I stopped by and grabbed an early morning shot of the sign with Christmas lights. Timed it just right.
I’ve been wanting to get into drone work for a long time, and I finally made a start last week. I picked up a new DJI Mavic Mini, and have been having a blast with it.
My next comic convention will be Megacon in Orlando, Florida, on May 17, 18 & 19. You can pick up copies of my self-published books Shanghai and Extraterrestrial. I’ll also sign any Tick or Ultraverse books you bring – signatures are always free!
Here’s a new sample piece I inked for Ben Dunn at Antarctic Press. He put out a call for inkers last week, and I put my name in the hat. It’s a little more outside my usual style for inking, so it got me out of my comfort zone, which was fine. I approached it with kind of a Gil Kane vibe. This was done entirely in Procreate on the iPad Pro. Let me know what you think!
Season 2 just wrapped up, and I thought it was brilliant. As much as I’m looking forward to new adventures in season 3, I’m going to miss Captain Pike and the crew of the Enterprise. There is a show there that I never knew I wanted until I saw Anson Mount’s portrayal of Pike this year. I put together a faux promo poster to give CBS a nudge in that direction! This was before the finale, so I hadn’t seen Spock without the beard and wasn’t positive Nahn was continuing with Discovery. You can download a high-resolution version here!
Walking through a graveyard with a 360 camera on the end of a long stick can be a strange experience. I had a caretaker chase me down in a golf cart. He asked, “How are you doing?” “Fine,” I replied. “What are you doing?” was his next question. It was expected. After explaining to him that it was a camera on the end of a long monopod pole, and that I was just taking pictures, he was fine with it. I got some neat shots, and added a bunch to Google Maps for other folks to be able to take a virtual tour of the place their ancestors are laid to rest. Having grown up in Daytona Beach, I saw a lot of family names that I’m sure are connected to people I know, went to school with, or own prominent businesses here in town. I have family there, so I paid my respects and had a quiet morning. Here’s an inverted tiny-planet view of the same shot –
I’ve been experimenting with 360 photography lately, and really enjoying the medium. I love the idea of sharing a place or an experience in a unique way, beyond just a flat, two-dimensional image. It can be presented as a panorama, or morphed into what’s affectionately known as a “tiny planet”. My home town of Daytona Beach, Florida, provides many opportunities for great 360 photographs. Palm trees, water, and blue skies are everywhere. I’m still learning to set up shots and figure out what my gear can do, so there will be a lot more 360 photography to come! This image was taken near the City Island library in Daytona, using a Samsung Gear 360 camera on a selfie-stick.
I’ve been reading about all the “comicsgate” stuff in the comics business. It seems so stupid that people go so far out of their way to spread animosity and hate toward other comics creatives. One of the things I always liked about the comics industry was that we never seemed in competition with each other as artists and writers. If I liked what someone had made, I would buy it. I didn’t have to choose one thing over another. If I don’t like an artists style, it’s just not my personal cup of tea. It doesn’t mean I think they’re a bad artist. I still respect that they’re making comics and love what they’re doing. There was always room for more good comics, though. I also can appreciate diversity in the comics industry – both in creators and characters. I try and be mindful of this when creating my new books. I want the cast in my comics to look like my community (with aliens, monsters and robots added in). At the end of the day, I’ll buy comics I like, and won’t buy books that don’t appeal to me. If a creator engages in abusive or disrespectful behavior, I’ll probably avoid them. There are people I’ve encountered over the course of my career that were pricks to me or someone I liked. I probably would not work with those folks again, given the chance. When I was buying comics in the 70s and 80s, I didn’t know what race, ethnicity, or sometimes, even what gender a creator was. They were just names on the title page, and I enjoyed their work. I wanted to be one of them. If sales of comic books are declining, maybe we should stop being assholes to each other and just make good comics. I’ve seen some comics creators trying to start new companies to publish their work free from the constraints of the “social justice warriors.” What a crock of shit. I’ve been doing this for years. Nothing is stopping any of these people from publishing their own work themselves. I’ve been self-publishing since the 90s. It’s not hard to do. I don’t sell many books, but I tell my own stories and put out exactly what I want to publish. I can’t be black-listed from publishing comics. Nobody knows who I am. I’m probably more on the side of the “SJW” label. If you want to put your own work out there, and push your own agenda and ideas, then have the stones to take that leap and do it yourself. Self-publish your own comics. I would love to sell more books and have more people know who I am. The only way that’s going to happen is if I tell good stories and draw nice art, and I promote it. I would love to do more work for Marvel and DC, but they don’t owe me anything. I’m happy putting out my own books, with the hope that someday I’ll find a bigger audience. I love what I do, and I love that some people get enjoyment out of reading my stuff. Life is too short to spend time whining about other creators are doing. Make your own comics.
Rush has been my favorite band since I was in high school. I’ve seen Rush in concert four or five times since 1982. I own every album they’ve ever put out. I own a Rickenbacker bass guitar because Geddy Lee played one. My latest art piece is a tribute to Rush, done from a photo by the late Andrew MacNaughtan. Over the past six months, I’ve been working on layouts for the new Static Live magazine. Static focuses on the music and entertainment scene in the Daytona Beach and Volusia County area and beyond. I take all of the edited articles and photos, and arrange them into coherent pages. I’ve done a few illustrations for the cover art of the magazine. They haven’t been of subjects that resonated with me personally, like Rush. I didn’t do the cover art for issue 6. I decided maybe I would do a few pieces of my own. I could possibly make some prints to sell at conventions. I just finished the comic project I’ve been working on for the last 18 months, and am getting ready to start something new. While I’m between projects, I thought I would try something a little different, and draw some of my favorite musicians, like Rush. New Rush Artwork This piece, featuring Rush, is still a work in progress. It is done entirely in ProCreate on the iPad Pro. I used an Apple Pencil with the ink line tool. I’m almost done with the line art on the figures. Soon I’ll add a backdrop and do the colors. Rush has had a lot of different looks over the years. I felt this image captures the mature, confident version of the band. I may do a stage setting for the backdrop with a lot of color. If this Rush piece turns out well and generates some interest, then I may try a few more and make it a series. Every artist tries to find a niche that they can make their own, and this may be mine.
I started reading the adventures of Spider-man in issue #176, back in 1978. I’d fallen way behind on my comic reading lately. Over the past few days I finally caught up with Amazing Spider-man through issue 800. What a jumbled mess. A lot of the run was completely incoherent because it crossed over with other books between issues. I had no idea what was going on. Characters appeared and then were gone. Endless retreads of goblins, clones, Venom varients, and characters coming back from the dead. I loved the Superior Spider-man run. After that, it seems like everything went sideways. I didn’t enjoy it at all. When Otto took over as Spider-man, I thought it was a very cool twist on an old charcter. Dan Slott told it well. I knew things would not remain that way. I was hoping to see Peter take some of the things Otto had done when he returned as Spider-man and make positives out of them. Otto’s inevitable return should have made him a much more complex and interesting character. What I saw of him just kind of put him back where he was. I have not read the Clone Conspiracy books yet. There may be something I’ve missed. Amazing Spider-man carries what I think is one of the larger problems Marvel has with storytelling. Forced crossovers. It would direct me to go to an issue Clone Conspiracy as I was reading. Then another book along the way. I read the next sequential issue instead. I had no idea what was going on. I can’t stand that the first page of every book has to be a “the story so far” with a damn flow chart of connected characters. I believe you have failed as a story teller if you need to give readers a flow chart. I want to be able to read a book in sequential order and be able to get an entire story from one issue to the next. Spider-man failed at that. It is a complete and utter dud when read by itself. I don’t blame Slott’s writing for this. The problem is more likely the editorial team, wanting to sell more Spider-man books. I was digging the art when Humberto Ramos was drawing Spider-man. For Marvel’s top book, I was not impressed with much that I saw after he left Spider-man. I don’t like to slag my fellow artists. There were some great pages and panels in there. The art is not something I would continue to buy this book for. The cover art by Alex Ross was very cool. I’d love to see Spider-man find a new long-term art team that really fits the character well. Superior Spider-man was my top book back in the day. The current run has fallen flat for me.