Saturday, March 29, 2008

Chicago Comix Revolution!

Spent a good part of my day today pounding the pavement getting my comics into comic shops. I traveled through the congested Saturday Chicago traffic and dropped of new books at Chicago comics and Quimbys. They're in opposite directions and I spend some time browsing so it took me over three hours. It's the kind of thing I need to do more often, to keep the stock of my books fresher, but it's kind of a hassle, especially during this horrible winter!
I only have my comics in three shops in Chicago, but it's hard to think of three better shops for them to be in! Chicago Comics, and sister store Quimbys are well maintained, stocked and staffed, not to mention how great they are with local artists. Then, there's the Comix Revolution in two locations, Evanston, and soon to be a new location in Mt.Prospect. I worked at the Comix Revolution for three years and the ability to read the stock without paying for it, (sorry Jim) was not only exciting, but crucial in my development as a comics artist.
Part of the swag I bought today in lieu for my minis, was the Awesome Anthology, put together by Charlito and Mr.Phil of Indie Spinner Rack fame.

I actually just discovered ISR, as I've only, until recently, gotten the gumption to understand this whole podcast thing. I could hardly believe that a podcast actually existed for alternative type comics. Amazing! How could this have existed so long outside of my knowledge? AaRGH! Since discovering it, I've been tearing through the huge archive of impressive guests that they've doubtlessly exhausted with their infectious enthusiasm. It's actually been somewhat of a rejuvenator for me to listen to this stuff, and hear people talk about comics and the scene on a regular basis. I've gone to a bunch of conventions, but I rarely talk to people about comics, only having casual friendships with other comics artists.
I haven't read it yet, but the Awesome Anthology is filled with a bunch of artists I dig, so I'm sure it's a, "can't go wrong!" Needless to say, if you haven't experienced Either Chicago Comics, Quimbys, Comix Revolution, or Indie Spinner Rack, DO SO!
So I'm hard at work on Burning Building Comix #4, BUT, while I'm at work I sometimes have time to work on some sketches, and have been working on the character design for the people in Issue #5. Here's a look at several head designs that didn't make the cut.

And as proof to the above statement about attending cons, here are some pics from last years Wizard World Chicago (I know, I know).

My blue coat, and Uber Comic Fan Jose!

Drawing sketches while people ignore me!

The displays and my bro Adam.

My boy and a convention pic. A TWO-FER! Van was trying to fit in with that whole cosplay crowd.

And now for the ipod 3 song shuffle.

It's Raining Men by Countdown Singers

Remember by The Raveonettes

Home of the Blues by Joaquin Phoenix

Okay...this will probably sound like a lie, but It's raining men, is my wife's song, and I'm embarrassed for her. Although it is the punchline to a funny Simpsons line. I think I've had the Raveonettes before, and the Joaquin Phoenix song is from the Walk the Line movie. Both my brother Adam and my wife Emily like Joaquin's take on Johnny Cashs' songs better than the originals, and while I'll admit Joaquin has a nice voice, Johnny Cash didn't have a horrible harelip!
Your Pal, Jeff

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Devil Worshiping Hats

I only wish I could have titled this Devil Worshiping Pants, but alas it's inaccurate, though it would have been a hell of a lot funnier. I spent way too much time (a whole night's worth of drawing) coming up with the design for a hat that a character in Burning Building #4 will be wearing.
I was going for a goofy looking hat that will get a laugh merely by the character donning the silly thing. This was tougher than I thought it would be and took hours. Everything I liked looked too damn smurfy (That's an even better blog title!) including the one above, but different enough for me to settle on it.

Anyone that looked at the video or pictures from SPACE that I posted previously might have seen the displays I have for my respective mini-comics, BlackStar, and Burning Building Comix. I made a couple of quick videos that show the construction process of the displays I'd like to share . They're on my youtube page and only about 30 seconds long each. The idea with the displays was simply, to make something eye catching to get people to stop and look at the comics. The Burning Building display in particular also helps to convey the idea behind the whole series. They were actually a lot of fun to come up with and put together. They're made just from cardboard and paint, and had to be able to break down for easy travel, which made it trickier. But I like to pride myself as a sort of retarded low class engineer, as anyone who's seen the door I created to keep the cats from jumping off our porch, can attest. Here's a couple of sketches I made for the displays construction.
I wasn't sure if I should post stuff of this nature, thinking I'm the only person who will find it interesting. See, I love process, in almost any creative endeavor. Seeing the process someone takes to create something, is fascinating for me. Especially "making of" documentaries on DVDs like The Lord of the Rings. Best yet when it involves miniatures! Anyway, since I find it interesting, I'll just hope other people do as well. You can also see other videos on my youtube page with more process stuff, like me drawing and inking. I'll probably do more of these even if no one shows any interest.

Here are the three songs from my ipod shuffle.

"Manna" by Tanya Donnelly

"Rio" by Duran Duran

"Milk" by Garbage

Manna is a beautiful song by beautiful song writer Tanya Donnelly, of Belly, Throwing Muses, and Breeders fame. My favorite songs of hers are pretty and powerfully poppy, but her work of late hasn't been my thing. Manna is from her first solo album, and that whole record is pretty damn good.

Now Duran Duran is a "guilty pleasure" I guess, even though I hate that term, but a couple of their songs still hold up pretty well for me, with Rio being my favorite.
And another repeat band already, Milk, by Garbage. Milk is such a slow and silky beautiful sexy song with lyrics like, "I am red hot kitchen" I don't know what that means, but it's sexy and strange.
And here's a picture of Van.

He's reading from the collected Schizo, which like, Angry Youth Comics, is filled with horrible horrible stuff not befitting an impressionable young mind. Schizo is by alternative comics legend Ivan Brunetti. I owe some due to Mr.Brunetti, having taken his style as a jumping off point (shameless rip off to some) when I designed the characters in Burning Building. And I'm pretty sure that one of his comics, was part of the inspiration for the series.

He's a genius and his art gets better all the time, check him out if you haven't already. Interestingly, the original art from the above page is owned by my former boss, owner and proprietor of fantastic comic shoppe, the Comix Revolution.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

On the road again...

Sticking to the format, I got a couple things to share. First off, a picture of the boy.

This was taken on Halloween, Van was a punk rocker, and this was after the other parts of his costume were shed. Also, as promised I have the video I put together for SPACE 2008. There's not much coverage of the show, but plenty of footage of two guys in car! least it's short.

And finally here are the three shuffle songs from my ipod.

"I hate myself and I want to die" by Nirvana, from the boxed set.

"Little red light" by Fountains of Wayne

"That Great Love Sound" by the Raveonettes.

I love Nirvana, but some of their noisy jam stuff is just to much of a wank off for me. Once again Fountains of Wayne show up, already and only two times into this thing, anyway, great song about an answering machine. Then there's the Ravonettes, an extremely unique band, with a Phil Spector type song structure mixed with loud fuzzy guitars. Great stuff. Just in case anybody wanted to know, the music on the video is Driver 8 by R.E.M.

Your Pal, Jeff

Saturday, March 8, 2008

3 Things!

Well, I kinda figured the most interesting way for me to update the blog, with any regularity is with a theme. So I'm gonna try and update once a week, with three different items. Firstly, because he's the cutest damn thing in the world, a picture of my son. Van is nearly 2 and I'll try to include only funny pictures, as I realize that other people's kids are only interesting to a point. Nextly, and because this is a blog for my comics, I'll post a piece of art from something I'm currently working on, or is something of interest. And lastly, I'll go to the old ipod mini and list three songs that come up on shuffle, as a means of getting to know me a little better, and what better way than ipod shuffle selection? It's the new, "What's your sign?" of our era. So here they are.

and here are the songs without editing for embarrassment.

"Special" by Garbage, from Version 2.0 I believe.

" '92 Subaru" by Fountains of Wayne, from Traffic and Weather

"Take on Me" by Ah-ha. No idea about an album.

So there you have it, Van loves to pick up books and pretend to read them. So this picture isn't posed in that sense, however, I believe I gave him the Angry Youth Comix, Comic after he picked up something else, for the sake of the picture. For those not in the know, Angry Youth Comix, is the deviant rantings of Johnny Ryan, and his comics are absolutely filthy, and completely inappropriate for a child under the age of 18. That's what makes the picture so humorous :) You can see Johnny's comics and all of his other cool shit here.

The art is a preview from Issue #3 of Burning Building Comix. It's in color cause it's going to appear on in their online comics section. They did this for Issue #1 already and you can see that here. Top Shelf has published some of my favorite comics, including Blankets, Box Office Poison, Jeff Brown, James Kochalka, and I could go on and on.

And finally those are the songs. I LOVE Garbage, and am "rock star in love" with Shirley Manson, and the way she sings. Last I heard they might still be putting out a new record, after Shirley does a solo project. Maybe someday I'll do a mini-comic about my love for this band. Then there's Fountains of Wayne, who I also adore. They have a extremely catchy pop sound, that Van happens to be a huge fan of as well. Then there's, to me, the best 80's song of all time, Take on me, with perhaps the best music video of all time as well. No apologies for this song, I still love it, and haven't even been F'd out on it yet.

Well, that will do it for now. I am working on some video from SPACE, but I have to get it transferred over still. Okay, thanks for reading.

Your Pal, Jeff

Monday, March 3, 2008

SPACE 2008

Well, another convention has come and gone. SPACE 2008! Had a good time and met some cool people. Columbus Ohio is a long way from Chicago, six hours, so it's a bit exhausting, but you find things to make it worth while. Like the Waffle House! Damn good stuff! We don't have these in Chicago and when I first saw them, I thought, Waffles? Big fucking deal, who cares that much about waffles? Well I'm an open minded man, always looking to expand my mind, least ways in that it involves food, so I finally went to one, and enjoyed myself some good fucking waffles! This particular trip however I went nuts and tried some chocolate chips on my waffle. That was a mistake. The chocolate chips completely overpowered the delicate beauty of the waffle house waffle! Another life lesson learned.

I've done several trips down to SPACE now, and have never been blown away by the crowds, but managed to do a little better each year. This year however seemed slower that last, but I did meet, and exchange goods with several fine people. See the posed photographs below.

I hooked up with all around good guy Steve Hamaker and had a laugh.

Steve is the talent behind the comic Fish and Chips, not to mention the colorist supreme of Bone!
Check out his technologically talented ass here.

Also meet Pat Lewis, creator of several fine minis, and the beautiful hard cover collection, The Claws Come Out, from IDW.

He was sitting next to fellow Pittsburgian, Ed Piskor, who managed to exchange a copy of his latest book, Wizzywig, with me on the sly.

If you haven't had the chance yet to check out Ed's work, he's doing some real interesting and original stuff.

I also purchased the wares of mini-comic luminaries Neil Fitzpatrick, and Justin Madson, Nice guys with beautiful tables, and solid sales techniques.

Also had the chance to meet fellow Illinoisan John Hankiewicz, the final member of the Holy Consumption I finally got to share a handshake with. I bought John's book Asthma, of which I've only heard good things, and he was nice enough to throw in a mini called bald knob, with a very nicely done lithographed cover!

All of these guys were in the same row, or close to it, making it the most visited section of the floor for me. I was on the other side of the room.

Sunday was a little slow.

As per usual the guys in the tables next to me were very nice, and offered some fun conversation. SPACE does lack the presence of the bigger indie publishers, which tend to bring some excitement to the shows, but Bodega Dist. was there with Sparkplug books right next to them, with some really cool looking stuff. I was too broke to buy much of anything, but they did have a slew of top quality stuff available to the crowd.

Last but not least is a comic drawn by my brother Adam, who keeps me company at these conventions, and at times draws his own comics based on his experiences when he gets bored. Enjoy.

I did take some video of the trip, that I'm gonna have to post later in the week, and maybe I'll talk a little more about conventions in general. Thanks to everyone who stopped by the table and bought comics!

Your Pal, Jeff