Saturday, May 27, 2006

The Absent-Minded Teacher

Well, school has been out for a whole week now... glorious summer is here! That magical time of sleeping in and getting lots of artwork done (hopefully). I thought I would give you guys a peek into just how weird my brain is. The above image is a collection of notes that I wrote myself during the last school year. You see, I travel between two schools every day and I'm pretty absent-minded... without notes like these I tend to forget a ton of things. These particular notes were the offspring of some serious boredom apparently. Pretty goofy stuff. Hopefully you find them amusing.

(By the way, "ISD" stands for In School Detention. Those are the poor kids who get to do bookwork instead of art projects because they got in trouble.)

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Another webcomic for you

As promised, the first EVIL AIN'T EASY strip is now up for you to see. Click on the image for a bigger view. We'll be updating this one on Thursdays from here on out.

This strip has been a blast to work on so far... it pretty much writes itself! The most challenging thing is the colors. It's just something I don't have that much experience with, since all of our comics have always been good ol' black and white. But I'm getting there. Luckily, my wife Laura is here to help me out. This usually consists of her looking at the colors I have initially chosen, exclaiming "Yuck!", and then suggesting some other hues that don't offend the eye.

IN OTHER NEWS... don't forget there's a new ROOK CITY page up! This one's a bit late (there goes my streak of on-time updates). Blame it on the convention and end-of-the-year teacher stuff. Or just blame me.

Saturday, May 20, 2006

Evil Ain't Easy

This last Thursday, the Kansas City Star started running a new strip of mine in their Previews section. This is a little different than the full Rook City pages I did for them... these are in a strip format and in color. These are going to run weekly through at least May and June. Pretty exciting stuff!

The strip is called EVIL AIN'T EASY and it features Dr. Nimbus. He's a diabolical scientist bent on world domination... unfortunately the mundane annoyances of life keep slowing him down. Along for the ride will be his trusty henchman, Lothar. Click on the sketch above to see a bigger view of these guys.

We'll be putting this up as yet another webcomic on the site very soon. But if you're in the KC area, be sure to pick up a copy of the Thursday edition to see this in print!

Monday, May 15, 2006

S.P.A.C.E.d Out: part 1!

Whew! We're back from our first convention as exhibitors... S.P.A.C.E. 2006 in Columbus, Ohio. And it was great! Thirteen hours on the road each way, but well worth it! Many adventures were had on the road. Nathan probably knows more about Elton and I than he ever wanted to...

Anyway, we have so much to tell you about this con. In this first part, I'm just going to show some pictures we took and talk about the people and events of the weekend. We all got a TON of incredible books that we want to tell you about, too, but that will have to wait for another post.

Here is us at our table as everyone was finishing setting up behind us (Left to right: Nathan, me, Elton). You can't really see all of our table in this shot, but we had lots of copies of the newly printed Random Ink #1, some of which we actually sold and many more of which we traded to other creators for their books (one of the coolest things about the con). We also had free postcards advertising the Rook City webcomic and Nathan's upcoming book, Alms Rook (which you will hear more about very soon). I had my portfolio there for people to look through, so they could see some stuff not featured in Random Ink yet.

The day started pretty slow, but there was an hour or two there where we had people talking to us about our book pretty constantly. I did sketches for some people who bought it, which was a lot of fun. We passed out a bunch of the postcards... a lot of people seemed pretty interested in it. The pages from the Blind Willie Johnson story in my portfolio caught a lot of people's attention... one guy even recognized him, which was crazy.

We were right next to all the guys from Kansas City. From right to left here you see Rob Schamberger, Shaun Gray, and Michelle Arcand. Not pictured (or easily seen) are Eve Englezos, Joshua E. Moutray, Kyle Strahm, Duane Cunningham, and Matt Hawkins. Duane was the only one I had actually met in person before, so it was great to finally put faces with so many names! To make their table stand out, Rob and Matt swiped a pillow and bedspread from their hotel and made it look like a bed. They're so indie...

This gentleman is Steve Hamaker, and as you can see he was situated directly behind us. One of the coolest people I got to meet at the con... he's the colorist for the Bone books, he's got a story in the next installment of Flight, and his comics are just amazing! It was really great to talk to him about Flight and his stuff. He offered me some advice on coloring, which I desperately need. Very cool guy... check out his site!

Just a shot of the con floor to give you a feel for what it looked like. It was a bit bigger than it appears here. I got to meet two other people who have been on Indie Spinner Rack. One was J.Chris Campbell, whose stuff is just amazingly original and fun. Very fun to talk to. The other was mini-comic legend Matt Feazell, a very nice guy who has obviously been doing this a long time. He's got it down. I also met Andy Runton, the creator of Owly (which I finally was able to purchase). He drew a cool sketch in it for me. I attended a panel discussion on webcomics. Didn't learn to much new info, but it was nice to talk to some other web guys and see what they're doing.

Overall, the atmosphere of this show was so great. Just so much creativity going around... I wish I could have wandered around even more. As it was, I felt bad leaving our table for more than a few short spurts. There was just a really cool vibe at this con. Someone had the brilliant idea of passing around a sketchbook with a cow theme. I think most of the artists there (including Nathan and I) sketched in it... it was crazy how great some of the stuff in there was! Things like that just added to the fun of the experience. I think we succeeded in our goal of getting our stuff out there and making connections. If anything, S.P.A.C.E. just wet our appetites for going to more cons!



Well we're back from space and everything went great. We met a lot of interesting people and will be posting pictures, links, and comments about it soon. For now I just want to tell everyone how much we enjoyed it.

Saturday, May 06, 2006

Spinning with the Indies

Like I mentioned on an earlier post, I won a contest on a podcast about independent comics, INDIE SPINNER RACK. This is pretty much the grooviest show about comics out there... Charlito and Mr. Phil are two very kooky and well-read hosts. Anyway, the contest was a "pick your favorite indie book from 2005" kind-of-thing, and I won with my entry about Kabuki: Alchemy. David Mack has got to be my favorite artist and Kabuki my favorite book coming out right now. So, because I won, I got to be on an episode to talk to the guys about Kabuki... which was dang fun! They also were nice enough to talk about Random Ink. You can download the episode and hear for yourself! (My part of the episode goes from 15:20 to 49:00.)

Thursday, May 04, 2006


FINALLY.... Random Ink #1 has been reprinted as a full-size comic with a new color cover! This is pretty dang exciting for us simple folk. We've been making mini-comics since junior high, but this is the first time one of our books has been professionally printed. Cool stuff.

Anyway, this issue contains all of these stories from the mini-comic version:

-"Bullets and Bedpans": The FIRST Rook City tale. What happens when anti-hero vigilantes get old? It ain't pretty...

-"Leaf": The brief adventures of a falling leaf.

-"Dark Was the Night": The sad but true tale of blues legend Blind Willie Johnson.

-"The Last Martian": Episode One. Not everyone is happy about the Mars Rover project...

-"Intervention": In this illustrated prose short story, a desperate man in a ruined future searches for a way to change the past. But will he find it before his own fate catches up to him?

PLUS... this new edition also includes the "Sleuth" Rook City story and new pinup by Dustin Roberts. If you want to order this issue, just click here to go to our online printer, Indy Planet. You can also see more preview pages there.

Well, we finished posting the "Bullets & Bedpans" story last week, and it has been restored to its rightful place in the Rook City archive: first. This week we begin an all-new storyline with "Showtime" starring the Captain and Dark Star. This is definitely our first real superhero tale in this webcomic, but like most things in Rook City, not everything is quite as it appears...

It's been a blast drawing this one so far. I've tried to just cut loose and have fun. It's a nice change of pace after the "Sleuth" story for the Kansas City Star. That story was fun, too, but the constraints of having some sort of ending on each page were challenging. Speaking of the KC Star, though, I have another project in the works with them. More on that later.

Remember, we're always desperate for feedback about our stuff! Please leave comments here, e-mail us, or whatever... Hearing what people think of our work is the best part of all this. Thanks!

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

S.P.A.C.E. Bound

Elton, Nathan, and I are busy getting ready for the Small Press and Alternative Comics Expo (S.P.A.C.E.) in Columbus, Ohio on May 13. This will be our first convention as actual exhibitors... so I'm sure it will be a learning experience. We've been frantically getting all of our stuff together for this. Not expecting to make any money on this trip... just get our stuff out there and make some connections and hopefully some new readers. The cool thing about S.P.A.C.E. is that it is just for indy comics. So, that's what everyone is there to see. We've heard a lot of good things about this con.

Time for a road trip! Mapquest says it's 11 hours each way from Joplin to Columbus. Maybe Elton and I will finally get that next Vlad Squad story written on the way...