Upcoming Plans

Hi, I'm terrible about updating. 

I currently feel like I'm just dragging my wheels so let's share some plans!

I'm currently working on a recipe zine to (hopefully) be released in April at PIX. I'm tabling PIX again! I didn't want to say 'no' after one poor show so I figured I'd give it another go and try again to sell there. I know returning is a strong consideration to sales, and having new material, I have 3 new books from last March when I tabled, so this would make a 4th new book. 

I, like just about e'urrybody, have recently gotten into Hamilton and I have a few illustrations planned. I've started a 'quick' 2 page comic. It was originally a 3 panel strip, so here's to finishing it soon, it is stopped at 2 pages for the verse that I'm drawing out. I'm tepid on my pencils so I'm hoping that the ink and wash stages will warm me to it more. Some days it's being hypercritical of my art and some days it's my art is honestly bad and I haven't looked since I did these pencils on Thursday so I'm not sure which it actually is right now. 

For my own comics I'm on a slight hiatus which has left me feeling low so the Hamilton ides have been a great boost to creativity honestly. I've been looking for a new job and having little money or motivation has been difficult. My job pays horrendously low and I know we make a killing so it's maddening that I don't get paid more. They'll be fine without me, they were fine before me, but I also know they're doing better with me there so it's frustrating that I'm not compensated better. A friend's mom is trying to help me right now and because I'm trying to focus on jobs I'm trying not to roll too deep into my own creative endeavours, but those would cheer me up so much. I have a micro-story collection I want to write/draw and I've been thinking over how to talk about my skin disease and living with it in a narrative format. I don't have a conclusion because I have nothing to be cured, but I don't have an arc either. Maybe micro stories about living with it would be better. I'm also sitting on 5 different story-worlds that I want to write for and explore and I can't because of the whole job search thing. 

In addition to all of this I was considering foregoing the job route and looking into grants so I can focus on art for a while and those make me panicky. I want to create, but I also need to pay for loans and healthcare and bills. I'm sitting on 3 figures and it's not good enough. Things are too unstable. 

Maybe I'll try to write more. I've recently started taking short walks in the morning, 3 miles in an hour, and doing a few exercises in the house because I'm a very sedentary homebody. I can't tell if it's doing any good yet, I mean, I'm sure it is. And walking is easy so I don't mind. It's just getting up and out. Listening to Hamilton while I'm out is a great motivator because I enjoy it and the first act is so pumped. 

Here, I took some photos on Friday while I was out. And some recent sketches!


Intervention Con

Hi, it's been a long, long while since I've taken the time to write anything and it's self promotion. Well, it's my own website, so ehh.

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I will be tabling at Intervention Con in Rockville, MD this upcoming weekend, August 14-16. I'm going to power through all three days!

I was assigned to table 72. Where do you think that might be......

I was assigned to table 72. Where do you think that might be......

I will have me old books, 100 Days, Cinema and Lawrence's Diary. In addition to these books, I'm also going to have copies of "Adult", JPDS14 and GNS, my two 2014 sketchbooks, and I will have Warm, my 2015 sketch book. I've been working on the second chapter to Cinema this past year, I won't have sellable copies, but I will have a proof version of the book and will take preorders to mail out when the book is ready. 

I feel like I don't have that many items, but when I lay my stuff out it's more than I think. Every time. I am down to my last few copies of jpds14 and GNS, they will not be reprinted in this form again. 

Assorted sketchbooks for sale

Assorted sketchbooks for sale

Warm is my 2015 sketchbook and features color art along with black and white art.  It will only be printed in 2015, after this year I'll sell whatever copies I have left then it's out of print. My sketchbooks will only be printed between August and December, but feature art from the previous August to the current August. GNS is my 2014 sketchbook.

"Adult" 2014

"Adult" 2014

"Adult" is my 2014 mini about the first time I thought I was an adult. I'm currently not selling it online, I may change that in the future.

100 Days, 2012

100 Days, 2012

My 2012 Mini daily autobio comic

Cinema, 2012

Cinema, 2012

My 2012 book about teens playing paintball

Lawrence's Diary, 2012

Lawrence's Diary, 2012

My 2012 story about a goat transported to a new world. 

decorated canvas panel, 2015

decorated canvas panel, 2015

An example of the canvas panels. each will be decorated with  the little linear abstractions. Some will spell a word, such as this one, others will just be a pattern fill.

Thanks for reading! I hope to see some of you at Intervention this weekend!

Fun fact: I'll draw you something cool if you buy me a red bean bun, custard bun or pineapple bun from the BreadCorner in Rockville.  Not lying, I love these things and want them. I'll happily accept and try anything they make unless there's coconut on it.  I'm not as big a fan of the pork buns, but I'm still down to eat. 

Comics and Cons 'n' Work

Oh hey there, I've been quiet. What with having my daily sketch blog and having somewhere where I write on a daily basis this has fallen to the wayside a little. 

This past September I went to SPX like I've done for the past 2 years and it was another fun year where I bought all types of great books and minis. I was an attendee but I still had some sketchbooks that I traded, gave away and sold (to friends) so that's cool. I put together a book of daily sketches and a book of Good Night and Other sketches. It was so much work and I wanted to smash my computer on more than one occasion but I made it, my computer is in one rattly piece and I have a cool thing to take with me places. 

My 'Appearances' tab has updated. I'm going up to Brooklyn Comic Art Fest again this year and celebrating my birthday in NYC with my family. I've also applied to table at PIX - Pittsburgh Indy Comic Expo. It's only one day, but still, I want to have something new to take. 

(This was half written in September, now I'm finishing it at the end of October)

I'm applying for CAKE in Chicago for next year right now. I need to get my newest completed comic "Adult" somewhere to show the judges and I need to have a self portrait, I don't like any of my other ones so I guess I'm drawing a new one :D

Because of the time that's passed from when I started this to when I'm finishing this I jumped over working on "Adult". It's about the first time I thought I was an adult, the quotation marks are part of the title. I wrote and drew "Adult" in just about two weeks for the Richmond Zine Fest, my first time tabling anywhere and I think I did okay. I think I'd do better at a comics show so I'm pretty hopeful about my prospects at PIX and if I get into CAKE then that too. I'm working on new comics to debut at both shows. I want a new Cinema story for PIX, it's roughly 30+ pages. I'm not sure what story I want to draw for CAKE, I'm considering a Close to the Sun story, but I'm not sure yet. Lawrence's Diary is being folded into a world I'm calling Big Myth Playground which has a greater scope than the initial LD world. I'm also thinking about submitting to Filthy Figments which means I'll have 3 different comics drawn in the next few months if I get in. 

We'll see how much work I have ahead of me. I know I'm in PIX so I'm going to focus on that one and get that story written. I'll know if I get into CAKE in January and for FF, I don't remember when they're getting back to people but I have another 3 weeks to submit my application, so I can refine my story and work on some figure work in the meantime. 

I have given myself a lot of goals and ideas on my creative plate. It's a good thing, I really did feel awful for just about all of 2013 because I wasn't really creating much. Even making videos wasn't enough, it wasn't the right type of creating. I need to be drawing and writing to feel at my best.

When I go through periods of depression I question the value of my existence because I'm not making anything. When I don't really draw anything for a while I feel guilty that I'm not drawing. Even now, when I've spent most of the year just doing my Daily Sketches I often felt I could be drawing something more, but I had no goals and poor motivation. I have goals, I have motivation and I have about 4 months to accomplish my first one so I need to step to and get some comics drawn. 

Small Press Expo 2013

I had to stop reading a comic so I could write about this. All I've want to do all day was read but this is all worth it. 

I have been amped and ready for SPX 2013 since last year. As soon as the convention was over and I was in my car hearing Gangnam Style on the radio as I drove back to Norfolk I was dreaming of coming back. I was ready and inspired to work on my comics and I was ready to read all types of new, weird and wonderful books, stories and minis. I really don't think a week went by where I didn't think about SPX, wanting to go back to the magical world of comics and fun that the weekend was and wanted to go this year. I got to work reading and working on my books, riding the wave of inspiration and enthusiasm I got some books made. 

Jump to this year, I'm scrambling to get new business cards and my books reprinted so I can sell them, trade them and give them out at the show. 2 of them come out perfectly, I failed the third one a little, but it still looks good. But I was humming and ready on Friday for the day to hurry up and end so I could get to Bethesda to mingle and catch up with people. 

I wasn't able to meet up with the SPXers from last year, but I did star making new friends and talking with people about all types of things as I hung out for the evening. I met Terrance (TheBlackNerd) and hung out with the Draw Friends crowd first. I got to meet Josh PM and Tony Breed and some other wonderful people before I wandered to the bar to see if some alcohol would help me feel less weird and less alone (spoiler alert: it did).

I met Montogmery Goose, Nick Sumida and Davis Fowl in the bar, I recognized Nick and told him he was adorable, because he is and I'm really honest when I'm drunk. I almost literally bumped into James Kolchaka at the bar which was crazy. I'd gone up for a drink and was just going to politely say excuse me to the person to my left when I realized it was him. I told him I'd just started reading American Elf in September before he announced he was ending the book, it was bittersweet but nice to be on the same page but for different reasons. (I forgot to find his table or signing and buy one of the volumes, but I'll get the other books eventually :D). I ran into Darryl Ayo and that was great chatting for a moment, it's still flattering for me that he follows me on twitter. (this gifset on tumblr represents pretty much everytime I met someone at SPX and they liked me)

Outside I met Seth and really didn't think anything of it until I turned around on Sunday and saw a drawing of his in the map. After talking about racism and something...I've forgotten what (three drinks in and I hadn't eaten anything in 7 hours.....) I went in for another drink and met Danielle Corsetto who was absolutely delightful and nice to me. I was just going to compliment her on the comic and then I took out my sketchbook - I really wish I could remember why - but she wanted to see it so we flipped through. I sobered up enough to trust buying McDonalds and  driving home, which was still  mildly questionable.

Saturday: 

Offical Day 1 of the convention I have breakfast with my best ladybro, Bianca, who couldn't make it and we discussed the possibility of working on a story for Smut Peddler. I get to the convention center later than intended but it works out because the line has died down by the time I get up there and my wait is pretty short. I find Lee Cherolis, Christopher William, Lynn Andrews, Jeremy Bentley and Samantha Kyle, my 2012 SPXbros first before walking around the convention. I spent much of Saturday buying printed books from webcomic artists, but people remember me which makes me feel special. I grab a Girls with Slingshots book from Danielle and trade my minis for Ballad of Laundry Cat with Yuko and Ananth (Johnny Wander) which was really cool for me. I wander around a bit more and find Nick Abadzis and let him know I'm incredibly flattered that he has liked some of my sketches on instagram. I bought Laika and Hugo Tate from him and gave him the oversized Cinema book. 

I was surprised to stumble upon Michael Bracco and Phil Kahn sharing a table, last minute entrants this year, along with Jamie Noguchi so it was great seeing some Super Art Fight frandz around. Speaking of Super Art Fight, I was sad there wasn't an event at SPX, and I did re-meet Carlos whom I had met at last week's show at Ottobar.  

I met Dave McKenna on Friday in a group of established indie creators, I traded books with him. I feel as if my hubris annoyed him, if he reads this, I'm sorry. I should I given him one of my books and bought one of his, the daring of youth... 

I'm sure I've skipped over a ton of people I met and bought things from, but I have books, business cards and memories. I spent some time Saturday afternoon going through my 3ds streetpasses before catching up with the SPX2012 crowd (and some new-to-me buddies) at Chili's for food before we hung out at the Ignatz After Party. Lots of drinking, talking sharing, bumping elbows after a while. I wandered from group to group not having any one group or person to return to, which is both nice and sad. It was nice to meet so many different people and different groups, but it would also have been nice to not spend time standing by a wall watching other people socialize. 

I drove home just as late as the night before, but a lot more sober.  

Sunday: "Day 3, no day 2...fuck it, Sunday" 

I posted this photo flaunting my new hair cut, more for people not at SPX.  Bianca did it Saturday, I received a lot of compliments on it which was awesome. I picked up Nora, a high school ladybro and drive to Bethesda for breakfast and the tumblr meet up. It was cool meeting MDT (who runs SPX?), Mike Mitchell, Diana Nock and everyone else I greeted downstairs and gave or traded books to and with respectively. Upstairs I beelined Smut Peddler and had a mini mission of getting the book signed by as many of the creators as I could so I could give it to Bianca who missed out on SPX all together. It took all day because Spike was on a panel when I bought the book and Dechanique was walking the quieter floor but I think I got everyone who was there. 

I met Kori Michele who does Prince of Cats before meeting John Allison and embarrassing Nora. That was fun, I was calm. I mean, I was excited but she was in superfan mode. We wandered and shopped. Nora bought Kate Leth's second to last bag and I was proud of her for buying something she'd never heard of. 

We ended up running into someone we knew from high school which was weird, especially because we kept bumping into one another.  

In the afternoon we went to the Queering Mainstream Comics panel, I thought it was interesting and enlightening. I was there because I'd met Northwest Press's Rob the night before and was invited to check it out. I didn't go to as many panels as I'd've liked but I did enjoy the one. After the panel I was able to buy their anthology so that was cool. 

A slight change of plans happened and Nora left early. I went out to dinner with Mario "Santiago" Gonzales, Monica Ray, Lee, Dern, Phil Chan, Samantha Kyle, Adriana Blake and Jimena Sarquiz Look at their blurry-lovely faces eating pizza! My Sunday ended with just hanging chatting and meeting Mitch Clem before having to drive home for work Monday.

I bought a ton of comics including a non-yet-released Art Spiegelman collection, Nedroid, Seth's book, Phuzzy Comics, Little Guardians 2, Intrepid Girlbot and so many more. I'll snap a picture to share, but it was a great weekend for me. I think I'm going to try to table next year which means I need to get serious about working on my new books and some minis for next year's show. i think I might be ready, and i have plenty of friends and acquaintances to ask for advice about how to table, so I will use my resources wisely.  

If I missed your name here, it's nothing personal, so many people were everywhere. I had a blast and I can't wait to get to another convention and to be around that excited energy of comic, creating and possibility. I love you all, you're wonderful and thanks for reading. I'll add a photo of my purchases soon, I have a lot...

 

(in other news, SPX was huge this year, the floor a third larger than in the past) 

 

Comic Talk: Black Lightning: Year One- Jen Van Meter & Cully Hamner

I knew nothing about Black Lightning before DC released an animation short featuring Black Lightning's daughters needing to go to school, and he's fighting something but needs to get home to get his girls off to school. I saw it and thought "DC's trying to develop a black hero? Fantastic!" and wanted to know more about him. 

I don't remember why I chose this book. I like the Year One concept because it introduces new readers to a world without the weight of decades of back story, and villains that stretch forever and bog everything down. They're usually a one off, contained narrative, you know stories will continue but you don't need to know anything to be able to enjoy what you're reading. They do the job, they tread familiar ground for established fans but are easy for new potential fans to get into. 

But what I like. I like that as a hero Black Lightning has a family. So many heroes are alone with so little to live for or a real thing to fight and protect. Superman focuses on Lois and the Daily Planet. Spider-man on Aunt May, Gwen or MJ, and the Daily Bugle. Batman is on his own and maybe Robin sometimes? Iron Man fights for Pepper, but so many heroes are single bachelors, or dating or married without families to care about.

 At his core, Jefferson Pierce is a family man. He has a loving mother, wife and daughter, a hard but caring sister, her kind of deadbeat husband. There are people who know who he is, what he's doing and they care just as much as he does. They understand he has a power that can be put to so much good and in this book they do as much as they can to help him and to not end up as targets of the wrath of the 100. 

I like that he's written not as a stereotype. He's a solid family man (currently, I guess a divorce happens after the second daughter is born, but he retains custody later on), educated an educator, and a successful athlete. He speaks proper English and not some insulting lesser English. He was and athlete and pushed himself because he knew no other way to deal with the electrical build up in his body. It's not explained in this book where his powers come from, according to wikipedia, in Year One he's a metahuman and he just does. In other continuities he has a device that creates the electrical energy. (I do judge a little because he's a black dude with electricity powers (were they just used as a way/excuse to 'light' dark skin in  shadows in comics?---nah)).  He proves himself to be a valuable and good person as a positive local role model as he, as Jefferson Pierce, works to fix the Metropolis Southside after it was attacked by The 100, a gang that had a crazy magic-villain leader. 

He comes into town as a positive role model, he's working to improve the lives of these people, partially because of person guilt of 'abandoning' the town but also because he wants better for his students than their high school prostitution or gang lifestyle. He wants to prove to them that they're worth the effort and the energy and that they can do something good with their lives.  

I like that when Clark Kent shows up to figure out who Black Lightning, and later one to help, that the book doesn't become about him showing up to save the day or being super integral to everything. The old-world magic in the 100 is too toxic for his kyrptonian body and his powers are diminished, so the book is really about improving a community from the inside. I like how the bigger story is an overarching positive way to fixing something broken, not just by bringing in new resources but working to strengthen it from inside and giving people the hope and belief that they can live better lives.

I did get a little lost while reading the book. Every issue in the 6 issue mini that make up the book is narrated by a different character, his wife, a clean cop he knows, Pierce himself and Clark Kent all lend their opinions and observations of the situation. Those get confusing because they're one overarching idea for the 22 pages of the issues, but the panels are interspersed with the current dialogue. As I was reading I just stumbled over the dialogue versus the 'voice over' because both were important, but they're both being read so I'd read from one VO sentence into a dialogue sentence and would just get turned around.  I don't know if it was me or the comic being a little ambition with having that much go on. I don't read heroes that often, but I can't think of too many modern comics that have that type of 'this is how I saw the situation' type of thing going on. It's better than older comics where there's a giant caption box explaining the art in the panel.

On Cully's Art.  

I was originally not into it. It might just have been the thing of settling into a design because art evolves every time you pick up a pencil. It shifts, improves, changes. Maybe I just got used to the style for the book. I love the designs of everyone. I love how Black Lightnings costume functions and how simple it is. His true Hero costume may be kevlar and other armor but it's a tee shirt, leather jacket, jeans and stylized fold-down boots. The bottom half of the costume feels very early comics and is on the skin -tight side, but the idea of the costume is good. It's realistic clothing, and I like that the mask is connected to a wig so his identity is really concealed. I also like how it's presented to him. He starts out running around in a hoodie and jeans. When he admits his nightlife to his family they present him with his new Hero Armor. They're in on it, they're supportive, it's great.

As a black comics reader, even though I might not identify with many presentation of black characters in media, I did like seeing a world populated with different types of black people. Each was a character, each had ones and desires. It may be the 'bad' side of town, or the 'black' side of town, but the motivations that many characters had for what they were doing were apparently, the negative roads the kids were heading down were a product of the only things they saw. But design wise, there's more than one type of black person, in hair style, in fashion style.  

It's just such a good book. Give it a read, I was excited to pick it up every time I had the chance. It touched on a not often explored part of the DCU, and it shows that Dc can be not horrible to black characters. It shows a world realistically populated with important male and female characters who do good for the story. I think that both Jen and Cully did wonderful jobs and I'd love to read more of their interpretation of this character. I'd also love to see more of the DC animations done of Black Lightning, I hope he gets his own show, it's be boss. The black DC characters I know of who are have been in cartoons are Cyborg (I only know him from Teen Titans), Static Shock, but Black Lightning as a DCAU show could be another positive black hero, but also an adult and not just another child doing things.