Monday, June 25, 2012

Countdown to Kickstarter

Kickstarter is revolutionary. Clearly. Have there been financial studies made of it? Predicting models? No. Not like the kind that that would do me any good. Like the kind that come with handy-dandy "do this and you're sure to get $XX,XXX.XX within your first week" instructions. If there were, I'm sure the analysis itself is a link leading to the capitol of PhishTown, on the corner of Spam Blvd & Hehe Gotcha Rd. But I guess I have a sense of what helps a Kickstarter campaign get funded. People going to the project page have to want the product on some level, for one. I know it's possible to just give money without receiving anything, but that only leads me to the next likely reason for a project's success. People just like the project builder.

What a fearful quandary.

A majority of the people I like, like me back. It's a very wonderful feeling. We trade Internet messageboard posts, tweets, Skype calls, private messages, Facebook pokes ... and a very few times out of the year, we travel hundreds of miles to hug each other. I have friends within public transportation-reaching distance who I don't communicate with as much as I do these people I have found on the Internet. How does that happen? It seems that my friends want what I want. They want to share themselves; their thoughts, the sights and sounds that give them good feelings, their anger, their desires... all from the safe buffer provided by the Internet. There's never been a community like this. There's never been access to this type of technology. It's all brand new.

And here I go screwing it all up by introducing Kickstarter.

Feels like I'm trying to capitalize on these friendships by now asking for their money. Like I'm THAT GUY. And I am kind of That Guy. I let my ass drag for about as long as many of my friends have been alive. On a virtual quest in search of myself perpetually. What was I going to be when I grew up? How about a cartoonist? Great! No, wait... How about a post office employee? Nah. I know... a preacher, brother!! Whoops. No longer qualified. Okay then a husband and a therapist, living in the Midwest! Wrong again. Back to New York I go. Oops, didn't quite make it. Okay, New Jersey it is then! But oh hey! New York is *right* *THERE* dude. Okay! Back to New York, then!

Back in New York. Ooooooookay. And how about that therapist's licence? Let's do something with that! Okay! And now? Check the calendar. Check the clock. Holy good God, is THAT how old I am?!?



What am I going to be when I grow up?

Well ... let's just start where we began. I want to be a cartoonist.

I'll need your help.

Thank you.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Distinguished Company

I neglected to mention that the first issue was solicited in this publication. It was kind of a big deal.
Amazing Heroes Preview Special #157

On pg 175, POWER PACK was solicited, mentioning HILARY BARTA as an artist in #45. Hey, I know people who knows that guy!

Turn the page, and there's me. I wrote all that copy, by the way. I think. I didn't write the snarky caption under Dale's agonized face however.:-D

Comment Allez Vous!

That's French, right?

So guess who has two thumbs & just figured out how to enable comments for everyone, and not just Registered Users?

Monday, June 18, 2012

So. THAT happened.

So my roommate comes home and asks if the stacked 11 x 17 originals that I had aside my drawing table, ready to scan in, were the art pieces that I had been telling him about months ago.


"They are really good."


"They are really good, yeah."

"... This was my art 20 years ago."

"Those are really good. Why did you stop?"

"Life and a bunch of things."

"I never knew I was living with such an artist!"

"... um ..."

Because I didn't know how to take a compliment from a Juliard-graduate world orchestral violin & baroque professor musician?  Because I want to believe him too badly to refuse it? Because I'm happy with it too, and hey ... THAT can't be right, right?

I have too much of a sad sack history to bore you with, gentle readers, but I gotta tell ya -- what I'm looking for has been a lonnnnnnnng time coming. A LONNNNNNNNNG effing time.  And I do mean like so-long-you-don't-think-it'll-ever-really-happen-time.

But I'm doing it. I'm starting. Soon to be KICKstarting.

And we'll just see what's what.

So that's all right then.

Oh, and I told my roommate "Thanks."  Because, I did appreciate him saying so.

It's no Adam Hughes ... but who is?

The thing is, Jeff Lemire does it professionally every day. He doesn't seem to worry about proportional form or the aesthetic beauty of his faces. He has a story to tell and drawing is his means to telling it.  I've never heard anyone report that he hates his own style.  I mean, he's drawn frikin BATMAN for DC at this point.

So my goal is to stop whining about how i wish my stuff resembled Adam Hughes' stuff.  But even having said that, I know the next two issues that I'll be posting will have different and advanced art from the one I've just completed posting.  I discover from reading my second issue's inside cover that it took me a year to get to it. So between issues, I figured out how to do some stuff differently.  I think I found some inspirations in Paul Smith.

Paul Smith art found at the blog, "Storm Sunday"

So here's a preview of what I became in 1990;

Langston gets his gripe on.
It makes my eye happier than when I looked on the first issue. And on we go.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Hey Ya, Neil Gaiman!

My buddy Ryan King tweeted a link at me and a bunch of his friends tonight who, like himself, are trying to make our art matter for something. Those of you who already know me, know that I discovered Ryan before I ever knew him, and then knew him before I ever discovered that I'd already met him, because HE'S the one who made this world-famous video Which I'd loved for years MADLY, even after knowing Ryan, and then finding out a year into it that HE had been the same Ryan King that's in the credits all along! So it's fitting that he would wind up sending me the following inspirational commencement speech by Neil Gaiman on the timely subject of "Making Good Art."

Neil Gaiman Addresses the University of the Arts Class of 2012 from The University of the Arts (Phl) on Vimeo.

Thanks, Ryan!

Learning sommore!

Sketch Card set #2 started. As it turns out, I'm not so slow at the pencils! Got this much done in about 40 minutes. Or maybe that is slow.

Learning. And Learning.

This morning (still) I'm getting it under my belt of what it takes to establish a drawing schedule. In my civilian identity I hold two "part time" jobs. One is in an office, seeing clients for 45-50 mins, and the other is going to clients' homes. In both capacities I perform therapeutic services, although the home-based is different than the office-based.

But I'm dropping 95% of my home-based workload to free up the time I need to produce this comic.  So of course, I'm letting go of a nice little chunk of income.  It's a risk, but I'm taking it.  This allows me to concentrate on drawing the incentive rewards to pledge donors for the July Kickstarter campaign, and of course, do Volume 1 of the Power Principle relaunch.

This morning I finished pencilling the first set of sketch cards for the Kickstarter.  I'll be reposting this picture at the Kickstarter page, but you can has a look at it nao. =^.^=

First I drew them on my iPad;

Then I realized;
1) I wouldn't be able to give out any original pencils of this version,
2) Sketch cards are said to be 2.5 x 3.5 inches so I could fit 16 on a sheet instead of 9.  So I went back to the drawing board. literally. Heh.

Learning. And learning.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

221 Hope St., Down Memory Lane, Clayton, NJ 07801

Tonight I'm scanning in the pages to Issue #2, Vol 0 and now I know I need to accelerate the release of all this historical work if I'm going to show you before the Kickstarter campaign begins, what I've been talking about; why I still have faith that after these Issue #1 pages were published, I started to achieve the line work and proportions I sought after, AND achieved some shading techniques that I still haven't seen done in comics today. DUO-TONE IS THE SHIZNIT!

Again, let me repeat, I'm happy with the work in issue #2 & #3. I allow and am preparing myself for the possibility that it might not mean much to you at all. I do wish that I had reviewed these pages before I turned in my final drafts of the 6-page prequel I did for Low Concept2, the 11 o'Clock Comics Forum anthology. I would have duplicated my shading technique from '89, as I intend to do for the 2012 Volume 1 series.

Still I will be forever grateful to Jon Westhoff & Bobgar Ornelas for moving me out of the "nice heady ideas" category and into the "published work" category. So, yeah. Feeling good tonight. And sorry for the tease. Tomorrow I'll start publishing four pages a day instead of two. I want you to see it maybe more than you do. :-)

Oh also, the title of this post is only a play on the actual address of my main characters when they are introduced. They do attend school in Clayton, NJ 07801. They do not live on Hope St. :-D

Kickstart My Heart

There are so many things about Kickstarter that sends me into fits.

1) It makes your dreams seem very, very attainable.
2) It opens you up for rejection in the absolute worst possible & personal way.
3) It sets up an insane level of hope.
4) It forces you to presume upon the generosity of people.
5) It makes you (me) seriously consider getting an anti-anxiety prescription for the month of July.

It's not as if I'm NOT going to do this, but God knows I will have hated doing this badly. I have about a dozen people expressing that they will definitely contribute when the Kickstarter goes live, and for that I just want to nuzzle them old cat style forever and ever. Will anyone who doesn't know me care at all? Are my dreams really attractive? am I even as good a writer as I think I am? I need to get me some Xanax on tap.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Perfectionism & Other Demons

Just re-arranged and re-sized the elements of the blog here because I didn't think the pages were big enough to see well, and I couldn't really read the script in the righthand menu.  (At least in MY browser. Hope I didn't blow your monitors apart.)

I hope I can leave it alone now and just post the dang pages without squirming.  Because part of being a perfectionist isn't just trying to get this blog right, but trying to change the past and making these images better.

I'm at war with my idea of art.  If someone else is doing it, and doing with all their heart, then it's awesome. It's AWESOME.  Because their heart is talking -- honest language, regardless of the aesthetic shape of the lines, proportion, colors, etc.  As my buddy at 11' O Clock Comics, Vince Bonavoglia likes to quote (and indeed, bear the tattoo of) Larry Marder's phrase "Art is Everything." 

But when I do it, suddenly I'm thinking it's flawed. It's not proportional. The faces are ugly. The eyes are buggy.  The wrinkles are rediculous.  The harsh critique of self-analysis never fails.

I fail to recognize that what I see and take in is not what others see and take in.  All our grids are different. Others will agree that my stuff is grotesque, but others will like it. Some might like it BECAUSE it's grotesque.

I dunno.  I do know the inking style will change in Issue #2, Volume 0, and will get closer to containing shapes and shading that resembles what I personally like.

But if you like it, this way or the next way ... well ... that would be just great.

Hell, thanks for just BEING here.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Go My Little Logo ... Fly Free ...!

Web placeholder for banners.

So This Is What It Is!

Posting these pages is a seriously bittersweet thing.  Again, I can't thank my business partner and project manager Adam Besenyodi quite enough for helping me focus in on what to do and how to do it. You know that moment when you take a chance with a complete stranger across the internet and have it exceed your wildest dreams of friendship?  Well, that.

So I'll be putting these pages up every day until you all see what it was about & how far I had gotten, in preparation for the new series that you're invited to become a part of through Kickstarter. The progress I'm having now on the new title will be detailed there, with images and videos and stuff and t'ing.  This blog here is just to catch you up to speed before we begin soliciting the new stuff.

The bittersweet elements are from reliving the words and images from 1989.  As a creator, I want to have been better, but I can't help love the 25 year-old me who put so much effort and time into it. The 47 year-old me had better come correct with his!! And too, I see people who were alive then, I hear the dreams I had then, I feel the spirit of the time--same as hearing a top 100 song from 1978 and closing your eyes -- you're transported right back there.  That's what these pages do for me.

Thanks for checking it out.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

30 Years Ago...

When I was young I went to a very special, magical place: A school in a mansion on a hill. I was brought in to interview with the headmaster, renown in his field and admired enormously by... people like us. Although I had shared my abilities with my closest friends, I was still wracked with nerves when I met with him.  Amazingly, when I showed him what I could do, he accepted me.

That was 1982, the headmaster was Joe Kubert, and he accepted my admission to his School of Cartoon & Graphic Art in Dover, New Jersey.


Those were heady days of self-discovery. I was a teenager and heading off to live with complete strangers and I had one powerful coping mechanism going for me. I was a comicbook geek! I was already well-versed in all things Marvel (and some things DC), but the emerging independent comic companies of the day like Comico, First, and Eclipse had lit fires in me that led to the creation of my own semi-autobiographical comic series that I called "THE POWER PRINCIPLE."

Take five boys as different from one another as the flavors in a bag of jellybeans,  throw them together under one roof to pursue the dream of becoming the next *insert your favorite comic artist here*, then douse them with an ACTUAL super-formula and you get THE POWER PRINCIPLE.

Well, that was in 1982.


In preparation for the relaunch of this title (follow this blog for developing news on that front), I unearthed a copy of the only existing print run of Issue #1, and the original art to issues #2 & #3.  Every day I am going to share a page or two of that history with you here.

I hope you enjoy it!