Acclaimed artists Scott Morse and Skottie Young took their six-month-old sketchblog in a new dimension this morning with the debut of a not-yet-titled webcomic starring Asher and Spittle, anthropomorphic animals described as “our dynamic duo, our Laurel and Hardy, our Artoo and Threepio.”
“We’re creating these one page at a time with no outline to work from: we’re shooting from the hip,” Morse writes. “This could backfire and destroy comics and the internet itself … or succeed and make the internet a better place and comics the medium of choice for storytellers. Or at the very least make you smile twice weekly.”
Morse’s pages will update every Monday, while Young’s will appear every Friday.
Regular visitors of Skottie Young’s blog have had a treat lately. Young has announced that’s he’s working on his own graphic novel (in addition to his other, current commitments) and he’s updating his progress in a series of extremely honest, self-reflective posts. There are a couple of things that make this different from other production blogs, a big one being that Young is already a beloved artist with a strong career and plenty of fans who follow it. Most production blogs – and I don’t mean anything negative by this, I promise – are publicity tools as much as anything else. Not that Young’s necessarily above wanting publicity, but the tone of his posts aren’t hyperbolic promotion. They’re educational, as much for Young as for any of his readers. Probably more so.
In his first post, he talked about motivation: Why he wants to create his own graphic novel and why he’s failed in previous attempts. The second post – the one that really got my attention – was more process-related. He wrote about his experience at Trickster in San Diego this year and how it gave him an idea for his next attempt. It’s not just a process-post though, it’s a beautifully told story with a twist ending that made my heart skip a beat when I finished it. He left Trickster with an idea for a cute, very Skottie Young-esque story about an apocalyptic rabbit. I would have bought it for the art and the hopes of some chuckles, but after playing with it for a while Young found the story turning into something else – something deeper – that I can’t wait to read now.
His most recent post is about the writing process: a topic I find especially fascinating when discussed by people who are drawing their own material. Is it best to write a full script first? Just make it up as you go along? Or something in between? Young doesn’t suggest that there’s a one-size-fits-all answer for everyone, but the way he applies the question to himself – and particularly to his previous failures – is heart-warming and enlightening.
If you haven’t checked out Skottie Young and Scott Morse’s joint sketchblog lately, you’re missing some awesome stuff. One of the coolest things about it – besides just some damn good art – is observing their different approaches to the same subjects. For instance, Morse had a very whimsical take on the Spider-Man villains, but I thought that Young captured the magic of Harry Potter especially well. And though Morse is taking a brief break at the moment, it’s going to be tough to beat Young’s Star Wars drawings – including this homage to VW’s Li’l Vader – when he gets back.
It’s not a competition and I don’t mean to make it sound like it is; I just find it fascinating to watch how these two fantastic artists think differently about these various characters and series.
Legal | A Rochester, N.Y., businessman and the three men he allegedly hired to steal $40,000 worth of comics have been indicted on federal murder charges in connection with the death last summer of an elderly collector.
Authorities allege that Rico Vendetti hired Rochester residents Arlene Combs, Albert Parsons and Donald Griffin to break into the rural Medina home of Homer Marciniak, a 77-year-old retired janitor, on July 5 to steal his comic collection, described as “his pride and joy.” Police say the burglars entered the house in the pre-dawn hours after cutting the telephone line. When Marciniak awoke and surprised them, he was allegedly beaten and knocked to the floor. Although his injuries weren’t life-threatening, Marciniak died of a heart attack later that day. The four defendants face mandatory terms of life in prison if convicted. [The Buffalo News]
Comic creators Skottie Young and Scott Morse have teamed up to launch a brand-new sketch blog called SkottieScott where “you’ll get a daily(?!) punch in the face consisting of character sketches by everyone’s favorite comics makers.” They’ve been drawing Spider-Man’s villains over the past few days, so head over there to see the Green Goblin, Kraven, Mysterio and more.
There’s some disagreement about where it started, but it couldn’t have been much earlier than Steve Niles’ blog post, which is where I first heard about it. Some credit Eric Powell and it’s true that this is a drum that he’s been beating for a while now. As has Robert Kirkman and others. But Niles’ post last week called for specific action (that doesn’t necessarily require walking away from well-paying corporate gigs) and inspired a flurry of opinions and commentary about supporting creator-owned comics and what that really means. Readers and creators alike have been talking so excitedly about it that some have called it a revolution. But is that really what it is? And if so, a revolution of what? Since most of the books this column covers are creator-owned, these are good questions to try to answer here.
When Kevin quoted Niles’ post for Robot 6, he pulled this piece of it: “Can I say something I’ve wanted to say for a long time? If you like something, tell your friends. If you love it, tell the world. But if you hate something, just throw it away, don’t buy it again and move on. We spend way too much time tearing shit down. I just want to try the other direction for a while.”
The commentary on that quote was split between defensive and supportive. “I don’t get that logic,” wrote one person. “That’s like going to see a movie and finding out it’s really, really horrible. Then you hear that a dozen of your friends are going to see that same movie. Wouldn’t you want to warn them about what they are about to endure, the time they will waste, the money they will lose, etc, etc?”
Although I’ve never been to the Emerald City Comicon itself, I dig the artwork they get for the Monsters & Dames art book. Case in point: the above illustration by Guy Davis.
This year’s book once again benefits Seattle Children’s Hospital, and includes contributions from Geof Darrow, Cully Hamner, Humberto Ramos, Frank Cho, Yanick Paquette, Skottie Young, Aaron Lopresti, Cliff Chiang, Mike McKone and many more. After the jump you’ll find their official PR, along with a few more images.
“What is a kid comic? Did we grow up on ‘kid’ comics? Who knows? I think we grew up with comics that could be read by anyone. I got started reading comics when Image started. I was 13-14 years old and seeing bodies ripped apart and child molesters getting murdered in the pages of Spawn. Funny thing is, I could buy those at Toys R Us. Was that material meant for kids? Again, I don’t know. But I was a kid, I read it, and I loved it. I could name 50 other books that rode that line and at the end of the day, I was reading. I was learning and discovering and learning that i may be able to do something with my ‘doodling.’ Some people think that violence in comics isn’t what is needed to get kids to get off the X-Box and pick up a comic. I say that those people don’t really know what kids are playing on their X-Box. If anything our comics are way too tame for them. We all have grand ideas about how to make the perfect comics for kids. I say they already exist.”
– artist Skottie Young, continuing the latest round of debate about the availability of comics appropriate for kids
“A ton of guys who do super violent, adult books complaining about no books are made for kids. Odd trend. Me? I just go make a book for kids.” – Skottie Young, via Twitter.
I love this comment. Young doesn’t actually call anyone hypocritical, he just notes the strangeness of complaining about something that you have the power to change, but are choosing not to. I don’t know; is that the definition of hypocrisy? Maybe it is.
I think there’s a connotation though that hypocrisy involves willful deception and Young’s not accusing anyone of that. Without knowing exactly whom he’s referring to, I can imagine that a creator like that simply hasn’t thought through the disconnection between his words and actions. I don’t have to contribute time or money to the alleviation of world hunger in order to state correctly that it’s a horrible problem. And not contributing doesn’t necessarily make me dishonest. I can truly, legitimately believe that there’s a problem without taking a single step to solve it. And perhaps I believe that by drawing attention to the problem, I am contributing in some way to its solution. But – and I think that this is Young’s point – it’s a very tiny contribution and my complaining loses any power it had once people realize that that’s all I’m doing to help.
Like I said, I don’t know for sure whom Young was referring to, but I imagine that it’s at least indirectly inspired by Darwyn Cooke’s comments at Fan Expo. At the time Young wrote that, Twitter was all a… well, atwitter with folks’ responding to Cooke’s statement from a variety of angles. Even if Young wasn’t talking about Cooke, he was likely referring to someone who was. But since I don’t know, I want to be careful about how I talk about this. Young’s comment does apply to Cooke’s statement, but I don’t want to suggest that Young specifically had Cooke in mind when he made it.
After the break: So what was Young talking about and what does Cooke have to do with it?
Artist Skottie Young, whose The Wonderful Wizard of Oz from Marvel is up for a couple of Eisner awards this year, sends word that he’ll have copies of his artbook, Junk, in San Diego next week.
“This book is filled with everything you could want out of an art book. Sketches, doodles, experiments, paintings, concepts, digital drawing, success, failures, and everything in between. JUNK ONE gives you a look at the personal work of a fan favorite comic book artist and cartoonist,” reads the book’s description on Bigcartel.com, where it can be purchased online. “JUNK ONE is a limited edition art book of only 1000 copies.”
One of the most welcome aspects of yesterday’s big DC digital-comics announcement from a creator-rights perspective is that “creator incentive payments” are a part of it. In his interview with CBR’s Kiel Phegley, co-publisher Jim Lee compared the payments to the royalties creators receive for print sales, saying “the freelance community will be happy that they’re being compensated in every way their stories are being sold.” That aspect of the arrival of digital comics publishing has been shrouded in mystery up until now, so DC’s move is a big first step.
Sorry, DC, but despite what your nice letter says, you are NOT “the first to announce a participation plan for talent” for digital comics. I’m not sniping at DC, just correcting misinformation that’s being sent out freelancers, some who work for both companies.
This is a special “WonderCon + more” edition of Thin Wallets, as we round up publishing news from last weekend’s con, plus a few other items of note …
- DC Comics announced that they are replacing the long-delayed All Star Batman and Robin the Boy Wonder with Dark Knight: Boy Wonder. The book will still be by the creative team of Frank Miller and Jim Lee, and is due in February 2011.
- IDW has picked up the license to make comics based on HBO’s southern vampire show True Blood. The show’s creator, Alan Ball, is helping to develop the stories.
- IDW will also release another version of their Dave Stevens’ The Rocketeer collection — Dave Stevens’ The Rocketeer: Artist Edition. The oversized hardcover will be printed as the same size as Stevens’ original art, approximately 11 by 16 inches. “You’ll be able to see his beautiful blue pencil work, you’ll be able to see the stats, all of it,” Special Projects Editor Scott Dunbier said. “It’ll be the closest thing you ever get to Dave Stevens original art.”
- Judd Winick announced that he is writing a new Barry Ween book. “Thankfully, after, like, an eight-year hiatus, I’m actually – swear to God – I’m actually doing more ‘Barry Ween.’ I’m writing it now,” he said at his spotlight panel. Barry Ween is heading into space in the new story.
- Image Comics is collecting The Crusades, by Steven T. Seagle and Kelley Jones, into a hardcover. The series was originally published by Vertigo. Seagle is also teaming up with artist Marco Cinello for a children’s book called Frankie Stein.
Webcomics | Fleen’s Gary Tyrell dives into some of the changes that the webcomics host Keenspot is making to its business model starting next July. Tyrell talks to Keenspot CEO Chris Cosby and some creators who are currently hosted on the site, and also posts an internal memo that describes the changes. I’d quote from his post, but really, if you’re interested, go read the whole thing.
Webcomics | Artist Chris Noeth launched a webcomic called Maya, which he describes as “a science fiction story with superhero elements.” He’s also hosting a column at InvestComics.com about the making of the strip.
Digital comics | Tokyopop polls the audience on how much they’d be willing to pay for online manga. Chris Butcher questions whether the three options they offer in the poll are really the best options. Tokyopop’s marketing manager shows up in the comments section, which also has a bit of an interesting side discussion about Fair Use when it comes to online comic reviews.
Tablets | Are we getting closer to an official announcement from Apple on some sort of e-tablet? Peter Kafka reports that Apple “has told some of its key developers to prepare versions of their iPhone apps that will work on a device with a larger screen, in time for an event next month.” He also connects the dots between what he’s heard and Apple booking space in San Francisco at the end of January.
Webcomics | Tom Spurgeon continued his holiday interview series by talking to Shaenon Garrity about Achewood.
Webcomics | Artist Skottie Young has been posting a series of one-panel strips titled The Adventures of Bernard the World Destroyer over on his blog for the past few weeks.
Earlier this week artist Skottie Young filled in for his friend Karl Kerschl on The Abominable Charles Christopher, Kerschl’s webcomic about a a sweet but somewhat dim sasquatch-like creature and his forest friends.
This is the second time Young has filled in for his friend, as he explained on his own blog:
Karl reached out and asked me to do a guest strip for his webcomic while he was out on some giant world tour where people are worshiping him and what not. I was flattered and agreed instantly. Then I realized that his wasn’t the first time I would be there to help save Karl in a rough spot. (just kidding, he needed no saving, and i’m convinced he actually had enough strips to cover his time away and just posted my out of pitty…haha) Eons ago, when I was waiting tables at Ed Debevics in Chicago, I got my first phone call from Marvel asking me if I could do a fill in issue in the ICEMAN mini series. And artist named… you guessed it, Karl Kerschl had some life things going on and they needed someone to fill in. I had never drawn a comic book in my life and was about to do my first for Marvel. And the rest is history…or still happening, or something like that.
After seeing the strip, now I really just want to see Young doing a webcomic of his own.
On his blog, artist Skottie Young shares a video of his digital drawing process for the cover to one of his Oz books for Marvel. “I then print this out and ink it traditionally with brush and ink,” he says.