Friday, July 29, 2005

Friday morning. Where is my oatmeal? 

There's been much discussion of Colleen Coover's controversial new comic Banana Sunday. I'm confident that the message I posted to Newsarama on page two of this thread should clear up any lingering difficulties.

In all the talk about new stores like RIOT opening up, I haven't seen any mention of the two fantastic new shops we have here in Portland: Bridge City Comics and Cosmic Monkey Comics. They're both sharp and savvy and energetic next-gen stores, and should definitely be included in any discussion of new retail trends.

Why was there nothing like this when I lived there? A small-press comics show in Michigan.

Speaking of the small press, Shawn Hoke's Size Matters is now a blog.

Gutterninja gives FLYTRAP the A-OK.

Chris Butcher talks about porn and oddly conflicting standards. He's absolutely right.

Over at Comic Book Galaxy Chris Allen has a new Breakdowns with a nice Flytrap review, but the thing that grabbed my eye was his push for Walt and Skeezix. I noted an observation about it in the comments thread over there, but I'll reproduce it here with the extra beneift of an "edit" button to get rid of some weird typos:

Well, that's that. I'll leave you today with a terrifying picture of Jerry Lewis.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

On Hahn. 

From David Hahn: three pages of his current project at Vertigo.

A Pete Woods interview with sketches, at The Pulse.

Jeff Parker talks to the press about his Fantastic Four stories.

Monday, July 25, 2005

Monday, playing catch up. 

Everything you need to know about the net in two sentences: "I discovered MuggleNet that first-ever afternoon and I went in the chatroom, and it was so funny. I was treated with outright contempt." - J.K. Rowling on her first visit to a Harry Potter chatroom.

Over on the TCJ board, someone asked a question about learning to ink with a brush. I wrote the following reply which I hope might helpful to someone, somewhere.

    The only way to learn to ink with a brush is, unfortunately, to work with a brush for months on end, getting a tiny bit better every day. It takes time and sweat and a lot of frustrating fuck-ups. And it's not enough to learn technique- you have to learn how to draw; how to imagine three dimensional forms, how to imagine light falling on them, how to arrange shapes on a page. There's a lot to it.

    That said, if you'd like a good excercise for practicing brush techniques, try this:

    Find a good reproduction of a page of black and white art whose technique you'd like to emulate. Blow it up to the size the artist worked at, (or your best guess of this.)

    Scan the enlargement at 3-400 dpi, use photoshop to turn the black lines into light blue, and print it out on good bristol on an oversized printer if you have one, or in two sections on a normal printer if you don't.

    Then, with the xerox as a guide, ink the blueline, trying to reproduce the original as accurately as possible.

I've been posting links to reviews of my own stuff lately. Let's take a look at how some of Matthew's recent work: Broken Frontier| Comixfan | Paperback reader | Hollywood Jesus | CHUD

Jesse Hamm's Eisner sketches, (via Tom.)

Not likely to break the internet in half: Don Heck's unpublished pencils for an unlicensed NASCAR comic.

And finally, a picture of Dave Johnson:

See you next time.

Saturday, July 23, 2005

It's late on Friday, so of course I'm blogging. 

First things first- there've been lots of questions about Jeff Parker. The answer is he's fine. He's taking care of some family business back east, working on a bunch of scripts for Marvel and reportedly conducting experiments to resolve the age old conflict of tractor versus fire safe. We were bewildered, too.

Nonetheless, we understand that many of you were disappointed that he wasn't there at the show. Jeff felt the same. This was his first show as a mainstream comics writer, and he was looking forward to meeting his new fans.

For those new fans who haven't met him yet, here's a picture:

Elsewhere in the big world of comics, via Johanna, I read a worthwhile article by Jessica Crispin offering advice for critics new to comics. I agree with all of her points, except this one:

    "6. Stop using the phrase “graphic novel” when it doesn’t fit. Not every comic book is fiction, and to see the war correspondence of Joe Sacco referred to as fiction instead of journalism is frustrating."

I used to agree with this, but I've come around to Eddie Campbell's view as expressed in his Graphic Novel Manifesto Namely that:
    "Graphic novel" is a disagreeable term, but we will use it anyway on the understanding that graphic does not mean anything to do with graphics and that novel does not mean anything to do with novels."

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Post con. 

We're back. Everyone seems to agree that the show went extremely well. I might write a bit about what I remember, but I don't think I'm going to do the sort of big con report Parker and I have done over the past few years. You've all seen pictures of the Elvis Stormtrooper at this point; one more wouldn't add much to the conversation.

Maybe the best part of the con was spending time with Jim Ottaviani. He enjoyed, I'm told, the best show of his career as a writer/publisher, and even though he brought more of every single title to the con than he ever had before, once again he went home without a single book in his bag. His Einser-nominated Suspended in Language was flying off the table. And as he sat at his booth in San Diego, they were talking about him in Detroit.

Some sad news: has died. I'd always liked his art. As an adult with over a decade in the business, I appreciate his rock-solid craftsmanship, and how he managed to integrate the influences of Neal Adams and Milton Caniff into his own work- as unlikely a synthesis as I've seen anywhere. As a kid though, I found the intensity of his stuff thrilling, even flat-out scary, in a way that the straight-out horror comics I read could never match. His work in the 70's in Brave and Bold and The Spectre was full of dark, disturbing imagery, and he had a gift for communicating movement and impact with gesture and composition that made the action and violence he depicted feel almost disturbingly real.

That probably doesn't sound like an endorsement, but it absolutely is. I was a youngster looking for vicarious thrills, and his illustration made everything in his stories feel more significant, more immediate. He raised the stakes in every story he drew, and that's a big part of what the job is all about.

Mark Evanier has a look back at the man's life and career.

FLYTRAP, the small-batch comic I premiered at the con, did extremely well there. Some reviews are starting to pop up on the web. Yet Another Comics Blog says some nice things about it, and Pop Culture Gadabout and Comics Should be Good were enthusiastic about it as well. (Before you click over to those last two, I should note that they're both pretty heavy on spoilers. If you've got the book on order, or plan to pick it up from me in Chicago, don't read them.)

Some people at the Brian Vaughn board seemed to like it too.

If you write about comics on your blog or for a website or print publication, and would like to see a copy of Flytrap, email me at steve (at) stevelieber (dot) com. And if you want to order a copy, go here.

Finally, here are a pair of good, blistering editorials from Dirk Deppey of the Comics Journal: One. | Two.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

I'm at the Clambake. 

It's almost midnight in San Diego. Preview night wrapped up nicely, and I've already got a bunch of sketches lined up. First up: The Iron Giant. Now that's a nifty commission. Matthew Clark was absolutely pelted with business. It looks to me like people are finally noticing what incredible work he's doing. Parker, alas, won't be at the show this year. He's heading East to deal with some family stuff. If there's any news, it'll be on his blog first.

Apropos of nothing comics-related whatsoever, there are less than TWO WEEKS until Bob Mould's BODY OF SONG comes out. I am just spectacularly geeked about this, and feel like Dennis the Menace in one of those Christmas comics specials; the wait is killing me. In the meantime, I keep listening to this audio interview in which Bob does solo electric versions of "Hoover Dam," "I Apologize," "See a Little Light," and the single from new album, "Paralyzed." The single can be heard on the Yep Roc site. Sounds great, and I'm glad that he's integrating some of the electronics of his much-reviled experiment Modulate with the energetic guitar that's had me hooked since I first heard Flip Your Wig.

Now that I've blogged about music, maybe we'll finally get Ron Randall to post something here.

Monday, July 11, 2005

New. So new. 

My pre-con news: A new short story comic from my publishing imprint Cold Water Press.

FLYTRAP Written by Sara Ryan, drawn by me. It's the first of a series of linked short stories. This one's called Juggling Act. It's in the same format as Me and Edith Head- sixteen pages in a cardstock cover- and it'll be as poorly distributed as that book was initially, which is to say that you can get it directly from me at my table at the San Diego Comicon or Wizard World Chicago, or you can go here to order it for two bucks, postpaid.

Pete Woods' spectacular debut on Catwoman is getting great reviews. Pete's got a round-up of them on The Astonishing Electric Telebiograph Machine .

And Parker's Vampire By Night is under discussion at the Bendis Board.

Any interview with Kyle Baker is worth reading.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

Thursday afternoon 

Local illustrator Terri Nelson's been working with us at the studio. You can browse through some of her work here.

News from David Hahn. He's writing a story for X-Men unlimited number 11. It features the original X-men. I didn't get the artist's name, but I'll post it when I get a chance to ask David. David's own art can, of course, be admired at Hahn Dynasty.

Nice article about Oni Press up at Bookslut.

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Reviewing Parker 

The critics weigh in on Jeff Parker's Marvel debut, Marvel Adventures Spider-Man #4.
Three big thumbs up: Spider-fan , Comics Nexus, and Silver Bullet.

More Parker Marvel material can be found this week in Amazing Fantasy #10, debuting the Vampire By Night feature. And when you're all Marvelled and Parkered out, pick up Teen Titans #25 for some of the sharpest art yet by Matthew Clark, who's getting and giving the royal treatment here. His favorite character to draw? Beast Boy.

In other news, there was a guy standing in front of the studio today, smoking. He didn't have a nose. What's up with that? Terri had seen him before, but we thought it was just bullshit. Now we have to believe her.

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