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

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Karl Kesel

SS.kesel

Geof Isherwood

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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…

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… the Who’s Who loose leaf entires…

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… and the cards. The trading cards.

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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

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

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.

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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.

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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

 

2013
10.28

Cover 11

Copra #11 exists, it’s in print, and it is here! This is the penultimate chapter in Copra’s first major arc and it introduces a bunch of new persons of interest who I’m sure you’ll learn to love.

(Urgh – then there’s the fact that this is all coming to a halt soon… not a complete stop, mind you, but this is it – home stretch, almost there, hang in there, baby.)

Hey.Sonia

NEWS: I’ll be at Comic Arts Brooklyn this November 9th. I’ll be peddling comics including this:

COMP 3.cover

That’s the third compendium (collecting Copra #s 7 – 9) and once again, the wonderful Bergen Street Comics crew have expressed their support by way of putting this collection out in the world (on sale 11/9).

* * * * * * *

Copra #11 is the last issue that will have art in the letters page only because there will be no space in #12. Here are the ones that made it in:

Rax by Pedro Camargo

x.RAX.Camargo

On top of making comics, Pedrozilla happens to like stuff and occasionally say things.

* * * * * * *

Count Compota by Jason Thibodeaux

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Jason makes music videos, works on movies, and works in the theatre of the mind.

* * * * * * *

Wir by “Calamity” Jon Morris

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Jon has an art/appreciation tumblr and was the force behind Relaunched! and OHOTMU Redux.

* * * * * * *

There were a couple of character pieces that I received after the issue had gone to press.

Vitas, King Egg, caught mid pose by Colin Rankine

Vitas

…and a shadowy Rax from creator Jamie Hibdon!

x.RAX 2

Receiving these renditions of Copra characters never fails to be the coolest thing. I’m glad I got to squeeze a few of them in.

* * * * * * *

Before you know it, big issue twelve will be here. In a month, in fact!

For the moment, enjoy Copra #11.

–Fiffe

SANGRE FRESCA

 

2013
09.26

C O P R A # 10

Cover 10

Copra #10! This issue… my inky, shivering hands are offering it to you. Copra #10 ushers in the last leg of this Copra situation, this multi dimensional scandal that connects various characters and their rivals. It clears the air while propelling the main story to its climax. I really wish I could offer up some pages for you to look at in case you were having second thoughts but, man, I just don’t wanna spoil it! Here are a few frame-ready images:

yay balls BOOMER

yay balls XENIA

yay balls YAY

Are you really going to deny yourself a good old fashioned meat n’ potatoes beat down? You’re totally right: who would? Don’t let Copra #10 down.

FiffeFord.cvr

ITEM: Sean Ford conducted an interview with me in mini comics form. Don’t miss it!

ITEM 2: I’ve put up a handful of illustrations for sale. Original comics related art… check it out:

- Skullface & Hellrazor (SOLD)

- Beta Ray Bill (SOLD)

- John Carter of Mars

- Typhoid Mary & Co. (SOLD)

ITEM 2.1: Running low on Copra 7 so if you’ve been holding back, here’s your chance to fix that.

ONE MORE ITEM: My voice was recorded in The Next Issue podcast. Listen at your own risk.

LAST ITEM, I SWEAR: Mark your calendars, Brooklyn. I will be tabling at CAB this November.

Come back next month and see a bunch of new characters that I’ve — I’ve — okay, okay, fine. Here’s at least one page from this issue:

008

But you have to promise to listen to this Brent Weinbach VGM mix when you read this story. It’s only fair; this mix is pretty much all I listened to making it. Lloyd and Boomer’s buddy cop issue requires a soundtrack, so there.

This month: COPRA TEN.

Next month: new characters and a climax. It may get a little messy.

–Fiffe

2013
08.28

C O P R A # 9

 01

Ready to be bought and curled up to: COPRA #9 is here!

So is Dy Dy; look at her up there in her cracked bubble with her tiny hat. So majestic, so sick, so irresistible. Well, she’s back in full effect in this issue, picking up where we left off. The tension builds as our Copra team is fighting their way back into Earth’s dimension.

09.GUTH

Last month I showed a couple of process pics but felt slightly guilty that they were next to nothing, basically prison wall scribblings on paper. And that’s not fair to you folks,; I love sharing the few modest details I’ve developed. I vowed to at least document a few extra steps in my art making process this time around, so here’s the first page of Copra #9, as tightly as I will ever pencil a page (with some boxed in lettering) within a 10 x 16 diameter, which I believe is standard  mainstream comic book size.

DY DY pencil

Lettering follows, naturally, as do the inks. One of my cleaner pages, especially with all of the open spaces…

DY DY ink

 …which I then fill up with color pencil or watercolors. Same thing with the pencil shading and additional details. Having art that is directly applied with color on the original boards takes longer because it leaves little room for mess ups. I have to nail it on the first go and although I do minor touch ups after I scan the originals, I do most of the heavy lifting during the initial hands-on phase.

Check out the final result below, followed by the subsequent pages, for a preview of Copra #9.

01

02

03

04

There you go: the next chapter in our off-world adventure. And for our bloodthirsty set, worry not. The calm, diplomatic discussion found within these pages doesn’t last very long.

*****

Just in! Here are a couple of thorough Copra reviews, where the entire series gets summed up as a whole.

1. The Killray suggests “You Need To Read…”

2. Adventures In Poor Taste! asks “Is It Good?”

*****

Bring the summer to a close with Copra #9, so buy it with confidence! (issue seven and eight are still available as well in case you missed out)

Check in next month to see who survived, who didn’t, and what Copra’s endgame mission is. Hint: it will involve a bullet or two.

–Fiffe

09.CLINK