Thursday, August 04, 2011

tourists are meanies

This is for reals based on a true story.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

hammer time

Here is Hammer George in Mega-Drama mode. Not that it ever happens. In fact, this is all very misleading. HG is a simple and gentle soul, despite all the hammers. I am thinking about bringing this guy back for more adventures.

Read about his first adventure (in space!).

Sunday, May 01, 2011

my second MoCCA

These are the details of my second visit to the Museum of Comic and Cartoon Art's annual festival on Saturday, April 9th, which was pretty great.

As I was walking from booth to booth, I got a bunch of compliments on my shirt, which was the sweet "Algebraic!" Adventure Time shirt that I got from the Frederator Studio Store back when the first season was in production. They still post new shirts on their AT blog every now and then, so check it! Or just go there for awesome art because they're good at making that too. Aside from the sheer joy wearing cool shirts brings me, they also help me talk to people. I have a tendency to be shy and have horribly awkward, stilted conversations with people, so sharing a love of cartoons with these amazing creators of art can turn a boring conversation about how much I admire them into an exciting adventure recounting stories of shared idolatry. Like when Meredith Gran saw my shirt and started talking to me about the time Pen Ward visited her shared Brooklyn studio, Pizza Island. Talking is so great!

This image has been modified from Vera's original - I added the speech bubble.

Unfortunately for me, First Second, the graphic novel book publisher, had a few copies of Vera Brosgol's "Anya's Ghost" on display. I got excited, thinking I must have missed the release day and how lucky I was to be getting it sooner than I expected. I was practically throwing money at the guy when he grimaced apologetically and told me it wouldn't be available to buy until June. But you know what? I'm just going to wait until July when I can buy it and hopefully have her sign it in person at the San Diego Comic Con. If you're interested (and you should be), there are a few pages of the book available for previewing online here.

Now on to another book dealing with death!

Have you heard of The Machine of Death? It's a book of short stories that revolve around the idea that a machine has been created that reads a small sample of your blood and spits out a small card that accurately predicts the cause of your demise. So, fiction, basically. The interesting thing is how maddeningly vague the results can be. Someone might receive a card that says "old age" and think themselves safe, only to end up dying after an old man runs them over with a van. Anyway, my friend Steven and I had just finished reading the book and were happily surprised to see that David Malki, one of the editors, was distributing Death Prediction Cards at the TopatoCo booth. Despite reading about the oft-troubling changes many characters went through due to the burden of knowing their ultimate fate, we eagerly approached the table and took turns asking, "How do I die?" After David took a sample of our blood, by "pricking" our fingers with a red Sharpie, we learned the methods of our destruction. Steven's warned of unavoidable PERIL. Mine promised VORACIOUS ANIMALS. That card is now in a small frame on my desk at work, where I glance at it from time to time whenever I get the urge to draw cute woodland creatures.

Hahaha I'm going to die some day.

Every time I see Scott C. at a convention his table never fails to have a healthy crowd of admirers. This occasion I finally found an opportunity to have a chat with the amiable fellow and buy some of his art. Specifically, this glorious dog print. I also snatched a copy of his book, Double Fine Action Comics, Volume 1, which I find to be very amusing. It is also sitting on my desk at work, where I peruse it from time to time whenever I want to laugh at how silly it is for a baby to have two heads.

Scott's little business cards make my work Cintiq look good.

The Johnny Wander duo, Yuko Ota and Ananth Panagariya, had a nice setup and I look forward to surprising my friend with a gift of one of their CMYcat tees. I remember thinking that some of Yuko's art prints would make amazing coloring pages. Except that the pieces she actually colors look so vibrant I wouldn't want to muddle her work up with my own sloppy contributions. I would do fanart but I think because Johnny Wander is mostly autobiographical in nature that might be a little weird. Or not! Tally-ho, to the Cintiq!

Anthology Project Vol 2 - cover art by Ed Kwong.

I am so glad that The Anthology Project was there with debut copies of their new Volume 2 book. Hopefully this remains an annual tradition, especially now that Flight will end its 8-book run this summer. Sam Bradley was joined at the Anthology table this year by Joy Ang, editor and artist behind the gorgeous cover of Volume 1 and one of the short comics included therein. Also making an appearance was fellow Canadian and comic creator Katie Shanahan (KT Shy) who was extremely nice and easy to talk with. We spoke of the joys of storyboarding for kids' shows and mourned the loss of the Flight series. Katie actually has a comic in the final Flight volume that comes out this summer, so it will be a bittersweet reunion when I see her again at the San Diego Comic Con to pick up my copy.

Friday, April 08, 2011

oh, he's alright.

So excited to go to MoCCA tomorrow! The drawing has nothing to do with attending the festival, but I drew it anyway, didn't I?

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Hourly Comic Day #2

How did I forget to post my comics from Hourly Comics Day?! Here they are. From February 1st.

Friday, March 25, 2011


Snow and lightning.
All in one night.

Seriously, what is with this weather? Hellooooo it's almost April, fer cryin' out loud!

Friday, February 18, 2011

animation nominations

It's a pity there wasn't just one more qualified feature animation in the running this year or the block of nominees would have been bumped up from three to five. I really do think Tangled was a superb throwback to my childhood of singing princesses and would have made an excellent contender. I was starting to think it was due to my increasing age that I wasn't able to enjoy or connect with the new attempts. But no, as it turns out, it was just the studios' fault for making mediocre and altogether sub par attempts and making me think that my heart was hardening to old childhood fancies. No longer! And now, in an effort to stop from babbling on before it's too late, I present to you the top three animated feature films and the top five animated shorts.

Best Animated Feature:

How To Train Your DragonThis is, hands down, the best Dreamworks picture to date (in my opinion, of course). Ever since Lilo & Stitch came out I have been a huge Chris & Dean fan. They put so much heart and character into what they do. They didn't rely on pop culture references or feature some idiotic karaoke-dance number at the end. It is tenderness and action and exhilaration and everything an animated feature should be. (DreamWorks Animation - Chris Sanders and Dean DeBlois)

The IllusionistThis traditionally animated feature is quite a refreshing change of pace from all the fast and flashy American animation features that have become the norm. It is a beautiful portrait of melancholy that treats its audience to slowly-building heartache and loneliness. The story doesn't go very far, but it's wonderful to see. And just like with Triplets of Belleville, Mr. Chomet has once again managed an entire movie with with hardly any dialogue at all. Impressive. (Django Films/Sony Pictures Classics - Sylvain Chomet)

Toy Story 3I was worried when I first heard that there would be a third Toy Story movie. Any trepidation I had quickly gave way to excitement, though, when I remembered it was Pixar at the helm. And rightly so, as it turned out. This was a huge success for them because it was an excellent end to a consistently good franchise and it proved that quality doesn't have to deteriorate with sequels (or three-quels, I guess would be more appropriate). Also, after Beauty and the Beast and Up, it is the third animated feature to ever be nominated for Best Picture. (Disney/Pixar - Lee Unkrich) Winner!

Best Animated Short:

Day & NightThis has got to be one of my favorite Pixar shorts. Smart and creative and just... just brilliant! The two characters play off each other in an awesome tête à tête, contrasting night and day in a way that's never been done before. Also, the implementation of sound effects is genius. (Teddy Newton) Watch.

The GruffaloThis (mostly) 3-D short is based on a children's book, so it has all the traditional elements of childrens' storytelling you'd expect. A brazen mouse outwits three hungry predators and then outwits the terror of the forest himself. Nothing really new there, but the animation is very well done and tremendously improves the tale. The character models are lovingly crafted and I like that they gave everything a tactile appearance (or, at least, their CG characters appear to blend into the physical sets very nicely). (Jakob Schuh and Max Lang) Watch.

Let's PolluteThis 2-D short looks a bit like those old educational shorts from the 50's, but with a little textural flare thrown in. I mean, it looks great. I just wish I could find an English version. (Geefwee Boedoe) Watch in French. Or check out this much nicer clip in English.

The Lost ThingA story about a guy who finds a thing. It's a nice sort of thing and this is a nice sort of 3-D short. Nothing much to it, really, but enjoyable all the same. (Shaun Tan and Andrew Ruhemann) Watch. (after a few seconds the ads go away and the player becomes visible) Winner!

Madagascar, carnet de voyage (Madagascar, a Journey Diary)A living, breathing journal. A wide sampling of animation styles offer a detailed, wonderfully textured story, bringing to life the pages of Bastien Dubois' travel journal. It moves effortlessly through painted Madagascar settings rendered in 3-D with stop motion car traffic, watercolor landscapes, pastel people, even colorfully embroidered crowds. Much of it is heavily rotoscoped, but there is always so much to look at - it really does feel as though you're flipping through someone's richly detailed scrapbook. I'm guessing this will win. (Bastien Dubois) Watch.

To catch the live awards show and find out which of these amazing artists is the best at being awesome according to a bunch of people you don't know, tune in Sunday, February 27th.