Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Save Superman's House and get a walk-on part in HEROES!

All my friends know how much I love Superman.

Most people know I have a Superman wallet. Some people notice the Superman sticker on my monitor or know that seeing Christopher Reeves' actual costume was almost a religious moment for me. A select few know I even own a Superman costume. A rarer few have even seen it.

A while back I got an email from Gene Ha and Brad Meltzer about the Seigel & Shuster society. They informed me that the house in Cleveland where the most iconic American icon was created isn't preserved, hell, it isn't even a museum. In fact, it's in a horrible state of disrepair.

Cleveland won't help, so Brad and the Seigel and Shuster society are asking us to save Superman's house. But I think it's more about showing respect to every person who creates something to make this world a better place. I actually think it's kind of fitting that Superman has to be saved by the people. We have to exemplify the lessons this character has taught us.

It's time to save Superman.

I immediately went to the site and picked up an awesome tshirt designed by Chip Kidd. At the same time as my t-shirt arrived, I got a lovely email from Miriam Parker from Grand Central Publishing asking me if I'd help out and post the details of a competition that's really going to get your attention:

Final Chance to Save Superman's House Reveals a Part on the TV show Heroes and a Secret Superman shirt

Week four of the Siegel & Shuster Society charity auction to save the house where Superman was created runs from Sept. 23 – Sept. 30

Hollywood, Florida (PR Web) September 23, 2008 – OrdinaryPeopleChangeTheWorld.com, the brainchild of # 1 New York Times bestselling author Brad Meltzer and the Siegel & Shuster Society, have announced the final items in their auction to save the house where Superman was created. And the best easily comes last:

- A walk-on part on the TV show Heroes

- A previously secret Superman T-shirt signed by Superman co-creator Jerry Siegel

Right before Jerry Siegel died, he signed a few T-shirts for his immediate family — and told his wife Joanne that if the family ever needed money, they should sell the shirts. No one knew these shirts existed. But now, Joanne Siegel has donated one of these truly priceless items to the auction to save her husband's house. Forget the MasterCard ads. This is what "priceless" means. And best part? The autograph sits directly on a bright red T-shirt for Superman IV: The Quest for Peace.

The fundraising efforts, which began only this month, have received worldwide attention and some of the most famous people in comic books, as well as celebrities and fans have come together to support this iconic cause.
"You can't discuss Superman without discussing America," Meltzer said. "And this is a real chance to save a part of American history."

Along with the extremely rare, signed t-shirt by Superman creator Jerry Siegel and walk-on part on Heroes, this week’s auction includes original paintings, comic book art and prints from renowned artists such as Jason Palmer, Renato Guedes, Michael Turner, Ivan Reis, Walt Simonson, Murphy Anderson, Adam Kubert, Chris Bachalo, Eric Wight, Mike Mignola, George Pereze, Rags Morales, Chip Sansom, Jim Bowers, Bob Greenberger, Jill Thompson and Shane Davis. All proceed go to the Siegel & Shuster Society.

Log onto http://www.ordinarypeoplechangetheworld.com/ and help with this great cause. Fans can donate money, buy a Siegel & Shuster Society t-shirt designed by legendary graphic designer Chip Kidd, or bid on original pieces of comic book art, while helping to preserve an American landmark.

About OrdinaryPeopleChangetheWorld.com:

OrdinaryPeopleChangetheWorld.com is a new site dedicated to strengthen and inspire ordinary people to take action and help make a difference in the world. The site will feature stories of people who are making a difference, and highlight different causes that are changing the world. Visitors can watch videos, participate in community forums and share stories about what inspires them or what good deeds they are doing to change the world. All proceeds from the site will be donated to charity.
About The Siegel and Shuster Society

The Siegel & Shuster Society is a non-profit organization dedicated to commemorating and celebrating the creation of Superman in Cleveland, Ohio, by Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster. The Society will, in a manner consistent with the rights of DC Comics, create events and activities which celebrate Cleveland as the "Birthplace of Superman" and the importance of Superman to our community today and in the future. The Society will also work with other organizations that are celebrating Superman in a manner consistent with the goals of the Society. For the purpose of this charity auction, The Siegel & Shuster Society fund is set up through the Cleveland Foundation.


So please swing by the site. Grab a tshirt, donate some money, bid for those incredible prizes.

Save Superman.

Friday, September 19, 2008

INTO THE WILD part 1 - overview

I just want to thank everyone for taking the time to support Annette. As artists we sometimes feel that we live and work in a vacuum. We sit endlessly in tiny dark rooms pumping out artwork onto ftp servers. One of the best things about working for HEROES is not only the immediacy of the feedback we get, but also the support of the fans. To everyone who took that little bit of time to post to Annette, I’ve never been more appreciative or sincere when I say .... Thank you.

<- page 5 fully coloured by Annette Kwok

But the normal delay in comics can really kill your creative enthusiasm for the work. For example, I finished working on Zero G: book 1 around the time graphic novel 20 (Road Kill - Annette and my HEROES debut) came out. It's only now about to hit the shelves on October 1st. Talk about delayed gratification. While I love Zero G book 1, it's not as dear to me as the baby I just popped out over the last three or so weeks named INTO THE WILD. But, I only recently finished ZERO G: book 4, and if you thought INTO THE WILD was good, wait til you see what Annette and I cooked up for the rest of Zero G. It knocks everything else out of the water.

But the feedback on the boards is such a tremendous boost to my enthusiasm. Seeing what people “got” or “missed”. What people liked, what they didn’t like. It really fills up my tank in the wee hours of the morning when exhaustion is kicking in like half a dozen shots of tequila.

Jim Martin and Timm Keppler were great. Just like working with Ollie Grigsby and Zach Craley, we had a very strong line of communication. Even if it was just to say, “Man! The latest page is awesome!” it was a line that I greatly appreciated.

One of the main things that drew me back to INTO THE WILD (no pun intended) was Sabine. Apart from a brief appearance in OUR LADY OF BLESSED ACCELERATION I was the only one who had drawn her. She's mine damnit! =)

I also got to work with my friend, Sonia who modeled for Sabine. She was the only one I knew (on very short notice) who had the spunk to pull off a great Sabine performance, and that she did. While she doesn’t exactly look like Sabine, there’s something she’s got going on which is very similar. I got my reference shots, she got a great bottle of wine, we were both happy. And just before you ask, no she didn't need to take her top off for the last two pages.

Plus I loved the ROOT & BRANCH arc and it was important to me to bookend the entire saga with a strong sense of visual continuity. While I wouldn’t dare say it should have been me, the only way the whole company arc could have possibly been better is if it was all drawn by one artist. But in this case I was specifically asked for by the writers to draw this epic finale. That humbled me greatly. Jim paid me such a great compliment when he mentioned he was so happy when he heard I’d signed on as he knew, “he’d be in good hands.”

I also knew that I just *had* to draw the reveal of EVS dropper! I mean, c'mon. I read these like everyone else. I read the 9th Wonders boards. I'm also curious. So when I found out, I just had to be involved.

<- page 5 line art and tones.

Of course the script by Jim Martin and Timm Keppler made the decision even easier. It was well paced, damn exciting and full of reveals and twists, twists and more twists. Every new script I read got me more and more excited. But I will talk about those as we come to them.

I've rambled about page 1, so let's talk page 2 onwards. You might have to slide back to the last post where I posted the previous pages


I remember finishing the panel of the 4000 or so Julien clones on page 1 and dreading page 2 onwards. Then I realised it all occurs in a corridor. Yeah! Minimal backgrounds and no excuses.

The whole structure of the story is fairly complicated. I was complimenting Jim on the HEROES’ team attention to detail and continuity on this whole arc. He grinned and muttered something about good luck rather than good management. I told him that a good team makes good luck.

<- page 5 layout.

The only small contribution I made was when I got the artwork for part 100: FORESIGHT early and noticed that the artist, Alitha Martinez (whose work I love!) had drawn a whole bunch of clones in the final shot with the binoculars. I mentioned that in the staging of my script, there's only Connie, Sabine and the main Julien clone. I also realised I had to draw a window in the corridor or Thompson wouldn't be able to see in!

PAGE 3 & 4

I was so jazzed to draw Connie. The main thing I realised was that she had to look serious and ready for battle. I had to ditch the ditzy, plastic fantastic and bring on a serious side to Connie or this whole arc would stumble. I turned to my work colleague, Kath as a model. Kath is only 22 but has a level of grace and dignity that I felt Connie needed for this arc. I just had to age her 20 years and give her breast implants (which Jim politely described Connia as, “an older woman who takes care of herself and has had a ‘little work done’”. Unfortunately I had never drawn Connie before, and the only visual piece of continuity is her earrings. This meant that a fair number of readers thought this was a new character. As an aside, when I had to draw Penny for the first time, I suggested that they add dialogue from Thompson saying, "Penny?!!" so we knew immediately who we're dealing with.

<- page 6 fully coloured by Annette Kwok.

So people were asking how a ditzy, fake milf could possibly be EVS Dropper. One poster on the 9th Wonders boards (god, was it Citizen?) put it best. He said that Connie has been in disguise. One of the tenets of Mihomoto Musashi (the greatest samurai ever and author of The Five Rings – the Japanese version of the Art of War) is to always get your opponent to under-estimate you. What better way than to play down your intelligence and paint yourself too stupid to be a threat? It worked perfectly. So as Citizen said, what we see here now is the REAL Connie - and that's exactly what I went for. The REAL EVS Dropper - serious, methodical, vicious and deadly.

I also continued wherever I could to use Eric Roberts as visual reference for Eric Thompson. That signature Robert’s wide mouth that he shares with his sister Julia, flat nose and distinctive brow line. I figured he's gonna take after his father after all.

Drawing Gael was fun. My main thoughts on drawing him were to age him up. I figure anyone who is co-running the company, or at least responsible for all these operations can't possibly be a kid. And I was right. He's in his 20s when he's at Julien and Connie's wedding in part 2, 19 years ago. I also put him in a simple black suit to further emphasize his seriousness.


The infamous page 5. I laughed my butt off when I read one poster who described this story as "porn for 10 year old boys". The script is very funny too. It literally reads, "CAT FIGHT!!!"

<- page 6 line art and tones.

While Timm and Jim were obviously having fun, I had to bring the rain on their parade. Instead of making it as titillating as possible, I wanted to make it as serious as possible. I kept their choreography - the slap, the torn top and the push through a door, but I wanted to portray it as vicious as I could. I wanted these characters taken seriously, and if we queued the wa-wa pedal, such would not be the case.

I'm so happy with the slap. There's a real sense of movement and impact with no action lines and no point of contact. Look at it without the sound effect, it works without it. It looks like it hurts. That sort of thing is really hard to do. Add to the fact that it doesn't look cheesy.

The shirt tear was much tougher. I figured that Connie (being a VERY angry woman) would lash back with a punch, Sabine sidesteps slightly and Connie misses, but grabs Sabine's shirt for balance. The sidestep and Connie's momentum all add to tear off the already torn top.

You will also note that I learned my lesson from BLACK OUT. Remember Mohinder fell into the hospital room and we weren't sure which room he fell into? I made sure to draw Julien's room this time to give the reader a sense of geography. See? I learn from my mistakes!


I dug page 6. It was tough to stage (ie make sure everyone is in the right position and then pick the right angle that flows around the action), but I think it worked out well. I'm especially happy with panel 5 where Connie and the clones confront Sabine. I think the panel looks great. And how about that? Julien is her husband?! WTF?!! I was totally hooked at that point.

The main thing I loved about INTO THE WILD were the more somber colours that Annette used. Normally Annette has a very vivid palette. But the murkier tones lent an edge of impending doom and disaster that I couldn’t possibly communicate with my art.

I’m going to break the next two parts of INTO THE WILD into two posts covering 6 pages each. This way INTO THE WILD will be wrapped up in 4 posts rather than 24 which would, quite frankly just be tedious.

Seeya in a couple days!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

INTO THE WILD part 1 - summary

I hope you all enjoyed INTO THE WILD. To say it's been an ordeal would be an understatement.

For those of you not sure about what INTO THE WILD is, you can find it for free on the HEROES website HERE.

The only reason I'm going to wax lyrical about my trials and tribulations is to give you some perspective on what Annette went through.

Many people bandy about the terms, "professional", "integrity" and "commitment". But we really only know whether we possess these traits under duress. And with the devastating events that befell Annette over the course of ROOT & BRANCH, in my mind there's no greater personification of those traits than Annette. Her effort in not only accomplishing this project, but excelling under such duress is a testament to how much she loves her work, HEROES and you guys.

So let me set the stage.

When Frank Mastromauro sent the first script to Annette and I, he told us the total story would be 30 pages. We read the script from Jim Martin and Timm Keppler and we knew that it was going to be epic. This would challenge, if not rival The Death of Hana Gitelmann. We knew this would be special. Even though we received the first script really early, I was still tied up working on another project. This gave us a little over a week for the first part, a week and a half for the second half and a week for the third half. Probably about 24 days to draw 30 pages. A good, consistent artist can smash out about a page a day.

We were going to be pushed to the edge of our creative reserves.

Be aware we're both full time artists working on other books already.

With every page of Root and Branch I was freaking out. Similar emails came from Annette. We really wanted to do all three parts, we just didn't know how. If I had a dollar for the number of times I debated handing off the third part to someone else, I could probably retire now. Annette had similar feelings. But I have a saying, "The pain is fleeting, the page is forever."

Annette and I knew that we owed it to ourselves and the fans to make sure this arc was consistently drawn by the same artistic team. We buckled up, committed and we stepped up.

We plowed through part 1, and I think we can easily say that it's some of the best work we've done together. Part 2 really wore us down, but we're both incredibly proud of the work. Suddenly we were at the point of no return and Part 3 loomed. I began work on it on the Monday (with the deadline being the following Sunday) averaging two pages a day at this stage. Both Annette and I were desperately trying to find a balance between moving quickly and moving beautifully.

Then on Thursday, Annette broke some devastating news.

Her email sums it up best:

"My dad has Progressive Supranuclear Palsy, he was in a nursing home for 2 weeks' respite... We're told he fell and hit his head very hard, and when he arrived at the hospital he was unconscious. Surgeons refused to operate because of his old age and medical history. The pressure from the bleeding is so great his brain has compressed to the left-side, so even if he did survive the operation he is already severely brain damaged. It doesn't even feel real at the moment, it all happened so suddenly..."

Annette was one of the few children still living in the same city and a great deal of the responsibility for managing her father fell on her. Keep in mind, we still have about 12 hours work per day to do. Somehow, some way she kept going. Her pages kept coming in - as beautiful as ever.

Three days later on Thursday, September 11th her father passed away.

We were about halfway through the book at this stage.

I offered all the help and support I could think of. She took none of it, (except an audio book I sent to cheer her up) and she kept churning out the pages. When we were chatting after it was done she mentioned this:

"I must say it felt like a blur, I'm not sure how we managed to get so many pages done in such a short time, but we did. I was so tempted to quit really, the deadlines for those last two parts seemed so impossible! But I really don't like leaving things half-done and just wanted it finished. The work was a good distraction too I guess."

I don't know the strength of will, composure and integrity it takes to finish a job when you have EVERY excuse in the world to leave. For god's sake, her father passed away. I can't think of anything worse than one of my immediate family passing on.

I don't know how Annette managed to turn the work into a positive means of taking her mind off this devastating and tragic event in her life. Most artists, hell, most people stop working at the slightest excuse. Annette uses her work as a means to deal, and in doing so rises above and beyond any expectation we should have for ourselves, her or anyone on the damn planet.

My saying about pain and pages seems so empty now as I've not yet had to deal with the pain of my father passing. But I do know that particular pain would last forever.

I'm terrified of the day that I have to walk in her footsteps. Because on that day we will find out what I'm truly made of. For someone who lives by those traits that she defines, I find the precedent she has set is awe inspiring.

I've never asked anything of my readers, but if you enjoyed ROOT & BRANCH I would really appreciate it if you guys left a note for Annette under the comments here. You don't have to log in, you can just leave an anonymous note. I know she would really appreciate it.

Thank you.

ps. I will go into the nuts and bolts of part 1 next post.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

INTO THE WILD part 1 page 1

TRUE BLOOD fans, please stay frosty. I promise I will post something. My post is in the middle of revisions right now. But I hope you enjoyed the first episode! I watched it after Entourage (which, like most men is over way to quickly) and was stunned by how long it was. TRUE BLOOD is a LOT of television.

But... I met Tim Kring at the Nine Inch Nails concert.


Alright, it all starts with James Martin, co-writer of Into the Wild and Tim Kring's assistant. We needed a bunch of last minute sign offs from the writers so I asked him and Timm Keppler if they were available over the weekend via email. James mentioned he was available all weekend except for the Nine Inch Nails concert he was going to Saturday night. I jumped out of my seat. I was going too! We organised to meet up. How cool is that?

Let's wind forward to Saturday.

Mathew Perry is standing in my driveway smoking a cigarette. I'm not a huge Friends fan so I give him "the nod" and head to my car. You know "the nod". He knows I know who he is. I know he knows I know who he is. But he knows I'm too damn cool to make an ass of myself knowing who he is.

I'm actually not that cool. But I have to act the way I was dressed, and given that I was about as rock star as I was gonna get, that's a fair act to live up to. My hair was perfect and the outfit tastefully excessive.

Getting to the forum was pretty easy and funny. People kept pulling up next to each other at each set of lights asking for directions, so I did the same. It was like some sort of directionless communal caravan running on faith and over-priced gas.

So I get to the forum and pull into the parking lot. I'm borrowing a friend's car so I get out to check my park and confirming that it too was excellent I get back in my car to get all my stuff. Well, I try to. The door had locked behind me and the car was still on. Brilliant. Just brilliant. Here all week folks, enjoy the veal and tip your waitress. Champagne comedy.

So I could've been hanging with James and his awesome friend Rick, but no, I'm waiting for AAA. They're pretty good and take only 20 minutes. Soon, keys back in hand I head into the venue. I call James and ask him where he's sitting. He tells me it's kind've complicated and he will come to me. Hooo-kay. I tell him and Rick and James find me. It was like meeting old friends. We had such a great chat. I really enjoyed chatting to them and they can both expect to be stalked by me in the future for more social action.

But what's with this "complicated" thing? "Where are you sitting?" I ask.

James tells me that he actually has a vip all areas pass. "How the hell did you get that?!" I exclaim.

James tells me that Tim (Kring) has been chatting to Trent Reznor and that Trent organised a VIP pass for him. WTF?!! What the hell do Trent and Tim have in common? The answer is more sensible and obvious than you might otherwise think.

When Tim was initiating the HEROES ARG he went looking for other ARGs and found that the best of them was Trent Reznor's NIN ARG for YEAR ZERO (it's worth reading the wiki link). So Tim started communication with Trent about the HEROES ARG. See? Makes more sense than you'd think!

So we're chatting away for ages and James gets a call. He says he has to meet Tim. "Keppler? (the other writer on Into the Wild)" I ask.

"No, Kring. My boss."

I use all my self control and cool to maintain some sort of equilibrium. A bit leaks out to my eyebrow which raises. I like to think I had a glint to my eye too, but only Rick and James can say. "Tim Kring? Really? James, I'd love to meet him if that's possible."

James says that's no problem and will bring him by.

So Tim swings by wearing a dull orange shirt. Accompanying him was his beautiful wife Lisa. James introduces me and Tim says, "Have we met before? You look familiar...?"

I note that I have a familiar face and get that a lot. I also add that I do work for him. But I think that got lost in the polite laughter of my previous comment. I introduce myself to his lovely wife and then it's time to go. It's 9:05pm and the concert's about to start though. So we say goodbye and everyone rushes off to their seats mere minutes before it begins.

The last live show I saw was Ka by the Cirus Du Soleil. That was a spectacle so beautiful it almost made me weep. The last time I saw Nine Inch Nails was last year at the Metro where Trent spat it. It left a really bad taste in my mouth, but I came back ready to be impressed... and I was.

What I saw in Melbourne was a gig. A band tearing it up on a small stage. Just them, the music and the incredible energy. As you can see, he is feet away from the audience.

What I saw Saturday night was a mind-blowing show, a rock concert, a true spectacle, and total sensory experience (aroma provided by nearby pot smokers). The design was brilliant and awe inspiring. The set design was influenced by his album art. Geometric bold furniture bending at 90 degree angles reminiscent of THE SLIP ushered in the concert.

A curving screen framed the back of the stage, and a similar transparent one lowered down at the front of the stage. But they could project video onto the screen to make it opaque with images reminiscent of album art as far back as Pretty Hate Machine . My favourite was a concentric circle of static on all the screens, in front and behind the band. As Trent approached and sang, the static would part to the intensity of his voice. Then, with a flick of his wrist the static would spin around the band, with Trent's figure cutting a hole in this moving storm of static. It was wild.

The whole scene and mood changed with the effects complementing the music. Even the interludes from Ghosts were engaging and ethereal.

I was sitting next to a girl, Melissa who also came by herself. We were both adamant that we wouldn't miss seeing NIN live, even if we had to be Scott Nofrenz (say it out loud fast). When Trent yelled "Thank you" bowed and left, she shook my hand, gave me her card and bid me goodbye. I asked her if she was going to stay for the encore. She told me she saw five NIN concerts last year and they never did an encore. I shrugged and she left. She had been gone a while when Trent came back on. I desperately started plugging her number into my phone to call her. I was about to hit dial when she came stumbling back to her seat. It ended up being not so much an encore, but rather the second half after a brief intermission. He played another five or six songs including Reptile, which I love.

Several times I glanced at Tim Kring in the VIP area (an orange shirt in a sea of black is not hard to see). He sat continually on the edge of his seat with a huge grin on his face. I hazard to guess he's not a huge NIN fan, but he knows a fellow visionairy in Trent when he sees one. And the experience would have kept anyone with five senses engaged.

I couldn't get in touch with James at the end so I headed off. I wanted to say a proper goodbye, as we had all rushed off. An hour later I get a text from him, "Meeting Trent! OMFG!"

Godamn it.

But hey, I got to meet Tim Kring. One can't be too greedy, right?

I'd accompany this with some photos, but the new Iphone has no zoom and it's not a great camera for events like this. I might see if I can upload some stuff later.

I promise to talk about Root and Branch part 1 next post. I promise! But hey, meeting Tim Kring at a NIN concert has gotta justify some space, right?

Saturday, September 06, 2008

TRUE BLOOD - prequel

Sorry to lead some of you on a wild goose chase, but apparently I have to clear the use of the uncoloured artwork with some legal peeps first (something about exclusive online content). Given the post doesn't work without the art (show and tell kids!) I've had to take it down.

Fingers crossed. It's a fun post.

In the meantime, here's a convention booth banner ad I did for HOLLOW MARK. It's a tight vertical booth poster (I believe he's cropped radically) but I designed it as such. I remember being SO sick in London when I drew this. So this is what I turn out when I'm on my death bed.


Expect INTO THE WILD 2 to go live next week. I will start posting about part 1 and try and catch up.

I also just got offered another HEROES gig for October. I'm not going to say what it's about other than they offered it to me as a favour for a request I made. Those of you who read this blog regularly will be able to make an educated speculation and know what I'm talking about.

Huge thanks to Ollie Grigsby for thinking of me with this one. I'm looking forward to teaming up with him again on this one. The dynamic duo are gonna lay the smack down in October.


Wednesday, September 03, 2008

ROOT & BRANCH part 3 wrap up

Oh god, I suck. I'm the worst Blogger in the world. I'm going to go for a running dive behind Paul Caggegi's words, which basically translate as, all blogging and no work it's "all steak and no sizzle."

I have been so busy it's insane. I worked all Labor Day weekend, busting my ass. I did have a small break where I headed out to a pool party Sunday at the house of the writer/producer of "Scary Movie". What was great is while I know a bit about Hollywood and how it works, my accent means I'm able to ask all the questions about people that I want. See, if I had an American accent it's almost assumed that I should know what a "talent manager" is and how that differs from a publicist or even an agent (fyi they plan a client's long term career). I can ask all the details I want without appearing stupid. It's great. And people are so happy to chat about their jobs.

Apart from the pool parties I'm powering through part 2 of Into The Wild. I hope you enjoyed part 1 (chapter 101). It just went online HERE. I'm very happy with it. But I will chat more about it when I get to it (sometime around the next Olympics probably). I'm so busy that the only reason why I sleep and eat is because it reduces my productivity if I don't do so. My only real breaks are heading to the gym with my housemate and neighbour (my housemate has lost 3% body fat in the last month! He's really stuck to the eating plan and weights routine I gave him).

I shouldn't even be blogging! By body is wracked with the guilt of procrastination as I type this. I have to have the entirety of part 2 done by Friday and I'm only 5 pages into the 12 pages story. Oh, did I mention I also have a full time job and have to do 6 pages for that also?

Anyway, enough whining about the present, let's whine about the past.



I loved drawing Root and Branch part 3 (R&B3). I've said it before and I'll say it again. It was so much fun. I'm so glad they asked me to draw Sabine for Into the Wild too. I think it will have a really nice visual consistency for the reader. R&B3 was drawn in about 5 days. 5 days to draw and colour 6 pages was a really tall order for me. Remember, I had been drawing the previous two parts also as well as my other obligations. My energy was waning.

But, I got to draw Bennet! I think I've drawn him more than any other cast member and I still find him really tough. Jack Coleman has a very unique face, where the balance of the features is so delicate, that if you get the smallest thing wrong you've just drawn some random with glasses. "Random" is a word I picked up in London off Nat and my mate Matt.

I envy the more cartoony artists like Ryan who just seem to smash out his likeness effortlessly. *sigh*

But as I mentioned, I knew that Bennet would feature in part 3, so I made his presence pop a little more in part 2. The Tale of Two Cities was requested for in the script. I'm not sure its significance, as I haven't read the book myself. But the SHEINDIE CLASSICS label was my shout out to the tirelessly enthusiastic and supportive Sheindie. His shout out was well overdue. I can't think of anyone else that's been so supportive and helpful and hadn't got a shout out.

It was Ryan Gibson Stewart who found me the reference for the cells. I made sure that Bennet's cell was arranged exactly how it was on the show (each alternating cell mirrors the one preceeding so it can be a bit confusing).

I loved making the cloning process gross. Most comics have such clean powers, I looked forward to diryting this up. The point where Sabine cuts the cord (I spent ages finding just the right hideous yellow/green colour for the liquid spilling out) and the ecg monitor flatlining was an idea suggested after by Zach Craley.


The reason why the shirt was open on the clone on our right was to show his belly button. There was some question on the boards as to whether they had belly buttons or not. I figured they must because Sabine would freak out and notice otherwise. Unfortunately in the drawing I forgot about this intention and ended up covering up the belly button. Eeediot!

I'm extremely happy with the bloodstained glass effect, and hope that it was still readable for the reader.

The main difference with Root Julien (RJ - as he's known in the scripts, Duplicate Julien is known as DJ) is that he's supposed to have a tattoo of a tree on him somewhere. I totally forgot about it, and luckily, so did NBC.

When I did my signing at Orbital Comics comics I drew a raffle for attendees to see whose likeness would be incorporated into the comic. I was going to do two things. If they looked the part, then they would be cast as an agent, in fact an agent who gets shot by Sabine. If they didn't look like an agent (ie a kid) then I was going to put them playing on the road as the cars drive by in page 5. But Luis was awesome and posed perfectly as the shot agent. I also managed to sneak two more Bennet likenesses in (I just couldn't help myself!).


Ryan again found me reference for what the company corridors look like. When I did the set tour I was lamenting to Ollie how I would have loved to have come in and shot these for reference. I don't know if anyone noticed, but there's shadows of the company agents behind those doors.

The agents in panel 4 are Donna, Thompson, Devin and some random dude. I find it interesting how Devin's look has changed from the sketches we were given. In the one I was given Devin practically has a beard he's so grizzly. I loved the design. I don't like smooth faced Devin as much.

I also really like how Sabine cupping RJ's face came out. I think it's a great moment. There's intimacy in their hands and eyes, but their bodies are far apart to show that they don't really know each other.


It's when I read this bit I knew for a fact that Julien was totally unlike the clone guy who fights Adam. Ollie and Zach were really smart to take the time to totally explore RJ's cloning ability. Remember I was talking about making powers gross? Well I wanted to go overboard here. At the point of the clone's separation I overlayed multiple textures of varicose veins, raw meat and all sorts of horrid stuff. If you look at panel 1 you can see eyeballs and all sorts of stuff growing. I heard somewhere that eyes are the most complex part of the body, so I figured they should be grown first.

The last two panels have two of my favourite Juliens. I just think I drew him really well here. And yes, it was a challenge to keep covering up this naked guy. I really didn't wanna see or draw RJ's "special little clone", you know?

Notice how Donn'a not shooting at him here? I figured that if Donna was there to shoot at him then she would have hit him with her special telescopic powers. So anyway, as far as I can determine there's still a naked Julien running around John McClane-style in the Company basement (i can just see it written on some dead Company agent - "Ha Ha Ha - now I have underwear.").

Now there's a story I wanna write!


I was trying to figure out what car Thompson would drive. Now I'm not a car head myself. Cars for me get me from A to B. If they can do that in a bit of style, then all the better. So I found this Audi. I remember the boards getting some activity from people saying they'd join the company if they could score this Audi. Wow. Four stylish wheels and you're ready to bag, tag and brainwash people. Are morals that thin these days? =)

I ended up adding all these trees and folliage around the bridge. I figured that if they just fell in a clear ravine then Donna would just pick them off from the bridge. Little would I know that - Oops! Almost gave away a spoiler. =)

You can see that a great deal of the movement of the cars is created in the colouring stage with blur effects.


I was so tired by this stage. I'm about to tell you a secret and you mustn't tell anyone. I had one day to colour this entire story arc. Normally I would have had 7 days to draw this, but I lost one day organising my visa in Paris, and another day as I was jumping on a plane to LA Sunday morning. My taxi was coming at 8am.

So it's 11am on Saturday and I have til 8am the next morning to colour all 6 pages. To give you an idea, Annette says she can colour two pages a day. I had to do 6! I worked until 7am that morning. My poor sister had to pack all my bags for me (and she did an incredible job - I pulled shirts out of the bag two weeks later and they didn't have a single crease in them!). I started page 5 by about 2 in the morning and I was so tired by this stage. The night scenes on these pages look murky and horrible because of this. I just couldn't figure out how to make it work. I'd already been in front of the computer for 15 hours at that stage.

There was also some question on the boards as to which character the driver was and what future role he would play. Honestly, he's just my mate Brett. In the labels on my navigation bar you will find under one of the older ILLUSTRATION tags an invite that I did for Brett's 30th birthday. Brett also commissioned me to do my Havok and Wolverine. He's one of the biggest fans of my work (the fact that he knows me yet is still a huge fan of my stuff takes me aback daily) and jokingly asked why he hadn't appeared in a comic yet. Almost all our friends had. He emailed me this aside as I was supposed to draw page 6 and so it was game on. He got such a huge buzz out of it. In fact it was trying to do him justice that kept me awake while colouring this page at 6am.

And that's the end of R&B3! And they lived happily ever after. Or they did until INTO THE WILD where it all hits the fan.

Oh, as a point of trivia, HERO/ROEsian from the 9th Wonders boards sent me a PM about some stats he'd compiled. He had put up a TOPIC which was a bunch of links to different sites that HEROES fans would dig. Apparently my blog is the most clicked from there with 18,547 links from there. HERO did the math, and that if my counter down the bottom of my site is correct, then that means that about 43% of my hits have come from there. Damn, ROEsian, you have single handedly made my site look respectable Thanks man! But you can look forward to a special "thank you" in INTO THE WILD part 2.

I will talk about TRUE BLOOD next then onto INTO THE WILD.

Thanks for being so patient with me.