Tuesday, December 27, 2011

The F.E.D.s: Two (old) Reviews

Since I haven’t done so on my blog, today I’m going to write about what my mini-comic, the F.E.D.s , is about.  Recently I was re-reading some old reviews of the F.E.D.s, which I think do a good job describing the series.  They are a bit dated, both being written when I had just 5 issues finished, in 2008.  It is now almost 2012 and I am finishing issue #16!  But before I go on I should give you links so you can read the reviews.  I’ll discuss more when you get back:

 I see that you’re back.  I’ll discuss now.  The reviews are amazingly similar I think despite them coming to very different conclusions about the book.  First off, I’ll admit my scripting and art are always aspects of my work I’m dissatisfied with and striving to improve.  I hope I’m better now than I was 4 years ago.  But there’s always room for improvement.

(Cover art from F.E.D.s #14.)

The F.E.D.s is a comic that I intentionally try to write and draw with a particular tone.  I prefer the label “old school” to “campy’, but either fits pretty well.  When I set out to do a small press super-hero comic, I wanted to do a comic like those older comics that I love so much.  Specifically, I’ve been reading a lot of Marvel Essential volumes and back issues over the last 10 years, enjoying the heck out of writing and art from the 60’s and 70’s. There are certain conventions that I use that reflect these comics.  I try to include things like big sound effects, subplots, bombastic dialogue, big fights, character monologues, thought balloons and exclamation points!!! These were standard conventions of comics from a few decades ago that are used less and less today.  To me, not seeing these conventions is a shame, since I enjoy the comics of years ago much more than those produced today.

I think of the F.E.D.s as “a super-hero comic that isn’t afraid to be a super-hero comic”.  And, yes, I think some writers at big companies who currently write super-hero comics seem embarrassed to be writing a super-hero and try to make the comics anything but.

In conclusion, I thank anyone who reviews my work and I understand not everyone is going like the style.  But I hope people continue to read my work and have fun while doing so!!
(F.E.D.s #12 page 4)

Friday, December 16, 2011

Happy Holidays to Out With Dad!

I’ve been thinking for a while about another drawing related to Out With Dad, and I got an idea.  Unlike many a television series, Out With Dad doesn’t have a “Holiday episode”, so I thought it would be nice to see Rose and Vanessa giving each other Christmas gifts!

If you haven’t seen my other Out With Dad-related posts, here’s some links:


Monday, December 12, 2011

Superhero Snowmen

I drew these at school for my students.  Feel free to copy and print and let your kids color them!

Saturday, December 3, 2011

How the Grinch stole Cthulhu

I thought I'd try to post some holiday-oriented art this month. Plus I just love the Grinch! I could just see him saying "I must find a way to stop Cthulhu from coming!"

Monday, November 28, 2011

Review-Nocturnal City

I’ve written before about independent comics and film projects.  Today I’m writing about an independent film project I received at a comic book convention.  I picked up Nocturnal City at the Detroit Fanfare convention earlier this year.  Actually, I traded a Donkey Kong statue for a DVD of the movie.  (Part of my new “Donkey Kongs for DVDs” special offer!)

Nocturnal City is an independent film written and produced by Chris Jordan and Savanna Kemp.  The film is a short mystery/thriller that has a noir-ish feel despite its modern-ish setting.  The main character is a Bogart-type private investigator with one big difference from the classic character archetype:  In this case, the PI is also a vampire! And he certainly doesn’t sparkle in sunlight!

Vampires may be overly used nowadays, but Nocturnal City does something with them I haven’t seen before.  The film uses vampirism as a metaphor for homosexuality.  To an extent it reminds me of the way Marvel comics uses the X-Men to stand in for minority groups (or used to when I read the book.)  The film vampires live alongside “normal” humans but have their own sub-culture, where they interact mostly with each other in places such as vampire-oriented bars.  Some humans accept the vampires, but there is also a lot of prejudice towards them.  The point of conflict in the film centers on a case where a human is murdered and vampires are suspected.  The main character must find out who the killer is before tensions between humans and vampires reach a boiling point.  Our protagonist gets involved because of the noir-staple ex-girlfriend.

I’ll say outright that this film is not the most professional-looking production.  It doesn’t always look great, and some of the acting is very weak.  But that’s part of the film’s charm.  In fact some things, such as a simplistic fight sequence, work because they are reminiscent of a simpler style of earlier Hollywood film.

In conclusion, I’d recommend the film if the genre interests you at all.  It’s a short film, so you might as well invest the time and give it a shot.  It’s definitely of Donkey Kong value!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Statuary musings

As a break before posting my next character biography, I thought I’d discuss my statue art today.  Recently I did a two piece commission of Colossus and Juggernaut.  The really cool thing about doing such work is knowing someone wants the piece when I’m working on it.  I have a “list” of sorts that I made up of which pieces I should create before exhibiting at a show.  The X-Men are on that list because 1) I love the characters and 2) they are popular and therefore generate interest and sales.  I’ve done the original X-Men and my current goal is to make the original X-Men in their second generation uniforms.  I’ll probably continue chronologically.  Unless I get an out-of-order request.  Making a Colossus statue was great partially because the character, especially in the original Cockrum uniform, is just awesome, but also because he wouldn’t have been on my table for a while otherwise.  Commissions and suggestions allow me to create pieces I would not have thought of making by myself.  In addition to stretching my creative abilities, such input has allowed me to focus on work that others want to see as much as I do.

Oh, and Juggernaut is just too cool also!

Friday, November 18, 2011

Character Bio- John Chisolm

Name: John Chisolm

History: John is a physics professor and researcher at a New York State University.  He was working on an alternative energy project with his graduate/lab assistant Arielle Burks when he was caught in a blast of extra-dimensional energy.  The experiment involved producing energy from generators in a secured lab area, called the “floor”.  John and Arielle were to control the energy flow and observe from a booth.  However, there was a malfunction during the experiment, and John, after donning a protective suit, went to the floor to correct the problem.  While he was on the floor, he asked Ari to cut back the power, and turned to look at her in the booth.  When he looked back, he thought he saw two people in the booth.  He was unable to further communicate with Ari as that was when the blast of extra-dimensional energy occurred.  John found immediately afterwards that he had gain extra-normal powers, and used them to take an unconscious Ari to the hospital.  So far he has kept his powers secret to all but a few, including a few other extra-normal powered people and his best friend Roger.
Powers: John’s powers appear to be identical to those of the hero known as 1st Man, and include the ability to morph and stretch his body and great strength when he does so.  His body transforms when he morphs, becoming glowing and featureless.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Character Bio- Lizard Man

Name: Lizard Man

Real name: Peter (last name unrevealed)

History: Peter was a high school football star until he was severely injured during a game.  Desperate to keep his sports dreams intact, he sought the aid of a criminal scientist who used chemicals, including steroids, to try to regenerate Peter’s damaged tissue.  Peter was arrested during the time the scientist was giving him treatments and when questioned by police Peter turned in evidence against the scientist in exchange for a light sentence.  After this, Peter went to college and received a degree in business.  Unfortunately, Peter was not adept at business and lost a lot of money on risky schemes.  Peter owed money to people involved in organized crime, and he was soon recruited as a mob enforcer to pay off his debt.  While working as an enforcer, Peter witnessed the murder of a man that was being shaken down for cash.  This shocked Peter into leaving his life of crime.  He went to the Police and turned in evidence against his mob bosses, again receiving a light sentence for his cooperation.  Unfortunately, the mob caught Peter and took him to a secret lab to interrogate him.  The criminal scientist who had tried to regenerate Peter’s leg after his football injury was now working for the mob.  He injected Peter with a series of truth serums so they could get everything out of Peter that he told to the Police.  Eventually, these serums stopped Peter’s heart and he was thought to be dead.  His body was disposed of in a river, but instead of dying his body was transformed.  He emerged with reptilian features and soon became Lizard Man.  Since then, Peter has used his powers to become a popular hero.  He is a public figure, and the general public knows his identity and background.  When he met the extra-normal heroes 1st Man and Oceanus, he suggested they form a team.  This was the beginning of the super group known as the F.E.D.s (Federation of Extra-normal Defenders).  As of 2002, the F.E.D.s are no longer active, but Lizard Man has taken a protégé, a young archer known as Arcurius.

Powers: Lizard Man’s lower body has the appearance of a large reptile.  His lizard-like legs are incredibly strong, and in addition to using them to kick hard he can also leap great distances with them.  He also has a long tail that he has precise control over.  His eyes are also non0human looking and he usually wears dark glasses to keep them concealed.

Notes: Lizard Man’s origin was first told in the tale “Hopes, Dreams, and Memories” which first appeared in Oh, Comics #12 and reprinted in Lizard Man special #2.  Lizard Man also appears in several other one-shot stories in Oh, Comics #13, #14 (cameo), #15, #17, and #18.  He also appeared in the story “Lizard Man vs. the Car Salesman” in Lizard Man Special #1.  All these appearance are in-continuity with his appearances in the F.E.D.s.  However, the stories in Oh, Comics #s 17 & 18 represent Lizard Man comics that are available in the F.E.D.s’ continuity.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Oh, Comics!

I have just finished my contribution for the 20th Oh, Comics anthology.  My contribution is an eight-page superhero story that matches the theme of the anthology: “air”. Oh, Comics will be available at the SPACE convention on April 21-22, 2012.  SPACE stands for the “Small Press and Alternative Comics Exposition”.  Oh, Comics is an anthology comic that has been produced by SPACE founder Bob Corby starting in 1988.  I’ve been contributing since the 10th issues of Oh, Comics.

Though issue 20 won’t be out until April, it is possible to get previous issues of Oh, Comics by going to Bob’s website http://www.backporchcomics.com/ . While there you can also find out information about the SPACE convention, at which I will be exhibiting.  Finally, if you’d like to check out some of the type of work that gets into Oh, Comics you download the SPACE anthology comics from 2010 or 2011 (both of which include contributions by me).  The SPACE anthology is similar to Oh, Comics but is available only in its online pdf format.

Since there’s still a long wait for Oh, Comics #20 I figured I could post a preview here.  This is the first page of my strip, scanned from pencils before I added the lettering and inks.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

A Thank You

Checking my blog stats lately I have noticed a surprisingly large number of views lately.  Specifically, views of my “zombie post” are way higher than I ever expected they would be.  Zombies are, of course, way cool.  After all, they like brains. But I think perhaps there is another reason for the increase in views. (And why so many of them are from Canada.)

I would like to send out a huge “thank you” to the “model” for my zombie drawing, whom I did not even mention by name in my previous post.  She not only allowed me to have a little fun with her image, but also allowed it to be promoted!

So let this post be my official THANK YOU to lovely and talented actor and director Lindsey Middleton.  You can find out about her projects by checking out her Facebook page , (https://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/Lindsey-Middleton/175033282580094?sk=wall ) and while you’re there you can “like” her (but not LIKE like her).  You should also check out this little movie she did (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PR1lgSO893Q) , because it’s really clever and funny.  And of course she stars in the webseries Out With Dad , (http://www.outwithdad.com/) which I’ve discussed rather extensively in previous posts and cannot recommend enough.

So if you haven’t checked out Lindsey’s work I invite you to do so.  If you are already a fan, then I invite you to come back and view my blog now and then.  I’m sure to do some more Lindsey-oriented posting in the future since it worked so well the first time.

Oh, and if you like zombies…I’m sure to do more of them eventually, too!


Sunday, October 30, 2011

Likenesses and Zombies!

Just happen to be two things I've been messing with lately. And since it (partially) fits a Halloween theme I thought I'd share:

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Character Bio- Oceanus

Name: Oceanus

Former Alias: Ocean Boy. 

History: Around 1980, 1st Man introduced to the press that he had joined forces with a partner.  This partner was dubbed “Ocean Boy” by the media due to his aquatic powers. Soon, that name was changed to Oceanus on bequest of this new partner.  According to media accounts, Oceanus is the last survivor of a race of human-like beings that once lived under the Earth’s oceans.  Oceanus served as partner to 1st Man and a member of the loosely organized super-group known as the F.E.D.s until he disappeared with 1st Man on a mission in 1992.
Powers: Oceanus can survive underwater or on land with no apparent deficit in either environment.  He is an excellent swimmer, and he has exceptional strength, the upper level of which is unknown.  It is theorized that his powers are the result of having lived beneath the tremendous pressure of the Earth’s ocean for most of his life.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Full circle

I was going to post another character biography today, but I figured out a way to loop my previous post from the ending back to the beginning and thought I would write about it instead.

You see, I last mentioned the very well produced webseries Out With Dad.  Out With Dad, which is produced in Toronto, Canada, addresses the important topic of homosexuality and how homosexuals are treated in our society. This is a very important social issue as western society evolves its collective attitude and laws to grant equal and fair treatment to all people regardless of such differences as sexual orientation.  This struggle for equality is perhaps the most important civil right issue we currently face.

I began my last entry by writing about comic creator John Byrne.  I can loop the discussion from Out With Dad back to Byrne because Byrne, a former Canadian, created the character of Northstar.  Northstar, a member of the Canadian superhero team Alpha Flight, was the first mainstream comics character that was gay.  Back in the 1980’s, when the Alpha Flight comic first premiered, Byrne wasn’t allowed to say outright that Northstar was gay.  However, he managed to insert subtle hints into the Alpha Flight stories to indicate the character’s sexual orientation.

In a recent issue of John Byrne’s Next Men there were two characters that were a lesbian couple.  The depiction of this couple impressed me because of how it was done.  There was no overt mention of the sexual orientation of the characters, but there was no doubt from how they interacted that they were a couple.

So here you have an example of an evolution from not being able to say a character is gay, to it being there with no need to point it out.  I think that’s really cool!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Labors of Love

I have nothing against the big comic characters, such as Spider-Man and Superman.  I’ve enjoyed many a story in such comics.  However, there is something special about what I would call a ‘labor of love’.  That is, a creation that is close and personal to the creator.  For example, John Byrne has long been my favorite comic artist/writer.  He became a fan favorite on titles such as X-Men, Fantastic Four, and Superman.  But his recently completed Next Men (Currently published by IDW http://www.idwpublishing.com/) is a treat of a different sort.  It is a creator-owned title.  That is, all the characters are Mr. Byrne’s to do with as he thinks is best. I think this is why Next Men is my favorite Byrne work.  It isn’t just that you wonder in anticipation as to what happens next, but also that it reads like you’re seeing a piece of work that shows best John’s creativity, unburdened by editorial fiat. My all-time favorite creator-owned title is Paul Chadwick’s Concrete (Currently a part of Dark Horse Presents http://www.darkhorse.com/).  Paul does an excellent job weaving a character-driven tale that also confronts some of the challenges of our society.  Concrete reads as a true labor of love.

Not all creator-owned comics are made for large publishers.  Small-Press and Independent comics are most often created by people who have a story they want to tell, rather than something they know they will find commercially successful.  The list of exhibitors at the Small Press and Alternative Comics Exposition (SPACE http://backporchcomics.com/exhibitor_info.htm) is an example of creators who are making something primarily out of the love of their creations.  There you see personal projects that reflect the passions of those creating them.  No matter what the comics are-adventurous, comical, personal, or whatever- they are labors of love from their creators.

 Labors of love are not limited to comics and printed media.  Out with Dad (http://www.outwithdad.com/)  is a webseries that recently got me thinking about this topic.  If you don’t know the term, a webseries is like a television series that is released on the Internet, via one or more websites.  Out with Dad isn’t made for profit but rather made because the show’s creator, Jason Leaver, wants to tell the story.  Out with Dad is an excellently written series about a single father raising a teenage daughter who is a lesbian.  It deals with the topic of teenage homosexuality in a sometimes funny, sometimes heart-wrenching, and often thought-provoking manner.  The series is produced, written and directed by Jason.  Everyone else involved, including cast, crew, and owners of locations, are volunteering their time and space.  When you don’t consider these factors, the series is an excellent production.  After taking into account the lack of financial incentive in creating the series, it shines as a great example of a labor of love.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Character Bio--1st Man

Between posting about conventions and other artistic accomplishments, I thought I'd do some biographies of characters from the F.E.D.s, starting withe the first heros of them all....1st Man!

Name: 1st Man

Real Name: Unknown

History:  In 1974, 1st Man stopped a group of terrorists at a college campus.  After the event, he gave an interview with the press.  Based on this interview and further appearances, the media reported that 1st Man was originally a Biologist who received his extra-normal power through an experiment gone awry.  He kept his identity secret from the public but made many heroic appearances by himself, with his partner, Oceanus, and with the super group known as the F.E.D.s before he and Oceanus disappeared while on a mission in 1992.

Powers:  1st Man can morph his body, stretching his appendages to lengths seen to exceed 10 feet from his body.  When he does this, he is granted above normal strength.  He is also immune to the effects of lasers when he is in his morphed state, as they bounce off him.  He has been seen to morph his entire body, but incidences of this are rare.

Friday, September 30, 2011

This is my piece from the Re-Imagining Detroit book from Detroit Fanfare.  I think of it as a "Kirby-dot Redwing".  I made some cards of the image for sale at the con.  But the thing that blows me away is that in the Re-Imagining Detroit book the previous page is a Wolverine drawing by Al Milgrom!  So you see Al's piece, turn the page, and see mine!  (If you didn't know Al worked for years for Marvel Comics and has also done work for other companies.)

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

These are all the statues I made for Detroit Fanfare.  I sold 3 of the figures and 4 of the erasers (the bright colored little guys in the front).  Not bad I guess.  I will have the remainder on display at the next Sandusky Art Walk.  I also ship these so if you're interested in prices or ordering something special send me an e-mail please!  By the way: how many can you identify?

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Post Detroit Fanfare

I think everyone agreed that attendence at Detroit Fanfare was disappointing.  That being said, I want to especially thank those who came out to the show!  Everyone who stopped by my table was very nice and I had a fun time talking with people whether they purchased anything from me or not.  I would definitely consider another trip to Michigan for another convention. Also, if you signed up to special order something I'll be getting ahold of you soon to discuss details.  Thanks to everyone again!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

F.E.D.s #1 Special Edition

When I make personal appearances I find that Issue #1 of the F.E.D.s is generally my best seller.  This is not surprising since most people want to begin reading a story from the beginning.  However, F.E.D.s #1 was written and drawn in 1999 and I think my writing and drawing abilities have grown quite a bit since then.  Also, I believe the book took a few issues to find a "voice", as often happens with series.  Therefore, I have created a new version of the first issue.  The book contains the original 10 page story from F.E.D.s #1 along with some newer pages to show how the story have evolved since then, and some commentary by me. It will be first available at the Detroit Fanfare convention September 24 & 25.  http://www.detroitfanfare.com/

Monday, September 5, 2011

F.E.D.s #15

F.E.Ds #15 is completed and ready to premiere at the Detroit Fanfare convention (http://www.detroitfanfare.com/) .  In this issue Malefactor and his Rogues make moves both covert and overt at the college where the gem they seek is kept, and only Arcurius stands in their way!  Also: Mr. Wonder confronts Lizard Man, romantic subplots and hints as to the identity of the traitor!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

1st post

I have created this F.E.D.s blog as a way to communicate comic projects I am working on in a place that will reach any interested parties that are not on Facebook.  Also, I like having a F.E.D.s-related internet address.  In addition, I will show some of my sculpture work here as I can, and, since this is a blog, I may just write some about comics and whatnot as I feel the need to do so.