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May 14th, 2013

TCAF RCAP

Filed under: Events — Tags: ,

I’m still high on the afterglow of TCAF (and the creeping con crud). So many classic hangs with kewl people. Thanks to everyone who came by my table or shot the shit with me at the parties, great to meet all of y’all.

This past year was the first time I’ve tabled at out-of-state cons. Each was an amazing experience for different reasons, but the one common thread is how strong comics are. I mean, look at my TCAF haul, so many fantastic books and I couldn’t afford a third of what I wanted:

William Cardini TCAF haul
I’ve only read a few of these books so far but I’m really into Victor Kerlow’s hilarious new book of short comics Everything Takes Forever, Alabaster’s impeccably put together new minicomic fantasy series Mimi and the Wolves, Tim Sievert’s Clandestinauts minis that collect the eponymous fun and bloody dungeon crawl webcomic, and Jen Tong’s beautiful screenprinted comics.

It was a bummer that Josh Burggraf couldn’t make it (here’s a poignant comic he made about why) but I was lucky enough to be seated next to the hilarious Mike Winters (check out these NSFW Time Professor comics) who was super friendly. It was his first time exhibiting at a con and I think he’s been spoiled for all others. Look at how stuffed the first floor was:

TCAF 2013 Toronto Reference Library

I only took an overview picture of the first floor of TCAF even though I was on the second but the crowd on our floor was equally crazy. On the last four hours of Saturday there was a huge line to get into our room, probably because of the super popular webcomics and YA folks in there with us.

William Cardini TCAF 2013 table
My table just wasn’t as colorful without Josh’s comics. Pat gave me some copies of Rub the Blood to hawk. I sold out of those and the ten Tranz #2 minis I made. I’ll probably make some more of those minis soon and sell them on my site.

Now I’m just going to give y’all a brief travelogue. I ate plenty of good food and drank good beer:

Toronto Food and Drink
That teriyaki tofu melted in my mouth like fried butter.

I got to hang out with the Hic and Hoc crew, Philly folks, people I know through Josh Burggraf like Victor Kerlow, some friends who used to live in Austin, and too many awesome others to list them all here. Even though I’ve been working with Pat Aulisio and Ian Harker for years, this was only my second time to hang with them IRL. I didn’t take any pictures of people, but fortunately Jen Vaughn captured this one at a hungover Monday morning super greasy breakfast joint:

Comics Girls vs Boys
We coincidentally chose sides on a gender divide. Top row: Jacq Cohen, Jen Vaughn, Rutu Modan. Bottom row: Robin McConnell, me, Murilo Martins.

I had intended to check out the sf book shop Bakka Phoenix but instead I tagged along with that crew to The Beguiling. I got this interesting-looking manga of sf short stories in French and English:

Heaven's Door by Keiichi Koike
Heaven’s Door by Keiichi Koike.

I don’t know when I’ll be back to TCAF, but it’s the gem in the crown of North American cons, so I hope it’ll be soon.

May 10th, 2013

The Gold County Paper Mill at TCAF

Filed under: Events,Print Comics — Tags: , ,

I’ll be exhibiting at TCAF this weekend. I’ll have Vortex #1-3 and a new, 16-page, quarter-legal-sized mini I did called Tranz #2.


I put out Tranz #1 back at the beginning of 2009.

My table is #248 on the second floor. I posted earlier that Josh Burggraf would be tabling with me but he can’t make it.

I also have a three-page comic in the new Hic and Hoc anthology Unknown Origins & Untimely Ends, edited by Emi Gennis. Hic and Hoc is at Table #102.


The cover of the anthology with one of my pages.

Anyway if you’re going to be at TCAF, I hope to see you there!

April 16th, 2013

Hyperbroadcasts: Less Posting, TCAF, Future Shock #4

Filed under: Print Comics — Tags: ,

Hey y’all! I’ve gotten a bit behind in blogging. I’m going to hibernate for a while to get some serious work done. I’ll resurface when I have something substantial. Here’s a progress shot from Vortex #4, which, despite my 2013 new year’s resolution, I’ve only finished five pages of:

The next time you’ll see me is TCAF 2013. Unfortunately Vortex #4 won’t be ready by then.

I’ll be tabling with Josh Burggraf, who’ll be debuting Future Shock #4.

I have a comic in there that I did in collaboration with Sean T Collins.

April 10th, 2013

Monster Face Interaction

Filed under: Interactions

I made this Flash interaction sketch tonight:


Roll your mouse over to interact.

Generative art and video games get me as excited as comics. (I’m a chameleon – ten years ago, I would’ve said that performance and conceptual art get me as excited as comics.) In particular, I’ve admired Patrick Smith’s interactive Flash pieces Vectorpark and Windosill. This isn’t my first foray into this territory. I’ve been messing around with Flash and ActionScript 3 for several years now. (I’ve also dipped my toe, ultimately unproductively, into Processing.) However, I recently changed over to a full-time Flash developer / ActionScript 3 programming position at my day job. So I’ve been studying it. Studying something always gives me tons of ideas for related art works, so here’s this.

I actually originally drew everything in MangaStudio, colored it in Photoshop, imported it into Flash, and did a bitmap trace. I’ve always wanted to try that – I think it’s a good approximation of my house style. I’ve got some ideas for bigger projects but we’ll see if I ever get to them. Finishing Vortex has got to be my priority!

April 5th, 2013

Vortex #1 Color Samples

Filed under: Print Comics — Tags: ,

Here are three pages from the color Vortex #1 that Doodle Republic will be giving away this weekend at MoCCA:

April 2nd, 2013

Vortex at MoCCA: Birdcage Bottom Books and Doodle Republic

Filed under: Events — Tags:

Although I won’t personally be at MoCCA, there will be copies of Vortex at two tables:

Josh Bayer and JT Yost self portraits
Josh Bayer’s self-portrait is on the left and that’s JT Yost on the right.

Birdcage Bottom Books is sharing Table B-58 with Josh Bayer. BBB distros all three issues of Vortex so they’ll have copies there.

Doodle Republic banner

Doodle Republic is going to be handing out samples of a partially colored version of Vortex #1.

Colored Vortex 1 cover

I’ve been working with Doodle Republic on some character designs for their Chatoon app. Chatoon lets users talk verbally and visually by combining their words with avatars, props, and backgrounds done by different artists. Doodle Republic wants their artists to be able to sell their comics on the Chatoon site through a print-on-demand service. They’re giving out these copies of Vortex #1 to show what their printer can do.

March 29th, 2013

Fantastic Magazine Covers by Vernon Kramer

Filed under: SF Book Covers — Tags:

I stumbled across this awesome cover illustration while looking for images for my last post:

Vernon Kramer Fantastic Magazine cover illustration
From alittleblackegg’s Flickrstream.

I was only able to find a few more pieces by the artist, Vernon Kramer, and no official website. I’m also into this one:

Vernon Kramer Fantastic Magazine cover illustration
From Cadwalader Ringgold’s Flickrstream.

March 27th, 2013

Roger Zelazny’s Chronicles of Amber – the Corwin Cycle

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

The Corwin cycle are the first five novels that Roger Zelazny wrote in the Amber cosmos. They focus on Corwin, a prince of the realm of Amber, and tell one complete epic fantasy story in which the universe is threatened with disintegration.

I read the Corwin cycle in an omnibus edition called The Great Book of Amber that also contains the second five-book cycle, featuring Merlin. The second cycle has mixed reviews so I haven’t started it yet. Unfortunately the edition I have contains numerous distracting typos where sometimes the intended word isn’t clear, so I would recommend tracking down the original paperbacks if you can.

The Corwin cycle is told from the first-person perspective of Corwin, a charming but flawed and unreliable narrator. After reading newer books that switch between many points of view, it’s refreshing to read a book that stays in one character’s head from the beginning, when Corwin wakes up an amnesiac in a private hospital bed, to the climax at the Courts of Chaos.

Corwin’s slacker attitude, his diction peppered with many “whatevers,” is a grounding balance to the fantastical and sometimes psychedelic action. It also feels very familiar to me from the genre work of my art comics peers and the dialogue in Adventure Time. In both Amber and these more contemporary efforts this distance between the fantastical, mythic events and the seemingly unaffected characters creates an ironic distance. Somehow this makes the whole thing feel more realistic. Perhaps because it’s closer to how I hear my inner dialogue as I experience my mundane reality. It worked for Bilbo and it works here for Corwin.

There was one flaw in Corwin’s personality that I found distateful – his misogyny (at one point he dismisses all his sisters as only “bitches”). One could argue that this reflects how Corwin is an unreliable narrator, as several of his sisters are quite significant to the plot, but I don’t remember a moment where these books pass the Bechdel Test.

Although I haven’t read much noir personally, these commenters note that Corwin’s tone (and the opening) is extremely reminiscent of Chandler. Does this make the series an early example of a genre mashup? This pairing is mined extensively in urban fantasy but less so in secondary world epic fantasy. Despite a start in New York state I wouldn’t really consider this an urban fantasy – the concerns are cosmic and our earth is but a figment of the firmament.

Refreshingly, Corwin, unlike so many other protagonists of epic fantasies, isn’t an orphan with no living relatives, but is instead a member of a sprawling, brawling family filled with intrigue, love, and hate. The family dynamics (and dysfunctions) feel real. Although in the end the final struggle is the semi-traditional Battle Between Order and Chaos (second cousin to the Battle Between Good and Evil), it begins with one family, the royalty of Amber, knifing each other and climbing their sibling’s corpses to the top. Zelazny really upends the fantasy trope of the disenfranchised rightful king here, which I’m grateful for. I get sick of the politics in fantasy novels – one king deposing another while the common people are ground down – at least here Zelazny shows how meaningless dynastic shifts can be.

Aspects of the Amber cosmos seem familiar to me from their reflection in Robert Jordan’s latter series The Wheel of Time – both feature immortal beings who love to play politics, joining and breaking alliances as they attempt to lie, backstab, and cheat their way to the top of the hierarchy; both feature teleportation through shadow worlds that can be influenced by desire; and both cosmoses are represented by a primordial Pattern. I wonder if Jordan read it?

Unsurprisingly, I enjoyed the unabashed psychedelia in the first five Amber novels the most. To travel, Corwin adds and subtracts elements from different worlds, slowly aligning the reality he’s perceiving with the reality that he desires. Zelazny used this to wonderful effect by condensing days of travel into several pages of evocative descriptions of the mixed-up landscapes that Corwin and his companions travel through. And these are not the only moments of pure imagination – I can’t forget the sublime moonlit visions of Tir-na Nog’th and the shapeshifting creatures of Chaos.

I’d only read Zelazny’s Lord of Light before this (and really dug it), but now I definitely want to read more by him. Do y’all have any recommendations?

March 22nd, 2013

Lizzard Drawings

Filed under: Artwork — Tags: ,

I’ve been messing around with a redesign of the Lizzard lately:

William Cardini Lizzard drawing

March 19th, 2013

Sketchbook Page

Filed under: Sketchbook Pages — Tags:

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