Saturday, August 23, 2008

ROOT & BRANCH part 2 wrap up

This project is so old, but I have to wrap it up. So that's what I'm doing. Bear with me as I try to keep your dwindling attention span amused. One post for part 2 and one post for part 3, then onto some True Blood action.

<- Root and Branch line art for page 4.

It's kinda sad (or good) that I'm out drawing my posting pace. I'm averaging a page a day, seven days a week, and blogging a LOT less than that. Ironically, because of the drawing. It's pretty full on. I've been like that for almost two months now. I'm currently dreaming of a week off just to play computer games. As Lauren, my production manager and editor commented, "You have lofty goals my friend."

I still feel that this arc is the best that I've drawn myself. Hana was fun, but I was really just learning the ropes and figuring out how to colour it without Annette. Blackout was probably my most mediocre effort. I made the wrong choices and I just felt that it didn't click, but I learned the most from it. But I figured it all out by Root and Branch. The communication with Zach Craley and Ollie Grigsby made such a difference. Their imaginations and insights kept me enthused and challenged. I don't know if you ever read it by there's an interview with us HERE on Heroeswiki from the ever brilliant Ryan Gibson Stewart (who also got a shout out on the towels in the hotel on page 4. I just noticed that in the Heroes universe, Ryan's probably as rich as Linderman. He own the nightclub in New York in the Death of Hana Gitelman, and now a hotel in Paris. Not bad, Ryan. Not bad at all.)

<- Root and Branch colour art for page 4.

This installment was hurried but not rushed. I remember being able to take my time with the ever looming spectre of part 3 hanging over my head. I was in London at the time doing day trips to Paris to get my visa sorted. In fact the first time I went, I woke up at 3am that morning to catch a 5am train. Paris is an hour ahead of London and a 3 hour train journey and subsequent commuting meant I rocked up at the US embassy in Paris at 10am for my appointment. I waited an hour, handed in my paperwork, waited another 2 hours and found out that my lawyer hadn't filled out my paperwork correctly! I had wasted an entire day in Paris! Devastating for Root and Branch.

I headed home that night back to London. I scheduled another appointment for the following week - right in the middle of part 3. The paperwork was fixed and again I woke up again at 3am and schlepped my exhausted butt to Paris with my new paperwork. Again I lodged it and a lady pointed to a man who would process my application. You know those guys who just look like accountants? With little beady eyes and tediously manicured nails ready to pick at every seam and wrinkle? Well he was one of those. I was already nervous as I had been told that the interview for the E-3 visa (a unique visa between Australia and the US for college/university qualified applicants) was really tough. Looking at this guy, I waved and flashed a warm smile hoping it masked the fear and trepidation in my eyes. I knew I had to be on the ball for this interview. I had to be as sharp as Sylar's finger.

<- Root and Branch line art for page 5. I sat back down and waited. I waited for two hours. Have you ever tried keeping an adrenaline high and your concentration up for 2 hours? It's nigh on impossible and exhausting. Finally my number was called and I proceeded to a window with a lady there. I was confused. She asked me who I was working for and what my job was. I furtively looked around for Accountant Guy, but my mouth clicked into gear and I answered quickly and graciously. She then told me I would have to come back tomorrow to pick up my passport. "Tomorrow?" I asked, "But what about my visa? When do I find out if I got my visa?"

She then smiled, "Oh, didn't I tell you? You've got your visa, honey."

I almost collapsed with happiness. Apparently I look good on paper. Good enough that I don't need an interview.

Staggering I shuffled back to the hotel I stayed in a couple months before when my parents took me to Paris. They remembered me (I drew them all little HEROES sketches as they were all fans) and they looked after me again. I hooked up my laptop and got to work on part 3.

<- Root and Branch colour art for page 4.

PAGE 4: I went back to the black and white flashbacks here. In fact, the script asked for the panel to be very reminiscent of Episode 17 from season one, "Company Man", where Bennet meets Claude. I found a frame that I liked, substitued Gael for Thompson, Julien for Claude and Sabine for Bennet. Even if you don't consciously recognise it, it should hopefully subconsciously resonate the two scenes.

Look who's also in Paris here. You can find the action part of this scene in graphic novels 97 and 98. A nice bit of tying together by the writers. God forbid they either know what they're doing or improvising so damn well that we think the former.

The texture outside the window is a photo that I took on top of Notre Dame. I also consciously kept the Paris flashback monochromatic so that it's obvious it's a flashback. It's one of my pet peeves that some colourists don't make flashbacks obvious. Clarity is king!

They asked for this to be as risque as possible for Sabine, but I'm well aware of three things. It's a family show, and should be acceptable for all ages. I also want to be respectful to Sabine. She's an attractive woman, and there's no need to go exploiting that. Finally, I hate doing redraws, especially for reasons I've already figured out myself.

<- Root and Branch unfinished line art for page 6. Have a look at Julien's knees in closeup in black and white. How painful does that look? He's not walking again anytime soon.

PAGE 5: Panel one came off so nicely and for very little work on my part. It's all textures and the angle of his head. I got a lot of comments about how brutal it was, but really, you don't see a lot.

Thanks to Ryan for finding out for me what a Primatech security card looks like as well as what hand gun they use and finding screenshots and what episodes featured the cells that they kept Bennet in.

Panel 2 is a stylistic cheat. It's basically the bottom panel from page 1 with sunglasses, tears and a darker colour palette to show the later time of the day. It's a cheat timewise, but it's also exactly what I was going for. I needed to show that things were the same but different.

I love drawing the main cast. I'm such a artistic slut for their looks. They're all such fascinating looking people and it's such a challenge for me to get their likenesses. I added the inset panel of Bennet as I knew he would be narrating part 3. I needed to get his presence to be more than just a cameo in the background. I wanted the audience to be suspicious of his involvement right here.

It was Zach's idea to have him catching his little red bouncing ball. A nice continuity touch, I thought.

<- Root and Branch line art for page 6. PAGE 6: This was such a rushed page, but it turned out so well. I got heaps of comments that mirored exactly what Zach asked for in the script:

"It shouldn't be too too disgusting to look at, but enough to get a little grossed out... The disgusting part should be the inhuman treatment-- this usage of Dumont as a machine."

This is an old version of the line art as I didn't include a lot of the background. No idea why, it was a long time ago, ok? But I do like this page. I think it turned out well. The subtle tree symbolism versus the incredibly cold palette I used really help sell this page.

Ok! Part 3 next.

I'm also pitching a story for a romance anthology called Less Then Three ("<3" get it? Clever, huh?) edited by Leonard Wallace. I hope we can work something out.

Uuurgh. So much for keeping this brief. Back to work! Back to work!!! Schnell! SCHNELL!!!!

Friday, August 22, 2008


<- This lovely lady asked for something pretty. So I drew Supergirl. And I love this pic. It might be my favourite for the day.

I'm gonna keep this super brief as I'm slammed with work. What's that saying? Busier than a one legged man in an ass kicking contest? Well, that's me.

TRUE BLOOD is killing me, and let's not talk about HEROES or my secret project (which I've almost finished book 1 of).

Next up I'm going to wrap up Root & Branch, then get onto TRUE BLOOD before I delve into the episodes 99, 100 and 101 of HEROES.

<- There's a pier in Melbourne called the St. Kilda pier and artists sit there all day doing portraits of people. I felt like one of those guys at this stage.

All I can say about the script written by Jim Martin and Timm Keppler, is that this thing is off the chart. You're going to love it. Reveals, action, drama. It's everything you want in a HEROES webcomic. It's so much fun to draw.

<- So what's funny is you see something all the time, and it becomes so familiar you forget it's there at all. Like Wolverine's mask.

<- Back to St. Kilda to fill out this lady's request.

<- Our curvy vampire chick for this very blue, cool looking chick.

<- By this stage my brain had totally turned to jello. When she asked me to draw Claire, I just had a brain fart. But then I looked up and saw a massive banner of Hayden on the wall and just worked off that.

<- This gentleman requested a zombie and of course, Max Brooks came up. So I decided to illustrate for him a little warning.

<- This is Danny Greenspun and his lovely wife. I had such a ball hanging with Danny, the creator of Heresy. I think he got the biggest and best vampire chick picture I drew that day. Cheers Danny! Thanks for being such a great signing buddy. <- This lovely couple found me after the signing was done and patiently waited while I scribbled a (very blurry) Niki and Jessicca on the floor of the convention entrance area.

<- I only made it to one panel that con. I enjoyed the Umbrella Academy and I love Grant Morrison's work. So Gerard Way, the writer of the Umbrella Academy is also the lead singer of My Chemical Romance. He's an international rock star. His name gets announced and he comes in and there are huge cheers and applause. Next up, they announce Grant Morrison and the room erupts into a deafening reception. I leaned across to my friend and whispered, "Only at Comic Con would Grant Morrison outdo Gerard Way."

Friday, August 15, 2008


<- -These sketches are from my two hour HERESY signing. I did an alternative cover which features a very curvy vampire chick with some overt bondage overtones. Suffice to say, the cover got some attention. I also had the pleasure of meeting Danny Greenspun (Creator) and John Brady (writer). So most of the sketches (like this one) are of the curvy vampire chick.

I think the nicest thing that happened to me during this con was actually getting recognised. And I don't mean by my alcohol soaked, brain damaged friends who can barely remember to chew let along my name. I mean by total strangers. It's a huge jazz. It happened to me three times.

1. THE LIFT: On Friday I was heading back to my hotel room. I'm in the lift with one other dude. And he leans across and sees my yellow con badge, "Professional, huh? What do you do?"

<- More curvy vampire chick action for Death.

Always open to a random conversation, I replied "I draw the online comics for the tv show HEROES."

He goes, "No s#it? I love those!" Then he looks at my badge again, "Jason Badower? Holy shit! I loved Road Kill!"

I was shocked that he not only knew my name but he could cite something I've done. I shook his hand, gave him my card and told him how much I appreciated his comments and recognising me. I was grinning from ear to ear.

<- A Heroes fan found me!


A bunch of Aussie friends of mine had given me a huge shopping list. One of the things on the list was the Adam Hughes, Women of DCU poster. I heard that they were giving them out at the DC booth. During my break on Saturday I elbowed my way through the throng to the counter at the DC booth. I caught the attention of a lovely lady there and inquired about the poster. "I'm sorry," she replied, "I have no idea where they are," then she peered closer at my badge and said, "But I loved your work on the Death of Hana Gitelmann!"

<- Hey Ivy, here's your pic! FINALLY!

I almost fell over. She introduced herself as Kristy Quinn who works on the editorial staff at Wildstorm. Apparently she had a fair bit to do with the HEROES graphic novel. We had a great little chat and I left her feeling like I was walking on clouds. I was so happy I almost didn't notice the geek stench from the masses around me.

As a post script to that story, Kristy emailed me saying that she found another copy of the poster. She then emailed it out to me. Again, she humbled me with her generosity. Thank you Kristy! Given how much this poster now means to me, I just need to figure out whether I keep it or send it back to Australia...

<- So this girl was asking about getting into comics and I was giving her advice. She then tells me that her uncle is Jim Lee! I tell her the best advice I can give her is to ignore everything I said and go talk to her uncle.

HAYDEN PANETTIERE: I had the day off on Sunday so I decided to just wander around the con like a punter. I was walking along pushing my way through the crowd, when a security guard yells, "The line to Hayden Panettiere starts here!" And points to the guy in front of me. So I stop, and figure it'd be really nice to meet her and give her one of my sketchbooks which has a couple of pictures of her in it.

<- One lovely lady lined up for this Spawn sketch and then called her brother over when it was done. What a good sister!

So the first guy goes through and I'm standing there trying to explain to the guards who I am, what I do for HEROES and how I don't want a photo and I don't want to pay $25. Hayden is sitting there looking a little quizical at the proceedings while the skeptical security guards bar my way despite looking over my sketchbook. Then from a couple places down the line, a dude goes, "Oh my god! Jason Badower! Can you sign my HEROES dvd for me please?"

My grin almost takes in my ears. I scribble my sig and thank the guy. The guards, now convinced of who I am, let me through. Hayden was sweet and waxed lyrical about how she keeps running into Aussies. I left her a sketchbook and wandered off. It's only then I realised I should have got her to sign my sketchbook! D'oh!

<- Another Heroes fan!

<- This guy was really nervous about asking for Spiderman. I guess it's cos I'm not a Marvel or DC artist. I think he was surprised as to how elated I was to get to draw something different.

This guy lines up and when I ask him what he wants sketched, he looks around and then goes, "Could you please sketch her?" And points to this lovely lady behind him (I think her name was Lauren). She was quite taken aback and it became clear that the two had met standing in my line. I'm thinking to myself, "This is one smooth dude." He was really sweet about it though, and she was lovely. I did what I could to help the conversation and the two exchanged details. Even if nothing comes of it, I thought it was a really nice story.

So when Lauren gets to the front, and I ask her what she wants she says she really liked the portrait I did of her and asks if she could have one of her own. Voila!

Thursday, August 07, 2008


I've been really fortunate in my life to have not only met a great deal of my idols, but to actually have either had them live up to my expectations or exceed them. I met Grant Morrison back in 1999 and it was a key incident in my development as a human being. Up til then, I believed that as you got older, you had to be more serious, stoic and low-key to be taken seriously. Grant is one of the top writers in comics today, and he would have been in his late 30s when I met him. He was energetic, gregarious, hilarious and very, very smart. I realised that as you got older, you didn't have to give up your energy, which (I believe) is my greatest attribute.

Mark Millar's generosity and exuberence. Frank Quitely's quirky and quiet insightfulness. John Cassaday's erudite, laid back charm. Alan Moore's gentlemanly manner and confidence all profoundly affected me.

Over the San Diego weekend I was blessed to meet up with three more of my heroes and idols.

First up, myself and the rest of the Spacedog crew were hanging at a dodgy Irish karaoke bar. JAn, my writer and best friend turned around and his jaw dropped. I followed his gaze and my eyeballs almost fell out. Standing outside the bar was Mick Foley. JAn and I pro-wrestled for about a year. I've studied about 12 different martial arts between 2 years and 20 years, and my year of pro-wrestling was the hardest thing I've ever done. I was inspired by The Rock (of course) and Mick Foley - Cactus Jack/Mankind. I voraciously devoured everything he did; books, speeches, documentaries and of course his countless wrestling matches.

And he was standing right outside.

I tend to freak out a bit when I see people I idolise. I don't tend to approach them and generally give them their space. It's also no secret that JAn is always an incredibly powerful influence on me. As soon as he jumped up I was right behind him. We approached Mick and introduced ourselves. Mick was tired, but really generous. We asked for a photo. As we did the bouncer and another dude also recognised him and we waxed lyrical about the experience after Mick wandered on.

So there's something that confuses me. I'm 6'1, and Foley is 6'2 according to his wiki page, and yet he is TOWERING over me. I've seen The Rock's Madam Tussaud's statue and it's only a couple inches taller than me, and not as tall as Mick here. But standing eye to eye The Rock towers over Mick. Huh?! Maybe the ground is uneven? I'm looking forward to sorting this out once and for all. As a matter of fact, The Rock might be the last of my heroes that I've yet to meet.

So we wandered and found ourselves at another Irish pub (sensing a theme anyone?). This one was dingier, nastier and a lot cooler. JAn pointed over into a corner and told me that dude in the corner with the chick was Simon Bisley. Simon Bisley is one of my artistic heroes. His work on Slaine and Lobo were seminal forces in the comic industry and my life. After a while JAn decided he was going to head off to the Hyatt where all the other comics people were. I followed him out and then stopped at the corner. Inspired by my earlier encounter with Mick Foley I went over to the massive, drunken dude and said, "Excuse me, what's your name?"

He rolls his drunken eyes at me and says in a thick English accent, "Simon Bisley."

I've grinned, introduced myself and then asked him and his girl if they wanted a shot. Back at the table with glasses of Glenfiddich we chatted. Simon was very drunk and very into his girl, so I excused myself as soon as my glass was empty. Before I left, I asked Simon if I could grab a photo. He obliged and some dude walking by took the photography credit with my poor phone.

JAn was long gone so I wandered to the Hyatt myself. I found him chatting to a couple of dudes. I got chatting to one of the guys and he mentioned that he is one of the programmers on Photoshop. It was like meeting my maker and we had a good laugh.

I then turned to he second guy, Jim and chatted to him for about half an hour about this and that. It was getting late and I had a signing the next morning. To wrap things up I asked Jim what he did. Jim replied that he drew comics for DC comics. No Jim's came to mind (except for Lee and this guy wasn't asian) so I asked him his surname. He said that he mainly draws under the name of J.H Williams III - one of the greatest comic book artists (and very talented writer also) ever. I felt like I'd been punched in the stomach and actually staggered to the amusement of Jim and his wife. I proceeded to extensively grill Jim for the next forty minutes about his work and I could tell he was impressed by the depth of my knowledge about it. But it was late. REALLY late so I reluctantly excused myself and headed back to the hotel.

I unfortunately didn't even think to get a photo with Jim.

The sketches and photos for the HERESY signing Saturday morning are up next. I'm trying to keep some sort of chronology here. My spotty posting is from my lack of internet connection. Expect the last San Diego post two days from now (I promise!).

In the meantime, I thought I'd announce some details for my new Heroes gig. It's three parts: a six pager and then two twelve pagers. It's Annette and I shepparding in the end of the hiatus storyline. Expect some big revelations for Sabine and Julien. It's brilliantlty written by James Martin and Timm Keppler.

Monday, August 04, 2008


<- My first sketch of the con was Atom Weaver from ZERO G for this great guy. Last year I sketched him quite a nice Grace from the Innocents. I was really flattered that he remembered me.

I hear a lot of people complaining that their art isn't getting the recognition that it deserves.

I have a theory on that.

I believe that society is constructed in such a way as to be a filter for dedicated and skillful artists. It's not a perfect filter, but it's pretty damn good one. Bear with me here.

When most people come home they sit in front of the tv, console or computer and watch tv or play games. They become consumers of ideas. A minority take up an artistic hobby and pursue that in the evening to great personal satisfaction and happiness. A minority of that minority find their lives driven and ultimately directed by that activity. And they are those that become our artists or creators. For the sake of this theory, whether it's racing motocross, writing or painting, I consider you an artist.

<- Future Hiro! This time I remember his damn soul patch.

Our society then acts as a filter to weed out those who don't have the passion and commitment to pursue their art as far as it will take them. How? The very media we hope to master can also be our downfall. Emotionally it is much easier to be a consumer than a creator. It is a lot easier to just sit down and watch, read and play than it is to do or create the things that are watched, read or played. And every night the artist gets home from work, it requires an extraordinary amount of discipline to rise above and hone their skill or idea than it is to sit back and consume. Even when you're so tired from a full day of work, you're still driven to give and to create.

<- Evelyn Sanchez from Zero G. This was a signing for ZERO G so my awesome writer, Alex Zamm was sitting next to me. I always lamented that writers sit there with nothing to do, so I asked Alex to write speech balloons for the Zero G sketches.

And if you can make it through the exhaustion, the distractions, the peer pressure, the missed opportunities, social events and moments... Just maybe you might rise above.

They are like every one of us, but instead of going home and switching off, they not only switch on, but switch up a notch.

<- Another Atom Weaver for this great gentleman.

And before you artists get all high and mighty, filled with the air I'm blowing up your butts, before you chuck your noses in the air and scoff at the... little people, remember one thing; No one is an island. Without them there is no you. Without an audience there is no celebration of your ideas. While the true artist creates artwork only for themself, the commercial artist thrives on an audience for feedback, energy, enthusiasm, critique, support, commitment and sometimes inspiration. A fanclub, fansite, someone standing in your line, or even a kind word can sometimes mean everything.

<- This lovely lady wanted something non-human. I wanted to draw an alien, then realised how detailed they were! So I hid him in shadow but brought a tiny black marker and spent ages colouring the damn thing in.

San Diego Comic Con is possibly the greatest celebration of artistic passion. We're not just celebrating great ideas, we're celebrating the passion of those people who have pushed through everything to get their art and ideas out there. Some of the ideas have been stolen, some have been perverted. But on the other hand, some have been sold for great profit, and others have been evolved by collaboration.

So because I wasn't tied to any one booth I found myself with time to spare to truly enjoy the con. And this is the insight that I was inspired by.

<- A very blurry Hiro. I jacked myself up on coffee and forgot to have breakfast. I was probably out drinking really late too. My hands were shaking so badly I probably had my own Richter Scale reading.

So thank you to everyone who came and said hi. Thank you to all the familiar faces and all the kind words.

One of the things that totally knocked my socks off happened on Facebook. A friend started a Jason Badower fanclub which was awesome and flattering. Then I noticed 76 people joined! WTF?!! I am SO knocked out by this. If anyone can think of anything I can do to help the fanclub, please lemme know.

<- Peter. Always a tough one for me. Especially because I forgot to bring my reference to San Diego! EEediot!

Finally, apologies for the lack of bloggage. My computer has been absolutely devastated by a virus, and while I got rid of it, it's left my computer in shambles. Brutal. Just brutal. So what have we learned from reading Jason's blog, kids? We've learnt to keep your portable hard drive duct taped to something and to wander around the internet without some sort of protection at your own risk. Always use protection kids. Always. Who says I don't help?

<- My last sketch for the Zero G signing. Claire!

<- This poor gentleman waited ages for a sketch and then my signing ended. I headed over to the eating area, found a table and whipped up this Cap for him.

Ok, now this is totally awesome. I had just finished drawing Cap, when this dude seated opposite me on the table goes, "Are you Jason Badower?"

I was stunned, it was fellow HEROES artist Ryan Odagawa! What an incredible coincidence. We had such a great chat. Unfortunately, Ryan has moved onto other endeavours, but we all have his HEROES legacy to go back and read endlessly.

Next up my HERESY signing and some celebrity stories.