Monday, November 30, 2015

Feels like old times

Last night, over drinks, my neighbor Pier asked if I ever drew people from life.

I replied, "Sure, but only a few times with models. Mostly people on the subway." And then added, "...but they still mostly look like the way I draw people."

In August I had to jaunt to DC for a day for my day job. Waiting for my colleague's arrival in Terminal C (my first time there! I'm usually in Terminal B or E at BOS!) I saw they ginger otter reading a BOOK and couldn't resist sketching him.

I used to do this all the time on the subway. Mostly to get the way someone was holding something, or the folds of cloth, etc. Sometimes people "caught" me and were all into it. Others didn't care. Only once was someone annoyed. 

Sunday, November 29, 2015


Well, this sort of sucks! Knowing I'd be away for the holiday weekend, I queued up a bunch of posts, as I had done in preparation for my UK jaunt. "No problem," I thought, "the wifi at my dad's place is plenty alright." Sure enough, it was; though sadly, each post once live appears under the date I first drafted them (Monday 11/23) rather than the day I uploaded them. In the scheme of life, this is not a big deal. In my daily post challenge, it's yet another gaff. Boo hoo.

More from this past odd trio of a 1940s ad exec, a 1960s beach party girl, and a 1990s punk-ish bike messenger. What brought them together? Why? These are things I do not know. 

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Holly Hobby

Loved the smock/caftan this older lady was sporting at Hobby Airport. Safe travels, everyone for the holiday weekend!

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Monday, November 23, 2015

A Decade of TCAF

TCAF started in 2003, with its second year being 2005, which was my first, along with Monica! Happy decade-iversary! This time featuring one of the weirdest experiences I've ever shared in bed with two women (Monica and Danielle).

Wrench! Socket! Plugs, Motor, Tires, Chassis—SPEED BUGGY!

Another Hannah-Barbera favorite: Speed Buggy. He's too small though, and I didn't want to put the effort into scanning, and P'shopping him to be a bit in perspective to Debbie, Tinker, and Mark. Maybe someday.

The Doctor and Jamie

Watching old Doctor Who episodes is more painful than watching old Star Trek episodes... but you gotta do it.

It seems most of the episodes featuring the 2nd Doctor are missing from the BBC vault, so we don't get to see much of him, or one of the Doctor's longest running companions, Jamie McCrimmon.

Jamie was a cute fit lad from 1700s Scotland, and almost exclusively wore a kilt. He was a bit handsy with the Doctor, to boot. 

Needless to say, I wish Jamie had his own spin-off show a la Sarah Jane. 

While I was in NH this summer, I had some time to watch some old serials featuring the 1st and 2nd Doctors, and drew this picture of the Doctor and Jamie. 

Then, during my color-practicing last weekend during Open Studios, I colored this, with a '60s TARDIS-like background.

Happy Thanksgiving!

This IS my first time at the rodeo!

My day job sent me to two back-to-back conferences in Houston. Among the planned activities was an excursion to the enormous Houston Rodeo.

The mutton busting was cute, but a lot of the other activities made me kind of sad for the animals...from the bull riding to calf roping to even the prize animals. 

But, I was reminded even the worst of these creatures are treated better than those headed for slaughter.

Nonetheless, nothing says 'Merica like a chesty woman in a sparkly evening gown riding around a sports arena with an American flag that spits our firecrackers that startle the horse into full gallop.

A Boston native turned Texan kept her eye on me the whole rodeo, explaining, "I love to see the reaction of people from home the first time at the rodeo! It's always the same look..."

Indeed, I had a look of awe, wonderment, and ridicule all rolled into a horrific glee. 

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Josie vs Alexandra and Alexander vs Alan M

Yesterday we saw Alexander shaggy-haired and Alan M short. And today, the reverse. Shocker, I am more into drawing Alexander and Alan M than I am the gals. In the live-action film, Alexander was gay (ish?) and I definitely think either he or Alan should end up gay if Archie ever relaunched Josie. Cute guys in ascots?—I can dream, can't I?

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Josie at Open Studios!

Yikes, it's been a long time since I colored anything! But, today and tomorrow is my building's open studios. I hate opening up, as most attendees aren't really looking to buy books or talk about comics. But last year, I just posted a sign that said, "I can draw and talk at the same time. Feel free to ask me questions." It was a lot of fun! I inked 2 pages, and had really nice conversations.

This year, I decided to practice coloring, since it had been so long. Here is the first result. And the inks.   

Friday, November 20, 2015

Josie Weekend!

Are you excited for a Josie weekend? Here's a little preview of how thrilling it's going to be.

I hope I didn't post any of these earlier. When I was asked by Archie publishers to share some sketches, I only had this one on hand. So, I made a few more to share (which I did) and will share with you after I color them. FYI, that's how far it went with Archie.

As a lover of obscurity, I always liked the history of the comic before the animated series made it famous. The series started off as She's Josie, then shortened to Josie, and when the animation deal came along, revamped as Josie and the Pussycats. During the conversion, Pepper, Albert, and Sock were dropped, and Valerie was added. I definitely love the animated series, but am fond of the comics series and the live-action film as well.

My wish list for comics projects is pretty small...but a crack at Josie is one of them. Someday!

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Strange Sports, Indeed!

In honor of Vertigo's Strange Sports Stories trade paperback release this week, I share with you thumbnails from pages 1-3.

This was a tough assignment. Greg was being really kind with deadline given my mom's passing, but suddenly I found myself in France with little progress, and a looming deadline. But fortunately, the story was coming together in my head and in the thumbs. And extra fortunately, Greg accepted pics of the thumbs via Whatsapp. He went on faith in large part.

It was awesome to have Mike DiMotta color my pages, too. I hadn't worked with Mike in years, so it felt a bit full circle. 

The comic looked great, the TPB looks great. If you missed the series, definitely pick up the trade.


There won't be any annotation of this story...I just double checked, there are no hidden bits in the background, and no inside jokes.

So long, Scots!

In honor of my final day in Scotland, Jamie McCrimmon from Doctor Who.

The Seasonal

You'll be hearing a lot more about the association/collective that has formed among me, Greg Lockard, and Monica Gallagher. It stemmed from the idea that we could create a seasonal/quarterly mini comic. Each issue we would choose a theme or area that one of us needs practice or improvement on. 

We stalled out due to my physical therapy, but I am hopeful that I can start pulling my weight. Our first issue is "Gothic," with Greg delivering up two scripts for us. Monica finished drawing hers, and I have but a few sketches and the first 4 pages  pencilled. 

To help spur myself along, here's a teaser from my preliminary story sketches. 

Paris Museum Day

Poor Diogo was sick as a dog and had to miss the Mayan exhibit. But Xavier, Alexander, and I had a great time.

The Passage

Fish-philes know that sometimes my travel sketches aren't journal entries so much, but sketches I did while traveling. These pages fall into that category. 

On the left, a sketch evocative of all the passageways in Milan I adored, but beyond, a village that is more based on my memory of an Alpine village.

On the right, wasn't really meant to be anything. But the more I looked at it, the more it struck me that it feels (not looks) like my mom to me. Cheerful and vibrant and perhaps a bit excessive.

A day in Bordeaux

After spending a few days in Angoulême, the disorganization of the booth situation was an unnecessary annoyance, so I was glad Jeff was willing to take the train to Bordeaux for a day. I'd never been, and was glad for the jaunt. 

We walked around the city center, and explored the nooks and crannies a bit. 

The best part was our leisurely lunch at the charming Spanish cafe El Sitio. The fellow working (I assumed the owner or at least manager, given his knowledge of his business) really took care of us, setting us up with amazing food + wine combinations. 

If you get to Bordeaux, I highly recommend you stop by. Worth looking for.

France 2015

A year ago, though my mom was ill, she seemed to be responding positively to her treatment, so I decided to attend Angoulême Festival. Given her condition, I was to keep my trip to a week with just a few days in Paris after the show.

Her health took a turn late November, and she passed away Christmas Day. I thought it would be good to get away from my routine a bit, so I proceeded with the trip.

It started off on a stressful note: to dodge the first of a dozen blizzards to hit Boston, I had to fly a day early. But, boo hoo, an extra day in Paris didn't kill me. 

I met up with Xavier and Alexander at our usual meeting spot near Gare Montparnasse, and enjoyed a lovely lunch before boarding the train.

Xavier was speaking English only for my benefit and Alexander's (who is from Slovakia), so it was slightly amusing when his countryman explained to him in English that he needed access to his luggage. 

We saw this guy (easy to spot) throughout the weekend, and on the return trip.


Ugh! I had a few posts queued up, which I was able to post successfully from the road. But then, my wifi was too weak to create and upload new posts, even without images. So, it was a technical error to the daily post challenge, and I will allow myself to catch up with several posts at once.

While I was at Gosh! I delighted myself and onlookers by sketching between booksales. The signing went really well, making the most of a tight signing window. I'll leave it at that, since the 2015 Euro-tour sketches will be coming a bit later.

But, thank you to the staff at Gosh! for making my London stop worthwhile! And thanks to all my stateside and Euro pals for sharing the event to Facebook, you helped my turnout. 

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Last night, I dreamt of Manderley again.

In honor of my arrival in the UK, the characters from one of my favorite novels, Rebecca.


Since I drew a guest run on Monica's Bonnie N. Collide, I've been more excited about sports comics. It allows for some action-y drawing, in tight garb...but not be a super-hero story.

In 2014 I got to draw some ski action in Saved by the Bell #8, I wrote and drew a 3 page Bonnie story in December, and I was thrilled to be asked to participate in Vertigo's Strange Sports Anthology earlier this year.

Every once in a while, I sketch another sports star, Casey and and friends from my pal Bob's comic Casey at the Bat. Look, this time, I jotted down ideas for a story arc, as I keep threatening Bob I am going to force a guest run on him some day. 

Like my work on Bonnie, I would do it in a way that resets to need to muck up someone else's continuity!


Xavier and I made our way to NH for a few days. He'd met my family before, and since he had been in LA and was bound for NYC, I thought time in the country would be nice. And, my mom wasn't doing well, so I wanted some extra time there.

Jeff —then living in Hoboken and traveling the US for his job—joined us. He hadn't seen Xavier for some least 18 months. It was fun to see them together and we talked and laughed.

Between showing Xavier around, Jeff's arrival, and my mom sleeping a lot, I didn't see her much. I only have two distinct memories of her on this trip...her tottling off with Jeff to show off the Christmas decorating she had started, and later when we chatted briefly in private. I apologized for my divided attention and she said how happy it made her to hear me, Xavier, and Jeff talking and laughing. This was the last time I'd see outside a hospital room.

Saturday evening, Jeff wanted to go out for seafood and stop by a gay bar, so we headed to Boston. Summer Shack was fun, but the Paradise was all wrong. Jeff fell into a sad mood (maybe it wasn't sad but the bar had a really strange vibe) and we all just went back to my place in silence.

The next morning, we had an easy start to the day, and they packed up and headed out for NJ. I was ambivalent as they drove off, both happy and warmed by the time and friendship we shared, and saddened by the reality that everything come to an end. 

I understand rabbits and rats don't cohabitate well, so the arrival of rabbits to our neighborhood was welcome. They may carry as many diseases as rats, but they are just so darn cute. And while Mr. Darby was bonkers everytime he saw a rat, he doesn't care so much as the bunnies. 

Turning from Jeff and Xavier as they departed to walk back to my building, I saw this rabbit and started to cry. It just represented so much at that moment.

Newport in November

I decided to bring Xavier to Newport, for several reasons:

1) It's a great day trip in any weather...sunny and warm, walk the Cliff Walk. Rainy and dreary, tour the houses.

2) Xavier loves castles and audio tours.

3) Newport was settled as a summer resort for the elite for a reason—it's beautiful.

We drove down, toured the Breakers and Rosecliff, grabbed a bite to eat, and as this day was unseasonably warm for November, we walked the Cliff Walks.

Newport is home to Salve Regina University, mainly comprised of old mansions donated to the school, converted to classroom and dorm space. So, for a stodgy old town, it has its share of young people.

While it was warm, I don't think it was warm enough for a run in super skimpy lighter than air running shorts. But this lean, buff lad clearly had something to show.

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Un-Euro Tour 2014

In honor of my pending UK trip, I present to your the very few sketches I drew last fall, when Xavier and Jeff visited me in Boston.

As I'd mentioned, I didn't want to be traveling far at this moment, and we had just learned my mom's illness was back, so I was very glad Xavier wanted some USA time.

He started out in Los Angeles, in order to attend Bent Con. He enjoyed the show, though its scale underwhelmed him, perhaps. I don't know if he liked LA much, aside from the weather.

But he arrived in Boston for a few days in New England. on our first day, we walked around Boston, and eventually ended up at Brass Union with my neighbors for drink and food. As they filtered out, Xavier and I lingered, playing shuffleboard. 

I love bar shuffleboard. But Brass needs to get a little scooper for the "sand." You have to use your hands to scoop it, and it's pretty gross.

Friday, November 6, 2015

Saved by the Bell #8 ANNOTATED

It's time to finally annotate the last of 4 episodes of Saved by the Bell that I drew in 2014, all with covers by the amazing Chynna Clugston. These stories were published for digital sale on Amazon in 2014, and the trade paperback was published summer 2015. Buy it! 

On to "Ski Trip!"

PAGE 1 One of Kelly's text books is titled "Hi" as I greet you, the reader. Once again Zack sports a polo with a sperm whale logo applique on it.

PAGE 3 Panel 4 Indie gay boy Jeff is in the background.

PAGE 4 I love the way this page turned out...the perspective, Zack looks good in all panels, and of course, I got to draw one of the coveted jokes—the giant cell phone. 

PAGE 6 Mr. Moody was fun to draw, though I doubted the realism of a mall shop owner staffing the floor. Anything's possible in Bayside, I guess. In the mall walks the yet-named large gal that often appears as an extra in my pages. Panel 6 I use my "classic" explosion effect again.

PAGE 7 Slater sports a the Tim Fish magnet T-shirt. Why don't you own one yet???

PAGE 8 Was so much fun to draw. Minimal backgrounds, and very action-y. Fun, fun.

PAGE 9 Awesome ski-on cameo from ARCHE-LADY as Mr. Moody's daughter.  

PAGE 10 Disappointing color rendering of Mr. Belding's ski suit. The photo reference shared with me was from a '90s ski catalog, and the suit was really garish. White, yellow, bubble gum pink and powder puff blue. But the published colors are gray and yellow. 

PAGE 12 Was really challenging to draw. Due to the web publish format, there is a hard break at the half page mark. So, no art can cross that zone. Generally, I've made it a fun exercise to make the page work with symmetry. But wow, this was tough. In the first half, I had to show so many characters, including the ski patrol guys to make the joke work later. And save space for lots of dialog and (in theory) movement. In the second half, I had to execute a complex slapstick moment. This really could have been a page and a half (and pages 9-10 could have only been a page and a half, but it would have been a shame to break up the lodge scene). Panel 7 is definitely a Chynna Clugston pastiche moment.

Thus volume 1 draws to a close. It was a really fun experience, and I thank Greg for pointing me to the folks at Lionforge/Roar. Adam was a great editor to work with, generally pushing me to a better place; Joelle's scripts were spot on in tone; and it's such a thrill to be side by side with Chynna in a TPB.

Looking forward to volume 2! 

Thursday, November 5, 2015


One week from today: me at Gosh! Comics in London!

I am very excited about my upcoming trip. 2014 was the first year in well over a decade that I didn't travel abroad at all. I had only just returned from the Munich- Vienna- Rome- Milan trip when my mom was diagnosed, so I didn't wanted to stay close by my family in 2014.

But this year, I was able to get to France in January-February, then Toronto in May, and in a few days I travel to London- Leeds- Glasgow.

I'll start off meeting up with Xavier and Greg in London for a few days. I was very fortunate to schedule a signing at Gosh! in Soho. My English comics pal Sean pointed me to Gosh! and they have been great.

Next, the 3 of us will then venture to Leeds to meet up with Monica, who is exhibiting at Thought Bubble.I tried to get a table, but I missed the deadline by a few weeks. booooo.  

Finally, the 4 of us will travel on to Glasgow for a writing workshop of our own making. We chose a village on the outskirts of Glasgow, sure to have a pub. Otherwise, I don't think we've settled on any kind of itinerary or agenda for our workshop.

But yes, I need a new headshot if I am going to keep at comics. My last pro one was taken in 2006. Then, the one featured on many posters was taken in 2010. Ugh.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Hello, Ms. Parker

In the vintage '50s hard cover Modern Library edition I have of Dorothy Parker's poetry, someone would underline things or write "yes!" in pencil next to passages. It's almost as amusing as the poems themselves...

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Trivia Night

We'll dip back to 2014 unposted sketches for a bit...

My neighbors and I used to frequent trivia night at Tavern at the End of the World Sunday nights.

Our team name was "Home by Ten" because on our first excursion, Heather declared she had to be home by 10:00 to give her cat an insulin shot. We promised, though I don't think we delivered...but maybe 10:15.

One evening, this patron was oblivious to her display. I was the only in our party to be in the direct sight line. Lucky me.

Tavern is a great winter place, very cozy with a fireplace. In summer though, it's dreadful for me... when it's all light and warm out, to cram into a cozy pub...just felt wrong. So we broke the habit in nice weather.

Monday, November 2, 2015

Daily Post Challenge!

Here we go with a daily post challenge for 2015! If all goes well, I'll achieve my historic average of 60 posts per year by December 31. Think of it like how you think of Doctor Who or The Closer or wait all year for an incredible month or two of new episodes, and it's worth it. Convince yourself of this, though the quality of this blog will never meet your expectations.

While I didn't post much in 2014, and I have a backlog of sketches, it will still be a challenge to post daily. Currently, at my day job, I'm not only director of my department, but the acting director of another department as well. So, I am terribly busy. But we'll see how this plays out.

I wasn't really ready to yammer on about it online, but 2014 was a tough year. My mom had been diagnosed with cancer, so I was trying to get up to NH as much as I could, and keep all the plates spinning. I drew 4 issues of Lionforge's Saved by the Bell comic, so that was good! But I didn't get too much sketching in otherwise.Things had been looking quite hopeful for my mom, and she was responding to the first round of treatment. The second round of treatment was going well, too...two steps forward, one step back deal. Then suddenly it was one step forward, two steps back, then she was gone. She died peacefully on Christmas day.

Obviously, 2015 has been a challenge, too. Dealing with grief, the myriad of emotions and memories, and trying to find a new path forward with my family. To keep moving forward, I started out the year strong in drawing. I completed the unfinished Arche-Lady Special from 2013, and drew another for 2015. I wrote and drew a shortie for Vertigo's Strange Sports Stories anthology, and drew the first of 4 issues of Saved by the Bell V2 before the project went back on mini-hiatus.

I spent July in NH with my dad, working remotely for MIT. That was great! And I finally decide to finish the monster of a pre-press job—compiling the original Arche-Lady series in two volumes. Each volume is 556 pages, and was a nightmare. I started scanning the original art back in 2011, slowly plugging away at it the layout and annotation ever since. I soldiered through, completed the books (they look great!) but at a cost.

The occasional wrist-arm-shoulder pain I'd been experiencing sporadically became intense and seemingly permanent. This awesome LMT declared my neck and back "a mess" and told me to (1) keep seeing him, (2) get on OT and PT books, (3) get back to the gym. The LMT, OT, and PT folks were all in agreement: due to years of "drawing posture" certain neck muscles became over-developing, pinching nerves. So, I was in PT for Sept-Oct and back at the gym since August, and doing the PT exercises daily. Yay.

Pain is subsiding. I've also not had a headache since June, either. Due to the back/neck issues, all my stress had been shooting up into my head apparently, with the tension of these neck muscles squeezing the nerves. Severe, weekly headaches since, what, 2009? I've posted a lot about them. Amazing progress. 

But, all this to say, my sketchbook for 2015 is also pretty thin. This daily post challenge might also be thin, but a nice challenge at the end of a few challenging years.