Thursday, May 22, 2008

Hey, boys and girls! Forget Brad Bird. Check out these two ambitious, ingenious and exuberant examples of animation by artists working at full creative capacity. Sorry I couldn't embed the second piece but it's worth trekking off site to see it. Enjoy.
MUTO a wall-painted animation by BLU from blu on Vimeo.

Animator vs Animation by Alan Becker

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Dave Sim and Rob Walton Discuss Ragmop

Hey! For those of you who haven't seen it, or who are too laid back to visit my website you can check out my lunchtime conversation with Dave Sim about the many influences from film and animation that went into the making of Ragmop. If you listen carefully you can hear Chester Brown giggling in the background. It was a fun piece to do and an enjoyable experience all around. The video features a side of Dave Sim more people should take time to know. You'll also get a kick out of a very gentle Dave Sim discussing the comedy styling of Curly, Larry, and Moe with my daughter Grace (who is the model for the character of Little Miss Universe in the graphic novel). This little exchange took place at the book launch. Needless to say, Grace stole the show from dear old dad. And if you think that was sweet, check out your humble narrator interviewing Grace about being a cartoon character in Ragmop.

Growing Up With Comics

Coming in June is a fascinating experiment in nonfiction docu-comics: R. G. Taylor's Growing Up With Comics is pure documentary melded with comic storytelling that has produced what I believe is a marvelous result. Over the past two years Taylor approached an eclectic mix of Canadian comic professionals, retailers, producers, and artists to speak directly about their experiences reading comics which he fashioned into a surprising array of stories that are funny, furious, informative, and often times very moving tributes to the power of this tiny medium in our lives. Many of these stories have appeared in the Negative Burn anthology but are here collected as a unified whole for the first time. What Rick has accomplished is a serialized documentary in comics form that will both entertain and inform. There are stories about reading comics and stories about making comics. Your humble narrator has two stories featured in book: one on reading Jack Kirby's Demon #1 and one on the making of Ragmop. Look for it and check out the preview at Desperado.

Friday, May 16, 2008

It's Pencilin' Time!

Here are three examples of the Kirby pencil reproductions I've been working on. I've been doing these in conjunction with the Kirby book I'm writing. The exercise is to recreate Jack's pencils as accurately as possible with as little interpretation as possible. Being left-handed, I have to work slowly and carefully in order to match the direction of Kirby's right-handed line. To give you an idea of the speed I work, Barda's face alone took me more than two hours, and it took me two more days to complete the piece. I'm working from very poor photocopies so I take a great deal of time to understand what exactly I'm looking at before I pencil it. I never refer to the published page. It's great fun and I'm happy with the results, even if they don't smell of Jack's cigars. Not every one is a success, but these three are fair forgeries. I displayed them at the NY con this year to great acclaim.

It's A Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad, Universe

Hells bells! You haven't heard of Ragmop? The "bitingly satirical" (Paul Pope) and "wonderfully smart" (Mike Mignola) 452 page graphic novel nominated for two Eisner and two Joe Shuster Awards? Well, don't sweat it! That's why we're here! Imagine a story that weaves elements of conspiracy theories, UFOs, political economy, history, religion, psychiatry and string theory together with three time traveling dinosaurs, world conquering aliens, Adam Smith, Piltdown man, Papal assassins, Quentin Tarantino, Drum Corps, musical numbers, fist fights in Heaven, prat falls, prop gags, spit takes, slapstick, an introduction by Steve Bissette and book design by Jon Adams, and you can see why Ragmop defies both genre and categorization and why Wizard Magazine dubbed it "the most outrageous comedy in comics". Best described as indescribable, Ragmop entertains and enlightens as it cleans and whitens. But don't take my word for it. You can check out the Ragmop preview gallery on my website Do it! Buy it! Read it! Love it!

Look Who's Famous Now!

Hey kids! Before Mike Mignola became the mega-star creator behind the hit film, Hellboy, he was a lowly cover artist toiling for Planet Lucy Press. Check out the cover he did for Ragmop #4 during the original series run (1995-1998). And yes, he drew my characters better than I ever did. The dastard!