Anderson, and other classic, steady styles of the Golden, Silver and Bronze ages. Back when the extreme (and silly) art styles of 1990s Image Comics were all the rage, Ryan's art was a consistent, solid presence on one of comics' greatest titles. He's known for his work on Superman, Flash, Avengers, Iron Man, DP7 and currently the Phantom comic strip, but he'll always be a Fantastic Four artist to me, and one of the greatest. The above cover to issue #370 was the first issue I bought with my own money, back in '92 at the Uniontown Mall.
I was very fortunate to have the chance to work briefly with Ryan a few years ago, when I contacted him about a commission and some original art. I purchased this page from Fantastic Four #390 for the paltry sum of $100. I decided to press my luck and was able to get some comics signed and, for a little extra, I got this Thing sketch card mailed to me:
The thing I'm most thankful for, though, is that I actually got the chance to commission an original Teddy and the Yeti cover from Ryan. His website said that he wasn't taking commissions at the time, but after talking to him for a little while, he told me that his website developer simply hadn't updated the site and that he was indeed taking commissions.
I jumped at the news and a few weeks later, he sent me the original art that you see here, including a rough sketch and full-size pencils.
The cover was eventually completed by Duane Redhead (inks) and Karin Rindevall (colors). I'm so happy that I had this done when I had the chance. It's a real shame that there won't be any more work out there by Ryan after his run on the Phantom strip ends, but he has a legacy of decades that still holds up and will for years to come.
At a FUBAR signing in 2013, I asked Rafer Roberts to draw a version of the Thing with his helmet, a trademark of '90s Fantastic Four. After I brought up the idea, he immediately said, "oh, you mean Paul Ryan?" Rafer, I think, has a similar understanding of '90s FF and he cranked out the lovely rendition that you see below. I'll miss Ryan and his work. I'm glad that I had the chance to interact with him in a small way.
A few months ago, Jeff McComsey and I put together a new FUBAR story that debuts this weekend at the Central PA Comic Con. Comic shop "The Comic Store" has two locations - one in Lancaster, one in York, and so they brought up the idea of doing a story based on the War of the Roses and the struggle between the two eponymous houses. The end result is FUBAR: War of the Roses (with a cover by Brett Weldele), and there are a few places where you can grab a copy if you'd like.
There are a number of really talented and impressive comic artists living in Pittsburgh, and I've been lucky enough to meet a number of them. Over the last year I've had the pleasure of talking with Don Simpson on a number of occasions, and at last year's Wizard World Pittsburgh, Don gave me a page of original art from the upcoming War of the Independents #4.
This issue of the series features a number of cartoon animals such as Usagi Yojimbo, Felix the Cat, Simpson's own Cowboy Gorilla and....The Tick. There are also some non-animal cartoon characters like Milk & Cheese and the Gumby characters.
I wasn't expecting to get this page so it was a big treat to get a page of art from the guy who created Megaton Man, Border Worlds and other great comics.
I would absolutely love to work out a Tick/Megaton Man crossover one of these days in an official capacity, but the two characters do actually meet in this issue as well. I'm hoping to see this issue in stores soon!