THIS BLOG HAS BEEN RETIRED. I'm still going to be keeping it up here, though-- there's some pretty cool old stuff on it. That said, if you want to keep up to date with me, please go to

Sunday, November 28, 2010

The Sailor Twain/ Journey into Mohawk Country Connection; kinda like The French Connection, but with less car chases

Broke out my Mohawk Country tee for the occasion

So are you reading Sailor Twain by Mark Siegel yet? Mark Siegel, in addition to being a ridiculously talented cartoonist and illustrator, is the Editorial Director of First Second, the publishing house that puts out my graphic novels. Sailor Twain, or The Mermaid in The Hudson is his online comic being updated every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Recently Mark held a Sailor Twain Meet-up in the Flatiron building, a wine-tasting party for the new Sailor Twain wine(!).

Here's Mark showing off a model of the steamship Lorelei from Sailor Twain

The booze in question.

Everyone who attended was given a small bottle like the one's pictured below. Once opened, there was a message inside, as befits a bottle.

That's mine, third row, second from the right.

Each of the messages was a "Hudson River Artifact", a tantalizing clue to the mystery of Sailor Twain and, one would presume, the Mermaid of the Hudson River. You can read the messages that people received on the Sailor Twain Facebook Page.

My friend Joe Infurnari got a message in his bottle that was particularly interesting to me. Here's a scan of the text here:

It reads: ‎"To a sympathetic ear,

Harmen van den Bogaert met a sorry end, I've heard from later arrivals. We are both victims of the river, yet his end is still not so sorry as mine. I have been here since 19639 and have no hope of any rescue.

-- Captain Dick van Leeuwen,
(scribed by Ned Blum)"

The Harmen van den Bogaert mentioned above is the gentlemen whose actual real-world journal serves as the text for my graphic novel "Journey into Mohawk Country", published by First Second. The real life Harmen did indeed meet a sorry end, read all about it here.
When worlds collide

Pretty awesome, huh? I'm pretty gosh darned psyched that Mr. van den Bogaert has made an appearance in the world of Sailor Twain (and I hope he makes an actual in-comic cameo at some point as well). I just had to share it with all of you.

Friday, November 19, 2010

The warm up topic today was "Charlie Brown Thanksgiving", which apparently used to air on this Friday before Turkey Day.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Mum! Dad! Don't Touch it! It's Evil!

So, I'm responsible for today's Drawbridge topic of "Don't touch it, it's evil" and as my subject, I chose to portray the embodiment of evil himself as played by David Warner in the classic film "Time Bandits". The line "Don't touch it, it's evil" is of course, from that film: it's what the protagonist yells to his parents right before they are about touch a concentrated lump of pure evil. They promptly do anyway and explode.

Time Bandits was and is one of my favorite films of all time. As a kid, I use to endlessly draw and redraw the final battle sequence between Evil and the various armies from different time periods. This is my first time drawing him since I've become an adult :)

Incidentally, still on the road with no scanner, just my camera phone and a laptop. I'm pretty pleased with what I was able to pull off, considering.

Athena Made SLJ's Best Books of 2010 List!

The staff at the School Library Journal just released their list of the best fiction books of 2010 and my book about everyone's favorite Grey-Eyed Goddess was on it! Check out the rest of the list here!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

I pity the foo's

Courtesy of the warped mind of Tim Hamilton, today's warm up topic was "Mr.T versus Harry Potter".

Apologies for the terrible quality-- I'm on the road with no scanner, so this is a cell phone picture. Just as well, because Mr.T vs Harry Potter is a pretty weird topic, yo.

I'll be sure to draw tomorrow's in pen to increase the contrast, and hopefully we'll have a less insane post topic.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

warm up: The Mighty Arm of DOOM!

Today at Drawbridge we're drawing what Nate would like to see, the Nate in question being Nate Cosby, former editor at Marvel Comics who had a hand in editing nearly every worthwhile thing to come out of the House of Ideas in recent years. And what Nate wanted to see was... an arm.

I decided to draw the mighty iron-clad gauntlet of that despot of Latveria, the diabolical Dr. Doom, at the exact moment he gets his fondest wish, wrapping his steely fingers around the neck of his accursed rival and making ready to go all Martian Popper Thing on Richard's accursed head. RICHARDS!!!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Warm up: Zombies, New Yorker style

Today's topic on Drawbridge was "New Yorker Comic". I watched Walking Dead last night so I came up with this:

So, what are you in the mood for tonight? I was thinking maybe a little Mexican...

The end result is maybe more Far Side than New Yorker, but whatever. Gary Larson rules.

Incidentally, this is not my first stab at doing some New Yorker style cartoons. In fact, a few years back, one of my cartoons even won a New Yorker contest on the Leonard Lopate show. Check that one out here, as well as a couple of other cartoons I did.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Warm up : Mohawk

Today's warm up topic was "man eater".

I've had the interesting experience recently of rereading a book of my own, Journey into Mohawk Country, after having not read it for years. It's a strange experience, that, revisiting your own work after a long time away. I found I still liked it, and what's more, that I desired to draw something again in that style. Hence, today's drawing.

By about now, you're probably wondering why, with the topic of "man eater" I drew a picture of a Mohawk warrior. Well, history lesson time: The name Mohawk isn't even a Mohawk word. In fact, the people we call the Mohawk don't even have an "m" in their language. Mohawk is a Dutch derivation of an Algonquin word (the Algonquin were one language group of the Native Americans; the Mohawk belonged to the Iroquois) meaning "man eater" or "eater of flesh". Why? Well, the Kahnawake (that's one spelling of what the Mohawk call themselves; it means "people of the flint") did engage in a little bit of ritual cannibalization. A Mohawk brave might eat a small sliver of flesh from a worthy fallen foe, or even a tortured captive. It had the twofold effect of granting some of the vanquished enemy's power to the eater of the flesh, and it's hard to imagine a more effective act of psychological warfare than actually eating a part of your opponent. It's part of the reason why the Mohawk were such a dominant military presence in what would become the northeastern United States for so many years.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Warm-Up: Conan the O'Brarian

In honor of his return to television last night, today's Drawbridge was everyone's favorite ex Tonigt Show host, Conan O'Brien. Here's mine:

Yeah, I know, it's pretty obvious, but eh, what you gonna do? Sue me!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

warm up: Atari and the Blade Runner Curse

Today's warm up topic was "Atari".

I never had an Atari growing up-- my family was all about the Intelivision. As such, I didn't really have any strong Atari-related feeling to convey with my drawing today.

When I do think of Atari, I pretty much think of the famous "Blade Runner Curse". Atari was one of several then-giant firms (like Pan Am and Cuisinart) that were featured prominently in the giant moving video billboards in the 1982 sci-fi classic "Blade Runner" that shortly thereafter went bankrupt. Even mighty Coca Cola was almost dealt a fatal blow with its disastrous introduction of New Coke about that time. You can read more about this whole curse here if you don't believe me. It's on Wikipedia, so it must be true.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Gonna be in Brooklyn this weekend?

Come by the Brooklyn Lyceum and check out the King Con! It's a great comic show with tons of great guests! Just check out that poster! Hell, even I'm on it!

I'll be manning the Drawbridge table from 11 to 1 on Saturday, and from 3 to 5 on Sunday. I'll even be taking commissions, so if you want an O'Connor original, LIKE THE TYPE YOU SEE ON THIS VERY PAGE, stop on by!

Warm up: Maleficent

Today's topic on Drawbridge was "Sleeping Beauty",  so I decided to draw the big bad from the Disney classic, Maleficent.

I didn't really add much of my own style to this, as the original design is so flawless. In my opinion, she's the greatest of the Disney villains. I know in some circles Sleeping Beauty is considered a flawed film: Its medieval-tapestry-inspired design is too stiff,  it has boring leads, it's too dark (true fact- every shade of paint used in the film was mixed with some black), yadda yadda.

I have my own theory for the criticism against it-- Haters gotta hate.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

What the heck is Ook Sauce?

Damned if I know, but if this is where it comes from, no thanks.

Today's Drawbridge topic was inspired by wonderfully weird scribblings of Tim Hamilton, who earlier this year treated us to the continuing saga of Tribe a-boo and their precious Ook Sauce. After viewing his drawings, I'm sure you will agree that Mr. Hamilton is the undisputed master of all things Ookian.

Bottoms up!

Monday, November 1, 2010

Warm up: DeMatteis's Blue and Gold

The topic today at Drawbridge was comics legend J.M. Dematteis.  In a conversation that might have precipitated this day in part, J.M. DeMatteis collaborator Mike Cavallaro and I were talking the other day about the immense impact Giffen and DeMatteis's Justice League had on me-- it remains, probably, my favorite run on any comic to this day.

I knew right away that I wanted to draw the characters who have come to embody that period of the League more than any others, Blue Beetle and Booster Gold. Through the writing of DEMatteis and Giffen, Blue Beetle and Booster Gold evolved into the greatest best friend duo in comics. During the heyday of the JLI, the letter pages were always a twitter with rumors of a Blue and Gold spinoff series that never materialized. We finally, years later, finally kind of have it-- DeMatteis has been doing wonderful work on the ongoing Booster Gold series,  costarring the currently deceased Blue Beetle.