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.
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:
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.
The end of Skew Part 2 went up on Study Group yesterday.
Skew Page 114, the last page of Part 2.
Part 3 won’t start until this summer.
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:
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.
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
Happy Friday! Here’s a recent sketch I did:
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.
More Skew pages were posted yesterday. Part 2 is almost done – I’ll finish it up in three to four more updates.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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!
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.