Rum Row is Live!

It’s been a long time, and I’ve had my share of false starts. But Rum Row is finally done and ready to go! If you’ve seen any of my previous posts on the subject, you’ll know that this is a project that I’ve been working on for a while now. My first full length comic book, and I couldn’t be more happy to see how it turned out. Here’s some preview art by pin up artist John Broglia, with comic pages by Michele Bandini. Colors by Derek Dow.

cigadblimp

RR_03

RR_12b

Elevator Pitch – Mixing elements of Jules Verne and The Untouchables, Rum Row is an aerial themed crime adventure comic.

If you’d like to check it out, or learn a little more about it. You can watch the video, and check out this link.

The project is 100% finished and ready to print. But we’re doing a Kickstarter to fund the printing and shipping of the book. So please, if you’re a fan of the project or the blog, feel free to share this and get the word out. Facebook, Twitter, you’re own blog. Anything helps.

That’s it, and thanks again for stopping by!

5 Recent Life Achievements

I write this entry purely as documentation. Not out of arrogance or to belittle anyone else’s accomplishments. Now disclaimer aside, let’s dive into how amazing I am.

1. I tried Thirst Quencher Gum. Yes, I did indeed try this “miracle” product. You no longer have to wonder every time you frequent a sporting goods store if this gum does indeed do as claimed. Well the answer is, yes it quenches. But only if you would rather grab a glass full of your own saliva than a bottle of water or Gatorade. I drooled so hard I couldn’t form sentences. I felt like I had been hit in the mouth with a blow dart dipped in nerve toxin. I lost all muscle control, and not in a fun way. Here I was, a 29 year old man, trying to drive while my face continued to leak like a canteen hit with buckshot. I needed a mouth diaper. Drenching the entire top of my shirt, like a toddler on his bib. So yes, this gum is effective. But not in a way I would call beneficial. Either way, achievement accomplished.

2. I drank an entire bottle of port and didn’t throw up. Port if you’re unfamiliar, is Portuguese for “NyQuil”. It’s like drinking maple syrup, except with a nice 20% alcohol bump. It burns your lungs when you try to breathe it in. That’s how you know it’s good. I drank this recent bottle on accident because I thought it was regular wine. Which at first, I thought had gone bad. But then I actually read the label, and the proof. So rather than stop or throw it out. I just decided to treat myself. Who knew not reading would be so rewarding. Thanks port.

3. I got a new phone. Now I can actually use the GPS without my phone freezing, and tweet about every time I have wet socks. Finally I can stop holding back and really seize the day! Here I come world.

4. I stopped night binging so my girlfriend didn’t see. I think relationships should be built on trust. And since we recently got engaged, I figured I owed it to her to be honest. Plus if we ever have kids down the line, it’s probably better I stop now. No child should ever wake up to see their father eating a whole bag of recently microwaved jalepeno poppers at 3am. Ever.

5. I started a journal. So far it only has two entries. The first was only one sentence. It read – “Got diarrhea. Not fun.” I’m glad at almost 30, I’ve decided to record life’s important moments. As an older, wiser man, I’m sure I’ll appreciate little personal jewels like that. You guys should all do one. I’ve learned a lot about myself.

Oh and this last piece isn’t an accomplishment. It’s just a cool picture I saw on the wall of a bathroom while I was peeing a few days ago. I think eye patches are cool.

eyepatch

P.S. – Rum Row and the Kickstarter are coming! It did not get posted on 8/18 due to some set backs. So going to post the date when it is 100% locked in. Updates soon. Meanwhile, check out some awesome art by Michele Bandini and colors by Derek Dow.

Rum Row T-colored

Rum Row Cover!

RR_Cover

Here it is! The comic I’ve been working on with artist Michele Bandini, is just about wrapped up. I’ve been a little off the grid lately on the blogging front, and this is partly responsible. But I’m trying to get back in the swing again. You may recall me talking about this in an earlier post, and this proof that we’re progressing. Slowly I’ll admit. The Kickstarter to fund the printing cost is going up Monday 8/18 of this month. If you’re interested in getting the book, digital or in print, this will be a great way to get it. Plus there will be a whole bunch of cool bonus stuff. I will keep you posted as we get closer to the date! Let me give you a little info on what it’s about -

The story is set in the 1920’s, during Prohibition. Sort of Jules Verne meets The Untouchables. A whole drunken city floats above New York, as the police try to contain and control these dirigible speakeasies. We’ll watch it all unfold through our main character Jack, as he takes passage this New Year’s on the most famous dirigible – The Duchess.

That’s it for now! Thanks for checking this out, and I’ll be posting more about this and probably more weird drawings from my brain soon. Have a good Wednesday!

My Owl Collection (Part 1)

I drew some of my favorite breeds of owls. If yours is not listed below, please don’t get offended. Just make sure to mention it in the comment section, and I will attend to your request in an orderly fashion. Thank you. Now on to the owls…

Original

Regular Owl

HoarderOwl

Hoarder Owl

BJOwl

Benjamin Franklin Owl

Owl in Lion Costume

BadOwl

Bad Owl

KeithRichards

Keith Richards Owl

That is all for today’s owl collection. More coming soon.

 

I’m Not Dead

I’ve just been a little sidetracked this last month. So I hope all is well with you guys. With summer approaching, I thought I’d write something to get us in the mood. So I wrote a quick poem about the ocean. Because the ocean is basically the spirit animal of summer. It’s true. I read that somewhere. Anyway, here it is (Photo courtesy of between-appointments)

Hey ocean, I like you.

Even though you hurt my eyes and taste like Play-Doh.

You’re waves are like vert ramps for doing sick surf board tricks on.

Plus you make all of my favorite seafood dishes.

You also have nice friends like dolphins and walruses.

Except for sharks. Please don’t invite them out this summer.

Those guys are dicks. A.K.A dick fish.

Okay, I think I covered everything.

Hope to see you soon. And I promise not to pee in you.

Very much anyway.

The End 

 

Feats of Strength!

Definition - An almost godlike display of courage or might, usually accompanied by chanting onlookers screaming “feats of strength”. (This is of course, the internationally recognized definition. You may find other definitions on the interwebs.)

Feats of Strength

Below are some of my personal examples. Please do not attempt any of these activities at home. They are incredibly dangerous. (Unless you’re trying to impress babes. Which in that case, do all of them at the same time.)

  1. I can eat gluten and dairy products without getting sick.
  2. I once made my bed in complete darkness. When I turned on the lights, it was perfectly tucked.
  3. I have seen “The Sound of Music” seventy-three times.
  4. I once boogie boarded for three straight hours, and wasn’t embarrassed.
  5. I can say cuss words in Croatian.
  6. I successfully separated two frozen turkey patties without endangering myself, or those around me.
  7. I own “Terminator 2: Judgement Day” on VHS.
  8. I have read every single book in the Chronicles of Narnia series.
  9. I can do sit ups under water.
  10. I once met the lead singer of a Red Hot Chili Peppers cover band.
  11. I have never fallen off the top bunk.
  12. When I was four, I won a Little Mermaid coloring contest at the local movie theater.
  13. I have kissed a girl before.
  14. I once farted really loud, and then blamed it on the dog. Everyone believed me.
  15. I didn’t get carpal tunnel writing this immensely long list of achievements.

The Great Condom Conundrum

I wish I could speak dog language. Not for conversational reasons. But mainly to tell mine to stop eating condoms. Particularly random ones he finds in bushes outside my house. I’d rather have him roll in a pile of dead fish than play tug of war with that. He found one yesterday. A condom, not a pile of trash that is. Don’t worry though. We both made it out of alive. And after I stopped hyperventilating, I did some pondering. I pondered the age old question that has plagued mankind since the dawn of time – Why do people always throw condoms on the ground?

As a kid I was always puzzled why there were so many “balloons” by the library. Was there a party I missed? Why doesn’t anyone ever let me know? I like books. I love cake. I should be invited too! Then I got older, and realized that all that self loathing was for nothing. Those weren’t balloons. Those were contraceptives. And no big deal, people were just having sex in the parking lot and all over my books. Which I guess is a good life lesson for a child.

But let’s be honest, there’s also a silver lining to all of this. Whoever is having all this bench, library, or car coitus, is at least practicing safe sex. Showing some responsibility. And you have to respect that. The kicker though is, not quite responsible enough to throw them in the trash. Which kind of cancels out the first part.

Although it’s not just parks, and libraries that are littered with condoms, it’s freeways too. I did my fair share of freeway cleaning due to unwise choices in my youth, so I can definitely attest to this fact. Are these people just throwing condoms out of car windows in mid drive? Shouldn’t they be focusing on the road? If texting or talking on your phone tickets are expensive, a “taking a condom off while driving” ticket must be astronomical.

Maybe the answer to all this is we need biodegradable condoms. The tagline on the package could be – “Hey when you’re done, just throw it in the compost pile!” I bet those would sell millions. Or people can just stop being disgusting and throw the fucking condom away. Either or. Sorry, I know this turned into kind of a weird rant. But hey, have a great day!

P.S. – I just found out I’m seeing Billy Joel in concert. Be jealous of my life.

Turtleneck Tuesday

Taco Tuesday is a fantastic institution and a great way to get through the week. But let’s be honest, you have to wait until after the work day is finished to truly enjoy it. Binge drinking, and power eating tacos are not encouraged during most office lunch hours. But neck insulation on the other hand, is always welcome. Not to mention a good turtleneck, screams “smart dresser”.  Here are just a few more reasons to wear turtlenecks on Tuesday besides them both starting with T -

  • They protect your neck from paper cuts
  • Double chins are now camouflaged
  • You automatically look like a jazz musician or college professor. You only have to change your hat, and who doesn’t like options.
  • Scarves make you look like you’re trying too hard. While turtlenecks just mean you’re practical.
  • James Bond and Steve McQueen both wore them.

turtleneck_tuesday

If I couldn’t convince you to wear turtlenecks with the above information, then you’re probably more of a tank top person. And if that’s the case I’d rather not be associated with you. It’s rare that anybody looks good in a tank top. Most people have gross arms and need a tan, or to learn to use gel deodorant. White dreadlocks armpit hair is not attractive for either sex. Not even in Europe. So do yourself a favor, and start wearing turtlenecks. Your neck will thank you.

The amazing artwork is done courtesy of Jon Hunter over at Pastrami Basket. And today is the one year anniversary of his blog. A Pastramiversary if you will. We’ve worked together in the past, on the Dinner Party post, and on my eBook cover. He’s a super talented artist, that you should definitely be checking out. Now go forth and enjoy tacos, neck warmth, and some awesome art.

The Saloon Salon

Andrew Saloon

Process: Script to Comic Page

Whether it’s writing, making a film, or even watching cooking shows, I’ve always been interested in process. I like learning about how things are made, and seeing all the steps laid out separately. So going with that theme, I figured I’d take a crack at one of those on the topic of comics. I’m right in the middle of my latest project Rum Row, and thought this was a perfect opportunity to illustrate how an idea goes from the script to the final colored page. If you hate learning “how the sausage is made”, you can at least look at some cool pictures. Now onward!

Duchess

Some concept artwork for the main zeppelin of our story Rum Row, along with a small headshot of its Captain, Katherine Blanchard.

If you’re a comic fan, you’ve probably seen something similar in the back of a graphic novel or collected edition. After the initial story and characters have been fleshed out, I’ll sit down to write the actual script. I write in “full script” format. I don’t want to bore you with the different styles, but if you’re interest you can go here.

Basically this is where I describe how many panels are going on the page, what happens in each one, and write the dialogue (word balloons) for each character. I copy and pasted page ten of the recent script, then put the finished pencils directly following it. In this example, this is simply an action page. So there won’t be any word balloons. But I think you’ll still get the idea. All the beautiful artwork is courtesy of my collaborator Michele Bandini.

Rum Row Script Page

Page Ten (4 Panels)

1

Outside of the Duchess, we see a group of police zeppelins that read NYPD on the side poking through the clouds, dispersing the air balloons and other ships.

2

Cut to the back of the NYPD zeppelin opening up and police biplanes are exiting. One plane, The Albatross, is larger and different looking then the rest. It actually has helicopter propellers in the wings, so it can hover in place. This is for boarding other ships.

3

The police planes fly by the hot air balloons at full speed. A woman watches through opera glasses, as her drunk husband is puking off the side.

4

Cut to the back of the Police chief looking out the viewing panel of the lead NYPD Zeppelin at the Duchess.

Pencils based on script above

Rum-Row-pag12

I think right off the bat, you’ll notice how informal the script is. Unlike prose, or even screenplays, there’s no poetry to comic book scripts. Generally the only people that read them, are the artist, and maybe an editor if you’re working on a hired gig say for Marvel or DC. It’s basically like a letter to the artist. I write them almost like I’m having a conversation. If you’ve never read one, they can feel disjointed and hard to read with all the panel and page breaks. But you get used to them eventually.

When I work, I usually send over the script to the artist, and he/she will do thumbnails of how they see the page. We discuss it, and once we both agree, then move on to the pencils. I’m not married to any of my scripts. If the artist has a better way of getting the story across, I’ll go with it. If that means more panels, less panels, or even changing things around slightly. Whatever is best for the story. This is collaboration after all, and hopefully both of us want this to be the best we can. I try to think visually when writing these of course. But usually what I envision is nothing compared to what the artist can turn out.

Here's some thumbnail examples of a page, like I was talking about earlier.

Here’s some thumbnail examples of a page, like I was talking about earlier.

Then finally, after the pencils have been drawn, it’s time to ink the page. In professional comics the pencils can be passed off to separate inkers, or the artist may do it themselves. It really depends on time availability and preference. For this project, Michele did both.

After the pencils are inked

Rum Row pag12

Once the page has been inked, the files are sent to the colorists. These days everything is done digitally, and the color options are endless. But back in the early days, they only had four color options to make all their combinations with. Below is the colored version of the page above, and it’s almost finished. The lettering of the page is the final step.

The color is added (Colors courtesy of Derek Dow)

RR_12bAnd that’s it for this page! If there were any dialogue, it would be added now. Then once all the pages have been lettered, they would be sent to the printer or put in PDF form so people could read it digitally.

I hope that wasn’t too painful, and hopefully interesting to non comic fans. I know most, if not all of you are not. But I think if you gave them a chance, you would really dig them. In Japan adults read comics all the time. And they can cover any topic from sports, romance stories, to giant robots. There is no stigma, and they sell like crazy. But in America, they tend to be associated with children and super heroes. Attitudes have improved slightly in recent years, since every other movie made these days is based on a comic, even the non super heroes films surprisingly. Although I still think we’re a ways away from most people reading comics. The Walking Dead is an exception, but hopefully that will change.

One thing I always like to remind non comic readers of, is there is no budget in comics. If you can think it, it can be drawn. If you’re ever interested, or want some suggestions. Just shoot me an email, or tweet at @IhateMaxwell. If you let me know what things you’re into, I promise I can find a couple comics for you. Alright I’ll stop rambling now, and thanks again for reading!

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