Salgood Sam ● Com

Illustrator, Cartoonist & Writer
Posts Tagged ‘blogging’

Half way over and well on our way, a kickstarter update

Half way over and going for the stretch goals, should I offer to sing as a reward? :D

Between the time I posted this as an update on the drive and now the numbers have changed, for the better!
In part thanks to one backer deciding to be the FIRST to pledge for some art from Dream Life itself!

So now, it’s...

103 backers, $3,908 pledged over the initial $3,000 goal. $1092 to go to reach the next stretch goal! Pondering practical things I can do and asking for help…

Made a little clip calling for a hand getting the word out for the stretch goals. I might put up some more art, and I’m pondering if it makes sense to set up some specific retailer rewards now. But in general I think mostly what this needs is more eyes! I’m doing my bit to get those, and I’m asking for your help in that too.

I’ve got a good number of books left before we hit the caps, lots of art, and several affordable digital options including one that for just $10 gets you Dream Life, five issues of Revolver, and SadOcensSpaceBearsDream of a dark Dream in mp3 format! And that lets me print two copies of my book AND you’ll get all your files within a week of the end of the drive!

Why go for the stretch goals? well the 3k lets me print 200 copies and visit about 6 retailers along the Windsor to Montreal transit corridor. That’s great, but a modest launch. Already we’re looking at improving that, here’s what the goals represent.

$5000 = 500 books, and the tour goes to Ottawa, Quebec city, out to the east coast to make one or more stops there. Maybe even able to jump across the border a little to upstate NY and Vermont. Pop over to Detroit when I’m in Windsor.

$10000 = 1000 books, maybe a few more as they start to get a lot cheaper to print. And i can entertain taking the tour west of the great lakes, ideally all the way out to British Columbia! Possibly to Seattle, and other major american cities like New York City, Chicago?

This is a little speculative, I’m still working out the details but I travel on the cheap so at least some of that is doable if I can find retailers and accommodations to accommodate. I wish I drove, being a city boy and conscientious objector to fossil fuels most of the time I’ve never learned and get around via bike and mass transit. But it would be handy right about now. I will make due though.

So all to say, i’m very happy we passed the all or nothing line, but I want to do this right. And we’ve got the time left to get there. And we’ve gotten this far with really, not a hell of a lot of people when you think about it? 103 now, at this rate we could reach 10k it with probably 300 or so backers. So backers pass the word! Lets get more people on board!

Thanks for your pledges and support and all the things, l love you all to bits. Here are some relevant links: My twitter. The Facebook page for Dream Life a late coming of age, The official site, though it’s in a bit bare bones at the moment. The free preview on Issuu, embeddable and sharable.

Now here’s me butchering the only song I know all the words too, because I had a typo in one of the reward tiers promising a singing event.
Someone suggested this might be scaring off people!
har har! :)

Blog update: The Dream Life kickstarter is Live!

It’s alive! I just launched a new 28 day kickstarter to finance my new Graphic Novel,
the long awaited Dream Life | a late coming of age.

I had it up as a web comic for a long time as part of the TX comics group, it earned me a Webcomics Creator nomination in the Joe Shuster Awards a couple times - 

For the new book launch, I have a 61 page preview for download or viewing via Issue.

The old pages have been edited and such, so I’ve taken them down on the main site but you can still read them here on Facebook and here on Google+. I kind of like the full screen experience on those pages better anyway.

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!

Dream Life, and Revolver One - Three

The last pencils for Dream Life…

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].

Potpourri of bloggity | the work and the stuff, and a notable death

I started off the last post mentioning how Facebook’s new pay to be seen model is working against the site being as useful to me as much as it had been before, and noticing how I’ve been neglecting this space too long.

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 [1][2][3][4]? 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.

Did you catch the news about Israeli PM Netanyahu Facing Zionist Racism for his Son Dating a Norwegian?
Kumuppins eh? I don’t know how widespread it is but not surprised in the least.

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.

File under the more you know…and often don’t. The Woody Allen Allegations: Not So Fast on thedailybeast.com.

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.

Café Chat l’heureux – There is a Cat Café opening in Montréal!

First Cross-Country Tesla Trip Takes Less Than a Week, Costs $0 | Awesome. Just plain awesome. The infrastructure of the future.

Discovered the Art of Nicolas Delort. Also, awesome. 

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!

A few days ago i saw a cool report about how scientists had worked out a way to watch molecules involved in the forming of memoriesCool in of itself, and I was reminded of it again, upon seeing another post of that cornball Dr. Emoto rice test from a FB friend with the comment “If you think your thoughts have no influence on the physical world, think again!

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.

On Turning 30 by Molly Crabapple

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.

U.S. Government and Top Mexican Drug Cartel Exposed as Partners:

*Sigh. premise for the next HBO series?

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.

new115Right 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.

new118One 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. [1][2][3]. 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…

DebDebra 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.

The view ahead.

Vol three of the series will feature my first autobio work, and Dracula Son of the Dragon with Mark Sable!

Vol three of the series will feature my first autobio work, and Dracula Son of the Dragon with Mark Sable!

I have not been blogging enough. What with the raw deal on the new Facebook pay to play system, I should be smartening up!

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 Revolver one 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?

Back cover art for Dream LifeCover art for Dream Life book oneDream 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.

I’m so glad I drew Rob Ford into this shot a year ago or so, very fitting.

A bastards taleRevolver is an ongoing personal anthology series. I’m currently offering it in both print and digital modes from my site here. The first two issues are already live, and the third as I said is in the can.

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

Dracula Son of the DragonDracula Son of the DragonIn 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?

Like Dracula and Dream Life on Facebook, buy a digital or print copy of Revolver, and then review it!

Read the first 100+ page preview of Dream Life and then share it with your friends, with word of it’s pending release! I can’t do this stuff for long without you, the readers.

Thanks and cheers!
I’ll try to post more often.
max

Life is colourful – no longer 42 – meeting Lyla

This past Sunday was my 43rd birthday. I don’t much like parties for my birthdays. It’s not actually a negative thing. I just realized along the way I liked introspective birthdays or spending the time with family or friends but NOT being the reason or point of the gathering.

This year I planned nothing but lots happened. The saturday night before I met some friends and new acquaintances at a bar downtown, an after convention party of comics pro’s and guest stars. My favorite and really prefered part of any comic con. This time didn’t even in fact go to the convention, just the after party. It was a nice night and i came away with a copy of Becky Cloonan’s latest self published book, Demeter! Looks really good. :)

Sunday was actually a little bit of a work day, in the afternoon we met with a client Ange and I are working on a video for. It was productive and we had a nice walk after.

We’d had lunch before after Attending in the morning my cousin Julie’s daughters naming ceremony, her Zeved Habat.

We didn’t see a lot of little Lyla Rachel, but what we could was heartwarming.

A large Modern Orthodox Jewish ceremony. Lyla Rachel looked cute and slept through the whole thing it looked like.

She was brought into the room by all the women of her family.

Passed from grandmother to aunt to cousin to grandmother who held her while her parents conducted the introduction of their second daughter to their extended family. Julie tells me they named in part after my father, her uncle [Lionel]. It wasn’t I think an intended birthday gift, but a lovely one nonetheless.

keep your head covered in god's house! I probably distinguished myself by my attempted dedication to respecting house rules. Not being religious I of course forgot to bring a kippah with me – I have a few now actually, from weddings or family events like this and i’m pretty good about remembering sometimes. But, it’s not often really the first thing on my mind honestly. Couldn’t see any near the entrance, where often you’ll find some.

So I improvised with my scarf.

Didn’t get too many looks, but one older fellow had a great laugh with me at my expense. It was abandoned soon at the show was over and we went downstairs, but I kind of like the look! ;)

Our side is a pretty big extended mostly lapsed Jewish family, we have many cousins. But Julie’s husband Ilan’s side of the family is impressively large and I think mostly filled a banquet hall with their troops alone! Lovely folks that i’ve met so far. Though watch out around a buffet!

A COLOURFUL LIFE: The Art and Drawing of Josh SilburtAlso saw my aunt and cousins which was nice.

One was Alan, a cousin from my father’s generation who gave me a copy of the amazing book he just published of his father’s work. A Colourful Life – The Art and Drawing of Josh Silburt. A catalog of his professional cartooning and paintings.

This is the site he set up as well as part of the long-term project of keeping his father’s work in the public eye.

Josh Silburt married one of several sisters, another of whom is my grandmother. Both he and another of their husbands were professional cartoonists at one time. Something I was told often by my grandmother. Doing sports and political cartoons for the Canadian press. She always made a point about how he moved on to become a very accomplished painter too and I grew up with many of his landscapes on various relatives living room walls as a kid.

The book is a comprehensive archive quality coffee table tome. Alan tells me he’s planing a launch event in Toronto in october for it. Didn’t plan to be but might just have to try to book a few days trip down to attend that. Here’s a look at the inside.

Project updates: Dream Life and Dracula

Crosspost from Kickstarter and FB.

Hey folks, before I start, go check out Graveyard of Empires, Mark’s newest book! You can download it on Comixolagy or pick it up at better comic shops and books stores. Here’s a youtube interview with him about the book.

So on to Dracula.
Thought it was time we shared a public update.

Work on Dracula son of the dragon is well underway, I’m penciling away and every 4 pages I’ve been finishing one page to work out the specific style guide for the tones and colours. I’ll probably tweak things as I go but it’s coming together pretty good so far I think.
007cropedVlad and his dogsMark was surprised with the pallet, he expected fewer colours. It’s more broad than the pilot for sure, but still very limited and plan to keep it that way. Next one I do like this will be something more neutral I think. We’ve got action and moody down here I think. Picked two showy splash pages to ink first and color, so as to have something to show off. This is the first shot of Vlad Tepes in the story, and the other is of Hunyadi being unseated by Vlad’s father Dracul in a jousting match in Nuremberg. Like our facebook page to keep up with things on Dracula.

dreamlifeupdate

Dream Life!

Here’s the whole book in InDesign. The pages with the yellow tint are roughs for a scene i’m trying to make up my mind about adding. Did the thumbs weeks ago, scripted it tonight, think i have to do it. It feels needed.

Got to get the rest of the lettering done too, about 20 pages worth i think to go over, but some of that is silent or has minimal text. But knowing that got to watch i don’t put it off to long too. Doing some of it tonight next.

6 more to do washes on too i think. Boy this book has been a crap ton of work. Close though. Nice to look it all over like this in ID. End is within reach!

Track the progress for the final stretch here on Facebook.

The blank pages in the back are for the extras the backers are getting in their special editions, there will be 20 pages of them! Ok. Back to work for me,

Cheers!

max

Doodle Clips, a new service i’m offering…

“Doodle” Clips!

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 [1997]
Used with thanks to the talented George Westerholm and co.

Revolver One on ComiXology – now just ¢99 an issue!

RevolveЯ Quarterly Vol. 1 - 99 cents!

99 cents!

That’s the magic number right? :) less than buck now gets you my critically acclaimed 1st issue of RevolveЯ Quarterly on ComiXology submit! I’ve matched that price for the copies you can purchase from me directly here on this site

Been debating how to handle the series now that it’s on Comixology. I’d like to lower any barriers with price point, but it does not make a lot of sense to sell 52+ pages for 99 cents. So i’m going to switch to a page count with Vol 2 on, more in line with it rather than try to sell the issues for more.

Starting with Vol 2 Revolver will be 28 pages. Vol 1 is still the same, but from now on the rest will be that.

A bonus is this makes getting it out more regularly a lot easier too.  I had planned to have a larger version of Vol 2 out awhile ago now, but this first serious venture into self publishing has been challenging. Resistance/reluctance from retailers for independent books is strong!

Customers have been enthusiastic, I sold many copies at  TCAF this year, readers have been awesome. But It’s very hard to get meaningful numbers of retailers to pick up an independently distributed book – a few amazing shops have but not many. And right now I don’t have the capital to back roll something for Diamond so looking for workable solutions to this.

For now though, sticking with what leeway I’ve made in the digital market – Comixology is coming up on a 100 sales since Vol 1 went up, I’ve sold a couple a week off my own site for a while now, and with my recent Dracula Kickstarter with Mark Sable I now have about 300 subscribed readers for vol 1 through 8!

A decent audience has been seeded. For now I have to focus on building on that and getting the next 7 issues out in a timely fashion.

This is the start of something big I hope, coming soon to Comixology is my next graphic novel Dream Life, and very shortly RevolveЯ Quarterly Vol 2 will  come out digital first from my site and Comixology. And with Vol 4 my new series with Mark Sable will make its first appearance, watch for Dracula Son of the Dragon.

Get RevolveЯ Quarterly Vol 1 now, and please rate it on Comixology!

Makes a world of difference when it comes to people finding the book.

Creative book binding

Very soon i’ll be announcing
a kickstarter campaign for an upcoming project!

3 clever books

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.

Equally playful and clever is this upcoming edition of 1984 from penguin, with a cover design by David Pearson. The title and author’s name are redacted with black foil!

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.

Slow web, sick on the CBC, and doing the work.

[PreS: sorry you early birds if you got surprised by the auto-play, fixed now.]

Recently been reading Warren Girard Ellis’ ramblings again, that last post a couple of days ago, making listing to this back logged episode of tmsidk the second or third time mention of the ‘slow web’ or something like it has come up for me in the last week, when Tell Me Something I Don’t Know interviewed Jeffrey Inscho.

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].

We will see. Agree enthusiastically with the sentiment of it, as a card carrying member of the old slow action movement I’d far rather quality of interactions trump update cycles.

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, my pages, 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!

Most recently I managed to get invited onto the CBC show to do some local color run after this great doc, Graphic Chicken Soup for the Graphic Soul, by David Gutnick. Thanks to David and Maria Turner, my boss at carte blache both for putting my name in for that. I’m on with an old acquaintance, Simon Bossé, in a piece called Growing up graphic. Our parents get all the blame.

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.

Play

Growing up graphic: CINQ A SIX | Dec 22, 2012 | 10:36 © CBC 2012

—–

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.

Happy Holiday and a grand old new year all!

Post Expozine, back to work…

Been busy with prepping for Expozine, didn’t get much of any drawing done the last 4 days.

I always find exhibiting a challenge, it’s fun but it’s also disruptive to my work routine so keeping up a proper apperance schedule and also getting the work done tend to compete. At least with Expozine it was right in town.

The great part of going to shows is seeing everyone. The vast majority of my friends are other artists and publishers, but mostly I only see them at events. This year’s Expozine was sluggish for sales, for me but a few others i talked to said it seemed to be to them too. I moved a good number of prints but not that many books.

Here’s a few photos from the event, a pan around the room before the doors opened on day one, and one of me with Michel Rabagliati & Nina Bunjevac, at the Conundrum table where i was slumming day one.

I picked up a few cool things. My Life as a Foot by my neighbour Richard Suicide is something i’ve been wanting for a while and it was on sale at the Conundrum table so i snapped up one myself just before they sold out. The book is a collection of translated short stories that were published in a variety of places in french. As far as i’m aware it’s his only English language book so far.

Kirsten McCrea presented a new little chap book of her work called DAN-D-NOSER published by Paper Pusher. Need to read it cover to cover properly but in the back the about explains that a DAN-D-NOSER is a taxidermy tool, and the book is a playful rift on masculinity exploring the overlap between dandys and taxidermy? Should be interesting. Also always like talking with JP King, the very enthusiastic pusher behind Paper Pusher. Will have to think of a project to propose to him some time.

We’ve talked online a little but finally met in person the man behind Taddle Creek finally as well, Conan Tobias. I just got a proper subscription for the magazine and picked up a couple back issues from him at the show. Would be fun to do something for the magazine one of these days. Also talked with the folks at Matrix a bit, likewise another publication i’d like to participate in at some point. And spotted a new publication i’m going to take a closser look at and submit something probably, Circéa Publishing. They had a very sexy over-sized first issue on display for the show.

And last I got a copy of Little men in little boxes and other comics by Jai Granofsky, a book collecting work from his time at The Center for Cartoon Studies.

Would have liked to pick up a lot more but my own lack of sales pretty much meant I was limited. Probably could have traded for more but didn’t think to do that till late on day two.

OK, so it’s back to work for me. Have some illustration to do for videos, and lots of penciling left of Dream Life. Here’s a few of the last 10 I got done, have 32 more to do in the next week and a bit to meet the schedule goal for this month.

124-pencils

What Are You Reading? with Salgood Sam

Was invited to write up some books for Robot 6′s regular piece, What Are You Reading?”.

Decided to cover some books by friends that I had just read for awards or had been picking through over the summer. I don’t apologize for being biased.

Tale of Sand‘, ‘Suddenly Something Happened‘, & ‘Traumstadtdenken‘.

Jim Henson’s Tale of Sand.

Multi-award winning Art and Adaptation by Royal Academy heavyweight Ramón Pérez.
Award winning packaging by Eric Skillman.
Archaia

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.

You must read.

Suddenly Something Happened

by Jimmy Beaulieu.
Translated by Kerryann Cochrane
Conundrum Press

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.

But this early material is still quite charming.

Traumstadtdenken – Comix + Images

By Rupert Bottenberg
Editions Trip

Traumstadtdenken

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 publish my own comics Quarterly in Revolver.
$15 for print ~ $2 digital

About Design

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.
But still…

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.

So you have two titles, of very similar wording, in this case about two very different things.

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.

Links

Brain on Fire: My Month of Madness & Brains on Fire: Igniting Powerful, Sustainable, Word of Mouth Movements

http://www.brainsonfirebook.com/ - http://www.susannahcahalan.com/

And last, I like design so much,
I publish my own comic to get an excuse to do it.
Ok, maybe an exaggeration, might be the comics i’m more hyped about.
But it is one of the perks of putting out my own books…

My FBDM YouTube reports for Sequential

The first Festival de Bandes Dessinées de Montréal! A small but promising start.

Watch the clip above, click here to read my written report of my brief first visit to the event.

Video of Day 3 below.

And here a final report.
Use tag “FBDM” to track all posts about the festival on Sequential.

New Dream Life, old Pin City, and other things I’m up to.

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?

Ok, comics, comics, comics.

Dream Life, page 70

On Revolver, PIN CITY, with new lettering.

And that’s just to start!

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.

From the Eisner Award–winning creator of ‘Too Much Coffee Man’,
Shannon Wheeler, a classic gag comic, ‘Oil Spill’.

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 HERE instead!

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.

Sequential Pulp III

Getting the 3rd edition of Sequential Pulp together kept me pretty busy running up to TCAF – our special limited print edition of the Canadian comics blog Sequential. It was Available exclusively in the pulp at TCAF 2011.

A big thanks to all our sponsors, with their help we made our funding goals! Sequential Pulp is essentially not for profit, we give it away for free and pay for the printing with minimum number of sponsors we can get away with – leaving most of the 32 pages for content that way. This year thanks goes to The Dragon, The Beguiling, Squidface & The Meddler, THE LISTENER by David Lester, The Doug Wright Awards, who along with Koyama Press, AdHouse Books, & Conundrum Press helped us put this years issue to press with K6C POSTCARDS.

Unfortuatly there was a small problem with the printing, the dimensions got miscommunicated, and the local intermediary didn’t follow through on requests to see a proof of the printed book so this was not caught before the day of the festival. So the free print edition we presented was a diminished 5.5″x8.5″ mini format zine rather than a full size 8.5″x11″ mag as planed. I was to say the least, disappointed about this. But other than a couple of the cartoonists who’s lettering was made almost illegible most people were pretty cool about it, few seemed to care. But all the same for myself and any one who might be interested, i’ve uploaded a file to magcloud and in a couple of weeks you’ll be able to buy a full sized version of the 32 page magazine at about cost for $6.50 + shipping. In the mean time though it’s also on issuu, so you can enjoy it here/there!

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My Little Friend

I’ve been keeping some stuff under the hat for a bit.

A few people have known, very immediate family and a few I was dealing with at the same time this was going on so the work I was doing with them would be affected. I eluded to something being up a while back that was keeping me from posting my comic for a couple of weeks.

But seeing as I had no idea till just two days ago exactly what I was dealing with and I didn’t want to have to think about putting worried minds to rest till I had answers, or have people treating me differently–the less time I spent thinking about it myself the better for me–I chose to wait on sharing. Honestly while I’m a private person in some respects that was hard for me. I’m not one to keep stuff bottled up.

FYI if I saw you recently or talked to you and didn’t mention it, that’s because mostly I was still digesting the latest news and waiting to see how it sat before I spilled. Just know I’m good, and I wasn’t blowing smoke when I said things are well. I’m going to be fine in all likelihood, feel very good health-wise now and not down at all about this recent turn of events although it’s been a surreal ride for sure.

So to catch you up.
And maybe let you know me better then you expected to ;)

For a while i’ve had some discomfort and occasional mild pain or cramping in the groin, that I was attributing to being out of shape, too many hours at the damn desk! Like many men I didn’t give it a hell of a lot of thought, though more recently it had become more constant and I was starting to worry about it. But last year I’d been given the brush off over health concerns by doctors and was feeling less than eager to get the same again.

Then late last year a relative had one of his testes removed for what ended up being a benign tumour. But we didn’t know until after the holidays his was benign, and talking about it with my mother I was alarmed because he had similar symptoms leading up to this as I was having.

So I booked an emergency appointment–taking full advantage of the C word and news of my relatives situation on the phone with the doctors office to make sure it happened that week and not a few months later–and had it checked out. Long story short, blood tests showed nothing before the holidays, but a mass was visible in an ultrasound I had done in mid February, and a week later I had an operation to remove the affected testicle. I was given a prosthetic at the same time.

On the right here is a sketch from memory of the ultrasound image. —>

That went smooth, very, interesting experience. My first surgery. Strange to have people poking around inside you for sure.

Opted for a local/spinal and was up and out by the end of the day. It took the better part of the week resting up in bed mostly but healed up fast. At this point, other than a little tenderness on the scar things feel back to normal, better than, really. I was probably getting some wonky estrogen levels from the tumour that were making me feel off before, more hyper sensitive than usual, and made my tits hurt! :) All that is gone now and my energy seems to have spiked since. Feels great.

Two days ago I got the results from the biopsy of the tumour. The news was not as good as it was for my relative, but it was the next best. I had a classic Seminoma tumour, small (pea sized), stage 1 with no detectable vascular intrusion, and nothing appeared to have traveled up towards the vas deferens, which is good because it means it was probably still isolated to the testes. Here’s a wiki link for some more info–warning, pictures! With all these links :) And they aint sexy.

Now anything I could have had short of stage 3 would have very good odds for being curable, even stage 3 is not a death sentence.

Testicular cancer is one of the most curable today.

But this is a great scenario to have if you’re going to be dealing with this kind of thing at all.

They got it early he said, so my doctor thinks the odds are pretty good they will have cured it with the operation. I’m going in for a CT scan to check out nodes soon and everything else, we’ll know after that for sure if I’ll need any follow-up treatment. Hopefully they don’t find anything else new when they go looking! If they find nothing then I’m looking at…

-surveillance, which is on the books no matter what. I’ll be having regular CT scans for the next year or so.

-possibly a short round of localized radiation therapy targeting the lymph nodes in my back

-or two rounds of chemo.

Both are to make sure we kill off any free roaming mico-tumour cells.

On the other hand if they find anything in my CT scan, depending on what it is, I’m looking at the latter two of those for sure. Successful treatment in any case is just about certain. About 97% are cured with stage 1 Seminoma. So not benign, but at least the next best thing.

Ok, so that’s the news! Hope I’ve not freaked anyone out too much!

UPDATE- 18/04/11:So I’ve had my follow up CT scan, and the news was good! My doctors want to keep and eye on my lymph nodes, they spotted one in the pelvic region they were a bit concerned with just due to it’s proximity, but at the moment it looks fine. So all clear and lucky me, no radiation or chemo! Way to go for early diagnosis and treatment. 

So why post this?

Well a couple of reasons. First, to help get people to be less freaked out by this kind of cancer and cancer in general.

It’s a serious disease, for sure. But the worst thing is having an intense fear of it and not dealing with it. If you’re at risk not getting checked out will NOT protect you from anything.
And as puke inducing and harsh as some of the cures can be, they are far better than the disease.
Don’t be a wuss, if your nuts hurt get it checked out dude! And don’t be too prissy to do this for yourself on a regular basis. Mine didn’t really show up this way but yours may. 

Of course if I can help it I will be happy not to have to do chemo or radiation therapy. But I’ll be lucky to be so lucky. And far better to feel like crap for a little while then feel like death before dying.

Partly–No, really all of what has made this such a curable disease is Science and Research. So, I also want to take this opportunity to thank all the hard work that has gone into make this–really for me?–an almost painless experience.

I’m lucky in this, which is not the case for all people. But for everyone who gets it testicular cancer is now so far from the horror show compared to what it once was. The medicine is good, and thank Tommy Douglas for Canadian health care. I’ve not had to think once about financial consequences.

An immense help, that. You have no idea, unless of course you do.

Also the knowledge and resources available online are amazing. In the future I’ll try to post something more comprehensive, but these links alone were the biggest help for me.

http://tcrc.acor.org
http://www.tc-cancer.com/forum
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Testicular_cancer

Me on comics

I was interviewed by my old friend Sam Agro for his blog MOVING PICTURES last week, the post went live yesterday.

SALGOOD VIBRATIONS

SA: Do you think the future of comics lies in digital media?
SS: I don’t think it’s the whole future, but I do think it’s a big part of it. The internet proper is a great entry point for new talent to stretch their legs, get feed back, and learn if they care to. And for more experienced creators it’s a good place to prove something publishers are normally wary of taking a risk on, like unconventional and maybe demanding approaches to pacing and plot. And building an initial interest in a project.

Also, I’ve solely promoted my work online as a comic artist and illustrator, since 1998 or so. And I’d say about 80% of my income has come from inquiries via that.

Then with the new incoming ‘App’ market we have something that may well offer a viable alternative to periodicals, and the problems of overhead and distribution the direct market is struggling with. It’s got a built in monetary stream so that solves that issue, and the new tablets, e-readers and net-books offer an increasingly comfortable reading form factor. Too early to say anything definitive about it but it’s looking pretty viable. Any problems with it I see are more questions of execution and problem solving, than innate obstacles. —>

And as editor at carte blanche I have a shop talk blog post today, catching non-comics readers up with the evolution of the medium over the last 10 years, and adressing the nomenclature of comics, sequential art, graphic novels and graphic fiction.

SHOP TALK: WHAT IS GRAPHIC FICTION?

What I still think of as comics has been going through a time of great change and growth.

When I decided to dedicate most of my time to making them in high school, it was in part because I was being kicked out, and comics were something you didn’t need a degree in. In truth, there were no degrees to be had in comics. If you wanted to learn more about the medium, you studied art, writing, and film, and extrapolated from these different media. If you achieved a professional level of skill there was little worry about competition; I landed my first paying jobs at Marvel after just one serious attempt to get work in the early 1990s.

While I was developing my own skills out on the edges of the scene in the late 1980s, the then lone journal of comics, inventively titled The Comics Journal, called for our bastard medium to be taken seriously by critics, and urged creators to take what they did seriously in order to bring the standards of their work up to where they might merit that attention. —>

At the end of the Unsettlers show…..


Been working though the last week of my holidays, but took the night off drawing and trying to fix a wonky wacom driver, and went to the ol’ Casa del Popolo [my first sign painting gig 8 years ago] with Ange. Watched Glass Passenger, who were foot lifting and fun.

But the night was taken by The Unsettlers [seen above in their 'cabaret' configuration] who stomped us late into the night. My second time catching the band, if they play in your neck of the woods be sure to grab someone and go see them raise the dead.
max.