Friday, September 28, 2007

Sweet and Perverse 

Last Gasp has just announced the final artist list for the imminent anthology Best Erotic Comics 2008, the first of a projected annual series compiled and edited by Greta Christina. This volume includes a short story from the first volume of Colleen Coover's Small Favors, and a contribution by friend of the studio Erika Moen. For ADULTS ONLY, duh.
"A literary and artistic exploration of human sexuality -- and a fun dirty book, featuring today's smartest, raunchiest, funniest, filthiest, most beautiful, and most arousing adult comics! Best Erotic Comics 2008 smashes the divide between literary/art comics and adult comics by including both the hottest work from the literary/art comics world -- and the highest-quality work from the adult comics world. Artists include Daniel Clowes, Phoebe Gloeckner, Gilbert Hernandez, Michael Manning, Toshio Saeki, Colleen Coover, Ellen Forney, and many others. The wide variety includes work that's kinky and vanilla, sweet and perverse, and straight, lesbian, and gay. Features recent comics, a handful of vintage Hall of Fame gems -- and some works never published before!"

Stumptown Comics Fest 

Stumptown Comics Fest is this weekend! I just looked at their website and checked out where we will be. Here is a handy color-coded map, posted for your convenience. Come on by and say hello!

Additionally, I was playing with the Cintiq the other day. This resulted:

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Cover roughs for Rick Remender and Kieron Dwyer's Crawlspace 

And Kieron's color work-up on the final inked version. Eventual colors by Tony Moore.

More at the Crawl Space blog.

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Dylan Meconis in the Willamette Week 

Several cartoonists are profiled in this week's Willamette Week, as part of their Stumptown Comics Fest coverage. Among them is Periscope's own Dylan Meconis:

Meconis, who started her first Web comic (Bite Me! , a vampire epic set during the French Revolution) at 17, now splits her time between Periscope Studios and the Portland design firm XPLANE. An organizer of the Stumptown Comics Fest, she says the local comics scene takes its cue from Portland’s “homegrown” culture as a whole. “There’s an emphasis on independent comics and graphic arts coming out of the Pacific Northwest and West Coast, but ultimately everybody is welcome as long as they contribute to the cartooning community,” she says.


Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Cat Ellis says : "Crispy Banana!" 

1-1/2 cups HONEY BUNCHES OF OATS Cereal, crushed
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
2 Tbsp. honey
4 small ripe bananas, cut crosswise in half
1/4 cup whipped cream.

PREHEAT oven to 375ºF. Line 15x10x1-inch baking pan with foil; set aside. Mix crushed cereal and the cinnamon on large plate. Pour honey onto second plate.
ROLL each banana piece in honey, then in cereal mixture until evenly coated. Place in prepared baking pan.
BAKE 15 min. or until bananas are soft. Place two banana halves in each serving dish. Top evenly with the whipped cream.

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Monday, September 24, 2007

Planet Saturday interview 

Over at Talkaboutcomics, Shaenon Garrity talks to Planet Saturday's Monty Kane. Kane's a real talent to watch.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Zinesters talking: Erika Moen and Sarah Oleksyk 

Live in Portland? Like making comics? Go here:

Tuesday, September 25, 6:30–7:45 p.m.
North Portland Library 512 N. Killingsworth St.
Cost: Free (space is limited, so first-come, first-served)
Explore the world of mini-comic zines with artist-authors Erika Moen and Sarah Oleksyk.

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Friday, September 21, 2007

Friday afternoon fun. 

So Parker found this webcam watching the construction near our studio. And our assistant James needed to run an errand, so we sent him with a sign to see if we could spot him. The sign was too small to read, but James was able to make himself clearly visible.

Advice From Bud Fisher 

I'm mirroring this from my own blog, since I expect folks here will find it interestng.

Bud Fisher, creator of Mutt & Jeff, is the current entry on our roster of cartooning bigwigs of the '20s who replied to Clare Briggs' questionnaire. Fisher's answers are brief, so I'll transcribe 'em below (in tandem with Briggs' questions, in blue), and follow them up with a page about Fisher's colorful life, from R.C. Harvey's entertaining and informative book, The Art of the Funnies.

1. What do you consider the greatest contributing factor to your success?

"I will have to say 'Ambition.'"

2. How much importance do you attach to an art education where the student intends to adopt cartooning as a profession?

"I will answer, 'Very little' except, 'Self-education.' I have never seen an artist educated in model-drawing much of a success in cartooning. As a professional, I am inclined to think that most people desiring to be cartoonists attach more importance to the drawing than they do to the humor."

3. What is your opinion of the average correspondence school?

"My answer is 'Nil.'"

4. How did you get your start?

"By camping on the doorsteps of all the art departments in San Francisco."

5. What general rule or advice would you give to the average beginner?

"To practice constantly and remember that humor goes further than a pretty drawing as far as cartoonists are concerned."

Now for some background about Fisher, from The Art of the Funnies:

Harvey goes on to describe Fisher buying a stable of racehorses, nightclubbing with beautiful showgirls, driving around in a Rolls Royce, marrying a countess he met on a voyage home from France (and divorcing her 4 months later), relocating whole rooms from European estates to his posh New York digs, relying on assistants to do most of his cartooning, and ending up in a lonely, squalid, Howard Hughes-like existence after alienating most of his friends and colleagues. When I think of his profligate cartoonist lifestyle, I can't help but recall this B. Kliban cartoon, which in Fisher's case was probably closer to the truth than Kliban intended:

See y'all next time!

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Hamm says: "Not so!" 

Over at Publisher's Weekly Heidi posted something that sugeested that Minx titles haven't been getting much attention from female reviewers. Jesse Hamm, artist of Good As Lily, writes in to draw attention to a few that Heidi might have missed:

The Philadelphia Inquirer's
Katie Haegele says that GOOD AS LILY's "modern, imaginative story is a good choice for readers, male or female, who are looking for a book that has both brains and heart."

The Chicago Tribune's Kristin Kloberdanz declares: "Cheers to the Minx imprint. ... The books boast strong, complex female characters, unique storylines and bold graphics. ... Funny and tender, [Good As Lily is] a triumphant addition to the Minx collection."

USA Today's "Pop Candy" blogger calls Good As Lily the best book she read last week, adding that,"If you have any young women in your life who loves or might love comics, the Minx line has impressed me so far."

Our first pre-teen reviewer, a bright young lady named Morgan Newman, reports that "I enjoyed Good as Lily. I would suggest that anyone who likes the Minx books should read this."
This Korean-American calls Good As Lily her "personal favorite of all the Minx titles."

Another young Korean-American woman says,"Kim is AWESOME at showing what it's like to be a 2nd generation in the US." She calls Good As Lily "A very easy, lovely read with winning characters whose varying plights (not just Grace's) are all interesting and relate-able."
This New Zealander dubbed Good As Lily her "favourite" of the Minx comics.

On a comics forum, Hannah says: "This book is probably my favorite of the Minx line to date. It's probably the most mature book they have out right now. The story is about life and they do a good job with it."

Cartoonist Shaenon Garrity says: "[Y]ou should totally read it ... it's a super cute comic."

At her blog, this librarian reports that she's impressed by Derek's effective, Asian-friendly story, adding: "Props to Jesse Hamm for the great artwork too. I’m going to have to lift my self imposed ban on DC to purchase Good As Lily for the library when it comes out in August." In the comments section, another female librarian/reviewer chimes in: "I enjoyed this novel throughly and like the fact that Grace’s parents were just regular parents without any 'Korean parental stereotypes.'”

Yet another librarian reports at her blog that the Minx line is "very good," judging by the two Minx books she's read, and that "Kim has written graphic novels before, so his story is a better fit" for the format than that of the other Minx book she reviewed.

Still another librarian reports on HER blog that GOOD AS LILY "may have been my favorite of the Minx bunch."

The Avid Bookreader says that she "really liked the story and the ending had a nice fairytale touch. There’s some bits of humor, too. My favorite [Minx] title so far."

Yet another female reviewer grants us a "heartily recommended."

And another:
"Thematically it touches on life and death, seeing what’s really in front of you, and how choices shape your life. ... a graphic a novel with as much thought and story as a standard novel. Bravo!" (In the comments section, she adds: "It made me cry. Derek Kirk Kim is an amazing story teller. He really gets the whole writing for comics thing.")

And another:
"...a fresh, entertaining and engaging tale of true friendship, love, and valuing one self as much as the people in your life do. Absolutely delightful and highly recommended."

And another:
"My advanced copy of this graphic novel says that I shouldn’t quote or review this without comparing it to the final version of the book…but I must say one thing. This Rocks! :)"

And another:
"If you are in the mood for a fun read that ends up being a little meatier than you might expect, GOOD AS LILY will be mighty good, indeed."

That's not even all of the positive reviews Good As Lily has garnered from women, but we're running out of space.

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Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Hahn: "No C material allowed." 

“In the morning people come in and the insults start to fly, you can’t bring your C material. But it calms down after lunch and the headphones go on and people get to work,”
The Portland Tribune's Joseph Gallivan profiles Periscope Studio (Tribune photo of Kieron Dwyer by Jim Clark.)


Monday, September 17, 2007

About.com and the X-Axis 

The comics section of About.com just launched a set of Periscope Studio pages.

Paul O'Brien has a great review of Click by Sara Ryan and Dylan Meconis. O'Brien says:
"Ryan really does excel in this format - she takes a simple, emotional event, she makes her point simply and elegantly, and then she stops. In an era where everyone wants to make graphic novels, it's good to be reminded of the real potential of the short story. There's a lot to cover in this issue - it spans a period of weeks - but through judicious pacing and montage, Ryan fits it all in and makes it seem effortless. God, she's good. She has great taste in artists, as well. Dylan Meconis draws wonderfully expressive characters, and fills the panels with the sort of detail that fills out their world."

You can read the comic online for free at webcomicsnation.

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Sunday, September 16, 2007

Weiner Dogs and Tanks 

Some of us young Periscopians visited the Oktoberfest at Mount Angel on Saturday, and a lesson was learned for the amusement of all:

If ever you thought that a Dachshund didn't look small enough... put it next to a tank.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Strange visitor from another planet. 

One night recently, several of us were pulling a late shift at the studio. It was hot, so we had the window open. One of these flew in:

I'm not an insect aficionado. My instinctual response to bugs is usually "Enemy! Enemy! Unstoppable enemy seeking to drive me from the top of the food chain!" But it's hard not to be entranced by something as gorgeous as this guy (gal?). Wish I knew what I was looking at. It's times like these I wish I had Jay Hosler on speed-dial...

Friday, September 14, 2007

Small satisfactions. 

Terri Nelson realized that the spammers who hijacked our old blog were still using our old template header which includes an image in our webspace. That made its possible for us to make the spam-blog's header say this:

We can't stop them from saying "periscope" up top, but it's something. Maybe we'll mess with the image some more.

In other news, this one came out of nowhere: Whiteout was name-checked in this web-comic.

And Greg Rucka was on tv the other day where he talked about his new novel Patriot Acts, and of course, about Whiteout.

And here's a longer interview with Greg and Whiteout director Dominic Sena.

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Thursday, September 13, 2007

New in stores from Rick Remender-- 

The End League 



On sale Dec 26
FC, 32 pages

A thematic merging of The Lord of the Rings and Watchmen, The End League follows a cast of the last remaining supermen and women as they embark on a desperate and perilous journey through a world dominated by evil, in hopes of locating the one remaining artifact that can save humanity-the Hammer of Thor. For his return to the world of comics renowned artist Mat Broome (WildC.A.T.S.) teams up with critically acclaimed writer Rick Remender (Fear Agent) for this, Dark Horse Comics's newest superhero series.

o An all-new series from Fear Agent creator Rick Remender and artist Mat Broome!

Our darkest hour, one last hope for salvation . . .

Fear Agent 

Fear Agent #3 written and inked by Rick Remender with pencils by Tony Moore ships this week. Go buy it. Or don't. Whatever. I'm not the boss of you, I get it.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

I'm going to bring you guys CULTCHA 

even if it kills me.

First up: Check out Judith Schaechter. She's a stained glass artist. REALLY stained-up glass.
"I... once decided to design a piece to be executed by some one else posthumously. It would be all the people I've drawn on stage taking a bow. Like, 'Thank you. Show's over.'" --js


Colleen Coover's Mary Marvel 


Monday, September 10, 2007

Tuesday is Jesse Hamm day. 

"All noble goals; all lousy advice. Lousy because it substitutes destinations for directions. Might as well direct someone to the Fortress of Solitude by telling her to go to Superman’s hideout. The shortest route to better comics is, instead, concrete advice that any creator can put to use right now.

That said, here are 8 things I’d like to see more of in comics. These are suggestions that I think any creator can try out immediately; adjustments that don’t require new skills to implement. They aren’t all about quality; some are just intended to foster variety. But in every case I think they would add extra oomph to today’s comics — both alternative and mainstream."
Jesse Hamm writing a guest column for Comics Should be good.

"I arrive at Periscope Studio, in downtown Portland, where there are usually eight or ten artists working on their various freelance projects. If I have an illustration assignment of my own, I work on that; otherwise, I do assistant work for other artists in the studio — penciling and inking backgrounds, storyboarding, miscellaneous design/illustration work, etc. We listen to music, and there's a lot of joking around; we've also got a large reference library and a Cintiq and other fun toys. (And by "toys," I mean action figures.) We're often snapping digital photos of each other for reference, usually while brandishing weapons, and we brew a lot of tea and treat each other to hummus and pita bread from a restaurant down the street. It's a great environment, like a sitcom with less attractive people."
Jesse Hamm interviewed at Sequential Tart.

"As for the art, it is black and white, but is so nearly flawless that you won’t notice. Also, I was happy to see that Hamm can draw Korean people most excellently and so this book probably has the most Asian looking Asian people that I have seen since Scott Pigrim by Brian Lee ’O Malley."
Mike's Bitchin Comics Pickswrites about Jesse Hamm's Good As Lily. (No direct link available- go to the 8/21 entry.)


Sunday, September 09, 2007

It's Ron Chan day here at Periscope. 

"The artwork of Ron Chan is crisp and fits really well with the story being told. Ron did a great job of presenting the reader with the range of emotions each character( well, except Mr.Bloomberg of course) was experiencing."
G.Rodrigue reviews Ron Chan's A Dummy's Guide to Danger at Comicnews.info.

Ron's been doing a lot of storyboards for big clients recently, and developing his caricature portfolio as well.

And of course Ron's done great work with Sara Ryan on Flytrap. Do you blog about comics? We'd love to send you one of Ron and Sara's minicomics, absolutely free! Just write to us at periscope.studio (at) gmail.com and tell us where to mail it.


Friday, September 07, 2007

Some good news. 

"This happens to the story's main character, and I don't know how Ryan could have done it any better. We get a remarkably vivid sense of the frustration and confusion she feels, and artist Dylan Meconis is up to the task, enhancing and adding nuance. "
Johnny Bacardi reviews Sara Ryan and Dylan Meconis' CLICK.(Read the whole comic online for free.) He also reviews Flytrap #3, illustrated by Ron Chan, and X-Men First Class #3, written by Jeff parker and featuring a backup illustrated by Colleen Coover.

Colleen's work is also under discussion at Millarworld, where they're talking about adult comics, and everyone agrees that she's one of the best out there. If you've got an opinion on the matter, join in!

And David Hahn's Bite Club just got a rave review over at It's Thursday, I'm in Love

So, no word from blogspot on getting rid of the blogjacking spammer yet. If anyone reading this knows anyone who works for blogger/blogspot, any contact there would be hugely appreciated.

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Thursday, September 06, 2007

So I guess you're new here. 

I've sent out several dozen copies of this email today:
When our studio changed its name from Mercury to Periscope, I thought we were sort of stuck with our old blog URL. Today though, I was happy to stumble upon a button in the blogspot dashboard that enables you to move your content to a new blogspot URL, and I used it. Bang! All of our content was now available at http://periscopestudio.blogspot.com. Boy, was that easy, and since it didn't offer up any sort of warning, so I assumed that the mercurystudio.bl-gsp-t.c-m address would keep the old content.

Um... no. Within minutes a spammer took possession of our old URL and pasted viagra and porn ads into a google cache of our site's template. I've written blogspot's support, but their help forum is full of people complaining about never getting any reply from blogspot support. I'm not expecting much help there. In the meantime, we're sending out emails to you, our friends in comics, asking you to change your
Mercury Studio blogroll links to this:

And if you're really kind, you could spread the word via your own blog. Thanks!

(Someday we'll have enough time to put an embedded blog into our "real" site, but we're all too busy with clients right now to do any development on that, which for a bunch of freelancers is hardly something to complain about...)

So that's that. If you're new here and don't know who's writing this, I'm Steve Lieber. I illustrate comics, draw storyboards and all sorts of commercial art, and maintain the blog for the twenty or so cartoonists here at Periscope studio. For background, Publisher's weekly just ran a nice story about us. And if you're here in Portland, Oregon a lot of us will be guests at the Stumptown Comics Fest at the end of the month.

That's enough of that. Here's a picture of Modok by Colleen Coover:

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Rich does Fables. 

A collector recently commissioned Rich Ellis to do a Fables piece. Here's what he got:

If you're interested in commissioning an Ellis piece for yourself, write Rich at fendygit4(at)gmail.com

Over at the Pulse, Sara Ryan and I were interviewed by Chris Beckett about Sara's and my first comics story together "Me and Edith Head." Sara's also got a seriously snazzy new web-design up at her site. (Design by Space Ninja)

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Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Eddie on the zip 

Eddie Campbell is blogging about screen tones. I've had a love/hate relationship with the stuff for years. While the traditional Wally Wood approach to zip never seemed a good match for my line, I've always adored what Eddie has done with those little dots. Guy Davis's "Baker Street" and Doug Wildey's work were inspirational too. When I started Whiteout, screen tones enabled me to get, as Eddie says, light, air and atmosphere into my art, and was particularly suited to communicating the dry, stinging air of Antarctica, where old snow is constantly blowing around. They also brought some of the tonal richness of charcoal drawing to my comics page in a way that still had the crispness of a comic. For the first time, I had comics pages that looked like my scketchbooks. I loved the tonal variations I could get by scraping at it with a knife or buzzing it with an electric eraser. Then again, for two years, I went to bed every night with little slivers of the stuff sticking to me. The stuff got everywhere. I'd find bits of zip-a-tone stuck to the cat's face, floating in in my Cheerios, in my wife's hairbrush, in the lint trap in the laundry- everywhere.

In a month or so I'm going to finally get started on the third Whiteout book, and I can't wait to start playing with screen tones again. This time, I'm going to be doing the tones digitally and no since I'll no longer be restricted to the shapes I can get with an x-acto knife, I'll be able to really get "painterly" with them.

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