2014
03.09

COPRA Subscription

COPRA SUB BULLET

Copra #13 is coming soon, making its official debut at NYC’s MoCCA this April 5th & 6th. In the meantime,  I’m offering a 6 issue subscription (issues #13 – #18) over at our Etsy store.
. . .
NOTE: There are only 100 subscription slots; first come first serve. Domestic orders only. - [The Beguiling and Halifax's Strange Adventures (Canada) as well as GOSH and Orbital Comics / Impossible Books (UK) carry Copra.]
2014
03.02

G.I Joe sample pages I staged, pencilled & inked back in 2011. Featured: Roadblock gunning some Cobra Troopers, Snake Eyes vs Storm Shadow, Baroness & Destro being voyeurs.

Fiffe's G.I. JOE page 1 ink

Fiffe's G.I. JOE page 1 pencils

This was pre-Zegas, pre-self publishing, trying to work the work-for-hire hustle one last time before submitting to the notion that cartooning was gonna have to be a hobby. I set my scope to IDW thus (I’d worked for them before & they seemed to hire from a wide spectrum of ability that accommodated relative newcomers). Since G.I. Joe was the only title they published I was [very loosely] familiar with, I drew a sequence I thought would show my “strengths”. I don’t remember whether IDW rejected or flat out ignored my knocking on their door, but thank god they did either way! Not being able to land a job I knew I could crush was becoming my personal industry standard, but I wasn’t gonna let that dopey job get me down (no offense). Hence, Copra Press.

Fiffe's G.I. JOE page 2 ink

Fiffe's G.I. JOE page 2 pencil

Anyway, I think I would’ve had a great time drawing Snake Eyes kick the crap out of anything, actually (and c’mon: Baroness). But as it stands, these pages represent the end of an era and the beginning of a new one.

2014
02.05

FIFFE.Newcleus

The mighty NEWCLEUS, my contribution to the Hip Hop Family Tree vol. 2 by Ed PIskor. So glad I got the chance to honor one of my favorite acts of that era.

Here’s the reason why.

Bob Camp & Bill Wray have lent their talent to this outfit, so I’m definitely in good company!

2014
01.12

76

Now that COPRA has reached its 12th issue, plans to collect the series are underway!  For now, here’s what is currently available…

You can get whatever issues I have left HERE, at my Etsy store.

Bergen Street Comics are running super low on the compendiums (which reprint the original issues in 3 part chunks). In fact, they may be sold out by the time this message reaches you! If you’re in Brooklyn, stop by their store.

But you may also want to inquire with the comics shops listed at the bottom of THIS POST.

If you’re new to this neck of the woods, stay tuned and we’ll have some more COPRA ready to go sooner than later. Follow me on twitter, Facebook, or tumblr and I’ll make sure to keep things informed and up to date. Thanks for your patience!

– Michel Fiffe (Fee-FAY)

2014
01.04

SS.ad

It’s as good a time as any to talk about my love for the Suicide Squad. It’s a specific kind of love.

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Let’s start with this bound collection of comics: every issue, every crossover, every letters page, every Who’s Who entry, every pertinent sheet of Squad related newsprint or baxter paper is included here (ending with the final issue #66, of course. Anything after that just gets in the way of the best ending this series could hope to have). I spent a while compiling these books, putting them in a very specific order. I cannot stress that enough; Very. Specific. Order.

Having these comics bound in such direct, no frills hardcovers made reading & storage so much more enjoyable & practical, but I also loved the idea of a curated collection of essentials. For this specific set of books, I got the idea to hit up a few of the related artists to put their own touch on the inside covers…

Luke McDonnell

SS.mcdonnell

Karl Kesel

SS.kesel

Geof Isherwood

SS.isherwood

These busy gentlemen were kind enough to honor my character requests & deal with book shipping (since none of these were convention commissions). Their efforts and patience remain appreciated.

Oh, god, it doesn’t stop there. I had to have the RPGs…

SS.rpg

… the Who’s Who loose leaf entires…

SS.who

… and the cards. The trading cards.

SS.cards.1

SS.cards.2

I’m perfectly fine with drawing the line when it comes to toys, statues, cartoon appearances, or cosplay. Toys would be cool, actually, but I’m into the art more than anything else when it comes to any sort of non-comics merch. Really, all I care about are the comics.

I really like the way these books turned out (thanks to Houchen Bindery Ltd). Took me years to plan and assemble and I loved every second of it. I can see how one can get swept in the excitement of binding everything, but I think it’s safe to say that there are not many titles I feel this passionately about.

SS.spread

2013
12.30

wir.VS.klaus.FINAL

First off, the Copra T-Shirt that quickly sold out earlier in the month is available again - get it now while you can.

DRAWING: That up there is WIR paying Klaus back for the events in Copra #4, page 12, eagle eyed readers.

INTERVIEW 1: Factual Opinion featured a discussion - Consider My Weapons - between me and Sean Witzke, one of my favorite writers/thinkers about comics/movies. It was probably the most revealing I will be in a  long while, and if there’s one thing for you to pick from, please look to that talk.

INTERVIEW 2: Since I love to run my mouth, I chewed Chris Sims’ ear off for an exit interview.

INTERVIEW 3: Motormouth over here. This time over at Newsarama.

BEST OF: Timothy Callahan ranked Copra as #1 in his When Worlds Collide column over at Comic Book Resources. The write up – the consideration itself- made my week. Comics Alliance named Copra as Best Comic About Squads On Suicide Missions of 2013. Also of note: Tim HamiltonKrent AbleClark Burscough, and Nick Abadzis for the Forbidden Planet blog, Taylor Lilley for Comics BulletinGuy Copes for God Hates Geeks, Billy Henehan for Tuesday Night Movies, Abhay KhoslaMatt Seneca,  Alec BerryComic Book Resources, Graphic Novel Universe, the 9th BlogLocust MoonChapel Hill Comics, Velocity ComicsDen of Geeks!, Nothing But Comics! and Kotaku.

FAVES: What other cluster of similarly minded individuals can agree on Copra being worthy entertainment for a 2013 Favorites List? Comics Reporter readers, of course. That very site listed Copra as 1 of the 100 positives of 2013.

AWARD: Copra was nominated by the Broken Frontier Awards for Best Ongoing Series.

REVIEW: Charles Meier wrote a great, detailed overview of the entire series. So did Mark Crabtree.

PODCAST: the Mindless Ones were quite gracious in their discussion of Copra. It’s a real pleasure to know the joy I take in making this comic comes across.

Lastly, check out these awesome pieces. One by Michael C. Kappeler

Vitas

… and another by Maciej Pałka, who based the image below on this and also managed to write this review.

Gracie

It’s been an insane, wonderful year and this next one if gearing to be twice as nuts. Cannot wait for it, either… I look forward to making more comics for you to enjoy.

–Fiffe

Wir vs Klaus

2013
12.20

Witch King

As part of his private, ongoing Nazgul Art collection, illustrator Matt Kish had me draw the Witch-king of Angmar (from Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings). Matt has an extensive blog showcasing all of his acquisitions, with a  variety of unique interpretations: Josh Simmons & Patrick Kyle among them.  All formidable & beautiful & I’m honored to be lined up next to such company.

Witch King

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Elementals-1.Final

Commission: Elementals. It was interesting drawing these characters - Fathom, Monolith, Vortex and Morningstar - because I had never read the comic. Always heard of it, 80s ground level superhero comics are in my wheelhouse, but I never dug in for no particular reason (same thing for similar staples such as Zot!, Grendel, Mage, New Wave and DNAgents). Who am I to pass on a chance to hunt for back issues, though? So I got the first few based on this article.

Elementals - created by Bill Willingham (who has always been the guy who drew those Justice League annuals to me).

ELEMENTALS.pencil

 

Elementals.sketch

*     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *

FIFFE.IMAGE.final

Commission: draw some core characters from the Image Comics universe in a Copra pose. This reminded me of being 12 in the early 90s and how cool it was to see these comics come out for the first time. Following these creators at Marvel was fun and all, but there was something about them doing their own thing that seemed raw and immediate and fresh. I was genuinely excited when these comics were coming out, so it was a treat to get to draw them here.

Character & Creator:

Spawn - Todd McFarlane

Void (WildC.A.T.s) - Jim Lee & Brandon Choi

Ripclaw (Cyberforce) - Marc Silvestri

Badrock & Shaft (Youngblood) - Rob Liefeld

Witchblade - Marc Silvestri, David WohlBrian Haberlin & Michael Turner

Shadowhawk - Jim Valentino

Savage Dragon - Erik Larsen

2013
11.28

C O P R A # 12

Cover.12

Copra #12, on sale now.

Five page preview over at Comics Alliance.

And a t-shirt. There’s a t-shirt now available.

Shirt Shirt

Copra.

Number.

Twelve.

There, I said it. It’s not as if I didn’t think I would, but hey… this is kinda weird! This may be just another walk in the park to those down-in-the-trenches lifers (shout out to my man Sal B.), but this is new to me. I’ve never done anything at this pace or with this schedule. On top of that, these kind of action stories were strangely outside my comfort zone. I took the risk, put my money where my mouth was, and a year later, 12 issues later…

Copra originals

You folks had a lot to do with this. Your support and enthusiasm really made this enterprise keep running. I’m not gonna sit here and say that I would’ve seen this thing through no matter how few fans Copra would’ve had (I’ve made plenty of comics with minimal reader numbers, like an open mic nite audience consisting of 2 roommates, a co-worker and a distant cousin). Oh, sure, I designed and conceived Copra to serve as a thing that would make me personally happy, a thing that would be fun and hilarious to work on. But the fact that you guys showed up and liked it, that made a world of difference. It made it easier to tell these stories. Like it or not, this is a two way street, baby.

IB

Big thanks to the subscribers and the retail stores, the letter writers and fan artists.  Many thanks for the critics and their reviews, the write ups, the mentions, the pros, the peers and the aspiring cartoonists. Every single reader, thank you.

Gracie

Colin Murchison, Chris Sinderson, Jason Thibodeaux, Erik Mallo, Tom Adams, Tucker Stone, Bryan Galatis, Kat Roberts: I would be an empty  chunk of skin flapping in the wind without your collective breath of unwavering support. Flapping, I tell you!

Boomer

Okay, so what now? I got a collection in the works and a few non-Copra related projects brewing. But as far as Copra issues go, I will definitely be continuing the series. I know I committed to 12 issues initially, but early on I kept coming up with ripe ideas to explore beyond the limit I set for myself. I aim to release subsequent issues in 6 issue bursts. It’ll still be on a tight schedule and I will still remain its sole creator, the one pushing the nib and slapping the shipping labels on the envelopes.

03.CROP.2

I can drop dead tomorrow but I can at least say that I did a monthly comic the way I saw fit with no interference, on paper, with a letters page, with fan art, with subscribers and in stores… it’s my dream project.

PONY BROS DAWN

I believe it is time to chill. Where, I ask, are my bro bros at?

Hey, it’s not over yet. You still have to get Copra #12 in your hands. I do hope you like it.

Xenia

Have a safe holiday and please do keep in touch. See you all real soon.

–Fiffe

2013
11.05

FOLDOUT

Copra Compendium 3 to debut at CAB this Saturday, November 9th.

It collects Copra 7 – 9 and weighs in at 80 pages.

2013
10.29

Today marks the last  episode of  the Legacy Music Hour podcast. Every week, comedians Brent Weinbach and Rob F. Switch played, dissected, and introduced scores of 8-bit and 16-bit music from 80s and 90s video games.

LMH changed my life. Let it change yours.

LMH

Poster designed by Vic Roman

I discovered the Legacy Music Hour pretty recently actually - last January for their 1990 episode - and instantly became obsessed. I mean, look… I really enjoy those old chunes and can listen to the few I’ve managed to amass over the years. There I was, sitting long hours at the drawing table and marathoning podcast after podcast. I had embarked on a massive project and was running out of content to listen to (I’m still considering baseball games or just AM radio static hums). But then there it was – a show that talked about a very specific interest of mine extensively and passionately. I was hooked. User for life. It made a world of difference.

If you weren’t an Atari/Ninetndo/Sega kid, there’s a chance you might not like this stuff. It’s not a strict generational thing, though; there are young musicians making original Bit music (and rock bands that cover the old ones, too), but there’s nothing quite like the high degree of quality from composers that were limited by technology and in service of a new, juvenile type of pop entertainment. We were bound to end up with a lot of content at the rate video games grew. Brent and Rob, week in week out, looked back to separate the wheat from the chaff.

legacydanceparty_nerdmelt-550x742

The highlights include the first Experimental episode and all the Sports (every single one). With episodes like New Age, Elevator Music, and Slow Jams, what else does one need? Let’s not ignore Movies, Horror and Fighting. Oh, and Toys! If it wasn’t for the Toys episode, I wouldn’t be aware of this masterpiece. Don’t like listening to voices? They got you covered.

+ + + + +

Nintendo.Team.Double.Dragon.2

 

From my personal collection: I’ve always loved this Quick Man theme – every single second of Mega Man 2, really – and its Latin Freestyle flavor is so obvious to me. I see the dots and I don’t think it’s my nostalgia that’s connecting them. There has to be some shared sensibility at work here. I even hear it in industrial music from the same era.  cevin Key must’ve traded notes with Keiji Yamagishi and Ryuichi Nitta.

How about this one, straight from Sonic the Hedgehog 2 with its kinda sorta Faith No More thing? In other words, it’s kinda sorta perfect: Oil Ocean Zone.

Oh, and Yellow Magic Orchestra or Ryuichi Sakamoto? They’re the godfathers of this bit world.

If you’re gonna bring Latin Freestyle to the table, you’ll eventually mention Depeche Mode (according to Miami DJs in ’87) and New Order. Then you have to mention Afrika Bambaataa, which loops right back to Latin Freestyle. You can say I’m just making convenient connections to fit my preferred tastes, and I can live with that! But I do think there’s something more to it than a personal checklist.

+ + + + +

Nintendo.Team.Double.Dragon

I liked video games so much I started my own comic book imprint called Nintendo Team where I would make comic book versions of my favorite video games: Double Dragon 1 (above) & 2, Renegade , the Punisher, and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (I began drawing a Ninja Gaiden issue, but I couldn’t beat the game and I wouldn’t dare just… just… make up the ending).
My point is that video games were a big part of my formative years. They held my interest and got my imagination going. The stories, the graphics, the music… especially the music.
+ + + + +

I don’t mean to digress. I guess I’m putting off the inevitable. It actually just happened. Today, hours ago. The Legacy Music Hour is over.

The weekly shot of fresh 8 & 16-bit won’t be coming around anymore, but the LMH archives can and should be combed through. They’ve made it easy for us: iTunesNerdist, or through their very own impeccably documented blog (in which they’ll occasionally update). Keep up with them on YouTube and Facebook, in case they decide to throw a west coast dance party (which they do every so often; I haven’t wanted to live in California this bad since I first saw Point Break).

Legacy-Music-Hour

Rob F. Switch a.k.a. Roberto Villalobos is a comedian, an actor, and barber. YouTube that man, then Like his page, then Tweet at him.

Brent Weinbach makes videos, makes albums, makes with the bang bang, and he even made it weird. Do that Twitter thing on him, too.

Gentlemen, as a creature of habit, a child of the 80s, and a person who has to sit for long periods of time, I will sorely miss this show. But who can be sad when faced with the many great episodes you guys spent your energies on? Every track was handled with loving detail, thorough research, and genuine humor. This is a well deserved break.

There’s always the replay button. Thanks for reminding us of that.

–Fiffe