Friday, November 07, 2008

New Wordless Comic: Superman Story

Here's the first in what I hope will be a long series of black and white wordless comics. This one is a Sergio Aragones-style humor strip.

This strip is based on a revelation I had as a kid about superheroes. When I was 13, it occurred to me that Spider-Man was an asshole. Spider-Man would routinely wrap up the bad guys in his web and hang them from a lamp post for the police with a note. But then what? What happens to these people after they've been hanging there for a while and the police find them? It's not like they can arrest them. Where's the evidence of a crime? Are they supposed to take Spider-Man's word for it? Is it somewhere in the note?

And then there was the Super Friends. For some reason during the late 70s and early 80s people were even more paranoid about TV violence, and superheroes weren't allowed to punch people on TV. So Superman's default method of capture was to wrap a lamp post around the bad guy. You would think that there would be obvious consequences to this kind of casual damage to municipal property, and that punching the guy would have been more civically responsible.

For those curious about such things, I made the tones by doing a series of dry brush and pencil textures that I then used as a palette to clone from in Photoshop. This way I could get a lot of natural looking textures while still maintaining a good deal of control. I like the effect better than your standard flat photoshop gray tones or airbrushed modeling, and I'll probably use it a lot more in the future for my black and white comics work.

And yeah, either the van or the car in the last panel is on the wrong side of the road. It just worked out better that way compositionally.

A lot of the characters here are left-handed probably because I'm left-handed, and when it occurs to me I try to make people right-handed because more people are right-handed than left-handed.

Obviously I've been over thinking this.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

This Is Happening

It's really happening. Just a few weeks ago I wouldn't have thought it was possible. I've never been so excited and enthralled by the outcome of an election. Obama's acceptance speech was genuinely moving. Obama has the potential to be one of the truly great presidents, maybe to be among the greatest presidents in history.

Unfortunately he's inherited a big mess, but so did Franklin Roosevelt. This is a genuine opportunity to make revolutionary change. So don't blow it Obama!

Edit: It looks like prop 8, the proposition to ban gay marriage, is going to pass here in California. As excited as I am about Obama, prop 8 is a real setback for California.


After that this seems pretty trivial, but here I am at the Alternative Press Expo that was held this last weekend:

The picture's are a little blurry since I forgot my camera and we had to use Regina's picture phone. It was pouring down rain, so from what I heard, the turn out wasn't what was expected, but despite this we did really well. To the right of me is Mari Naomi, author of Estrus Comics, autobiographical comics about her love life. She was really a neat woman, and it was good to meet her.

Here's our spread. We sold out of the elephants print, and sold a ton of the smaller bicycle tree print. We had a larger bicycle tree print, but the small one had a little color, and people seemed to like that one better because of the color. The Baby God minis did Ok, but I sold very few Blue Kid minis for some reason. Since the Blue Kid is the thing I'm most proud of right now this was a little disappointing, but I did learn that people really really seem to like these two particular prints. I didn't have business cards, and I'm not set up to sell anything on my website, so I'm probably going to have to do something about that. Regina is the one hiding behind the table. She won't let me include any pictures of her on the blog.

This was my first sighting of the elf:

To the left of me is Ben Costa, author of a really amazing comic called Shilong Pang and another really cool guy.

More elf. Just in front of the elf is another talented cartoonist that was seated near us. His name is R. Carrasquillo according to his mini comic, The Heights, but I don't remember what the R stands for.To the very far right is Morgan Lee Kessler who had mini zines and prints. She was responsible for our first sale, a Baby God.

And here's the elf in all his glory:

For some reason he reminds me of Doug Henning.

I vowed this time not to buy anything at APE that I could buy anywhere else, something that, for the most part, I stuck to. My major purchases were from the one and only Jason Shiga. Most of his books are hand made, and all of them are amazing. This year he even recorded a rap album! "I Love My Shigacorn" and "2Pac Lives" are my favorite rap singles of all time!

From top left, clockwise: Shiga's rap album (I bought three), Hello World, a choose your own adventure type of comic that is mindblowingly complex (Shiga is a mathematician and often uses math in the formal presentation of his comics), and last, Empire Park, Shiga's newest. Shiga is not only amazing with the formal aspects of comics, but he's great at writing characters and dialogue and, in the case of his books Fleep and Bookhunter, suspenseful plots. His books get very poor distribution so he's the best kept secret in comics.

You can buy his books and music here.

Other highlights included the new giant Kramer's Ergot which is mindblowingly huge and mindblowingly beautiful but also really really spendy. Ted Stearn has a very funny and underrated strip called Fuzz and Pluck. His new hardbound is called Splitsville. Lets see, Jesse Reklaw's Diary Comics, the new Acme Novelty Library, too much stuff to recount, but I didn't really get as good a look around as I would've liked since I was so busy selling things.

I almost forgot:

The Wuvable Oaf! The sweetest gay bear comic you will ever read. It's also very funny and beautifully drawn!