Friday, May 17, 2013
Yeah, technical difficulties that's a way of putting it, I suppose. Why I've left this site to sit untouched for the past month or so. Gawsh, i'm getting bad, aren't I?
I don't know what going on with me in that picture, why am I hammering my teeth out? What am I trippin' on, exactly? I don't even do anything. I must have found some bad mushrooms in the fridge, and said "fuck it" and put them on a salad anyway. Yeah, that's how these kinda things work.
So what the heck has been going on?
Well, I'll start with the most obvious, I'm burned out on Shootin' Jed, like woah. Right now I feel so over it that I can't even stay on model for my characters. The past several pages have felt like a struggle, and that's not at all why I got into this business.
Yet at the same time, I am overcome by this immense feeling of duty. like I HAD to finish it, before I moved onto anything new. So what wound up happening was I got all these projects piled up now that I've been kinda "secretly" working on, on the side. In the mean time, Jed has been suffering, and it's really just because I need a break. I'm not really feeling it like I used to, and I don't want to FORCE myself to go on with it, because Jed's an awesome character who deserves way better than that.
I'll get back to him... when it is time. Right now though, I have all this other shit that's been going on behind the scenes that I wanna show you first.
So the big news is that, like clockwork, I've produced yet another book to premier this year at Fanime. Yeah, that's still happening. This won't be just a regular book, however, I am appearing in the BAAU Down 12, the 12th edition of the Bay Area Artists United annual publication. This book will officially launch AT Fanime, and after that, it will be available to order on the site I just linked.
So what, you may be asking, am I contributing? Nothing too special, just the PREVIEW ISSUE OF BRILLIANT BLACK STARRES!!!
Yeah, the superhero girl comic I've been babbling about endlessly for the past year? During my unscheduled hiatus I cranked out about 30 pages worth of material for it. It was at first just an exercise to see how the characters looked on paper, and some basic storytelling to kinda test out the personalities I had developed for them. But it wound up playing out so well that I just kept going with it, and before I knew it, I had a really great prelude to the story.
Here's the really interesting part. People like you guys, who have been keeping up with this the whole way through, you'll already know that it's a superhero story. However, people are getting BAAU Down 12 and seeing Brilliant Black Starres for the first time will be totally blind sided. The super hero aspect of the story is more like a twist at the end of the chapter as opposed to a running theme, so I'm sure it will catch readers off guard. I'm also relatively certain that Brilliant Black Starres is gonna be this huge, runaway major success, so being the first appearance of the characters will turn BAAU Down 12 into a huge collector's item on par with Action Comics #1. I'm totally serious about this. So when you stop by this Fanime, don't just get one, get a few! Positively guaranteed to skyrocket in value! this could be your child's college fund! Not even kidding!
In either case, I'm just pleased to be part of BAAU this year. i'm pleased to be part of Fanime this year. All of this almost didn't happen at all. A huge part of my hiatus has been due in part to troubles at my job. That trouble included... me not having a job for awhile D:
I was very strapped for cash, so i wound up having to cancel on the hotel I put in for. Also when tables became available I did not have the money to get one. Last but not least, i did not have the funds, or the material to put together a new book :(
Fanime seemed bleak.
But, lo and behold, i managed to find a friend's floor to sleep on. Me and the always badass Ratgirl will be splitting a table, like back in the day, and BAUU was kind enough to get my new story in their book. At the very last minute I managed to get all my bases covered.
In the words of the great Nikki Minaj "I'm not lucky, I'm blessed, yes."
Truly, if only I could have this moment for life. :)
Tuesday, April 2, 2013
Okay! So this is my formal apology to everyone who got legit disappointed when they found out that my Calvin and Hobbes job was just an April Fool's prank.
I stayed up, literally all night (until the sun came up) discussing plans with a few close friends for the perfect prank to pull on facebook. I'm far too lazy to come up with an actual prank on someone, but I think of myself as gifted enough with my words to talk up a fake event enough to make it sound real.
Doing my best to avoid all the normal cliches of facebook pranks (ie: I'm pregnant I'm getting married, I'm moving away, I got a tattoo, etc...), I finally targeted my comics as the center of this rouse. An early version of the prank involved me announcing to my readership that I was abandoning Shootin' Jed and all other current projects to pursue a job for a youth minister organization to create a Christianity based super hero called Bible Man! Much to my chagrin, I discovered that Bible Man already exists! THEN I saw a random facebook post from a friend, putting a picture of Hobbes next to a picture of Tyler Durden (imaginary friend, I get it...) and the idea flourished from there.
I just never imagined it would pick up this much traction...
For the lucky ones who didn't get fooled, here's the post I put up yesterday morning:
"So I didn't wanna say anything too early, because #1. it was a longshot to begin with, and #2. I didn't want to jinx it. But as many of you know, I've been job hunting. Well today, a position I had been vying for seems like it's becoming a reality! :D
I've been in contact with Bill Watterson over this past month and a half, in negotiations for a revival of Calvin and Hobbes. He's in search of an artist who he thought could bridge the gap between Calvin and Hobbes' heyday in the newspapers 18 years ago, and current modern comic culture. Finally, after a lot of deliberation (and ass kissing on my part), I was the artist chosen.
Starting next month, I will be co-writing and co-producing a series of 52 NEW full colour Calvin and Hobbes strips to be released on Bill's new website, currently in the works (http://ww2.billwatterson.net/) with a printed collection due to be released the following year.
Now, naturally, since I'm helping to spearhead this campaign, there will be a few changes made to the strip. We can't just have the same old characters doing the same old stories they were doing 18 years ago, that would be insulting to the reader. I am not at liberty to divulge TOO many details, but I'll say the focus of the strip is changing quite a deal.
It's less about Calvin's relationship with Hobbes, and more about Hobbes' relationship with his own imaginary friend Ozmodiar, who only Hobbes can see.
Ozmodiar really brings out Hobbes' destructive side, and since everyone in Calvin's world believes Hobbes to be a stuffed animal, Calvin is continuously blamed for Hobbes' bad behavior.
I've included a preliminary sketch, as a teaser. Please note, none of this is final work, it will be cleaned up considerably before it debuts on the website.
Hope you guys are as excited as I am! :D"
At the time I was doing it, I didn't want to take the extra time out to create some original C&H art to attach to the post, but I didn't want to use anything instantly recognizable as recycled art, either.
With a quick internet search, I found an awesome page that has collected and compiled a decent handful of rare and unpublished works by Watterson. I made a quick edit to a cartoon he drew in a letter to Berkeley Breathed (author of Bloom County) to add some extra authenticity to my little prank.
I should have known better :P
I figured it was outlandish enough to be totally unbelievable, no matter HOW professional sounding it was. Watterson's been retried and in recluse ever since the strip ended. I've only known of ONE interview post C&H that anyone managed to get from him, and it was very clear by his tone, despite how loyal and desperate the fans are for more, Bill has absolutely NO plans to ever revive the pair in any form.
So the idea that someone of his artistic stature would hire a nobody like me to revive his magnum opus FOR him, let alone fuck around with the character dynamics and story focus seems just absurd enough for my facebook fans to see it, read it and go "pfft, Happy April Fool's Day, Knave".
Granted, some of you did react exactly that way, and good for you :D
However, within minutes of me posting... i got a text from a friend :P
I won't bore you with the details verbatim, but the text consisted of "Is this true? I'm gonna be pissed if it's not!"
That wasn't the first text message, or email, or facebook reply I received that day form peeps whom i somehow managed to legitimately fool.
I even went out and about that night to my favourite goth bar, and the bartender approached me and said "I heard about you landing the Calvin and Hobbes job! Congratulations are in order!" and I had to break the bad news to him that it was a joke, and he looked like I just punched him in the heart. :(
So, in light of these events, I feel an apology is in order.
I am really, really flattered that all you guys just jumped on board, totally believing that I have what it takes to take on one of the most respected (and feared) comics of all time. You guys are the best, and I feel bad for fooling you all so hard.
Please accept this token of my apology. This is probably what would wind up happening if I DID take over Calvin and Hobbes.
Yeah, you think it's cool now, but it would get boring after awhile :P I have literally NO other ideas.
Monday, April 1, 2013
What an appropriate page to post on Easter Sunday ^__^
So welcome to page 37! In a row? Yes! In a row!
This might officially be a record for me, I don't think I've ever made a comic longer than 36 pages in the past, so here we are, setting milestones.
This begs the question though, how much LONGER s this book supposed to be? Well, I'll be honest, it's a long one :) I keep on skipping back and forth between 100 to possibly 125 pages. I wish I had it better plotted out, but thinking ahead of for the lame!
I've been putting a lot of effort recently into Brilliant Black Starres again, I think i finally have a good origin story nailed down. I was struggling on that one pretty hard. Because what is a super hero if not their origin story? It's literally the most memorable part of their whole cannon. How many times has Superman being discovered by the Kents and growing up on their farms been committed to paper? Committed to film? That's the kind of thing I need to worry about, this origin story being iconic to the point where if BBS becomes a big huge thing (and I fully intend it to) that this origin story will be remembered, and repeated, possibly across multiple mediums.
In either case, that's what's been occupying my time as of recently. I've found a nice little new haunt for myself to hang out and draw in, what's better is that it's even in my own hometown :O
I get so distracted at home when I try to draw. Hell, when I try to do anything at all. I can't keep on task at all. Even now as I'm typing up in blog entry, I am switching back and forth between 5 tabs.
Okay, 4 tabs now, okay now 3. Two of those didn't need to be open at all.
Anyway, this space that I'm now inhabiting with my art is very inspiring to me especially as far as BBS goes, because there's lots girls there and the whole area is just teeming with girl power. Quite inspirational, and motivating! Every night I go there i feel like I pump out at the very least another two pages worth of storyboard. I might have enough to actually start doing full pages now. although part of me is wary and wants to wait until I have a few chapters' worth of storyboard totally under my belt.
In the mean time, I am actually still kind of wrestling over some character redesigns. There's a couple characters that I want to introduce later on in the series that looked really great when I first designed them, but my never satisfied artist brain keeps being unable to leave well enough alone :P
A lot of this has to do with some of the feedback i'm getting from the girls that are seeing this art as it unfolds. I take everyone's opinions seriously, even if they aren't really comic readers. I've gotten one or two kinda... game changing notes on some of the character designs I have already. I am forced now to consider these notes, and their perspective which i previously hadn't allowed myself the luxury of seeing from before.
In short, this whole process continues to be an invaluable learning experience.
I'd do into greater detail, but there's a few things aobut this series that I'd like to keep under wraps until it debuts officially :D
Thursday, March 14, 2013
I don't know how I can be so bad at my own scheduling that my updates are this far apart.
It would be sad if it weren't also so dang funny.
So what's been going on with me? So much! TOO much.
I guess for starters i'll mention something that actually has to do with me, and my comics.
I was on this radio show, talking about me and my stuff. If you've ever wondered about this history of Knave Murdok, this would be an excellent primer course.
Check me out on Episode 1 of "Living the Illogical Life", it's pretty badass.
Apart from that, I'm sure you all remember from last time that the SF job is over. The crummy part is that there's no NEW project for me to be a part of :( I've been sorta twisting in the wind, looking for new work just in case things go south. My company keeps saying that they're gonna bring me back in soon, but it's been almost a month and they keep on delaying me. Just like they were delaying the end of SF. I am seeing a sad pattern going on here.
It's not all bad, it afforded me plenty of time to go to Sac-Con this month, which is always a fun and awesome experience for me. I wish I lived closer to it, because it happens so often and the drive is just so arduous. Full disclosure, i took a quick break from writing to check out apartment prices in Sacramento... way more reasonable that here O_O
What am I doing with my life?
Well... if i am not currently working,, other than comics n' stuff, maybe a move is in order? am i announcing this now to the world? On my blog? I wanna move to Sac-Town? I dunno, too hasty to make this decision now, but it's something to think about... assuming I can find work up there. I dunno if this is serious thought, or just fantasy yet. Oh well, more on this as it develops.
Lastly, I've been flexing my Graphic Design muscle a little bit, and landed a pretty nifty position doing print ad work for this cool haunted house event in Los Gatos called Goblyn's Glen. This is going to be fun, I love Halloweeny stuff! This is something I can't wait to show you guys as it happens! this would be my first project of this kind, so I really really REALLY wanna do well. I think you guys might be witnessing a "level up" as it were, with me as an artist. I am broadening my horizons in not just what I draw, but in what kind of projects I take on. Let's hope I do this better than I update a blog, eh? :P
Of course I owe this all to my friend Deejay Obfuscate who turned me on to the project in the first place.
In either case, lotsa stuff going on, and huge amounts of potential for fun.
Stay tuned for another thrilling episode of Shootin' Jed!
Thursday, February 21, 2013
So I finally got better ^^
And more good news! My project in SF is over! I can come home now! Woo!
What this means for you is that I now have more time for drawings! (Hopefully)
Maybe I can get myself back on a regular schedule again. I'm gonna have to! Con season is starting again! I've been lax for way too long. When I hook people's attention at the tables, I wanna be able to give them a card, and have them be able to see that the site updates regularly, like it USED to! Like AMERICA used to!
Sadly, my time has also been taken up by the fact that I've been a goddamn social butterfly recently. One of my good friends recently began DJing at this local goth night. She's super amazing! You should add her page on Faceybooks if you have one of those!
I'm kinda on my way to a gig of hers now! Which is why this blog post is gonna be a lil' shorter than usual.
Next weekend I'm gonna have a table at Sac-Con :3
And then over the Memorial Day weekend, I'll hopefully have a table at Fanime. If I can't get it, I will definitely still be there anyway ;-)
On a closing note, HAPPY BIRTHDAY to Edward Gorey! One of my biggest inspirations as a cartoonist ^^
Thursday, February 7, 2013
So if Shootin' Jed had chapters, this would be the end of Chapter One. This is kinda the turning point in the story. The time skin! Shootin' Jed Shippuden, if you will! The scene has officially been set (it only took me 34 pages to do it) and now the real action can unfold! you're gonna finally find out why he's called Shootin' Jed! Oh wait, no, that's... already painfully obvious... hmm... well.. you'll get to see some other cool stuff! I promise!
This series has been really fun to draw, this far, but truth be told, I've really, really been looking forward to getting through with this part. His childhood is more just goofy, and somewhat surreal. Now comes some real fun, baddassery!
I am wondering fi I can keep up this schedule? 3 a week? At first I was just trying to make up for lost time, what with all the sickness and work and depression I've been slogging through But is 3 pages a week really something I want to try and maintain? Those handsome boys at Penny Arcade do it! But then again, there's two of them, and they don't have like... another job, other than being amazing cartoonist and pop culture icons.
I dunno, we'll see what I can make happen.
I got asked by a couple people if I put Shootin' Jed on hold because of Sandy Hook.
I think it's adorable that you guys think i care about current event that much :P
Truth is, I actually put out a page on the VERY DAY it happened. And then another one the week after.
If I was trying to keep politically correct in the face of a horrible tragedy, it took me awhile to do it. No, I can't blame dead children for my laziness. At least, not anymore.
Besides, I don't care HOW offensive America finds this little gun-baby! (PS nobody knows who I am, I'm not offending anyone). Jed will grace this lovely blog, rain or shine... unless i'm really busy for some reason O_O
Anywho.. Fanime! YES! It's that time of year again! I got my hotel room all ready n' rarin'.
I just need to make sure I can get a table! Hopefully my buddy Trish can help on that front. Being a working stuff can make it hard to jump on those tables as soon as they go up. D:
Hopefully, this shit will work out for the (third?) year in a row? I've been going to Fanime for forever, but for the life of me I can't remember how many times I've been an exhibitor. Three sounds about right.
More updates on this as they come. as much as I powerfully don't give a fuck about the Superbowl, Fanime is like MY Superbowl. It's an analogy that hurts to make, but I do it, FOR YOU!
Monday, February 4, 2013
And we are baaaaack.
I know i said yesterday, but I forgot that yesterday was the Super bowl, and I really just needed to sleep all the way through it! It was awesome, I think i woke up at 8pm. Nuts to you, sporting event!
I heard the lights went out, that has to be a first. Losing power during the Super Bowl? Then I heard people online blaming Obama for it, totally unironically, and I just had to laugh, because what else can you do?
I imagine him pacing around backstage, and the suddenly smashing a transformer, like that asshole army cheif in Forrest Gump who ruins the peace parade speech in Washington DC.
Look at him there! Right at 1:08! That's Obama! Ruining the Super Bowl! Why? Because he hates America, that's why! This is Obama's War on Football, as Fox News will no doubt dub it. He doesn't want us to have anything that's American! Not football, or guns, or a male-only armed forces, or a heretosexual-only marriage institution, or a stunning gap between the right and the poor! All of these things are America! And he just wants to take them away! Who does this Kenyan think he is? We'll never catch him, neither He'll get away with it scott free! You ever seen them Kenyans run in the Olympics? We don't stand a chance!
Watch out, World Series! Obama is coming to destroy you too! And you'll never see him comin', no ya won't!
...So yeah, you might be wondering why the nuns look like horrible alien mannequin babies.
I was wondering that myself.
This whole series so far has been riding on this whole kinda cute/scary line, or as the Japanese call it "kawaii/kowaii". I figure what embodies scary and cute more than a nun? They're fetishized, become the stuff of nightmares, some literal AND some supernatural, yet at the same time, also embody this essence of total docility, and friendliness. Who can you trust, if not a nun? That needed to be reflected by the series' art style, and in the strangest way possible. I at first was thinking of having them totally faceless, or maybe have their faces obscured in shadow somehow, but neither of those seemed to fit once I got them on paper.
Then I just doodle the strange space baby with the lizard smile, and it hit me like a little cardboard box of raisins.
I often get way too ahead of myself in designing new aspects of this world. I want things to be scary, but like bone chilling, sweatin' bullets scary. I keep forgetting that this is not that series. I have a place for that elsewhere (Abyss) and it just hasn't come to fruition yet. It is REALLY difficult to make myself stay "in character" as it were for this story. Sometimes I wonder if it would have just been easier making it full on macabre. But that's sort of the reason I challenged myself to this new art style in the first place. I'm too young to fall into a rut just yet.
Well anyway, I guess i'll try and get another one of these out tomorrow, depending on what happens.
See you soon!