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.
After using my comicspace page in place of an actual website for the past year or so, I've finally got The Ineffables site up and running again; strangely enough, it looks basically like the old one, but there's a few new things there anyway. Check out the new digs at http://www.theineffables.com/.
Last week during my Wednesday visit to the comic shop, I bumped into Rich Watson. Wrapping up an interview he did with the Columbus Dispatch. He's got a new webcomic out. Seems like yesterday I was tabling next to him at the Mid Ohio Con. Read his webcomic on WCN.
Terminator Salvation: "Sand in the Gears" - preview
My other series debuting in January '09 is the prequel to the next Terminator movie, titled Terminator Salvation. The movie stars Christian Bale as the grown-up John Connor, and is set in the future year of 2018, where the remnants of humanity battle Skynet's machines post Judgment Day. The 4-issue comic book series titled "Sand in the Gears" features a global cast of characters, some old Terminator favorites, and a few new models created specifically for the comic. Here's a look at the two different covers, the first by Nick Runge, and the second by Klaus Scherwinski:
And here's a peek at the first five pages, with art by Alan Robinson:
Like it? If yes, then here's the Diamond order code: NOV08 4118. Make me rich!
In other news… family stuff may keep me away from PANEL meetings for the next several weeks, so I thought I’d throw some work-in-progress up here on the blog. Here’s (partially inked) pages 1 & 3 from The Second Part of the Secret History of the Ineffables, which picks up a couple months after the end of the previous chapter. The Ineffables are all dead save for Abe Lincoln, who has moved on to join Mystery City’s regular superhero team, the League of Protagonists-- seen here as they confront their own Doctor Doom-style arch nemesis. Abe has trouble assimilating into the new team, however, because of his somewhat brutal methods…
I've become bored by Iron Fist, Hellboy, and Daredevil. My one remaining mainstream vice is still Morrison's Batman. I think I've figured out what's been lacking in Batman:RIP- the art. It's been a progressive problem since Morrison took over Batman. While I've enjoyed the wacky writing of Morrison, the art has been terrible. Really bad. From the covers that don't do anything for me (note the example above), right down to the sometimes indecipherable interiors by Tony Daniels. I'm in denial that it's the script. It has to be the execution (sorry bad pun) by Daniels hand. Sequentially, I can't follow it. It seems that the Ross covers aren't going away either. He's really hit or miss. The above piece looks like random cliche poses he slapped on a light table and painted over. What's Neal Adams or Denys Cowan doing right now?
The Lincoln Bedroom: A Good Place To Store Long Boxes
At last, a long-oppressed segment of society has seen the day when one of their own ascends to the highest office in the land; I am, of course, referring to us.
This article at the Huffington Post entitled "Barack Obama: The 50 Facts You Might Not Know" leads off with: he collects Spider-Man and Conan the Barbarian comic books.
He doesn't just read, he collects, which is a distinction we can all appreciate. Never mind how cool it is that he likes Miles Davis & Bob Dylan & Pablo Picasso-- just think, there's likely to be a copy of a Thomas/Buscema Conan the Barbarian lying on a table next to a reading chair in the West Wing...
I just rewatched this movie a month ago, and I think this sums it up.
"The Shadow is all the more maddening for the way it gets so much right yet while missing the mark by a good margin." Here's an example: In one scene, the Shadow wrestles with a horde of Mongol warriors. While grappling with one, he falls off the side of a skyscraper. OK, so far so good. He twists in midair so they land on a projecting gargoyle. Everything's OK, pulp-wise.
Then he says, "Next time you get to be on top."
But wait there's more: The post is a double-feature review of both The Shadow and 1996's The Phantom.
It's only a month or so late, but here's my Dazzler:
I'm not super-familiar with Dazzler, but I gather she's always kind of a fashion victim, right? A nerd like me always has trouble spotting fashion trends, but I included as many as I could. I kept the roller skates, though.
Here’s Tony’s Abe v. Robot, inspired by the “shirtless” comic cover Dara found for me at MidOhio;
The former Ms. Sonya of Rogatine I whipped up on my own, just to have a better female figure represented on the art samples for the auction. I listed a separate auction to try to sell it; I’m interested in seeing how the hit counts compare between the two listings...
The response I got for the first week’s listing was a pleasant surprise; the second week, not so much. We’ll see how week three goes. After the Electro/OMAC combination, I’m itching for someone to come along asking for Etrigan and Mysterio.
So you're curious about my new one-shot from Image, Archibald Chases the Dragon, but you're not sure if you should pre-order it? Well, how about some artwork from creator Grant Bond?
And how about an official press release from Image?
"CELEBRATE THE CHINESE NEW YEAR WITH ARCHIBALD!
Archibald Aardvark returns in an all-new noir mystery ! October 2008 (Berkeley, CA) - Image Comics’ Shadowline presents an all-new mature readers adventure with the greatest unknown cartoon star of yesteryear, Archibald Aardvark, as ARCHIBALD CHASES THE DRAGON! “As always, this one’s definitely not for the kids,” said Archibald Aardvark creator and artist Grant Bond. “Having Dara Naraghi take over the writing is perfect, as ARCHIBALD CHASES THE DRAGON puts a whole new spin on the murder behind the murder of Archibald’s brother.”
ARCHIBALD CHASES THE DRAGON is the third Archibald one-shot illustrated by Bond, following ARCHIBALD SAVES CHRISTMAS & ARCHIBALD SAVES EASTER, and the first written by Naraghi. This time around a tip-off about a long thought solved murder brings Archibald to Little China, in search of the mysterious “Compassionate Wind of Death”. However, it doesn’t take long before this noir tale of greed, secrets and a deal with the devil threatens to have Archibald fall victim to the red dragon haunting his dreams.
ARCHIBALD CHASES THE DRAGON (NOV082277), a 32-page two-color one-shot for $3.50, will be in stores January 7th, 2008. "
Like it? If yes, then here's the Diamond order code: NOV08 2277. Make us rich!
Hey, this might actually work. I’ve already got a few nibbles on my eBay commissions, which I’m hoping will drum up some extra currency for this stay-at-home dad to finance the missus’ Xmas gift this year. When I posted the listing, I realized I might get bids from Dara’s legendary “Sea Devils” guy, or similar requests; luckily, my first couple requests have been pretty cool.
First, here’s Steve’s Abe Lincoln vs. Robot:
And next: dipping into the well of Ditko Spider-Man villains!
Geez, two DC Comics pulled out of my collection last month? I can throw in one more and bring the National Periodicals representation in the WBM series to a whopping 8%, so here goes:
I recently got a notion to track down Neal Adams Batman comics, having only read a couple of those in “best of” compilations over the years. Of course, when I was growing up, Neal Adams was the guy whose work you saw gracing the pages of… Power Records. He’d left Marvel and DC a few years before but cranked out a few comics featuring Captain Kirk and Batman for me to read while the 45 rpm was playing along. Nine times out of ten a Powers Records book was an adaptation of a book from (usually Marvel’s) back catalog with pages trimmed and adapted to the audio format. For the occasional DC character they featured, they for some reason usually generated original material, more often than not drawn by Neal Adams, so these were the only places to find these stories (though I gather some are being reprinted in Adams’ “retouched” Batman hardcovers).
Power Records #27 (Batman: Stacked Cards)
There’s some beautiful Adams artwork in this baby, though the backgrounds sometimes seem phoned in. It’s an unusual read, these many years later; there’s a heckuvva lot of wordless panels that must have been simply filled by sound effects, which is odd for this read-as-you-listen format. I get the impression that Neal must have handed these pages over to a writer who didn’t know what to do with them; some of the amusingly hokey dialogue suggests the writer wasn’t familiar with the characters or writing for comics in general-- or maybe it simply reflects the lameness of most bronze age DC Comics, who knows.
A word about Batman here: I’ve often lamented the passage of “World’s Greatest Detective” Batman in favor of the portrayal of “Crazy Ninja Batman.” I’ve recently concluded that even that latter persona has passed on, replaced by “Urban Commando Batman,” complete with combat boots, a militia of followers, and a reliance on hardware that makes Batarangs seem, well, aboriginal. This isn’t an improvement. The Batman I knew was a guy who coped with his parents’ murder by waging his war on crime-- the operative word there being COPED. The Dark Knight was as much a fabrication as the bored playboy; there was a real Bruce Wayne that only Alfred and Dick Grayson got to see who was actually a well adjusted guy. It was about the time readers started not being interested in the “secret identity” aspect of these characters they once related to that Bruce Wayne was jettisoned and the crazy Batman became the “real” personality. Too bad.
Back to our story: the Joker throws a rock through Commissioner Gordon’s window to tell him he’s escaped from Arkham and will soon resume his crime spree. Apparently Arkham hadn’t informed Gordon of this already, so it comes as news. A quick call on the red phone to the Batcave sends the Dynamic Duo speeding along to the Gotham Museum of Art to follow up on the clown’s threat. Along the way, they discuss medieval methods of dealing with the mentally ill; check out the look of pride on Batman’s face as his protégé suggests lobotomizing criminals.
Back in the day, Batman would interact with citizens of Gotham who seemed to regard him as any other local celebrity. Not being criminals, they didn’t need to fear him, I guess. Here’s the art museum curator leading him to a Picasso clown portrait before discovering a dead guard with the trademark grin lying in the room. Seems the Joker hung a fake on the wall to cover his trail after stealing the picture-- but forgot to consider the dead guard who might provide a clue that things were not right. Batman explains that the Joker wants to protect the clowns in the painting from “the eyes of the curious who would come to laugh at their image.” This kind of overlooks the notion that that’s the function of clowns, and that the Joker is bugnuts and doesn’t need reasons for doing anything. Ah, well.
The crime fighters track the Joker down to one of his old hideouts (literally: Let’s go see if he’s at one of his old hideouts!) and stumble across another grinning dead night watchmen. The Joker empties a gun at the caped crusaders before making the mistake of engaging Bats with his fists. Check out the page below, where Neal swipes himself by recreating his iconic “charging Batman” panel from Batman #251.
The fight very quickly goes badly for the Joker, who sets the warehouse on fire as he tries to escape. Batman corners him at the end of a pier, where the madman tries to escape by swimming away. Unfortunately, the tide is out and he lands unceremoniously in the mud where he can only await arrest at the hands of Chief O’Hara stand-in Inspector Mulligan.
But wait! The Picasso is still in the burning warehouse! Heedless of the danger, Batman charges in to find the masterwork while the museum curator maintains a tense vigil, staring into the flames. We’re rewarded with another splendid iconic shot of Batman emerging from the flames with the painting; I vividly remembered this page from my misspent youth. He then unleashes his inner Adam West in his concluding remarks to the curator.
The story closes with a touching moment as Batman endorses his youthful ward’s suggestion that radical brain surgery performed on lawbreakers would be a boon to society. Now back to stately Wayne Manor!
After an unusually dry summer, the Hoover Reservoir dropped low enough to expose a submerged car. City workers found it yesterday while pulling in boat docks for the winter. You are breaking the following scene down into panels as you read this.
"Divers couldn't see into the car, but when one of them felt around he felt what appeared to be a piece of human tissue, said fire Lt. Joe Ponzi."
Read more comics, people! If you did, you'd know you never, *ever* feel around blindly in an underwater car. There are no good explanations for a car in the reservoir. None.
Additionally ... I am changing the filter on my Brita as soon as I get home.
Shameless self-promotion: Terminator Salvation and Archibald
Ok, let's take a break from politics and get back to comic books. Specifically, how you can support me in the lavish lifestyle I've grown accustomed to. That's right, the life of a freelance comic book writer. I've got 2 new comics coming out in January, one from Image and another from IDW:
Archibald Chases the Dragon (Diamond order code NOV08 2277)
written by DARA NARAGHI art & cover by GRANT BOND
Archibald Aardvark thought the murder of his brother was solved, but when a stranger tips him off to a cover-up, he travels to Little China in search of the mysterious "Compassionate Wind of Death"! This noir tale of greed, secrets, and a deal with the devil will have you deliciously anticipating if our hapless hero will survive long enough to stitch together a few answersOeor will he fall victim to the red dragon haunting his fevered dreams?
TAG: Archibald takes the classic animation of Fleischer Studios and kicks it out a moving car in the middle of Roman Polanski's Chinatown.
Retailer Warning: Mature Readers only.
Terminator Salvation movie prequel #1 (of 4) (Diamond order code NOV08 4118)
Dara Naraghi (w) • Alan Robinson (a) • Nick Runge (c)
The year is 2018. With John Connor as the voice of the resistance, the scattered remnants of humanity find themselves united against their common enemy—Skynet and its Terminators. Through a patchwork system of radio transmitters, hacked satellite phones, and encrypted computer networks, resistance leader Elena Maric in Detroit and Nigerian mining engineer Bem Aworuwa have formed an unlikely friendship and drawn up battle plans to take the fight to the Terminators!
I'm in a hotel room in Arlington, Virginia (3 days of management training, whoopee!) right now, and feel disconnected from what's going on back in C-Bus. I wish I could be sharing this moment with Wendy.
I can't wait until they call Florida for Obama as well...
So there I was driving through downtown Sunday morning on my way to a dreadful family gathering at the in-laws when I suddenly ran out of downtown to drive through; a huge chunk of the city had been shut down. I could see barricades and throngs of people in the distance, off in the direction of the Statehouse. Figuring there could only be four people who could draw a crowd like that two days before election day, I parked my car in front of Tony’s old apartment and walked the few blocks over to see who was making an appearance.
Man, I would have been mad if it was McCain, but I won this particular lottery and got to crash an Obama rally I hadn’t even known was happening. A ring of barricades kept the crowd at the perimeter of the Statehouse lawn, while an enormous line formed to go through security to get to the lawn itself-- the good seats. I headed for the back of the line, north on High Street, then twisting west on Gay… south again, to wrap around the Palace Theatre… back around to Gay Street again… and sweet Christmas, I still couldn’t see the end of the line! I decided to head back to the Statehouse and watch from the equivalent of the nosebleed seats. Along the way, I picked up a bootleg Obama shirt from a street vendor. My view was still better than the crappy cell phone picture above suggests, but I’ve had closer seats at Rolling Stones concerts.
A few thoughts:
I heard Sarah Palin was speaking at Rickenbacker later that afternoon. Wow, a rally a couple miles outside of the one traffic light town I grew up in! I wonder how many truckloads of volunteers they had to bring in from civilization to look good for the cameras, and how that crowd would stack up to the throng I had joined.
I had the youngest secret service agent of all right in front of me, scanning the crowd through his (really cool looking) shades while he made that face you get when you’re chewing on the inside of your cheek. He soon moved away, to be replaced by a scowling, grizzled veteran. That’s more like it.
I left a few minutes early because I had to meet up with the missus and the kids. On the way out, I called a friend who recently moved to Indianapolis to tell him where I was; turns out he was one hour into his three-hour wait for early voting. He said he could hear Obama in the background as we spoke. How cool-- I beamed Barack’s speech to a guy standing in line to vote.
The frat boy with the McCain sign who sheepishly tried yelling “Socialist!” a few feet to my right probably had no idea what socialism actually is. Let him field bids from private fire departments when his house is burning down.
A few heads in front of me was a black guy who looked like he was approaching 70 years old. I wondered about his life experiences and what he was thinking when he saw Barack take the podium.
I was thinking about my mother, dying of cancer, being moved from Mount Carmel East where she was getting excellent care to a dingy nursing home where the care was barely adequate, because that’s what my parents’ insurance dictated. My dad still thinks socialized medicine means “roots and berries” and will probably vote for McCain solely because he was in the military. So was Jimi Hendrix, but dad always made me turn the stereo down…
The theme for the rally revolved around the need for activism all the way up to the closing of the polls on Tuesday. I’m a stay at home dad with a three year old and a one year old, so I can’t go knocking on doors; I think the best I can do is this:
The Ineffables’ ABE LINCOLN endorses BARACK OBAMA for President.