Sunday, April 17, 2016

Entry 283: The rise and fall of Studio Paklis

Back in Entry 269 I told you about my studio. It started with me, Ben Bates, and Jeremy Barlow. Then Jeremy left and it was just me and Ben. That was cool for like 4 months. Then Ben moved to L.A. as his animation career took off. Since then, it's been just me.

I worked on my own for many years. When I joined Periscope studio in 2009, it took me a while to get used to so many people. (I'm not sure I ever got used to it.) With just 3 people, the much smaller Studio Paklis was a great fit for me. But returning to being all alone was not so bad. Sure it get's lonely and weird, but I also enjoy the uninhibited feeling when it comes to singing to music, acting stuff out, talking to myself, and just generally being odd.

See those two pictures above. The first one is how the studio looked with just me in it, but for the past 3 weeks it's looked like the second image. I'm in the gradual process of moving my studio back home.

My home is small. I originally joined Periscope Studio when my wife moved in with me. There just wasn't the space in this apartment for her and me and my studio. We've staid in this small apartment as our daughter, Lucy, has gotten older. We like it here that much. But she's almost 7 now. So we've been thinking that we should be looking for a bigger place.

Given that we need to get a bigger space so that Lucy can have her own room and that I'm moving my studio back into the home, you might assume that we've found a new place with all the space we need but you'd be wrong. We're staying right where we're at and we're also taking the apartment next door! Two apartments! It's really exciting.

The second apartment needs some work. I've been over there cleaning and prepping for paint. Soon my new studio space will be up and running.

As far as Paklis. I'm not abandoning that name. Though the studio is no more, the name will live on as a comic.

Here is a little peek.

It's too soon for me to be officially announcing anything about this comic. Just know that I am working on a comic called Paklis... and you're going to love it without reservation. It'll be your new favorite thing in the world and it'll make you totally forget who Captain America (your current favorite thing, I assume) even is.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016



That's my first time actually drawing Bebop and Rocksteady. After having spent a lot of time and thought on them with the Bebop and Rocksteady Micro issue and now with this, it's great to actually draw them.

So yes, this is mine and Ben Bate's big return to Bebop and Rocksteady. A few years ago we got to establish their personalities and how they function in the IDW Turtles universe when we collaborated on the Bebop and Rocksteady Villains Micro Series. That issue was well received by fans and ever since then there's been a possibility of us returning to do a mini series. This is actually the third incarnation of the idea. We never got far with the first two ideas because nether Ben nor I could fit the project into our schedules. I guess the third time's the charm. Bobby told us that, with the new movie coming out in June, they wanted to have a Bebop and Rocksteady mini. He asked if we wanted to do it and it was good timing for us, plus we were into what he was looking for. Bobby put forth the idea of it being a time travel story, much like their Turtles in Time story, with a different artist each issue, and he said we could call it something like "Bebop & Rocksteady Destroy Everything." I'm a big fan of time travel stories. I found the idea of sending these two idiots through time to be instantly appealling. And, though Bobby was just throwing it out, I thought it that title was great!

From the start, Ben and I knew that we didn't want to do the "Turtles in Time" structure of a different time period with a different artist each issue. I put forth the idea of having the story jumping around in time and having a consistent artist for each time period regardless of what issue it was in. I was inspired by my my experience working on the Infinity crossover for Marvel. On that I was one of 5 artists all working in tandem. We had an email chain that was constantly updating with art and I found it really inspiring and exciting. I wanted to reproduce that with this project. I also liked the idea of coordinating the and overseeing a larger project where I could work with artists. And it's been really fun seeing this thing come together. All the artists involved are doing great work.

Check out these covers.

Those are variant covers by me, Sophie Campbell, Damian Couceiro, Kevin Eastman, Ben Bates, Ryan Browne, and a super cool connecting covers image by Nick Pitarra!

For more info here's an article on the AV Club.

Also, if you haven't read our Bebop and Rocksteady Villains Micro issue check it out here.

More on this project to come.

I leave you with my original sketch for the logo.

Monday, March 7, 2016

Entry 281: Blast From the Past- Part 21

This blog hasn't become exclusively about my older work. I swear I'm working on new things. I've got like three projects that I'll be able to talk about real soon. There are exciting times for any fans of my work right around the corner. But while we wait, let's get another Blast from the Past entry done.

At the San Diego Comic Con in 2004 I was back to spending some amount of my time there trying to get work. I stopped by Lee Bermejo's table to say hi and he told me that there was a new editor named Jeremy Barlow at Dark Horse working on Star Wars Tales and that he was looking for artists. He suggested I show my work to him. So I did.

I soon wrapped up my work on The Tenth Circle. I had also moved out of my Grandparents house and was now living with a girlfriend. I was working on my Wildcats pitch and issue 4 Assassins Guild  pages. I was out of money. I started drawing pieces to sell (I'll show that stuff next time).

But just then Jeremy Barlow and Dark Horse came through for me. I'm not sure how much my connection to Chris Warner and my having done a little fill-in on Alien Vs. Predator played into my getting a job through Jeremy, but I think it must have a little.

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Entry 280: Blast From The Past- Part 20

In my next Blast from the Past entry I'm going to finally talk about my first Star Wars comic. It'll be the start a of a whole new phase in my professional progress. But for now, I've got one last thing to talk about from my days at Wildstorm.

So, once again we go back to 2003 when I was interning at Wildstorm studios. I've done a bunch of entries about this time period so I wont rehash, but when I was there I learn that Wildcats Volume 3 was coming to an end. As a long time fan of Wildcats, I get it in my head that I should pitch a relaunch. That's right, I thought there was some possibility that they would let me write and draw a new Wildcats series. It's only their flagship title and I was the intern, but I thought, "why not try?" I figured if I present something that is good enough, my lack of experience and career status wouldn't get in my way. It just had to be real good.

I talked to my friend and collaborator on many ideas since 7th grade, DJ Bryant, about the idea of tackling this. DJ has a fantastically creative mind and I knew, I've always known, that having his creative powers in on a project is an advantage. Also, both DJ and I were fans of Wildcats when we were young and just getting into comics. This collaboration would be a lot of fun for us. So, I asked him to develop something with me and we both got pretty pumped on it.

(DJ is currently working on a book to be published by Fantagraphics. You can see his work here )

The image I've posted above is from early on in this ambition. I did this while working on The Tenth Circle. It looks a lot like Tenth Circle stuff to me. So that means it was probably done in early 2004. I eventually used this image for the cover of our pitch. Most pitches don't come with covers but, then again, most pitches aren't nearly as long as what we ended up producing. We wen't way overboard.

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Entry 279: Blast From the Past- Part 19

Anyone read Warren Ellis' and Cully Hamner's comic "Red"? I haven't, but I did read a little bit of a script for one of the issues, and I drew some sample pages from it.

What you see above is a layout I did based on that "Red" script. In 2003-2004, in my post Wildstorm internship days, when I was still visiting Wildstorm regularly and still trying to get work in comics, I was given this script. I think it was then Wildstorm editor Ben Abernathy who gave me this script and told me to submit it to DC editor Will Dennis.

I drew four pages from that script. The first one I did like this.

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Entry 278: Back to the Future, Ogun, Wolverine, Alabaster, & More

Back in Entry 268 I talked about the mostly frivolous activity of thinking about what I would do if I were to take on an existing property. The Challenge goes something like this: "You have to create a comic book series based on (blank). You can do it however you want. You have total freedom. What is it? What do you do?" I don't go to far with it, just get a rough direction.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Entry 277: Enifinity Gauntlet #5

The end is here. The final issue of Infinity Gauntlet is out and the story is over.

Since this last issue came out the question I've gotten the most is: "Will these characters continue on in the regular Marvel Universe?" And there are some responses to the series that act as though, if these characters are not continuing then the content of this story, even if they enjoyed it, doesn't matter. I will point out that it would seem that most people are perfectly happy with a self contained stand alone story. So that's cool, but to address the question--