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Good Comics

Oooh: First look at David Jesus Vignolli’s graphic novel NEW WORLD

Wow, this looks soooooo good. Last year I almost bought A Girl in the Himalayas (ref link) based only on the cover and flipping through the interior art. This looks like another really good one and it feels like we’re witnessing the growth of a storyteller. I’m sharing just a couple of images here, click the link at the bottom of the paste for many more pages and clues to the story. Can’t wait! EXCLUSIVE: Get Your First Extended Look at David Jesus Vignolli’s NEW WORLD – The Beat Source: EXCLUSIVE: Get Your First Extended Look at David Jesus Vignolli’s NEW WORLD … Continue reading

Berke Breathed on his return to cartooning after 25 years in carbonite

It’s fascinating to hear Berke Breathed talk about his return. I’m thankful that he’s not as private as Bill Watterson, who I’m sure would have some great opinions and advice to share. Berke just did an interview on NPR’s Fresh Air (check it out here) and two things he said jumped out at me: It’s why does it come so easy rather than why did it come so hard before, which is what it did. I never met any of my deadlines for 5,000 comic strips in the 10 years that I did “Bloom County,” not a single one, and it was … Continue reading

Reviewing the Tampa Bay Comic Convention #tbcc2015

Yes, this is indeed late as the con finished 2 weeks ago. It was 3 exhausting days of absolute bliss, followed by a week of I hate working I just want to write and draw comics all day. (I’m sure I’m not the only artist who has those weeks, there must be a support group online for it…)

This was my first con since Austin Wizard World in 2011 and man was it worth the wait. Supposedly some 50,000 people went, which is way higher than it seemed (the 30 minutes lines for food might attest to the figure).

It was also a great weekend for my two eldest, who went all 3 days – especially my near 13yo who was really into a lot of the panels. It’s nice to share this with them & hopefully stoke a lifelong love for comics, movies and other fun stuff.

The biggest thing for me was discovering improv thanks to Penguin Knife Fight and their 3 awesome improv classes. I’d never done any improv before but I’ve more into comedy lately. It freaked me out, so I had to give it a shot – and I LOVED it. I may have a new hobby now, thanks to PKF.

By the way, if anyone knows the two people on the right please let me know. They were another family who were at all 3 improv classes who seemed pretty cool. I was all set to talk to them some more and figured I’d see them later on the last day and did not :/

All in all, was 3 days of fun, inspiration, learning & making connections that I will not miss again (fie on me for not going the previous 2 years). Here are the major highlights of the con for me:

My one fanboy moment

I met Neal Adams, who drew so many of the Batman comics that I read in the 70s 🙂

Meeting Cogs & Creatures

My daughters and their friends were gaga for Cogs & Creatures‘ kawaii creations. I chatted with Consuelo and was happy to find out that that’s what she does for a living. How cool is that? Coming up with cool things and making a living with them while putting smiles on people’s faces? That’s the life.

Best find (non kawaii variety)

I bought this gorgeous comic as a gift for my wife, thanks to the art by Emily Cheeseman. Had a nice chat with her and she’s a fellow Manga Studio user. Her style is one I’m exploring these days.

I met an Indian American artist

Yes – I met a brother working in the field (though being Indian he started off as an electrical engineer). Sajad Shah is a really kickass artist and a nice guy with whom I had a nice chat. It was very cool to see a fellow Indian in the field (and I was too engaged in the conversation to take a pic).

My favorite panel: So you wanna be a writer
I kinda went on a lark but left feeling totally inspired by Scott Eder, Tracy Akers, Dora Machado & Maria DeVivo – not to mention the energy in the room. Although I have no desire to write a novel I do have stories that need to be told. This was the one panel where I took a LOT of notes. I also visited them at their table and not only got some wonderful support and advice but some great recommendations on books to read (thanks to Scott I started the Mistborn series, which I’m enjoying quite a bit).

I saw the best cosplay ever

Here’s my daughter with the Tooth Fairy from Rise of the Guardians. What an incredible costume – especially those picture perfect wings. Clearly she put a lot of effort into her cosplay and it was well worth it. She won the ‘best craftmanship’ award in the cosplay contest but she should’ve won the whole damn thing (despite the winning Iron Man/Spawn mashup being original & well done).

One panel got me hooked on Face Off

I went to a panel on silicone prosthetics and learned a lot – the biggest thing being that the sponsor (Reynolds Advanced Materials) is based in Orlando and give seminars on making molds and casting faces. As a kid, I LOVED the 80s classic FX (and wish someone had told me I could have gone to special fx makeup artist school for less than $3k – that beats the crap out of overpaying for a useless Economics degree). I forgot who was the makeup artist but he’s apparently been on Face Off, which I had never heard of but am now addicted to.

I met a cool animation company out of Orlando

I had a couple of great chats with David Andrade of and about Theory Animation. It’s freakin’ cool that a cool animation company isn’t that far away. I met David on the first day of the con and that;s when I realized that I needed business cards because I’m not just a fan. As fun as it is, the con is also a chance to make new friends and network.

The most original cosplay award goes too…

It was a blast – and I can’t wait until next year

Maybe it’ll make sense to get a table next year, or share it with someone – that’s what I can work towards. Until next August, I can try hitting other cons in Florida like the now 4-day-long Megacon in Orlando next May.

That’s my wrap-up of . I leave you with one the most amusing sights from the con – Deadpools dancing to the Village People…
the silence of our friends

The Silence of Our Friends

Comics are a powerful medium. When I have new graphic novels in the house, I like reading them first thing in the morning with my coffee. Today’s read was The Silence of Our Friends by Mark Long & Jim Demonakos (writing) and Nate Powell (art), with the tagline The civil rights struggle was never black and white Starting in 4th grade and until I finished high school, I went to Catholic school. In 1981 we moved to Bridgeport, Connecticut, one block from Thomas Hooker School. My parents were happy that I could walk to school and I was looking forward … Continue reading

If it’s good enough for Herge, it’s good enough for me…

I’ve had the next Fried Cheese Balls strip thumbnailed for well over a month. It really should have been finished by now but I’ve been in a rut for various reasons. There’s some technical stuff, like how to create reusable elements in Manga Studio (you’ll see what in the next strip). Some ‘life gets in the way stuff’. And some ‘artistic roadblock’ stuff.

One thing bugging me is I’m still not happy with my inks. I ignored my inner critic and posted the last strip anyway but my inking is bugging the hell out of me. I’m pretty much at the fuck it point and will use whatever seems ok at the moment I’m inking (using a customized analog-style Daub Brush by Paolo Limoncelli – check him out, his brushes are my favorites). And then I’ll probably redo the inks all over again :/

I’m not settled on a style of coloring either and might just go for quick fills instead of the analog textures that so pump my nads.

But the biggest hitch in the past month has been … trying to draw my mom face. From the front. Front-facing cartoon faces are a pain and are hard to get right. I somehow managed to get my own avatar right but that style isn’t working for my mom’s face.

So I decided to take a look at the style I’m most closely aiming for: Tintin (except I want a sloppier feel). And just about every single face is in 3/4 view. Every. Single. One. And thus the problem is solved.

And while checking out Herge’s art I found this interesting video of him talking about his process – and a site with scans of the pix from the video:

Source: Tintinology » Missing page from start to finish

Do you know about the Google Chrome comic by @ScottMcCloud?

I’ve always loved comics – except for an 18 year gap in which I forgot they existed. When I was little I read any comic I could get my hands on: those 3 pack plastic bags in pharmacy spinner racks (my only source for the longest time) Archie digests Tintin Daily & Sunday funnies The Phantom (aka Bataal) (when in India) Amar Chitra Katha (Indian history, mythology, folk tales – sold in India or sometimes Indian grocery stores in the US) In high school I discovered comic book shops and spent most of my allowance there every Wednesday. One of … Continue reading