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 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 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 , 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.