Housekeeping #2: Vacation

I'm off work tomorrow and all of next week, with limited internet access, so don't expect many musings on this blog for the next week or so. However, I've scheduled a number of updates with sketches that haven't appeared on this blog yet for the week I'm gone, so things will still be somewhat lively around these parts.

I'll be working on research and outlines for two "yet to be announced" projects while on vacation, so it won't be all fun and sun for me.


Sketches and Layouts #6- Under Wraps...

Here's a preview image from a new project I've just started working on. And that's all I'm going to say...



Sketches and Layouts #5- Planet Hulk


Here is a sketch I knocked out (about 1 hour) after finishing the outstanding Planet Hulk trade. (Pick it up at a great price here.) I met writer Greg Pak at a local comic shop signing last month and told him how much I enjoyed his work on that book. He said he had a blast working on it, and told me he was "blown away" by the art work Carlo Pagulayan turned in on that series, and I couldn't agree more.

I got my copies of World War Hulk signed by Pak, and he even did a quick Hulk sketch in my Planet Hulk hard cover. I'll post a scan of that shortly.


Velvet Rope #10- Another teaser...


I've been taking the slow and steady approach with my horror story, "Friend Request." Just one more page left to pencil! Here's another sneak peak.


On the Screen #4: The Watchmen Trailer

Now this is how to make a trailer!

Zack Snyder is certainly an ambitious dude. He made a name for himself with his strong direction of Frank Miller's 300, so I'm sure he probably seemed a logical choice for tackling The Watchmen. But making a movie like The Watchmen is a challenge in a whole other league. The graphic novel 300 was almost tailor made for the screen. Simple, straight-forward story, big cinematic visuals, clear cut good good guys and bad guys, big time action, and even a real world connection to contemporary world conflicts. Snyder actually had to add a few story points not in the 300 comic in order to have enough material to fill out a feature length flick.

He won't have that problem with The Watchmen.

The The Watchmen graphic novel is a dense 400 plus page tome. Rather than cinematic visuals, Dave Gibbon's favored the more traditional 6-9 panel page grids you don't see much of in today's comics. Alan Moore's story itself is complex and multi-faceted...it's political commentary and meta-commentary. It's The Watchmen! Entertainment Weekly is calling it "the riskiest superhero movie of all-time." They just might be right.

However, if this trailer is any indication, that risk is going to pay off big time.

The world will look up and shout, "Save us!" And I'll whisper, "No."



Super Seed #18- Put a Fork in Issue Three...

Happy to say that I've put a fork in another issue of Super Seed. Usually, finishing a full 22-page comic gives me a feeling of great accomplishment. However, after finishing this issue, I more or less just relieved. While I'm pretty sure I finished the penciling and inking stage in record time, I definitely hit the wall when it came to coloring. This speaks to just how hard it is to be a one-man shop. Here's a look at the time I spend on each stage of the comic process:

Layouts: (1-2 hours per page) Pencils: (6-8 hours per page) Inks: (6-8 hours per page) Scanning and Formatting: (1/2 hour per page) Colors Flats: (3-4 hours per page) Colors Finished: (4-6 hours per page) Lettering: (1-3 hours per page) Final Page Formatting for Print: (1/2 hour per page) X 22 pages

So, pulling out my calculator, I might spend upwards of 32 hours on one page! If you throw in time spent on a cover, and any additional pages for the print books (letters pages, print pages, ads for comics coming soon, etc.) the total amount of time spent on one issue approaches 800 hours.

Jeez, that's depressing.

But hopefully, that might explain why it's relief I feel upon completion of Super Seed #3: Donor. I should also point out that this issue was chronologically the first Super Seed story I ever wrote. I knew eventually I would draw this comic, so in a sense, it's been hanging over my head for the past four years. So, I'm definitely happy to have this one in the books. I still have a few supplementary pages (pin-ups, letters pages, ads) to finish, but I should send the files off to the printers within the next week.

Be on the lookout for an announcement when print copies will be available for purchase.


On the Screen #3: The Spirit Trailer

A new trailer for The Spirit hit the web recently. I remember seeing a teaser trailer for The Spirit before Iron Man a few months back, and really didn't know what to think. My first impression was that director Frank Miller took a whole lot of notes from Robert Rodriguez during the making of Sin City, because it looked like The Spirit picks up where Sin City left off.

The new trailer gives a bit more of a look at the new flick. Now, let me tell you, Frank Miller has a big reservoir of trust built up, as I'm a huge fan of his work. Sin City is one of my favorite series of all time, and one of these days I'm going to bite the bullet and buy the whole series in that gorgeous Absolute edition. But unfortunately, I have no prior interest in The Spirit as a character or a movie. My only exposure to The Spirit, has been in the few pages of the book included in creator Will Eisner's classic text Comics and Sequential Art. The trailer is high on style, short on any clue to the narrative, so I'm not sure what to make of it.

The one thing it has going for it, and this should be no surprise to Frank Miller fans...gorgeous dames. Scarlett Johansson, Eva Mendes, and Jaimie King (who played Goldie in Sin City.)

So, give the trailer a look, and let me know what you think.


Super Seed #17- Schwag Winner, July

Congrats to Tom K. from Douglasville, GA, winner of my monthly drawing for a Super Seed Prize Pack! I just shipped off an envelope filled with Super Seed goodies to Tom, including a full color, 22 page, limited edition Super Seed comic. I also threw in this sketch, which was my first stab at a cover for the current Super Seed storyline, along with a few other odds and ends.


To find out how you could win a Super Seed Prize Pack, check out the details here.


On the Screen #2: Hancock

I wanted to love this movie. I really did. It's an absolute shame that I walked out of the theater disappointed.

The fact that the movie is a big success is besides the point. Will Smith is a box office machine...if a movie with him playing a homeless stockbroker stock broker could rake in $160 million, a highly marketed, 4th of July super hero flick was sure to rake it in. But that's beside the point. Will Smith wasn't the problem with this film.

And neither was Jason Bateman, who was solid in his roll. Nothing wrong with Charlize's performance either. Hell, I even liked the little kid (last seen being taught to stand up to bullies by Tim Riggins on Friday Night Lights.)

But what started out as an intriguing concept and an interesting character completely fell apart in the third act. Sure, you've probably heard there is a story twist (which I won't spoil here) but the twist certainly did not make the movie. If anything, it simply led to talk and explanation of a clearly hackneyed Hancock mythology, and the movie simply sputtered along to a poorly conceived finish.

Another problem...at the last minute, they decided to throw in a main villian for Hancock. This
guy was an absolute joke, and made Kevin Spacey's Lex Luther look like Darth Vader. Action movie 101...the villian should be as interesting (or more) than the hero. Comic book movies usually get so caught up in convincing us how cool the character is, that they short shrift the villians. As a result, I left the movie with no desire to see a Hancock sequel.


Velvet Rope #9: (Another) Three Panel Preview

My scanner finally crapped out on me the other day. I suppose I can't complain. It was a hand me down from my friend Andrew Jarvis. (BTW, if you need some website design work-for-hire, give Andy a holler over at http://liquidmethods.com/.) The old scanner was beat up, but it got the job done for the past two and a half years. But after my move, it just stopped working, so I had to put it out to pasture. With a quick trip to Best Buy, I'm now the owner of new Epson Perfection V200 Photo Color Scanner, and now my studio is back to full capacity.

The first thing I scanned with the new hardware...another page of "Friend Request," the horror short I've been working on for Velvet Rope. Hope you like this 3 panel preview.



CounterTERROR #2: Logo Design

Logo design is not one of my strengths...luckily CounterTERROR artist Jacob Bear is so inclined. Check out more of Jacob's stuff at his personal website. I defintely think this logo gets the job done.


CounterTERROR #1: Coming Soon!

I suppose it's time to mention another series I'm working on...CounterTERROR! I'm collaborating with Jacob Bear on this series. Jacob will be penciling, I'll be writing, and it should be a blast. I did the above promo image to get psyched up for this project. It should be almost non-stop action and a lot of fun for the reader.

I describe this comic series as "24 meets 28 Days Later." Here is the quick elevator pitch:

It's New Year's Eve, 2008. In the waning days of the Bush presidency, the lame duck president is alone, long since abandoned by the American public and even his closest aids and political allies. Though deflated, he still clings to the one conerstone of his administration- that there hasn't been another attack on American soil since 9/11...

Yet Muslim extremists have gotten hold of a highly contagious, weaponized flesh eating and rage inducing virus that drives the infected insane and murderous. The plan: to deliver the "zombie" virus via a number of self- injecting "suicide bombers" in New York City on New Years Eve. Their goal: put true terror into terrorism.

It's up to FBI counter-terrorism specialist Dorian McCullough to control the spread of the virus, and stop a bomber from releasing the virus in Times Square when the ball drops.

Stay tuned for more CounterTERROR updates!