Tuesday, July 15, 2014

JAY'S DOIN'S JULY-OCTOBER



I've been more out of touch with updating my blog than usual. As before, it's been a case of "nothing to talk about, so why make a post?" But I've got a sufficient amount to share now. Let's get down to it...
BODIE TROLL



I'm currently working on the next "Bodie Troll" mini series. At present, the plan is for another four issues, though if I can manage it, I'd like to stretch it out to five. There's no set release date yet, but rest assured, this one will be worth the wait. I've finished drawing the next issue (#1, in the technical sense). The cover's completed (see above), and I'm in the process of scanning and coloring pages. In the meantime, here's a sneak peek at page 1...  




CRIME COMIC

Also on my drawing board, I'm working on an eight page story for a crime anthology called "UNLAWFUL GOOD". It's being spearheaded and edited by my friend Heather Antos. If you haven't yet, you'll be hearing plenty about this in the coming months, with a Kickstarter leading the way to what will be a very fun comic full of a variety of talented artists and writers. My own story is called "MAN OF A THOUSAND FACES." It's a wordless story that draws inspiration from 1950's film noir movies and TV shows (particularly my favorite detective show, "Peter Gunn"), and takes a big visual cue from old 1950's cartoons, particularly those produced by the UPA Animation Studio. Like most of my comic work, I wrote it (if you can consider a wordless story written), drew it and colored it (it's black, white and grayscale, if that counts as coloring), and I'm very excited to be working in this new style. You can see the opening panel below...




CONVENTIONS

I do as many shows as I can each year, and most are modest sized and within driving distance. Well, I'm closing out this con season with four bigguns that are a bit outside my usual travel area.


  • SAN DIEGO COMIC CON (July 24th-27th) : My second year attending! I'll be doing some signing times at the National Cartoonists Society booth, and at Red 5's booth (publisher of "Bodie Troll"). Unfortunately, those times haven't been confirmed yet. So this is more of a  heads up that I will be at the con, and if you can find me, those are the places I'll be.



  • FAN EXPO TORONTO (August 28th-31st): For the second year in a row, and my fourth appearance at one of their shows (they also put on Toronto Comicon in March), I'll be in artist alley at my favorite con in my favorite city! If all goes accordingly, you'll find me sitting between Julie Faulkner (creator of "Promises Promises") and Jay Jacot (Creator of "The Tao of Snarky").



  • BALTIMORE COMIC CON (September 5th-7th): This is a brand new one for me, but one I've heard tremendous things about. I'll be in artist alley, and more specifically, in the all-ages comic creators pavilion.



  • NEW YORK COMIC CON (October 10th-13th): This is the biggest jump I've made for a con. NYCC is the second biggest show in North America, and I will be set up in my own little pocket of artist alley. It's going to be a heck of a trip, not to mention it falls just three days after my 40th birthday, so I'll be celebrating in the big apple. It'll be an amazing way to wrap up my con season, and to say goodbye to my 30's.


So that's where we are for now, kids. Other things are bubbling below the surface that I can't talk about yet, but they're good. Oh, they're good. Thanks for coming back after such a long absence. I hope to return with more news a lot sooner than before!

--Jay   

Friday, March 28, 2014

BODIE'S BUSTING OUT ALL OVER!




At long last, the BODIE TROLL TRADE PAPERBACK is in stores! The book turned out terrific, and the reaction of return readers and new ones alike has been wonderful. If you haven't already, visit your local comic shop and grab one while you can! The trade will be in constant circulation, so if your shop says they're out of stock, have them connect with Diamond Distribution or Red 5 Comics, and I'm sure they can get more copies!

I unveiled the "Bodie" trade at Toronto Comicon at the start of March. My next convention appearance is also in Canada, at The Sarnia Pop Culture Show this Sunday. It's only an hour and twenty minutes from my home, and just over the border, so it's the perfect show for traveling. Not to mention I'll be doing the show with some of my comic creator friends from both sides of the border. Good times will commence, and the poutine will flow like wine!

But now, the BIG news...

 The National Cartoonists Society has just released the nominees for their division awards, and "Bodie Troll" has been nominated for best comic book of 2013! I'm kinda speechless and gobsmacked about it--this is the biggest honor of my career. There are only three nominees for this category--I'm up against the great Sergio Aragones and his "Sergio Aragones Funnies" comic for Bongo, and Chris Samnee, artist on Marvel's "Daredevil" comic. I couldn't be in more esteemed company, and I couldn't be more proud to have "Bodie Troll" recognized by the NCS! They'll announce the winner on May 25th, so I'll let you know the results then!

More news soon, and more Bodie by the bushel!

---Jay  

Friday, February 21, 2014

NEWSAPALOOZA




Lots of stuff's been going on since my last post. It feels like I've been backlogging everything so I'd have a more robust blog post, but in truth, more stuff is happening all the time. Rather than have this post split at the seams, Allow me to let a little out at a time so neither my post or your mind explode from the wealth of awesome. 

MSU COMICS FORUM

My first con of the year (and one of my favorites) lands this Saturday on Michigan State University's campus. The MSU Comics Forum kicks off tonight with cartoonist and special guest Stan Sakai (Usagi Yojimbo) giving a presentation. Then tomorrow, artist alley opens up, and the rest of us comic creators will display our creative wares. As I write this, I'm crossing my fingers that a Fed Ex truck will be dropping off my shipment of the "Bodie Troll" trade paperback (more on that later). But the odds are against me, so I may not have it for the show. But I'll still have back issues of "Bodie", new prints and original artwork for sale, and I'll be taking commissions during the course of the show. Check this link out for all the info you'll need to attend. Hope to see you there!

BODIE TROLL TRADE PAPERBACK 

So you probably got the gist from above--The Bodie TPB is late. It was due in stores last week. Besides "I'm sorry" and "It'll be here soon", all I have to say about that is, I turned in the material well ahead of deadline. Make of that what you will. I understand Diamond (the sole distributor of every mainstream comic in print) is citing the first couple weeks of March as an approximate release date. Keep harassing your local comic shops until you get your copy. It's gonna be amazing, whenever it shows up.


POPEYE

Well, more specifically, Wimpy. I was contacted a week ago by a printing company on the east coast. Turns out they got the license from King Features Syndicate to do Wimpy merchandise. They saw my Popeye artwork that I'd posted online, liked it, and asked me to tackle their first product, a t-shirt featuring the hamburger glutton himself. Everything fell into place after that, and within a week, the project was completed and approved by King Features. I'm told the product will be up for sale in the next two weeks on sites like Etsy, Ebay and Amazon. I'm not sure I can show the artwork at this time, but as soon as the shirts are available, I'll link everyone to where they can find them. I'm also told that Popeye himself may be next up for a t-shirt, which they also want me to work on. Me working on officially licensed Popeye merch--yes, five year old Jay, there is a Santa Claus. 

OTHER CONVENTIONS

I have a full listing of the conventions I've thus far booked this season on my website, which you can view here (scroll to the bottom of the page). What isn't yet listed online is, I'll be appearing at The Albuquerque Comic Expo in June, and San Diego Comic Con in July. There will most certainly be more added in the coming months, so be sure to check back at my website to see what's coming.

One of the shows I'll be a guest at is also one of my favorites--The Cherry Capital Comic Con in Traverse City, Michigan, which opens Memorial Day weekend. They had me design their show's poster, which I decked out with the cast from "Bodie Troll", while including the "Cherry" vibe of Traverse City (the town is a MAJOR player in the cherry-related products game, along with a whole other festival dedicated to it). Here's the poster: 


FREE COMIC BOOK DAY

On May 5th, I'll be returning to Green Brain Comics in Dearborn, Michigan for this great annual event. This year, Green Brain and I are doing something special--while they're already carrying Red 5's FCBD issue (which includes a fun and creepy 12 page "Bodie Troll" story), they also solicited a special cover for their stock of the issue, which I designed. Check out the cover here: 


CON PRINTS

One of the things I always have on hand at cons are prints of my work. I've whipped up three new ones for this new season, one with Bodie, and two of familiar comic characters. Check 'em out here:



I'll also have some of my older prints that still seem to draw people in--Watchmoose (featuring the Rocky and Bullwinkle gang as Watchmen) and "The Crew of Serenity" will be in good supply, as they have for the past few years. 

OTHER BODIE NEWS

I just finished up a new script for the next issue of "Bodie Troll", and I hope to start drawing it next week. In this issue, Bodie is being hunted by a tribal woman with a penchant for slaying monsters. Can he outrun or reason with her, or will his adorable little pelt hang from her belt? Guess you'll have to wait and see! I will, however, give you a sneak peek at Bodie's pursuant--Hokum, last of the Kooghum.

That about covers everything for now. Like I said, there's more happening every day, and I'll be sure to post again when the next news storm hits!

--Jay

Saturday, January 04, 2014

Right out the gate, best thing to happen to me in 2014...



Let me tell you how the greatest thing just happened to me today, and how it started three years ago.

In 2011 I had been a member of The National Cartoonists Society for three years. It had taken that long for the organization to finally release an updated edition of their membership directory, allowing us members to get in touch with one another. When I got my copy, I knew right away who I wanted to reach out to first--Eric Goldberg, animator of The genie in Disney's "Aladdin". Eric has a loooooong career in animation, and he's had his hand in so many of my favorite cartoons, so I had to try and contact him.

I wrote a letter to Eric, telling him what a fan I was of his work, and how his drawing style was so influential on my own. I mentioned one of our mutual influences (caricaturing god Al Hirschfeld) and one of our mutual favorite cartoon characters (Popeye), and, being the giddy fan boy that I am, I sent along an original drawing of Popeye and Eugene the Jeep as a gift, along with a caricature I drew of Eric himself (see the images below). Lastly, I included a copy of my graphic novel, "Dead Duck", which I hoped he'd enjoy.

I mailed the package off to him, hoping I'd hear back--but more importantly, hoping the bundle would just reach his doorstep. I
waited for quite awhile, but never heard anything. Being a huge fan, I knew how busy the man was--he's practically THE go-to guy at Disney for old school 2D animation these days, which is a huge load to haul. So I understood the lack of response.

Jump ahead to today, January 4th, 2014, three years later. There's a manila envelope sticking out of the narrow package slot in my apartment building's mailbox cluster. It's for me, but the name on the outside was obscured by postal tape--all I saw was 'Eric', and that the home address was in Glendale, California--which any fan of animation knows is the hometown of Walt Disney Studios. I ran upstairs, hoping I was right in my deduction, carefully peeled open the envelope, slid out the contents, and oh man...if we're counting the first holy crap moments of 2014, this baby was all mine. Check out the contents for yourself (click on 'em to embiggen)...
Needless to say, this was a moment of pure elation for me. Eric Goldberg is probably my biggest cartooning hero still slinging ink today. The man liked my artwork, and took the time to draw some of his own just for me--AND he wrote me a letter by hand, in penmenship that could only belong to one of the greatest animators ever to grace a movie theater or television! I couldn't hope for better than that, and man, I am more inspired than ever to follow my creative dreams and to be as great a cartoonist as he is.

Thanks for listening, friends!

--Jay