Saturday, May 31, 2008

Karaoke Light Box!

Hey, the slide show thingy worked! How cool is that? So to keep on updating you on the Top Shelf web comics 2.0 thing, I just recently finished coloring issue #2, and that should be up on their site in another couple of weeks, with the next issue coming a month after that. So check it out, cause they've got some cool stuff going on over there, and it's free! Which is good for all you cheapskates, cause it's like free comic book day every weekday!

So, aside from coloring the issues of Burning Building Comix, I've also begun working on the print editions of Issues #3 and #4. Issue 3 is almost done, and I've started putting together the pages for Issue 4 today. The way I work on these, is to do the backgrounds and the characters separately. I started doing this because in Issue 1, I drew each background in every panel using a light box. It was tedious, boring, and time consuming. Since then, I draw the backgrounds once, draw the rest on it's own, and put them together in the computer. Since I'm such a geek about process, here are three scans of the same page. One being the backgrounds alone (the white out spots are where the halo around the characters come in), the characters alone, and them both put together.
Wow, isn't cheating great?! Not really. Although this method is much faster overall, I believe, there's usually a whole week I have to set aside to scan it all in and put it together. This can be tedious, boring, and time consuming. (sigh)

So, here's Van caught in a candid shot admiring his racetrack. The car actually goes around the track, in case you thought he was just staring at a still car... although such is his mania, I think he has just sat and stared at his cars.

And to finish it all up, the ipod three song shuffle.

Take Me Anywhere by Tegan and Sara

Don't Stop Me Now by Queen

Sweet Jane by Cowboy Junkies

Don't Stop Me Now is one of my favorite songs of all time, and you haven't lived till you've seen me karaoke this bad boy! Also, since it's Queen related and I make comics, I feel I'm required by comic blogging law to mention Mike Dawson's new book Freddie and Me. I always thought that the song Short Skirt/Long Jacket by Cake ripped off their guitar hook from Sweet Jane. Although I like the Velvet Underground original just fine, the Cowboy junkies version just sounds like you're on heroin. You know, for you cheapskates out there.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

How to make a Mini-Comic!

I just finished doing a new printing of Burning Building #1, so I took a bunch of photos of the process and have it posted over on Flickr for anyone to see. So instead of the usual post, I'm just gonna give a quick update on the Top Shelf web comics, and then send you over the the Flickr set.

I've been talking to the guys at Top Shelf, and we're gonna post all the issues of Burning Building on the new section of their web comics page, Top Shelf 2.0. Right now, Issue #1 is up, and I'm working on finishing up the coloring of Issue #2. Once they're all done, you'll be able to view them all online stacked on top of each other! I'll post here when the new issues are gonna be posted, or just keep checking Top Shelf, cause they're posting new comics every weekday! Holy Crap!

Okay, so here's where you can find the pictures on Flickr, and I'm trying to figure out how to have a slide show of that set of photos run on the side of the page here on the blog, but I'm not sure if that's gonna work.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Have I done a hutch yet?

In case anybody went over to the Top Shelf Comix website looking for my comics that were to debut, and thought I was a dirty liar cause they couldn't find them - fear not. The color version of Burning Building 3 is set to be on the website, just not quite yet. Apparently, they're looking at putting Issue 1 back up first and then issue 3 some time after that. They're putting up new comix every weekday, so it shouldn't be long. Issue 1, once again in full color, is supposed to be up this Thursday.

Lately, I've been working on a bunch of in-between things, mostly the inside covers for Burning Building 3, which I delayed doing due to a convention, and for Burning Building 4. I usually like to do these right after I'm done with the guts of the book, put doing a pair of them back to back was a bit rough. The inside covers are just backgrounds, with the character's furniture and knick knacks lying around to give people a sense of what the character is like. Well, it's pretty damn boring to just draw backgrounds (don't know how Gerhard did it), and even more boring when it's a bunch of furniture that has to be different from the six other apartments I've already done. I spend way too much time thinking up ottomans and lamps! Here's a peek at one of the covers. I scanned it as a color photo so you can see the blue line pencils underneath the black ink.

Here's a picture of Van in a box. It illustrates well his obsession with cars, and anything with freakin' wheels.

And now the three song ipod shuffle.

South Side by Moby (with Gwen Stefani)
Turning Japanese by Liz Phair
Slide Away by Oasis

I love Liz Phair, a Chicago gal, and Turning Japanese is a good cover. It's true to the original, but it has enough of her own sound to be different and fresh. Moby I'm pretty luke warm on, but I do like South Side, especially being a White Sox fan. I got pretty F'd out on a lot of Oasis, cause I used to work with a guy at the Comix Revolution who would play them non-stop. I am a bit a of brit pop fanatic though, although Oasis got way too bloated and way too high on cocaine!

Sunday, May 11, 2008

I'm Gonna Be Drifting Off

I'm gonna try and keep it short this week. Last time, I mentioned how I would talk more about Burning Building Comix #3 later, and that time is now. You see, I've actually had Issue 3 done for quite some time, but the fine folks at Top Shelf Comics, are going to include it in their online comics section! They've been cool enough to do this before for Issue 1, but I guess they're re-designing the online comix section, and it's going to be up and running in a week or so. You can check it out here, and it's the only place to see Burning Building Comix in FULL COLOR! The print version of Issue 3 will be available after the online edition's exclusivity has worn its welcome, and Issue 4 will be ready about the same time. Stay tuned.

So if you search for "kid falling asleep" on you tube, you get like 600 matches, and my pride and joy baby boy is among them. Here's Van during a late dinner with a White Sox game on in the background.

Okay, so here's the ipod three song shuffle.

I'm Gonna Be (500 Miles), The Proclaimers
Bittersweet Me, R.E.M.
Hooligans, Rancid

Hmmm, well, "I'm Gonna Be" is one of those songs I really liked when I was 12, and thought I would still like it now, so I downloaded it, and I think I skip it every time it comes up. Somebody ought to coin a term for that. ipod remorse. And the Proclaimers were the guys who sang with those really think accents, and I usually do love to hear an accent in a singer's voice, especially a Celtic type sound.
Bittersweet Me is a great R.E.M. Monster song, that came close to being completely F'd out. You know, it's strange, cause I didn't really get into R.E.M until Monster, and then I got their older stuff later, but it was one of those albums that I listened to, to death in the crucial years of my youth when objectivity is lost. As a result, I can't critically talk about it, but I think I've heard that Monster isn't regarded very well for R.E.M. and I just can't see that. I suppose it's possible that it's just me, and I'm unable to judge it outside of the emotional place it dwells inside of me next to the memories and feelings of those years.
Hooligans by Rancid is a fun song by a fun band, and for me Rancid is at it's best when they're doing more of the Ska/Reggae influence type thing. Plus, on a personal note, Rancid was my first official concert with my wife. Lots of making out.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Ducky Garbage Day!

Well, I missed a post last week...what do you expect from the worst blog ever? I'm writing this on Saturday May 3, or as it's known in all of geekdom, FREE COMIC BOOK DAY! So, I packed up the wife and kid and headed out to The Comix Revolution. They've got a brand new store open, and they did a great job! The new location is bigger than the old joint, visible from the street, and has parking! I got a couple of pictures of the fancy new digs.

In addition to a smattering of the free alternative type comics available, I finally got the new Jeffrey Brown book, Little Things. I haven't read it yet, but I think it's a comic adaptation of that BUSH song. Jeff's a great guy, draws great comics, and has been cool enough to give me some much needed advice from time to time. I also picked up The Klassic Komix Klub by Johnny Ryan, published by the fine folks at Buenaventura press. This book contains Johnny's sick take on classic literature. Finally, I picked up The Life and Times of Scrooge McDuck, by Don Rosa. I've never actually gotten into the duck comics, and am only familiar with Scrooge McDuck through the cartoon Duck Tales. I do consider Duck Tales to be one of the finest children's cartoon shows produced, and I still love it to this day, so I hope the comics can provide just as much entertainment. Some day, when I have more money, I'll get to the Carl Barks stuff. After I make my millions from selling my own comics, of course, (sigh). So, thanks to Rudy, Mason, and the rest of the CR crew. As you can tell from the picture below, Van was just as excited as I was for the trip to Mt. Prospect.

OK! Time for a little whoring! I just recently got some stuff back into print. All of the Black Stars are available again, including the long out-of-print, issue #1. The cover for issue #4 is different, cause the stock I got for the first printing was kind of a pain in the ass to get, and I wanted to try something else. You can see pictures of it on the main page. Also, Burning Building #1 has been out-of-print, but I'm expecting to finish up my third printing any time now, so it's pretty much available, along with issue #2. Issue #3 is finished, but not printed yet - more about that next week - and I just finished up all the inking on issue #4 earlier this week. The story for issue #5 is written out (the first draft, at least) and I'm gonna try and get that started ASAP! Issue #5 is the last issue and the last story for the building, so I'm super excited to get it done and out there for people to be able to read the building as a whole. Here's a peek at the character sketches for #5.

As I'm writing this, the episode of Sound Stage on Chicago public TV is playing the Garbage performance. This is notable, not only because I love the band Garbage and they've only played this episode once before as far as I know, but also because my lovely wife and I were in attendance at the taping of the show. If you watch really closely when Shirley jumps down to walk through the crowd during Stupid Girl, she very quickly passes me, and you can see me excitedly ogle her. Creepy! (You can see me all the way on the right of the screen at 3:36 of the youtube clip.)

And finally the ipod three song shuffle.

Emily was sick of me making fun of her songs, so we purged most of hers from itunes and moved 'em to her computer. This might prove to be less interesting, and more embarrassing.

Denise by Fountains of Wayne
I Believe in a Thing Called Love by The Darkness
Street Spirit (Fade Out) by Radiohead.

Good mix this time! Denise by FOW is one of my favorite songs by them. It's really quick and distorted, and the lyrics, as always by those guys, are awesome! (ding) Some might consider I Believe in a Thing Called Love, a one hit wonder, movie soundtrack hit, which I guess is true, but it's so right on, feel good, Queen-style anthem rock, that I think it will hold up for years. I'm glad Radiohead came up in the shuffle, cause the storyboard for the music video we made for that aniboom contest is done. The drawings are all mine, but the versatile Jay Gish put it together in Flash and made it move. You can also see my brother, Adam's entry which is a sweet, multi-layered cliff hanger. No word yet that we lost the contest. Back to Street Spirit though, cause that is one of my favorite Radiohead songs of all time, if not one of my favorite songs of all time, and it's got one of the best videos ever! Watch it, and note that the switching from slow motion to quick motion in those liquidy transitions, was done years before the film 300. If you watch that video, or listen to that song, and aren't moved by it, YOU HAVE NO HEART!

Your Pal, Jeff