Sunday, December 28, 2008

New Icons

Another image for the DFA Stumptown Mini for next years show. The book needed a inside icon for the blurb that I like to place at the beginning of each issue.
I wanted to keep the readership up to date why things were being done.

Friday, December 19, 2008

The Newest Addition to Black Box Comix

Here sportfans, Al here with the latest:
The newest book rolls off the press today and is listed at

for Pandora's Garage Volume 5. I haven't been sending out as many emails to let people know what's been going on but I hope to make a better run of things before the Stumptown Comicbook Fest for April of next year.

And of course check of the official website at
and our additional blogs

Thanks for checking them out.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Re-orders are here

One of the things that has been happening is that I have been working on getting the images of the books that I have worked on in the past listed on the Black Box Comix website.
Well the wonderful thing about pod (print on demand) is that you never have a huge amount of stock to ever really worry about but when you sell that last issue it always happens that somebody else wants a copy.

It's just the layout of the land I guess.

Good news is that Black Box Comix has in it's possession re-ordered books from Ka-Blam. This i s a good thing as I am currently getting things ready for a big show in April. Unfortunately we won’t be heading up to Seattle next year as it was such a abysmal return on anything except from Chuck Messinger and his Comics Evolution store.

That was our only good return from the show.
Everything else well... coulda been better.
I have just received that Ka-Blam had has gotten my upcoming issue of Pandora’s Garage Volume 5 and have sent me a digital PDF proof copy to check.
Looking good.
One out of three down, two more to go.

And our email:

Sunday, November 30, 2008

More things lining up for April next year.

Well as updates go this is a major one for Black Box Comix. Having tables at the Stumptown Comics Fest is and has been a major part of how and why Black Box Comix is going. Ever since Scott Allie of Dark Horse had told me about it back in 2005 in Eugene I had wanted to break out of the Eugene area and into something bigger. Well PDX is hella bigger than Eugene will ever be and it definitely is a much more engaging crowd.
By next month I should receive confirmation that we'll be in it- a nice kind of way to end the year as far as I am concerned.
The color work for Johnny Vega #3 is progressing quite nicely so far. I am hoping to have work completed by end of the next
month. Again another nice way of ending the year.
The personal debate about how the collected work of Pandora's Garage I think is now at end but I still have the layout to work on after I get the two projects out of the way for Stumptown. and if you're currious about the show check out place.

And if you're bored check these places:

And our email:

Friday, November 28, 2008

Another book off to the races!

Yeah, I had managed to get another black and white sent off to the printers day before yesterday but it won't be delivered until today. I'll have to wait about a week before I know if it made it or not but since my big show doesn't happen until April of next year, I shouldn't have to wait to long.
Next on the list of books to do is the third color Johnny Vega book and then the mini which I have already posted about.
My only other task is make a rotating slideshow of the comic book work with picked out images of the books and burn them so people could just drop in a CD instead of picking up a business card. I think the way things are going right now I think that would be the best way to go about selling and promoting the books at a show.
A lot of these new artists and writers are pretty technically hip with all the developments that are coming down the pike for making comics.
I just hope to lead by example and make a name for myself and my company.

Monday, November 10, 2008

I felt that since we were coming up on the two week issue that I would post another image and icon for the Stumptown Mini that I have been developing at my editors insistence. I think that she had a good idea when she came up with it, so here to you, Rowan.
The main difference that anyone would see is that it is pen and ink - in the rough. I have meet, and so have you, a few artist that pick up a ball point pen and illustrate these incredible pictures thought they may be just on a notebook piece of paper.
I figured that if I could do it with a little help from my mac, anyone could do it.
I’ll be posting some of those here pretty soon as well.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Deadline kept! Yea!

Well it’s been about two weeks since I had posted anything here so I thought that I should keep you updated on the workings of the box here. Deadline for the finished interior artwork has been completed on time! That’s a huge relief for me now Pandora’s Garage Volume 5 moves into it’s next phase- editing. This may make time for it's release a little harder than I was expecting but I don’t have big office space and lots of employees to deal with. Overhead as they say.
But I had changed the “Scratch” comic and incorporated into the fifth issue until Dan has the remainder of El Samurai ready to print.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Closing in on the deadline

Today is one of those days when you feel that you are closing in on a deadline that you set up for yourself. This is so true that it hurts. And hurt so good it does.
With today I realized that most of the artwork that I have been doing is closing in on four pages of scratchboard work and, yeah!, the art will be done. I am looking at having the Fifth issue of Pandora's Garage done by Halloween. At least that is my goal.
So here is a taste of what I have done most recently.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Pandora's Garage Vol. 5: UPDATE

The nearly finished "classic" pose of good V.S. evil. Guess who comes out on top in this one? This is page 34 out of a 36 page black and white and will probably be Johnny Vega last black and white outside of a sketchbook. I am looking at the possibly of making this into a painting and it will digitally re-done for the color comic. The chronology of Johnny Vega - Man of the Future is looking pretty damn good.
As to the the black and white itself, Pandora’s Garage volume 5 will be the last one that I put together until my other partner Dan Barton comes through with his story.
HOWEVER there are still stories that only a black and white can do justice to- a horror title. This has been something that my friend and my editor have toying around with over the last couple days or so. Halloween is just around the corner but I don’t think that I would have anything ready for that just yet, maybe next year.
I think that could be real fun.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

New Art on the Way

Well there sports fans, Al here with the latest:
New images for volume 5 of Pandora's Garage. It was about time for another issue to be put together and since my other art partner has gotten back to me on some the topics of putting together another issue I decided like I did for the Volume 3 that I would make this an Alan Bennett issue.
Page count is a pain in the ass for everybody, especially when you are the one laying out a new book and realize "Ah jeez! I need more pages. Well this couldn't be more true than with the fifth volume and with the last black and white installment of Johnny Vega.
Printing up four pages just to complete the original story would have been a major let down and honestly I didn't like the way I had finished that story line in the first place. It seemed to rushed when, in fact, you should savor the final chapter of a book or the last few minute of a good movie.
So I added seven new pages to round out the rest of the story. Eventually this story will be reprinted but in a entirely different format, digital color like the color Johnny Vega books out right now. The other thing is that Johnny Vega is that these stories will be printed in chronological sequence as to jumping back and forth over the different periods in Johnny's life.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Check it OUT!

Hey there sportsfans, Al here with the latest:

The newest production from Black Box Comix. Check it out.

That's the place!


Saturday, September 20, 2008

New Work begins-part two

Work moves forward for the Box as the second issue of Johnny Vega now has arrived. As I have looked at it and the viewed the digital proof which I can only think is a way to save on paper to make sure everything is prefect. Well I like to think that any one of the books can stand on it’s own. Yes there are mistakes in each one of them I kinda like to think that they are like the mis woven threads in a Native American rug. The imperfections for rug show that we are not gods but mortal.
I seldom start writing philosophical for the blogs, I usually let the books do that for me because nobody wants to be preached at, especially from a comic book writer and artist.
But observation is what drives the art.
Transfers for both Misguided and the new additions for Johnny Vega, both slated for Pandora’s Garage Volume 5 are looking good. It is only working on Johnny that I am trying to go backwards capturing the flavor of the story that I worked on years ago. So far it’s been pretty cool.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Website is up and running

The Website is up and running! YEA, Black Box Comix! You should come by and check it out when you get the chance. Also you have two new images one is the Black Box Banner the other is a jpeg for the second part of the Misguided story that I am currently working on for the fifth issue of Pandora's Garage. Talk about being busy! Whew!
So stop by when you get the chance.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Johnny Images from 2 and 3

Updates for the latest of Black Box Comix. Well sports fans here ya go, the second issue of Johnny Vega - Man of the Future is on it’s way to the printer as we speak. The arrival of the burned disk is being waited on right but I have told that they are looking forward to seeing the book.
So I thought I would go ahead and post a few jpegs of the second issue and post a couple of the preliminary images being developed for the third issue. This is a very productive time for the Box. The third issue of Johnny Vega and the fifth issue of Pandora’s Garage as well could be a very good year.
My editor L. Rowan Watson has been pointing out that a small inexpensive web site availability is at hand and,I, for one will be looking at this new possibility for getting a presences up so people could take look and actually buy the books when they felt up to going on the web to buy.
So keep your fingers crossed for us!

Friday, August 15, 2008

New Images , new project

These are new images that are going to be printed up later this year in either another copy of Pandora's Garage or a seperate book. But my goal is to make something that is being used much these days because of the process which it takes to make. Scratchboard is one of those mediums that isn't used much these days, 'cept maybe in Europe. It has a feel like old wood block printing and is perfectly suited to a horror story.
The Misguided story originally printed in Pandora's Garage Volume 3 was done more as a traditional black and white story. However this time I wanted it to take on a much different look and feel for what I was telling as a story. Hopefully, I will have this ready by the time October roles around.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

New Cover, new book

Well work on the second issue for johnny Vega is in final preparation for being sent off to Ka-Blam for printing. As with everything the internet is not a perfect thing and is not as intuitive as some tech heads might tell you. But regardless of this imperfect world as one of my heroes says, there it is. Johnny Vega makes the jump from drawn and digital to full digital. Oh yes there is still some of the actual hand drawn layouts being done for getting the feel of the story but everything else is digital.
The two covers here are some of the example of what I had to do "fix" issue two for the jump. Story wise the second issue cover in green was actually completed before the second issue was ever really done so there was mass amount of continuity errors in the illustration of Johnny and what is supposed to be a teaser for a reader to pick up the book. It'll never be a prefect process but it'll have to do until there can hardwire my brain to Photoshop CS whatever.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Images of the Independent's Day

Well, I managed to get the photo images of the Puyallup Comic Show posted today after a small phone call from a Hobby Show taking place here in Portland.
Business wasn't much in the way of selling today but of course business cards took off from the table that I was asked to man. I was approached by a couple different people about the work. Especially questions dealing with the scratchboard work that I had out. One person was looking for information about hiring someone to work on illustrating a Biblical story. But of course I have seen this kind of thing before and I wasn't going to get roped just by a verbal agreement.
I’ve been working in the field long enough to know when I see somebody wanting something for free. And under the auspice of religion. Ain’t gonna happen.
Even minor illustration like thumbnails have to be compensated for the time worked.
I have found in my experience that people would like to own a piece or a group of illustrations want to reproduce at anytime they want without thinking about the proper payment to the artist for the use of their artwork.
If ya wanta play with out any kind of hassle from me, you gotta pay.
We’ll see what happens.
I won’t hold my breath.

Sunday, July 13, 2008


Hey there sports fans Al here with the latest!
Yesterday was a pretty successful day for Black Box Comix as a trip up to Washington state was nice and I got to met several new people in my kind of environment of creators some were interesting some were annoying or otherwise over sensitive as I have come to expect from other artists.
But all in all, it was a good day. Books that would have gone to other individuals most of whom are not returning customers at the comic shows made a major first move in getting the books out to people and places that I wouldn’t have thought having my books at.
Comic Evolution in Puyallup Washington was one of the most impressive comic shops I have ever been too. Well kept clean not at all cluttered like the shops that I have been going to down in Eugene. And on top of that Chuck Messinger the owner of the shop was one of the most gracious host I have had the chance to meet and get to know. I do believe that I will be going back to see him as long as he asks for me to come to his shop.
In other news:
Two new pages for issue number 2 of Johnny Vega. The digital work continues to keep going but at a slower pace than I had originally planned on. As it turns out it might be the end of July before I can get this book put to bed but it will be worth it I believe and on the horizon I see the continuation of The Misguided story line that I started in volume three of Pandora’s Garage in it’s own comic. Ultimately, I plan on having this story collected into a single large volume down the road but I have to have it edited first.
The last bit is a pic from the the Emerald City ComiCon. Yes it is true that I am looking a bit surprised in the pic by my friend Rizzo, but this show was a new experience for me. I don’t think that I am going to be heading back there until I am ready with more color comics in hand. Big main stream shows do better with color comics than black and whites and the opposite is true of independent comic shows like Stumptown. What I do see happening is that people like myself and others like Adam Watson of Darkslinger Comics, Jason Pott of NEOTrash Comix, and Travis Bundy of Thoughtbox Comics all are in a particular who all are dedicated creators who look at making comics as a lifestyle rather than a hobby which most people do for indy shows slapping kinko’s copies a few hours together and selling them.
But this topic opens up a can of worms that I am wanting to open up just yet.
Later, maybe.

Friday, July 4, 2008

Breaking Silence

Sorry for the delay, I am usually much more on top of blogging and posting than I have been of recent times but the Fourth of July is allowing to making my own personal independence known.
So with that being said there sports fans, Al is here with the latest:
I have been busting my hump to get my comics done before then end of the month. I have a better idea about how long it will take me to put together a entirely digital comic book from here on out and how to put the thing together without the pit falls of the problems that I had problems with in the past with the previous four issues of Pandora’s Garage and the first issue of Johnny Vega.
So I have posted a few new images of the completed pages of issue # 2. Take a look and tell me what you think?
Now as the Johnny comes closer to being finished I have begun looking at the continuing workings of my horror story, “The Misguided.”
Tentatively, I am looking at having a portion of this work done and completed by the time October but things are still up in the air on this as to when exactly but I would like to have working copy more or less by the time Halloween roles around.
On top of that I have up loaded some images of issue 2 of Johnny Vega . So at least you all knew that I didn’t die or the company of Black Box Comix has fallen off the Earth.
On top of that myself and a few others from around the Portland area will be heading up to Puyallup, Washington this July 12th at Comic Evolution for a small (and hopefully) yearly show.
And that is it.

Friday, June 6, 2008

new images for JV #2

This is right that i would have another image to post here since it's been a time since my last one. The page that you are looking at is that of page #11 of issue 2 of Johnny Vega- Man of the Future.
I felt that i should leave out a couple of images as I work on the book. I realized that if keep posting images all the time I would really have to make a comic book then would I?
After talking to Jason of NEO-Trash Comix, I realized that johnny might do better as a collected work than that of individual issues. Though I again I realized that if I do that I might have to re work the previous issue so it is along the same style as the last one I am currently working on.
This sounds a little George Lucas unfortunately but I think that in the case of Johnny, it might be a good idea.
Again consistency.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Marketing of comic books

It’s not just enough to have a good looking product that people get excited about or the creator (like yours truly) getting excited about his or her work and that excitement being infectious like the andromeda Strain but knowing where different styles of work are going to work and sell.
You may have noticed that anybody can draw and create a comic book but most people don’t know any better. If you draw superhero books you don’t sell them at a Anime event.
That just never works.
And independent comic shows like Stumptown do better with black and white than they do with color.
I guess what I am trying to say is this know your show that you want to sell at.
If your company does both kinds of books, great. It shows to people over a period of time that you and your is very flexible to different interests.
And of course free stuff never hurts anyone.
If you are smart enough and have the finances to do it have a friend take a hand full of mini comics and walk around an event handing out these freebies to people who haven’t seen or know where your table is at.
I saw this happen while I was in Seattle this year. These guy had these black and white Kinko copies that were slapped together and selling them to vendors while sitting at their tables.
Unfortunately, I don’t like this kind of sales tactic. If it weren’t hard enough to make a sale to the passer by what makes a person think that I am going to pony up cash to buy your book? A bad way of doing it. If it were free on the other hand, you might have a chance.
And one thing I think is people like minis. They take up a small amount of space in a person’s collection. It is definitely a novelty, but it does perk up peoples interest.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

New Work begins

Well as it turned out Seattle was a pretty good show but as always with a new venture things never quite go according to plan. This show was no different. Lots of people but not a lot of sales. That's ok though, made a lot of cool contacts and the my visibility is definitely being noticed. That's a good thing as far as I am concerned. That's tells the big guys that I am not going anywhere but to the top and they better start watching out for me and Vega!

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

How to Gage A Show

Well Stunmptown Comic Fest is now past you have to as a vendor wonder "how do you gage a successful show?". Well years ago if you had asked me I would have said that if you make the money back on your project and the cost of your table then you were heading in the right direction.
But now a couple of years in the business I realized that maybe that isn’t all and really if you think about that is very short sighted as well.
I sit back as I drink my coffee think of all the people who did stop by and picked up the business cards that I think I only have five of left. And the email list that grew like crazy and finally the REAL professionals that stopped by the table. The comments that most people wouldn’t have really heard because they were to excited by the fact that so and so is talking to me.
Long conversations with these people make me hopeful that artistic community will be soon joining has much to offer me and I hope that I can add a little spark to them.
I think I, we, had a VERY successful time. Now on to Seattle and unknown territory.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

The Woes of Printing - part 2

Today is one of those days when you wonder whether or not you made the right choice. And of course that statement is in reference to my digital printer back in Florida. Show has fallen in the valley in springtime and gives this moment great reflection.
I still really like the product that they put together but I think that if I were to plan far enough in advance have everything edited before I send off the burned CD of books and paying up front, (including shipping and handling I could still work with these guys.
But is the effort really worth it?
That's the question.
The Shows for both Stumptown and the Emerald City ComiCon will still go on but will the company? Lack of response to any question to reassure a vendor that “your books are on their way” is a bad way to run a business.
Hopefully for their part they get their act together and get this mess figured out.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

The Process of Making Comix

Well so true so true. I had simplified the process of making comics but today I had really broke down the process of making comic books with one notable exception, the initial spark for the story. That one is as hard as asking why there is air. It is one of the most common questions that any artist has been asked sitting behind a table.
But it is not the easiest to answer. How to make is a slightly better question.
At I went ahead and placed a number of images of how I make Johnny Vega, Man of the Future.
It’s a 13 step process but I am sure that there is a couple steps that I am missing. So please don’t hold me to this process just yet.
But I believe this closer than most other artist are willing to share with others.
I’m not afraid, ask away.
Isn’t that why we are all here?

Sunday, April 6, 2008

The Process of Illustrating

The images that are being shown here are those of the third issue of Johnny Vega, Man of the Future. It is placed as a three step process which is really a very simplified way of showing how these pages are put together. Currently I am trying to adapt a method of illustrating without the usage of a solid black eclipse line around the figure or anything else. The idea comes from watching Samurai Jack for the last couple years and the collected DVD sets.
Disney had been pioneering this method for animation for years. It makes the animation sequences look and feel seamless. And ultimately that is what I am wanting Johnny Vega to be. A CGI animated feature. And I said it here first, so mark my words when he gets popular.
The first image is the actual hand drawn image of what I thought the cover should look like and be representative of what was going to happen in the story. I scanned it in and then re scaled it to fit a comic book templet that I have already made in CS2.
The second image is actually the finished (or nearly finished) cover for issue three superimposed over the pencil sketch. to see how close I follow the initial image. I think that most artist try to stay as close to the original idea as possible because if you rework and redraw an image over and over again you loss the flavor of the piece you’re working on.
The third image is more the finish product that will show up on issue three.
And there you have it. I’ll break it down to other parts down the road.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

New things from Black Box Comix

Well things are going well for the kid here as I continue to throw out the virtual net known to all as "The Internet". Such an amazing thing of work. Now if I can generate sale from it. I was talking to my web designer friend of mine that says that he'll be working on get the updated Black Box Comix website up before I go up to Portland at the end of this month.
Since he quit his job, he is working on getting the material up and running so this site and a couple of others would start connecting with several new, and potentially new comic collectors of my work. Years ago, I would never thought about this being the way I would do things but life has and is changing that. I'm happy about that.
These are some of the other

The two images are one of Johnny and Jade. She is actually the last person Johnny will be involved with as time and this character grows. The other image is that page 1 issue #2 of Johnny Vega, Man of the Future. This is a preliminary page as the editing on the book hasn't happened yet but I can tell you this that issues three and four have already been laid out and are awaiting the editing touches of L. Rowan Watson.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Stumptown Looms closer and closer

Well one of the two books that I have been working on has been completed. And that is good news for me and to see if the guys at Ka-Blam will pull through. If you have been reading these blogs you already know that I've had some problems with getting in touch with these guys. The customer service issue has been a real pain in the butt. But things look like they might be turning around here for that. The black box comix website is really the only other thing that I has to be done (or least I would like to be done) before I move to Portland.
I have recently opened an account on Spreading the artistic comic web as far as I can to see what I can gather up.
At least that the plan anyway.
The image that you are looking at is a two page spread of pages 2 and 19 for Stumptown mini special. I have high hopes for this book to generate interest in books, especially the color Johnny Vega books. But from the looks of it I don't think that I am going to have any problems selling that book at all.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

The call... and the wait.

Well the call was made for the company KA-Blam for printing. Of course we'll see whether or not I was successful in getting my point across to them. If not I will be calling another number that I have for them since I haven't had any kind of response since I sent them the amount of money via paypal.
Portland is looming in the distance within the next month we'll be up in Portland toasting the town or at least I would hope so. The Stumptown mini is nearly ready to go and be printed by yours truly. If things go the way I hope, it will be a great selling point to give away free black and white stuff at the table to entice new reader to pick up the color book. At least that what I am hoping for.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Welcome to the Latest- Part ll

As it stands, finally looks as if issue four of Pandora's Garage is up on the indyplanet webstore. That is good news for us but I am still awaiting the arvial of the Johnny Vega spot as well. So partially everything is going well. The Stumptown Mini is being worked on as we speak. That should be done by the end of the month. That too, should be a good thing as I begin to really focus on finishing the last three issues of the Johnny Vega in color books for the first series.
Keep this all in mind this is also on top of a major move from Eugene to Portland.