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

2013
07.14

C O P R A # 8


COPRA EIGHT cover

COPRA #8, it has arrived.

It is ready to be ordered and read and held close to your beating heart.

Remember last issue’s breather? We chucked that plan out the window with “Otros Mundos”, our latest multi dimensional adventure.

But wait… here’s something I don’t do enough of: process pics!

ROUGH.1

These are probably the tightest layouts I’ve done in a while… and only for a mere 2 pages, for the most basic staging purposes (the rest of the issue was planned out in a series of notes, not thumbnails). I make the majority of the decisions while I’m pencilling, then I quickly commit to those decisions when I ink (usually on the same day, which is why I don’t get a chance to scan that particular stage).

ROUGH.2

That was a two page spread. This is what the pages look like before they get colored:

A

B

C

As for this month’s guest art spot, it features the work of Adrian Johnson, illustrator, cartoonist and 1/3 of the great Sidebar comics podcast (I direct you to their immense Barchives).

ADRIAN

I’m diggin’ this fauX cover, Adrian. Believe me, I wish I could charge fifty cents an issue!

* * * * * *

Attn: Readers in the UK and abroad! Impossible Books is now open for business and they’re carrying all of your future favorite small press books.

* * * * * *

So there you have it, folks, your midsummer funnybook. Flexible enough to be rolled into your back pocket and sturdy enough to survive beach conditions. Whatever you do, you must get it first, so do precisely that!

See you in August.

–Fiffe

2013
07.10

COMP 2

The second Copra Compendium has arrived and you can buy it here! Bergen Street Comics Press has collected Copra issues four, five and six, coming in at 76 pages colorful, loving brutality.

See that group shot up there? I bet you can tell that’s new art for the cover… and it is (the compendium also includes the original covers, but I wanted to do something new).

WIR

Also available is the new printing of the first Compendium (collecting issues one, two and three). That one’s also a 76 pager and includes a new back cover, too.

So catch up on your Copra and check back in for further issues (#7 is already on sale). The eighth issue will be available very soon, it just needs to get printed and shipped right after I color it! Here’s a brief look at the home stretch.

Thanks to the established readers of the series – I hope you don’t get tired of me saying how much I appreciate your support – and thanks to those of you trying out Copra for the first time. We think you’ll love it, but let us know what the verdict is.

–Fiffe

2013
06.21

ZEGAS #2 Sells Out!

x.Emily Bullet

The second issue of Zegas has sold out! Even with its very limited print run, I never thought the moment would come (I always saw myself as an old man sitting on a throne made up of unsold copies of Zegas #1 and Deathzone!, actually). I’ll be honest: selling out is not ideal if you want your work to get out there and reach new readers, and since I can’t quite add Zegas to my self-publishing schedule and budget, these first two issues will remain out of print for the foreseeable future. A collection may be in order but again, not for a while.

Borrow a copy from a friend, check it out from a library, or look over some of the pages here. In fact, there’s a list at the bottom of that post of comic shops that carried issue 2, and they may still do. Might be worth asking.

Of course, Zegas #0 is still available, which is just a good a starting point as any.

Zegas #2 will always remind me of my brief flirtation with crowdfunding, and of all the support I received throughout its entire process. I’m really proud of the results, and I have many of you to thank for that.

 

 

2013
06.14

C O P R A # 7

01

So this is what happened: a bunch of boxes were waiting for me this morning, boxes full of Copra #7, and now I have no choice but to get them out to you. COPRA #7 is waiting for you!

I really appreciate your interest in this comic

You’ve made it this far… six issues of carnage, fisticuffs and shoot ‘em ups. Our first arc is behind us but the story is far from over. This time around we take a chance to find out a little more about our Copra guys and gals. The story’s called “Personal Files” and it’s… well, I hate to describe it as quiet because someone gets shot, someone gets burned, and someone is violently choked (as opposed to gently choked). You get the idea: the title says it all.

Here’s a new bullet:

Gracie Bullet

An aside: take a gander at these awesome versions of Vitas and Man-Head by Dieter Van Der Ougstraete! Too good, Dieter VDO is! His latest, Big Pink, has unfortunately sold out but please contact him directly and see if you can get any of his work, be it prints, comics, or t-shirts.

DIETER COPRA

So now that every member of Copra has been patched up and some have even swallowed their survivor’s guilt, the crew is ready to finish out their objectives in the next issue. Grant them this brief respite because it’s only going to get worse.

But why harp on the negative, huh? Kick off the summer with Copra #7 and I’ll see you back here in July.

–Fiffe

Your support means everything to me

2013
05.02

First of all, how excellent is Tim Hamilton for employing his drawing skills for a couple of my Copra characters, Gracie and Dy Dy?

Tbone Gracie

 

S E L L – O U T 

Copra #5 is officially sold out! That means all I have left in the warehouse known as my studio are a few copies of #2 and the latest #6.

Rest assured; not only will the print run will go up starting with issue #7, but a second compendium is in the works. The first Compendium, collecting the first 3 issues, is still available through Bergen Street Comics Press.

I’m trying to make these books as accessible as I could, so if you’ve come around looking for Copra and found that some issues are missing, it shouldn’t be too long before they’re here.

C O M I C S      A  L  L I A N C E

In related news, I wanted to mention my recent interview with Chris Sims over at Comics Alliance. It was a great chance for me to ramble on about why I liked Russian prison fights when I was 9, but especially about Copra related stuff.

CA recently closed its doors, and I would be remiss if I didn’t acknowledge how extremely supportive of my comics that site has been for a number of years. From running my art to featuring reviews and articles about Zegas, Deathzone!, and Copra, the Comics Alliance crew definitely introduced a slew of new readers to my comics. For that I will always be grateful. I wish them all the best.

I S S U E    S E V E N 

I’m about to start drawing it. That’s all I know, all that’s locked in my sights.

See you then.

–Fiffe

2013
05.01

I’ve been drawing fight scenes more than usual recently - what action comic is complete without a few of them? – which got me thinking about some of my favorite comic book brawls. There are hundreds of superhero fights that I can recall quicker than people’s birthdays or important passwords and forgive me if I’m wrong, but I bet your memory’s probably  identical to mine. From the banal and obligatory to the inspired and well crafted, we’ve all seen a wide range of slugfests.

SD

Is it the choreography in service of mayhem? Is it an appreciation for impossible anatomy? Is it that smattering of blood on the corner of a mouth?  Is it not worth examining at all? Too late!

Kieron Dwyer 1

Captain America #345 by Mark Gruendwald, Kieron Dwyer and Al Milgrom. I have a soft spot for the Gruenwald-era Captain America. The Ron Lim drawn issues are great, especially Streets of Poison where Cap absorbs a warehouse worth of cocaine & gives Daredevil a beatdown, but the Dwyer issues are in a class by themselves (he had been drawing comics for about a year by the time this issue came out).

Kieron Dwyer 2

This Code-approved scene is half shoot out, half hands-on massacre. It was a 75 cent instant classic.

.

Legion of Super-Heroes #4 by Keith Giffen, Tom & Mary Bierbaum and Al Gordon. This is about as abstract as a cosmic battle is ever going to be in a DC comic, but what makes it awesome is that it’s a fight between Mon-El (red, caped) and the Time Trapper (see: all that sand), meaning he’s fighting basically the concept of time itself (as well as the Superman editorial offices of ’90).

Keith Giffen

I used to dislike the impenetrability of these Legion comics. These days, I love it, especially if they were drawn by Giffen.

.

Justice League Europe #11 by William Messner -Loebs and Bart Sears (plotted by Giffen same month as the Legion issue up there… wow!). This fight’s pretty brief, which should appease all those whiners who begin their sentences with “In real life, a fight wouldn’t last as long as–”.

In real life!

Bart Sears

Anyway, you wanna talk about brief? How about “One punch!” (If you got that reference, congratulations/shame on you).

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Orion #5 by Walter Simonson. This is an All-Fight issue between father and son, Orion and Darkseid. It’s an incredibly paced fight, this one. I’ll say it here: Orion contains many instances of innovative action-storytelling. It’s some of Simonson’s best work, and his love for the material only strengthens it. Toward the end of the run it gets a little wonky (when he has to draw regular people eating hot dogs or walking), but the majority of this run is page for page forward-looking superhero comics.

Simonson

No banter, plenty of speed lines. Is speed line porn a thing?

.

Amazing Spider-Man #4 by Stan Lee and God Himself. Not only is this one of the best fights ever, it’s the quintessential Spider-Man story. It has all the staples: teen angst, young romance, awesome villain, humiliation during battle, worried aunt, hateful boss, public ridicule, wisecracks, isolation. You really don’t need to go further than this one issue; it goes off the rails after this.

Ditko page

Okay. Steve Ditko. There, I said it.

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The Uncanny X-men #173 by Chris Claremont, Paul Smith and Bob Wiacek. Ah, the Smith run on the X-men, a highlight for many X-fans. His trajectory is interesting because, not unlike Dwyer, it was during Smith’s first year when he landed the gig that defined his career. He rocketed into fandom heights almost immediately, rode the X-wave for a year, then came close to burning out. This issue may be the apex of that initial run, but definitely the one that personally influenced me.

Paul Smith 1

I recently paid homage to this widescreen battle in a recent issue of Copra (the one where they also go to Tokyo), and although Smith was carrying over the style set forth by Frank Miller (in the Wolverine mini-series tied to this issue), it was this story that made an impression on me.

Paul Smith 2

Speaking of things I’ve recently tried to pull off, how about battle royal match-type of fights? I can’t think of any standout examples with a huge cast of characters (well, this milestone goes without saying). You know what? I don’t even wanna know. Somebody’s bound to say Secret Wars and I’m not ready to deal with their warped sense of history or taste.
BS

 

Isn’t it weird when an artist actaully knows some martial arts and then draws a step-by-step of what he knows but passes it off as a narrative? The O’Neil/Cowan Question had a lot of that. So did Mike Baron comics.  I get trying to be faithful to the art form of self defense, but sometimes I just want a clumsy pair of fists to operatically connect with someone’s cheekbone.

.

“Honorable Mention” and “Runner Up” sounds wrong, so I’ll sidestep my personal Top Fight list to admit that, undeniably, the master of the superhero fight scene is Jack Kirby (oh, yes he is). Frank Miller is up there, especially when he’s the one drawing it (don’t deny it, you). Erik Larsen has cornered the market on big hands that punch things (tell me I’m wrong). Frank Quietly’s Authority had epically drawn moments of violence (okay, don’t tell me). Recently, James Harren has produced some of the best tighten-up-release carnage I’ve seen since Berserk (stop it).

And hey, you know I’m talking exclusively about American mainstream comics, right? I know all about some of the very best outside of that: Chester Gould’s Dick Tracy. Johnny Ryan’s Prison Pit. The comics of Wong Yuk-long. These are all works of beauty, just like the list I laid out. Every knuckle, every grimace, every drop of blood, all modest examples as to why comic book fighting is so present, so central to the landscape. It represents what comics are so impossibly good at being, all in one shot: awkward and graceful and ridiculous.

KD

–Fiffe

2013
04.27

Copra 6 Cover

Copra #6 is now available! This is the second part of our Tokyo adventure, the brutal climax to the crew’s main mission: stop Vitas. Call it a boiling point, call it endgame, call it a reason for me to draw a lot of broken glass, but this concludes the first Copra story arc with a bang.

C6.BURL

C6.RAX

C6.WIR

C6.XENIA

Things don’t stop there. I have plenty of stories lined up, characters to introduce and established ones to explore: more comics in 24 page color bursts every month or so. For now, I’m very happy with the way this first arc turned out and I can only hope you feel the same.

Quick reminder: be sure to get the Copra Compendium (released by Bergen Street Comics Press); it collects the first 3, out of print issues.

Now back to the boards. See you in May.

–Fiffe

MAN HEAD

2013
04.03

ZEGAS #0

 

Zegas #0 is now available! This is the latest edition of short stories featuring the Zegas siblings, Emily & Boston, and by latest I mean that although the Zero Issue contains previously released work via webcomics: “Birthday”, “Cactus” and a couple more extra bits — most of it is presented in print for the very first time.

This early material initially lived online as a temporary solution while I figured out how to get it on to sheets of paper, and how to maybe involve a staple or two. I’m traditional that way, plus I had to feed my love for a page turn. It’s how I designed the stories to be seen, actually, and since they’re no longer available digitally, they can exclusively be read here.

Zegas.Zero.E

Just like the first two issues, Zegas #0 is a full color magazine-size comic book, 24 pages, signed by yours truly and numbered, limited to 400 copies.

Zegas #0 will be making its official debut at this year’s MoCCA festival in NYC on April 6th & 7th (we’ll be at Table F178but you can place an order now to make sure you get your copy!

For me, it was pretty cool to check in on these characters, albeit more of a revisit. Their stories still rang true, and it got me excited for newer ones. If you’ve read these stories long ago on your monitor, I hope you’ll feel the same. If these are completely new to you, I hope you like ‘em, too!

–Fiffe

2013
03.26

Copra.Compendium.Cover

Copra Press is proud to announce that we have teamed up with Bergen Street Comics Press to present the Copra Compendium! I couldn’t be more excited about combining forces with Brooklyn’s own Bergen Street Comics in this new publishing venture.

The Copra Compendium [BSC001] collects the first three issues of the new nearly sold out action series, 72 full color pages with a couple of new bits of extra art. It’s the perfect jumping on point and a good chunk of comics in one solid package. It will be making its official debut at this year’s MoCCA on April 6th & 7th, so make sure to visit Bergen Street Comics at Table F179 and Copra Press (Kat & myself) at Table F178.

Update: The Copra Compendium is now available for purchase directly from Bergen Street Comics Press!

–Fiffe