Welcome to the weblog of the writers and artists of Ferret Press (a publisher of fine comix) and PANEL (a Columbus, Ohio comic creators collaborative.) Here you will find our musings on comics, art, the creative process, politics, the web, and life.

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Read Dara's free webcomic @ Komikwerks.com

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Read Dara and Tom's comic @ Brainbotjr.com and in Melt magazine.

Read Tony Goins' webcomic Downs.
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Sunday, April 30, 2006
 
  Posted by Tom on 4/30/2006 05:09:00 PM :

      

<< style="font-weight: bold;">Luck?

A new SPB strip went up today.

Also unrelated, I found a new internet radio to fill the void of epitonic- last.fm. Similar to pandora you plug in some of your favorite bands and or performers and it will generate a set list of 'similar' stuff to what you entered. Last.fm has everything on it- from Billie Holiday to Cursive. Epitonic, when it was up, was great because you could mix and match genres. Discover new and old tracks. Well with epitonic's new relaunch they ditched what I liked and now you can't mix n' match.


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  Posted by Dara on 4/30/2006 07:58:00 AM :

      

Jay Hosler's awesome webcomic

Biology professor, comic creator (Clan Apis, Sandwalk Adventures,) and former Columbus resident Jay Hosler has posted a short webcomic called The Diabolical Dr. NoNoNo (link opens as PDF.) This charming story deals with the issues of raising children in a way to encourage their curiosity and experimentation while balancing that with parental protection. I especially love the creative page layouts on pages 3 and 4. Great stuff.

(via Comics Worth Reading)


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Saturday, April 29, 2006
 
  Posted by Dara on 4/29/2006 11:16:00 PM :

      

Fantastic computer lettering resource site

Payton over at the Penciljack.com forums maintains a great website devoted to the art of computer lettering. Check out Ninja Lettering for all sorts of tips, techniques, and links to other lettering tutorials and websites.



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Thursday, April 27, 2006
 
  Posted by Tom on 4/27/2006 09:51:00 PM :

      

Say a prayer for Brian!

Boy, man I wish Brian Wood well but the vision in his right eye is failing and it doesn't look good. He's documenting this as it goes but he has a corneal ulcer. Losing your vision has got to be one of the worst things for an artist or designer. Some of the posts he's put up of other corneal ulcer victims are pretty graphic. This could liquify one's cornea causing permanent blindness. Hopefully it doesn't come to that but in a recent post he has yet to see out of it. He's canceled a signing so far as he tries to recover from this predicament.


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Wednesday, April 26, 2006
 
  Posted by Dara on 4/26/2006 12:06:00 PM :

      

Fascinating insider's look at the publishing business

I know this is about book publishing and not comics specifically, but I thought it's well worth sharing. Here's a detailed post from an editor at Tor books, explaining the business end of publishing, and how/why books make or lose money. Complete will real dollar figures and lots of insider knowledge:

P&Ls and how books make (or don't) money: part the first: the mass market original complete failure.
"All bookselling outlets get to decide what they use this money for. Then they tell us and we bargain with them. If Your Mom's National Chain Bookstore takes 10,000 copies of The Autobiography of Dominar Rygel the 16th, and spends five cents out of coop per book (that seems like a lot, but it's actually not) to promote the book within particular store locations -- well, firstly, that is five cents that isn't being spent on Crichton is an Idiot by Aeryn Sun, and, secondly, it means the book will probably get front of store placement or they will order a "standup" in which they will place sixteen copies of the book in a prominent place in the store.

We say, okay, if you're going to do that, how about we give you an extra two cents to spend on advertising this book we really love, Crichton is an Idiot by a brand new author we think will explode!

Your Mom's National Chain Bookstore says, Feh. But we'll take one cent per book we take (which, as we know, is about 600 copies or whatever), and use that $6 to put a one-inch advertisment in our newsletter."

Makes you realize how much simpler the comics business is, huh? Despite all the problems with our distribution/retail system, it's still fairly easy for an amateur to shepherd their book all the way from creation to sale without a ton of investment or knowledge.

(via boingboing)


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  Posted by Dara on 4/26/2006 10:09:00 AM :

      

Tattoos: cool. Webcomics: cool. Tattoos of webcomics: not so cool.

What kind of idiot gets a tattoo of an obscure webcomic character? I guess these idiots.

Ok, maybe there's a cool design in there somewhere. Like this one, for instance:



But why in the world would you get something like this tattooed in a weird place on the side of your torso?



I just don't get people sometimes...

(via boingboing)


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Tuesday, April 25, 2006
 
  Posted by Craig on 4/25/2006 05:47:00 PM :

      

Somebody owes me a page of story

Dara beat me to pointing out another way comic creators rip off those of us who expect sufficient story in the books we buy when he mentioned the full-page splash. I enjoy a good splash page, whether it's an arresting visual like the Bi-Beast lumbering out of the mist of his city in the clouds, or a powerful emotional moment like Spider-Man shaking his fist at the Green Goblin while he holds Gwen Stacy's dead body (showing my age here, I know). Unfortunately, this is what we get instead:

From Marvel's attempt to relaunch a classic series, Tomb of Dracula #1:

Wow. Two people standing around watching an image on a TV set. Powerful stuff, huh? Note the precision and craft with which the artist drew the really big rectangle that dominates most of the page. Observe the way the characters, whose backs face the viewer and are shadowed, are almost completely devoid of detail. Observe the CD tower which serves as a background, or the empty circle which serves as a rug. This image definitely demanded a full page to convey it's emotional power.

I can't recall-- and don't care to find out-- who wrote and drew this nonsense, but they owe me a page of story. This issue was pretty lame, though, so a page of story from another comic would be okay.


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  Posted by Dara on 4/25/2006 12:59:00 PM :

      

Your political moment of the day

Al Franken in a funny man. Moreover, he's a smart funny man, and there's nothing more pleasurable that watching a smart, funny, sincere person take the piss out of a bigoted, hypocritical, ignorant asshat.

AKA Ann Coulter.

Read Al Franken's opening statement from his debate with Ann Coulter.

Of course as you'd expect, he takes plenty of well-deserved potshots at other right-wing hypocrites:
"I was just talking to Newt Gingrich the other day. And I said to him, 'Don't you want for a gay couple what you had with your first wife? Don't you want that bond that comes with the pledge of fidelity that you had with your second wife? Don't you want what comes with that lifelong bond that you may or may not have with your third wife – I have no idea what's going on there.'"
And:
"You know, Bill O'Reilly always talks about his "traditional values" – as opposed to "the far left's secular humanist values." I didn't realize phone sex was a traditional value. I didn't think the phone had been around long enough. Maybe telegraph sex."
Good time, good times.


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  Posted by Dara on 4/25/2006 11:59:00 AM :

      

So what's Andy Bennett been up to?

Besides feverishly working on finishing our story for the next Panel book, that is...

Well, how about this crossover series from Moonstone:



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  Posted by Dara on 4/25/2006 11:36:00 AM :

      

Poor Aquaman, how they love to hate you

I forget where I found this image...maybe from a Fark.com photoshop contest? It was at least a couple of years ago. Anyway, presented for your entertainment:

(click to enlarge)


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Monday, April 24, 2006
 
  Posted by Tom on 4/24/2006 11:32:00 PM :

      



Rub my belly, it's on byotches!


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  Posted by Dara on 4/24/2006 08:29:00 PM :

      

Free magazine, free trip to San Diego Con

One's easy to get, the other isn't.
"In conjunction with the comic industry’s upcoming Free Comic Book Day, TwoMorrows Publishing (publisher of the comic industry’s top historical and "how-to" magazines) is offering an opportunity for readers to try a TwoMorrows magazine free-of-charge.

On Saturday, May 6, anyone who visits the TwoMorrows website (www.twomorrows.com) can request any in-stock issue of BACK ISSUE, ALTER EGO, DRAW!, or WRITE NOW!, and it will be mailed to them at no cost the following week. A special banner atop the home page will link to the Free Magazine Page where selections can be made."
More details at the official press release.

Wanna get to San Diego but don't have the cash? Maybe you can win a trip from Dark Horse Comics:
" Dark Horse will select a Grand Prize winner to receive an all-expenses paid trip to Comic-Con International 2006. Simply register to win and maybe you'll be heading to San Diego in July.

Grand Prize (1):
- Roundtrip airfare for two.
- Lodging for three days and two nights (July 21-23).
- $500 in spending money.
- 2 passes to the convention (July 21-23).
- "VIP" pass to all Dark Horse Comics-related events"
Official online entry form here.


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  Posted by Tony on 4/24/2006 05:09:00 PM :

      

Nice reflexes, Obi Wan



You're looking at an outtake from the "Sci Fi Geeks" segment of "Support an Indie Filmmaker," a short film by local creators Jerod Brennan and Justin Lewis. View the actual scene at Youtube.com or at their Web site, http://www.temperedzealot.com I'm just linking to the Sci-Fi Geeks segment, not the whole thing, but by all means watch the whole thing.

In this episode, geeks Dan (Danikan) and Carl are working on their movie special effects. And one of them gets him by a Nerf ball.



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  Posted by Dara on 4/24/2006 09:29:00 AM :

      

Fucking piece of shit Blogger

Who knows when this will ever get posted, as currently the piece of shit software known as Blogger has decided it's not going to publish any posts today.

Ghhha, I hate this crap service. Time to switch to Wordpress...


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  Posted by Dara on 4/24/2006 08:05:00 AM :

      

Monday Morning "Guess the Artist"

Since last week's artist was so easy to guess, I'm going with a nearly impossible one this time. The difficulty lies in the fact that the artist in question isn't very famous, as their body of work is rather small. So this will be more a game of me dropping hints until someone gets it. In the meantime, feel free to guess...



(click image to moster size)

(previous weeks: 9/12/2005, 9/19/2005, 9/26/2005, 10/3/2005, 10/10/2005, 10/17/2005, 10/24/2005, 10/31/2005, 11/1/2005, 11/2/2005, 11/3/2005, 11/4/2005, 11/5/2005, 11/6/2005, 11/7/2005, 11/14/2005, 11/21/2005, 11/28/2005, 12/5/2005, 12/12/2005, 12/19/2005, 12/26/2005, 1/2/2006, 1/9/2006, 1/16/2006, 1/23/2006, 1/30/2006, 2/06/2006, 2/13/2006, 2/20/2006, 2/27/2006, 3/6/2006, 3/13/2006, 3/20/2006, 3/27/2006, 4/3/2006, 4/4/2006, 4/5/2006, 4/6/2006, 4/7/2006, 4/8/2006, 4/9/2006, 4/10/2006, 4/17/2006)

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Sunday, April 23, 2006
 
  Posted by Dara on 4/23/2006 09:09:00 AM :

      

Somebody Owes Me a Page of Story, Too

Picking up on the feature that Craig started, I wanted to post a page that I feel totally rips off me and the rest of the comic buying public. This is from Manhunter #19:


An entire page devoted to a conversation that could have taken place in less than half a page? A whole page made up of only 3 panels of very static action?

I call bullshit on that.

There's absolutely no reason why that scene should take up an entire page. Either expand the scene and add more panels of conversation and character insights, or just cap it at half a page and devote the other half to more story. Writer Marc Andreyko has created a very interesting character in the new Manhunter, and overall I like the series. But decompressed crap like this is a regular occurrence in the book, and it's getting bad enough that I'm considering dropping the book despite an otherwise enjoyable story.


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  Posted by Dara on 4/23/2006 08:53:00 AM :

      

Lost in Star Trek
"Young Kirk. Young Spock. Mr. Lost.

Those are the components Paramount Pictures has assembled to revive its sputtering Star Trek franchise.

A new big-screen movie, apparently featuring the early adventures of Trek forefathers James T. Kirk and Spock, and boasting the handiwork of Lost creator J.J. Abrams, is being primed for a 2008 release"

From an article talking about Alias and Lost creator J.J. Abrams being hired by Paramount to produce, direct and cowrite the next Trek movie.

I have nothing to comment on, as my interest in Trek faded about a dozen years ago...


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Friday, April 21, 2006
 
  Posted by Craig on 4/21/2006 09:47:00 AM :

      

Somebody Owes Me a Page of Story

The cost of today’s comics has reduced my former armload of new magazines on shopping trips to a mere handful, and for this reason I expect the creators to deliver enough satisfying story to justify the ridiculous expenditure. Most often, however, I take home heavily padded segments of story designed to flesh out a trade paperback a few months down the road—which readers seem to accept, despite the fact that this means trade paperback readers are getting stiffed six times over.

Because I resent decompression and its frequent use by writers and artists to rob me of my story-seeking, comic buying dollar, I continue this series of posts showcasing instances wherein I feel creators have ripped me off so blatantly they actually owe me a page or more of actual story to justify their publisher taking the money which I have shelled out.

Let it be known: I’m not saying decompression itself is not a useful storytelling tool, but I think that nine times out of ten it isn’t used for that lofty purpose, but rather to screw readers out of a more satisfying reading experience. For example:

Stan Lee and Steve Ditko gave us the origin of Doctor Strange in about 12-15 pages, way back in the day. What do you do if you’re J.M. Straczynski, Sara Barnes, and Brandon Peterson and you’ve been asked to stretch that simple, well-known tale over six entire issues? You do things like stretch a car crash scene over three friggin’ pages! From the "Marvel Knights" Strange #1:




There’s just too much to say about this one. Most of these panels can be eliminated and the same feeling and content would still be conveyed. And is that panel of the crash itself so well drawn that it needs to occupy so much of the page? Hardly.

J.M.S., Barnes, and Peterson, you owe me about two pages of story!


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Thursday, April 20, 2006
 
  Posted by Tony on 4/20/2006 04:45:00 PM :

      

Dumb questions

1. What's a "Mary Sue?"

2. Who was that guy who was at Mid-Ohio, and he was on the Web comix panel, and he had his own Web comic about some kind of freelance adventurer? Not the guy with the one name. The tall white guy.


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  Posted by Tony on 4/20/2006 04:44:00 PM :

      

Ferret costumes

They have to be seen to be believed.



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  Posted by Dara on 4/20/2006 10:10:00 AM :

      

Non-comics link of the day

I'm taking the day off to spend with Hanna (she's on spring break.) Later on today we'll be setting up a lemonade stand. We may also offer some other beverages, like fruit punch. But I'll tell you what we won't be selling.

Gatorade.

That's right. I was shocked, shocked I say, to find out about the Gatorade conspiracy.



See what I mean? Filthy!

(via Tom Peyer)


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Wednesday, April 19, 2006
 
  Posted by Dara on 4/19/2006 11:01:00 AM :

      

From comic book to real life: chess boxing

So this morning on NPR I heard about this bizarre sport gaining populairty in Germany: Chess Boxing. Contestants play a 4 minute round of chess, followed by a 2 minute boxing match, then back to chess, etc. This goes on for 11 rounds, or until someone scores a KO or a checkmate.

The guy who organized the first event is a performance artist who saw the concept in a French comic book. He thought it was a great idea, and decided to try it in real life. It's now gained enough popularity that he organizes international matches.

Comics. Is there nothing they can't do?


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Tuesday, April 18, 2006
 
  Posted by Dara on 4/18/2006 12:20:00 PM :

      

Secret Wars Re-Enactment Society

It's been linked to a million times, and who are we to buck the trend? Presented for your geeky entertainment: Secret Wars Re-Enactment Society.



It's actually quite funny, if you're a comic fan and understand the in jokes.

(I now hang my head in nerd shame.)


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  Posted by Dara on 4/18/2006 09:27:00 AM :

      

Addictive game

No time to blog, so instead, here's an addictive online game for you.

(note: the art links at the bottom probably aren't work safe.)


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Monday, April 17, 2006
 
  Posted by Tom on 4/17/2006 09:27:00 PM :

      

Hospitalized? Eeeep.

Bob Burden (creator of the Flaming Carrot) is in the hospital recovering from surgery. A stomach virus?

Send the dude a card at:

Desperado Studios
c/o Bob Burden get well wishes
51 South
Peachtree Drive
Suite 8
Norcross, GA 30071


Also Alex Toth is in the hospital. No word on the why. But he's been in the hospital for several weeks apparently.

Send the dude a card at:
Alex TOTH, room 407
c/o Belmont Village of Burbank
455 E. Angeleno Ave.
Burbank, CA
91501-3083


This may sound a little cold but I didn't know he was still alive.


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  Posted by Tom on 4/17/2006 08:35:00 PM :

      

A couple of online venues for print-on-demand and low runs I ran across. Thanks to the Journal boards.

Booksurge. Offers some package deals including getting an ISBN, proofreading, etc. for various fees. Some of them are kind of pricey $$$ in my opinion.

Dream Weaver Press. Something more along the lines of what I was thinking about. They specialize in perfect binding (trade paperback for the layman) in low print runs. When I say low, I mean 25 sets! You can even generate one copy for $25. This is a full color cover (gloss) with bw guts. 30 lb weight stock. About a 100 sets is where prices get down to sellable to bookstores without losing your shirt on the run.

There's also Lulu. A print on demand place I've mentioned before. Quite a few webcomiker's use them. They do throw their cheesy logo on the spine. Probably the only drawback.


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  Posted by Tony on 4/17/2006 02:25:00 PM :

      

Son of GOG

Panel, in conjunction with Back Porch Comics, Angry Dog Comics, Dimestore Productions and Aardvark-Vanaheim, is presenting this year's SPACE pre-show party.

Kern's Cafe
* 363. E. Town St. in downtown Columbus
* Click http://www.kernscafe.com for directions.
* There's street parking and more parking at the Franklin University lot around back.
* 7 p.m. - ???, May 12
* Appetizers will be provided, and they'll have a cash bar and a full menu. The sponsors do plan to chip in for a round or two.


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  Posted by Dara on 4/17/2006 09:19:00 AM :

      

Monday Morning "Guess the Artist"

Have at it:



(click image to gridify)

(previous weeks: 9/12/2005, 9/19/2005, 9/26/2005, 10/3/2005, 10/10/2005, 10/17/2005, 10/24/2005, 10/31/2005, 11/1/2005, 11/2/2005, 11/3/2005, 11/4/2005, 11/5/2005, 11/6/2005, 11/7/2005, 11/14/2005, 11/21/2005, 11/28/2005, 12/5/2005, 12/12/2005, 12/19/2005, 12/26/2005, 1/2/2006, 1/9/2006, 1/16/2006, 1/23/2006, 1/30/2006, 2/06/2006, 2/13/2006, 2/20/2006, 2/27/2006, 3/6/2006, 3/13/2006, 3/20/2006, 3/27/2006, 4/3/2006, 4/4/2006, 4/5/2006, 4/6/2006, 4/7/2006, 4/8/2006, 4/9/2006, 4/10/2006)

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Sunday, April 16, 2006
 
  Posted by Dara on 4/16/2006 07:52:00 PM :

      

Master painters as kids

Worth1000 is a Photoshop gallery/contest site. In the past they've had topics like "Photoshop your favorite superhero in their day job," which featured Aquaman as a pool cleaner. Here's one of their new contests which is very cool: "In this contest your task is to depict the masterpieces of the renassiance masters (or other time periods) as they were drawn when the masters were children."



You can check out all the entries here.


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Friday, April 14, 2006
 
  Posted by Dara on 4/14/2006 06:16:00 PM :

      

Desert Island Comics - the collected edition

Panel member and The Ineffables creator Craig Bogart lists the ten comics from his collection that he would want to have with him if he were stranded on a desert island:
"I've found myself lately going through my twenty-odd long boxes and picking out favorite old runs of different series. Most nights I'll curl up with two or three issues in a bubble bath (just wanted you guys to have the visual) and revisit some old stories that I found particularly memorable."
Craig's walk down memory lane is both humorous and heartfelt. Presented below are his picks, in a handy dandy reference list.


By the way, be sure to click on the comments section of each post. Even though the counter may indicate zero comments, most do feature feedback and other thoughts.


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  Posted by Dara on 4/14/2006 04:59:00 PM :

      

From Script to Sequential - the collected edition

As part of our blog's 3 year anniversary extravaganza, artist Andy Bennett made a series of posts titled From Script to Sequential. Within this series, he demonstrated his process for going from a page of comic book script to the finished page of sequential art. I've collected all the individual posts below for quick reference.

As a comics writer, I've always been fascinated by the thought process that goes into laying out a page of sequential art. Even fans of the medium seem to underestimate the amount of work involved in creating a page of art that's not only well crafted, but also succeeds in telling a story. After reading Andy's posts I think you too will have a newfound appreciation for the skills of comic book artists.


By the way, be sure to click on the comments section of each post. Even though the counter may indicate zero comments, there are indeed posts there in the form of bonus material, feedback, and other thoughts.

Bonus: From Script to Sequential, part ? - wherein Andy shares some of his other illustation work...


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  Posted by Dara on 4/14/2006 01:45:00 PM :

      

"Guess the Artist" answers

I've posted the answers to the Guess the Artist posts from the last 2 weeks, in the comments section of each page. There were a couple of difficult pages that stumped even Andy and F!NCH. Check 'em out below.


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  Posted by Craig on 4/14/2006 11:12:00 AM :

      

Finally, a preview of my Ineffables story for Luck. All pages are inked, but I'll be tinkering away up until the next meeting, so I won't anger Matt by Calling them "finished."
I'm happy with the above page all the way until the last panel, which I could have pulled off a little better. I love the visual space in panel 3, but it will probably get buried by word balloons. Sigh.
I like my comic art simple. Too often in the comics I see, one half of the story/art equation overshadows the other when they should contribute equally. If I can deliver an entertaining overall package, I won't sweat because my art isn't as refined as (insert name here)'s. I prefer the term "cartoonist" to "artist" because I think it better reflects all the elements of our craft.

Even giant robots better not mess with Abe Lincoln, the world's toughest patriotic comic book character! Strangely, no one has ever commented on my obvious Don Martin influence regarding sound effects.


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  Posted by Craig on 4/14/2006 09:20:00 AM :

      

Desert Island Comics, pt. 10

Even a non-Beatles fan like myself will acknowledge that the Fab Four is likely to be all that is remembered of the twentieth century’s popular music. Long after our grandchildren are lowered into their graves, the compositions of Lennon and McCartney will be as familiar to the public as Beethoven’s Fifth or the works of Mozart. The songwriting duo driving that group was truly formidable—but what Beatle holds the record for the most #1 hits as a solo performer? Ringo Starr, which goes to show that some people achieve their greatest potential through collaboration.

In comics, this same rule is proven by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby. Their work breathed new life into a dying art form and set the standard for what was to follow over the next three decades. Kirby delivered all the grand concepts and mind-boggling ideas, while Stan brought the human element that gave the reader something to identify with on their tour through the cosmos. When working separately, however, their need for a creative pairing becomes apparent: with two exceptions I can think of, the life expectancy of a Jack Kirby series, no matter how great the art or vision, was at most about fifteen issues; as for Stan Lee, while he did guide Spider-Man through about seventy issues with Romita and Kane and Buscema (in which the best central and supporting characters of any comic I’ve read certainly played to his strengths), only one memorable villain came out of the years after Steve Ditko left the series.

I won’t try to add to what’s already been said about The King, but I would like to add my two cents worth on Stan: I recently picked up the Essentials-style reprint volume of the 1950’s Superman comics, and my god, it was dreadful. A phone book sized collection of comics showing Superman and Batman cutting birthday cakes together, Jimmy Olson having dreams about Superman as President, Superman wearing an Alfred E. Neumann mask to trick Lois Lane… This was the juvenile drivel everyone associates comics with. Stan changed all that with his dysfunctional family super-teams and struggling, fallible everyman characters. His writing was both sophisticated and accessible; references to political figures and current events suggest his audience was older and more sophisticated than schoolchildren, and the letters from soldiers in Viet Nam and the full page ads for Mothers of Invention albums not only prove the point, but also testify to the diversity of that readership. When a three-part story he wrote for Spider-Man didn’t meet Comics Code standards because it depicted drug use, the issues were published without the CCA stamp on the cover—a pretty big deal back in the day when memories of Wertham and Senate hearings were still fresh. Stan is the guy who grew up the medium. Frank Miller and Warren Ellis are traveling the road he paved, and if he hadn’t come along when he did we’d all be collecting baseball cards.

So what happens when you peak really early in life? Like Richard Daystrom, you go crazy and nearly destroy the Enterprise trying to prove you’re still relevant. In Stan’s case, we get Stripperella and Sci-Fi Channel reality shows. But if anyone wants to malign the stature Stan Lee has earned in the past, they’ll have to face a Captain Kirk-style flying kick from me.

And so we come to my pick for coolest comic of all time, the #1 choice to come with me when I’m washed ashore on my desert isle. It says it right on the cover, so it’s not just my opinion: “The World’s Greatest Comic Magazine.”



#1: Fantastic Four #62

I don’t usually read four-decade-old comics in the bubble bath, but those were the conditions under which I set out to review my top ten comics and I’m determined to see the task through to its conclusion.

There’s no villain for the FF to fight in this issue, though Blastaar and Sandman appear briefly in subplots. There’s not even any conflict they are engaged in during the story, though a brief fight scene is used to introduce the Inhumans midway through the book. What could possibly be happening in a superhero book from 1967 without these elements? Only the most mind-bogglingly cosmic twenty-odd pages ever presented in comic form. In the previous issue, Reed Richards had opened the gates to the Negative Zone to drive away the Sandman during a battle, but had himself been drawn into that other dimension. Now he clings helplessly to an asteroid drifting through space, drawn towards an exploding debris belt around the Earth (I’m not sure how this Negative Zone thing works either, but it sure sounds dangerous). He can communicate with his three teammates via wrist radio as they watch his progress on a giant view screen, impotent despite their awesome powers. Looks like Reed’s done for this time!

Both creators show us their best stuff in this issue, as Kirby sets the human drama against a backdrop of cosmic collages, otherdimensional energies, and outlandish alien beings. The techno-wizardry of Reed’s lab, where the rest of the FF watches, is nicely contrasted by the incomprehensible landscape Mister Fantastic is doomed to die in. The King takes a cast of characters who are standing in a lab watching a big TV screen and delivers a powerful series of visuals. Stan shows us the three Earthbound FF members on the verge of emotional breakdown as they morbidly monitor their friend’s progress, while Reed himself is wonderfully in character. He speaks in awe and wonder of the mysteries of this strange realm, wishing he had more time to explore. He reflects on the nature of human intelligence, confident that others will follow to build upon the work he has done in order to unlock the secrets of the universe. This is more of the stuff that gives me goosebumps in a superhero comic, this sense of optimism and idealism in the face of certain doom, and it’s never been done better than here.

Guess what? Reed doesn’t die. Luckily for our heroes, the Human Torch has a girlfriend with a teleporting dog and an Inhuman friend whose powers are ideally suited to a last-minute, otherdimensional rescue.

Now that my countdown is finished, I’d better hear from some others regarding their #1 pick in the comments section.


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  Posted by Dara on 4/14/2006 08:57:00 AM :

      

Coming soon...Xag!

That's right, boys and girls, because nobody demanded it! Coming soon to the Ferret Press den, it's the return of everyone's favorite politically incorrect characters with no socially redeeming values: Xxxagnut Beefman: Alien Porn Star! (I love typing that, it's like an open invitation for Google hits!)



Xag and manager/lover Lexxxi Con will live on in infamy, starring in new webcomic shorts drawn by the deliciously decadent Tim Fischer. Joining them will be cast regulars Scaz, the genetically engineered parrot/rat hybrid designer pet, and Jeb, the mullet-wearin', Trans Am drivin', Schlitz drinkin' Earthman kidnapped by unscrupulous alien producers for their "probe" videos. You'll never see the phrase "critically acclaimed" and Xxxagnut Beefman in the same sentence...except right now!

Insert own "comeback" joke here.


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Thursday, April 13, 2006
 
  Posted by Dara on 4/13/2006 06:14:00 PM :

      

PBR Me!

I found this very amusing. From cartoonist Matt Bors.



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  Posted by Tony on 4/13/2006 01:23:00 PM :

      


Get your Thurber Treat entries in soon!
As many of you know, the Thurber Treat is the annual kickoff to the Thurber House’s Literary Picnics series. Winners of the contest, inspired by James Thurber's work, will be the featured guests at Thurber House’s Wednesday, June 14 Picnic.

This year, writers are asked to recreate a moment in history (and make it funnier), much like Thurber did in his story, “If Grant had Been Drinking at Appomattox.” The reinvention can range from the personal to the international and can cover any moment in history. Celebrity host Win Logan, director of corporate communication at State Auto Insurance and member of the Thurber Chamber Theatre, will read Thurber’s story before the winners take the stage.

To enter the contest, follow these rules:

  • Limit your entries to 1,000 words.
  • Limit two entries per person.
  • Fill out the entry form and send it in with your entry. Names should not be on the entry itself. To download an entry form, click here.
  • Keep the original — no entries will be returned.
  • Send the entry and application to: Thurber Treat Writing Contest, Thurber House, 77 Jefferson Avenue, Columbus, Ohio 43215.


Entries must be postmarked by 4 p.m. Saturday, April 29 or must be at Thurber House by Monday, May 1. Please call 614-464-1032 or visit www.thurberhouse.org with any questions. “If Grant had Been Drinking at Appomattox” can be found in The Thurber Carnival, which is available at the Thurber House bookstore and at local libraries.

p.s. from Tony: Don’t show your entry to me because I may be asked to be one of the judges.


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  Posted by Dara on 4/13/2006 12:59:00 PM :

      

I love cranky film reviewers with an agenda...

...who get on their high horse, decrying other people's agendas without noticing the irony of it all. Especially when they have a doctorate! From Dr. Ted Baehr's review of V for Vendetta, "...a vile, pro-terrorist piece of neo-Marxist, left-wing propaganda filled with radical sexual politics and nasty attacks on religion and Christianity." Good times, good times. It gets better:
"The rest of "V for Vendetta" not only depicts Christians as evil people who oppress and torture "innocent" people, it also depicts homosexuals as a persecuted, harmless minority of "nice" people. Both of these portrayals are hate-filled, false stereotypes, but the second one is actually contradicted by the secret stash of homoerotic pornography that one of the homosexual characters in the movie hides in a secret room in his house. If all homosexuals, and all homosexual activists, are such goody two shoes, how come so many of them resort to unsafe sexual practices that spread deadly diseases, and how come so many of them promote pornography, support the murder of unborn children through abortion and molest underage children?"
Yep, all them porn pushin', baby killin', child molestin' gays sure are destroying our society. Preach it, brother man. Sorry, I mean Doctor Baehr.

By the way, nice way to shill for your $40 "MOVIE GUIDE®: The Family Guide to Movies & Entertainment" book, you bigoted asshat.

(via lowland_rider's Journal)


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  Posted by Dara on 4/13/2006 09:44:00 AM :

      

Lifelike spotlighted at The Pulse today

Just a quick note that as part of their "Intro to webcomics" series of articles, The Pulse is spotlighting my webcomic today. You'll see the article on their home page, or you can get to it by clicking here.



If you have an account at The Pulse, I'd appreciate some feedback to the article. Comments, critiques, requests, whatever. Oh, and if you're one of the artists for the strip (*cough* *cough* Tom *cough*) it would be cool if you posted a comment about your approach to that particular story, any challenges you faced, thoughts on the character designs or color palette, or whatever. Don't leave me hanging out there by myself. My ego is fragile.

And speaking of Lifelike, this week marks the start of a new storyline, "Repair." You can check it out here.



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Wednesday, April 12, 2006
 
  Posted by Dara on 4/12/2006 12:34:00 PM :

      

Sexual assault at 2005 Mid-Ohio-Con

This story originally broke back in December 2005, of an alleged sexual assault at a comic book convention. However, the details of the victim and location were kept confidential at the time, per the alleged victim's request. Well, she has now come public with her story, which you can read here.

The artist is Taki Soma, and the link to her official police report goes to the Columbus Police website. So it's no stretch to assume the incident took place at the Hilton Hotel the night before the 2005 Mid Ohio Con. Which for obvious reasons hits close to home for us Panel folk. There's been a ton of discussion on the blogosphere regarding this case, with all ends of the spectrum represented. However, the most important point that I think is getting lost amidst the noise is that this is not a "comic book industry" issue, but a much larger society issue. It's no secret that despite all our advances, claims of being "civilized" and progressive, we're still a society plagued by an inordinate amount of sexual assault and violence against women. And that's something that needs to be discussed and addressed at every level of society, and not just relegated to "we have a problem in the comics industry" mentality.

On another note, this part of her explanation of what's been going on since the initial police report really bothers me because it seems she's been getting the run around:
"This is where it gets complicated; the incident happened in Ohio, I'm in Minnesota, my witness, Ken is in Canada and the individual in question is in yet another state - these factors have made it very difficult for me to obtain legal representation or to seek legal advice. I have made countless phone calls, researched, and all I get is the run around and speculation as to what to do. Every single attorney I spoke with, civil, pro-bono, even the D.A.'s office in Ohio were unsure of how to advise me confidently..."
Granted, I'm not a legal expert by any means, but it seems to me that a crime was committed and reported in Columbus, Ohio, hence the burden of the investigation and prosecution should fall squarely on the shoulders of the Columbus, Ohio division of police and District Attorney's office. Right? I can understand the difficulties of dealing with the case's logistics, but it should still be the responsibility of Columbus. So if nothing's being done, that really pisses me off. What the hell are my tax dollars paying for, then?

Any legal experts care to chime in with their understanding of the situation?


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Tuesday, April 11, 2006
 
  Posted by Tony on 4/11/2006 08:36:00 AM :

      

Is Batman an Episcopalian?

Here's a site where they attempt to catalog the religious affiliations of superheroes.

http://www.adherents.com/lit/comics/comic_book_religion.html

Apparently, the Punisher originally intended to be a Catholic priest.



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Monday, April 10, 2006
 
  Posted by Dara on 4/10/2006 09:56:00 PM :

      

Mile High Ferret

Check it, Ferret Press books at Mile High Comics. And peep those sale prices! Panel: Myth near mint price of $8, but it's on sale for $3.20. That's a bargain :-)


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  Posted by Craig on 4/10/2006 04:22:00 PM :

      

Somebody owes me a page of story

Desert isle pt. 10, as well as pages from my nigh-completed "Luck" contribution, will follow later this week. Until then, something new for a recurring theme...

Decompression too often crosses the line from setting a tone or mood, or building anticipation, and instead simply robs me of the money I spend hoping to read a comic story by padding a book with pages that do nothing to advance plot or develop characters. This crime ticks me off more when I leave the comic store with a mere three books and have parted with ten dollars. Stretching two issue plots over six issues to fill a tpb is a crime six times over against those buying the tpb's.

So, I'll occasionally post pages from books I've purchased which I feel constitute theft of the money I've paid for a comic story. I will gladly accept pages of script or thumbnail sketches from the creators to flesh out the comic I purchased (subplots relating to the main theme are okay), or a refund of the fraction of the total cost I paid which these pages represent. I don't think these demands are unreasonable.

First up: from Sentry #1 by Paul Jenkins and John Romita jr., two creators whose work I've enjoyed in the past but who have now ripped me off.


Here's a page whose entire content could be communicated without the middle three panels and the movement of one word balloon. What am I to do with the middle of this page? It's taking up precious space in my long box!


And here's a page that probably took Romita ten minutes to draw and requires a single line of direction from the writer, whose effect could have been accomplished with a single cutaway panel. It's not even interesting to look at.

Paul Jenkins and John Romita jr.: You owe me one and 1/2 pages of story!


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  Posted by Andy Bennett on 4/10/2006 01:17:00 PM :

      


From Script to Sequential: FINALLY!

Not much to add, from an artistic perspective. I added all of Jacks tattoos (by hand; sometimes I just don't have the time for that learning curve) and the dialogue. I've always liked it when the lettering takes on a personality of its own, so I've used different typs styles for each character. Since there was no omniscient 3rd-person narrator, it was easy to do. I think I COULD have taken it up another notch, and so I may still do that before print time comes. But you'll have to buy the book to find out!

Thanks everyone, for coming along for the ride, and for the kind and helpful comments all along.

PANEL: Luck debuts at the S.P.A.C.E. expo on May 13th, with contributions by the usual gang of idiots (myself and Dara Naraghi, Tom Williams, Sean McGurr, Craig Bogart, Matt Kish, D. Tony Goins, Tim McClurg and probably others...). Look for it!


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  Posted by Dara on 4/10/2006 09:28:00 AM :

      

Monday Morning "Guess the Artist"

Well, it was a grueling week of Guess the Artist every single day last week, but you all made it through unscathed. Or at least with superficial wounds. To no one's surprise, F!NCH and Andy continued their dominance of the game, though there were a couple of pages that stumped even them. I'll post the answers to all of last week's pages tonight.

By the way, I will gladly take submissions from anyone who cares to contribute a page for the game. Just send a JPG at around 600 or 700 pixels wide to ferret at ferret press dot com.

Back to the Monday-only schedule again. Have at it:



(click image to tap dance on a rooftop)

(previous weeks: 9/12/2005, 9/19/2005, 9/26/2005, 10/3/2005, 10/10/2005, 10/17/2005, 10/24/2005, 10/31/2005, 11/1/2005, 11/2/2005, 11/3/2005, 11/4/2005, 11/5/2005, 11/6/2005, 11/7/2005, 11/14/2005, 11/21/2005, 11/28/2005, 12/5/2005, 12/12/2005, 12/19/2005, 12/26/2005, 1/2/2006, 1/9/2006, 1/16/2006, 1/23/2006, 1/30/2006, 2/06/2006, 2/13/2006, 2/20/2006, 2/27/2006, 3/6/2006, 3/13/2006, 3/20/2006, 3/27/2006, 4/3/2006, 4/4/2006, 4/5/2006, 4/6/2006, 4/7/2006, 4/8/2006, 4/9/2006)

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Sunday, April 09, 2006
 
  Posted by Dara on 4/09/2006 10:29:00 AM :

      

Monday Morning Every Day This Week "Guess the Artist"

In honor of our blog's 3 year anniversary, we're extending the Monday "Guess the Artist" game to all seven days this week! As always, you'll find a page of artwork from the early career of some of today's big name or otherwise well known artists. Use the comments section to present your guess.

Well, this is it. Starting next week, we'll be back to our usual Monday morning schedule. Hope you guys enjoyed this week's extravaganza.



(click image to rumble)

(previous weeks: 9/12/2005, 9/19/2005, 9/26/2005, 10/3/2005, 10/10/2005, 10/17/2005, 10/24/2005, 10/31/2005, 11/1/2005, 11/2/2005, 11/3/2005, 11/4/2005, 11/5/2005, 11/6/2005, 11/7/2005, 11/14/2005, 11/21/2005, 11/28/2005, 12/5/2005, 12/12/2005, 12/19/2005, 12/26/2005, 1/2/2006, 1/9/2006, 1/16/2006, 1/23/2006, 1/30/2006, 2/06/2006, 2/13/2006, 2/20/2006, 2/27/2006, 3/6/2006, 3/13/2006, 3/20/2006, 3/27/2006, 4/3/2006, 4/4/2006, 4/5/2006, 4/6/2006, 4/7/2006, 4/8/2006)

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Saturday, April 08, 2006
 
  Posted by Andy Bennett on 4/08/2006 11:30:00 AM :

      

Columbus' OHIO ROLLER GIRLS debut TONIGHT

All you Ohio people - come out TONIGHT to the HIGH FIVE bar & Grill, and see the official public debut of the 2006 Ohio Roller Girl teams! See all of the girls, all dolled up and ready for action! All teams will be introduced, in uniform, for the first time ever. The doors open at 9pm with a $5 cover. This event will feature DJ Moxy & DJ Drastic, along with prizes, raffles and more! Get pumped up with the ladies of OHRG for the debut bout on April 23!

Come out and support your local roller derby!


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  Posted by Dara on 4/08/2006 10:20:00 AM :

      

Last 2 days to take advantage of free shipping

As our blog 3 Year anniversary Extravaganza Week (TM) comes to a close this weekend, I wanted to welcome all of our new readers. Hopefully you found something of interest, and will come back to check us out in the weeks to come.

Also, for anyone interested in buying any of our lovingly crafted small press comics, we're still offering free shipping today and tomorrow. Just visit Ferret Press for free previews of all the books, and online ordering via PayPal.

Thanks.


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  Posted by Dara on 4/08/2006 10:17:00 AM :

      

Monday Morning Every Day This Week "Guess the Artist"

In honor of our blog's 3 year anniversary, we're extending the Monday "Guess the Artist" game to all seven days this week! As always, you'll find a page of artwork from the early career of some of today's big name or otherwise well known artists. Use the comments section to present your guess.

Unlike yesterday, I think today's page is a tough one. And speaking of hard ones to guess, the answer to Tuesday's page, which stumped everyone, has been posted.



(click image to enlargify)

(previous weeks: 9/12/2005, 9/19/2005, 9/26/2005, 10/3/2005, 10/10/2005, 10/17/2005, 10/24/2005, 10/31/2005, 11/1/2005, 11/2/2005, 11/3/2005, 11/4/2005, 11/5/2005, 11/6/2005, 11/7/2005, 11/14/2005, 11/21/2005, 11/28/2005, 12/5/2005, 12/12/2005, 12/19/2005, 12/26/2005, 1/2/2006, 1/9/2006, 1/16/2006, 1/23/2006, 1/30/2006, 2/06/2006, 2/13/2006, 2/20/2006, 2/27/2006, 3/6/2006, 3/13/2006, 3/20/2006, 3/27/2006, 4/3/2006, 4/4/2006, 4/5/2006, 4/6/2006, 4/7/2006)

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  Posted by Tom on 4/08/2006 09:59:00 AM :

      

Paul Hornschemeier's band The Arks are playing out at Oldfield's on High(in Columbus) tonight! Show starts at 10pm.
The song they have playing on their myspace profile smacks heavily of Joy Division with flourishes of Braniac. Which can't be all bad. Slightly slower and I can't really picture these dudes doing the Timmy Taylor strut.

If you can't check it out Enon is coming to Columbus on the 21st at Little Brothers. Enon is lead by former Braniac member John Schmersal. And yes he does the ol' Braniac strut. The Enon name should sound familiar as all of Braniac went to Beavercreek High (in Ohio). Their first couple of albums could of been a follow up to Smack Bunny Baby. One of my all time favorite albums. They also feature the broken english stylings of that girl from Blonde Redhead. Blanking on her name but I'm eager to hear Rubber Car again.


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Friday, April 07, 2006
 
  Posted by Matt Kish on 4/07/2006 05:29:00 PM :

      

For the upcoming "Panel: Luck"

Page 2 of "One in a Gazillion" from thumbnail right to finished product. Even though this is one giant iconic splash page with no background and no panel, it still took a long time. I think Bogart might beat me on this issue.

Anyway, this whole story kind of arose from a single drawing I did for a new Australian zine called "Friday: the Zine." You can learn a little more about that zine here and see one of the two drawings I submitted here. Shortly after completing that piece, I developed an obsession with making up flowers, and that led to this story. Here's the thumbnail...



...and here is the finished page...



Five more pages to go, although a few of them are a bit simpler and more sequential than this.


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  Posted by Tony on 4/07/2006 04:49:00 PM :

      

One more time -- the Panelfesto

What is Panel?

Panel is about realizing it doesn't matter if you have a fully realized universe all plotted out in your head. Nothing matters until you put ink to paper.

Panel rolls into the show 12 deep, knocks over other creators' tables, and lights its cigar off old copies of Youngblood #0 it picked up in the 10-cent bin.

Panel is a self-governing collective of aspiring comix creators in Central Ohio. Panel has no bylaws and no dues. It meets every (two weeks or so).

Panel is about sucking it up when your fellow members say your shiny new script reads like the lost episode of the A-Team. Panel knows pain makes you better.

Panel began as a flier at the Laughing Ogre comic shop, and now has about a dozen members. Some members are professional creators, some aren't. That's OK.

Panel loves you and wants what's best for you. Join Panel.


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  Posted by Dara on 4/07/2006 02:12:00 PM :

      

Comics Link-O-Rama

No time to post, so here are some interesting and/or self-serving links:
  • As part of their "Intro to Webcomics" series, The Pulse spotlights Captain Spectre. Looks like good ol' pulpy goodness. Check it out.

  • Newsarama has an interview with friend-of-the-ferret Dave Hedgecock, co-founder of Ape Entertainment.

  • Comic Book Resources features some screen shots of the upcoming Justice League Heroes game for the PS2 and Xbox.

  • Steven Grant's Permanent Damage column this week spotlights upcoming projects from a slew of indy and mainstream creators, including yours truly plugging the next Panel book and the Lifelike webcomic. Artwork shown is by Shom Bhuia and mpMann.


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  Posted by Andy Bennett on 4/07/2006 11:58:00 AM :

      

From Script to Sequential: Day ...5?

Well, folks; real life crashed in yesterday, and I wasn't able to get to the final stage for today (I suppose it wasn't real life - I was at the Rob Zombie concert until about midnight, and was too tired to continue). So the final stage of the Twilight Order page will be coming, just not today. I'll post it up, with notes, on Monday, to catch all you work-surfers.

In place of that, I'll share some of my OTHER illustration work, some few people have seen. Some of you know that I'm the art director for a children's publishing company, and oversee the creation of LOTS of books. And every once in a great while, I'll actually have time to illustrate one! Most recently, I was fortunate enough to get a deal illustrating 6 books for a new line with PBS - a first for them AND for me. The first four will be available in June, with the others following closely behind. Here's a look at some art from one of them:



These were done entirely digitally, in Adobe Illustrator. Look for them in stores nationwide in July!


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  Posted by Matt Kish on 4/07/2006 10:52:00 AM :

      

Happy Birthday to Astro Boy!

Osamu Tezuka's Astro Boy is a character near and dear to my heart, and Dark Horse Comics' recent 23 volume reprint of the original Astro Boy manga has been the best thing to happen to me comic wise in years. According to the manga, Astro Boy (or Tetsuwan Atom in Japan) was created by Dr. Tenma on April 7th, 2003. So today he is 4 years old!



And here is an image of Astro showing his machine gun butt. Told you!



Following in the footsteps of Sean McGurr's excellent "girl's names from A-Z" song list from before, I created a special playlist to celebrate Astro Boy's big day. These are all songs that make me think of Astro Boy. Some are obvious from the titles, some are more relevant because of the music. Lots of eletronic stuff. You can head on over to my site Spudd64 and actually listen to or download the MP3s, or you can just read the list here. Enjoy.

01. Astro Boy Opening Theme
02. Cyborg by M83
03. Wanda Wanda by YU MIYAKE
04. Post Post-Modern Man by DEVO
05. Helpless Automaton by MEN AT WORK
06. Robot Wars (Release the Beast) by DAFT PUNK vs. EDWIN STARR vs. BREAKWATER
07. Uran's Theme
08. Miss Modular by STEREOLAB
09. Schlecktron by MOUSE ON MARS
10. Roboshuffle by KID KOALA
11. Computer Age by NEIL YOUNG
12. Computer Love by KRAFTWERK
13. Dreaming on Distant Shores by RELLIK
14. We Just Won't Be Defeated by THE GO! TEAM
15. Human After All by DAFT PUNK
16. How Many Worlds by BRIAN ENO
17. Astro Boy (and the Proles on Parade) by THE BUGGLES
18. Astro Boy Closing Theme
19. (Bonus Track!) Techno Kid by GENERAL ELEKTRIKS


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  Posted by Tony on 4/07/2006 08:50:00 AM :

      

It’s Not John Byrne

We’ve talked before here about whether your personal opinion of a comix creator should color your impression of their work. I’ve always believed it shouldn’t, but lately I’m not so sure.

There’s one particular writer who, the more I learn about him personally, the less I like his writing. I don’t feel like naming him publicly, but he’s not an indie guy, John Byrne, or Dave Sim. Now that I know a bit about him personally:


  • I know his writing isn’t as good as he thinks it is. He’s a pretty good writer, but he really seems like he thinks he’s the shit. So when I read his “pretty good” stuff, I can’t help thinking he thinks it’s brilliant.

  • I question his motives. For example, I know he doesn’t believe in God. So when he writes a religious fanatic, is he trying to make a point?

  • I see bits of his personality in his writing. Before, I’d read certain bits and find them transgressive and funny. Now I think it’s just this guy being a prick.



Sigh. Animated Kirk is very sad.


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  Posted by Dara on 4/07/2006 08:36:00 AM :

      

Monday Morning Every Day This Week "Guess the Artist"

In honor of our blog's 3 year anniversary, we're extending the Monday "Guess the Artist" game to all seven days this week! As always, you'll find a page of artwork from the early career of some of today's big name or otherwise well known artists. Use the comments section to present your guess.

I think today's page is pretty easy. Also, the answer to Monday's page has been posted.



(click image to Alpha-size)

(previous weeks: 9/12/2005, 9/19/2005, 9/26/2005, 10/3/2005, 10/10/2005, 10/17/2005, 10/24/2005, 10/31/2005, 11/1/2005, 11/2/2005, 11/3/2005, 11/4/2005, 11/5/2005, 11/6/2005, 11/7/2005, 11/14/2005, 11/21/2005, 11/28/2005, 12/5/2005, 12/12/2005, 12/19/2005, 12/26/2005, 1/2/2006, 1/9/2006, 1/16/2006, 1/23/2006, 1/30/2006, 2/06/2006, 2/13/2006, 2/20/2006, 2/27/2006, 3/6/2006, 3/13/2006, 3/20/2006, 3/27/2006, 4/3/2006, 4/4/2006, 4/5/2006, 4/6/2006)

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Thursday, April 06, 2006
 
  Posted by Dara on 4/06/2006 10:52:00 PM :

      

Pictures from Gem City Comic Con

Here are a few pix I took at the Dayton comic convention last Sunday, click to enlarge:

The small press room at the show

Tom Williams sitting next to my empty chair at the fancy Ferret Press Corner Booth Extravaganza (TM)

L to R: Twisted Gate Entertainment founder/publisher Ray Scott and Dayton artist/Panel member Dan "Big Bald Kid" Barlow

Andy Bennett looks through reference for a commissioned Moon Knight sketch. This is funny because a) Andy hates Moon Knight, and b) he was asked to draw that particular character for that very reason

Mr. Bennett gives his own sketch the thumbs down

A close up of his sketch. So there!

Dan Barlow and sketchpad

Close up of his thumbnails of characters from various Ferret Press/Panel stories. He has evil plans for them all...


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  Posted by Dara on 4/06/2006 01:47:00 PM :

      

For all you Kirby fans

This is pretty cool: a metric assload of Kirby eyes!



(via Progressive Ruin)


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  Posted by Andy Bennett on 4/06/2006 11:37:00 AM :

      


From Script to Sequential: Day 4


Today the pencils have undergone a thorough inking, along with a few minor refinements. Nothing too huge, though, as time didn't permit. I'm glad to see that, in this stage, the size issue with Jack in panel 2 seems to have disappeared (or maybe it's just my having stared at it for so long yesterday that now it looks okay to me; time will tell).

People often ask me what kind of tools and materials I use when I work. The stock is a cold-press Strathmore watercolor paper. The surface responds wonderfully to the ink, and a well-stroked dry-brush makes me melt. Normally I use a nice heavy 400-series stock, but this one was done on a cheaper, thinner, 90-lb stock. I am inking with Doctor Ph. Martin's Black Star Hi-Carb india ink; I normally use the Matte finish, but the store I buy it from was out of Matte this week. I ink the first pass with a Hunt 102 quill, and line the panels with a very old, very tired zero-size synthetic sable brush. I also use this brush to fill in blacks and make dry-brush accents. I've been using the same brush for years; I use them until they lose too many bristles to work anymore. It looks really dispicable, but I've grown so familiar with it that I cannot work with anything else. Small accents are made with an X-Acto knife; working on a heavy stock allows you to pick pieces right out of the surface, which gives some neat highlight and texture effects. And if I need to use a liquid white (I did not on this page) I use Pelikan Graphic White, a water-based gouache-type substance, that flows well in a pen or brush, and stays pretty white even when diluted.

You'll notice Jack has no tattoos; I'm toying with the notion of doing these digitally. However, I'll most likely end up drawing them all by hand. I have yet to really embrace the digital end of all this.

For tomorrow's follow-up, I'll have tattoos, lettering, and anything else I feel like I need to fix before Prime Time. Tune in tomorrow for the exciting conclusion!


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  Posted by Sean McGurr on 4/06/2006 09:25:00 AM :

      

Ever get an idea in your head that you know you won’t be able to get rid of until you do something about it? A few weeks ago, I wondered about a definitive list of songs containing girl’s names, one song for each letter of the alphabet. While I should have spent the time working, writing, or reading, instead I scoured my CD collection and memory to come up with the following list. I’m sure there are some disagreements. Where did I screw up? What embarrassing song should I have left off and replaced with a hipper one (see the letter M)? Why are some letters so hard to find songs for (X and Z are obvious, but T)? To make it a little more interesting, I’ve only represented an artist once.


A: Ana Ng, They Might Be Giants. My favorite TMBG song by far and so catchy. Probably the strongest letter. I left off Alison by Elvis Costello because he is represented later, but I also like Alberta by Eric Clapton or Anna Begins by Counting Crows.

B: Bernadette, The Four Tops. No problems here. One of my favorite girl songs, Bernadette has a permanent place on my MP3 player.

C: Cecilia, Simon and Garfunkle. Another catchy tune. I always want to sing along and clap my hands when I hear it.

D: Delia’s Gone, Johnny Cash. Part of Cash’s comeback in the early 90s. Good stuff.

E: Evie’s Tears, Freedy Johnston. Freedy’s a favorite of mine and I wanted to include him on the list, so that means Eleanor Rigby gets pushed aside.

F: Foxy Lady, Jimi Hendrix. This is probably cheating a little, but there aren’t many choices here.

G: Gloria, Them. Fronted by Van Morrison, Them rocks with this shout-along song. If you prefer a more recent Irish band, go with U2’s Gloria.

H: Helen Wheels, Wings. It took me a while to remember this one, probably because when I was a kid I thought it was called Hell on Wheels.

I: Iris, Goo Goo Dolls. The Goo Goo Dolls tend to get dismissed because of their sappier songs, like this one, but going to school in Buffalo just as they were hitting it big made me a big fan of theirs.

J: Julia, The Beatles. The Beatles could have been represented a number of places on this list (and John and Paul each snuck in on their own), but this is my favorite. I love the name too.

K: Kate, Ben Folds Five. Ben Folds has a number of girl’s names in his songs, but K isn’t an easy letter to fill. Plus, I love the line: “Everyday she wears the same thing/I think she smokes pot/She's everything I want/She's everything I'm not” Such a fun song.

L: Layla, Derek and the Dominos. No contest here. Clapton’s song of unrequited love about George Harrison’s wife is one of my all-time favorites.

M: Melanie, Weird Al Yankovic. Weird Al pleads with a women who won’t go out with him: “How can you ignore me when you know that I can't live without you/I have to go through your garbage just to learn more about you.” Plus, it’s my wife’s name.

N: Darling Nikki, Prince. I was in elementary school when Purple Rain came out. Most of us weren’t allowed to see it and this song had been banned from the radio. Listening to it now, it’s quite tame.

O: Ophelia, The Band. I’m not a big fan of The Band, but there just aren’t that many girl’s names that start with O.

P: Peg, Steely Dan. Off the great Aja album by Steely Dan. Listen for Michael McDonald singing backup. The Beatles have three potential songs here: Penny Lane, Polythene Pam, and Dear Prudence.

Q: Killer Queen, Queen. Another cheat, but again, there aren’t many choices. Actually, now that I consider it, Freddie Mercury may have been singing about a guy in drag.

R: Roxanne, The Police. Still holds up all these years later. Sting can write perfect pop songs. I’m also a big fan of Ruby Baby by Donald Fagin

S: Black-Eyed Susan, Paul Westerberg. His music certainly changed from when he was with the Replacements. Lay Down Sally by Clapton and Sexy Sadie by the Beatles were contenders here.

T: Tina Toledo's Street Walkin' Blues, Ryan Adams. Not Bryan Adams, Ryan Adams. He is the former lead singer of Whiskeytown and has put out some great albums on his own (three last year alone).

U: Nothing Compares to U, Sinead O’Connor. I’m cheating twice here. I already used Prince, so I’m using Sinead's version. But if Prince sang it (as he does on his Hits album), he would be singing to a girl, a girl named U.

V: Veronica, Elvis Costello. Not my favorite song by Costello, but then again, there aren’t many V names.

W: Little Wing, Stevie Ray Vaughan. Vaughan’s instrumental is the best version, but you could also pick Hendrix, Sting, or Clapton if they weren’t represented elsewhere on the list. You might argue that Wing isn’t a girl’s name. Well...then how about Windy by the Association? But that songs about a horse. Weird.

X: Xanadu, Electric Light Orchestra. I don’t think ELO meant this song to be about a woman, but is there any other song that begins with an X that could even remotely be considered?

Y: Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots, Flaming Lips. Until this song came out, I probably would have had to choose Dear Yoko by John Lennon.

Z: Zoe, Eminem. I admit that I had to look this one up on the Internet. Is there anything else I could have chosen?


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  Posted by Dara on 4/06/2006 08:40:00 AM :

      

BigCityBlues redux

Sales for the BigCityBlues comic (and CD) have been steady, albeit slow, since the book first came out. But at this past week's Gem City Comic Con, there was an unusually high amount of interest in the book. In fact, I sold more CDs in that one show than I have in all the other cons in the past. I guess it was just the right mix of enthusiasm, commerce, and audience taste.

So seeing how it's the blog's 3rd Anniversary Extravaganza (TM) and we have some new visitors, I thought I'd spotlight the music here. Pardon the shameless self-promotion, but as Tony quoted me back in April of 2003, "When it comes to small press comics, nothing is too self-indulgent!"

The BigCityBlues soundtrack is an hour-long CD, featuring 15 tracks by 4 talented bands. "The perfect musical ying to the book's sequential art yang." Click the selected tracks below for a low-bandwidth sample of the songs:


1. Awake Now
2. Friday Night Curse
3. Pure
4. No Soul Jones

5. White
6. Life at the Gallows
7. She and Her Lips
8. Spontaneous Combustion

9. driven
10. fade
11. invisible
12. wonder

13. Lonely For You
14. Highway
15. Saab

As a bonus, the CD comes packaged in a funky "triggerpack" case!



More information about the book, as well as previews of the stories, can be found at the BigCityBlues micro-site.


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  Posted by Dara on 4/06/2006 08:35:00 AM :

      

Monday Morning Every Day This Week "Guess the Artist"

In honor of our blog's 3 year anniversary, we're extending the Monday "Guess the Artist" game to all seven days this week! As always, you'll find a page of artwork from the early career of some of today's big name or otherwise well known artists. Use the comments section to present your guess.



(click image to Cheney-size)

(previous weeks: 9/12/2005, 9/19/2005, 9/26/2005, 10/3/2005, 10/10/2005, 10/17/2005, 10/24/2005, 10/31/2005, 11/1/2005, 11/2/2005, 11/3/2005, 11/4/2005, 11/5/2005, 11/6/2005, 11/7/2005, 11/14/2005, 11/21/2005, 11/28/2005, 12/5/2005, 12/12/2005, 12/19/2005, 12/26/2005, 1/2/2006, 1/9/2006, 1/16/2006, 1/23/2006, 1/30/2006, 2/06/2006, 2/13/2006, 2/20/2006, 2/27/2006, 3/6/2006, 3/13/2006, 3/20/2006, 3/27/2006, 4/3/2006, 4/4/2006, 4/5/2006)

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Wednesday, April 05, 2006
 
  Posted by Tom on 4/05/2006 09:37:00 PM :

      


Drawn! just tipped me off on a fellow classmate's blog- Steve Hamaker. The colorist and pre-press gunslinger for Jeff Smith (Bone). Steve posts a step by step on how he colors Bone. Steve also has a strip coming up in the next Flight collection from Image. He'll be pimpin' out at the upcoming S.P.A.C.E. show in May.


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  Posted by Matt Kish on 4/05/2006 06:36:00 PM :

      

For the upcoming "Panel: Luck"

Sure, I am totally biting off Andy here, but my story for the upcoming "Panel: Luck" anthology is starting to come together and I thought I'd share some of it. It's called "One in a Gazillion" and it looks like it will clock in at 7 pages, but because of the length that punk Bogart will probably beat me to the finish line. Anyway, laugh it up at this "from thumbnail to sequential" image of mine...

>

...and here is what resulted from that...



I've always worked like this. Just one really really rough thumbnail and then straight to the page. I know there are all sorts of problems and issues with that way of working, but that's something I hope to keep learning about from Andy, Tom, and the rest of Panel. I'm not sure if I will ever work the way Andy does, or Tom, or Tim, or Tony, but I guess everyone works differently. Critiques on the art or the working method are more than welcome. More art tomorrow...


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  Posted by Andy Bennett on 4/05/2006 11:58:00 AM :

      


From Script to Sequential: Day 3

Picking up from yesterday's post, here's step 3: full-size pencil art! It's hard for me to pencil clearly enough for demonstration's sake, so these are a little tighter than I would normally work.

These are a little on the small side, by "normal" comic-book standards. I work on 9x12-inch board, as opposed to the "industry standard" 11x17. I've found that it forces me to economize my compositions, and eliminate unnecessary detail - there's simply no room for it!

There have been a few changes from yesterday's thumbnail. In fact, I re-think and refine throughout the process. Most notably the first panel. After Tim mentioned its uselessness, I started thinking about it, and noticed that the images of Zhen in panel 1 and 2 were almost identical. So I've obscured her a little, to kind of give the impression of her emerging from the blackness into the light of the apartment. I've also added Jack's hand into panel 4; this allowed me to connect him to that panel, and add a little more detail to his character. I've also changed the view on panel 6, turning it in the opposite direction than the preceding ones. This serves a couple of purposes. First it "punctuates" the series of panels with the contrast. Also, the angle of the bars on the cage point your eye towards the next panel.

For tomorrow, I'll be inking this page - hopefully to completion. I'll be back at lunchtime tomorrow!


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  Posted by Sean McGurr on 4/05/2006 11:31:00 AM :

      

New Comics Magazine
Most of you may be aware of this, but there's a new comics magazine (online only I believe) called Comic Foundry. Some decent articles, a interview with Patton Oswald, a nice variety of stories, but what caught my attention was a feature called "State of Comics" featuring a look at comics in one state, in this case Ohio.

Some weird formatting so that you can't see Harvey Pekar, David Mack and Jeff Smith listed as the top resident creators, but the real problem is with some egregious missteps. Look at this list of top comics shops:

Top 3 Comic Shops
1) Amazing Comics and Cards
57 Wallings Road
Cleveland, OH 44133
2) Freaks & Geeks Comics
2725 Hudson Drive
Cuyahoga Falls, OH 44221
3) Comic Town
1249 Morse Road
Columbus, OH 43229

Wha--?! The Laughing Ogre isn't even the top shop in Columbus, let alone Ohio? Well, what about conventions:

Top 3 Conventions
1) Mid-Ohio-Con
Ohio’s biggest and most noteworthy comicon, the 2006 convention will take place at Battelle Hall in the Greater Columbus Convention Center on Nov. 25 and 26.
2) Ohayocon
Ohayocon 2006 was in Columbus from Jan. 6 to 8.
3) Gem City Comic Con
The Gem City Comic Con began on April 2 at the Student Union of Wright State University in Dayton.

No SPACE. Come on. Well at least our state is getting some recognition.


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  Posted by Dara on 4/05/2006 10:26:00 AM :

      

Monday Morning Every Day This Week "Guess the Artist"

In honor of our blog's 3 year anniversary, we're extending the Monday "Guess the Artist" game to all seven days this week! As always, you'll find a page of artwork from the early career of some of today's big name or otherwise well known artists. Use the comments section to present your guess.



(click image to Haji-size)

(previous weeks: 9/12/2005, 9/19/2005, 9/26/2005, 10/3/2005, 10/10/2005, 10/17/2005, 10/24/2005, 10/31/2005, 11/1/2005, 11/2/2005, 11/3/2005, 11/4/2005, 11/5/2005, 11/6/2005, 11/7/2005, 11/14/2005, 11/21/2005, 11/28/2005, 12/5/2005, 12/12/2005, 12/19/2005, 12/26/2005, 1/2/2006, 1/9/2006, 1/16/2006, 1/23/2006, 1/30/2006, 2/06/2006, 2/13/2006, 2/20/2006, 2/27/2006, 3/6/2006, 3/13/2006, 3/20/2006, 3/27/2006, 4/3/2006, 4/4/2006)

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Tuesday, April 04, 2006
 
  Posted by Sean McGurr on 4/04/2006 10:05:00 PM :

      

Panel Assemble Part 11
My humble addition to the comic:



I tag Matt Kish!

See the rest of the comic here.


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  Posted by Dara on 4/04/2006 07:45:00 PM :

      

Panel Assemble, part 10

(I'm posting this for Tony)

And the blog comic jam rolls on...



Tony would like everyone to know that he tags writer Sean McGurr.

(Missed out on the previous "chapters" of the comic? Catch up here.)


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  Posted by Dara on 4/04/2006 07:37:00 PM :

      

A one, a two, a 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6

I'm sure by now a dozen people have e-mailed you this fun fact, but in a few hours, in the wee hours of Wednesday morning, at two minutes and three seconds after 1:00 AM, the time and date will be:

01:02:03 04/05/06

I'm sure Nostradamus probaby had a prophecy about it, but I know what it means for me: sweet, sweet sleep. Because it'll be f-ing one in the morning!


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  Posted by Tom on 4/04/2006 06:17:00 PM :

      



Sketches from upcoming Panel:Luck strip with Tony. Don't worry Tony, I'll fix the guy's nose.
These were both shaded in Painter. My thumbnails are more shorthand for me. I don't think anyone could tell what's going on except me.


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  Posted by Andy Bennett on 4/04/2006 12:45:00 PM :

      

From script to sequential: Day 2


After I've established the characters, I get down to brass tacks: storytelling. This is definitely the most deliberate and intense part of my creative process. In my estimation, this is the ONE THING that makes a comic a comic, so it deserves our respect.


l begin by thoroughly reading the script, and getting a working picture of it in my head. For spoiler reasons, I'll not b e posting the entire manuscript here, but this is the writer's breakdown for this particular page:


Page 2: She lands like a cat on the window ledge, looking straight at us. Jack turns in surprise, and we see a tourniquet wrapped around his left arm. His eyes are wild, crazy, feral. She slowly slinks her way into the room. A glance from her at the table, a shot of a syringe and bag of heroin there, a knowing but disappointed look on Zhen’s face. She nods over to the corner, where we see the Luck Imp confined to a small iron cage. The look on the Imp’s face is indifferent, neither mad nor happy. Zhen’s demeanor is serious, but reserved. She’s trying to reason with the rogue.

The first order of business is to determine which action or scene will be the focus of the page, and build everything else around that to support it. I'm feeling the moment where Zhen speaks and Jack nearly jumps out of his skin sums this one up well. So in theory, every other panel on the page will be in service of that one.


The 3 sketches below are the same page, done 3 times over.There is a really spontaneous phase first, which is how I usually begin, to get the mental image into 2 dimensions. It seldom works in itself, but it gets me going in the right direction. I pretty much nailed it in step 2, and then went on to step 3 to refine it.





So I'll break down my approach for the final sketch:


The first panel is a focus on Zhen, sneaking in through the open window. Then we launch right into the centerpiece, with the two old teammates facing each other again, after all this time. Here, I establish Zhen's space on the LEFT side of the panel, and Jack's place on the RIGHT. They keep these spaces throughout the story; an intangible clarity is lent to the storytelling by sticking to these parameters, and if I really want to make a statement, I can switch sides with them.


What follows is a series of rapid-fire still images, bouncing 'round the room, to give us more of a sense of environment. I'll probably be moving Zhen a little more off the left side of her solo panel before this goes to finish.


The last panel is the secondary focus, so it became larger as well. There is a little bit of subtext going on here as well, what with placing the demon between the two, since it is the bone of contention amid this confrontation.


For tomorrow's post, I'll take this image to full-size pencil art, and make all of the final decisions and fine-tunes necessary to go to inks.


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  Posted by Tony on 4/04/2006 10:17:00 AM :

      


Bankies – Inaugural Gem City edition

Whoa, wasn’t that a stunning musical number, folks? I loved the slow-motion dancing to the car crash footage.

Anyway, welcome back to the Gem City edition of Panel’s Convention Awards, now known as the Bankies. We used to call them “Connies,” but apparently that name was taken. The new name honors the Jason Lee character from “Chasing Amy.”

Let’s get Salma Hayek out here for the first award, shall we?



  • Like a Virgin Award: The organizers of Gem City, who arranged a killer show their first time out. And they say it’s never good the first time.

  • You Won't See This on Miami Ink Award - The dude with a Nova tattoo on his calf. I also saw a guy with a Two-Face tattoo.

  • Kryptonite Award: Moon Knight, who sapped Andy’s mojo. After Andy drew the Fist of Khonshu, he could barely remember Mr. Miracle.

  • Big Love Award: Ray Scott, with a couple of new books and more planned for SPACE. If he reproduced any more, he’d have to move to Salt Lake City.

  • Beyond Antares Award: Tony Goins, who walked out with 29 Star Trek comics for around $20.

  • The Non-Profit Table of the Show - Although all of us in the small press room could compete, the winner is the Dayton Public Library, a non-profit organization by design. They had a smart strategy selling old graphic novels for half price (or less) with all the money going back to purchase graphic novels for the library. Plus it was nice outreach to the community.

  • Claude Rains Award: Paul Gulacy. (Honorable mention: Craig Bogart)

  • Keep Reachin’ For That Rainbow Award: Tim McClurg, coming out with sweet color covers for Jury Rigged Comics.

  • It’s Hard Out Here For A Pimp Award: Chad Lambert, who was dealing rocks all day. Lambert, if you ever complain about selling out of a book, I will stab you in the eye with a Micron pen.

  • ’Ho Been Dissed Award: Dara Naraghi. A 15-year-old kid started to ask him about his story in Ape Omnibus, but stopped him to say "actually, I'm more of a Chad Lambert fan."

  • Seduction of the Innocent Award: The dealer who had boxes of porno comix.

  • Take It Like A Man Award: Antonio D’Ambrosio, who demanded honest feedback for his self-published novel and accepted it with grace.



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  Posted by Sean McGurr on 4/04/2006 10:09:00 AM :

      

Graphic Novel Journal
Consider this an open invitation for Ferret Press Weblog readers to check out my Graphic Novel Journal, a twice weekly review of graphic novels, comic book collections, trade paperbacks, and anything else interesting I read.

Started in December 2003, the Graphic Novel Journal has reviews of almost 400 books. In the last few weeks, I've reviewed Fantagraphics new anthology MOME, Paul Chadwick's Concrete, the latest ACME Novelty Library, the last volume of Alan Moore's Promethea, and a Daredevil collection.

Look for new reviews this month of Pyongyang (today), Tricked (Thursday), The Push Man and Other Stories, Y: The Last Man: Girl on Girl, Joe Sacco's latest War's End, and Brian Wood's Demo.

Also, the Graphic Novel Journal is part of Amazon's Associates program, so you can order books directly from Amazon through the site. Any commission I receive I put right back into buying more books for review (so I don't have to rely on the library as much as I do). I also take submissions (as with Sam Seen's China X'Perience, so contact me if you'd like to have your book reviewed.

I've set up an RSS site feed to make it easier for you to know when a new review is posted.


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  Posted by Craig on 4/04/2006 09:57:00 AM :

      



Desert Island Comics, pt. 9

My proudest moment as a self-publisher came when Cold Cut Distribution made the first two issues of The Ineffables a featured selection in their flier under the banner: “Perfect for fans of Bob Burden’s Flaming Carrot!" I mentioned a few posts ago that there are two favorite series’ I try to evoke with nearly every comic I create; Flaming Carrot is the second one. I stumbled upon the fourth issue of this series as a teenager during a time when I had stopped reading comics, and this is the book that drew me back in and remains my biggest influence to this day.

The bizarre surrealism of this series defies summation. The earliest issues ran on a twisted internal logic that eschewed normal conventions such as rationality or coherence in favor of a form of Dadaist storytelling, as if Winsor Mackay illustrated a script by Alan Ginsburg. It was pure joy trying to wrap my head around each issue. The central character is a brain-damaged, blue-collar superhero, simpleminded like Chance the gardener, amorous like James Bond. One issue he might be cruising the bars with the Angel of Death (a far cooler version than Neil Gaiman ever conceived), hopping onstage to recite turrets-like poetry; the next would find him fighting a monster in one of Iron City’s darkened alleys, armed only with a broken beer bottle. A voyage into the afterlife read like the lyrics of Bob Dylan’s Desolation Row set to comic form, and his most memorable antagonist (to me) was a flying dead dog. His approach to crime fighting is best summed up when he joins the police on a raid and one officer says “There are more crooks here than we thought.” “Then shoot more bullets!” is his response. The hardest part about this latest entry is singling out exactly which issue of the series to take with me to my hypothetical desert isle, but since I’ve still got a stack of them by the bathtub the pressure’s off a little. And so I’ve chosen…

#2: Flaming Carrot Comics #11

This issue is surely the Carrot’s most desperate hour. A passing comet has induced all manner of strange happenings on Earth, but hardest hit is our hero’s own hometown. Iron City has seceded from the union and elected notorious communist Gus Paul as its President. Every superhero has left the city for fear that their oaths to uphold the law of the land would make them Red stooges. Only one man remains behind to fight the corrupt new order-- that “one-man Mardi Gras” known as the Flaming Carrot.

Living the life of a hunted fugitive, our hero survives by swiping pies from windowsills as he leads his band of lovestruck coeds in a guerrilla campaign of practical jokes and prank phone calls in an effort to destabilize Iron City’s commie overlords. He sneaks into the barracks of the red troops and paints little Flaming Carrots on all their helmet visors, so when they don their uniforms in the morning they open fire on each other, thinking their enemy is in their midst. Twice captured, he makes bold escapes: the first time, he is locked in a room with three surly guards. When the leader of the villains returns, the guards have all hanged themselves and the Carrot has disappeared! The second time, he excuses himself to the restroom while being escorted back to captivity. Dismantling the paper towel dispenser, he takes out his guard with an enormous spitball.

Forging an unlikely alliance with Bela Kharmerian, the Soviet James Bond, this one man insurgency rallies the citizens of Iron City to fight back against their oppressors. He destroys the plans of a crazed KGB scientist along the way to his ultimate confrontation with Gus Paul. The villain causes his own undoing as his tyrannical ranting overloads his word balloon and he is speared by the collapsing visual prop.

One great mystery remains over the entire run of the series, which has recently been revived: in the earliest issues, Bob Burden announced a guess-the-Carrot’s-identity contest, stating that he was in civilian life a prominent public figure and that clues to his secret ID were placed throughout each issue of the series. In fact, numerous references to the old Late Night with David Letterman abound in the issues I’ve been rereading, but I’ve never heard a definitive statement regarding the actual solution to the contest, except that Bill Mumy correctly guessed the name.



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  Posted by Dara on 4/04/2006 08:20:00 AM :

      

Monday Morning Every Day This Week "Guess the Artist"

In honor of our blog's 3 year anniversary, we're extending the Monday "Guess the Artist" game to all seven days this week! As always, you'll find a page of artwork from the early career of some of today's big name or otherwise well known artists. Use the comments section to present your guess.



(click image to barbarian size)

(previous weeks: 9/12/2005, 9/19/2005, 9/26/2005, 10/3/2005, 10/10/2005, 10/17/2005, 10/24/2005, 10/31/2005, 11/1/2005, 11/2/2005, 11/3/2005, 11/4/2005, 11/5/2005, 11/6/2005, 11/7/2005, 11/14/2005, 11/21/2005, 11/28/2005, 12/5/2005, 12/12/2005, 12/19/2005, 12/26/2005, 1/2/2006, 1/9/2006, 1/16/2006, 1/23/2006, 1/30/2006, 2/06/2006, 2/13/2006, 2/20/2006, 2/27/2006, 3/6/2006, 3/13/2006, 3/20/2006, 3/27/2006, 4/3/2006)

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Monday, April 03, 2006
 
  Posted by Sean McGurr on 4/03/2006 02:30:00 PM :

      


Comic Book Retailer Trial Begins Today
The Gordon Lee trial begins today. Lee is being charged with two misdemeanor counts of distribution of harmful to minors material for handing out an issue of Alternative Comics #2, a Free Comic Book Day book a few years back that features a few panels of Picasso painting while in the nude. It is very tame by even the most prudish standards in my opinion. The Comic Book Legal Defense Fund has spent more than $40,000 defending Lee which has drawn away from the war chest. If you aren't already a member of the CBLDF, consider joining today.


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  Posted by Andy Bennett on 4/03/2006 11:58:00 AM :

      

From script to sequential: Day 1


In this series, I'll be breaking down my creative process. For demonstration's sake, I'll be using Dara Naraghi's script for the TWILIGHT ORDER preview, which will be appearing in PANEL:Luck, volume 7. In addition to getting a little insight into my approach to making comics, you'll also be getting a sneak preview of what to expect in this spring's new issue of PANEL!


This being a new thing, with very specific characters, I first like to try to get a handle on who I'll be drawing. So I spent a few hours kicking around the character descriptions, trying to nail down how these people (and things) will look.


First, there's the "Luck Imp", a small, cat-sized humanoid humunculus/demon creature. I'm feeling about half Mike Mignola, half Ashley Wood on this. The sketches are rough, but I think I know where I'm going with this one.





Second, we have Jack; the "antagonist" of this short. He has kidnaped the Luck Imp, and is using it for illicit gain. Jack's a kind of rockabilly bad boy, and was pretty easy to pin down. I know a guy who looks just like this:




And finally, there's Zhen, the protagonist. She's a formidable, stealthy stalker, and an important character to the entire concept. So I had to do a few more turns with her to make sure I was comfortable with drawing her over and over, and that my design captured the character. I waffled from one extreme to the other:







...and finally decided on the simpler of the two. I thought it suited the character better (realistically), would be easier to draw, and wouldn't "genrify" it too much. So I did an ink sketch to try and get a little mood:





In tomorrow's installment, I'll take a page of script and break it down, panel by panel, and prepare for pencil art. See you then.


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  Posted by Tony on 4/03/2006 11:10:00 AM :

      


Another look

A busy Warren Ellis fan took the time to scan in Transmetropolitan No. 8 -- yes, the whole issue. You can read it online here.

This is one of my favorite episodes from one of my favorite series. The hero of the series was Spider Jerusalem, kind of a Hunter S. Thompson of the far-flung future.

Most episodes centered on Spider's antics and prodigious drug use, but sometimes it would downshift to show the stories Spider was "writing." The sensitivity of those stories was made all the more touching in contrast with the mayhem of the rest of the series. Transmet No. 8 combines that sensitivity with a sense of history, as well as a vision of the future that is both exotic and all-too-familiar.


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  Posted by Dara on 4/03/2006 10:55:00 AM :

      

Ferret Press/Panel blog celebrates 3 years!

We started our blog this week 3 years ago, with a tongue-in-cheek manifesto of sorts, written by Tony Goins, which we affectionately refer to as our Panelfesto. To commemorate the anniversary, the blog will feature tons of daily content, artwork, games, pictures, and a few extra surprises for the entire week of April 3rd. For example:
  • "Monday Morning Guess the Artist"...every day!
  • More of Tony Goin's "What Went Wrong" essays
  • More of Craig Bogart's "Desert Island Comics" list
  • Andy Bennett's step-by-step breakdown of how he goes from script to breakdowns to pencils to inks, demonstrated on a story he's working on for the next PANEL anthology
  • Lots o' art from Tom, Matt, Dan, Tim, and the rest of the gang
And get this: for the duration of this whole week, you can order any of our books off the website and shipping will be free! So head on over to the Store and check out some of our delicious small press wares.





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  Posted by Dara on 4/03/2006 08:22:00 AM :

      

Monday Morning Every Day This Week "Guess the Artist"

In honor of our blog's 3 year anniversary, we're extending the Monday "Guess the Artist" game to all seven days this week! As always, you'll find a page of artwork (warts and all) from the early career of some of today's big name or otherwise well known artists. Use the comments section to present your guess.



(click image to boobysize)

(previous weeks: 9/12/2005, 9/19/2005, 9/26/2005, 10/3/2005, 10/10/2005, 10/17/2005, 10/24/2005, 10/31/2005, 11/1/2005, 11/2/2005, 11/3/2005, 11/4/2005, 11/5/2005, 11/6/2005, 11/7/2005, 11/14/2005, 11/21/2005, 11/28/2005, 12/5/2005, 12/12/2005, 12/19/2005, 12/26/2005, 1/2/2006, 1/9/2006, 1/16/2006, 1/23/2006, 1/30/2006, 2/06/2006, 2/13/2006, 2/20/2006, 2/27/2006, 3/6/2006, 3/13/2006, 3/20/2006, 3/27/2006)

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  Posted by Dara on 4/03/2006 08:15:00 AM :

      

Convention jam page

We had a good time at the Gem City Comic Con yesterday. In keeping with tradition, all the Panel guys worked on a jam page during the show, for the fun of it:

(click to enlarge)

Top row: Tom Williams, Dara Naraghi (after Matt Kish)
Middle row: Andy Bennett, Dan Barlow
Bottom row: Sean McGurr, Tony Goins


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Sunday, April 02, 2006
 
  Posted by Dara on 4/02/2006 09:44:00 PM :

      

AA Weekend Covers

Sorry again for the skip week last time. I'll try and get this feature back on its regular weekly schedule. That's right, it's time once again for Awesome and Ass covers. Two covers featured, one is pretty awesome, the other is just ass.

But wait!!!

In honor of April Fool's Day, I'm declaring this week's installment All Ass! That's right, twice the bad art for the same regular price. Can't beat that with a stick, in as much as you'd like to. But enough talk, bring on the craptacular artwork:

ASS

(click to enlarge)
Youngblood Strikefile #5 (1993) by Rob "The Slob" Liefeld.

Check it out, it's Homestar Runner on steroids! It's the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man in his secret crime-fighting identity! It's the...oh, forget it. It's pure ass, is what it is.

ASS

(click to enlarge)
Marvel Comics Presents #161 (August 1994) by Robert Walker.

Sometimes it seems like back in the 90s, any ol' one-armed epileptic grade schooler with a box of crayons could just walk off the street into the Marvel offices and land a cover assignment. I don't know what's the most offensive thing about this illustration...the overall hideous anatomy on the woman, her snap-on wrist extensions, the showerhead gauntlets, the pencil waist, the I've-never-actually-seen-a-naked-woman malformed boobs, the...ohhhh, my head hurts. I can't look at this cover anymore. Let's just say it's not good and leave it at that. Actually, it's ass. There, I said it.

Next weekend: we return with the awesome cover half of the feature.

(previous weeks: 12/3/2005, 12/11/2005, 12/17/2005, 12/25/2005, 1/7/2006, 1/15/2006, 1/22/2006, 1/29/2006, 2/5/2006, 2/12/2006, 2/19/2006, 2/26/2006, 3/5/2006, 3/19/2006)


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  Posted by Dara on 4/02/2006 07:56:00 AM :

      

Gem City Comic Con today

See you at the show.



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Saturday, April 01, 2006
 
  Posted by Tom on 4/01/2006 06:43:00 PM :

      


S.P.B.: Rise! goes live tommorow on the wcn kids. This is not a drill.


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  Posted by Dara on 4/01/2006 11:02:00 AM :

      

Couple of comics-related links

For those of you interested in the histories of the two most convoluted comic book "universes," here are some free online resources:

The Unofficial Guide to the DC Universe.

MarvelDirectory.com

Enjoy!


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  Posted by Dara on 4/01/2006 10:48:00 AM :

      

Iran in the news

Seems lately the only news we hear about my motherland is talk of nuclear proliferation and saber rattling. So I figured I'd post a couple of links drawing your attention to other subjects.

Iran hit by magnitude 6.1 earthquake. As of this time, 70 people have died and over 330 villages were affected, leaving 15,000 families homeless. "Iran, where three of Earth's tectonic plates meet, is one of the world's most seismically active areas. The country has been struck by eight "significant" quakes since 1997, according to USGS data." For those so inclined, Relief International and Mercy Corps are good charities, specializing in international relief and humanitarian aid.

From tragedy to creativity, this next link is about Iranian artist Seyed Alavi, who lives here in the states. He has installed a cool mural of an aerial view of the Sacramento River woven into the carpet of a skybridge in Sacramento International Airport. Check out more pictures at his website.



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