Categories
Art & Illustration Sometimes I Like Stuff

Summit Street Maps: Reeyobigs Edition

INDUSTRY TODAY

I was asked by a peer to draw up John Carter, even though the only thing I knew about the character was that Gil Kane drew him once. I liked the challenge of working on something unfamiliar, especially if it has swords. I never get to draw swords.

FORM TOMORROW

Death To the Universe has a great piece about the unique visual demands that only comics can carry (that’s putting it as broadly as possible). A Treatise on Optics nails one of the many aspects that make comics an important and beautiful art form.

On a loosely related note, another one of my favorite blogs, Heavy Discussion, recently posted a bunch of pictures and commentary of old zines. I think having tactile proof of one’s interests may be archaic, but it still has a lot more intimate power than we give it credit for. Having said that, don’t rule out the notion that HD may have inspired this post.

A FEW OTHER THINGS THAT MAKE ME HAPPY

It’s not weird for me to look up and find that Slave to the Rhythm has been on repeat all afternoon. That, and a bunch of podcasts. Baseball on the radio might as well come next. Perhaps the hum of an electric fan may do the trick.

Brett Gelman has a new podcast up: Gelmania. That’s right, the guy behind the immortal iBrain teamed up with Tim Heidecker for this one. I hope it’s a recurring thing. It’s all good, but the 17:12 mark is where you want to be.

I wonder if that bit was the reason Marc Maron sounded bummed while talking to Neil Hamburger recently. Neil, who sings for one of the most important figures in Metal, usually leaves me in tears. I can see how awkward and out of place it is to have him come out in this intimate way that Maron’s cultivated.

BACK ON COMICS

Nick Abadzis wrote a piece about the Russian Cartoon Music concert played by the Brooklyn Philharmonic, an event we recently attended in Brighton Beach. Nick’s got some exceptional drawings accompanying the article. Good to see Blaise Larmee and J-Shasta leave comments.

Did I mention that Tony Salmons has a blog? Yeah, and he’s posting tons of original and unseen art over there. I have to pry myself away from the screen whenever he posts something.

In an unprecedented move, I discovered that I was basically wrong in my hateful assessment of the Legion of Superheroes: Five Years Later. I’ll write about the experience at length sometime soon but in a nutshell: I love the Giffbaum era of the title and have become obsessed with its place in comics. I recently came across Tom Bierbaum’s livejournal, where he describes what went on with each story he wrote issue by issue! I know… thank me later.

SWORDS

Oh, wait, look. I have drawn swords before. This Tellos piece was done a couple of years ago for a proposed Mike Wieringo tribute book, put together by Todd Dezago. I liked Mike’s art a whole lot but I never got around to reading Tellos when it was coming out. I was unfamiliar with the story, but the characters were fun to draw.

That should do it. Back to inking.

–Fiffe

Categories
Interviews I've Conducted

SECOND CITY: the Paul Duncan & Phil Elliott Interview

I had the pleasure of interviewing Paul Duncan and Phil Elliott, the creative team behind Second City, over at The Factual Opinion. They’re responsible for creating one of my recent favorite comics (back in ’86) for UK’s Harrier Comics. In the interview, they talk about their collaborative steps, thematic nuances, and the things that influenced this underrated, brilliant mini series.

Categories
All About Process Art & Illustration

Comic Book Jazz Hands: BETA RAY BILL

George O’Connor and I have used BETA RAY BILL as an excuse to collaborate once again! This time I pencilled, he inked, then I hand colored this here horse faced warrior (take a quick peek at our previous attempt, which reversed our tasks). We slapped a logo on top of it in order to fit the “What If” Blog format (formerly known as the DC Fifty TOO blog which features a lot of my favorite cartoonists, I’m not joking.)

Big thanks to Jonathan Morris for putting this together and for the invite. I dare not forget the amazing Sarah Crowe, who helped George and I out on the technical (and spiritual) side of things.

Beta Ray Bill was created and designed by Walter Simonson (Thor #337, Nov. 1983) and is property of Marvel Comics Group Entertainment Disney.

Check out the step by step…

Categories
"ZEGAS" Los Press

ZEGAS #1: More Links, Pics, and Reviews

More reviews coming in! L. Nichols over at the Comix Cube gave Zegas #1 a great aesthetic breakdown, as did Beth Scorzato over at the new criticism hub Spandexless. They both approached the comic from their own personal and refreshing standpoints but came to the same conclusion: they liked Zegas. As did comix champ Jeff Newelt, who highly ranked our first issue in Heeb’s Best of 5771. I’m in good company in that there list.

Speaking of good company, Seth Hurley has a nice stack of comics going on here.

Brian Warmoth decided to take it out in public, which is just as flattering.

Being in the middle of creating the next issue right now is pretty darn exciting, I have to admit.

Goal’s to release Zegas #2 early ’12 so I better get back to work, but not before sharing this.

Annalemma gave a nod to Cousin Corrine’s Reminder #3. Amongst the cartoonists featured in its Comix Block section is I, my contribution, shown above.

Okay, now back to work for real.

–Fiffe

Categories
Sometimes I Like Stuff

NYCC ’11 Report

NYCC was this weekend.

Yeah, it was busy, it was packed. I met some folks, caught up with others, good time overall.

This, however, is what I got out of it…

Categories
"ZEGAS" All About Process Los Press

Zegas #1: Process and Props

The response to Zegas #1 has been remarkably positive from all sorts of pockets of the comics world! A reminder: this self-published effort contains all-new material that cannot and will not be seen online in its entirety. I can hardly promise that it will be collected into trade form, either. This comic is specifically designed to be read page to page as a physical object, ideally on an issue-by-issue basis. Izzat cool witchu?

At the moment, it can be purchased from me through Etsy (many thanks to those of you who have done so) or support your local comic book shop by purchasing it through them, most notably Bergen Street Comics, Desert Island, Jim Hanley’s Universe, Big Planet Comics, Time Warp, Floating World, and Quimby’s. You can also find it in book stores such as BookCourt, P.S. Bookstore, and St. Mark’s Bookshop.

P R O P S

Zegas #1 was recently reviewed by Matthew J. Brady for his Warren Peace Sings the Blues blog. It’s always a pleasure to read his comics reviews and a thrill to carry a combative dialogue through message threads with him. Keep in mind that this is not the same Matt from Newsarama; this one likes cats.

Another review was by Matt Seneca for The Comics Journal. I’ve followed Matt’s comic, “Affected”, for a while and have enjoyed its formal boldness. Plus, it’s fun as fuck. Whether it be through Death to the Universe, Your Wednesday Sequence, or his Deathcast, Matt’s critical observations always cut straight to the bone and are worth your time.

Pop Dose just put up this review of Zegas #1 in Johnny Bacardi’s column, Confessions of a Comics Shop Junkie. Mr. Bacardi and I go way back, in that this interview of mine with Trevor Von Eeden wouldn’t have been possible without his help. It was through his Thriller website that I met Johnny, and I’ve been following his blog since. Do the same.

P R O C E S S

Since I’m a fan of the comics-making process, I thought I’d share a few brief examples of how I worked on certain aspects of Zegas #1. The way I make a comic page changes all the time, but below are the most typical steps I take.

This issue contained a larger cast than I’m used to handling. I’ve gotten used to drawing the main characters, Emily & Boston, but I wasn’t sure how these other folks were gonna look. Thankfully, it didn’t take a slew of study sheets to nail them down.

One panel, three samples: pencil, ink, and color. All by hand.

Another character sketch.

I knew I had to carefully stage this following splash page. Lots going on here, but the main concern was clearly portraying a sense of movement through a specific space. I liked the rough layout and tried to remain faithful to its foundation.

Writing comics has got to be one of the most difficult things I do throughout this entire process. Takes me forever, too. I write and re-write and edit the results while trying not to kill any initial spark they may have had. I’d hate to snuff out the spontaneity of any given scene, so I try not to overwork it.

As far as a “script” goes, I find that scribbling on any ol’ sheet of paper yields better results than typing. I can barely get a sense of how a comic will read any time I read a comic script, by anyone. This is how I’m most comfortable.

Here are a couple of layouts.

“Plum” is the only story that has portions of digital coloring. See those dot patterns down there? No, not the black dots, those are actual sticker sheets of Zip-A-Tone (running low, should scan). I mean the red and orange parts. Those are digital. It was fun to do, but I’d hate to color an entire comic like that. You start getting really hateful towards the end and you wish all color would disappear from the world. Maybe that’s just me.

That’s the word on the first issue. The second issue is coming along and looking great. I’m not even that distracted by the sudden rush of accomplishment and adoration. Actually, I can’t work fast enough to get more Zegas issues out there, and I have all of you to thank.

–Fiffe

Categories
Art & Illustration Sometimes I Like Stuff

I Still Believe (Daredevil #260)

I recently did this drawing for my favorite comic shop around: my very own Daredevil cover on one of the blank “sketch” covers. I noticed that the back portion was available, so I designed it vertically, knowing that what I wanted to draw wouldn’t necessarily work if the comic was one/half displayed.

You may ask, “Well, how come you didn’t have him striking a pose mid-jump through a couple of water towers or fighting a cluster of ninjas?”, and you may very well have a point. Although I’ve seen those classic scenarios done to death, I still like them just as much as you do. However, no version of Daredevil is as close to my heart as Ann Nocenti’s version.

Categories
Art & Illustration Music Is Involved

FLYER ART: A Collection

An old friend of mine, Erik Mallo, is currently looking to recruit musicians for his original recordings. I was more than happy to tread some familiar ground by making a flyer for his endeavor. I like his music a whole lot, so it was my pleasure to assist him in any way I could.

Click on the image below to read the fine print & feel free to pass it around to other musicians.

Since I haven’t done a flyer in many years, I thought it’d be interesting to pull out some of my older ones. Whether it was for the Knitting Factory or for a pal’s band, drawing flyers was a dominant preoccupation for me. With this new one complete and in looking back at those from long ago, I came to a few conclusions.

First, it’s easy to see that my approach was text-heavy. These things required tons of pertinent information and I also liked the idea of sneaking in mild jabs at the bands and in jokes along the borders. I imagined someone taking a flyer and needing to read something on the subway, so giving them their money’s worth was the way to go.

Secondly, I clearly had an aversion to color. I was resigned to being a strict black & white artist. I didn’t think color would save these pages from looking bland, muddled, or incomprehensible. I certainly didn’t think it hindered me as an artist. I was reacting to what I saw everywhere, the carnival colored rock & roll imagery. I would see pieces by “poster” “kings” like Kozik or KayWolf and scoff at how bland it all was. Every flyer and poster I saw was either generic and boring or derivative and lacking any thematic reason to exist. I thought I was tapping into some new shit by cramming every page with stuff, daring you to take a second from your precious time to hold still and read a word or two.

Looking back, however, I would’ve handled things a little differently. I wouldn’t necessarily sacrifice information for design (even with today’s ultra accessibility), but I would definitely play a lot more with color and patterns. I would scrap the in jokes and focus on making a strong image, especially if the band was already well-known and the poster was just another piece of merch for them to sell. It’s interesting, though, that with this new flyer I tried to make a solid design while incorporating ALL of the information that was given to me (which was of upmost importance). I added no cutesy details and tried to compress the lettering wherever I could. I’m happy with the way it turned out.

Now here’s the old stuff in chronological order, from 2001-2005…

Categories
"ZEGAS" Sometimes I Like Stuff

Bergen St. Signing & Baltimore Comicon

This past Friday night was the official release party for Zegas #1 at Bergen Street Comics and there’s no question as to how it went down. It was a blast.

Tom & Amy Adams, Tucker, Cav, and Matt all helped this night move along beautifully. I owe them a great deal for putting together such a wonderful night and for displaying a lot of my original art. The presentation is top notch, and I’m really flattered that they went all out for this. On my way to the store that night, boxes full of comics in tow, the sky decided to open up over Brooklyn. It poured miserably, but that didn’t stop folks from coming out! Saw some old friends, made some new ones, signed some books, talked some shop. It was fantastic. Photos can be seen here, and to each and every one who attended, I thank you for doing so and hope you like the comic.

We stayed a bit later than usual, but we were looking at making the drive to Baltimore for the convention mere hours after the signing was over.

Categories
"ZEGAS" Comics I Make

ZEGAS #1 is coming!

I’m proud to announce that Zegas #1 is making its debut this August! I’ll let the official release date be known as soon as I know myself. I’ve started taking the first few steps toward building a self-publishing empire, y’see, and the first thing out the gate is this limited edition, full color, 32 page, magazine size premiere issue of Zegas with print exclusive new material!

Some of you may be familiar with the Zegas characters, Emily and Boston, from their previous anthology appearances. This time, print is the preferred mode of presentation and, again, it’s all new material that will remain offline. This is the precise direction Zegas was always intended to go in, specifically in the single issue format. Meaning, each issue will feature self contained stories while expanding the overall structure. Other non-related stories will be subsequently added, which will essentially make Zegas a one-man anthology driven by the potential of the comics form and the absolute freedom to execute them. All that through the intimate and unique, yet casual delivery system of a physical, pulpy comic.

In light of all this, a celebration is in order!

To celebrate the occasion, Brooklyn’s own Bergen Street Comics will be hosting the official Zegas #1 release party on Friday, August 19th! They’re one of my favorite shops and I suspect most of you will be back from your Caribbean Cruise by then, so please join the festivities!

The very next day I’ll be at the Baltimore Comic-Con, sitting and signing copies for the remainder of the weekend while suppressing the urge to rifle through back issue bins. It’ll be a packed weekend, for sure, and I look forward to seeing you all!

There’s no other way to put it: I can’t wait for you to see this. I’ve been waiting to release Zegas in this exact format, with this exact approach for quite a long time. Every imaginable step of the way has been exciting and as a result, I’ve never been more proud.

–Fiffe