Saturday, March 26, 2011



The words 'comics' and 'scandal' are a rare pairing, at least to my knowledge, but any person with even the slightest interest in the comic book industry is probably still leering at this Rob Granito affair even as I type this. It's been a couple days, but accounts on Granito's fraudulent career are going strong and can be seen on sites like Bleeding Cool and the anti-Granito Facebook page. It's wild stuff, but I won't delve into specifics here. Read about the affair via the links above. I will, however, strike while this iron is hot. Aren't I entitled? I'm a comic book person and I'm utterly fascinated by the news, like passing a horrible car crash on the highway.

Firstly, I'm not personally offended by Granito's lies. How could I be? Nothing of mine was at stake. He certainly would not have ripped off anything I've done. So I won't insult actual professionals whose work was stolen by trying to share in their anger. What I am is saddened. I ask myself questions: what was he thinking? how and why did he start? did he have an endgame? The questions don't end there, but they'll all go unanswered unless someone can get a hold of this guy. Apparently he's slotted to attend a convention somewhere this weekend. Everyone following this story are probably on pins and needles. It's like Fritz Lang's "M", only geekier!

So yes, I feel sad for the man. Don't confuse that for sympathy, mind you. What he's been doing is wrong and disrespectful to everyone in the business. Every single artist at a convention, from the biggest professional to the newest beginner, has worked very hard to be at their respective tables. By sleuthing his way into these shows with his counterfeit artwork, Granito has spat time and again on the hours of dedication every honest artist has spent on their craft. The reason I feel sad though is I can't reckon why someone would go through all the trouble and effort to lie so convincingly and to create these forgeries just to make a few hundred dollars at a show.

Incidentally, I passed Granito several times at the recent Wizard show. Like me, he had a table opposite Artist Alley. He was mingled with all the celebrities. I remember his booth vaguely. I never looked closer because what I saw of his work didn't impress me. They all looked like lame versions of better pieces. Go figure. I do remember thinking, "that kinda sucks" and then immediately chastising myself for putting someone else down at a show--in my own head, no less!--because it felt like the wrong attitude to bring to a convention. I honestly try to approach everybody with a positive and accepting frame of mind. Like I said, anyone at these shows has worked hard to be there, and you must respect that about a person, if nothing else.

What did he stand to gain? A spotlight? Didn't he think any attention would bring him down? What void, what lack of soul, kept him from working as hard (or harder) to create original works? I've looked at his forgeries. He clearly has an understanding of the materials used, some skill with his tools. Why did he do it? I can't wrap my head around it. So all I can do, from this comfortable distance where I sit at my computer, is laugh. What else can I do? Asking myself these questions, trying to put myself in his shoes, I just feel dirty and, again, deeply sad. So I prefer to laugh instead. Here's a big Nelson Muntz right in your eye, Granito: Haw-Haw!

Last weekend I promised 5 new pages of Teuton #3 and only delivered 4. Despite my superficial complaints about the Wizard show, I enjoyed the time spent meeting people, catching up with familiar faces and watching those fierce rollerskate girls zip so fearlessly through the crowd. Although the jokes about the cute one named "Rugburn" got tired very fast. But I digress. I did not get much work done for all the fun and excitement. Not following through has been eating me all week. I have been working quite tirelessly on several projects, the biggest being Teuton of course. So today I decided to toss up a lot of fun stuff, including the page I did not finish on time.

There will be some new faces in the upcoming issues of Teuton: the dreaded Pagan Gods! Fred eats up history and mythology, and has done a lot of research for the book to make our antagonists fun to design and draw. Making his debut on page 5 of this issue is Vakaris, a ruler of the winds and lightning and lots of fun stormy stuff. He shows up unannounced and inexplicably in true god-like fashion, standing eight feet tall, all muscle and furious business.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

WIZARD WORLD 2011 - Day Three

I'll come clean right now: the latest page of Teuton isn't finished, and thus isn't ready to be posted. I can hear collective booing and sighs of disappointment. Well, someone out there must be booing and/or sighing. It can't all be coming from my baby.

It wasn't for lack of trying though. Today turned out to be highly sociable. I think by the third round of a convention weekend, everybody is so settled in that they're comfortable and just want to walk around and gab, which is great. I'm not a great gabber and am a terrible shmoozer. I worry when I speak to someone from across a convention table that they suspect every word out of my mouth is bullshit. Sometimes I worry that if my perceived sincerity was currency, it would be in pesos. I'm told be those closest to me to stop worrying about such things. Worry about my output instead. Which brings me back to the fact I haven't finished the page I promised to post today.

Actually, a good deal of time went into doing sketches for really great people. One of which I scanned and am posting instead. So have a gander at it and stay tuned for future updates!

Saturday, March 19, 2011

WIZARD WORLD 2011 - Day Two

Yesterday the convention was extremely slow and pretty dull. For whatever reason, a painfully eclectic selection of music was playing much louder than necessary. In fact, the music isn't needed at all since the convention isn't a hotel lounge or my dentist's waiting room. Consequently I had to speak it a decibel higher than I'm used (I normally prefer numbling and neurotic hand gestures), and had to pretend I understood a lot of what was said to me.

While the bad soundtrack carried on throughout today, I can happily say that the aisles were far busier and people were more supportive, more interested and more polite. I got little drawing done. I intended to do more, honest, but there's always so many people I'd like to see and chat with. I'm also still a nerd who likes getting his favourite comics signed. Plus, the seats are awful and the a/c pumped chilly waves down my back. By 3pm I was paranoid of having caught the flu--aches accompanied by chills! With such an assault on all my senses, how can I sit and work? How can I not get up and watch artists I admire do exactly what I can't: sit still and work.

Anyway, that's my mini rant about all the negatives of the convention so far. Believe me, there were many positive things I could write about here. I won't though. I'm tired and there's work to do. So as promised, here's another page from Teuton #3. I hope you like it...

Friday, March 18, 2011

WIZARD WORLD 2011 - Day One

As promised, here's another page preview of Teuton #3. It's been a dizzying morning of preparation and teeth brushing, so clearly I don't have much to say. Although I hope to update this post later this evening with whatever news the day brings. It's a glorious March day and I hope to see some familiar and smiling faces at the Direct Energy Center!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

TEUTON @ Wizard World Toronto 2011 + NEW Pages! + Issue 3 preview! = SEXY TIMES

WIZARD WORLD TORONTO 2011 (...I'll be there!)
This weekend (Fri-Sun) you can see me at the big Wizard convention at the Direct Energy Center (details...) and you're invited to come visit! I'll be there promoting my comic book, Teuton, and the Big Sexy Comics imprint along with Andre Fernandes and Fearless Fred. Come one, come all!

Read 10 new pages (35-44) from the second installment of my medieval adventure comic @ Big Sexy Comics!

As I've stated before, my art chores are finished on issue two, with some lettering left to go, but there are no immediate plans to have the book printed. Fred and I discussed printing small runs as event exclusives--this upcoming Wizard show would've been a nice chance for that--but failing that we do plan on releasing a collected trade at the Toronto Fan Expo this August. I'm really quite excited about that. I see it as a chance to include supplemental material like scrapped initial drafts of pages, conceptual sketches, and alternate covers. As I strive to learn more about making comics, glimpsing the process of other creators is extremely fascinating for me. As well, Fred and I recently discussed making one-page back-up stories!

TEUTON #3 Preview!
The third installment of Teuton is underway! If you've read the latest of issue two, I hope you're hungry for more! Treat yourself to some more eye candy below...

Over the course of this convention weekend I'll be previewing 3 more pages right here on my blog. You're thinking, "that's a spanking new page a day! How can he get away with this?!" That's just the level of excitement I'm bringing into your lives. Embrace it!

See ya tomorrow!

Monday, March 7, 2011

TEUTON: Andrus and Olbert

The second issue of Teuton is now completely drawn and will soon be up on, where you can already read the entire fabulous first issue and 10 pages of issue two! Did I mention it's all free, free, free? So now you know what you'll be doing immediately after reading this post. How nice for you!

No. 2 is rife with action and brings a big change to the dynamic between our hero Andrus and his brother in arms, Olbert. I'm excited for people to see it. The set pieces were indeed challenging to piece together and put on paper. After all, when your story calls for a tree ogre to destroy a fortress, you better bring your A-game. The only problem with that is I don't have an A-game. I've got a pretty solid C-game and my B-game is forming up nicely. My hope is to get to A by the end of the year. Always have a goal, I say!

A little about these two Teutonic Knights: They're best of pals over pints in the great hall and a fearsome duo on the battlefield, but their difference in class sometimes threatens the bond they share. After all, Olbert is from a noble house. He's typically handsome and dashing, like out of some ironic fairy tale. He's also arrogant and hungry for glory. Not to mention extremely brave. He believes that, because of his unwavering faith and loyalty to God and the Order, the odds will always be on his side.

Andrus, on the other hand, isn't a nobleman. He's a Livonian who converted to Christianity and joined the Order as a means to save his village. Naturally, Andrus has a chip on his shoulder that makes him altogether more gruff, scarred and hardened than his fellow knights. While certainly as confident a warrior as Olbert, Andrus is more cunning and calculated, always thinking tactically about his next move.

See what lies ahead for both these brave knights on TEUTON #2!

Meanwhile I'll be diving straight into issue three...

Friday, March 4, 2011


TEUTON: Andrus Tamm

My character sketch for Teuton's central protagonist, Andrus Tamm. I've thoroughly enjoyed designing characters for the book overall, but Andrus remains the most fun for me to draw. Although he looks like a fairly standard knight, the little touches in his armour and boots and so forth were all fun to research.

The armour knights wore varied. Things like chainmail were standard, but obviously nothing was mass produced back then--each article of clothing and armor was handmade by a tradesman, and therefore was as unique as the individual who crafted it. So I got to play around and give Andrus neat boots and a bitchin' cape. And of course his helmet, which I loved thinking up. I have to acknowledge a similarity to Magneto's helmet. Maybe it was in the ether, etched into my subconscious after years of reading comic books, but I certainly didn't look to it directly as inspiration. I wanted something sleek and powerful looking. Something that could be medieval, but would stand out in the chaos of a battle scene. There you have it.

More character sketches to come...!


My good friend "Yoroku" is a skilled musician who creates music fueled by high concepts. He's great, one of a kind. His forthcoming album is still gestating. Evolving, he might say. Rest assured, it will come alive like nothing else when he arrives at his destination, where ever it may lay.

The feel we wanted for the cover was retro futuristic. Together we looked at numerous pictures of what people in the 1950's and 60's imagined the 21st Century would possibly look like. As a permanent resident of the 21st Century, looking at those pictures made me feel somewhat bitter. Back then there was optimism for the future, it seemed, judging by the wonderful illustrations I saw. The space race was going, the world was simultaneously growing and shrinking. Now it feels as though it is crumbling. Today our visions of the future cap at 2012, if you're superstitious. If not, the outlook still hits a wall at 50 years time, when scientists estimate our planet will have had enough of us--when the tides will turn and some cataclysm will wipe us off the board. Who knows?

I painted this with the best intentions. For a change I wanted to feel hopeful that a new generation will rise up and reign in the tyrants, the zealots and the politicians who all seemingly work to reach that brink we all fear in our secret heart. Inspired in part by 2001: A Space Odyssey, my favourite science fiction film, I painted this because I was tired of being afraid of whatever waits over the horizon.

How I'd rather walk side by side with friends and loved ones along some beautiful golden path to see the glimmering tip of an emerald city poke over a faraway hill, instead of finding some desolate landscape from a Cormac McCarthy fever dream.

Whether he knows it or not, the piece symbolizes my friend "Yoroku" finding his true potential through music in a future world more wondrous than ours. Good luck to you, my friend!

KILL BILL: The Bride Meets The Wolverine

In an earlier post I spun a yarn detailing my affinity for drawing on envelopes, and how one such envelope was the bi-product of a piece of fan-fiction I dreamed up one nerdy summer. That fan-fiction was a silly action-packed meeting of The Bride from Kill Bill and Wolverine, the most well-known X-Man around. Well, I discovered my attempt to draw that story in sequential panels on an old hard drive. I started drawing the story arbitrarily, with ninjas attacking the duo, and never made it past what you see below. Some things work out for the better. Enjoy!