Friday, January 15, 2010


Parts one and two of The Trip are up. You can find them as graphic novels 160 and 161. Oh, forget it. Here are the links to the free graphic novels. Grab the PDFs if you have the bandwidth. And if you don't have the bandwidth, I'll still be your friend. I'd just rather you didn't touch me.

The first part was written by Foz McDermott (whom I worked with on COG) and the second part written by Jim Martin who I've worked with so often that an umbilical cord trails between his mansion in the clouds and my Harry Potter cupboard under the stairs.

This was also the first time I got to work with Nanci Quesada. We got off to a tumultuous start, but it turned into my favorite HEROES working experience after.

It started one morning when I was still sleeping in my coffin. I heard the phone go but I decided that the lid on my coffin was just too heavy right then to even check who it was, so I let it go to voicemail. Bad mistake. It was Ollie Grigsby on the Batphone.

When I finally rose from my Place of Eternal Rest I immediately checked my email. The principle line of communication for most people (the phone) lay forgotten. There was an email from Nanci Quesada asking me if I was exclusive to Aspen and would I like to do some HEROES work. I was excited to work for Nanci. I admire her stable of artists. Dennis Calero. Michael Gaydos. I'm huge fans of those guys. And to pull up a metaphorical, and perhaps somewhat hopeful, chair next to them would be really exciting as a creator and fanboy. But there was a small hitch in the road. I was booked out so solidly that I was outsourcing my bodily functions to India. This is normally a great problem to have... Except when HEROES comes knocking on your door. But maybe, just maybe if it was a nice easy story to draw (like Stuck In the Middle also written by Jim Martin which was mainly set in a closet). If it was simple enough I would be able to fit it in. So I asked Nanci to send me the script so I could take a look.

So Nanci sent me the script. I think I got to the page where Foz describes a ring-wraith flying over Arkham Asylum set in the lava stricken lands of Mordor when I finally blanched. There was no way I could squeeze this in. You could roll up the world's largest shoe horn and the biggest tub of lube you could find and it still wouldn't fit. I wrote her back telling her how busy I was, and that the story was just too much, but that I would love to work with her in the future.

I then noticed the phone and called Ollie back. Ollie asked me about the story telling me how much he'd love to see me draw it. He thought it was right up my alley, and I heartily agreed. But I told him I couldn't do the story. It was wa-ay too much work with everything I had on my plate. The way I hit deadlines is by making sure I don't take on too much work. And unfortunately this just came in too tough too late. The disappointment in his voice almost broke me. I'd never felt so appreciated in a single, "oh."

Then fortune struck. An email arrived explaining delays on another project. Suddenly what was due that week was on indefinite hold. Providence? Fate? Destiny? Or D. All of the above?

I was free to do the HEROES gig, but what if Nanci had already assigned it to someone else? I emailed her. Sent a carrier pigeon. Made smoke signals and then noticed that Nanci popped her phone number on the bottom of the email. I called her immediately and we had a great little chat. She told me the stories were still available and she'd love to have me. Yes! Score!

A quick email to Annette confirmed that she too was available. The pieces were really falling into place. This was too good to be true. Nanci told me the first six page part (160) was due on the 23rd - the same day I was leaving for Boston on vacation to freeze my proverbials off and stay with my girlfriend Heather's parents. So I told Nanci that I would have all twelve pages done before I left. Then I looked at the date. The 10th of December. 12 pages with layouts, art, colors and sign offs. It was going to be a rough one. I called Heather and checked that she was ok pretty much not seeing me until vacation. While disappointed, she saw what a great opportunity it was said it was totally cool with her.

So, pith helmets on we hacked our way into this twelve page jungle of fan boy soup.

I saw one fan asking what he was supposed to get out of these graphic novels. I'm not sure what you're supposed to get out of any of these graphic novels. But maybe you should be reading these two graphic novels as a subconscious stream of Freudian and Jungian metaphors detailing everything you need to know about Hiro's profile. Correct diagnosis should allow you to construct a mind map and psychological profile so accurate you will be able to predict every line of Hiro's dialog for ever more.

Or maybe you're just supposed to have fun...?

I know I did.

Until the thing that made it so fun did a heel turn so drastic that New World Order Hulk Hogan would have been proud.

Oh how little we knew. Back when Nanci, Annette and I were so young and innocent. With our eyes full of stars, dreams and moon beams.


HERO said...

Just wanted to say that I really enjoyed The Trip and 'twas cool that you got to work your magic on it... Keep up the great work!

Ian Austin said...

The great artist accolade was well-known, but you constantly outdo yourself with how wonderfully written these entries are.

Anonymous said...

MORE! sure, the art and all but - totally enjoying your blog/writing :D

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Ryan Stewart said...

Great stuff. Can't wait to get to the juicy references! :)

Tarot said...

Loved this 2 part GN. I'm sure there were some fan references I missed but it's BEAUTIFUL!!!!

Anonymous said...

Ditto, I can't wait for you to blog about the rest so I can pick up a few more refs. I recognised a lot though. They were VERY lucky that you were able to do it. Not only would a lot of artists struggle just from the time factor involved but, in all honesty, I think the vast majority of the references would have been lost on us readers, as they needed drawing pretty exactly, and I can't really think of anyone else who'd have been able to do it anywhere near as well.

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