Are you freaking kidding me?

I check my e-mail to find seven messages in my in box. Two are karate stuff, no surprises there. Two are advertisements for stores complete with coupons, always nice. One was a reply from a friend. Another was my buddy asking what I though about Dark Knight, and I gave serious thought about linking him to myself and Kid Sis gutting that movie like a freshly caught trout over in her blog.

The last one caught my eye and I really should have cut and pasted it here. Just when I thought the stuff from that Deffiant guy was the stupidest thing ever I get an e-mail about a donation.

It's the latest scam in the spirit of those zany Nigerian princes, woman says she's ill somewhere in the Middle East. Her husband has passed away. She's probably going to shuffle off the mortal coil soon. She wants my help in donating their money to a church. No word as to why I'm the chosen one fr this good deed. I'd certainly never heard of her. I'm sure I'd learn much more if I replied to her e-mail, as she requested.

I thought about doing it in the spirit of having some fun with the scammer, but in all honesty, I was already bored.


I'm not liking the way this year's going with my comics. Used to be when someone asked me, "Hey Marty, what are you really liking in comics?" I'd reply, "It's as easy as ABC: The All new Atom, Blue Beetle and Checkmate." Well all good things eventually come to an end.

Gail Simone wrapped up her Atom run tying off the loose ends in a nice neat little bow. She moved on to write the most enjoyable Wonder Woman since Greg Rucka left the title. Unfortunately all the charming weirdness went with her and now the book is canceled.

John Rogers delivered the best story I've read in comics with his final issues of Blue Beetle. Seriously, it was everything that a comic should be. I still go back and re-read those issue when I'm wanting a good smile. Now every issue feels like filler. There's even been a 'Spanish issue' gimmick that was just a a colossal failure. You don't keep readers on a book after a fan favorite writer leaves by putting out a book that is an pain to try to read.

The previously mentioned Greg Rucka finished out his Checkmate run with a three issue storyline that had enough action and drama to be a major event wrapped up in one neat and tidy package. Now Bruce Jones has sent me screaming from the title. I only was able to deal with his god awful Nightwing run because I knew the character was on Dan Didio's hit list and that would be an incredibly stupid move. Had to support the character. I can't deal with that same writer butchering Checkmate. I dropped it two issues into his run.

Seems I'm dropping a lot of books lately. I'm bailing on Batman since this latest "R.I.P." bit is the most disappointing storyline since "Hush". I'm barely hanging on to Final Crisis. I'm still reading for one reason. I was promised sumo. I was delivered sumo.

Right now Wonder Woman, Booster Gold and Tiny Titans are still keeping me happy. Hopefully something will get me excited soon.

Let's talk about boobs.

Ah yes: boobs. Been discussing them quite a bit lately with various people. Can't ignore them being a comic book fan. Especially since the vast majority of the female characters are wearing spandex and the vast majority of the artists don't bother to draw what they would really look like in spandex. Most artists just draw them as they would be naked, skip drawing the nipple and that somehow has ended up being the accepted interpretation. There they are. Boobs. Out there for all to see. Well sort of.

It does seem a bit much sometimes. Especially with certain artists getting praised for drawing women in spine wrenching contortions just so the drooling fan boys can get a good view of the thinly covered chest and rear in the same shot. (As a side note: can Ed Benes please not draw Justice League anymore? Pretty please?) Let's face it, a little cheesecake is fine every so often, but sometimes it's just downright exploitive.

Now at this point some of you are thinking, "Marty you hypocritical load, the main character in your comic Mere Mortal works in a strip club! Are you the pot or the freaking kettle?"

I'm the wok. And don't you forget it.

Yes indeed, Joe from Mere Mortal does indeed work in a strip club as a cook. He's chef in a world where everyone as some sort of super power except him. People's powers, referred to in the story as 'gifts', often play a major part in determining social standing and occupation. So I had to ask myself, "Where's a place that serves food, but people don't go to for the food?" So, combined with my desire to work in some of my experiences working the door at a bar I set Joe's occupation at a strip club.

So, how is what we're doing different from what I've complained about? Size matters, that's why. All to often I end up laughing at the ridiculous proportions attributed to the women in comics. A woman does not require a D cup to be attractive. Chris and I both try to at the very least have a somewhat sensible approach to it. Real women don't look like comic book characters. If they did, I'd feel the need to make them eat something.

So, will my little rant change the way women in comics are drawn? Pfft! Not a chance. But hopefully the next time you pick up a comic and see a character that isn't built like a Playboy Playmate post airbrushing some fan boy will see the same girl and realize, "Hey, that's a really amazing picture of a beautiful woman."

It's not a revolution, it's evolution.

Me and strange ideas

Chris is coming over tonight. Been a freaking age since we actually saw each other. We're plotting more stuff for the website. Including a redesign. Normally I'm a if it ain't broke don't fix it kinda guy, but let's face it, the site while having a good amount of content could use a dressing up.

No one's gonna ask this boy to the prom in his current state.

So, what's on the menu?

The dramatic return of our art section! (It's dramatic because we say so.)

Some spiffy art to not only make the site easy to navigate, but make it easy on the eyes as well. Perhaps even with the debut of a new site 'mascot'.

Last but not least, my pulp project which I've been working on. Prose fiction featuring some art pieces to dress it on up. The pulps will be in five page installments and I've been lucky enough to have some really great guest artists volunteer their pens, brushes and perhaps even some charcoal.

Aquaman versus Sub-Mariner

So, watching Jeapardy the other night and host Alex Trebec (sp?) while talking with one of the contestants revealed that he was a fan of Sub-Mariner and used to collect the comic. I thought that was pretty cool. Not in the "dude, he likes comics too" sense, but that "wow he's a fan of a character that isn't super popular with his own movie coming soon" sense.

Me? I'm a DC guy and when Sub-mariner comes up the obvious comparison is to good ol' Aquaman. A while back the debate was going on about who was "better" so for giggles I came up with a little list. Enjoy.

And now: 10 reasons why Aquaman is better than Namor!

10: Better hair.

9: Was a stud in Smallville

8: Been on a lot more cartoons and even had one of his own.

7: Namor raided the surface world to try to get a bride. Aquaman has the ladies come to him.

6: More options for footwear. Can wear cool boots without having to worry about pesky ankle wings.

5: Was mentioned in a Barenaked Ladies song.

4: Got that whole sexual tension thing with Wonder Woman. Everyone knows she digs him.

3: Was really cool in the Justice League Heroes game as opposed to Namor in Marvel Ultimate Alliance where he was... oh yeah... NOT THERE!

2: Does not need a weird battle cry. "Imperious Rex"? What?

...and finally...

1: Aquaman has never gone into battle wearing only a speed-o.

Marty versus the church

I teach Karate at a church. It works out nicely. After we beat the crap out of each other we pray for each other to get better. My father started the Karate Club at the church in 1990 and I helped out as best I can. With his retirement and moving from the area I took over since I'm not only his son, but his senior student. I run and adult class and a kids class. I charge a small fee per month which is less than half of what a person would pay anywhere else. I also offer discounts for people with multiple family members in the program. It's not about the money. It shouldn't be.

So, what happens when someone else decides that it should be about the money?

I've been affiliated with this church for a very long time. I grew up there. The church grew with me. Additions were built onto the building because the church kept attracting new members. The pastor at the time was very well liked, was good at tending the needs of the congregation and knew the value of fellowship.

However, things change and so do churches. Pastors get reassigned. A new pastor was brought in and it did not go well. You see, it doesn't take all seven of the deadly sins to kill a church. Pride and greed did a very good job on their own. The church was no longer about fellowship and the Word of God. It became about getting the money out of the people's pockets. I stopped attending church services there after a month long series about how we need to give more to the church.

Events like out annual Bazaar and Vacation Bible school were continued but diminished. Things like our annual talent show and Halloween party just went away. People left. Most of my family did. My father and I continued to teach there and continued to make monthly donations to the church from the fee we charged out students.

So then I hear complaints about keeping too much Karate gear at the church. Valid complaint and I took much of it out of there. Then they decide that I need to pay more rent. I don't pay rent. We've never paid rent. We made month donations. We were never asked to pay anything. I raised the amounts of my donations. I continued to tend to the upkeep of the areas we use. I continued putting together Karate shows for the annual Bazaar. I continued to donate months of lessons to Church fund raising events.

And I show up last night to find all the doors locked to every room that has a lock on it. Including half of the bathrooms. I confronted some of the people in charge. They told me what I was going to be paying weekly and that was going to increase next year and that I would not be allowed access to other areas of the church.

And I told them that wasn't going to happen.

I'll be appearing before a committee meeting in a couple weeks. See, unlike the vast majority of the people would run these meetings, I remember what made the church grow and I remember what nearly killed it. They want to keep using the same methods that broke the church to fix. Honestly it's not their fault, because they don't know any better.

You don't demand more money from programs that are serving to bring new faces to the church. You don't put the squeeze on your supporters.

There's a new pastor now, the second in about as many years. She seems to be a good egg. Quick to pour oil over troubled waters. She seems to be the type of person I can work with to keep not only the doors of the karate Club open, but the doors of the church as well. Like I said, I grew up in that church. Despite much of the drama that's reared it's ugly head there recently, it's still very dear to me.

Churches need money to survive. This is true and unavoidable. More than money, it needs people. You don't keep people by demanding their money.

Seems I may have to teach more than just Karate very soon.

2008 summer comic book movies review

So, this summer we've been hit with five comic book based movies. I really wish I was happier about that. Why am I not happy? Well let's look at what we have.

The Incredible Hulk
I skipped this one entirely. The early previews looked really great. Edward Norton on the run from the military. He's having to keep his cool or really bad things are going to happen. Then I got to see more and more by way of previews. It looked like one big CGI fest and frankly, I have a Wii, so yeah. I skipped it. I might rent it, but I'm not impressed by fancy CGI anymore.

Iron Man
This movie just ticked me off. The action scene bored the hell out of me. The final fight scene just flat out did not work. Of course they take their helmets off for the last battle. Makes complete sense. Please note the sarcasm. I was hoping to see Rhodey do at least one cool thing, and that didn't happen. Mostly, I felt like my intelligence was getting insulted. If I'm making weapons for the military and I find out that the bad guys are getting them and using them, my reaction is not "we're going to stop making weapons". I was waiting the whole time for Tony Stark to ask the magic question, "um, how did these guys get their hands on my stuff?" Sure there were some good one liners and the chemistry between Downey and Paltrow was very good, but that wasn't enough to save it. I wondered repeatedly if I was supposed to watch Tony Stark or Wile E. Coyote. I'm sick of being told that a movie is great as long as I just turn my brain off.

This isn't an adaption of the comic so much as the film lifting a few lines and character names and pulling a cut and paste. The early part of the movie did have a nice Fight Club vibe to it, but once the bullets started bending it went downhill real fast. I constantly felt like I was two steps ahead of everything and not just in the plot, but in the action scenes. Props in a couple of spots, but mostly a let down. And "the Loom of Fate"? Who the hell was smoking what when they came up with that one?

The Dark Knight
This movie was best made piece of unenjoyable material I've seen. Great acting, excellent visuals and a solid story all of which I never want to see again. There was no charm whatsoever. Harvey Dent in the film delivers the quote "it's always darkest before the dawn". The dawn never comes. It's a tragedy featuring three noble men struggling against evil and chaos only to be torn down. Good does not triumph here. It barely manages to survive through sacrifice and compromise. I left feeling very depressed and slightly horrified, not by the movie but by my fellow movie-goers. Ledger's Joker was one the screen brutally murdering people and some in the audience were laughing right along with him. Bale's Batman gets by on his gadgets and fists, but little of the intellect and cunning that fans of Batman are used to seeing in the 'World's Greatest Detective". I'm really sorry I watched it.

Hellboy II
Why am I talking about this one last? Because I like to save the best for last. If you're reading this and haven't seen it yet, go right now. It's such a good, fun movie. All the charm The Dark Knight was lacking must have moved here. Great action with some gorgeously executed fight scenes. Del Toro's vision is a joy to watch. Utterly mesmerizing, even when it incredibly creepy. Also, easily the funniest thing I've seen on the big scene in months. This movie is not trying to bring the characters and concepts of the source material into our world. It draws the audience into a completely different and strange world. I'm sure this movie won't make the kind of money the others will at the box office, but I certainly know which one I'll be buying when they come out on DVD.

Who Needs Friends?

Everyone does, but it the type of friends that's important. This is brought up because it was suggested that we create a MySpace page for Duck and Cover Studios. Reason being is that it would be good promotion for our work and we could get "friends" added.

Well that's not really the "friends" I'm looking for. The purpose of the site is not to make friends, it's to build an audience. Let's say we did create a MySpace page and gather about fifty "friends". How many of those so called "friends" would actually bother to read what we do regularly? Odds are: not many. Let's face it, MySpace has it's uses and sure if we did go that route it could serve to bring a few more folks to our table, however your average MySpace user doesn't give a damn about what people put on their pages. They want to up their "Friend count" and give themselves the illusion of popularity.

Your typical MySpace friend doesn't care about you.

Then there's the friends that do care about you. These are the ones that want you to succeed. They're vital for support, but usually useless for a critical opinion. I'm a karate man. The concept of my friend kicking the crap out of me for my own good is not a foreign concept to me. It's vital for a creative person to have feedback from those not afraid to hurt their feelings. A little sugar coating is nice, but if it gets to the point that it's no longer honest then it's useless.

If you only want friends that will support you and praise you unconditionally, grow up.

Then you've got the friends that want something from you besides your friendship. I've seen this a bit even in my not-so-spectacular forays into the comic field. At a convention when I'm at my table that's usually the only thing separating me from the people I'm talking to. I'm not big money. I don't have a big name. Still, I'm in the weeds with the rest of the crowd trying to put out work and get readers where I can. This attracts people. Some of these people want to be your "friend" in the hopes that if you make it somewhere in your endeavors that they'll be remembered and somehow compensated for declaring themselves your "friend".

If you don't think I'm smart enough to know who really has got my back and who doesn't, you're in for a very nasty surprise.

Then there's your real friends. They might not get it. Their eyes may glaze over when you start talking about your latest project. They may tempt you with that night out at the bar when your deadline is fast approaching. Still, push meets shove, they're wishing you well and pitching in when you need it. They'll tell you when you're doing good. They'll tell you when you suck.

So, I'll be passing on the MySpace thing. I want readers and slowly but surely, Chris and I are getting them. We're patient.

We've already got friends. Doesn't mean we're not looking for more. Just means our friendship isn't going to be a notch on anyone's virtual bedpost.


It's pretty easy to look cool and leave quickly. As is obvious by my previous posts in this blog, I'm a comic book reader. As I got my weekly fix this week I came to the determination that Batman at the moment is much more enjoyable when not in his own book. Right now in the Batman comics we are in the middle of the "Batman W.T.F." storyline which is about as coherent as a junkie trying to convince me to give him a dollar. Related titles are beginning their obligatory tie-in stories. Honestly, I haven't been this disappointed in the Batman storyline since "Hush", and am on the verge of dropping the title yet again from my regular reading.

So, I'm not enjoying Batman in his own book at the moment, but I'm enjoying his appearances elsewhere. This week he appeared in Final Crisis: Requiem and Booster Gold. I greatly enjoyed both appearances. They showed something that gets overlooked often when handling the character: ultimately, he cares. This too often gets overlooked by the rabid Bat-fans who prefer to focus on the grittier "hardcore" aspect of the characters. Both issues with his appearances and well worth reading, even if you're not fans of Batman.

The thing with cameo appearances like this is that it's really easy to showcase one thing about a character without much baggage. The writer can make the character seem really cool, funny or tough. In a way it's a bit of a cheat. The more you're exposed to a character the more you come to understand them. Their flaws become visible. It's like having a long conversation. If it goes on long enough, eventually someone is going to say something stupid.

You can look cool without actually being cool. You just have to be quick about it. Show up, do something really cool, and get out of there. Leave the masses wanting more. Well, characters like Batman and Wolverine have been doing this for a very long time. Are they actually as cool as they seem or do the writers just seem to know when have them pop up and them slip away.

The cameo is a risky proposition. Do it too much and you're overexposed. It's tempting too. You need a little boost in sales, well let's throw in Power Girl for a cameo. What? You mean we need a reason for her to be there? You mean her boobs aren't enough? OF COURSE they're enough! Don't you read Wizard?!

No. The best cameos are short and sweet, but also have meaning. You can't just through in characters for no reason whatsoever. That's when it become gratuitous. Then the readers start getting sick of that character. Then they become the equivalent of Brittany Speares. There they are everywhere, and the audience wishes they weren't.

So, am I huge Batman fan? Not really. He's alright, and I am looking forward to the movie. However, like many things, he's better in small doses.


OMG! I'm sending a shout out to my bff Sara! Like, she totally works at the YMCA with me! She's SO cool! L8r!

I completely suck at chat speak. Curse me and my literacy! I'll never be one of the cool kids now.

Sara does really exist and yes she really does work with me at the Y, and due to a coin toss she is my 'BFF'. The girl who lost the coin toss is very bitter about that. Not that Alex is a bad person, but that's what the coin decreed. I am a slave to the coin.

The 'BFF' thing is our new running gag. While Sara is young and hip, I most assuredly am not, but I can fake it to a degree. So we laugh, we do the fist pound, and mention something odd with some celebrity and comment 'WTF'.

Do I have a hatred of chat speak? Well, a can't help but think of the phone commercial featuring the girl whose mother is asking her about the charges in there bill for texting and upon inquiring as to whom this girl is sending all these messages to replies "Idk my bff Jill?" Amazing actress. Truly. Rarely does a performance pull such an emotional response from me. That response is a burning desire to whack her upside the head with a tire iron, but it's still an emotional one.

Things like 'omg', 'lol' and 'wtf' have moved into the mainstream of our language. Sure, they lack style of their predecessors 'snafu' and 'fubar', but there they are. It still galls me a bit to see them in e-mails. I still think it's stupid when people actually say them. Perhaps, I really need to change with times and accept the fact that to a degree literacy is passé.

Or I can just appear to be the most intelligent person in the room with my ability to communicate without need of translation.


It's just too stupid for words sometimes.

It's no secret that I would love to just write and draw all day long and make a living at it. Unfortunately Chris and I are still working our day jobs and spending whatever free time we can find to produce content for our loyal readers. We both like our jobs, and our employeers have been very supportive of our efforts. Still it would be nice to be making some coin for our creative efforts, so when I heard of some possible paying work through the grapevine I checked it out by way of an inquiring e-mail. Sure enough I got a response.

there are fourteen positions,...two are photography,...three are colorists in photoshop cs. and the remaining are artists & writers. i would have to first see samples of black n white work,for artists,different layers of photoshop work for colorists. if you are under the age of seventeen,we ask that u send a parental permission slip back signed ,after we send it to you.(if we are to hire you.)if you are over the age of seventeen,we only require you to sign a contract, and two confidentiality agreements,...and tell us where to send the check. we prefer you to have a,...but if not we can work around it. the legal documents are to be governed by the state of Missouri. if you are a creator/writer,...i ask that you copyright/trademark your characters through a law firm first,before submitting them. we will take twenty percent of the royalties for any work published,and you get to keep eighty percent. but for any movies made off of said property,it is we are paying for equipment/c.g.i. effects. also any action figures that are made in the likeness of your copyrights,is forty percent for you,and the rest goes to our company. we pay seventy five dollars per page for foreground art. there are thirty three pages per book. there is more for posters,and advertisements.background art pays one hundred dollars per page. there will be raises,when we actually get to where we can give them. colorists get one hundred fifty dollars starting out. i am mainly wanting people willing to sign a ten year contract. meaning if you are good and fast enough to complete ten years worth of work in two years,...great. but the contract states that you will complete ten years worth,or i am able to sue for any royalties i feel i would have made off of your work.

Sweet mother of pearl! An offer of indentured servitude complete with a threat of legal action if I don't keep crankin' out the work? Where do I sign up? Yes, I know the above was completely horrible to read, but I suffered through it and by golly so can you. Now, you may be wondering why I'd apply to a company run by what seems to be a fourteen year old with delusions of grandeur or why I'd continue to e-mail him. It's because frankly, this was too good to let go away. And just so everyone's clear on that ten year contract, basically, if his company goes tits up in the pool in a year and I go on to get paying work for a another company, he's saying he can go after what I make. For the record, average exclusive contracts with companies is two years.

until i see some art from you,..and you have signed the confidentiality agreements,...i cant give any copyrighted material out. im under contract. so just draw me some pictures of: batman...wonder woman...hulk...flash,...spider-man...aquaman ...hawk man,...witchblade...lara croft...and donna troy. and send them when u can. you can send line art un inked,and copies inked, if hired, u will either have to learn to draw in ink,...or ink your own stuff. we aren't hiring inkers....most good photoshop colorists can color line art without it now. and if hired i need something to prove age.

Ah, so I just need to crank out ten pieces for him. In lieu of that I submitted a couple of older pieces, one of DC's Metamorpho which was a sequential and a Pin up of Marvel's Tigra. I had to do something. What kind of clandestine secrets would I be privy to once I had signed the confidentiality agreement? Also note that he didn't ask me for any sequential art at all. If you're going to work for any company, they're going to want to see sequentials. I did ask if I really had to draw all of those characters he mentioned, because it was obvious to me that this was going to go no where and I did not feel like drawing all of those characters just to see what would happen.

all of them would be required, gauge what u could work on for me....the metamorpho one was funny,lol.... but how good are u at archangels?? i have a series that focuses on the fallen 3rd of heaven....some of them become good,and are attacked by their evil piers. i intend multiple artists to work on nine issue stints on the title...and am for proof of age,on hiring u i would need a photocopy of ur drivers license. u can omit the ss number,we don't require it.

As much as he'd like proof of age, I'd rather get proof of existence first. My Google-jitsu was unable to find anything on this guy. Frankly, I was shocked that he had not Googled me. Him and his company were complete ghosts. There's nothing about them on the grid except for a Geek dating service site profile and an account of Gaia online referring to himself as "Deffiant". It seems he's got a big thing for mythology and archangels. I asked for more information about his company.

the company is a just starting out one. my backers,...the people that are willing to pay me the money i need for the equipment i need to make copies,and distribute said merchandise wont allow anything promotion wise for the moment. they already have invested a few thousand for programs,and software, well as paper,ink,...and a few other things needed. i wont, as of my binding contract with them,be able to have a website,until the artists ive already hired get nine full issues of what they are currently working on done. then we can begin the promotion process. for now though they want everything kept secret. i don't have the money/capital to do this without them, i am not going to do anything to test their patience. they have researched the market, and found it to be untrustworthy when it comes to copyright information. this is why they wont give but very little information out,..without proper legal documentation signed first. there are thirty three pages of art per book. four pages of ads in the back of the book, that the story is not interrupted. the archangel book is the only one i am allowticated to discuss to a point, no one can copyright/trademark Thor,gods,or religion. they can just copyright their versions of said material.

"Allowticated" is my new favorite imaginary word. Also, this is the most intense marketing ploy I've ever encountered. No one can know exactly what's going on unless they sign that confidentiality agreement. No website. No promotions. I have to wonder if the basement he lives in has the windows boarded up so that no one could possibly look in and uncover his secrets. Still, I pressed. I cranked out three pages of sequentials featuring an archangel battling a demon. I'm planning on posting them up eventually in the art section of Duck and Cover Studios. And when I say cranked out, I did them in one day. I had finished my Night Life work and spent the day banging out the pages to be scanned and sent to him that night.

not bad, way we do things are very different....first we draw the heroes/angels,in multiple poses separate. then we draw the villains/other angels on a separate sheet of paper. we don't combine them and make panels,until after the backgrounds are in,and all artwork is colored.(kind of like animation cell art: meaning we don't let artists do the panels). they are created with a program that just recently came out,..called comic book creator. this allows for full images to be drawn,..instead of half of the hero,..or villain,or them being covered by a fist hitting them,so that the images can be mirrored in photoshop,and then re-colored,and resized and re utilized...sometimes as cover,splash page, or poster art. also this book takes place in multiple time periods. so to blend in,the angels wear anything from trench coats,to roman garb,to civil war tunics,to future tech armor,to t-shirts. if we hire you, its 33 pages a book,everything drawn separately, usually nine issue story arcs,and we will need proof of age,and confidentiality agreements signed.artists to study are: mike turner,who died Friday night,he created fathom,and soulfire,and was co-creator of witchblade. he was 37. marc sylvestri,and jim lee. study them,and the anatomy. we do not want copy art,but we do not want cartoons either. if you still want the job we will still need to see a few more submissions. don't worry about panels. just draw poses. i do like the way u do the fire for the on foreshortening ,the closer objects appear in comic book art mean bigger.

Thank God someone finally explained foreshortening to me! I'm destined for greatness now! Especially after I "study" Turner, Lee and Silvestri. Honestly, I'm not a fan of any of their art. Nothing against those guys, and it is a shame about Turner passing away, but their work just doesn't thrill me. But I guess I'm the fool for studying drawing anatomy from anatomy books and life drawing. Silly me. Even sillier of me for drawing sequentials since all the companies are now using a program which was designed for use by ten year olds so they can make their own comics. Guess I missed that memo. Chris and I will now have to change everything we're doing to keep up with the serious companies. Fortunately, my new Deffiant friend was there to shed the light and show me the way.

Despite his aid and insights as to how comics are made I still had my nagging doubts. Was this all to good to be true? I asked to talk to one of his other employees or perhaps even one of his backers in the hopes of finding some shred of legitimacy to cling to in my hopes of a ten year contract and gag order.

my other employees are not willing to talk about things they have signed contracts NOT to discuss.they know well that they would be in legal trouble. they wouldn't be able to give u the information i can, they know about as much as you do.maybe only slightly more. i told u we were a start up company. why do u think we would put anything on the web?? we don't even have most of the art done for our ad space yet. and honestly, superman and batman were stolen by DC comics. then superman was changed in the 40's,to be a lot more powerful than he was originally created to be.there have even been law suits from the creators families as of this. MY characters were created by me in 1983,when i was in the hospital.i was nine. in 1992 i revamped them,and have actually been working towards my own company ever since. how do i know you are a legitimate artist?? anybody can have a friend draw up something,and send it through the internet.yet i did not question you... the bottom line is,that i have seen what DC comics,AND Marvel comics have done,as far as submissions go. and the only reason they don't have u do the same things,is they are well known company's.they have legions of legal protection,and we don't. i have three lawyers. and both of the above mentioned company's are very secretive of the story lines and plots,that they put out. they do have the artists and writers and colorists sign such agreements on a regular basis. the only difference here is,that we are protecting both trademarks,and the story plots,as we aren't as well known. and also we are far more likely to hire people than any other company,as we have way more ongoing titles,and are less well known,...and try to help artists,especially when they are rejected at said other companies. and require help where we can get it. BUT this does not mean that i am just going to take people at face value. i have been there,and done that.and i lost three good characters to a major company,and no i wont discuss which one,and who those were. also even if the artwork u submitted is your artwork,..its not as good as someone who claims they have been working to get into the industry for a few looks cartoony. but it was good enough,that we could work with u to improve,without taking much time at all...paneling isint,and hasint been done that way since the late 90's. its been the same way for every major company since.everything is drawn,& scanned separate,and done in animation cell style.and i have a one n a half year old daughter,that i take care of five days of the week,and still make time for this. my backers have also researched the market,and know full well of lawsuits,resulted in the theft of trademarks. so no we wont be telling ANYONE anything without the proper contacts signed in triplicate. and i know that all comic book companies do this in their hiring process at some point.

And now we know why kids should not do drugs. So our Deffiant puppetmaster has his other employees in the dark as well. This really makes me wonder about the previously mentioned need for a parental permission slip if I was 17 or younger. There's this nagging mental image in my skull of a bunch of 12 year olds chained to drafting tables with copies of All Star Batman and Robin placed in front of them as a holy text and made to draw like that for fear of big, mean, and in all likelihood imaginary lawyers gobbling up their hopes and dream like Pez.

If none of that made any sense whatsoever to you, then most likely you have and IQ over 50. But logic means nothing in this cutthroat world of comics where the big evil companies can discover and steal the beloved characters of a nine year old. I'm not sure what's scarier: this guy so wrapped up in his fictitious existence that he's carrying the facade to this length; or the chance that this guy has actually gotten some poor soul to follow him.

Bottom line: in this world there are douches. You've just read an exploration of their king.

Don't be a douche.

Joe versus Joe

So if you're reading this hopefully you've checked out the main site and had a look at the comics Chris and I have produced. If not, go ahead and do so now. Don't worry I'll be here when you get back.


Back yet? Good. So you've at least checked out a bit of Mere Mortal. That's a project that came to me years ago, back in Nineties. I was working on other things so that got a few notes in a notebook and filed away to be revisited later. Later came in 2003 and I wrote the script for issue #1. Chris didn't get his hands on it until a few years later. He liked the script and wanted a crack at it and the rest is history.

Yesterday I get an e-mail from a buddy of mine, James, who tells me there this other guy doing a comic called Average Joe and it seems to be a copy of Mere Mortal. A little Google-jitsu later I've found the guy in question and shot an e-mail over his way. Rob Patey writes for Ain't It Cool News and is working on Average Joe on the side. After a few e-mails back and forth I got a chance to read some of the scripts. It's good stuff. Solid concept with fun characters spouting out dialogue I wish I was cool enough to actually say.

Both Average Joe and Mere Mortal deal with worlds in which everyone has a super power. In both stories the main character is named Joe. So, why am I not ranting, raving and plotting a vendetta again Rob for ripping me off? It's simple. He didn't.

We're both tackling the same concept from two different angles, and it's a big enough concept for the both of us. He'd never heard of me before I e-mailed him. So how did to guys from two different states who had never met, talked to or even heard of each other come up with such similar ideas for comics?

Think about your best friend. The one that you end up finishing each other's sentences. You know them well enough to know what they're thinking. How do you know so much about them and how they speak and think? Shared experiences. There's only so many ways people are going to react to things depending on prior experiences and upbringing. You're constantly being subjected to new information and events. We live now in the Information Age. The information your getting, the things you witness are being witnessed by people around the work.

On the surface it services as reference points, a cultural shorthand. You hear movie advertisers referencing The Matrix over and over again to hype new movies because so many people have seen it that it triggers the recall of watching that film and hopefully makes people want to have a similar movie-going experience.

Now apply this to a creative person. Everyone who creates draws to some degree from an external source. They're our influences. Somewhere down the line two guys got just the right combination of information that something in our brains sparked and you've got two comics, by two guys who've never met with enough similarities to make people wonder if someone is being ripped off. It's a safe bet that there's another person out there right now that neither of us know about with an idea just like ours.

So what am I going to do about one Mister Rob Patey? I'm going to wish him the best of luck finding an artist for his script, because it'll make one very cool comic. It's a big industry in a big world and there's room enough for both of us.


It's 5:30 in the morning and I'm up for no reason. This has been happening more often.

It could be the longer periods of daylight, but my bedroom is kept dark as a cave so I'm doubting it. Something is wanting to drive me out of bed like a kid on Christmas morning. The only thing on my agenda today is going to work. I kept waking up, as if dreaming the clock radio had gone off. I'd stretch and then realize it hadn't and try to go back to sleep. It happened again and I had retrieved a pair of socks and a t-shirt before I realized the time. If I had been dreaming I don't remember it.

Nothing unusual from yesterday could have caused this. I didn't get an over abundance of sleep the night before. I did write up a good chunk of the script for Mere Mortal issue 4.

This may be the answer.

Until recently, I had been part of the online community Gaiaonline. I was a regular in the their Comic Discussion Forum, which was both entertaining and informative. Although being a member for years I was beginning to feel a 'need' to sign in and spend time. It felt like a since of obligation. Recognizing this, I left it. This freed up more time for writing and drawing. I'm producing more work faster. My mind is sparking with more ideas.

Had I become numb? Was it more of an easy out? Simple entertainment and easy interaction with others as opposed to leaving myself alone with my thoughts. That's quite a change from from previous chapters of my life. Before leaving I looked back on some of my early posts on Gaiaonline. There was more fire, a spark. Ideas, and a bit of anger driving me to share what was in my head with the people there, and they responded. Attention is the easiest addiction to give in to. I'm not the same person I was then, but didn't feel like a better one.

I'm reading more now. I'm writing and drawing more. Nothing against that website, but I'm better for leaving it.

I feel lightning in my brain again. I missed it.

Maybe that's why I'm up at 5:30 for no apparent reason.