Thursday, May 31, 2018

All 12 of Edy's DC superhero ice cream comics, just for the hell of it

A few months ago, I posted a short review of Edy's new Superman-inspired Krypton Cookie Dough ice cream. In it, I mentioned that each container in this new DC superhero product line had a comic on the back of it. Well, I've finally found all of the comics, and not just for Superman, but for the Batman and Wonder Woman ice creams as well. Companies should be rewarded for including comics as part of their comic book tie-ins! So here, unsuspecting public, are all 12 of the comics, whether you want them or not. You can click on each individual picture to get a larger image.

Let's start with Superman, in "Power Struggle":

And then it's on to Batman, in "Seeing Double...Double".

And lastly, we have Wonder Woman, in "Truth and Consequences":

You're welcome, America.

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

the spoils of Free Comic Book day

Every year for Free Comic Book Day (since 2013), I've been lucky enough to travel to Boston and New England Comics to sign copies of the annual Free Comic Book Day issues of The Tick. This year was like previous years in that it was awesome, but I also managed to grab a number of original art pages while I was there, so I thought I'd show them off here.

I started off the day at NEC Quincy, which was busy from the time the doors opened until after I left at around 3:00.

From 4:30-7:00, I signed comics at my favorite NEC location, the Harvard Square store. It was surprisingly busy at this store as well, and there were still people wandering in as the shop closed down for the night.

These kids walked in and were just enthralled by the Batman: The Brave and The Bold episode that was playing. I'll admit that I was watching it, too.

So let's take a look at some of this art that I picked up this weekend. The first is a Son of Hitler page from Jeff McComsey. Jeff's not from Boston, but I managed to meet up with him on my way to New England. This is probably my favorite page from the book - one of the main character dons a pair of glasses as a disguise, which is just about the most comic book thing in the world, so I was glad to pick this up.

I spent some time at NEC Quincy with artists Alex Harris and Tony Sedani, and I was able to get some artwork from both of those gentlemen. The first two pages are from the new Tick #2. Alex drew the short story I wrote that showed up in the back of this issue.

The story in question didn't have The Tick in it, and Arthur was only on the first page, but dangit, I enjoyed writing it. And Alex did some nice work with Running Guy and Rubber Ducky.

Tony Sedani had a three-page short story in this year's FCBD issue, and I was able to grab one of them from him. This particular page features a nice rooftop scene with The Tick and Arthur.

After FCBD ended, I met up with Ian Nichols for dinner and comic talk (this is my life), and he surprised me with a page from last year's Comic-Con Special issue. I love that handwritten sound effect!

I hope everyone had a great Free Comic Book Day. What comics did you get? Anyone still looking for a particular issue?

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Free Comic Book Day 2018 signing at New England Comics!

Free Comic Book Day is nearly upon us, and once again I'll be traveling to Boston to join in the festivities at to different New England Comics locations! If you're in the area, you can stop by to get some books, and I'll even force you to let me sign the new issue of The Tick. Artist Ian Nichols will also be at NEC (Brookline) signing and sketching.

Here's my schedule for Saturday, in case you'd rather not read the flyer that's right above this:

New England Comics (Quincy): 11:00-3:00
New England Comics (Harvard Square): 4:30-7:00

Note that the information for the Quincy store states that I will arrive at 11pm. This is probably incorrect. Either that, or I'll be there for quite a while. Either way, there'll be free comics! Hope to see you there!

Monday, April 30, 2018

"Son of Hitler" from Image Comics

I just finished lettering a new original graphic novel, "Son of Hitler", that will be published in late May/early June from Image Comics. This is my first published work of any sort through Image!

Before we step any closer, let's address the title, which is of course a bit provocative, and the content. The phrase "Son of Hitler" dredges up a lot of uncomfortable imagery, but the book is a spy thriller set in World War II and features a plot to kill Adolf Hitler. I'm sure the book title will raise some eyebrows, and understandably so, but let's put this story firmly in the category of "anti-Nazi" before we go any further.

The story is written by Anthony Del Col and Geoff Moore, and drawn by my pal Jeff McComsey. I've done a little bit of work for Anthony before, but I got involved with this project after Jeff asked me to add some lettering to it. Jeff and Anthony appeared at the Image Comics Expo a few weeks ago to talk about the book.

Image even ran a feature of it last month in their "Image+" magazine.

The issue includes a few different pieces on the book, starting with an interview with Anthony about his work and his previous career in the music industry.

And there's a nice spread with quotes from both Anthony and Jeff, followed by a short preview of the book, all of which has my lettering work on display, which is pretty neat.

The book clocks in at nearly 200 pages, so this was easily the largest single story that I've lettered. There were some sleepless nights as deadlines drew a bit closer, but I'm happy with the end result and I'll be looking forward to seeing the book in print.

Other than Anthony, everyone involved with the book had some iteration of the name "Jeff" - McComsey, me, (Geoff) Moore, and even one of the editors at Image who worked the title. Once I started lettering, Anthony sent me a message asking if I had a nickname or anything he could use to differentiate, other than my 10-letter last name. I guess I had to disappoint him, because nothing springs to mind, but I guess I'm open to suggestion.

This book will show up in comic shops soon! I hope you check it out!

Saturday, April 21, 2018

All Star FUBAR!

There's a new volume of FUBAR coming your way soon! All Star FUBAR is scheduled to arrive in comic shops around the end of the month. Did you know this series made it on the New York Times bestsellers list? Have I mentioned that before? I will bring it up until I die, I imagine. Until I die and come back as a terrifying zombie, still talking about that NY Times mention.

This new volume features a knockout cover by Matt Smith, as you can see above. I'm happy to once again be the story editor on this 200-page collection.

In addition to lettering a handful of the stories in this book, I got to write one about Gilgamesh, which is the oldest known surviving story on the planet. The original story has threads in it about the search for life after death, so it wasn't too much of a stretch to add a little horror to the concept. This story has some art from Kurt Belcher.

The volume also publishes a few stories that haven't been collected before, including one of my favorites, "Takin' Care of Business", with art by Rob Croonenborghs.

It also collects, for the first time, "Eat It", my "Weird Al" Yankovic tribute, with art by Jim McMunn and Jeff McComsey.

All Star FUBAR brings back a lot of the creators you've come to expect under McComsey's wing, such as Eric Esquivel, Jennie Wood, Shawn Aldridge, plus some new contributors like fellow Tick friends Benito Cereno and Tony Sedani. You can find copies at your local comic shop starting April 25th, and soon after online directly from Alterna here:

...and from Amazon here:

Saturday, March 31, 2018

The Thing is Big Ben: Thing comics from the UK

It's no surprise that many American based comic book companies publish foreign and foreign language editions of some of their books. Many books have audiences outside of the US, so it only makes sense for Marvel, DC and others to reach out and try to sell their stories to different countries.

I don't usually collect foreign editions of books, because they're often hard to find, expensive and overwhelmingly numerous. But "The Thing is Big Ben", the United Kingdom's awkwardly titled collection from the 1980s, is a title that I've had my eye on for a while, for obvious reasons. I finally found a batch that was reasonably priced, so I placed the order and got a few issues.

The book consists of reprinted and repackaged stories from around the late 1970s. The Thing has the lead story, but each of the books also contains tales from other characters such as Iron Man and Captain America. The first volume of "The Thing" was being published at the same time in the US, but this UK version contains reprinted Marvel Two-in-One stories from a few years prior. It's interesting that they started with later stories, near the end of Two-in-One, rather than just starting at the beginning (when the stories were better). I wonder what the publishing arrangement was - if the UK folks only had access to older material or if someone involved really enjoyed the latter 25% of Marvel Two-in-One.

The covers are also an interesting part of these books. Many of them are similarly reprinted covers from Marvel Two-in-One, but some of them feature original art, such as the first issue with the Thing gleefully advertising the free hat offer, or the above new image from artist Terry Austin.

The books are sized at just a little bit smaller than current magazines. They're very flimsy and are printed on newsprint. Even the covers are the same paper stock, which gives the books a newspaper feel from cover to cover. Curiously, the color scheme changes from spread to spread. The first two pages of the above story are colored as you'd expect...

...but the next two pages are printed with shades of just one non-black color. This rotates throughout the whole book, which is interesting, to say the least. If this happens simply as a cost-saving measure, why not print the entire first story in full color, then print the remaining pages in black, white and blue? It's an odd choice.

"The Thing is Big Ben" published 18 issues in the mid-'80s, and it followed the same format throughout its run. So far, I've been able to track down eight of these books, so I've got a little more than half to go. I wonder if these are as easy (and as cheap) to find in the UK as issues of "The Thing" are to find in the US. If there's anyone from that part of the world reading this blog, I'd love to hear your thoughts on this reprint series!

Monday, March 12, 2018

My day on the set of "The Tick"

When Amazon's Tick pilot aired back in late 2016, one of the first things I did upon finishing the episode was slowly scan the credits for extras casting information. Once I found it, I began the delicate game of trying to pester the company just enough to let them know that I would like to appear in an episode. March of 2017 came, and with it, the beginning of filming on the first season. Week after week went by before I finally got the email I was looking for, and near the end of June, I traveled to Brooklyn to be in an episode of The Tick!

I have family who lives about two hours outside of New York City, so the day before, I stayed with them and tried to figure out how I was going to both drive and park in the city. I've done both before, and it's not like NYC is an alien planet, but traffic and the availability of parking are naturally two of the most most daunting hassles of a a big city, and unlike any other time I've been there, I actually had a time where I had to be somewhere - in this case, 7:00 am. I was worried about rush hour traffic, so I left...REALLY early. Before 4:00.

This turned out to be much too early, as whenever rush hour starts in New York, it doesn't start at 5:00, so as the sun was coming up, I drove through the Holland Tunnels and into the city. Where was everybody? I drove right past both Little Italy and Chinatown on my way towards Brooklyn. I didn't realize it, but they are actually right next to each other.

Astounded at how quickly I had made it, I then turned onto the Brooklyn Bridge.

Here's a shot of the city from the bridge. I figured that I would be able to use the extra time to find a parking spot. I spent a while the night before looking up parking garages that were near the set.

When I arrived at the designated area, near McCarren Park, I found that I was able to park right next to the holding area, on the street, for free. It was 5:45am. I was stunned that I was able to make it to the destination in under two hours, and that I could park within about 50 feet of my destination. I mean, I'm glad it happened - I'd rather be too early than too late - but I showed up before the production assistants and the catering workers.

I managed to find my way inside the holding area as the caterers were setting up their tables. I put my things down and then walked around town for about 45 minutes. It was a cool, clear day in New York at 6:00, so why not?

We ended up filming just a few scenes on this day, and both of them in the same basic spot. A few familiar faces were there, including creator Ben Edlund and executive producer David Fury, whose TV Guide interview I interrupted for a few minutes in between scenes. Ben didn't know I was going to be there, so when I said hello, he looked a bit shocked until he recognized who the heck I was.

At around 2:00, we all left for lunch. I've been on a few movies and TV shows before, but this is the first time I had heard the phrase "walking lunch", which I guess is code for "you're on your own, kid!". I walked a couple blocks to Vinnie's Pizza, which in addition to having some fantastic pizza (I recommend it if you're ever in town), also had a TMNT-themed bench right outside.

After lunch, we moved onto a new scene. Earlier in the day, the crowd I was a part of was at a memorial for the Flag Five, with Fran├žois Chau (Walter) and Patricia Kalember (Joan), Arthur's parents on the show, as well as the dogs who play Midnight, voiced by Townsend Coleman. Chau also played the Shredder in 1991's Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: Secret of the Ooze, so hey, there's our second TMNT reference of the day.

The second scene was a continuation of the first, after the Terror and The Tick's big fight at the end of the season, and in this one, both Griffin Newman (Arthur) and Peter Serafinowicz (The Tick) were there in costume. I got to talk briefly with Serafinowicz about Comic-Con, which was at that point only a few weeks away. The temperature had risen steadily throughout the day, and by the end of the second scene, it was into the mid 80s. The Tick suit looks like it's just about as hot as you'd expect, and Serafinowicz was drenched with sweat. Somebody get that guy a towel!

I was (thankfully) given a hat to wear during the two scenes, which prevented me from getting too much of a sunburn and also gave me the opportunity to wear a prop for a while. The scene also had a table with Flag Five merchandise on it, with things like keychains, hats and buttons on display.

One of the most heavily enforced rules on a film set is the "no pictures" rule, for obvious reasons. That's why all the pictures I've shown here have been of things that are decidedly not on the set. Do I have other pictures from this day? Absolutely not. Did I keep that hat that I'm wearing in the above picture? Goodness, no. Why would you even ask that? Ridiculous.

The scenes shot on this day were actually used in three episodes - 10, 11 and 12. In episode 10, the memorial is being set up. In 11, Midnight gives his speech and the crowd gets an alert to clear the area. In 12, we're all running for our lives, first in fear, then in jubilation. As expected, I can be seen in these various scenes almost not at all, except for a crowd shot in episode 11, the screenshot here provided by your friend (and mine) Larry. Despite my relative decent position (I was just a few feet from Chau for most of the morning), this is the best that I can be seen. That's okay - this just means that I can come back again for season two!

As I mentioned, this isn't the first set I've been on. I've probably been a part of a couple dozen productions over the last 10-or-so years, but this one, naturally, is very high up on my list. I can say that I was officially part of Amazon's The Tick, even if just for one day. That's something I'll always remember. Now let's bring on season two!