Wednesday, May 20, 2009

FAMILY part 1

First up, you can find the free graphic novel at the HEROES site >HERE<. I recommend downloading the pdf to see all the detail. I've drawn it so you should be able to effortlessly read it on your screen.

I haven't been this excited about a graphic novel since SUM QUOD SUM. I loved what I did with Jim and Foz in the meantime, but two things really stood out for me. First up, I got to work with Ollie again. While the other guys are incredibile talents, Ollie just has my storytelling style down to a "T". I just find his and my stories read that little bit better. It's like they're greater than the sum of its parts, you know? Ollie outlined the story for me, and it just sounded so damn exciting. I loved the twists him and Zach came up with. Then Zach Craley sent me the Dennis Calero artwork preceeding mine and I was blown away. Looking at the artists before Dennis and I noticed it was comic book superstar (and all-round nice guy) Phil Jimenez and before that Michael Gaydos. Holy crap, I knew I just had to step up. The second thing was that Ollie told me that this would be the story printed for San Diego Comic Con. I just knew I had to bring my A game.

Another thing that fired me up was that I recently had to put together a proposal for a super secret project that Ollie and I are hoping to work on. I realised that SUM QUOD SUM (see labels on the side) was the last time I went without sleep and worked around the clock to hammer out the best possible artwork I could do. I've done some nice work since, and some stuff that has come close but nothing that rivalled it. I'm all about self improvement and I decided that FAMILY was the time to show people just how far I could hit the ball now.

The other factor to the story was the Nissan integration. This means that Nissan could really be the only logo in the whole story. I remember turning to Ollie and asking him what the hell we're going to do. I had to fill up two shots of Times Square with fake ads!

"Shout outs." he said.

So I put a call out on my Facebook for anyone who wanted a shout out. Here's the complete list of all 28 shout outs:

page 1 panel 1
Lee Olson: Heather's middle names

page 1 panel 3
Alexandre Togeiro
rob beck: : you were originally the guy fighting Alexandre, but you got covered up. You can now find yourself on page 2 panel 1
lindsey Elhai
Jessica Taurins
Alex Moses
Anthony Mitchell: that's you in the scarf in the bottom right corner dude.
Ian austin

page 1 panel 4
Chloe Nye
Alby Chin
Green Dragon

page 2 panel 1
Kelly J. Compeau
"Da Shark Shack"
Paul Cageggi
"Helix Comics"
justin barlow/Riddler
Steven Barrance
Dylan Eales
Adam Waterfield

Ok, these guys got covered up and lost:
nick hayden
Stephanie Gerk

You can see your shout out over on the left without the Sparrow Redhouse text. I'm so sorry. I just couldn't squeeze you guys back in. =(

Paul, buddy... you also got left out. I had to redraw the Cube on page 2 panel 1 and I had to shift the background around and you got erased. But here was your shout out dude, "Absolute Abstruse". I even drew you a bottle and everything!

I'm so sorry.

I think I managed to fit them all in, but some got covered by lettering. For example, my sister is on a star on the Hollywood walk of fame that's directly under the caption, "Are you ready to join the fight?". I think a fair few of them got covered up. But I have no control over the lettering. On the good side, I read a lot of posts saying that while they saw all the shout outs, they didn't seem to distract or detract from the story. I figured that people would just gloss over them the first time and then go back and look for them the second time.

I think the only pall over the proceedings was that Annette was unable to colour this because of other commitments. She gave me plenty of notice though (and tips on how to deal with Abby's forcefield), so I was more than able to factor in the time it would take to colour this baby. I did a better job than I've normally done of colouring, in fact, I would argue that pages 4 and 5 (the last pages I coloured) are the best I've ever coloured (I like the subtle effects like the reflection of the room in the tv in panel 2, as well as the red palette guiding your eye from panel 1 to panel 2). But I really think it looks so much better in black and white. If you want to do me a huge favour, go click on the black and white links and see the extraordinary amount of detail I put into every panel. I didn't skimp on a single panel. I recently bumped into a retired comic book artist by the name of Frank Gomez, who used to work for Top Cow. He told me that the secret to being a superstar comic artist is this... LONG HOURS. The more time you put in, the better it looks. And the proof they say, is in the pudding.

In the script, Ollie had Micah's captions introducing each person. I can't remember where I first saw the idea, probably in Grant Morrison's X-men run, but I pitched to him the idea of this big bold lettering introducing each character like a 70's tv show. Somehow, in a comic it gives it a real blockbuster feel. Ollie dug the idea and he modified the script to accomodate it. I had such a clear vision of how I wanted to design it, and I'm really happy with how it came out. Zach Craley sent me an email commenting how much he liked it, and that cinched the deal for me.

The biggest thing for me was making sure I set the scene. While there are captions telling you where you are, I really tried to find places that oozed an undeniability of location. While it seems obvious now, the Hollywood Walk of Fame was a late location selection - but perfectly fit the bill. I also wanted to make sure that each location had a specific colour palette.

Huge thanks also to Kat Purgal as Sparrow, Abigail Wong as well... Abigail, Ollie as Lee and Zach Craley as the Hotspur rental dude. I will talk about the great job they did and the modeling stuff later. That's a whole other ball game and I've rambled on for long enough already.

I hope you all enjoyed the story. I also hope it's obvious that Ollie and I enjoyed ourselves immensely making it.

NEXT: Wednesday, page 2. Nissan and Sinus Infections.


WickedM said...

love all the shout outs! and the art as usually is just stellar :D

Ian Austin said...

Like I said over Facebook, first time through I missed the shout-outs. The story was so well-crafted and rivetting that it took a few Facebook comments for me to go back and see the shout-outs.

It was superbly created. The merit is there before the shout-out, which just adds to the awesome!

Anonymous said...

Such beautifully rendered artwork .. the coloring is the best you've ever done! ... Ollie and you make such a terrific team ...just wonderful! Thank you! awesomeness =)

HERO said...

Cool story - well-drawn and written, as usual.

Crazy amount o' shoutouts, too. Wild!

Thanks for the insight.

MarkHB said...

Loved this comic. Can you say if there's an actual actor slated to play Sparrow when the show returns? Or, are you and the other artists just working from a general description?

MarkHB said...

Actually... never mind the Sparrow question. I just reread and caught it!

thepoohguy said...

Well, I missed out on being a shout out. Oh well.

Great concept and awesome art again Jason!

Stephanie said...

Amazing and beautiful artwork!

Thanks for putting all those shout ins! Us fans really appreciate it!

Ryan Stewart said...

Jason, you rock. That's simply all there is to it.

I can't take my eyes off the comic.


Anonymous said...

Just absolutely brilliant! I love all the hidden shout outs, they are an awesome touch to the novel! Didn't take away from the story either! The coloring is unimaginable too. =)

Hope you continue to do art for the GN's til the very end! ;)


Flawedprefect said...

It s fortunate you spelt my name correctly on the sign in the comic, if not in your reference in this post! lol! CaGGeGi! Double Gs first.

I am still chuckling over the "inside" joke of having an interiors outlet lol!

And the coloring is getting really subtle, well done, mate!

Jessy said...

Stunning artwork! I'm in love with every comic you do. xD And even though it was pointed out to me earlier today that there were shout outs, I had to reread after coming back to your blog to realise it. They definitely don't detract attention from the excellent art/story combo.

*flails* Thanks for the shout out!

Alexandre Togeiro said...

Wow! Absolutely stunning!!! You were right to say this was your best work so far. The story was so exciting, it rivals the show itself! The facial expressions, the scenarios, the colors, the clothing, and the hands - it's all incredibly gorgeous and well done! These action scenes and the flow of the story blown me away so much, I think you should also do storyboards for the Heroes TV show!!! Doing this exceptional work with that sinus infection AND making the shout outs just added even more to the awesomeness of it all. Thanks a million for the shout out and keep up the good work :)

Tarot said...

I gotta check your Facebook page more often.

This GN was fantastic even if it is cause for concern. I'm still trying to get my head around everything to do a decent blog post about it. As it is I updated the sig banner I use on both 9th Wonders and the NBC Boards.

And that's your colouring? Awesome!

bu11dog said...

Can't believe I missed your shout out msg. I'm kicking myself for that one!

Your art and the stories are great and always flow perfectly. I have a hard time following exactly what is going on in some of the novels, but never yours!

Nick Hayden said...

Haha, thanks for the shout out anyway. I suppose it would be a bit cheeky to ask for a shout out in the next one to make myself a bit more... canonical, haha.

I'll just add this to my Heroes Wiki user page now, haha.

Tarot said...

I'm kicking myself too for not seeing that post on FB about shout outs.

Jenny Dolfen said...

Thanks for sharing your art and thoughts here! I loved the last GN, some of the best artwork I'd ever seen in any of them.

Being a comic artist myself, I'd love to see any of your pencils. Do you have any of them online? The layout shots were already cool.

Jenny Dolfen said...

Thanks for sharing your art and thoughts here! I loved the last GN, some of the best artwork I'd ever seen in any of them.

Being a comic artist myself, I'd love to see any of your pencils. Do you have any of them online? The layout shots were already cool.

jasonb said...

Guys! Thank you SO much for all the feedback. It's really firing me up for the second part.

I'm so sorry I missed some really obvious shout outs. My brain was liquid mush wrapped in a big ball of pain. That's the only way I could forget those of you who mean so much to me and have been so supportive.

I might be able to make it up to you in future parts of this arc...

ps Paul, sorry I mispelt your name! At least I got it right on the shout outs!

Kelly J. Compeau said...

I've been so busy this week, this is the first time I've been able to sit at my computer for more than two minutes. Had time to check out your latest HEROES GN, Jas. Thanks for the shout-out! What a lovely surprise to see my name up there. The "COMPEAU BUILDING". Cute!

I agree, this is definitely your best work to date. Perfect likenesses, excellent colors and textures. You are a Master, sir. Sorry to hear that you were practically on death's door while working on this one. Man, that sucks. Hope you're right as rain, now.

Luv you,


Anonymous said...

Thanks very much for putting my surname into your last graphic novel, much appreciated, it's nice to feel famous!

Thanks again

A. Waterfield