Monday, March 30, 2009

When will you meet Mr. Smith?

The first story I ever did in comics was a 5 page short story about a man who at first appears to be a typical hired assassin named Mr. Smith. It was originally done for a horror and noir comics contest- the winner would be published as a backup feature. A story about a murderous teddy bear won.

My art, being my first real attempt at drawing comics, is rather crude but the story by James Hitchcock is a very dark and haunting take on what it means to be trapped by fate in a situation you despise but can't seem to break free of. I had planned to add in some spotted blacks in Photoshop, being afraid to cover up the line work with a short deadline and not wanting to have to draw lost details if I didn't like the results, but I just ended up over-shading the whole thing a sort of muddy middle grey which sort of captures the moral ambivalence I suppose but didn't nearly do enough justice to Jim's awesome script. It really deserved some dense blacks to portray the bleak and grim emotional vibe of the story.

After we lost the contest we decided to not let the story go to waste and that's when we jumped into self-publishing, creating the Red Flag Publishing empire and launching our Red Flags anthology with a first issue that contained the full "Mr. Smith" story along with the first part of a longer story which has yet to be completed called "Snatched" in which an FBI agent and a reporter investigate a series of mysterious child abductions. The second issue of Red Flags was published on-line at Web Comics Nation (and can be located with the link at the top right corner of the sidebar on this page).

You can read the Mr. Smith story for free by clicking here.

Monday, March 23, 2009

How I waste time at work

I work at a printing company. We often end up with scrap paper which I hoard at my desk to doodle on while the hamster wheels powering the outdated computer and servers catch up or while waiting for large emails to come through (if I try to do other activities often my computer crashes so it's better to find other ways to occupy my time). The following are just a random assortment of those doodles. OK, not totally random since I tried to pick ones where I used color...

Monday, March 16, 2009

Happy St. Patrick's Day

Nothing like a drunken leprechaun...Originally drawn last year for a friend who was selling t-shirts in New Orleans during the holiday festivities. Never did get to see how it turned out...

Monday, March 09, 2009


Higher benchmarks make for better comics? BS!

Dirk Deppey links to the newest Dirk Manning column at Newsarama saying Diamond's new higher benchmarks will make for better comics. Sorry, but I've got to call bullshit on that one.

I spent a couple hours yesterday combing through the dollar bins at a local comic shop. The amount of sheer crap produced by the Big 2 and the "mid-majors" is astounding. And people want to beat up on the little guys who at least have excuses for being bad- it's pretty damn hard to put out a great comic when you're doing it yourself in your spare time. The Big 2 and their little siblings have produced so much drek over the years that now sit in dusty longboxes begging for someone to buy them for a dollar or even a quarter... and no one is buying. Those longboxes aren't filled with half as many issues of self-published and small press books as they are with endless issues of some 52, numerous X-Men mini-series and spin-offs, Image imprint franchises nobody has cared about since the early 90s, or the last Big 2 crossover after which "nothing would be the same." How many issues of that "Lost Teen Titans" book did I run across yesterday? Dozens, perhaps. How many issues of long-forgotten Iron Fist or Dr. Strange mini-series did I find? Too many to count. And people expect me to think Diamond's benchmark is going to eliminate the crap?
"After all – let’s be frank, people – Previews has agreed to distribute a lot of sub-par comics for a long time... and now... those days are over."
If only this were actually true...

Shame on you, North American comics industry!

Never having read any Jonah Hex comics, I'd always assumed him to be a magic character due to his name (a "hex" being a form of magical spell), and I always associated it with the non-superhero branch of DC which produced lots of mystical/horror books in the 1970s like House of Secrets, Swamp Thing, etc.

Despite my initial confusion, I began picking up the series for a couple of reasons. First, it follows the "one and done" formula which means I don't need to know 15-20 years of back story to appreciate the book unlike most mainstream comics. More importantly, the book features art by Jordi Bernet! The fact that the book doesn't sell more is yet another sad indictment of the North American comics industry. Bernet is a God whose work should guarantee top 10 sales. Another factor in buying the comics is that, probably due to the aforementioned poor sales, I can usually grab old issues in the dollar bin at a local comics shop. What could be better than buying comics by a Euro master for a dollar? Shame on you, North American comic book industry for allowing a book with art by one of comics' best artists to be on the edge where many people gossip about its chances for survival! People should quit fawning over the photo tracers and imitators and start buying this book and realizing those Wizard top 10 artists aren't fit to wash Bernet's brushes! And then go back and buy those old Torpedo volumes

Friday, March 06, 2009

I think she's dead

Tried firing up the scanner earlier this week to post another drawing but it wouldn't respond. Dead. So, I had to take a pic of my sketchpad with my digital camera. It took a few tries and I still couldn't do without the flash which created a reflection on some of the ink lines which actually made them sort of hollow. So, I had to work a bit more to clean up the initial drawing.

I used a Photoshop watercolor-style brush to help keep the drawing loose and keep me from being tempted to try to fully render it. Also, I've been wanting to play around with a coloring style that's a lot looser than the more rendered stuff I've posted recently.

I just got a card at my local small town library. Looking around, I saw a nice fat tome of fashion history. I'd always wanted to research fashion periods and learn a but more about different styles so I could incorporate them into my work when needed.

The style depicted here is from the Directoire period which came after the French Revolution. A group of leading taste-makers were called the Incroyables and took to wearing more daring fashions after a period of subdued styles.