Tuesday, 21 October 2014

InkTober: Alex Robinson


Every October, artists all over the world take on the InkTober drawing challenge by doing one ink drawing a day the entire month. I created InkTober in 2009 as a challenge to improve my inking skills and develop positive drawing habits. It has since grown into a worldwide endeavor with thousands of artists taking on the challenge every year. Anyone can do InkTober, just pick up a pen and start drawing ~ Jake Parker

ALEX ROBINSON'S INKTOBER

Alex Robinson has written and illustrated several graphic novels, including Too Cool To Be Forgotten, Box Office Poison and Tricked, all published by Top Shelf Productions. He and his work have won several industry awards, including the prestigious Eisner Award and prize for best debut in Angouleme, France. He lives in New York City with his wife and their pets, and hopes to have another book out soon.

Monday, 20 October 2014

Comic Book Lettering

Cerebus Vol 12: Rick Story 
(Collects #220-231, 1997-1998)
Art by Dave Sim & Gerhard
RICHARD STARKINGS:
(from Bleeding Cool, 27 December 2013)
As far as awards for lettering are concerned, I do think there’s some suspicion about work created with fonts in a studio, and that can never really be dispelled. I think it’s a testament to the quality of our fonts when letterers who have bought them — and use them well — are nominated for awards for Best Lettering. All too often, letterers — and colourists — are nominated for an award when they have worked on a title that has collected all the other available awards, for best series, best writing, best art and so forth, so sometimes you win by association I think. What does bother me is that great creators like Dave Sim and Chris Ware are awarded the Eisners and Harveys for Best Lettering — their work is so much more than the lettering, but perhaps it’s the only part of the work that judges can identify as significant, so it’s kind of like a consolation prize.

I’m also of the opinion that the best lettering is really the lettering that is so much a part of the artwork that you don’t really notice it; kinda like not noticing that the sound editing on a film is really good… we only really notice sound editing, foley work or music in a film when it’s really bad — or absent perhaps — not when it feels like it’s a part of the whole experience. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it!

Richard Starkings is the co-founder of Comicraft, Purveyors of Unique Design and Fine Lettering since 1992. The award-winning Comicraft studio is best known for pioneering the use of the computer in the art of comic book lettering.

Glamourpuss Art Auction: Alex Raymond & Linda Evangelista

Glamourpuss #6 Pages 18-19 (July 2009)
Tracing-Paper Art by Dave Sim

DESCRIPTION:
Pencil drawings on tracing paper by Dave Sim for two-page spread of Glamourpuss No. 6 (July 2009) pages 18-19. Two tracing paper drawings with reference material. 

DIMENSIONS: 
  1. Page 18 features Lyndsay, rated No. 1 in the parody Top Ten of Blonde MENSA Supermodels. She looks a lot like Canadian supermodel Linda Evangelista. Pencil drawing measures 11.5 x 14-inches on 14 x 17-inch tracing paper. Drawing is folded in half w/ crease.
  2. Page 19 is the tracing paper that interests me most -- a "staged publicity photo" of Alex Raymond "from 1949 for national syndication encouraging people to listen to baseball games while they work." This portrait (page 19) measures 10 x 7.5-inches on 11.75 x 9-inch tracing paper. It has a single crease line that does not touch drawing.

Sunday, 19 October 2014

Warren Ellis: Black & White Comics

WARREN ELLIS:
(from Orbital Operations Newsletter, September 2014)
...But, often, in the last week, I've just been laying there unable to do much of anything but think, and not even able to do that well because I was just wanting food that wasn't going to shred my throat or make me cough a lung up into someone's lap. fucked up enough that it took me most of the week to read a long interview with Marina Abramovic which had several unusually pleasing moments in it, including the point where she states quite plainly that the artist is the servant of their society, which I enjoyed immensely, and anyway the actual point of this was that in the middle of this fugue I seriously found myself wondering about doing a black-and-white comics series, a long and largely structureless one, just for the sheer hell of it. Even digitally. I mean, you'd never get an artist for it, because what I laid there imagining was basically all my worst tendencies (from a commercial perspective) as a writer rolled into one endless shapeless thing.

Or, put another way; Dave Sim was what, forty-eight years old when he completed his massive shapeless nonsense distillation of all his fascinations and neuroses and philosophies? I'm forty-six and laying there in a medicated trance thinking about starting mine.

And, yes, when I invoke Dave Sim, there's a shitload of extra baggage there that I am well aware of. All respect to Sim the technical maestro -- and CEREBUS should be something you study if you have an inch of interest in the medium, there was a point where his level of control on the page was supernatural -- but Sim the creative intellect is one of those awful object lessons about staying in comics full-time for too long. I know all about that. That said: consider the notion of a six-thousand-page container for pretty much everything that guy was interested in for twenty-seven years. It may be a monument to insanity, but it is, regardless, a fucking monument. You can't take it away from him that he did that thing.

And it'd have to be black-and-white. Black-and-white is part of the grammar of large rambling graphic novels, in my head - FROM HELL, CEREBUS, THE LAST KINGDOM, add your own here. Also, it's the grammar of literary graphic novels -- MAUS, PERSEPOLIS, etc etc. So I could fool myself, as all pulp writers who finally give up on plot and just drop their bowels in public do, that I am being all literary and clever. Black-and-white always had the mad things in. Now that I reflect on it, I think most of my fondest memories of comics come from b/w books: 2000AD, WARRIOR, LUTHER ARKWRIGHT, ESCAPE, the undergrounds, the independents, the early Anglophone graphic novels...

Crazy. You all better hope that I heal up soon.

Warren Ellis is the author of many critically acclaimed comics, including Transmetropolitan and The Authority.

Cerebus Archive: Itoya Art Profolio

Also available at
MICHAEL RAGIEL:
Dave's Weekly Update #53: A Pound Of Cure mentioned me about contacting AMOC to post my photos and any other information I can provide to fellow Cerebus fans who might be interested in what I had done with my Cerebus Archive #1 and future Cerebus Archives. Whew! I am willing to answer any questions that anybody might come up with.

The Art Profolio is from Itoya. Itoya of America, Ltd is located Rancho Dominquez, CA 90220. Their website is Itoya.com. I paid $40.05 for the profolio and for 250 photo corners. Everything for me is still a work in progress, but I love having the prints to be showcased. I did add "Cerebus Archive: Earliest pages in the Cerebus Archive" to the spine insert. I still want to add something to the cover making it look somewhat more professional booklike.

Enclosed are some photos. I mailed Dave actual real life photos and emailed John photos.

I know it's not that much information, but it's a start. Any questions regarding my unique portfolio, you can email me at pignardvark [at] rcn [dot] com or I can answer in the comments to this post.

Saturday, 18 October 2014

Kickstarter: Bonus Prints #13-18

DAVE SIM:
Every Friday, beginning with the launch of CANT, we'll be unveiling four additional Bonus Prints that you can add to your Portfolio Package... Each successive goal will be established depending on how quickly (or how slowly) it takes to reach the next goal. We'll update the schedule below each time a new threshold has been achieved:
PLEDGE AMOUNT: ADD $9 ($8 + $1 to cover additional shipping costs) to your portfolio pledge for EACH Bonus Print UP TO the maximum number of Bonus Prints allowed (see above table). 
JOHN FUNK:
Now that we're down to the final week of the campaign, we recommend that you pledge for all of the bonus prints that you want, up to the maximum (currently 7). This will help move the pledge total closer to the next target of $33k! When we reach that, 10 bonus prints will be allowed. At the end of the funding period, I'll ask the necessary questions in the survey, so that you can let me know exactly which ones you selected for yourself.
 Bonus Print #13: Cerebus Archive #1 (Zombie Variant cover)
 Bonus Print #14: Roach Commission
 Bonus Print #15: Marital Bliss
 Bonus Print #16: Death Of Captain America
 Bonus Print #17: 'Whale Tail' Porsche Carrera (Front Half)

Bonus Print #18: 'Whale Tail' Porsche Carrera (Back Half)

Cerebus Archive Number Two Bonus Prints:
1-4 | 5-8 | 9-12 | 13-18 

IDW Update: "High Society DVD" & "Cerebus: The Covers"


Previews World: Cerebus Remastered & Restored

Cerebus Vol 1: Remastered & Restored
By Dave Sim
PREVIEWS WORLD:
(from Latest News, Previews World, October 2014))
Ever been to Estarcion? If not, you may want to see if your visa is in good standing, as a flight is leaving soon for Aardvark-Vanaheim's Cerebus Volume 1, now back in print and digitally remastered!

Cerebus was a chronically ill-tempered aardvark originally conceived as a parody of such popular comic book characters as Conan, and Red Sonja. But it wasn't long before the "funny animal" comic from creator Dave Sim evolved into something entirely different, with Cerebus constantly supported by an ensemble of supporting figures all the way until the series ended with issue #300!

"I have been advocating for some time that publishers of classic comic strips should be updating each successive printing of their collections with high quality scans from original artwork," Sim has commented. The creator then came to the conclusion that he needed to practice what he preached.

Sim has further elaborated that "depending on the page, the reproduction has been modified digitally to provide for greater or lesser contrast and brightness. None of the actual drawings have been in any way modified, but purely mechanical flaws have been corrected."

The end result is Cerebus Volume 1 Remastered Edition TP (OCT140946), which you'll find in the Comics section of the October PREVIEWS catalog. Check it out, before this edition is gone, too!

Friday, 17 October 2014

Weekly Update #53: A Pound Of Cure





Bleeding Cool: "When Dave Sim Lettered My Name 17 Times"

RICH JOHNSTON:
(from Bleeding Cool, posted on 16 October 2014)
...Cerebus Archive Volume One. The first ten pages of original art in Dave Sim’s personal collection, recreated in card form as close to the original boards as possible. All signed. Also with a personal sketch and inscription on the front. Let’s take a closer look.

Well that was me pretty much blown away. It’s true, we had been pushing and promoting the Cerebus Archive funding scheme through Kickstarter, but the reality of what we’d get for our $80 was still overwhelming. (There are nine days to go on Cerebus Archive Number Two by the way.)

So yes, there was the recreated art, from the first twenty-odd issues, the only remaining art from that period still in Sim’s possession. And even in that short time, you can see the progression. And Sim is on hand to point it out… With a two page article printed at the same size analysing each page, pointing out all his flaws, his hopes and his dreams. It’s wonderful...

Anything more? Yes actually. Leftover pages from the 13th printing of High Society one, it seems, the first unbound pages of that most amazing volume, still the easiest one to say to someone “hey, do you like Groucho Marx and/or The Thick Of It? Then read this.”

Is that all? Please. What blew me away even more were these. Stickers for your Cerebus volumes asserting your ownership printed, and then your name individually hand lettered on each one in full Dave Sim glory, varying the lettering on each iteration.

As well as a masterful storyteller in comic book form, Dave Sim is also the best letterer in the history of the comic book form. And he just lettered by name 16 times.

So, yes, after recovering I eventually got to the rest of the post. Eventually.

Thank you Dave.

Thursday, 16 October 2014

So. . .You already said that.

We had a request last week from Reginald P "I'd like to see sketchbook pages for the "So" issues -- Cerebus' interrogation of Astoria." So issue #94 it is. Issue #94 can be found in notebook #7, which covers issues #87 to 95. The only cover to a notebook that has been shown so far (as far as I can recall) is the first notebook, albatross #1. So here is the cover for notebook #7:

Cover to notebook #7
As you can see, this notebook appears to have been handled quite a bit. Of the 200 pages in this particular notebook, there were only 115 pages to scan. Dave had put notes on it for me when I scanned them in (I scanned the covers, inside and out of all the notebooks, this cover I scanned twice, once with Dave's notes, and once without). His note by the lipstick kiss is "lipstick print of Kallin the stewardess I went out with for a few weeks. I was seeing her off at the Valhalla Inn in town (they ran an airporter service out of the lobby) and she wanted to leave me a forget-me-not of some kind." 

But I digress.

Dave drew a sketch of Astoria's cell on page 85 of the notebook:

Notebook #7 page 85
He did some different sketches of Astoria with her hands in chains. The sketch at the bottom of the page with the large SO is a sketch for page 1 of the issue, page 857 of Church & State II.

Then on page 91 of the notebook we see a thumbnail of page 5, page 861 of Church & State II. 

Notebook #7 page 91
The finished page has only 5 panels while the thumbnail has 6: Dave removed the final one of Cerebus (panel 6) and then switched a couple panels. The dialogue around it is the dialogue to the page and the next couple of pages, though it went through another edit before it hit the final page.

Down the left hand corner of the bottom of the page is a quick outline of the next couple of issues coming up, including the one for issue #94: "You're not Tarim on.  Cerebus falling asleep after raping Astoria." All the way up to issue #100 - which he didn't have a short outline of, but perhaps just wanted to have the number down on the page.

Wednesday, 15 October 2014

A Canadian Thanksgiving


Sean Michael Robinson:

Greetings everyone!

This will be yet another short one as things are still a little crazy at the moment. I'm trying (unsuccessfully at the moment) to balance these update with the actual work, which is still proceeding.

The cleanup is (almooooooost) done! Mara is now loading the pages into the template while I'm finishing up the Last. Two. Mind Games. Pages. Mustn't. Stop. Must. Complete. Book!

It's hard. Really, really hard. The materials are all over the place. The conditions are radically different. I've had nightmares about it every night this week, adjusting pages with tiny tiny fleck tone in my sleep.

But the end is in sight. Should, in fact, be this afternoon. And then Mara and I can take a look at the book in mock-up form and see if we need to kick any pages back for revision, or make any other adjustments.

But first!

This Monday was Canadian Thanksgiving (L'Action de grĂ¢ce). With that in mind, I wanted to mention several things we're both thankful for while approaching the finish line on the first book of this massive project.

All of the things we're thankful for about this project boil down to the generosity of you, the Cerebus fans who are continuing to make this project possible. Generous financially -- supporting the Kickstarters that are funding the work. Generous with your time and your valuable artwork- thank you so much to the almost twenty Cerebus fans who have contributed scans of original artwork to this project! That includes this week's contributions, from Laura and Nat Gertler of Camarillo, California, and Richard Palfreyman. Generous with your materials and your abilities-- this includes all of the Cerebus Scan Brigade members who have sent us scans of your individual issues, including some of you who have outright sent the whole thing to us physically. Generous with your time and your eyeballs--reading these updates, commenting, arguing, cajoling, praising.

Something more substantial to follow when we've got this thing done and sent away!

Tuesday, 14 October 2014

From The Archive: Frank Miller

DAVE SIM:
Treasures From The Cerebus Archive: DARK KNIGHT RETURNS hardcover personalized. Who else but Frank Miller would write "So where's my copy of HIGH SOCIETY, asshole? Frank Miller"?

Monday, 13 October 2014

Glamourpuss Tracing-Paper Art Auctions: Hearst & Hammett


DESCRIPTION:
Pencil drawings on tracing paper by Dave Sim for two-page spread of Glamourpuss No. 6 (July 2009) pages 8-9. Two (2) tracing paper drawings with reference material.

DIMENSIONS:
Dashhiell Hammett portrait (page 8) measures 10x15-inches on 14x17-inch tracing paper; William Randolph Hearst portrait (page 9) measures 10x15-inches on 14x17-inch tracing paper. Both tracing papers are folded in half with creases. Reference material includes copy of finished spread and single edit pages with text alterations.

My Kickstarter Reward: Damin Toell!

Share your Cerebus Archive Number One Kickstarter rewards with other Cerebus fans. Send in your head-sketch and bookplate scans and get them featured here on AMOC. Contact: MomentOfCerebus [at] gmail [dot] com. Many thanks ~ Tim

Sunday, 12 October 2014

The Puma Blues: The Cat Returns!


TCJ.com:
(from This Week In Comics by Joe McCulloch, 8 October 2014)
I doubt there’s very many of you who didn’t hear yesterday that Twin Peaks is coming back to television in 2016, but fuck that noise – I was already high on an announcement you may have missed. A confirmation, really: made by no less an authority than Dave Sim, who has apparently been retained to write an introduction for a new Dover Publications reissue/continuation of The Puma Blues, a 23 1/2-issue series (1986-88) from writer Stephen Murphy and artist Michael Zulli which Sim had initially financed through a company of his, Aardvark One International. This ultimately led to a distribution contretemps, after Sim — who had found some success in selling collected editions of his own series, Cerebus, directly to readers via mail order — elected to withdraw an upcoming printing of a collected edition for the “High Society” storyline from distribution via Diamond (or any Direct Market-servicing distributor) due to low advance orders. In response, a national account representative for Diamond suggested that the distributor, invoking its own privilege to choose what to carry, would no longer distribute The Puma Blues, an action which would result in a 1/3 circulation drop for the series. 

As it happened, Diamond never did drop The Puma Blues, although the incident did inspire a special 1988 "benefit" issue – more a show of creator solidarity that economic stimulus, which featured publication of "A Manifesto for Creators" (a predecessor to the Creator’s Bill of Rights from later that year) and a number of collaborative or solo comics, including pages from Chester Brown, Tom Sutton, Dave Roman, Tim Truman, and Kevin Eastman & Peter Laird, whose Mirage Studios would subsequently become the series’ final publisher. The best stuff in the benefit issue, though — specifically, The Puma Blues #20 — involves the famous team behind The Saga of the Swamp Thing. Alan Moore & Stephen R. Bissette (with inks by Zulli) provide a terrific four-page reflection on the angst of intimacy in a threatening world told from the point of view of a young man jerking off to mutant flying rays mating over a toxic lake, while Murphy (a comic store employee who’d written and drawn an earlier iteration of the series as student work) scripts a nice Zulli-pencilled, Bissette-inked horror short about a domesticated dog rediscovering its killer instinct in the midst of a happy family’s home. Or at least, that’s the climax. 

The Puma Blues, you see, was never one for traditional narrative build and release. Superficially, it is comparable to the post-Swamp Thing Suggested for Mature Readers wing of DC, insofar as Murphy was, at that time, a fairly verbose writer in the Moore vein, and early issues of the series adopted a skewed genre comic’s perspective on a near-future world kissed by terrorist assault (on NYC, uh-oh!) and the threat of ecological ruin. But that’s not what’s interesting about the series – unlike the proto-Vertigo comics, which were beholden to editors and preexisting characters and audience expectations, The Puma Blues was free to drift away entirely from the burdens of plot and spend issue after issue dreamily exploring how comics might convey the despair of being lonely and worried in the wild. It is a portrait of two green creators — this was Zulli’s first published comics work too — seeing what they could do at a very specific moment in time that allowed a certain amount of visibility and economic comfort for such stumblings: the series had a five-figure readership, and only ended when Murphy found, by his own admission, that he was no longer at a place in his life where he felt he could access the series’ glum and isolated tone. He subsequently wrote a huge number of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles comics (often under the pseudonym “Dean Clarrain”), as well as the 2006 Image series Umbra and a 2010-14 webcomic, Contains Traces Of, which he also drew. 

Nonetheless: now the series is set to return, apparently with some sort of new conclusion, although *I* wonder if it’s not just a conclusion to the series’ third storyline, “Under a Deep Blue Sun”, which was close to being finished when the series stopped, although the series as a whole never seemed anywhere near a definitive ending – I think I recall Zulli estimating that they were about a third of the way through, which (amusingly) would put the series’ total length at the classic Vertigo series length of 60 to 75 issues. 

There haven’t been many Vertigo comics looking like this, though – not even the ones Zulli himself would later draw... [Read the full article at TCJ.com]

The Puma Blues was a comic book written by Stephen Murphy and drawn by Michael Zulli. Published first by Dave Sim's publishing imprint 'Aardvark One International' and later by Mirage Studios, it ran from 1986 to 1989, stretching over 23 regular issues and a single "half-issue" minicomic. In 2015 Dover Books will be publishing a collected edition of The Puma Blues.

Saturday, 11 October 2014

Kickstarter: Bonus Prints #9-12

DAVE SIM:
Every Friday, beginning with the launch of CANT, we'll be unveiling four additional Bonus Prints that you can add to your Portfolio Package... Each successive goal will be established depending on how quickly (or how slowly) it takes to reach the next goal. We'll update the schedule below each time a new threshold has been achieved:
PLEDGE AMOUNT: ADD $9 ($8 + $1 to cover additional shipping costs) to your portfolio pledge for EACH Bonus Print UP TO the maximum number of Bonus Prints allowed (see above table). 
JOHN FUNK:
Now that we're down to the final week of the campaign, we recommend that you pledge for all of the bonus prints that you want, up to the maximum (currently 7). This will help move the pledge total closer to the next target of $33k! When we reach that, 10 bonus prints will be allowed. At the end of the funding period, I'll ask the necessary questions in the survey, so that you can let me know exactly which ones you selected for yourself.
Bonus Print #9: Archbishop Posey Triumphant
Bonus Print #10: Lord Julius & Most Holy
Bonus Print #11: Cerebus Archive #1 (Zombie Variant Back Cover)
Cerebus In Chains
Bonus Print #12: Zombie Cerebus & Barack Obama

Cerebus Archive Number Two Bonus Prints:
1-4 | 5-8 | 9-12 | 13-18 

Kickstarter: Inked Headsketches

JOHN FUNK:
(from Kickstarter Update #3, 7 October 2014)
Thanks to everyone who posted and/or sent me their comments with regards to a Themed CEREBUS Headsketch. I'm pleased to tell you that your cool, calm, collected and reasoned appeals have resulted in the [above] being offered.

So there it is, but wait, no, there's even BETTER news! You appeals so thoroughly impressed and impacted Dave that he's offering you the CHOICE of EITHER or BOTH!!!!!! Yes, EITHER or BOTH!!!!!! You heard it right.

If you didn't add a Headsketch on your CANO portfolio, it's not too late. You can add the CANO version here. If you did and you want a different version, just choose (I'll get the details during the survey questions or by other communication) the CANT version. And if you really have the need for both, you may pledge for a double ($300) for the two of them. Up here in Canada, we call that a "Double Double", EH fellow Canucks?

Glamourpuss Tracing-Paper Art Auctions: #8 Cover-Girl

Glamourpuss #8 (July 2009)
by Dave Sim 
DAVE FISHER:
Original pencil on tracing paper work-sheet -- our first Glamourpuss tracing paper auction featuring a real Glamourpuss -- and she's a cover-girl! (We'll forget for a second the earlier Zombie variant.)

Description:
Pencil drawing on tracing paper by Dave Sim for cover page of Glamourpuss No. 8 (July 2009). One (1) tracing paper drawing with reference material. DIMENSIONS: Drawing measures 12x15-inches on 14x17-inch tracing paper. Tracing paper is folded in half with a crease.

My Kickstarter Reward: Morten Eriksen!


Share your Cerebus Archive Number One Kickstarter rewards with other Cerebus fans. Send in your head-sketch and bookplate scans and get them featured here on AMOC. Contact: MomentOfCerebus [at] gmail [dot] com. Many thanks ~ Tim