Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Mirror's End

Turned in my last pages from the final issue of MIRROR'S EDGE yesterday. Always a bitter sweet moment. Glad to be done, but wishing it would never end.

When I signed on for this job, I saw it as a chance to play with the kind of perspective and architecture I don't often work with. I never use rulers when I'm drawing buildings, but this time I knew I'd have to break out a straight edge, find a vanishing point or two, and go to town.

It was a lot of fun, though at some point on every project the deadlines always catch up with you and you have to set your artistic ambitions aside and stick with telling the story the best you can.

Hopefully it all came together. I'd like to think that it did.

A big thanks to Rhianna Pratchett, Jim Charalampidis, Jon Bolerjack, and Scott Peterson and Kristy Quinn. We had a good team on this project. This was my third project in a row for Wildstorm, and I've had excellent luck with the teams they put together for each of them.

As for the future, there are some possibilities floating around for the next project, but nothing I can talk about yet. I hope to have something to announce soon. For now, I'm planning on going back to work on the Fade novel full-time. My goal is to have a tight first draft of it done before Summer. We'll see.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

FADE: Prehistory

I was cleaning out some files on my computer a while back and came across this beautiful piece by painter and comic book artist Michael Gaydos. As far as I know, this is the first illustration of Evan Fade ever created.

I originally envisioned FADE as a comic book for the now-defunct Caliber Comics back in the mid-90s. They put out a lot of my earliest work in comics, including the (creatively uneven) graphic novella "Walk Through October". FADE started out as a way to continue that story, but I didn't have the confidence to draw it myself.

Enter Michael Gaydos. Michael had been doing a lot of work for Caliber around the same time, and his work just utterly knocked my socks off. Still does, actually. His work on the Marvel Max line's ALIAS is absolutely stunning.

Michael and I did a couple of short stories together for the original NEGATIVE BURN, including a piece that would bridge the gap between WALK THROUGH OCTOBER and FADE. And somewhere in there, Michael painted this piece featuring Evan and the villain from WTO, Mr. Balloon.

Sadly, Michael and I never got to finish work on any of the FADE material. We were both lucky enough to be fielding offers from other publishers and we just never got around to FADE. We talked about it over the years, but our schedules never really lined up.

And somewhere, there are three pages of a FADE short story that Michael started painting before being called away to larger pastures. I reused that story idea for the new NEGATIVE BURN anthology and drew it myself.

Yeah, Michael would have done it much better.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Work In Progress: FADE Illustration

Just a quick illustration as I continue work on the Fade novel. I like to sketch out some of the characters and images rolling around in my head as I write. It's a good way for me to transition from the part of my brain that handles the day job drawing comics into the part that handles the writing.

This one is of Evan Fade, the 16-year old protagonist of the book. Since I've already established what he looks like as an adult (in the short stories I did for the NEGATIVE BURN anthology), I wanted to figure out how he looks at this stage of his life.

And for anyone interested in my technique, here's a look at the various stages in the process of putting this illustration together. I pencil everything, ink all of the lines with a pen, and then fill in the large areas of black with the computer before dropping a flat color (in this case, a weak yellow) in a few spots.

My Favorite Things

by Steven T. Seagle and Teddy Kristiansen

People throw around the words 'graphic novel' a lot these days, and the definition of what that truly is has gotten a little hazy.

In my opinion, there have been very few true graphic novels, at least from mainstream comic book publishers like DC or Marvel. More often than not, what they're really talking about is a collection of monthly comics repackaged in a larger book form.

But every once and a while, one of the traditional comic book publishers puts out something like IT'S A BIRD..., which is not only a true graphic novel, but one of the most interesting, challenging, and beautiful stories I've read over the years.

The writing is delicate and multi-layered, the art is stunning, and the story is genuinely touching. It's the semi-autobiographical story of a comic book writer who is asked to take over writing one of the Superman titles. But that's just the starting off point. Seagle and Kristiansen use this setup to explore health issues, the idea of a 'Superman', and the bonds of family.

I got a chance to talk to Steven T. Seagle at last weekend's NYC Comic Con and was ecstatic to discover that he and Teddy Kristiansen are working on another graphic novel together. It's called GENIUS and I literally can't wait for it to come out.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Gratuitous Dog Photo

God help me, I've turned into the kind of person who takes pictures of his dog whenever she does something cute.

Here's Sadie chewing on Santa's face. Not sure why she hates Santa Claus so much, but she spends an awful lot of time trying to re-arrange his facial features.

You should see what she does to her little mail man toy...

Back From The Big City

Just got back from my quick appearance at the New York City Comic Con.

Since I'm smack-dab in the middle of my last issue of MIRROR'S EDGE, I could really only go down for one day to talk to a few editors, catch up with old friends, and sign a few books.

I always get a little overwhelmed at conventions. There's a lot of people, a lot of booths, and far too much to stare at. I've done a couple of smaller conventions in Albany, and a number of World Horror and World Fantasy conventions, but this was my first big comic book convention since my last appearance at San Diego Comic Con five years ago, back when I was working as a staff artist for Crossgen Entertainment.

And yeah, it was all a bit overwhelming, but I had a good time. Got to see some old friends like Michael Gaydos, Barbara Kesel, Jay Liesten, Randy Martin, Jackie Kessler, Caitlin Kitteridge, Bill Anderson, Steve Seagle, and Tommy Lee Edwards. And I got to chat with Colin Baker, who played the sixth Doctor, which was a real thrill. I'm a huge Doctor Who fan, and no matter how calm I can be with famous comic book creators and movie stars, I always get weak at the knees when I meet Doctor Who people. I got all tongue-tied seeing Paul Cornell again, along with Euros Lynn (one of the best directors on the new Doctor Who series and the Torchwood spin-off) and Eve Myles, who plays Gwen Cooper in Torchwood.

I also got a chance to talk with James Robinson, who gave me my first break at DC when he suggested me as a fill-in artist for his STARMAN series. Still one of the best monthly comic books ever produced. DC is re-issuing the entire series in 5 omnibus volumes. The first two are out now, and you should really pick them up. They're amazing.

And I also ran into Ginjer Buchanan, a frequent instructor at the Borderlands Boot Camp and the head editor for Penguin Books' science fiction and fantasy lines. She introduced me to Amber Benson and Anton Strout, and said some very kind things to them about my Fade novel.

But as amazing as that was (and it was pretty damn cool, believe me), the highlight for me had to be getting to sign at the DC booth. I'm almost never asked to sign at this kind of convention (c'mon, who wants to get my autograph when you can get Amber Benson's or Jim Lee's?), so that was a real thrill for me. A big thank you to everyone who showed up and asked for my autograph or a sketch.

And special thanks to Mike Spring, Claire Stancampiano, and Ryan Robbins, who kept me company and helped keep my ego in check through the whole thing. Hard to get a big head when your friends are there to remind you how tongue-tied you get meeting Doctor Who people. Thanks, guys.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

New York City Comic Con

For anyone interested, I'll be making a brief appearance at the NYC Comic Con on Saturday, February 7th. I'll be signing at the DC/Wildstorm booth from 1:30-2:30 Saturday afternoon, so if you're going to be around, stop on by. I'd love the company.