Friday, April 29, 2011

Gay Genius official release this weekend

Gay Genius will see its official release this weekend and next weekend at the  Toronto Comics Arts Festival.
In Portland there will be a release/dance party tomorrow night! Lots of artists and excitement.
Saturday, April 30 · 7:30pm - 11:30pm
In Other Words
14 Killingsworth St.
Portland, OR
The party is FREE.

If you are in Portland on Free Comic Book Day and would like to meet the artists and publishers of Dan Quayl, they will be at Guapo Comics and Coffee during the day, signing books and talking comics. Guapo is located at 6350 SE Foster road in Portland. 

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Questions 38: Ben Bates

Ben Bates is a freelance artists who’s current projects are Archie Comics’ Sonic the Hedgehog, an upcoming story for Darkhorse Presents issue no. 35, and fantastic future projects with the estimable David Hahn. He interned at Periscope Studios and is now a member of the studio. 

Doug Dorr:   What projects are you working on currently?
I'm lucky enough so far to get to pencil Archie's Sonic the Hedgehog regularly.

I'm also having a lot of fun doing colors for an upcoming Image comic titled 'Power Chords'. It's written by comedian John Roy and illustrated by fellow Periscope Studio mate David Hahn. It's really cool to get to color all of David's super clean art and I think that's pretty cool to see a dfferent side of John Roy's creative talent. When I first heard about Power Chords I just guessed it'd be a comedy if its written by a comedian but he's crafting a cool action/adventure story.

DD:   What is your artistic Process?
I'm still figuring it all out. Even a year ago no matter what type of art I was going to create it was an approach of making it up as I go.

In regards to Sonic, knowing that the inks and letters will be on the same sheet as my pencils I'll draw my rough pencils on 8.5x11 piece of paper. I like to do all my exploratory drawing smaller and on something where it doesn't matter how rough it gets.
I'll then scan and blow the size up to 11x17, print that out and lightboard the final pencils on to the official Archie Paper.

It's really more work than I think is necessary and I dislike the lightboarding stage as it just eats up time. It'd be great if I could just draw right from the start on the Archie paper. I need to refine my process or find a brand new one.

For anything else besides Sonic, its a lot smoother as I'll draw the 8.5x11 roughs, scan and increase size, then print roughs in blue and pencil immediately on top of them.
DD:   When are story illustrator, how involved are you in the guiding the story?
Well, my first part of the answer so far in my career is I'm not very involved. The script comes my way and I just follow whats set down and wherever we go is up to the writer.

But I think another part of the answer is that I as the artist play a huge part in guiding the story because I'm the one who will primarily build the path through each story as the reader works their way through all these panels page after page. Making sure each moment is clear and the best moment to keep the story going.

DD:   What Comic/ Trade would you recommend?
Ah boy, I don't think my recommendations will capture too much attention. Easy things would be titles like 'Death Note' or 'Akira ' both of which I enjoy immensely.

But I'd say things like BOOM! studios 'Rescue Rangers' and 'Darkwing Duck' titles are fantastic and tremendously exciting. These are exactly the sort of thing I want to be reading and its unbelievable that they currently exist AND are actually really good! These are the type of comics I could only dream about reading and maybe even someday working on, but here there are, now! And I'm totally content to enjoy just as a reader! Actually thats not true, I need to draw at least one Darkwing Duck story.

DD:   What Comic/ Trade would you recommend to someone new to comics?
I'd go for 'Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind' by Hayao Miyazaki. Its easily one of my favorite things of all time and I believe his work can be enjoyed universally.

DD:   What skill would you like to learn?
Art wise- I want to be a beast at digital inking and digital painting.

Life skill- I'd like to be a genuinely good cook. Its something I could utilize every single day.

DD:   What's the most important thing you've learned?
That nothing really matters.

DD:   Do you have a collection? If so, what is one of the items you're most proud of?
I'm interested in acquiring only what specifically interests me. Taking a glance at my shelf I have very few comics and manga, and my videogames tend to be rather focused on certain titles and companies.  I love getting art books of my favorite game companies and manga artists.

I do like to collect Pokemon and in each generation I strive to catch them all.

Items I have a lot of value for are the few japanese Mega Man and Disgaea art books I have. But its not enough, I still need more!

DD:   What is your favorite genre of Comics?
I don't have a favorite genre. I will lean towards certain genres more than others sure, like action or horror, but I like pursuing all possibilities that seem interesting. I don't want to close myself off to a super cool story.

Do you have an Ipad? If so what do use it for the most.
Thats a no go. So as of right now I can dream up the idea of having one, and the thing I would use it most for is probably reading. BUT! I look forward to the day when I'll be able to purchase digital art books in which pieces of art will have layers available. Allowing me to admire each stage of the illustrations creation!

DD:   What is your favorite TV show/ movie?
My favorite live-action movie is probably Kubrick's 'The Shining'.

Some of my favorite animated movies-
101 Dalmations, Akira, Devilman OVA (I think of each part as a movie)

Some of my favorite shows-
Superman/Batman Animated series (TMS episodes), The Simpsons (only seasons 1-8), Fullmetal Alchemist, Darkwing Duck.

DD:   How does the Portland comics culture shapes your work?
It has a huge impact as I was unaware of the Portland comic culture until coming into Periscope studio. Then suddenly I've got access to 23 comic professionals all with different approaches, ideas, and skill sets. Every day that I step into the studio I'm learning something new about the craft of making comics.

DD:  What was your first comic convention?
The first comic convention I attended was in 2003 and I don't remember what it was called. What I do remember is that it was in Austin, TX. I wanted to be a professional artist and I knew my chances at becoming a manga artist were almost zero so I turned my sights on America. I discovered an important step towards becoming a professional is to get portfolio reviews at conventions. My problem was I lived in Wyoming and nothing would ever come close to that part of the country. I discovered the Austin convention and drove 900 miles. Upon my arrival I learned that there would be no portfolio reviews.
The next convention I attended was Stumptown in 2009 leading directly to this moment.

DD:  What is your favorite part of comic conventions?
So far the opportunity to meet people whom I admire. I would have never dreamed that I could one day shake the hand of Doug TenNapel and get a sketch of Earthworm Jim from him. Earthworm Jim had a huge impact on me as a kid!

If you weren’t doing comics what would you do?
At this point its really hard to believe but I'd be a massage therapist. Which is almost what I was. There was a point in 2008 while I was waiting for the School year to start that I thought, "Well, while I'm waiting I might as well give this art thing one more chance." Then just as school was going to start, I had to make a second choice on which direction I would go and it was pretty heavy. In my heart I knew following art was what I was meant to do on the earth.

Do you have a favorite restaurant that you would recommend?
I don't know about a favorite restaurant yet. But I would certainly recommend a cart near 4th and Hall called 'Thai Pasta' which is the best thai food I've ever had.

Maybe the food carts are a good choice in general with a variety of choices. Apparently they are fairly unique to Portland and you've got all kinds of fantastic things to try out.

DD:   How long have you lived in Portland, what made you choose Portland?
I've been here since 2008 and at that time I had absolutely no idea that the city was a big place for comic creators. I came because I knew some people here and there was a great school for massage therapy.

DD:   What is your favorite part of Portland?
I don't have a favorite part but I do like specific locations. I like St. Cupcake, Uwajimaya, the Laurelhurst Theater, Staccato Gelato, Periscope Studio...

DD: Where in Portland/ Oregon would you most like to visit?
The place I would like to visit most I already get to see on a regular basis. I think Periscope Studio is the best place I've ever been.

Other than that, I'm not really sure. My sights are set on the horizon and its hard to see whats here, now. I dream of seeing Japan. I dream of shaking hands with Donald Duck. For these I must venture forth!

DD:   Would you like to write/Illustrate for another media? or conversely, how would you feel about illustrating a character from a different media, for example, Dr. Who, James Bond? What would you explore?
Oh yes, I very much want to work in videogames. Crafting worlds and thinking about game design is thrilling. I'd love to learn everything I can about it.

As for other characters, I'd kill to work on Godzilla. But it has to be a good story, a really good story. I'm really excited about the new IDW Godzilla comic. I want it to be good, really good. I can't wait to find out if its or not!

I also want to work on Mega Man. That use to be a crazy fantasy but with Archie publishing a new Mega Man comic my crazy fantasy just might come true! So far I've done a cover for the series but thats not working on the thing. Its not helping to craft the experience the reader will live with. I need to do THAT!

Sunday, April 24, 2011

05/05 - GINGERBREAD GIRL Book Release & Art Exhibit with Paul Tobin & Colleen Coover

GINGERBREAD GIRL Book Release & Art Exhibit with Paul Tobin & Colleen Coover

WHO: Paul Tobin & Colleen Coover
WHAT: Gingerbread Girl book release & art exhibit
WHEN: Thursday, May 5th, 6-10pm
WHERE: Floating World Comics
20 NW 5th Ave #101
Portland, OR 97209

Artwork on display until May. 31st.

Set in Portland, OR, this charming graphic novel by husband-and-wife team Paul Tobin & Colleen Coover is a blend of twentysomething soap opera and psychological detective story.
There are many verifiable facts concerning 26-year-old Annah Billips. She likes sushi and mountains and piglets, but hates paper cuts and beer breath. She flirts with girls and boys, and loves to travel. She might have a missing sister... or she might be totally insane.
Did Annah invent an imaginary sister named Ginger during her parents’ traumatic divorce? Or did her mad scientist father extract part of her brain and transform it into a living twin?
In this whimsical, thought-provoking graphic novel, a host of narrators (including boyfriends, girlfriends, neighbors, bystanders, magicians, and passing animals) try their best to unlock the mystery of Annah... and the Gingerbread Girl.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Stumptown Comics Fest/ Double feature

Me and Sambot at the Stumptown Comic Fest.    The event moved from the Doubletree to the Convention Center.    I feel the comicfest overall had grewinto a Big Convention, with a home town feel.  The panels this year were amazing.   

I think one of my biggest surprises this year was meeting Josh Emmons from 4 Star Studios out of Chicago.    They have developed a new Comic Book reader "Double Feature", this reader allows a whole new experience with comics that print doesn't have.      It has four Layers, you can  read the comic as normal, view just the pencils, view just the inks and view the comic with creator commentary of each page.     They are releasing brand new content for the app,   The first theme is "Action"  staring Jack Kracken by Tim Seeley & Ross Campbell and The Answer by Dennis Hopeless & Mike Norton.    And the issues are 99 Cents.

These are the goals of the app (Double Feature):
It’s Digital!  --- By publishing digital-only, They can take greater risks and pass the savings
Cutting Edge Content  --- Their creators have the freedom to spitball new ideas that couldn’t work anywhere else.
Respected Creators  -- Our stories are written and illustrated by top industry talent.  
Special Features  ---  Enticing features like commentary and the ability to look at the penciled, inked, or colored version of any page.
Accessible   ---Available for the ipad and a PDF.   
All Audiences  ---  "Yes, all of them. Not just for kids. Not adults only. But exciting stories that can be enjoyed by everyone."     Josh and I discussed this particular goal at length.   As my son is reading more and more I am always looking out for new stuff for him to read.      

Read more at Comic Alliance by Chris Sims

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Live from the DMZ

I have been reading Justin Giampaoli's analysis and reviews for a while.  Usually pertaining to Brian Wood's history.    Now he set up a site "Live From The DMZ" dedicated to Brian Wood’s DMZ as it moves through its final year of publication and beyond.

The Repairmen by Moebius

The Periodic Table of Storytelling

Periodic Table of Storytelling by *ComputerSherpa on deviantART

04/20 - The Return of Dark Horse Presents Release Party!

April 20th. 7 - 10 PM.
Hollywood Things From Another World
4133 NE Sandy Blvd
In 1986, Dark Horse Comics changed the face of the industry with their premiere title - Dark Horse Presents. Breaking out from the cape and cowl tales of the day, Dark Horse Presents showcased some of the best and brightest voices in the medium.

Now, as they celebrate their 25th anniversary, Dark Horse Comics cordially invites you to:


It all happens at the Hollywood Things From Another World on Wednesday, April 20th. 7 - 10 PM.

Featuring Special Guest Signings by:
Mike Richardson - Founder & Publisher of Dark Horse Comics
Randy Stradley
David Chelsea
Paul Gulacy
Michael T. Gilbert
And more!

Free beer for those over 21 (with valid ID) and Pizza!

25 years ago Dark Horse Comics changed the industry, be there when they do it again!

Wednesday - April 20 at 7PM at the Hollywood Things From Another World!

Review 51 Issues 0 - 3 By Jason Miller/ Jim Hill

Jason Miller/ Jim Hill

In 1955 a remote site was chosen for the Lockheed’s Skunk Works projects.    A fake construction firm named CLJ is formed by the CIA to oversee the construction of the base, build hangars, a mile-long runway, control tower, mess hall and living quarters  in Groom Lake, Nevada.   In March of 1984 the Air Force posts armed guards along the access points to the 89,000 acres of public land to the east and north of Groom, expanding the borders of the base.  These are the on-going stories of life and times of the people that work at the infamous military base, Area 51.

The stories in these issues are about the organization that investigates alien incursions on the planet and control the news about them.    The group consists of agents and the scientists that support them.    Jason Miller has done a good job giving each character their own voice and story.     In these four issues you just get introduced to the characters as they go on variety of missions.   I really liked the quirky humor and the tantalizing back stories that are revealed.  I am driven to continue reading these comics because I am interested in the characters and their interactions.

I like Jim Hills art work;  I first came across his work on the zombie horror western, Dead Don’t Die also from Working Class Press.     His work has stylized heavy lines, sometimes it looks like a wood cut print to me.    He has done a good job creating individual looking characters for this story.     He has a unique style, it is  a bold, cartoony style, with blocky figures with a 60’s style.    

A quick rundown of the characters

General Hughes - BMOC
Zoe – Hughes assistant

Agents :
Hill – Curmudgeonly  experienced agent
Phelps – New agent starting at Area 51

Dr Spencer  - curious space case with 3 doctorates from MIT
Dr Whitman – Alien Behaviorist
Dr Burns – Cranky nerd
Dr Armstrong – Head of the department
Dr. Krieger –   ???

And the Adversary

Check it out at Working Class Press

Is Mama Happy?

HELENA, Mont. -- Displaying his trademark showmanship, Democratic Montana Gov. Brian Schweitzer stood on the Capitol steps Wednesday and punctuated his rejection of 17 Republican bills by emblazoning representations of several of them with his "VETO" branding irons.

Read more

This makes Mama Happy.

When Mama’s not happy nobody is happy

Where I live when Mama’s not happy nobody is happy.    My wife, Olivia, is Mama.    She has opinions.   You should listen to her.   She will be reviewing everything from TV, Movies, Restaurants and her other experiences.   We will put the results on the “Is mama happy?” index.      You all should pay attention; we know our lives are better when we do.

Some things that make mama happy
Walking Dead and zombies
Being Human
Wine from Trader Joes
Zoo Brew
Some things that make mama not happy
People that suck
Prejudice/bigotry - any kind gets a big thumbs down

04/29 Second Annual Chili Cook-Off Fundraiser for IPRC

Join the IPRC for this good time jamboree, featuring all-you-can-eat chili, free beer/wine(!), music by the Rabbit Foot String Band, plus prizes awarded to the best chili makers in four categories: Best Veggie; Best Vegan; Best Meat; and Hottest. Last year the IPRC went through about twelve pots of chili in an hour, so they need more folks to enter this year. If you'd like to bring chili for this year's contest, please RSVP with IPRC Board Member Dawn Andreas at
Friday April 29; 6-9pm
@IPRC; 917 SW Oak #218
$5 for all-you-can-eat chili; all proceeds benefit the IPRC

04/15 - Stumptown Dinner -- Friday April 15th from 6-9pm

This year Stumptown is partnering with Dark Horse to put together a benefit dinner for the CBLDF. On Friday April 15th from 6-9pm they are bringing 6 artists together for a night of food and drink at the Bridgeport Brewpub in the Pearl, and they are auctioning off 10 seats at the table to fans and readers. Winning bids will include dinner and conversation with the artists, who have also agreed to provide commission sketches for each winner, so free artwork as well!

The artists for the dinner include Matt Wagner, Steve Lieber, Carla Speed McNeil, Brandon Graham, and Eric Powell, and the bidding starts at $30 a seat. All the money raised goes to the CBLDF.
Bid now on Ebay

The bids start at: $30 for dinner and sketches from some FANTASTIC artists!

Date: Friday April 15th from 6-9pm 
Where: Bridgeport Brewpub in the Pearl,

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Questions 37: Ben Dewey

Ben Dewey is an internationally published freelance artist living in Portland, Oregon. As a graduate of the Cleveland Institute of Art, he brings a traditional sensibility to comics informed by his training as a painter.

Ben started drawing sequential graphic narratives in third grade and then developed an obsession with superhero comic art which continues to this day. He is currently a member of Periscope Studio where he works on projects for noteworthy clients like Marvel Publishing Inc., Dark Horse Comics, IDW Publishing, and others.

Doug Dorr:   What projects are you working on currently?
As I write this I'm finishing off the Pencils and inks for a digest length (72-80 pages) Star Wars story, for Darkhorse and written by Ryder Windham, called 'Strange Allies' that will be previewed on free comic book day (May 11th) and see release this summer.

I also do an ongoing web-comic (along with writer Nathan staples) called "Tales From The White Pony" that is just a few weeks worth of posts away from 200 pages. It started as an exercise in producing comics quickly; the first 50 pages were produced in 90 minutes each. It has become something else entirely and I credit much of my recent artistic development to the process of working on it. We just revamped the website to be more immerse and easy to navigate. You can find it at

DD:   What is your writing Process?
With TFTWP Nathan and I will talk out big sections of the story. Depending on what we are trying to achieve in a scene we might have a longer more specific conversation about panels and dialogue but for the most part, our approach isn't dissimilar to the old Marvel method where Kirby would plot bits and Stan Lee would edit, write and tidy up (as I've heard their relationship described.)

I've become more interested in writing lately as I brainstorm for my next project. Steve Lieber showed me some great resources that have been very helpful in describing the essentials of constructing a story:

Secondly the book "Story" by Robert McKee (interview with him)

10 Lords (Vaders) a Leaping
I came across this last bit of education a while back: I've been a big fan of the original Star Wars for a long time. I'm somewhat of a purist for many sentimental and aesthetic reasons. I enjoy these red letter media reviews of the new movies (minus the grotesque and superfluous 'serial killer' subplot) because they are like a master-class in what not to do when developing a narrative. (NSFW link)

So I try and keep these influences in my mind, remember what I'm trying to express and make an attempt to entertain myself. I believe that the mixture of those things results in something worth reading.

DD:   What Comic/ Trade would you recommend?
I think differently if I'm suggesting for other creators, than I would for non-industry people.

I love a number of books based on the strength of the art alone so I tend to buy those when I can and suggest them to other artists. Right now I'm really into the work of Stuart Immonen, Olivier Coipel, Jim Cheung, Cliff Chiang, Eric Canete, Pascal Ferry, Gabriel Hardman, Yanick Paquette, Chris Samnee and Terry Dodson (who is my favorite over all.)

I get some good recommendations from my studio mates that fall outside my own natural interests but hold a ton of value for other reasons. Dustin Weaver often offers up unusual comics like Jason Shiga's 'Meanwhile' that are really worth sharing.

For writers I would suggest Jeff Parker's books for humor, action and pacing; he is an artist too so he is great at planning fantastic sequences without overdoing it. I also enjoy the way Paul Tobin fills his stories with purposeful energy and unmistakable personalities for each character. I wish Marvel would have let Paul and Jeff keep making 'adventures' line stories because they were fun and bounded like comics are supposed to be. Kurt Busiek's run on Conan captured the sort of gutsy, grandiose adventure I want to see more of.

DD:   What Comic/ Trade would you recommend to someone new to comics?
I'd suggest those books that got my girlfriend Lindsey into comics: Alan Moore's 'League of Extraordinary Gentlemen', 'The Watchmen',

Jeffery Brown's 'Clumsy', James Kochalka's 'American Elf', Craig Thompson's 'Blankets' and all the 'Calvin and Hobbes' you can get your hands on because Watterson is the definition of 'a master' at his craft.

A first book should be a fun book. Part of the joy of comics is exploration and like any adventure the initial draw should have an intoxicating effect. A new reader should experience a 'romance' with comics first. They should get the opportunity to walk into a comic shop and see those racks and shelves full of exciting looking titles. If the right one catches their eye, and has the content within to seal the deal, then they'll do the rest.

For me that was the Jim Lee/Chris Claremont X-men #1 with the wraparound cover that came out in 1991 but for someone else it'll be Charles Burns' 'Black Hole.' It's all about the romance of that first moment and most people have to pick that for themselves.

DD:   When are story illustrator, how involved are you in the writing?
As an illustrator, if I'm working on a project for a major publisher, then I'm generally not involved in the plotting and scripting of the story. I've done a few projects where a writer has asked my input but most scripts arrive fully formed. The writer does his part, then it's my turn to interpret that foundation of written words with as much clarity, excitement and nuance as my personal approach allows. Even though I'm adding on after the fact, I like to think of it along the lines of a filter or a prism: what goes into it can come out looking and feeling very different.

On my web-comic I do a fair bit of plotting and scripting. However, since Nathan is lettering it and I have a tendency to be verbose, he often edits down or reshapes the dialogue I write to be more succinct.

DD:   What skill would you like to learn?
I'd like to be better at using digital media but I'm also interested in continually refining my traditional drawing for the purpose of storytelling (that is a never ending journey!)

I'm always working on my guitar playing too.

I used to fantasize about skateboarding but I realized that what I really enjoyed was playing Tony Hawk 2 on Playstation. Nowadays I want to learn a foreign language so I could live abroad and get better at math so I can understand physics more completely.

DD:   Do you have a collection? If so, what is one of the items you're most proud of?
I have a sweet guitar collection but I assume you meant comics so I'll stick to that realm! I have a silver surfer comic (number 1 from 1982 drawn by John Byrne) stored at my Mom's house in Cleveland that my Dad drove me to get when I was 11. That comic blew my mind. I love Silver Surfer.

I have a bunch of cool original comic art that has been given to me by friends and studio mates. I have a Kris Justice inked page and Gabe Hardman original page from Agents of Atlas. I own a wonderful David Hahn sketch from a page of Fables that features twin Gorillas from rival cold-war nations discovering that they are brothers and teaming up to fight deadly menaces from the past, present and future. Ben Bates did a sweet Conan sketch for me. Jonathan Case gave me a wonderful drawing he did for a silly job; that guy really does turn everything he touches into gold. Rich Ellis gave me a fantastic Thor piece he did that is festooned with monsters. Ron Chan did a caricature of me for my birthday (that is also a puppet) and it sits on the edge of my framed Gabe Hardman Agents page. I'm working on getting something from all my studio buddies.

DD:   What is your favorite genre of Comics?
I like comics that emphasize beauty and craft. I notice that as a priority, more often, in the artists who draw superhero books but there are good examples found amongst the more exotic themes favored by 'independent' artists like Chris Ware, Dan Clowes and a few artists I've already mentioned.

On rare occasions I like work that experiments with structure of narrative, mechanics and the unique properties endemic to comics. Though, most of that sort of work leaves me feeling unsatisfied because conceptual exercises don't tend to succeed in communicating much beyond the impressiveness of the intellectual gymnastics required to create them in the first place.

On the whole I prefer a classic tale well told to a clever mental exercise that lacks visual polish.

DD:   Do you have an Ipad? If so what do use it for the most.
I have a flying V and I use it the most to Rock.

DD:   What is your favorite TV show/ movie?
My favorite show is "The Wire." It is the most adroit exploration of the problems facing contemporary urban America that has ever been achieved. David Simon and the rest of the people behind that show deserve our thanks for demonstrating what can be done, by humans in the arts, with the maximum application of intellect, talent and empathy.

"The West Wing" is a close second with "30 Rock" as a close third (Sometimes you just have to have fun.)

My favorite Movie is probably "The Empire Strikes Back."
I also love some movies so much that I won't watch them unless I'm certain there will be no distractions of any kind to interrupt the viewing. Those movies include: "Ameile", "The Iron Giant" "King Kong" and "Seven Samurai"

DD:   What was your first comic convention?
I think it was the S.P.A.C.E. show in columbus Ohio. Nathan and I went there to see what people were doing and it was a small show, in retrospect, but eye opening.

DD:   What is your favorite part of comic conventions?
So far it is meeting other people who share the joy of comics and the culture related to it. I love escaping into the world that a skilled creator can build so fully in the venue of a simple object: a comic book. The engagement required to read it transforms you into an integral part of the story telling process. Comics is and always will be, at its' heart, a populist medium. To see that rare quality embodied by fans and creators interacting makes me very happy, especially because I've experienced being on both sides of the table. I like knowing that at some future point any one of the people who I talk with could end up as one of my professional peers.

I try to make the con experience better for everyone who stays long enough at my table to exchange a few words. Reciprocity is what comics is all about.

DD:   If you weren’t doing comics what would you do?
I'd be playing more guitar for sure. I'd also be making paintings and enameling like I did in college.
I used to work on parades making huge puppets, costumes and things of that sort. As a kid I dreamt of working on movies as a model builder, concept artist or matte painter. Art making has been such a big part of my identity for so long that I cannot imagine a life without some form it.

Lately I wish I could be a scientist-artist like Antonie van Leeuwenhoek or Johannes Goedaert

DD:   Do you have a favorite restaurant that you would recommend?
My favorite place in Cleveland is called 'Tommy's.' Get the "Quinn" or the "Capetown" and finish it off with a "Brownie Monster." Their milkshakes are amazing too.

In Chicago I suggest 'Giordano's' for pizza so awesome that it makes every other thing that goes by the same name seem like and absurd caricature. Even if you only have a few hours in the windy city you should go to 'The Bongo Room' on Milwaukee. They make the best food I've ever had; hands down.

In Portland I like 'The Blue Nile' Ethiopian, 'The Blind Onion' pizza, 'Mr Taco' burritos and 'Tom's Restaurant' on Division because it reminds me of a neighborhood greasy spoon that my Dad and I used to go to in Cleveland called 'George's Kitchen.' Lindsey and I like to go there on most sundays and play bananagrams.

DD:  How long have you lived in Portland, what made you choose Portland?
I have lived in Portland for five and a half years. I chose Portland because my favorite musician, Kelly Joe Phelps, was kind enough to talk with me after a show for an extended period and during our conversation he mentioned that it would be a good fit for me. I saw that Mike Mignola would note that he lived here in the Hellboy trades- he was my favorite comics artist for a very long time. Prior to all that I had developed an interest in Portland because it kept showing up in relation to things I was interested in. Since my favorite musician and favorite artist both 'endorsed' it I decide to make a go of it when I turned 25.

I had some friends out here already (Chris and Lynette) who very kindly put me up and helped me find my footing. If it hadn't been for them I don't think I would have been able to take root. I try to offer similar assistance to other Portland pilgrims now and I've been fortunate enough in my experiences here that I can do it with relative frequency.

DD:   What is your favorite part of Portland?
I like that it has the benefits of a big city in the skin of a town. You can get around by bike or bus and there is no stigma around that.

In Cleveland you would be considered insane, a loser or dwelling on the cultural fringe for doing things that are common-place in PDX

DD:   Where in Portland/ Oregon would you most like to visit?
I'd like to get to the Portland Rock Gym with more regularity.

The Newport Aquarium was super cool and I'd love to go back there again.

There is a new guitar store downtown. I haven't been to it yet!

I still haven't been to Crater Lake so that is on the list. Specifically I'd like to go to 'Wizard Island' in the middle of the lake!

Would you like to write 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 am at a stage in my development as a creative professional where exploring preexisting characters is helpful in learning about the craft of storytelling whether that is a drawing or a writing experience.

I'd like to do a take on the Star Wars prequels. If you are going to tell that story you need to take certain things, that make the original trilogy so magical, into account. I'm not convinced that Vader's origin had to be told but I have had ideas about what it would be since I was a kid; to start, Yoda does not use a lightsaber and Anakin Skywalker was likable.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

04/27 Comic Book Club: PART III

Wednesday, April 27 · 6:00pm - 10:00pm
Cosmic Monkey Comics & the Ambassador
5335 NE Sandy (Cosmic Monkey Comics) & 4744 NE Sandy (the Ambassador)
Portland, OR
"Just like Rocky, Colt, and Tum-Tum in THREE NINJAS KNUCKLE UP, Comic Book Club is back for a third round of misguided, unsupervised ass-kickery. On Wednesday, April 27, we'll meet up at 6 pm at Cosmic Monkey Comics (5335 NE Sandy); then, at 7 pm or so, we'll head across the street to the Ambassador (4744 NE Sandy) for drinks, conversation, roundhouse kicking demonstrations, and karaoke.

And! Because they're so stoked to have us there, Cosmic Monkey Comics will be offering a Comic Book Club discount that night—if you're there for Comic Book Club, you'll get 20 percent off anything in the store!"

Facebook Event

Friday, April 08, 2011

Questions 36: Terry Blas

Terry Blas is a Portland based artist whose focus is primarily on character design and comics.   He is a recent graduate of the Pacific Northwest College of Art with a degree in Illustration. He is the writer and illustrator of the web comic: Briar Hollow.   

Terry Blas draws, writes and plays the trumpet. He likes grape flavored candy, movies and watches an obscene amount of television.   He has lived in Fort Ord California, Boise Idaho, Ixtapa Mexico, The Bronx, Sleepy Hollow, Los Angeles and now resides somewhere he calls Raintown or Sushiville but other people like to call Portland Oregon.   He watches lots of films, and in fact, owns over 300 of them.  Rumor says if he has seen a movie more than three times he can quote it front to back.

Terry Blas art blog is located here.  

Doug Dorr:   What projects are you working on currently?
Right now I'm working on completing volume one of Briar Hollow. I've got three issues left. I'm also lettering a few comics, a web comic called Somewhere In Between by Megan Levens, and a graphic novel called Ties by Emily McGuiness. I also do spot illustrations and commissions for a variety of clients. I just did some fun illustrations for a video blog called "This is Good" which is hosted by Bryson Gilreath. He reviews comics and music and film.

DD:   What is your artistic Process?
First and foremost, it's difficult for me to work in a messy or unorganized environment. It's hard to pull something creative out of my brain if I'm surrounded by chaos. I still haven't had the opportunity to work on a comic that I myself haven't written, so my process usually starts with writing a rough script, then doing the thumbnails and breakdowns of the pages. The good thing about that is, if I don't like something, I can change it along the way. Add a panel here, take some dialogue out there. Whatever.

DD:   When are story illustrator, could your process working with the writer?
I've always been the writer on the projects I have drawn so in that aspect the two go hand in hand. If I were working on a project given to me by another writer things wold certainly be different and a fun and interesting challenge. 

DD:   What Comic/ Trade would you recommend?
Right now I'd recommend RASL by Jeff Smith. It's an incredibly interesting idea, told so well and there's nothing else out there like it. Also, Emitown by Emi Lenox made me laugh and smile like no other comic has before. And anything by Jamie S. Rich and Joëlle Jones.

DD:   What Comic/ Trade would you recommend to someone new to comics?
If they are looking for a comic strip, Calvin and Hobbes, definitely. In terms of comics or graphic novels, I'd have to say Bone by Jeff Smith. It's my favorite comic and one that has been incredibly inspirational to me.

How involved are you with the illustration, the look and feel, of the books you write?
With Briar Hollow, I do about everything but color it. I had a specific feel and "look" for what I wanted with this world, sort of a Saturday morning cartoon in comic form, for teenagers and adults. Kimball, the  colorist, is incredibly helpful with bringing that vision to life and furthering the look of it.

What skill would you like to learn?
In general, playing the guitar. I love to sing, so it would be nice to know how to accompany myself. In terms of comics, probably more technical inking skill.
What's the most important thing you've learned?
To be yourself and not care so much what others think. Knowing who you are helps in every aspect of your life, with personal matters and with your art. You'll create more meaningful images and stories and your confidence will grow every step of the way if you know who you are and what you're capable of. Also, I've learned that hard work is the thing that helps over everything else. Make a lot of work. Put it out there. Don't get distracted. Set goals and make things happen for yourself. 

Do you have a collection?   If so, what is one of the items you're most proud of?
That'd be putting mildly. I have an action figure collection. A book collection. A comic collection. A movie collection. It's borderline Hoarders up in my apartment. I suppose I'm proudest of the insane of My Little Ponies I had as a kid and my collection of just about every Bone book that's ever been put out by Jeff Smith.

DD:   What is your favorite genre of Comics?
I don't think I have one. I like any kind of story, as long as it's told well.

DD:   What is your favorite TV show/ movie?
I can't just answer this with one. Shows: Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel, Daria, Spaced, Adventure Time, Futurama, RuPaul's Drag Race, just to name a few. Movies: Romy and Michele's High School Reunion, The Birds, Prime, The Wizard of Oz, Pan's Labyrinth, Singing in the Rain, Donnie Darko, Plunkett and Macleane, Dogville.

DD:   How does the Portland comics culture shapes your work?
It's certainly given me some good friends to help motivate and inspire me. In art school, there were constant critiques, constant feedback and now, with other people in the Portland comics community, you can get that if you seek it out. Also, going to these artists for technical advice has been valuable for me. Natalie Nourigat loaned me a great book with some valuable web comic advice. Joëlle Jones just gave me an inking tutorial. Jamie S. Rich gave me some terrific advice on breaking down a story and pushing through some ideas. It's not lost on me how fortunate I am in Portland to have these resources.

DD:   What was your first comic convention?
San Diego Comic-Con 2007. I went with a fantastic group and had a ton of fun. 

DD:   What is your favorite part of comic conventions?
Seeing artists and new art. Buying sketchbooks. 

DD:   If you weren’t doing comics what would you do?
I almost went to school for vocal performance but I was more frightened to sing in front of people than I was to sow people my drawings-so I went to art school instead for Illustration. Maybe I'd have gotten over my fear of singing. 

DD:   Do you have a favorite restaurant that you would recommend?
I'm pretty easy to please. I love Thai Peacock on SW 9th and I frequent Sushiland in the Pearl. 

DD:   How long have you lived in Portland, what made you choose Portland?
I didn't know too much about Portland before I moved here. Just that there was no tax, and that it rained a lot. It was Joëlle Jones, my best friend, who got me to move here. She raved about it, went to art school here and encouraged me to leave Los Angeles. Looking back, I can honestly say that moving to Portland has been the best decision I've ever made. It led me to a lot of other right decisions. 

DD:   What is your favorite part of Portland?
That it's a comics town. There are so many great artists and people here.

DD:   Where in Portland/ Oregon would you most like to visit?
I've been there once, but I'd like to visit the Japanese Gardens more. I've never done the Shanghai Tunnel tour thing, I'd like to do that. Also hiking in Montgomery Park is something I want to do more. It's beautiful there. 

DD:   Would you like to Illustrate for another media? or conversely, how would you feel about Illustrate a comic of a character from a different media, for example, Dr. Who, James Bond? What would you explore?
I'd love to do conceptual character design for film. I did a thesis with that as it's basis. I draw every character from the books I read, so it's something I'm very interested in. I'd love to illustrate a comic from another media. It'd be fun to try and put my stamp on an already established character. 

Thursday, April 07, 2011

New Books from Spark Plug debut at Stumptown

Sparkplug Comic Books is going to both MoCCA Fest and Stumptown Comics Fest and they will be premiering new books at each show.

The MoCCA Festival is this weekend in Manhattan, NYC Saturday April 9th and Sunday April 10th 11am-6pm. It will be at the Lexington Avenue Armory 68 Lexington Ave (Between 25th &26th Streets). 

Then Portland OR's own Stumptown Comics Fest is the next weekend. Saturday and Sunday April 16th and 17th (10-6 Sat and 12-6 Sun). Virginia Paine and Dylan will be there with all kinds of great comics.

MoCCA will mark the premiere of two long awaited Sparkplug books: Austin English's long awaited The Disgusting Room and Elijah Brubaker's Reich #8. Supplies will be limited so get them early.

Stumptown will mark the premiere two amazing anthologies. First, this year's free comic book:
Dan Quayl. Co-published by Gazeta Comics, Teenage Dinosaur, Revival House Press and Sparkplug, this free comic book includes stories by Jesse McManus, Amy Kuttab, Jason Overby and Blaise Larmee. The issue is dedicated to John Callahan.
And then premiering at Stumptown Fest will be one of the biggest projects Sparkplug has ever been involved in: Gay Genius edited by Annie Murphy. And at 7pm Sunday night after Stumptown over at In Other Words (14 Killingsworth St.) Annie will be hosting a party for Gay Genius!

All our new books are available at the Sparkplug website
Actually, being a cartoonist is all about balancing chemicals
This is from the french blog Bouletcorp.    It is translated to english by Felix verified by Bryony Best.     It reminds me of the Male/ French version of Emitown.    This one is about coffee and zombies so I thought I would share it with everyone.

04/28 - Art Spiegelman @ Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall

The Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall is located at
1037 SW Broadway
Portland Oregon 97205

Thursday, April 28, 2011 at 7:30 p.m.

Legendary comic artist and author of the Pulitzer Prize-winning Maus. The New York Times Magazine calls him “an influential artist who is also an impresario and an enabler of others.”

04/14 Srsly Big Deal: Living and Breathing Comics in PDX @ Central Lib

Babies by Julia Gfrörer
Babies by Julia Gfrörer

Thursday, April 14, 4–5:45 p.m.

Printable Srsly Big Deal flyer (pdf)
From self-published mini-comic zines to traditional comic books, manga and lengthy graphic novels, comics are a seriously big deal in our community, home to big-time publishers, small presses, many independent artists and the Stumptown Comics Fest.
Learn about the cultural and economic significance of comics with:
Also experience the unique live performance of mini-comics with Julia Gfrörer and guest.
Space at programs is limited. Seating is available on a first-come, first-served basis.

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

Questions 35: Lisa Rosalie Eisenberg

Lisa Rosalie Eisenberg is a cartoonist and educator who lives and works in Portland, Oregon.  After spending her formative years in the Garden State, the Big Apple and...Connecticut, she relocated to Portland, Oregon.

She self-publishes the comic series I Cut My Hair and has appeared in the anthologies Papercutter, Bird Hurdler, and Bearfight!. She is also a member of the studio Tranquility Base. You can listen to Lisa talking about her comics here as part of Multnomah County Library’s “Zinesters Talking” series.

Lisa is available for illustration and comics work. Curently she is open an art exhibit with Terry Blas at the Independent Publishing Resource Center opening April 7.

And to note:   For someone so short, she is pretty loud.

What projects are you working on currently?
I'm working on two comics projects right now: a minicomic called "Painful Vices," which is the story of a monster-creature going through a breakup, told as a series of vignettes about his increasingly bad habits.  I'm also working on an as-yet untitled young adult graphic novel about a nine year old girl and her eighteen year old babysitter, how their lives overlap and diverge.  I'm still scripting that one out but plan to begin illustrating and shopping it around within the year.  

What is your artistic Process?
When I'm starting a comic it generally begins with a few notes in my sketchbook about some plot points or my general story idea, accompanied by some rough doodles of what I imagine the characters would look like.  I usually add to these notes and drawings over time, before transitioning to writing out a script in Word.  Then there is a back and forth between writing the script and drawing out quick rough drafts of the panels, and after that I figure out how I want to arrange those panels on a page--this is my final thumbnailing.  Once my thumbnails are all done I move on to penciling out the comic pages with an HB pencil on vellum bristol board, and then inking with a Rapidograph pen.  Usually I ink a panel right after I finish penciling it, but I'm trying to move away from this and get the whole page penciled first. 

When are story illustrator, how involved are you in the writing?
I have only ever written my own scripts.  But for me the writing and illustrating are very much intertwined.  

What Comic/ Trade would you recommend?
Papercutter has a great variety of cartoonists and writers showcasing their stuff.  I also highly recommend Ivy and am excited to finally see it in hardcover! 

What Comic/ Trade would you recommend to someone new to comics?
Calvin and Hobbes collections are always a winner.  Clutch has been a hit when I've recommended it to others.  I'm always singing the praises of Lynda Barry to those who have never heard of her, or are not readers of comics in general. 

How involved are you with the illustration, the look and feel, of the books you write?
I've never written something that I haven't illustrated.  Though I think it would be far more challenging for me to write for someone else than to be the artist for someone else's script.  

What skill would you like to learn?
To get better at inking with a brush.  Also to learn Spanish. 

What's the most important thing you've learned?
If you keep drawing you are bound to get better.  Simple, but true, and easily forgotten.  

Do you have a collection?   If so, what is one of the items you're most proud of?
I do have a lot of comics, though I don't know if I'd call it a collection.  I am pretty proud of my out-of-print copy of Lynda Barry's "Come Over, Come Over," which I had autographed by her at Portland's Wordstock 2008. 

What is your favorite genre of Comics?
 I'm not sure if I have a favorite genre...I have a special appreciation for historical fiction for sure, though I wouldn't say it's my favorite.

Do you have an Ipad?   If so what do use it for the most.
Nope! I do have an ipod, though, and it's six years old.  
What is your favorite TV show/ movie?
Ok, I've got two ties....TV it's between Mad Men and My So-Called Life (sometimes I'm in a 60s mood and sometimes I'm in a 90s mood...); movies it's between Harold and Maude and Annie Hall. 

How does the Portland comics culture shapes your work?
I owe a lot to the comics culture of Portland.  Although I have always loved drawing and writing (though the love of writing did come a little later), I didn't start to seriously work on making comics until I moved here.  Immediately I met other cartoonists  who I could look to for feedback and input, and eventually this lead to my joining Tranquility Base, a studio of cartoonists, writers, and illustrators.  The zine and self-publishing culture in Portland has also helped--with the Independent Publishing Resource Center and institutions like Reading Frenzy and the Portland Zine Symposium, I saw a clear way to begin reproducing and distributing my work. 
What was your first comic convention?
My first comic convention that I ever attended was SPX in 2004, and the first one where I sold my work was Stumptown 2007.  

What is your favorite part of comic conventions?
My favorite part of comic conventions is that I feel so much a part of the comics community.  I am inspired by all the work I see around me, by the energy...I leave conventions with a sense of direction and energy, and I love carrying that feeling out with me.

If you weren’t doing comics what would you do?
Well, currently I divide my time between comics and working with middle and high schoolers, so most likely I would be a full-time teacher.  Probably history. 

What comics do your kids like?  What was/is your favorite character?
No kids of my own, but I do have a bunch of kids I work with, and they prefer manga, hands down. 

Do you have a favorite restaurant that you would recommend?
It's hard to pick one favorite, but the Vita Cafe on Alberta is up there. 

How long have you lived in Portland, what made you choose Portland?
I have lived in Portland for four and a half years; I moved here a few months after I graduated college.  I grew up in New Jersey and back then New York was my city.  I loved it and growing up I was convinced that not only would I live there, but that once I did life would be better in all respects.  Then I spent a semester in New York, and had a more difficult time than I thought I would.  So that was a major shock, and it left me with a desire to explore other cities and other parts of the country.  That summer I took a job as a counselor in southern Oregon.  I had already heard Portland was beautiful, but once I visited I was really drawn in.  And of course I knew that there were a fair number of cartoonists here, and thought it would be a good place to make comics.  Another friend of mine from school was thinking of moving here as well, so at the start of our senior year we made a pact to move together.  She left about a year ago but I'm still here...I would like to make a return to New York eventually and give it another go, but for now I'm still really enjoying living in Portland. 

What is your favorite part of Portland?
There are many parts of Portland I like for different reasons...I can never pick just one favorite of anything!  But if I had to choose I'd say the Skidmore Bluffs.

Where in Portland/ Oregon would you most like to visit?
I really haven't adequately explored the coast, and I'd like to see more of it.  Maybe Astoria; I've never been there. 

Would you like to Illustrate for another media? or conversely, how would you feel about Illustrate a comic of a character from a different media, for example, Dr. Who, James Bond?  What would you explore?
Yes, I think I'd be interested in that.  Maybe a graphic novel version of "The Catcher in the Rye" would be a terrible idea, but I'd have a lot of fun drawing Holden Caufield, I think.