Friday, March 31, 2006

Just Got My Copy! You?

Hellblazer:Papa Midnight has just arrived. For those of you who didn't get enough of him in the film, lay your jones on this.
Huhn?...Anyway. In this collection of the mini-series we show you how PapaMidnight pimped hizzelf out wid da dark mojo. Dan Green is on the inks and Mat Johnson wrote the mutha. Hmmm, I wonder what it would have been like if Sam L. Jackson had played him in the film...


Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Chicken Fried Stupid, Part 2

Jill, DO NOT go to this link; you know why...

Truth Be Told...

So Writer Fred Schiller, no sooner did I post the previous post ("It's ON, babies"), reminded me that I did have a series prior to "Jack of Fables". This series was called "RUST". Fred Schiller wrote the shit out of this bad mutha. It was one of the most original and fascinating stories for the time. None too few still praise it's originality. The title to this blog entry is a link to a great review and remembrance to the series. Shelly Bond of Vertigo was a great fan of "RUST". Fred, Paul Mounts and myself rode the bolts off this comic (well, when I was actually turning in pages; that was my former comic life, though).
Some guy named Caputo, God Bless him, had some mild, tenuous association with the book. But let's put bad memories aside. I had some free reign and got to do several of the covers. But the best cover was where Fred's (Editor in Chief at NOW Comics) letter to Paul (Art Director at NOW Comics) about the concept for that month's issue is discussed, then actually used as the cover...because I never turned in art. LOL! The result was, yet again, classic.
Fortunately, I've mended my ways since then. But the work that we did together on "RUST" will always hold the high, sacred ground in my career. Just to put a fine point on it though, Fred...I was not the ORIGINAL ARTIST on the series. I didn't come aboard until issue three. Touche'.
The scandalous Pornhouse Cover. Scott Baker, the series hero, descends into the world of smut to rescue a little girl from exploitation. I don't think I'll ever do a more "unique" cover than this sucka.
Freds' letter to Paul became the actual cover to this issue since I failed to actually provide cover art. Brilliant.
Scott goes Hollywood. One of the many odd ways he had to make a living while on the run. Here, he is mistaken for a talented makeup artist on a cheap monster film set. Noone realises that they are actually seeing Scotts' disfigured face and not a mask. My cover, thank you.

It's ON, babies!!!

If you were paying attention to the State of the Union address or have watched Oprah, Larry King, Entertainment Tonight, 360 with Anderson Cooper or The Daily Show with Jon Stewart you surely know that the new series I've been working on for the last 8 months "Jack of Fables" is due out this Summer. Co-written by series creator Bill Willingham and Matthew Sturges, this is a spin-off from Vertigo/DC's monthly title "Fables". I hope you folks like what's in store. I'm pencilling and the talented Andrew Pepoy is inking his heart out. Danny Vazzo is masterfully handling the color and Todd Klein's lettering will make Hugh Hefner regret nearly ALL of his life choices. I love this book. PHUCK-KING-LOVE-THIS-BOOK. Not because it's my first series ever; but because there's such great shit to draw in this bad mutha. Shelly Bond, who does indeed rock, is editor. She is also editor for the original series which is hitting it's 60th issue shortly and has had several Eisners awarded to it. I'll get clearance on art that I can show so I can post it. But in the's the cover to issue one. Which is another thing that rocks about this title; James Jean is the cover artist!
Go to and check the chat and maybe contribute some of you own.

Monday, March 27, 2006

Gettin' My Game On!

I've just finished playing through "Call Of Duty". What an excellent game! These are screenshots from the Pegasus Bridge. Basically, you're part of a group of British Commandos holding this key point on the morning of June 6th 1944. I've seen photographs of this same structure taken around D-Day; I've read Stephen Ambrose's account of the action to take this strategic bridge (the very first Allied KIA of the invasion occurred here), and this is very convincing modeling by the folks who made this game.

In this screenshot, I'm approaching the Pegasus Bridge to begin the repulse of a German counterattack to retake the bridge from the opposite bank. I'm carrying a Bren Machine Gun, which is an odd weapon; it's like trying to fight with a weedwhacker. The stairs on the left lead to a catwalk and gantry that will face west and give me a great field of fire as the Germans approach the the bridge from the fields and houses along the opposite bank.
Here I am on the gantry, prone and about to put enfilading fire down and across the river and into the flank of the soldiers that are attacking from just beyond that small building (trust me, they're there...that's why it's called camouflage). I hold my fire until I see muzzle flashes, which are easier to see at this distance. I've spent the time waiting for good targets by marveling at the modeling and ambient features of this game. Everything seems quite realistic, this is certainly as close as I'll ever get to experiencing that morning 60 years ago. I hear the sounds of friendlies open fire and voices of the other Commandos I'm helping; excellent aural engineering, a true sense of distance.
Well, so much for a quiet morning. I've opened up with the Bren Gun and I could hear the angry little voices of the Germans who were catching it. What's cool is that I could have sat there and just watched the show. But it wasn't til I gave away my position that I started receiving suppressing fire. You can see the rounds coming in brightly. I'm on a steel catwalk against a steel bulkhead-like feature of the bridge; when the rounds started coming in it sounded like it was raining spoons!
Ah, how relaxinating.

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Raf Nieves' "Apocalypse Plan" Interview

Uberwriter Rafael "Knives" Nieves drops the word on his project at Narwain.

When It Absolutely, Positively Has To Be Killed In Deep Space...

Our good friends at Chewy Software bring the latest in SKMA Technology. This 19 jewel, .05 focal pulse pistol is just the ticket for that dicey, ambush studded EVA to repair a solar panel. Don't be sold anything short of the best, friends.
Tri-axis baffling cancels out all inertia to .00689 of bore velocity. Insulating beading protects from static charge and thermal spiking. Remember SKMA (Soft Kill, My Ass) Tech is the official method of protection chosen by spacemen everywhere.

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Here, this. I will make you COOL (black) just like me.

I've Googled the solicitation of the trade paperback collection of Vertigos' "Hellblazer:Papa Midnight". It should be on the shelves shortly. You should go buy it. You should buy it because, unknown to me, the series (which was written by Mat Johnson,"Bounce","Hunting In Harlem") was "critically acclaimed". Which is code for underexposed, undersold but worth a read. I'd buy it. Buy it and I'll keep drawing's that? I'd like a nice royalty check. Pay some taxes, pay some bills. Maybe buy a faster computer so I can draw using my wacom. You know, buy a couple of copies and spread the love, give the book to a friend. Say, "This is amazing. I wept." or something. Read it on the bus, or in the park. There's black folk (Negroes) in the book. Hell, it's FULL of Negroes. All kinds; Nubians, Ashanti, Ghanan...even a triflin' negro or two. I drew my black ass OFF making this bitch. Just BUY the damn thing,yo? Dag....

Friday, March 24, 2006

Last of the Swag for Red Dragon

Well, there's more but I don't have the resolve to post it. You can sort of see the story and where I fucked up placing the page order. What does it matter...these pages are in limbo and Andrew Rev is still a free "man".
Any inked pages are from issue number one of the series; the sole issue to get published. Sigh.
hilarity ensues

This is what happens when you work for a Cocksucker...

Friends, what follows is a poor reconstruction, a post-mortem in fact, of an endeavor that became misadventure. The pages below were rendered during the pinnacle of my earlier career in comics which then became an unexpected and abrupt twilight. Working for a string of small, yet robust, publishers I made the acquaintance of a young and promising writer of the Romance Fiction genre looking for his first chance to write for the Action Hero genre. He had an idea of combining the popular costumed hero comic of the North Americans with the perverse, monster, crime and fiend genre many have come to know as Japanese Comics, or Manga. We talked about some of our needs for the story and hero; location and motivation for the series. Then we discussed the title. We agreed on the title. Then we needed to classify the genre, as this was surely a thing never seen before. This young, idealistic and talented pensmith who sat before me then uttered a word that forever changed the world of illustrated hero fiction; we would call the genre "SMASHMOUTH". I fainted, then came to, on fire with the possibilities of the project.
The next hurtle would be getting approval and funding for the idea; the resources and talent that this book would require would could be daunting and might scare the publisher into canning the project before it got to paper. Again, inspiration and pure drive brought us to the perfect solution in dealing with the unpredictable president of the comic juggernaut that was Comico, Andrew Rev,..."Fuck him."
Oh, and that young writer? The man who penned four sinew-ripping, nostril-stabbing, heart-squishing issues of the legendary series known as "RED DRAGON"? None other than Mr. Brian Azzerello, hizzelf! We kicked major ass, if I may say so myself. It was fun and wrong and we totally did it covertly. Andrew Rev was not on board with the project until we showed a preview to a visiting group of reviewers visiting the Comico offices. They took one look at Red Dragon and knew that this was what they wanted to see more of. I got to ink the first issue and Simon Bisley did the cover art. I don't want to get into the demise of the series, four pages shy of completing the fourth issue. Let me, instead share some scans of Xeroxes made on Comicos' shabby-ass copier; this is all that's left, thank you Andrew. A wise, wise man, he.
There a smattering of other pages that I can't seem to make sense of as far as the continuity; I'll post those in a subsequent blog. This book and working with Azz were a complete and utter BLAST!
All I can say about the abbreviated run of Red Dragon is this; "Y'all motherfuckas was robbed!"

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Cauldron Try-out

Cauldron was a yet-to-be -published series in the early stages of spin-up when I was invited to take a stab at becoming the series penciller. It had all the "stuff" that I love; mecha,techa,chica-gothica, and horra. A coven of hottie witches that had some bumpin' sci-"fly" equipment and the ability to use it sounded cool to me. Well...I didn't get the job. The series was renamed and published as"The Witching".
Here's what I did. Please, please keep in mind that this is the first attempt at drawing from actual scripted story (by Jonathan Vankin, who would be my editor on the "Hellblazer:Papa Midnight" series) in like 9 years; so was a little rusty at the format.



While working I'll use folded sheets of 8.5x11 or comicbook backing board or scrap bristol as a layer of protection betweem my drawing hand and the page just to prevent smudging. I call these papers "dragsheets" for some reason. Anyway, from time to time fun stuff winds up on the scrap( and I don't mean my idea for an evil Simian-Cetaceous(?) Alliance against mankind; yes, armed monkeys riding dolphins).
Well, you couldn't have been any more surprised than I when Batman appeared somehow...He kept making visits over the course of two weeks. Here're just a couple of the scribbles; plus a none related one just cause the girl is boomin'.
Hope you like these,Fred.


Praise the Web. A simple seach turned up some source on the game Dogfight. Not too different from how I recall it! The Albatross(the German aircraft with the broken wing) is being done in by what looks like a Navy Sopwith. You can see the little German pilots head; trust me he looks aghast at his plight. There was a booklet (in the foreground) that came with the game. It was a little brochure on air warfare of WW1. This is what had such great impact on me. I remember the pages had a good amount of text on them, just enough to let an 11 year old believe that he wasn't reading too much. But it was the repros of paintings that really were the greatest. The good people at American Heritage had their branding on both the booklet and the game, which was made by Milton Bradley, so this allowed my little mind to construe that this meant possible approval from the parents because it gave the game the appearance of being edumacational (that's right, I said "edumacational"). The AH endorsement led me to look for other such books in my schools' library, which led my to..'lo and behold; American Heritage "Air Warfare of World War Two"; possibly my first actually read of history (maybe, after Bruce Cattons' "This Hallowed Ground"). Anyway, yeah...I was a little war monger. This started me on the long road of studying the nature of airframes and the nature of aerial combat; I filled pages and pages of school notebooks (formerly reserved for "Civil War guys" with shredded fuselages and secondary explosions ejecting wreckage and flame up from impact craters. I started watching movies like "Bombadier" and "Flying Tigers"; paid closer attention to gun camera footage in "The World At War" when it aired on Sundays...My bedroom ceiling filled with models of airplanes (but my walls stayed dedicated to Bruce Lee).
In fact, to this day, I still have boxes of unassembled models on a shelf where I work; I purchased them not too long ago after having a dream about being locked in a hobby shop after hours amid an aisle upon aisle of model planes. There are no Bruce Lee posters hanging in my studio.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Torque, you dorque!

I can't remember when I first became "fixed" on airframes and aircraft or aerodynamics in general. My first recollections are playing a game, a boardgame, by Milton Bradley called "Dogfight". This was back in the Age of Proto-Funk circa 1971-72. It was summer and I was at the board scattering pieces as my sister hated the game and I had no proper friends to partake in such things with me...Anyway, it was the cover art, the box art that I remember most about the game; a German pilot with a look of alarm as the struts to the wings of his crimson Albatross snap; the wing, with it's Maltese cross, crumpling; the victor, I'll assume British, in a Sopwith or an Se-5( I can't recall) streaking off to continue the hunt or die in a subsequent encounter with less a favorable outcome or to simple go home. This may have been the start of the "thing with airplanes".

Planes, reflexively, are the first thing I'll draw 80% of the time if I'm just "meandering" across the page. Sometimes, maybe the view from a plane or the detail of a flight surface or cockpit glazing. Rarely, RARELY are these aircraft jets. I love propellers; real engines. The Golden Age of Aviation.

The image above is from an old sketchbook circa 1996-7. This is a non-conventional configuration that was one of my "pet" silhouettes for a while; many variations on canopy gear and such, but the flight surfaces remained the same. In "Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow", the Brits under the lead of a one-eyed (yet still, oddly, hot) Angelina Jolie flew aircraft called Martins that had this same configuration. Not bad.

My futurist eye always keeps martial culture and the sense of "frontier" very handy and evident. The things that the military utilizes whether equipage or people get cycled into general society; or society itself gravitates to a martialist standing on it's own. Above,"VegaEights" is sort of a "my girl has been away for 6 months serving with the Flotilla". It's the sort of thing that really really made me appreciate the early "Love and Rockets" stories by Jaime Hernandez; there were chics and ships!

This is design in earnest here; would/could someone actually handle this plane safely? This is property for a story, but along with thinking of a narrative, having the best toys for your story is half the fun, no? Check out the markings on the tail surface; part of the original squadron flash is altered to signify a hasty realignment of this squadron apart from it's original loyalties and service.

OMG...I'm a geek!