Monday, July 27, 2009

SDCC Final Day Yesterday

So, yesterday was the last day of SDCC! A lot of amazing things happened at SDCC, but I'm going to save some of those conversations for another time... Needless to say, I took a lot of pictures, but I could have taken more... probably should have taken more, but you can only point and shoot for so long before you get tired of taking pictures. My favorite pictures from yesterday have to be some of the Marvel statues I saw... Take a look at them and tell me you don't love the Coipel Thor!

Anyway, enjoy!

Sunday, July 26, 2009

SDCC - One day to go!

Well, it's Sunday morning! Yesterday was a hard day, the hardest by far. I think the most people were there, I did the most walking in a short period of time, and since my wife and I gave blood on Friday, our energy levels were down by just a tad. Add to that a minor setback / disappointment (not a huge deal, just a slight delay), we we both ready to head home a little earlier than we have been.

No complaints, though!!!! SDCC is an amazing experience for everyone there, except maybe the poor security guard we saw faint yesterday or the unfortunate death we witnessed on Thursday evening as we were walking to the convention center. We're not 100% certain what happened on that one, but a man must have fallen out of his chair at a restaurant, hit his head, and passed away. We passed by as the paramedics had already inti bated him, had electrodes on his chest to shock him, etc, but you could tell he wasn't responding. This was from about a ten second glance as we walked by (didn't hover because, well, that's rude), but there was something about the situation, the looks of dread on the paramedics faces, and the man's lack of response that gave a pretty good indication he wasn't going to make it. Very sad, actually...

Sorry for the downer there. Yesterday's highlights included the chance to meet most of the Image founders plus the new partner Robert Kirkman. I have more pictures up on my PhotoBucket, too, and unfortunately someone was standing in my way when I was trying to get one of Rob, Doh! Alas, though, everyone was very nice ~ in the picture, from left to right are Jim Valentino, Erik Larsen, Whilce Portacio, Todd McFarlane, Mark Silvestri, Robert Kirkman, and Rob Liefeld. All very polite. I slipped in a few comments such as how cool it is to see Todd back at work doing artwork (we both agreed you can only get stuck in administration for so long) and I told Mark that I'm happy to see him doing some X-Men work again. Yeah yeah, it was an Image line, but still, the dude can draw X-Men like no one else... <-- Updated with yesterday's photos!

I was thinking about that this morning, actually... My three favorite artists for X-Men are probably (not in order) John Byrne, John Romita Jr., and Mark Silvestri. I mean I love Jim Lee's work, Greg Land is phenomenal, and there have been countless great artists over the years, but those three just cry X-Men to me. I started reading X-Men with 203 back in 1986 with Chris Claremont writing and John Romita Jr drawing... That's what drove me to start backtracking issues. Mark Silvestri was drawing X-Men by the time I managed to start really digging into the John Byrne era; I had a few issues, but at the time for a young lad, they were really expensive.

Back to the Jim Lee era of X-Men.... Amazing artwork; I mean the guy can draw superheroes like no one's business... My issue in reflection is that the mid - late 90's was a death of sorts for the comic book industry. With X-Men in particular, we went from athletic, but still somewhat realistic proportions to these musclebound models with everything exaggerated to the point it was difficult to really identify with the characters so much. The times really got people reading comics, but the time before then really was about the marriage of story and art more than it was in the mid-late 90's and after. The last handful of years have brought a good marriage back, but it may be another few years before things get back to how they once were... if ever... with sales.

I've got some commentary involving marketing and other things based on meetings and panels I attended, but I'll save those for another day. Needless to say, I've got some opinions... Even argued with a panel DURING the panel. ;) I'm not shy, I guess.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

SDCC - Long days and crazy nights!

Well, I'm not one of the masses that goes out after SDCC is over and parties, haven't had the time... Between meeting with publishers, networking with fellow creators, passing out flyers, etc, I just haven't had the time! Had some completely amazing conversations with people, though, which is great and may have even finally found an artist for my opus, the fantasy book I started over 15 years ago and seven months ago started looking to convert it to a comic book script. I held off doing a lot on the book until I found the right artist, because the way I write scripts is often impacted by the style of the artist I'm working with. The cool thing is that this person is a KNOWN name in the art community and the style that would come out of it isn't something you would expect, but should from a fantasy book... I'll leave you with that.

More things to share, but I have to get back out the door to go play the SDCC game some more!!!!

Check out my pictures from Thursday and Friday...

Oh yeah, gave blood last night, which was cool... Wasn't expecting it, but got a shirt that says "I just gave blood. But I saved some for Eric." It's a True Blood shirt... funny, huh?

Thursday, July 23, 2009

SDCC Preview Night

I didn't get a ton of pictures of specific things except if you count statues from SideShow and Gentle Giant... those were VERY cool.

Met some creators, swapped business cards, maybe greased the wheels for a deal, etc...

All in a day's work!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

SDCC - Somehow pulled it off I think!

Well, SDCC starts tonight and I've spent the last several days prepping my promo stuff to show to publishers. 4 submission packages and several teasers later, I don't have the total number I wanted, but enough to make a statement, definitely.

I got some of the promo stuff printed yesterday and saw some samples... I'm so jazzed at how some of the art and my graphic design came through. Had some guidance along the way from Michael Nelsen (graphic designer by day, comic artist by night), but still, I'm just happy with how things turned out.

Pitches, pitches, and more pitches... You'd think that after some of these projects have been stewing in my brain for six months or longer (one is around six years old), the pitches would come out... well... not so much. It took several drafts, proof-reads, reading out loud, re-writing, etc, until I ended up with some very nice final products. Am I an expert at writing pitches? Heck no, but I definitely have more experience than I did when I first wrote the pitch for Faction around six months ago.

Anyway, I'm going to try and get some pictures of preview night up tonight!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Counting down to SDCC!

Just a few days until SDCC, so I've been glued to my comptuter writing and lettering... I was actually just working on the bonus features for Faction 0 and thought I'd share this image. It's another variation of the re-imagined Acker from Arnie.

I've got to tell you, this running for days on end with very little sleep while still being creative is tough!

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Lightning Strikes - Fine art versus comic art

"Fine Art" is a broad term... The American Heritage Dictionary defines it as "Art produced or intended primarily for beauty rather than utility." This can actually be sculpure, painting, or music even. Now, how does that relate to comic book art? If someone is a good "Artist" does that mean they will automatically be a good "Comic Book Artist"? I SAY THEE NAY! I've seen people comment that comic books can't be fine art.... I really don't see why that can't be the case. Though artists are working from a printed script, typically, they are still creating an image intended to evoke some sort of emotional response, tension, love, movement, action, death, getting hit by a bullet, etc. If the comic book art isn't the fine art, does that mean the script is? I'd say why not both...

The image I attached is by Denman Rooke and, believe it or not, this is going to be in a comic book, it's a random sequential image from the book. I took it out of context so you don't know what it ties to or anything, but I bet you can guess, right? Dark and stormy night, foreboding coloring, etc... you get the idea. Is this fine art? Well, Denman IS a fine artist... he does artistic paintings not related to comic books, just from his own head, inspired by whatever may inspire him. The correlation between what he does as a "Fine Artist" seems to translate well to comic books (if you saw some of the other pages, you'd throw out an AMEN to that).

Now, on the othe side, though... Great Fine Artists DOES NOT mean automatically you can do comic books. Fine art may involve inspiration, but rarely from a form such as a script, which asks you to draw something often very specific. Some artists can't handle that. Also with sequential artwork, you need to make sure there is a logical progression between panels, if you knock down a lamp in one panel, it's still knocked down in the next, for example. Some can't handle that, either. Several fine artists I've spoken with can't really work with a script, even if they're basic, without heavy heavy explanations. For me to say something is heavy, well it would be like several paragraphs for one panel or just surrender creative control and "get what I get", which doesn't work for me.

That's it for now! Denman, better to ask for forgiveness than permission to post the image and pick on you! :P

By the way, all, that image WILL appear in a comic book in some way, shape, or form in the coming months, it's from a horror mini-series I'm working with him on.

Friday, July 17, 2009

This Monkey is Bananas!

This is a sample from the book I'm working on with Jason Baroody... the monkey isn't necessarily a major player in the book, but I thought the particular image was really nice... I did the "munch munch munch".


Thursday, July 16, 2009

And another one down!

Down to the wire, but another anthology submission has been finished and sent to the publisher for inclusion in the next issue of Mysterious Visions After Hours (over at It should be published in the next month or so, I think.

I'll provide more details when it gets closer to release but it's written by me and drawn by Roger Wilbanks ~ Undead on Arrival, formerly Dead on Arrival.

Besides that, still cramming for SDCC and looking forward to Round 4 of SPI.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Have you ever tried to get comics printed?

Oh my gosh... what a hard thing to do! I've been doing some research, trying to find an equitable printer for color books, not just for me, but for some friends, too. If you have any idea of a company who can print in color WITH quality and still enable you to make a profit if you distribute through Diamond, please let me know... Doing the math is just funny on some of the quotes I've gotten. Literally, one place for anything less than a thousand copies came out to just a bit under $20 per copy! Wow, huh? A few places haven't been too bad, but most of the best deals come around 2000 copies and up (to spread out the drum printing setup costs). I'm looking for a "web printer" or "digital printer" I guess, who can handle comic book sizes without actually manually trimming all of the pages, since that's what drives up the cost from what I hear.

Here's the logic...
$2.99 cover price
$1.80 price to Diamond
$1.19 remaining
$X.XX printing costs
$Y.YY profit

To hit Diamond, of course we need to hit the 2000 copy threshold anyway, but even in some of those cases, we were still looking at a little over $1 per copy... $0.19 profit per copy? To hit pro rates, we would actually need to get around, well, Marvel numbers to make a profit. I have confidence in the books I'm working on, but realistically the majority of books do not sell in those numbers. These days, that would be a blockbuster of epic proportions!

Just to compare (for you mathletes out there), here's the direct sales model (if we sell through our own web site using PayPal, for example.

$2.99 cover price
$0.30 PayPal Fees (estimate there)
$2.69 remaining
$X.XX printing costs
$Y.YY profit

If we were paying $1 per copy to print, that puts $1.69 per copy in the creators' pockets... to hit pro rates, we'd only need to sell around 2400 copies and we'd be happy campers. Again, those are Diamond numbers, but much greater profit.

I don't have any issues with Diamond or any other distributor. With those places, it's more about getting the books out there over the profit and a lot of people these days seem to make more profit from GN's than single issues anyway. Exposure to a nationwide audience, the majority of comic stores out there, would be a good thing. Haven is working their magic getting into more stores, which I applaud, and the business model puts a bit more in the creators' pockets (don't have the exact numbers). More power to them for getting out there!

Notice I don't talk about POD or printing services catered to comics? The cost for those may work for direct sales, but there is no way you can distribute through Diamond and get printed through those places because you would pay more to get the books printed and delivered than you would get from sales through Diamond, which is unfortunate...

Anywho, ramble finished...

Friday, July 3, 2009

Holidays and counting down...

So, It's July 3rd, one day (duh) before the 4th of July. In years past, we would go to a hill not far from our house where we were able to see three cities worth of fireworks (we live in a great area). Last year, one city cut their fireworks... this year it looks like the others have as well, limiting fireworks to larger metropolitan cities and tv. We could drive down to San Diego proper and watch them, but I know with the traffic, it's just too much of a pain.

I'm actually off work today and sitting in front of my computer talking with one of my co-creator friends and trying to get some lettering done for Faction. Just a couple more weeks and you guys will be able to see the results of my and Arnie's hard work, which is great.

Another deadline is looming, though, SDCC. I've got some big plans for the con and a LOT of work to do in the meantime. I'm meeting some people (friends and associates), shaking hands, looking for SDCC exclusives (yeah, I'm a creator now, but I still geek out to some extent), etc... should be productive overall, though! My wife is going to be with me every step of the way, so if you're going to be there and would like to say hi, just let me know!

That's it for now, actually... have a fun weekend!