In time for the new Robert Downey sequel, IDW Publishing has released Curious Cases of Sherlock Holmes, reprinting various Holmes comics published by Caliber Press in the 90s, including Adventure of the Opera Ghost written by Steven Phillip Jones and illustrated by yrs truly. So for any Holmes fans who have not had the chance to pick up this fun and exciting and well-drawn pastiche featuring Holmes meeting the Phantom of the Opera, what are you waiting for? Daddy needs some royalties!
In other news, as many of you hopefully know by now, I have a webcomic/serialized graphic novel titled Rose Madder, my deconstructionist romance comic. This year, I am participating with dozens of other webcomics creators in the Comic Creators For Freedom wallpaper project, helping to raise money to end human trafficking. Here’s the B&W version of my contribution to their benefit wallpaper, this year themed “Epic Snowball Fight”.
You can see the full-color version here. Rose will be included into the benefit wallpaper featuring the characters of all the webcomics contributing to the project–and webcomics creators can still be a part of it, as the deadline for contributions is December 31. Click on the Comic Creators For Freedom link above for more details.
Here’s more art–as promised–from the 1995 Caliber Press book Tatters, written by Steven Jones and illustrated by yrs truly. Seen above are the characters Rose and Stern, whom I subjected to some brazen stunt casting (Vincent Vega’s goatee added on by Caliber editorial). Below is another page from the book; click to see at full size.
I was rummaging through my old portfolios recently and I came across this old thing, drawn with marker on bristol board. Lessee, big gun? Check. Pouches? Check. Inexplicable leg and arm straps? Check. Big clunky space boots? Check. Impossible female anatomy? Check.
It must be the ’90s!
1997, to be exact. Let’s hear it for a slightly more than half-assed attempt to draw in the “Image style”. No wonder my comics career never took off. Look at that big gun, the perspective’s all messed up on it. And never mind that her left arm is horrifically short (or, rather, just not properly foreshortened). Still, the picture has its charms, I suppose.
Now that I look at it, this big-gunned woman has a little bit of a Leela vibe to her. So here’s my 2009 version of the drawing, done with the pencil tool on Sketchbook. I’m still trying to get Leela on model, so forgive me. But I think I finally fixed that big gun, maybe.
From around 1995, Tatters was a one-shot written by Steven Jones and drawn by me, published by Caliber Press. Tatters was kind of an odd duck of a comic, part gothic superhero book, part government conspiracy story, with some sci-fi elements and a dystopian future thrown in for good measure. But the book will always be known to me as (as far as I know) the first comic to model a character after Samuel L. Jackson. Pulp Fiction was hot at the time, and so I drew in Jackson’s and Travolta’s characters from the movie as the comic’s hard-luck hitmen Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, as a joke. (The characters are named Rosencrantz and Guildenstern. You can figure out what happens to them.)
As I understand it, editorial at Caliber wanted to avoid legal problems with celebrity likenesses, and so a goatee was added to the Travolta character, drawn directly onto my artwork. But Sam Jackson in all his Jules-ian glory remained unaltered, and therefore I think I can brag that I was the first to use Jackson as a comic character. In these days where nearly every mainstream comic has celebrity stunt casting, and where a Jackson-based character became such a mainstay of an entire comic book line that Jackson himself had to play the movie version of that character (I’m looking at you, Ultimate Nick Fury), I feel totally vindicated.
Maybe later I’ll put up a scan of the Jackson/Travolta caricatures, but right now, here’s the opening prologue of Tatters. Click on the thumbnails to see the larger scans, taken directly from my original art, inked entirely oldschool with a combination of brushes and Rapidograph pens, and lettered by hand. Pasteups by rubber cement.
(Sorry, I had to split pgs. 2 and 3 due to WordPress file size limitations. They’re meant to be seen as one piece.)
This was my cover to Slave Labor’s Tales From The Heart #11, from 1994, painted in Dr. Martin’s watercolor dyes, with probably a little bit of guache, if I remember right. I was grateful to publisher Dan Vado for allowing me to do the cover to the final issue, following earlier covers by the likes of Brent Anderson and Charles Vess. It really was an honor.
Tales was the true-life adventures of a college-aged woman’s stint as a Peace Corps volunteer in the Central African Republic, written by Cindy Goff and Rafael Nieves. A little ahead of its time, the series never generated a lot of attention or sales, although it did receive a fair amount of critical acclaim and managed to generate two graphic novels from the Marvel/Epic imprint (which I wasn’t involved with).
I was brought in at issue #7 after original artist Seitu Hayden left the book. Unfortunately, my work in the second half of the run, issues #8-#11, was never collected in trade. Working on the series was really one of the great honors of my teeny-tiny comics career, and I’d jump back into it without hesitation if Cindy and Rafe wanted to pick it up again.