Sunday, December 31, 2023

2023 a year in review

 This is my looking back at 2023 blog, wherein I plan to talk about my favorite things from 2023.\

Favorite book: Generations: The Real Differences Between Gem Z, Millennials, Gen X, Boomers, and Silents- and What They Mean for America's Future by Jean M. Twenge PhD


I've always kind of discounted the generational differences. I figure I'm too much of a individual to fit into any such category anyway. However, it turns out we're called Gen X precisely because we're so hard to categorize! I really did connect with not only what Dr. Twenge says about my generation, but also her writings on my parents' generations and how things have changed. The biggest change through the years is always technology and how it affects our daily lives. And trends in social areas such as work, marriage, and children reflect our increasing lifespans and slower maturation as it currently takes much longer for people to finish schooling and begin a career. These are just some of the highlights of what I learned through this book. I recommend everyone give it a read!

Favorite comic book, new: It was very nice to get to read some new Ms. Marvel comics this year! Co-written by Iman Vellani (the actress who plays Kamala in the MCU) Ms. Marvel: New Mutant was a good, fun series. Also I have to give a shout out to Avengers, INC. An Avengers series focusing on the Wasp, as she tries to solve a few mysteries, such as why her old foe Whirlwind had died and come back as Victor Shade. Great art on this one by one of my long-time favorites, Leonard Kirk!


Favorite comic book, old: I decided this year to read all the Black Panther solo series, most of which I had never read before. Starting with writer Don McGregor's Jungle Action run, which was the very forst solo series for T'Challa. McGregor created most of what we have of Wakanda today, as he centered most of his series on the fictional home of the Black Panther and created many of the supporting cast and villains that we still see today. These earliest stories are very different than current comics, and the writing seemed very non-comic booky to me. I don't know how else to describe it, but it has it's good and bad points. Mostly it is amazing to read the stories that really started the legend. 


The later run by Jack Kirby is incredible fun. Sure, it's very 70's Kirby, and some of the stories could involve just about any character (very Mister Miracle I'd say) but Kirby has a way of showing how regal and commanding T'Challa's presence is. The best part of the story is when Jack gets the King of Wakanda back to his homeland.

And two more quick notes: McGregor's other big Black Panther story, most of which I had read when it was first published, was a series in Marvel Comics Presents drawn by the legendary Gene Colan. It was the main factor in my buying all those MCP comics back then! And I've currently gotten into Christopher Priest's run from the late 90's-, which really makes T'Challa a superstar and also powers him up quite a bit with much more Wakanda tech! 

Favorite small press comic: The Ninja Pandemica, which I discussed here

Favorite concert I attended: The Warning, of whom I have hailed many times in previous posts. I feel fortunate to have been able to see them live, and I listen to their music all the time. Check out their performances at the MTV video awards! It's great to hear such young people playing great rock music. Do like I do, and buy their physical media!

Okay, that's plenty for now. Maybe someone will leave a comment as to their favorites of 2023.

Friday, December 22, 2023

Peanuts in 3 stages

I did this drawing earlier this year mostly because I thought it would be fun, and because I'm a huge Charles Schulz fan, as well as a fan of all things Peanuts!

Tuesday, December 5, 2023

The F.E.D.s retrospective

I just posted the last page of my 3-volume F.E.D.s comic online. I got to thinking about the F.E.D.s and thought I'd write some reflections on the creative process over the years.

I started looking at and buying a lot of "small press" comics in the mid-1990s, around the time I finished my undergraduate degree in Art. I decided I might as well create my own comic, since it would be a good way to exercise my creative side even if I never made any profit off the book. I thought about many genre I could use, but in the end I picked a super-hero book because I had some ideas swirling around in my head concerning characters I had been playing with over the years.

I did the first issue in 1999. It was ten pages and intended to be a kind of teaser, introducing the world and concepts I had and leading into a longer comic series. I started with a high-contrast art style I had developed in college inspired by comics such as Hellboy and Sin City. But then I started reading the "Essential" reprint black-and-white comics, and quickly I modified into an "old school" art style. I didn't really think of it as "old school". Just me trying to make comics like the ones that inspired me.

The story itself turned out rather complex, but I hope I didn't make any continuity errors. Ideas changed in my head as I went along, but I didn't deviate from my intended ending all the time. The first volume is the longest as it sets out to introduce a lot of characters and situations. My main goal was to show how difficult the journey is for our protagonist, John Chisolm, as he gets thrust into the life of an Extra-Normal. 

I included a lot of things that are there in the story, but I didn't specifically state, such as certain characters who appear in their costumed identity and their civilian identity without stating it outright, and the characters who are a romantic couple, but I never "revealed" it. Speaking of romance, I didn't want John and Ari to end up together, because her betrayal would be too much. The time-travels in vol. 3 was a last minute idea that I used to cement this idea. But I also wanted to show that he respected her and that was the main reason he didn't express his feelings-- he thinks their relationship should be professional. And I added the lines at the end about him dating someone to show that he is interested in romance, when the situation is right.

I also decided to use "real time" when I did the story, because there would be a lot of references to what happened in the past, and I thought would be easier than constantly referring to "5 years ago" or "ten years ago".

Finally, I've received many comments from readers over the years. I thank everyone for giving my little comic a shot. This F.E.D.s story is over, but I just finished drawing an 8-page First Lady story for the next OH, Comics anthology and I'm several pages into my next regular tale, a sci-fi comic story.

Monday, July 24, 2023

Review: The Ninja Pandemica

 Michael Anthony Carroll is a prolific cartoonist from Columbus Ohio or thereabouts. Anyway, I picked up his "The Ninja Pandemica" paperback this year at the Small Press and Alternative Comics Exposition, which I like to refer to as SPACE. So I thought I'd write a review.

First, despite the name, this book has nothing to do with pandas. It is, however, in black-and-white, which is the same color as most pandas. So that's cool. Second, the book contains a bunch of short comic stories Mike did in 2020, while the world was dealing with a global pandemic. Third, the stories are funny.

Mike does these comics in his own inimitable style (that I could probably imitate if I tried really, really hard). He likes to come up with weird but funny new characters and ideas, such as "lesser element ninjas", and that's what makes his work so much fun. He admits he doesn't do a lot of narrative stories once he invents the characters, so maybe that's something someone should do some time. Like, take once of Mike's teams and write a 40 page graphic novel about their adventures? Maybe that would be cool.

Oh, and Ninja are very good at being undetected. That's why you can't spot the ninjas hiding in my review...

Or any real reviewing...

Anyways, here's some picture and a link to Mike's website! I highly recommend to buy as much of his stuff as you can!

Friday, June 23, 2023

Drawing Pete and Gwen- 3 stages

 In an effort to continue to post artwork, here's my rendition of Peter Parker and Gwen Stacy based on a couple movie actors.


Friday, June 16, 2023

Defenders in 3 stages

 The Defenders original run was a great comic series from Marvel! The idea of having a "non-team" made up of anyone who didn't fit the Avengers type of team made for some great stories. Eventually, the Defenders settled a bit with three steady members who became the core of the team. I think every successful Defenders run needs these three, plus a lot of guest-stars, both popular and esoteric!

Here's my tribute to Nighthawk, Valkyrie, and Hellcat! The Defenders!

Thursday, December 8, 2022

The Warning Art in three stages

I decided to create some fan art for my favorite "modern" band, The Warning. (see here for my most recent post concerning them) Hope you enjoy!