Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Thing sketchbook, part 6

I haven't posted any new entries into the Thing sketchbook files in a while...this is an oversight that must be remedied!  Here's five more spectacular images of the greatest comic book character ever created.  There, I said it.

Ron Wilson - HeroesCon 2008

Ron Wilson pencilled the Thing for years in titles like Marvel Two-in-One and the solo Thing series, so I had to get him to draw the character for my book.

Chris Giarrusso - HeroesCon 2008

Chris Giarrusso draws "G-Man" and the Mini Marvels feature for Marvel...he is one of the very few comic book creators that does humor well, in my opinion.  He was REALLY cranky when I approached him to draw this, but all's well that ends well.

Scott McDaniel - Pittsburgh Comicon 2009

Whenever I hand the sketchbook over to an artist, I always tell him or her to draw whatever version of the Thing they feel like drawing, but most opt for the class, cigar-smoking version.  Scott decided to draw him as Nightwing, the character he might be most well-known for.

Wayne Faucher - Pittsburgh Comicon 2009

Wayne Faucher - an inker by trade - was almost apologetic at how this turned out.  Don't sell yourself short, Wayne...it's one of the most detailed and expressionistic sketches of the Thing I have.

Pat Olliffe - Pittsburgh Comicon 2009

Pat is a really solid artist best known for his lengthy run on "Spider-Girl".  He doesn't get as many high profile assignments as he should, in my opinion, because he's consistent and I enjoy the underscored realism to his art.  Oh, and he did a Teddy and the Yeti cover for me, which is great.

This might be hard to believe, but yes, there are even more Thing sketches to show beyond this one.  I'll get them up soon, so...you know...keep checking back.  Please.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Brink: the webcomic by Erenberg and Emmett

Because I demand it, head on over to http://brink.comicgenesis.com/ to check out "Brink", a new webcomic from writer Daniel Erenberg and illustrated by James Emmett.  I met James, as assistant editor at Marvel (perhaps you've heard of them) at a party after last year's New York Comic Con, and he's braving the world of webcomics with this new tale about the teenage son of a former super hero and villain.  It's got drama, helicopters, parents, bunsen burners, grapling guns, backpacks and other, more abstract concepts.  Oh, and I'm also lettering it, which has been a lot of fun.

I'm catching up with the lettering, so there's a section of the story where the words look different...that'll change as soon as I get up to speed.  I also need to work on my sound effects, which has been a bugaboo for me and something I hope to get better at (the gradient tool is a nightmare and in my ignorance I hate it).

I've posted the first four pages of this story below, but you can (and, you know, should) go to the main page to read more.  This story updates several times a month, and it should be fun to see how it ends!

Sunday, May 29, 2011

More Horror

Artist Paul Tucker and I are currently working on a new concept titled "John Watkins: Phantom for Hire", which is right now just a short story exercise that threatens to take up more of our time in the future, as it's been loads (just loads) of fun to this point.  Paul even went so far as to draw a mock cover for the character, an homage to old EC Comics horror books that carries the title "Oh! The Horror!"  Interestingly, what I like most about the image is the furniture - that's not to say that everything isn't great, but just take the time and look at couch and endtable set!  Seriously, I love it.

I have no idea if this cover will ever be used for anything, which is why I wanted to get it up here for more people to see.  It's too swell for me to keep all to myself.  The title, by the way, is a reference to a short-run book that Paul and I put together a few years ago under the same name.  It contained three short stories, and...oh, I'd show the cover to it if I still had the image on this hard drive and not hiding away on a DVD-R in the closet.  Oh well, the best I can do is this picture from the New York Comic Con, with the book next to the Teddy and the Yeti paper heroes and the Franks and Beans DVDs.

That's a robot holding a sword in the desert underneath the title on the cover - that's how cool it is.

I currently have one single copy of this book left with me from the orignial print run.  One!  It traveled back from the Motor City Comic Con all alone.  The person who buys it at the upcoming Baltimore show goes home with a prize, no joke.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Bernard Krigstein's "Master Race"

Thanks to the urging of your friend and mine, Paul Tucker, I've been reading some old EC Comics stories recently - I'm trying to emulate the style to an extent for a new story we're working on together.  By far the best of the bunch has been "Master Race" by Bernard Krigstein, a story from the 1955 title Impact! which is generally regarded as some of the top work to come out of EC.

Because I found the story so engrossing and so powerful, I decided to post it below in its entirety (my ability to do so thanks to time and the Internets); the art seems vibrant and the words strike a nerve even 56 years after its initial publication.  Perhaps most surprising is that this story was published just 10 years after the Holocaust ended, a time when many people found the subject still too shocking to discuss.  In its form and function, I think that this story shows the greatest potential of comics.  In eight pages Krigstein created a memorable work of art.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Teddy and the Yeti: Incoming! by Leonardo Pietro

It's been a while since I've updated this blog with new art for Teddy and the Yeti, so now seemed as good a time as any.  What you see above is from a new short story titled "Incoming!", and it features as always fantastic art by Leonardo Pietro, with whom I've work with on some FUBAR pieces and some other extra secret (for now) stuff.  Pietro never fails to impress and this is certainly proof of that.  The rest of the story looks amazing as well.

This story is set to go with a few others in Teddy and the Yeti #6, which may seem like a long way away but is actually closer than you think.  And by "you", I mean you, random person who stumbled upon this post...it'll be ourt sooner than you, personally, think, unless you think it'll be out, like tomorrow, or next week.  Geez, it's a figure of speech.  Cut me some slack.

Anyway, this page answers the long-standing question: yes, the Yeti buys groceries.  At a store.  She especially likes the french bread.  I think that's french bread.  Anyway.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

"Weird Al" Yankovic now has a copy of "Accordion Theory", new FUBAR, Franks and Beans and more notes!

As I've mentioned a few times in the past couple weeks, the above "Accordion Theory" comic strip was created because of a new "Weird Al" Yankovic coffee table book that's set to come out in 2012.  There was a call for photos and artwork from fans, and since I don't have any uniquely good pictures and I can't draw a decent portrait to save my life, Adrian "Bago" Gonzalez and I put together the short strip you see at top.

The file has since been submitted to the publisher, which was one leg of the journey, but I also had an opportunity to see Al on tour this past Sunday at the new Stage AE in Pittsburgh, and I knew that I might be able to directly give the man himself a copy.

The show itself was unbelievable beyond the fact that Al and his band always put on a high energy, fun performance.  I managed to situate myself in the absolute front, pressed up against the stage, and - get this - I got to sing into the microphone twice during the show.  It was a really incredible experience all around and it's something I'll remember for a long, long time.

After the show was over, I had a chance to talk with Jon "Bermuda" Schwartz, Al's drummer and all around good guy.  I've met Jon a couple of times after shows, and he's always very friendly and willing to chat.  I'm also pretty convinced that the submission e-mail address goes directly to him, as he does a lot of archival work of Al's career and has a big online presence, so I managed to hand him a print of the comic along with the high resolution file on CD.

A handful - maybe 30 or 40 - of fans stuck around after the show long enough to say a few words to Al (it was nice of him to take the time after probably exhausing himself on stage for 2 1/2 hours), and I was able to ask him really fanboy-ish questions like "Why was the single version of 'UHF' put on your Essentials album instead of the longer version?" and "Is Victoria Jackson really crazy, or it is all an Andy Kaufman-like stunt?", and perhaps more importatnly, I was able to get him a copy of "Accordion Theory".  I have no idea if he's read it.  But man oh man, he got a print.  He even signed one for me, which you can see above.

This is the best picture I could manage to get while Al was signing stuff.  From our expressions below it looks like I'm giving him a speeding ticket or something.

And here's just a random picture from the show.  That "Fat" costume is great...but I'll bet it's pretty disgusting inside at the end of a touring season.  That's guitarist Jim "Kimo" West at the bottom left.  Fingers crossed for the coffee table book.

I knew it was a good sign when, the day after I posted the comic strip up for the first time, I checked the statistics on it and 27 people had viewed it overnight.  The number 27 is one that gets referenced a lot in Al's songs.  Oh, and after the show was over, I stopped at the casino next door and won exactly 27 dollars, no kidding.

A few more notes before I go:

- My good friend Paul Tucker and I are working on a new short story about a dead guy who solves murder cases.  Okay, that's an oversimplification, but Paul has really run with the concept and has taken it to greater heights than if I were the only one in chage.  The below panel is just some test art from Paul - it doesn't actually appear in the story, but it's gotten me to change a few things and incorporate some of the concepts of the panel itself.

Paul has been working on refining his craft for a number of months now, and the results should be obvious.  He's really got that old-time EC Comics look down.

- I'm beginning some work on a new FUBAR project; I won't give it away just yet (because I really am just getting started), but it involves the below comic strips and, well, zombie, of course.  It'll be different and, hopefully, exciting.  The Baltimore Comic-Con should be bunches of fun when it rolls around this August.

- Lastly, I took one of the Motor City Comic Con pictures into Illustrator and made a mock postcard for Franks and Beans.  Since we all love Franks and Beans (WE ALL DO), I thought I'd post it here as well.  That guy in the top right corner still makes it all work.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Pictures from the Motor City Comic Con, part 3

Aaaaaaaand one more of these should just about do it, right?  Right.  So let's get to it, one week after the actual convention began.

This was the line to get it.  Look how patient everyone is!  Seriously, one of the best things about exhibiting is that you just get to walk right in every morning.  It's lovely.

This guy did a pretty fantastic Jack Sparrow impression.  And look, he even let Larry wear his hat.

This is a yeti, right?  I mean, it looks like a yeti with horns, and...wait, what?  It's from Star Wars.  Really?  Oh.  Okay.


Wow!  And a great time was had by all.  Look at how happy I am.

Thursday night, hours before the con, I was lying in bed, about to fall asleep, when I realized that - horror upon horrors - I forgot to bring my Thing sketchbook to this show.  This sucked.  However, I did manage to get a sketch nevertheless: I bought a blank version of the new FF #1 and got the extra talented Katie Cook to draw a cute cover for me.  When I asked her why the Thing was wearing a neckerchief, she answered "because he's got style."  She's right, of course.

I got some swag at this show for sure!  On Sunday, when any bargain hunter knows to look for deals, I snagged some great books that I had been looking for for a while, including Fantastic Four #s 47, 117 and annual #9, Astonishing Tales (co-starring the Black Panther and Dr. Doom!) #s 1 and 4, and a handful of early-ish Marvel Team Up issues, most of them featuring the Human Torch (sometimes as the lead character).

My next post will be about something different.  But I had fun putting these pictures up in any case.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Pictures from the Motor City Comic Con, part 2

As I sort through more pictures from the recent Motor City Comic Con, here are some of the better ones:

This mask was so realistic - if it wasn't so eerily terrifying, I'd have been absolutely impressed.  Well, I guess I was still impressed, but the horror overshadowed it a little bit.  It brought about, in fact, the following reaction:

Yep.  That's how I felt.

Some GI Joe guys...and Larry's wearing a shirt from a book in which the Thing beat up the Hulk.  Thanks for supporting the Thing like that, Larry.

I am, honestly, not a fan of either Family Guy nor Star Wars, but I know quality when I see it.  What's surprising about this costume is its simplicity and yet effectiveness.  The eyeball glasses really make it.  Good job, fella.

I raffled off a Thing statue on Saturday - the rule was, if you bought a book, you got a ticket.  It was surprising the number of people who bought a book and then said "no thanks!" to the statue ticket.  Lookit that thing!  It's a fantastic bust.  This is a picture of the guy who ultimately won it - he put his ticket in about four minutes before the drawing.

There was a party after the show at a local hotel.  Except for Larry and me, this picture is 100% candid.  I like how it turned out.

Heck, I've got more pictures to show.  Next time, everyone.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Pictures from the Motor City Comic Con, part 1

Well, the 2011 Motor City Comic Con is a thing of the past, and now all that's left are the memories, the cool swag, and pictures.  Let's take a look at some of the latter, shall we?

I think I'm starting to run out of original poses for these desperate booth shots.  I've probably made this face before...got to come up with some new ones.  In any case, this is perhaps the biggest table I've ever had.  It was nice to be able to spread out, but I think some of the graphic novels got overlooked because they were all the way at one end.  In any case, I was able to lay out copies of the Magic Bullet, Mr. Massive, Teddy and the Yeti, FUBAR, Strip Search, and other stuff with no problem.

Ernie Hudson was at this show.  I'm pretty sure he didn't drive this to get there...but that would have been cool.

Ugh, look at these books.  Fantastic Four #1.  Amazing Fantasy #15.  Avengers #4.  Superman #...whatever that one is.  This is like a list of "books I'll never be able to afford."

A lot of this costume was made out of couch cushions (seriously).

There was an empty table across the row from ours, so Larry decided to set up his own Franks and Beans booth.  I paid him a few visits.

This was a pretty good costume, and it was funny, too.  Weird kid, though.  No offense, weird kid.

Hey, where's the Cesar Romero Joker?  That would have made it pretty much complete.  The Jack Nicholson Joker actually came off creepier than the Heath Ledger Joker, which was an accomplishment.

I'll post more later.  I will!  I promise.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Notes from the Motor City Comic Con, new Franks and Beans, and more!

- Day #2 has just ended at the Motor City Comic Con, and so far it's been a very interesting trip.  I'd say that this show has been different from any other convention where I've ever exhibited, and it's all a good learning experience.  I've met some cool people and, hey, I've got Teddy and the Yeti out in front of a lot of new readers.  Oh, yeah...and there was this horrifying (but very well done) Superbaby guy there, too. I'll put up more pictures and write more about this show in the next few days.

- I watched the final episode of Smallville last night - it was the first time I caught the show in more than five years, but it was still pretty easy for me to follow.  I don't know if that's because the show's producers really made an effort to make everything accessable or if it really hadn't changed that much over its history.  In any case, I thought that it was fine - nothing spectacular, but okay.  The show's love affair with the Richard Donner-era Superman is still burning bright, and the glimpses of Clark in the suit were pretty cool.  But wow!  The show certainly hasn't lost any of its angst over the years.

I thought it was strange, though (and hey, spoiler alert), that throughout the entire episode the impending arrival of Darkseid and Apokalypse was built up and built up and built up...and then at the end of the episode, Clark just takes ten seconds, throws the planet back out into space, and everyone's happy.  Really, that was the big confrontation?  Oh well.  The show had a nice long run and it's good that it got to end how those who cared for it wanted.

- As the above flyer shows, FUBAR's second print is in the May edition of Diamond's Previews with an order code of MAY110785.  Check out that new cover!  Good stuff.  And check out a clip from a story of mine from the second volume, due out in the fall, with art by Mario Wytch:

- There's a new episode of Franks and Beans that's just been released, and you can watch it below.  If anyone's just stumbling on this site because of the cards I handed out at the convention this weekend, do yourself (and, well, me) a favor and check out all of the F&B videos and other stuff at www.franksandbeansonline.com!

- And lastly, I've been getting some nice comments on yesterday's "Accordion Theory" strip, and I appreciate all the kind things that have been said.  If you haven't seen it, well...here it is again.  So...read it.