Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Tuesday's Tantalizing Teaser!

A color study for "Remember Here When You Are There" which happens to be a black and white graphic novel.

Those of you that can "Look and See" will understand what this is and what it might mean!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Tuesday's Tantalizing Teaser and Looking Towards the Horizon.

What I'm holding in my hands here is an advance copy of Wahoolazuma the first in a series of hardcover books from Dark Horse Comics.

Ripping open the express package and holding this book in my hands was the greatest thrill Beanworld has given me since I opened the first box of TOTB #1.

The production values are pristine.
Some of the pages were rather tattered.
Some of the ink and PMTs were fading,
some of the patches had fallen off,
the zip-a-tone was yellowing.

Dark Horse's Matt Dryer performed digital magic turning my originals into bright, crisp, spot-on files for printing.
The pages look like I just drew them.
I couldn't be happier with the results.

And the book design itself!

Tina Alessi hit the ball right out of the park as far as I'm concerned. The book's trade dress perfectly reflects the spirit of the "most peculiar" story pages to be discovered between the covers.

Diana Schutz, Dave Marshall, and Brendan Wright did a remarkable job shepherding this project through the production pipeline at Dark Horse. I know Diana went to bat for me a time or three and the results are quite evident in the final book.

It's been an amazing journey the last 18 months since I returned to the helm of Beanworld. I truly believe that in the words of the great Al Jolson "Folks, you ain't seen nuthin' yet!" But regardless, this amazingly affordable hardcover book is indeed totally Wahoolazuma!

Today....The Real World Truly Turned.

As I wrote on Facebook today, "(I'm) inspired by Obama's vision of the Big-Big-Picture. Now, let's roll up our own sleeves and try to reinvent the business of comic books."

Collectively, we have a lot of work to do.
The challenges facing the business of our art form seem to become more daunting with every misstep and shift in the marketplace. Which puts us in the same boat as newspapers, magazines, toys, and books.

These are very tough days ahead of us.
It is going to be hard for the creators and publishers to stay balanced and focused.
Distribution is increasingly challenging as trade terms are adjusted and points-of-sale disappear. Fans' resources are stretched farther and thinner every day.

Simply put, for comics, just like everything else in our culture, the easy money has disappeared.

I don't know what is going to happen next.
No one does.

Gimmicks and stunts aren't going to meet the challenge.
It's very nice that people are standing in line for Obama-cover comic book reprints.
But in the past commemorative, variant, holographic, and chromium covers have been the industry equivalent of sub-prime mortgages.
We aren’t gonna scam or con our way out of the hole we are in this time.

Like I said before,
I don't know what is going to happen next.
No one does.
That's what is so cool about the future.

We are on the cusp of something significant.
But no one really knows what it is going to be.

I know what I'm going to do.
It is really the only thing I can do as comics experiences the rumbles and shakes of the shifting tectonic plates in the business of our art form.

I'm going to work as hard as I can
to produce new Beanworld stories
and I will do my damndest
to make those stories
worth the price of admission.

I say it all the time. I'm a firm believer of Marcel Duchamp's observation that it is the viewer that makes the painting.

And it is you,
the members of the Beanworld community,
that creates the real Beanworld
in your hearts and imaginations

Let's see where we can all go together.
Let's keep out eyes focused on the horizon.

With a Hoo-Hoo-HA & a Hoka-Hoka HEY!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Tuesday's Tantalizing Teaser!

A couple of layout panels from "Remember Here When You Are There" or it is often shortened in my correspondence to "Here There" or sometimes just plain 'ol "HT."

I'll let you speculate as to what might seem to be going on here.

Meanwhile I'll continue working on the book at full speed ahead so that it can ship on time. Yes, I know it's only January and the book doesn't ship until November, but Diana and Brendan are funneling the cover and solicitation into the Dark Horse pipeline this week.

Friday, January 9, 2009

From the Beanworld Archives!

Beanworld Gothic
1986 5 1/2" x 7 1/4"
Ink on Crescent No. 201 Illustration Board

I've written before about the little illos I used to call "chip drawings" and sold off of my table at conventions.
Most of the time I made the actual drawings on the spot, but sometimes, I'd make some bigger and fancier ones in advance. This is a photocopy of one of those advance drawings.

It was drawn on Crescent No. 201 Hot Press Medium Weight Illustration Board which is what we used for all our keyline mechanicals at the ad agency. We had a big ol' heavyweight paper cutter that was already a junky antique when I first "met it" over 30 years ago.

It actually took some skill to cut board with it straight and smoothly. A lot of long and thin slivers of board used to end up in the trash can. I thought it was a shame to waste such good drawing stock. So I'd slice up the long slivers into little rectangles of thoroughly arbitrary sizes. I'd put 'em in a baggie and then take the "chips" to cons and pull 'em out and draw on 'em.

I probably sold hundreds of "chip drawings" between 1985 to the mid-90s. I have absolutely zero idea of how many still survive. Nor do I have a clue as to who might have taken home "Beanworld Gothic" and if it is still in their possession.

I still have a small stash of blank chips in my possession. They are at least 20 years old because it has been almost that long since I regularly worked with it as an art supply.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

The Year's First Tuesday Tantalizing Teaser!

A finished panel from
"Remember Here When You Are There!"

There are quite few scenes inside Professor Garbanzo's Fix-It-Shop in this story.

Thursday, January 1, 2009


Five years ago, on the cusp of 2004, New Year's Eve day 2003, Cory and I were on a vacation that went to the continent of Antarctica.

I had been injured in a silly fall in Chile a few days before the adventure ship, Explorer II, departed. I was misdiagnosed in a very small clinic in an even smaller town and thought I had only severely strained some ligaments. When I returned from the trip I found out, two and a half weeks after my fall, that I had actually ruptured my quadriceps tendon from my knee. After surgery it was an almost 4 month rehab. But I didn't know how seriously I was hurt and so, I went to Antarctica with a bum leg and a cane and somehow had an incredibly good trip all things considered.

During my recovery and rehab, I wrote the following in a letter to Heidi MacDonald who had asked about Antarctica:

an incredible three color world (black, white and cyan) very primal and ultra pristine. it might have been the combination of drugs and injury but i do believe i love antarctica more than africa--not something i would have believed possible!

we would disembark the ship and ferry to shore in zodiac rafts. in many places, once ashore, we had an extraordinary amount of freedom to roam, within common sense limits. obviously my mobility was often quite limited but i did manage to get around.

once, while the others hiked, i found myself sitting alone on a rocky beach, sitting on a boulder while resting my chin on my hands atop the head of my cane. i was gazing and contemplating the splendor of the landscape--black, jagged, glacier covered mountains (that reminded me of the Violator's teeth) descending directly into a bright calm sea. the bay itself was festooned with literally hundreds of fantastically shaped icebergs, pack ice and what they call burgy-bits under a cloudless sky.

then a very large, lone penguin came out of the water, waddled towards me. stopped not more than three feet away, cocked its head back and forth all the while looking me square in the eye for a good 10 seconds, gave a loud squawk, turned and went back into the water to join a group of about two dozen penguins that happened to be swimming by....now THAT moment will be with me for a VERY long time.

Moments after that extraordinary one-on-one experience with the penguin, I had a very strong thought echo in my brain. It wasn't a voice or anything, just a very strong message to myself from myself.

When I got back to the ship, I jotted this down:

as i sat on a rock i thought...remember when you are drawing there--the energy that was here.

As time passed, that simple note, distilled itself into a more simple message. I just knew that this was going to be the title of the story that had been called "Float Force" for so many years. I wrote it down on a big yellow Post-It note and put it on the wall above my drawing board in Phoenix a few years ago.

It's still above my board, to the left. And I'm deep, deep, DEEP in this story now. Having the time of my life. Lately I find myself amazed at how strongly Beanworld is channeling itself through my stylus and into comic book pages. I'm having FUN folks and I'm hoping that when you read this story towards the end of the year, that you will have fun too.

As some variation of the old saying goes "If it don't rain too hard and the crick don't rise" 2009 is gonna be the year of "Remember Here When You Are There!"