Sunday, August 22, 2021

Steel Sterling redux

 Steel Sterling was a super-hero appearing in comics published by what's now known as Archie Comics. I don't know what inspired me to draw this... perhaps it was my recent foray into the Archie hero line-up in the Mighty Crusaders. Further, I don't know why I drew this redux of Steel as a black man. When I rediscovered this sketch, I assumed it's because someone else at the time did the redux... but I can't find any evidence on line. But then, I am a bad Googler.

Saturday, August 21, 2021

(un) Designed

If I believe the evidence of my sketchbook, I assume Greg and I were continuing our brainstorm. Here are drawings of the three fellows involved in a love square with the gal from a few posts ago. I think we both liked the concept, but it just never stuck.


Winding down the trip

The first sketch is a bit non-sequential, all the misc stuff I wanted to capture on  paper but hadn't yet. Our last afternoon was the most "urban" on the islands, touring the science center and then the small city of Puerto Ayora. One of our tour guides also owned a little coffee house OMG! Coffee. I brought a bag of Kona coffee home, yum. 

Then, back to Quito. By then, I had a lot of travel voices in my head (and a headache jumping back to elevation 9K from 0.  

Friday, August 20, 2021

The worst

I passed on the snorkeling, since my only experience prior hadn't gone well. I figured, I shouldn't be incapacitated on a business trip. I overheard, with horror, a private pilot trying to hit on this woman in my group. It was revolting. So entitled.

Things I saw

 I enjoyed reading Darwin's description of the Galapagos in Voyage of the Beagle, but probably like most tourists, the reality that you are a tourist and not an explorer or scientist is terribly evident and in stark contrast. That said, it was an amazing trip, and shocking to consult a map of the islands toward the end of our stay... for all we saw, we saw so little!

Thursday, August 19, 2021


I fell in love with Quito. I'm no foodie... I cook blandly, though I am an adventurous eater when I travel (cow brain, guinea pig, grasshoppers, check)... but the food in Quito was so good. Fun fact, Ecuador uses the US dollar as its currency, making it a pretty easy destination for US travelers.   

I was in Quito four days... two prior to the Galapagos, and two post. The first day back was a little rough, jumping back and forth from sea level to 9,350' above.


Elevation 11,152'

Just a month prior, I was in Colorado Springs, elevation 6,035' and a few days earlier, I was at Machu Picchu, elevation 7,972'. Then I arrived at Cuzco, former capital of the Incan Empire, hiiiiigh in the Peruvian Andes.

I had a lovely day here, touring some colonial churches and sites. I followed some crowds, and hiked up the hillside away from them, passing through a hipster neighborhood with some offbeat galleries.

We met a charming family, and with them, I ate the local delicacy, guinea pig. Though I had a guinea pig as a pet as a kid, and was generally sadenned by the idea, "when in Rome..." It was enjoyable, though I wouldn't bolt back down to Peru just to eat it again.


Wednesday, August 18, 2021

I want to go home

I have a few quick sketches from Machu Picchu, but nothing will really capture it. Instead, here's a sad moment. As I hired the Inca trail around Machu Picchu, I crossed paths with many hikers, who had been hiking for days, and through the rainy zone. One woman was absolutely miserable. 

Part of me wanted to follow her to back to Machu Picchu, in hopes that she would be awestruck at the site and the sights. And that she'd dry off quickly. 

The only downside of the time here was one of our party wasn't prepared for the hike and had a few issues themselves. Another group member took it upon herself to care for and entertain said co-traveler. She was very angry at our guide.

Definitely created a sour vibe for a bit.

Just to underscore the sketch, it wasn't me who wanted to go home, it was the hiker.



I captured three terrifically attractive men in my sketchbook. The first was a real stunner. More salt than pepper American with his lady friend. The second, a Latin hiker who I forced my assistance on as he struggled to get the selfie he was aiming for. The third, much later, at our hotel in Quito. Like many very tall men, someone felt at liberty to ask in astonishment how tall he was, which I overheard. That's how I know.

Tuesday, August 17, 2021

Sacred Valley

Two really special days in the Sacred Valley. Beautiful scenery, customs. I could easily see myself touring and exploring by Vespa for months and months. The first spread is a nice summary of my time there. The second drawing my imagining of the Shaman's tale of the condor, the puma, and the snake. The last is the view from the courtyard of where I was staying. The blue line is on a train en route to Machu Picchu.

One day in Lima

 I'd spent very little time in the Spanish-speaking world... more in Portuguese-speaking, and French-speaking, where my foreign language studies have been focused (please note my speaking skills are horrible).

So my attempts to communicate kept, by reflex, defaulting to French. And a little Portuguese. I really had to focus to say a few things in Spanish. 

Our day in Lima was quick. And, given the traffic and time spent getting from point A to B, not very eventful. 

And, no offense to Lima, it was not bound to be the highlight of this trip, as stacked against Machu Picchu, Cuzco, and the Galapagos.

More soon.

Monday, August 16, 2021

Abandoned Cavalcade


When I was floundering a bit creatively, I wrote and thumbnailed--nearly page for page in a sketchbook--a Cavalcade OGN. When it came time to draw it, I thought it made better art-as-therapy than it did an OGN.

A few years later, I revisited a few members of the cast in a convention mini comic "Quickies." And, finally, there's this attempt to carry on the Cavalcade.

I'm not much for P'town, but after a fairly fun day trip on a dreary, rainy day that contradicted my prior experiences, I thought of this story, following a few of the past cast members and a few new ones as they approach life at 50.  Each time I've written about them, they age a bit more, and I thought it could be a fun story. But, alas, I changed my mind. All you get is a few sketches for an idea never really fleshed out.

Colorado Springs revisited

 Oddly enough, this was my second trip to Colorado Springs, both for job interviews, and this one about a year after the last. My first trip was really short, and I didn't see much of the area or the town. But this time, I got to stay a bit longer and see a little more. I thought the downtown was really charming... a very nice blend of old fashioned and lively. Like you could imagine how life used to be.

I fared alright with the altitude, but it was just a prelude to what was to come the next month!

Sunday, August 15, 2021

SOS life drawing

I participate most years in Brickbottom Open Studios, to be community-active.

But what our building does is really spotty during Somerville Open Studios. These sketches stem from us putting a better foot forward.

In addition to a handful of my neighbors opening their studios, there was a gallery exhibit, a few booths in the lobby, a dance troupe performed, and I think a keyboardist was playing somewhere.

And we had a scheduled life drawing sketch sessions, where we (and the public) were encouraged to participate. It was fun, and festive. And people seemed to like watching us draw.

Draft scripts

 Here's the start of "Every Journey..." published in On the Romance Road on comiXology. Sketches, thumbnails of the first page, and a lot of the script is there. Yes, when I write for myself, this is usually what the script looks like! Or used to, before I entered grad school and had to start adhering to some standards. Admittedly, it's much easier to edit from a Word doc or Final Draft than it is this mess!

Saturday, August 14, 2021

Tales from the womb

Though perhaps a little cruel to be poking fun of inappropriately-close mother-son relations, I did like the way these sketches turned out with the  brush pen inks.

Fickle fingers of Dr Fate


I didn't think I had much affinity for the character, but he's tagged in other sketches, so I guess I do. Primarily, I just like this sketch. Also, you might be able to see how it started on a piece of lined scrap paper (far right). I liked what I started, cut it and pasted into the sketch book and proceeded from there!

Thom said "DJ Fate" I think.

Friday, August 13, 2021

Time for a new pair

I've removed the bar name though it's highly unlikely this fellow still works there... but the show of crack and dirty, holey undies made me kind of sad. Everyone deserves a fresh, clean pair.

Friendliness Ok!

I was so excited when this joint pair of conferences I used to attend was to be hosted by Washington University in Saint Louis--my old employer and my old hometown.

Not real hometown, of course. I was born in NH. But I hold a strong affection for the place. Matt was also to attend, and we agreed to rent an AirBnB in the historic neighborhood of Soulard, where I had once lived, rather than the hotel suggested by the conference.

Matt joined me on a long walk around the neighborhood, and I pointed out all the things and places I'd loved--mostly still there. At one point, he noted, "I've never seen you happy before." 

Thursday, August 12, 2021

Airport people


I love people watching (and drawing at airports). They pass through your life so quickly.

Dublin re-revisited

 I felt I needed a little more Dublin-time so I stopped over for a few days on my way home from Angouleme.

My AirBnB was in an alley... though I thought it a little sketchy, it was "the type of place Dubliners would pay a lot for," according to Christophe.

Wednesday, August 11, 2021

Mighty Crusaders!

While attending Angouleme, Xavier was telling me of an upcoming story in Scarce Magazine, about Archie Comics' super-hero comics line, featuring the Shield, the Comet, the Fly and Fly-Girl, and the Hood... together, the Mighty Crusaders! I drew this (and I think while I was later stuck at SFO waiting for a flight back to BOS). I might have colored this, and I might have sent it to Xavier, and he might have finally written his piece. I had the short-lived early '60s series in my collection and re-read it once I got home. It's definitely meant for a much younger audience than DC and Marvel were written for at the time.

I'll have to look for the color version.

And there, I found it!

Ha--I've used that explosion effect I made in 1998 in nearly every comics project I've ever done, including Liebestrasse, Saved by the Bell, stuff I did for Marvel, up to my most recent work in Clamantis.

In the same folder, I found a few other drawings I did during the festival, including a Superboy and the Legion (well, just the three founding members, a la S/LSH #250) for Xavier, and an Indie Superman saving a cat from a tree for Pierre.

Angouleme revisited

Between my trip to England and Ireland, and then again to France, I was in a bicycling accident. A pedestrian, texting, stepped into the bike lane. Though I was going fairly slow, when I swerved to missed her... ended up on the ground. My pant leg torn open, my knee bleeding. My coworkers were kind enough to cut my pant leg off and clean me up. One took me home to change and to medical. Nothing broken! 
But that's why I was wearing the brace. I hobbled into Pepe Jeans in Paris, told this lovely sales woman "Je ne parle pas Francais" when she asked if she could assist me, and walked away with two pairs of skinny jeans. En route, the fellow adorable fellow next to me chatted me up. That was nice. 

Meanwhile, Xavier was locked out of his AirBnB and spent the night sleeping outside. The story was too sad not to draw! And later still, grousing (with joy) about how the walk from Marie-Claud's place to the city center over the past decade of trips to Angouleme...

Tuesday, August 10, 2021

Dublin revisited

 I hadn't been to Dublin in a few years, so it was fun to revisit!

After Thought Bubble, Monica, Greg, and I chose Dublin for our comics retreat. We started having a swell time, camped out in the neighborhood of Stoneybatter, talking about future projects, and drinking. But during the trip the election occurred. 

It was suddenly very awkward to be an American... at pubs we talked very quietly if at all, to avoid conversations about the election. 

Our last full day of the trip, a coworker of mine arrived for her Irish holiday, and Kayla's presence added a light-hearted dimension for a final night of frivolity.

People watching en route to and around Leeds

 It wasn't that long ago, I guess. But everything is relative.

Lots of amazing people watching between the airports, the local, and the comic con!

And Xavier got his dig in about my hair, too.

Monday, August 9, 2021

The Doctor and Me

Here's the Twelfth Doctor and Me in her highwayman garb. I did like Peter Capaldi as the Doctor, and I did like Me as a character. This drawing doesn't hold up to my First Doctor with Susan, Barbara, and Ian, my Second Doctor and Jamie, or my Third Doctor with Sarah Jane. But here it is.



I can't recall exactly--perhaps Monica drew a Stucky (Steve Rogers and Bucky Barnes homoerotic coupling) commission. But it was clear she likes Stucky art! So I drew one for her at the New York Comic Con when were tabled side by side. Then, just a few weeks later, we were at Thought Bubble in Leeds. So a second Stucky drawing appeared. It's become something of a tradition.

Sunday, August 8, 2021

Untitled Protest

And, the fourth significant reason for my distraction: the 2016 election.

I wasn't sure what I could do aside from making a few contributions to organizations that promote LGBT+ rights. And I knew I didn't want to run a comic directly critical of elected politicians--since obviously the people voting is where the issue lay. But I settled on my Untitled Protest series, posted to Instagram and Tumblr.

In the series, which lasted with 50-sih installments, white people were treated as black people are in the US; women were granted the same entitled behavior of straight white men, bathrooms were arbitrarily regulated, and immigration laws changed on the fly, trapping American tourists at the airport.

I need to take proper scans of the whole series to collect it. Along with the short stories "Balloons by Golly" and "Balloons Over Ballots," this series is among my most overt political statements.