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:
February 3rd, 2015
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.
January 30th, 2015
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.
January 27th, 2015
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.
January 21st, 2015
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:
- Rob McMonigal included Vortex on Panel Patter’s November Small Press Picks
- Colin Panetta said that Vortex probably would’ve made his favorite comics of 2014 list if he’d gotten a chance to read it
- Cameron Arthur put Vortex in his Top 10 Comics of 2014 list
- Gabriele Di Fazio reviewed Vortex for Just Indie Comics and then put it in his Best Comics of 2014 list
If you’ve read Vortex, please consider rating or reviewing it on Goodreads.
December 12th, 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!
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
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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!
November 11th, 2014
I’ll be in Portland this Friday for the Sparkplug Fall Books Release Party at Floating World Comics! Elijah Brubaker and I will be celebrating the release of our books, Reich #12 and Vortex.
Then Saturday I’ll be tabling with Sparkplug Books at Short Run in Seattle.
I signed off on the digital proof of Vortex but I’m really excited to see the collection in print for the first time! Hopefully I’ll see some of y’all this weekend. If you’ve never met me before, this is what I look like:
Unfortunately I won’t have my cute baby with me.
October 7th, 2014
Wow, I’m so happy that the Sparkplug Books Kickstarter was funded with a little extra to pay the videographer and t-shirt designer and get Yumi Sakugawa’s mini printed. Thanks so much for all your support!!! We couldn’t have done it without y’all’s likes, shares, faves, boops, retweets, and most of all, pledges.
I’m getting emotional preparing Vortex for the printer. I’ve been tinkering with it off and on since June 2011. It feels bittersweet to close the files for the final time and move the project to my archive folder…
Drawing comics in my studio is such a solitary activity, I can forget that there are so many of y’all out there reading and enjoying <3<3<3 Your support means so much to me, thanks again!
October 2nd, 2014
1 day left in the Sparkplug Books Kickstarter campaign to publish my graphic novel Vortex and Elijah Brubaker’s Reich #12 and we’ve met our goal, thanks to your support!!! We’ve added a stretch goal and new rewards for a new Yumi Sakugawa mini. The campaign ends at 11:29am CDT on Friday, October 3rd.
I just made this collage of the Miizzzard’s various appearances over the years:
From left to right and top to bottom:
- Video still of me dressed as the Miizzzard.
- The Miizzzard’s first appearance in a comic.
- A drawing from December 2007 colored in Photoshop.
- A panel from Hyperbox #1.
- First Miizzzard comic drawn in MangaStudio, The Witch ATTACKS the Miizzzard of the Year 2978.
- Another ATTACKS comic colored by Josh Burggraf.
- Originally published in Future Shock #3, edited by Josh.
- Originally published in Digestate, edited by J.T. Yost.
- Skew, currently updated weekly on Study Group Comics.
Thanks for all your support y’all!