From the Vaults

From the Vaults: An eyeball that jumps around and does weird stuff

Tuesday, April 29th, 2014

Two years ago I improvised a story called Run Backwards at Pittsburgh's Art All Night event. It featured an eyeball character that I later named Iye (a moniker I thoughtlessly lifted from one of Justique's short stories).

The original version was an experimental black and white tale about lost memories. When the opportunity came to be a part of Jeremy Baum's Memory comics anthology in early 2013, I remixed and remastered Run Backwards into this:

It was a fun chance for me to try out a different coloring technique, laying sloppy blocks of color underneath my loose lines.

After my Run Backwards remix, I was psyched to draw Iye again. Josh Blair's call for submissions turned out to be just the thing. He planned to release a final PDF issue of his Candy or Medicine zine and I wanted in on the grand finale.

I envisioned a story that paid tribute to Candy or Medicine's legacy in an obtuse way. In my mind, I pictured a tale that could be read both forwards and backwards. That's how I came up with Postremo:

Does it work seamlessly in both directions? HELL NO! But if you read the captions backwards ("This is where it actually begins? But will people understand... Obviously there's something odd going on here.") it sorta works. Sorta.

Overall, I feel like it's a perpetual work-in-progress, never realizing its potential but hinting at something interesting.

Anyway, the Candy or Medicine PDF finale never happened. And since it's been a year now that I worked on either of these tales, I figured it was about time for Run Backwards and Postremo to be unearthed... FROM THE VAULTS!!!

From the Vaults: Zelda

Monday, April 14th, 2014

I'm not a Legend of Zelda fan. Which, oddly enough, is the very thing that attracted me to this call for submissions.

Early last year, cartoonist Raven Perez hopped onto the semi-secret Webcomic Creators Facebook group and encouraged people to contribute to a digital anthology of short Zelda stories that he would distribute for free.

Here's the tiny Zelda tale that I submitted in April 2013:

Storywise, it's nothing special. Just a few brief pages that sum up my general distaste for the concept behind Zelda (and other "save the helpless princess!" stories).

But visually I was seeking to experiment. Inspired by the vector art my collaborator E.D. used in our Super Haters story arc, I wanted to push the color-heavy art style I'd utilized in The Edge of the Earth one step further.

I drew some raw lineart for my Zelda story that I eventually cleaned up and turned into this still raw (but decidedly less crappy) lineart:

With the lineart in place, I crafted my digital colors. A typical vector art process, I guess. But it was all new to me at the time! (Not to mention really tedious.)

Then I submitted my short story to Raven and patiently waited. Finally, a couple of weeks ago he decided to nix the project for good due to the low number of submissions he received.

No biggie. These kinds of things fall apart all the time. I'm just glad that the Zelda Jamthology is officially dead so I can unearth this comic... FROM THE VAULTS!!!

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!!!