Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Ghosts of Samsara 25-26

And we're done!

Well, it was a good test and I learned a lot from this comic so despite everything I'm happy with having done it. Seeing how my current script is going, though, GoS will probably be permanently shelved in its own little space because its continuity is just too far into the main storyline. Still, I love subways and ghosts so odds are I'll figure out a way to do this scene again and put it where it really belongs.

This fall, it really is all about the beginning. For now? Well, my next short comic project is in the works and while I was hoping to start posting it right away, for various reasons I'm having to postpone it. I'll probably start by posting some sketches and works in progress and if anything big comes up, I'll post about it here.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Ghosts of Samsara 23-24

Alright, this is the last week of Ghosts of Samsara. I learned a lot working on this project and for that I'm still really grateful.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Ghosts of Samsara 21-22

So, apparently Disney is now in the housing development market.

Sure, it's just luxury housing, but this is the kind of thing that gets my mind going. It's not like corporate housing ventures are a new deal, but this kind of dipping one's fingers into all the pots is always fascinating.

... and a part of me actually wonders what some of the houses will look like. I kinda doubt we're going to get too many recreations of the Haunted Mansion, but that'd be cool.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Ghosts of Samsara 19-20

So, I originally came up with the idea for this story something like four, five years ago but only in the context of the whole City of Cards story and finding a way to make this piece stand by itself for my mini-thesis wasn't exactly the easiest process. I think if I ever attached this story to anything else these next pages would get taken out, but hey, practice is always good.

Hm, well, we're on the home stretch on this and I'm still hoping to get my next project up in July but there will be delays on that. I'll post here when I know more.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Ghosts of Samsara 17-18

Not much to say this round. Summer is finally starting to hit so I'm kicking on the AC and hoping to get some sketching done.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Ghosts of Samsara 15-16

I've been watching/re-watching a bunch of movies lately and I thought I'd just toss out one of my favorites:

Kairo/Pulse: The Original Japanese version because it reflects so frighteningly well on the nature of isolation in the modern age serving as a great supernatural horror film with a slight twinge of science fiction. I hate to even call it horror, though, because the kind of fear that this movie deals with isn't jump scares and boogie monsters, it's not even death, it's something worse than death and that is what's so scary. This along with the original Juon/Grudge are some of the best psychological horror films of the modern era, at least in my opinion.

So yeah, love that movie, but it's probably a good idea to go hug a friend or something afterward. Also, it's definitely a movie you want to really focus on because there's a lot of little details in the atmosphere that are key to really appreciating the movie.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Ghosts of Samsara 13-14, Junji Ito

By far my favorite page in this comic for a lot of reasons. I thought about reordering things a bit when posting these pages, but I'm pretty much going for a warts and all approach to this, so even if there's stuff here that I hate/wish I could change (especially art-wise) I guess it's good to just put it out there and move on.

Still, this is my favorite page, no question. I think that it makes this whole process worthwhile when I can say I have at least a couple pages that I actually really am proud of. That said, yeah, there are definitely things I know now that I won't repeat in later comics, but at least I know so I don't end up screwing myself over later.

Comics You Should Know

Also, I should have linked this awhile ago, but I have a blog essay up at the Center for Cartoon Studies' Schulz Library Blog about Junji Ito and Uzumaki.

The you should know part is pretty much the entire essay, so no need to go into detail here.

New England weather also continues to be all sorts of crazy. I'm definitely looking forward to heading back out to LA in July.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Ghosts of Samsara 11-12 and sketches

Just about halfway there!

I also figured I throw up a few random sketches today because, hey, why not?

First, a sketch of Trump and Candy.

I've pretty much cemented my look for Trump at least. That was pretty easy since she really is just the female version of her brother. I generally like this look for Candy. I'll get around to doing a write up for their characters eventually.

Just a quick brush pen doodle of what I imagine Ace will look like when he's in his late 30s-40s.

And a design sketch for Old Friends Hit Hard:

So, how about that live action Blue Beetle TV series, huh?

Friday, June 11, 2010

Ghosts of Samsara 9-10

I'm starting to catch up on the most recent run of Doom Patrol. Part of the lure was the Metal Men backup but the series itself is pretty great, definitely worth checking out.

I also found a couple of mix CDs of 2008 JPop songs one of my co-teachers gave me before I left Japan. It's ridiculous how happy a bunch of random poppy Japanese songs can make me feel.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Ghosts of Samsara 7-8

I don't necessarily believe in ghosts, at least not in the traditional sense of old dead relatives with far too much time on their hands.

But I do like the ghosts in this story, if only because they're damn fun to ink.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Comic, and Reflections of Nostalgia

Heyo, almost forgot to update, but here's pages 5-6 of Ghosts of Samsara:

I miss trains, really. I know City of Cards isn't supposed to be set in Japan, but I loved riding the trains while I lived there. Frankly, that was half the reason I went to the city or visited friends was just so I could get on a train or a subway.

Nostaglia: The Anthology

I've tried to remain objective when I look at the shifts and trends in modern popular culture, but just as we lament the struggle and demise of the comic anthology in classes here, I find myself personally lamenting the demise of the television anthology series.

Shows like the Twilight Zone, Amazing Stories, Alfred Hitchcock Presents, and all the various Playhouse series were amazing in the amount of talent created out of them as well as their capacity for experimentation in narrative and film. I've watched the Masters of Horror and Science Fiction series that came out and I wish that this format were as popular nowadays as it used to be.

I like to seek out these kinds of shows when I can but it just seems a shame that it's just not part of this current media generation as much as it was when I was a kid. Series like Masters of Science Fiction, calling upon some of the greatest science fiction minds of the last several decades, show the formats potential for actors, writers, and directors to tell stories that leave viewers with a quick insight into big possibilities and questions about the human condition without making up the viewers mind for them. It's like the short story versus the novel, and sometimes the poem versus the novel, and longer just isn't always better.

Not to say there aren't lots of new, great things being done, primarily through the internet because there's a lot less censorship and red tape. Heck, that's the reason I'm able to publish my comics online! Homemade review shows, sketch comedy, even serial dramas are being made by dedicated fans and artists are just some of what's out there. I'd like to see the anthology get some new life in the next couple of decades.

On that note, I'll end this ramble with a link to some great indie music I found while browsing b3ta: In The Hills, The Cities by James Edge and The Mindstep

Friday, June 4, 2010

Comic, and What I am Reading Mainstream v1

First off, pages 3-4 of Ghosts of Samsara:

I love backgrounds and environments. Maybe one day I'll do a comic without any people in it because I love drawing settings that much, seriously. I hope to get much better at it as well.

Second, kinda like Comics You Should Know, I figured I'd post what I'm reading in the mainstream world and enjoying and would actually feel like recommending. It should go unsaid but this is a highly biased and completely non-objective list:

Booster Gold: Why? Keith Giffen, JM DeMatteis, and Chris Batista with covers by Kevin Macguire. Justice League International is one of the few series I actually go back and reread no matter how long ago the stories were written or how crude the printing may look compared to modern glossy comics and that's because the team involved did something amazing by making superheroes into relatable and likable people. I'd already been enjoying Booster Gold as a series, but I could not be happier to have this team on the series. Solid art, solid dialogue, and with only one issue with this team out so far I was able to get the same satisfying emotional sucker punch I got when I read JLI. I look forward to reading the rest of this run immensely.

Justice League Generation Lost: Same deal as Booster Gold for the most part. I'm a JLI fan and I actually think Judd WInnick is handling his writing end fairly well considering I haven't really read anything by him for the most part. It's nice to know that super hero comics can still have largely character driven storylines at times. I want to know what happens next not because of the "oh hey, what a unique plot device!" but instead of how the characters are going to handle the situation. Here's hoping it continues to be a good read.

The Flash: I'm a sucker for Francis Manapul's art. I loved his and Geoff John's run on Adventure Comics and I'm hoping this run will be as satisfying. That said, I'll keep reading it if only for Manapul's wonderful soft ink washes and refreshing style in a world where hyper-realism seems to be the standard by which mainstream comics are judged. I'm not really a Barry Allen fan, but whatever, it's pretty.

Joe the Barbarian: Yeah, it's Vertigo, but that's still mainstream to me. For people of my generation in particular, this story does a great job of recalling the feel of all those fantastic 80s fantasy movies about kids in the modern world being pulled into fantastic adventures. The art is stunning and this kind of trippy reality bending is something Grant Morrison does really well. It's definitely a series that I might almost recommend in paperback form to be able to appreciate the narrative, but seeing as only five of the eight floppies are out right now I just keep rereading the volumes as they come out. It's also nice to get into something that you know has an actual end in sight.

That's it for now. Coming to CCS I've been trying to devour pretty much any comic I can get my hands on and while I am reading a couple of other mainstream titles, these four are the only ones that pop out in my mind as notable. I might pull a non-mainstream list together later, but that's probably going to end up just being a list of books I've read from the library and liked, and maybe a manga list if I read anything that stands out. Genre, format, and company are never a deterrent for me if I think what I'm going to read might be enjoyable or well done.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

City of Cards: Ghosts of Samsara Comic

Okay, due to complications with printing and with my summer schedule I'm postponing sending out/selling copies of Ghosts of Samsara. In light of that, I figured, hey, why not just post it online? So I am!

Starting today, for the month of June I'll be posting two pages of comic every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. This is the compromise I came up with because I wanted to somehow maintain the spreads but considering I just spent three months on this dude I should share it with people. It's definitely a comic that I prefer to be viewed in person, but I hope it reads well enough online.

While I post these pages, I can now announce my first summer comic project that I'll also be posting here on my blog:

City of Cards: Old Friends Hit Hard

Like Ghosts of Samsara, OFHH will be a short vignette that takes place during a later story arc. However, since I plan to publish it online there will be a few differences: 1) color 2) process updates where I show you how I go about making my comic 3) SPOILERS.

Nothing major, but even more than GoS the events in OFHH may reveal plot points so for this fact I'm aiming to make it a wordless comic. Still, I've started pencils and I'm already pumped to get started on this 8 page mini.