Monday, December 31, 2012

I did it!

When I originally started my sketchblog in 2008, I planned to post once a week. The reality was, more or less, I posted weekly plus a few extra, ending up at 60 posts per year in 2008 and 2011, and 75 in 2009 and 2010.

After a rough 2012, in an effort to kickstart my comics again, and practice a bit before I continued tackling pages of comic art, I gave my web-site and social media a mini overhaul, and set a goal to finalize sketches I had been drawing throughout 2012, plus new ones—and post a year's worth of actual entries in one month.

It's 12/31/12, and I am very proud to say without any cheater entries, I have met my goal. Yay!

Next up in 2013, I will resume posting here once a week (ish). As for actual comics, I'm not sure if I will continue/finish "baby makes three," continue working on my S/LSH fanfic, or pursue another project. At the end of the day, I will only pursue what makes me happy, as creating comics has become fun again.

Along the way, I have a few pieces of commissioned furniture to make, and I have the top of a dresser to refinish. I've been looking at dog rescue societies, too, keeping my eye out for one screened as "needs a quiet home" and not one that "needs to be around other pets" or "needs a yard."

Oh—today's sketch is a self-portrait in pencil. No, I do not look like that. 

Happy New Year.

S/LSH #203 deleted scene 4 of 4

The ending of Superboy starring the Legion of Super-Heroes #203 doesn't make too much sense for the 30th century no need to hide our gay love angle, so the 4th delete scene really only requires one more panel, after Phantom Girl declares how Lyle and Myla can now be together forever, the romance of a lifetime.

So here I tack on a final panel, which puts everything into homo-friendly perspective. 

After this issue, Chemical King makes almost no appearances, as I suppose writers couldn't figure out how to write his powers effectively, and I think he was seen in the hall of dead heroes in a future tale. He died preventing the outbreak of World War VIII.

In my fanfic, he'll be far more tormented by Lyle's death, the fact that they never fully reconciled,  that Lyle was seemingly going bonkers and he wasn't there for him. Plunging into despair, he won't have much to live for and very willingly plays the pivotal role in issue 228.

If you haven't read S/LSH, or #203 in particular, none of this will make much sense to you. Your take-away is that many fans assume Lyle and Condo were a couple, and I am feverishly writing out their romance in my head and sketchbook. :-)

S/LSH #203 deleted scene 3 of 4

I couldn't remember the chain of events too precisely, and the way issue 203 unfolded presented a few challenges. Invisible Kid's love for Myla is revealed early in the issue, and is crushed to death by Validus at the end. In my favor was the mid-80s storyline featuring the very same "invisible dimension" which if memory serves was filled with demons trying to ensnare Legionnaires to their doom.

However, adding a deleted scene between pages 6 and 7 (which would probably require a page and a half) and a second deleted scene of two pages between pages 12-14 would provide a fuller picture of the homo-friendly version of the attempts to grab Invisible Kid.

But then there's the chat Lyle has with Phantom Girl, who, if you take her reaction at face value, seems to endorse this newfound love. So this deleted scene, also inserted between pages 12-14 solves that, as she contacts Chemical King.

I won't reveal much, but in my head, at this point, Condo is probably struggling with his own insecurities about being a useless Legionnaire and focusing on his career and candle handle all Lyle's lonely clingyness.

Condo and Lyle TLF

Inspiration is fun!

Instead of posting my planned-for posts yesterday, I was consumed with "research" thanks to GeorgiaUnity's comment that Invisible Kid and Chemical King were gay, and with each other.

So, I dug through my collection and scanned through Adventure Comics #s 374-380, and Action Comics #s 378-392 (basically, from Chemical King's first appearance onward) looking for hints, clues, or anything I could read into.

In his first fight, against Spider-Girl, Chemical King assumes a full bottoming position—sold!

I was also scanning for tales where they were together, or both absent so I could write out an elaborate fanfic of their bittersweet romance. Of course, it has to have all the classic Tim Fish ups and downs, but let's face it, they were both killed in action, so it would be ending poorly no matter what.

In the last issues of their run in Adventure, the Legion stories generally included half or more of the roster, either as focal or background players. Still, there are moments here and there I can work with. The get to know you flirtation time, I guess.

As a backup feature in Action, the shorties generally featured 3-6 Legionnaires, and only once, in the same issue, were they present. I noted the rosters of all these, so I know which other team members would be fair game for my fanfic. Or dare I say, pitch?

I skipped ahead to Invisible Kid's death, but next I need to backtrack to the backup stories in Superboy, then Superboy starring the Legion of Super-Heroes #197-202 before Lyle was crushed by Validus. Then, I'll scan through Superboy and the Legion of Super-Heroes up to #228 looking for Condo's rare appearances.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Long live the Legion—equality


It's common in the super-hero world that women wear much less than men. But the Legion took it to an extreme between the Dave Cockrum and Mike Grell years. In the early-mid '70s ridiculously revealing costumes were sported by Saturn Girl, Shadow Lass, Princess Projectra, Duo Damsel, Dawnstar (check my other posts tagged for the Legion to see my take on them). Not far behind (surprisingly) were Cosmic Boy, Colossal Boy, Star Boy, and Tyroc. That's not bad, right? Except Colossal Boy soon reverted back to his less revealing garb, and Tyroc was a non-entity. Duo Damsel retired, and Shrinking Violet's neckline plunged, making the final score girls 5, boys 2.

Not much to say here, but, boys, show some skin! We need as many looking like they stepped out of an International Male catalog as there are women fighting in bikinis. Of course, the creepy thing here, no matter what, is this was a comic book about teenagers. They made lots of excuses as to why these teens were getting married and stuff, but still.

My drawings above: the Star Boy I promised Xavier, with '70s plunging neckline. Since I think he really preferred the '80s beefy bearded Star Boy, I compromised here with scruffy indie Star Boy. Ditching his turtleneck undershirt is Chemical King; then Cosmic Boy as he appeared in the comic—NO EXAGGERATION. And lastly, Ultra-Boy in a short-sleeve version of his shirt, and square-cuts. 

SPECIAL NOTE TO ALL MALE AND FEMALE COSPLAYERS: It is my firm desire that all cosplay be suspended until a very smooth cute guy shows up as '70s Cosmic Boy. Who's Who in the DCU asserts Cosmic Boy is 6'0" 190 lbs, so let's go with that too.

Long live the Legion!—girl power


Growing up around strong women like my grandmother, mother, family friends, and probably my latent gay boy self showing itself, I didn't care much for weak super-hero women.

Marvel's teams in the 60s and early 70s featured women as the weakest links (Invisible Girl, Marvel Girl, the Wasp), but DC's didn't (Wonder Woman, Wondergirl, Elasti-Girl)—except for the Legion. 

The only powerhouse, Supergirl, was "retired" off leaving the weaker, defense, peripheral members like Saturn Girl, Phantom Girl, and Shrinking Violet. 

Spotlight on: Princess Projectra
One of the worst offenders was Princess Projectra, whose illusion powers generally created fake giant monsters to frighten or confuse foes. In later years, they really got her powers right when she re-appeared as Sensor Girl. 

But the worst offender of all was Dream Girl, a precognitive who couldn't use her powers on command, and often fainted when she had powerful or upsetting visions. She went through extensive training with Karate Kid, so she could fight, and they made her willful, and could use her flight ring like no other Legionnaire. But these weren't super, so you were left with a basically an average pretty girl who couldn't help, really, unless she randomly had a useful vision.

By contrast, Night Girl was rejected as an applicant. Her dad had infused her with super-strength, but since she was from a planet without a sun, her powers faded in day light or bright light. So, a girl, who for 12 hours a day (night shift) or in deep space (where a lot of Legion tales took place) who would reliably be among the most powerful members, male or female... Rejected! But a girl who can't use use powers on command, and faints when she does... Accepted! To say nothing about how Invisible Kid invented the serum to give himself powers, Saturn Girl invented a serum to keep Mon-El safe from lead (which Brainiac 5 perfected), and Supergirl invented cancellite to negate the powers of Durlans. Couldn't these whiz-kids have perfected things for Night Girl, giving her at least some super-strength during the day? The did cartwheels for Mon-El, why not her?

Long live the Legion!—diversity

Spotlight on: TYROC
As I graduated out of kiddie comics such as Charlton's editions of Speed Buggy and the random Batman issues my dad bought me, I started scooping up Whitman 3-packs whenever I could, especially when I could see Superboy & the Legion of Super-Heroes included. I love love loved the Legion.

The Legion was ideal kid-reading. Team of teenagers whose massive roster was determined by having a unique super-power: no dups! Some of my earliest super-hero art is of the Legion (follow the tags for the vintage stuff).

Recently, Xavier said I would be great on the Legion, and I thought, "would I?" "what would I do?" Sure, ideas came to my head, but here's the rub: in order to fix problems, update, and Tim Fish-ize, would it be the same Legion I (and others) loved?

Nope. But it did get my sketchpad full of ink identifying my biggest complaints of the original comics. Enjoy.


For a series that takes place 1,000 years in the future, with a membership consisting of mostly alien races, there are sure a lot of white teens on the team. Maybe it was creative, maybe it was editorial, maybe it was the publisher's decision, or maybe it was thought that only white kids read comics. Who knows. 

Karate Kid (who should have been at least stereotypically Asian), only looked Asian once in a while, thanks to certain artists. Even characters where race didn't matter—such as Wildfire, a disembodied teen living in a containment suit—were white. Enter Tyroc, whose powers were complicated, whose backstory was pretty racist, and whose persona was separitist/angry...he made maybe 3 appearances before being written out of the series. Enter Dawnstar, whose species descended from American Indians. Enter the second Invisible Kid, who was depicted as French black and a reluctant hero.

The roster was nearly 30 members, ex members, honoraries...but the 10% rule 3 should have been some variety of homo. Of course, these comics were written in an era that none of them would have been out, but about an era that they surely would have been free to express themselves? Or was that a future far too frightening for the imagination?

So, we have the first Invisible Kid, described as "an incredibly lonely Legionnaire." Later he befriends a ghostly gal who turns out to be a figment of his imagination of something. Maybe a demon. Sounds closet gay, yes? Element Lad was suspected to be gay, too, because he never had a girlfriend and seemed shy around the ladies. In one of the re-boots, I understand Element Lad was gay for a time. And I seem to recall some hints at lesbo action in the mid-80s as I stopped reading the series, between Shrinking Violet and Lightning Lass. Probably went nowhere.

Friday, December 28, 2012


Oh, how I envied Xavier for having a direct flight to Lyon.

We had flown RyanAir from Bruxelles to Edinburgh, but I was flying Aer Lingus home via Dublin. Even though my flight was leaving before Xavier's, I think he arrived home before I left Dublin. No matter, I was able to get some inking in.

You always see something at an airport. This time, we saw a professional football club boarding at the gate next to mine.

And then, a little mystery solved: We each noticed a fellow delayed by security; he was annoyed, and the security officer was oddly reassuring saying something to the effect of, "it's just not usually done this way." As we saw the same fellow boarding for Belfast, he was carrying as his carry-on, a stack of loose binders and papers, and other things. Altogether within the limits of a carry-on bag, except no bag. I think that's why he was delayed, because one couldn't run all this stuff through the x-ray machine, loose.

He was definitely having difficulty managing his stack o' crap, and Xavier said, "oh, come on—he might as well be carrying on a lamp, too!" So I had to draw that, even though he actually didn't have a lamp...

Parting, I tried to French good-bye Xavier (kiss on each cheek), and he tried to American good-bye me (hug) which ended up in an awkward collision of kiss on the lips.

Scots Wha Hae!

Last night in E'burgh! And—sadly—last night of holiday.

The day's little climb, plus the skittles game, plus the walk home, after walking 10 km /day for 2 weeks, meant we had to rest our old bones a bit.

Later, we followed up another rec to go to The Regent Bar, which was a really fun, casual but trendy place. Not gay exclusive, but pretty darn gay.

Not surprisingly, I had on the Dr. Who-esque fellow at the bar. Xavier hates suits, jackets, and ties, so there was no potential for competition here, even though he was a bit scruffy.

It was the type of place where one could play games (which they had an inventory of) and we played dominoes. We didn't exactly know the rules, but Xavier would have won either way.

Mid-way through our game playing, I noticed my fellow had left. Bummer.

The next morning we were to leave for the airport early, so we called it an early night.

The weather

The famed lousy weather (and forecast) turned out to be a myth. Was lovely!

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Just looking around...

Climbing down from the Seat, we found Dudingston Village, sandwiched between the park and a loch. It felt remote and removed, rather cut off, despite it resting within E'burgh's city limits.

I was glad to have done the short hike and stop in the village, as my day designated for country-side excursion was a flop: the bus company cancelled my chosen trip due to "lack of interest." While I would like to return someday to see the Highlands, etc., etc., etc., I was happy Euan had suggested it.

Skittles ("more Scottish than 10 pin") is very similar to Candlepin. The Sheep's Heid Inn's 2 lanes were manual set-up which added to its charm.

Bowling was a must: Xavier and I have been bowling in U.S., Canada, and Belgium. It would have been a shame not to have added Scotland to this list.

While we have fun at all games, Xavier is oddly competitive, and always victorious. So, I was pleased to take an early lead. But when we had an audience, he choked, and I trounced him!

The audience was a group of 5 English men in their 30s-50s, and one English woman in her early 30s who announced they were just looking. Based on the chatter I caught from a pair of guys (one of whom had gone to Tufts and seemed "in charge"), I gathering they were looking to film something there. I asked the woman if they were hoping to film something there, and she nervously answered "we're just looking." Hollywood types always get nervous that someone's going to steal their idea. Pft, get over it, and stop ruining our game.

Later, we were eating lunch at the inn's pub, as were they. Suddenly, the women starts roving the room, and kneeling down in front of our table and others to examine the flooring. So perhaps perspective buyers?—who cares, just stop "just looking" creepily, ruining our lunch.

No matter, it was a great time at the inn!

The seat


I really like travelling abroad for Thanksgiving.

It's such a side step from the parade-watching (meh), football-watching (ugh), over-eating (obv) modern Americanisms as well as my own routine, that the trips serve as really lovely cathartic turning points.

No different this time around in E-burgh.

Eventually I met up with Xavier again, and later still we met up with attorney Euan for Thanksgiving dinner at Under the Stairs. 

When I tourist, I like to do a few tried-and-true cheesy tourist things, explore around on my own and find stuff, and meet locals (while there or beforehand) not only to meet nice people but to get to places off the beaten path.

This is definitely a place we wouldn't have found on our own!  It was cozy and charming. I had a really yummy duck dinner for t-day. While the evening was fun from start to finish, perhaps best of all, Euan gave us spot-on recs for what was to be our final day of tourism in E'burgh.

After the dinner, Euan brought me around the corner from here to what he described as extremely traditional  pub for an extremely traditional shot of whiskey. I'm not a big whiskey drinker, but I enjoyed it.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Thank YOU

Was a bit drizzly Thanksgiving morning, and Xavier and I split up. He had a few places he wanted to so, and I had a place or two I wanted to go. Sadly, one of them was a shop he had dragged me into already and I wanted to go back and take advantage of of the sale. I found a bunch of shirt I liked but limited myself to two. 

There are 3 types of Scottish guys: heinous, Ok, and hot. Throw in the accent and heinous becomes charming, Ok becomes hot and hot becomes HOT.

That said, I relished in the personal attention the retail boy paid me in simply transacting. I could barely understand him, his accent was so thick. And, for someone with nearly hairless arms, he had practically a sweater of chest hair under his T shirt.

Enough of that.

Old ladies

Given the surprising turn of nice weather, I kicked into camera mode for my time in Edinburgh.  Though I am happy to report that I also made time to draw and capture what I could.

I very much wanted to visit "The Georgian House" which is a bit authentic, a bit replica, of a home on one of E'burgh's fashionable squares of yore. I was excited because you could see servants areas as well as the family's.

The house was nice, the little film about it was good, but the experience turned out to be great because of the volunteer tour guides. They really spent a lot of time with each guest.

The kitchen and first floors were staffed by young (under 70 years old) volunteers, but the second floor rooms were staffed by ladies who must have been in their 90s. 

Xavier, an old lady in disguise himself, was in heaven talking to them about tea, tea tables, tea time, tea dishes. After stopping at every shop window with tea-sets featured in Brugges, Bruxelles, and so far in E'burgh, he finally got the tea attention he needed. 

This one little old lady was AMAZING. SO CUTE. Xavier, at 6'4" towered over her. Hell, at 5'11" I towered over her. One of her colleagues handed her a key, to which she replied, "thanks, awfully!" So cute.


Moving from Bruxelles to Edinburgh was fascinating. Subway to the train station to catch the airport shuttle bus, the few signs were very small, the directions given by passers-by nondescript. Finally arriving in E'burgh, the signs large, clear, ample. Busride on the double-decker bus into town lovely. 

Transferring to the city bus wasn't so bad either. We guessed (correctly) at the correct stop and that's where it all falls apart. We had to ask 5 different people for directions, though we knew we were on the correct street of our guest house. 

It turns out—on Minto Street—that the numbers don't run odds on one side, evens on the other...but sequentially down one side of the street, then up the other.

Once we figured that out, it was easy.  The guest house was lovely, but I was a little annoyed at the mostly-charming owners: the wife took delight in watching guests and delivery people struggle to figure out the numbering system of Minto Street. Yes, even odder, this numbering system exists for Minto Street ONLY. I think the guest house should extremely clear instructions, given this oddity. Euan, the lawyer we later met and spent Thanksgiving dinner with, lived the next block down from Minto and had no idea Minto numbering runs such. 


Tuesday, December 25, 2012

happy xmas from the 31st century

The Legion has dispatched Colossal Boy, Dawnstar, Phantom Girl, Tyroc, and Star Boy to France via the internet to wish all a Merry Christmas, all who say that sort of thing, anyhow.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Last day in Bruxelles

We had an interesting time there, to be sure. Lots of chocolate and pastries, lots of H-O-T guys (blond, brown, and more more more), and lots of inexpensive coffee and even less expensive beer. Lovely architecture, but lots of trash. Almost New York levels. the whole non-B&B thing was on one hand disconcerting, and yet it was a lovely apartment and we never saw the dude ever. The Magritte Museum was a bit of a letdown (and packed). The true art of Bruxelles were the portraits of canine heads in period clothing. They were everywhere! We ended our evening with a visit to the Atomia, and the bear bar again. I think we were both ready to leave Bruxelles.

Not as much fun as the night before...

Horse of another color

The night after our drinking (which actually started before we got to the bear bar), our "bed & breakfast" (I add the quotes because it turned out to be this dude's apartment who said 'help yourself' to food for breakfast—yet there wasn't really much)'s breakfast was a bit...insufficient for me in my, hrm, hung-over state.

Xavier and I agreed to go out for a larger breakfast. Not easy to do on the continent, but after we just before we found the comic book shop, we found Brixton, a charming and empty cafe owned by this fun English boy cook. They  were serving full English breakfast, and I said, "this is what I need," and Xavier said, "I want to try!" So yummy. some other people came in after us—Belgians—and were all, "I don't know if I can eat all that food, it's so heavy!" to which the owner replied, "it's the best thing for a hang-over, mate!"

We continued on the comic book shop, and then got lost/found our way back to the town center, and eventually to the cafe we spied in the gayborhood the night before. It was packed, as it was tea time. Among the patrons were this couple—she sounded French/Belgian, and he sounded English. They were fairly bored with each other, or simply bored. He scowled lost in thought while she mindlessly played with her lip, while the couple they were with ordered for the group.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

The gentleman

 Xavier loves bears, bear bars. In truth, whenever we've hung out at a bear bar, I've not had a bad time.

The gentleman hanging out at the bear bar enhanced our first evening in Bruxelles. Sadly, some fellows were making fun of him. So we were extra nice. He wasn't dressed for a theatrical performance...he said "I'm just a little bit crazy."

We had 3 beers, each like 2 euros. I guess if you spend 6 euros you get a free drink, because #4 was on the house for us each.

Bruxelles park at night

Xavier insisted we check out this gazebo our first night on arrival in Bruxelles.


The owner of Hotel Adornes brought her dog to work the last morning we were there.

A border collie intent on palying ball, he had no intention of showing us affection, until he thought we were done playing.

He was really intense about the game, using his foot to stop the ball when we'd kick it, and the rubber toy he carried in his mouth to hit it back to us.

He was super sweet, and made our parting Brugges the more sadder.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

$lutty $lui$

We had some lousy weather in Bruges, but did our best to time our bikeride for a sunny day. No dice. But, still, nice to use the hotel bikes to get some exercise and see some countryside. And, Xavier hadn't ever been to Holland before, and I was eager to cross the border with him.

We set out at a comfortable hour and biked through the city to the main canal connecting Bruges to Sluis. 

We first stopped at the super cute village of Dammes. Too small to have its own butcher or bakery (just a church and a few pubs), we coincidentally were there when a roving market was in the village. 

Xavier couldn't pass by a single pastry in Belgium, and insisted we getthese yummy pudding pie things.

We continued on to the 10 building that comprised Hoeke...barely worth being on the map. Then, crossing the border (where there was a smal gate we had to barely navigate to enter the Netherlands from Belgium by bike) and a 1/2 a kilometer more and we were in Sluis.

Every auto in Sluis was a Landrover, BMW, Mercedes, etc. And most cafes were pretty pricey (except the one we ate at...frites, beer, each waiter cute and muscley). But most interesting for this tiny village was the abundance of sex shops. There were 5 (that we saw)—probably  one per 50 people.

Each way only took an hour or so, but given the dropping temperature, we were glad to be back at Hotel Adornes late that afternoon.

Brugges boys


The fellows in Brugges were rather nice! Brunetts, blonds, gingers, and tourists of all varieties. Between me and Xavier, we were stopping fairly often to look at some guy. we were trying to select guys to the other's liking, but 9 out of 10 times failing.

The wrong canal, the wrong split

Lovely Brugges!

Not terribly far from Lille, Xavier wanted to visit the fairy tale village in Belgium, known for its chocolate.

We stayed in the charming Hotel Adornes, with a nice owner and nice staff. Our first afternoon was spent at Choco-Story, the chocolate museum. We walked around a bit, rested a bit, and then embarked out to find the hip gay friendly restaurant Xavier read about. 

We were to follow the street until the canal split and then the cafe wouldn't be far.

Sketches and stories of getting lost while walking with Xavier could fill a whole travel journal. No wonder why Jeff lets Xavier go and takes a cab to meet him an hour later.

On the very plus side, we walked off a lot of the chocolate, pastries, and beer that we consumed lots of in Belgium. Xavier estimates we walked 10 kilometers a day, seeing (for the most past) lovely buildings and certainly new sights.

Friday, December 21, 2012

So, um...why Lille?

The original plan, as part of Xavier's P.T. goals was to exhibit at the comics festival in Lille...but, it was unceremoniously postponed until March.

Locked into part of the original plan, we ended up spending 2 days in the small charming city in the north of France. Not exactly a tourist hotspot, at least in November, which added to its sadness and its charm.

Lille had lots of pretty old architecture, and pretty mid-century modern architecture. And, its share of cute boys. 

The saddest part was probably the natural history museum which was torn right from 1890, with its 1000s of taxidermic specimens and rocks.

The lovely surprise was the musee de beaux arts, which Xavier and I both loved.

And, it was the super-lean Alexandre with the lip piercing who clued us in about the lit professor at Vice Versa. I have another drawing of Alexandre, which I'll post after I color.  

Vice Versa

Xavier and I made two visits to Lille's only open gay bar—Vice Versa. Sunday night was a strange crowd, the bartender (if he wasn't outside smoking) was throwing ice at the window; many patrons were really sad/angry looking; and (we learned the next night from Alexandre) that the wasted dude who kept dropping his pants, "inviting" anyone over to his exposed ass is a professor at the local university. Vive La France!

Hardly a pretentious Euro-tour!

In late January of recent years, I've traveled to France for the annual bande dessinnee festival (larger than Comic Con International!). This year, I chose not to, because I felt it inappropriate to leave poor Aggie for that long given her rapidly declining health. Since I had no new book to hype, my primary reason for wanting to go was to see my dear friends. While that is reason enough, it couldn't outweigh my impulse to stay and care for Ags.

I have wanted to go later in the year, particularly to see Xavier, who had been hit by a car (leg broken in several places, ankle badly traction for months, walker for months, crutches for months). But we agreed to do a holiday in November as a physical therapy goal of his (punchline, for those of you worries about Xavier, he did great walking about Belgium and Scotland, and even did a day bike trip to Holland!).

I was excited to see Jeff for a day in Paris. It's always lovely to see him, and this time, the added benefit of seeing him on a Sunday—when the shops were closed. I dragged myself from CDG to Les Halles and found his place with no maps or wrong turns. I was excited I could remember the way! 

Jeff was groggy but managed to convince himself to go shopping. I said, 'I thought the shops were closed?" to which he replied, "Le Marais is always open!" I was filled with dread, because no one can get me to open my wallet like Jeff can. I walked away with a new pair of jeans, a new down-filled jacket, and bag. He's a great shopper.

He delivered me to Gare du Nord to transfer to Lille to meet Xavier after a joyful afternoon in Paris.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

One too many?

In my fervor to create storage solutions for me plus a potential partner, I began acquiring Paul McCobb Planner Group furniture, which is a bit modular. So, as my needs change, so can my furniture layout.

Along the way, I ended up acquiring extra pieces which I did not intend to keep, but refinish and resell.

AND I had the idea to pair some pieces up with some custom-built pieces to make a "wall o' storage." Thus, I made several pieces a la McCobb. Upon seeing this massive amount of case pieces, Adam declared that an intervention needed to be staged.

Soon after, I realized my storage wall was dominant and not innocuous, so I gave away the custom-built pieces to a delighted friend who was looking for modular furniture for storage solutions, and I sold off the vintage pieces per my original plan. The end result (after months of furniture shenanigans, acquiring, refinishing, building, selling) was a return to a calm, serene space with ample storage for one, and possibly enough storage for two! 

The drawing in my sketchbook was pencilled by Adam and inked by me. Such collaborations are common. In this case, he meant, "clean it up significantly." It was this sketch, and my attempt at drawing a page of "baby makes three" that convinced me that I could not continue drawing the OGN; that I must spend some real quality time practicing again—as I could barely hold a pen.

Soon after I produced a lovely little sketch of Mrs. Graham, The Tenant of Wildfell Hall. I knew I would be travelling again soon, which would seal the deal for me getting back into the habit and groove of drawing.

Literal texting

Punctuation is very important! 

Texting someone "wanna hook up" can be a general declaration or an offer.

In this case, Adam dropping the apostrophe from "handing out candy at my grandparent's" which implies " their place" becomes a humorous image in my head.

I implore you, take the time to use full sentences and punctuation whenever possible while texting. If you're on the subway/bus, you have the time. If you're driving, well, you shouldn't be texting anyhow. Very rarely do you not actually "have the time," you're just being lazy.

I don't mean Adam in this moment, of course, as he provided me inspiration for this drawing.

Fall '12 reading list

After a busy summer of refinishing furniture (3 Alvar Aalto bookcases, 1 McCobb dresser, 1 McCobb 2-drawer cabinet, plus just-the-tops of another McCobb cabinet and a no-name wheely coffee table case piece) I got busy with my day job early Autumn.

I love to read in the Fall, as I turn back to my beloved depressing classics. But I needed some light fare to balance my heavy work load.

Hence, I finally finished reading Cherry Ames Department Store Nurse, which Rich and I had started reading together some time ago. Cherry toggles between patients at the department store, trying to pick up the floor manager (they finally hook up, but on xmas eve—what a time for a first date!), and solving the mystery of the stolen vase. Yes.

Then, I started in reading my beautiful clothbound HC edition of The Tenant of Wildfell Hall, recommended to me as the best of all the Bronte sister novels. Well, I LOVED it.

The structure of the novel was a little cumbersome (in theory, this dude is writing to a friend of his, talking about the mysterious Mrs. Graham for the first third of the book, which culminates in her throwing her diary at him; then, he either shares the diary in its entirety or re-writes it in its entirety to his friend for the next third of the book; then finished telling his tale), but with a little suspension of belief, it works fine.

I later read that the moment Mrs.Graham left her husband was one of the earliest feminist moments in literature.

Unlike Jane Austen or Dickens, Anne Bronte's syntax and sentence structure made it a very easy read. I flew through almost half on 10/29, which we had off from work due to Hurricane Sandy. Best hurricane ever! 

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Vintage art: customego New Mutants box art



Dani Moonstar

I didn't customize again until after I finished Trust/Truth and wanted a creative break, my 2009 xmas break if you will. At that time, I remade the artwork and boxes for my Teen Titans customs and significantly improved the actual custom jobs of Green Lantern, Black Canary, Kid Flash, Aqualad, Speedy, and Wondergirl.

Several months later, I customized several New Mutants for a fan of mine. I'd never read the series until preparing for these customs. I loved the demon bear saga, and the art of Bill Sienkiewicz. I knew the custom of Ilyana would be most beloved, followed by my beloved Dani Moonstar. I followed up with Canonball (a natural choice, given he was the subject of my first Marvel gig), Sunspot, and Magma. 

While my drawing, coloring, and technical skills had improved significantly in the past decade, my customizing skills had most definitely deteriorated, so after over 200 customs, enough's enough.

I only have about 25 of them. Most have been sold off or given away... I wonder if anyone will ever have me sign a box or ask for a "certificate of authenticity." Ha. 

Vintage art: customego LSH box art

vignettes of Legionnaires for sides of boxes
Duo Damsel

Light Lass

Saturn Girl

Shadow Lass

Phantom Girl
Over the years, my parts collection grew (for making new customs) as my skill improved and my pace quickened. It was addictive to think, "oh, how would this character look as a custom Mego action figure? How would that one?"

By 2001, I was also drawing comics a lot as well, having decided to give it my all. The more serious I became about comics, the less time I had for customizing for fun. I knew when I began planning my Legion customs that I had gone too far. I got 5 deep when I pulled the plug. The Legion customs were the last I did for fun, and the first I sold to purge (up til then, I had sold my "first drafts" only and kept my better second drafts). As you know, the Legion by 1985 even had over 30 members...

I continued customizing until 2003, primarily for the income. Fans were willing to spend money on them, I wasn't bad at customizing, and it was more lucrative to make a custom of my spare parts than it was to sell off the raw parts. But as comics really kicked into high gear in 2004, the customizing ceased.