24-Hour Comics Day

From the Vaults: Maximum Cactus

Sunday, March 16th, 2014

I attempted my first 24-Hour Comics Day in 2010, surrounded by friends and local cartoonists at Pittsburgh's Toonseum.

Being the rookie that I was, I approached the marathon challenge all wrong. Chief among those mistakes? Working digitally. (photos by Dan Greenwald)

I don't have any beef with drawing digitally. I think it's great! But in 2010, I had no experience drawing comics on the computer.

Other mistakes were made too. A year later, I wrote this list of the things I did wrong that day (featuring peeks at my script and completed art).

I completed nine pages that day and for years I sat on them. They're kinda ugly and confusing. I didn't feel like trying to make anything coherent out of them.

But early in 2013, I decided to answer an anthology's open call for submissions with a reworked version of my Maximum Cactus tale. Here's what I submitted:

My art here is rife with subconscious sexual imagery. I wish I could claim that I was consciously trying to make an awkward comic book full of phallic and vaginal symbolism, but I had no clue what I was doing.

Which is the exact reason why Maximum Cactus was unfinished for years before I finally unearthed it... FROM THE VAULTS!!!

Heat Seeker, My 2012 24-Hour Comic

Wednesday, October 31st, 2012

For the second year in a row, I banged out a complete 24-page story from scratch for 24-Hour Comics Day. The result is Heat Seeker, an experimental fantasy tale about a mysterious eyeball's journey from cold to warmth.

I'm trying out Issuu for the first time and I'd love to hear your feedback on the reading experience.

Heat Seeker by Nick Marino (click here for more reading options if you don't see the embedded reader or your device can't run Flash)

I hope you enjoy Heat Seeker. I had a kickass time writing and drawing it, and I want that fun to spill through as you breeze through this weird comic book!

UPDATE: If you hate reading stuff online, you can download a PDF of Heat Seeker.

UPDATE 2: You can also read Heat Seeker on Flickr and deviantART.

A 24-Hour Comics Day 2011 Recap

Monday, October 3rd, 2011

This year (like last year), I celebrated 24-Hour Comics Day at the Toonseum in Pittsburgh. Joe Wos hooked us up with a brand new extension of the museum's space, and it was an awesome place to get work done.

How awesome??? So awesome that I finished my 24-page story in less than 12 hours! Granted, I drew Stick Cats Act III in a loose line with minimal detail, so it's not like I pulled a Jack Kirby routine. But I'm extremely pleased with the way things turned out. (Check back this Wednesday to read page 1!)

What did I do differently from 2010? I learned from my mistakes by setting different goals, sticking to stuff that I enjoy drawing, and focusing on speed. My goal for this year was to finish in a half-day, and I'm glad that I accomplished that mission (I went to sleep at a normal time in my own bed! SWEET!).

It was a great environment at this year's 24HCD, with lots of space and a good vibe. People were there to work, and their passion for drawing comics was apparent. A few of my close friends were there, as well as a few peeps I haven't met before.

Everybody had a different way of working and it was a lot fun to see the different styles in motion. For example, Chris Maverick was wired up real nice with his laptop and tricked-out tablet. He demonstrated Manga Studio a bit, and I was totally floored by some of the program's features.

On the flip, Juan Jose Fernandez was working on special yellow paper stock in a much more old school method. His traditional style involved pencils and India ink, and he kept his pages in a stack on the top left of his table.

Now imagine if you will Chris and Juan standing on opposite sides of a room, with a full spectrum of working methods filling in the gap between them. That's how it was at 24HCD. A few of us had laptops to use for finding reference or keeping tabs on social media while we worked. Others kicked it straight analog -- it was just them, a pencil, a pen, and the paper.

I worked in my sketchbook. That's the method I've used for Stick Cats thus far and I've come to enjoy the feel of drawing the comic page-by-page in a coil-bound tome. The only drawback to working in my sketchbook was that it was hard for other artists to come around and peak at my progress.

I skipped pencils (as usual) and worked in black ink, using my beloved Paper Mate Flair pens to get the job done (with a little Sharpie here and there). As I've been working like this for going on 20 years now, it was easy and comfortable -- a technique I was able to leverage for speed.

So what did I learn this year that I can apply in 2012?

1. Focusing on speed is a great way to work, but I'd like to slow down a bit and do a more detailed story next year.

2. Working in my sketchbook greatly decreased my ability to share, so I'll definitely make sure to use loose sheets next time.

3. And, finally, I'm gonna focus on big action and minimal dialogue in 2012. My characters talked too much this year, and I got tired of drawing the same settings over and over.

BUT WAIT! There's more! I referenced 24HCD in today's Super Haters webcomic. Based on Grant Morrison's philosophy of transference from the comics page to the creator's real life, I figured that if Destruct-O-Tron could complete a brilliant complete 24-hour comic in the Super Haters reality, then maybe it'd transfer over to me. Though I'd be hard pressed to call Stick Cats Act III brilliant, the other part of the transference worked!