Friday, June 29, 2012

Noir - That's What I'm Reading

I'm currently writing a gritty short comic using a lot of noir conventions and characteristics. I like noir movies (Maltese Falcon, Third Man, Seven, Brick...) but to write something original and modern with these certain details is a challenge for me. So I decided to draw inspiration from NOIR, A Collection of Short Crime Comics. 13 short stories from notables like Brubaker, Grist, & Lemire, just to name a few, all offered a different take on the genre. The stories that stood out for me are: Open the Goddamn Box, The Old Silo, The Albanian, Kane the Card Player and The New Me.

In each of these stories, the characters have a dark past (or future), almost contrary to their everyday facade. Although one of the key elements of noir crime stories is to solve a mystery, its also the introspection of the characters still reeling from their experience. 

Last night I finished another noir comic, Parker: The Hunter from Darwyn Cooke. It was an excellent read with very stylish art. Definitely recommend it.

And in case anyone's wondering, yes I have read Blacksad. And I absolutely loved it. Why? Cause it stays true to form but the only difference is that animals take the place of humans. One of my favorite stories was a political crime narrative, reminiscent of Animal Farm. Originally published in French, followed by Spanish, and lastly English, I'm really looking forward to the next Blacksad hardcover which should be coming out soon. 

Monday, June 18, 2012

Convention Schedule 2012 (Part 2)

The year is almost half over and while wedding planning took up much of our time over the past six months, we're now cranking along on new comics and prepping for the rest of the shows we've scheduled for 2012. We're trying our hardest to have new material (and some surprises!) ready for the upcoming shows so if you can make it out to any of these fun events, it'll definitely be worth the journey.

September 15-16, 2012
Los Angeles Convention Center
Downtown Los Angeles. CA

October 13-14, 2012
Concourse Exhibition Center
San Francisco, CA
twitter: @APExpo

November 3-4, 2012
Long Beach Convention Center
Long Beach, CA
twitter: @LongBeach_CC

Monday, June 4, 2012

What I've Been Reading: Rob's List

Gonna try something a little different for this post, from time to time I want to start mentioning some of the great comics I've recently been reading. Not necessarily new, not necessarily collected editions, not necessarily for everyone, just comics I've found to be interesting, fresh, exciting, intense, dramatic, LOL, horrifying, life-altering, or just plain fun. So here we go:

Tiger Lawyer #1
The title of the comic alone captured my attention the first time I saw it. Where as my comic, Clown Fight, is about clowns fighting, Tiger Lawyer is about a tiger.... um, lawyer'ing. And don't even tell me that's not something you're at least slightly interested in checking out, because if you do, you're a filthy liar. You want to read this book, I know you do. This first issue contains two stories: a cartoon style court room comedy, and a grittier, noirish tale, that are both equally entertaining. The wonderful thing about the book is that the basic premise is so deceptively simple that the stories could very easily go in any direction using any genre. That makes me really excited to see what the series has in store. If you're interested (which again I know you are), head over to the Indiegogo campaign to grab the first couple issues.

Thought Bubble #1
A single issue anthology released in December 2011, celebrating the annual comics festival in Leeds, UK. The contributors include Andy Diggle, D’Israeli, Mike Carey, Duncan Fegredo, and Antony Johnston. First off, the issue is presented in a double-sized newsprint style similar to Wednesday Comics, so they had me right there. But it also contained some really nice short stories. With any anthology, the stories are usually hit or miss which can be equal parts frustrating as well as rewarding. You really just never know what you're going to get. In this anthology, I enjoyed pretty much all the stories and I think the large page format was a big part of that. I always get a kick out of shorts that have a well done (and complete) story and with the help of being oversized this issue had a couple stories that managed to do it in only 1 or 2 pages. Really cool. And to be honest, the fact that it's only 22 pages was a plus. It can be discouraging when you start reading an anthology and the first couple stories do nothing for you. Not here, good stories make this one a fun read.

Freedom No.1
The first chapter (of what will hopefully be a nice, long story) is about a young boy in 1779 who heads into a British controlled city of Boston seeking an apprenticeship and the older brother who accompanies him. The comic first caught my eye when I was flipping through the Previews catalogue. After finding and enjoying a preview PDF of the book online, it instantly became a must order for me. One of the my favorite things about the comic is the historical setting. I'm a little biased being a native New Englander, but even that aside, the story has a very authentic feel to it. I'm not the biggest history buff, I just don't have the capacity to retain any of that knowledge, but from reading this book you can easily tell that Seamus Heffernan (writer/artist) has a real love for this time period and sprinkles his knowledge throughout. Everything from the dialogue to the colonial style printing on the title page feels very much of that time. Add to that the wonderful art and an intriguing story it has me excited for future chapters. The book is $7, but with 64 story pages and an over-sized format it's absolutely worth it!

Old City Blues
Amazing art. That's what first attracted me to the book when I picked it up at this year's WonderCon. The story focuses on the police officers of a futuristic metropolis who work cases involving drug dealers, smugglers, political corruption and high tech criminals. The art style of writer/artist Giannis Milonogiannis seems to be influenced by the scifi manga/anime of the '80s, but with plenty of European flavor to make it uniquely his own. The style is very loose and it brings a lot of energy to all the action sequences. I can't really say I've read anything like it before, and that to me is a great thing. The story itself is very tightly paced; we get some nice scenes of character development but it never lingers too long. Just like with some of the other titles I mentioned, I'm excited to see what's in store for future volumes because if this one is any indictation, we're in for a great ride! Pick up the book and enjoy.