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Archive for the ‘History’ Category

Throwback Thursday – Swords & Sorcery !

Thursday, October 26th, 2017

Okay, there are no swords in this one, but there is sorcery!

I was given the opportunity back in ’97 to contribute stories to the Fantasy anthology Mythography. This was my second story, and my longest.

When I created Sîan I was reading a lot of Red Sonja and watching Xena. I wanted to create a female Sword & Sorcery adventure character   that was realistic with no super powers or goddess bestowed strength and powers. Her costume design is meant to be practical and functional, at least for the cat burgling during the hot summer months of the Mediterranean-like city she is employed in during this story. She doesn’t go out in public dressed like that unless hid under her cloak! And her outfit will change depending on the situation and adventure. Her hair style is the true signature costume.

And, yes, there are some elements in the beginning of the story that might seem a little misogynistic, especially Sîan’s own attitude toward her gender. Her city is meant to be a Hyborian age pre-empire Roman-like city state, and women are not equal citizens so her own belief in the equality of the sexes might not be up to modern standards, at least at this early stage of her career. And… I was working backwards initially from a joke twist ending that required her to be willing and eager to take the Wizard’s offer of turning her into a man! When I decided to play the story a little more straight, and leave Sîan intact as a female character I could use in further stories, I still needed her to be frustrated enough with her being trapped in a world where women are not considered equal to be  believable that she would jump at that offer. I put her through the wringer to get her there, though!

Read through to the end. I promise the pay off is good.

And, while I never thought it would be a twenty year break, Sîan will return! I’ve got plenty more stories to tell.

Throwback Thursday – 90’s Bad Girls!

Thursday, October 5th, 2017

I’m going through my archives, scanning in old artwork, looking for short stories  and pinups and sketches to publish.

Every once in a while I come across an oddity I had forgotten about.

This one comes from the summer of 1997. I got offered the “opportunity” to work on a Double Impact/Luxura cross over comic. I didn’t know anything about Luxura other than she was a 90’s bad girl vampire character but Double Impact I was a little more familiar with as I had read about their initial sales success and flipped through the odd issue in my Local Comic Shop.

It wasn’t my cup of tea, but back in those days I’d draw pretty much anything for cash if I had the room in my schedule, and the page rate was okay, so I agreed to do the job.

I should have been tipped off that it was not going to go well when they started sending the script two or three pages at a time and blaming MY fax machine for cutting out. I asked them to send the script to a commercial fax machine at my local Mail Boxes Etc. and the “issues with MY fax machine” continued as they continued to send it a few pages at a time. Pages were coming in so slowly that I was worried I wasn’t going to hit the deadline.

And… the script was the most illiterate piece of trash I have ever seen, being almost unreadable!

But I persisted.

When the book finally came out, half the dialogue was different than the script, even ignoring the flow of the art, dropping jokes that were in the script that I had played up well. It read like someone had made up the dialogue on the spot just looking at the art.

I believe I did this story under a page a day schedule, which for my style is quite tight. I’m more of a pencil a page a day / ink a page a day kind of guy. But I got it done and in by the deadline. They were thrilled and solicited a two issue mini with me listed as the artist.

But…. the payment deadline passed with no check. Another month passed, then another month and they kept making excuses and putting me off. Eventually the publisher told me the book was in the red and he couldn’t pay me, and to add insult to injury, he claimed the editor had stolen a whole bunch of art including my pages.

So, I never got payed, had my art stolen, and had to buy a copy of the comic off the racks so I would have a record of the job. Fortunately I had the foresight to photocopy the whole job before mailing it.

And they were upset when I told them I wasn’t doing the follow up mini until I got paid for the first job.

Oh well. I eventually wrote the whole thing off as a bad debt on my taxes, so it wasn’t a complete waste.

Oddly enough, I actually kind of enjoyed doing the job, as it was the closest to “Commercial Big Two”  work I had ever done at that point. And looking back, I’m embarrassed by the “Bad Girl” subject matter, but I think I did an OK job all things considered!

Networking by Food Fight!

Thursday, May 18th, 2017

I’m researching crowdfunding at the moment as I’m thinking of running a Kickstarter for Wahoo Morris Book 2 this year.

As part of the research I’m participating in the 5 day ComixLaunch Kickstarter Challenge.

Day 1 the challenge was to streamline and write your bio. Not too hard. Done.

Day 2 was to come up with a compelling backstory, the when, where, how and why that got you to where you are today. You were supposed to keep it in bullet points then tell one of those stories as briefly as possible. So far I have failed this challenge as my notes are verging on the chapter of a novel.

It’s been 31 years since my first professional gig in comics, and it’s been a long meandering road of making a living, to trying to break in, to making a living, to self publishing and going in debt, to doing it as a professional hobby, to making a living and back to creatively satisfying side gigs on the side. Now hoping to take another run at making a living at it.

One through line that connects a lot of my story was meeting Barry Blair at a meeting of the Graphic Story Society when I was 14. From hiring me at Aircel at 17, to recommending me to Tom Mason at Malibu Graphics, to hiring me at WaRP to ink and draw ElfQuest® the official page, the entirety of the “Full-time-professional” phase of my comic career was linked by that one chance meeting in grade 9. Hell, even my first attempts at creator owned work in Mythography and the Forbidden Book, including the story I did with Marv Wolfman were connected because he introduced me by email to Michael Cohen.

Chance encounters seem to be my thing.

Almost knocking the plate of ribs out of Mark Wheatley‘s hands in the buffet line of a party at the Laughing Ogre in Columbus Ohio led to a conversation about web comics. Fast forward a year and based on Mark’s recommendation I teamed up with Robert Tinnell to draw the Harvey Award Nominated daily strip The Chelation Kid. A year later Mark hires me to Ink, then draw the daily and also Harvey Award Nominated Mighty Motor Sapiens among other projects.

My inclusion in Comic Book Tattoo was part chance encounter as well, as after a sparsely attended meetup of members of The Engine message board at San Diego Comic Con, I at the last moment and on a whim handed a copy of my latest issue of Wahoo Morris to everyone there including Rantz Hoseley.

Not sure where I am going with this ….

I’m sure some people do their networking with intent and forethought. You can’t (or at least shouldn’t) plan to knock over someones plate of ribs in the hopes of getting work! Seems to be my style though.