Catching Up A Bit
Anyway, on with the silly talk:
The Simpsons Winter Wingding holiday special from Bongo Comics came out last Wednesday, and features "The Gift of the Maccabee", a 9-page Krusty the Clown Hannukah story written by Sarah and I (with art by John Constanza and Phyllis Novin). The story's about Krusty's 1963 holiday romance with a Vegas showgirl, which turns into a fifty car pile up complete with booze, gambling and vehicular violence. The issue also features stories written by Paul Dini, Tony Digerolamo and Eric Rogers. I can't believe I just typed "Wingding". Talk about silly talk.
According to Diamond, The Dark Horse Book of Monsters ships tomorrow (Dark Horse's site says it ships next week, but I'm going to write it up now and hope for the best). This is the fourth and last book in the series, featuring a new story by Jill Thompson and I about our gang of dogs (and a cat) who fight the supernatural. That sounds silly on the face of it, doesn't it? But really, it's pretty neat. Honest. Sarah pitched in for this outing, co-plotting and co-writing much of the dialogue. We're extremely happy with the way it turned out -- Jill really out-did herself on the painted art. If you liked the stories we did for the first three books, by all means, do check this one out tomorrow. Or next week. Whatever. If that's not enough to sway you, other contributors include Mike Mignola (with a new Hellboy story), Kurt Busiek, Scott Allie, Gary Gianni and Keith Giffen.
Unfortunately, as I said, this is the last book in the series -- but the good news is that Jill and I are in discussions with Dark Horse about continuing our animal stories. So stay tuned.
Jazma Online interviewed me, it's short and painless and there's a rambling bit of advice for people interested in doing comics that some of you who are interested in doing comics might find interesting. You never know.
If you and/or your local shop missed out on Dork #11, or you've been curious about the first Dork trade paperback, you might be happy to learn that both have been re-listed by Slave Labor in the current (Feb) Diamond Previews. Boy, oh, boy.
As far as new projects we're working on go, we should be finished with the revised-at-last Tyrone's Inferno bible in a day or two. Sheesh and thank goodness for small miracles. After that we start work on a segment for a new episode of Shin-Chan. If all goes well, this will be the first of many. Or, a bunch. Some.
We've been asked to work on chapter drawings for the book we did cover art for. We said, "yes", in case you were wondering.
We're also doing some other stuff. We're late on everything ebacuse of the way things ahve been going, but we're making porogress every day and expect to be caught up fairly soon. Without taking speed, I might add.
Something we have nothing to do with: Cartoonist Eddie Campbell has a nifty blog.
I've picked up several new comic strip collections in the past few weeks, all of which I have greatly enjoyed: Dick Tracy, Moomin and Popeye. More on that if I have time and feel like it. Go buy these. Even if the Tracy cover bites Seth's Peanuts design, and bites in general. Great stuff inside, don't judge it by it's (inept) cover (design).
Before I go, a few words about comic book artist Dave Cockrum, who passed away several days ago: As most of you probably know, Cockrum was the first artist on the revived X-Men series at Marvel Comics in the 70's, which eventually snowballed into the movie franchise/endless spin-off mutant factory we all know and possibly love today. Cockrum created Nightcrawler and designed the original costumes for Storm, Colossus (and I think Thunderbird), among others. Costume design was a specialty of Cockrum's, who worked on DC's Legion of Superheroes book previously to the X-gig. LOSH is a book which practically demands bold and unique costumes in order to differentiate a seemingly endless load of bland, lookalike fratand sorority kids running around in a rocket ship clubhouse doing lots of silly crap. I read only one issue of LOSH as a kid (being fervently anti-DC at the time, I can't recall how I ended up with a comic from the dreaded "Distinguished Competition"), an issue which happened to feature the debut of Wildfire, a Cockrum-designed character I was instantly taken with. Wildfire died at the end of the story, and so did any further interest I might have had in the book. I didn't see Cockrum's art again until Giant-Size X-Men # 1 came out.
GIANT-SIZE X-MEN #1. God damn. Suffice it to say, I was one of those kids who was of the right age to be kicked upside the brainpan by Giant-Size X-Men #1. And it was friggin' GIANT-SIZED. And felt GIANT-SIZED. And like many other kids at the time, I was completely bowled over by the continuing series, the real-feeling characters and dramatic situations and action, and of course, Cockrum's art. Cockrum had a background in SF and comics fandom, and his comics work incorporated a lot of nifty spaceships and space platforms, really bizarre aliens, and sleek, detailed weaponry. His style wasn't flashy, but his characters were fully rendered and rounded, they had real weight and substance, and were placed in solid settings and backgrounds. His facial expressions and "acting" were solid as well. His drawing and anatomy wasn't incredibly clean and lacked some nuances others had, but everything worked and his enthusiasm really came through in the pages. If nothing else, his work on that crazy X-Men/Shi'ar (iirc) superhero army battle issue (can't remember if they had a collective name) really impressed the hell out of me and was a big influence on me as a kid. It seemed like there were a hundred distinct, cool-looking characters running around in that book, everyone flying and fighting and running around, real thrills and real danger and knocakbout craziness on every page. And the Starjammers, to boot, iirc. There were just so many characters, all designed and rendered to stand apart. Jeez. These days you're lucky if a superhero comic conveys a sense of scale, scope and geography in a plain old two-character fistfight, let alone an intergalactic free for all with scores of distinct combatants.
I didn't know the man personally, I met him once at a signing when I was still working at The Fantastic Store on Staten Island (which later split off into Jim Hanley's Universe), he struck me as someone who cared about his work and the fans and enjoyed what he was doing. I also met his son Ivan there, who I've exchanged several e-mails and letters with over the years. Paty Cockrum, his wife, was the colorist on the first two Eternity issues of Pirate Corp$!, my first solo book, and I remember speaking to her back at a con in the days of the first direct market b&w boom/bust about the industry. But again, I didn't know him, I was just a fan, and like many fans on the internet, I just wanted to say a few nice things about a man whose comics meant a lot to me when I was still believed in the Mighty Marvel Manner and all that.
Hope this post isn't too all over the place and messy. We've had a very stressful day, Emily took a knock and we thought she might have injured herself, so we took her to the doctor but thankfully she checked out okay. Things have just been very messy as of late. Such is life, right? Right.
Hope you're all doing well. Speak to you real soon.