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.
As part of his private, ongoing Nazgul Art collection, illustrator Matt Kish had me draw the Witch-king of Angmar (from Tolkien’sLord 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.
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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.
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.
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…
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
I believe it is time to chill. Where, I ask, are my bro bros at?
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.
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.
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 FaithNoMore thing? In other words, it’s kinda sorta perfect: Oil Ocean Zone.
If you’re gonna bring Latin Freestyle to the table, you’ll eventually mention Depeche Mode (according to Miami DJs in ’87) and NewOrder. 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.
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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.
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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: iTunes, Nerdist, 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).
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.
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.)
NEWS: I’ll be at Comic Arts Brooklyn this November 9th. I’ll be peddling comics including this:
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).
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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:
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:
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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
Lettering follows, naturally, as do the inks. One of my cleaner pages, especially with all of the open spaces…
…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.
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.
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!
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).
That was a two page spread. This is what the pages look like before they get colored:
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).
I’m diggin’ this fauX cover, Adrian. Believe me, I wish I could charge fifty cents an issue!
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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.
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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!
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.