Thursday, October 30, 2008

Chipper taking a snooze.

Cory is travelling as part of her job with A&K, so I'm holding down the fort at home. Chipper is our big 8 year old tom cat. When Cory is home, he pretty much sticks close to her in her office downstairs. One of his favorite spots is on top of her printer. But when Cory goes out of town, he relocates in my studio. Recently he discovered a spot behind the Cintiq. He he been snoozing there all day.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Tony Hillerman 1925-2008

Tony Hillerman has died at the age of 83. He was a wonderful storyteller.

Although I'm not a huge devotee of mystery novels, I much prefer non-fiction most of the time, I gave Hilllerman's books a shot on the recommendation of a former teacher and friend, Kanani Bell. He thought I might like them. Kanani's previous tip had been Milagro Beanwfield War, many moons before the film, and so I gave Hillerman a shot.

I might have started at the beginning with The Blessing Way, I'm not quite sure, it's been almost 30 years, but I really enjoyed what I read. So I kept on devouring Hillerman books until I'd consumed all that were in print. As the years went by, and his books were released, I'd generally pick 'em up and always throroughly enjoyed what I read. I recall particularly liking Skinwalkers and Thief of Time. Hillerman captured the Four Corners region so well. His descriptions of the feel of the area and its people were something I bought into completely.

I later came to know that this brand of fiction is known as "tribal mystery genre." Through the fictional vehicles of his Navajo heroes, Lieutenant Joe Leaphorn and Officer Jim Chee, Hillerman was able evoke for a mass audience what life is like on the modern day Navajo Reservation. It's true that these insights were seen through the lens of a non-Native American eye, but in the end, that is who the mass audience reader happens to be.

I always find thinking about other cultures and religions to be incredibly satisfying. But some are harder to absorb than others. Southwestern Native American cultures are quite rich and complex. The non-fiction books about them are usually rather dry and I often found them hard to wrap my head around. Hillerman's novels offered up a wonderful way to get a peek into the particulars of Navajo customs, culture, and beliefs.

Or as Hillerman himself said his mission was to "drag people into the Navajo culture and let them take a look at it." He believed that we as a culture might "learn a lot from the Navajo way. They place a tremendous value on taking care of your family, very little value, in fact even a negative value, on owning too many material possessions."

So, I can heartily recommend checking out any of Hillerman's tribal mystery novels if you want to immerse yourself in a time and place that is quite probably unlike your own.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Cross Hatched!

Part 1 of a three part interview at the Daily Cross Hatch is online.

I met Brian Heater through our mutual pal, Jeff "JahFuurry" Newelt last spring during the blur of events that happened around New York Comic Con.

In this first installment I mention:

"...about two years ago, I just sort of collected all of the pieces,
and I actually found, in my own archives, a bunch of story fragments that were
clipped together in a certain order.

It was like I had done this, 10, 12 years ago, to say, “hey Larry, you’re going to forget about all of this, but some day in the future, you’re gonna find this. This is what you intended, but you’re about to forget,” and I did."

That was a freaky day when I found that on the bottom of a pile of collected chaos in the Beanworld archives. Clearly I had done this while I was still in Chicago, and here it was in a big pile of papers in my weekday place in Phoenix. That meant that it had been unknowingly transported to California, moved two or three times and then made it out to AZ.

I still don't know what that quite possible--but there it was.
Weird, huh?
Stuff like this happens to me all the time.

I'll let you know when the other parts go up.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

From The Beanword Archives!

Skull and Crossbones, sorta
6" x 11"
Colored markers and rapidograph on card stock
The drawing is undated and the card stock has aged into this creamy color. I suspect that is because at some point it was mounted on something else--because the backside is streaked with the markings of a rubber cement brush. That clue, along with the style, gives me a hint of the year I drew it--probably the late '70s. I might even hazard a guess that I'd been working on a layout for a toxic insecticide or something that day and went home and drew this. I used to do that sort of thing a lot.
I really only used rubber cement from the mid-70s to around 1980 when I (for better or for worse) switched to Spra-Mount. Rubber cement was primitive and pretty much was guaranteed to stay stuck for only a few short years. Spra-Mount seems to last far, far longer sometimes. but it is really messy, nasty stuff and fortunately I don't seem to have to use any of that sort of gunk'l'dunk anymore.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Tuesday Tantalizing Teaser!

An electronic "blue pencil" sketch for an idea that is worming its way into next year's original graphic novel "Remember Here When You Are There!"

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Wahoolazuma Correx!

Well, this is what I've been doing the last several days--looking over the marked-up proofs of the brand-new scans of all the pages for Larry Marder's Beanworld: Wahoolazuma!

Diana Schutz , Brendan Wright, Matt Dryer, and others on the amazing art and editorial crews at Dark Horse have done a fabulous job of capturing all the nuances of line work on the original pages. Plus they are correcting a lot of the silly typos and art errors that sneaked through the first printings (and subsequent reprintings). In correspondence, Diana charmingly calls the revision mark-ups "the correx." I don't know if this a Diana term, a Dark Horse term, or even become an industry term while I was off in the world of toy making. But it is forever part of my vocabulary NOW!

It's been the first time I've really looked at every line, of every frame, since the pages were first published in the individual pages of Tales of the Beanworld. The first trade paperback printings were from the original films and whatever dumb mistakes were in the comics were automatically also in the trades.

It is exciting to be revisiting these stories. I really, truly can't wait for these volumes to be out in the marketplace available to an entire new generation of potential Beanworld fans. It is indeed a totally whahoolazuma proposition!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

From the Beanworld Archives!

I'm home and back in the saddle in the studio. Just doing the finishing touches for the cover art for Larry Marder's Beanworld Book Two: A Gift Comes! If everything goes according to plan--it will be on sale June 9, 2009. Like Book One--it will be an affordable hardcover with all the pages of story rescanned from the original artwork.

But the drawing above has absolutely nothing to do with Larry Marder's Beanworld Book Two: A Gift Comes! except that it from the same era that those original Beanworld stories were originally drawn.

I don't think that this piece was actually ever published. If it was, I'm not sure where. Assuming my memory serves me correctly, this piece was drawn for a Canadian Batman fanzine that was supposed to be published around the time of the first Tim Burton movie.

I think T. M. Maple asked me to contribute to it and that somehow the plans for the 'zine fell apart due to the ever zealous and vigilant Warner Brothers legal department that didn't really quite understand what purpose a fanzine served in the food chain of fandom.

I could be wrong. But that is what I remember. Anyway, I always liked this idea a lot.

Beanworld Buzz Abounds!
Stuff about Beanworld (good, bad, and indifferent) keeps popping up on the Internet and so I thought I'd pass some of it along to you.

I have no idea what this might say--but it is clearly about Beanworld

Are You A Serious Comic Book Reader?

Reid Harris Cooper


Heck, It’sa Buncha Comics, You Betcha!

The Daily Cross Hatch

Howling Curmudgeons

A Nice Cup of Rabies

Hi! (Books, bikes, movies and me)

Ernie's 3D Pancakes

Comic Geek Speak

Comic Books Beta

Comics and Other Imaginary Tales

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Bernie Marder: 1915-2008

My dad, Bernie Marder, died over the weekend. He was 93 years old and he had the most incredible life. Over his long life, he was an inventor with several patents, a pharmacist, and a manufacturer. He didn't retire until he was well into his 80s. And above all he was a great father. He had been in failing health for a long time and been in a hospice program, at home, since last spring.

I was fortunate enough to spend the entire week with him last week, before going off to SPX. Even though he was acutely aware of the fact that he was nearing the end of the line, he was clear headed and we had a terrific time together. A lot of laughing. Although I don't think he ever really totally understood Beanworld, he was one of its biggest boosters.

I'm in Chicago this week with my Mom and family. Although we miss our Dad, there is no cause for mourning--we are celebrating his long life.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Hoo-Hoo-HA & A Hoka-Hoka HEY! We Got BOINGED!'s true. The Beanworld (and me too) got a rollicking good write up on Boing Boing today!

This is a site I've long admired, and honestly, never thought I'd have an opportuntity to get noticed by. The piece itself was written by Douglas Ruskoff, a great observer of trends in technology, media, and popular culture.

His book, Get Back In The Box, had a profound effect on me last year. He clearly articulated the disturbing trends in business that I'd been struggling to describe for the last decade. His observation, "When things are down, CEO’s look to consultants and marketers to rethink, re-brand or repackage whatever it is they are selling, when they should be getting back on the factory floor, into the stores, or out to the research labs where their product is actually made, sold, or conceived.... Having for too long replaced innovation with acquisitions, tactics, efficiencies, and ad campaigns, many businesses have dangerously lost touch with the process – and fun - of discovery."

The fun of discovery.
That has always been my philosophy.
If you aren't laughing and free associating in a meeting, chances are the meeting isn't a meeting at all--it is an executive briefing.

Almost all of the good ideas I helped foster or broker in my tenures at Image Comics and McFarlane Toys came out left field, ideas that materialized when we were in search of something else. I can not imagine doing business in any other fashion.

All I can say is, thanks for the kind words Mr Rushkoff. Even though we don't know each other personally, I think it's fair to say, we share a deep appreciation of each other's work!

Beanworld Buzz:
I haven't actually seen it myself yet, but Greg Burgas on CBR reports that in the new Diamond Previews "pages 26 and 27 bring us a Beanworld collection (4 Feb.) and a new Christmas Special (17 Dec.)."