I've been working these last few weeks (hold your applause until the end, please) on getting ready for the New York Comic-Con, which is fast approaching. One thing that I'm most looking forward to seeing are some Teddy and the Yeti trading cards, which are sure to make fun noises if you stick them in the spokes of your bicycle wheels.
Above you'll see card #18, which is, okay, blank for the most part, but it might be the one I'm most excited about - it's a sketch card, which is all the rage these days (another acceptable end to that sentence: "with the kids"). This, of course, means that an artist will have to draw on them to make them complete, but let's not put the cart before the horse. Also, if Duane makes it to the convention, I'm totally making him draw sketches for people who buy a set...so keeping checking the transatlantic plane schedule, Mr. Redhead.
I wrote a little while ago about commissioning June Gilbank of PlanetJune to make a pattern for a crochet Yeti doll. June, of course, came through with flying colors on the pattern, but there was still the part about actually making the doll that needed to be addressed. Well, as the saying goes, fortune favors the bold, because my wife took it upon herself to first learn to crochet (a crucial step in the process) and then make this great rendition you see above.
After seeing the final project, it's obvious that that right choice was made in getting the pattern and moving forward with these (officially licensed!) Yeti dolls, because holy crap, those things are friggin' adorable. We'll be sure to have a bundle to sell at the upcoming New York Comic-Con, where I imagine people will completely ignore the book for the aesthetically pleasing qualities of this crocheted wonder. I look forward to it!
It's been a while since I've posted any new art around here, so...hey! New art!
This clip is from the short story "Final Exam", and the stupendous art you see is by none other than Alan Gallo, the man who drew the New Dimension Comics cover to the first issue of Teddy and the Yeti, among other things. The plan is to publish this, along with a look at issue #4, in a black and white "preview" book to have for the big New York Comic-Con show. I did something similar before issue #1, and I think it helped make some people aware of the series, so let's hope that this does the same.
And in case you're wondering, yes, this story was hell to letter. Probably the most time I've spent per page on any story I've worked on...ever. But I suppose that it takes some time to look as awesome as it does. And oh...it does.
I know what you're thinking. I've let the blog go, you say! Not true, says I! I don't mean to ignore you folks, I don't. Because I love you. And if you subscribe to this blog, I love you even more, and also I give you money (possibly). It's just that I've been extra busy lately with some really cool comic book stuff - stuff that even involves Teddy and the Yeti, if you can believe it - and it takes up a lot of time. Plus on top of that, the Franks and Beans website went down! Which is a bunch of crap, if you ask me.
Anyway, there are lots of things to tell, but I don't want to rush and tell things before their time comes. I have, however, been wanting to talk a little more about my recent trip to some of the western US states. For two weeks, I spent time in places like Las Vegas, various Arizona locations, and the greater Denver area, and I had lots of fun. But this is a comic book blog, dammit, and I need to keep on task.
One of the things I've always done on vacation - for as long as I can remember, really - is pick out comic shops nearby wherever I'm staying. Going to a new shop is more of a thrill than it still needs to be, but hey, you take what you can get. I'm happy to say that I made it to four shops on this trip and three others immediately before, and those shops either already carried Teddy and the Yeti or they do now. So it was a good trip from more than one standpoint.
If you look to the right, under the "physical comic shops" link (I should really organize those under some kind of discernible system), you'll see a few new entries. A few weeks before I left for the old and not-so-old West, I stopped at Comic Paradise Plus in Fairmont, West Virginia, and Brave New Worlds and Dreamscape Comics around the Bethlehem/Allentown, PA area. While on vacation, I made it to Alternate Reality Comics and Maximum Comics in Las Vegas, and Atlantis Comics and Mile High Comics near Denver.
Oh, apparently there's a Cricket store next to Atlantis Comics.
Anyway, the Teddy and the Yeti influence has spread, and I'm happy to see it. My thanks to all of the great (great!) shop owners who took the time to chat with me about my book. Sorry if I seemed overly desperate - I just REALLY want people to read T&Y. Fingers crossed.
Here's the second part of my interview with creator Paul Little, Teddy and the Yeti colorist (he also does other stuff as well, I imagine). In this edition, Paul mentions that he is a secular humanist, and the only thing I can think of is a scene from Seinfeld where George talks about "the human fund!" Is it anything like that, Paul? Probably. Also, I ask Paul, a native of Niagara Falls, about the television show Wonderfalls, which people should totally pick up. Anyway, back to the interview - if you want to read part one, click here!
JM: Who are some of the colorists you admire - historical and contemporary?
PL: I'm certainly not alone in this, but I think Dave Stewart is the alpha and omega of comic book colorists. The guy creates some of the most beautiful color schemes I've ever laid eyes on, and he approaches each project with a sense of innovation, know-how and sheer gusto that most of us can only dream of one day possessing. I love Marte Gracia, who's doing a bunch of Marvel books at present, and who has one of the most vibrant and distinctive approaches to coloring that I've ever seen. The shapes this guy finds hiding in his artists' lines are as unexpected as they are wonderful. I like Matthew Wilson for making it look simple and easy especially when it isn't, Christina Strain for making me wonder how anybody could create such intricate detail on such a tight deadline, Moebius for his harmony, Matt Hollingsworth for having colored a single panel in Neil Gaiman's It's Only the End of the World Again that made me realize I had to at least try coloring comics instead of just writing and drawing them in my spare time, and Laura Martin for basically showing everybody how it should be done.
JM: What else are you working on right now?
PL: It might actually be faster to mention the books I'm not working on! (laughs) This summer you can see my colors over Joe Eisma's lines in "Notorious," a back-up feature running in the Image Comics miniseries "Dynamo 5: Sins of the Father."
I had the pleasure of being asked to color a few stories in "Fractured Fables," an oversized hardcover for all ages curated by Jim Valentino that comes out in July from his Silverline books imprint. Jimmie Robinson's always outrageous "Bomb Queen" returns to Shadowline/Image after a yearlong break this November, and I'm really proud of the work I'm doing on that new mini. I'm halfway through the third issue as of this writing, so fans can rest assured that this bad boy will ship on time! Jimmie's back in the saddle again and he aims to stay here.
I just finished coloring a Shrek story for Ape Entertainment, and I'm also inking and coloring the four-issue miniseries "Pocket God" for them at the moment. It's based on the popular iPhone app and will be out this summer. For Blackline Comics, I'm doing the forthcoming OGN "Assassin and Son", created by WWE wrestler Shad Gaspard, with some truly amazing art from newcomer Randy Valiente. There's a lot more in the wings, but I've been sworn to secrecy for now!
JM: I'm currently watching the show "Wonderfalls" on DVD. It takes place on the American side of Niagara Falls, and it makes the whole town seem like a bustling tourist trap.
PL: Oh geez, I remember that show, short-lived though it was! Thronging tourism is certainly the name of the game in this town - the government of Ontario owns the parkland surrounding the Falls, and directly adgacent to it are several square blocks of hotels, casinos, restaurants, bars, attractions and the like. Once you get away from all that, though, we're pretty much the same as every other Scranton-sized burg in North America. There's no bustle to speak of outside the tourist district, apart from some spillover into a few arterial roads that service that part of town, since tourists need gas and groceries too, I guess (laughs).
JM: How is it living near one of the Natural Wonders of the World? And how many times have you taken a ride on the Maid of the Mist?
PL: It's easy to lost sight of the majesty of the Falls itself when you've lived here your whole life, so I tend to stray a bit off the beaten path and enjoy the city's lesser-known geographical and historical sites of interest, of which there is a staggering amount.
The Niagara Gorge is a beautiful place to hike and picnic, Queenston Heights is alive with history, and even from my little apartment downtown I'm only a city block away from the historic Drummond Hill Cemetery, which occupies the site of the bloodiest battle of the War of 1812.
Along with much of the rest of the Niagara Region, it's supposedly one of the most haunted sites in the world, if you're into that sort of thing! Alas, I'm a secular humanist who doesn't believe in the supernatural (THE HUMAN FUND! - JM), so it's kind of lost on me. This is a pretty interesting town with a sometimes frustrating but never boring dual identity. Oh, and as for the Maid of the Mist, that tired old girl's got nothin' on the Whirlpool jet boats! (http://www.whirlpooljets.com/)
My thanks to Paul for taking the time. Look for more of his work on Teddy and the Yeti soon! Once again, check out his deviantART page at http://zepsloan.deviantart.com.
As I'm sure many many people have been fretting over when I would get back from vacation so I can update this blog, I feel that it is my duty to let everyone (EVERYONE) know that I've arrived home safely. Most of my plants even made it (the strawberries took a hit, sigh), and I even picked a zucchini that grew in the garden while I was away. Fantastic.
There's some new comic news to relay! Some of it can wait, but the most immediate deals with the upcoming "Fubar" anthology, which will include the "Yalta" story by me and the fabulous Leo Pietro. I'm helping out by lettering another story, "Stalemate", written and drawn by Dominic Vivona, of which you can see a clip above. This is the first lettering work I've done on a story other than my own, so I'm excited to see it come out. The book is apparently going to press soon, so I'll be sure to post some more updates on this when I hear 'em.
If you're looking for new and exciting news regarding Teddy and the Yeti (and who isn't?!), then TOO BAD! Because I am on vacation. Rest assured that I am seeing lots of interesting things and becoming all around more cultured. This will ultimately pay dividends when I incorporate some of what I have learned and experienced into a comic novella that will make you weep. In the meantime, though, please accept my apologies for the lack of updates on this site - I will do my best to remedy that in the near future. Also, please don't rob my house now that I just announced that I am away and will not be around to defend it, as I usually do, with a loaded shotgun.
Hey, here's a picture of me apparently running either toward or away from New Mexico! Take that, "land of enchantment"!