One of the best things about social media for online artists like myself is the chance to meet and network with other creators. Finding work that inspires me is half the fun of what I do, so if I can give back a little by sharing their work with others, I want to make time do do so.
I’ve followed Tom Dell’Aringa’s work for a while; his comic Marooned was a fun take on a Mission to Mars adventure, and his new comic Rock & Tin is a great mix of science fiction and fantasy. I don’t think I’ve ever read a story about robot wizards before!
The main characters are Mechmagus, leader of a band of robots on an abandoned mining planet, and Peto, a stone golem trying to overcome his programmed nature. Mechmagus’ evil brother wants to use the remaining robots on the planet for his own selfish purposes, and he is winning the war. It deals with themes of free will and ego, and is quite different from most other comics out there.
The artwork is simple at first glance, but Tom is great at doing a lot with a little. The characters are distinctive, he can put a page together with great flow and pacing, and Rock & Tin has some of the prettiest grayscale landscapes I’ve seen in any comic! I think Tom is creating something pretty special with it. Give it a look!
Patreon is a great way for fans to support artists and creators that they like. You can find out more on my own Patreon page, but in short, you can make a donation per comic that I create, and even set a monthly cap. If you enjoy my work, I’d ask that you consider donating, even if it’s just $1 a month. There will be patron-exclusive content, and you’ll get a warm fuzzy feeling for helping to fund the creation of Cooties. Go take a look!
I will be tabling at Salt Lake Comic Con FanXperience this week from Thursday, Jan 29 through Saturday, Jan 31. I’ll have Cooties books and original art for sale! Come by and say Hi, I’ll be at booth Red 19 in Artist Alley.
I used to make a family calendar to give away as Christmas gifts to friends and family every year. I drew this up in 2013 before my ex-wife and I decided to split up; there was no calendar for 2014. I debated posting this because it almost seems to be making fun of her, but I actually found the fact that she was cold all the time kind of endearing. When I asked the kids this last Christmas what they wanted to get for their mom, the unanimous answer was an electric blanket.
Anyway, 2015 is looking to be a good year for all involved. Hope yours is, too!
2014 was a memorable year, for both very good and very bad reasons. I’ll get the bad out of the way up front: my 16-year marriage ended in divorce this past year, and I’ve relocated to Salt Lake City to live with family. My ex-wife & I are still committed to making things as good as can be for our kids, despite the circumstances, and I am happy to report that we are pretty great co-parents. Our kids still mean the world to us, and their happiness is still a primary focus.
Being a dad is something I am still pretty good at, fortunately. I’ve had some good memories with my kiddos from 2014; camping, fishing, going to the Utah Shakespeare Festival, and Salt Lake Comic Con. Even everyday stuff like watching movies, playing board games, and helping with homework (unless it’s math, I suck at it) can make for good memories when one’s kids are as awesome as mine.
As far as my art goes, 2014 was not very prolific. The aforementioned divorce and some depression issues had a lot to do with it. I made some headway on Cooties, and after many years, I can announce that it will wrap up in 2015. I’ve got the rest of the story scripted, and a production schedule set, and will have a print version of the whole story ready to sell at Salt Lake Comic Con later this year. After that, I will be moving on to my next project.
Speaking of Comic Con, it was a major personal accomplishment for me to be able to table there last year for the first time, which you can read about in my previous post. Looking forward to going back behind the table at FanX at the end of this month!
Now it’s time for my year in review of books & movies! Do I do this because I have no life and am just a huge nerd? Only partially! As a person who finds it difficult to connect with people emotionally, I find that good stories help me find depths of emotion in myself that are normally in my nature to suppress. Good stories help us learn both intellectually, spiritually, and emotionally. Heck, Jesus was a storyteller. It’s a skill I want to master myself, which is why I create comics. I find that good fiction can contain the greatest universal truths, and I am constantly on the lookout for those stories that can help me develop my own skills in speaking to people through my work. And I admit, sometimes I just want to see Iron Man fly around and shoot aliens because it’s so freaking cool. I am still a dude.
Books – Here are some of my favorite things I read this year:
-The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss — some of THE best storytelling I’ve ever read. The author can make something as tame as a lute performance taut and compelling. Explores themes of survival and determination.
-The Road Less Traveled by M. Scott Peck and The Miracle Morning by Hal Elrod– I am understandably in a self-help/personal development phase of my life. These were excellent resources as I struggle to get my life back on track.
-One Dead Spy by Nathan Hale – History is best presented, in my opinion, by the stories of people; make it a graphic novel, and I will eat it right up and make my kids read it, too. My next project after Cooties will be a historical fiction piece, in fact. #spoilers
Movies – I watch lots of them. My favorites of 2014?
Stripped - A love letter to the comic strip medium. If you have any interest at all in the subject of newspaper comic strips, this documentary will delight you. Including a rare interview with Bill Watterson.
Guardians of the Galaxy - Marvel knocks it out of the park again. Hilarious and action-packed. Plenty of Easter Eggs for us Marvel nerds, too; although still a great movie for non-geeks who don’t want to do any comic book homework. Soundtrack was just great, as well.
The Lego Movie – What could have been an abominable corporate cash grab instead turned out to be one of the most funny, heartwarming gems of the year. The father / son dynamic at the end hit me where it should have.
Locke - A man tries to stay cool as the consequences of his past actions all come crashing down on him at the same time. The whole movie is Tom Hardy in a car on the phone for 85 minutes. And as compelling a drama as I’ve ever watched.
Captain America: The Winter Soldier – Marvel is continuing to bend the superhero movie on its ear. This is basically a very timely political thriller that happens to have a dude in a costume in it. The fight sequences are beautiful, bloody-knuckled ballet. My top movie for 2014, hands down.
Miscellaneous 2014 cool stuff:
Best Headline: “Polygamous women in ninja costumes attack two adults in West Jordan” — Seriously, I will never be embarrassed to live in Utah
Aaaand Happy New Year! Excuse me, I need to get to my drawing table.