Tuesday, June 26, 2012

We all love random notes! With FUBAR, TMNT, a Hulk haiku, Franks and Beans and more!

I've got a little bit to say about a lot of things.  Who wants to hear them?  All of you?  All right, then let's get started.

- The last day for comic shops to order the FUBAR: Summer Special one shot is almost upon us!  I put this above flyer together and FUBAR head honcho Jeff McComsey did a lot of legwork in contacting individual shops about the book.  We're both very excited about the chances of this single issue doing well in stores.  It's got stories by Chuck Dixon, Tim Truman, Michael McDermott and...me.  So ask your local comic shop to order a few copies!  The Diamond order code is JUN12 0760.

- The number of page hits I'm getting per month continues to grow pretty steadily.  With a few days left in June, this has already been the most popular month for the blog (thanks, everybody...and also Google Images).  A big reason for that was a link that someone posted on Reddit, linking to a post I wrote last year about Bernard Krigstein's "Master Race".  It's a fantastic short comic, and I've got the whole sequence posted, so if you haven't gotten around to reading it yet, do it!

- I took a trip to Goodwill a few days ago and landed a Franks and Beans prop and a component for a Comic-Con costume (a great haul!).  While there, I spotted Venom hanging out in a collection of some random junk.  I'm not sure what his scheme is, but rest assured that no good will come from it.

- After my spring semester ended at school, I posted awful pictures my students had drawn of the Hulk.  My good friend Lauren, formerly of the Grouchy Gastronome website, sent my a Hulk haiku in celebration of this event.  Perhaps in direct violation of her wishes, here is her poem:
There's no Hulk picture
For I am not an artist
Enjoy this instead
Well, Hulk, what do you think?

Oh, Hulk, you're such an idiot.  The Thing is so much better than you.

- Fullfilling a wild and long-standing fantasy of mine, a picture I took has been seen and shared by others on the Internet, as the "The Shredder is Dead" picture I made and took at school was posted to the TMNT Tumbler page and reblogged by several dozen others!  YES!  Viral images!  Please share with your friends, Internet.

Oh, and Paramount shut down Michael Bay's live-action Ninja Turtle movie in hopes of finding a better script.  Heh.

- Click here for a nice and wildly positive review of this year's XCon Myrtle Beach.  There are lots of pictures from the event, including the above one.  It's funny because this is my table from the convention...before I showed up.  Ha!  That happened a lot.

- Facebook is getting eerily specific with its ads, as I found this waiting for me one day when I incessantly casually checked my page.  Really?  There are enough Weird Al fans out there that Facebook can run an ad specifically catering to them?  Wow.  And the guy in this ad looks dumb.  Get with the times, man.  Weird Al shaved his mustache years ago!

- Finally, here's a programming update on Comic-Con's film festival!  Franks and Beans didn't make the cut.  Oh, heck.  It was a long shot, I guess, but that's still a bit of a bummer.  I'm sure there will be plenty of good entries on display.  In the meantime, here's an extra new episode of Franks and Beans with special guest stars - from this summer's Dark Knight Rises - Christopher Nolan and Joseph Gordon-Levitt!  Maybe.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Bowen Designs' new Thing statue

I'm getting a new random notes blog ready to go.  Who knew I could have so many items to say just a little bit about?  Who indeed.  I'm sure you're all breathless with anticipation.

The following item was originally going to belong to the upcoming post, but I took so many pictures that I thought it deserved its own post.  And when we're dealing with the Thing, who can blame me?  It's not like I don't make some mention of the character several times a week.  A hem.

Anyway, a few days ago I got a long-anticipated birthday present in the mail: Bowen Designs' newest Thing statue.  And what a present it is!  I had seen pictures online, and I own other Bowen Thing statues, but my expectations were far exceeded once I saw this statue with my own eyes.  So I took some pictures.  And here they are.

The first picture is, of course, the box the statue came in.  Upon opening the box and removing the styrofoam protective container, we see the Thing in all his glory.

I was surprised that the Thing isn't permanently attached to the base.  If you look at the right section, you might see a small square indentation.  This picture actually has the base upside down.  The Thing has a peg on the bottom of his right foot that fits in this hole, securing him to the base.

The detail in this statue is just astounding, and it's pretty big, too - 13 1/2 inches tall.  I was surprised, however, at how light this statue is.  It seems that both it and the base might be hollow inside.  This stands in contrast to the similarly-sized Hard Hero Thing statue, which is also nice looking and heavy as all get out.  The weight doesn't take anything away from the statue...it's just an interesting detail.

The other three members of the Fantastic Four come in a three-pack statue set, just as a previous FF Bowen collection.  I guess no one wants to buy Mr. Fantastic by himself, but the Thing is sold separately.  That's kind of weird, but oh well.

In all, this is a great piece and I'm happy to add it to my collection.  Bowen makes great products and this is certainly no exception.  It'll find a prominent place in the display for sure.  I read that there were only 950 of these made, and they've already sold out, so I feel lucky to get one.

There have been so many Thing statues put out in recent years.  Most of them have been well done, but this is in the top tier for sure.  If I had to guess, I'd say that I have maybe 70% of the Thing statues on the market.  I've yet to crack the super expensive Sideshow racket, with their $500+ price tags.  Maybe some day.  But for now, I'll be happy with the more affordable, but still fairly extravagant, pieces in my Thing collection.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Comic-Con shirts from Wagon Wheel Comics!

At the risk of sounding like a broken record (does that metaphor still work?), preparing for Comic-Con is not for the weak of heart.  I've still got lots to do, but I'm starting to whittle down (does that metaphor still work??) the projects I've got to complete for the show that starts on July 11th.

I'm happy to say that one such project that is nearing completion is the long-planned t-shirt barrage.  I always thought that it would be fun to make up some shirts, and comic conventions seem to be the place to have them on hand.  The images you see on this post will soon adorn shirts (ready to buy, even!) at Comic-Con this year, thanks to the folks at Commonwealth Press in Pittsburgh.

The first image has been seen before - it's a Yeti-in-the-style-of-the-Thing shirt with art by Duane Redhead!  It's looking great, I think.

Next up we have an image by Leonardo Pietro!  It's...a fish.  But is it just a fish?  Oh no.  I considered for quite a while putting text on this shirt that gives the wordplay joke away...but in the end, I left it as just an image.  Who gets it?  Anyone?  I hope it's not too obtuse.  I hope that I don't have to explain it to everyone who looks at it at Comic-Con.  Any guesses?

Our next shirt is a little bit crude...but I couldn't resist it.  This was the first idea for a shirt that I ever had, and to see it on a shirt will be pretty fulfilling, even if I don't know that I would ever actually wear a shirt that is a play on words referring to, well, boobs.  But you, brave and ironic reader, you just might.

This design was made by Lisa and Vincent over at TeeMinus24.  They're local creators who make lots of shirts themselves!  Check out their site at http://teeminus24.com/.

Our last image isn't on a shirt mockup just yet, and that's because I don't have the blank shirts in for this one.  I'll be pushing it in trying to get this on a shirt for Comic-Con, but I think that I'll have just enough time!  I sure hope so, because this is a really spectacular image drawn by Adrian "Bago" Gonzalez (artist on the "Accordion Theory" comic strip).  So yes, I will have two Teddy and the Yeti-themed shirts for Comic-Con.  Gotta support the brand!  You may be wondering why the Yeti gets all the love and Ted doesn't have a shirt for himself.  The answer to that question is simply that I don't have any good ideas for a Ted shirt just yet.  We'll see.

All of the shirts for these are coming from Next Level Apparel, a California-based supplier.  Everyone I've dealt with from Next Level has been extremely helpful and easy to deal with.  Their shirts are top-notch, too!  They're all really soft and of good quality.  Once I get the finished shirts in (the first wave should be in next week, hopefully), I'll take pictures and post them up.  If you're at Comic-Con, check out the Wagon Wheel Comics booth in the small press section, row Q, table 11!  We'll have lots of things on display, now including shirts!

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Best wishes to Renae De Liz

A little while ago, I found out that comic artist Renae De Liz was recently admitted to the hospital.  Renae is a great artist, and though I've worked with neither her nor her husband, Ray Dillon, the comic industry is a pretty small one...so I've got one degree of separation from either of them in about 12 different ways,  Ray recently posted the following message on his blog:

She has an infection that has spread into her blood and kidneys, as well as pneumonia and some other things we're worried about, but I don't want to say anything there until test results are back. As of today she's doing a bit better and we're told after perhaps a week in the Critical Care Unit she should be mostly recovered. It got really bad and we almost lost her. :( Been a very rough couple of weeks. We're behind in work, income, communication, and our nerves are just shot from all this. (I can't even think about the likely $30k or more in medical bills we're racking up here with no health insurance and we don't qualify for assistance...)

Renae has worked on a number of projects, but might be best known for IDW's "Womanthology" project, which has been a fairly resounding success.

If you head over to Ray's blog, you can find out where to send get-well-soon cards and how you can make a donation to help cover Renae's medical costs, if you so choose.

Best wishes to Renae for a speedy recovery.  And, hey, America.  If we needed other examples of why our current health care system is in dire need of reform...I'd like to present this.  A hem.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Trading links with MDMacro, crochet yetis galore, Comic-Con and more RAAANDOM NOTES!

It's time again for some random notes that YOU need to read!  Yes, all of this directly affects your life, so pay attention.  Case in point, the screenshot above.

- Back in 2010, I wrote a short post about musician MDMacro, who placed ads in Marvel and DC books for a while, emblazoned with the phrase "beats for reading comic books to".  Obsessively checking my stats recently revealed that I was getting a few click-throughs from the MDMacro homepage, which was interesting.  A quick trip to the page and I found the reason: the post is linked under the heading of a "press release":

I don't know that I'd call what I wrote a press release, but whatever.  It's curious that the post was linked at all.  I'm still not sure just what MDMacro is trying to accomplish with his music or his advertising, so I'd like to publicly offer to interview MDMacro for this blog.  MD, I'm sure that a lot of people would like to know more about you.  How about taking a few questions?  I'd love it if you took me up on it.

- I voted online for the Eisner Awards.  Hooray!  I'm fulfilling my duty to the comic book community!  The ceremony will take place at Comic-Con, which is officially one month away.  I found this picture online of the crowd lined up outside for a previous years show:

Oh, man.  I am doing my best to get ready for the show, and that has meant a lot of late nights recently. My wife is helping out as well.  Here's a bag full of crochet yetis:

Wow!  That's a lot of crochet yetis.  And there are lots more here at home, too.  We're gonna sell the heck out of them at Comic-Con.

Also, here's a box full of blank shirts.  What could I possibly have these many blank shirts for?  All will be revealed...shortly.

- New England Comics had an online sale in the last few weeks that I took full advantage of.  It was a great sale!  I got a bunch of books that I had been on the lookout for, and I got them super cheap.  Included in this lot is a first edition Tick #1 (wooo!), a logo-less Tick #8, and the first issue of Tales Too Terrible to Tell, which has a four-page Tick story in it.  If I'm remembering correctly, the story hasn't been reprinted anywhere at all.

Flipping thought the 20th Anniversary book (top left) had the added benefit of helping me identify one of the mystery artists in my Thing sketchbook.  I was a familiar signature, and I grabbed my sketchbook to compare...and as luck would have it, the signatures were one and the same.  I got the following sketch at the Pittsburgh Comicon in 2003, and I had since forgotten the name of the artist:

Thanks to the Tick, I was able to identify the artist as Mark Wheatley!  I'm pretty happy that I was able to find this out.  This is something that irked me for years.

- War of the Independents #3 came out this month, and I mentioned that Teddy and the Yeti had a small role in the book.  The above picture is from the issue in question.  You can see the Yeti getting zapped with the rest of the indy heroes - I almost missed this one as I flipped thought the book.

- Issue #5 of the Magic Bullet is set to come out in September, and I should have another one-page story between the covers.  The folks involved in publishing the title have a Kickstarter fundraiser going on for the next 10 days or so, and there are a lot of great rewards to anyone who is inclined to donate.  Check it out here: http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/2104849681/magic-bullet-5?ref=live

- Colorist and good friend Mike Adams has been working on his creation Kung Fu Bean for a while now, and he was just involved with the release of the Kung Fu Bean mobile game!  I downloaded it to my iPhone and I will say this about it...it's hard.  As a player, you've got to avoid being hit by your enemies by jumping over or ducking under them, and what sounds like a simple task ends up being very challenging.  I hope that the game designers put out some updates soon as I think this could be a really cool download.  Regardless, it's an awesome thing to have and I wish Mike the best of luck with it!

Mike also recently came to the rescue and colored some Teddy and the Yeti pages for me at the last minute.  Thanks for the assist, Mike!

- That's it for now.  Back to the grind.  Oh, heck, here's a picture of Franks and Beans!  Yeah!

Friday, June 8, 2012

another Teddy and the Yeti handbook page

Teddy and the Yeti #4 makes its way to the printer in the next few days, and I find myself staying up late working on page after page to make sure it happens.  Recently crossed off the list is this issue's handbook entry, which is a beast to work on for sure.  On one hand, I like the idea of this extra content and of handbooks in general, but in practice, the handbook pages are so unbelievably tedious and they take up an incredible amount of time and energy to create.

Even so, I can't imagine that the handbook entries will be going anywhere any time soon.  If nothing else, they force me to come up with backstory for characters that are otherwise a bit shallow - case in point, this issue features an entry on the Aquaticons, seen in Teddy and the Yeti #0, a story that was reprinted in issue #3.

I also, with Joe Martino's permission, wrote up an entry on Maldestrak, the main villain of the War of the Independents series, which was fun to do.

I wonder if I should put all of these handbook entries up on the website as a reference for anyone who wants to learn more about the characters.  Perhaps I'll get on that after I (a hem) update the "previews" section of the main site and this blog.  We shall see.  This issue will be on sale at Comic-Con!

Monday, June 4, 2012

Preorder FUBAR: Summer Special!

The June edition of Diamon's Previews catalogue was just released, and if you flip to page 229, you'll see that there's a new FUBAR book being solicited: the FUBAR: Summer Special one shot!  This book was advertised in FUBAR's Free Comic Book Day offering, and I'm happy to finally be able to show the cover and give up a little more information about it.

Rather than a big phone book-style anthology like volumes 1 and 2, the Summer Special is a standard sized, 32-page b&w comic and will feature four stories.  I've written one of them, a short tale that'll be drawn by a familiar artist, none other than Leonardo Pietro, who also provided the cover.  The book also features a story from the upcoming third volume of FUBAR as well as two other brand new stories, one written by Batman and GI Joe alum Chuck Dixon and another by Conan and Hawken's Tim Truman!

The book retails for $2.99, which is a dollar less than what I expected.  It really is a great price for what's being offered, and I'm not just saying that because I desperately want people to buy it (though that is also true.  It is!).

If you've got a favorite comic shop that you go to, ask 'em to order a few copies of the Summer Special for the shelves!  It'd really help out and I think that there's an audience for it.  The all important Diamond order code is JUN12 0760.

The book will arrive in August and it'll serve as a lead in to the third volume.  Check it out!

Sunday, June 3, 2012

FUBAR's 2012 Comic-Con Exclusive

Here's some thrilling and terrifying news: it's closing in on one month until the 2012 San Diego Comic-Con is upon us!  I've still got lots to do to prepare, but I'm making headway every day...it always seems like there's another dealing looming.  It's going to be a big show, of course, and I'm trying to be as prepared as I can be, even though experience tells me that there's no way to be 100% ready.

One of the things that Comic-Con is known for is exclusive products, and I felt like it would be cool to get in on that train.  Now that the dust has settled, I'm happy to announce that, with the help of some friends, I've put together an exclusive FUBAR book featuring an all new story titled "Old Ghosts".  I've shown a clip before; here's another:

The story is 11 pages long, is written by me and features art by Daniel Thollin.  The cover you see at the top of the page is by head honcho Jeff McComsey.  It's the first time we've used the FUBAR Presents logo and it may not be the last!  But if you wanna get a copy, it'll have to be in San Diego at Comic-Con.  We're printing out 200 copies of the 24-page book and selling it for $2.99 (well, $3.00, I guess).  It'll be interesting to see how the books do.  From an overall perspective, I hope that they get a few more people to check out the big anthology books.  The third anthology is coming along nicely and is on schedule for a late 2012 release.  I just saw the finished cover today!

I (almost desperately) wanted to use the official Comic-Con logo on the issue, and for a while, it seemed like it was going to happen.  Comic-Con lets others use its logo for no charge, and many items you see from the show have a sticker displaying the exclusivity and the famous Comic-Con eye that you see above.

When I submitted the book for review, though, I was told that FUBAR could not use the logo because the book was not all-ages appropriate.  Naturally, I already knew that, as it's got the same content on the surface as many other zombie-themed books: violence and gore.  What I didn't understand at the time is why FUBAR is excluded from using the logo when other "mature" items get the green light.

I brought this up with someone at the convention, and was told that no mature items are allowed to use the logo.  I knew that I had seen books that were just as, if not more, violent than FUBAR with the logo attached, so I did a quick Google search.  In no time I found the following two images among others of a similar nature:

Hey!  That's what we call a double standard, folks.  And I get it - life's not fair, and if you've got a big Hollywood presence, some of the rules are bent for you.  It's a shame and I wish we could use the logo (because it looks...so...cool!), but I guess it is what it is.  I don't want this post to come off like I've got a grudge or anything, because in the big scheme of things it's not a big deal.  But I was a little upset.  Even so, I look forward to hawking this limited edition of FUBAR Presents at Comic-Con!  Maybe I'll sell 199 and hold one back...for eBay.  That'd be something.