Friday, August 29, 2008

Paper Comic Deathwatch: No More Bhuddas!

Official: Virgin Comics Shuts NYC Offices

Buddha!!!From Publisher's Weekly - Virgin has shut down it's comics group...

Virgin Comics, the high-profile 2006 international joint venture between Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Group and the India-based comics publisher Gotham Entertainment, has been shut down. The company’s New York office and publishing unit has been closed and the eight people that staff it have been laid off.

So this kills all hope of me ever seeing Deepak Chopra's Buddha team up with Wolverine.

PCDW Points: 50

(let's be honest - this company was't really publishing paper comics in the first place were they? Those were movie pitches with ads.)

Murderdrome iPhone Comic

Rich Johnston points the way to people who are using the new iPhone/iTouches to distribute comics

“2000AD” artist PJ Holden demonstrates how his and writer Al Ewing's "Murderdrome" comic works on an iPhone or iTouch.

In the same article, Rich points out that iVerse Comics, a digital comic company is now producing digital long form comic books for the iPhone and iPod Touch.

Below is a example of how their comics work - pretty slick actually!

Finally, I went on Youtube and found this: Comics On Small Screens

I don't know - the size of the panels looks exactly like what people think of when they say, "I hate trying to read web comics with scrunchy type..." but this is definitely building up steam...

PCDW Points: 1000

Meanwhile - What's up with Kindle?

CrunchGear Kindle 2.0Ah, the Kindle...the Amazon eReader that's taken the world(?) by a storm despite its rather Soviet Issued design a sleeker, more robust version coming down the pike? Apparently yes according to BusinessWeek who are saying...

...that plans to unveil a larger-screen model of its Kindle e-book player, aimed at students, in the coming months.

And CrunchGear has a nice rendering of what the new model might look like along with this bit of information...

...The first is an updated version with the same sized screen, a smaller form factor, and an improved interface. The source told us that Amazon has “skipped three or four generations,” comparing the old Kindle to the 1st gen iPod and the new version to something like the sexy iPod Mini.

And while I'm sure the rendering is just a guess as to what the guys at Frog Design have developed for the new look and feel of Kindle 2.0, I'm willing to bet the new version is still closer to Dell coyote ugly than Apple iPod sexy.

Anyway, in everything I've read about the new Kindles, I've not seen anything to suggest they will be able to handle color images, so while this may not be a paper comic killer in of itself, it will most likely hasten the demise of print media in general. So there will be a sort of trickle down impact on comics as print companies react to supply and demand changes and a social paradigm impact as reading from a device becomes more accepted.

UPDATE: While working on this article yesterday, Engadget reported Amazon puts the kibosh on Kindle 2.0 rumors saying...

Amazon spokesman Craig Berman told the New York Times today that there's nothing in store for this year, and that a new version won't happen before "sometime next year at the earliest."

PCDW Points: 2000 <-- special Kindle Hot Pink Points

Logo by Sean KleefeldFrom Ink to the Internet: Comic Books Evolve

Here's an interesting article from BusinessWeek/GigaOm(who?) running down the various new media initiatives from the big two comic companies this year.

There's a lot of stuff you've probably read before in the article if you are a faithful reader of PCDW, but there is this interesting bit...

While sales of traditional entertainment forms such as music CDs and DVDs have decreased or flattened, there hasn't been a similar sea change forcing the comics industry to go digital—the paper-based comics business is still doing well. Combined sales of graphic novels and comic books in the U.S. and Canada hit $705 million in 2007—a 10% bump up from 2006, and sales of graphic novels have quintupled since 2001.

So if demand is still high for print, what's driving the digital moves? Opportunity. "We want people to see these stories through as many distribution points as possible," Buckley said. So Marvel is trying a number of digital formats for its properties. Last year the company launched Digital Comics Unlimited, a subscription-based service that charges $50 a year for access to more than 4,000 (soon to hit 5,000) comic books online. Since the launch, Buckley said Marvel has learned quite a bit. "The print and digital businesses complement each other," he said. "One is not cannibalizing the other."

Thanks to boox909 who sent me this bit of info via private messages on the Golden Age Comics Messageboard which, btw, is an AWESOME place to get Free Public Domain comic books like the ones I post every Monday.

More news about the Apple iTablet explains the details behind a new patent by Apple which details Multi-Touch Mac User Interface along with an image from said patent that shows what this new iTablet might look like...

Apple iTablet

In the Patent, Apple explains that on a tablet Mac, the buttons of a control box may be smaller than a users finger and located close together. Therefore it may be difficult for the user to make a selection directly without possibly pressing an undesirable button. To solve this problem, at least a portion of the control box would be enlarged, including the buttons therein when the user places their thumb over the control box.

I've said it before, and will definitely say it again - if when Apple finally unleashed their version of a eReader or tablet PC, that will pretty much be the final straw for not just comics but newspapers, magazines, books and just about everything else on paper.

PCDW Points: 5000

Before I close, I'd like to thank Caine, Boox909, Markus and Medusa who sent me articles this week!

- Jim

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Pierre Speaks: Animation 2

Developing an Animated Series

Making an animated series is a lot of work, and it can take months and months of development.

The easiest way to come up with an animated project is to take something that already exist (usually something successfull) and adapt it for animation (Batman Adventure, Ultimate Avengers).

Bob Morane was such a project.

When I started working on Bob Morane... there was a whole team of designers and colorists that had been developping the show for months (I would say 3 or 4.... but I might be misremembering). And they already had some comic artist coming up with an early version of the characters for a few months before that. And once I got on the project, we still were developping/tweaking the look of the show for about 3 months as we started working on the first few episodes.

And that was on something that was already well established before.

We had the original Bob Morane novels, and all the comics that pretty much established who the characters were.

So imagine how much work it can be when you come up with a project from scratch.

And there is never any guarantee that the project will ever reach the TV screen (or movie screen).

I have seen hundreds of proposals (literally) in all my years in animation. And 99.5 of those never made it to the screen.

I have seen proposals never go any further then just being a proposal.

I have seen proposals being turned into a 10 minutes fully animated demo and never go further then that.

I have seen proposals becoming a full episode AKA pilot and never go further then that (X-Men; Pryde of the X-Men is a perfect example of that..... it would have made an awesome TV show).

Heck I have seen proposals where half a season was finished when the project ended up being shelved.

It happens.

As I keep on telling people.... until you see the project on the TV screen... anything can happen and the project could end up on a shelf never to be used for some reason.

For years we heard about the "upcoming" "Nexus" TV animated series, or the "Bone" animated movie, or more recently the "Teen Titans; Judas Contract" animated direct to DVD movie.

But sadly..... we will never see those projects for some reasons.

Heck we often see TV shows with good ratings get cancelled because the toys/merchandising don't sell very well (Batman Beyond).

I suspect that is why "Justice League" became "Justice League Unlimited" in some hope to be able to sell more action figures thanks to the truckload of new characters in JLU.

Essentially, animated TV shows are little more then half hour commercials to sell toys/mercandises. Sad.... but that is how it usually works.

There are no official way to develop an animated project. Each studio I have worked at all went about this in a different way.

Heck I have seen projects where we had a whole 2 weeks to develop the entire project. Can you imagine?? 2 whole weeks. Let me tell you that it was not nearly enough time.

But it happens.

It is not rare to end up on projects with completely unreasonable demands.

Not much choice there.

You either do it.... or tell them to get someone else.

In an ideal world, you have a bunch of writers coming up with some writers bible with a synopsis for the series, and the psychology of the characters explaining who the characters are and what their background is and stuff like that.

And you get a small army of artists to come up with some cool visuals for the look of the project. Some characters model sheets, some locations, and some color samples to try to establish the look and atmosphere of the series.

And animation being a collaborative process, not only does it take various teams of people (writers designers, colorists/etc) to produce the proposal.... but as usual whatever you do needs to go throught a small army of directors/producers for their approuval. And more often then not, each of them will want to have a say in the creative process.

I suspect that in many cases it makes them feel like creative people when they do that.

Once you have everyone's approuval.... that a broadcaster and various investors have been found, and that the studio has all the money.... or at least most of the money... needed for the project, you are ready to begin production....... more or less.

I have seen some productions start with only part of their financing, confident that they would get the rest as the project progressed.

Sometimes it worked.... and sometimes not... and that became one of those projects that never reached the TV screen.

It happens.

So usually, developing an animated project is a bumpy ride. It is not unlike trying to pitch a submission/proposal to a comic publisher, but on a bigger scale.

Instead of being just a lone shmoe or two in their basement trying to come up with some character and some sample pages to show around to some potential publisher, you have this corporation hiring a bunch of people to put together a proposal for a TV show to pitch to various broadcasters and investors.

More or less the same thing.... but on a different scale.

In the next Blog about animation, I will talk about the writing part of an animated project.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Free Comics Monday: The Flame

Today I present two issues of the Fox Feature Syndicate character The Flame:

Here is what wikipedia says about The Flame:

The Flame was a fictional superhero that appeared in comic books published by Fox Feature Syndicate. The Flame first appeared in Wonderworld Comics #3 (July 1939). He was created by writer Will Eisner and artist Lou Fine.

The Flame first appearance was in Fox's Wonderworld Comics #3, dated July 1939. The Flame gained his own title in the summer of 1940; it ran for eight issues. He was one of the titular Big 3, appearing in that periodical alongside Blue Beetle and Samson. The Flame's final appearance was in January 1942, when all three titles were canceled.

[ The Flame 1 ]

More from wikipedia...

Thanks to his training, the Flame has the ability to control fire and heat. He can raise his own body temperature to point where he can burst into flames, or melt bullets. He can control and direct any flame in his presence. He can also teleport from place to place by appearing inside of any fire source, no matter how small. The Flame's one weakness is water, which can severely weaken him. In order to provide fire whenever he needs it, the Flame carries a small, pistol-sized flame thrower.

[ The Flame 4 ]


Friday, August 22, 2008

An Interview with Chaz Truog

Chiaroscuro: The Private Lives of Leonardo Recently, I mentioned working on a Zuda pitch called Planet X and how artist Chaz Truog was turning in some great pages. Well, today I would like to further introduce you to Chaz with this interview we conducted via email.

Jim Shelley: Chaz, of all the projects you've worked on in the past, which are you the most proud of?

Chaz Truog: Animal Man #5: "The Coyote Gospel", was my favorite from that series.

I was very proud of the fact that art from Chiaroscuro: The Private Lives of Leonardo da Vinci was on display in the Seattle Art Museum's show: "Leonardo Lives", alongside art from famous artists like Warhol, Rembrandt, and Leonardo himself; and that the series was nominated for an Eisner Award.

My favorite individual piece of art was a cover I did for Mailbu Comics' Planet of the Apes series.

JS: Who would you say are some people that influence your art?

CT: The two biggest influences on my art have been Frank Thorne (Red Sonja, Ghita of Alizarr) and John Buscema.

I met Buscema briefly in what turned out to be his final convention appearance in 2001. I've been coresponding with Thorne since '94, he's currently doing a lot of work for Playboy, he's in his seventies and going strong!

JS: I've posted numerous ads on Digital Webbing in the past, but this was the first time I've ever gotten a response from you. Was there something about the Digital Webbing ad that interested you in the project?

John Carter of MarsCT: I've wanted to do a John Carter-type book since I read the Marvel Comics version thirty years ago, before anybody was born.

JS: So far, how would you describe your experience working on Planet X?

CT: Fun! I enjoy inking my own work.

JS: What other projects have you worked on recently?

CT: I've been working on a few comics projects (the up-coming Octobriana), various local freelance gigs, and I just picked up a few sculpture commissions.

JS: You have a lot of experience with print comics, but is this your first web comic project?

CT: Yes. The main difference is thinking in terms of horizontal composition, as opposed to the vertical compositions of print comics.

JS: On you mention that you also have acted. How long have you been doing that?

PlanetFallCT: I've done plays in high school and college, and I've had a chace to do a few local independant films: Go to Hell (1999) and Planetfall (2005), among others. Check them out on Netflix!

JS: Are you acting in anything currently?

CT: I'm acting right now! LOL, as the kids say.

JS: Thank you!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Pierre Speaks: The Animation Process - part 1

An animated series.... not unlike most comics.... is produced with many people each working on specific tasks.

In the case of comics, you have the writer, penciller, inker, etc.

It's not so different for an animated series.

You have the writers, character designers, location designers, storyboard artists, layout & posing artists, animators, in-betweeners, clean-up artists, and various colorists, and various others that I won't bother to mention.

Unlike comics, each production step is handled by a team of people. There is wayyyy too much work in producing an animated series. So you litterally have a small army of people working to produce an animated TV show.

I will try to explain how various steps of an animated series work. In some cases, I have a lot of first hand experience to explain the process (for example the design part), but in other cases (like the writing), although I never wrote an animated series, I have worked on enough animated series to understand how most of the writing process actually works.

In animation, understanding how the other steps of the production works helps you do your job.

For example, when you design a character, you have to also understand how the character you design will affect the animation because a bad design can be hard to animate.

I knew next to nothing about animation when I started up. So I went to the bookstore and got a book called "Animation from script to screen" by Shamus Culhane. That was my starting point in learning about animation.

Later on, some people would introduce me to various other books that would help me understand the animation process. Books like The illusion of life by Frank Thomas & Ollie Johnston, or the various Animation books by Preston Blair.

Those books are a must for anyone aspiring to work in animation, as well as people already working in the industry.

The first TV series I worked on was The busy world of Richard Scary doing character designs (although on some series the character designer also design the props). I also was part of the design team of various other shows (Bob Morane, Heavy Metal 2000, Marsupilami, Arthur). I also worked on "layout & posing" (Bob Morane, Fantomette, Arthur), storyboard (Pig City), and I even did artwork for licensing (Arthur, Ultimate Spider-man).

Usually on a project, the writer writes a first draft of the script. Then a second draft. Then a third draft and so on (I once saw a seventh draft). Until the script gets approved for the FINAL DRAFT.

Then the script is given to the various designers (character, props, location). Then the designer can analyse the script and make a list of the various elements he will need to design.

In an ideal world, the design people would receive the FINAL DRAFT of the script before starting to work on the designs. But wayyy to often, we ended up doing our designs from a not final version of the script because the FINAL DRAFT was not ready/approuved yet.

What that means is that you may very well end up designing a truckload of stuff that will not be in the FINAL DRAFT.

Heavy Metal: 2000 is a good example of this. I have stacks of designs that were no longer in the script in later versions of it.

Heavy Metal

When you work on an animated TV show, you have a truckload of restrictions. You have to keep your design fairly simple so that the animators can do a good job animating your design. But you also have to please a truckload of people.

Your design needs the approval of whoever is supervising the design process, then the director, then the broadcasters, and sometimes you also need the approuval of the creator of the series, or even worse.... when various producers decide to get involved in the process.

I have seen projects where various producers could not agree on what they wanted. Not fun when that happens.

Animation is the very definition of working by commity. There are people at various levels who all want to have their say in the creation process for some reason.

The DVD "Justice League; The New Frontier" has an audio commentary track with Bruce Timm and various other producers/directors. That is a perfect example of the "commity thinking" behind an animated project.

In future Blogs, we will explore in more details the various steps of an animated project (writing, design, storyboard) and the various series I have worked on (Bob Morane , Heavy Metal:2000, and yes Frank.... I will make a Blog about Arthur specifically ;) ).

Until next time.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Free Comics Monday: Pep Comics

Today I present more of the MLJ (Archie) Comic adventures of the Shield.

[ Pep Comics 1 ]

[ Pep Comics 2 ]


Friday, August 15, 2008

Flashback Update: Prometheus

I've got Strep throat today, so I'm afraid in lieu of a Paper Comic Deathwatch post, I'm going to have to tied you over with this update on the Prometheus/Amanita comic.

Tales of SuspenseOne of the things I wanted to do with this comic was have an adventure with both characters which had the same sort of feel of the old Tales of Suspense comics.

I've always been a sucker for a comic with two characters on the cover whether they were working together or in separate split screens like the one below.

I think part of the charm of such comics is that for the price of one comic, you get art from two different artists.

So for the Prometheus comic, the Prometheus story will be drawn by Flashback stalwarth Chris Nye and the Amanita story will be drawn by the newly discovered Donald Jackson.

The caveat is, I like all Flashback stories to be done in one issue, so rather than short change you the reader with half a story in each comic, writer Chad Bowers has whipped up an amazing story that uses both characters that I think you will really like. The title is Double Date, Double Doom!

Check out some of these panels from Chris Nye's half of the comic...

Prometheus carrying Amanita

Prometheus Carries Amanita

The villainess of our story...Go Go Godiva

Go Go Godiva art by Chris Nye

And the villain of the story...LoveLorn - sketch by Donald Jackson

LoveLorn art by Donald Jackson

I think you guys are really going to like this when you see the finished product!

That's all for today. I'm gonna run down to the local Doctor's Care and pick up some amoxicillin. :P

- Jim

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Pierre Speaks: Nostalgia

When mentioning that I love comics from the 70s or 80s, sometimes people will suggest that I love these comics out of "nostalgia".

I can understand that the nostalgia factor might be involved when I read a comic that I read as a kid.

For example, when I read my Flash comic issue 1/2, I remember when I first read it as a kid on the back porch where I lived at the time.

Or when I read the Stern/Byrne/Rubenstein Captain America in my grand-ma's kitchen.

Or when I read the Wolverine TPB at my locker when I started college.

But at some point I pretty much became a back issue reader and started reading comics from the 70s or 80s that I had NEVER READ BEFORE.

graphic by Chris SimsWhen I read the entire Rom the Spacenight series about 18 months ago, I had only read a handfull of those comics. But every pages/issues were filled with good stuff. The strength of the artwork and the stories was impressive even reading it a few decades after the original publication.

Or when I read Jack Kirby's New Gods TPB. The only New Gods comic I ever read by Kirby was the Hunger Dogs GN in the late 80s. But boy each panel was rich with details and powerful artwork that most modern comics do not seem to be able to match.

I could make a list a mile long of comics that I discovered decades after they were first published and that I loved for what they are, not for what they reminded me of.

So I don't buy into the "nostalgia" explanation.

I simply believe that the reason that I became a comic book fan is because I fell in love with a certain type of story told with a good balance of drama and action, with artwork that leaped off the page at the reader.

But those elements seems to be missing from most comics nowadays.

So to find the elements that made me fall in love with comics in the first place, I have little choice but to get comics that use that style. And those were the comics from the 70s and the 80s (although Invincible would be a perfect example of a modern comic as good as those comics from a few decades ago). So I like those comics not out of some misplaced nostalgia factor, but because they have the elements that I look for in a good story.

I hope this makes sense.

Until next time.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Free Comis Monday: The Little Wise Guys

Okay, picture this - you've got a comic that holds the world record for single issue sales (in the millions) but because of changing tastes you decide to push the main character into the background and focus on his kid sidekicks insteads. It sounds crazy, but in the 1950's that's exactly what Charles Biro did with his DareDevil comic when The Little Wise Guys took the spotlight.

Here is what wikipedia say about The Little WiseGuys:

Biro introduced popular supporting characters the Little Wise Guys in Daredevil #13 (Oct. 1942). A "kid gang" similar to DC Comics' Newsboy Legion and many others, the group consisted of Curly, Jocko, Peewee, Scarecrow and Meatball — the last of whom, with remarkable daring, was killed two issues later. By the late 1940s, with superheroes going out of fashion, the Little Wise Guys took center stage, edging out Daredevil altogether with issue #70 (Jan. 1950). The series lasted through #134 (Sept. 1956).

[ DareDevil Comics 55 ]

[ DareDevil Comics 56 ]


Friday, August 8, 2008

Welcome to Planet X!

PlanetXLast week I mentioned I had spent all day working on another Zuda pitch/project. The most interesting thing about this project is that my sole creative involvement in the pitch is pretty much the lettering. Outside of that, I'm only acting as producer of this pitch, which has been an exciting change in perspective for me. Let me explain.

To begin this story properly, let me introduce Trey Causey. Trey is a fantastic writer who combines a vast knowledge of literature and film with a poet's ear and a director's eyes. Using a gift of language I rarely see anymore, he paints elaborate vistas that harken back to the grand days when pulp writers were honing their craft in such magazines as Weird Tales and Amazing Stories.

You can check out an example of his storytelling technique here in a story from the the Sword & Sorcery e-zine Flashing Swords:

[ God of the Catacombs ]

Trey has pitched a couple of ideas for FBU to me on occasion, and while they are always interesting, usually they just weren't what I could use at the moment (usually because someone else was working on a story with the same character.) He *did* pitch a sort of Faster Pussycat Kill, Kill idea for Terrorsaur Rexx story which might get a green light one day. ;)

Well, one day, in an offhand discussion of crazy ideas talking about genre blending in comics, Trey throws out what I think is a genius idea: A James Bond type of character on a Barsoomian Martian world!

Diamonds Are ForeverNow, I happen to be a BIG James Bond fan, having seen all the Connery films when I was kid with my folks either in the theater or as ABC Friday night movies.

The earliest one I remembering seeing in the theater was Diamonds Are Forever in 1971. I think that was my first exposure to a movie that wasn't animated or strictly for kids, so it made quite an impression on me.

After that, I was hooked, and saw every James Bond movie that came out right up until Timothy Dalton took over the roll. (Nothing against Dalton, he just happened to inherit the mantle when I was a starving heavy metal guitarist, so I really didn't have enough funds to see movies in those days.)

But that was just one component of the idea that excited me. The other side was Mars. As one might guess, I'm also a big Edgar Rice Burroughs John Carter of Mars fan.

John Carter of MarsMy mom was a fan of the series and introduced me to the first book on a rainy afternoon at the beach when I was 12. I think I finished the whole book that afternoon, and spent the rest of the week begging my parents to take me to the Book Nook, so I could see if they had any more in the series.

That Summer I burned through all of the ERB Martian books and was a little disappointed to discover that there were only about a dozen of them.

What I was not aware of was the vast library of books by other writers like C. L. Moore and Leigh Brackett who also used Mars as a environment for High Concept alien adventures, much in the same flavor as ERB.

Trey told me that it was his vision to combine the hip 60s proto-psychedelic super-spy style with the exotic imagery, and baroque pulp flair distilled from the best of these fantasy Marses.

I loved the idea and told Trey to work it up as a pitch, which he did. However, as I read the pitch, I realized it really didn't quite fit into the Flashback Universe.

We talked about some options, which ended up with me encouraging Trey to turn the comic into a Zuda pitch. Trey liked that idea, but asked if I would help him find an artist and help shepherd the project given my experience with digital comics.

Chaz TruogSo, after a post on Digital Webbing, and a couple a weeks of viewing artists submissions, Trey and I picked Chaz Truog, who some of you may remember from Animal Man and Chiaroscuro: The Private Lives of Leonardo da Vinci both of which he worked on at DC.

Chaz brings a nice style to this project because he has a strong knowledge of history and historical designs evident in his other work, and really seemed to grasp the feel we were going for.

As Chaz worked up designs based on Trey's character concepts, I really became interested in being creatively involved in the project. Eventually, my yearning turned into a request to letter the comic.

More recently, we just started getting completed pages in from colorist Blake Wilkie and seeing the colored versions of the pages is a real blast.

I can't wait for everyone to see the finished results!

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Pierre Speaks: What is my REAL Job?

Often when I tell people that I am an artist, it is not rare that they will tell me...."That's nice dear but... What is your REAL job" (yes Phil.... I am thinking of your wife as I'm typing this ;) ).

I am one of those "fortunate" people for whom drawing is his "real" job. After doing it for more then 10 years, I can't imagine myself doing any other job.

Note from Jim: the above pic is from Bob Morane, a cartoon Pierre was an animator on.

Somehow.... people can't imagine drawing as a job.

And even worse when it comes to drawing silly comics for a website.

At least when I mention that I am working on various TV series.... people see that as something more respectable. Heck you should have seen some people's reaction when I worked on a feature film. But still they don't see that as a "real" job.

Note 2 from Jim: Pierre was an animator on Heavy Metal 2000.

I have been working as an artist since 1996.

Although I did various crappy assignments before that like business cards, posters, and other stuff that I can't recall... I started considering myself as an artist.... heck even better.... as a professional artist only when I broke into 2D animation for some reason.

In addition to my work on Flashback Universe... and something else that Jim should announce soon, I am currently working on the Award Winning TV series "Arthur" This is my third season (more technically since we usually do 2 seasons at once) working on "Arthur" and I also did some artwork for licensing with the little guy.

Although we were in nomination for an Emmy this year, we did not win. :(

But we did win 2 Emmy Awards many seasons ago while I was working on the show. And the series won even more of those Emmys since it first started.

In the future, I will try to make a blog to explain the various steps of an animated production..... at least I can talk about the various tasks that I have done through the years.

And now not only can I call myself and artist, but I can call myself a comic book artist.

To quote my "friend" Boromir...

"Ahhhhhh.... Today... life is good. ;)

Until next time.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Free Comics Monday: Shield Wizard Comics

Last week I mentioned DC was going to be bringing back some of the old MLJ heroes. Well, this week, I present two comics with two of those heroes, The Shield and The Wizard.

Here is what wikipedia say about The Shield:

The Shield is the name of several fictional patriotic superheroes created by MLJ (now known as Archie Comics). The Shield has the distinction of being one of the first superheroes with a costume based upon the American Flag, beating out Captain America by fourteen months. (Mister America, who later became Americommando is often named as the very first as he appeared at the same time as Superman in Action Comics #1, June, 1938, 16 months before The Shield and thus beating Captain America by some 30 months. During this period however he was an adventurer in plain clothes called Tex Thomson and did not become the Americommando, nor was he referred to by that name until late 1940/early 1941, well after The Shield was introduced).

The name has been used by MLJ/Archie for 3 characters. DC Comics' Impact line, which were licensed versions of the Archie characters, also used the name for several characters.

[ Shield Wizard 01 ]

Here is what wikipedia say about The Wizard:

The Wizard is a fictional superhero character created by Will Harr and Edd Ashe, Jr. for MLJ Comics, which later became Archie Comics. He first appeared in Top-Notch Comics #1 in December 1939, and he was the headliner of that title until its cancellation in 1944. He was one of the earliest superhero characters to appear after the debut of Superman in 1938.

[ Shield Wizard 02 ]


Friday, August 1, 2008

Paper Comic DeathWatch: iTablets and ABCNews

Yes, I am late today, but I have a good reason. I've spent all day lettering yet another Zuda proposal.

As it stands now, I have 3 Zuda proposals I'm working on, but none are quite ready to submit yet. I told you about the one Pierre and I are working on. This other one is VERY different, and I'll have more information about it next week.

In the meantime, let's rundown something that are helping push the minute hand up to Midnight on the Atomic Comic DeathClock.

There is this little item from our good friends at ABCNews. Apparently ABCNews went and asked Joe Q Public what they thought about the possible release of an iTablet and then MacRumors followed up with a long article outlining their long standing speculation on such a rumor.

Now some of you may remember my prediction that such a device would be announced at the Mac Developers conference. Alas, all we got was cheaper iPhones with 3G capability. (And even though you CAN view Flashback Universe comics on your iPhone, the iPhone is not a Paper Comic Killer App.)

So, when my iRider of the Paper Comic Apocalypse didn't appear at the Apple World Wide Developer Conference I was pretty disappointed. Not because I *hate* paper comics, but because all the signs (and Apple Patents ) were pointing to such a device. I also feel like once Apple show everyone how to *correctly* make such a device, the floodgates will be broken, and a horde of cheaper models will flood in from China.

And yet, by the time Apple finally gets such a device ready, it *might* be too late. Witness how quickly Mobile Internet Devices, Netbooks and UMPCs are taking off in Asia...

The latest sweetheart of the technorati is the Asus R50 UMPC

And while this isn't a UMPC, the sleek and cheap Dell Inspiron 13 is definitely going to fall into the hands of a LOT of students this year...starting at $349 for some models!

So, I kind of feel like Apple needs to hurry up and get whatever it is they are working on out to us quickly, because the longer they wait, the more they'll have to play catch up when they finally do unveil there MacTouch laptop or whatever it is they are sitting on. There word on the street is September is set for the drop of this new device. Let's see how that shakes out.

PCDW Points: Zero for now - let's see what happens in September. ;)


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