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March 24th, 2015

Two Vortex Reviews

Filed under: Press — Tags:

Vortex got two reviews last week!

Here’s a quote from Rob McMonigal’s review on Panel Patter, part of a roundup of SF comics:

Cardini’s plot works well, drawing the reader in with increasing layers of complexity, as the Miizzzard finds himself in greater and greater danger, fighting forces that may in fact be beyond his ability to combat. What’s really cool, however, is the fact that the art, which is just on the border between abstract and structured, reflects this layering. Thanks to an art style that focuses heavily on shapes and patterns, we as the reader are challenged ourselves to try to pick out the distinct images or watch as one pattern dissolves into another, changing the scene.

Here’s the summary paragraph from Alex Hoffman’s review on Sequential State:

In a way, Vortex’s best comparison is shonen battle manga, specifically Dragon Ball and Dragon Ball Z, where super-powered heroes battle super-powered enemies, who later become friends to fight greater enemies. There is death and revival, always advancing the plot; a secret move that can only be used in times of great need. There is a juvenileness and a joy about it, qualities that are the essence of shonen battle manga. These things jump out at me from Vortex, despite its psychedelic trappings. But the abstraction of art, Cardini’s use of texture, and the loose structure of this comic make it a refreshing read.

March 17th, 2015

Silver Surfer 2099

Filed under: Fan Art and Fiction

I moved recently so I went through my six longbox comics collection and culled the fluff. It was a lengthy process that involved a lot of re-reading old comics that I’ve been lugging around for years and never removing from their plastic bags. I tried to only keep the comics that I’ll want to re-read again in five or ten years.

This process led me to re-read all of the 2099 comics that I have. One that’s really stuck out is 2099 Unlimited, which had some cool little shorts in it that are pretty far from a typical 90’s Marvel book. It’s got me thinking about what I’d do in the 2099 ‘verse, and the obvious answer is SILVER SURFER 2099:

Silver Surfer 2099
Collage background is “The star cluster NGC 3572 and its dramatic surroundings” by ESO/G. Beccari. Licensed under CC BY 4.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

ORIGIN: The Silver Surfer was infected by a rogue Celestial AI techno-virus in 2077. Norin Radd’s mind has become a war zone. The mutant Celestial mind tries to compel the Surfer to destroy unfit alien societies through hallucinations – sometimes the Surfer sees through these illusions and sometimes he doesn’t. Paranoid, the Surfer begs Galactus for healing, but all Galactus can do is wall off the Surfer’s consciousness from the exterior universe, sending Norin Radd and the Celestial AI on a vision quest through layers of subconsciousness, trying to destroy each other.

February 17th, 2015

End of Skew Part 2

Filed under: Web Comics — Tags: ,

The end of Skew Part 2 went up on Study Group yesterday.

Skew Page 114
Skew Page 114, the last page of Part 2.

Part 3 won’t start until this summer.

February 3rd, 2015

2015 Hourly Comic

Filed under: Sketchbook Pages — Tags: ,

I drew an hourly comic on 2/1/2015 but didn’t get it scanned and Photoshopped until today because I’ve been sick. Anyway, here it is:

2015 Cardini Hourly Comic

Who? by Algis Budrys

Filed under: SF Book Covers,SF Reviews — Tags:

Who? by Algis Budrys is a psychologically tense Cold War SF story, twined around the titular question: who is this faceless cyborg sent back into Western territory by the Soviets – a spy or the brilliant American scientist he claims to be? Lucas Martino is horribly injured in an explosion while he’s working in a top-secret government research project. The Soviets kidnap him from the wreckage for questioning but he can only be saved by an operation that covers his head in an expressionless metal helmet, his eyes glittering lights and his mouth a grill filled with metal blades.

Who by Algis Budrys, cover by Bob Giusti
Cover by Bob Giusti.

The novel alternates between flashbacks of Martino’s life up to the accident and the present-day story of the American spy who watches him to see if he betrays a Soviet allegiance. I was expecting lots of action – the cyborg man has a super strong prosthetic arm and eyes that can see into the infrared – but instead Budrys gives us a character study of a socially awkward scientist who wants to always know exactly how he fits into the universe but is instead cast adrift by both the Soviets who cure him and the Americans whom he hopes will welcome him back. There’s also some body horror as we watch the cyborg adapt to his body – for example, his lips and teeth are gone but his tongue remains, hidden behind metal blades that cut his food up for him.

Some spoilers and themes after the cut

January 30th, 2015

Goblin Sketch

Filed under: Sketchbook Pages — Tags: ,

Happy Friday! Here’s a recent sketch I did:

goblin sketch
A goblin mount, retroactively done for Goblin Week. This photo is at an angle so it makes me look like I’m better at drawing foreshortening than I actually am.

I tried out a different type of sketchbook last year, an A5-sized Fabriano graph paper sketchbook, and I didn’t enjoy drawing in it. I don’t like to waste blank paper but I had to give up using it and go back to my usual brand, a letter-sized Reflexions hardbound sketchbook with thick, creamy paper. I’ve been doodling a lot more in 2015, it’s so fun! Regularly doodling makes me feel so much more inspired. It’s surprising to me how important physical materials are to my process when everything ends up digital anyway.

January 27th, 2015

Skew Part 2 Ending Soon; Part 3 Starts in a Few Months

Filed under: Web Comics

More Skew pages were posted yesterday. Part 2 is almost done – I’ll finish it up in three to four more updates.

Skew Page 95

After that, it’ll be a few months before Skew Part 3 begins. I’ve already got it plotted in my head but I need to finish up the Kickstarter rewards and take care of some other projects before I get back into a weekly Skew schedule.
P.S. Vortex is now available in the Birdcage Bottom Books online shop.

January 21st, 2015

Vortex Updates and Press

Filed under: Press

Releasing the Vortex book was my second biggest accomplishment of 2014. (The biggest was getting my daughter to sleep in her crib. Neither would have been possible without the help of my wife.) Thanks again to everyone who supported the Sparkplug Books Kickstarter! Virginia is sending out your copies of Vortex and I’m working on the 3d print and original art rewards. If you missed out on the Kickstarter but would still like a copy, it’s for sale in the Sparkplug web store and in Austin at Farewell Books and Austin Books. I’ll sell copies on this site once I finish my part of the Kickstarter rewards.

Glade and Ruby
I did this drawing of my wife and daughter for my father-in-law’s Kickstarter reward.

Here’s some press that Vortex got in the tail end of 2014:

If you’ve read Vortex, please consider rating or reviewing it on Goodreads.

December 12th, 2014

Austin Zine Fest 2014

Filed under: Events — Tags: ,

Hi y’all! Glade (AKA the greeting-card designer Glademade, AKA Paper Party shop-owner, AKA my wonderful wife) and I will be tabling at the second Austin Zine Fest this Sunday!

Austin Zine Fest 2014

I’ll have the Vortex book, Cold Heat Special #10, and a selection of prints. Glade will have Paper Party merchandise and Glademade cards, including a bunch of new designs!

Glademade Friendship Card
One of the new Glademade card designs.

Austin Zine Fest 2014 is this Sunday, 12/14 from 12 to 4pm at the George Washington Carver Museum and Cultural Center, 1165 Angelina Street.

November 18th, 2014

Vortex Book Mini-Tour Diary

Filed under: Events

I started the Vortex Book Mini-Tour with a release party at Floating World Comics in Portland on Friday and Short Run in Seattle on Saturday. The tour ends with an Austin signing at Farewell Books tomorrow, Wednesday 11/9, from 7 to 9pm.

Vortex stack

On Friday, 11/14, I got into Portland after lunch, took the light rail and bus to meet Virginia Paine (who runs my publisher Sparkplug Books). It was my first glimpse of the Vortex book – I was overwhelmed! I didn’t even want to flip through it at first. The metallic silver ink on the cover turned out just as I had visualized.

Vortex on the shelf at Floating World
Vortex in good company on the shelves at Floating World Comics.

We took the bus downtown to drop a box of Vortex and Reich #12 at Floating World Comics and then went to Powell’s. I’ve been in Bookpeople here in Austin and Tattered Cover’s old downtown location in Denver but Powell’s beats them all! I could live in their sf section. We only had about a half hour but fortunately I have a list for whenever I’m in a used book store. I grabbed The Dark World by Henry Kuttner (and an uncredited CL Moore) and Sorcerer’s Legacy by Janny Wurts (I want to try a solo book by her before I dive into her unfinished epic fantasy series). I also saw Chronicles of Mavin Manyshaped by Sheri Tepper but it was $15 and I wanted to get more than one book.

The Dark World by Henry Kuttner
I read this on the plane ride back (it’s only 126 pages). An inspiration for Zelazny’s Amber. I noticed some additional parallels to Lord of the Rings (evil beings who invest their energy in physical objects) and Wheel of Time (a glass sword of great power).

The signing was fun, I could spend all night at Floating World Comics. I’d gotten the impression it was small, like a big closet, but their current space is enormous and Jason Leivian has packed it to the gills with fantastic comics. It was good to meet Elijah Brubaker and hang out with him, Zack Soto, Virginia, and everyone who came by. I had an interesting conversation with Mike Getsiv about the boundaries of the abstract comics genre. Then after the signing Sera Stanton (who drew the awesome Sparkplug Books cat t-shirt for the Kickstarter) gave me and Virginia a ride to Seattle so I got to sleep most of the way.

Sparkplug Books table at Short Run photo by Virginia Paine
Sparkplug Books table at Short Run. Photo by Virginia.

Saturday was Short Run. If you’re unfamiliar, it’s a free one-day show like CAB or LA Zine Fest. It’s in this old, beautiful brick building in downtown Seattle. Every glimpse I got of Seattle was beautiful. If I lived there, I couldn’t get over driving down a freeway, ice-crowned mountains on my left and a shining lake lapping at house-covered hills on my right.

Fry bread tacos at Short Run
Delicious fry bread tacos from a food truck at Short Run.

Short Run itself was great! Good energy; vegan treats and coffee by the clean, spacious bathroom; food trucks in the parking lot; and steady crowds all day. Vortex seemed to be selling well but I was still able to sneak away from the table to be a good consumer. It was my first time sitting at a publisher’s table at a con and it was exactly what I hoped for – All the interaction and none of the stress about sales. My #1 goal for the day was to meet Simon Hanselmann and get a personalized copy of Megahex so I did that within the first hour.

Megahex signed by Simon Hanselmann

I did some drawings in Vortex as well. Jen Vaughn, Virginia and I’s gracious host, bought Vortex so of course, in thanks, I hexed her copy.

Cursed book photo by Jen Vaughn
The inscription reads: “William Cardini curses anyone other than Jen Vaughn who owns this book.” Not sure what face I’m making – I guess it’s my witch grin? Photo by Jen.

Finally put faces to some names I know from the internet, such as Michael Litven of Ebbits, Rob Kirby, Brandon Lehmann AKA Bobby Mono, Shanna Matuszak, and Jack Hayden of Snakebomb. Austin was represented well – both the Rough House Comics crew and Monofonus Press were there. It was great to reconnect with other comics folk since I haven’t been to a show since TCAF 2013. At dinner I was missing my family so I showed Virginia and Yumi Sakugawa photos and videos of Ruby.

Short Run trip haul
My haul from Short Run, Floating World, and Powell’s.

We came back for the after party at Washington Hall, but it was too loud to talk with the bands, so Virginia and I met back up with Jen and she gave us an after-hours tour of the Fantagraphics office. We saw an old Love and Rockets cover divided into Rubylith layers to prepare it for printing!

Fantagraphics basement photo by Jen Vaughn
The Fantagraphics basement is filled with comics. Photo by Jen.

Now I’m back in Austin with my wife and daughter and pumped about comics. There won’t be a new Skew page this week because we’re going to divide it into multiple parts so it doesn’t take too long to load and I need to decide where the split should be and draw a cover for Part 2. If you’re in Austin and I didn’t see you at Short Run, I hope to see you tomorrow at Farewell, so you can say hello to Vortex!

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