Monday, August 20, 2007


I am interviewed by Mister Phil and Charlito at Indie Spinner Rack. They do an awesome comics podcast and I had a great time talking with them.

Make sure to check out their archives -- some great interviews to be found there.

Thought I'd add a few show notes. So, check out the interview at ISR and come back to this post for some extra comic book geekness below:


Indie Spinner Rack #93
Show Notes

Thanks to Charlito and Mister Phil. It was great talking with them.
I loved Mister Phil's story about the From Inside stand at the comic book store. Awesome.

Warren Publishing:
These were big magazine-sized comic antholgies published through the 70s and early 80s. Mostly black & white, occasional color pages. All the greats: Alex Toth, John Severin, Richard Corben, Frazetta, Neal Adams, Al Williamson...

I didn't read Eerie, Vampirella, or Creepy as much as the magazine 1994. I was lucky to have a drug store where the register didn't mind selling kids magazines that were clearly labeled as "Provocative Illustrated Adult Fantasy."

I loved the work of the Spanish and Filipino artists in 1994: Alex Nino, Jose Ortiz, Alfredo Alcala, Rudy Nebres. The work by these guys looked (and still looks) like nothing else being done in comics (so, seek out old copies of 1994, kids). Their black and white work was a heavy influence on me.

I've always thought that the artists whose work you copy (what? I didn't say "trace") when you are learning are the ones that influence you the most - even if whatever you end up doing in your own work doesn't look similar. For me, those artists were Alex Nino and the other 1994 contributors. Man, they loved their black ink.

Alex Nino:
wikipedia article re: Warren
Comics Journal article about Warren Publishing

Here's a page by Alex Nino. Amazing:


Tundra was an independent publisher founded by Kevin Eastman (Melting Pot, Heavy Metal, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles).

Tundra contracted From Inside, but the book was published by Kitchen Sink after acquiring Tundra.

Here's a Comics Journal interview with Kevin Eastman about Tundra and his work. It's a pdf from the Heavy Metal site. Kevin publishes Heavy Metal magazine now.


Caliber published my first series, Ashes. They published The Crow, Dead World, Baker Street, Kabuki... my last comic book series Golgothika.... the anthology Negative Burn...

Caliber published a ton of really great black and white comics before they folded. Most of the books are still in print. Check the site out.

Official Caliber site

Old friends from the Caliber days:

Nate Pride

Vince Locke

James O'Barr


Guy Davis
Be sure to visit Guy's Illustration section... and the Comicwork section... and the Marquis pages... you know what, just click through his entire site. I've just decided Guy Davis is one of my top 5 favorite comic book artists.

Who are the other 4? Paul Pope. Frank Miller. Pander Brothers. Michael Manning.

Grinder web site My music, illustration, album covers, etc

Golgothika pages

The big chair!


Star Trek #6
It's the first comic I ever read. I must have been about 5 years old

I was thinking about this Star Trek comic and how there was another comic I saw when I was young that made me want to seek out more comics. That book was Adventures on the Planet of the Apes. A friend of mine owned the comic, but something about the book disturbed him so much that he wanted to get rid of it... by giving it to me.

The reason why the book bothered him was because there was a drawing of a decomposed person on one of the pages. I held the comic up to him and said "You mean THIS picture?" He was so upset when he saw the drawing of the skeleton that I thought he was acting... so I kept showing it to him... until I finally figured out that he wasn't pretending.

I was about 8 or 9 years old. That was probably the first time I realized that art could have a very real effect on people. Even little 2"x3" panels in a Planet of the Apes comic book. I looked at the kid I had turned into a puddle and thought: "Awesome." (Actually - if I remember right - my exact thought was "With Great Comic Book Art, Comes Great Responsibility.")

Sometimes I am amazed by what you can find on the internet. Issues #1-4 of Adventures on the Planet of the Apes in pdf format.

Check out issue 1, page 6:
Fucking scary!!!!!!!



What's a fanzine? That was how bloggers blogged before the internets were invented:
Factsheet Five (the meeting place for all fanzines)


What is a "render wander?"

That's what happens when the progress bar on your computer says "Rendering" for 3, 4, 5 days in a row.

Let's say a shot is 10 seconds long. That's 240 frames. Depending on the scene's complexity, it could take my computer up to 15 minutes to render each frame. Shall we do some math?

240 frames X 15 minutes each = 3,600 minutes (ie: 60 hours... ie: 2.5 days).

Here is a quote from Michael Bay about rendering Transformers animation: “The visual effects were so complex it took a staggering 38 hours for ILM to render just one frame of movement,” reports Bay, “that’s unheard of in this industry.”

Let's say there were 25 minutes of special effects in the 2.5 hour Transformers film (that might be a low estimate). There are 1,440 frames in 1 minute of film. 25 minutes = 36,000 frames.

36,000 frames X 36 hours per frame = 1,296,000 hours. (ie: 4,000 days. ie: 148.4 years).

I gather, then, that Transformers is still rendering? (I'm kidding. I know there was a room someplace at ILM with 1,296,000 processors in it - each one working on a single frame while the animators were asleep). (I'm kidding again. Animators don't sleep!).

Anyway. The point I believe Michael Bay is making here is that the longer your rendering times are, the more kick ass your film is.

And the longer you have to wait for your renders to complete, the more often you go for a render wander. You get up. Wander. Eat. Read. Whatever.


By themselves, a lot of the windows, icons and menus in Maya (3D animation program) look interesting to me. With the addition of a couple textures and some brush strokes they make for nice abstracts.

That's what I do for render wanders. Stare at the monitor until it starts looking like abstract art. Or robots. In disguise.

Here is the Maya screen that became the artwork at the top of this post:

Here's another window:

And what it became: