Tuesday, April 07, 2009

COG page 4

Hey gang, I hope you've been better than I have. I spent a week in Boston meeting Heather's parents and friends. Basically it was 6 days of drinking. I managed to extend the drinking by 2 days when I got back. Now my sinuses feel like they're going to explode and I've metamorphasized into some sort of snot machine. I know, where do you sign up. I just make everything sound so damn enticing don't I?

Quick recap of Boston:

Friday I got to see my first ever Red Sox game at Fenway. Down by 7 in the third and then a massive come back from Green and Drew to win. Amazing stuff. Varitek was solid as always but Big Pappi was still under performing.

After that we wandered to visit Heather's bff, Biss at her work. She was closing up the restaurant and while we waited asked if I wanted a beer. I thought that would be a great idea and said I'd love one. A minute later she slams down this.... stein/tankard/chalice/mini keg of beer. I worked out it was two pints! Well, 2.5 of these barrels later and Heather is guiding my shaky ass out the door and back to the car.

Saturday was spent with Heather's parents at the MFA where I got to see a Gustav Dore sculpture. He's one of my favourite artists and was pumping out stuff at 12 years old that rivals what I was doing when I was 20.

Sunday we headed into the Isabella Gardner Museum where I saw a more John Singer Sargent stuff (another guy I love because of his dynamic lighting). The museum was beautiful but it was Heather's mom who noticed that the placement of the paintings was terrible. After lunch we met up with the girls for more drinking.

Monday was Marathon Monday where Boston stops for the 26 mile marathon. People fill the streets drinking and cheering. It was a great fun. We ended up crashing a party of one of Grace's friends, Kara. She was lovely and incredibly hospitable. After this we headed to Grace's for more drinking to watch the Bruins destroy the Cannucks in Ice Hockey. It was a good sporting weekend for Boston.

Tuesday Heather and I headed into Boston to pick up some Sox merchandise (a tshirt and hat). Later that night I cooked a huge lasagne and cheese cake. I was joking that I need more manly kitchen tools. Think of it, a range of men's kitchen accessories all with the word, "POWER" in front of them. Like POWER mixer, or POWER blender or POWER microwave! I want kitchen utensils I have to crank like a lawnmower and hold like a chainsaw. Then we're playing with power! We could have Tim Allen be our spokesman!

Wednesday I headed back to LA where I caught a cold. If you've never flown Virgin America, do so. I really enjoyed it. Cold optional though.

I also did an interview for the HEROES magazine. Bryan, the interviewer said he'd mention which issue and when it would be on sale, so I will keep you updated. It was so nice to see that my stuff had made an impact on them enough so that they thought fans would be interested in me.

Anyway, I have heaps of work to do including a new HEROES gig which I'm drawing and colouring. This is going to printed for San Diego comic con. Now Ollie and I decided that there we could fill a bunch of areas with shout outs. So, sign yourself up in the comments below for a shout out to see your name in lights! Write the name you'd like included and say that you'd like to be given a shout out. First in, best dressed. I can only fit so many in, so good luck!

Lastly, I'd like to draw your attention to THIS AMAZING POST REPLY by Clifford on the movie, WATCHMEN. It's brilliant and enlightening. I think he really hits it on the head. The main problem is that the character's motivations are all slightly different. Having not read the graphic novel in about 10 years, it bothered me less. But I know that reading it again I'm gonna get angry at the film. Thanks for the great heads up Clifford!

Saturday, April 04, 2009

COG page 3

I hope you enjoyed the (somewhat) stylistic reminiscence of my encounter with Foz. Just to be clear, I was waiting on the sidewalk like some sort of cheap whore for Foz to rock up. WE did zip around a corner, exchange goods and then dump me unceremoniously out the door of his car. It was so quick the real Jim Martin was like, "When are you off to meet Foz?"

And I was like, "I've already been!"

After my incredibly sketchy and hasty encounter with the Fozster on Sunset Boulevard I sat down to watch the dvd with episode 21 on it. I hate watching stuff out of order and ahead. It just spoils stuff for me. You've seen the episode now, but I was back at Ollie's episode 19 at the time. So watching it I knew how the Danko/Sylar thing would work out

I've really enjoyed going through the forum posts on 9th Wonders and I thought I'd help answer some questions.

1. The Title: People were confused by the capitlisation of the word COG insinuating that it may be an acronym. The title on the top of my script is "COG (or…”Cogs Are People Too”)". I think the capitalisation is stylistic and Foz's choice.

2. The character of Jim Martin is named after the writer of the same name. I dearly hope that's the furthest the comparison between the two goes. Finding out my drinking buddy's some "personality chameleon shape shifter" would be a little unsettling... but endlessly amusing.

4. The "waaaah, waaaahhh" sound effects are by Foz. They are to indicate the alarm on the phone. Now that it got changed to a video message, they maybe should have changed it to a "beep beep". You can also see on my last layouts how I tried to communicate this. I wanted his dream to fade and be intruded by reality.


Panel 1 took freaking forever for some reason.

Panel 2: the cameos are both coincidental and meaningful.

Panel 4: Annette did a great job on the shaving cream. I was so worried it would look like a tumorous growth on his face.


Just a quick aside on Watchmen. I finally got to see this last night and enjoyed the hell out of it. The big questions I get from a lot of people is, "Is it better than the comic?"

Is it more entertaining than the comic? Absolutely. But the comic's sheer daunting and experimental brilliance makes for a tough read that affects its entertainment value. But I think that true art needs to be evaluated on more than just an entertainment level. And if I have to discuss with you whether Watchmen is True Art or not... well, then we're never going to agree. I suggest you move onto another blog and save yourself a bunch of trouble because convincing me otherwise would be like trying to convince me that Superman is less than totally awesome and that protein powder doesn't makes everything better - basically it's a belief so fundamental to me that it's bordering on irrational.

So is the film "better" than the comics? Quite simply, I put it this way. If Watchmen: the film challenges and contributes to the medium of film in the same way or better than Watchmen: the comic did for the medium of comics, then it is as good, if not better.

While I place Watchmen: the comic on this incredibly high pedestal, I would rarely recommend it to anyone who wasn't anything but the most hardcore fan of comics. War and Peace may be the greatest piece of English literature... But it doesn't mean you really want to read it. If you just want to be entertained, stick to the film. If you want to be challenged, or need to convince someone that comics aren't just for kids, go read the comic.


Unsubstantiated: I could be wrong about this as I saw this movie a long time ago... But in Back to the Future 2 when Marty spots the playbook that ruins the timeline in the shop window, there is also a copy of Hollis Mason's UNDER THE HOOD.

Substantiated: This occurs in the actual issue, but I'm not sure if all later collections of the graphic novel got it right... The Rorscharch issue is actually structured like a Rorscharch test. All the panel layouts mirror themselves on their opposing pages. For example, let's assume the middle pages are 11 and 12 (I can't remember how many pages it is), but their layouts would be the same. So would 10 and 13, 9 and 14 and so on. Brilliant.

NEXT POST: Thoughts on page 4 on Monday. Have yourself a great weekend!

FACEBOOK: Look me up, join my facebook group! Hassle me what I can do for the group.

Thursday, April 02, 2009

COG page 2

I gotta say it was fun working with Foz McDermott. He's a damn nice guy who commits to the excellence of the story, but also knows when to give enough space to let a collaborator swing a cat. Because, just in case you didn't know, the hurling of various felines is ESSENTIAL to my comic creation process.

But seriously, you should know that by now.

I had some questions about the script and within an email, Foz had sent me his number. We chatted and I still had problems visualising the action. That night I was actually meeting up with the real Jim Martin (the writer not the shape shifter) at the Saddle Ranch on Sunset with a bunch of my Aussie friends. Foz said he'd drop by, but he'd rather not step inside. His call...


Sunset Boulevard. A road of broken dreams hyper-saturated with billboards screaming taunts to the broken, hungry souls that wander its star-struck pavement. The sickly sweet cologne of the valet attendant weaved unpleasantly with the toxic exhalations of the traffic around me. The jagged teeth of a bitter wind as cold as the hearts of the hollow eyed people that aimlessly shuffled around me failed to move the bitter scents. It clung to the back of my throat with the jagged fingers of a dying man. Inside I could hear the warm laughter of friends and strangers. Music swelled over a thumping beat like jungle drums calling the tribe to celebrate by the fire against the cold, cold night. The solid walls of the bar suddenly seemed a fragile membrane against the bleak, neon cold. I flipped up my collar and scanned for my contact.


I'd been warned about him. A loose cannon. A maverick who broke as many rules as he did legs. He had a reputation. Once he commited to the job, he finished the job. Somehow I'd been roped in. Grigsby. It's all damn Grigsby's fault. I'd be inside surrounded by warm smiles and cold drinks if it wasn't for him. Foz needed someone with my specialised skills and he put the pressure on Grigbsy. You see, Grigsby knows people. He knows people that you shouldn't know. Unfortunately, I'm one of those people. I don't know what Foz did to him, but he dropped my name. Grigsby never drops names. I can only hope Grigsby only needs crutches, cos I have a feeling as far as my dealing with Foz goes, that would be getting off lightly.

Suddenly a streak of metallic night pulled up at the curb. Its engine thrumming with power. I could hear imminent sirens and gunshots in the distance. The tinted window lowered and I heard a voice rasp, "Get in."

I narrowed my eyes and peered through the gap that the mirrored pane afforded. In the front passenger seat was a blond. Always a damn blond, I thought. She smiled and I felt my eyebrows hood my eyes. Despite her beauty it was the looming presence behind her that caught my attention. Again that voice hissed from it, "If you're waiting for an invitation she's got a 9mm one pointed straight at your heart."

I looked away careful to keep my hands in sight, "That's a bad place to aim. Grigsby's work burnt that outta me years ago."

A smile split the hulking shadow of the drivers seat, "Grigsby won't be bothering you no more."

Now it was my turn to smile. If Grigsby was done, maybe I could get out of this. All of this. Start again. But I knew wherever I went my hands would be as clean as Lady Macbeths. "It seems we can do business."

I got in the car figuring the back seat was safe. Looking around I couldn't figure out how you broke the legs of someone sitting behind you. As soon as the door shut the car took off screaming around a corner. He drove the car like a guided missile. He knew the layout of the land down to the trash cans and his twisting route disorientated me, which is normally impossible. I was dealing with someone who'd read my file. The metallic beast lurched to a halt and he turned to me slinging a huge arm over the back of the blond's seat. She pretended to look out the window ignoring us. She was smart and knew it's better to pretend not to know. "Down to business." He whispered.

I leaned back bracing myself against the seat. If anything should happen, I'd need as much leverage as possible to deal with a man of this power. "You should know," I said, "This is my last job."

Again the shadows split, "It's always our last job kid. But the only way you and I get out of this is without a pulse."

We locked eyes. Without dropping his gaze he reached into his coat. I tensed, my endorphin system honed by years of training to a hair trigger. "These are for you."

He handed me a dvd and a what looked like a floor plan of an apartment. There were designs on it. Arrows, crosses and circles. The uninitiated would think it looked like a football play. I knew better. It was a kill plan. He interrupted my study of the goods, "You burn those when you're done. And if you got any questions then I'm working with the wrong guy and I do to you worse than Grigsby."

I opened the door and got out. The cold air embraced me, reminding me I was alive "No questions. It will be done by Friday."

The shadows of the unfamiliar alley loomed around me, but this time I'd rather take the devil I didn't know than being inside that car with the one I did. "One last thing..." I said.

A sliver of shadow appeared as his window slid down a half inch. "What?"

"Lose my number."

"You're gonna lose the abillity to walk if you don't do this right."

The window snapped up and the scarlet light of tail lights bathed me as the chrome beast disappeared out of view. I snapped up my collar and looked around. I could feel shadows moving around me, sizing me up. The dvd and kill plan disappeared into my coat. I'd need my hands to be free. My adrenaline charged senses could tell it was gonna be a long, hard walk back to the bar. But that's ok... I needed to work off some tension.


So yeah, I met up with Foz and he gave me episode 21 as well as a floor plan to detail the action on the final page. Sorry, should I have been more clear there?

Oh, and the other night Ollie told me that him and Zach Craley are writing the next four installments of the comics that lead up the break. They interweave with what we've already seen and I promise you, they're gonna be awesome.

FACEBOOK: Look me up. Mention you know me please.

NEXT POST: Page 3 on Friday.

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

COG page 1

Here we are back again with the posting.

COG just got released today (you can find it for free HERE) and I'm very happy with it. Annette kicked yet another serious field goal from halfway down the field. Thank you again Annette!

Huge thanks to Foz - the writer, Ollie - the HEROES editor and Frank the ASPEN editor and Comicraft - the letterer. Special thanks to Bill Hooper who played the actual Jim Martin on the show. He came round and gave a stellar modeling performance.

This was a fun project. It was great to see some of the back story behind the poor "red shirts" in black who try and take down our main cast. Agent Jenkins was such a great narrative call. He had a face on the show (but not really his own), and gave us a touch point to see that these guys are real people with families, friends and partners. When they get killed they leave a hole in the lives of the people around them.

I first saw this technique used by Grant Morrison in his brilliant series, THE INVISIBLES way back in issue 12 in 1995. God damn, I'm feeling old now. There are people who could be reading this that could have been born then. Age-related issues aside, the first issue of The Invisibles had the team cutting a bloody swathe into a facility. Twelve issues later we read the story of John Murray... Just some dude. Grant paints an unattractive man with little to no redeeming qualities. But it's only when he's finally at work and he pulls on his uniform that we sense something is amiss. Then we see the main character from The Invisibles appear and shoot him exactly like we saw twelve months ago. His death is unexpectedly painful. But Grant, like Foz made us realise that these faceless soldiers are people.

There was another SPRINT product tie-in and I thought Foz did a great job of seamlessly integrating the phone into the story. As the main communication device that we use these days, it didn't seem out of place at all. Ollie Grigsby (see the vitamins on this page) saved my butt yet again. Sprint asked if we could feature the video function more promimently than just on page 2 panel 2 after it was all drawn. Ollie figured out that would be a lot of work on my part and came up with an ingenius solution. Originally panel 3 was slightly different as the phone was simply supposed to be flashing its alarm. Ollie figured that we could chuck a picture of Danko in there and show off the video function there. Brilliant. Thank you Ollie!

Some of you might have noticed the Sylar pic that crops up a couple times in the story. Cos I'm always looking for ways to support the SARMY, I ended up drawing that as a huge separate poster. Sheindie, Lee, Noo, Nat... if anyone contacts me I will send you guys the full image to do with what you wish for your online store. I'm not reproducing it in full anywhere. It's for you guys only.

INTERVIEW: I did an interview with Rob Beck for his LOTSOFINTERVIEWS site. I'm currently cutting the thing down. Because it's a transcript of a phone interview it's huge. I'm trying to cut it down to a third of its size. I've got it down almost halfway. When it's sharper and ready for your sensitive, abused eyes, I will let you know when it gets uploaded.

BLOG SCHEDULE: Mon, Wed and Friday. So expect page 2 tomorrow.

FACEBOOK: Feel free to look me up here. Just please mention how you know me or my work.

THE FUTURE: I might be working on another two parter with Ollie Grigsby in May. Fingers crossed!