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.
I fell upon Clients from Hell and laughed my ass off. In my brief wisp of a freelance career, I've had a couple of run-ins like this. Recently it was some clown on deviantart that wanted a character drawing or something for an OSU related game. I wouldn't do it on principal because I hate anything OSU football related. There's no amount of money you could pay me to do something like that. Just as well, the kid sounded like either he was going to pay me with a taco or a dime bag. Sketchy.
Off topic, but I love the one bit about elance. I tried elance once when first starting out. I was always underbid because I charged a reasonable rate. When you're designing a logo for a restaurant for $15, you're undermining any chance to make a living wage in freelancing. (my bid was $200 on that gig) There are a lot of sites (like elance) on the web that not only take a cut of your fee but also charge you for access to the decent gigs. Ridiculous. Just because you're starting out doesn't mean that you charge less than a tank of gas to do a logo. Access to graphics programs (like Indesign) and the internet's been a blessing and a curse for creatives like me. Sometimes the attitude seems like you're just an extra filter in Photoshop for their wonky concept.
Just thought I'd post a page from my Ghostbusters one-shot, coming your way Valentine's Day 2010, from IDW:
What I love about the way the book turned out is that despite the licensed property nature of the book, it's got such a cool indie vibe to it, all thanks to Salgood Sam's artwork, Bernie Mireault's coloring, and Salgood's hand lettering.
And of course, there's a comic book series to go along with it, courtesy of the folks at IDW:
I guess it's a couple of different series, actually. And one of them is written by none other than Chuck Dixon.
Don't you just love it when a plan comes together?
(Special "Young Dara Chronicles" aside: when a naive, impressionable Young Dara arrived in the States at the age of 12, barely speaking any English, the first American TV show he ever saw was The A-Team. Needless to say, Young Dara thought it was the greatest television show ever! In fact, he learned a lot of his conversational English by watching TV, mostly The A-Team. It's a wonder he doesn't speak like Mr. T. Of course, he no longer thinks that The A-Team is good television, but he will always carry a soft spot in his heart for that greatest of all Stephen J. Cannell creations)
Megan Milliken, a University of Chicago Harris School masters student in public policy is conducting an online survey to help identify and understand characteristics of the comic book reader. If you've got about 10 minutes, you may want to give it a shot.
I'll get you started: The Kree/Skrull War comes in at No. 79, 11 places behind Knightfall.
A lot of my personal faves are on there -- Transmetropolitan, Planetary, Morrison's JLA, New Frontier -- although I would have ranked them higher. Identity Crisis didn't thrill me, but it least it ranked behind the original Crisis on Infinite Earths. Batman: Hush just perplexes me.
We skipped a few weeks, but WV makes its triumphant return this week with Superman vs. Predator:
Huh. Not quite sure what to say about this. I mean, as far as match-ups go, you'd think this would fall into the "one punch and it's all over" category. But maybe that predator has a special kryptonite tri-laser I don't know about. Or Superman had the flu that day.
First of all, I hope everyone had a great Christmas. I'm looking forward to 2010.
Some of you may have noticed a lack of posts from me recently. That's because about a month ago my PC came down with a nasty bit of malware. This despite running an anti-virus program and 3 separate anti-malware applications. It took 2 days of trying everything under the sun, and even though I managed to remove the offending program, something was still hosed with my browser. So I decided to cut my losses and wipe out my hard drive and install a clean version of Windows (luckily I had a good backup on an external disk, so I didn't lose anything).
Another 2-3 days of getting all my programs re-installed and configured, running multiple Windows updates (have to reboot after each one, ugh) and I finally had my system up and running. Meanwhile, I had a script due to IDW and I had already lost a week of productivity. All of this was followed by an ill-fated memory upgrade, a piece of crap BIOS that somehow mistook my speaker jack for the keyboard and wouldn't let the computer boot up, a trip to Micro Center, and after all that aggravation: a crashed hard drive.
Needless to say, I was beyond mad at this point. In fact, when my PC refused to boot, I lost my cool and kicked the piece of shit so hard I thought I broke my toe. It hurt so bad I ended up going to the urgent care and had it x-rayed, to make sure it wasn't broken.
Which all leads me to the point of this post: I'm through with fucking Microsoft and their god damn piece of shit worthless Windows operating system. I shouldn't have to run 4-5 different anti-virus and anti-spyware programs which hog up system resources and make everything run slow. I shouldn't get a nasty malware despite running 4-5 different anti-virus and anti-spyware programs. I shouldn't have to wipe out my hard drive and start from scratch just because the ridiculously complex Windows registry has the tendrils of some malware so embedded in it that it's impossible to clean. I shouldn't have to spend a day trying to figure out what the fuck 3 short beeps followed by a long beep mean when the BIOS can't pass its power-on self test (POST) because there are half a dozen different BIOS manufacturers, each with their own proprietary beep code super secret decoder ring. I shouldn't have to visit component manufacturer sites to try and find driver updates to make sure part X plays well with program Z.
In short, I shouldn't have to deal with the worthless, easily-exploited, bloated, piece of utter crap that is Microsoft Windows on the ass-tacular PC platform. Not when there's a better alternative available.
So I'm now posting this message from my brand new 24" iMac. The computer that took me all of 5 minutes to setup. The one that detected my wireless router instantly, instead of having to load drivers and go through setup wizards. The one that's not so easily exploited. The one that I'll be running one anti-virus program on, instead of 5.
It's a thing of beauty.
So long Microsoft. I still have to use your shitty product at work, but at least when it breaks there, there's a whole department of well-paid technicians responsible for fixing it. Me? I'm quite happy with my Mac at home.
OK, James Robinson's JSA: The Golden Age was an epic-scale intro to modernity, with superheroes. His Starman was a fun-loving meditation on fatherhood, nostalgia and duty, with beautiful character moments and occasional bursts of plot.
According to one estimate, the most powerful supercomputer in the world is not controlled by a government, university or corporation: it is the Storm botnet.
Connecting between 1 million and 10 million computers, "the Storm cluster has the equivalent of 1-10M (approximately) 2.8 GHz P4s with 1-10 petabytes of RAM." Storm is a series of email viruses that takes control of host systems and uses them for a variety of nefarious purposes, such as sending out spam and stealing identities. No one knows who controls the system, but it may be Russian hackers.
Overblown? Beats me. But I do have to say, it would be a great basis for a comic book story.
The fastest legit computer is the Cray XT5-HE (dubbed "Jaguar") at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory, according to supercomputer ranking site Top500.org.
No, not you. You're cool. That's the motto of ColumbusDIY, a local indie music forum. The idea is that Columbus becomes a cooler place to live as people keep creating.
In addition to our own nationally known artist, there are a number of other cool artsy things going on around town.
1. Local artist Megan Burkholder has set up shop in the old Experience Columbus building, right downtown. According to the Dispatch writeup, "The 32-year-old Merion Village resident is a little more than halfway through a monthlong residency in the lobby of an abandoned bank Downtown, where her work and personal life are on full display (at least from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., when the curtains close)."
I walked past this the other day and it was pretty cool.
2. Madlab Theater is moving to a new space, 150 percent bigger than its old one, on Third St. Here's the Columbus Underground writeup. I always mean to see more shows at Madlab. I have never seen a bad show there.
3. CCAD students have set up fashion exhibits in several store windows downtown. The fashions are all made from magazines and newspapers, Project Runway-style. There seems to be some kind of movement to fill empty downtown storefronts with some kind of art, which I appreciate.
When I talk about Act-I-Vate, sometimes *people draw a blank. It's an interesting 30 minute doc on them. I don't read a lot of webcomics but I do check out these guys from time to time. It spawned from Livejournal and outgrown the limitations of posting webcomics in a community blog (not set up for webcomics). Creators span from the well known indie types to some unknowns. It's the best online webcomic anthology you'll ever check out. Props go to Haspiel for name checking the (sadly defunct) Chemistry Set.
If anything, they flash a few pages of Haspiel's art along with everything else. I love his sense of layout.
*people who actively read webcomics but don't darken the doors of your local comic shop. It's changing though as they keep things flowing along.
Now even esteemed colleague Tom Williams can hold his silence no longer.
Seriously though, this is more attention than my art, or anything I have ever done, has gotten in my entire life. It is seriously freaking me out. Not even a little, a lot. I'm happy about it, but it's really terrifying.
When I first discovered comic book specialty stores back in the 80s, it opened me up to a whole new world of comics not dominated by superheroes. Of the many, many black-and-white indie books that I got into, Xenozoic Tales was, and will always be, one of my favorites. Written and illustrated by Mark Schultz, and published by Kitchen Sink, the series lasted 14 issues. It told the story of mechanic Jack Tenrec and scientist Hannah Dundee in a post-apocalyptic Earth. Aside from the presence of dinosaurs, one of my favorite aspects of the comic was the fact that unlike the hundreds of Mad Max "scorched Earth" variations on the theme, this was a world overrun by jungles and reclaimed by nature. Needles to say, there was also a strong environmental theme running through the book.
Of course, Schultz's eye-meltingly gorgeous artwork also set it apart from anything else on the shelves:
According to Wikipedia, "under the more memorable title, Cadillacs and Dinosaurs, the series spawned a cartoon series premiered on CBS, an arcade game from Capcom, a home video game from Rocket Science Games, action figures, trading cards, candy bars, and a Twilight 2000 system role-playing game." I do remember seeing an episode or two of the cartoon, but it did nothing for me. The other products I'm not familiar with, although there's one they forgot to list: Xenozoic Tales music CD (which I own and should probably review at some point on the blog...)
(Have a favorite series of your own? Or an artist? Character? Submit your own set of 7 covers by sending me small files (i.e. 72 dpi for the web) to ferret at ferretpress dot com and include "7 covers" in the subject line. Also, let me know if you have a blog or website you'd like me to link to.)
While the creative teams don't really excite me (or well anything), I like the new initiative DC is doing with this Earth One/OGN business. Finally one of the big two publicly sees the writing on the wall for the doomed floppy. At least I think they do. This was long overdue. What tone these two 'new' books will take is up in the air. That balloon might burst if the tone is close to Marvel's Ultimates books. I'm curious what price point these will be at. What I don't expect is them to take either character in drastic direction to make it palatable to new readers. (Which reaaaaaaally needs to happen to Superman. Really. I'd start with making the costume look a bit more alien and less circus performer. Okay, I'd retire Superman and run with something else.)
In an ideal scenario, they'd be works that would hit young and old and cover LCS's to the chain bookstores. Give it some slack and see what happens in 5 years. Most likely what will happen is they wimp out like they did with the MINX line and it dies in a year. Overall, I think everyone involved in the industry needs to look forward. Not backwards. I'm looking more at the bigger companies like DC and Marvel, retailers, etc. The smaller publishers get it. It's time to make some bold moves if everyone wants to keep the industry alive.
Through some byzantine chain of events that I can't unravel, somehow my Moby-Dick project got mentioned on BoingBoing here.
I don't know a whole lot about that site, although I know some of you Panel guys visit it pretty regularly. So I am thinking this is a good thing.
Honestly it's a very strange thing though. I love working on this project, and I am having more fun on it than I have had making art in years. But it's one thing to be able to sit in Momo and share it with good friends like you (Panel people) and another to be on, well, BoingBoing and stuff. It's weird. I know a lot of you Panel guys are professionals having done some big time, highly visible publishing and art but for me, even a mention on BoingBoing is like a huge HUUUUUUGE spotlight suddenly being shined on my work. I've always felt a bit like an outsider, so this is a very strange feeling for me. Very strange.
Anyway, I did want to share my brief moment of internet fame with you all. Panel, I mean. You've all been very encouraging for many years, so I owe a debt of gratitude to the support and critique you've all given me.
Here is the most recent piece from my project, entitled Page 097: "It was now clear sunrise." I'm glad they picked this one to post, I quite like it.
So Jess and I went to Gallery Hop on Saturday, and got our pictures taken by Chas Ray Krider over at Monkey's Retreat. That is about the most Columbus sentence I can write that does not involve the Buckeyes.
Chas Ray is the pinup photographer responsible for Motel Fetish. You can find more of his work at MotelFetish.com, which I am not linking to because I am at work right now. He had a seedy Christmas backdrop set up, and he was doing a $5 sitting fee (which includes 72 dpi pics -- prints are extra).
Oddly enough, several people had their kids there. There's something really weird about seeing an 8-year-old girl walk past the rack where they keep the porno comics and cannabis growing guides.
Coming to a comic book store near you in February 2010:
TIME LINCOLN #1 ONE-SHOT
Written and art by Fred Perry, cover by Brian Denham.
What happens when the Great Emancipator is suddenly freed from the bonds of time to right wrongs throughout history? Taken out of time on the night of his assassination with the help of H.G. Wells's time machine, Abraham Lincoln finds himself waging war upon the forces of evil in the past, present and future! In his last hour, he lived a lifetime! 32 pages, $3.99.
Jeff Bridges on Iron Man: "they don't have their s*** together"
I didn't read the whole interview, but this bit about his experience on the Iron Man movie made me laugh:
“They had no script, man,” Bridges exclaims. “They had an outline. We would show up for big scenes every day and we wouldn’t know what we were going to say. We would have to go into our trailer and work on this scene and call up writers on the phone, ‘You got any ideas?’ Meanwhile the crew is tapping their foot on the stage waiting for us to come on...You’ve got the suits from Marvel in the trailer with us saying, ‘No, you wouldn’t say that,’” Bridges remembers. “You would think with a $200 million movie you’d have the shit together, but it was just the opposite. And the reason for that is because they get ahead of themselves. They have a release date before the script, ‘Oh, we’ll have the script before that time,’ and they don’t have their shit together."
$200 million movie and they don't have a script. Gotta' love Hollywood.
That's my Busch or 8 minutes of my life I'll never get back
I caught this over at Comics Related and couldn't help but post it here. It reminds me of college psych class where we profiled egomaniacs. We watched a clip of some talk Rush Limbaugh and went through all the red flags in less than five minutes. The repeated self-referencing, large blow-ups of Limbaugh's mug in the bag, him holding up a book by him (with his pic on the cover).
These 'demos' run a close second to that sorry display. In fact every clip I've ever seen with Busch in it, is about as bad. While I don't fault anyone self-promoting themselves, this is pretty extreme. Who loads up their studio with huge swaths of their art in the back?
I giggled at the airbrush table. Only because he's one of the few guys that still enjoys the torture of old school airbrushing. If I were talking to the kids about this sort of method, there are several graphics programs that do the exact same thing but more edit friendly. (Without having to peel off the numerous masks you have to lay down.) Plus you can make all the digital prints you want from the same piece. He's got to be fast because I wouldn't hire some clown that whips out mushy airbrush tracings off a lightbox. I digress.
Around the Ferret Press/PANEL clubhouse, we have a little game called "Moon Knight for Andy". Well, actually, there is no clubhouse and no such game. But there should be. See, fellow PANELista Andy Bennett dislikes Moon Knight. Like, really, really dislikes the character. So we take every opportunity we get to talk about Moon Knight on this blog.
Case in point: this edition of 7 Covers not only features Moon Knight, but more specifically, it features 7 different #1 issues of various Moon Knight series.