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June 23rd, 2015

Vortex and Cold Heat Special #10 at Wonder Fair in Lawrence, KS

Filed under: Life — Tags:

My wife, daughter, and I moved to the Kansas City area a few months ago. We’re mostly settled and have started exploring. KC is has an interesting vibe. It’s a lot older and more industrial than Austin. I’ve heard people describe KC as the westernmost Eastern city because of its age and architecture, lots of red brick buildings everywhere; the easternmost Western city because of its expansive grid of streets; and the northernmost Southern city because of its wide, winding boulevards. KC’s an undefined cloud in which everyone sees something different. Or maybe the Midwest is a mix of the rest of the country. For me, KC has a robust art scene; big free museums; beautiful, tree-lined streets; hanging out my wife’s extended family; and huge, cheap houses with basements so I can expand my studio practice.

Basement studio
My dungeon basement painting studio.

The massive population influx to Austin changed it almost completely in the 12.5 years I lived there. The constant condo construction, cranes all over downtown, crowds of new people, and churn in local businesses are exciting but Austin doesn’t have a strong sense of history, the traffic is terribly congested, and real estate is increasingly expensive. We were priced out of our neighborhood and didn’t want to live in Austin’s sprawling suburbs with a grueling commute. I miss breakfast tacos (and my friends and family of course) but I’m looking forward to new opportunities and possibilities here in KC.

Wonder Fair photos by Glade Hensel
Wonder Fair photos by Glade Hensel.

For Father’s Day, we decided to take a trip to Lawrence, which less than an hour west of KC in Kansas. It’s a small college town with a strong hippie vibe, like I imagine Austin was fifty years ago. The downtown has a lot of cool independent stores, including a rad print/zine shop and gallery called Wonder Fair. I dropped some copies of Vortex and Cold Heat Special #10 off there. I’m going to try and get them in some KC shops too.

June 16th, 2015

Gunner Cade by Cyril Judd

Gunner Cade, published in 1952, was written by Cyril Judd. The author is not a relative of Donald Judd but is instead a pseudonym for the collaboration of Cyril M Kornbluth and Judith Merril. I haven’t read anything by Merril before but I have read Wolfbane, which Kornbluth wrote with Frederick Pohl and I highly recommend. Merril and Kornbluth both wrote more short stories than novels. Merril was one of the most influential people writing SF in the 50s and later moved to Toronto and was very prominent in the Canadian SF and protest scenes. She founded a SF library collection, an anthology, and most memorably dressed up as a witch to hex the Canadian parliament for allowing U.S. missile tests in Canadian airspace. Kornbluth wrote many collaborative novels but unfortunately died at the peak of his powers in his mid 30’s from a heart attack.

Cover by Paul Lehr
Cover by Paul Lehr.

Gunner Cade is a short, swiftly-paced SF novel that includes some incisive social commentary. The titular Cade lives in a far future Earth with an interplanetary society locked in stasis by the interplay between the emperor, nobles who rule different regions such as France and Mars (called Stars), the general (called the Gunner Supreme), and the spymaster (called the Power Master (has CF read this?)). The Gunners are warrior-priests who live an austere, celibate life of ritual centered on their one gun and fatalistic devotion to battle.

Some spoilers and more covers after the cut

June 2nd, 2015

Judith

Filed under: Web Comics — Tags:

Judith by William Cardini

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.

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