Tuesday, December 31, 2013

The Doctor and Rose

When Doctor Who was rebooted, I caught a few episodes, but too busy drawing, I wasn't motivated to follow the series until Catherine Tate joined up as Donna. Huge Catherine Tate fan here.

Along the way, I saw all the 10th Doctor episodes, and some of the 9th Doctor. I hated Rose with the 10th Doctor, but really like her with the 9th. Their chemistry was much better, I think. 

As you know from my last post, I've been spending more time in NH with my family lately. One of the few nice benefits is I caught up on all the 9th Doctor episodes. Aside from his finale, I love that series, and Christopher Eggleston as The Doctor. 

So here's the 9th Doctor and Rose. I'm a bit inspired to draw the others with companions now. Follow the tags for the 3rd with Sarah Jane, the 10th with Donna, and the 11th with River Song, and then make your requests!

By the way, Happy New Year.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Give thanks.

I find I don't have many distinct Thanksgiving memories. I remember a lot of snippets, but in terms of year, location, company, situation, most are just a blur.

As a kid, I remember the year my dad was in the hospital, and my mom cooked a small feast for me and my sister. She didn't realize there were more ingredients to a pumpkin pie than just the pumpkin until halfway into baking it...they she tried to dump the sugar and stuff in. It didn't work.

I distinctly remember my sophomore year of high school, spent at my grandmother's. My aunt, uncle, and cousins made a rare appearance (after they converted to Jehovah's Witnesses, they only attended holiday gatherings when they fell out of favor with the churchings), and we must have gotten a foot of snow. My sister, cousins and I took a long walk in the picturesque countryside as the snow fell. 

My first year in Saint Louis, I attended my friend Darrell's family's event; they were very warm and welcoming, that was nice. And the year after, Erin, Kelly and I held our own orphans' Thanksgiving. And, once I was in San Diego, Rich, Dan, Mario and I held an orphans' event. I loved the orphans' holidays...so many traditions crammed into one day, everyone fighting over whose tradition should trump the others.

And I loved traveling abroad during Thanksgiving, as few Americans do so. I spent one in the company of my London pal Ian (enjoy the retro sketch here, and put on your best Northern English accent to say "Happy Thanksgiving!") and one eating an "American Thanksgiving" at some random Irish pub in 2007, solo. Of course, the year prior, I was at my folks' place with Sven in tow. 

This year will stand out distinct from all the rest. I warned you in the last post that I had received some bad news while abroad. Turns out my mom's health took a nosedive due to an aggressive cancer. I had returned home with my dad as my guest for easier access to my mom as she had been admitted to Dana Farber. The fast ravages of the cancer, as well as the chemotherapy has been terribly hard on her. She was released from the hospital a few days before Thanksgiving, and her best friend arrived to help take care of her. We had a lovely but sad meal as my mom slept; the smell of food doesn't agree with her, and everything tastes like tin to her. The outlook is good for the world of cancer...but that isn't saying much? In the meantime, I will keep her in my most positive thoughts.   

I'm thankful for the wonderful care she's receiving (and received at the hospital). I'm thanking for my dad for his extra patience with her and diligence. And of course, I'm thankful to still have a great mom. Not perfect of course, but still great.

Cue the laugh tracks!

Despite the rough transition from Rome to Pompeii, I was starting to feel better after a nap in the hotel. 

I was hungry—but cautious—until I saw this awful looking pizza in a tourist trap cafe. It looked bland enough for me to handle, and it was what the doctor ordered.

The next morning, I was able to eat an ample breakfast, and Xavier and I set out to explore the ruins of Pompeii. 

I thought it would be a creepy, depressing (but fun!) excursion, but to my surprise, I could only think of ideas for a sitcom comic. Sure, the bodies were kinda sad, but walking around the city, so well preserved, I felt a bit connected to this place; a place, in many ways, like any other. It had ordinary people, living ordinary lives. They just were in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Their horrific loss is our momentous gain, to look into their lives. I loved hearing little tidbits such as the graffiti on the sports complex's wall, including some solidier's sexual conquest claims. Really, are we so different today?

So, my ideas center around a family, living their ordinary, mundane Pompeiian life in 79 AD, unaware that in a few months,  it'll all end. My series/OGN would end the day before the eruption, leaving the characters with neat happy endings; so happy that it'll depress the reader knowing what tomorrow will truly bring.

After this day of tourism, I received some bad news from home. Just a preview of the bad news, as it was "too much" to share at such a distance, but my family didn't want it to be a complete shock when I arrived home. Despite another day of tourism to come in Milan, I simply wanted the holiday over. I didn't draw anything in Milan...so, it seems the 2013 travel entry is complete.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Sick in Roma

Minimal tourism and shenanigans in Roma, as I slept 20 hours a day for 3 days straight.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Der amerikanische Comic Künstler Tim Fish signiert seine Comics

Dashing to the shop with my paper, full pen set, and tight shirt, I arrived to a very full house. Not all for me, but some were, and that was nice.

Turned out to be one of my better "signings" gathering about as many as might show up if I did a "presentation/reading" as part of the night. 

It was a great time...the guys who showed up (a mix of existing fans, people who bought my book in advance, and new readers) sat and we chatted at length until the queue was such that the person seated with me politely moved on. 

I joined such luminaries as Ralf Koning with my drawing (above) in the Lowenherz guest book.

A few of us went to dinner after, with the shop owners too. Among them, the one fan I knew in I had in Vienna (until he moved), Alexander, who gave the best bear hug ever.

No costumes, but an incredible Halloween!

PS the only dressed up people we saw seemed to be high schoolers.

Monday, November 18, 2013

This is Vienna!

The day of my signing, I heard from Betram—he couldn't make it! So, we met for a delightful coffee at the theatre/coffeebar Top Kino. Knowing they have an extensive menu, I asked the server for a recommendation. During the signing, I drew her reaction for the collection of one of the attendees.

While she was a little harsh, she warmed up and was really nice and charming. I get that culturally, she would have found it presumptuous to recommend something to me. 

I always hated recommending films when I worked at the video store, so I also get the vibe that you don't want to be responsible for a choice not to the person's liking.

So, I had a capuccino. It was good.
I never did get to have schnitzel with Bertram, which is fine on one hand, as I don't eat beef. But the way he invited me was super-cute.

It was also super-cute that his Italian Greyhound was named Leopold. They have a classic boy-dog relationship.

But I had to dash to get back to my apartment and grab my things for the signing later that afternoon.

The morning walk w/Xavier, the meet-up with Bertram & Leopold, the coffee, the signing, the dinner...made this one of the banner days of the trip!

Saturday, November 16, 2013

München Bowl

You may recall Xavier and I have tried to bowl wherever we go. It may seem like a silly thing to do when travelling abroad, but it's a fun activity and the subtle and not so subtle differences regionally is pretty interesting.

Not too many opportunities within the city limits of München, but just west of the hooker and casino district is a charming transitional neighborhood. A bit run down, but containing hipster elements. You know the sort of neighborhood...perfect for boutique graphic design and architecture firms.

Here was the pub Zur Schwalbe, with its lone bowling alley, reminiscent of the Sheep's Heid in Edinburgh.

The balls were larger than candlepin balls, but smaller than standard 10 pin ones, with 2 finger holes.

There were but 9 pins, forming a diamond pattern. They were connected by cord, so when it was time to reset, the cords pulled the pins up. Sometimes they struggled, giving the fun imagery of dancing pins.

The rule book, containing like 35 different games one could play, was all in German, so we made up our own rules. We each won one game, and we tied one, thus preserving our friendship.

The next day, we trained to Füssen, to see the famous Neuschwanstein Castle. It was a lovely day trip, as the Bavarianside is lovely. The castle is situated beautifully, with stunning views of the structure and the mountains. But the house was largely unoccupied, so it didn't have many "stories" to tell. Long lines, hurried tour, little information. I stress, it was a nice day trip. 

Friday, November 15, 2013

Men of München

The "in" 'do for gay boys across Europe (as seen by English boys, German, Austrian at least), is the close crop on the sides, and quite long on top. Either shaggy as Christian sports, or coiffed up as the below drawing shows, or plastered back a la the 1920s.

Speaking of the fellow below, he was interesting. Maybe 20 years old, 6'2" with a 27" waist, tight T-neck, and pants that when the light hit them just right you realized they were vinyl tight-mesh jeans. Best of all, the sparking bedazzled trainers. Xavier dubbed him "the Dazzler."

Next night we saw a fellow in all-white, who Xavier said, "he looks like the scientist from [Back] to the Future." I said, "oh, Doc Brown." But then it hit me as I drew this, if he had the 'stache, he'd totally be Mark Twain.

Too late in the trip did Christian explain how to order beer in München. The standard is to order "a beer" to produce a half-liter of Augustiner, the standard beer in town. It's light enough to take on several half-liters. But Xavier had been ordering us "white beer" which produces a half liter of something not very white or very light and not easy to finish even one half liter with a heavy German meal.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

München Nude Beach

Here we were, innocently walking through the lovely parks of München, when we stumbled on to a site of horror.

First, let me explain how lovely the parks are in München: imagine swatches of Vermont plunked into the big city of your choice. That's it. Minimal fancy layout, just lovely nature. Sure, some canals, bridges, and what-not. But it definitely felt like the country within the city.

And it was at the end of peak foliage season, the city was alive with reds, golds, orange leaves. Stunning.

Stopping along the bridge, I noted to Xavier, "look down there, they are all nude or half-nude."

It required a closer look from the adjoining bridge: yes, keep in mind each bridge has full access to this place.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Hello, pretentious Euro-tour 2013

 Uh-oh! You know what this means! Probably not many posts for the next few weeks, but then you will be delighted with a dozen or more of my best travel sketches! 

Don't believe me? Can't remember? Simply click on the "travel" tag and revisit Scandanavia, India, Poland, and France France France with me.

About 18 months ago poor Xavier was struck by a car on his bicycle and had to have his ankle rebuilt. I really wanted to go and help out during this recovery, but my French is so bad, I'd have been more of a drain.

But he said, "let's travel in the fall, it will be my physical therapy goal." So we compared lists of places we'd be happy to go and threw in a comic con and ended up with Lille, Brussels, Bruges, Edinburgh last fall. Seriously, re-read the posts!

This time around, we compared lists, threw in the wildcard of where I could actually fly in and out of using frequent flyer miles and came up with our odd-ball itinerary. 

I failed in lining up an event in Munich, but not in super-gay Vienna! If you're nearby, shout out and join us for drinks, on you! 

Sunday, October 13, 2013

NYCC commissions

Here's Thor taking a selfie for Edward from Toronto:
and here's a Superman/Batman coffee date for my new fan from Quincy!:

I forgot to snap the punk Storm I did but here's a failed commission of "Asian Calvin" with Hobbes:

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

My teeth are rubbish

Extra thanks to my mom for insisting on thorough oral hygene and a low-in-sweets diet as a kid. These practices were burned into my brain and all seemed well for the first 43 years.

Apparently, in one's 40s, one's mouth stops producing certain enzymes, which makes it difficult for teeth to fend decay.

Long story short, I just had my first cavity and first filling!

It seems the sealants on my teeth are finally wearing away at the edges and decay is beginning...which means I have several more teeth to look forward to drilling in the upcoming years. 

Never facing the drill before, I was naturally nervous! It wasn't bad though. The exit from novacane wasn't fun, and my jaw a bit sore all day.

On the plus side, I got to relax and refinish the top of a cabinet on my dental day.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

My foot is rubbish

I love fall! The weather is definitely my favorite, plus I get to mull my cider—yum. 

But, it's also a sad time of year, as I'm now halfway to being another year older. That's ok I guess, it definitely has its advantages. I have my act together better than ever, I'm more financial sound. 

It struck me a while back that I can no longer count the lines on my face. I've had the dang crow's feet since I was in university (Robert was horrified to hear that I made a conscious decision just out of school to show as little emotion as possible to minimize the lines...self-control botox ;) but the last few years haven't been good to me. Most particularly, the cry-fest of 2012. The bloom is most decidedly gone.

Far more importantly, I'm not rebounding from life's embarrassing displays as easily or quickly. Hence, my foot. The ball sprained, and the baby toe fractured. Yeow. After a few weeks of Advil, keeping it wrapped, elevated, I can walk pretty easily again. Not very far though, and not of great duration, without stabbing pain returning. 

Sure, this planted me on my folks' sofa for the better part of a long weekend, re-watching the 9th Doctor episodes of Doctor Who (lazy fun!) and reading a novel on my long to-read list (intellectual lazy fun!), it's also been a bit of a nightmare owning a big dog who looooves his walks. 

Fortunately, I can still be pretty active albeit relatively stationary. The foot didn't stop me from refinishing a single-drawer McCobb box, nor did it prevent the dog's bath. UNfortunately, I can also bike more easily than I can walk...which means my commute to work is no problem at all. 


Monday, September 9, 2013

Hair today

This young man caught my fancy, with his slutty-preppy look and really nice hair. I did not catch his fancy, sadly.

Truly, truly, truly outrageous coloring results

You'll recall mid-summer I posted my long-overdue take on Jem and the Holograms. Taking the easy way out of coloring, I invited my dear followers to submit their renditions for prizes!

I selected Ariel's for the top prize for making this really sparkly and sureal. I feel like this is what a real Jem concert must have been like! Well done, you'll get the original art piece of your choice...which I understand to be a bearish guy gazing romantically out the window at the starry skies. Dreamy!
I selected Matt's for the runner up and he impresses with his use of actual colored pencils. That's right, IRL pencil on paper. Looks like he spent the bulk of his time on Jem's hair (rightfully so!) which is stunning. Well done, you'll get the Tim Fish T of your choice, which I understand to be the underrated "Hippy Daisy" T.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

The Doctor and River Song

When River first appeared in the Library, I didn't care for her: I thought she was over-shadowing Donna (whom I adored). But when she reappeared, I fell in love with her. I guess I didn't mind her over-shadowing Amy. Now, I love the Library episodes more.

When Matt Smith was name as the 11th Doctor for the Brit sci-fi show Doctor Who, I sketched him and Amy...with the intention of making a nice drawing. I'm glad it never came to be, as I think the Doctor's chemistry with River is incredible.

River is awesome because she's more than the Doctor's equal...she's the most kick-assing-est of his sidekicks.

Long-time Whovians know the Doctor has at least one child and one grand-daughter, Susan Foreman, who was his first companion in the 1963 series. I don't know if it was ever revealed who his wife/mother of his children was, but I would love love love it if it turned out to be River.

I'm sure it could happen.

As for the drawing, I am not happy with the background, maybe I'll redo it someday.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Oh, the (lack of) humanity!

For many years, I took the T (Boston subway) to work. When I lived near Porter Square, I began bike commuting to work 2-3 days per week. Since I bought my loft, I no longer live nor work on the T...or at least easily. I am only about a 10 minute walk to Lechmere, but that's green line—even worse, the E train! I only take it maybe about twice a month now, when I go downtown rather than twice a day to work. Since my commute is solitary, and my work environment homogenous, I don't see the slice of humanity I used to. Therefore, I'm not sketchy from that seen reality.

But this past weekend, I took the train downtown to appear on a comics panel at the Nat'l LGBT Journalist Association's annual conference (this year held in Boston). It was a fun panel, and I hung out in Boston Common on the way home. On the way there, I got to see this jittery gent, grooming himself en route to Park St station.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Trolley Tim(e)

I had to take the green line (trolley not subway, mainly) from Lechmere into town. This guy either obliviously or proudly stood on the steps with his crotch inches from my face. Holding the bar, exposing his stomach was alright, and I'm pretty sure he wasn't wearing undies.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Lady AVENGERS Week: Ms. Marvel

Oh, poor Ms. Marvel!

The face of feminism (Ms. in 1977!), Air Force Major Carol Danvers was hybrided with alien DNA and took the she-name of her boyfriend, Captain Marvel.

Later raped and impregnated, then her powers and memory "permanently" absorbed by the X-Men's Rogue (pro—made Rogue pretty awesome; con—everyone wanted Ms. Marvel back anyway). Along the way, powers and name changes from Binary to Warbird back to Ms. Marvel and eventually emerging as the most powerful woman in the Marvel U., she changed her name to Captain Marvel.


Captain of what? Whatever her ex-BF was captain of (the Kree intergalactic army?), she isn't. But it's in honor of all that he meant? Weak.

Ms. Perfect or Ms. Plays Her Music Too Loud would be titles of a kind meant to amplify the quality the bestower intends call out (usually for negative reasons). If there was a heroine "Ms. DC," one would assume she is the embodiment of the DC universe or the line of comics. So, Ms. Marvel (regardless of her ex BF) name suggests she's also the embodiment or flagship heroine of the Marvel universe. Certainly, that's how she seems to be positioned lately.

So, why would a determined and strong woman, who had earned the rank of major, and held the name that embodied the comics line she represented, take a lower rank on all levels, of captain? To me, she'll always be Ms. Marvel, midriff exposed with a giant scarf.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Lady AVENGERS Week: the Scarlet Witch

I told you yesterday that it should have been Scarlet Witch who should have been in the Avengers film if there could only be one she-venger, now I shall tell you why.


Wanda was born with a mutant ability, the power to alter probabilities. This was usually called her "hex." I guess this was sometimes tough for writers to explain or use, so she embarked on the study of witchcraft with Agatha Harkness. Pretty awesome, huh?

Unlike, say, Wasp, who wanted super-powers to be with her boyfriend more, so he gave them to her. He designed her stingers, he upgraded her powers to her internally manifested "bio sting." Hank Pym this, Hank Pym that. She even took advantage of him while he had amnesia to tie the knot! Eesh, take a hint already.


I read an article that claimed that Wanda was too defined by the males in her life. Seriously? In the face of She-Hulk (cousin of Hulk), Ms. Marvel (girlfriend of Captain Marvel), Spider-Woman (linked to the popular world of '70s Spidey by a marketing department), She-Thing (looks just like the Thing), seriously? And didn't I just explain Wasp?

So her brother is "Quicksilver." Big deal! They're related but he didn't give her her mutant powers. Her father, Magneto, did, I guess, by banging her mother, but what about the learned witchcraft? All Wanda. She didn't learn Magneto was her father until decades after her first appearance, so he didn't define her character until much, much later in her history. And, it's not like she started out She-Quicksilver and later changed her name to Magneta.

Sure, Hawkeye longed for her passionately. Sure, Wonder-Man longed for her passionately. But it was the android the Vision that won her heart. Yes, she married a robot. Then she used her mutant powers to get preggo by the robot sperm. And yet she's defined by her father and brother? Did we read the same comics at all?

Public consciousness

Marvel women didn't really seep their way into public consciousness like DC's heroines did. In the '60s and '70s there was an animated Invisible Girl, and she was the only she-Marvelite to be a Mego action figure. Invisible Girl, Wasp, and Scarlet Witch made it onto the 1977 "Marvel Super-Heroes" lunchbox, followed by Invisible Girl and Scarlet Witch featured in 1978's "Marvel Super-Hero Card Game." Not until the Spider-Woman cartoon was there as much public awareness as there was for Scarlet Witch.

Yeah, I get it, I'm basing this entire line of argument on everything pre-1980. But you can say what you want on your blog.

Tomorrow: Captain Marvel is a rank demotion for Ms. Marvel 

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Lady AVENGERS Week: the Black Widow

I'll start with my thoughts on the most prominent lady Avenger in the public's consciousness (thanks the 2012 film), Black Widow.

First, I admit I like the character.

Next, I admit I like Scarlett Johansen.

But, I do not like Scarlett as the Black Widow, and I think the Black Widow an odd and sad choice for the film.

I get that she was in Ultimate Avengers and all, but in terms of classic Avengers comics, she made very few appearances. Ignoring mainstay and founding member Wasp and awesome early addition Scarlet Witch, still Black Widow made very few appearances. 

Even heavy hitters like "Moondragon," "Mantis," and "Jocanda" made more appearances. In fact, according to issue 300, only one she-Avenger at that time—Hellcat—had made fewer appearances than the Black Widow.

In the world of the super-hero team, there are heroes with high, medium, low, and no powers. In the Avengers film, there are 3 high powered males (Hulk, Thor, Iron Man), one medium male (Captain America...maybe low), and 1 no powered male (Hawkeye). Given Disney's plans to bring Ant-Man into film, it's odd they would drop him (a founding Avenger in the comics) and his girlfriend Wasp (two medium-low powered heroes) in lieu of Hawkeye and the Black Widow. Sure, I get the connection to S.H.I.E.L.D. and that writers not wanting to overwhelm the film with a mega-cast...but seriously, with all that man-power in the film, to not go with a medium or low powered lady feels a bit unfair and sexist.

I recently read a journal post and the reviewer claimed that Scarlett's portrayal of the Black Widow was the best portrayal of a female hero in live-action.


I freaked out at that. Sure, there's not a lot to go on...Jessica Alba as the Invisible Woman had to put on glasses to sound smart...Halle Berry as Storm was bad and as Catwoman worse. I liked Anna Paquin as Rogue, but the film version is such a departure from the comics version, it's tough to even say it's the same character. But goodness, based on casting, costuming, acting, believability, and more, I still rank Yvonne Craig as Batgirl as a close second only to Lynda Carter's Wonder Woman. Despite the camp and the era-appropriate effects, those two totally knocked it out of the park. Eesh. 

Tomorrow, I'll reveal my choice for who should have been in the film. Hint: it's Scarlet Witch

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Lady AVENGERS Week: vintage customego box art

In the past week, I've been reading a lot online about the next Marvel's The Avengers film, and about lady super-heroes. I've been stewing but I can't hold back my opinions any longer!

In other words, welcome to lady Avengers week!

We'll start off with some vintage art, from my customego boxes: as you may recall, I used to customize Mego action figures...hundreds over the years! Among them, fewer Marvel, and fewer Avengers, and fewer still, lady Avengers. 

But I did do a few versions of the Scarlet Witch (earlier drafts sold, final draft is still in my collection). I always liked the Scarlet Witch and my custom was pretty much an early triumph of mine, turning a corner from "ugh" to "wow."

I also customized an impressive Tigra. I LOVE Tigra...not because she's a sexually charged anthropomorphic diva, but because her tagline was "...the were-woman!" So if a werewolf is a man who turns into a man-wolf, is a were-woman a man who turns into a man-woman? Anyway, I sold the custom in my big custom purge.

Let's not forget She-Hulk...but I customized her in her Fantastic Four uniform, so let's forget her for this entry.

Lastly, I customized a Ms. Marvel. Primarily because I stumbled upon a minty Mego Health Spa Dinah-Mite for $5, where on eBay the very rare figures fetched over $50 at the time. To not put the figure to waste, presto, Ms. Marvel. The custom turned out horribly, but, the figure is rare, so I won't give it up.

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 had several customs mid-finished, but then sold off most of the parts. Among the abandoned projects were the Black Widow and the winsome Wasp.

I'm kind of in the mood to remake Ms. Marvel circa 1977, which would be more Mego-appropriate...love the giant scarf and exposed midriff. But I don't think I have any material left and I doubt I could even operate the customizing machine any longer!

As far as box art goes, it's pretty weak. I was struggling with photoshop coloring mixed with apathy...driven by some force to complete the customs, as if anyone cared.

So, Tigra, Ms. Marvel, Black Widow, and Wasp all have not-great drawings for me at the time, with lousy coloring. I can tell by looking back at these drafts my heart wasn't in it any longer. The She-Hulk (which I think I also sold) and the Scarlet Witch each had a better showing from me...good for me at the time figure drawing, with much improved digital coloring.

In case you're wondering about the man Avengers, I also customized a Hawkeye (sold), Vision (sold), Black Panther (sold). In fact, the only Avenger I officially have left in my collection is Scarlet Witch, whom I deemed an "essential" Avenger for reasons I'll explain later in the week. True, I still have the Ms. Marvel, but only because I won't yet part with the rare figure.

My goodness, you're not still reading, are you?

Sunday, August 11, 2013


 What an adventure for me! After the Cavalcade one-shot was so well rec'd at my early comic book convention appearances, I threw myself into the series, completing issues 2-9 (plus the prequel issue ½). I thought that was the end, but I was beckoned back into the guys' world when Bay Windows asked me to continue as a weekly half-page series, which ultimately became Love is the Reason; that and Trust/Truth were published as stand-alone graphic novels using the Cavalcade cast. From the first outline of the one-shot to the publication of Trust/Truth, the venture spanned a decade!

Sales of the original issues were encouraging, so I compiled them into a 3-trade paperback series. When V1 ran dry within a year, I reprinted into a jumbo complete book. When those sold out, I took the remaining V2 and V3 (as I'd underestimated how many solo V1s I would sell) and tri-packed it with a special run of V1 to keep it all in print a bit longer. My last copies just sold, and I don't have any immediate plans to reprint. 

But here's some fun vintage art related to the series!

The whole thing began when Kelly encouraged me to write and draw an OGN about our time in Saint Louis, while coincidentally Velour Matt was encouraging me to write an OGN about his life. Both factors pushed me to outline 3 64-page one-shot auto-bio comics...which, I suppose I thought I would compile into a single book. After I finished the drawing draft 1 of Strugglers (the first of the three stories), I jumped ahead to Cavalcade (the third of the three), as the gay content was fun to draw, and I wasn't happy with my outline of the middle story. Along the way, Strugglers was added to and edited from the 64 page version to the published 100 page OGN and Cavalcade ballooned out to the 550 page collection plus the two stand-alone OGNs.

But don't feel bad for the middle story! Both Strugglers and Cavalcade were pushed far, far beyond auto-bio...but I never found a way to do so with the middle story. And, as it was focused on my experience with a boss from Hell, it was all pretty negative. Sure, my general story telling vibe is "downer," but there's always rays of hope snuck in. I wasn't able to think of any to sneak in, so it was abandoned. EXCEPT!—a few key scenes and Stephanie Shane made it into Cavalcade as the basis for issue ½

So, enjoy the original character sketches from the middle story, the story that never was, the story that cannot be. And, resell your copies of Cavalcade on eBay.  

So, what's the future of Cavalcade? Not sure... I have drawn 2 one-pagers recently, which I had in mind to create as a free digital mini or convention mini. And, I suppose I could kickstarter to do a reprint of the jumbo. Or maybe kickstarter to hire a colorist to color the series and/or publish as a hardcover. My ambition will be directly linked to the reaction and response I get or don't get here! 
I have to admit, at this point, toiling to make a page of comic art is far less rewarding than it is to, say, toil to refinish a 24"x16"x18" 2-drawer McCobb cabinet. And, even when I do finish a shortie, the pre-press is laborious, then I'm in a jam with storage. But the refinished vintage maple furniture is a joy to look at and use. 

It does make me chuckle a bit...my loft allows me the space to have a drafting table after all these years, but since I got it, it's been nearly dormant. To the point that I'm thinking of selling it off so I can create a pleasant sitting area where it currently sits. 


Sunday, August 4, 2013

Gods & Undergrads

My awesome friend Monica Gallagher (most recently of Oni Press' Glitter Kiss fame) is compiling V3 of her opus Gods & Undergrads, and asked me to do a pinup as a bonus.

In a nutshell, college girl goes to college and does college-things and has college angst, while she's toyed with by the Greek gods. 

How? Why?

Sure, you could read the series at http://eatyourlipstick.com , but I think, instead, you should buy the series in print!

Here's my rendition of Hermes giving Neal the ride of his life, far above the Troy University campus.  

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Yes, I do work

Before I taught myself how to draw in a sketchbook, I did my best work on lined paper and meeting agendas. The blank page was too intimidating, or something.

As my bosses were really cool with me drawing during meetings and such, as I actually pay attention better. But with new bosses, and new VPs, I dropped the habit for some time.

Kick forward to new relationships forged with the aforementioned, and it seems I'm back in business! 

Here's another Black Canary on her hog (cut free from an agenda, away from the words), and an actual agenda from a few weeks ago, where the drawings really only are fun in the context of "this is a meeting agenda."

I love being back in the stage where I can do this stuff at work!!!


Yikes, it hit me that August 1 was my decade-versary at MIT!

I had worked there, but decided to quit and move back to Saint Louis to write and draw on the cheap, giving dream-pursuit my 100%. After many 15 hour days of building my portfolio, I decided I could slow down to fewer hours and pick up a part time job for some steady cash. But, on a trip back east, an old boss offered me a great full time position I couldn't say no to. I thought I'd do it for 2 years, refill my coffers, continue get my work out there, and see where I could go.

At the end of the two years, I was having fun at work, so I decided to stay until I stopped having fun. By the time the fun ended, the economy had tanked, the freelancing assignments stopped flowing in, and my book sales dried up. But I still held a good job, and after throwing in many personal-life-family factors, instead of returning to draw full time, I bought my loft instead. A bit locked in!

But what a decade in comics, at the office and at home!

I continued my comics work nearly full time "on the side" writing, drawing, publishing 5 trade paperback collections and 3 graphic novels. I was picked up by 3 foreign publishers, ran a newspaper weekly for 18 months, had original and repurposed work published by Marvel, Fantagraphics, Oni, Seven Stories Press, and a half dozen indie anthologies. 

At MIT, the team I manage has grown from me + 5 to me + 11, and our function has been expanded significantly. I've been promoted thrice. I've grown with each vice-presidential turnover. I treat each day with enough experience to know that I can't possibly know anything, and that I must continue to learn my industry. No absolutes, about anything, anytime, anywhere, anyone.

At home, I've seen my grandmother pass and had to put poor Aggie to sleep. I've moved 4 times, finally settling after purchasing my loft. I've helped design and renovate my kitchen and storage areas; customized a half dozen pieces of furniture; designed and built 10 case pieces; refinished 4 "yard sale" pieces, 2 Pascoe chairs, 3 Aalto bookcases, and 9 McCobb case pieces.

Inside my noggin, the decade started kicking the old me in the balls. The pendulum swung too far the other way, and the "journey" I embarked on was enormously helpful in keeping me more in the center, more balanced. My face has the lines it didn't a decade ago, but they're here with good reason.

Though I haven't been drawing much lately, and I keep telling myself I should, I just can't keep pushing the way I did 10 years ago. You know how it goes.


Sunday, July 21, 2013

For the *love* of Grayskull!

The past week was nightmarishly hot and humid in Boston. Not the best was to end Rich's bi-annual visit. But, we road-tripped to Newport RI one day, NH the next, and back to Boston in time for the weather to break.

A few weekends ago, when we were in NH for a few days, I was sketchbooking up a storm while relaxing. You'll recall last week's post was a result of overdue ketchup of "I'd like to see your take on Gatchaman," and this week's is the overdue conclusion of "I'd like to see your take on She-Ra."

Ah, She-Ra. 

The '80s spawned many joint ventures between animation and toy companies resulting in the Transformers, G.I. Joe, Jem, He-Man, and She-Ra, and probably more. Literally cartoons/toys created in unison, a marketing and sales one-two punch. 

She-Ra was the worst. Her cast was comprised of things the warehouse had surplus parts for:

Hong Kong factory floor manager: I've got some koala bears, some owl beaks, and some rainbow fabric.

Showrunner: Perfect!

She-Ra also had the perfect love interest, so unappealing to women as a man that he didn't really bother the feminists, and just homoerotic enough to keep all the little gay boys watching.

Turns out I love drawing She-Ra! Part Wonder Woman (warrior of peace and love), part Valkyrie, and all drag queen. Seriously, if there's ever a live-action movie, she *must* be played by a drag queen.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

I like it, I like it a lot.

Another long overdue drawing in both the categories of "I want to draw ___" and requests I receive, "I'd like to see your take on ___." I've teased you with other primers, but here it is: science ninja team Gatchaman.

I, of course, was first exposed to the team as the focal point of the series Battle of the Planets, a drastic rescripting of the Japanese series for a US audience in immediate and desperate need for sci-fi after the runaway success of Star Wars.

This drawing took me a while to work up to; it can't really be a stand-and-pose drawing, since the characters are all similarly but distinctly dressed. And, with 5 of them having similar but distinct abilities, a fight scene is also a challenge. At the end of the day, I thought the task at hand would be to showcase their personalities as best I could.

And, a major challenge in the drawing in layers don't smudge the heck out of the original art. I mostly succeeded, with just a few smudges that cleaned up alright. Color would be good on this one someday, but it was a nice exercise. I'm somewhat pleased!

Oh—the blog post title comes from the mid-90s redux of the series. Richie and I say that to each other often, as well as a quote from Solaris, "You fool, you failed."

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Happy Independence Day!

This July 4th feels even more special, with such advancements in gay rights. It's nice to feel proud to be an American!

To celebrate, here are the Star-Spangled Kid and Stripsey from Earth-TF (Tim Fish).

If you're familiar with the pair from the Golden Age of comics, you know they were something like rival "mystery men" who ended up joining forces to kick some Nazi butt. Weak.

On Earth-TF, let's say Irish rugby-player type chauffeur/mechanic is hired to keep fruity Ivy-Leaguer out of trouble when he's home on break. Joke's on Sylvester Pemberton's parents though, since they've hired closet-case Pat Dougan as body-guard. So, one night, stumbling out of a "gentlemen's club" in a back alley they inadvertently stop some Nazi villainry. 

All jazzed up with the thrill of hero-dom, they get all patriotic and gay.


Sunday, June 30, 2013

Truly Outrageous Coloring Contest

I'm told from time to time, "I'd love to see your take on ____." I have a folder of reference images and on rainy days, I dip in and fulfill some fantasies.

Among the top requests is Jem and the Holograms from Hasbro's doll line & TV show.  Yah, I know I kinda Fd up her shoulder/back, and the drummer looks a little wee. Overall, it's a good warm-up piece for the club scenes I need to draw for my half-finished indie-rockers-with-baby OGN.

It's hard to think of a B&W Jem drawing since all the "truly outrageous" characters have crazy-colored wigs and awful clothes. But, I didn't have the giddy-up to color this. So...it's the 

TRULY OUTRAGEOUS coloring contest!

1) Email me for the high res image.
2) Submit your colored version by Labor Day.
3) Judging panel of me will award places.

Prizes as follows:
3rd place: Tim Fish designed t-shirt
2nd place: Piece of original Tim Fish art
1st place: Dinner with me (paid for by me) when we are at the same con/city.

If anyone actually submits colors, I'll post them here.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Arche-Lady SPECIAL #13 Preview

It's that time of year again, when I start thinking about Arche-Lady! Well, that's a bit overly dramatic. Fish-philes know I worked nearly exclusively on my campy homage to super-herodom for nearly the entire '90s. Her series ended with her in an ageless coma, but 7 years later (ish) she was revived in an unpublished ditty that was to be the compilation of the entire series plus specials, etc. I really couldn't multi-task while working on Cavalcade of Boys, Strugglers, Young Bottoms in Love, Love is the Reason, Trust/Truth, Something Fishy This Way Comes, plus shorties for indie publishers and Marvel. 

So, in true fashion to the series, I took a hiaitus. 

Kick forward to 2011, the 20th anniversary of her first appearance in Ten Minute Cartoons, I revived my annual tradition of the special, with the Arche-Lady Special #11. I know a few people saw it at Ne York Comic Con October of that year, but if you weren't there, you probably didn't see it. And with literally zero con presence in 2012, I'm guessing you also missed the Arche-Lady Special #12. Bummer!

So now it's time for me to get excited about the Arche-Lady Special #13...I'm thinking of a break from both the Arche-Lady vs. the digital race of the MITAANS storyline as well as the Astro-Boy vs. the conjoined cosmic entity storyline. You may recall my sketches of Doctor Monkey-Face a while back...those are turning into a nice shortie. And since 2013 is the 20th anniversary of Arche-Lady's series proper (she lingered in Ten Minute Cartoons for a year-ish before busting into The New Adventures of Arche-Lady and Astro-Boy #1 in 1993), I was thinking to revisit a villain that graced the pages of episode 1, 2, or 3. Time will tell!

I'm not planning to do any cons this year either, except for attending TCAF in May, so I'm not sure when you'll get to read these gems!

Sunday, June 16, 2013

The closed chapter

Following up on all my business travel, and my enjoyment of the company of professional peers, I was intrigued by the goings-on at a NYC-school I interviewed with back in spring 2009. A lot has changed since then!

Through these conversations, I was convinced by my counterparts—and myself—to apply for an open position there. It was a great professional opportunity, and not a bad one financially. So I went about the evaluation process with personal factors: do I want to give up what I have ? do I want the NYC experience?

Along the way, it became increasingly clear, that while I would get a lot out of the NYC experience, I finally feel comfortable and "at home" here and with my life. 

Though I've been in my evolving position at MIT for some time, before and since, I've moved around a bit. NH, Saint Louis, San Diego, CT, Boston, back to Saint Louis, back to Boston. Between the time I graduated college and bought my loft 3 years back, I lived in 15 different apartments!

While "moving" is a lot of work, it's not change and moving that was causing me anxiety in the decision making process; I've moved, I've relocated, I've changed, I've adapted. I know I can do that. But I've never felt comfortable before, and I often deny myself happiness for the sake of a new challenge. Before I bought my loft, the longest I'd lived anyplace since I left for university is two and a half years. Three years and counting in my loft is new frontier for me; comfort, and happiness is new frontier for me. So, in short, staying put is the greater challenge for me to tackle at this point in my life.

It was an interesting journey to reach the decision, and professionally, I am remorseful for it. But one must make these decisions, yes? I'll miss the opportunity to live closer to my many NYC friends, but every coin has a flip side, and in this case, it means I won't have the awkwardness of living closer to, hrm, someone who it would be highly awkward to live closer too! I hope someday I have the opportunity to live in NYC when the timing and circumstances are right...but for now, as the post title suggests, the chapter is closed.

For your delight, waiting for my train for my trip for my second interview, I spotted this ample lass in tight & short clothing. Like one of the fellows I sketched in Toronto, she sported a bolero length denim jacket. All the rage I guess.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Jiggling, I mean jogging

Cooling down after his run, checking his pulse and still jiggling.