Friday, November 28, 2008

PCDW: Zealous about comics once again

PCDW Logo by Sean Kleefeld

Note: Today's PCDW post was written by FBU writer Caine:

MySpace incorporated into major comicbook event: "Spawnspace"

Image Comics and MySpace have teamed up to release Todd McFarlane and Whilce Portacio's SPAWN relaunch as the second issue sells out at a distribution-level!

“Todd McFarlane Productions is excited to be partnering with Myspace Comics to bring the fans Spawn #185," McFarlane said. "Myspace Comics is the wave of the new generation. Many fans have turned to this form of modern communication. I hope you enjoy looking at a medium that is challenging how things have been traditionally done.”

At first glance this may seem like not such a big deal. I mean most everyone reading this will know about Myspace, and the comic book Spawn. Myspace comics was launched some time ago and seems to have established a following. Spawn is a popular comic book character launched under the Image comics banner in 1992 with the companies first wave of titles that has crossed into nearly all mediums: comics, cartoons, a movie, anime, and has established an abundance of spin offs such as Angela, Curse of the Spawn, Sam & Twitch to achieve a level of success that few independent comic books ever see.

Spawn #185 however is a complete relaunch aimed at invigorating the franchise for a new era. A relaunch produced by two very prominent names in the industry; Todd McFarlane and Wilce Portacio, both of whom are creators who don't necessarily need myspace to get the word out concerning their new comic. A mere mention of a new Spawn between the two creators at the end of a panel discussion at a comic-con was enough for plenty of buzz on the blogosphere.

Todd McFarlane and Wilce Portacio have chosen to use Myspace. Coming from these two, that's a powerful statement. One that reminds me of my glory days of paper comics...

-Image News

PCDW Points: 50,000

  Wired [gadgets] proclaims comics are finally being done right on the iPhone: "COMIC ZEAL"

ComicZeal is another application for reading comic books on the iPhone and, despite being a little rough around the edges gets things pretty much right. Back in August we took a look at two other comic readers for the iPhone but they both failed on one essential point: They split the pages into individual frames, leaving the reader unable to enjoy more complex, dramatic page designs.

Comic Zeal lets you read whole pages in the same way as Mobile Safari lets you read whole web pages: You just pinch to zoom in. And although the iPhone's screen is a little small for the medium, reading comics with Comic Zeal works surprisingly well.

Comic Zeal comes with an application that allows the user to upload their own comics! Granted, right now it seems a bit complicated for the average user and may not be something you want to bother with at this time but the app bears mentioning anyway.


PCDW Points: 15,000

...if the iPhone is to your liking but for the screen size than this is for you:

Small Screen Woes:The Samsung P4 and the Foldable Screen

We knew that foldable screens were in the future of tech, but I didn’t expect it this soon. My jaw dropped when I saw this demo of Samsung’s latest OLED screen fold up on itself. The video demo is of poor quality, but it looks like it’s a very vibrant screen and video continues to play as it folds.

 Targeted to mobile phones, it’s a natural assumption that this will be seen sometime in an upcoming Samsung MP3 player. We know the P3 is right around the corner but perhaps this technology will be ready for the P4. But additionally, Samsung’s tech could find itself to other brands, since many of them rely on Samsung for displays. The iriver clix 2 was the first to use their cutting edge AMOLED screen before anyone else. This opens up exciting new possibilities of portable form factors- I hope to check this out first hand at CES this January. Stay tuned.

PCDW Points: 10,000

and there is also:

Gigabyte’s little M528 internet notelet joins n810, S6

"I liked the Nokia n810 when I saw it at last year’s CES, and now there’s a little more competition in the mid-size internet device area as Gigabyte enters the stage with the M528. Bigger than a full-touchscreen mobile phone but smaller than a netbook, these devices comprise a questionable subgenus of the compact computing market. The question is, does this device do anything my G1, or say a Touch Pro or Tilt doesn’t?

Is there a value to the extra diagonal inch of screen, or are they attempting to fill a demand that doesn’t exist? Well, with 800MHz Atom processors in them, they’re certainly more powerful than other pocketable items, but until I have one in my hands I can’t decide."

PCDW Points: 25,000


If you're a Marvel fan, as I know Jim and a lot of you are, this may interest you:

  • Read 5,000 issues, including the first 100 issues of Spider-Man!
  • Access exclusive comics not available in stores.
  • Enjoy thousands of comics featuring Iron Man, Hulk, the X-Men and many other Marvel characters!

Me? I'm a diehard DC fan so this only manages to rub it in that DC has yet to put together a digital delivery system for its legion of fans. :(

PCDW Points: 5,000

 Do you Twitter?Anything and everything associated with digital comic books have been mentioned and even tried on Twitter Comics Twitter Fiction Twitter RPG and more have all been pumped through's api. Marvel comics are no exception:

Flash forward a year and a half and we now have a dedicated Marvel Twitter feed (run by myself and a few minions), to spread news and info, as well as converse with the fans. Our "follower" count (those who subscribe to our feed) grows by leaps and bounds every day and the number of Marvel creators, staffers and associates is nearing 100.

And that last part is what really made me want to write this story, spread the word and get to know your pals at Marvel a little better. Who's on Twitter? Check it:

Marvel writers on Twitter include (but are not limited to) Brian Michael Bendis, Ed Brubaker, Duane Swierczynski, Andy Diggle, Jason Aaron, Ivan Brandon, Rick Remender, Matt Fraction, Warren Ellis, Brian Reed, Jim McCann, C.B. Cebulski, Brian Keene, Simon Spurrier, Jonathan Hickman and Paul Cornell.

Now you wn't find any actual comic books on the marvel twitter stream but following some of the most active and outspoken marvel creators to date can be almost as fun, and with amazing apps like those above who know what could happen...

PCDW Points: 5,000 [ because this is bound to lead to the death of more paper]

Have a great holiday weekend!

- Caine

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Pierre Speaks - Heavy Metal 2000 pt 2

Office politics.

I hate them.

I mentioned how I almost did not get to work on Heavy Metal because of it.

But then later, office politics took on a new form.

On the design team, every designers were designing the show in their style, and were pushing to get the project done in their style.

And some of the producers had their own idea on what they wanted.

So when the time came to show some artwork to the main investors, the producers would not show them everything and let the investors decide which style they prefered. The producers would "forget" (meaning hide) to show the investors some of the designs, so that the investors would have no choice but to choose the work of the designer of the producers choice.

So you had that tug of war going on with people trying to get the project done in the style they wanted.

It made me realise that I had already seen that before..... but again at the time I never fully realised what was going on. I guess that Cypher war right.... ignorance is bliss. ;)

I started as a clean-up artist on Heavy Metal.... but that project was a rollercoaster ride for me.

The director seemed to like what I was doing and I did not work doing clean-up for long.

I remember someone commenting on how I seemed to have a sure hand when cleaning up the artwork with a fine marker, and how I was doing more then just cleaning-up, but was actually improving the artwork.

At the time, I took it as someone just pulling my leg, especially considering that I knew that many did not want me there.

But when the director started asking me to redo the designs that some of the designers had done..... I started taking such comments seriously.

And after a while, I was no longer redoing some designs that had already been done, but doing some designs of my own.

Once again..... some people weren't happy about that.

Some of the designers weren't happy that I was redoing their work.

Although... sometimes even I was not happy about that because I liked what some of the designers were doing.... and was not too crazy about the idea of "fixing" their work sometimes

But also some of the other guys who had been hired as clean-up artists were wondering why I was doing designs.

For most of them, it was their first job in animation. And they assumed that it was the same with me.

But again as they got to know me, they realised that I had a few projects under my belt already.... especially the fact that I had worked on Bob Morane. Having worked on Bob Morane was seen as an acomplishment by many at the time.

Bob Morane had at the time the reputation of having some of the best artists and THE best layout & posing team in Montreal working on it. Like Heavy Metal, many people applied to work on Bob Morane. So being one of those who were able to get to work on Bob was an acheivement in itself at the time.

So like on "the Busy world of Richard Scary" although I was hired as a "lowly" clean-up artist, now I was doing character design work on Heavy Metal.

Then I started getting some misinformation. Either on purpose because some people were not happy to see me doing designs..... or simply because of some poor communications.

For example, I was asked to design an army of Mutants (originally, there was such an army in the script). Although I was told that despite being refered to as Mutants, they were simply human looking.

So I went on to design those human looking Mutants..... until I showed some designs to the director and he asked me " what are those supposed to be??". I told him that those were the Mutants that I had been asked to do. That is how I found out that I was given the wrong information.

This was not at all what he asked for.

So I would have to check regularly with him to see if I had the correct information or not.

But then at some point.... the director was fired..... and the producer who had hired me was off the project too.

That was not good news..... at least for me.

So one of the producers assumed the directors position.

So back I was at doing simply clean-up work, or designing stuff like props.

Let me tell you..... I was not a happy guy working on Heavy Metal.

With all the problems on the project, making less money then I knew I would on any other project, and even the studio environment itself.

So when I was offered to go develop a new TV series for another studio.... I almost left Heavy Metal.

I went and met with the director of the new show, and when he saw my portfolio, he almost wondered why I was meeting with him. He thought that my work was perfect for Heavy Metal.

I told him something like "You should tell my bosses that".

Guess he could tell that I was not a happy guy right then.

So after my meeting, I went to see the Heavy Metal director/producer to let him know that I was thinking about leaving to work on another project.

I almost expected him to go something like "good riddance".

To my surprise... it was the opposite.

He really did not want me to go. He started showing me some designs and storyboards of upcoming projects. He was telling me how they would need someone like me and that I should stick around. That they would have plenty of work in the future.

I was a little confused at the time.

I was under the impression that my "new" boss wasn't very happy to have me on the project. But my meeting him gave me the impression that he really did not want me to leave.

So I decided to stay.

What I did not know was that he desperately needed someone like me to work on the layout & posing team of Heavy Metal.

If you remember how me and my 2 friends spent lots of time together during the Ice Storm.

All 3 of us had been part of the layout & posing team of Bob Morane.

The 3 of us were now working on Heavy Metal.

And all 3 of us had taken the layout & posing test on Heavy Metal. And we were at some point told that we would be part of the layout & posing team on Heavy Metal. But when we were trying to find out how things would work out.... and also.... how much we would be paid. Would we be paid by the week?? by the scene??

But week after week, we could not get any answers to our questions.

So at some point, the person who was our boss on the Bob Morane layout & posing team gave us a call. We were offered to work on layout & posing on a new series called Fantomette. All 3 of us gave our 2 weeks notice and that was the end of Heavy Metal for us.

I can tell you that our bosses on Heavy Metal weren't happy at all with our decision.

Only then did we find out that out of all the layout & posing tests that had been done..... and many many many people did the test, only 3 tests were good enough.

Our 3 tests.

But sadly..... it was too late. Our minds were made up.

So all at once.... they lost the only 3 people they had qualified enough to do the layout & posing on Heavy Metal.

We were not very happy working on Heavy Metal. And going to work on Fantomette meant going back to where we worked on Bob with essentially the same layout & posing team then when we were working on Bob.

So we felt that the "good times" were back.

Once again.... it doesn't work like that.

I will explain that in another blog. ;)

Until next time.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Mister Crimson: Episode 14

Mister Crimson Episode 14
In which we get our first look at The Mayor.
Read it Here .:

Monday, November 24, 2008

Free Comics Monday: Miss Masque

Please note: I didn't intend for todays free comics to have bondage themed covers, but apparently, such covers were popular back in the Golden Age. For further proof, google Phantom Lady. :D

[ Download America's Best Comics 24 ]

From Wikipedia:

Miss Masque is a fictional masked crime-fighter. She originally appeared in comic books published by Nedor Comics, and was later revived by AC Comics, America's Best Comics, and Dynamite Entertainment.

Miss Masque

[ Download America's Best Comics 30 ]


Friday, November 21, 2008

My First Five Comics

My first five comics in 100 words or less.

Aquaman Super DC Giant 28
August 1971
This is the first comic I ever got, purchased off the spinner rack at a 7-11. I'm pretty sure I got this because I had seen Aquaman cartoons on TV. Aquaman rides a whale with legs, fights the Human Flying Fish and meets Aqua-woman = my 5 year old mind completely blown. The guys at CosmicTreadMill have a complete synopsis of the issue here.

Justice League 92
September 1971
A month later, I went back to the 7-11 and saw this cover. To this day I remember thinking that it was strange that the man on the cover holding Superman (Solomon Grundy) was using a rope for a belt. It was probably this mysterious rope belt that caused me to ask my mom to buy this issue. (That and I had seen Superman on tv as well.)
Also in this issue, we see the Robin of Earth 2 get a revamped costume. A costume Pierre hates for some reason. :D

Hulk Annual 2
October 1969
While this predates my Aquaman comic, it was the third comic I got, because I traded my Aquaman comic to Steve Previtt for this issue. With art by Steve Ditko and Jack Kirby, this comic contained 4 awesome Hulk stories. The bulk of it focused on the Hulk's battles against the Leader's Humanoids, a group of flexible, faceless androids that sort of screams Steve Ditko must draw us! Favorite moment, the Hulk uses what looks like two army field toliets to destroy two planes. Nicely done Hulk!
After that successful trade, I went back to Steve and traded some of my brother's baseball cards for this issue:
FF 91 - Torgo
Fantastic Four 92
November 1969
The only thing I really remember about this issue is it was my gateway drug to the wonders of Gladitorial Robots with the introduction of Torgo. Check out this page to see what I mean:

Strangely, you would think such an awesome comic would have inspired me to buy more Marvel comics, but I think my inability to get to the 7-11 when I wanted to probably kept me from doing so.
A few months later I got this comic:

Batman 237
December 1971
A tale written by Denny O'Neil, from an idea by Bernie Wrightson with an assist by Harlan Ellison and art by Neal Adams. A story belonging to the Hippies at Rutland Halloween continuum, this comic actually scared me a little. (Not sure if it was the hippies or the Reaper that scared me. )
Up until this issue, my comic purchases were pretty sporadic (as you can see by the gaps in time) It was probably soon after the purchase of this issue that I started really collecting. I'm not sure what turned me from a casual reader into an avid collector, but I think I'll try to figure that out in a future blog post.
Feel free to tell me what your first five comics were!
- Jim

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Pierre Speaks - Heavy Metal 2000 or F.A.K.K.2

Julie Strain - HM 2000So after the Ice Storm of 88, I started to work on Heavy Metal: 2000.

I mentioned before how I was making good money doing layout & posing. How "I foolishly thought that I had made it. That from now on, it would always be like that".

Sadly things don't work like that.

To work on Heavy Metal, I was hired as a clean-up artist. So that meant taking a pay cut. On Heavy Metal I was offered $600 per week at the time.

It brought me back to reality somewhat and taught me that things don't always go up. That even if you have been making $1200 per week for some time, there is no guarantee that you won't get back to making $400 per week at some point.

Originally the film was called Heavy Metal: F.A.K.K.2.

What does F.A.K.K.2 means??? Nothing.

Someone simply thought it sounded cool.

HM FAKK 2Actually it was decided that it would be some sort of acronym that designate a dead planet. A planet that is on quarantine for some reason. We were supposed to come up with what the F.A.K.K.2 acronym meant.... but at some point it was decided to call it Heavy Metal: 2000 instead.

Working on that project was a big deal at the time. Everyone wanted to work on it. So the competition was fierce.

The last time that an animated feature film was made in Montreal at the time had been the previous Heavy Metal film some 15 years earlier.

So it was a rare opportunity.

So many people applied to work on that project.

And that is when I fully realized that there was something in animation studios not unlike what you see in other politics.

I had seen various examples of office politics in the past. Heck when the guy on Pirate hired his Papyrus buddies was a perfect example of that. But I did not fully realize the implication behind that.

You know like how sometimes you "think" you know something, but then at some point you go through some paragdim shift that makes you realise that you knew nothing.... but now you know.

It was like that.

I vaguely knew about the office politics before. But now I knew exactly what it could lead to and how important it was.

That is why I almost did not get the job on Heavy Metal.... someone in charge wanted some of their buddies to get the job.

So when I did get the job.... some people weren't happy about it.

The first producer that I had met was not happy, because I went over her head and got in touch directly with one of the Heavy Metal producers. She did not want me to get the job, but also, I broke the "chain of command". I went over her head to get the job. Will have to make a blog about the "chain of command" at some point.

And obviously the people who had been promised the job were not happy that I had "stolen" their job. That I had "stolen" their opportunity.

Remember the scene in Astro City: Confessions where the busboys want to beat up Brian because he "stole" their chance??

It was like that.

No... no.... no one tried to beat me up.

But they weren't happy and would do little tricks on me. Sometimes my art supplies would "dissapear" and stuff like that. One day, when I came in to work.... someone had literally broken my drawing table.

That was the last straw.

I went to talk to the producer who did not want to hire me to begin with and told her that enough was enough.

And to my surprise she agreed.

She was not happy about that either since the studio would have to pay for that and buy me a new drawing table. So that was the last time that stuff like that would happen. Things went more smoothly after that.

Also people in the studio got to know me.

I will let you in on a little secret.

People often don't like me at first sight. It happens.

But once they get to know me.... they realize that their preconceived notions of who they think I am are wrong.

Heck there was this guy on Bob Morane who first hated my guts. But now he is a good friend.

But even once people got to know me.... the office politics took on a new form.

But that will be for another blog. ;)

Until next time.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Mister Crimson Episode 13

Mister Crimson Episode 13
In which our hero is captured.
Check it out here!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Free Comics Monday: Black Condor and Doll Man

Condors Nature or Nuture?Well, without putting too much on the line, I think it's safe to say that the Black Condor has the absolutely least plausible superhero origin ever!

To sum it up: Like some sort of avian Tarzan, he was raised by Condors as a young baby and by simply watching them, and really, really wanting to, he learned to fly.

Physics. Be. Damned.

Anyway, this incredible origin and many other awesome stories can be found in this week's first Free Comic - Crack Comics 01.

Ah. Crack Comics. I think I use that term to describe many of today's modern comics, only not in the way most of the publishers would be happy with.


[ Download Crack Comics 01 ]

As a nice second to the Black Condor, I offer the only hero who is slightly more surreal, and that of course is Doll Man.


[ Download Feature Comics 36 ]


Thursday, November 13, 2008

Paper Comic DeathWatch: Comics in the clouds

Today's PCDW column was written by Caine (who is helping me out during a very busy month.) Take it away Caine!

We left off last time with: "Bottom line: I think the comics industry is headed for a Subprime Megastory Meltdown..."

As it turns out, that's not far off from the truth. It was announced recently that Nightwing, Robin, & Birds of Prey would all be canceled by DC upon their February issue release. Now, those books by themselves are not "Mega Stories". Each of them do however play a roll in the Mega Batman Story: "BATMAN:RIP" which has been a major part of DC'S 08 line up since May with Batman 676.

Each book has been on the stands, month after month, for at least nine years straight and some of the characters [most notably Dick Grayson/Nightwing] have 4-6 decades of continuity and fans.

None of that speaks to the three lost revenue streams that DC has eliminated in monthly comic book releases, cross overs, tie ins, and graphic novels.

PCDW Points: 60,000


Marvel Comics:
"Marvel’s investment in digital media, including digital publication of its comic books, is costing some profit on the publishing side, Peter Cuneo, vice chairman of the board, told analysts in today’s Q3 earnings call.
According to the transcript (via Seeking Alpha), Cuneo answered a question about lower publishing growth by reminding: “Remember also that we are making a substantial investment in our digital publishing effort and we’ve noted in our press release today that the out-of-pocket in 2009 we anticipate will be around $6 million for that effort.
So when you look at the publishing segment as a whole, you will see a decline in the profitability.” The company has invested $2.5 million to $3 million so far this year and plans to finish at $4 million. That would bring the total digital media investment for 2008-09 to about $10 million."

"Asked to flesh out the digital initiatives, CFO Kenneth West added: “I would imagine that probably in the year 2011, we are going to see the first real positive contribution associated with digital media. That would be a combination of ad revenues, digital subscribers picking up on the subscription of comic books but not until that period, because we’ll continue to invest in that and it’s going to take some time and the dollars that we’ve built into our forecast.”
He wouldn’t project the 2010 level of investment but said “we would anticipate the continuation of the digital investment for our future.” -the beat

PCDW Points: 50,000

Darkhorse Comics:
"With that said, some of the traditional formats seem to be less desirable. We see a softening--I wouldn't say collapse--but a continued softening of the pamphlets and that's for a variety of reasons.
As we see the age of the average comic book reader move upward, I think people who read comics and graphic novels are less interested in getting 20 to 22 pages of story once a month over a period of months as opposed to picking up a book that has a complete story and is in a format that they can put on their bookshelf.
From our standpoint, the market for pamphlets continues to soften. That doesn't mean it's still not strong for certain titles, but it's harder and harder to break new titles onto the comic shelves." -

PCDW Points: 100,000


White Spaces

"The space between the channels on your television is where the future of communication, wireless Internet, and even portable television lives. The potential for these White Spaces is limited only by creativity, ingenuity, and the need for clear rules of the road."

"After more than four years of study and 18 months of intensive testing, the FCC is ready to open the TV white spaces. This decision promises to fast-track hundreds of millions of dollars of much needed investment capital and bring wireless broadband, education and public safety applications for all Americans." -youtube

Remember the PLASTIC that we reported on previously? The versatile reader with USB and wireless capabilities?

PLASTIC+WHITE SPACES= instant comics on the go from anywhere you can pick up a wireless signal. With this one two punch a consumer would no longer need to wait for their schedule to clear up so they could go to the comic shop/book store, you wouldn't have to wait for mail order comics to show up in your mailbox. The best part, you wouldn't be stuck sitting in front of you're computer reading comics online. The PLASTIC is portable.

PCDW Points: 80,000


Just over a week ago AT&T announced free Wi-Fi for iPhone and BlackBerry users, and now the wireless company has added 3,000 more Wi-Fi hotspots from hotpspot operater, Wayport. If you're an AT&T customer, your Wi-Fi outlook is getting better by the day. -lifehacker

PCDW Points: 20,000


Unfortunately for comic fans, iTunes converts all photos (or jpeg comic images) to a downscaled resolution when transferring to your iPhone or iPod touch so comic jpegs are unreadable. Fortunately, iPod Touch fan Studangerous has put together the Ultimate icomic Thread to help people out. This thread explains how to use ComicViewer and iComic to read comics on your iPod Touch. Both apps utilize the touch-screen zoom, landscape view and accelerometer to provide a great portable electronic comic book reader and zipped image viewer.

PCDW Points: 30,000


iVerse, a company that's turned Shadowhawk, Proof, Flash Gordon and several other comics titles into iPhone applications, will donate half of all proceeds from a "Hero Initiative Spotlight" book each month to the charity. The program kicks off this month with Shadowhawk v.2 #1, which is 99 cents in the app store. -newsarama

PCDW Points: 10,000


Across the pond in the UK, has the HAWT exclusive on Sony and Universal's joint venture spread PoP entertainment vending machines full of Sony PS3 games and Blu-ray discs and DVDs. You can even download media directly to your PMP or SD card. That part is pretty cool, actually.

An exact date wasn't announced, but they'll be popping up at movie theaters, airports/train stations/bus stations, gyms, college campuses, etc. very soon. -crunchgear

It would only seem logical that if there were a market full of wifi-comic consumers willing to pay, POP would carry comics as well.

PCDW Points: 10,000
Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Ice Storm 88 and Heavy Metal

Heavy Metal 2000So on my very last day of work after Bob/Papyrus/Sphinx, we were hit by one of the biggest Ice Storm in history.

One of my co-worker who was a huge Playstation fan.... and an even BIGGER Lara Croft fan.... wanted me to go to his place to try out the game TombRaider.

Although we knew that there was a storm coming, there was no way to know at the time how big a storm it would be. So we left the studio and went to his place.

He lived outside the city and we had a good bus ride to go to his place.

On the way, it was getting dark, and we were seeing explosions in the distance on the horizon.

We thought that it might have been lightning bolts or something like that we were seeing hitting the ground in the distance. But we later learned that it was actually transformers exploding all over the place.

It was very impressive, it was almost like being into a war zone.

As it turned out, where he lived was one of the areas that was hit the hardest by the storm.

So the next day, we decided to leave the area and went to my place.

We were fairly lucky since at my place, it took about 24 hours to get the power back.

In the area where my co-worker lived (who is now not just a co-worker, but a good friend).... it took about 3 weeks to get the power back. So he crashed to my place for one week. Then another week to some other friend's place. And the last week to his sister's place.

That first day when there was no power at my place, me him and the other friend, all 3 of us went downtown to try to find some restaurant to eat and hang out at.

But to our big surprise, downtown was deserted and there was snow all over the place. It was very impressive to see.

Anyone who saw the movie 12 monkeys, remember the scene early in the film with Bruce Willis all alone in the city with snow all over the place. It was exactly like that. Well almost exactly like that.... minus the bear and lion and other animals that are free in the city in the movie. ;)

Little did we know that downtown had been completely evacuated. Until we saw some cops who told us that we had no business being there.

But we finally found a restaurant just outside of the "quarantine" zone. So we pretty much spent the next 2 weeks there from morning to late in the evening until life started again.

I had not heard from Heavy Metal yet.... so one day at the restaurant I decided to call to see what was up with Heavy Metal.

I had applied to work on Heavy Metal 2000 while I was still working on Papyrus. I had met a producer and I had shown her a truckload of my work and should have known something was fishy when I first met her.

I first showed her my "official" portfolio. She quickly went through it and said.... Do you have anything else to show??

Usually the portfolio is enough for most people. But I was prepared. I really wanted this job, so I showed her my "back-up portfolio". Again she went quickly through it and asked.... Do you have anything else to show??

As I said.... I was prepared so I took out a 2 inch stack of various artwork I had done. Once again she went quickly through it and asked.... Do you have anything else to show??

But I was REALLY prepared and took out another 2 inch stack of artwork.

That was it.... she did not ask for more.

I felt like I had just won a game of chess or something with me pretty much countering every move/excuses she might be trying to come up with NOT to hire me.

So at the end of our meeting, she asked me to leave her a CV and some art samples to give to the Heavy Metal producer. Once again, I was ready and had a CV and some samples to leave her.

So back to the restaurant, I decided to call to see what was up with Heavy Metal, but not being that much of a fool, this time I took no chances and called the Heavy Metal producer directly.

I introduced myself. Told her that I had already met a producer previously who was supposed to have given her my CV and art samples. It turns out that she had never heard of me and never saw my CV or my samples.

I later learned that the first producer I met was keeping some places on Heavy Metal free for when some of her favorite guys in the studio would be available. So she had no intention of telling the Heavy Metal producer about me.

So this time I scheduled a meeting with the Heavy Metal producer. When I met her, all she looked at was my portfolio. She asked for my CV and some art samples to show to the director. But not just any samples. She hand picked some artwork in my portfolio and asked me to make a copy of those for her.

She seemed very impressed with my work.... especially my work on Bob Morane.

That is when I started to realize how working on Bob Morane had changed my career. That having Bob Morane in my CV would be a great help in getting me some work.

Not many people are impressed when I tell them that I have worked on Arthur.... but when I tell them that I have worked on Bob Morane.... they take me more seriously.

Not long after my meeting with the Heavy Metal producer, I got an appointment to do a test (the last test I would do for quite some time).

A character head rotation to draw, a couple of poses to draw, and a BG to clean-up if I remember correctly.

I was told that it should take an hour or two to do the test.... but my "other friend" had already started working on Heavy Metal, and he told me that no one did the test in 2 hours. Most did not even finish the test. I don't know if I was mislead about the test deliberately or simply by mistake. But I just ignored the 2 hours time limit.

So I spent the whole afternoon doing the darn thing. I would have worried that I was taking too much time, but since I knew that no one actually did the test in that little time, I just ignored that part.

I handed in the test and went back home.

Some time later, I would get a phone call telling me that I was hired on Heavy Metal: F.A.K.K.2 which later became Heavy Metal; 2000.

And that is how I was hired on the design team of Heavy Metal: 2000.

Next time, I will talk about working on Heavy Metal.

Until then.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Mister Crimson Episode 12

Mister Crimson Episode 12
In which our hero faces death from above.

Check it out here!

Monday, November 10, 2008

Free Comics Monday: Super Lawsuits

Zuda FavoritesBefore I introduce today's Free Comics, I would like to thank everyone who has checked out Planet X at Zuda.

I would also like to ask those you who voted for the comic to select it as a Favorite. I've been told that having a high number of favorites might help us win.

You can do this by simply clicking the little plus mark underneath where you voted.

For those of you who have not yet voted, please feel free to check out Planet X at Zuda. :)

/end plug

Now on to the Free Comics with The Black Terror!

The Black Terror. - Damn that dude had a kick ass costume did he not? Who is to say how far he would have gone had DC not gotten all Lawyered Up.

Check out this interesting article about all the Super-Lawsuits DC had going to take out characters they viewed as Superman ripoffs.

From io9...

Superman's powers include super-strength, super-breath... and super-lawyers? The iconic DC Comics character has been known to go after plenty of other strongmen in court, crushing any characters with more than a passing similarity. The most famous super-litigation was the 1951 case where the Man Of Steel killed Captain Marvel, the Superman-esque character who gets his powers from saying "Shazam!" But the world's most litigious hero has gone after plenty of other peers, and here's our history of super-lawsuits.

Actually, I don't know for sure that the lawsuits DC started had anything to do with the demise of The Black Terror - the timing seems right though - if there are any comic historians, please feel free to chime in. Until then, feel free to download his adventures here!

[ Exciting Comics 38 ]

Here we have an issue where the Black Terror fights a Robot with a Knife and a Gun! If you don't download this comic, consider yourself permanently banned from the FBU blog!

[ Exciting Comics 45 ]


Friday, November 7, 2008

The WayBack Universe

Gray GhostLet's talk a second about Public Domain Characters and Golden Age Comics. So does Pierre. The guy over to the left here is the Gray Ghost, the first Golden Age character he ever drew for the Flashback Universe. At the time I wasn't sure I wanted a Golden Age Flashback Universe, but I'll show you how the character AND the FBU idea evolved in a second.

First let me answer a reader's email:

Where can I find a list of all the Public Domain Superheroes?

Wikipedia used to be a great source for a complete list of all public domain comic books characters, but as with all useful wiki pages, some jackass put [citation needed] on the page, and now it's gone.

Now the best place to start is the Golden Age Comic Book site:

Free Golden Age Comics

For characters outside of comics, you can begin here: the index of Public Domain Resources note: Wikipedia has a similar index on this page: Wiki: Public Domain Resource but it's rather long and hard to wade through, and it might be gone next week, so I wouldn't depend on it.

This is such a confusing issue partly because American Copyright law is a mish mosh that changes depending on the time a character was created AND because it's hard to verify exactly whether companies really took the time to copyright/trademark their characters correctly the first time.

Witness this discussion at Wikipedia over the Nedor Superheroes:

...The above report on Nedor characters may or may not be accurate depending on the actual circumstances of the company when it ceased publishing. It is clear that Ned Pines did renew copyright on most of his characters' first appearances, despite widely reported statements to the contrary. Also, Pines sold one of his companies, Popular Library, to Fawcett Publishing, who in turn, sold it to CBS, and today, the Nedor characters would be owned by either Bertelsman AG or Warner, if the comic books they appeared in were published by Popular Library. If Ned Pines used different companies to publish these books, they may be in public domain.

So, given all that, when Pierre came to me with an idea of working on some Public Domain heroes into our Flashback Universe, I was a little hesitant.

First, how would we know if they were really public domain?

Second, I've heard that even if you use public domain characters, it's hard to then turn around and do anything else with them (like a movie for instance) because other companies are scared of public domain characters.

Still, I liked the idea of working in the Golden Age setting, so we decided to create our OWN Golden Age universe, which we smartly dubbed the WayBack Universe.

Enlargify IntrudersThe first stab at this was to create a super group of characters similar to the Invaders. If you've read the Paladin comic, you've already seen a reference to these characters. In that comic we call them the Intruders, but in other places, they have been called the Insurgents. I'm going to say that because their missions were classified by the government, an *official* name was never recommended. ;)

One of the coolest characters in that group is the Golden Age WildCard:

GA WildCard

Another favorite of mine is the Crimson Cossack (there's a big story behind this pose that I won't go into here...)

Crimson Cossack

Not seen in the Intruders picture is probably one of my favorite WayBack characters - a character who sort of started as the Gray Ghost and changed into something much cooler I think - The Purple Puma.

And of course heroes are only as good as the villains they face, so we've created quite a few WayBack Universe Villains as is a group we call the U-Bolts.


And here is a another group shot with a few familiar faces in the to enlargify.

WayBack Universe Lineup

We have several more characters, and hope to have a complete comic featuring some of them in the near future. (I just need a story... :D )

I'll keep you posted. :)

- Jim


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