Archive for May, 2008

No, Granpa! I’m The REAL Thing!

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I’ve been really enjoying the new JACK KIRBY FOURTH WORLD OMNIBUS volumes. The original series, which I followed avidly back in the day, was anchored by the greatest villain in all of comics, DARKSEID. What was distinctive about this guy was how Jack often drew him in quiet repose; sitting in a chair, or with his hands resting easily. Here was a bad guy plotting to usurp all free will who was so powerful he didn’t have to posture or look threatening. He was the REAL thing.

By the time I started writing for DC Comics, Jack’s unfinished FOURTH WORLD masterpiece had been fifteen years canceled and DARKSEID was anchoring a toy line. Worse, he had been turned into a two dimensional cartoon of himself who routinely engaged in slugfests with SUPERMAN and the like. So the very first opportunity I had, which was as writer/penciler of SWAMP THING, I decided to bring DARKSEID’s original, deeply menacing self back as best I could. I also brought in METRON, who in his quest to penetrate the SOURCE had previously made a demon’s bargain with DARKSEID.

I think I caught him pretty good here in Swamp Thing #62, July 1987 with inks by Alfredo Alcala, color by Tatjana Wood and lettering by John Costanza.

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Middle East Mag Loves ARMY@LOVE

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NOX, a high quality English language men’s magazine published in Jordan, has named ARMY@LOVE: THE HOT ZONE CLUB to it’s list of TOP TEN GRAPHIC NOVELS FOR THE MIDDLE EAST. It’s an eclectic list drawn from all over the globe, with a number of titles by Arab cartoonists:

1) METRO by Magdi Shafee
2) ARMY@LOVE by Rick Veitch
3) SAMANDAL by various
4) PALESTINE by Joe Sacco
5) ARAB IN AMERICA by Toufic el-Rassi
6) MALAAK: ANGEL OF PEACE by Joumana Medlej
7) IN THE SHADOW OF NO TOWERS by Art Spiegelman
8 JINNARRATION by Asia Alfasi
9) PERSOPOLIS by Marjane Satrapi
10) CAIRO by G. Willow Wilson

Since NOX’s website is still under construction, and the magazine probably isn’t distributed in the USA, I’ve scanned the short interview editor Farah Shanti conducted with me for the spread.

This is probably a good place to mention that sales for ARMY@LOVE have been going up. I’m told the recent relist of the first trade ordered 20% higher than the original solicitation. If you haven’t read ARMY@LOVE, hop on over the Amazon.com where you can pick up Vol 1 THE HOT ZONE CLUB and preorder Vol 2 GENERATION PWNED. The new mini-series, ARMY@LOVE: ART OF WAR will be solicited in the new PREVIEWS too.

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We Wuz Steampunk Before Steampunk Wuz Cool

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These days, Steampunk is all the rage in fashion and sci/fi, so it’s only fair to showcase my own work in the genre, accomplished back in 1995. Above is the opening page of TEKNOPHAGE #1, written by me, pencilled by Bryan Talbot, inked and colored by Angus McKie and lettered by Todd Klein. The series was published by Tekno Comics and based on a character created by Neil Gaiman.

The first six issues of the title form a stand-alone graphic novel but, with Tekno Comics long defunct, the material has never been collected. Neil, Bryan and Angus are all keen on the idea of getting TEKNOPHAGE back in print and I’d love to do it as a King Hell book. Anybody out there know who controls the rights?

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Bedside Reader

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Let’s see– what was I reading back in the summer of 1997 when I made this sketch of my night table? “The Secret Of The Golden Flower”, a book about Chinese alchemy by Richard Wilhelm. “Seth Speaks” by Jane Roberts. And is that the logo of Charles Brownstein’s “Feature Magazine” in the stack?

And what was I dreaming? From the dream notebook I can make out the following: “Working at Flying A. Sitting at desk, getting rid of paperwork that connects me to (?) firebombing of gas (?). I’m also (?) pizza. Dylan is milling around in shop. I go through old boxes of stuff. Out back on (?) I (?+?) out.”

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Hey Kids– FREE COMICS!

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For the last three years, I’ve been contributing to a very cool series of science comics published by the Educational Broadcasting System. The comics are published in coordination with Thirteen/WNET New York’s NATURE program and given away free. Some of the stories are scientific and some fantasy, but all deal with issues facing the natural world.

I’ve just learned that NATURE #2 is a finalist for an Association of Educational Publisher’s Distinguished Achievement Award in the graphic novels category. Here’s the splash page from the story I contributed to that issue, imagining what a world without bees would look like a hundred years from now.

I’m also happy to report that¬† you can download a free PDF of the whole comic, which includes stellar work by Tom Yeates, Mark Evanier, R. Kikuo Johnson, Josh Neufeld and Lauren Weinstein over at the WNET site. Better yet, if you are part of a school, museum or other educational organization, you can order bundles of printed copies to give away to students free of charge.

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Panel To Panel Offers HEARTBURST With Exclusive Signed Print!

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Without a local bricks and mortar comic book store within fifty miles, I depend on John Rovnak’s PanelToPanel.net to buy most of my comics these days. John operates his on-line shop like it was a local comic book emporium, offering a wide selection of the good stuff at great prices with many cool exclusives you can’t find anywhere else.

He’s moved a ton of recent King Hell releases by adding a little sweetener to each book. For instance, you can get ABRAXAS AND THE EARTHMAN with an exclusive bookplate signed by me or a copy of SHINY BEASTS with an exclusive bookplate signed by me, Alan Moore, and Steve Bissette. And now, to complete the trilogy of my EPIC era stuff, PanelToPanel announces HEARTBURST AND OTHER PLEASURES with an exclusive signed color print as seen above.

John’s also got just about everything I’ve ever done in stock, including the out-of-print and hard-to-find BRAT PACK and THE RIVER. Check ‘em out!

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Mood Doodle

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One of my favorite mindless doodle subjects: floating blobs. Marker in sketchbook, 1995.

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Retro Rules

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Here’s another character sketch for Awesome Comics imaginary past as conceived by Alan Moore and myself. Don’t think this Blackhawk knock-off ever saw print. Pen and ink, 1998.

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There Will Be Signs In The Sun, Moon and Stars

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ProgressiveRuin.com

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Adventures In The Dream Stream

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I haven’t been doing new dream comics for awhile, but whenever I have a powerful dream about a friend I’ll usually email them a description of it. Once in a while a dream really seems to hit the bullseye on something going on in their lives; a reminder perhaps that consciousness intersects reality in surprising ways.

Such was the case this week with a dream I had about reading a new comic book by Steve Bissette. When I sent Steve the dream, it turned out he really was working on a comic about dreams and intuitive connections for the upcoming SECRETS & LIES anthology at The Center For Cartoon Studies, and many of the images I’d seen in the dream were integral to what he was doing.

Steve ended up working me and the whole psychic event into the strip, which is where these two portraits will appear. You can read Steve’s post on how it all went down, along with directions on how to order a copy of SECRETS & LIES, over on his always entertaining blog.

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