Friday, December 28, 2012


MIKE VOSBURG I first noticed inking “Dames of the Atomic Age” that I picked up at Denver Comiccon last year, but his work is even better when he is drawing. I rescently saw the first FREE issue of Retrowood he is writing and doing the art for Asylum Press. And after taking off the “letterboxing” and altering the options to show the full page upon a page turn, Comixology reads just as I read a print comic and is great. I did like this noir comic over other similar first issues I tried as well for free such as Fatale & Thief of Thieves. He has a flat look, reminiscent of Walt Simonson in how it is inked, really only switching between thick brush strokes and pen-like lines. Similar to and yet wholly different from an artist I cannot stand named Gray Marrow. Who has the same flatness to his work but his layouts are much more tame and I can’t quite put my finger on his work but it has actually angered me starting all the way back to my first drawing book – the (of course) Chris Hart written, “How to draw comic book heroes and villains” which can now be found on google books.
Frank Thorne is another artist I’ve come to really appreciate recently with an issue of Ribbit. He does Elfquest-esk faces but his layouts, black placement, and inking really intrigue me. Very European looking to me, and his figures are much more of a 60’s female body which I find much sexier than today’s comic archetype. Especially how the stomach and hips are handles and the curves that are put in it.
I was rescently lucky enough to get my hands on a few of the old Conan and Rook Marvel magazines for 50 cents a piece, including an oversized issue in color that is about as big as I draw. Much of them are John Buscema which is great, the rest are hit or miss but mostly amazing. Especially my first exposure to Alfredo Alcala, who reminds me of some of the things that turn me off about Doug Braithwrighte and David Finch in that the figures are second to the lines. But some of the pages where it isn’t about the figures is where he really shines.
Chris Samnee on Thor was very enjoyable in a great, kids-friendly way.

I’ve been watching Arrow and while it barrows A LOT from what makes Batman popular it has been pretty good, where I found Smallville unwatchable, much like the most recent Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengence.
One movie I was really looking forward to was PROMETHIUS – and while it has the scariest scene I think I’ve ever seen in a film and yet all the subtlety of the sexual metaphor of the Xenomorphs is all but gone. And much of the questions the plot that had so much potential but just squandered it and ruined, especially in the third act what could have been a great movie. Though I’ve heard much of Lost Writer, and now Batman Tales of the Dark Knight writer Damion Lindeloff was to blame and that things were better explained and made since in the original script.
Speaking of scripting I found the blog post on the Rules of Pixar plotting pretty insightful, if not just reinforcing of what I’ve heard before. I thought Pirates Band of Misfits was one of the funniest movies I’ve seen in years, done my Ardman Studios – famous for Wallace and Gromit. Their new short “a matter of Loaf and Death” was only 30-minutes and I thought it was better than the Curse of the Wererabbit and as good as most feature-length animations. There are many allusions to other movies, famous scenes, shots etc. Great writing all around. So that is moving up my list while another company I used to love has been falling into obscurity – Studio Ghibli.
While still technically perfect, Tales of Earthsea, Ponyo, the Secret world of Ariety are all movies that I just can’t relate to. I suppose I’m not the target demographic anymore, I enjoyed Lupin the castle of Cogliostro, Spirited Away, Howl’s Moving Castle, Totoro, the Cat Returns and especially Princess Mononoke. I just find these new ones, boring, uninteresting, retreading artistically, and somewhat unfulfilling story-wise.

After the theater shooting here in Colorado and other life events I never got to see the Dark Knight Rises. I kept myself almost completely in the dark, but now that I’ve seen it I have to say I’m one of the ones who loved it. Probably more than the Dark Knight which I raved about when it came out on this very blog. Though the politics people read into the movies still surprises me, I wouldn’t put it past Nolan and his brother to include as I find them some of the only guiding lights in entertainment today. The one thing I wish was different, and I’m not the first to mention this, is I wish they wouldn’t have shown Bruce at the end.
That same comment was made on an awesome Podcast I’ve started listening to called Now Playing. Others I’ve found and loved recently: the Deceptionists, Fuzzy Typewriter (who did an awesome Aliens 3 episode, going over the various widely different scripts), Extra Sequential (the only one I don’t tire of), Books and Nachos, and Now playing co-host’s Marveliscious Toys (though I only listened to his Marvel movie book adaptation reviews). Science fiction book review podcast (SFBRPC) has some great book/audiobook reviews that I basically listen for the plot summaries.

I’ve also been getting and listing to a lot of radio drama’s: Batman Knightfall, Life Death and Return of Superman, Star-wars Shadows of the empire, the Thrawn Trillogy, Star Trek Imzadi (by Peter David), and even Graphicaudio’s two-part Batman No Man’s Land – which blows the rest away. I’ve now ordered a few more from them. You can find Batman the Lazarus Syndrome for free on the Batman Adventure Podcast, but that has been the weakest of the bunch. It is fine but the ending jumps the shark in so many ways just to tie up the plot quickly and neatly.

Shadows of the Empire really has been the only Star Wars story that has really captured what I liked about the original trilogy. I’m one of those that can’t get invested in Star Wars if its not the original characters, so when I found the Star Wars infinities comics I was very happy. Extra Sequential’s thoughts on their Star Wars episode of the podcast hit my thoughts pretty much on the head and I’ve really enjoyed the Red Letter Media review/critique of the prequels.

I have been able to finish reading “Miss don’t touch me vol. 1” and enjoyed it. I’ve been slugging my way through Crisis on Infinite Earths about an issue every other month for the last year. I have to say while I acknowledge George Perez for being so consistant, and the book being a feat because of it’s details- the consistency in his art, is, to me, a turn off. Like Steve Dillon. The only one who I can get by with is Michael Golden because it still has an energy to it the others don’t. Though the Chris Sprouse way of inking it so precisely and cleanly does kind of kill it for me, though I love Christ Sprouse. There have beena number of Artists that I have liked so much that I’ve started getting quite a massive collection of their work, but noticed that after a certain point something clicks and I understand them too well. There are no more surprises in their work, JRJR and Kelly Jones have become that for me. However going backwards, JRJR’s work on daredevil with Al Williamson inking him are among my favorite comics ever, and surprise me with every issue.

Speaking of Michael Golden, his Jackie Chan’s SpartanX the Armor of Heaven has some awesome helicopter scenes which inspired, in part some of the ending of From Blood issue 2, which I just finished penciling. I also was inspired by The Punisher 75, and the illustrated screenplay of Terminator 2, the art of the Matrix book etc. I started using hotwheels for my reference but there is a big vehicle chase at the end that I eneded up having to use sketchup and find models on the warehouse.

I’ve also realized that both Yurushi and From Blood have the main character’s arc going from a violence and trying to become a peaceful one. This is the main difference I see between this and books that I could see it (From Blood) as being compared to, like Luthor Strode (drawn by my friend Tradd Moore). I didn’t even realize it till I was almost done drawing the second issue, but I think that character arc resonates with me because I think self-control is the highest mastery. I think that is why I hold the book/movie Dune in such high regard when so many throw that movie in the mud. The scene where he has to stick his hand in the pain box and the Revered Mother explains it as a test to see if he is an animal or a man - which is something I constantly struggle with of in my day-to-day life.

I kind of based Tim off of Alan Moore and Doctor Harold after Frank Miller. In both issues there are flashbacks to Tim being more well-shaven in which case I based him off of what Dolf Lungrend/Jean Claude Van Damme look like these days. Reese also takes a change in the second issue to look a bit more mod/indie and less doctorly.

Issue two also features A LOT more Swat Policemen – Which only make a brief appearance in issue one. So keeping them consistent with issue 1, I kind of realized I was recreating what I remembered the early 90’s Jurgen’s Metropolis police to look like from the first issue I ever remember having Superman #59. I also tried to include a minority I a major role, the same reason I was trying to get on-board with Batwing when DC relaunched, but I can’t stand the decompression in comics now. I read the comic in 10 minutes or less and the art, just like I mentioned with Finch and Braithwrighte is technically well executed it has the worst layout. This page for example, what is going on with the lower half of the left side of the dps? Absolutely nothing!

I’ve also gone through some bouts of becoming obsessed with dreaming up some plots including my version of a Justice League Reboot in which I tied all their orogins together and redesigned the costumes, combined some characters. I also plotted what my Predator vs. Tarzan story would have been and did a montage page of art – both of which can be found on my Deviantart page.

My and my 9-year-old brother redesigned Glory for the Project Rooftop blog, recently.

As I mentioned on my previous post I’ve been contributing to James’ on-again off-again sketchblog

I’ve also went through online and rewatched the most memorable episodes of the Batman the animated series from the 90’s. I seem to remember a character that I can’t find, that I thought was an alter-ego of two-face where he had a hanging mask that only covered half his face. I thought it was somewhere around the third season, once the style got very geometric, but I think I might have been misremembering the episode Judgement Day. Other episodes I fondly remembered were:
Holdiday Knights
You scratch my back
Pretty Poison – My favorite for the image of Poison Ivy growing babies in plants and the 50’s horror movie feel the episode has.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

keep it fresh

I know its been kind of quite on here but I've been posting some of the 41pg From Blood # 2 on my Deviantart page and have been doing a lot of sketches to

Friday, September 7, 2012

Breaking story - swiper no swiping!

So someone finally broke the story to bleeding cool with many more pictures than I had access to when I went off on him. But now everyone knows about Seth Reedy and his "free hand drawing and inking skills" and man, he was doing it to everyone. Finally getting going again in the comics world, I'm about 1/4 of the way done with a 40pg issue I'm working on. Finally got a script approved I'd written the rough draft of over a year ago. I have a penciler finishing an issue I wrote and an inker working on finishing them out. I got to see the first version of my friend Hobbes' story that I got to ink about half in a very fun style. Got to see the first print version of issue 1 of No West to Cross #1, all while the rest of my life has gotten considerably more complicated. All in all I'm doing pretty well. Really been enjoying listening to Now Playing podcast at work and their film series retrospectives.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Art Theif?

I had my own gallery article this week on The mission of the site is to discuss "Social Injustice." So I got to talk about some of my more controversial pieces and what I was thinking going into them. You can use the dots at the bottom of the article to scroll through the pieces and the word balloon icon at the bottom left to view "artist comments." The website has a very minimalist/concept oriented navigation and has recently been redesigned. Here's a screen cap of one of the four pieces I had this week.
I was also informed by an anonymous email user that an "artist" in Australia was re-inking over my inked art and not being up front in saying that it wasn't his drawing. This brings me to the larger issue of gallery sites like deviantart. I want to share my art with the world at large but people will screen cap instead of buy, use the art as their own to get a job or copy large portions of a smaller artist's work to shortcut their own, assuming the artist is not and will never be well enough known to find out, especially someone in Australia. I pursued the matter and it would seem that I was fired up by his brother in some sort of family fued. The part that really set me off was he even mentioned that he would not take pictures of "his" art straight on or post scanned images because of the same process that he is using to steal from me and others like me. Its so meta in the worst way. Anyway, I was very rude and angry and somewhat out of line. I would have been flattered (as Heath -the penciler- was) If he would co-sign the piece, or put my name up front with Heath's but he would only mention it if someone asked and even then only to say that the "free hand drawn" pieces were "not his idea entirely." Some may see it as a gray line but I definitely don't. Some of my friends do similar things and it angers me, I guess it's a function of the "breaking in" of the business. Unless you are huge, chances are you won't ever see if someone is doing it and there isn't really a way to know. I've also been contributing to recently. Super psyched to of heard the Star Wars: Shadows of the Empire audio drama, after trudging through the Thrawn Trilogy everyone hails so much. Also, excited to hear the Batman: Knightfall and Superman Lives adaptions by BBC radio as well as get the Batman: No man's land adaption by graphic audio sometime in the future. I've recently discovered the podcasts: Science... sort of, the deceptionists, fuzzy typewriter, and Books and Nachos

Thursday, July 19, 2012

The Medes and Nerd Nation

I was on another episode of Nerd Nation where I talk about my upcoming projects, the podcast here. I also won the Medes contest at Denver Comic Con for a piece of art that highlighted social injustice and it is featured on their website. Hover over the glasses on the right side of the screen for the menu and click on my name. The website has a very original design and navigation. You can see it here. I also realize that I kind of went off on some things in my last post, and I think that's good. It's the opinionated reason I read other's blogs. This week I've been irritated with the trend of having character lose a family member or loved on as the inciting incident or in the first act of the movie/story etc. I've been listening to "the deceptionists" writing podcast and enjoying that and trying to get someone to make either an Aliens or Predator audio drama, there are none! And I find that extremely odd because I think they could be great. Especially an adaptation of the Steve Perry novel/comics trilogy, Earth Hive, Nightmare Asylum, and Female War - which follows on the heels of Aliens for an out of continuity alternative history. It sounds great, and I would love to hear them since each character/franchise really has some very iconic music and sound fx associated with them. I've also joined another sketchblog after the last one peetered out. This one is called and I've already posted for the Spider-man movie and Saga.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Shakespeare and Manga

"Brevity is the soul of wit" - meaning be brief and efficient - and in media I take it to be - "don't waste my time." It is a problem I have with most all media today. Especially tv and movies (a lot of anime specifically), and comics (a lot of manga specifically). Its been called a post-literate or a-literate world, a world of instant gratification, visual and not written information, and for that reason stretched out stories. What old creators used to do in one issue now takes an entire tpb to do, and makes them that much more from each unnecessary additional issue. I think the format of manga is made to make you feel like you are gaining progress, like a pat on the back as you read. you seem to get so far in so quickly that you can't stop because you've read so much - but you haven't. There are usually 3 or fewer panels per page, all with one or less word balloon that probably has less than six simple words in it. I am speaking in generalities but when there is so much of something its easy to do. Every manga is a series, and I don't mean 6 issues, I mean volumes upon volumes, bookshelves long. And most Anime is not feature film, it's a series, not 13 episodes like a season of tv in the states but 20-60-300 episodes long. And you watch them waiting for the 2 minutes per episode when the budget blows up like a fire cracker and spend the rest of the time in anticipation and disbelief of how little could happen between those scenes and in the 1/2 hr and episode takes place. I have enjoyed my fair share of anime, manga, comics and movies but what I can't stand more than anything else are those that take for granted your effort to experience them. That save anything interesting till next issue, episode, after the first hour of the movie etc. That thing will go on the cover guaranteed, then you will read, watch etc a good portion that doesn't involve it and if it all possible probably totally avoids the thing they've conceitedly dangled in front of you on the cover to get you to read it. It's the worst! Its so disrespectful to the reader and I feel like a cow being pushed through the gates in just the way they want me to with no way to turn around or make a choice. If your lucky they give you just enough at the end to get you to forget how bad it was the entire rest of the way so that you'll do it again next issue, or hour of the movie, or episode. And now they've got you invested. Now you don't want to stop because your hoping your effort was all worth something that will help you overlook all the mistreatment instead of just giving the reader what is advertised and moving on from there. Now I bashed anime/manga a lot just there, but no comics are more famous for using the cover gimmick than american ones. Sometimes featuring something that doesn't even happen in the issue or ever. Marvel used to put spider-man's head in the upc box just so kids would pick up issues thinking he was in it when he wasn't. People that say, oh just wait, it'll get good soon - keep going are the worst. If it was good it would have been already. I appreciate a good start/hook to a story as much as the page turn, but some of the stuff today just seems like the page turn. No payoff, just incentive to keep reading and not stop. I could go on but I needed to atleast point out in the ironically not brief post, that creators, writers, readers. we deserve better. maybe this economy and this tough time on the arts is good and will make companies only put out what is good from the start, because you might not make it to a second season if you don't give us something worthwhile in the first or even first couple episodes as we've seen recently. So don't hold out just assuming we're so incredibly interested in your amazing story that we'll wait till the end to get anything else but filler and fluff. The journey is more important than the destination, and readers/watchers especially need to make their voice heard, we don't have enough time for it to be wasted. If you're not getting what you set out for/payed money for/or tuned in for/ stop, turn it off, return it, or just get it from the library. We vote with our money and time, and in these days, choosing to stop something and realize that it's not turning up, is just as loud of a vote as tuning in to see if your interested. if the creators appreciate you and there is something there, you will see it. if not, call their bluff and move on. your time is precious, so dont let anyone tell you/sell you/or write otherwise.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Legend of Oz: The Wicked West Fanart

So I wanted to do a piece for Big Dog Ink's Legend of Oz: The Wicked West, and thought about doing an homage cover - which I've never done. I've only ever done one image in my scraps on DA. Anyhow, I considered the following (all x-men covers lol)
oddly enough I always remembered this cover as a mix of this and the first appearance of the white queen.
My wife mentioned that perhaps they were't as universal and suggested Abbey Road from the Beatles. I ended up going with Amazing Spider-man 129 - don't ask me how anyone besides spider-man falling off a building would get into this mid-air position, lol. Anyways, it will be in the back of the next issue but here it is too. I was very pleased with it, though I added some of the yellow-bricks from the road falling in the background but I'm not sure they read as such in black and white, otherwise it was very fun.
Legend of Oz: the Wicked West homage fanart by ~xaqBazit on deviantART

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Artists (including me) changing their “style”

After struggling for a long time to find an artist I could say I could describe myself as similar I think I found it but in the most unlikely of places. I study a lot of Simonson and Leonardi, John Romita Junior but I also love some of the rougher more textural inking styles of guys like Bill S. and Danijel Dell’edera, and all the artists I said I think I look like have clean inkers. But I’ll come back to that.
Artists say they are influenced by everything they see and it’s true. Even if it’s influenced to not look like them, just like interacting with people. Additionally I may love and look at a lot of artists that I look and draw nothing like.
For example I’m starting to really like the cartoonstrip-style Herge-eske “dot eyes,” and have even tried it in a few panels where I probably would have done the classic superman comic strip “abbreviation” for eyes: The line for the top lid and a pupil somewhat overlapped underneath. I think that matches with my philosophy for comic art in general, with my approach to them – that you should be able to see the artist, tell that it is a representation and interpretation of life; The super realistic artists I used to admire either all worked from photos – basically any realistic cartoon strip artist pre-1979 – or tried so hard that I didn’t see them (the artrist) anymore – I just saw Fumettii. Tacktful inking can save this, like Al Williamson, Hal Foster, etc etc.
But I find the artists I’m really opinionated about are the ones with a very distinct style, like Kelley Jones, Denys Cowan, etc. Btw- just found out about Milestone comics, awesome! It’s a shame Static Shock is the only one that survived from it. Another artist saying is, that they want you to like them or hate them but don’t be only passive with their art, they want you to have a reaction.
We’ll it might have been from seeing him in a “history of comics” vhs a few years back or just seeing his older art but I absolutely hated Howard Chaykin. It might have been all the “budda-budda-budda” that filled the panels of his early 2000’s DC comics or that all his panels were bleed panels and his characters filled the frame.
But now I look at his new work and see a more striking similarity with my art that probably anyone else I’ve seen. I thought it was sloppy, fast, dirty and his characters were so blocky, and some of those same qualities were the ones I admired in different combinations with the aforementioned Leonardi, JRJR, and Simonson. But as I told my students when I taught for a brief time at a college here, Consistency was the biggest must-have trait (in my opinion) to developing a style, and he is, so how can I fault him.
I think I’ve come to drawing like how I do now because it’s the only style I can do consistently. I used to think of it as a non-style, my default drawing type, and yet after seeing enough of it and comparing it to the other artists I can see my similarities in what makes a style. It’s usually everything I mentioned on the list of things that I would describe Chaykin’s work as – but I’m okay with that. And I’m very comfortable in the style I’m using now, my non-style. Places where something looks inconsistent is probably where I’m trying to do something that I want to but is not me – which is a hard concept to wrap your head around as an artist.
You may like how certain things look, be able to replicate them in your art consistently and yet if you weren’t thinking about them when you draw you wouldn’t draw them. “Affectations” as one of my instructors used to call them.
I still haven’t come around on Milton Caniff’s art who has been cited by some if not all of the artists I’ve talked to and admire, in the same way Kirby is. There is pre-Kirby, prime-Kirby and post-Kirby. I think jobs in comics are so sought after and not really set up as a retirement deal that once an artists starts making a living doing it they have to keep at it so constantly that (I feel) all that’s left is their affectations – they settle into their niche and get pushed into that corner to an extreme. They become exaggerated in the things that make them “them” and the general drawing rules start to fall by the wayside. Personally I think Mike Perkins and Doug Braithwaite, Mark Texiera have started to be that way for me. Their faces are starting to look incredibly asymmetrical, despite being inked so well you can hardly tell. Of course, Tex and Braithwaite are just going from shaded pencils now while when they started were inked over by some of the best in the biz.
So to circle back around (again) people say that about Caniff, “of you have to read Terry and the Pirates,” or one of his other series, but then always add the caveat of not one of his other series. His layout is the best, black placement amazing, his gestural inking etc etc etc. Almost like a band/singer with a long career. If you catch them at the wrong point even now-fans of their art would criticize them.
I mention it in reference to music, because ideally (I think), and in movie series to some point, each one (cd/sequel etc) has to be a bit different from the onset – think Back to the Future. Set against 1980’s back to 1950’s, into the future then back to the old west. Still Back to the Future, but all fun because it’s not a rehash per-se because it’s all been turned on it’s ear. Or Empire, with Kershner. And then movie’s that flop because they stick so close to the formula that the original invented, The newest Pirates of the Caribbean (I thought), Ghost Busters 2 etc.
I’ve heard musician’s talk about this, when they create a fan base in one type of music and then grow, change, evolve into another a few songs or albums later and people chastise them for it. Its like there is some perfect combination between changing but not too much.
Ok back to art, take Jae Lee for example, early 90’s he was doing backgroundless ink-crazy and yet Jim Lee inspired art like Hellshock etc. Then he took a few years off and reinvented himself. I can’t stand him now, no backgrounds still lol, but totally different otherwise. And especially with comics where you are drawing so many panels per comic that by the time your done with two issues, you’d be hard pressed just mathematically from ythe number of angles to circle a character to not havea similar panel. So how do you keep it interesting? Change, grow, keep learning? I guess, if the fans come with you. If you don’t keep changing how will you know you’ve reached your prime, and once you do – can you just stay there, stagnant Doubtful. What’s even more, are changes like that really even totally conscious? Is it like they say about love, “you don’t find it, it finds you?” Especially if we’re influenced by everything we see.
When someone gets a JRJR sketch at a con, are they getting it to see what he looks like now, or for the affectations that made him famous? Do they really want him as a person, a growing artist, or just the stereotypical version of what they used to look like? Can you blame an artist for playing toward that?
Like JRJR, he has done so many comics (most of which I own) that I can see every fight scene goes down the same way, all the same angles almost every time. The legitimately new pages/panels are few and far between and that’s the point that I start going backwards with the artist, same with music. If the look stagnant now, try finding their art form before you started liking them. JRJR’s X-men stuff form the 80’s, Daredevil with Williamson etc is all some of my favorite stuff from him even though I got into him with the ultra bulky Punisher: War Zone stuff form the 90’s.
It’s interesting with some artists how they just became “them” at certain points in their career, Bill S looked like Neil Adams for the longest time, Travis Charest like Jim Lee, so many people like Jim Lee lol, same with Adams in his day though, Barry Windsidor Smith during his first few issues of Conan and Greg Capullo, the one who “jack of all trades, master of none” does not apply. I can’t take credit for pointing this out but on the CGS podcast, or maybe it was my friend Hobbes, he pointed out that Capullo can ape another artist’s style and then do “them” better then they can. He had a JRJR phase, Todd McFarlane (famously), and a few others and made it look like a better version of those artists. So what does Capullo actually look like – what is his default/no-style? Some say his Batman stuff now is that – maybe it is – for now.
This is even a bigger question to inkers, do you try and make yourself visible over the top of someone elses’ art or should you be the invisible hand that just makes the penciler look like the best “them” that they can be?
All questions, that artists all answer differently. And we get to see their answers in the pages of our comics books everyday.

Friday, January 27, 2012


Me and James were just interviewed by Invest Comics about our upcoming Blue Water and Cosmic Times work, as well as our take on digital comics which you can read here and I'll be appearing on Sunday's episode of Nerd Nation for a round table discussion with Gene Hoyle, Martin Pierro, and James Whynot about our upcoming comic from Cosmic Times entitled "From Blood."