Monday, December 31, 2012

Happy New Year! 2013 so far.

Happy New Year, Soldiers!

I wish you all the very best for 2013!

Recent Ghost Rider commission: colouring warm-up for today.

And, thank you for marching with me and 'The Soldier' in 2012. Big thank yous to Black House Comics, Baden Kirgan, Chris Sequeira, Supanova Expo, OZ Comic-Con, Whatcha podcasts, Geek Speak TV and podcasts, Kaboom Comics, All Star Comics, Kapow! Comic book review show, Sarah, family, friends, fellow guests and your readers and print lovers on the promo front and all the folks that were a part of a great SDCC visit earlier this year. Your feedback and support was immensely appreciated.

For those interested, here's some stuff that's locked in so far for this year, with more info soon.

Previous recent posts have mentioned these, use the tags or archives if you're keen.

+ Jan 15th: State Library of Queensland- Comics Workshop: 12-16 yos

+ Jan 17th: Channel 44 Briz31 Digital TV (and live stream web) appearance on the Late Nite Show with Scott Black

+ Jan 18th: State Library of Queensland- Comics Workshop: 9-12 yos

+ March 9th-10th: OZ Comic-Con guest- Perth, WA

+ March 16th-17th: OZ Comic-Con guest: Adelaide, SA

+ May 4th: Free Comic Book Day guest at 'Gifts for the Geek': Geelong, VIC

+ July 6th-7th: OZ Comic-Con guest: Melbourne, VIC

Keep you posted if I hear anything else, and thank you for your kind support.

Oh, and here's a link of this thing on my virtually ignored Deviant Art (Still don't "get" that site...)

Saturday, December 29, 2012

January 2013- Let the nonsense begin...

Looking forward to taping the first episode back for 2013. A fantastic host, crew and bunch of people. More details and spruiking as we get closer ;P

And, in case you missed it, here's some of the nonsense and madness from the first time ;D

UPDATE 17th Jan:
Ok, Episode Taped, and airs tonight, Thursday 17th at 9:30pm (10:30pm EDST) on Channel 44 (Briz 31 Digital), or you can livestream on the internet at Full of Jibber-Jabbery nonsense from myself as Guest, and instigated by the host Scott Black, Late Nite companions 'The Flashman', Alana Shootingstar, Kris the stage manager, and introducing the new sidekick for 2013, Amanda Bacchi :D Get to tha Choppah!

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Work in progress, Pre-Xmas Day nonsense etc.

Here's an image work-in-progress thing for the untitled "Lazarus Burne" strip.

 Thumbnailed the last chapter of the Dr. Nikola vs The 1880's Soldier Legacy for the next issue of Dark Detective: Sherlock Holmes (#9). All previous 8 issues and TPB are avilable via blackboox:

I just spotted this!

My image is included in the Sebastian Hawks Gallery :D

 That's awesome :D Thank you! 

You guys should really check this out, not long to go, and they need your help!

As soon as my snail-paced funds clear, I'm all over it :D

Soldier Legacy #6 questions are coming in already, no due date as yet, due to juggling these two comics plus the thesis that needs drastic work. I don't want to rush #6 and kill the look of it, plus there's quite a few challenging visuals needed. So at this stage, it might be out in time for Free Comic Book Day (I'll be at Gifts for the Geek in Melbourne), or the aim is Supanova Sydney 21-23rd June. Keep you posted if earlier. Time is going to be a huge factor come 2013- one that I'm not looking forward to. But, we can only do what we can, right?

Oh, if you're after the others, signed and with a original sketch, I'm having a 2 weeks only, limited stock sale:

Had a lovely name drop, and recent image feature on BLEEDING COOL NEWS today, a nice surprise by Andrez Bergen for his upcoming novel "Who is Killing the Great Capes of Heropa?". Thanks Andrez. Merry Christmas.

Lastly, the great guys at Geek Speak did a Christmas shout out, and nicely, I was included. Thanks again, and all the best for 2013 :D

And again, to each and every one of you, who take time out to read my ramblings here, Merry Christmas, and happy, safe holidays. I hope you continue to march with me and the Soldier in 2013.

Monday, December 17, 2012

From the Trenches: My self-centred 2012 in review

Excuse me while I indulge myself in my own 2012 work recap. I don't want to bore you, so here's a cool song from one of my favourite bands- to me it kind of sums up my year. Always running out of time, always feeling behind, and feeling like I'm so deep in the trench with bullets flying overhead, that I'm not gaining any ground, and perhaps missing life go by. So I guess that's why I'm doing this recap. There are countless people to thank for the help, love and support this year- I'm not going to list you, that will take some time (Really, you could just read the fine print on the inside of the comic covers) Rather, know this: If you're reading this at all, then a thank you is for you.

Probably one of my funeral songs if anyone's making notes ;)

 The day job puts the stress and squeeze in over the holidays, and there are a few illustrating jobs (and that damn thesis :S) demanding attention. I really hope to knock these aside soon, as last night I finished plotting the pages for Soldier Legacy #6, and I'm eager to get cracking on a few pages before 2013 begins...

 In a nutshell, I guess this has been the year.

Though the wheels have been wobbly post-Brisbane convention/marathon hours on Soldier #5 (I think my body finally demanded regular-ish sleeping time back) I'm pressing on, and hoping some of these good possibilities I'm waiting news on become a reality. If they don't, oh well. No knock outs here, only knock downs. You can get back up from those.

In the recap department, I've mostly got this covered previosuly anyway. Matt Emery's Pikitia Press interviews with Australian and NZ cartoonist and comic creators covered much ground:

and much of the news highlights this year are covered in the headlines of 'The Soldier' website

My recent editorial in the pages of November's 'Soldier Legacy #5' has Soldier-related 2012 covered, which I'll share a slab of the hyperbole here:

At ease, patient reader. Firstly, as always, I want to thank YOU, the fan and friend, for picking up a copy of this, and perhaps previous ‘Soldier Legacy’ comics. Without you having a little faith in the book, it would not go anywhere. True story 

Secondly, I’d just like to touch very briefly on some of the ‘Soldier Legacy’ news from the past year, with many adventures had, thanks to this little book.

Firstly, April saw the release of simultaneous Soldier works being available to the public (the first part of the year was super busy to say the very least). Soldier Legacy #4, The Soldier Legacy trade paperback edition Vol 1, and part 2 of the 1880’s Soldier Legacy/Dr Nikola back up feature in Dark Detective: Sherlock Holmes #8 became available, as good friend and Black House Comic stable mate Christopher Sequeira and I was official guests of the Melbourne and Gold Coast Supanova conventions. This was my first time as a guest of any convention, and quite an honour to be on the list, primarily on the back of an Australian work. I shared the guest spots with some of my favourite artists and writers in the field, notably Tom Taylor, Tristan Jones, Stewart McKenny, Colin Wilson, Billy Tan, Brian Michael Bendis and Carlos Pacheco. It was a fantastic couple of weeks, and I was over the moon to be part of it.

Later in the year, Black House comics had a huge artist alley presence at Sydney Supanova, and I had so much fun seeing old and new faces, getting pics in front of the 9ft Soldier cut-out, and drawing my hand off.  It was great to share the tables with other Aussie comic creators, such as Jason Paulos, Jason Franks, Jan Scherpenhuizen, Bruce Mutard and Matt Emery. While I was there, I took the opportunity presented a few weeks before, to arrange to speak with Al, Sonya and Ray (with Ben calling the shots ;D) of the ‘Kapow’ Comic book review show. Thank you for the opportunity to talk a little about the book. For this convention too, I had just completed a 2012 comic book issue-sized Folio book, which I use primarily has my way to gain valuable feedback and advice when travelling through events like San Diego Comic-Con, but more on that shortly :D

Soon after, it was off to the inaugural Melbourne OZ Comic- Con, where I got the chance to be a guest again in the lovely city. Oz Comic-Con pulled out all the stops regarding Australian creators as guests on the card; for example, our Sunday panel was absolutely huge, as I humbly shared the stage with Nicola Scott, David Yardin, Jon Sommariva, Douglas Holgate, Dean Rankine, Wayne Nichols, W.Chew Chan, and Tristan Jones. You’ll have to excuse me for sounding a little like a fan boy recounting this- it’s something I cherish having the invitation to be there too. A great weekend, particularly capped off by Stan Lee’s enthusiasm over the ‘Soldier Legacy’ concept and books: sure, he’s probably heard “yours and Kirby’s work inspired this comic creation” etc. for many, many years. But, he was a gentleman, and seemed very genuine in his conversation. So, thanks again, OZ Comic-Con, I had a fantastic time- Again, my hand nearly fell off from the sketching, but you meet so many cool people while doing it. Totally worth it :D

I basically had two days at home before jumping back on a plane, this time to LA/San Diego for meetings, reviews and San Diego Comic-Con. Let me just say thank you again to my good friend Christopher Sequeira for our adventures and opportunities across LA, Burbank, San Diego etc. A nice little side note too, meeting Dave Elsey face to face (Oscar-winning makeup artist and cover artist of ‘Dark Detective: Sherlock Holmes’) was fantastic and enriching.

Getting back into the comic book making was a high priority when I returned from the states, and with only limited time, and my new casual lecturing position at the Queensland College of Art adding to the full timetable, it has made for quite a lot of juggling.
But, during this time, I managed to complete this issue you’re reading right now, and as a de-stress, I somewhat re-established myself in my old pastime of ITF Taekwon-do, and after some tournament success, I’m possibly off to Seoul, Korea next year, with a confirmed place on the Australian Taekwon-do team for the Open World Taekwon-do championships. This will mark my fourth time in a world championships, with Birmingham, UK in 2007 being my last venture. The best part about it is catching up with old friends from interstate, who were part of previous teams, and/or years of training together on the floor at various Master/Grandmaster seminars. You know when you see an old friend you haven’t seen in years, but it feels like yesterday? That.

I guess in a sense, it’s trying to find that work /life balance that alludes me (as they say, “this ain't the rehearsal”). It’s been a busy year, some notable payoffs, but the goals never waiver. Onward!

Lastly, to end of the great year, I’m a guest of Brisbane Supanova 2012, which is awesome- my current hometown, with a crowd that first gave the Soldier comics a shot back in 2010 when the first run of issue 1 was made available. I write this a week out, so I’m hoping it will be a blast (I’m sure it will be ;D)..."

And of course, Brisbane was fantastic, with Dinner with Sarah, Royd, Tim and Howard (later joined by Felicity and her brother), Saturday night, Howard Chaykin tearing me a new one (with respect) while looking over my work, Sunday night Chinese, and the crazy panel with James Brouwer jumping out in my mind at present. Thank you Tristan, David and Shane too.
Thank you to Sarah for your help and support at OCC Melbourne and S'nova Brisbane cons too xo.

Next year is looking busy, as I mentioned in the Pikitia Press blog post.
Making the  team for my 4th world championship next year was a surprise, and we'll see if and how that will play havok with the schedule next year. Already I'm luckily tapped for Adelaide, Perth and Melbourne OZ Comic-Con guest duties (Thank you OCC), Comic book workshop teaching in January for the State Library of Queensland, another local TV appearance on 'The Late Nite Show' in Jan as well (thanks Mr Black :D) and a Free Comic Book day stint with mate Paul Abstruse, thanks to the top guys at 'Gifts for the Geek' in Victoria. There are talks about another US trip- San Diego again? But we'll see.  Last year, and this year were fantastic, but the work continues in breaking that invisible barrier, and staying on radar. Times have changed, and the economic climate has made for different circumstances in how things operate. The main thing is soldiering on.

It's a busy time, and I always assume that posts like this are a bit wanky and superficial. But, it's honestly what's happening, and I'd be doing a disservice to myself and to the genuinely interested without letting them know "Hey, I'm coming to your state with Soldier stuff! Get your army boots- Let's roll!".

So in saying this, I must thank from the bottom of my muddied boots to the tip of my slouch hat, all the readers, supporters, and people who take the time to read any posts, news, pics etc. online and "like" them or share them- you're the lifeblood of keeping this show on the road, the reason why people pay attention, and you're also the hardest people to convince to stick around and support. So I'm glad you do ;D Thank you.

(I hope you've had a chance to see yourselves in a convention pic- try here: or via the facebook page albums: Or, check out the crazy long blog archive:  there's an indication of 2012- double the posting than last year. Busy!)

To my family who I've barely seen this year...and my friends....actually, let's just say the outside world in general. I can count my social outings on 1 hand ....I'm sorry, but thank you so much for your understanding. I hate having several day jobs and juggling drawing, writing AND trying to maintain a level of fitness to save myself from getting my head knocked off. My body has tested me on this on several occasions  and I've had to modify how I fight a few times purely because sitting at a drawing boards/computer for hours at a time verses kicking, sprinting etc. just simply doesn't work. I think I'm slightly OCD some days, where I skip a session (or getting up in general) to finish off an image. Probably not good for the old mindset, but work is work, right? It's been a little tough, more so in just finding the time than anything else, and I'm not quite where my mind wishes I was. In every aspect.
But, I have nothing more but to stick to the plan. I might break before something else does, but I have to keep the machine moving now. I've never seen or met anyone who has cracked anything solid in less than 5-10 years. I've been doing soldier for since 2010. I still have some time to go. I hope I can drop a commitment or two in 2013 because something bigger and stable has arisen. That's a goal. Hopefully, more lecturing. I really enjoyed that, and must thank QCA, Andi, and my class for actually listening too ;)

To the long list of comic creators and professionals that have given me their ear or encouragement or advice this year, both here and abroad, thank you so much. Particularly one of my closest mates Chris Sequeira, who helped create some awesome moments and great opportunities. Without my publisher Baden Kirgan of Black House Comics, this would all have not have been possible. This is all an experiment, a gamble, a roll of the dice to a game I'm not even sure I should be playing. But, I try.
Daniel, Royd, Tim, Missy, Felicity, Bruce, Quinny, Dion, Mark, and all the crew from Supanova Pop Culture Expo,
Carissa, Rand, Cordiela, and the crew from Oz Comic-Con, The Late Nite Show with Scott Black, Briz 31 Digital, Kaboom Comics Toowoomba, Geek Speak, Girly Geek Speak, Kapow! Comic book review show, Whatcha Podcast, Gifts for the Geek Geelong, Comics Etc. Brisbane, All Star Comics Melbourne, Pikitia Press, and everyone else who has gone out of their way to promote, sell, post, mention in passing etc. means so much to me. Thank you.

The brain is failing, I need to go have breakfast. Thanks for tolerating this exercise in self-service, have a fantastic Christmas and safe New Year. I hope you'll stay tuned in 2013, and dig what will be available soon.

As you were.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Soldier Legacy- Postal Head Sketches

 Quickie head sketches- to help soften the blow of Australian postal rates. These will go into parcels going out in the next few days for direct orders of the Soldier Legacy books. I still have a limited supply of the current prints runs post Brisbane Supanova, so if you're keen, I'd email me quick.

Don't forget, the new print run of the Soldier Legacy TPB (#1-3 remastered), and issue 1-4 are currently available online via , with issue 5 to go up soon.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Working, working, working...

Overdue in getting this coloured up, a co-plotted concept by Chris Sequeira and I in progress.  Currently driving me nuts, thanks to all those bloody demons causing a mess. Mess that has to be coloured.


And I thought the mud and blood stains from 'The Soldier Legacy' was a problem :P

Much more "supernatural" than Soldier, but #6 plotting is in full swing, with thumbnailing hopeful for next week.

Soldiering on.

Who is killing the great heroes of Heropa?: the upcoming novel by Andrez Bergen

A few months back, I completed this image for an upcoming novel by Australian writer Andrez Bergen (Tobacco Stained Mountain Goat), currently residing in Japan. The brief was Andrez's childhood  concept of 'the Southern Cross', in a Jack Kirby-style homage to the cover of Captain America #109. Andrez actually sent off his design to Stan Lee, who really liked the idea, but was vetoed by then Editor in Chief, Tom DeFalco. A nice little story there in itself :)

More details can be found here:
And on their Facebook page:

UPDATE 29-12-2012: Some web love from BLEEDING COOL NEWS and FORCES OF GEEK, featuring the image :D Thanks again, Andrez.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Convention Announcement: OZ COMIC-CON 2013

Today I was announced on the OZ Comic-Con Facebook page as an upcoming guest of the Adelaide, Perth and Melbourne OZ Comic- Con conventions for 2013!

Thank you for the kind invitation, and I'm very much looking forward to my first trips to Adelaide and Perth, to visit 'Soldier'/Black House Comic/Australian Comics fans there. And of course, a revisit to one of my favorite Australian cities, Melbourne!

View last year's Melbourne OCC trip recap here:

More info to come, including what I'll be bringing along, Thank you again for the support.

Pikitia Press: 2012 in Review by Paul Mason

Pikitia Press Blog
Yet to do a 2012 recap myself, Cartoonist Matt Emery of Guzumo has hit up a huge group of Australian and New Zealand Cartoonists, Comic Writers and Illustrators for their best bits of 2012.

Here's mine:
Thanks again, Matt :D

"I hate giving Critiques...they Anger Me": Turning brutal honesty into constructive learning- Lessons from Alex Toth

The last page of Alex Toth's critique of Steve Rude's work is resonating with me quite a bit at the moment, as I re-read it while about to embark on plotting 'Soldier Legacy #6', thumb-nailing part 3 of the 'Dark Detective: Sherlock Holmes' back up story, colouring 'Larry Burne' and my thesis (which is belting me at present.)
It's ok, I grin if I receive a good strike in a fight too.

I'm very fortunate to have had my own Toth experience with Howard Chaykin recently- People on the internet in various forums comment on how brutal Toth is of Rude, but there is a lot of fantastic tidbits containing valuable lessons (see the link above)- something that I am pleased to have received from a man who does this sort of thing for Marvel guys. A creative "bitch slap" if you will. Trying not to let it cripple my thoughts before I make a line on the page is indeed tough, but like all feedback, either delivered brutally honest, or padded with kindness, the aim from the receiver is to accept it graciously, with no excuses for what's on the page ("Fake! Trickery!") and take on board as much as you can, in whatever capacity you see it working for you. With 42 years verses 2 years in comics, I'm willing to do my best with what I was given.
Considering the part of the story now for #6 calling on quite a bit of destruction and story to occur, I hope I can rise to the challenge I'm attempting to set myself.

Here's the last page of Toth's fax which I think should apply to every artist out there- aspiring, up and coming, in the business, whatever.

"Always be a student! A scholar! Admitting to how little you know, how much there's still left to learn, is your key to learning! For a lifetime!

Study everything! Be curious/interested/in everything. You may have to draw it someday! You can't draw something credibly until/unless you do/can understand it! And vice versa!

Comic books print the worst junk art! 99% of it is cheap, vulgar, ignorant, ugly, senseless, fakery and trickery of characterless hue — if that's all you want, just do what you're doing — you'll be a mite better than the rest, but that won't be much!

Your growth is in your hands, not mine!

I hate giving critiques — an emotional drain! They anger me! And those I critique! Like you! If you're angry — don't waste it on me! Be angry with you! You are in your own hands, like clay, waiting to be formed — you must always be your own best teacher! Not me! I Refuse that — unless I hold classes!

No old pro, no teacher, no school, no book, no how-to film/casette will ever teach you as well as you can and must. But they help you to think!

To do that, you must be aware! Not smug, or complacent, or cocky, or relaxed, about how good you are! You've used 10% of your thinking skills thus far — you've got 90% left! For the rest of your career and life! How much of it will you use?

Forget all the fandom bullsh** and kudos and hype and cons' groupies' adulation — and be true to yourself and your long road ahead to the top, or to wherever you want to go — and don't let ego stop you from learning to do better, best!"

Monday, December 10, 2012

BLACK BOOX IS BACK! Buy 'The Soldier Legacy' online!

With the launch of Black House comic's first prose novel, 'Quiver' by Jason Fischer, Black House comics has revamped the website, and revived Black Boox: your one-stop online shop for customers and retailers to be able to purchase the full range of Black House's Comics, Books and Graphic Novels.

'Quiver', the post-apocalyptic thriller :

Currently, you can purchase issues 1-4 of 'The Soldier Legacy' and the Soldier Legacy collected edition (trade paperback with revamp issues 1-3). 'Soldier Legacy' #5 should be available soon.
You'll also find Chris Sequeira's Dark Detective: Sherlock Holmes, Jason Frank's McBlack, Jason Paulos's EEEK!, Jan Sherpenhuizen's Twilight Age and many more Australian works.

Follow the links on the right hand side of this blog, or here:
Black House Comic website:
The online store:

Friday, December 7, 2012

Geek Speak TV Sneak Peek Brisbane Supanova Episode

As you can see from the still from the Video Clip above, my booth and ugly mug pop up in the trailer from the upcoming BRISBANE SUPANOVA POP CULTURE EXPO 2012 special (about 1: 16). I was lucky enough to be a guest at the convention, and Amanda and the boys from 'Geek Speak' dropped by for an Interview, where I probably spoke a fair bit of jibberish. So, sorry about that ;P

Thanks again for the support, lady and gents ;)

Look out for an interview with my mate, and Zenescope illustrator Paul Abstruse (0:36). He and I were announced on facebook (rather early, mind you ;P) as guests of 'Gifts for the Geek's FREE COMIC BOOK DAY celebrations, to be held at their store in Geelong, Victoria on Saturday, 4th of May, 2013. A little more info and links via the Soldier Legacy website

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Name Check on TV? Thanks, Folks!

While watching the locally produced 'The Late Nite Show with Scott Black' last Thursday, I was surprised not once, but twice! by the reference to me and 'The Soldier Legacy'

...That check must have cleared ;P

4: 05 seconds in, referenced in the monologue joke. I'm touched, thanks mate :D

But then, my friend Amanda Bacchi from Geek Speak TV was a guest, talking Geek stuff...

...12:20ish, Mr Black does it again! Champion :)
Thanks for the kind words, Amanda. And great to hear Stewart McKenny, 'Zombie Cities', and 'Winter City' get a plug too.

I very much appreciate anyone acknowledging the existence of 'The Soldier Legacy', let alone the praise :D Nice work as usual, Mr Black and Flash, and thanks again.

The story behind the planet 'Moorjhone'

[ You're probably wondering why I'm posting this link and image relating to 'Star Wars'. This blog post is a little different than what I usually throw up here, but it's something I want to share. It's relates to the origin of this planet above, and an important piece in how I got to where I am so far in all this comic nonsense. Bear with me, skip over, whatever :). Personal, but I hope it makes you perhaps pick up the phone, or write that email. ]

I have a handful of regrets so far in my life. One of the biggest involves a close friend of mine. When I think to where I currently sit in my Comic endeavors now, I know that he played an instrumental role in giving me an opportunity to get here. In 2005, I had enough rejection letters from graphic design places to wallpaper one side of the bathroom walls. They were always in the similar vein of "not enough studio experience". I had freelanced a bit during my first uni degree, and continued to do so after my degree was over in mid 2004; website design and art in first year for a local business, logo designs and pamphlets for others, even regular cartooning and illustration for a business in Sydney, which took me anywhere from Woolongong to the Blue Mountains and back to the very tip of the Central Coast. But it was always "your work is good, but be picked the other guy/older guy with more experience". My frustration at the time was "how to I 'get' experience, if no one is willing to give it!

So, After my 2nd stint in the Australian Taekwon-do team in Mid 2005, coming back with no solid career, but a handful of dead-end options not leading to what I wanted to do, I was in a rut.

I was on the Central Coast of NSW, freelancing, reception work at a local gym, teaching fitness boxing and Martial arts classes, running a small Taekwon-do school, and sending job applications by the handful. During all this, while I taught at my own school, I would train at one of my best mate's school; he was a higher rank, plenty of knowledge, and other adults for me to engage with (my school was majority children). Over the time of training there, and also in my years working at one of the local gyms, I met a bloke who was friends with my TKD friends, use to train at one of the gyms where I worked, who I also ended up freelance designing a couple of magazine adverts for. He ran his own company, very smart guy, nice bloke, very driven. Sometime in 2005 he found himself up in Queensland, where I had spent a good chunk of my life  growing up before moving with the family back down to NSW, finishing the final few years of high school there. But, I missed the QLD lifestyle, and always wanted to return. He said to me before leaving "if you ever want a change, I have a spare room, give me a call." At this point, I was seriously considering it, as while I was applying for jobs, getting some offers but finding their location to be out in the middle of nowhere, or the usual knock backs, I came across the Queensland College of Art's Bachelor of Animation program. It was currently taking portfolio submissions: back in 05/06, there was a drawing component that was needed as well as previous academic records, in order to be considered. I applied, got selected, and phoned up my friend to see if the offer still stood.

He shared with me his home, time with him and his friends and family, and taught me a few things along the way. I remember the first time I attempted to cook a meal for myself in his kitchen. He insisted all the doors and windows of the house to be open, and the fans to be on "so it doesn't smell like food when I get home". It didn't matter that we were having unseasonably cold evenings...
 It also seems those years watching Mum cook for my Dad, little sister and I came in handy- except for the portions. I had made enough for two whole dinner plates. It took me several nights to get the hang of it, and thankful, my friend taught me to make one or two other meals, otherwise I would have died of steak poisoning.
 My friend and I didn't always see eye to eye, which use to make me laugh; he thought South Sydney shouldn't be in the NRL, as they weren't at "elite playing standard" (I always cringed when he brought this up with Dad :P),  he thought superheroes were lame, except Batman, as that was "kind of believable because he is a normal bloke with a lot of money" (and yet LOVED Star Wars), and he certainly let you know if you were doing something wrong, and should be doing it his way, or a "better" way ;P But it was always with the very best of intentions, or just teasing.

One of the things he absolutely loved was science fiction- in particular, Space and as mentioned, 'Star Wars'. In fact, one day he insisted I sit and watch all of them, as I'd never seen them all, and could only remember bits from my childhood. So I did- VHS- I missed all of the crazy extra bits Lucas went and changed- and sure, it wasn't my thing, but we had something else to talk about, laugh about, and tell stories of what else we'd read or seen over a coffee or pizza with him, his lovely partner and her younger daughter. He was a fan of Chris Lilley's 'We can be Heroes', so we were always laughing about something.

6 months later, family situations changed, and I set up base again with my family, who had also just moved back up to QLD. From there, a few months later, I was able to land another job or two, and set up my own apartment, and continue on with my studying/commuting/ working/training. My friend and I spoke once or twice on the phone, usually he'd buzz me while he was waiting for a plane to go to a conference somewhere, and I was just heading home from work, somewhat embarrassed I hadn't called him first after all these months, or that perhaps my current life in juggling uni and working a part -time job I didn't like wasn't where I wanted to be, or that he thought I should be. Despite sometimes not agreeing 100% with a suggestion of his, I always valued his opinion. Sometimes, I missed a call, and with all the commuting, and part time work in the opposite direction of Brisbane, I couldn't always return the call. The 3rd world championships took up more time in 2007, plus my studies, I met someone before that too, and we ended up moving away-  so life just pulled me away, and I lost touch with my old friend.

Last year, around Sept/Oct, I had heard through a friend he was in some sort of accident- not sure if urgent, and did not know any of the details of what happened. It didn't sound urgent, in fact, it sounded ok, given as a little "Oh, by the way, I think.." sort of thing. That week, I had a heavy deadline due, had just had my relationship end,  and found since I'd had the phone change a few times, over the last couple of years, I had no contact details, and just couldn't think straight in general.
Until, that same night, I got a text. It was his partner. Grateful that she still had my number, I called her back. It was very serious.
The accident was explained to me, and finding out what hospital he was in, I went to visit him. this was not something I was looking forward to. I hate Hospitals. My Dad had spend some time in ICU in a coma for about a month with a life-threatening illness when I was younger. This was where my friend was. And, it would be the first time I had seen him in years. Possibly 4. I couldn't remember. You have to understand, here is a man who owned his own companies at the top of their field, very intelligent, had a lovely family, always lived life to the fullest. We had trained at his local gym when I moved up, driven fast in his car, he was an avid cyclist, loved Motorcycles, raised money for charities, and still loved his Star Wars, according to his partner, and the pictures up in his hospital room. To see him like this was a shock to the system, and I'll never forget it. That day, I got a chance to tell him what I'd been up to, and brought my comic books along to read to him. I explained to his partner that the following week I was at a convention, and the writer for the Star Wars comics was going to be there, and I will see if I could bring another book to read to him.

The next week, I met Tom Taylor and Colin Wilson at the convention. I'd met Tom a year beforehand, and he did remember my face, but twigged when realized I did 'The Soldier Legacy'- the TV commercial had just starting playing on channel 7 and on the web. He was running off to give a panel, but very kindly signed a personalized copy of the Star Wars: Invasion volume 1 to my friend, along with Colin.

It was the last book I read to my friend. A few days later he was taken to palliative care, and passed away peacefully.

The next time I got a chance to talk to Tom was online, and I thanked him again for the book. I mentioned that my friend was such a huge Star wars fan, and how he'd made me watch the films, and I read him the trade which was the last time I saw him. Mr Taylor (we are friends, but at the time, had only just had one or 2 chats with) made a huge, kind gesture that I won't forget: "I will put your friend in my next Star War series". I am pleased to think that my friend is now officially part of the extended Star Wars universe. His name is an anagram of a planet in the 'Darth Maul: Death Sentence' series; rather appropriate, as he had a larger than life personality, and I did laugh at the '3 suns':  he had a good natural tan from his daily walks on the beach- that he insisted when I first got there that I needed (like a pale, freckled skin person could ever achieve that :P). He always used a dryer to dry his clothes, as the combination of the QLD sun and his white tiled, white-walled clothes line area would blench and burn anything you attempted to hang outside :P
Anyway, my friend's partner thought that this Star Wars tribute was fantastic, and I and his family are very thankful to have such a kind gesture from Tom. I know Tom would be embarrassed to know that I mentioned this- I know he didn't want to make a bit deal out of it, but it's only fair that an act of kindness should be mentioned. I am very grateful.

It's been just over 12 months now, this time last year was the funeral. I now have my own copy of the Star Wars graphic novel I read to my friend the last time I got to speak to him. I dedicated issue 4 of 'The Soldier Legacy' to him. It's not much, but it's a small something. I have his photo up in the lounge room. I find myself remembering silly things at silly points in time, like when doing a drop set of tricep extensions at the gym; I remember my friend saying he never felt anything when he did tricep exercises, so I made him do a set from my routine. He laughed halfway though- he certainly felt it burn them :P
Most of all, I remember that without offering a roof over my head, and an assist in breaking my 'rut', I would have never been able to study at QCA, to improve my illustrating, to begin making my own comic series, and  now continuing with post grad studies, and lecturing on a current casual basis. I regret losing touch, missing those one or two voice mails, not being able to have those conversations anymore, and thank him for the help that's lead to here and now. I can only hope that 2013 marches forward even bigger and better than 2011 and 2012, and that he'd dig what I'm currently doing.

I'm looking forward to the graphic novel release of 'Darth Maul: Death Sentence', I'm sure the battle on Moorjhone is epic.

As you were.