Wednesday, April 30, 2008

The Beast: Updated

The Beast at 10,000 Feet

Updated page: 24

This is a small update; just one page. I did have to do some shuffling in the overall layout (due to critique by Sweet Enemy). I finished the rough layouts to the end and it's going to be thirty-one pages.

Each page is like a cliffhanger. Is that bothering anybody? I feel that I've been laying it out to be read only on the web and not in a book format. I wonder if that's bad or not.

To make up for the small update, here's a present: the only song I know of that is about Aquaman. It's sort of like "Jimmy Olsen's Blues" only with Aquaman and Batman. Check it.

Listening to while posting: "it's the love" by The Breeders

Friday, April 25, 2008

The Beast: Updated

The Beast at 10,000 Feet

updated pages: 22 and 23

Oh, man, oh MAN!

The final battle has been joined! Man. That was fun to draw. The hardest so far was The Plane Crash Page. I've never drawn a plane crash before. Action is hard enough, but a good plane crash is really tough.

We're almost done! I'll beg big 'ol critiques when this is over.

Listening to while posting "My Brother Chris" by Apartment ( on the Soma FM station: Indie Pop Rocks.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

The Beast: Updated

The Beast at 10,000 Feet

Updated Page: 21

It's a bit chilly here tonight. About 40 deg F. Almost started up the woodstove again, but didn't. We're counting down to the climax. Hoo, boy!

Personal thing. Two years ago, I tried to get my friend KickEnemyMen into mountain biking. I re-built my old bike and gave it to him (with a suh-weet 1998 Marzocchi Z2 on the front!). He hardly rode it and when he came up here to ride last summer, I may have pushed him too hard. He may come around, but until then, he bought one of these cool things! Definitely not an offroad machine, but he can commute on this thing and it's easy on the back. Hopefully, I'll be heading over to the Right Portland next weekend to help him put it together.

Listening to while posting: "Knock-down, Drag-out War" by Weezer

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

The Beast: Updated

The Beast at 10,000 Feet

updated page: 20

There's a thunderstorm overhead, so I'll not take too long. The action is heating up. Only six pages left (unless I've laid out wrong).

listening to while posting: East of the Sun (West of the Moon) by Frank Sinatra

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

The Beast: Updated

The Beast at 10,000 Feet

Update: Page 19

This page, though not big, was actually really hard to do. I won't ruin anything by saying what was hard, but man, I've never had to draw this particular thing. Getting close to the end!

Listening to while posting: Hawaiian Love Song by Elvis Presley (man, Pandora. com serves up an eclectic mix)

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Unamed comic update:now with Title ™

So, the Unamed Comic is not just updated , it has a tilte!

First, let me rectify a great wrong. When I was trying to write the script for this thing, I was having a hell of time with the ending. I had trouble reconciling the altruism of the main character with her desire to stay alive. Desperate, I turned to good (and sadly neglected by me) friend Rambler. As a novelist looking for a publisher and (former fellow bookstore employee), I thought that she could help me with my problem.

She denies offering much help, but I will beg to differ. She was a great sounding board and the ideas bounced back and forth until the ending emerged. In the way of a good teacher, it looked (and felt slightly) as thought I'd come up with the idea all on my own, but I could not have done it without her. She also claimed to be 'riveted' by my long semi-script of the ending, so I better do it right.

So, the title! Today I went to the store where she works to pick up a boxed set of Narnia that Sweet Enemy ordered and mentioned the story still had not title. I first mentioned AndreZero's idea of "The Devil's Breakfast". She agreed it was a great phrase, but it didn't really fit the story (except in a post-modern sort of way). I then mentioned the title I'd had in my head that was, to me cheesy; a mix of titles form a 50's monster movie and a Twilight Zone episode: "The Beast at 20,000 ft". When I mentioned this, her fact actually lit up and she said she loved it. So, on her advice, that is the name, though the actual altitude is changed to reflect the average cruising height of a DeHaviland Twin Otter. I give you:

The Beast at 10,000 Feet

Thanks, Rambler!

As far as the comic goes, I've attempted a sort of graphic trick usually reserved for newspaper comics and I'm not sure it works. Let me know.
Listening to while posting: "Birds Fly" by They Might Be Giants

Saturday, April 19, 2008

tv review

So, did anybody happen to catch that Numbers episode about comic books? I was chilling out, full of as much Chuck Palahniuk as I could read that night and snapped on the tube. It was either that new Fox Lawyer show, or some damn 48 Hours Mystery (Here's a mystery with no solution! Yay!) on NBC and then Numbers. I generally find it to be a silly show with requiring great leaps of disbelief to watch; but it's nice to see Judd Hirsch acting again.

In this episode, at a comic convention, an impossibly rare comic book has been stolen in an armed robbery and the FBI and Mr. Numbers (whatever his damned name is) is called in. Hilarity ensues. It was another example of people outside the comic book world looking in pretending they are giving us a glimpse into the world of comics.


--at the convention there was an odd mix of nerds. Ubernerds (outnumbering us normal guys in jeans and t-shirts) mingled with furries, anime cosplay folks, Trekkers and one guy dressed in full samurai armor. Now, I haven't been to any of the REALLY big conventions, but it really seems odd to have such a big mix. It's like the producer said: A nerd's a nerd, cram 'em in.

--One of a kind comic book is stolen. Within a day, it has been forged, printed on vintage paper and multiple copies are now on eBay. How long do the producers think it takes to make a comic book? Even Alan Davis admits to only 1-2 pages a day. And to copy an entire book line for line AND print it would take a bit more than a day.

--Mr. Numbers catches the forger because he would have to move the pen slower to trace/copy than the original artist would to create; this makes the ink run differntly. He scans and analyzes the pen strokes against a baseline of the original artists' work. Okay. Sure. But, why would the forger not simply get a high-end scanner and copy the damned thing. With today's technolgy it'd be easier and much more accurate to create plates using a scan than to hand-draw the whole damed thing and offset print it in a day(which is impossible anyway).


-- Mr. Number's hobbit-y sidekick is a Galactus fan and correctly points out how Galactus is the 'Third Force' after Eternity and Death. I am such a nerd |(

-- Big Bald Black agent is a comic fan. That was nice.

-- Good to see Wil Wheaton working again, even for this nearly-terrible show.

-- Also good to see Christopher Lloyd acting again. The ending had Lloyd's character and Hirsch's character were together for the ususal end-of-show wrapup. It felt contrived, but I bet that Lloyd and Hirsch just wanted a chance to work together again


-- Christopher Lloyd played the big name, old school artist whose name was 'Ross Moore'. Hmmmm. Gee. Do you think that's a portmanteau name or anything?

-- Mr. Number's hobbit-y sidekick walking around the convention with a bunch of swag. One of the items was a Fone Bone plush. One of the very few nods to real comic culture.

Listening to while posting: BIRDS! Outside my OPEN WINDOW! Yee! Going outside now!

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Unamed comic update

Unamed comic

New page: 17

I think my quality is slipping on this, but I posted it for story's sake. If the story goes over well, I'll re-visit. However, I WILL FINISH THIS!. I can't not after the pain this has given me.

But, now, my drawing arm is tired. You know how your muscles feel weak after a good workout? That's exactly how my right arm feels. I'm taking a break for a day, no drawing. No computer. just ice, wine, Farscape and Sweet Enemy.

Listening to while posting: "You Made Me Love You" by Benny Goodman

Monday, April 14, 2008

Unamed comic update

unnamed comic

Pages added: 13 - 16 new

Tired. So tired.

And more broke.

I feel ill. I've been working like a dog on this and I hope the results are worth it. I'm nowhere near making the deadline. I just finished roughing out the last pages and the total is twenty five. I am now behind my schedule of two pages inked and posted a day, and even if I were on schedule, I wouldn't make it by Friday. I'm going to post a link to what I've got and then finish this thing.

I won't keep the same pace, but I'll move fast so that the styles don't change after page 16.

Just a warning, if you care, some of the new pages are labeled GR for the grossest thing I've drawn since high school. I shouldn't feel weird about that, but I do for some reason.

Ah, well.

listening to while posting: "Born Again" by Badly Drawn Boy

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Comic Review Number Three


Having no new comics this week, I choose to review, what even Sweet Enemy refers to as: The Worst Comic Book Ever. This comic is the Fat Guy Goes Nutzoid of the comic world; a film not even slightly good enough to me MST3K'd.

Prepare yourselves for the horror that is:


It is 1985, a time before even the possibility of web comics. What is a terrible artist and storyteller who feels the burning need to share his/her vision with the world? Well, somehow get the thing print and actually charge money for it.

The art. Oh, the art. It is about one step below the average highschool freshman's biology notebook doodles. Here, is the 'title page'. What should be a gorgeous splash page, showcasing the abilities of the artist while introducing you to the action and story, is and does so, but not in a good way:

Look at the terrible perspective, the lack of detail, the horrendous anatomy, the abysmal cartoony stylization. The worst part is you can tell that the artist probably had no idea of his shortcomings. And research? Find a picture of a boat to use a reference? Oh, no.

His comic pacing skills are also terrible. Look at this exchange:

Just after this action-packed exchange, he has the 'navigator' asking the cowled guy what a horizon was while holding a sextant. For some reason, that bugged the bejeezus out of me.

I am running out of words to describe this thing, so I'll leave you with a page from the story that runs parallel to the 'cowled guy on ship' story. Two more poorly drawn anthro animals. The duck, apparently, is supposed to be female. Go figure.

There you go. Be thankful I did not share the entire issue nor the Backup Story at the end. If this were a web comic it would be reviewed here. Why did I subject you to this? So, my comic would look fabulous!

listening to while posting: an episode of Says You on Vermont Public Radio

no unamed comic update!

Scanner just died. Yesterday, it was being crotchety and twice gave me a message that the drivers could not run/find scanner.


Today, it crashed photoshop 6 (in my OS9 classic mode) hard. I mean 'little bomb symbol' hard. Had to force quit Classic and restart the entire computer. Biggest disappointment? That damn scanner only lasted 9 years! What the heck is up with that? Biggest fear? That it's my comp and not my scanner. Can afford new scanner, but not new comp.

So, tomorrow, I buy a scanner. Sweet Enemy and I both need it, so it's in the budget. I need it for this weekend, so I'm going to Some Box Store, Inc to get it. I hate it, but, I really can't wait for shipping this time. And, since I don't really know from scanners, it'd be nice to see the darn things.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Unamed comic update

unnamed comic

Pages added: 11 and 12 new

Went to a fundraiser last night. LOTS of money for land conservation and MTB trailbuilding. Many local merchants donated stuff for a raffle (chain lube, technical clothing, socks a new fork, etc.). I won nothing, but Sweet Enemy won a pair of really nice socks; size large (her feet are decidedly ess-emm-all).

So, I missed a night. The action is ramping up, I hope my skills are up to it. MAYBE six more pages, maybe eight. Have until Thurs. Hope I can pull this off.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Unamed comic update

unnamed comic

Pages added: 9 and 10 new

Whew. This is moving fast. It really feels like the 24 hour comic day, only more drawn out (no pun intended).

I am desperately trying to keep the quality from going down as I get closer to the deadline.

The action is actually starting in this. But, it's more of a Stephen King sort of action...

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Unamed comic update

unnamed comic

Pages added: 7 and 8

Had to day off, ostensibly to take my car to the mechanics ($509.82 for exhaust leak, seasonal tire swap, brake job and oil change). Spent most of the rest of the time drawing. In addition to today's update, have two penciled for inking tomorrow and one more laid out.

I'm a bit worried that this may be slow getting to the action, but I feel I need to show character relationships in order for this to work. Thoughts?

Listening to while posting: For All We Know by Nat King Cole

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Unamed comic update: Now with MISTAKE (tm)

Unnamed Comic

New pages: 5 and 6.

Boy, did I screw up. I sketched two pages last night. Tonight I traced those two pages in blue pencil. Then I inked those two pages. Then I scanned those two pages. It wasn't until I brought them into Illustrator to typeset and panel them that I noticed my mistake.

Both pages were .5" too short.




If I didn't tell you, you wouldn't notice. I juggled the frames to fit the correct size, so there is no real image difference. What sucks is that in missing that, I lost a half-inch of artspace to work with.


What also sucks is I have NO time to go back and do it again. This whole project is forward motion, or stopping.

Listening to while posting: "Gates of Eden" by Bob Dylan

Monday, April 7, 2008

Unamed comic update

Oh, this is going well. It is also going very badly. I'm moving quickly, but trying not to rush. I have eleven days to have this available for judging on the challenge. I'm allowing some leeway in the art because this challenge isn't always about the art quality. That being said, the... mistakes bug the bejeezus out of me.
Since the layout is going rather well, I think I'll just tighten up the artwork and re-ink it once the challenge is over.

I have no idea how I should pace myself, but I'm trying to have two inked pages a night. We'll see. I'm going to have to start working at lunch.

Please check it out and let me know what works.

Listening to while posting: nothing. Sweet Enemy is in bed. Noise is kept down

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Comic Review Number Two

AndreZero lent me Pax Romana by Johnathan Hickman. He didn't say anything about it except that he'd like to see what I thought of it. So, here's what I think of it.

It's purty. In places, it 's darn purty. Check out this cover:

Isn't that nice? Bit like Kent Williams from Wolverine/Havoc: Meltdown (which, unbelievably, I cannot find an image for!). However, the interior art is also a ot like Kent Williams. Is this a bad thing? Kent Williams was good, right? He was, and he also knew how to pace comics, Mr. Hickman, not so much. Williams, in Meltdown, used an interesting technique: when there was a flashback, he'd take the action out of the standard comic frame and do gorgeous multi-layer set pieces with dialog floating on top of it. In Meltdown, as an accent, it worked perfectly. In Pax Romana, not so much. This is because nearly every page is like this AND the dialog is set in sans-serif type. Any designer will tell you, bodies of text need serifs to link the words together to help the eye connect the words. So, sans-serif type, poorly laid out, plopped on top of gorgeous set pieces, looks like this for twenty-eight pages:

Hickman also breaks up the action with spreads like this:

It's the minutes of a meeting, for crying out loud! Sweet Enemy really didn't like this and stopped reading immediately. This is really lazy writing. He could not pare the story down to it's elements, as good comics should, so he fills it full of text. There are, in the middle of the story, set pieces with lengthy character biographies. Seven of them of varying lengths. Yawn.

The story? Oh, yeah, the story. I managed to figure out that it has the potential to be a good story. In 2035, the the dying Catholic church, working with scientists from CERN, use time travel technology to send mercenaries back to ancient Rome to help Constantine defeat his enemies. Pretty cool. Hickman, however, makes it boring. The characters are all stiff and have less life than a Mignola drawing. Check out the decisive battle from issue two where the mercs fight the armies of Licinius and Maximinus. What should be at least a page of action is this sorry thing:

Sure, it's purty, but stale, flat, motionless purty. Even if you haven't read Scott McCloud's book, you should realize that a battle (especially one that is the pinnacle of the issue and the entire point of the first two issues) should have at least a little action.

There is also a writing issue. The dialog is as flat and lifeless as the art. Mr. Hickman must not have read the lines out loud, because people don't talk like this. Especially hardened mercenary officers talking to their soldiers who have already (one would hope) been briefed on the mission:

So, I cannot recommend this comic at all. It is ambitious in story and scope, but it is a half-assed production at best. Quickly written and lazily plotted.

Now, so you can harp on my comics (and speaking of ambitious scope and quick writing), I've begun posting the final piece for the Weekly Challenge (with Ann, Murray and Queeg). The final challenge in the multi-part is The Conflict. Since, showing the epic battle would make no sense without the story, I've decided to do the story. I've got two pages inked, four more penciled and a further four plotted. I am pushing the envelope of my writing, drawing and plotting abilities. Pushing it hard. I also have a three week deadline (two, now), so this is moving fast.

I might be able to pull it off. The first concession is to work at small size (5" x 8.5") rather than full (9" x 13.75") and reduce. I'm also inking quickly, but it seems to be working okay. One thing missing, however, is a title. so it is called The Unnamed Comic

Listening to while posting: Closer by The Tiny (on