Here is a quick sketch that took up a lot of time… Quite a few months ago Jeremy Adolphson mailed me a 4×6 card and asked me to do a quick sketch on it so that he could add it to his collection and online gallery. I did this pic and then lost it, then found it and took it to San Diego hoping to bump into Jeremy at Comic-Con. I didn’t see him and lost it again, did another one, crushed that in my bag and then found this first one. I mailed it immediately before it could get lost again. Go visit Jeremy’s site and see his collection, there are a lot of big name contributors not just small fry like me.
In an earlier post I mentioned that Sam Hiti, has been working on a new book called DEATH DAY.
Sam is being (understandably) secretive about the storyline, apart from the fact that it is set against a backdrop of war. But he did send me this preview page that shows the grittier style he will be using in this latest story.
The new book is in addition to creating new adventures for the demon-bounty hunter from last year’s indie hit TIEMPOS FINALES.
My View by David LeBlanc
ROCKET RABBIT #1
40 pages, black & white, Color Covers, 6.5″ X 8.5″, $6.00
created by James Baker
As a follow up to NERVE BOMB #0, this title takes up the continuing adventures of Rocket and the Professor. Rocket Rabbit is a robot with rabbit-like ears that are actually nuclear powered rocket thrusters enabling him to fly. He is the creation of the Professor, a rather sexy female agent of “The Company”. The book is a spoof of super hero and spy genres. Their leader is a a guy who rides around in a giant robot that looks like a man’s suit. Picture a walking suit thirty feet high with a normal size guy in the collar of the shirt. He goes by the name of Big Suit or B.S. for short. He hands out the assignments and the Professor plans the action with her partner Rocket, using a variety of gadgets and vehicles. (shades of Get Smart!)
Like its predecessor comic, ROCKET RABBIT is plain fun. The art is the cartoonish style of the gag magazines like MAD and CRACKED. The dialogue is smooth and the variety of characters would make you think that only a few are the focus. Not so. The two newscasters are given lots of panels to develop and have their share of gags. Likewise the villains are given some depth along the way. The relationship between Rocket and The Professor is clearly more like friends as Rocket acts like a person, to the point of annoying The Professor at times. By the end we know the players well and wonder where the story will go next. It is a fun comic and packed with laughs for 40 pages. There is not much like it on the market but there should be.
This weekend three cool indie comics creators have organized the first ever Mexican Independent Comic Book Day! (An event so huge it actually takes two days!). Rhode Montijo, Mr Rafael Navarro and of course Mr Bigtime himself, Hollywood Hernandez will all be signing and promoting their books in the Bay Area. Day one is Friday Sept. 16 in Oakland, at Corazon del Pueblo bookstore (4814 International Blvd, Oakland CA 94601) from 7pm-9pm. On Saturday the lads will be at El Primer Pueblo Libreria (410 E. Santa Clara St., San Jose CA 95113) also from 7pm-9pm. So, the (510) and the (408) are covered… But what about the (415), yo?
I just got this super new SEPHI pinup today from mr BENTON JEW who, apart from being a storyboarder on lots of live-action movies, also does comics. He was the Editor of the Babes in Space anthology, that Nauti Girl appeared in last year.
He also contributed a story called “Silent Swordsman” to the Komikwerks “Thrills and Chills” anthology. You can see a sample of that story online here. Plus, for added value, Benton’s brother Anson was also in that collection.
AND you can see some a two page color piece by Benton in in Ed Reynold’s anthology, “Zowie!Deux: Tales of Tiki Terror!”. So please, check the man OUT!
There was a live concert at the Isotope‘s last week featuring PINE AM, a trio from OSAKA that happens to be the latest favourite band of proprietor extraordinaire, mr James Sime. The Isotope has been a wonderful store since the day it opened, in a tiny space that could barely contain all its coolness, but now it has the venue it truly deserves in ultra hip Hayes valley. The new location is bigger and better in every way and James was radiating pride and happiness in hosting his favourite new band in his great new store.
Everybody has been emailing me this photo which was part of the online gallery of the event. So if you have been thinking about getting a new desktop image for your computer then now you are set. Hey, I’m just sayin’…
GEMMA BOVARY by POSY SIMMONDS. Shamefully, I have had this book for months, and only gave it the cursory speed read until very recently when I finally gave this book the attention that it deserved. It took several nights to get through the book, as it is very dense and has layers and layers of stuff to read. The relationship between the text and the artwork on each page is very pleasingly handled. The result being that it is somewhat of a hybrid of a novel, a comic and a picture book. The story loosely is modeled on the classic novel Madame Bovary, but in this case it is set in contemporary France and England. It is not merely an updating of the classic story, rather, the story is told from the point of view of a neighbour who watches the trials and tribulations of the couple that has moved in next door, and begins comparing their life to the old story, becoming increasingly certain that everything will end in tragedy. Somehow that synopsis doesn’t convey any of the gentle humour which I assure you this book is full of. What it is also full of is page after page of gorgeous art work, well realized and believable characters, witty dialogue and beautifuly layered storytelling.
EPILEPTIC by DAVID B (English version). This has been on my list of things to read for a long time. Yet I put off buying it as the thickness (and of course the cost) was a bit daunting. But in the end, the sheer size of it is one of the pleasures of reading this book. How often have you bought a graphic novel and read it all 20 minutes? That is unlikely to be the case with this weighty tome, which took me quite a while to read, simply because of how much is crammed in between the covers. This book is based on the author’s experience of growing up with an older brother (by just a few years) who became epileptic in childhood, and follows the effects of the illness on his family. I’ve had the unpleasant experience of seeing a loved one convulse with epilepsy, so perhaps that is another reason I stayed away from this book for a while.
Autobiography is common in independant comics, and while I admire the honesty of it, it often gets too self pitying for me. I very much respect that David B. doesn’t sentimentalise this subject, nor shy away from the darker emotions, such as his adolescent resentment at his life being taken over by an illness that wasn’t even his. It doesn’t feel like storyboards to a tear-jerking movie of the week; it uses narrative tools only found in the medium of comics to communicate the complex emotional currents that flow in and around the family. These Graphic devices are very powerful when used by someone who knows how to wield them. I hope that this book and other translations of European graphic albums can get into bigger bookstores in the English speaking world, and perhaps share the soaring sales experienced by Manga reprints at the moment. It’s funny that just a few years ago, US comics industry wisdom said that the manga boom was impossible (because they are in B/W, or because the target audience is for girls, or a host of other reasons), but it IS happening and largely away from speciality comics stores, as the bigger bookstore chains get in on the act. (James Sime writes amusingly about this phenomenon in this column).
So, as a fan of European graphic novels, many of which aren’t even available in English, I’m hoping that despite any current nay-saying, that there can be a boom for those wonderful European books too in future… Otherwise I’m just going to have to learn to read French (and Spanish and Italian) better, and I simply ain’t smart enough for that… DOH!
I just spent a really fun long weekend in LA, visiting with a lot of my good friends from the Bay Area who have moved down there over the last few years. It’s funny to see some die-hard LA bashers of a few years back getting comfortable in SOCAL. But I won’t make too much fun of them; who knows, I may even be moving that way myself very soon…
While in LA, I dropped off some of my books at two great comics shops down there. You can pick up copies of ROCKET RABBIT #1 next time you go comics shopping at either Meltdown Comics on Sunset Blvd or Hi de Ho on Santa Monica Blvd.