Sunday, September 26, 2021

More Mexico

Jeff's quest for artisan goods took us further afield to Puebla and Cholula, courtesy of our hired driver and guide. I don't like to buy much when I travel, and have very particular tastes. Unlike Jeff who travels with an empty suitcase to fill!



Hola, CDMX

I was wrapping up 18 years at MIT in May 2018, coinciding with Jeff's annual birthday trip. I agreed to meet him in Mexico City! It was such a wonderful trip, so much to enjoy. The big mistake, I accidentally took Advil PM instead of Advil in effort to combat altitude headaches. Toward the end of the trip did I realize why I was so exhausted. At first I attributed it to unwinding from the last days of work. But clearly mixing meds + alcohol was a big contributor.



Sunday, September 19, 2021

Star Players

High on my list soon after "First Date, Last Date" was a story penned by Greg Lockard, titled "Star Players." It's a sweet story about rival soccer players who met at a summer camp.

I was thrilled when Monica Gallagher agreed to ink my pencils for the story, and Chris Beckett agreed to color it.

The down side of the whole affair was some miscommunication that led to the story not completed until 2020. But it's released as a single and as part of On the Romance Road, so now harm no foul I guess.

About this time, I also finished all my art tasks for Baby Makes Three. That too wasn't published until 2021, due to time in Matt's coloring queue. But the first half of 2018 was a productive golden moment for me. 

 

First date, last date

 

At this point in 2018, I was going gangbusters with gay romance short stories, having amassed shorties I wrote and drew ("Quickies," "I Like Mozart," "Every Journey..."), or drew from others' scripts ("Liebestra├če," "Cross Check," "The Most Incredible Magic"). I intended to combine these new stories with the best of my romance shorties from past anthologies.

One story haunted me. Originally posted to the web series Young Bottoms in Love was a tattooed tale I drew, as written by another author. The story hadn't turned out the way either of us wanted it to back in 2003. Yet, I liked the vintage art.

Fifteen years later, I turned to a frequent collaborator, MJ Isola, and asked he write a new story to the original art (an exercise he'd done before at my request). Rules were simple: keep as much of the art as possible, but feel free to cut panels, re-arrange, or add up to four pages of new material to make it work.

The end result fell right in line... I think he added three pages plus two panels, and I added a splash page (thumbnail here). The original art focuses on a couple's first date; and two new end pages are a flash-forward fifteen years, revealing it had been their last first date, as they'd remained a couple since.

Sunday, September 12, 2021

At sea

Another sketchbook obsession of mine was this sea captain. I never settled on an era for him, except he must be from 1600-1800. Pretty broad, I know. 

But his captaincy wasn't the point! 

He was trapped in 2018 and developed a penchant for 1960s like the Datson Fairlady and the Alfa Romeo Guila. Basically, a loose premise to connect my interest in sea captains and cars.

He appears throughout this sketchbook, commanding it as I never really mastered him.

You'll probably see him again.



 

Saturday, September 11, 2021

House of Loneliness

In early 2018, for weeks I was obsessed with this story idea. I sought and found this floor plan for an old house, and in InDesign, I added a backroom and a back staircase; printed it out, and glued it into my sketchbook. Stared at it for hours, days, weeks. My parents' hobby was restoring big old Victorians, and I grew up in a house not quite like this, but close enough for me to fall in love with this fictional space. The nooks and crannies in these homes create (for me) much coziness, privacy, and mystery.

I'll let you figure out the details. Maybe some day I'll write and draw this story.



Monday, September 6, 2021

Advertising

Back when I worked at MIT, walking across campus from Stata Center to Building 56* on a November day warm enough to walk sans jacket.

Very possibly an innocent move on the part of the leaning fellow, but it looked more than suggestive.

Funny how time moves. Even if they were grad students, these two are more than likely graduated and long gone by now!

*fun (?) fact: most buildings at MIT campus aren't named, they are numbered. Even if they have names, more often than not, they are better known by their numbers.


Sunday, September 5, 2021

Wizards, Knights, Dragons

 

I don't recall the exact timing, but by the time we were in Cardiff, I was in short story mode for what was published as On the Romance Road. While there, I drew several pages of "Every Journey Begins with the First Step" which I had scripted a few weeks prior.

And, a few days prior, at Thought Bubble, Timothy Winchester had agreed to draft a script for the collection. I find him hilarious, so I was a little surprised when he came up with his wizard story. Since In the spirit of new challenges, I embraced it!

The first drawing was done in Cardiff, as was the dragon sketch, before Timothy sent me the script. The other two are in preparation to draw the story. Though I finished in 2017, the pages kept getting pushed to the bottom of Matt's coloring pile as (1) I kept sending him more projects and (2) the pages were really challenging to color... very dense art for me.

But you can read the finished story on comiXology!


 




 

Saturday, September 4, 2021

Mystery Bros

Given we have assigned tandem spaces, and there's no AirBnB allowed in my building, the turnover in the coveted garage spaces in my loft building is low. I'd never seen these dudes before, nor since.


Cardiff, I love you

 
Greg and I went to Cardiff for out post-festival working session.  We stayed in a fun hipster neighborhood with good restaurants and pubs. Writing and drawing by day, and going out at night.

The highlight for me was hitting the Golden Cross a few times, once for karaoke night. I was used to the Courtside in Cambridge, where you were lucky to get called up once. But at the Golden Cross, they had to ply people to sing with free shots! I happily took three turns, and gave my shots to Greg. At the end of the night, they called me out for my verve (not my signing!).

Between the Viaduct and the Golden Cross, I'm not sure I've had so much concentrated fun at gay bars before!

I took many walks in Cardiff and toured the castle in the city center as well. I would love to go back!

Oh--strange experience at the barber... it hit me that all the barbers and all the patrons but one I observed had my coloring: pale, blue eyes, mild gingers. I felt like Superman in Jimmy Olsen #138!
 

Thursday, September 2, 2021

Last time in Leeds

It probably won't be my last time in Leeds, but it was Thought Bubble's. Actually, I'm not sure about that... but by the time I returned to the festival in 2019, it moved to Harrogate. But what a way to go! We had so much fun in Leeds on this trip!  

I seemed to make the sales woman's day at the Doc Marten store with my insecurities, or defying the stereotype of an American abroad. But after the festival, Greg, Christophe, Dom and I all had a night of hilarity at the Viaduct Show bar. 

To provide some contrast between the fun time in Leeds and the fun time we had in Cardiff, the train ride provided some perspective. Due to it being the end of term for universities, and a few cancellations, the trains were standing room only, despite the fact we had reserved seats.

Wednesday, September 1, 2021

30th!

It's the 30th anniversary of my first Arche-Lady comics, so, in theory, you'll hear a lot more about her in the coming months. And, I have planned the Arche-Lady SPECIAL #16 featuring a conclusion to her war with the digital planet MITAA, as well as a casebook tale that I am pretty excited about.

Until then, you can enjoy this sketch of Arche-Lady rescuing a junior partner who has only appeared in sketchbooks to date, Kid Smash 'em Up. I'm not sure what the backstory is here, but I'm sure there was one when I drew this back in 2017!