Saturday, December 29, 2007

Sit Tight, Skeezix

The past couple months have been pretty tense, Skeezix-wise, as the prospect of pre-term labor has been with us pretty constantly. But the Adorable Progeny has hung in so far, and every day he does he gets stronger and more developed. So listen to your father, Skeezix, and stay put for another ten weeks, okay?

The line quoted is from Sea Dreams by Alfred, Lord Tennyson. Sea Dreams is a narrative poem about a family coping with getting swindled out of their savings, but the following is often excerpted as Cradle Song for collections of children's poetry:

What does the little birdie say
In her nest at peep of day?

Let me fly, says little birdie,
Mother, let me fly away.

Birdie, rest a little longer,
Till the little wings are stronger.

So she rests a little longer,
Then she flies away.

What does little baby say,
In her bed at peep of day?

Baby says, like little birdie,
Let me rise and fly away.

Baby, sleep a little longer,
Till the little limbs are stronger.

If she sleeps a little longer,
Baby too shall fly away.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Danger!

I'm blogging mid-movie, here. I penciled this during the first half hour of Danger: Diabolik, inked during the rest of the movie, and colored it and am posting it while listening to the commentary.

Danger: Diabolik is great fun, by the way. If you found a couple of thirteen year old boys who just happened to be cinematic geniuses and gave them a budget, this is the movie you'd end up with. Everyone either dies or makes-out. Highly recommended.

Or, you know, if you don't have time, you could just watch this. Same difference.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

The Coccinellidae Crusher!

Here's another runner-up for my latest Fist-a-Cuffs combatant. I'd wanted to make a character named Ladybug for awhile, both because it was the Lovely Wife's childhood nickname, but also for the potential contrast between cute and kick-ass.

Forcefield armor isn't exactly a new idea, but it was still fun taking my turn at drawing it. As was trying to draw a big, brawny ladybug.

I thought I saw a girl wearing this hoody on the street one day. When I realized she was wearing something else, I had to use what I thought I'd seen for something.

The forcefield is generated by the box at her waist. The goggles are for, uhm... Ladybug vision?

Saturday, December 22, 2007

December, 1997, pt. 5

And now, we near the end of the Sketchbook of Christmas Past. I think I'm back in Richmond for these pages, spending a day with the girlfriend before boarding a bus back to New York.

Two items of note on this page: 1. Me playing with words, perhaps with (gawd help us all) poetry in mind; and 2. I have made a note of Scott McCloud's peculiar notion, the 24-Hour Comic.


This drawing bears at least a passing resemblance to the girlfriend's cat, Gunther, who liked to have sex with my socks.


And we end as all sketchbooks should, with puppies.

Monday, December 17, 2007

The Patron Saint of Mean Old Bastards

What with the madness and all, I completely missed my chance to hype the latest round of Fist-a-Cuffs, the battle-blog for daring doodles. Trying out the whole "late is better than never" theory, I thought I'd share my slush-pile on the way to developing the combatant I actually submitted.

This was a three-person tag-team round: two fighters and a manager. I came up with Ol' St. Bastard here as a manager character.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

December, 1997, pt. 4

Christmas Vacation, ten years ago, has been previously blogged here, here, and here.

Okay, so I've left my father's house for the maternal end of the ol' familial gauntlet. But first, a haircut.

The next several sketches are from my maternal grandparents' place. I'm not too sure why I was playing around with Latin (my one year of Latin has now completely degenerated to "Amo Amas Amat" and a phrase which I take on faith as being dirty), but the first quote's reference to the New Sun is a clue that I'd dug through some boxes of paperbacks in the basement, and was rereading Gene Wolfe. More on this, later.

Oh, also, that lamp that's just barely doodled shows up again in my story "The Baker's Son." Should you be interested.

The mantle clock was made by Silas Hoadley. Hoadley was a clock maker in the in the early-19th Century, known for making clocks with wooden movements. My grandfather was pretty sure that he was related to Hoadley on his mother's side, and his two Hoadley clocks were prized possessions.

I have no idea how the chronology works here—these are sketches from the Museum of Fine Arts in Richmond, VA. Why are they in the middle of this visit? Maybe I made a quick trip up there? Maybe I just drew in the middle of my notebook when I was there earlier? I dunno. But, hey, "Shardula" is a pretty cool word, huh?

Here's the second of my grandfather's Hoadley clocks. This clock has been gracing my studio for the past year. And look! It's my mom with my then-brand-new niece, Sophie! Needless to say, Sophie has grown.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

This One The Dire Wraiths Fear More Than All Others

You know who I love? ROM, that's who. I am the exact perfect age to remember and have been captivated by every single stage of the Spaceknight's brief career. I realize that this might be hard to imagine , but there was a time when the idea of a toy with blinking lights and electronic breathing noises was very exciting. The first Star Wars movie was still a pretty recent memory, and this toy was like owning your very own special effects!

Of course the toy was very expensive, and I never so much as knew a kid who owned it. And, in the turns-out-those-grapes-actually-are-pretty-sour department (TOTGAAPS), it was a pretty lousy action figure, having something like half a point of articulation. But, aw man, the dreams ROM inspired.

And then there was the ROM comic, a merchandise tie-in comic that had no right to be good, and by today's standards probably isn't, but in 1982 I would have fought you for saying as much. There was quite a while there when ROM was my favorite character in the Marvel Universe (which is pretty much saying he was my favorite character in all of literature). The dustbins of juvenilia contain more than a few passionately scribbled attempts to figure out what my Spaceknight incarnation would look like.

ROM's comic lasted 75 issues, and each and every one of them was written by Bill Mantlo. In 1992, Mantlo was the victim of a hit-and-run accident while roller blading, and will probably spend the rest of his life in a nursing care facility. Floating World Comics is hosting an art show to raise money for Mantlo's continued care on December 6th, which will include the above contribution. For those of us not in Portland, Oregon, a book will be available of the work donated to the show. I hope you'll consider donating, or buying a print, or a copy of the book. Do it for Mantlo! Do it for ROM!