Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Suns Update

Obscure Tales 4: Suns of Charybdis has updated!

The next few pages will be pretty cool. I believe this based on how hard it will be to draw.

Other things I've been doing is another model! This time a Tamiya Vought Chance F4U-1a Corsair . From an engineering perspective, Tamiya makes a great kit. Most of the joins are along seams, joints and panel lines of the actual aircraft which cuts down on the amount of filling and sanding. It's sitting on a half-built WW2 carrier deck that I'm scratchbuilding to go with it (and the Grumman F3 Wildcat I'm working on now).

Listening to while posting: Sweet Enemy talking to our good friend Eek who just got back from China and is visiting his folks in Maine before he heads back to San Fransico.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008


I don't have a big readership here at Obscurum, so those that comment regularly feel like friends. This was especially true recently when Swinebread's good friend Josh died. I wanted to say something. Something really good that would give comfort. I knew I couldn't. I never knew Josh except for the sweet documentary SB did of him and his cat ( here. It's at the bottom) and I've never actually met Swinebred or Snab and Ladybug or the Dean in person, but I am certain I'd like to (for whatever that's worth).

So, here's a wish for good memories and good moments ahead. Swinebread (and Wife and Jr.). Snab and Ladybug (and mini-Snab). Dean (and the entire faculty). Tom. Becca.

Merry Christmas!

For those who want to know, that's this years christmas card. Hand carved and hand printed by me (48 prints). You guys get the digital one, since I don't know your addresses ;)

Those who read, but weren't mentioned here, are more than likely getting a card.

Here's the block:

p.s. Since I'm off tomorrow, I will try to finish up an Xmas update for The Suns...

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

What we're watching No. 1: Dr. Strangelove

Sweet Enemy had never seen Dr. Strangelove before, so she rented it last week and Monday night, she finally got around to watching it. I didn't come in until 1/3 of the way through (where the bombers get their orders from Col. Ripper), but I watched the rest of it even though it meant getting to bed at 1am.

You know what? It's still damned good satire. There has yet to be a satire so good. I think what makes it so darned good is the juxtaposition of the realistic-feeling (The bomber and crew. The President) with the over-the-top (Col. Ripper. Dr. Strangelove). It was still a funny and rather scary film.

Also noteworthy were two small directorial tricks that Kubrik used that nobody used much again for years. The first is the filming of the attack on Burpelson AFB. It was filmed with the camera low, documentary style and it really made you feel like you were in the thick of it. This was just how the battle scenes in Band of Brothers were filmed. Most of the war films between the two were filmed straight.

The other thing was a small thing, but I had to rewind it to see it again. As the B-52 nears it's target of opportunity, the camera is in the rear near the navigator facing the cockpit. When the co-pilot calls "Target in sight! Where the hell is Major Kong?", the camera zooms up to focus on the barely-visible Russian base. For all the world, it looked just like a shot from the new BSG. Totally. Check it out if you don't believe me (at about 1:13).

The drawing was done at work while waiting for code builds. Obviously, no reference for Slim Pickens was used.
Listening to while posting: The clanking of the woodstove.

Sunday, December 7, 2008


I finally took a pile of film to get developed. Yes, I still use film for three reasons.

>With B/W, you get a true resonance that you get by making a color digital image grayscale. You just don't, okay?

>>I like the fact that I can't help but save the 'bad' pictures. There are plenty of pictures I have from the old days that are terrible, but are the only photo of certain people or things. If they were digital files, I'd have likely deleted them.

>>>Expense. I am just good/knowledgeable enough to need a good digital SLR; one that costs at least a grand and I can't afford that. Especially since none of my lenses will fit a digital SLR and that is a huge cost.

So, here are some of the better photos. I have some good ones of my niece, but I don't want to post them just yet because a) more kid photos on the internets? Boring! and b) I'm going to have large prints made for Sweet Enemy to frame and give them to my mom and I don't want to risk her seeing them beforehand.

These two are from the Jericho/Underhill Harvest Festival:

And this? This is Kermit, one of a pair of siblings owned by my step-brother-in-law Former Ski Racer. Because they really look to him as the alpha, they pine when he's gone. That day, FSR and his SO went out in the kayak for a paddle and as soon as he began to go away, Kermit jumped on the JetSki and watched them, ever so sad.

In other news, Torchwood = good. We watched it for the first time last night (well, SE had seen a couple of episodes). It seems only the British can get sci-fi right. Cheesy effects and comedy mixed perfectly with realistic romance and drama. Zowie. Also, more gay kissing than many shows I've seen. SE and I don't have a problem with gay kissing, but I think it shouldn't look do darned... hungry. I mean they have characters kissing in the open like most people would kiss in bed.

listening to while posting. the woodstove clanking and SE turning pages.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Suns Update

The newest pages of Suns of Charybdis is up!

My pencils still look better than my inks. I wonder if part of it is that I trace them again in red pencil before inking. This saves erasing like you wouldn't believe, but perhaps something is lost in the translation. I'll have to try to tighten things up a bit when I do the red. Orrrr, I could buy a really good light board. I have a small light table my dad built me and it works pretty good. Unfortunately, I gave him some bad specifications and he built it 6" high. This is too high for any table I have so I've set it up on the dryer and trace standing up.

In other creative news, I've started building scale model aircraft again. It's been working pretty good even if I'm at the level of a 17 year old (the last year I actually completed a model). I've found I've developed a kind of code of ethics. Partly due to the scarcity of good-quality, cool-looking civilian aircraft, and partly due to their coolness, I build warbirds. However, given my take on war and fighting, I won't build any planes of what I consider to be aggressors. So, as cool as they look, I won't build any WW2 luftwaffe or IJAAF or IJN or Facist Italian aircraft. I also won't build any aircraft from the Vietnam war on.

But, for me, WW2 embodies how I (and Capt. Sheridan from Babylon 5) feel about war: Never start a fight, but always finish it. So, I'll build inter-war, WW2, post-war. I'd also like to build some cold war Fleet Air Arm stuff like the awesome Westland Wyvern (it's even got a cool name).

I'm actually really attracted to the years between WW1 and WW2, or the "YellowWing" period. It was kind of a well-meaning naivite in the warplanes from that period. Most of the aircraft were already obsolete due to the Nazi aircraft developments in Europe, but they were neat-looking and quite colorful. While there were many fun aircraft from this period, the only one I could find that wasn't an expensive short-run kit was this Boeing P-26 Peashooter. The name alone shows that we prepared for war, but hoped for peace. Here is mine in 1/48 scale:

Listening to while posting: "Cocktails for Two" by Spike Jones and his City Slickers

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Giving Thanks

Thanksgiving was pretty good. The bird, cooked expertly by Sweet Enemy was wonderful. We'd gotten it locally; since it was from the farmer at the end of our street, it couldn't be more local unless we raised it ourselves. It was expensive, but what we got in return is a really good turkey fed on bugs, squash and apples and allowed to run around outside like an idiot with all it's sisters for the summer. What we also get is a farmer that can stay in the area and leave the farm to his kids rather than have to sell it to a developer.

Family was cool, though my mom was a bit ill again. We all had to harp on her to go to the doctor on Monday. Sheesh. Sweet Enemy's dad and Awesome Step-Mother (the antithesis of Evil Step-Mother) came, and though I was worried, all got along fine. I wasn't worried about fighting, but just everyone having something to talk about instead of sitting around. My little niece was a hoot. She didn't nap on the way up and by the time six PM rolled around she was exhausted, but didn't want to sleep; there were too many new and interesting things to see. This was her first road trip as a cognitive human being. What makes me happiest is that I seem to be a fan-favorite. Let's hope that lasts. I'd really like her to make our place her home away from home; Underhill is too awesome not to share.

What made it pretty good rather than awesome? Well, my family stayed the night but left at ten AM. I had hoped that they'd spend one more day and we could go downtown and see the lake or maybe just walk in the local park or hit the farm. It's a bit... worrisome. Was it us? Our house? What can we do to make it more hospitable? I think an answer might be to let my parents sleep in our bedroom rather than his the fouton in the living room. Wasn't that rude of me? I feel bad about not thinking of that.

Aside from being more respectful to my parents, it will allow my mom go to bed early (as she's want to do) and to hang around in bed a little later. As it is now, since we don't want to disturb her, the night ends early. Also, since we don't have but the one fouton/couch, and some chairs, it makes it harder to hang out and relax when someone is sleeping in the morning. This lack of comfort creates and inertia that makes it easy for people just to jump in the car and go home. Maybe next year I can convince them to stay more than one day. Maybe getting that digital antenna so we can get more than one station will help...

Long Lost Friends Episode Two

A while back I did a post with some slides I'd found of an old friend named Andy Bogard. Now, we're on to my oldest lost friend, Dave Jessing. This is the only photograph I have of him. It was taken on the last day I saw him.

I knew Dave since I was in junior high, he was a year younger than me. He lived in the same town as my Weird Uncle Jim and was one of two kids my age on his street (a strange, dea stayed friends until '90 when I lost touch with him. To this day, I'm not sure why we hooked up. If we had gone to high school together, he wouldn't have been allowed to have anything to do with me. He was very good looking, captain of the football team, and put on muscle so easily he'd often have to stop working out for months because he'd get too big (in contrast I was a pudgy nerd who looked like a young Meatloaf). But, he was an extremely nice guy. Kind, friendly and fun. I slept over WUJ's house a lot and Dave and I hung out for hours, playing guns, walking the railroad tracks to the local drugstore to buy comics, watching ninja movies, re-enacting ninja movies. In short, he was one of my best friends.

I think he was a closet nerd and enjoyed the fact that he could do all of these nerdy things with me and I didn't affect his social standing. Not that he was embarrassed by me. In fact he invited me to accompany him to a graduation party one of his classmates was putting on and I ended up chatting with a cute cheerleader who went out with me a few days later (keep in mind that this was a year and a half into my first USCG hitch and I was in better shape and had a better haircut)

In 1990, we saw each other for the last time. It was February and he took me to see a cool sculpture in a rich guy's yard in the Uxbridge/Whitinsville area. I have no idea where it is, but check it out:

I haven't seen him since. I'd like to see him again even though I'm not sure what we'd talk about after eighteen years (wow. That IS a long time). I just hope he's doing very well.

Listening to while posting: Prairie Home Companion on the stereo upstairs (it's that loud for some reason)

Saturday, November 22, 2008

No one ever outsourced for quality

Those words were printed on a home-made sign at the Cabot Hosiery, the last sock maker in New England (if not the USA). They make, what are the Best Socks Ever.

I mean it. Putting these socks on is like slipping into bed with your spouse or significant other. Even after three days of hiking, they still feel nice. These are not everyday socks, these are technical beauties for being outdoors (in fact, Cabot is now making socks for the Army and USMC). If you spend any time on your feet, you will want a pair of these socks. These are so nice, you'll find that you won't wear them around the house for fear of wearing or tearing them and will buy some slippers.

I find two things when I give these socks as gifts. First, when the recipient opens the package they say "Oh. Great. Socks." (sarcastic voice), however, after they use them if I give a second pair the response is "Oh, great! Socks! (very happy voice). This has happened every time.

Secondly, those who I give them to also gift them, but to deserving people. For instance, my dad, I love him very much, but these would always be Just Socks to him. My oldest friend, a hunter and outdoorsman, now there's a guy that responds with the very happy voice.

Today was the second weekend of the annual sock sale. The Cabots open up their factory floor and set up a gigantic sock sale. I mean gigantic. Seconds, irregulars, last year's stuff, running socks, hunting socks, military surplus socks, dress socks, kids socks; thousands of socks.

You go in, guided by a semi-maze of sock-shipping boxes. At the entrance to the sale room, an employee hands you an old plastic shopping bag and you go to town, milling about with yuppies, hunters, UVM green hipsters and deer camp widows. It's hard to stop. It's also hard to keep track of who you are buying socks for. My hunting friend and my chef brother-in-law were getting some as gifts and my buddy KickEnemyMen and his wife sent a basic want list. I hope I got everything. In all, I spent $152 (with 10% off for going over $100) and Sweet Enemy spent $142. This was an investment. These socks last and last and are, as I've said and will say again, are the Best Socks Ever.

If you can find 'em. Get 'em. They will be spendy ($13 or so a pair), but you will never buy a better fitting, feeling and wearing pair of socks. You will also be supporting a made in America sock. Also, don't for get to buy them at your locally-owned gear store and not REI, EMS or what have you. If you must go internet, go Moosejaw. It's a small independent online outdoor gear store with fantastic customer service and a great sense of humor.

Also, I think someone needs to make t-shirts with that saying on them.

Listening to while posting: "What's Going On?" by Four Non-Blondes

Thursday, November 20, 2008

no art, just words

one really cool thing I learned about Barak Obama from a British Newspaper that I thought Swinebread would want to know:

He collects Spider-Man and Conan the Barbarian comics

Wow. If I hadn't voted for him already...

Listening to while posting: Black Cherry by Goldfrapp. But it's stuck in my head and not on my stereo. Stupid earworms

Monday, November 17, 2008

up is down

Down is up. A very intelligent, down-to-Earth african-american is president-elect of the United States and Suns of Charybdis has two new pages.

I'm sorry to equate the updating of a comic with Barak Obama's election. It just felt good to mention it again. Heck, I became a fan back in 2005 when he was on the Not My Job segment of Wait, Wait. Don't Tell Me. Really. It made me wish he was our Senator and we've got a democrat, a socialist and a guy who Dick Cheney told to "f*** yourself".

Ain't life grand?

Listening to while posting: Barak Obama on Wait Wait, Don't Tell me from 2005. with this incredibly, prescient bit by related by Peter Segal:

" No, Mr. President, it says Obama with a 'B'." said Rep. Jan Schakowsky and the president said "Obama? Never heard of him" and Rep. Schakowsky said "Oh, you will, Mr. President, you will"


Wednesday, November 12, 2008

no art post

Sorry. Here's a meaningless meme I was emailed by Sweet Enemy last night.

I'll hit AndreZero, Snab and Becca.

1. Five names you go by:

a. Rick
b. Rich
c. Richard
d. Arkonbey
e. Barkon

2. Three things you are wearing right now:

a. brown 70's vintage wool shirt
b. cool web belt that I can't find any more of
c. Land's End clogs

3. Two things you want very badly at the moment:

a. to be good at drawing
b. for the engine cowling on the 1/48 Boeing P-26 Peashooter I'm building right now to actually go together so I can finish the darn thing and get going with hating how bad I am at building models

4. Three people who will probably fill this out:

none that'll respond by email, but I'll post it to Becca, Snab and AndreZero

5. Two things you did last night:

a. Went to a local photography group meeting for the first time
b. Finished pencilling the next two pages of my recent comic collaboration

6. Two things you ate today:

a. Homemade chocolate cake (no frosting)
b. good, fresh, dark fair-trade coffee

7. Two people you last talked to on the phone:

a.Sweet Enemy
b.Scott C.

8. Two things you are going to do tomorrow:

a. Finish inking my comic pages
b. continue working on my P-26

9. Two longest car rides:

a.Traverse City, MI to Elizabeth City, NC. over 1200 mi (about 22 hours)
b.Elizabeth City to Northbridge, MA. In a blizzard. Normal 10 hr. drive stretched into a 23 hr. non-stop drive.

10. Two of your favorite beverages:

a. Coffee
b. guinness

Monday, October 27, 2008

My dad is not a photographer

I'll tell the story before I show the picture, because the thousand words the photo might say don't do the story justice. Come to think of it, neither will my writing skills. Ah, well. Onward!

As I've mentioned, I headed down to MA to deliver the itty and bitty bike to my niece Sadiebug. It was a five-hour drive my body fueled by 'healthy' chips, dark chocolate and black coffee and my brain occupied by alternately listening to a biography of the Buddha and Darkly Dreaming Dexter.

Sadiebug was there when I arrived, but it was too late for bike showing, so I pre-viewed it to my sister and she was thrilled. Niece and I contented ourselves with other playing. The next day (Saturday) Sadiebug and Sis arrived and we talked about how best to present it. I got my bike and helmet out of the car as sort of bait and then Sadiebug was brought out. She spied my bike right away and ran towards it with a grin crying "bike-le! bike-le" (Don't you love two-year-old lingo?). "Wait, Sadiebug! Look!" My mom called and we brought out the Strider.

Man. If my bike was cool, this was even better. She ran right up to it and was too stunned to even throw a leg over, so we helped her over the bike. Extra-Cute Helmet was installed and then, with mom behind Sadiebug, I demonstrated on my bike what to do. She picked it up pretty quick and then promptly fell over. This scared her a bit and for a moment she had a 'I don't like that thing at all!" look on her face (that scared the bejezus out of me!).

But, all was not lost. Soon she was back on, trucking next door with us to show the neighbor's boy. Then we all stood around their driveway, with Sadiebug and Neighbor Boy alternately riding the Strider (man, did he like that thing. So did his dad and mom, so there might be a Strider-shaped box under the tree...).

Eventually, it started to sprinkle and we went inside and had lunch (Free Food, the other perk of visiting the folks!). Then it was time for Sadiebug's nap. After she was asleep, I hobnobbed with the family and then decided to hit the road. If Sadiebug were awake when I left, there might be A Scene (nothing is so conflicting as seeing a child very sad that she you're leaving).

The update I got when I got home was that when Sadiebug was getting ready to leave, she HAD to wear her helmet and wore it all the way home. Score one for the Weird Uncle! Yay, me!

So, here's the picture. I SWEAR that she was smiling a gigantic grin most of the time. This is us going inside (mom helping), so she was a bit tired.

Also, I've finally updated The List. It's a list of phrases I've heard, mis-heard or, in some cases dreamed. It could alternately be called the Band Name List.

Listening to while posting: "Perfect Crime" by The Decemberists

Sunday, October 26, 2008

road trip

I was down in Mass. at my folks house delivering the Strider bike to my niece (more on that when my dad sends me photos). In an obscure corner of the house, while searching for something to read, I found a battered and slightly water-damaged copy of the New Mutants Demon Bear Saga graphic novel. I don't remember buying it, but it must have been me. Bill Sienkiewcz's (how do you pronounce that?!) art is still groundbreaking and amazing, though the 'better' printing of the gn do it no favors. His work, with its use of shadows and slashes of black ink work very well on newsprint; it doesn't work well on glossy paper. The colors are too vibrant and don't allow the black and the colors to work as a cohesive whole. The re-printing of his covers is still amazing and I'd love to have a gicles-printed version of nearly any one of his covers.

One funny thing I noticed. The day before I left for MA, Sweet Enemy and I were talking about something that seems to have cropped up in a few of my recent comic works. I'm not sure if it's a stylistic thing (like Luc Besson's habit of starting off his films with the camera flying over water), a schtick, or a coincidence? What is funny, is the Demon Bear Saga included a quite similar image. Can you spot the similarities and what are your thoughts on the style/schtick/coincidence question?

Listening to while posting: Nothing. I got to sleep now, it's 0032 EST and I'm old.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Twenty Four

It is DONE!

The story if you want to hear it. If you do, you might want to read the comic first as Here Be Spoylers:

With the bitter taste of an unfinished story lingering in my mind and a year of experience under my belt, I figured that the best bet was to come up with a story first. I thought and thought and then sketched a quick robot:


Then I was suddenly, for some odd reason, reminded of a drawing by the inestimable Jake Parker. When I first saw this rabbit farmer and the very forbidding robot, I thought of a story I heard of farmers using military kettenkraftrads for farm tractors after the war. How cool would it be if a military robot was re-purposed as a farm implement?

I wanted to do something with it but didn't because it's Jake's baby. But, given that it was now a half-hour into the challenge and I had no idea (and that there was no money involved in this), I went ahead and got started. I spent the next half-hour thumbnailng all twenty-four pages, then got started. I thought about choosing the most difficult looking pages to do first, but ended up just doing them numerically. It ended up not mattering; ALL pages became difficult pages in the end.

The hardest part was not being able to do production design. I was making up clothing, vehicles and accessories on the fly. Some things worked, some things not so much. The other hard part was not being able to really take time with difficult poses, and it shows.

The story has some holes, and the dialog is a bit hokey, but what do you want for a half-hour's writing. The art degenerates as the story goes due to my body and mind degenerating as the night/day wore on.
Did I have fun? Well, maybe. Like a race, it's hard to tell. Will I do it next year? Definitely. Next year I'll put a timestamp on each page. Just for curiosity's sake.

So, here's "Redemption".

listening to while posting: "Secret Agent Man" by Johnny Rivers

Monday, October 20, 2008

not here yet

The 24 Hour Comics Day comic is still at the store. Sweet Enemy was off today, so there it languishes. It should be back tomorrow and, in between freelance stuff that has piled up, I'll scan it. To placate you, here's the page that started it all that night. I sat there in the store sketching randomly to get the juices flowing and it was this guy who reminded me of something I saw a couple of weeks ago. I'll share the whole story of my 'thought' process when I post the comic.

Also saw Iron Man on Saturday night. It was good. Very nicely comic-booky (Sweet Enemy called the Good Version vs Bad Version as soon as she saw Stane). It was, to me, not as good as Ed Norton's Hulk. The production design was fabulous (especially the updating of the original suit), but it was lacking. The character of Tony Stark was perfectly developed (and wonderfully acted), but everything else seemed flat. Pepper Potts was slightly three-dimensional, but Obediah Stane was barely even a sketch of a character. His betrayal was no surprise and his death provoked no feelings whatsoever. Rhodey was a wasted character. It felt like a walk-on on a weekly TV show: see, it's my best friend who, for some unknown reason, hasn't been here, ever.

I am also a nitpicker (as I was with The Hulk), so here's some nitpicks:

-- MAN! Is Tony Stark's chest cavity ever deep! I'm no doctor, so maybe most people's are, but dang it seemed very, very deep! Even so, how do his damned pectoral muscles work with a hole larger in diameter than his sternum is wide?

-- The magnet made sense when it was car-battery powered and sitting on his chest bolted to his sternum, but why would it have to go so damned deep? And what was that wire plugged into (and how did Stane get the right fittings for his monstrosity, anyway?)

-- The magnet anyway. Did the comic ever explain why the pieces could never be removed once he was out of the third world?

-- The Iron Man suit is so heavy that it will drop through two reinforced concrete floors from a drop of less than a meter? What's it made out of, neutron star material? It was a funny scene, though.

-- What news service got that totally non-shaky video footage and the crystal-clear photos of the warlord and his new toy? From what we've seen on the news, Taliban insurgents don't really like reporters.

Interesting points:

-- Tony was very un-Batman-like; he killed without emotion. Terry Pratchett once said that if your life is in someone's hands, you should pray it's an evil man. An evil man will talk you to death, a good man will kill you without a word. Hmmm.

-- Tony's joy at the first suit test flight was really nice. No real person would be cool and collected at that moment.

Now, onto The Dark Knight!

Listening to while posting. Nothing. Hey! I should remedy that. Ah, it's 'Moonage Daydream' by David Bowie (duh)

Saturday, October 18, 2008


It is done.

Well, it was done earlier.

Twenty-Four Hour Comics Day 2008 is over. I feel spent. Rather like getting done with a big race: I'm tired and loopy and not sure if I actually had fun. We started with nine, but only four of us managed to stay to the end. We all got a bit loopy, but one of us got so damned annoying, what with the not actually stopping the idiotic stream-of-consciousness babble up except to take a breath, that most of us would have strangled this person if we could have found the energy to move.

Only two of us finished 24 pages and one of them was ME! Woot! This is why I was able to leave at noon! I actually wanted to quit around six am, my hand hurt and the art was getting worse and worse. But, I persevered and ended up with a work I rather like. However, I left it at the store and have to wait till Monday to get it. When I do, I'll be posting the whole damed thing.

It'll be funny as it's rather like a flip book. Not for imagery, but for time and technique. As the pages advance the style and craft degenerate so that, to my eyes, the last two pages are little better than large thumnails.

Sweet Enemy spent the night working on the t-shirts and learning a lot about screen printing. Some turned out bad, but some turned out great (though with that 'hand-made' look). There was some interest expressed in obtaining t-shirts featuring the poster. If there is still interest, visit my portfolio and shoot me an email (sorry to be cryptic, but, well... you know...)

Listening to while posting: Sweet Enemy finishing up her dessert upstairs. Now we shall watch Iron man

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

That time of year again

Suns of Charybdis is temporarily on hold. Why? It's time for the 24 Hour Comic Day!

That's right, this weekend at Artists' Mediums (the art supply store that Sweet Enemy assistant-manages), we'll be drawing comics and not sleeping*. With my pushiness guidance, SE got the whole thing going. She goaded her team into getting the nearby pizza place to donate two pizzas. They approached the Vermont Sandwich Company and it turns out the owner wants to participate (more food than if he didn't, natch.). Sadly, the super-precocious kid you might have seen last year won't be participating. According to his dad it knocked him for a loop; they'll be visiting, though.

Last year was fun and challenging and I'm curious and nervous about what I'll make. You see, last time I'd only completed one, single comic (the Mr. Twilight episode). Now, I've got a few under my belt. Will they help? Who knows! The quality will be... mediocre at best. Last year's started mediocre and went downhill fast. I bit off more than I could chew working full 11" x 17". Dumb. Here's pages two and three to show what 24hrs looks like. It's called "Villain's Day Off":

I'd like to say I'd at least be twittering, but there's no wireless available at the store (gods, I'm spoiled!). But, since I'll be working smaller, I'll post what I get. There might also be some photos of our degrading group.

Listening to while posting: "Stay Away" by Red Pocket

* My friend Mokie made up a great word well over a decade ago and I'd like to spread it. The word is 'micker'. It is that feeling you get when you are so exhausted that you can't sleep and just act like an idiot; babbling, jumping around, singing. There is a nearly 100% chance that all of us will be micker in one way or another.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Old Slides, Old Art and Old friends

I'm sitting here in the studio procrastinating practicing. Dummy.

I was looking for a special flexible ruler for drawing curves when I found three boxes of slides I took in the '90s. It turns out that the slide/film scanner attachment with my HP printer more or less sucks.

Here's a piece of art I did back in '95 (I think). I was with MS Paint (I think) on my Dad's old Gateway 486 (I'm certain). For some reason, I decided to take a photograph of this painting and I'm rather glad I did. The computer died in '97, with directory paths disappearing left and right until none of my files were accessible. This isn't a bad piece of art and must have taken me forever!

The others are of an old friend that I miss: Andy Bogard. I met him when I was in the USCG in Traverse City, Michigan. He was a local and I have no idea how I hooked up with him (You rarely made friendships with locals). We hit it off right away and rode together a lot. In '96, the year after I left MI, he rode across the country and ended in Maine to visit me. He crashed in my place and we dug him up a mountain bike and we rode for the last time; I haven't seen/heard him since.

Anecdote about Andy: We were riding in the Pere Marquette forest and stopping for a break noticed a small white rabbit trying, without success to eat a flower. It was unafraid of us and we decided that, given its tameness and that we didn't think there were wild white rabbits, we decided to rescue it. We stood there with our bikes, holding the rabbit wondering how to transport it. So, we took my helmet like a bowl and put the rabbit in it. Then we put his helmet as a cover and locked them together. Portable rabbit cage! We rode slowly out and brought the rabbit to his sister who lived nearby. She was happy to have the rabbit and gave it a good home. The rabbit seemed happy to have been transported in the helmet cage, though its fur was soaked with our sweat from the helmet pads. Poor bunny.

Now. Back to procrastinating practicing

Listening to while posting: "Gone for Good" by The Shins

Friday, October 3, 2008


Suns of Charybdis is updated. COLORING IS SLOW! Gah! Even with AndreZero helping.

If you think there have been few posts from me, you ain't seen nothing yet. I'm going to ease up on the internets from home for a while. I want to buckle down and draw nightly. Not just work on SoC, but actually practice. I think that is what I'm lacking. I need to sit down and draw from life, draw from photos, draw and re-draw the same image to work out an image style, focus on hair, on drapery, etc. I'll post when SoC is updated, though, but it may be four page updates rather than two.

What inspired this burning desire to practice? It's always been there, but I recently found a couple of web comics. Web graphic novels actually. They really got me thinking that I may have reached a plateau and just drawing my stuff won't help me increase my abilty.

One of them by an artist anyone who read Dragon Magazine in the '80s would recognize. It's a single, ongoing story that has been ongoing since '02 (recommend starting at the beginning or at least the 'new reader' section). Sweet Enemy doesn't much like the style, but I dig it and the story is pretty engaging. I like it so much I'm going to pick up some of the TPBs. I give you Girl Genius:

Also, I bought my niece one of these things. On her first birthday, I gave my sister a card that promised that, as long as I was able, I'd buy little S. every bike until she stopped growing. She's two now and she's a little daredevil (Pushing her swing back and forth makes her bored. Shoving her swing in random directions makes her laugh.), so I hope I can be the Weird Uncle and get her off-roading! Woot! I got it because I agree with the the new idea that training wheels are bad. They teach kids to pedal, yes, but that's the easy part. A running bike teaches balance and control so when they hit a pedal bike, they are all set.

Anyway, check this out. It is itty AND bitty:

Check out the videos at the site. The kids hit a freeride-trials park. Slowly.

Listening to while posting: "Ali Click" by Brian Eno

Friday, September 26, 2008


Art is in progress. Pages four and five of Obscure Tales 4 are inked and being colored.

Art is not the point of this post. Most of you, by the time you read this blog, will have seen this. Anybody remember my jetpack penguins?

Now, check out the REAL THING! (sans machine guns, evil or nazisim)

Yves Rossy just flew his jetpack across the English Channel. Holy crap!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008


Sorry about the lack of posts, but I've been drawing. Working on OT 4 and coming up with a four-page work for a show that my alma mater is putting on about manga/anime and works inspired by it. I can't really draw in a manga style, but I have an idea that was inspired a bit by manga. It will probably become OT5.

So, OT4 has been updated. It is still an experiment in progress. I've opted for flat colors for the interiors and shading for the exteriors. What do you think. This may have the added bonus of quicker updates, but I make no guarantees.

Listening to while posting: videos from the Periodic Table of Videos. It's SCIENCE!

Monday, September 8, 2008

comic stuff

Firstly, Obscure Tales Issue Four: The Suns of Charybdis has officially begun. It's only the title page, but page two is done and colored and three is in the works. Working with AndreZero as a writer means I should show him the pages before I finish them. These will take a bit longer due to the (over)coloring. There's also a new navigation system added. Just click on the right-side image to go to the next and the left-side image to go back. Cool, eh? Hopefully a bit more intuitive.

So, I'll add an image of the poster I'm dong for 24 Hour Comics Day this year. I drew it by hand and traced it in Illustrator. The plan is to silkscreen a number of them rather than just photocopy them. Much cooler. We're also doing t-shirts! Woo!

Other than that, I've been busy. Riding (no rain for an entire week!) and on Sunday went on a helicopter ride out of a farm down the street with a bunch of barnstorming missionaries (no sermon required). Also, Sweet Enemy participated in the South End Art Hop in Burlington. She should be posting about it and I don't want to jinx it, but I'll say that she left with $185 worth of art sold and is now in contact with a couple who saw one of her more expensive pieces there and REALLY want to buy it! Yay! Sweet Enemy!

Listening to while posting: "Concourse '73" by Cadillac Jones

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Comic Poll


AndreZero has delivered Act 1 of issue 4 and work has begun. My question to you, loyal readers, is would you like this to be serialized, or would you like to wait until the entire thing is done (placated by regular process work scans)?

Let me know.

To start the placation, here's a page I did before I got the finished script, so It doesn't really fit. It was really just an excuse to test a new pen and it will give you an idea of the inking style. I'm going for basic clean-line style in full-color with local-color shading.

Listening to while posting: "Metropolis" by Tomoyasu Hotei

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Did Cap just say what I thought he said?

I don't know, maybe it's just me. For a comic from the '70s, talking about getting rocks off is just a little risque. Plus that's a little coarse for Cap. Even if the guy was out to give America back to Britain.

From Captain America 200 Aug 1976

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

teaser redux

I re-worked the cover for Obscure Tales 4. I decided to stick with what I know and save the experimenting for the... um... experiments. The lineart has also chagned to a stronger drawing and composition.

AndreZero is nearly done with the script and I've started production design. Woo!

Monday, August 18, 2008


logic: If all mountain bikers are masochists and Arkonbey is a mountain biker, then Arkonbey is a masochist.

It has been rain-free all week and my favorite trail was open. I called friends today and nobody was available, so I decided to hit the trail and do a training ride (ride the whole course at race-pace) rather than a tooling-around day. I was about 3/4 of the way through the loop, about a half-hour in when I met a fellow member of the Fellowship of the Wheel . Having only built trails with him, never having ridden with him, I asked if I could tag along. I hate riding alone and he said he was going to take it easy (I was already a leetle bit tired).

Over two hours, three long climbs, many short climbs, many fast descents ( and one super-fast descent (where I scared myself I was going so fast) later, I was beat. I was hydrated, but bonking (A breakfast consisting only of of four slices of peanut butter toast and two cups of good, strong free-trade coffee may have aided in the bonking.)and my skinny little backside hurt so much that I couldn't sit on the saddle. All tolled, it was over two and a half hours with 30 minutes of it at race pace.

I came home and ate for a half hour. Not fast, just steady. One (homemade!) hummus/cheese sandwich, 1/2 cheese sandwich. many tortilla chips and hummus, two local-made chocolate bon-bon things, one slice of cheap and tasty grocery store chocolate coffee cake and one Wolaver's organic whit bier later, I showered, then slept for an hour.

It has been so wet and the afternoon was cloudy I decided that I needed to pack in as much riding today as possible for two reasons: it's been so long and it might rain tomorrow. Ah, happy idiocy.

Ah, the teaser. I did a color study for the Obscure Tales Issue Four. It sort of sucks, but I'm posting it anyway. Bolstered by an early success with watercolors on an art trade with Becca , I thought I do the cover fully hand-done (save type, of course).

Man! Watercolor is hard. So, it's, literally, back to the drawing board.

listening to while posting: "Ronnie's Racing School" by Glitter Mini 9 (not on speakers, but in my HEAD! It won't leave!)

Tuesday, August 12, 2008


Well. Obscure Tales #3 is finished. It's neat to have this finally done. I mean, it's been four years since I had the dream.

As far as the comic goes, I learned a HELL of a lot doing this. The last six pages, in fact, were the hardest. Pages sixteen and seventeen were very hard. Showing that motion I wanted to show proved to be almost impossible given my current skill set. I hope it was effective; at least enough so I don't have to post a video of me and some Matchbox cars. I hope you guys like this. Quick question: did the two comic pages per webpage work?

The next issue is still being written, but the cover is done and maybe I'll post some process work for the issue.

In other news, The step-mom-in-law's family was, as usual, fun and accommodating. The camp, was gorgeous and relaxing (with a capital LAX). The weather, was perfect. I mean it. It was sunny for the drive down on Friday. The water when we arrived at 5pm was still warm. Saturday proved warm and sunny. Sunday was cool in the morning, but we were treated to a foggy cove which was nice. The sun came out until about one pm as we were packing up and the first drops hit as we were walking to the cars to leave! It then only rained for an hour and the rest of the drive back was sunny with a beautiful sunset over the Adirondaks.

So. How was your weekend?

Well. Since it's Sweet Enemy's and my first wedding anniversary, I'm gong to make a few Cosmopolitans and we're going to watch "In Bruges".

Listening to while posting: "Hang on to yourself" by David Bowie

Wednesday, August 6, 2008


Hey! It's been a while. LOTS of stuff has been happening, but don't to ruin it (or bore you) with a long post.

I've been wicked depressed the past month or so. 'give-Sweet-Enemy-the-keys-to-the-gun-case' depressed. Mostly about the world in general. I'm over-informed and it was getting to me. So, I've been cutting back on stupid conservative tricks (that's why I've been avoiding the Dean's site. Sorry).

Anyway. SE and I decided to take a road trip to my folks house on the 24th for a (my side of the)family reunion.

Took the long way down through the still very rural sections of VT. Ahhhh. Hit my folks house and had, as pe my request, Papa Gino's pizza. I hate chains, but for some reason, I really like PG's pizza (they don't have it in VT, so maybe it's the specialness).

The next day was the reunion. Pretty fun. Good food. Went on a really nice three hour ride beforehand (met some guys just starting out. They stopped ten meters into the trail to burn one. After, I could see, but before? as cheesy as it sounds, riding is my drug).

The next day was Sweet Enemy's day. She is doing a series of underwater paintings and is totally fascinated by the sea, so we hit the New England Aquarium. I wasn't sure if I wanted to go. I was still very down and didnt' want to ruin her day, but we decided I should go. We took the train from near my parent's house and it was a strangely painless trip. Boston is a remarkably walkable city.

The aquarium was pretty cool. I hadn't been since the early 80's, but darn if I didn't have more fun now! One of the best parts was seeing teens and twenty somethings who looked like the should be in a mall really getting into the exibits. What wasn't so nice was one family coming in and the little girl running to see the penguins and the parents calling her back; they had an itinerary. That was bogus. It should have been HER day.

Anyway. The train ride back was really nice. Sweet Enemy made twenty bucks! We thought she was only going to make five, but she made the guy really happy. That's all I'll say. It's her story and she should tell it. Some day. Maybe

Then a night of Chinese food and the next day entertaining (and being entertained by) my nearly-two niece. Cute kid. I can't wait till she comes up to our house in the woods. The drive back was not so nice because I was nursing a dang stye. Stupid eyelid zit!

This past weekend was pretty good. Relaxing. SE and I just hung around making art and stacking wood.

Well. I'm better. I'm not quite in blissful ignorance, but I'm not so anxious that I can't function.

What's this preview you might ask? Well, Obscure Tales 3 is almost done. Because of the nature of the climax, I decided to post the last six pages all at once. All six are inked and three are scanned. Now onto post-production and 'coloring'. I'd like to have them done by the weekend, but we're going to my step-mother-in-law's family cabin on Brandt Lake in Upstate NY. So, to keep placate you, here's the very rough sketch of the cover for Obscure Tales issue 4. It's called 'The Suns of Charybdis' and will be written by AndreZero:

AndreZero's already got a first draft done, but now that I've done posted this cover, he can't back out!

Listening to while posting: Nothing. Wait. Let me hit iTunes. ah. "Aquaman's Lament" by Mark Aaron James.

Saturday, July 19, 2008


First, my hand is okay. Went on another ride on Thursday with a local MTB club. It was a mixed bunch of really cool guys (no bellas!?) and as usual, I was 'not as good as, but better than'. Good night.

Obscure Tales is updated. A hard couple of panels. I'm not sure how successful they are, but they went through a lot of iterations to find ones that actually came close to working. Plus, after I finished and posted, I found that the first panel of page 13 looks like the car has a shattered windshield. It doesn't. It's supposed to be a cool lighting effect, but it doesn't work. I'm going to re-work it tonight, so forgive me.

Now, a Comic Review. Not of an issue, but of a comic: PS 238. I may have mentioned this before, but you HAVE to start reading this. It is the first monthly since Excalibur (under Davis) that has me laughing, thinking, caring about the characters and, importantly, looking forward to every month.

You can hit the site for the full story (and online re-print of the first issue), so I won't bore you with a synopsis other than to say it's about a school for meta-human children (of both heroes and villains). However, the issues I just got in from Heavy Ink have some perfect examples me of what I love about the comic.

First of all, it's damned funny! Check out this very subtle joke as we watch the local non-metahuman vigilante crime-fighter relaxing in an arcade:

The joke in issue 29 that still makes me laugh every time I see it needs a bit of an introduction. This is Poly Mer and she's the local stretchy hero ala' Elastigirl:

Here is an exchange between Poly and a girl known only as "eighty-four". Seriously, I laughed as I scanned it, I laughed when it was in photoshop and I'll probably laugh when I check this page. If you don't laugh, you've obviously lost touch with your inner 4th grader:

But, it's not all jokes. Aaron Williams has created a pretty solid universe heavily populated with meta-humans. One evolving storyline evolves the girl "eighty-four". It ask the interesting question about what it takes to be special in a world of many special people. This exchange with an airport security guard is very poignant (and is cobbled together from two pages):

Also, I think that Williams can really draw. He does great hands and he draws kids really well. His eyes and backgrounds need a tiny bit of work, but his only real flaw is his overuse of photoshop for effects and 'signage' type. I'll forgive that though, as he is a one-man operation and if he can't draw type (as I can't), he can't exactly hire someone to do it. I think his writing is top-notch as well. He does a good job of portraying kids as kids.

Anyway. there are now a bunch of TPBs that encompass the all the previous issues, so you can catch up easily. Please hit the site and read up (just a note: the SINGLE arrows are go SINGLE PAGES, the double arrows go to the most recent page). You probably won't be sorry. I'm going outside now.

Listening to while posting: "Break Down the Walls" by Half Way Home

Monday, July 7, 2008

O.T. Three update

Man, what at weekend, no?

In addition to the piles of art made, I also had a good luck/bad luck thing on Saturday. Whilst barreling down some fine East Coast singletrack, my handlebars caught a four-inch Poplar; in effect, I punched it at about 15 MPH. The impact twisted my handlebars to the left and I was shot to the right towards the edge of the trail. I managed to recover and braked to a stop, l leery of removing my glove. The top of my hand hurt and I had torn skin on my knuckle, but otherwise fine. I was still a bit worried, but made it back okay.

Today, my hand aches a little and there is some stinging in places, so I made an appointment with someone who knows more about bones than me. I am hoping they'll call me a hypochondriac and kick me out of their offices telling me not to waste their time. Better safe than sorry. The very lucky bit is, even if something is wrong, it's my non-drawing hand!

Oh, and my bike was fine.

Anyway. Obscure Tales Three is updated. Yay!

Listening to while posting: "It's Too Hot" by The Specials

Sunday, July 6, 2008

old art part two

I just finished inking two more pages of Obscure Tales 3. They will be hopefully scanned, finished and posted tomorrow. Not only was this the fastest I've worked (two pages penciled, blue-traced and inked in one day), but, I must say, that these are the two best comic pages I've ever done. Sure, I will likely hate them tomorrow, but as of now, I am very, very happy.

In celebration, here is a rather old drawing I did for my application portfolio for the Maine College of Art. While on duty one weekend night, I sat in a desk chair in the hanger of Coast Guard Air Station Traverse City, MI. This helo (pronounced 'hee-low'; naval/ coast guard aviators NEVER say 'chopper' or 'heli'), the Sikorsky HH-60J Jayhawk, was actually the reason I got out of the USCG; it made me airsick, so I took myself off of flight rotation. Nice drawing, though...

Also, for those who may care, I'm going to allow anonymous posting (with security word). This is because I know people that follow this blog that don't have a Google account and don't want one, but, I'd like to hear from them.

Listening to while posting : "Ronnie's Racing School" by Glitter Mini Nine (note: I really like this song and went looking to find the album, but they broke up last year and the album with this song is only on eBay for $80. I like them, but not that much).

Saturday, July 5, 2008

comic update. Yay. Again

Another two pages. The action heats up!

Here's a link to Page One

If you like the longer way, or want to see the other stuff, please check out the Arkonbey's Comics link on the right there. Right up top.

Well, I've been working on this since 9am EDT, it's now 2:21 EST. It's gorgeous outside and I'm going out there. Goodbye, for now, internet!

Listening to while posting: "Dishwasher Blues" by the Pink Fits

Sunday, June 29, 2008

comic update. Yay.

Obscure Tales three is updated. New two page spread. I've also given it a title. I had a one since the beginning, but something that Don Snabulous said in a comment about the comment made me think it might work. Let me know if it's cheesy; it's on the cover.

In meatspace action, a weird thing happened today. I was helping my former Aikido sensei dig post holes (with a giant mechanical auger that worked better once we figured out which way was reverse and which was forward). I stopped training actively about two years ago and it feels strange to be just a friend and call him by his name after years of being his student. Anyway, after four hours of work he was driving me home, but we decided to stop at the hardware store before it closed. On the way to the store, we passed my road (if he dropped me off at the end of the road as I'd asked, the store would have closed). We did our business at the store and as we waited to pull out a local rescue ambulance and a volunteer EMT sped by going towards my town.

When we got near my road, it was blocked off by a fire truck (literally across the road blocking rubberneckers) and a firefighter waving us to take the immediate left near the graveyard. Sensei dropped me off at the post office; there's a shortcut trail behind the PO that Sweet Enemy and I take to get to our house. I decided to go through the woods to the main road to check on the accident, not with morbid intentions (seen one dead guy on a SAR case in1992, that's enough for me, thanks), but just because I didn't know it was an MVA. In the woods, I met a local teen who told me a car hit a telephone pole right at the end of our street.

Still curious, I went on. I was about 20 meters from the road, when I came around the graveyard's equipment shed, when I spied some EMTs with a stretcher in the graveyard! I was a bit creeped out. To get where the EMTs were, someone would have to have been thrown twenty or more feet. Not wanting to seem like a morbid a**hole rubbernecking at an obvious fatality, I went home and told SE (who, having heard the actual crash, was relieved it wasn't sensei and I).

About a half-hour later, we heard the ambulance leave, then a half-hour later, we went to leave for a cookout and found the road still blocked by caution tape. We could see a utility truck, a telephone pole right at the end of our street on the soutbound side nearly snapped off hanging by its own wires, and the accident vehicle. It was in the northbound lane facing the phone pole with its hazards on and the passenger door open. It was only about ten feet from the pole.

I tried to Sherlock Holmes it out, but since I'm dumb, all I got was more questions. Obviously, it hit the pole and spun. But, why only 90 degrees and why only ten feet away? Was it traveling not-so-fast, or did it hit so hard that most of its momentum was spent? Who put the hazards on? There could be two reasons for the passenger door being open: either a passenger had to be removed or rescue opened the door so they could more easily stabilize the driver. But, why were they in the graveyard? Was the driver ambulatory and concussed and just wandered away (the graveyard is northbound and too far away for the ejection argument).

Anyway, Sensei's neighbor works for the local paper and told him that it was a single occupant with no fatalities. I hope no crippling either.

What was also interesting is they knocked out the power to allow the crew to change the pole, but not just near the accident. Sensei lives about eight miles southeast in the same town and they had no power. They must have secured the entire line for the town of Underhill. What is also interesting is that this is the second time in a year that a pole at the bottom of our street was hit. Last time, the impact knocked out the power.

Ok. Enough words.

Listening to while posting. "One Word" by Tim 'Love' Lee

Wednesday, June 25, 2008


No art tonight, music for you!

This is Lefty Williams. He's the husband of one of Sweet Enemy's oldest friends. He's come up from GA to visit us twice and each time is a treat. He's not only a really, really good guitar player, he's a fantastic human being. I'm still a bit bugged that he hasn't achieved larger recognition. Can you spot why they call him Lefty?

Listening to while posting: Lefty, duhhh..

Sunday, June 22, 2008

dang it all to heck

UPDATE: Obsure Tales has been updated 1953 hrs EDT

I just got done busting ass on the latest update to Obscure Tales 3. However, it isn't going to be posted because my FTP client is acting wonky. Ah, well. Wonders of Modern Technology!

Instead, I'll wish Bruce Campbell a happy birthday!

I actually didn't know this until I visited The Horrors of it All a cool site for horror comic fans. They post scans of pre-code comics. GOOD stuff.

Listening to while posting: Nothing. Sweet Enemy has gone to bed early. Had to drive 4 hours round trip to drop off some of her works for a gallery show. Woo hoo!

movie review that nobody will read for a film that everyone else has already seen

So, last evening, AndreZero, AZ's Not-a-Mad-Scientist GF, her friend that she's known for 96% of her life, Sweet Enemy and I went to see The Hulk. Here's what I thought about it. Those who know me know that I'm usually VERY harsh on films, so be warned. I'm stealing Swinebread's review format because it works really well. It is VERY long because I am not a good writer. Oh, yeah: HERE BE SPOILERS (not that it matters. I'm the last person in the US to see The Hulk).

What I liked:

-The opening sequence. I thought it was nearly perfect. It was a bit like the opening to a TV show, but it did it's job perfectly: it summed up the origin story that we don't need to hear again. SE was wondering about the lack of gamma bomb. She's too young to really remember the Bill Bixby show and only got the origin in my (priceless) copy of Origins of Marvel Comics. My thought is that we don't do nuclear bomb testing anymore, so it made sense to have a more sedate origin experiment. Also on the plus side: no Rick Jones!

- Casting: Perfect. I mean everybody looked as though Kriby had drawn them.

- The subtle 'comic book frame' moments: I don't mean the obvious ones like the shot of Betty and the Hulk sitting in the cave entrance, but ones that evoked a comic book frame for me.

The nicest was the shot of the initial Banner takedown team. It could be considered a throw-away shot, it technically didn't need to be there. But, there they were: The Team. There were no names given, but each member had a 'look' that tagged them as individuals. I could image the artist having fun creating them for that shot before making them anonymous for the assault. The individuality of them hinted at the vague potential that they had names and personalities and that made it more powerful when the Hulk killed them all (except for the guy who broke both his legs falling two stories in the chase).

- The Hulk as a Force of Nature: Holy crap did they make the hulk scary. This was something that could not be done in the TV show, but this film pulled directly from the comics. His power and invulnerability and his complete lack of remorse or understanding or control. It truly gave me the shivers and made me very, very happy not to live in the Marvel Universe .

- The way the movie dealt with death: This was an almost astoundingly violent film, but when it came to death, for me it was downright Hitchcock-ian in that the camera never hung lovingly on death and pain; it made our imagination work the horror. We never really see anyone killed (only five corpses visible by my count). But the implication of death is even more powerful and moments of this terrifying implication are all through the film. When the Hulk pushes the soda pop tank down the factory floor taking out much of the team, the last one in line almost makes it and was swept away. We don't see him die. He just disappears in a way that reminded me a great deal of Jaws. We know what happened to him, but in a way we don't and that's much scarier.

Another moment was the second or two the camera dwelled on the soldiers and cop in the HMMWV just before the Abomination crushed them with the taxi. We had a moment of their fragile humanity before they died unseen.

- The transformations: Nicely done. Not the effects themselves, but how they were handled. Banner transforms four times. The first is mysterious and we never actually see it and that allowed me to get caught up in the surprise that the assault team felt. The second was a bit clearer, but still not totally visible. The third, we see the whole thing in it's glory (which I thought was pretty spectacular). The fourth was off-camera because we'd already seen it.

- Adding Betty Ross at the beginning. It allowed the film to give Thunderbolt Ross a reason for his obsession nice and quick.

- Nice, but not- unsubtle nods to us nerds. Doc Samson, The Leader, Bill Bixby, the 'in the rain' theme song, Lou Ferrigno, Mr. McGee. All nice

- Helo crash: I don't know if this is intentional, but the MH-53 looked like a model rather than CGI. I liked that. A lot. Robert Rodriguez said when directing Spy Kids 2 that he deliberately had the effects artists make the CGI creatures move a bit like stop-motion to give them more life. I agree. Even though the helo looked like a model, it looked more 'real'. I think that even if it is a fake thing, it is still a thing more than CGI

- Time setting: I don't know if this is intentional, but I think it was. When they showed the military operations at the campus and NYC, all of the soldiers wore woodland camo rather than digital and used M-16A2s rather than the now-standard M4s This gave it a sort of ten-years-ago feel. I wish I'd remembered if the Twin Towers were shown in the NYC waterfront shot. I also thought it was funny that the soldiers wore their helmets even when removing files form Betty's house.

- Liv Tyler. Oh, I have a giant crush on her. That's okay, because Sweet Enemy thinks Edward Norton is cute.

What I didn't like:

These are mostly nitpicks, but that's what I'm like:

-The blood part 1: Not-a-Mad-Scientist brought this up. If Mr. Blue could replicate Banner's blood like that, there would be no need for the Red Cross blood drives.

-The blood part 2: Banner's 'curse' can be transmitted by blood? Holy crap! What about his other bodily fluids? Even if it's just blood, it appears that the cells can survive in a non-sterile fluid (soda pop) for weeks and still have effects. Makes me wonder if bleach would even work to clean up. If he cut himself shaving and it went down the drain, would it infect people. It was just a badly conceived way for Banner to get caught. And what happened to Stan Lee when he drank the soda anyhoo?

-Speaking of that: No more Stan Lee cameos, please. We know what he looks like and it totally breaks the fourth wall for me. He is The Man, but I am tired of seeing him.

- The helicopter crash part 1: Man, did that have Named Character Syndrome. The only survivors are the only ones either not strapped into a crash-worthy seat or wearing helmets? C'mon.

- The helicopter crash part 2: there is nothing near the rotorhead of a Sikorsky helicopter that would spark like that. Nothing. The batteries are located in the nose. and the generators are just forward of the rotorhead, but they are engine-driven.

-The helicopter crash part 3: Jet fuel will not ignite like that. It has a very high flash pint and you need vapors or atomized fuel (we once dropped a cigarette and then a match in a puddle of JP-4 and it just went out). If it were to catch on fire, it would have done so on impact. The whole fire thing was stupid. It was just a way to allow the Hulk to get blindsided and the fight could have ben choreographed without it.

- Mr Blue/Mr Green: How do these clandestine meetings get set up anyway? Somebody MUST know somebody else to get this going! There has to be a middleman. I know it's a general movie convention, and it might work with the internets, but it still bugs me.

- Was Banner planning on wrecking his cabin in the end? Why not go outside? Even if he could now control The Hulk, he's still nine feet tall and weights a ton or two.

Things that bugged other people but didn't bug me:

- the CGI: People seemed to gripe al ot about how fake The Hulk looked. Jeezum! Are we that jaded? It looked quite nice. How real do we need them to look? I'm not saying there can't be terrible CGI (I'm looking at you added-in Jabba the Hutt), but this was not even close. We have to relax on effects a bit. It's this kind of effects nitpicking that led to the added-in Jabba, the new CGI for Star Trek: TOS, and other abominations. It wasn't a guy in a rubber suit, so give it a break.

- Tony Stark: People seemed to have an issue with this. A reviewer for the (otherwise really good) local weekly griped that they were just trying to introduce a super team in the fashion of Fantastic Four. I pause here so we comic readers can say "Well, Duh, they're called The Avengers"............................................. Ok, good. I liked that. It gave a sort of a TV feel to it. I wonder if they will do a Thor movie in addition to the Captain America...

Conclusion: I have not had this much fun at a movie in a LONG time. I will say, having not yet seen Iron Man, that this was the best comic adaptation. Ever. I felt pretty jazzed and satisfied leaving the theater and I have no serious complaints about how the characters were handled (I'm looking at you organic web shooters). I'm not generally a movie collector, but this may go on the shelf.

Also: They probably won't ever do a comic-to-film adaptation of Strangers in Paradise, but nobody can play Francine but Liv Tyler:

After the film, we went to AndreZero's condo and watched the premiere of the new comic-to-TV adaptation, The Middleman and then drank margaritas and played Zombie Fluxx. I'll review the Middleman later. As you might guess, I have Opinions and Thoughts about it.

Listening to while posting: "Nothing Better" by The Postal Service

Tuesday, June 17, 2008


Still drawing.

I should have done this earlier, but I'd like to thank all who critiqued The Beast. Especially Swinebread who gave me a few good paragraphs of criticism. All taken to heart, bub!

He did mention this: "Also make sure he’s always evil looking there’s couple of shots were he looks too cute. Save the Cute werewolf for Pidge.

So, here you go. I was waiting for a code build last week and sketched this out.

I think it worked because when I showed it to Sweet Enemy without introduction, she said, "nice she-wolf". I tried really hard to make it female without making it feminine.

listening to while posting: The Project(s) by DJ Logic

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Comics: mine and others

First, mine. Obscure Tales three is updated. I'm trying a new format for viewing. I've put two pages together to simulate actual comic viewing. I've been laying out the comic in paired pages to eliminate the 'cliffhanger-every-page' syndrome. Please let me know your thoughts.

Other's comics: None! Isn't that great? I live 15 miles from town, so even before high gas prices, I didn't go often. Last weekend I actually went to the Worst Comic Book Shop. I know, I know, but earlier I managed to talk to a nice person there. It startled me so much, I decided to order some comics that I needed. Last weekend, I went in to check if they were in and it was not the nice person.

"Did we call you?", he grunted.

That actually set me off. I'd gone in completely relaxed, not aggressive at all. This despite the fact that I'd ordered the comic TWO WEEKS prior. So, I countered with the information that over the winter, I'd ordered DC: New Frontiers vol. 2 and they NEVER called. Not to this day.

So. That was last weekend. Now it's been a week. Have I gotten a call? Of course not. Do they put their orders in twice annually? If so, tell me! Keep me posted. Why do I do this to myself? I'm going in next weekend and whether it is there or not, I am going to tell them that they have lost a customer.

Man. I need a teleporter to Portland Left.

listening to while posting: "We will become silhouettes" by The Postal Service

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

And so, it begins...

Obscure Tales #3 is now officially begun.

I will not promise, but will shoot for, one update a week.

OT#3 has not title yet. I have one floating around in my head, but it feels cheesy and may be a giveaway to the ending.

Anyway, here's a watercolor I did back in Dec 1994, one year before art school (can you tell?). It is titled Weirdling Wars #3. Was there a story? Nope. Just a bunch of drawings and paintings with that title.

Listening to while posting: "Zig Zag" by The Hooters (from the album of the same name)

Thursday, June 5, 2008


drawing. No time to post.

However, you are ordered to listen to this:

Harlan Ellsion is the man. A cranky writer who could have given Kurt Vonnegut a lesson in curmudgeon-iness. I love his thoughts on modern fiction and the internets. He's also a fantastic weirdo. C'mon, the guy has a super-neat house with secret rooms and 250,000 books that he calls Ellison Wonderland. What's not to like. If the player doesn't work go here. Listen to the uncut interview as well, it's worth it.

listening to while posting: nothing

Sunday, June 1, 2008


I had a busy art weekend. However, as one should always open with a joke, here is an art supply joke:

"I just can't seem to stop using this stuff!"

Now, the news. AndreZero asked me two things. One: if "The Beast" is Obscure Tales #2, what is #1? and Two: would I post the first story that we worked on together so that he could get some writing critiques? The answer to both is the same thing. I created a cover for Obscure Tales #2 and it features our first story: "Last Respects" featuring a character AndreZero created, Mr. Twilight.

Where can I see this fine story, you ask? Good question.

The answer? Here in my new Sequential Art Repository. This little gem and its banner was the second arty thing I did this weekend.

The third thing was that I've started work on a third Obscure Tale. It's based on a story that I wrote about three or four years ago that I'd intended to animate; I actually had a dream of drawing the storyboard. I got as far as a cool title sequence and then realized my animation skills were not up to the task. So, the story has lain dormant, until now. Here's a teaser of the cover. I won't guarantee regularity of posts, but I'd love to really do this right.

To keep in the mood, please give a listen the music I composed for the animation, who's original title was, for some reason, "Vingette No.2: Thursday". The short and simple made-to-be-seen-with-images Title Theme (45 sec) and the longer, more complex Love Theme from Thursday (1:50 sec). Enjoy!

Also in the Sequential Art Repository you can see a comic I did for a contest Viper Comics held. Mine was better than the majority, but they lost my entry. Not that I'm bitter.

Listening to while posting: "Love Theme from Thursday" by me. I like it much better than the Title Theme, it's much more interesting. It was the original title theme, but was way too long, so I had to make the new, shorter Title Theme.

UPDATE 2132 EST: Sweet Enemy thought that the Thursday Title Theme doesn't stand well on its own and I should post the last animation I did for it. Here it is. It's from July 2004 and you'll be able to see why I stopped.