Tag Archives: Comics

TMNT

I’ve been powering along little by little on this Comic lately. I finished the pencils on the first full page and laid out the rest (I am looking at 21 or 28 pages at this point in time).

Having posted some of the images on social media a friend decided to troll me by saying “Nice Shredder, when are Leonardo and Master Splinter showing up?”

I wasn’t mad. Everything reminds somebody of something. We as human beings must always contextualize in order to understand and process new images and ideas. When you are walking through an airport or a large public place (away from home) and you see unknown people don’t you think “wow, they look like ________” or “that dude looks like a cross between Jim Carrey and Seth Rogan!” That is your brain trying to find a way to categorize and process the new information.

Also, there is no original idea under the sun. I know that some of my inspirations for the project are Earthworm Jim, the Maxx, X-Men and TMNT and those are just the ones that consciously I am aware of (I am always discovering subconscious inspiration in my works as I stare at them sometimes years later).

The ironic element of my friend’s trolling is the nature of the subject he claimed I was copying off of: TMNT. Seriously? The Turtles are the most “unoriginal” parody of all time. They are a boldfaced mockery of the X-Men of the 70’s and 80’s and Frank Miller’s legendary Daredevil run. Granted, Eastman and Laird turned them into media gold thus influencing my childhood more than I care to realize; however acting as if the Turtles are the shining standard of originality is laughable at best.

Just keep plugging on.

There is nothing new under the Sun. Just good mixtures of many different flavors. If you don’t mix well, people will choke on the chunks!

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The Dangers of No Deadlines

Thus far I have been amazed at how little time I have actually had to work on this comic. Seriously, it would seem that I have been sabotaged at every turn; as if an enigmatic cosmic force was hard at work to knock me off course, devour my fleeting free moments and mock my inmost desires to produce this book.

Making a comic is hard.

And I’ve barely started…..

It’s nice having no deadline, yet I have found that when there is no point where I have to turn said project in or risk not getting paid, receiving a poor grade or being physically beaten, other work projects tend to take precedence.

I have found a few rare moments to scribble here and there (one of them just so happened to be in a 3 hour meeting, I just kept doodling on the cover of my red moleskin inconspicuously).

I am becoming accustomed to the character of Kavik, trying to find his voice and appreciate his motives, flaws and strengths. I find myself thinking deeply about the history of this absurd world I am striving to bring to life.

Time to press on and continue down this road!

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The Intro Page is Penciled

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I have the intro page penciled.

It’s the journey of a thousand miles that starts with the first step right here.

Throughout the entire venture today I had to fight the fear of failure, of messing up in some massive or minute manner. I had to constantly tell myself “just put the pencil to the paper and forget the rest.”

I have spent years terrified to do this for a plethora or reasons and irrational fears. I had to get beyond those phobias and just do it.

Once I was into the art itself I had achieved Shalom. Balance. Peace.

For those few hours of harmony that I had to work (the Hardie brothers and their mother only allow me so much time to toil away in the Man Cave) I was so happy. It felt as if I had been born to do this. I daydreamed a bit, allowing myself some exciting, enticing moments alone with my thoughts.

I am going to try and pencil 4 or 5 pages before I start the tedious, meticulous process of inking them (my strong suit).

This is exciting.

Initial sketch for the Chronolyst

I’ve worked up a rough sketch of the Chronolyst to remind myself of attributes as I draw him for this opening page.

I’ve decided that instead of a Raven perching atop his staff that I ought to use an owl. This may be due to the fact that my beloved Steelers just lost to the Rat Birds in the Playoffs this weekend….. (I hate the Ravens so much).

Actually I really want to avoid the iconic 3 eyed Raven from Game of Thrones. Contemporary fantasy needs to be taken into account when crafting these characters and while I don’t mind borrowing and adapting I need to differ where I can. Plus I think that the owl adds a wisdom and grander to the character that can be fleshed out later. The owl may become a player in the Cynderbreak universe at some point in time, a harbinger of catastrophe or a wise point of view in the midst of the storm.

I like the “Tree Like Staff” that he is brandishing in a few of the older pictures. It adds a very natural, organic, magical look to the Narrator.

I’ve decided to keep the flowing clothe on his arms as a very organic element of this character. The clothe will be magical, whirling around and able to do the Chronolyst’s bidding not unlike tentacles etc. I’m making this addition to add to the visual appeal of the character. Wild, flowing banners sprawling all over the page definitely adds to the intricacies of the character and plays to my strengths (something that I definitely want to so with this book).

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You ARE what you Fantasize About

In October we put the Masks on. Young and old alike slip into different costumes and attires, some more ornate than others yet all with the intent of becoming somebody who we are not for a brief moment of frivolity and escape. We laugh and giggle as we attend the parties, walk the streets and revel in the differentness of the moment. We get to be somebody else for a few seconds, appearing as another of our own choosing.

What if we weren’t becoming somebody else? What if we were more accurately expressing who we really are? What if the mask we put on was more of a complex portal peering into who we truly wanted to be?

I think back to my early Halloween costumes. Various super heroes, each year’s get up determined by the stage I was in and the feeble materials I could weave together to construct my disguise. I remember a year that I dressed up as Zorro, wearing a black garbage bag as a cape and my father’s black cowboy hat. I painted on a massive mustache and wrapped a piece of cloth around my head with two poorly placed eye holes cut into it (I could barely see out of that thing). I grabbed my plastic sword in my right hand and giant eagle bag in the left as I rushed out of the house to trick or treat in the cold of October (finding out that garbage bags do very little to insulate oneself against Western PA’s frigidity).

As I grew older, during tumultuous teenage years I would brandish a brown trench coat of my father’s, tie a piece of fabric around my head pushing the bowl cut flowing locks out of my eyes and carried a bo-staff I had broken off from the big sycamore in the front yard. I had whittled away at it with my pen knife making it as straight as I could, covering it with black electrical tape. A few playing cards later and I would be Gambit of the 90’s X-Men fame.

As I look back on those costumes I realize that they said something about my heart at the time; a thermometer dipped into my psyche. When I was very young I wanted to be a dashing hero, potent and wise, saving the day and disappearing into the night.  I was not very brave, in fact I was downright cowardly, I dreamt of being the opposite. During my tumultuous teenage years I wanted to be a smooth talking ladies man who was charming and confident. The mere thought of talking to girls put my stomach into knots, the acne, braces, thick rimmed glasses and deep lack of anything that resembled self esteem or confidence constantly reminded me I was indeed nothing like Remy LeBeau.

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I desperately desired to be these symbols as I was hilariously lacking their attributes. On lonely bus rides to and from my prison known as school I would imagine myself to be these heroes, decimating my foes, winning the woman and righting all of the perceived wrongs in my tiny little world.

I believe on a heart level, what we dress up as, what we fantasize about is more real to who we are than almost any other factor. Consider how limited we all are by our genetics, environment and resources. Would Bruce Wayne be Batman if he wasn’t a Billionaire son of an ambitious doctor, who experienced the death of his parents at an early age? Who would Peter Parker be if he were not bitten by a radioactive spider? Even to some extent who would Peyton Manning be if he were not Archie Manning’s offspring, growing up immersed in every element of football. There is a sense of fate and destiny in all of those stories, fixed outcomes that many of us just don’t have the gifting to achieve.

But we can do anything in our minds. Any. Thing.

In our fantasy worlds we can be anybody we want to be, that is why it’s is so appealing. We can get utterly lost in it, burning through hours playing role playing games, reading comics and watching movies. But does that make it any less “real.”

There becomes this expectation that during our culture’s month long celebration of Halloween (or all year long at Comic Book Conventions) you can dress up as anything and it really has no bearings on who you are, you’re just having a little bit of fun. That is why if you head to a costume shop of any kind you will be assaulted by all of the sexy outfits that exist. Sexy Nurse, sexy fox, sexy cow, sexy serial killer……

There is a desire to be sexually adventurous at least for one night, at one event. It really doesn’t mean anything does it?

People think that they are dressing up as somebody who they are not; yet in reality they are probably showing us more of their true selves more than they realize. Just the selves they would be if it weren’t for those pesky societal norms and moral expectations levied against us.

It becomes scary when our true selves become obsessed with the dark, with vengeance with killing maiming and devouring (most of our first person shooter game). Let’s be honest our fantasies can take us to some chilling places. If I were to plug a flashdrive into your brain, download the content for a day and upload it to Vimeo (let’s be honest, there’s not way we’d get that stuff past Youtube’s filters) how would that make you feel?

Ask Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold if their fantasies ever became realities. Don’t know those names? Does the word “Columbine” stir up any memories?

Chilling thought huh?

From my understanding of Scripture, when Jesus tells us if we lust after a woman we are committing adultery with her in our hearts, or when we hate our brother we are guilty of murdering him he is not merely making life harder on us; heaping more archaic rules on our weary shoulders. Jesus is pulling back the veil and showing us the reality of the human soul. He is showing us that our true selves is that which we fantasize about, that which we would do if only we had the resources or if nobody else was looking.

No affair starts without a fantasy, no murder without hate. It doesn’t have to go that far to define us. May our heroes be true, may our true selves seek to do good. May the intent of our hearts be to strengthen and protect.

It says much of us if when we desire to be Spider-man giving it all, Superman swooping in and Captain American standing up for what he believes in.

God looks at the heart.

Our Masks are portals into our soul.

Land of Legends

I have been working on this massive project for my good friend John Gardner for a while now.  It’s for his annual youth retreat Snow Camp, the theme of which is “Land of Legends.”  They are basing all of their activities for the weekend around mythical creatures.  Sounds like a pretty cool time!

When he told me he wanted a Yeti, Sasquatch, Chupacabra and the Loch Ness Monster drawn up for the shirt I knew it was going to take gobs of time, but in the end I would have some pretty cool images to work with.  I plan on using some of these for isolated, limited edition T-shirts later in the year (I think that a good bit of Bigfoot lovers would be interested in buying the Sasquatch shirt) however I am thinking that I could use them for a bit more.

I already plan on using the Yeti as a pretty major Character in my Cynderbreak universe.  I am deeply tempted to use Sasquatch as his archrival, a larger, more intelligent creature who exists in the shadows controlling and waiting to strike.  Yeti VS Sasquatch sounds pretty cool and it just may be the type of thing that people would really enjoy!

I think that I could find a place for the villainous Chupacabra as well, almost like a Gollum character, searching for something, seeking to devour.  There is something inherently humorous about Chubacabras, perhaps it’s the fact that their name literally means “Goat Sucker.”

Anyhow, I see potential in borrowing some of these mythical creatures.  I need to cultivate a familiarity in Cynderbreak early or I am going to lose people.  They need to have some connection, what better way than to use un-copyrighted familiar monsters!?ImageImageImageImage