Sunday, November 30, 2008

Sketchbook Stuff

Okay, so the reason I'm posting so much sketchbook stuff today is that I had to learn to scan and import images this afternoon, and in the process thereof, convert said images to jpegs, so that I could park them somewhere on my computer and have them available to attach to emails. This may seem like a simple undertaking to most people, but I am among the least computer-intuitive creatures alive and learning how to do this sort of thing doesn't at all come easy to me.
        But there were an important couple of images I had to scan and have ready to send off to DC Comics tomorrow, for a new project in the works -- about which more later. And my usual do-everything-for-me-computer-friend was at work today (Hi, Brad). So, with a little bit of help and guidance from him, snuck in over the phone between important grownup man in a grownup job duties, I had to mostly suss out how to do this myself.
        Once those two actual bits of business were taken care of, I didn't want to lose this new hard won skill set, so I broke out one of my sketchbooks and started scanning pages, to retain by repetition this bold new ability in my old-dog-can't-learn-new-tricks sort of life.
        I don't think I have anything to say about any of the actual images on this page of doodles, other than I may want to someday find a use for the funny little gobliny creature in the lower part of the page.

Sketchbook Stuff

I'm not sure I have anything to comment about this sketchbook page of doodles. These are all done originally in pencils of course. Then, back when I was producing a good deal of comic art -- back in the Ironwood and Coventry days -- I would warm up my inking hand by first inking a few of the sketches in one of my sketchbooks. That's how the majority of them came to be inked, and that's where I tried out new inking a pencilling styles.

This Week's Fine Fellow is...

New York Times Bestselling author Marjorie M Liu is this week's Fine Fellow, most likely because I'm reading one of her books just now and so she's currently on my mind.
        I met her only a short time ago, at the 2008 World's Fantasy Convention in Calgary (lovely town), where she was kind enough to give me several of her books (comped by her publisher to give out to her fans at the show) to read. She introduced herself as a Fables fan at the bar -- which is where most of the convention took place, in the sense that all of the real business of matching writers to publishers, editors and agents is done there. Okay, she reminded me then that we'd also met a bit more briefly at this year's San Diego show, when she came over to introduce herself, but I have a good excuse for not remembering her from that occasion. The San Diego show is a huge affair and I meet hundreds of people there for the first time on any given year. And I try to be on my best public behavior there, which means that breathtakingly beautiful women actually have a strike against them, as far as my remembering them is concerned. This is because, as I said, I'm trying hard to behave. The more heart-stopping you are, the more likely to be quickly scrubbed out of the old memory banks. Besides, Mark Buckingham is the big, shameless flirt at the San Diego show now. He has to be seen to be believed. And oh my, oh dear, oh lordy how he can exude innocence, harmlessness and bashful sincerity -- a talent I could never quite develop with any finesse. Even if I tried to compete, he'd leave me in his dust.
        Sothenanyway, I met Marjorie at the Calgary World's Fantasy Convention and she gave me some of her books to read. I'm in the middle of her first one right now and find myself in awe of her ability to put words together in sparse but entirely engaging and evocative sentences. Look at this line from only the second paragraph in her novel: The world trickled light. If I could craft a sentence so simple and yet so compelling, I'd really have some confidence, now that I seem to be intent on entering the prose fiction trade.
        The book is called Tiger Eye, and it's about what happens when a young woman gets caught up in a world of supernatural danger and intrigue after innocently (she thought at the time) purchasing a demon-filled Chinese riddle box at Beijing's famous Dirt Market.
        Tiger Eye is the first of her Dirk and Steele series, all of which are described (by her or the publisher -- I'm not sure) as paranormal romance thrillers. I'm pretty confident I'll be reading the other books in the series, which include, Book Two: Shadow Touch; Book Three: The Red Heart of Jade; Book Four: Dark Dreamers; Book Five: Eye of Heaven -- and so on, totaling seven books so far in this series, plus books in two or three other series she's started. She's very prolific.
        Confession time: I doubt I would ever have picked up one of Marjorie's books, had I not met her in person. The reason is they're categorized as Romances, which is where they are shelved in bookstores. Though I have no justification for avoiding it, the romance section is an area in bookstores I seldom wander into. Her novels also have traditional-looking romance book covers, which are occasionally a bit off-putting to us mighty manly men. Then again, who knows? I don't carry many biases where good storytelling is concerned. I'm willing to find it anywhere, as too many of my friends will attest, when I try to drag them to wonderful movies that they aren't eager to go to, simply because they fall under the chick-flick rubric. So, in any case, I'm glad I did meet Marjorie Liu in person, because it would have been a shame to miss out on the work of an author this talented due to whatever degree of cultural prejudices I might still possess. I trust you who read this won't make the same mistake.
        Marjorie writes, and as long as she does, I'll continue to read. I believe this more than qualifies her as a truly Fine Fellow.
        If you want to learn more about her -- and there's tons more to learn -- go to her website at:

Sketchbook Stuff

Many of the members of the so-called Pre Raphaelite Brotherhood, a movement that came along decidedly post Raphael by the way, kept drawing this one woman named Jane Morris. Some used her as the model for whatever painting they were doing, while she simply shows up in the sketchbooks and discardia of others. When I finally ran across an actual photograph of Miss Jane Morris, I understood why, and had to copy it for myself. Captivating woman.
        At this time I was just beginning to get a wildness to my brushstroke that I liked and continued to pursue and develop. If I can ever recapture it someday -- it faded when I stopped drawing as much as I was doing back then -- I'm going to try to introduce it to my comics work. Assuming I can ever get around to drawing comics again.

Sketchbook Stuff

In the very same sketchbook, which was started at least two years before I began to think about the series Pantheon -- so this would have been around 1989 or '90, but don't hold me to that because my time sense is a bit spotty in some areas -- I also drew this character whom I called Fortress America. In fact, I had the name Fortress America first and tried to design an image to fit, unlike in the case of Dynasty, where I had the image in mind first and eventually found a name and an identity to fit. An armored character who has the word 'fortress' as part of his name has to be big and solid, and I think this fellow fit the bill nicely.
        As you can begin to see, with this and the previous post, when I began to think about the series Pantheon, I went shopping among my old notes and sketchbooks for characters to people it with. If you're going to write or draw comics, or both, you have to keep notebooks and/or sketchbooks. This seems a no-brainer, but it took me a while to figure that much out.

Sketchbook Stuff

This is my first run at drawing the character Dynasty, who would later star in the 13 issue maxi series Pantheon, published by Lone Star Press. I'm still quite fond of this design and by this time I was beginning to get results I liked with the inking brush. Of course, by this time I had no idea who the character was or that she'd be named Dynasty. I only had an image in my mind of the dragon symbol wrapped around one leg, before showing up on her chest, where most self-respecting superhero symbols appear.
        I think it's sort of humorous that several critics of the Pantheon series went out of their way to point out what they considered a mistake in the character design, because the woman was clearly (East) Indian, but the dragon design was obviously Asian. Apparently, according to these critics, I don't know one culture from another. So let's get this straight: American superheroes can adopt all sorts of symbology from other cultures, but non-American superheroes are required to stick within the culture of their origin -- period. Got it. Understood.
        Do I work in a silly profession, or what?
        By the way, the character to the left of Dynasty was going to be a superhero called Unicorn -- part of the super team called The Bestiary. But the Bestiary never actually made an appearance in Pantheon. I intended them to, but simply ran out of room. Though they were referred to once or twice in other character's dialogue, they ended up on the funnybook equivalent of the cutting room floor. That happens.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Robin # 121

In 2003, after Fables got up and running at Vertigo, I began actively looking for a DCU series to write, my reasoning being that with two regular books a month to script my recent (and some might say legendary by then) financial woes would be ended and I could actually start socking some money away -- which had always been a rarity for me.
        I made some calls, talked to some editors, floated a few ideas -- standard job-seeking behavior in the funnybook field. Eventually I got a call from a fine fellow named Michael Wright who was one of the Bat-Editors. Specifically he edited the Robin series and wondered if I might be interested in taking it over and (hopefully) punching some new life into it.
        I was interested and told him so immediately. But, as I explained to him, it had been some time since I had read any of the Robin comics and so I would need to do some serious catching up before making my final decision.
        First digression: I made the mistake of repeating the line directly above in some of my pre-Robin # 121 online interviews, when the word had gotten out that I would be taking over the series. I clearly mentioned that, in preparing for the series, I had to reread many of the books I had read in the past, and read for the first time many issues that I hadn't read before being faced with the prospect of taking over the series. Now, to a reasonable person, this would seem like a fair and prudent, and even professional, thing to do, to make sure one is up-to-speed on an important subject, before making a decision involving said subject, right? But I had not anticipated the current (then -- just as it largely is now) internet culture, which specializes in taking things boldly and blatantly out of context, added to the general culture by then of what I (and others) called the new Indignation Industry, where special status is conferred on all victims, and members of victims groups. And apparently anyone who screamed and cried enough received the coveted status of victimhood, without any actual victimization needing to be demonstrated. So no sooner had I mentioned the fact that I had to read up on past Robin issues, before deciding to take over the series, than someone on the internet, unhappy with my take on the character of Tim Drake, remolded that statement as, "Willingham even admitted he didn't bother to read any Robin issues before taking over the series." And that fabricated statement got repeated over and over again, until it became the official history.
        So, since part of the stated purpose of this journal is to point out my many career mistakes to those newly starting out their comics careers, with an eye towards helping you avoid some of the blunders I've made, let me mention now an increasingly universal truth that so many have had to learn at their peril: For the most part the internet is a garbage dump and a wasteland, and like any garbage dump, it's ruled by the biggest, meanest and most disease-ridden rats, who've made it their special home.
        So, be careful what you say and how you say it.
        Am I indicting all people who post on the internet? No, of course not. I'm merely pointing out the well-proven axiom that, in any venue, throughout human history, the unreasonable people will always trump the reasonable ones -- if you let them. And the internet seems tailor made to let them have their way, unfettered.
        Then what's the solution? That's simple enough. The internet isn't one vast venue, it's thousands (millions by now I suppose) of separate venues. Therefore, chose the places where good behavior is enforced and stay far away from those places where it isn't (such as the vast cesspool of the official DC message boards). Try to set the record straight when and where you can, but don't make a fetish of it, since the weasel-contingent is always going to have their say somewhere. By entering the professional comics book field, you've willingly entered the public arena, where a certain amount of shit is going to be thrown at you as a matter of course. Try to console yourself with the knowledge that these shitcasters will never accomplish anything of worth with their wretched lives, will always be the dependents of those who actually do make the world, and will always resent it and lash out in indignation.
        Now, back to our essay: Michael Wright sent me the last fifty issues of Robin, to catch up on, including the photocopies and as-yet-unillustrated scripts of those issues which hadn't been published yet. I did my homework, found that I liked the character and could come up with some interesting (to me at least) ideas, and told Michael that I'd take the job.
        My initial plans for the Robin series were pretty basic: 1) Build up a more healthy rogues gallery of new villains for Robin, so he isn't constantly in the position of having to borrow whatever well-known Batman villain isn't being used in the other Batbooks that month. 2) Tell the adventures of someone in the process of learning the superhero trade from the greatest expert in the (DC) world.
        Our second digression: This second plan turned out to be something of a sticking point for many of the die-hard Robin readers -- at least the more vocal contingent (see the first digression above for some important context). It seems they much preferred a Robin who was already a seasoned hero on his own -- one who metaphorically sprang fully grown from the forehead of Zeus, dressed, armed and ready for battle. They wanted a Robin who didn't need constant help, advice and training from Batman. As a result they chafed and squirmed at my intentional depiction of a Robin who, though obviously talented and well on his way, was still very much a boy in training. In this respect I simply had to disagree with these vocal critics and do the stories I thought best. A Robin being trained by Batman interested me greatly. I had many tales to tell about such a character. In my mind, a Robin who had already learned all he needed to should give up the name and identity, choose a new identity (like Nightwing did) and move on, making room for another Robin in the Batcave. As it turned out, in later issues, this is what would happen, though not exactly as one might envision it.
        Returning again to our essay: But there was one big condition on taking over the Robin job. It had already been decided by then that the character Spoiler was going to die. I had to figure that into my plans for the series. No problem. Having just read a veritable deluge of Robin stories, Spoiler didn't stand out as a particularly interesting character. Put those stones down, this is just my opinion. You can disagree. I wasn't exactly happy to kill off Spoiler, but it didn't bother me either. Unknown to me at the time, I had yet to think of the one development that would make Spoiler truly interesting to me -- but too late to save her. By editorial dictate, she was doomed.
        Take a look at this wonderful first-issue (my first issue at least) cover from Jason Pearson. It absolutely captured what I wanted my first issue to be all about. Why Pearson doesn't have awards and accolades and parades in his honor is beyond me.
        The title of Robin # 121 was Johnny Got His Gun. I wrote it. Rick Mays pencilled it. Aaron Sowd inked it. Right off the bat I decided to get the ball rolling by introducing what was to be one of Robin's new villains, the truly evil Johnny Warlock. He's the fellow on the cover holding a shotgun to Robin's head.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Speaking of Ironwood...

Okay, no one was speaking of Ironwood. But anyway, this was an illustration I did to accompany an Ironwood prose story for a short-lived independent funnybook called Mythography (great name). Compositionally this has many problems, but I was getting control of my inking brushwork (Windsor Newton Series 7 or nothing) and I sort of like how the beer stein and bread came out.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Here's something interesting...

Since it looks likely this blog is shaking down to being a candid (meaning I admit my many blunders) examination of my career so far, you might want to take note of the following blog I found today, wherein someone else is doing much the same thing -- taking a detailed look at what is arguably the anchor-point of my current career.
        David Bird, residing in the truly lovely city of Victoria, British Columbia (which is just about as far west as one can get in Western Canada) is running an issue by issue examination of Fables on his blog. The articles are called, appropriately enough, Issue by Issue: Bill Willingham's Fables. Each separate article makes a fairly in-depth examination of a single issue of Fables, beginning with the first one.
        He started doing this just over a month ago and, by his own calculation, it will take him a good two years -- posting at the desired rate of one article per week -- to catch up to the current issue. As of his posting two days ago, he's up to the middle issue of the second story arc (Animal Farm).
        So far this looks to be a fair and insightful exploration of Fables. Bird's comments are mostly on point, his criticisms valid, and his questions helpful.
        You can find David Bird's blog at:
        If I was at all handy with a computer I would have actually posted a link you can click on, but I'm not, so I didn't.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

So what have we learned so far?

1) Be careful about the publishers you work with, but finish the jobs you do take on time.

2) Surround yourself with talented people who can make up for your deficiencies in same.

3) Don't let yourself get talked into restarting your creator-owned series again at # 1.

A Huntress page...

In late '93 my comics illustrating career was pretty much on the skids. The fairly critically and sales successful Elementals had come and gone, after a reasonable run of fifty-plus issues (broken into two volumes of 25 or so issues each).
        First digression: Advice to new cartoonists: When you're producing a run of funnybooks, don't let the publisher talk you into finding an excuse to start again at issue # 1, under the justification that it will bump up sales. Sometimes that works and sometimes it doesn't, but the hassle of trying to sort out, for the rest of your years, which Elementals # 1 was the first # 1, and so on, aren't worth it.
        Back to the essay: If I recall correctly, I was still writing and illustrating (and lettering and everything elseing) Ironwood for Fantagraphics' Eros line. But I was finishing an installment of Ironwood less often with each succeeding issue, and the overall sales weren't exactly ripping up the charts.
        Marvel was a closed shop to me by then, following several frustrating years worth of aborted attempts to launch new projects there, as a writer or artist, or both, but always running afoul of the smug, childish and cliquish editorial culture that flourished there at the time -- behaviors for which I never had any tolerance, and was perhaps a bit too vocal in criticizing.
        Second digression: This seems to be no longer the case at Marvel. Based entirely on my admittedly limited interactions with them of late, an admirable level of professionalism and courtesy seems to be the standard there now, rather than the exception.
        Returning again to our essay: DC was mostly a closed shop to me then too, but not due to a lack of professionalism on their parts, but this time based almost entirely on my past failures to deliver assigned pages (I'd worked strictly as a hired-gun artist for them up to then) in a timely manner -- or at all in a few cases.
        But DC had been willing to give me work in the past and hadn't entirely gotten to the point where editors refused even to take my calls. However, more than one editor, upon learning that it was me on the line, began any conversation by saying, "You better not be looking for work!" Unfortunately I was looking for work, needing to find a pencilling job or face the unenviable prospect of getting honest work outside of the funnybook field. So, in late '93 I was calling around the DC offices looking for a book to draw.
        Neal Pozner was editing a series called Showcase '93 at that time. The title was doing double duty, describing both that Showcase was a place to feature new talent and to feature stories about second and third-string DCU characters that had no regular books of their own. Even though I wasn't exactly new talent by then,  Neal had never worked with me before and let me draw a two-part Huntress story that would appear (I believe) in issues # 9 and 10.
        Right away Neal heard from other DC staffers that he'd made a terrible mistake and was likely insane for taking a chance on me. He grew justifyably worried, based on those war stories of my past failings. But he'd already assigned the job and was too encumbered with human decency to withdraw the offer.
        I did the work, buckled down, determined to mend fences, rebuild bridges -- pick your metaphor. There were two hitches in the job though. One was simply fun and silly and one wasn't. First, it was a story about Huntress following a vicious gunrunner to a white-supremacist enclave in the mountains of Idaho. This wasn't a case of hot pursuit, where the hero would have no time to plot and plan. Huntress had a few days to prepare for the mission and then followed the villain out to Idaho, from Gotham, on a later flight. Anticipating this, trying to do a good job with the script and thoroughly think through its implications, I decided to design a cold-weather costume for the Huntress. After all, she was supposed to be a female equivalent of Batman (though operating on more of a budget) and ranked in his general ballpark as far as wit, cunning and intelligence, right? Any moron knowing she was going to a mountainous, snowy environment would outfit herself differently than the standard skimpy little-more-than-a-bathing-suit job that she usually wore in Gotham, right?
        The problems was, if DC let me design a new winter outfit for her, they'd have to pay me a fee for doing so, above and beyond my page rate, and perhaps even open the door for a later legal claim on my part that I owned part of the character, having helped visually design her. That sort of nonsense just wasn't in the sales-meager Showcase's shoestring budget. No matter what the consequences for the story, Huntress simply had to stay in her skimpy costume.
        So I ended up drawing many panels of Huntress in the snow, obviously shivering her bottom off with the cold, trying to keep wrapped up in her cape, and not exactly making a case for the notion that she was a wise and clever superhero.
        That was the fun -- or at least silly -- one of the two problems.
        The other hitch wasn't nearly as entertaining. After I'd completed all of the art for both installments (40 pages in total), which included an extended guest appearance from Batman in the final 20 pages, someone at DC realized that this story would come out after their big event where the original Batman gets his back broken and would be temporarily replaced by a guy named Azarael in a vastly different version of the Batman suit -- which was quite well suited for cold weather operations, by the way, so even this new guy upstart hero had more sense than poor dim Huntress.
        So I had to go back and redraw any of the far too many pages in which Batman appeared. No problem, right? Just change a few costume details and we're golden. But there was a pretty big problem, because the new Batman was a bulky figure, entirely different in shape from the original figure, with lots of extra spiky things sticking out all over. I couldn't simply change a few costume details, I had to completely redraw each of the many panels featuring Batman.
        For that reason DC had to pay me a fairly substantial redrawing fee, beyond my page rate. This didn't win me any new friends up there, when that's exactly what I was trying to do with this job. They couldn't understand why I wasn't thrilled to be one of the first artists to draw the thrilling new Batman. Shouldn't that have been reward enough?
        In any case, the problems were worked out and a redrawing fee was eventually agreed upon by both parties. And even with the extra work involved, I still managed to get the job in early. Neal Pozner couldn't have been happier and made a point to tell me, "I don't care what anyone else says. I'll give you work anytime you want it."
        Mission accomplished. My failing career received the new jumpstart I was looking for.
        Shortly afterwards Neal, that truly good man, died of complications resulting from his long (unknown to me at the time) battle with AIDS.
        I maintain a lingering fondness for this Huntress story, despite the minor (in hindsight) hiccups along the way. Terry Austin inked me on this job, which was quite an honor for me. I'd been his fan for some years. To this day I can still look back at my artwork for this story and not completely recoil in horror -- which is rare for me on any past work. As you might begin to guess by now, I'm not the biggest fan of my own comics artwork.
        Terry and I never got a chance to work together again, which is too bad, because I think something in our styles meshed together well. Then again, his skills and talent went a long way towards covering up my many sins of bad anatomy and worse composition. He's darn good at fixing things.
        Following this job it would be some long years before DC and I got back on track with each other.

How does one nominate a Fine Fellow?

This was asked in the comments down below and I thought it best to answer it in its own post, since the Fine Fellow awards are vitally important. The official way to nominate someone -- even yourself -- for the Fine Fellow award is to find some way to do it. Be creative. Style, panache and bravura count for a lot.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

A page from my first comics work...

Some of you who know my career too well might argue that those D&D ads in the back of Epic Magazine and Marvel Comics were my first comics work, but you'd be wrong. More about that someday... maybe.
        My first professional comics work was with First Comics, an upstart comics publisher based in Evanston Illinois. They published a comic -- their flagship comic -- called Warp, based upon an odd stage play, made only vaguely interesting by the Neal Adams production drawings and costume designs.
        One of the characters in Warp was named Valeria the Insect Queen. In issues 8 and 9 (or maybe 9 and 10 -- I'm going by highly faulty memory here) of the comic they gave her her own backup story and allowed me the opportunity to draw it. Here is one page of the results. I believe this is the last page of the two-part story.
        I'd like to say I have mixed emotions about this page and about that job, but I can't. I've no lingering fondness for it and can only look at this page and the others from that job in a steady state of full-cringe. My artistic influences of the period controlled me to the extent that, though I can't go so far as to say they constituted plagiarism, I also can't say I was doing my own work. A talented young man named Bruce Patterson inked this job (though it may have been Pattersen, and then again it may have been someone else entirely -- I've tried so hard to forget these years that it's not easy now to resurrect them), and he covered up many of my sins.
        You can see in the upper part of the third panel that a character is missing. I'm not sure who or why. I barely recall the story. But in the old days of comic production -- the pre computer days -- corrections were often made by photocopying art and then literally pasting the copy down on a page. That is how we moved visual elements around on a page back then. My guess is that a photocopied paste-up of the missing character fell off of the original art page, when the glue dried and dissipated over the years.
        At the same time I was producing these pages, I was drawing the first ever Elementals 20-page story that would eventually be printed as the backup to the short-lived Texas Comics' Justice Machine Annual # 1 (and only, as it turned out). That work is less horrifying to me now, only because it was my own work for the most part. The terrible mistakes I made on the Elementals stuff were at least my own mistakes and not someone else's.
        But this Warp backup job counts as my first comic book work, even though I was doing Elementals at the same time, because it was published first. I would go on to do several additional backups in Warp, none of which are worth trying to find.
        First Comics doesn't exist anymore, nor does Texas Comics, Noble Comics (the first of the independent comics companies that tried to publish my work and died before being able to do so), or Comico. All of the small independent companies I worked for, or tried to work for, in the early years of my career are gone now. There's a lesson here for someone. DC, are you listening?

Saturday, November 22, 2008

This Week's Fine Fellow is...

Every Sunday, as often as I can remember to do it, we're going to post the Fine Fellow of the Week award. This carries on a tradition begun back in my TSR days (they were the publishers of Dungeons and Dragons way back before the company was bought out far too many times, until eventually it seems to have been passed around more often than one of Huggy Bear's -- ahem -- business associates). Those of us who worked in the downtown building, which was where all of the creative side of the D&D business was done, would elect a Fine Fellow every week. Ballot box stuffing was not only allowed, but encouraged.
     So, because I'm all about maintaining personal traditions, we're going to continue the practice here. Note that the Fine Fellow can be either male or female, and actually doesn't even need to be human (a precedent set by Time Magazine when they selected the personal computer as their Man of the Year). Our Fine Fellow can even be fictional.
     In the future, feel free to propose candidates for the weekly Fine Fellow award. You can vote for yourself, you can make any argument in support of your choice that you can imagine (and the most imaginative arguments will be given the most consideration), and if you can find a way to stuff the ballot box in our digital age, then by all means do so.
    This week our inaugural Fine Fellow can be no one else but the merely marvelous Mark Buckingham. Call him Bucky, if you like, not because he fearlessly backed up Captain America back in the big one, only to fall prey to the evil machinations of Baron Zemo (although I wouldn't put it past the always-surprising Mr. Buckingham, esquire), but because it's a nickname he seems to like.
    For those of you who're fans of my long-running Fables funnybook series, he needs no introduction. For everyone else, Bucky is a comic book artist of amazing talent, and smart as a whip. He's introduced so many good ideas to the Fables series that I couldn't begin to list them here. It wouldn't be at all unreasonable for readers to simply assume that any good idea in Fables was quite likely one of his. And Bucky is nice -- arguably the nicest man in comics (although Gene Ha and Zander Cannon could also wrangle a few well-deserved votes in that category -- but they are perhaps Fine Fellow candidates for another time).
    Mark Buckingham, my partner in crime, my friend, and one of the small handful of people I most admire in this world, is an artist without peer, who lives in Spain with his alarmingly lovely wife Irma. He is, in every important respect, a truly fine fellow.

And yes, I am fully aware that this was posted on Saturday, but this was the moment I had a spare moment to attend to this, and seriously, Bucky is such an exemplary Fine Fellow, that he deserves the extra day in office.

I'm not certain, but...

I think this may have been my first published comic book cover (this is a detail shot -- the entire cover was a wrap-around, with more characters on the back, and had room for the titles and such). It was for Issue One of the Elementals, published by Comico in 1983. In hindsight, it was pretty deplorable, but I suppose I didn't think so at the time.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Long ago I used to draw as well as write funnybooks...

But I started out fairly slow and got slower as the years progressed. Here's a page from one of my sketchbooks. I like the woman's t-shirt design. This was drawn back when I was beginning to become more interested in how real clothes drape and fold on a human body, and therefore less interested in drawing people in skin tight costumes, making me more and more unfit for superhero work. There may be a story in Joey Sato's Discount Backcountry Ranger Corps someday, but then again, maybe not.

This isn't much of a justification, but...

Once upon a time every other single person in the whole wide world had a blog. Now I do too. So there.