Thursday, August 30, 2012

Fan Photos For The Oxford American

Diana and I do a poor job containing our excitement for the new issue of the Oxford American. What's that you're reading? No big deal--just great comics journalism in a nationally distributed magazine.

Haditha/Katrina on Newsstands Now in OA New South Journalism Issue

The first eight pages of Haditha/Katrina (in full, glorious color) are featured in the current New South Journalism Issue of The Oxford American. Get yourself a copy at your local bookstore!

I will post a shameless photo update when I get my copy. Thanks to Wes Enzinna and the rest at OA for being gracious enough to spell check and add commas where applicable. You guys are great.

If you scroll to the bottom of their BLOGS page, this blog is currently listed in their contributors section. Yay comics journalism!

In other news, the background of page one of the Haditha comic is my mother's front yard. She lives in Pass Christian, MS and got some serious flooding yesterday, here's a photo for reference:

Monday, August 27, 2012

Comics Debuting at SPX

The Small Press Expo, an annual expo celebrating small and independent publishers, will take place in Bethesda, MD this year on September 15th and 16th. Josh Kramer will be there representing contributors to his anthology, The Cartoon Picayune, and selling some of his comics, too. My ten page comic, Bethesda, a story about meeting First Lt. Michael Rhoads' during his recovery at Walter Reed, will be featured in the forthcoming edition. You can see the cover design and read more about it here.

I'll have copies of Status Quo Ante Bellum, City Chickens, Haditha/Katrina Pt. 1, and Bethesda. Three debuting mini-comics! Whoa! I recently purchased a saddle stapler and will be folding and stapling into the wee hours for the next few weeks.

J.T. Yost will also be there, selling his great comics at the Birdcage Bottom Books table, along with copies of his massive, gorgeous anthology, Digestate, which also features the ten page comic I made about my neighbors who raise chickens in a community garden (City Chickens).

Latest Dispatch From Walter Reed

I had an incredibly smooth and wonderful trip earlier this month to WRNMMC. Robert Bates came all the way from North Carolina; Victor Juhasz and Mike Fay was there, too. Our chaperon that day, Howard Clark, was a great  ally in securing us longer portrait sessions with each service member. It was clear to me that the hospital has also cut back on extraneous visitors, making our visit more relaxed and less hurried.

Joshua Wetzel, Army.

First Lt. Nathan Rimpf, Army.

In an effort to imitate the beautiful line quality Victor gets in his life drawing, I drew these portraits with some woodless colored pencils. I'm happy I tried this out. The combination of using full color and having double the amount of time we're usually allowed to draw resulted in tighter drawings with greater character. Both of these men were injured about a month before I met them, were double amputees, and are now walking on prosthetic legs in physical therapy. The pace of their recovery is astounding. These men are really determined and hard-working, accept no pity, and see their situation as just part of the job of being a soldier at war. To top it off, they've both got a wicked sense of humor and were so hospitable and welcoming. I wish there were more people in the world like Josh Wetzel and Nathan Rimpf.

I'll be returning to Walter Reed the weekend of the Small Press Expo in September to visit Josh and Nathan to draw their portraits again. They've both shared stories I am including in the comic book. I am so excited to work on this project with them.

Photo courtesy Prayers for Josh Wetzel Facebook Page.

Photo courtesy Nathan Rimpf Support Fund Facebook Page.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Bethesda Ink Page Nine

I like the way this page sorted itself out. I am improving my lettering, but had so many other ideas on how to make letters and design things after I finished this ten pager. I will wait to post the full version until closer to the publication date. I am pretty happy with it. I'm going to visit Walter Reed again on Tuesday, this time I think I will focus on getting good drawings rather than good stories. Carrying around an audio recorder makes me feel like a jerk, so I'm not sure I'll use it. I have new stories to work on and that's been occupying my thoughts. Gearing up also to print some comics for the Small Press Expo. I aim to have copies of The City Chickens, Bethesda (Pt. 1), and Haditha Katrina (Pt. 1) at the expo.

I've recently read this essay by Josiah White, an Iraq War veteran and former Marine, who I have been in touch with and am working with on a comic story. It is beautifully done, read it when you can, it's very good.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Bethesda Pencils Page Five

One of my favorite pages from the Bethesda story. Still working on the other half of the pencils. Will ink this 'un by next week for the Cartoon Picayune. I'm headed back to Walter Reed Medical Center next week to draw more pictures and talk to people as well. It's busy over here!

The Balfa Brothers - Danse Des Mardi Gras
(Go see Beasts of the Southern Wild, it is beautiful. I am biased because it reminds me of home, it's full of boats and Gulf water and magic. I wished I had made it. And the musical score is awesome.)

Friday, August 3, 2012

Haditha Color Preview

I'm going back and cleaning up the messy edges I missed, but like the limited palette. I made Nathan's legs look like they've been in Miami, a shade (or four) too dark. It's interesting what you don't see until you send an image out into the world. It's been fun trying to figure out what goes where. This reminds me of a painting exercise we did in my first painting class at South: we paired ivory black with a few warmer tones, and could make the ivory black appear light blue--an optical illusion. The 'blue' of the flag almost looks blue, even though it's grey.

P.S. The lettering on this page totally rules.

We won't know the actual
If we never take the chance

TV on the Radio - Will Do

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Nathan on His Bike

I really like this page from the Haditha/Katrina story. I'm coloring it so will wait to post the full version til then. My lettering is getting better, though the spacing/design is weak. I don't think I've ever worked this hard in my life.