Sunday, December 19, 2010

I Can Has Ninja?

Last week one of the small art galleries here (and I do mean small) ran an exhibition for what I regard as the coolest self-published comic in New Zealand- Ninjet.*

So, Ninjet is about a ninja cat. I would link you to content, but is currently dead, so I won't. What I will do is show you the art I picked up, penned by the enigmatic, singularly-monikered ninja cat mastermind, Drake ;)

This right here is one of my favourite pages (printed version on right)

I've had this blown up as a poster on my wall for a few months, so it rocks to actually get the original!

It wasn't actually part of the exhibition, but Drake being the cool guy that he is let me have it.

This one was on display, and it rocks:

I can't show you the published version, my copy of the issue is hiding somewhere in the depths of a comic box and doesn't want to be found.

As anyone familiar with me would expect, this calls for more framing of artwork. I'm still planning for the first picture, but the 2nd one I did yesterday:

A closer look at the logo- that's actually a badge I laid in there

And just incase you're wondering where all the purple came from, one of the covers:

It's replaced my Phil Jimenez 52 JLA splash on my bedroom wall, so it's in an honoured position ;)

*(not that I'm in any way an expert on the local indie comic scene, since by and large indie comics bore me so I tend to avoid them. They usually try to be too clever for their own good, or aren't as funny as their authors think they are).

Sunday, November 28, 2010

The Boys: Dark Knight Parody

If you're anything like me you walked into the local comic shop, saw this...

...and laughed your arse off. I've never actually read The Boys, but I picked it up just for the cover (and technically speaking, I still haven't read an issue of The Boys yet heh).

Because I like cool things, and because I couldn't find one by someone better at such things than me (read: anyone), I made my own desktop version, with the original Dark Knight cover.

(My screen resolution is 1920 x 1080 btw)

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

The Greatest Book In The History Of Books

I'm serious with this title- if you have aspirations of becoming a writer, or a publisher (or hell, even a book binder) you need to give up now. You are obsolete. THE most amazing book ever has now been published:

I spotted this in a bookshop today. I don't know how long it's been out, but it is AMAZING. There's only about 8 pages, but the amount of effort that's gone into the design is stunning...

...and that's not even considering how they managed to mass-produce something like this. The Bat-signal in the above picture also LIGHTS UP. Each page of course has the main pop-up, but there are numerous smaller flaps on each page.

I didn't post a pic, but one of the best mini pop-ups is of Wonder Woman's Invisible Plane.

Firestorm even gets a couple of appearances, including this one:

(by Anti-Monitors ribcage)

The best page is the last though, and not just because this is amazing...

...but also because there's a mini JSA WITH A TABLE:

One other thing that sets this apart from anything else in the history of forever, is the detail that's put in to the BACK of each pop-up:

(hey look, it's Firestorm again)

If you like cool things, at the very least you need to have a flip through it in the shop. It's also an amazingly low price of $40NZ.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

More Framing Crazyness

As mentioned previously, I picked up a very cool page by Nicola Scott at the recent con. Blackest Night Wonder Woman #2 pg 7 to be precise ;) Since I see no point in buying something unless it's gonna get hung on the wall at some stage well, no time like the present.

I like my framing jobs to have something to do with colour schemes used in the costumes of the characters featured, so with Mera being there that lent itself to some greens.

Since the art is all pencil, I went with the light green so as not to overpower it (which was tough because I love the middle shade). For contrast I was torn between a gold or light orange (more in keeping with Aquaman than Mera really)

I've never done anything in metallics before, so gold won out (plus it plays into Mera's crown and trident).

The next problem with the page is what's actually NOT there- some of the panels run right to the edge of the working area and therefore don't have a defined edge of their own. Also, due to not being inked, there are crosses used in the negative spaces outside the panels (to let the inker know they should be black).

So right off the bat, you can see your basic rectangle mat is going to leave a lot of dead space visible, which I think would detract from the art itself. Solution:

Measuring out the the panels is time consuming, but I've done it before and I like the result (plus anyone that's followed this blog for a while knows I like doing things the hard way). With that, the finished product:

I was a little worried how the gold would play out in terms of being overpowering, but I think it works alright. Very happy with the end result.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Auckland Geekery 2010

The major sci-fi convention for the year took place this weekend. 3 days, some 45,000 attendees, and a bunch of tv, movie, comic, and animation guests that pretty much make it essential for me to fly up for it and give people all my money. Without going in to too much boring detail, a rough breakdown of my weekend:

The comic guests
My major achievement for the weekend was managing to ask writer Daniel Way if he did sketches. Haha, ooops. (for the record he does, but "they're $400 and they're terrible") In my defence, he arrived 20 minutes late and I was in the swing of hitting up the other artists for sketches so it was kindof a reflex action. I think he was a little irked though *blush*

This is what $200 will get you from Darrick Robertson:

He basically lets you name your price and he'll spend the appropriate amount of time on it. From his appearance a couple of years ago I knew he was a Firestorm fan, and I had always been kicking myself for not getting a commission back then. It's big too, love it.

Georges Jeanty came out with this nifty headshot:

I've already got a bunch of sketches from past appearances by Nicola Scott, so I just picked up this page from Blackest Night Wonder Woman #2

As always it was a majorly tough decision to pick something out, and I came so close to dropping a small fortune on a new Teen Titans page.

James Tucker was over with animation guests since his forte is design for the likes of the Batman and Justice League cartoons, but he was still doing sketches. Additional characters were only an extra $10 on top of the base fee, so I got Firehawk added in to my usual Firestorm request:

The acting guests

Main drawcard for me this year was Michael Shanks and Torri Higginson from Stargate. Last year I had the brainwave of getting action figures signed by SG guests, so I carried on with that. Torri loves signing figures, so that was cool. Also printed out my own photo of Shanks as Hawkman, which is unusually organised for me.

Michael Beihn from Terminator & Aliens was there- I wasn't planning on getting his autograph, but I really enjoyed both his panels so figured that was worth $30.

The main highlight for me was brunch with Michael Shanks. Was a good chance to hear some things I wouldn't have otherwise. Obviously he's well versed in doing this kind of thing, but he seemed really cool, even sticking around at the end to take photos with everyone even though it messed with his schedule for the rest of the day

He requested no flashes and my camera's kinda crap, but a big thankyou to the person I got to take the shot, as she managed to get a pretty decent result.

Assorted coolness
Tron is coming, and it had a strong presence there

Lifesize (or thereabouts) cardboard model, which rocked. Got a bunch of free posters too. Damn I hope it turns out to be good.

Weta Workshop had it's usual stand, now with District 9 models

There was an (I think) American artist selling prints of his work. He had a few large posters (70" high) as backdrops for his stand. I picked up the Farscape piece:

Had to wait until the end of the show to pick it up, but I pounced on it as soon as I saw it on the first morning.

Comic purchases

My main achievement was knocking off my Invisibles, Hawkman, and Vigilante collections so now I can bind them. Yay.

VIP panels

Noone seems to know who was gracing the front of the Silver Pass heh

As with last year, spending a bit extra to see a 2nd panel with some of the guests (combined with a smaller audience) proved to be the way to go. Former Dr Who Sylvester McCoy playing the spoons on the entire front row of the audience was a highlight, as was Michael Shanks' amusement at all of us being stuck at the con until 6pm on the final day just to see him, and then struggling to come up with any questions.

Very cool 3 days. Next April sees the con return to my home town, with Darrick Robertson, David Hewlett, and Katee Sackhoff already booked.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Comic Art and Death Metal

About a month ago I was randomly browsing the comic art on eBay, which is something I almost never do (normally I just go with keyword searches like, um, "firestorm" heh). Very lucky that I did, as an hour or so earlier artist Vincent Locke (Sandman, among many many others) had listed one of his works. The "buy now" was $50 more than the reserve price, but I pounced as soon as I saw it.

The artwork in question is the final preliminary cover sketch to the album "Live Cannibalism" by Cannibal Corpse (The cover itself was ultimately done in watercolour paints). A bit of history for the uninitiated to come, but first of all the art in question:

Final version:

So you're probably thinking "geez, that's a bit gory". Well, yes. Cannibal Corpse have always delt with rather horrific subject matter (it's called "Brutal Death Metal" for a reason you know). Vince Locke has provided album art for the band since the beginning. Several of the albums have been very controversial, both in part to the lyrics, and the album covers. This has attracted attention from US politicians, church groups etc (all the typical groups that you would expect to get offended really). Even here in New Zealand the early albums were apparently banned for a while, although the two independant record stores in my city had their albums readily available so it wasn't much of a ban to be honest. By Cannibal Corpse standards the cover is rather restrained I think- certainly it's not as blatantly in-your-face as the likes of Tomb Of The Mutilated (do NOT google that cover if you are easily offended. And yes, I realise just by me saying that your curiosity pretty much leaves you with no choice but to have a look :p).

As for the actual significance of this to me- I've always been in to heavy metal, but it was primarily the more mainstream acts like Def Leppard, Living Colour, Skid Row etc in the late 80's/ early 90's. After finishing high school I went to university to study classical music. One of the guys there started introducing me to the underground metal scene. His favourite band was Cannibal Corpse, so they naturally wound up being one of the first Death Metal groups I heard (this was around about 1994). I've been hooked on extreme metal ever since, and Corpse have remained a favourite to this day. So it's pretty cool to pick up artwork from a band that I like and that helped me start down the musical path I'm on. Plus, y'know, Vincent Locke isn't half bad either ;)

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Old Random Casting Stuff

This is pretty much a nothing post, purely for my benefit. I was trying to explain to someone today about using hot glue (or Thermo Plastic if you want to sound all fancy) to cast costuming pieces. I jumped on here to pull up a few references, and discovered that I never actually finished off where I was going (nothing unusual there in regards to my blogging habits). So for my own future reference, here's a bunch of pics that round off what I started with this, only with the middle part missing (y'know, the actual clay sculpting and mold-making. I remember taking pictures, but as to where they are now...).

Hey, you can actually see the sculpted leg in the background here! That would be awesome if I'd actually planned the shot like that ha!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Binding- That Other Method

So far I've completed 12 volumes in my ongoing quest to bind my comic book collection. I figured it was time for an update, both because I have a bit more of an idea what I'm doing now, and because my current mission has required a change in approach.

As you may recall, I was sewing each individual issue on to tapes to form the book block. I'm very happy with the results I've been getting and will be using this wherever possible. I'm currently binding my Spawn collection (120 issues, plus the relevant minis and crossovers), which created one major problem. Unlike DC and Marvel, Image group all their ads at the back of the book. This means that in order to cut out all the ads, you're left with half the issue being loose pages. While I've been able to work around the occassional loose page in the past, trying to do that with 50%+ of the pages would require a ton of time and effort, and probably wouldn't look that good in the end. Which brings us to the other method of sewing your book together.

Instead of sewing each issue through the middle, the whole lot get sewn down the side, like so:

It's a very common method, and if you send books to a pro it's probably what they'll do. It's much faster (I can prep and sew 30 issues in an afternoon), and can be done by machine (not that I have one) so it's not as labour intensive as the other method. There's one immediately obvious flaw to it- by sewing through the margin you are losing part of the page. Not an issue for older comics that printed with margins on the page, but with comics these days you can count on missing things, particularly with double page spreads. Also unlike the other method, this one is essentially irreversable. Rebinding it would mean even more page loss. Still, it's the best/only method for sewing loose leaves together.

This is a little workstation I threw together for binding. The bit on the right is for opening out comics and piercing the spines.

On the left side, I've drilled holes so that I can pierce the margin of a comic, but still have it all supported.

The holes are an inch apart. I've actually found less info on this method online, so as always the way I'm doing things is a combination of info from various sources, and guesswork.

I have a little guide on the base to line up where the holes will go, as well as a top sheet to guide the spacing. Then it's time to get mutilating.

I find it hard to gauge how far in to make the holes- too little space and it will be prone to pages ripping out, but there's the gutter loss issue, so...

With that done, it's time to remove the staples. I figure it's smarter to remove the staples last, since they hold the book together while I punch the holes ;)

That leaves the comic in two parts- the pages with ads on one half, and the pages without.

I leave as much of the book intact as possible- no point in cutting pages in half if you're not removing content, and plus it seems logical (to me anyway) that the uncut pages will be stronger/less likely to fall out since they're essentially getting bound in two places. But then, like everything I'm doing here, it's just a guess ;) Time to remove those pesky ads!

I'm actually keeping the parts I remove, and I plan on binding the letter collumns into their own volume, since Todd ran a pretty entertaining show.

As I prep the issues, they get put on a couple of hat pins, so that there aren't loose pages all over the place

With all that done, it's time to sew. Remember to follow the same direction that the holes were made, as going the opposite way is next to impossible. I'm just looping from one hole to the next here- there may be a better/stronger way but I haven't found it yet.

Even following the direction of the holes, you're gonna need tools to help. I have no idea how many issues should be getting bound together- in this case they're getting broken up into 15-issue groups.

It shouldn't require a huge amount of force, but it's much easier on the fingers.

Just like that, we have a finished book block:

Note: don't borrow your mother's needles to do this, because they will get beat up

With two blocks done, the next step it to put them together. A bit of glue just to secure things...

...and then a vice to secure them

Obviously glue on it's own isn't going to be enough, so the two parts need to be sewn together.

Also, a bit of extra glue never hurt anybody ;)

That's that. From there, it's entirely the same process as before to make the cover etc. The only difference being the lack of tapes, so it's up to the cloth to hold everything together (which sofar hasn't been a problem).

Next update I'll show a little trick I learned with making the covers. Until then, try not to stab yourself in the finger (trust me, it hurts).