Friday, January 28, 2011

Happy Birthday Kat Roberts!

Yeah, you read that right, double post!

Today is the birthday of my fellow Hypothetical Islander, Kathleen Roberts. My last birthday, Kat drew me a beautiful piece that will serve one day as the cover to a novel I've yet to write. I wanted to make sure I played proper respect to Kat's bday so I first drew this piece, an homage to her favorite film, Purple Rain, which she has inflicted upon us on the Island on several occasions.


I wasn't wild about the finished result-- it somehow didn't catch that je nais se Kattish feeling I was looking for. I took a break to take some garbage out and this idea jumped to my head.


Kat's not a superhero, and she's never raked me with her nails, but somehow I thought this was much more her. Anyway, Happy Birthday, Kat!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

warm up- The Apple of Discord

My first thought upon learning today's topic was "The  Big Apple". My second thought was "Naw, I ain't gonna draw that". So here's my third thought, the Golden Apple of Eris.




 As you all of course know, Eris was the goddess of Discord, who, miffed at not being invited to a wedding, showed up anyway and threw her golden apple to the ground, shouting " To the fairest". Now this was a pretty fancy wedding, so many of the Olympians were present. I chose to depict the exact awkward moment when Hera, Athena and Aphrodite, each believing themselves to be the fairest of them all, all simultaneously reached for the Golden Apple of Discord. One thing leads to another, and this little incident eventually lead to the Trojan War and the more-or-less complete destruction of the race of Heroes.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Dr. Who- Peter Cushing

Todays' Drawbridge topic was Dr. Who.

Dr. Who fills one of my geek blind-spots-- kind of like Star Trek or Dungeons & Dragons, I somehow never got into this thing that most people who are like me (geeky cartoonists) have as an integral part of their geek loves.

I do know enough about Doctor Who to know that there were a couple of movies based on the series, but, continuity-wise, they are very different. Peter Cushing, he of Hammer Horror film, Sherlock Holmes and Grand Moff Tarkin fame, played the good Doctor, but he's not counted as one of the canonical Doctors-- of which there's been , like, fifty. Here's my take on Cushing's Dr. Who:




I know this version of the Doctor is probably the ugly red-headed stepchild of Dr. Who fanfare, which is partially why I drew it. Also, I wanted to draw Peter Cushing, who, as it turns out, is a lot harder to capture the likeness of than you'd think. All cheekbones, no lips.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

The Penguin

Today's Drawbridge topic was "Penguins". Being a terrible nerdlinger, I opted to draw Batman's nemesis, the Penguin.


Monday, January 24, 2011

Finished colored page from Hades:




Just to prove it's not just all doodles around here, here's a finished color page from Olympians Book 4: Hades.

Wonder Twins vs the Divine Twins

I was just going to straight up draw Apollo and Artemis, the twin Olympians, for today's Drawbridge challenge of "twins", but then Tim opined in the  comment section of his post that I would be drawing the Wonder Twins of Superfriends fame.








Now understand this: I hate the Wonder Twins. I know that they were designed by the great Alex Toth and all, but come on, they super-suck. The girl's power was okay-- she could become any animal she wanted. The boy's though? He could become water?  Every time it was "form of a bucket of ice water". That's not a power, it's a handicap. And don't get me started on their stupid monkey. Gleek, feh!


Anyway, if there are any gods that you don't want to mess with, Apollo and Artemis top that list. They'll kill you dead just for looking at them sideways, and won't think a thing of it. They're HARDCORE. I bet they did this to the Wonder Twins just because their monkey is so freakin' dumb.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

The Original Space Sasquatch

Tim snuck in the sneaky weekend Drawbridge topic of "space sasquatch" this weekend, when he thought nobody was watching his sneaky ways. Not so fast, Mr. Sneaks!

He also lamented that "space sasquatch" was the cartoon he always wanted, but never got, as a kid. Well he may not have had a cartoon, but he did have mother-flippin' Chewbacca in the movies! Here's my very quick doodle of the original space sasquatch and his pet sidekick, Indiana Jones.

Friday, January 21, 2011

sexy Devil ladies are always, always fun to draw.

Today the topic for Drawbridge was "Diabla" which was chosen because "Diabla" was allegedly trending on Twitter, to which I wonder, why? I must have missed something big and diabolical in the world last night.

I drew my Diabla on a crowded subway into Manhattan. I'm sure I was viewed with pity/scorn/amusement by all who saw me. Kind of an embarrassing thing to be drawing in public, this, but not as bad as my toilet monster.

Got home and colored it as luridly as possible, like something you'd see on the side of a van or on the most dangerous ride at the mobile carnival.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

So that's how he does it....

Another Tim Hamilton oddity today, with the topic of "Surrealist mathematical formula Skirball". Two stones with one bird today, as I never drew a picture for yesterday's Drawbridge topic "the Path", despite being the one who suggested it (well, my girlfriend did, but it's all the same...). There is no higher sin on Drawbridge than suggesting a topic and then not contributing a drawing-- thems folks are lower than a horse thief in those parts.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Mr. Peabody and Tim

The topic on Drawbridge today, as chosen by Tim Hamilton, was "Mr. Peabody"





Mr. Peabody was a bit before my time. My familiarity with the character extends to a bizarre one-line cameo ("Quiet you!") in an old Treehouse of Terror episode of the Simpsons, and not much further.

Spider-Woman-- To Know Her is to Fear Her

Tuesday's Drawbridge topic was "Spider-Woman". Owing to a truly manic Tuesday, I'm a day late in getting up this drawing of one of my all-time favorite characters, Jessica Drew, the original Spider-Woman.




I know that she's been restored to her former prominence in Marvel Comics through the work of Brian Michael Bendis, but, man, I was digging on her way back before it was all cool to do so, as evidenced by these circa 1995 Spider-Woman samples I did. What was I thinking drawing Spider-Woman in 1995? I should have been drawing Youngblood or Bloodspot or Bloodblood or some sort of crap.

Anyway, here's to Spider-Woman, an odd duck of a character with an amazing design,  whose odd duck of a series has many, many cool and weird happenings in it, as well as some great artwork by Carmine Infantino and Steve Leialoha, among others. Check it out!

You win some, you lose some...



Well, the preliminary list is up, and it looks like Athena: Grey-Eyed Goddess didn't make the ALA's Notable Children's Book List for 2011. A disappointment to be sure, but one slightly mitigated by Zeus: King of the Gods making Yalsa's Great Graphic Novels for Teens list this morning.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Congrats to my pals!

A big fat freaking CONGRATULATIONS to my good friends Erin and Phil Stead, whose book A Sick Day For Amos McGee just won the FREAKING CALDECOTT AWARD this morning! I knew them back when!

And also big congrats to former studiomate Leland Purvis, who's graphic novel Resistance won a Sydney Taylor Honor Award! You're all champeens!

warm up: Bowie's BDay

David Bowie's birthday was apparently this weekend, so today's Drawbridge topic was the Thin White Duke himself. Man, this dude is hard to draw.


Seems odd that someone like Bowie should even have a birthday. Seems more like he'd have a hatch day...

Thursday, January 6, 2011

picking, choosing...


Because I'm childish and immature, when I heard today's Drawbridge topic of "pick and choose", this is the image that came to mind. I suppose the "choose" part comes in what he does next...

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

My own personal debt to Calvin and Hobbes

The warm-up topic today on Drawbridge was "Calvin and Hobbes"

Back before I broke into the biz, even more than I wanted to draw picture books or graphic novels, I had wanted to be a newspaper cartoonist. I was cured of that ambition when all of my favorite newspaper cartoonists quit at about the same time-- in a way a lucky break for me, I suppose, considering the state of the funny pages today (assuming I had made it, of course).


Far and away my biggest influence was Bill Watterson's Calvin and Hobbes, to my mind, the most perfect example of a comic strip ever created. Years after his retirement, when I published my first picture book, Kapow! I remember being concerned that my book would be perceived as too derivative of Wattersons' work. To the best of my knowledge, at least, nobody has felt that way but myself, though many have noted the debt my work owed to Watterson. Here is my character American Eagle (cannibalized from my own attempt at a syndicated Daily strip) surveying his spiritual forefather, Calvin as Spaceman Spiff.

Athena has been nominated for the 2011 ALA Notable Book List!


The last such of these posts I'll put up today, I promise, but this is some very exciting news for me! The American Library Association, the oldest and largest library association in the world, puts out a yearly list of Notable Books and Athena: Grey-Eyed Goddess is in the running! That's some exciting, exciting news for yours truly. Check out the full list here; Athena is nominated in the non-fiction Folklore category.

The ALA is holding their Midwinter Meeting in sunny San Diego this weekend, and everybody who's everybody in kids books will be there (well, except me, I'll be in frigid NYC). All of the shortlisted books will be read and evaluated by the committee members, and the final list will be released on Monday, January 10th. I hope Athena makes it on!

Athena is a Cybil award finalist!


The Cybils (The Childrens' and Young Adult Blogger Literary Awards) recently announced the finalists for their 2010 awards and Athena: Grey Eyed Goddess is on the middle-grade graphic novels list! This is an amazing honor, made more so by the fact that I'm in some pretty serious competition with a host of my favorite graphic novelists, like Raina TelgemeierAaron Renier, and Colleen AF Venable ( In her other life as First Second's Book Designer par excellence, Colleen also designed Athena! Small world!).


As the above are also some of my favorite people, I consider it to be an honor just to nominated amongst such terrific company, and will be happy no matter who wins, BUT... I will say this. The actual winner of the Cybils gets an amazing engraved pen, and, man, I would LOOOVE that pen :).

If I am lucky enough to win the Cybil, man, I do hereby vow to draw some pretty pictures with that pen.

The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books awards a blue medal to Zeus!



A lot of cool news piled up while I was recovering recently, and this was amongst the coolest.

The venerable Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books (or BCCB for short) recently released their list of 2010 "Blue Ribbon" books and Zeus: King of the Gods was on it! This is a great honor, and I'm pleased as heck to be on the list with so many great and talented authors. Give a  click over and see what else got a blue ribbon.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

The tortoise and the rug

Today's perhaps-over-specific warm-up topic was "the turtle and the (fake) hair". I drew the only thing I could, given the topic.







Man, someone tell that Tortoise that his piece just isn't passing, man...

Monday, January 3, 2011

The Sailor Twain/ Journey into Mohawk Country Connection, Part deux; kinda like the Rainbow Connection, but with less singing frogs

Devotees of this blog will recall a post I made about a month ago detailing an unexpected and hitherto unrevealed link between First Second Editorial Grand Poobah Mark Siegel's awesome ongoing webcomic Sailor Twain and my own historical graphic novel Journey into Mohawk Country (follow the link if you missed it).

Well, I'm a little late in reporting this (mainly due to the mother of all flu bugs laying me out cold since late last year) but in the December, 27th installment of Sailor Twain some very familiar faces made an appearance.



That's Harmen van den Bogaert, the author of Journey into Mohawk Country, flanked by his companions Jeronimus de la Croix and Willem Thomassen, as based on the below drawing by yours truly. Now we know what happened to our Dutch heroes after Journey concluded. Who knew Mermaids played a part?


Pretty cool stuff, if I may say so myself. It's really great that Mark has woven these two tales together like this, and I'll bet Harmen van den Bogaert is pretty high atop the list of characters least likely to be featured in two separate graphic novels. If you're not already reading Sailor Twain, I hope this convinces you to start.


warm-up: Red and Black

The first thing I thought of when I heard today's Drawbridge topic of "Red and Black" was checkers; the second thing I thought of was ancient Greek vase painting. Put the two together and...

Happy New Year! Where the hell have I been?


Happy New Year everybody!

 I've been sick. Starting to feel better now (FINALLY) and will once again be updating this blog on an almost-sorta-kinda-daily basis. Thanks for your patience.

G!