Thursday, September 02, 2010

New Marvel collections

I got some new books in from Marvel last week. Nice collections of some of the stuff I've done in the past. First up is this Excalibur paperback:

Excalibur Visionaries: Warren Ellis Vol. 2

Hard to believe I was 19-20 when I worked on this stuff! Hopefully I got a little better in past 16 years. It is weird to flip through this and have instant recall of what I was doing or listening to while drawing particular pages. Lots of memories of David Bowie and Richard Case! Loud, late-nite drawing with my buddy.

Nice to see these new colors on the Pacheco cover! Looks great. This is the first time Warren's Excalibur is being collected, so I'm glad to see it. Volume 3 will have the majority of my run, but this one has my first 3 issues.

Also new, is this giant Exiles TPB:

Exiles Ultimate Collection Book 5

I've only got 1 issue in this big book but it was fun to look through. I'll be curious if they continue with these Ultimate Collections through the Jeff Parker run where I drew a lot more. We'll see.

Monday, August 30, 2010

We have explosive

Another piece wrapped up. I think I'm actually going to color this one, so here's a look with some flats in place. The guy who got me to do this was very cool and let me have a lot of fun on it. He was also a Wipeout XL fan from back in the day, so that was brought up as inspiration. That soundtrack from back in the 90's was always great inspiration while drawing Excalibur, so it was fun to revisit it. Great memories of those times with Rob and David when they were in Greensboro. Hard to believe it was so long ago!
By the way, I've discontinued the old email address, so from now on please use the .mac address (if you email me!). Thanks!

Saturday, May 01, 2010

Happy FCBD!

Thinking of good memories! Hope everyone has a great one!


Monday, April 05, 2010


I've been going through a bunch of old paperwork in the past few weeks and found a bunch of my old contracts and letters from when I was first starting out in comics. I read a ton of biographies, and for whatever reason, I love seeing pictures of the actual artifacts from time gone by -- stuff like old telegrams, letterhead, check stubs, etc. It's the stuff no one sees unless they were around long ago or had similar careers. So, I thought I'd share some of the stuff I dug up.

Here's my first page rate at Marvel that good ol' Bob Harras set up for me. A lot of people badmouthed Bob after he was let go, but he was always true to his word with me and treated me well. And, he put me on Excalibur, so of course, I think he is truly brilliant.

And my first paycheck from Marvel. You have to love a company with John Romita artwork on all their stationary and checks.
You kids today don't know how lucky you have it with Marvel's new "direct deposit" accounting. Holy crap. I could write ten pages about how AMAZING this is. No more long walks to the mailbox to come back empty-handed -- no more being at the mercy of the postman! I was almost in tears when this went into place a few years ago. Go kiss Joe Quesada the next time you see him and say "thanks".

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Studio Tour

Well, I finally vacuumed the studio, so I took some pictures to prove it. I always enjoy peeking into other people's studios (especially artists in other countries), so here's a look at mine. I hope you like the tour!
I try to get rid of anything I don't need. Clutter distracts me, so you won't find much here. I have 2 work stations -- the traditional desk for drawing and the Mac/Cintiq for digital files. The Cintiq is an amazing machine and it's made doing digital inking and rendering so much easier.
Here's a shot of the Left side of the studio. Lots of comics, mostly. This is all mainstream stuff -- nice to have close-by for reference. I have all the art books and black & white stuff in the house.

My drawing table is an old layout desk from Disney's Florida studio. It's a giant lightbox on a hydraulic lift, which is great for the work I do. They were used for doing backgrounds for the films (this one was used on Mulan, Lilo and Stitch, and Brother Bear). After they closed the studio, they sold off the desks and I bought mine from the artist who worked on it (he's all digital now and just didn't use it). It's sad. As happy as I am to have the desk, I would much rather it still be sitting in the Feature Animation building.
Closer shot of the work area. I've got the extra Dazor lamp on top of the book shelf there -- works great for working nights. That's a poster that a friend of mine did for The Dead Weather on the wall (for one of the shows in Europe). Can't wait to see them next month.
Swinging right, you can see the computer workstation. I got the Anthro desk about 4 years ago, and I'm really happy with it.
Further to the right, you can see the Marvel Masterworks. Those came in very handy while drawing Exiles -- Parker popped in a million cameos. I got started on those about 5 years ago -- my main write-off for the year.
Closer look on the computer. I generally pick up one big thing to write-off each year. Large format scanner, Cintiq, Mac, Anthro... after 15 years of doing this, I've accumulated most everything I need.
The last thing I got for the studio -- a couch! Now I can have visitors and they don't have to sit in the floor.
I'm lucky to have a little kitchen and bathroom as part of the studio. Mainly for coffee and cleaning up from inking or painting. It's handy.

So, that's the tour! For the record, the coolest studio I've ever seen is Joe Quesada's. But, I'm pretty happy with mine, and considering how much time I spend in here... it's nice to have it set up the way I want it after all these years.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

MegaCon this weekend!

Yikes, it's already here! Hope to see some of you at the show -- please do drop by and say hey. The sketch list is full, so I'll be drawing at my table all weekend. Come by and keep me company!

I'll be a part of the Marvel Comics panel on Saturday:

Catch up with your favorite MARVEL Comics creators as they talk about their books, upcoming storylines and have a question and answer session about anything you would like to know more of. Comic book artists: Mike Choi, Sonia Oback, Casey Jones, Mike McKone, Greg Land, Paul Pelletier, Nelson Decastro, Dexter Vines

It's Room 222B at 10:30-11:20am.

See you at the show!


Friday, February 19, 2010

Here's the lamp you need

This is another one for those who are just starting out. I searched and searched for the right lamp for 12 long years! I was always buying new lamps -- trying to find one that would stay where I wanted it and wouldn't swing around and smack me in the face. Most of those spring-loaded luxor-style lamps are garbage, never stay put, and heat up like a McDonald's heat lamp. My prayers were finally answered when I was checking out Stuart Immonen's blog one day and he'd posted a photo of his desk -- sporting the lamp I was always looking for. I emailed him and he schooled me all about the precision-balanced "Floating Arm" technology of the amazing DAZOR lamp. A quick visit to eBay, and my life was changed forever!

So, please listen to me and save yourself years of frustration and get a DAZOR lamp. There's always a bunch of them for sale on eBay between $20-$50. You'll want Model 2134.

Take this LINK

DAZOR must've made millions of these in the 50's and supplied the government (and everybody else) with them. Now that I have one, I notice them everywhere in old photos of cartoonists and animators. These suckers are built to last, so don't worry about the age (mine's probably 50 years old). They're heavy duty and still function perfectly.

Hopefully, most people who read this already have one, but just in case you're out of the loop (like me) it'll be useful. Most artists are pretty isolated and have to figure everything out for themselves, so I'm always appreciative of any tips I can get. I think a lot of us share the feeling of "why am I always the last to know?" -- it's good to share some shop talk whenever we can.

Friday, February 12, 2010

You should definitely have this book.

I'm slowly realizing I'm getting old and might have a few things laying around that young artists out there REALLY NEED to have. I guess I was lucky with working with the gang at Artamus Studios when I was just starting out at 19 -- those guys all had 10 years on me and would point me in the right direction. Many times they would share some cool books I never knew about, so I thought it would be fun to dig up some stuff like that to share with other 19 year-olds who might appreciate it.

First up is Marvel's Bizarre Adventures #29. After seeing the VERY cool Toppi-inspired Batman covers that Dustin Nguyen did recently, it made me dig out this classic Walt Simonson job. Man, is it awesome. This job always stood out as one of Walter's best, and it's definitely the one where you can see his Toppi influence out in full force. Simonson is known for spreading the gospel of Sergio Toppi early and often, and it's fun to see how it pushed his design work and rendering style. This Bizarre Adventures is one of Marvel's black and white magazines, so it might be a little hard to track down, but it's definitely worth it. I talked to Walter about it when I had him sign my copy a million years ago and he had some great stories. It's an adaptation he did of Stephen King's The Lawnmower Man short story from Night Shift (I think that's the collection). I think it was probably the first comic book project Stephen King had been involved in and it's great that he was so loose with it and let Walter adapt the story as he saw fit. Walt said that his pages came back with King's pencil notes beneath each panel and how painful it was to erase them when he did the inking. Either that, or he didn't actually erase them -- like I said, it was a million years ago. Anyway, this story is just prime Simonson and one that you might have seen before. Go pick it up!
And, a big tip of the hat for Dustin on those Batman covers! It's really exciting to see him charged up and inspired by a master like Toppi -- and fun to see how different artists can use the same influence in different drawing styles. Always interesting to see the results.