Into the Shadows

During the Golden Age of Hollywood, each studio had its own distinctive cinematic personality, a style of filmmaking unique to that brand that moviegoers could count on with every picture. While many of the studios presented optimistic stories during World War II and bright Technicolor in its aftermath, RKO embraced the darkness, producing some of the greatest films noir in cinema history.

Trylon Roadshow is presenting seven of RKO films at the historic Height’s Theater every Thursday during the months of February and March. It’s a really impressive compilation of films. To promote the event they asked me to do a series poster for the films. How could I say no?

This is one of those projects where I had way too many ideas in my head than I could possibly ever fit onto the image itself. I wanted to do something from every film in the series and try and make it work as a montage at first. Then I thought maybe I could just do one film as a focus but quickly abandoned that idea. Finally I decided on coming up with a noir scene but incorporating the classic RKO radio tower from their logo. That seemed like the perfect choice. Below if the final poster along with some of the concept sketches I submitted.

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2017 : Cover to Cover

Howdy everybody. Welcome to the 2017 postmortem report. Some of us have thrived this past year. Some of us have just been trying to stay afloat. And some of us have done a little bit of both. I think I fall in the latter. So here’s a recap of what 2017 was for me work wise and personally.

I was really busy with a large project for Mayo Clinic most of the year. The job allowed Nicole to go freelance and be home more, which has been wonderful. It was such a large project that I didn’t draw as many comics as I usually do. The ones I did draw however, were really fun. I had the pleasure of working on The Mighty Captain Marvel for Marvel Comics. Carol Danvers is such a fantastic character and I had a real blast drawing her. Looking forward to seeing her on the big screen soon.

I did manage to keep busy in comics with a TON of cover projects. As a matter of fact I did 28 covers in 2017 (see the collage below). Two of the projects, the WWE Royal Rumble variants for Boom! Studios, and Doc Savage: Ring of Fire for Dynamite, were connecting covers, which made for a fun challenge. I really enjoyed doing covers for so many excellent books and characters.  I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention doing one for Josie & the Pussycats, as we named our daughter after the character. That was a bucket list gig for me.

As for comic conventions, we did our traditional shows NYCC, and C2E2. A new one for us (and everyone else) was the ID10T Festival in San Francisco/Silicon Valley. It was a cool and unique experience merging music, tv, and comics under one big carnival type atmosphere outside. We had a blast and hope the show continues on and keeps getting bigger and better. We were lucky to make it to San Francisco as three days before our trip I had to have my appendix taken out. This was the first surgery in my adult life and thankfully I rebounded fast. On the positive side of the health front I have lost around twenty pounds this year and getting myself in better shape. I bought a standing desk and I love it. The less sitting the better for me.

In August I drew a marathon of sketches for the Hero Initiative in honor of Jack Kirby’s 100th birthday. A fun challenge that I will never ever do again, but happy to say I did it once in my life. Thanks to everyone who purchased sketches, all the proceeds from the sketches went to a great cause.

On the family side, we took an amazing trip up to northern Minnesota and Itasca State Park. I loved camping as a kid and while we didn’t really rough it on this trip, it sure was fun to get out in the woods for a while. We also made our family beer blog, Tykes and Taprooms a little more official. You can now follow it as a blog, Facebook page, and on Twitter. The same goes for my weekly lunch bag sketches, which is now called Peanut Butter and Justice.

For 2018, I have a lot of things on my to do list. I worked on a pitch for a creator owned comic book that I am hoping to have news on soon. I started writing more comic scripts the last month or two, and am trying to make some things happen so I can write and draw both moving forward. Recently I’ve had a strong reminder of how slow things move to get approval and it’s important to try and plan two or three projects ahead. I feel like I lost a little momentum towards the end of the year, and am trying to get ahead of the game for 2018.

I am looking to shake up my approach to my convention experience. Try new conventions. New banner. New merchandise. New table layout. For the last year I have really only had single issue comics and commissions for sale at my table and it’s made for some great shows, and some not so great shows from a financial aspect. I am trying to add more items like a sketch book, prints, and enamel pins. Excited to see how it turns out.

I’d also like to try and do a newsletter. I love doing this blog but traffic has diminished over the years as social media sites have become the norm. I’ve seen a few other artists putting out newsletters and it looks like they help get people to check out their work and bring more clicks to their site. Hopefully at some point in the next 12 months I’ll start doing a BSI quarterly newsletter. Maybe we can have a naming contest.

Finally, I’d like to take the time to thank you for the continued support of my work. It means a lot to me that so many people continue to keep an interest in my drawings and projects. I hope the next year treats you and yours well, that any goals you have in front of you or are wishing to make happen, you can pounce on like a ferocious starving bear and maul it into submission. That’s my plan of attack. We’ll talk more about it in twelve months.

Stay classy.

 

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Covers Covers Covers

I have some more covers I can share with everyone. First up is Red Sonja #14. Out this coming February from Dynamite Comics. Had a blast doing this one and also working with colorist Chris O’ Holleran.

RS14

In January I start the second connected series of covers for Boom Studio’s WWE comic. This one will be a history of Monday Night Raw and featuring many Superstars and moments from the past 25 years of RAW. It all starts with issue #13’s cover that has the Corporate Ministry and The Shield!

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Marvel recently started their Legacy relaunch and with it they have been having their books come with a short three page retelling of character’s origins. I was asked to do the Captain Marvel story, that was written by Robbie Thompson. It was a lot of fun. And I got to work again with colorist Jordan Boyd. Screen Shot 2017-11-09 at 3.01.42 PM

 

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And finally, Marvel is brining back the Dark Phoenix this fall. In honor of that they are doing a series of variant covers that feature different Marvel Universe characters being taken over by the Phoenix Force. I got to draw The Wasp for this variant series. It will be for issue #674 of The Avengers. Big thanks to Nick Filardi for killing it on the colors.

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Welcome to Hawkins, Indiana

Over the month of October I did some daily sketches leading up to the second season premier of the Netflix show, Stranger Things. I am a big fan of the show and thought it would be fun to do some fan art.  with my morning warm ups. Love to make some stickers or a poster of these for the convention season next year.

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Fall Festivities

We are in full on Autumn here in Minnesota. Well let’s be honest, it’s November 9th in Minnesota, so probably even more like winter. We had so much going that I sadly neglected this here blog. Let’s correct that right now with a run down of some of the cool shenanigans we’ve been up to.

 

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Peanut Butter & Justice- I decided to take the lunch bags I do for my daughter and create a blog just for them called Peanut Butter & Justice. You can check it out on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

 

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13th Dimension- I was fortunate to be one of the artist asked to talk about their favorite episodes of Batman:The Animated Series. You can check that out here.

 

MNMakers

Minnesota Makers- You can now get my shirt “Buddies” at the great Robbinsdale, MN craft store, Minnesota Makers. It’s a great store but if you live near the Twin Cities it’s certainly worth checking out.

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The Midnight Club- I was a guest on the second episode of The Midnight Comic Club podcast. Myself and host TJ Dietsch chat our love for EC Comics.

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Kind of a Big Deal Awards- My artwork for Barrell Theory’s Draco bottle art is up for the best bottle art award from The Growler’s year end Kind of a Big Deal Awards. You can vote here.