Saturday, October 24, 2009


The curse of losing my internet (at home) has actually been a blessing in disguise and I’ve been working very diligently on my comic work. I wrote myself a not that says “this is your job, treat it like one ” above my desk. Working at home the lines between work and leisure can be thin if you let them. But I think I’ve overcome them. Without giving anything away, I’ve stressed making the characters look different from one another instead of basic male/female models w/ different clothes/hair. I’ve also been reworking some of the scenes to imply things/creatively concealing other that just showing it. But its been tricky looking at it and seeing how much the reader has to put together and how crucial it is if the reader skips over it. I’ve also been working very very fast drawing things but my time has been going back and looking at things critically/logically. Making sure that stairs have handrails, corners have trim, doors have frames and hinges etc etc.
Expressions have also been tricky, for this story, for example, I have many close ups with similar expressions but I’ve been working to make them all unique from one another and all different levels of the feeling they are expressing. I’m also doing enough pages now its been especially fun to mess with layouts and look back and know that I haven’t done certain things with layout that I look for places to try it out. Which is making me look for different things when I look at artists, making me see different reasons why I liked certain artists and see through others I thought were good but now I see where they cut corners.
I also just acquired the majority of the second volume of Elementals - which is all written/plotted by Bill Wilmingham, which is good and as the stories progress the artists have learned and grown and are getting much better. I don’t know if it was the time it was published or if Bill is just outspoken, or because it was a semi indy book but there are various places where I see something/hear something and I look back at it and just go “I can’t believe he just got away with saying that and wasn’t stoned to death as he would in this day in age. In some places he seems to be also pushing the readers buttons just for shock value and that is annoying because there is no depth to it, I don’t mind when there is - as many of the plot lines have pushed the boundaries in ways I respect, some of the most famous are referenced at the elementals Wikipedia page. But some of the dialog and small scenes I just block after time because of Bill's outspoken homophobia and racism (even going as far in some issues to use the "N" word, which I wouldn't mind if a racist character said - I know the difference between character's opinions and their writer's - but it was in response to a letters column.) that's not to say that he now, it was the 80's/early 90's and homophobia was at a high point with all the new but not understood info about HIV. But he could be a product of the time just like most people have someone they know who has a racist grandparent or something of the like because of the generation they grew up in.
Also as I'm making clear with current projects I'm working on, excessive cursing (no
i don't think comics should be controlled/silenced etc from what can/can't be said) as bill has said several times in th letter's column "if you don't like my book, don't buy it." but i do think it, makes me at least, jump back from what I'm reading - takes me out of the story/reading experience - and anything that does that should be avoided. I've met writers like Mike Barron who only want artists that render sparingly because he believes if you render like Jim Lee it interrupts the reading flow of the story the writer takes time to pace out. which is true, I can see his point - artists like Mignolla even simplify their style when it comes to fight scenes so you read faster - which is a cool idea as well. All I'm trying to say is I think you can have your cake and eat it too. I think books like Watchmen accomplished plenty in character depth etc with sparse cursing, and yet you get how mad, sexist etc a character is.
All this drawing for other people's stories has also got me inspired to write again and I have had great success revisiting old ideas after years of letting them "cook" as Darwyn is famous for with projects like "hunter" and am excited about the possibilities that they are unfolding. I've also been reading some great stuff like...
The Hulk series - bruce jones
Daredevil series - b.m. bendis
Death of superman - louise simonson/jurgens etc.
Knightfall - dixon
the enigma - pencilled by duncan figredo
and how they really take advantage of the serialized format in comics. thats why i always thought it would be fun to write for soaps with a team of guys - and build towards "friday cliffhangers!"
I've also realized what a big difference it makes to be consistent. Looking back I was in love with Astonishing X-men artist John Cassiday, but looking back I realize some of that, as well as Dave Gibbon's work was just a ridiculous amount of consistency in their style etc.

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