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.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Printer woes

Well yesterday was swell as far as finding out information about the on line comic printer that I have been having issues with. Some of the questions that I have been having were answered by KA-Blam's on line web log. But not everything. So there was a comment box listed to respond to the posting but remarkably when I went to post it I was denied.
Not a great way of dealing with customers.

Here was my response to this posting by them:

This answers at least one of the questions I had about the printing process but still there was a question of customer service.  Kinda open ended I know, but I am not talking about the physical printing of the book or even the pricing issue.  I clearly understood that aspect of printing and planned months in advance that there will always be some kind of and problem, natural or man made.
But what I have a problem (as comic company) with was the fact that as soon as an order was generated AND that order was paid in full, in  advance of the printing and the verification process there was no response of anykind.
Over a year ago I had several issues, no pun intended, that were answered quickly and taken care of as well.  That service has disappeared.
Interaction and communication is key for any business to thrive. I hope the other issues that I have as a small company can worked out to my satisfaction,  because I do like this company.

But of course this is a mute point since I couldn't respond to their posting. It just was a little more fuel to the fire for this issue that Black Box Comix is dealing with. If my company ever makes enough money I'll buy my own press and print the entire book in house. But I can tell you this that I wouldn't over extend myself in this matter.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

The New books

Well it's a done deal. I have the Johnny Vega in color! here at the house and have looked it over and found that there is a few things are well what can I say? There is room for improvement but that's the trick isn't it learning from the past and improving upon it. But all in all it looks pretty cool.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Johnny Vega has arrived! Well I can that I am happy it’s here and it is definitely a change from what I am normally used to working on within such a short period of time. With Stumptown only a few scant months away and then Seattle I am going to have my hands full working on perfecting my digital techniques for the rest of the run of Johnny. I consider this my freshmen run at doing color and digital work. I am still working on it but I knew that there would be, at least for me things to keep a look out for.
The answer would be no. The reason is simple I have to keep moving forward. To take a step back would silly. I have seen way to many artist that never move forward and keep reworking the past because it doesn't look right. I have seen this with many comic illustrators and fine artist.
Guys (and gals) live with it and move on. I think that’s why you see so many crappy books out right now but they always seem to get the press.
Anyway, about the images. This was my solo attempt at getting a book out on my own. Three separate stories and in on a timely fashion. One story was done on scratchboard called the Misguided. It was also a poke at the H.P. Lovecraft’s Cthulhu mythology. The other’s from the previous two volumes of the garage of Johnny Vega and the finally installment of Avartar.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

New images from Pandora’s Garage Volume 2. The first two images are from El Samurai by Daniel Barton and one from the Original Johnny Vega black and white reprinted from Guilded Edges #6 . In this issue Dan was exploring his urban hero, Jesus Vasques. Dan was trying to capture the feel of the old Sergio Leone spegetti westerns as well as the a Quentin Tarantino feeling to add as well along the way. Dan was and still is learning the ways of comics though he is fairly knowledgeable of the old Kirby books from Marvel. But like all writers (including myself) find it hard to stay on target with all the ideas running through our heads to put down on paper.
His art style was growing by leaps. With this particular story you got the feeling that it was a modern piece of graphic fiction than something that was set in the past like the first installment. But there was definitely a heavy lean on the computer to help the work along.
My hope was that he wouldn’t depend to render his work so much on the computer that his story would suffer for the sake of the art being shown.
Of course I could point that finger at myself as Johnny Vega -in color! uses a heavy amount of digital work. I think that the biggest difference between myself and Dan was the fact that I had already developed a pen and ink, black and white style before I started on the computer . If you compare the images of Johnny Vega now and then there is style that comes though. It was topic when the Guild was meeting together when I was approached by TACKE. This was a name that I gave a young guy because he didn’t understand that there was a time and a place to call about questions about making comic books but not at 10:30pm.
TACKE had these grandieous ideas of t-shirts and other merchandise. I had told him it was great that he had the ideas but if didn’t have a good story or art nobodys gonna wanta buy a t-shirt. Then I could see that this wasn’t getting through to him. So I put to him like this if you didn’t have a skeleton what have you got? He said I don’t know. I tell you, a blob of flesh. And right now that what you got. You need to really work on your story. When I look back I know that I probably shot him down real hard but he would’ve dropped lots of money on something that he would never get anything back as a return.
Needless to say he never did work on it again. It was to bad because TACKE could have had something cool to look at it if he had kept at it. But thats back then not now.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Here we are with some new images from the previous copies of Pandora’s Garage Volume 1. This was a massive undertaking for myself and Daniel. We really didn’t know if these books or the publishing houses that we were going through were going to actually workout for us.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Other books to check out from the BOX

Well today I wanted to up load a couple of older cover of Black Box Comix has already made. Volumes 1,2 and 3. These were a pivotal and crucial part our work. The first book that you ever put together is always the hardest because you don’t know if you are putting it together right. Lots of self doubt to say the least. But I thought that the color pencil drawing (along pen and ink) would make a cool image of the gas station) would catch people’s eye. It did but not the way I thought. I had many people ask me where I got the image from. They were surprised that I had just came up with it on my own.
The second issue is a bit easier to deal with but now, as a company we didn’t want to be just a flash in the pan which I have seen way to many times by going through and looking Previews catalogue that comes out every month. Consistency was part of the game. The second issue did run into it’s separate problems like loosing the thumb drive that had the entire second issue on it. But I managed to get that all back quickly and lo and behold there is issue two. Cover was originally drawn by Daniel Barton but I had a heavy hand modifying the cover. Color wasn’t Dan’s strongest suit still came out okay as I also inked over his original drawing scanned it in. His take on the garage theme was a little different than I had originally thought but it worked out okay.
The third issue was a both easy and hard at the same time. Deadlines and the potential other artist that I had worked with coupled with Daniel getting back into school really complicated things for me. BUT knowing that people’s best intentions are exactly what they are, an intention. So from the beginning, I had started planing to make a fully loaded Alan Bennett back up issue. As it turned out Dan’s class schedule couldn’t allow him to work on anything and our other contributor couldn’t bring himself to rework his pervious work. But I will say this, there were no hard feelings and we remain friends to this day.
The cover was interesting bit of digital magic as I began to explore what I could do more with Photoshop CS2. It was nice to know that old images that I had drawn were able to be used. This was also the beginning of learning what was needed for the Johnny Vega coloring as well.
I personally think that this is the best cover of Pandora’s Garage run (so far) but I know that could just be ego talking too.

Friday, March 7, 2008

Good News from abroad

Hey there sports fans, Al here with the latest:
Black Box is going to be showing their latest collaborative effort for Pandora’s Garage Volume 4. Our black and white anthology is now in it’s second year of printing. There have been a huge amount ups and downs during this time but it has all been worth it as we get ready for new and exciting stuff for this year. With this year we’ll be showing off our first full color comic Johnny Vega -in color! I thought that the name should harken back to the reruns of any of the old Quinn Martin productions of the late sixties and early seventies.
Pandora’s Garage Vol. 4 Will show how Daniel Barton was able to vastly improve on his artistic technique with his digital know how and put a origin on El Samurai. Origin issues are their strange beast in the comic book world. Most writers I have found actually stay away from these as they are just fleshing out a character and their motivations. Origin issues used to come out hand over fist as a way to sell books to young naive readers. I know, I was one of them. I, unlike Daniel, decided to take another path with Johnny as I had first adventure start off on chapter three as kinda a nod to George Lucas the mega monster that Star Wars has become. It also was an attempt to have a serialized story in every one of the Guilded Edges books that were coming out around the turn of the Millennium.
The whole of Johnny’s story was completed as a 52 page story but as fate would have it those stories never got to see the light of day.
Johnny would not be denied. And now he’s here and in color to boot. But on top of that he has his own origin issue all his own.
So please check out

Not every issue has been listed as of yet as we are turning out books as fast as we can and Ka-Blam is hugely over loaded on their end for books being printed. Their on line webstore has been giving us a few problems with current updates but over all everything is looking good.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

A new LOGO

With a couple new books already underway and two big shows (at least in my opinion) coming up I felt that it was time to update a logo that I designed over ten years ago, the Black Box Comix logo. The Black Box was a reference to what survives a major crash of a airplane. The same was true of the former company that I was a part of, Glass Rhino Press.
The Rhino was a great iconic image of power and the use of red, black and white. But for all the power it has the rhino is nearly blind and reacts with a charge gouging anything in it’s way.
Take note: when you are developing a company identity make sure that the name is easy to remember and speak. As they say “all in a name”. I could mention several companies that started out strong and went belly up within a couple of years. Never use a name of an extinct animal no matter how cool it was or sounds. It’s just a bad idea.
Little know fact was that the Rhino crashed and burned just before a the very first show that we were already committed to but one of partners could as he said to me months later “afraid of success”. I know a lot of people would scoff at that but I find that is more true as I get older. Once you succeed you have to produce or no one will ever take you seriously.
I just hope that wisdom comes from what I have learned from the experience. Only now the box has been upgraded and I think for the better.

Monday, March 3, 2008

The Way to Sell....

Yeah, I will admit that in order to really do well (at least when it comes to selling artwork - especially comic art) you have to post images on a real regular basis to drum interest in what you're working on. I have seen enough trade magazines out there to know that is what drives a number of mediocre artist to really sell their work and make a decent living off of it. I want that for my company, my characters and for my future wife and possible family.
Why not. So along with that here are a few more tid bits from the first issue of Johnny Vega -in color! In these images will see a number of other supporting characters around Johnny.
One of which has been already mentioned which Jd'rel. She started on the very first mission with Johnny and will continue on for a time with him. She at first was to be a background character with cat like characteristics but the more I drew her the more I had to have involved with the main character. A lot of my characters verge on side of furry art. Ok, I admit there is a interest in that sub culture but I don't dress up in a fur lined suit and well... if you know anything about them I won't go there.
There are a lot references to Bast with her and her race. More will be revealed in time about them.
Fire power is where I wanted to show that action is a part of the book. It isn't all about the implied sexual overtones (though that is kinda fun to write) comics are about bigger than life and Johnny is going to get to that point very fast. Johnny is surrounded by Corvis Corrax, a crow like humanoid and Johnny best friend and of course Jd'rel.
The last image is of Johnny and Jd'rel together realizing that they see something in eachother that lasts through out this story and into several others down the road.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

As the Days get closer....

Yes, the days get closer and closer as the Stumptown '08 lies in the distance and over the rise Seattle Emerald City ComiCon.
Both are a little daunting for us but I figure with the success of the last Stumptown show, I think that this year will rock. The Stumptown mini is getting closer and closer. I am looking that within the next couple of weeks in not month i will see the first reedited pages of the former book being placed onto the table. It should be fun.