Monday, November 24, 2008

One good link deserves another...


So this past Sunday I had my picture taken for an upcoming book by the supremely talented Seth Kushner to be called Graphic NYC: Creating Comics in Gotham. We decided to go with a mythological theme, what with The Olympians coming out and all. Mr. Kushner has photographed tons of people, everyone from the Beastie Boys to Jay Leno to Gary Coleman, and it was an honor to be included in this portfolio. I've reproduced the shot we decide on here, but please follow the link and check out his work.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Hera

Hera is totally my favorite goddess.



I think she gets a bum rap in a lot of the stories, especially in the myths of Heracles. Anyone who's studied the ancient world knows that Hera was an incredibly important goddess; Zeus himself seems to have been overshadowed in actual cult back in the day. Starting with Homer and later chroniclers she begins to be depicted as the jealous, shrewish wife; Homer was sexist.

Heracles, incidentally, translates to "The Glory of Hera", which will be the name of volume of The Olympians that deals with Hera. I'm going to explore Hera's relationship to the heroes, both antagonistic (Heracles) and protective(Jason), as well as a look into what it's like to be married to the most infamous philanderer in mythology. I think it should be very illuminating, and more than a little redemptive for a misunderstood goddess.

For Hera's appearance, I wanted her to be extremely beautiful (Zeus did choose her as his queen) and also a little arch and severe. To that end, I gave her the tightly-drawn back hair, evocative of a peacock's crest. The peacock is one of her symbols in ancient depictions, so I additionally wanted an echo of that.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Oldie but moldy

In 2006, I was living temporarily in Italy, when First Second editor Mark Siegel asked me to create something for their new blog, as a kind of way to introduce myself and my sensibilities to new readers, and while I was at it, maybe talk a little about my new homa in Roma.







The above comic is what I came up with. First Second initially passed on it, as it was determined to (A) be way the hell out there and (B) nothing to do with whatsoever with my then upcoming First Second comic Journey into Mohawk Country. Instead I sent in some sketches from sketchbooks that had luckily moved to Italy with me, and that was that. Sometime later, when a normal contributor to First Second's blog missed a deadline, my zombie comic was resurrected and made its undead appearance.
I've always been rather fond of this strip, and I keep thinking how I should make a new installment for my new(ish) apartment in Brooklyn. Too bad I didn't think to run this on Halloween.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Obama Nation



Snarky post title aside, I'm so happy right now that I could cry.

Best. Birthday gift. Ever.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Modern Fossil

Biking down the west side with the lovely Arta after our recent dino-drawing expedition, we came across this rotted hulk off the shoreline:



Hard to imagine what it was originally for. Shipping, obviously, but what exactly? A nice counterpoint to a day of drawing old bones.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Let there be color...

Well, re-saved my new color pages from Zeus as jpegs again, and looks like second times the charm. The sequence of these pages is immediately before the four black and white pages I posted earlier-- These are pages 4, 5 and 6, the b&w's are pages 7,8,9 and 10.






Taken together, the whole 7 pages are part of the intro of Zeus: Father of the Gods, detailing the ascendancy of the Titans.

October 31st-- Just realized that page 7 was an incomplete color job, replaced it with a finished version. The new page 7-- now with clouds!

Finished black and white Olympians Pages




Now updated with new, nicer jpegs. Pretty!

Saturday, October 25, 2008

That terrible claw...

I was going to give the old bones a rest today and show off some nice, new finished pages from Zeus, but Blogger's uploading the colors of the jpegs all strangely and I didn't have the time to figure what was up. Later for that, I guess...

Feast your eyes instead on some sketches of deinonychus, the Jurassic Park stand-in of the cooler-sounding-named velociraptor, and its famous vicious foot claw.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Allosaurus

Another sketch from the AMNH. The kids may love velociraptor, and tyrannosaurus gets all the chicks, but my favorite predatory dinosaur is allosaurus. It wasn't the biggest, or the fastest, but to my mind, it was the most balanced and, frankly, cool carnivore. Not some lumbering, scavenging behemoth, but no glorified chicken either. This thing would take down huge freakin' sauropods for its dinner. Hardcore.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Old three-horned face...

A few weeks back I had a fierce hunkering to draw some old bones come over me. I made a trek to the American Museum of Natural History with the lovely and talented Artamis, as well as fellow dino-phile Mr. Simon Fraser to ease the gnawing at my soul.

Below you'll find one of the pieces of fruit from this expedition. Triceratops horridus, surely the coolest dino ever to exist. Anyone who disagrees is simply mistaken.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Zeus and Typhon



Yet another sketch for The Olympians. This particular design is still a ways off--the story of Typhon's battle against the Olympian gods isn't going to be told until Hermes' volume, Trickster Tales, currently scheduled to be book ten in The Olympians. This piece originated as a sketch idea for the desktop wallpaper of my computer-- before I decide that I probably didn't want to (A) stare at a hundred scary screaming faces for a long time and (B) draw a finished version of those hundred scary faces until I absolutely had to.

Monday, September 29, 2008

mystery post

Haven't scanned anything new for a bit, so here's a secret surprise from the vault:



What is it? What does it all mean?

patience, grasshoppers. Good things come to those who wait.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Hephaistos



This was a nice little sketch I banged out of the Blacksmith of the Gods. Sometimes these quick little drawings will really capture a certain something that a more finished sketch could miss. Half of this drawing is so gestural it verges on unreadable, but I really like the expression I caught on his face.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Perseus



Of all the heroes of Greek Myth, I don't think any of them got so much of a helping hand as did our man Perseus here. He doesn't do boo without some sort of divine intervention. You have to kill Medusa? Here, take Hermes' winged shoes and sword, and Athena's mirrored shield so you don't have to look at her directly. That's not enough? How about we lend you Hades cap of invisibility, too, so Medusa won't even know you're there. You fly down, all invisible and cut off the monster's head. How's that?

Geez, with all that help, even I could kill a monster. In Grey-Eyed Goddess, I've decided to omit the invisibility helmet 'cause, man, that just ain't fair, but I have let the fact that Perseus gets an inordinate amount of immortal assistance affect my character design of him. Not quite a tower of muscle and sinew, instead he's got a little bit of the laid back surfer vibe going on, like he's a dude who doesn't have to sweat it too much because he's got friends in (very) high places.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Hermes



Aside from Athena herself, the rest of the "second generation" Olympians get their full introductions in Grey-Eyed Goddess. Hermes, the trickster god, was often paired up with Athena as a benefactor to heroes in myth, so it should be no surprise he will feature pretty heavily in Goddess as well.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Athena, again



Another quick sketch of everyone's favorite goddess of wisdom. I probably spent all of three minutes on it. That being said, I really like the way this one came out, especially her feet.

Triceratops



Before I delve deeper into the world of Greek mythology I thought I'd share with you this pretty nifty little drawing I did of a Triceratops. Triceratops are teh awesome.

The words in the upper right corner are the intersection my sister lives at in San Diego, by the way. Say hi if you're in the 'hood.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Athena sketch.



So now that I've wrapped Ball-Peen Hammer, it's on to work on The Olympians. Plans are for the first two volumes, Zeus, King of the Gods and Athena, The Grey-Eyed Goddess to launch the line simultaneously. I've had the story of Zeus, (essentially an origin of the world story) and the characters therein, nailed down for a while now. In Athena, however, I introduce a whole crop of new characters, including the second generation of Olympians, i.e. the children of Zeus.

Athena, of course, will be the driving force of this book, and here is a preview of how she will appear in The Grey-Eyed Goddess. Athena was both the goddess of war and the goddess of weaving. This drawing is all about the hard, sharp lines of her armor and helmet contrasting with the billowing soft folds of her cape and dress.

Ring The Bells! Ring The Bells!




Well, it took a while, but I finally finished Ball-Peen Hammer!! Hooray!

Ball-Peen Hammer is my new graphic novel, written by the talented Mr. Adam Rapp, and due to be published by First Second in Fall 2009. It's a dark, complex story, and I was working on it through some dark and complex real-world times, but I finally wrapped it up a week and change ago.

People will notice that my blog has been all sad and ignored lately, and the reason why is that I was finishing up this 130 page bad boy. Now that I'm done, it's time to start updating this site on a regular basis. I made a bunch of scans today to further that purpose, so enjoy the coming deluge.

Monday, August 11, 2008

I Met The Walrus

I originally saw this on Swiss Miss's blog, so props to her for finding it. A short animated film, using as it's soundtrack an interview a nineteen year old kid made with John Lennon after sneaking into his hotel room in 1969. The visuals are amazing, and the interview is pretty enlightening as well (the kid's question about the Bee Gees is pretty funny , too).


Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Messin' 'round with a wacom tablet

Like the title says.



Could I have chosen a more yucky line color? That was a mistake-- I'm clicking on the wrong thing all over the place. It's a little trickier than I thought, but I'll get the hang of it. I became inspired after watching the multi-talented Mike Cavallaro use one at the Deep Six studio. Special thanks to Mr. Mariano Recalde for the loan until I can decide whether I can make this thing work well enough to justify buying myself one.

Zombies!



More top secret sketches from my top secret upcoming top secret project. Hint: it gots zombies in it.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Some More Ball-Peenishness

Some more preview pages from Ball-Peen Hammer, written by Adam Rapp. We've already met Welton and Underjohn, rotting away in their basement. Please meet Exley (the woman) and Horlick (the boy), the other two main characters, who are set above it all in a crumbling clock tower. Horlick is a feral child who was subdued by Exley, who spends the rest of the book trying to save him. This is pretty early in their relationship, hence his being tied to a chair.
This scene, and the little stalemate they've got going here, is one of the scenes that made me want to illustrate this book; it gets resolved, quite ingeniously, and finally, by Exley on the following page. Like I said, this book is definitely not going to be for kids so I had to be somewhat selective in what I show here. Nothing violent, just not particularly appropriate for an ostensibly all-ages blog.

Funny

"Get Your War On" from 23/6.com. First in an animated series from David Rees. Funny and sad.

Monday, August 4, 2008

More Hammertime

The final two pages of this particular scene. Check back soon for some more preview pics.

More Ball-Peen

Some more pages, continuing the scene from yesterday's post. Welton and Underjohn continue their verbal sparring.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Preview pages from my current project

Take a gander, if you will, at some pages from my next book with First Second, a graphic novel written by Mr. Adam Rapp called Ball-Peen Hammer. It's a very dark, very adult, graphic novel set during what seems to be a complete societal collapse. The finish line is finally in sight for me, which is good, as a lot of sad personal stuff hit during this book. I like to think I was able to channel a bit of that to capture the depressed, decayed feeling the story required, but, man, I'll be glad when this is behind me. It's a great story, and I'm really proud of what I've done with it, but I'm looking forward to drawing something prettier next.

By the way, the two guys are Welton (skinny, scabby dude) and Underjohn (glasses). They have recently been partnered together in this grubby basement for reasons that will remain secret for now, and are discussing the state of the world outside.

New Yorkery



Trying to get back on the posting horse, so putting up this. I think I managed the not-quite-funny, more-kinda-droll feel that I get from the New Yorker these days. This was one of the Thanksgiving cartoons I submitted to the Leonard Lopate show that didn't win (the winner is elsewhere on the blog).