Friday, December 24, 2010

Christmas music

I worked a Wal*Mart back in 1995 and 1996. So, I don't really have a fondness for Christmas music. I really don't care for John Lennon's Happy X-Mas (War is Over) and I like all the various remakes that seems to be cropping up of late even less. Be creative and write your own protest song people!!

And don't get me started on Paul McCartney's Christmas tune.

HOWEVER, I do like this rendition of Little Drummer Boy/Peace on Earth featuring Bing Crosby and David Bowie. So, Merry Christmas one and all!!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Comics in Worcester Magazine


Image borrow from Andy Fish's blog

I won't hide the fact that this is somewhat a life long dream realized. Well, sort of. When I was a kid I wanted to be a comic stripper professionally when I grow up. A phrase coined by Berke Breathed in Bloom County. I loved the comics page and I looked forward to reading the comics every Sunday when I was over my Grandparents. I drew my own comic strips and even had my own long running character.

This was back in the days when comics like Calvin and Hobbes and the Far Side ruled the newspaper. I did for a short time do a series of strips my last couple years of college for the student newspaper. But over time I ended up becoming more interested in comic books rather than comic strips.

However, I did try to submit my college strip to Creators Syndicate. And got flat out rejected.

So, when Andy Fish asked me to contribute to the upcoming issue of Worcester Magazine which will feature comics by some very talented friends of mine I immediately jumped at the chance. Each of them have created comics which capture a certain news story which took place right here in Worcester MA.

The artists include Andy Fish, Veronica Fish, Derek Ring, Adam Fish, Alison Cowell, Mike Briggs, JJB Buckmasker, Christopher Whitehead and myself.

It also features an artist new to me Aloysius Jones. He's someone Andy knows and quite frankly I like his work!! Reminds me a bit of John K. from Ren and Stimpy fame as well as classic Hanna-Barbera cartoons.

I don't think we've seen the last of Mr. Jones.

I also gave a very stumbling interview for a Behind the Cover video of the Comics issue. So, I apologize to everyone in advanced.

The issue is on newsstands now. And did I mention it's FREE!! You can also see smaller versions of the comics online by clicking the link below:

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Boston Comic Con 2011


I am very pleased to say that I WILL be taking part in Boston Comic Con 2011!! After missing out last year, I have been itching to go back. Now they have it in a bigger location with the Hynes Convention Center and this year boasts some guests I'm really excited about!!

The list includes Joe Kubert (Sunday only), Frank Quitely, Adam Hughes, Darwyn Cooke, Art Adams, Frank Cho, Tim Sale, and Matt Wagner.

But not only that!! One of my favorite artists TERRY MOORE will be appearing at this year's show!!

I don't keep it a secret that I really liked Terry Moore's work back in the day. He was someone else that really got me into pen and ink art with Strangers in Paradise (or SIP as it is affectionately called by fans). But not only that. What got me hooked on the series is he was probably one of the few artists who drew women fairly realistically.

This was at the height of the time where most artists drew women with a massive chest and the waist the size of one of my drawing pencils. Which makes you think that these women would HAVE TO have super powers. Because if they didn't they'd be spending most of their time in a wheelchair because their waist was waaaaay too thin to support their ridiculously sized busoms!!

But as a young comic reader, I enjoyed the story lines and quirky offbeat sense of humor Terry Moore offered in SIP. I stopped following the series only because I really stopped collecting single issue comic books somewhere around 1998 or 1999.

I did break fast on a couple of occasions recently. The first time was with Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely's run on Batman and Robin. The second was an issue of Neal Adam's Batman: Odyssey.

But Alterna, Sydney and myself will be packing everything up and hitting the convention floor on Sunday morning May 1st!! The shows are always a lot of fun so I hope to see you all there!!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

An owners guide to FAILURE!!


I had a really great professor in college named Mark Kneece. I think on the first day of our Comic Book Scriptwriting class he came into the room, looked at all of us and then pointed his finger around the room and said "FAILURE"!! Which he followed by saying "Failure is good! You will all experience failure in your lives".

And I think it was the best bit of encouragement I could have ever got as a young artist.

Flash forward to around 2008/2009. I just finished working on Sherlock Holmes: The Painful Predicament of Alice Faulkner. I had decided before ultimately submitting the project to Alterna to try and apply for a publishing grant through the Xeric Foundation.

What is the Xeric Foundation, you ask? Well!! The Xeric Foundation (as stated on their website) is a private, nonprofit corporation established by Peter A. Laird, co-creator of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Planet Racers.

The Foundation offers financial assistance to committed, self-publishing comic book creators and qualified charitable and nonprofit organizations. The geographical consideration for comic book artists is the United States and Canada. You must be a citizen or permanent resident currently living in either country.

I had never heard of Xeric myself until I read something about them on my good buddy Andy Fish's blog. I thought I'd give it a try. Not that I was unsatisfied with Alterna in any way. But I had never taken a chance like this so I thought it was worth a shot.

So, I read the submissions guidelines closely and did all the necessary things stated in the rules. a traditional cover letter, a creator's statement of purpose, a traditional resume, a financial statement and presentation of the work to date.
I had to collated items #1- 6, then Separate the six copies of my application into folders or envelopes so that each Xeric reviewer will have a complete packet. Then mail them together in a larger envelope or box.

All of which came out to around $60 total to make all the copies and mail it to Xeric. It may seem like a lot of work and a lot of money. But those were the rules and I felt at the time that it was worth the expense to take that risk.

I must have done everything right because I never got a notice telling me that my submission wasn't be considered for being incomplete.

I applied for the grant in March 31st and had to wait till May 1st for them to review it. And then I had to wait till June 15th for a response.

And I actually got that response a couple weeks before June 15th as a matter of fact...

...they rejected my proposal. How did I handle this obviously crushing defeat?

Did I write a very long blog cursing out Peter Laird calling him a no-talent hack and ripping the Xeric Foundation to shreds and making snide comments about the books that were chosen crying and complaining they were no better than my work and demanding they refund me for what I spent in printing? Nope!

Did I write a long and angry letter to the Xeric Foundation chewing them out for wasting my time and money submitting my book which I could have had published in the time it was waiting for them to respond? No sir, I did not!!

Did I go on my blog, one of the various comic book messageboards, Facebook, Myspace, Comicspace, deviantart, Twitter (was Twitter around in 2008?), Linkdin or some social networking site that I can't think of or hasn't been invented yet and chew out Xeric and spouting a geyser of obscenities as well as screaming how they wouldn't know talent if it stabbed them in the eye? Just because they didn't accept my work?

NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! AND NO!

Why? Because you don't burn bridges. Maybe my work was just as good as the work they chose. Maybe not. Ultimately, it's their choice and I had to respect that. And to sit there and to cry and scream over it calling these people every name in the book doesn't make me look professional.

This kind of behavior can really come back to haunt you. I'm trying to make my mark as a professional artist. And an online hissy fit won't help me.

I'm 34 years old (well, 33 when I submitted it) and quite frankly to sit there and name call and cry and scream online what jerks these people are for not accepting my proposal seems very immature.

Sure, it's disappointing. But if you keep burning your bridges and acting like that nobody will take you seriously anymore. It's something a 19 year old might do. But for someone in their 30's or older to behave like that is unacceptable.

And very unprofessional. You keep behaving like that and after a while people will stop taking you and your work seriously. Because you never know. Just because something's rejected you don't know if this person might become an invaluable connection you didn't have before.

As for the money I dropped on printing and mailing, I knew there was a risk I might be $60 in the hole if they decided they didn't want to accept the project. But again, I thought it justified the risk.

In the end I knew it wasn't the end of the road if it got rejected. I submitted the project to Alterna for December 2009 release and now nearly one year later Sherlock Holmes is entering it's third print run.

And this time it's being distributed by Diamond!!

That's because instead of sitting around crying my beer and taking shots at everyone, I moved forward and found another avenue.

The thing is we all have a tendency to become infatuated with our own legend sometimes. Maybe our work is good but to think we're beyond criticism is the worst thing you can think.

So, the next time you receive a crushing defeat don't act like it's the end of the world. Or that the people who rejected you are somehow out to get you. Explore your options. Maybe this door has been closed to you. But if you're patient, another might open. But you're not going to do yourself or your career any good if you constantly burn your bridges and cut off your nose to spite your face.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Gothic Peanuts (9x12 pen and ink artwork)


Illustrated in Pelikan Black Drawing Ink with Crow Quill Pen on Canson Smooth 9x12 Bristol Board.

An idea I was toying with over the last couple of days and I thought I would sketch it out to see what it would look like. The results is if Charlie Brown and the gang were somehow directed by Tim Burton. Available to bid on.

Click on the image above to start bidding!!