Thursday, August 30, 2007

We interrupt this program...

I have just finished Mohinder. I'm exhausted. More posts tomorrow.

Maybe. =)

In the meantime, here's the big guy himself as a teaser for the lack of any real bloggage. You can see that it's moodily coloured and painted like the Death of Hana stuff.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Bennet and Claire

Aw man. Mugged by my own kindness. If there was a rug it would've been pulled out from underneath me. So, anyway, my present to Pngauo's thunder got stolen. If you read the comments on my last post you would have found it posted already on the site.

For those of you who didn't follow the link, here it is in its lessened glory with a slightly smaller head on Bennet.

Ah well.

Anyway, I designed the two pictures to work side by side. It was (obviously) twice the work, but I thought it would make a really nice piece with the two side by side. What also helps is that I like both the characters and their relationship so much. I found their story was one of the key ones that drove me to watch the show. It was a good call drawing Claire, as I have to say that she was the second most popular character I was asked to sketch after Hiro.

Gotta run and finish Mohinder. It's going to be a 2-4 hour sleep night. Frank said I can have an extra day, but while I don't want to rush, I think it's more important to be punctual. Besides, I have Zero G stuff to do!

As a bonus, I drew an extra picture of Claire for the Blackout story. In the story it's tiny and slightly distorted, so I will post the full picture here once the first part goes up next Tuesday.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Justah Sayah Noah!

INTERVIEW: Those fine kids at who do a rocking Heroes podcast threw Paul at me to do another interview post San Diego. You can find it here as episode 28.

Paul really kicks some ass. He is getting so much better at interviewing. Afterwards I asked him about his preparation, and he basically had 4 words on a page: San Diego, Zero G, Blackout. (the G doesn't count). I think it's a really tight interview that flows so much better than the first. There's some waffling about comics in general, but we nail it down to some HEROES action eventually.

Here's the episode summary from their site:

Jason tells Paul about his time at the San Diego Comic Con.

  • He also discusses the comic book the Watchman, and his worries for the upcoming film.

  • We get some scopes on his next Heroes Graphic novel. That is exciting for us geeks, because "we like to know first!".

  • He updates us on his upcoming comic, Zero G.

  • He talks about what he'd not like to draw from the Heroes world.

Ok, enough shameless plugging. Onto the art.

Mr Bennet. Pngaou's actual request as first place winner. Claire was just the bonus I threw in. You know, as you do. 'Cos I have all the time in the world. I whipped up a Claire and solved world hunger. "Whipped up a Claire"?! Is that even legal? Anyway, I will post my solution to world hunger sometime when I have more time.

When I showed Ryan the Mr Bennet in some dodgy burger place in NY, he thought the Bennet was fine. I was convinced that there was something wrong. And not in that "mole on Cindy Crawford's upper lip sorta way". Upon closer inspection I've divined that his head is too big. Not Ryan's. Mr Bennet's. Noah. Whoever. You know what I'm talking about.

So I've shrunk his head, and it looks a little better to me. Next up, I will post the joint image of Mr. Bennet and Claire. It's a sweet picture. "Sweet" as in nice and cute not "sweet" as awesome or sugar-filled. Ok, maybe a little.

UPDATE: Mohinder is almost done. I'm sick of drawing hospital rooms. One and a half more pages left! If any of you have questions for me, Ryan is doing an interview with myself and Blackout writer Mark Sable. You can chuck Ryan some questions here.

I promise not to look. =)

I'm looking forward to hitting the boards and saying, "Hi!" when I'm done with Mohinder.

Monday, August 27, 2007


This is what delayed me for the first part of the BLACKOUT story. I was asked to do some character sketches, but I thought I would do something a little more interesting than just the standard turn arounds (front, back, left and 3/4 views).

I thought it would breathe more life into the project if the characters were exhibiting their personalities and their dynamics. I can't tell you who they are or what they do. One of the things that I was really happy with was exploring the varying ethnicities of the girls. Two white girls, an asian and a black chick. I think I communicated that fairly accurately even in black and white.

TECHNICAL: For those of you who are wondering, this is what my linework looks like before I go in and paint it or Annette colours it. It's very open, and I explore form, lighting and shadow in the painting/colouring stage. That's why there's a big blank area on the bottom left. That area was going to be painted in very dark, and I felt it would be better rendered though the painting stage rather than the drawing stage as I didn't just want it solid black.

UPDATE: I'm still working on the HEROES story featuring Mohinder called BLACKOUT. I'm onto page 8 and the deadline is Wednesday. This time, I'm looking forward to being early. I HATE running late. I'm also working on layouts for ZERO G then I'm onto the artwork for it. My uber-writer JAn and I are also working on a pitch to show our publisher. It's an original project created by the two of us. We're planning on it being the "break out" project for us and our company Spacedog. I did some looking around recently and realized that there hasn't been a comic character created in the last 10 years that has had a major effect on the public. Hellboy, the Darkness, Witchblade, all these were made well over 10 years ago. My goal is to create a story so iconic and powerful that it transcends media. Lofty goals, hey?

NEXT: Convention sketches!

Saturday, August 25, 2007


Here is Karathephantom’s Hiro she requested. I also managed to sneak it into the upcoming Mohinder Heroes comic.

Geek news is that I did another podcast interview with Paul from the 3Heroes podcast. We had a great chat about San Diego, Heroes and my upcoming Zero G. Paul is just getting better and better as an interviewer. I was so impressed. He can seamlessly direct the flow of an interview while still acknowledging the natural direction of the conversation. It’s a great skill to have.

The final stretch of our trip. Simbo and I were supposed to head to Mexico, but a combination of:

  1. Simbo’s fear of any plane smaller than the Starship Enterprise.
  2. A total lack of organization, planning or even knowing anything about Mexico. I think we learnt everything we knew about Mexico from Robert Rodriguez movies. We weren’t in the mood for mariachis, vampires or titty twisters.
  3. Business meetings in LA for JAn and I.
  4. Wanting to hang with Lauren and Chris.

So JAn, Simbo and I headed to LA instead. I needed to plan my future and Simbo desperately needed to shop. Ok, we both needed to shop. In a bout of metrosexuality, Simbo and I had both discovered our senses of fashion. Haircuts, shoes, clothes and accessories. All these things and more were on our list in our eternal mission to look like rock stars. JAn’s sage shopping advice as we shopped our way up and down Melrose avenue was a response to every third shop having a gorgeous aspiring model/actress, “You don’t need that. You’re only buying that because of her breasts.”

Later, assessing our purchases, there was a inversely proportionate ratio of cute retail chicks to clothing. Ie. The cuter the chick, the unhappier we were with our purchase.

In LA we stayed with Lauren (my editor) and Chris Moreno (my art director). Here’s another shot from the San Diego zoo. This time I’ve used my phat Potatoshop skills to label everyone.

Friday and Saturday night we decided to go clubbing. Here’s some lovely ladies who had all driven up from San Diego to come to Das Bunker – the longest running goth club in LA. It was an incredible venue and much fun was had.

JAn and I were chatting and he goes, “You’re going to turn around, say hi and introduce yourself to the people behind you.”

I freaked at the suggestion, but I did it. Tip: always chat to the guy first. Here’s the photo of them and JAn:

Speaking of that smoking section, I was out there because JAn is a cancer addict. So JAn and Simbo are chatting to the ladies from picture one, and I decide to sit down. I find myself on a bench with two more ladies. Before things could get awkward, and having found all new levels of extroversion I turned to the lady next to me, extended my hand and said, “G’day, my name’s Jason. How are you?”

She looks at my hand and goes, “Hi. I’m unavailable.”

I was shocked, “That is the most presumptuous crap anyone has ever said to me. I’m from Australia and I don’t know anyone here, and I’m just trying to make some friends and find some nice people to talk to. Guess I should keep looking.”

She looks at me and goes, “Whatever.” And gets up and leaves.

I look at the remaining girl on the bench who was sitting on Rude Girl’s far side. I was still shocked. The remaining girl watches Rude Girl go and says, “What a c**t.”

I was shocked. An American had used the c-bomb and a girl at that! She introduced herself as Edith and we had a great chat. I ran into her again the following night at Bar Sinister, another goth club. Again, we had a great chat and we still email. Hi Edith!

So on one hand American clubs rock. The venues are off the chart, and they have dancers and shows and all sorts of music playing in the one club. The bad? They stop serving alcohol at 130am, and kick everyone out before 3pm. In Melbourne, if you’re a hardcore clubber, you bring your sunglasses because the clubs go until dawn. Then you can probably find a recovery club and keep drinking and partying til lunchtime and beyond.

Having been kicked out so early we got up to our usual antics. We started riffling through our complimentary gift bags from the club. Inside we found little bottles of alcohol in each of them. We drank them all, then we started making friends with random strangers and drinking their little bottles. Then to the hilarity of other ejected clubbers we started kicking all the contents of the bags up and down the streets to each other Aussie Rules style. A post-punted ash tray slid near some dude and he asked JAn to, “Stop being an asshole or else…”

JAn picked up the ash tray and said, “Mate, we’re just f**king around having fun.”

The dude noticed that JAn wasn’t a small guy and started walking off really quickly. He turned and yelled over his shoulder, “Stop it, or you’re gonna get an asskicking.”

JAn watched the guy disappear down the street and was like, “Where? Over there?”

We started looking around for his ninja team, but he obviously left them in his other pants. So we went back to our frivolities and doing what we did best, making people laugh.

After JAn headed off to London, Simbo and I decided to do Universal studios. I saw a Serenity prop (I’m sure most people on the tour were like, “What the hell is Serenity?!”) and I geeked out.

Then I saw this awesome incredible Hulk. I was going through someone’s website and sketchbook the other day and saw sketches for this Hulk. I can’t for the life of me remember who did the design. But he’s huge!

Overall rating for Universal Studios: Over-rated, long queues, short rides and generally a waste of time.

Finally it was time for Simbo and I to leave. We had to buy an extra suitcase to carry all the clothes we bought. Karma paid us back for our cursed trip over. On the way back we had four seats to ourselves. As we left at midnight (and then after a 17 hour flight) and arrived in Melbourne at 7am, I decided to stay up as late as possible. I was the only one awake. I got chatting to all the (very cute New Zealander) stewardesses for ages. One asked me if she could get me anything. I mentioned that I was hungry (for those of you who know me, I have two biological states: hungry and asleep.). She ran off and came back with a huge plate with two first class meals on them. I was pretty happy.

Simbo and I had one goal back in Melbourne: to get a good coffee. Everywhere you go in America they have unlimited amounts of coffee that I wouldn’t pollute dishwater with. I’ve heard Melburnians go all over the world and still say that Melbourne has the best coffee. Sitting on Southbank overlooking the Yarra river with a latte, we had to agree.

Ok, that’s the last we’re going to hear of my trip and Simbo, Mitch and JAn. I’m back to daily blogging now. I’ve got heaps of prints, posters and convention sketches to post. Then my Mohinder story “Blackout” will be out and I can start chatting about that.

Here's Team Clusterf*ck on their Sausagefest tour 07. Not even Mitch's Spearmint Rhino tshirt could make this photo heterosexual.

Saturday, August 18, 2007


I believe this is Acidburn's selection for her second place prize. It's not brilliant, but it's not bad either. My favourite purchase was made in LA - which is a Sylar-like jacket. I love it!

The other half of Pngaou's piece: Mr Bennet is coming, but I'm unhappy with his likeness. I think his head's too fat. So when I get a second I will redo it.

I'm totally nose to the grindstone drawing a Mohinder Heroes story. After that, straight onto Zero G.

But more about the trip:

Las Vegas was the most regimented and planned part of the trip. It was the shortest visit: 3 days. It was a military strike planned by Mitch involving a helicopter lunch in the Grand Canyon, a visit to the Hoover Dam ("Where's Megatron kept?"), and copious amounts of shopping.

At the last minute in San Diego, JAn joined us. He was going to spend the time in LA with Lauren Perry (our uber editor) and her boyfriend, (and my art director), Chris Moreno. Then JAn decided that he probably won't get another opportunity anytime soon to see the great wonders made by man and nature.

Ironically, it was his presence that ruined any plans to see any of these things.

JAn motivated us to so much drinking, I pretty much didn't see sunlight for three days.

The first night we got into Vegas late. 11pm I think. We decided that we needed to do as much drinking on the strip as possible. We started our voyage at the MGM Grand ($35 per round) and made our way up to the Wynn (the casinos preceding the Wynn managed to get the rounds down to about $13 each). Our defeat came at the hands of an ambush of alcoholic slurpees. It was only the next day that we found out that there's 5 shots in a regular sized cup. That accounted for the Good Ship Team Clusterfrak's running aground at the Wynn.
Here's Simbo (ass-wards) and JAn after a 5 shot slurpee having run heedless across 8 lanes of traffic to pose with Sigfreid and Roy. I'm amazed my hand was steady enough to take this shot.

When we returned to the MGM, Simbo brought documents from his room. He looked around the sorry crew. His barely focusing eyes fixed on me, as I was the least drunk as I had passed on the first few rounds of Jaegers. He ran up to me and shook me violently, "Obi Wan Kenobi, you're my only hope!"

He produced the car rental documents. We had to get the car back before 11am the next day. I looked at the clock. 6am. I knew that I had to be out the door by 10am if I wanted to have a fighting chance of getting the car back.

What should have taken 1 hour, took 3. The GPS didn't work, so I spent a great deal of time circumnavigating ever-expanding rings around the MGM Grand - following suspect directions from a valet. A gas station attendant and some blind luck later found me at the airport. Another hour and I had extricated myself from the tedious incompetence of the rental place. A further hour and I was seated at the buffet at the MGM Grand.

JAn came down first. I was surprised. He had easily drunk the hardest. A bright smile and he started the day with a champagne and orange juice. Simbo came down next, looking a little pale, but had definitely survived the first night. Mitch came down. He was grey. He shuffled his immense frame into the chair next to JAn's. He turned to JAn and looked him dead in the bloodshot eyes, "I respect you. But you have a problem."

Apparently Mitch had thrown up in the bathtub as he didn't trust his aim with the toilet.

Highlights of Vegas included:

1. Ka: The epic martial arts inspired Cirque De Soleil show was the best $100 I have and probabl ever will spend. It was mind blowing. It was so beautiful and incredible what these performers were doing, and how it was conceived, that I almost teared up as my mind exploded.

2. Drinking: We drank everywhere. The Strip. Fremonte st. Circus Circus. New York New York. Luxor and some places I really can't remember.

3. The Star Trek Experience: I'm not a huge Trek fan, but you HAVE to go. Simbo and JAn, even less a Star Trek fan than I, ran straight back around the queue to do it again. It is so well written and well done, we were quite taken aback. The Star Trek themed restaurant (Quark's) had some fantastic food and thematically belligerent Klingons.

4. Shopping: I didn't want to see the Hoover Dam or the Grand Canyon. A big wall and a big hole in the ground as far as I was concerned. I had recently discovered my sense of fashion and wanted to exercise my metrosexual muscles. The hour and a half I had to shop was a definite highlight. God... I'm sounding less and less hetero by the day...

5. Shooting: I'm kinda terrified how three guys (JAn, Simbo and I - Mitch had left) who had never held a gun in our lives were kitted out with an M-16, a H&K MP 5, and three pistols: a glock, a .45 and a beretta within 2minutes of my credit card clearing. It was a lot of fun. I've decided I like pistols best.
Here are the boys doing their little bit for the war on terror.

6. Drinking: It's on the list twice cos we did so much of it.

NEXT: LA - the conclusion of our trip. Clubbing. Drinking. Nocturnal encounters.

Thursday, August 16, 2007


This is an addendum to San Diego, and it's a story too amusing not to share.

It was Saturday night. I had been at the convention all day in meetings and running around. After a massive Mexican dinner that night, I was exhausted. Mitch and Simbo had tickets to go see Richard Cheese about 30min out of downtown San Diego. After some cajoling from those two and JAn, I was dressed up and hitting the town.

Richard Cheese was hilarious. He does lounge covers of all sorts of music, but he does an especially good job of covering metal songs. I got chatting to the cute blond bartender (No, I did not say that "I loved her", I'm sure that was someone else) and we were doing round after round. She allowed us to stay back drinking well after everyone had left. After another shot of vodka, JAn tapped me on the shoulder and said, "Look around."

I turn around to see a concentric circle of security guards around us. Time to leave. We tell her that we need a cab, and she hands us a card with two words and a phone number on it: Party Cab.

Simbo calls the guy and he says he will be there in 10minutes.

In that time out the front of the club, we'd made a bunch of friends - including a girl that was very attached to me. Party Cab rocks up and the guys all wave at me telling me they're going. I'm looking at the chick, and looking at the one seat in the car. Reluctantly I climb into the cab. Party cab was totally black inside with glow in the dark stars on the roof, little domes full of electricity, a light show and a kicking sound system. It was like a little mobile nightclub that got us back to our hotel.

As we came out onto our floor we were greeted by what looked like police tape in the form of a cross on one of the doors in front of us. Upon closer inspection it said, "Girls Gone Wild" over and over again. We shrugged, went to our room, grabbed our alcohol and I knocked on the door. A cute black girl opened the door, and it turned out we had knocked on the door of a bacholerette party. Drunk as a sailor I wander past the "door bitch" and into the room. I was amazed as they had a room with two floors joined by a spiral staircase. I was more amazed that I had walked into a room full of fifteen cute drunk girls in their underwear with more food and alcohol than I'd seen in a long while. I thought I'd died and gone to heaven.

By the time the guys had negotiated their way in, the girls had already handed me two Jaegers. I was kicking back chatting to the girls when one girl hands me a home made cookie (no idea what it was) when there's a knock on the door. It's security, "One more warning then you guys are out of here."

Silence. I take a bite of my cookie, it was fantastic! "Oh my god!" I yell, "This is the best cookie in the world!"

Immediately another knock on the door. It was security again, "Ok, that was your last warning. Next time you're all out of here."

A sleepy girl wandered downstairs and points at us and says two words, "Australia. Out."

Suffice to say the guys were totally pissed off that I got them thrown out of a bachelorette party. Simbo leant over to me on the way back, "You better enjoy that f*cking cookie man, cos it's the last solid food you're gonna be eating."

ART: While I did bunches of sketches, I also brought some prints to the convention of HEROES characters as commissioned by my competition winners. Pngao my first place winner asked for Mr. Bennet and possibly Claire in the background. I figured the first place winner deserves something special. A two parter. Here's the Claire part. Oh, and here's Pngau with the sketch I did for him. All my competition winners will be getting their prizes in the mail really soon - and a special bonus for waiting!

Sunday, August 12, 2007


I’m going to come back to the con sketches later. I’ve got them and some original pictures that I did for the con as commissioned by my competition winners to post.

NEWS: I have a new HEROES story coming up. It's a two-parter written by Mark Sable. It's set after the finale and details a small adventure my Mohinder. It's called BLACKOUT and while it doesn't have any major revelations, it's a cute little story that I hope everyone will really enjoy.

Ok, back onto the trip.

All I can say is that the San Diego Comic Con was the highlight of the trip. You might think that it was just because I was in geek heaven. But Simbo and Nicola (while they both read comics are far from geeks) thought it was the peak of the trip also. Perhaps it was a combination of Team Australia all being together: Mitch, Simbo and I from NYC, Lee and Nicola from Australia, and were all heralding JAn’s final farewell to London. San Diego was pretty awesome and pretty out of control. Everytime I thought it couldn't get any better - it did.

Friday I sat and signed and sketched for about 4 hours. I was forced to take Saturday off, as Gene Simmon’s line was basically a wall of sedated soft metal-heads around my booth. I made up for it on Sunday by sitting there for 7 hours solid. I loved meeting the huge range of people. Fans come in all shapes, ages, genders and sizes, and everyone had such a great story to tell about the con. One highlight was running into Willow Polson who has been so supportive of me and my artwork. She came by bringing gifts and cheeriness:

I didn’t get out into the con much, but I was smart enough to buy all the stuff I wanted on the first day before it disappeared. Adam Hughes sketchbooks, a John Van Fleet artbook, Jason Pearson’s sketchbook (acquired by Mitch at the very last minute as I was stuck drawing at the booth), and Mike Mignola’s sketchbook.

Here’s some of the visual highlights of the con for me. As a new World Of Warcraft player, I totally dug this Night Elf:

The Iron Man mark 1 armour was revealed Sunday. It was pretty awesome:

The Smallville panel (where I met a great guy called Jared, from Penny Farthing Press, who minded my place in the line while I ran off and got my HEROES comic. Oh yeah, I got the cover of the San Diego Comic Con exclusive HEROES comic! Ryan had told me, but I don’t believe anything like this until I see it. But here it is:

It’s now going for up to US$100 on ebay (less if you look harder)! I couldn’t be more excited. The funny thing is that I knew that I needed copies, but I couldn’t contact Aron Coleite or anyone. So I went to the HEROES booth which was guarded by cheerleaders and told them that I was the cover artist (and showed them my badge) and that some copies had been put aside for me. Against all rules, they snuck me some – swearing not to tell anyone. The gambit worked so well I did it again Sunday.

Late Sunday a guy came by the booth virtually in tears that he had missed out on his copy. He was such a huge HEROES fan that he had camped the theatre since 530am the previous morning to make the panel. He offered me any amount of money for the comic. He just seemed so sad and so genuine, that I signed it and gave him one of mine. The pleasure it gave me to see the expression on his face was priceless. Whoever you are dude, enjoy. Here’s him with the Hiro I sketched for him:

So anyway, the Smallville panel. While I don’t think Smallville is the greatest show on Earth, I do have a soft spot for it. Here’s the beautiful and spunky Erica Durance (Lois Lane – she’s so pwetty!):

The incredibly well-spoken and wise Phil Morris (Martian Manhunter) and the new Supergirl, Laura Vandervoort:

The dry and funny Justin Hartley (Green Arrow):

At the con I got to meet some incredible people. Rick Basuldua (inker of the new Aphrodite 9). I caught up with Renae Geerlings (ex Top Cow editor) and her husband Tyler Mane (Ajax in Troy and Sabertooth in Xmen) and his kids Shania and Lysander. They are the loveliest family on the planet. I’ve got my fingers crossed for Tyler’s involvement in the new Wolverine film.

Signing next to me at the Top Cow booth was Paul Jenkins (writer of more comic books than I could possibly list) and his pal Rob Prior and his lovely wife, Beverly. I also met Beverly’s mother and aunt, the twins Shelly and Sondra. The entire family and Paul were plugging their soon to come film, Tatua. Of which, the band Helmet are doing the soundtrack. Here’s JAn flanked by Sondra and Shelley:

Their promotion culminated in a huge rooftop party on the top of a 5 star hotel, where Helmet played. It was an incredible concert and reinvigorated my love of the band:

Afterwards, Page Hamilton (the lead singer) mixed with the crowd and we had a great chat and got some photos:

We waxed lyrical about his Aussie gigs and had a great laugh with Page who is an incredibly genuine, passionate and lovely guy. Then we wandered over to find artist extraordinaire, Tim Bradstreet a little star-struck by Page and reluctant to go pester him for a photo. We introduced the two and got some photos.

Tim then introduced us to his business partner, Thomas Jane (the Punisher) who is a party animal. A. N. I. M. A. L. I won’t write any of the stuff he did here, but buy me a beer and it’s game on. =)

Here’s myself, Thomas Jane and JAn (for those of you who want to know, Thomas is smoking a Monte Christo Super Ruebens – I think that’s right):

Here’s me with the nicest and coolest guy in comics: Mr. Tim Bradstreet looking all mean. If only it was down-lit in the traditional Tim Bradstreet fashion, we coulda been a cover:

Here’s the crew decompressing at the end of the con at this AMAZING Brazilian restaurant. JAn and I went last year and we had to drag everyone out to what was unanimously proclaimed the “Meal Of The Trip”. That’s Nicola and her husband, Lee on the left. JAn standing up with the camera, Simbo with the Tatua tattoo still unwashed on his filthy arm, and Mitch on the far right:
Then we went to the San Diego Zoo the next day. We were told to go as San Diego has the best zoo in the world. I wandered around unimpressed until JAn told me that Melbourne apparently has the third best zoo in the world. The difference? Not much. Look at that, I’m now a zoo connosieur.

I’ve already blown my load about Matt Haley, so here’s some shots of animals:
I can't tell you how big this damn gorilla was. It was actually bigger than Mitch.
It was either "Where's Wally" or looking at animals that could have been stuffed and mounted in a cage. I'm sure this panda wasn't real.

I did fall in love with this polar bear. Look at the little girl's hand on the right to show you, not only how big he is, but how close he was.
Man, I just really like this shot. So there. Move along.

Here’s the Zoo crew: Lauren (my lovely production editor – one of the nicest people in the world – seriously), Alexis next to her in the matching top was my booth partner in crime for the weekend, Simbo not wearing a tank top (amazing!), JAn in the red looking disgruntled, a friend of someone’s in the hat to JAn’s right, Chris Moreno (my art director and Lauren’s partner) looking down, Matt Haley in the sunglasses peering over JAn and the main man Mitch looking at whatever the hell Chris is looking at.

So then we said our goodbyes and JAn, Mitch, Simbo and myself all piled in our minivan and made the pilgrimage to Vegas for the wildest and most drunken part of the trip!

Thursday, August 09, 2007

AMERICA: In pictures

Normal art blogging will commence soon. If you met me in San Diego and are looking for art, hit the archives. In the meantime, I’m hijacking my own blog to post my trip, not my art.

Bear with me… There's PLENTY of art coming. I have millions of con sketches that I did to post.


On the way in from the airport, Simbo and myself took our best in-joke photo for all you Entourage fans.

Here’s the view from outside our Chelsea apartment. Mitch and Simbo are cranking it up for Sausage-Fest 2007. While it looks dirty, NYC is amazingly clean. Garbage bags are left out, and at night the garbage fairies come and take them away. Honest.

I’m going to spare you a lot of photos. They’re of the street and the tops of buildings. It’s all reference for my comics. I consider it pretty boring to everyone but me. You see, when I look at the photos, I see Superman standing on a flagpole, the Hulk tearing up the street or the Batmobile tearing around a corner.

But this is from the corner of the street (taken just behind where the boys were) and you can see Madison Square Garden poking it’s great circular head around the buildings. The huge Transformers poster is pretty damn cool.
Times Square is like a little slice of Vegas in New York – or a Vegas is Times Square on steroids. That lady is pointing at Spiderman who just swung past. My reflexes dulled by 50 hours of travel missed the blue and red little bastard.
The Chocolate War is a fantastic book accurately retold here in the epic struggle for brightness and insanity with Hersheys vs. M&M. I’m still stunned by the M&M store. I’m not sure at what stage Smarties (a chocolate we have here in Australia) grew faces and personalities and took over the world.

Just down the street is this. It’s the theatre for the comedy improv group that a great deal of my friends like. Alex Zamm (my writer for Zero G) also directed their tv show!
Here’s our first breakfast in NYC. A place I heartily recommend called Florent down in the Meat Packing district. This breakfast was one of the best we had, and easily the cheapest. More coffee and fruit salad followed. This picture doesn’t do it justice, but my salad rocked all over the guys’ fries. I mean, who eats fries for breakfast? Homer Simpson?

And just outside, this incredible piece of street art… And a garbage bag that a fairy missed. I never said they were perfect.

This is probably one of the most “American” pictures I took. As a point of interest, Simbo and Mitch decided to count flags in NYC, and I decided to count Starbucks. They got up to 412. I got up to 46. That’s almost one flag for every ten Starbucks. Scary.
I’m also a connoisseur of the buffet. My parents were forced to recon every buffet in the inner Melbourne area, as it was the only way to economically feed me without going broke. So what I loved is that almost every convenience store in NYC was also a sandwich store and a buffet! Here’s an example of the buffet. They charge US$5.99 per lb of food with everything from fresh fruit to Chinese stir fries. Load it up, weigh it, pay. I loved it.

So then we jumped on a NYC tour bus. It was fantastic. Our guide was this cool guy who took special delight in pointing out all the superhero movies that featured NYC. I can’t remember the name of this building, but it’s (apparently) the most photographed building in the world. It’s also the Daily Bugle in Spiderman.

This is the pizza store that Peter was fired from in Spiderman 2.

The church from Spiderman 3 (yes, I did take photos of other stuff).

City hall from Spiderman 3 where they give him the key to the city. No Gwen Stacy unfortunately.

One of my favourite shots of the harbour from under a bride. That’s Queens on the other side (where Spiderman grew up – got a Spiderman reference in – Yes!). As an amusing aside, Simbo and Mitch made the pilgrimage out to Queens cos Simbo wanted to visit the firehouse from the Dennis Leary tv show, Rescue Me. I can’t stress enough how safe Manhattan is. The guys claim their asses still haven’t unclenched from their trip through Queens. But Simbo got his photo, and Mitch got some more grey hairs.

Harry Osbourne’s apartment.

The UN. Apparently when filming Virtuosity, Russell Crow wanted the Australian flag in the shot, so they had to rehang all the flags so Russell could get a little bit of Aussie into his film (no Spiderman reference! Wow!)

Ok, double the comic references in this shot. Not only does this have a prominent picture of the FF4: Rise of the Surfer, but this big curvy glass building is the building that Superman confronts the burglar with the suction cups in Superman 1! I was so excited I’m surprised this shot is in focus.

So we noticed on our ticket stubs that we got a discount meal at the Mariott buffet (guess who begged to go). So off we went and found ourselves in a rotating restaurant with a great buffet. Check out this view. I shot about a thousand photos.

My first subway experience. I don’t care what you’ve heard, but the NYC subway is one of the cleanest, safest, most punctual things I’ve been on. I had two great moments. One was when a bunch of old black guys near the back of the carriage started singing, “The Lion Sleeps Tonight” with full harmonics, and guys breaking in and out doing solos. It was incredible. The second was when two bunches of kids confronted each other late at night and tough words were spoken. Then one girl stepped forward and said, “Oh, yeah? You think you’re so good? Well then let’s Dance Off.” Unfortunately the other kids backed away. I so wanted to see a Dance Off. I was drunk enough to really enjoy it.

Ok, so this is Ground Zero. It’s a little under whelming. There’s a modest plaque at the opposite side where this photo was taken, but really it’s just one big construction site. That’s Mitch with video camera raised.

Our first glimpse of the Lady Liberty. She’s the one in the middle. Although you could be forgiven for mistaking her with the “Men of Steel” in the foreground.

Hey, a photo of me! This is the “famous” bull on Wall Street. And me. Did I mention that’s me? Well that’s me.

Our next destination: The Brooklyn Bridge. I had to make it up there just to pay homage to Spiderman’s greatest loss: The death of Gwen Stacy in issue 121.

Here we are. So I’m trying to get a photo of where Gwen died, when these two jack asses jumped in the frame. I’m amazed Mitch is smiling. We walked so damn far (from Ground Zero, all around the western edge of Manhattan, down around the south, up to Wall Street and then up to the Brooklyn Bridge.) we shoulda been sponsored.

Here’s the view from the bridge. It was so worth the hike.

We wanted to go see an NBA game, but the season had finished. But we were treated to something even better. The Seattle Storm were playing the New York Liberty in the WNBA at Madison Square Garden. Why’s it better? Cos Lauren Jackson, the most devastating player on the Seattle team is an Aussie. We brought our flag and were the only people cheering the Seattle victory.

Here’s The Garden:

And here’s Lauren (she’s really cute too – and bloody tall (6'5")! She score 24 points (second highest) 19 rebounds and a bunch of blocks and assists. She was unbelievable):

Then while walking down the street, I saw posters on a construction site for the new Who Wants to be a Superhero show. I can’t wait! When I went to the San Diego Zoo with my editor, Lauren and art director Chris we were accompanied by a bunch of people. One of those people turned out to be Matt Haley, comic book artist extraordinaire (who I’m a huge fan of – check his work out and you will see his influence on me) creative consultant and art director of Who Wants to Be a Superhero!

Anyway. I laughed at this:
So we made out way up to the top of the Rockefeller building. The view was spectacular. Here’s the Empire State (No King Kong) and off in the distance to the right of the Empire State is the Statue of Liberty.

It seems they were expecting me, as they had lined the inside of the Rockefeller with kryptonite on the way down.

After surviving their fiendish death trap I made my way downstairs to the NBC store and checked out their HEROES and BATTLESTAR GALACTICA window display. Battlestar had the best tshirt, “Frak Off”, but HEROES had the best window. I later came back and bought a necklace with the helix similar to the one the Haitian wears. I was so happy. It’s my favourite purchase of the trip.

Continuing the HEROES theme, I met up with Ryan Gibson Stewart, the moderator of (link on the right). Our Google Earth map was wrong, and it misplaced us by 2 blocks. No big deal, except for the torrential-end-of-the-world deluge that was pouring down. I’ve never been so wet and still worn clothes. Simbo got even wetter, and he’s seen here wearing the Heroeswiki tshirt that Ryan gave me in an attempt to get dry. That’s me pointing, Mitch and Ryan. We were also joined by Ryan’s lovely wife (who is kindly taking the photo). It was so great to meet him, and he was the first of many fellow HEROES fans that I met on the trip.

At some stage we made our way to FAO Schwartz a world famous toy shop that also serves great coffee. Here’s the man-sized piano from the Tom Hanks film, Big.

Heading to the Sony store, Mitch was attacked by Spiderman while trying to drink his coffee. The Daily Bugle is right! He is a pest!

That night we went to see Avenue Q on Broadway. Here’s the stage before I was yelled at to not take photos. It was an incredibly funny play incorporating real life and puppets. There was an incredible performance created through the fusion of actors and puppets. Well worth the watch.

Next day we were off to Hell’s Kitchen (Daredevil’s home), where I shot heaps of photo reference.

While the guys made their way to Queens and did the tv tour (Phillistines), I headed to the American Museum of Natural History.

There were some fascinating exhibitions on bugs, wildlife, meteorites, skeletons, ancient civilisation and Armenians (Simbo’s people). I was interested to learn that Simbo’s predilection towards yaks as food, clothing and sexual satisfaction is in fact, genetic.

And of course, DINOSAURS:

So I wandered across Central Park (beautiful day, great gourmet hot dogs) towards the Met. And what should I find along the way? But the fountain and courtyard area that I drew on the last few pages of War Buddies for HEROES!

And here’s my awesome New York style hot dog. (Man, my nails needed cutting):

While the Museum was ok, the Met is off the chart. I can’t recommend it enough. From the most amazing Egyptian exhibition I had ever seen:

The most incredible display of ancient weaponry and armour (check out this guy, I think he’s happy to see me):

Gothic wooden sculpture, blunderbusses and firearms, beautiful halls of ancient statues:

It was there that I saw my first original Normal Rockwell painting, “Town Meeting”. I studied this for about 15 minutes. Obviously, this photo doesn’t do this simplicity and elegance of his brush-work justice. But it gives you and idea of his scope of performance in his characters.

I then found my second love, John Singer Sargent. Again, the simplicity grabbed me. That crack of sunlight is literally just a blob of paint. I was shocked. I grabbed a photo then got told off by a guard. In retrospect I shoulda shot more photos. I reckon I coulda taken em. Hey, you gotta suffer for my art.

Now most normal people see the Statue of Liberty from the cruise ships. Sod that. We jumped in a speed boat. We got pretty close, but she still looked pretty small. I got a little forlorn that no one makes anything like this anymore. Let alone from one country to another.

We met some awesome Scottish chicks and some beautiful Bella Russian chicks. Simbo and I were going to ask them out to dinner (he liked the brunette, I was getting on great with the blonde) but Mitch was around (who has a lovely girlfriend) and we didn’t want to create a “fifth wheel” situation. So we said our goodbyes to the girls and off they went. I suggest dinner and then Mitch goes, “Well, you guys eat. I’ve got some shopping to do.”

Anyway, this is them. No, I'm not stalking them. I was trying to take a photo of the Statue on a speedboat on choppy water, and got more of them than the statue. Such a shame. =)

So Simbo and I had a totally non-hot chick attended dinner at an incredible Italian restaurant in the Meat Packing district. No pun intended. Nor meat-packing for that matter.

Oh, we stayed in Chelsea at the Chelsea star. Somehow we got upgraded to a 3 queen sized bed (no roll-away) two bedroom mini apartment. It was awesome! Kitchen, bathroom, everything. I don’t know how to describe it. It wasn’t the MGM grand (where we stayed in Las Vegas), but it was so much cooler. It was so… New York.

Humble kitchenette:

Nice little bathroom:

Standing with my back to the kitchenette looking in at Mitch’s bed:

Looking left at Simbo’s bed. Yes, he’s in his jocks. There was more of that than I would have liked.

My bedroom (I somehow got the separate bedroom). We modeled our trip off Entourage, and I think I got the bedroom cos I’m supposed to be Vince. Mitch was Eric (all fuss and details) and Simbo kinda channeled both Drama and Turtle (neurotic dorkiness). Check out the cool water bottle by the bed. That's right kids, in New York, even the water is cooler:

Then we were off bright and early to San Diego for the comic convention, which was (despite how amazing NYC was) unanimously the highlight of our trip.