Thanks to everyone who left comments on the old posts, it was really nice having some kind of feedback when i was posting them that way. It ended up being ill paced I think to the format, so I was not surprised it seldom got a lot of traffic, but some days a good 50 to a 100 people would come and read the whole story! And some of you left very encouraging and flattening notes. You guys helped me keep feeling positive about this project through many darker days and hopeful what I was doing would find a wider audience. Also thanks to Larry Cruz who helped me come up with a great way to describe the narrative style I’ve been trying to develop with this story. I’ll be continuing to use this for some time I expect! :)
“Dream Life is one of those weird comics … It’s more like an orchestral piece, only you allow the artwork, rather than the music, to buffet you through the emotional highs and lows of each movement.”
[link] - Larry Cruz - One Punch Reviews – 4 out of 5
I’m working on getting up a gallery of art that will be on offer as a reward to post in the next day or so. Already two of my 90′s era pages are taken! Encouraging.
I’m going to be working on the two covers so i can get dummies of each version of the book made soon, the limited run of 90 books for the Indiegogo backers, and the Launch edition for TCAF and beyond.
I’m going to be contacting some other shops including those that have stocked Revolver in the past, but right from the start I can say it will be available at The Beguiling, The Dragon, and Strange Adventures.
But that said I really hope I can entice to get the books direct from me via this kickstarter! You can get a full sweet of all three issues of Revolver, and Dream Life for just $50 and help get a nice handful of copies made for the big launch! The same set of books, and a couple more issues of Revolver, AND a downloadable copy of a really cool album [more to come in a separate post about that shortly!], are also on offer as a grand digital option!
So close to getting so many things done, I kind of feel like there’s a brick about to fall on my head or something!
Just being dramatic but after all the hurdles getting this stuff done. Still some big one’s left to go too…
Got the last of these scanned a couple days ago, inking them by now. The rest of the book is done. These six wordless pages go in the middle, to help give PJ some room to breath as a character. She has one of the most intense narratives in the book. I’m hopping this will help put some of the pieces in place. Looking, here, think it works.
Have to get them done tout de suite! Inked and tones. Also got edits in from Mark for Dracula and the rest of revolver three. Some writing and curating to do too for the backers edition of Dream Life. Get some new quotes. Boy it’s all going to be tight! But once the art’s in the bag i can start some big wheels rolling. [Time shifted post].
With books coming in the spring and everything, I’m going to try to get back into posting here more regularly. Maybe even like this, transitioning a lot of my activity from social networks blogging to here about all and sundry that interests or provokes me.
It seemed almost like a message when I saw this “How Much Time Have You Wasted on Facebook?” app from TIME.com. I plugged in an estimate of my daily average here out of curiosity, it took a while to do its thing. lol. I use it to promote my work often so not “wasted” I feel, but the app says 108 DAYS, 7 HOURS, & 33 MINUTES Since Sep 15, 2011. And I’ve posted 10,865 things to my feed in that time? Does that include my other four fan pages there ? Rough estimates that makes about 10 to 11 posts a day av. Sounds about right anyway.
I’ve been reluctant in the past to post “off topic” on my own site so much, keeping it mostly about work. But I think I’ll try diversifying things now. So here’s some stuff that I’ve noticed or had thoughts about in the last two days, and some work.
While I’m to my knowledge Ashkenazim on both sides of my family, and considered a full blooded Jew under Jewish law. I am also an atheist who was raised outside of the temple entirely. Never had any indoctrination at all.
I’ve always felt an outsider everywhere, and it started in part from realizing when I was a kid that Jewish tradition suggested that my being raised like that meant that to some, I’m a gôy. In the original Hebrew it means a Jew ignorant of the Jewish religion, as well as a non-Jew. So potentially that’s me.To some orthodox minds anyway. I would point out I’m not ignorant, having read about my heritage and been present some family events of a religious nature and enjoyed them for their social merits.
In the past and often today, many Jews like to think of themselves as above or immune to racism. But that’s hardly the case. No one is. And a lot of traditional doctrine, like that bit I just mentioned, always rubbed me the wrong way for its intrinsic race based nationalism. To my mind racism=nationalism=racism and I loath both, you know? And I see both as artifacts of culture, not real in any material way other than the way we deal with the idea of them.
A Israeli friend of mine recently lamented that if we were in 1800′s France, he would be supporting Herzl and I’d be opposing the movement. It’s possible, assuming I had the same philosophical leanings. I can understand the Jewish quest for homeland at that time. But If my mind was the same as today, I’d reject his racially driven world view. Though at that time it was pretty much most of the worlds world view. But If I had my modern mind, I’d be fighting the illusion of Race at home in Europe, rather than promoting a colonial idea that what involve the displacement of another ethnic group in order to make us feel safer–but in the end putting us in greater peril I think.
I have been wondering about the details of his side of this story. I was around for the news when it first came around and recalled it being much less cut and dry than the recent tweets and backlash made it seem. Glad someone kept their notes. I’m well convinced Woody is a hard person to deal with or be involved with. No strike that, is really quite ethically compromised given who Soon Yi was when he started his affair. But It’s always felt a bit fishy the way Mia Farrow handled all that as well. Since posting this Dylan has now had her say, and i’m inclined to support her as a victim. But there is also the problematic nature of memory and vague nature of a lot of the incidents he’s accused of. But I don’t think she’s lying. In any case, bloody messy business.
Check out this clip here of him doing some of his magic. This is really deeply zoomed in. Crazy details. It’s been ages since i tried Scratch-board techniques. Not since high school i think. Sam Agro said “Like a creepy Franklin Booth“. Agreed. gorgeous!
Scientists watch glowing molecules form memories in real-time!
Along with commenting on that posting, it inspired me to post about the breakthrough in active brain imaging along with this thought: For those that wish to promote the idea that our inner thoughts have a real impact in the outer world around us. I use inner and outer here pointedly. Because really, that’s a false dichotomy propagated by the way we perceive thoughts vs the physical. Good old Descartian dualism that seeks to elevate humanity and life by saying there is something other, special, about us that definitely separates us from the rest of the stuff and beasts and holds the promise of immortality for many.
Well, here’s my thoughts. Our thoughts have influence on the physical world in two ways. One*, when they lead to actions. Ok, obvious maybe but worth pointing out. Most of the time, even if you are unaware of how, this is what is going on. Two**, they are in fact properties of the physical world–of your neurons. They were never separate from the physical world in the first place. If you thought so, you were misled, like most of us at one time or another. To that end, look at this…and think about how as you do, it’s happening in your own skull as you form a memory of it.
** Having a thought causes other neurons to respond and all kinds of interesting brain chemistry to happen. They are not nonphysical things. Imagining them as something that happens in another place/space/without forms, this is a popular but unfounded idea. * A lot of the new age meme about the impact of our thoughts attributes the consequences of subtle behavioral interactions and body language to the supernatural. It is unlikely that you never show any of your negative or positive feeling on your face, stance, or the way you interact with others. Depending on how observant and sensitive people are to that they might know you feel in general terms good or bad about them, or they may just have a gut feeling about it. But one way or another most of the time they will pick up on something even if only subconsciously. So, intentional or not, a lot of your thoughts lead to actions, including pointed inaction and intentions even unconscious ones. And all that has an impact.
Well written. Resonates with my own thoughts witnessing how age anxieties mess with the minds of most women I’ve known. It gets to guys too but not nearly as intensely. Also this struck me due to the fact I once witnessed a few older female comic creators whose work I admired, go from trying to armor themselves over their mixed feelings of being seen as elder ladies, not getting noticed as much, and being catty about Molly who one of them had sat next to at a show. She did not approve of the 20 something Molly’s penchant for corsets and bustiers.
Personally I’ve always been of the mind to, and encouraged my partners to try to age gracefully. Fit as we can manage, into whatever decrepitude inevitable entropy has in store. My hair has several silver strands now. I like them. They have been earned.
Speaking of HBO crime stories, I have been most impressed by True Detective. Very tightly written so far. And the cast is killing it. More please.
Ok, lets get into the work….
Dream Life pencils | I like making unexpected places pretty.
Right now I’m “penciling” my the final few pages for Dream Life book one. It was supposed to be done a year ago, but last Feb I had some test and found out I’m Diabetic. At the time i said little, I was not sure what it would mean or how it would impact anything other than my penchant for surgery coffee and energy drinks was going to have to come to an end. It runs in the family, so not a total shock. It had me worried for a bit but I responded to meds well, and between diet and an increasing amount of exercise I’ve been doing really well with controlling my levels.
At the time though, I was about to enter crunch time on Dream Life and I realized something I was trying as a short cut for doing the tones wasn’t cutting it and I’d have to do some of them over – and that there were things I wanted to fix with the story that I’d only just noticed in the last round of edits. I only had under 20 pages of 160 left to work on, many mostly done even. But in the time left, and with the news about my health, a hard bird to make it for TCAF 2013 was out. Not unless I wanted to risk some serious health problems. At 42 [now 43] and having dodged a bullet with cancer, I’m not screwing around with that for anything. So I put off Dream Life of a bit while I got other commitments done, and got healthier. And this month I’m wrapping up that last bit of the book finally. I have to say, I do like me some delayed gratification.
One of the bits of new work I’m doing is a scene I’ve had in mind a long time. It’s a long scene that exploits place and a lot of public art to tell a story about a person. Posted to the right here is a page from a scene of PJ walking through the city having just arrived, reconnecting with the town and internally resolving some heavy stuff from earlier in the book. On the left is the bottom later page from the end of the same sequence. I’m working in red felt tip pen here. For pencils I use many different things, whatever my mood calls for. Sometimes it’s even pencil!
This panel background, the one with the trees painted upside down on the overpass structure, is from photo reference I took of public art on the Gardiner Expressway in about 2008 or so. Rodney Graham‘s Tree Portraits wrapped around the pillars beneath the Gardiner Expressway, creating an inverted forest within a concrete jungle. . The last location in this scene is set in a nearby space inspired from some other public art too. Found near the Toronto Music Garden, in the Spadina Quay Wetlands. I changed it to suit the story with PJ, from what looks like a small factory building to a house.
A lot of Dream Life is set is a semi fictional version of Toronto. In that I am basing it on real places but take liberties liberally to suit my storytelling desires. As I was walking the route from my script for this scene, taking location shots for reference. Passing through his inverted forest seemed perfect. it echoes the earlier scene that happens in a forest under trees, and just generally evokes a lot of appropriate things about PJ in this moment. Been looking forward to drawing it since I was there taking the ref shot in 2008. Originally had planed to used it much later in the story. Part that would not fit in this first book. But after realizing I was going to have to break the story up to get it done and publish it, I felt PJ’s narrative was weak as is. So I found a way to bring this forward, and in a way make it far better and more meaningful as well, I hope.
The sudden passing of a kind stranger.
I was going to leave it at that for this post. Plenty NO? And I felt unsure if this was something I had any business posting about here. But then looking over the post not mentioning this in my journal entry from the last two days seemed far to conspicuous.
See the thing is I didn’t really know Debra. From the sounds of it I wish I’d known her better. Only met her a few times in her capacity as a volunteer at events and at Kevin’s shop once I think, or maybe twice. Through the years I’ve gotten to know Kevin Boyd well professionally but didn’t have much knowledge of his personal life. I only recently learned of Debra after he opened his comic shop I think. And probably a lot of what I did know of her came from Facebook. So far I had learned she was involved along with some other mutual friends in Toronto’s comics scene, as a lawyer, volunteer, and shutter bug. And one of the core founders of a regular saturday night ladies night at the lounge. Always active it seems, she posted a reminder for their gathering saturday, and then took a nap and never woke up.
It was almost totally random seeming. Young and very vial person many people I know knew suddenly was no longer there. Word today was SUDEP, Sudden Unexpected Death in Epilepsy. I’m informed by Kevin that no one really knows what it is, what happens. Just that it does. 50.000 times a year on average! I had no idea.
As the publisher for Sequential I posted her death notice for our site and asked a friend of hers, Rachel Richey who recently joined the team to pen a personal remembrance we’ll be putting up in a day or so. The shock-wave of regret and condolences after Kevin posted of her death on Facebook January 26th has been a little epic. The impact of her enthusiasm disposition and volunteering extended well outside of the Toronto Comics scene, online and via all those who had met her at events.
Reading some of my other friends and Kevin’s laments of her sudden passing, It’s certainly made me ponder mortality and life more than a few times over the last two days, and think I missed something not having spent more time around her.
An official final posting was put up on her profile, it read…
Debra Jane Shelly, aged 39 (April 23, 1974-January 25, 2014)
Our precious Debra passed peacefully in her sleep on Saturday afternoon from an epileptic seizure. Debbie will be forever remembered as a genuine and kind soul with unparalleled wit and a spectacular smile. She was the adored daughter of Scott and Susan Shelly of Oakville, ON. Debra was the loving partner of Kevin A. Boyd. She was the world’s most cherished older sister to Karrie Shelly Singer (Dave), Cristie Shelly Schultz (Mark) and Greg Shelly (Laura Waters). Debbie was a doting aunt to Caleb, Noah, Liam, Ana, Sidney, Kaitlyn, Michael and Lauren. We will miss her dearly….
[redacted ceremony info as i don't think it's really for the public as much]
Debbie was a ray of light in all of our lives- please feel free to come dressed in your most cheerful colors in tribute to our sunny girl. In lieu of flowers, donations are appreciated to Epilepsy Toronto in Debbie’s honor here.
So right this second I’m constructively procrastinating a bit before starting in on the last 6 pages of Dream Life. Check out some glimpses of that on Instagram here. The FB page could use more likes too. The last six are a final, all new scene I decided to add after a proofing of the book. And then it’s actually done. O_o
Looking ahead there’s going to be a lot I have to do still!
I start a new session of my Dynamic Drawing class as well, teaching once a week. Looking forward to it but an added challenge. Meanwhile I’ve got some back mater to curate and write for the backers edition for the indiegogo drive. Cover for that is already mostly done, and the template for the Launch edition. I’ve also got Revolver vol 3 completed, it’s going through final proofing and edits. I think I may rewrite the forward once again. But a lot of stuff is getting, done. It’s a nice big pile. Scary too sometimes.
The plan is to have them all printed and present at TCAF. A launch proper for Dream Life my latest graphic novel, along with a full suite of self published Salgood Sam, with Revolverone to three. Financing all that, definitely a challenge on the current income. Scratch that, probably not on.
I’m thinking I’m going to try the killer app that is a kickstarter style drive as pre-sale and focus point of a big promotional effort to get word out about the books. Have some number crunching to do and a lot of planning. Some quality time with a calendar too. Probably have to do it in two months time latest! So while getting the packaging wrapped up and teaching! Hah. Ok, this will be fun. Hey anyone tells you self publishing is no trouble…punch them.
No not really, i’m not into violence. But kinda…
So no call to action for that just yet, but expect one. In the mean time, I would like to encourage to you pick up the first two Revolvers. And now to show off a little of the art from both Dream Life, and Revolver Three. Please share this with people, help raise the flag?
Dream Life has been a really,
really long running labour of love.
The story of five friends. Dreams, drugs, & denial all failing to weather the arc of life unscathed. Each coming to terms with lives peter panned, and in danger of going off the rails.
It’s received some recognition as a web comic, and support from both grants and crowdfunding! Damn I feel like I really milked a luck goat on this one. It is in fact, not even the whole book I had in mind. So I really hope people like it, so I can make the second half, or two-thirds almost I suspect! That would be wonderful.
The Launch edition will be a 161 pages of story, B&W, 8″x10″ trade paperback. My longest work to date, and most significant solo effort. Not necessarily important to anyone else but me, but I’m pretty pleased with that. :)
This spread comes from a scene in the later half I really like. It’s a work of contemporary fiction, with healthy doses of magic realism, & influenced by cinematic neorealism. There’s a Pulp Fiction inspired subplot, and several interwoven storylines. I hope it to be an engrossing and lush reading experience.
I’m so glad I drew Rob Ford into this shot a year ago or so, very fitting.
So far Revolver has been a critical success, but slow seller, in part because there is only one me and I still have to spend most of my time drawing. Not to beat a dead horse but that’s something you could help with big time! Find me on twitter here, and RT about the books!
Revolver Three is going to be an exciting one for me, as it contains two all new stories, drawn mostly in just the last half a year.
I’m starting a new series of short works to collect, caled A Bastard’s Tale. Here on the left is a page from that. They run together but are meant to work as short stories too. Tailored to the anthology series format. It’s a memoir, about my father Lionel, and growing up in a counter culture.
My first attempt at something this intensely personal, and frankly scares the shit out of me eh? Hah. But I feel like having thought about it for a long time, I’ve finally found a way into how I would enjoy sharing some aspects of that story. I was thinking of it at first as JUST a book just about Lionel, my father. But I realized in the end my way into that story was via my POV, so that would be an honest way to do it and it provided me with a good starting point finally. Often a big hurdle, that first step. A Bastard’s Tale is going to be fun as I have a more open pallet in terms boundaries on my drawing styles and techniques.
The bulk of the third vol of Revolver will be given over to something else, completely different…
Dracula Son of the Dragon
In early 2013 Mark Sable and I had a successful Kickstarter to finance the production of the artwork for a new story, Dracula Son of the Dragon. A 60+ page novella, first in a series of 4, that i’m serializing in B&W in Revolver in quarters as I complete it. Part historical fiction, part horror fantasy, chronicling Vlad the Impaler’s transformation into the vampire Dracula.
Revolver Vol Three marks the launch of the series with the first installment. Backers for the Dracula Kickstarter are digital subscribers for the most part, who get an early bird link for their digital subscriptions. So i’m really keen for them to all get their first look at what their support helped get done. That’s 300+ subscribers already! The final colour printed collection of Dracula Son of the Dragon is going to be late, but at least it will appear in some form at TCAF 2014 in Revolver three!
While the two projects are very different, there is also an interesting synergy between the these installments of both, featuring a young boys relationship with his father. Unplanned but cool. There’s also an assortment of pin ups and comic jams again, I really tried to curate an enjoyable reading experience. I want Revolver to be the best of me. Something I can hold up with unqualified pride of craft.
I included an informal query about the digital subscription when we started collecting info from backers, and so far i’m very pleased with the number of thumbs up! So thanks for that, and your amazing support!
So that’s what’s up with my comics and stuff! A lot eh? Tell me about it. And tell your friends too OK?
The RSA animates helped to popularize this style of presentation, I’ve just started experimenting with the approach and enjoy it quite a bit.
It’s ideal for communicating ideas clearly for just about any client, and viewers seem to enjoy watching cartoon art drawn on camera even just for its own sake!
I can provide full services from development of the script to final posting and hosting on Youtube or other video sites.
Contact me about rates for your next viral video project.
Music is “Instrumental“, by Sinphonic from Man Vs Himself 
Used with thanks to the talented George Westerholm and co.
Very soon i’ll be announcing
a kickstarter campaign for an upcoming project!
One of the fun aspects of it for me will be designing the hand made limited editions of the books, working with a couple of local artisan binders, Soundless Soliloquy and No Bar Code Press.
So far the broad strokes of the packaging are roughed out. Dimensions page count and cover materials. But I still have a lot of the details to handle.
I also have to come up with the packaging of Dream Life backers of my indiegogo campaign will get to very soon. That one is a trade paperback but I want to make it something visually fun and special. Pretty much have it done in my head but there are always things that come up in execution.
All this came to mind when some friends posted the following set of playful book designs on FB.
More about packaging than binding mind you, they are each a kind of absurdist literal take on the stories they wrap. The oldest is a very rare asbestos bound first edition of Stephen King’s Firestarter. Published by Phantasia Press in 1980 it originally sold for $300 each. 25 of 26 copies exist, with one ironically being lost in a fire. Recently one went on the market for $18,000! It’s quite handsome, and probably safe but still i’d probably keep it bagged just to be sure.
You can still make them out, so the cover is practical as well. Making it function in a commercial context and I suspect will lead browsers even take closer notice in the effort to make out what it says. Not just being an illustration of the subject the story it contains, as a curiosity I think it’s the kind of functional design that scares the money often, but like a whisper entices you to lean in closer for a better look. Congratulations to David for being able to get that one through. It’s the kind of design that you would probably not want on a new book trying to make a mark. But for a classic like 1984, having this version is worth the bragging points probably of getting a new copy.
And the perfect book end to the asbestos bound King book, is this copy of Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451, with striking paper along its spine and its own match! Kind of asking for it but all the same, witty. From what I can tell this one is just a concept design done by Elizabeth Perez for The Austin Creative Department. But I bet it would sell as a limited run collector’s edition if they took it to market.
All three are fun incarnations of the same kind of design principles. The sort I had planned to apply to the next book. Dracula: son of the dragon.
Thanks to Zack Smith, Vinnie Bartilucci & Hans Curtis for posting these on FB and making me aware of them.
Hah, that would be just my luck, as i’m finally getting half a hang of promoting myself publishing ventures at something approaching the pace it seems to take to get anyone to take your seriously online or noticed in the torrents of updates, the game would go and change from under my feet.
Being buddhistly inclined I liked a lot of what he had to say about applying mindfulness to your work in the digital sphere. I do try to do just that as much as my mind will allow. Also think I spotted some impracticalities too. Share Jim’s concern about the narrowing of focus and echo chamber effect [something he mentioned in passing in the interview].
Over time I do think they count more. But when you’re still one of many, and growing numbers of creators trying to raise awareness of our work, and have as eclectic a reader base it seems I have, I’m not sure how much liberty I have to choose to overly narrow band broadcast. I feel like on the edges of your media domain you need to have fairly fast moving streams to match the pace of the rest of the web, to draw in readers to your core presentation. I don’t post on the blog here rapidly. No way I could keep up with a even once daily rate that Warren thinks of as a lower gear, while maintaining a good level of quality of content, and keep on top of my artwork. Beyond the usual challenges of content creation being dyslexic makes the process of writing and proofing laborious.
But Facebook, mypages, and twitter, G+ to a degree too, I can post small bits of thought or just promote other people’s stuff – something I agree with Dean Haspiel about being a important and valuable role to play, not just as being a community builder but also being someone anyone cares to pay attention too as well. Rather than someone who only talks about themselves?
I suspect some aspects of the slow web Warren and Jeffrey talk about is in part the privileged cruising gear of those who’ve established themselves. For those that describes It makes a lot of sense to economize your efforts.
At this point I follow the feed-back, post more where I find I get responses and less where I don’t.
Never was all in for twitter, it’s always been a semi-automated branch of my blogs. Don’t have a phone attached to my hip so it was never practical for me and too much of a distraction from the drawing table.
For the moment I get far more attention to my work on Facebook than anywhere else. My computer is seldom far from me so when I brake to pace around, grab a coffee, or set up a show to half watch, I often check in and poke around, like or share something, post a bit of work i’m in the midst of.
I tried promoting a couple of posts on Facebook recently connected with RevolveЯ. They got a lot more views but I remain unconvinced if it helped all that much. I did notice that you have to watch it with that, need to look closely at how the options are laid out for you when you set up a promoted post. Seems like a default was to keep promoting and charging after the budget I had set was spent. Not sure what to make of that but I was not pleased to find I was getting charged again without first being asked. As is too often the case it feels like communicating is not FBs strong suit. Incidentally it’s been amusing to watch as twice as many people who’ve added me as a contact in the past 6 months, did so in the last week on Flickr post instagram TOS fiasco. All good, welcome to all. I was never on instagram so works for me.
Speaking of attention…
Having a hard time getting some key comics news sites to pick up my press for RevolveЯ. Others have, but a few of the key players are being tough nuts to crack. Another round of press needs to be done, hoping I can get more traction in the new year. Wondering if I rubbed some the wrong way along the line or something? For sure not really being part of the convention circuit has not helped. Last show I did was TCAF, and that just as a civilian. Ran into one former editor I once worked with who now blogs, it was kind of awkward, as is to happen at these hectic things, but has not replied to an email since?
Be nice to go to more shows and have more fluid relations with the comics diaspora at large, have a chance to build solid friendships in person. But my lack of funds aside, when am I supposed to make time for that and still draw my books, and do all the other shit we have to do ourselves these days eh? Would love to, but we have to have a successful book first. For that we need the book we have to get coverage so people know it’s there to order or buy. A dog and tail game.
Best is if the word gets out more virally, and becomes something the diaspora can’t ignore. If you’re reading this, do us a favor and check out the book if you have not already, mention it to a few someones, share it blog it and if you’d like to review it contact me about that, be glad to oblige. I have lots of visitors and followers these days but outside a core group not enough sharing what they find to get that fantastic fractal spreading pattern going yet. Needs more cowbell!
On the other hand and not to seem to only gripe, I have had some nice windfalls!
Making it a more entertaining experience than planned I got nailed by the flu about 6 hours before the interview, vomiting all over the place very suddenly and sending my poor Ange into a cleaning frenzy. Managed to clear out the pipes and get it together to do it all over the phone, thanks to some nice editing, I even sound totally coherent.
So that’s me for the year probably. Couple more retailers on board and some new distribution channels about to come online for RevolveЯ. I’m running behind on RevolveЯ Two right now due to last minute editorial decisions on my part, and the feeling like the slow moving soft launch is progressing well, but has not reached the sweet spot for the next Minimum Effective Dose. The next book dropping and it’s associated press releases, to help crank the series forward. Taking the time to color a story and add another to make it all that much cooler, less ignorable, and put it out in January instead of this month as I had planned originally.
Keep your eyes open for a kickstarter project from me and Mark Sable too in the new year.
As work on Dream Life book one gets done i’ll be jumping directly onto a story we have planned.
Multi-award winning Art and Adaptation by Royal Academy heavyweight Ramón Pérez.
Award winning packaging by Eric Skillman.
Ramón’s a friend, and it’s been inspiring to watch him become deservedly highly sought after. It may be laying it on a little thick calling this book one for the ages, but I just did. I will have no choice but to cop to being bias. But I’m confident you will agree.
A year or so ago it was while loitering around the Toronto studio he shares with the rest of the Academy gang that I first saw pages from this rather brazenly epic realization of a reputedly esoteric rich early script, by one of my all time heroes. The Muppet Man. Mr Fraggle. When he said what the spreads he was inking were for, I think I cursed under my breath for an extended period.
You could already see this was a gorgeous project. Leaning over Ramón’s shoulder when he’s working tends to be routinely rewarding, but all the more so in this case.
Reading the book myself this summer finally was an almost-unadulterated pleasure. I was initially thrown by the strange lettering phenomenon associated with old Melrose Mernly [his friends call him Sven]. But after it reoccurred a couple of times I got it, and recognized it for the bit of fun inventive surrealism it is, an echo of Henson’s own penchant for psychedelic audio phenomenon.
This book is filled with playful formalistic inventions that for me put it on par with Asterios Polyp and the like. I think many are fairly novel, but despite and often because of it, all still a fabulously smoothly reading, rolling, kinetic comic.
A race meant to take 10 minutes to Eagle Mountain takes a wrong turn into a maylay of chaos.
The large wordless sections can be pored over, but I encourage you to read it all at least once, in only the time it takes to get the story point and move on.
The ease at which you can register what has been drawn narrative wise is remarkable. Storytelling as sharp as you will find here, for a story so surreal is an impressive accomplishment. Ramon makes it look easy. I also happen to know it was completed in an impressively short time, too.
This is a jealousy inducing book. His discipline is always impressive, and it’s on full display here. What it brings to a quite recognizably worthy bit of the Henson legacy is worth every cent and minute.
Jimmy Beaulieu is the founder of Quebec publishing house Mécanique Générale, and an autobiographical cartoonist with a penchant for romantic angst. This was how I first encountered him.
I think it was at a Comic Jam hosted by Rupert Bottenberg, or a BD festival perhaps. He’s an extremely likable geeky guy who loves pop music, pop art and sexy ladies unabashedly. A fastidious editor and designer and easy maker of many friends.
He and a group of said friends were publishing great inventive self-published B&W comics when I first moved to Montreal. Several were even wordless so I could enjoy them without issue. I really loved checking out their latest stuff, and was always frustrated by my hopelessly poor language skills when it came to reading Jimmy’s auto bio work.
BDANG is a sub imprint of Conundrum Press, a small but prolific Canadian publishing house. Under it publisher and author Andy Brown is translating and publishing several French books
In 2010 one of them was the collection and translation of two of Jimmy’s extended works, Quelques Pelures and Le Moral des Troupes [winner of the 2005 Prix de l'Espoir Québécois], They document his life between the late ‘90s and early ‘00s. Additional pages were added to the collection, and Jimmy played with parts of the text of the second part to try to round out the story and smooth out his sophomore spots.
I’ve read it in fits, it’s got scope! Coming in at an impressive 250 pages of comics. It’s hard to read in a sitting, but perfect I think for browsing through on transit or keeping by the throne.
Jimmy adopted early an easy, fast, light-handed style of art, well-suited to a personal journal comic. It evolves visibly over the body of work, going from pleasantly naive to deceptively skillful. He often apologizes for his drawing, but I find it enjoyably expressive and his girls are adorable! Being so often the subject of his attention, this pays off for an appreciative reader. He captures people’s pantomime well. The tones and textures lend themselves to a gauzy soft focused nostalgic story about the coming of age of a shy cartoonist from Quebec City who slowly falls in love with Montreal, and moons over hot cupid-like young mothers and full-figured redheads.
There are many small gems, like one of the short, newer epilogues to act one. An entry titled ‘rocket man’ where Jim shares an internal monologue about waiting for his employer at a book fair in Autumn of 2000. Withdrawing from caffeine and suffering a night of poor sleep, on a day he marks as his 2977th of celibacy! Oh dear. He talks about the city landscape while imagining Mecha Kaiju destroying a Montreal industrial park, then that the underwear models on the billboards are there to distract him from the urban destruction. It’s subtle in execution and quite poignant.
I think one great target audience for this collection would be young adult and romance readers looking for sprawling, ranting, romantic, sometimes silly stories of transplantation. Finding love in lots of the wrong places, but finally one right. Feeling inadequate. Facing death for the first time. Raging over pop culture and ranting about popular culture. And being in love with the making of comics. I also know for a fact at least one American comics editor has confessed to having used this book to seduce a girlfriend.
Jimmy has matured a lot since this early work. You’ll find a lovely recent example of his work in Carré Rouge, a romantic fictional story set around the recent protests in Montreal, published in multiple languages online.
Rupert and I first met at a comics jam in Montreal in the ‘90s when i worked at Marvel and was chafing at constraints. Another cartoonist friend and I were talking during a NY convention, and he gave me a zine of Rupert’s, saying I should meet him. This is also when I first heard about Comic Jams, spectacular incarnations of which Rupert hosted in a svengali fashion at the time.
You may have noticed a trend in my book selections? Yes, well, it’s what I’ve been reading of late. Catching up on the work of many friends.
The title Traumstadtdenken is a German neologism, meaning “Dream-City-Thinking.” A reference to a painting by Paul Klee, “Traumstadt,” that had a significant impact on Rupert.
The book is a collection of comix, drawings and odds ’n’ ends spanning 10 years stitched together with bits of connective symbolically narrative sequences. My one complaint is that the packaging of the book seems to have been been poorly proofed, with the margin’s feeling too close cropped on some pages for my comfort.
It’s informative to know he also paints highly designed abstract art, collects and fabricates pop art sculptures and toys, and recently has been globe-hopping as a founding member of the breakout art collective EN MASSE which i’ve had the honor of being a guest member of.
Whatever he is drawing on–in a comic, on a wall or canvas–his rendering is always superbly skilled and highly graphically attractive. This book is filled with perfect cartoony chiaroscuro pages that often invite you to project your own meaning or interpretations. Rupert has always been a fan of wordless art that can be read by anyone. Several sequences here are examples of that. He provides rich symbolic visuals that suggest lots of ideas, and are just really fun to look at. There is no attempt to present an over-arching story here, page numbers are consciously dropped. There are times where narrative is very strong, a story can be found with ease. Is even clearly intended. But where words appear, it’s usually to cloud the issue and add new silly twists to things.
When I first saw his work I fell in love with his lines. We’ve shared an appreciation for improvisational doodling and abstraction. I hope more people can discover his work as I have. This collection is an excellent place to start.
You should also check out his webcomic with author Claude Lalumière, Lost Myths.
I don’t get asked to do it as often as i like,
so i’m going to talk about book design a bit now and then…
Don’t get me wrong,
I like both of these.
Was going to post about Anti-NMDA receptor encephalitis on my personal Facebook profile this morning, a fascinating and scary recently diagnosed illness. But then noticed this looking up details and thought it a good opportunity to mention something i’ve observed before.
This is a great example of a lack of innovation in book design, and as a designer the value adopting habits to help both your work, and the items you are designing stand out.
One was just released November 13, 2012. One published in 2010. It seems to me a basic best practice would be to research the tittle, and see if something like it exists already, and not repeat any design notes if one does, if you can help it. Make sure one book is distinct from the other with a similar tittle? So, no red band with B&W images for Susannah should have been a no brainer…ahem. Sorry.
I suspect that didn’t happen here. Not identical of course, but so close. A bit too close branding wise and so easy to avoid with a simple google search on the part of whomever was putting the packaging together for Susannah Cahalan’s book.
Given the older book also owns the URL one would likely look up for promoting Susannah’s new book, it’s hard to imagine you would not have seen this coming either, as a publisher or author or someone on the decision making chain. So I have to wonder if it was a case of just not caring. Or maybe they did, and decided to try to get a lift from people looking for a popular self help book? I don’t know but it gives me an excuse to mention; you get a commission to do a cover? Search the title and subject and be aware of what has gone before.
Something to think about the next time you’re asked to work on a job.
Ok, with that, i did just listen to Susannah talk about her ordeal, and it’s fascinating stuff, possibly the origins of many cases believed to have been possession in the past. Listen to her talk about it here and try not to get paranoid the next time your hand feels numb.
Just because a thing has not been explained, does not mean it never will be. As a skeptic that was one of the things I came away thinking about after listening to this. A newly named disease humans have probably suffered from since there were humans, and before most likely. Anti-NMDA receptor encephalitis. In the past too many were probably diagnosed as mad, or possessed. 80+% of known cases have been women, and before 2002 no one new about it at all.
Used to make them all the time. Still do now and then. Thought I’d build an online archive of them here. before their was quark or page maker, there was paper. I always made past-up plates to print them from, just like Mr. Marsh taught us at Wexford. So makes it fairly easy to make nice digital masters.
Started this a while back but have to digitize quite a a few of them still.
Will add more to this in the future. But here’s a sketch book zine and a couple of pdf copies of old illustrated Lit zines i published way way back in the day.
A sketchbook journal I kept on a trip to Montreal in 1996. The cover shows one of the first proto-appearances of my pen name. This is a short time after I first worked for Marvel and walked away from it. I was working at Nelvana and trying to work out what sort of comics or whatever i wanted to make, and recovering from a busy summer of breakups. And a lot of people watching. I’ve cut some embarrassing early attempts at writing, but most of it’s there still. The fire damage is intentional. I really liked working with fire. Been awhile since I torched any pages in my sketchbooks but I love the shapes it makes and the smoky pasterns. I’d use it to somewhat spontaneously alter the shape of the image area and improvise with it. Lot more in another big book from around and after that year.
Grab the popular CDisplay reader here for the CBR version.
Also if you just re-write the .cbr for .zip you can pull the jpg files out of the archive.
A lit zine I illustrated, designed and published with my buddy Jonathan Sugarman [J.F.Sugerman].
The PDF of 2 features both the alternate covers for the issue, and the conclusion to J.F.Sugerman’s futurists gonzo dystopian play Drowning.
We published it in two parts. A third issue was in the works, but it never reached fruition.
As some will know aside from being a cartoonist and intermittent blogger at sequential, for the last little while I’ve been editor @ http://carte-blanche.org, of graphic fiction [comics and other visual narratives, but basically comics].
Since I joined the magazine there has been talk of doing an print edition of some kind. We’ll here it is, least our first foray into it. We’re using HP’s print on demand service to publish our first hard edition, carte blanche 14: Obsessions.
I’ve used the service a couple of times now, it’s really good, commercial quality printing on good paper, I kind of wanted to do perfect bound but we wanted to make it cheep. 12.99.
I’ve ended up all over this thing, in a good way I hope. The theme-one of several suggested–the first thing out of my head and seemed to end up resonating the most with Ed in chief Maria Turner and the rest of my fellow editors. Not to take credit for it but then it became a bit of a obsession/preoccupation of my own as I took on the job of designing the magazine.
I enjoy this kind of work in general but it’s rare to have so much, i think quality material to work with. When i sat down with the full contents to read through them in full before starting the layouts, I was pretty blown away with it all. In part to satisfy my notions for the magazine & in part in response to reading the stories, I did 9 new illustrations for the issue to accompany the design. They join a short comics story A Sunrise by Daniel Ha. Pieces, another comic, by Ainsley Olsen. Paired by photographer Aurora Ira. Cover art and design elements by Billy Mavreas. And writing by Jaclyn Watterson, Clint Walker, Kathleen Winter, AC Fraser, Donna Caruso, Cynthia Dockrell, Janet Smith, Kathy Page, Rusty Morrison, Julie Mahfood, Lesley Pasquin, Priscila Uppal, Michelle Barker, Gillian Sze, Pablo Strauss Translating Raymond Bock. John Taylor Translating José-Flore Tappy. And a Q&A with Kathleen Winter! 12.99 + shipping, comes with a free digital edition, which if you like you can buy for $5 on it’s own.
Press release from: carte blanche email@example.com
Subject: carte blanche introduces new formats
A look at what’s happening at carte blanche.
You asked for it and now we’ve delivered. carte blanche is very excited to announce the launch of our print-on-demand and digital magazine!
Purchase a digital copy and enjoy our Fall Issue (#14) on the reader of your choice, or get a print copy mailed directly to you and peruse it at your leisure.
Available via MagCloud: (When you buy the print magazine, you’ll also receive a digital copy free.)
As a special bonus, you get beautiful illustrations by our graphic fiction editor Salgood Sam, and unique cover art by Montreal artist Billy Mavreas in addition to all of the wonderful stories, poems and essays from Issue 14.
And our exclusive audio content is still online at www.carte-blanche.org. Let us know what you think!
$12.99 us + postage for print, $5 for digital only.
carte blanche Issue 14: Obsessions
The Montreal-based literary magazine of poetry, graphic fiction, creative nonfiction, photography, literary translation, fiction, and interviews. This is a pilot project of our first print/digital version of the magazine. It features cover art by Billy Mavreas and original illustrations by Salgood Sam.
Wrestling with the layouts now of act 3. And some work on Vlad as well. Going to try to get out and walk every day, then sit and treat myself to something hot and sketch page layouts. Plan for the week . [23-27/01/12]
Been mulling over plans with Bryan and folks about what to do for Sequential’s 10th anniversary, problem for me is I’ll have less time than usual this year to give over to producing the magazine. Need to find a designer[s] and funding solutions if Sequential Pulp is going to happen or be a part of the festivities. Anyone interested in participating should drop me a line. I’ll be posting a more formal note about this on the site later in the week.
How ya been? I’ve been busy, doing shows like TCAF always take it out of me.
Takes a while to get back into the routine and catch up. I warmed up by rebuilding my home web page here, like the new look. Really converted to WP in a big way [have five sites working on the platform now] and i’m loving the themes from graphpaperpress.com [this is one with a few small mods and so is this and this]. I’ve installed wpStoreCart, working on building one now, wondering what kind of things to sell? Would love to have some feed back from you all. I’ve got posters and some books to start, anyone interested in that? What other sort of things would you be interested in?
The newest edition of Carte Blanche is up – I’m the graphic fiction editor there. For lucky #13 we are happy to present a special feature on CRISIS. There’s a lot of great stuff in the issue, including two excellent graphic fictions stories by some heavy hitters.
And from James Romberger, of ‘Seven Miles A Second’, ’2020 Visions’,
‘Bronx Kill’, and ‘Aaron and Ahmed’, we are very proud to present
a 16 page short story, called ‘Raymond’.
We had many other excellent submissions we couldn’t accept,
but i’m pleased to present a few of them on Sequential HEREinstead!
That’s two pages of my own comics and 5 other short stories!
PS: My editor In chief says we’ve not gotten enough feed back from the comics crowd yet so if you check out the site, take a second to tell carte blanche what you think about about it by filling out their short readers’ survey.
Just transferred this from my camera, it’s The Blocky Thing from Dream Life. All to aprorately as I was walking to the cafe to enjoy some AC, i was listening to this, Anime – the philosophy of Japanese animation on The Philosophers Zone [2010 repeat]. Interesting show, and relevant to the sketch by the fact that The Blocky Thing is very much influenced by the films of Hayao Miyazaki.
Back home now, after the show. Ange and I had a lovely week of time off bumbing around Toronto doing nothing to demanding, other than diner with my mother no running around to see family [sorry folks, next time] no working, nothing but having a vacation.
Had a great time, diner with the Sequential gang was nice, we need to do that more often – Also had my first sad go at karaoke – Ange and Kalman owned the night on that one.
I got to meet one of the producers behind SGU, a favorite show of mine and Ange’s, seems like a nice guy, sad to hear the studio’s are not going to continue the show. And i’ve got a big pile of new books to read, think i’ll try to post about them in a bit.
Jamie Coville got this nice shot of me, one of the better ones taken of me at a show in a while. I tend to hate photos of me so that’s an accomplishment. His full set of show photos are here.
UPDATE: You can read my TCAF reporting on Sequential here now, along with all our other special coverage! It was a pretty great show, but FYI i have lots of prints left and would be glad to sell you some and/or my books!
Well, that clearly didn’t work! Wow, a majority, crap. No wait, better, a majority on about 40% of the vote. Damn we really need to have Preferential voting.
OK, well enough of that, life goes ON! Tomorrow after I run about picking up my last minutes, me and the lady get on the bus and head off to my old home town for the best comic festival of them all, TCAF!
I will not have a new book, but I will have art to sell, be up for doing sketches, and I’ll have a pile of cool new posters–see samples in the slide show BELLOW--and copies of the best of my published books! Dream Life vol 1, RevolveЯ One, Ghostbusters, Wonder Woman, and Therefore Repent!
This year I’ll be in the TX room, here’s a map of the main floor –>> showing where our space is and a detail shot <<– showing where to find ME, and the all others as well. Going to be fun, my first year at TCAF with the gang, looking forward to it!
Ok, so this is a blatant bribe, I’ve been behind on posting new work the last two weeks, been busy preparing for TCAF and getting Sequential’s special coverage material together, and absorbing some huge good news i’ll mention in a few lines.
To make it up to you, i’m posting this story, a nice colour 5 pager that i think has some rousing sociopolitical tones. If you poke around you’ll find a link to the song it’s based on too.
Holly crap. But that could all be vapor if people don’t get out and vote.
If you enjoy the art I share with you then know this, I’ve directly benefited from arts council suport, once in the past, and big news, i just got accepted for a new grant last month. Which means i’ll be able to keep working on Dream Life without interruption, and in my spare time do some more comics for RevolveЯ too!
This is the kind of funding to give you the kind of art Harper and Co would not think is worthy of support probably, if given a free hand he’d have cut far more.
So keep democracy, and the arts, vibrant in Canada. Take some friends out for breakfast or lunch today, and stop at the polls. Make sure to scoop up the lazy ones with you, all they need is two bits of ID. And don’t forget, a strategic vote could be for NDP!
Canadians go VOTE today! Give Harper a swift kick if not the full boot!