December 31st, 2011

scary clown

The House of Fun in 2011

I guess the big deal for us this past year work-wise was getting the Milk and Cheese collection done. It was a big job owing to the fact that most of the material was pre-digital, and a lot of the original art was gone, and a lot of the early originals needed restoration work (crumbling correction ink, faded and crumbling white-on-black lettering, faded/blue marker lines, typos, etc). Sarah and I spent a lot of time hunting down the best sources for strips and ended up with a crazy-quilt of originals, stats, xeroxes, fanzines, comic books, Deadline magazines, scans, painted acetate color art, and an uncut sheet of trading cards we found in the basement. Thank goodness for computers and modern technology, because DHC's production department did a bang-up job on everything. Even so, Sarah handled a ton of the work here at home, spending months putting together everything to send off to DHC, scanning like crazy, cleaning up files, helping restore and fix pages I was providing art and dialogue patches for. It was a real haul and we're both really happy it's all done. The finished book only has three minor goofs, one typo (a wrong date on a caption), one off-center title page (barely noticeable), and one minor production gaffe (our fault). Even with Sarah and I and Daniel Chabon and Scott Allie giving everything the once-over twice several times, and production going over the book, there's just so much going on in those pages I'm surprised more things didn't slip through. Anyway, we got the monster off our backs, almost a year after we first discussed the idea of M&C at DHC with Scott at NYCC. We've talked about collecting all the non-Eltingville Dork material like M&C, but that's going to have to wait because we can't afford to tackle another mess like that anytime soon. I'm very happy we got M&C done and out there, but it was a complete schedule crusher, the kind that makes you type "whew!" like an idiot.

Besides the collection, it was great to have new Beasts of Burden stories out, to have my fun-as-hell collaboration with Eric Powell on The Goon finally see the light of day (Eric asked me about writing a Goon story back in 2009), and to start working on my own humor stuff again for the first time in years.

We didn't travel much, I think Heroes was the only con we did besides my going to a High School show in New Jersey and a signing at NYCC. As usual, Heroes was a great time, I'd like to go back whenever possible, one of our favorite events. I did several signings at Comic Book Jones and Midtown Comics, and I guess that's about it. So, yeah, we didn't get around much this year as far as meeting the readers goes. I was disappointed that I couldn't make a trip to Brazil in November (a week! free!), but not going turned out to be the right decision. When you're at a show you're not making comics, and last year we tried to make some comics. 

Here's what we did in 2011, in case you missed it:

MySpace Dark Horse Presents Vol 6 (DHC) - "Englourioues Mask-Tards", 3-pg Mask story drawn by Hilary Barta

Yo Gabba Gabba! Comic Book Time (Oni) - Sarah and I contributed two 5-pg Super Martian Robot Girl stories.

Contributed art to Mad #509, 510 and 512.

Spy Vs Spy Omnibus - reprints a pin-up Sarah and I did for the Spy vs Spy Special from 2010

Bart Simpson Comics #60 - 1-pg story, "Big, Bad Brother Bart", colors by Sarah.

The Simpsons Treehouse of Horror: From Beyond the Grave (Bongo) - script for 2-pg story, "Something Wiggum This Way Comes"

Bart Simpson Comics #63 - 10-pg story, "Model Behavior", colors by Sarah.

Simpsons Comics #185 - 8-pg story, "The Play's The Sting", by Sarah and I. (Sarah's story credit got left out)

The Goon #35 - script for "The Goon, The Bad and The Fugly". Art by Eric Powell.

Dark Horse Presents #4 - script for 8-pg Beasts of Burden story,  "Food Run". Art by Jill Thompson.

Dark Horse Presents #6 - script for 8-pg Beasts of Burden story, "Story Time". Art by Jill Thompson.

Milk and Cheese: Dairy Products Gone Bad (DHC) - A big book of my stupid comics.

The Guild: Zaboo (DHC) - Sarah and I did the main cover.

MC Frontalot, Solved CD - cover illustration.

Sarah and I also did an animation bible for a projected cartoon series. One never knows.

Disappointments of 2011

Nothing too spectacular, thankfully. Boom losing the Disney license squelched a 3-part Donald Duck script we were working on. Emily is a big fan of the Donald Duck/Uncle Scrooge comics and I thought it would be cool to write a story for her. And yeah, I geeked out a little at the chance to do a Duck story. Oh, well.

I had a shot at writing another character I'm fond of, which obviously didn't happen or it wouldn't be on the "disappointment" list. I was asked to pitch a story in late 2010, then asked for an outline which I sent in October, 2010. Cue crickets chirping. I follow up. Editor apologizes, says he's swamped, will be in touch next week. Cut to calendar pages falling. Slowly, then more quickly. Days. weeks, months. I was extremely sick for the first two months of this year, flat on my back a lot and not getting a lot done. When I got better a lot of work dropped in my lap, so, I didn't pursue this, I figured it was dead. In March I get an e-mail from the editor apologizing for not getting back to me and asking about when we could discuss the outline. I e-mail him back. Calendar pages fall, slowly,then  faster. Some time later the editor calls me up to ask about a different project. Comics! Crazy!

I was asked to do a cover for Dark Horse Presents, but later that same day the editor wrote to apologize because all the cover slots were filled. At least they got back to me. 

Animation-wise, we got a script gig and were gearing up for it and the paperwork was being drawn up when the project's budget was chopped and our segment was cut. We were told it might be revived later. I'm thinking it's dead, but you never know (it's dead).

Early 2012 Forecast:

It slipped through the solicitation cracks, but the third Beasts of Burden story Jill Thompson and I did for Dark Horse Presents will be running in DHP #8, shipping in February. Honest and for true. Readers and retailers didn't know this when they ordered, so, I hope those that want a copy get a copy. It's a good story.

We're working on a new illustration for Mad. The rough's due Monday! I should be drawing that instead of typing this. Kind of thing I have to confront in the new year. Discipline. Focus. Wo -- ooh, a kitty!

I scripted a 3-page bit for an upcoming Bongo project and am writing a 4-pg Bart Simpson story. Soon.

As announced recently, I'm doing 24 pages of Dork-style humor comics for Dark Horse Presents, starting in March with issue #10. Already finished a 2-page Milk and Cheese strip and a 6-page Murder Family strip, currently finishing up 6 pages of Fun Strips, then two Milk and Cheese one-pagers. The third batch will be Milk and Cheese and an Eltingville strip. All in color (via Sarah) for a lot of dimes.

I'm also working on something else, which I think folks will be glad to hear.

And some pitches. I might actually try to pitch stuff this year. 

And Sarah and I are supposedly doing something outside comics but you really never know about those things.

And I might try to get back to Eltingville and kill that monster off in the next year.

The main thing is I want to try to make a lot of stuff next year. 

Which Brings Us To...

Happy Next Year, kids. Here's to hoping the idiots don't ruin it for everybody.