Monday, January 31, 2011

Questions 26: Matt Fraction

Matt Fraction is a founder of the influential motion graphics design studio MK12 in Kansas City.  According to Matt, “MK12 spelled d-a-y-j-o-b.” and in July 2006, Matt  left MK12 to focus on his work as a comic book writer.   Fraction wrote two columns for Comic Book Resources: "Poplife" and "The Basement Tapes" with Joe Casey.

Fraction started creating comics with the smaller publishers, like AiT/Planet Lar and IDW Publishing. He is known for his work on Last of the Independents, Four Letter Words: Fate,  The Five Fists of Science and CasanovaCasanova is the science fiction/espionage adventures of Casanova Quinn and was originally published in 2006 by Image Comics.   Casanova is being re-lettered and remastered in color by Marvel’s Icon label.    The fourteen-issue series was divided into two seven-issue "albums," and the first trade, Luxuria, was just released.  The second, Gula, is currently being re-released and  Fraction, Bá and Moon are currently working a third volume.

Matt Fraction worked on many great series such as The Immortal Iron Fist with Ed Brubaker and Punisher: War Journal to name a few of his Marvel works.   Fraction is currently working on Marvel's Uncanny X-Men, Thor and Invincible Iron Man, the latter of which led to his consulting work on the set of the film Iron Man 2.    He also was in Wootstock in Portland and in San Diego at ComiCon in 2010.

Watch for his new event “Fear itself”.   It looks good.

What projects are you working on currently?
I write INVINCIBLE IRON MAN, THOR, and co-writing UNCANNY X-MEN and spearheading Marvel Comics' giant publishing event for spring/summer 2011, FEAR ITSELF. And then there's my creator-owned sci-fi/espionage book CASANOVA.

What is your writing Process?
Like running around and catching numbered butterflies with a stick coated with honey. And then turning lists into scripts.

What is your process working with the artist?
I try to write specifically towards all of my collaborators' particular strengths. It differs from artist to artist, but it's not one-size-fits-all.

What Comic/ Trade would you recommend?
Depends on the person and the situation.

What Comic/ Trade would you recommend to someone new to comics?
Something by Gilbert and/or Jaime Hernandez.

What skill would you like to learn?

What's the most important thing you've learned?
Do better next time.

Do you have a collection?   If so, what is one of the items you're most proud of?
Not really; I tend to sell it all off when money gets tight.

What is your favorite genre of Comics?
Spies/espionage. Romance. Science Fiction.... Hard to say.

Do you have an Ipad?   If so what do use it for the most.
I do; keeping my son from completely spazzing out when eating in public.

What is your favorite TV show/ movie?

How does the Portland comics culture shapes your work?
It's nice to have access to so many great stores.  It's easy to keep my head fed out here.

What characters do your kids like?
The boy is just getting into superheroes-- Iron Man, Wolverine, Reptile and MODOK are all favorites.

What was your first comic convention?
Heroes Con 1992, Charlotte, NC.

What is your favorite part of comic conventions?
Thanking the people that afford me the chance to make the living i do. it seems, quite literally, like the least i could do.

If you weren’t doing comics what would you do?
Probably slogging it out in an ad agency.

Do you have a favorite restaurant that you would recommend?
Still too new to town. Loved Pok Pok and Urban Farmer though.

How long have you lived in Portland, what made you choose Portland?
A little more than a year now; I like trees, rain, coffee, and readers.

What is your favorite part of Portland?
The mist in the trees.

Where in Portland/ Oregon would you most like to visit?
The coast again, to feed the seals.

Would you like to write/Illustrate for another media?   Or write a character from another media, for example, Dr. Who, James Bond?  What would you explore?
I think that'd depend on the day the opportunity arose; I'm always struggling to stave off boredom so who knows?

Sunday, January 30, 2011

3/3 - Mike Mignola/Dave Stewart Signing @ Bridge City comics

Mike Mignola Signing EventDate and time: Thursday, March 3, 2011 from 6pm-8pm
Location: Bridge City Comics,
3725 N. Mississippi Ave., Portland, OR

In addition to having copies of his books and merchandise for sale, Bridge City Comics will also have special limited edition Hellboy art print (featuring never-before-seen Hellboy artwork by Mike) available for purchase during the signing.

In addition, Mike's long-time collaborator, Dave Stewart, will be signing as well! Dave is a multiple-Eisner Award-winner and a highly-sought after colorist in comics.

Please call 503-282-5484 or email for more information.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Questions 25: Sarah Oleksyk

Sarah Oleksyk grew up in Maine, graduated from Parsons School of Design in Manhattan, and eventually moved to Portland with just her and her three cats.  Portland and Sarah Oleksyk are a perfect match; it allows her to ride her bike to the nightclub, dance until 2 in the morning, then wake up and feed her chickens in the backyard.

Her graphic novel, "Ivy," is being published by Oni its is about a high-school girl on the dark and lonely road between self-absorption and self-awareness.   Ivy is girl living with her mother in a small New England coastal town, longs to leave her home and pursue her adult life as a painter. Unfortunately, daily life doesn’t run smoothly for someone who never knows the right thing to say, and who makes enemies more easily than friends. 

Fred Van Lente mentioned her on an CBR interview “... the most famous and talented artist you’ve never heard of yet.”

She also works on the occasional animation job and sells silkscreens at her web site.  

"My entire life I've looked for a group of peers who cared about me," Oleksyk said. "Every good thing that's come into my life has reinforced the idea that this is where I belong."

And don't miss her book signing for Ivy at Floating World this upcoming First Thursday, Feb. 3rd 

DD:   What projects are you working on currently?
I have teamed up with comics writer extraordinaire Fred VanLente in an amazing stroke of luck (and at the perfect time!). We're working on a large, full-color, long-term piece of historic fiction called RENAISSANCE. We've both been doing a ton of research, factual on his end, visual on mine, and I'm completely excited about and absorbed in this project. We'll be serializing it online later this year once I've gotten a head start on the art.

DD:   What is your artistic Process?
I like to draw out an outline flowing through the concepts, adding in relative bits of dialogue and quick sketches of visual moments that occur to me early on, then write out a general script. Once the thing's loosely written, I have a fairly standard process of thumbnailing (which usually gets shuffled around, edited, and rethought quite a bit before making it to the final page). I've been very conscious of the editing stage lately. Just about anything can be improved by taking a couple things out. Then it's pencils and inks. I use a #2 brush for everything. In many ways I'm very classic in my process. There's definitely an allure for me to do things the way they were done 50, 70, 100 years ago. I want one of those "cartoonist visors" they used to wear in the bullpens.
DD:   When are story illustrator, how involved are you in the writing?
If I'm just the artist on a story, I can make suggestions to the writer, but I try to interpret the point of each scene and make my characters "act" to bring out more subtext, humor, and complexity in interactions. I think good artists always need to add a little more to the script than what is evident on the surface. It requires an understanding of your writer and his or her intentions, but it adds so much to the reading experience.

DD:   What Comic/ Trade would you recommend?
Where to begin? Carol Tyler's new books, "You'll Never Know," are fantastic. Chris Ware is bringing something to comics never before seen, and his new work lacks the bitterness and pathos of his older stuff. I thought Mazuchelli's "Asterios Polyp" was a masterpiece and did things with the form in a seamless manner - everyone can learn something from that work. Carla Speed McNeil's "Finder" series are just straight-up enjoyment. I could go on forever.

DD:   What Comic/ Trade would you recommend to someone new to comics?
I'd always ask what type of non-graphic novel they enjoy, then recommend based on their taste. I think a lot of the books I like the most are a little "advanced comics reading" for people who aren't used to the form. Even The Watchmen, for example, takes more than a beginner's understanding of the comics form to get the full experience. I'd say something nonfiction, perhaps, a true-life tale, to introduce a different understanding of comics to someone whose knowledge of them starts and ends at the Batman comics they read in junior high.

DD:   What skill would you like to learn?
I'd like to learn to paint, physically paint a comic, but my track record on watercolors and the like will make this an impossibility. That said, my new comic is going to be full-color, so I guess I'd better learn to color in Photoshop quickly and effectively. ;)
DD:   What's the most important thing you've learned?
EDIT. Think about details - are they all necessary? Do they help the thrust of the story? Think about focus - why are you telling this story? What is the purpose of this comic? How better can it be told? Can it be more concise? Can it benefit from using nontraditional visual storytelling? How can the timeline be played with? All these thoughts can lead to better comics.

DD:   Do you have a collection?   If so, what is one of the items you're most proud of?
Not exactly a collection, but I have a fantastic library of comics and out-of-print books. I can't help myself; used bookstores to me are like flowers to a bee. One of these days I'm going to start this blog wherein I showcase some of the more arcane, bizarre and hilarious old books I've discovered.

DD:   What is your favorite genre of Comics?
Lately it's bizarre kids' and teens' comics from the 60s (HERBIE!), 70s-era fantasy sexploitation comics, and whatever's currently coming out that isn't autobiographical.

DD:   Do you have an Ipad?   If so what do use it for the most.
I do not.

DD:   What is your favorite TV show/ movie?
Hmm. I'll go with Mad Men. It's beautiful, compelling, SO smartly written, and every character is completely rounded out and three-dimensional, not entirely likeable or hateable. Some of the most well-developed female characters on television. On the comedy end of the spectrum I can't seem to get enough Venture Brothers. I've been watching altogether too much TV lately.

DD:   How does the Portland comics culture shapes your work
I've been trying to think a little more independently from the "Portland Comics Culture" mindset I was in a few years ago. There's not really one overarching "culture" - there's way too many people involved in the business here for that. I've found a wonderful group of friends at my studio, Tranquility Base, and I've got friends, peers and allies in different areas of town, but as far as making my work, I try to think beyond Portland and its "scene" and keep my focus on Making Better Comics in a universal sense. I try to aim as large as I can when creating. I don't think "How will this fit into Portland" but rather, "How do I make this an objectively powerful work?".

DD:   What was your first comic convention?
My first major convention was in the late 90's. I think it was the Big Apple con in NYC. I tabled in this little offshoot room with copies of a comics anthology some folks in my college put out - it was called "Junkfood City." I walked around and was a little overwhelmed at the crowds, but not put off or frightened at the scene - in a way, it felt very natural and like a door was opening. At one point some guy came around to my table and shyly pulled out his portfolio and asked me for a review. I felt completely unqualified!

DD:   What is your favorite part of comic conventions?
The bottle of whiskey I keep hidden under the table! Just kidding. I love talking to people about comics. I love talking about craft, about peoples' projects. But most of all I'm always surprised and touched by the people who have been reading my comics and who come up and tell me how much they like my work. When you make a comic, you just send it out in the world, hoping someone is enjoying it. Comics shows are a chance for the world to come back to you and answer.

DD:   If you weren’t doing comics what would you do?
I would be living in the woods, writing novels and raising rare breeds of chickens.

DD:   Do you have a favorite restaurant that you would recommend?
If I did, I wouldn't tell, so it'd stay less crowded! Ha! I've mainly eaten from the food carts downtown, but my favorite restaurant in the city is Clyde Common.

DD:   How long have you lived in Portland, what made you choose Portland?
I'll have lived here ten years this September. I picked Portland randomly after having it recommended to me three times in a month from three separate people as a place I'd probably like. I flew out here in 2000, fell in love, saved up for a year and drove out with only my three cats.

DD:   What is your favorite part of Portland?
Tranquility Base, my studio! I spend almost every day here. It's an oasis, a place where I can get work done, hang out with my buddies, laugh, drink, rock out, rant, get inspired, get my butt kicked when it desperately needs it. It's right downtown in the heart of everything and many days it's the reason I get out of bed at all.

DD:   Where in Portland/ Oregon would you most like to visit?
I still haven't been to the Chinese Gardens. I'd need someone special to go with, so I'll wait. I've also never seen Crater Lake, but I think some friends and I will take an excursion this summer.

DD:   Would you like to write/Illustrate for another media? or conversely, how would you feel about writing a comic of a character from a different media, for example, Dr. Who, James Bond?  What would you explore?
I'd jump at the chance to draw a licensed character. Honestly, my dream job would be to draw a Venture Brothers comic book. I'd also draw for any other media, because then I'd get a chance at making a decent living. ;)

Angry Birds Peace Treaty Discussions

Gingerbread Girl by Paul Tobin & Colleen Coover

In anticipation of the publication of Paul Tobin’s & Colleen Coover original graphic novel Gingerbread Girl in May, the entire book will be available in serialized installments on Top Shelf 2.0, beginning Friday, January 21!
New installments will be posted each Monday and Friday.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Naked Pope Week @ Tranquility Base

It is naked pope week at Tranquility Base

Dicebox: Wander Book 1 by Jenn Manley Lee

The first four book of Dicebox the award winning online comic by Jenn Manley Lee been collected into a new print version.    This will gather more than 300 8x11 pages and various Dice Asides by other artists such as a Barry Deutsch, Dylan Meconis, Kris Dresden and Chris Baldwin.    If you preorder now you can get 9'' by 12'' print.   Check out this great offer.  There are several packages on Jen's Site.

Dicebox tells the story of an eventful year in the lives of Griffen &  Molly, a couple of itinerant factory workers in a space-traveling future. Currently on Chase, Book Two of Four. Wander, Book One, can be read online in its entirety here.

Dicebox has its fair share of adult themes: sexual situations, innuendo, occasional nudity, and bad language.

2/3 Ivy Release party and signing @ FWC

Feb 3, 6-10 PM

Floating World Comics
20 NW 5th Ave #101, 
Portland, OR 97209 
(503) 241-0227

Floating World Comics is going to host a release party for IVY, the debut graphic novel by local cartoonist Sarah Oleksyk.

The comic follows Ivy, a teenage girl raised by a single mother in a small coastal town in Maine, longs to leave her home and achieve her dream of becoming a painter. Unfortunately, daily life doesn’t run smoothly for someone whose anger often gets the better of her, and who makes enemies more easily than friends. But when Ivy begins a long-distance relationship with a kindred spirit, she gets a glimpse of freedom and acceptance too good to pass up. Only while trying to escape her troubles does she start to realize that while she can leave home, she can’t run away from herself.

Sarah Oleksyk is a Russ Manning award-nominated cartoonist and creator of multiple critically-acclaimed mini-comics. Ivy is her first full-length graphic novel.

Read the first chapter here

1/30 GeekGirlCon Game tournament

GeekGirlCon is Proud to Present: The Path to Geek Girl Con

Sunday, January 30 · 12:00pm - 3:00pm
Guardian Games
303 Southeast 3rd Avenue
Portland, OR 97214
(503) 238-4000

The GeekGirlCon is putting on a tournament of  Munchkin. Rumor has it the Men in Black from Steve Jackson Games will be on site to participate in the fun. Registration will be $10.00 in advance and $15.00 the day of.
Facebook event
Each month GeekGirlCon will host a games tournament. We are starting in Portland, Oregon and in subsequent months we will move one step closer to Seattle and the Grand Opening of GeekGirlCon. Every month we'll host a different game. Players who participate in each and every tournament will receive special prizes at GeekGirlCon. Should someone attend and win EVERY SINGLE games competition, they will receive a super secret, but oh-so-awesome prize publicly at GeekGirlCon

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Comic Catalog Program

Does anyone one know of a good comic cataloging software for the macintosh?

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

IPRC Comics Program

There is an amazing new class with DylanWilliams and Lisa Mangum called World Comics at the Independent Publishing Resource Center.    Annie Murphy and Clio Reese Sady will be teaching Elements of Graphic Narrative. The classes are beginning on January 17th. We've got some room left in the classes and the IPRC has opened it up to anyone interested.   World Comics will be from 6-9pm on Mondays and Annie/Clios will run from 6-9pm on Wednesdays.  

World Comics is a discussion based workshop covering narrative art and comics traditions throughout the world.  You will become familiar with comics scenes across the globe.  The really cool part is you will make contact with comics artists in other communities creating a international network of comic professionals.

The classes are $635 each. This includes thirteen 3-hour workshop/classes, a membership to the IPRC and a membership to Em-Space, plus a few field trips and other out-of-class activities.   It'll be great!

Monday, January 10, 2011

1/19 Buffy's Birthday part @ Multnomah Central Library

On January 19, 2011 it is Buffy Summer’s birthday and the release date of the Season 8 finale, comic issue #40 of  the Dark Horse Series.  There will be a Q & A with Buffy Season 8 editors Scott Allie and Sierra Hahn, Buffy trivia, Buffy "Hush" drawing charades, Buffy birthday cake, and a vampire tattoo station.  Join the party put on by the Multnomah County Library and Cosmic Monkey Comics.

Wednesday, January 19 · 5:30pm - 7:30pm
Multnomah County Central Library, US Bank Room - 801 SW 10th Ave
Portland, OR

Space at library programs is limited. Seating is available on a first-come, first-served basis

Sunday, January 09, 2011

Batman Family

I was explaining the Batman family to Kellan and had to pull up an image.   I came across this fantastic image by Phil Cho

Left to right:
oracle (barbara gordon), huntress (helena bertinelli), batwoman (kate kane), batgirl (stephanie brown), batgirl (cassie cain), catwoman (selina kyle), batman (bruce wayne), batman (dick grayson), red robin (tim drake/wayne), robin (damian wayne), red hood (jason todd), batman (terry mcguinness), and alfred

Check out his deviant art page

Saturday, January 08, 2011

01/12 Matt Fraction Signing @ Floating World

Join Matt Fraction at Floating World for a signing to celebrate the start of the second Volume of Casanova, Gula.   "Being bad gets Good Again!!"

WHO: Matt Fraction
WHAT: Casanova Vol. 2 Gula #1 book release and signing
WHEN: Wednesday, Jan. 12th, 6-8pm
WHERE: Floating World Comics, 20 NW 5th Ave #101

Casanova preview

Friday, January 07, 2011

Questions 24: Diana Schutz

Diana Schutz is an award-winning editor who has worked in the comics industry for over thirty years. Since 1990, she has been at Dark Horse Comics, where she is now an executive editor. She is also an adjunct instructor of comics art history and criticism at Portland Community College, a published author of both comics and prose, and the first female to be inducted into the Canadian Comic Book Creator Hall of Fame.  She is Frank Miller’s editor on Sin City and 300, Matt Wagner’s editor on Grendel, StanSakai’s editor on Usagi Yojimbo, Paul Chadwick’s editor on Concrete, and Larry Marder’s editor on Beanworld. She also regularly works with Michael Chabon, Neil Gaiman, and Dave McKean, and irregularly with Harlan Ellison. She was fortunate to have been Will Eisner’s Dark Horse editor until his death in 2005.

What projects are you working on currently?
Xerxes, with Frank Miller.  The Milo Manara Archives.  A couple Neil Gaiman projects.  Usagi Yojimbo, with Stan Sakai.  A new Beanworld book, with Larry Marder.  And more.  Always more.

What is your process when editing? 
I fret over every single detail until everything is right.

What is it when writing?
The same only worse, so I don’t write very much or very often.

What did you learn from teaching that would have assisted you as a writer/editor?
I’ve been teaching comics courses at Portland Community College for almost ten years now.  I’ve learned that students still hate homework—there’s a lesson in there somewhere.

What comic/trade would you recommend?
Anything edited by Dean Mullaney for his Library of American Comics imprint—most recently, the magnificent Polly and Her Pals by Cliff Sterrett, an oversize hardcover reprint of the Sunday strips from 1913 to 1927: gorgeous, often surreal art that just sings on the page.

What comic/trade would you recommend to someone new to comics?
Depends on the someone.  Of the books I’ve edited: Mother, Come Home by Paul Hornschemeier; Pop Gun War by Farel Dalrymple; AutobioGraphix by all my best friends!  Otherwise: Bone if they’re young (or young at heart), Maus if they’re not.  I could so go on.

What skill would you like to learn?
Power Point.  Or, at least, I’d like to get a lot more savvy about it than I am.

What’s the most important thing you’ve learned?
Ever?  In almost 56 years of living?!  This is a trick question, right?

Do you have a collection?   If so, what is one of the items you're most proud of?
Through the years I’ve gotten rid of all my comics, even the ones I’ve edited—except: I can’t bring myself to part with my collection of pre-Code romance comics, especially the ones by Joe Simon and Jack Kirby, who pioneered the genre in 1947 with Young Romance #1.  I have a copy of it, signed to me by Jack.

What is your favorite genre of comics?
Non-genre comics!  So. Tired. Of. Biff-Bam-Pow.

Do you have an iPad?   If so what do use it for the most.
Nope.  iPhone, yes. 

What is your favorite TV show/movie?
I haven’t owned a television in twenty years.  Right now I’m reading Vanity Fair by William Makepeace Thackeray, a 19th-century classic that Wikipedia says can be “difficult for modern readers to follow.”  That’s because they’re too busy watching TV.

How does the Portland comics culture shape your work?
Almost not at all.  It used to when I first moved here twenty years ago, but it was a lot smaller then and I was a lot younger.  Now I mostly interact with the local academic scene—either teaching comics at PCC, or guest-lecturing at other colleges and universities, or taking comics classes myself.  Last fall I was enrolled in Patrick Rosenkranz’s History of Comics course at PNCA, and it was inspiring: both in terms of seeing another teacher’s approach to the subject and in terms of learning even more about comics, and especially the undergrounds, which is Patrick’s area of expertise.  And this term I’ve just signed up for “The Graphic Memoir,” an English Lit course about autobio comics, which Trevor Dodge is teaching at Clackamas Community College.

What was your first comic convention?
One of the legendary Phil Seuling July 4th comic cons in New York City, in 1981.  My first San Diego con was the year after that.

What is your favorite part of comic conventions?
“None of the above.”  (No, just kidding.  It’s great to have my closest friends in the world all collected in one place, which happens every summer at Comic-Con.)

If you weren’t working with comics or teaching about comics what would you do?
I’d be in the grave.  Serious.

Do you have a favorite restaurant that you would recommend?
My brother-in-law’s dining room.  When Matt [Wagner] isn’t making comics, he’s a gourmet chef.

How long have you lived in Portland? What made you choose Portland?
Mike Richardson moved Bob Schreck and me to Portland in 1990 to work for Dark Horse.  We were the first employees he hadn’t hired locally, but instead from the outside comics industry.  Dark Horse consisted of only ten people total at that time, and the only other woman working there then was the receptionist.

What is your favorite part of Portland?
My house.  I’m a hermit.

Where in Oregon would you most like to visit?
I’d like to get to the coast more.  I miss living near the ocean.

Would you like to write/edit for another media? Or write a character from another media?
Nope.  Comics is it for me.

The Cort and Fatboy Midnight Movie – THE MUPPET MOVIE

WHAT: The Cort and Fatboy Midnight Movie – THE MUPPET MOVIE
(preceded by an episode of Fraggle Rock)
WHEN: Friday, January 7th – Doors at 10pm, Fraggles at 10:30pm, Film at 11pm.
WHERE: McMenamin’s Bagdad Theater – 3702 SE Hawthorne Blvd, Portland OR
HOW MUCH: $3.00 Admission, must be 21 or older

Klingons beat Stormtroopers in Blood drive

The First Annual Galaxy Blood Drive ran on Jan 1at the Red Cross' Portland Donor Center.  There were representatives from the 501st Legion and the Klingon Assault Group in attendance.  Not unsurprisingly  the Klingon's won.

Walking dead Google map...

View THE WALKING DEAD GOOGLE MAP in a larger map
Warning Spoilers if you haven't read this
I was cruising around the interwebs and came across these sweet map.  Click on the large map above.   You click on the icons at the above location and it will tell you what is happening in the book.

Thursday, January 06, 2011

Blue Devil

Periscope Studio is doing a Twart page

Spidergirl by Ben Dewey

There is a new Periscope Sketch blog.   This week is is Paul Tobin's spidergirl.    There is some fabulous work up.  They have committed to draw themes every couple weeks or so.  Next on the list is Jeff Parker's new 'Thunderbolts'.  

Lightsaber battle - Ryan vs Dorkman 2

thanks Once upon a Geek.   Kellan approved!

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Questions 23: Aaron McConnell

AARON MCCONNELL is an award-winning freelance illustrator and comics creator, and the coauthor of The U.S. Constitution: A Graphic Adaptation. He received an MFA in painting from the Rhode Island School of Design, in 2002, and is currently a member of Periscope Studio.

What projects are you working on currently?

Right now I'm working on another graphic novel adaptation with Jonathan Hennessey. He and I adapted the US Constitution to comics in 2008, and this year we'll be releasing The Gettysburg Address in comic form.

I also started a project with my oldest son a couple days ago based on a script written by Jim Berry.  That might turn up on my son's blog ( ) at some point this year.  

DD:  What is your artistic Process?
Read the script, gather research material, read the script, thumbnail approximately 20 pages, gather more research material, block in letters on the thumbnails (because these nonfiction books tend to be pretty heavy on the text), pencil the pages, ink and color them, and send them to a letterer.  Repeat.
DD:  When are story illustrator, how involved are you in the guiding the story?
It depends who I'm working with.  Jonathan Hennessey invites me to offer ideas in the beginning and middle of the process (although, admittedly, I don't contribute too much because I don't want to get in his way.)  But I send him my early drafts and sometimes those have alternate ideas for composition/panel count.  In a different comic project that I drew recently for 3rd to 5th graders I was required to follow the script very closely and there were restrictions on depicting violence and weapons in the battle scenes even though it was meant to accurately portray the siege on Fort Wagner during the Civil War.  I had to Photoshop a bunch of bayonets out of one image, for example. 
What Comic/ Trade would you recommend?
To my mom: (she doesn't read many comics because she claims it's a challenge to follow the order of panels/captions/balloons):  I recommended Asterios Polyp because it's clearly and tightly constructed for readability and she's into psychology and romance.  She read it and thought it was great!  She also liked Persepolis, but she recommended that one to me:)
To my Sister: (she's a painter in NYC who likes comics ranging from Calvin and Hobbes to Julie Doucet):  I'd recommend Make Me a Woman by Vanessa Davis because she can probably relate to it in one way or another, or Miss Don't Touch Me by Hubert and Kerascoe (although I haven't read it yet), and anything written by Joann Sfar, like Dungeon, for it's light-hearted Euro-adventure and Chagall-like graphics.
To my Dad: (he's a cartoonist and inked comics for Marvel in the 90s):  I usually tell him about whatever I'm obsessed with at any given time, currently WinterWorld by Dixon and Zaffino.  For Christmas he gave me a collection of The Abominable Charles Christopher by Karl Kerschl.  That was a great gift recommendation!
To the random nude Portland bicyclist: Bodyworld by Dash Shaw or Chris Ware's ACME Novelty Library 20 (I haven't read it yet, but certain it's tops).
DD:  What Comic/ Trade would you recommend to someone new to comics?
Autobio comics are good for comic evangelism.  You'll get your convert quotas filled in no time with the likes of Pekar, Spiegelman, Lynda Barry, etc.  I tried to ignore comics for a few years in the late 90s, but when I finally came across a copy of Chester Brown's I Never Liked You, I was pulled back in for good.  A more didactic recommendation might be the Smithsonian Collection of Newspaper Comics.

DD:  What skill would you like to learn?
A photographic memory would be nice, but I'll settle for a better memory in general.

DD:  What's the most important thing you've learned? 
"Best things always come when your mind's at rest" is useful to me.

DD:  Do you have a collection? If so, what is one of the items you're most proud of?
I've got a collection of sons;)  Two boys that my wife and I do our best to raise.  I'm proud of them.

DD:  What is your favorite genre of Comics? 
Naturalistic Fantasy, if that's a genre (That might be cheating because I can put anything from Blueberry to Love and Rockets to Pluto in that category.)

DD:  Do you have an Ipad? If so what do use it for the most.
I'm sure I've dropped enough money on vinyl LPs to own an Ipad by now, so I guess that says something about my aversion to new gadgets.  But if you're offering, I'll take one!

DD:  What is your favorite TV show/ movie?
Hitchcock's Vertigo is probably my favorite movie.  I love the voyeurism, suspense, mystery, history, romance, character studies, references to art and architecture, the specificity of the locations, and the sheer beauty of every scene. 

DD:  How does the Portland comics culture shapes your work
I'm a part of Periscope studio and that association has been largely responsible for my career drawing comics.  Apart from the fact that my studiomates helped me meet my first publishing deadline, I've also been exposed to artwork and techniques that I doubt I would have discovered on my own.   The influence that my peers have on my work cannot be understated.

DD:  What was your first comic convention?
I think early 90s, Seattle where I stood in line to have Art Adams and Bill Sienkiewicz sign comics from my collection.  Sienkiewicz laughed at me because I pulled my comics out of a box that was tagged with an advertisement for a chemical that controlled powdery mildew in orchards (I grew up on a pear and apple orchard).

DD:  What is your favorite part of comic conventions?
Besides pretending that I have only a casual interest in comics?  I enjoy meeting creators and looking for sketchbooks and new releases.  I haven't really felt the pull to sit behind a booth yet.  I tried it once or twice and wished I was roaming the floor instead.

DD:  If you weren’t doing comics what would you do?
Probably trying to control powdery mildew working on my parents' orchard.

DD:  Do you have a favorite restaurant that you would recommend?
My youngest son is 2, so when we rarely eat out we go for family dining.  We like Country Cat on Stark and they have weeknight specials .  We also like Dot's Cafe on Clinton for burgers and velvet.

DD:  How long have you lived in Portland, what made you choose Portland?
We moved here in September 2006 after deciding that Providence, RI was too far from family.  My wife and I have family in Central Washington and Albany so we're well situated.

DD:  What is your favorite part of Portland?
I love living near a park, and the fact that no matter where you live in Portland you're probably within walking distance of a park.  Nice to be in a city where trees get some respect!

DD:  Where in Portland/ Oregon would you most like to visit?
You name it!  I haven't been to Ashland in years, and still haven't been to Crater Lake.  And the entire east side of the state is still unexplored territory to me.  What's out there?

DD:  Would you like to write/Illustrate for another media? Or write a character from another media, for example, Dr. Who, James Bond? What would you explore?
I would like to participate in one of those music anthology books like they've done for Belle and Sebastian, Tori Amos, and Bob Dylan.  If anyone's publishing a Tom Waits or Vic Chesnutt comic anthology I hope I get an invite;)  How 'bout a Nick Cave anthology?

Sunday, January 02, 2011

Questions 22: Barry Deutsch

Barry Deutsch grew up in New York and attended the School of Visual Arts in New York City for a year, where he took Will Eisner’s cartooning class.   He moved to Portland and attended PSU and did political cartoons for the student paper, for which he won national Charles Schulz Award for outstanding college cartoonist.   His first graphic novel Hereville follows the lead character Mirka as she faces a witch, a mean pig, and a troll in an effort to win a sword and begin her life’s mission of slaying dragons.  It is a classic fantasy epic.  He is still a political cartoonist his work appear i n Dollars and Sense Magazine  and are collected on the website

Check out his blog Alas, a Blog

And for beginning cartoonist, you may like his Guide to Making Comics.
Doug Dorr:   What projects are you working on currently?
I'm writing and drawing the second Hereville book.
DD: What is your artistic Process?
For the writing, I do as much research as I can stand, and then I sort of feel my way into the story. I make some stuff up and it's going wonderfully, and then i make more stuff up and it's kind of difficult, and then I make more stuff up except now it's like sucking molasses through a straw.

Eventually, I wind up with a complete story -- although it's not unusual for the final story to be wildly different from what I had originally thought the story was about. Then comes the editing, first to try and make sure the story works, and then to refine the details. Refining is the fun part of writing, for me; I listen to the voices in my head, making my characters play through one scenario or another until the scenes in my head begin to feel engaging and rich.

Then comes writing the dialog and laying out the pages, which for me is the same step. This is the most painful and difficult step, except for all the other steps. Trying to make the layouts playful and interesting and at the same time seamless and serving the story is, when it works well, incredibly gratifying. But sometimes I feel like I'm just trying to force inspiration to come when it doesn't want to.

After that, comes the drawing, which I do on computer. (Actually, I do everything on computer -- my stuff is never on paper until the publisher prints it). I just scribble, erase, scribble, erase: there's a video of my drawing process on Youtube which illustrates this pretty well.

After I ink the comic, Jake Richmond, my studio-mate, colors it.
DD:  What Comic/ Trade would you recommend to someone new to comics?
It would depend on the person. But Blankets might be a good one.

DD:  Have you worked with another artist on book?  How does that change your processes?
On Hereville, I collaborate with Jake Richmond, who does the colors. It's a lot of fun, because sometimes he makes choices that I never would have thought of, but which work wonderfully.

DD:  What skill would you like to learn?
I'd love to be a good illustrator. I feel I'm a good cartoonist, but I really get intimidated when asked to illustrate something.

DD:  What's the most important thing you've learned?
Well, as far as cartooning goes, the most important thing I've learned is to just get the work done. Nothing else will happen unless you're working hard and making pages.

DD:  Do you have a collection?   If so, what is one of the items you're most proud of?
I have a comic book collection -- all trade books, no floppies -- but I don't know that I'm really proud of any of it. I have an original Walt Kelly drawing on my wall, that gives me a lot of pleasure.

DD:  What is your favorite genre of Comics?
What do you call that genre that's distinguished by not being any of the genres? You know, just comics about ordinary people. I guess that's my favorite. But I enjoy good work in almost every genre.

DD:  Do you have an Ipad?   If so what do use it for the most.
No ipad!

DD:  What is your favorite TV show/ movie?
I love this Canadian show, Slings and Arrows. And I'm a total fanboy for Buffy.

DD:  How does the Portland comics culture shapes your work
I'm definitely influenced by some of my cartoonist friends, but other than that, no way I can think of.

DD:  What was your first comic convention?
Probably Chicago? That was a long time ago.

DD:  What is your favorite part of comic conventions?
Meeting neat people and talking to them about comics!

DD:  If you weren’t doing comics what would you do?
i think i'd be a writer.

DD:  Do you have a favorite restaurant that you would recommend?
JC Noodle on SE Foster. It looks completely unpromising from the outside, but they have the best rice noodles in town. You have to get there early, though, because they usual sell out by early evening. But if you show up at 5am they'll be happy to serve you dinner!

DD:  How long have you lived in Portland, what made you choose Portland?
I've been in Portland about 17 years; I moved here as part of a group of friends coming from Massachusetts. We had a friend who lived here, and I don't drive, so the good pubic transit system was a big appeal.

DD:  What is your favorite part of Portland?
Probably Powell's City of Books.

DD:  Where in Portland/ Oregon would you most like to visit?
Um... a nice Chinese restaurant?

DD:  Would you like to write/Illustrate for another media?   Or write a character from another media, for example, Dr. Who, James Bond?  What would you explore?
In the Buffy universe, there's one fat girl who's a slayer, who shows up for about a second in the final episode. I'd love to do a comic about that character someday.