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.
There is a Dr. Sketchy's starting up in Columbus and you're all invited. What is Dr. Sketchy's? It's a drawing session with a liquor licence that's what. Part camp, part art school minus *Rose (shudder). First started up in Brooklyn by the lovely Molly Crabapple n' company.
I've been secretly hoping another burlesque troupe would materialize to take up the mantle. That lady is Viva Valezz.
*for the CCAD kids. Probably the only worthless drawing sessions I ever had were with Rose. She had three crappy short poses and two crappy long poses. Imagine drawing your mom naked. Yeah. Now imagine drawing her naked for nearly four years straight. I always drew the scar in.
Cafe Bourbon Street expanding.. finally! and stuff.
It's about freaking time but I read in the alt weekly's that Cafe Bourbon Street bought the liquor licence and space next door. Expanding their space for the better. Or not. It could be like some other horridly laid out bars I've seen shows in here in town. It's too late for American Music Club and the Mudhoney show. Both of which I would have loved to of gone too if they weren't playing in a glorified hallway. The Mudhoney show coming up Tuesday is pitch perfect except for the venue sucking. Damn I miss Little Brothers. __________________________________________
Has anybody else been catching the hilarity of NBC4 on the Square? It's been a laugh riot watching the cameramen try to give the illusion of a hopping downtown scene that doesn't exist. The Columbus 'Square' has one obnoxious street corner of Times Square style screens and glitter. Nothing they can block off for events or shows outside the building like the Today Show. If they didn't have that screen, you'd see homeless folks peeing on the window. People on their way to work or the courthouse. I'm wondering how long this will all last.
I almost forgot, the Tori Amos anthology I'm in got solicited in May's Previews. Do you like Ted McKeever, Dame Darcy, and David Mack? Do you want to help pay off my credit card debt? This book's got a sampling from across the industry devide. Clocking in at a whopping 480 pages from Image Comics! ..and available in softcover, hardbound and a fancy limited slipcase leatherbound edition. If you're going to San Diego, and you are a Tori fan.. I would suggest you find the book signing. Hint,hint.Here's the ordering info..
Comic Book Tattoo. coming in July from Image Comics. The trade is around $30. Hardbound is $50. Limited slipcase edition is $150. Format is 12x12in.
I'm proud to announce the first volume of No Formula (Diamond Order Code: JUN083849) will be hitting the shelves in August from Desperado. Tony Goins and I have a story in it which originally ran on The Chemistry Set and also in Panel:Luck. You can read the official press release from the pals at the Chemistry Set.
I reckon I can talk about this now ... I'm part of the writer's group for Dream 13, a local indie horror flick. Dream 13 is a series of short films which will all fit together into a feature-length project. It's kind of like the old Saturday-morning serials ... except with more rape and murder.
Over the weekend I got to be on set while Episode 11 was shot. No, we're not that far along. They're shooting out of order.
It's been a major departure from comic books. Indie comics are usually made by one guy, or four at the most. In this, I'm one of three writers. It's been quite a process to meld our different voices into one project. I guess you'll all get to judge how well it works.
Working with two other writers has challenged the way I approach my craft. This is the first time I've really gotten to see other writers at work, and I've been comparing and contrasting my skills with theirs. I get a lot of feedback from them. I've found that I am capable of getting inside a character's head and figuring out what makes them tick -- but I often don't bother to. I often go straight for the pulp.
I rely on my comics background a lot for this. I actually did some rough storyboard sketches for Dream 11. There's one low-angle shot that I suggested that I think will turn out really well. I've had to change my dialog style a lot, though. You can get away with long lines of dialog on the comics page. From a real person, however, a long line often sounds fakey.
This weekend, I also I had the opportunity to watch lines I wrote spoken by real people. If you have ever wondered why an artist made a particular choice, just wait until you see your stuff interpreted by an actor. It is simultaneously exhilarating and humiliating. Yesterday I saw an actor say "So what?" -- a throwaway line in my mind -- and turn it into the linchpin of the whole piece.
So what was I doing on set? My official title was "grip." I fetched things, I moved things, I cleared things. I held things. Most of the time I held a reflector to bounce sunlight on people's faces, filling in the shadows. That's a good job for a writer.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Mid-Ohio-Con to Merge with Ohio Comic Con
The New Mid-Ohio-Con 2008 Scheduled for October 4-5 in Columbus, Ohio
Monday, May 19, 2008 - Columbus, Ohio GCX Holdings LLC announced today that it has reached an agreement to merge Mid-Ohio-Con with Ohio Comic Con. The new Mid-Ohio-Con will bring together the best that both conventions have to offer with respect to special guest list, programming, schedule, venue, and organizational teams. Mid-Ohio-Con 2008 will take place on the weekend of October 4-5 at the Greater Columbus Convention Center in Columbus, Ohio.
"I couldn't be more excited about this development," said James Henry, Managing Director of GCX Holdings, which recently acquired Mid-Ohio-Con. "I strongly believe that Mid-Ohio-Con and Ohio Comic Con will be far better together than they would be separately. This combination is a great outcome for everybody involved, including our creative guests, retailers and other exhibitors, and especially the loyal fans who have attended Mid-Ohio-Con year after year."
"We are very happy to be combining Ohio Comic Con with Mid-Ohio-Con," said Teresa Colegrove, Co-Founder of Ohio Comic Con and Packrat Comics. "Our primary goal in forming Ohio Comic Con was always to ensure that there was a great convention in our home state, and we've certainly accomplished that with the combination of our two events. We have lots of new ideas that we're looking forward to contributing to this year's Mid-Ohio-Con."
"I'm certainly pleased to see this combination take place," said Roger Price, Founder of Mid-Ohio-Con. "Our new team has a lot of energy and enthusiasm as well as innovative ideas and I'm look forward to working with them on this year's event. We've just launched our new web site and stay tuned in the coming weeks for news about additions to our guest list for Mid-Ohio-Con 2008, as well as some exciting new additions to our programming schedule."
About Mid-Ohio-Con Now entering its 28th year, Mid-Ohio-Con is one of America's longest-running and most successful pop culture conventions. Each year, Mid-Ohio-Con brings fans of all ages together with leading comic book writers and artists, film and television creators and stars, as well as publishers and retailers from across the nation. Mid-Ohio-Con 2008 will be held on October 4-5 at the Greater Columbus Convention Center at 400 North High Street in Columbus, Ohio.
About Packrat Comics Established in 1993 by Jamie and Teresa Colegrove, Packrat Comics is a family owned and operated full-service specialty comic shop with two locations serving central Ohio. Working with local schools to promote comics as both an art form and educational tool, Packrat Comics strives to provide its community with a fun, family-friendly atmosphere where children of all ages can enjoy this wonderful medium. Packrat Comics can be found online at www.packratcomics.com.
Saturday morning I woke up around 6:00 a.m. in a tent in the middle of the woods, rolled over to grab my cell phone, and called work to tell them I quit.
Everyone should get a chance to do that once in their life.
We were on an impromptu camping trip (the Bigfoot expedition being a couple weeks away still) at some park whose name I didn’t bother to remember*. We hung out on a beach, took a three hour boat trip around a lake, and wasted plenty of time around a campfire.
Late in the afternoon I took the kids to a playground near the campsite. Some surly guy about a decade older than me was there with three of his own children acting like he was having the worst time of his life. The youngest, a boy, kept telling everyone for no apparent reason, “I’m not a wimp!” I suspect dad was a little too hard on the kid… At one point while we were watching our kids play he looked over at me and said, “I remember a time not too long ago when the women would have to be doing this.” I responded with a smile, “I don’t.”
I didn’t get invited to the guy’s campsite for a late night card game, but that’s okay; he seemed to be a grade-1 asshole.
Later that evening while the missus and her sister took the kids for ice cream, I sat on a grassy slope watching the sun go down over the hills across the lake while my MP3 player went through a few selections from a Black Crowes concert (an acoustic Jealous Again, Waiting Guilty, and a twelve minute long cover of my favorite Dead tune, Sugaree, from 8/01/06). When I returned to the campsite they still hadn’t made it back, so I cued up Miles Davis’ On The Corner and stared at the fire until their car pulled in.
More staring at the fire making small talk until everyone finally turned in.
*The night we got there I went into the park’s restroom at the end of the lane from our campsite. My two-year old followed me to “help”, because, well, that’s what two-year olds do. When she entered the room she let out a piercing shriek and ran away, yelling “It’s got eyes! It’s got eyes!”
The rest of the weekend, I referred to the place as “Edvard Munch Park.”
This comic gave me nightmares when I was nine years old. I literally hid under my covers because of Peter Parker, the Spectacular Spider-Man #28.
The villain so prominently featured on the cover is Carrion, who is no less than a flying corpse with super-powers. He represents an element of the Spider-comics that have made them my favorites since I was a kid: the mystery villain. From the Green Goblin’s first appearances to the Jackal, Green Goblin III, Hobgoblin, the Rose, to the present day Menace and Jackpot, Spider-Man readers frequently get to play a game of “guess the mystery-villain”, wherein a recurring nemesis’ shocking true identity is concealed for a number of months while the readers get to play guessing games and wager on the ultimate revelation of the villain’s identity. I really dig the mystery villains-- the Jackal story was my introduction to Spider-Man, and Carrion is an extension of that original clone story.
Amazing Spider-Man #149 ended with Parker’s college professor, Miles Warren/The Jackal, coming to his senses and sacrificing his own life after cloning everyone in sight as part of a bizarre plot to punish Spider-Man for his perceived role in Gwen Stacy’s death. Carrion haunts this series for several months before actually confronting our protagonist, and the story ultimately concludes with the revelation that Carrion is a clone of Warren that was overcooked in the lab because Warren had left the oven on before he died, full of the original model’s loathing for Parker but unaware of the Jackal’s ultimate change of heart and sacrifice. (This origin was later retconned all to hell and back, but we’ll ignore anything published after 1992.)
I didn’t know any of this yet when I read this issue; all I saw was that a friggin’ flying corpse was attacking Peter Parker! The total creepiness of Carrion’s premise and his physical appearance was bad enough, but what adds the final element of horror to the issue is that Carrion attacks Peter Parker as Peter Parker, the human side of the character the reader identifies with rather than the fantastic figure we project ourselves onto; he seems in the reader’s mind to be as vulnerable as any of us would be if a friggin’ flying corpse was attacking!
This was another of the comics that the neighbor kid owned and I only got to read when he was feeling generous. I tried tracking it down years later, only to discover that it was a tough book to get my hands on. What gives? Oh, waitaminnit…
Those scary-as-shit panels I’ve been talking about above? They happen in the final four pages of the book. The bulk of the first half is devoted to the conclusion of the previous issue’s storyline, teaming Spider-Man up with Daredevil. And hey, who’s the artist on this story, drawing Daredevil for the first time ever in his career? Yep, that’s Frank Miller. Here’s some of Miller’s first ever Daredevil story:
My fondness for the character of Carrion and the effect this issue had on me was only reinforced when I finally caught up with this issue and saw that Frank and writer Bill Mantlo had done such an incredible job of scaring the bejeezus out of me with those four pages that I thought the entire issue revolved around them.
"Naraghi puts forth some highly amusing and sincerely funny short stories that stand 101% on their own as clever, superbly told tales, and artist Bond simply does what he does best and the comic looks gloriously like fine-tuned animation on paper."
"If this is any indication of what the movie’s going to be like, I think we’re in for a treat."
But the best part of the day was when Wendy and Hanna came home this afternoon, each with a copy of IGOR that they had purchased at The Laughing Ogre, and asked for my autograph. It was very heartwarming. It's nice to have finally written a book that Hanna can read and enjoy. I need to do more kid-friendly projects...
I'm writing all-original stories in this prequel series to this Halloween's big CGI movie release, Igor. The movie features the voice talent of John Cleese, John Cusack, Steve Buscemi, Arsenio Hall, Eddie Izzard, and many others. Art on the comic series is by the amazingly talented Grant Bond, of Archibald Saves Christmas, and Clockwork Girl fame.
The polar opposite to the above all-ages book, this is a blood-and-guts feast for the horror fans. An ex-CIA black ops commander and a Haitian voodoo priest run a zombie hunting safari on a remote Caribbean island for the ultra-rich in search of an illicit kick. Art by Don Figuoroa.
(On a sad note, this issue will be the only one to see print, as certain circumstances forced the publisher to cancel the series. It's a bummer, since I was just getting to like the characters even as I was devising gruesome ways to kill them off...)
Here it is, the first of a new weekly feature called Character Wednesday. Steve Black picked this week's character, Moon Knight. Andy Bennett gets to pick next week's character.
Unfortunately, piece of shit Blogger is not working (the image upload is fucking hosed...yet again) so I can't upload the large size images. I'll post these thumbnails for now and try again later, hopefully their crappy service will be up by then.
Anyway, here are the diverse entries from our fellow PANEListas:
(I found this in an old sketchbook, circa 1991, when I used to do sketches as a way to relieve stress. This is obviously based on Bill Sienkiewicz's cover to Moon Knight #25. Don't ask me why I added the red color...)
Just checked out the ALL NEW! ALL DARING! Mid-Ohio-Con website and their guest list. Hmmm, not too shabby. It's a good start, seeing some new names (at least as of the last few years). Folks like Alan Davis, Gary Friedrich, Mike Grell, Len Wein, Ethan Van Sciver, and Bernie Wrightson.
Oh, and Jason Mewes will be there too. You know, if that floats your boat.
I caught this off the Laughing Ogre blog: Jason Aaron & Brian Wood will be at the Laughing Ogre for signings in the fall.
Jason Aaron (The Other Side, Scalped) will be signing on September 13th. Brian Wood (Demo, DMZ, Northlanders) will be signing on October 11th.
times and what not will be forthcoming. I'm pretty excited about the Wood signing. I don't know what exactly I'd bring for him to sign. I embarassingly have almost his entire output. It would be weird to plop it all down on the table but it'd be awesome to meet the guy.
Steve e-mailed me today with a cool idea we're calling Character Wednesday. Here's the scoop:
1) Each Wednesday, a PANEL member will pick a character for everyone else to draw. They also name the next person to pick a character. 2) You have a week to work on your illustration. 3) We'll start a thread on the following Wednesday for everyone to add their finished illo to (just edit it and add yours) 4) The person picked last week now decides on a character for the following week. They also select the next "character picker". 5) Wash, rinse, repeat.
How's that for some fun?
To get things started, I had Steve make the first character pick, and in honor of Andy's eternal love for this hero, Steve picked Moon Knight!
Ok, you have less than a week for this first round, so get to it. All illustrations to be posted Wednesday, May 21.
Elizabeth Genco wrote a pretty good piece where she interviewed some shop owners on selling indie comics. In light of the Jeff Smith talk, it makes sense that the only way to really sell your comic/graphic novel is to go DIY. I would say find a publisher but most small publishers wouldn't keep the work in print like Smith did. At the most what one could expect is a glorified Lulu service with a little more umph. It would take more of a collaborative effort between publisher and creator to be effective in the DM. Most small publishers don't have the resources to dedicate to push books like that. Maybe a select few books but not their entire release schedule for the year.
Elizabeth's new graphic novel Blue is coming out from Desperado. Our short story will be hitting the Chemistry Set.. soonish.
Sorry for the political commentary (well, more of a short rant), but I just couldn't believe my eyes when I read this story about W and his fucking golf abstinence.
"Bush said his last round of golf was in August 2003 when he was informed that a truck bomb had wrecked the U.N. headquarters in Baghdad, killing 22 people, including U.N. envoy Sergio Vieira de Mello.
"They pulled me off the golf course and I said, it's just not worth it anymore to do," Bush said."
File under: clueless-fucking-warmonger-completely-out-of-touch-with-reality. Cross index with hope-his-ass-gets-used-as-the-18th-hole-in-hell's-golf-course.
I meant to post this here a couple of nights ago but the horid Orphan Works bill is back on the floor before Congress. Basically this bill eliminates the 'pen to paper' rule of the copyright law. Meaning that in order for the work to be copyrighted, you have to register every bloody scribble before making it public. If you post art on a blog, your website, in a gallery, on etsy, etc. it's free usage to anybody until you register it. This would be a godsend for stock art companies. I've already seen two recent cases online that this new bill would have screwed the artist over.
Brad Holland's against it. Jillian Tamaki, the Drawn blog, the Illustrator's Partnership and several other folks have spoke out against it. Go here to fill out or customize your response to your local representative. I've done it already.
It's interesting to note, both Republicans sent me form letters. Sherrod Brown's office actually took the time to send me a response.
It's official! I just got the letter in the mail today confirming our booth at this year's Comfest. Considering they get over 500 applications for only 200 spots, I'm excited that once again we made the cut.
In related news, Wendy's store also made the cut. That's right, Red Rover will be representing at Comfest.
3 days of fun, sun, music, friends, beer, and the best people watching this side of Burning Man. Check out pictures from Comfests past here (2004) and here (2006).
Lots of Dark Horse news at Comic Book Resources here. My personal highlight:
"Dark Horse plans to republish the first twenty-one issues of Larry Marder’s "Tales of the Beanworld" -- a hard-to-find, out of print series. Fans can also look forward to a new "Beanworld" short story on MDHP in September, a holiday one-shot at the end of the year, and a brand new graphic novel."
New beanworld? Hell yes!
Also, check out these kick-ass interconnecting covers for the debut issues of "Conan the Cimmerian" "Kull" and "Solomon Kane", by Joe Kubert:
In addition to the Jeff Smith reading, the Ohioana Book Festival is also this weekend. It's a free event at the State Library of Ohio. Dozens of Ohio authors will be there, including Harvey Pekar and Mary Doria Russell, who wrote The Sparrow, a fantastic SF book.
So we were at Blockbuster earlier tonight and I spotted a movie that's so blatant in its obvious plagarism of a more successful property, that it almost makes me admire the folks behind it for having such huge balls!
Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you: Alien vs. Hunter.
Hmmm, now why does that look so familiar? Oh, that's right:
By the way, AVH stars Michelle Pfeiffer's younger sister, Dedee Pfeiffer. For what it's worth.
Outland's moving their digs to the Brewery District. They pretty much got the boot because a family friendly venue is opening up in the other half of the building. I think it's a win win for the goth club. This weekend is the last weekend in the old location. It was a vast improvement space wise for the club but man, what a sketchy neighborhood. Brewery District's a vast improvement over Hilltoplandia. Let's hope it's a fit. For Starkey's sake... kidding.
If you haven't caught it in the Dispatch this weekend (or read this blog), Jeff Smith's show at the Wexner is this weekend. Friday night is the Spring opening for both shows on view from 6-9pm, if I'm reading it correctly it is open to the public. The reception (ie the booze) opens at 8 and is for members only. Saturday is the free talk at the Mershon, beginning at 2pm. I would advise getting there early, if it's anything like the Harvey Pekar talk. It will pack the place. Jeff in conversation with Scott McCloud as moderator.
Both Steve and Jeff have been posting some great behind the scene pics of the show going up. Some crazy big blowup's of the art. Can't wait.
The following comes from The Laughing Ogre, and involves friend-of-Panel Stang!
Our employee Jeff "Stang" made it to the final 2 for the Hottest Bartender in Columbus contest. As many of you may know, fans of the comic medium are rarely referred to as hot (unless, of course, they're wearing a Human Torch costume). So, for your favorite comic shop, please get out there and vote for our boy Stang. You may vote once an hour. Vote soon and vote often.
So I was down at the main library last week, and on a whim checked out the recently released Dragonlance straight-to-DVD animated movie. I never read any of the books in the series, but as a reformed D&D player, my curiosity got the best of me.
You ever watch a movie and wonder who the intended audience is? And can't answer your own question?
This is one of those gems.
Why did they make this thing? And why now, decades after the series' heyday? And who is it for? Kids? Adults? With a PG-13 rating, it's not necessarily for kids, but with the atrocious animation, writing, and voice acting, it's definitely not for grown ups either. For example, even though a dozen goblins are killed in the first "fight" scene, they go to great lengths not to show any of them actually being stabbed or cut, and there's no blood. Then inexplicably, the next fight scene has lots of blood spurting everywhere.
The movie features the voices of Kiefer Sutherland and Lucy Lawless, both of whom obviously phoned it in. And as if the choppy, awkward animation isn't bad enough, they commit one of the greatest sins of modern animation: mixing in CGI for certain set pieces or characters. And in this case, it's grade school level CGI that looks worse than an old Max Headroom special effect. The 80s Dungeons & Dragons cartoon had better production values than this disaster. I watched about 20 minutes of the hour and a half movie and that was about 19 minutes too much.
Rating: avoid at all costs, even as a free rental from your local library.
Aside: The movie was directed by Will Meugniot, whose name I recognize from some comic books back in the 80s (he penciled Mark Evanier's DNAgents at Eclipse Comics). Yes, I am the master of absolutely useless 80s indy comics trivia!
I've been reading a lot about the Iraq War and insurgency in general, and I'm getting a lot of good insights from this blog: Global Guerillas.
It's run by John Robb, a former USAF pilot in special operations and author of "Brave New War." His basic thesis is that a lot of factors are coming together to allow small groups of people to cause large amounts of mayhem.
Part of that is information technology, allowing people to share (bad) ideas very quickly in what he calls "Open Source Warfare." Another piece of the puzzle is the fact that knowledge of weapons is becoming accessible to tinkerers, along with cheap methods of mass production. Here he is talking about DIY rockets.
Thomas L. Friedman calls them "super-empowered angry men," but for me, there's only one term: Supervillians.
I think you can make a pretty good case that Osama bin Laden is the world's first true supervillain. He's already racked up a bigger body count than Cobra Commander. It's only a matter of time before someone calls up the United Nations, threatening to destroy the world if he doesn't get a million dollars.
(The one problem, for the would-be supervillian, is that all this power is very diffuse. These "open source" groups don't have the traditional top-down power hierarchy, so "leaders" don't have direct control over their followers. So if you want to execute a henchman for insolence -- forget it.)
Another blog I've been reading is Defense and the National Interest, particularly the writing of William Lind. Lind works on similar ideas, although he calls it "Fourth Generation Warfare." He's the one from whom I got the idea of an Iraq war vet coming home with the knowledge of how to make an IED.
Sidenote on Lind: He's not a dirty hippie liberal like me. The guy's basically a monarchist. He writes a column every year where he channels the spirit of Kaiser Wilhelm II.
We decided the kids weren't yet ready to spend a weekend in June at the Chicago Blues Festival, so we decided to make our vacation a trip to a place called The Wilds, a nature preserve a short drive from Columbus where you get on a bus and see all kinds of exotic animals. I think for an additional fee you're allowed to hunt a rhino, whose horns, I've heard, have magical properties.That's not the coolest part of the trip, though. We'll be staying a few days at Salt Fork State Park, which is reputed to have some unique wildlife activity of it's own.
I was just on North Parsons, and I walked into the Seagull Bags shop. They make messenger bags (and hip bags and backpacks), primarily for cyclists. They make them right there on the spot. There are two skinny dudes in there cutting vinyl and nylon cloth as we speak.
The things look pretty solid, and very cool. It seems they're able to customize them six ways to Sunday. And I dig the customembroiderydesigns.
I have a pair of saddlebags already, so I don't need one. But I really want one.
Maybe you'll get one and I can live vicariously through you?