Wednesday, January 30, 2013

The Soldier Legacy's Strange Tales #1 cover progress. a.k.a: Confessions of an Obsessive, Compulsive and Paranoid Comic Illustrator

Basically, this is it. The final cover for next month's new release at OZ Comic-Con Perth, Adelaide and beyond: 'The Soldier Legacy's Strange Tales'. Back cover will feature characters from the back up feature: Lazarus Burne's Maleficent Seven'.

As mentioned previous, this book reprints the first two parts of the Dr Nikola /Soldier Legacy story from 'Dark Detective: Sherlock Holmes' (with touch ups), and will newly publish the conclusion of this story being penciled and coloured now, and due to be released in 'Dark Detective: Sherlock Holmes #9' out soon. This 3 part story and the 'Larry Burne' tale were plotted by my writer buddy Chris Sequeira (DD: Sherlock Holmes, X-Men vs Vampires, upcoming 'The Avenger' story for Moonstone etc.) and I, and then scripted by Chris once I flooded his inbox with the pages. I'm currently lettering LB on the other screen, and waiting on Chris to give me the proverbial slap upside the head with the corrections and tweaks before I can finally leave that story alone. 

The guys on the Whatcha podcast recently touched on the Dark Detective: Sherlock Holmes series, mentioning the Dr Nikola back up feature kindly, and I'm stoked to finally be able to complete it and assemble it into this one-shot book. And, to see LB finally completed as intended a while back, I'm pleased to include this in the Black House Comics Soldier Legacy family.
(about 1hr 08 mins in)
Anyways, enough of the official nonsense. Let's crack open my head a little and spill some OCD-related imagery and madness, with a spattering of indecisiveness ;P

Progress on the covers: it was basically a question of trying to make the colours of the back ground vs images vs the logo work within the concept of "weird"/"strange", while at the same time not confusing the eye with a muddled mess- I wanted the primary image to stand out as well at the title header. 

The main thing here was as as much as I dug the Red/orange and yellow versions, they looked too "warm" in respect to the whole "strange" vibe I wanted. And though I really liked the original green colour for the 'Strange Tales' title, it was too close to the value of the background (as well as green on green). Loooking back at some of the 'Strange Tales' covers from the early 60's I really liked the yellow and red combination on the headers (white would have been good, had it not been for the white "page tear" in the bg.) Thankfully, red and green compliment each other, so once that combination was hit, the colour balance of the page seemed to fall into place, and I could start to finalise the other elemnts with the paranoia that all the different bits clashed with each other/didn't suit the overall "theme".

It was just a question of getting another round of feedback from the publisher Baden Kiragn, and writer collaborator on these tales, Chris Sequeira, before making my final decision. Will probably re-align one or two things but essentially, the top image of the post is the final version. Phew! Perdantic, much? 

Below are examples of the original 'Captain America's Weird Tales' (the original kernel that started this concept,) from 1949/1950, and the 1960's 'Strange Tales' title.




Thanks, folks! More to come soon. 

Monday, January 21, 2013

Sneak peek: The one-shot title

If you're a regular reader of my Soldier Legacy related blog, I sincerely apologise ;P

If you're still here, you may have read recent posts related to the Chris Sequeira/Paul Mason collaboration one-shot issue, which will feature the full 'Dr. Nikola vs The Victorian era Soldier Legacy' story featuring in the back of that last 2 and upcoming Dark Detective: Sherlock Holmes comic books from Black House. The one-shot will also feature the debut teaser story of 'Lazarus "Larry" Burne' and his Maleficent Seven (think "Dirty Harry" of Exorcists and you're halfway there ;P). These stories are both slightly "left of field" for me and the continuity being laid out in the regular 'Soldier Legacy' series, but they were fun to do, and I wondered if there was future potential to be able to play with the character/characters outside of the stories set in WW2. Here's a look at the title:

From the thesis point of view, it was fun to experiment in the true "Marvel Method" collaboration. We drilled these plots out over a number of sessions before we had something fun, I would sweat over the image chores, and in the process of finishing up the last chapter for Mr Sequeira to script in the dialogue to my pics. I can read about it in books, or I can have a crack myself with a writer. It was very cool. This was also a nod to Lee and Kirby's Strange tales, with the "first" appearance of Captain America in the "modern" 1960's Marvel (ok, so the Human Torch battles a robot; but it was the litmus test for the Official appearance in 'Avengers #4 - Comic nerd Paul), and the 1949 'Captain America's Weird Tales. I did originally plan on perhaps "Weird Tales", or 'Strange Stories", but 'Strange Tales' had a nice ring to it, (and cheers for the input, John Retallick ;D)
Anyways, I'm fading fast from a full day's work and no meal, so I hope you'll dig what we're throwing at interested readers in March.
And, as always, if you're here reading this, and you give a damn, I thank you.
We soldier on.

Re: recent online comments relating to LNS season 4 episode 1.

Ok, here's where we get a little serious for a moment. I need to get my 2 cents out:

The new episode of Briz 31's 'The Late Nite Show; which I was fortunate to be a guest sparked me to have some thoughts I needed to get off my chest. Why I'm even bothering to talk up against a very tiny minority I don't know. But, it speaks to 2 of my dislikes: Bullies, and internet "trolls". I feel like I can say something here, because the episode in question, I was a part of. And, I am friends with the people through the show, brought about from my toiling in comics. They have shown me nothing but kindness, so it strikes me odd the things that I have read, and feel I need to say something to clear the air and my opinion on the matter. My opinion is my own, and from what I can see, the people attacked seem to be fine and "shrugging it off". This doesn't mean that what was said is OK  Anyway, enough lead in, you'll get the jist as I go.

The new addition to the sidekick roll the Late Nite show coped a bit of criticism from a handful of vocal people online via Twitter and via Youtube. Though it's extremely suspect that the comments have come from newly made (and from all appearances, "anonymous") accounts on both fronts, positive and negative feedback and the freedom of speech and opinion is absolutely fine. In most cases. And, I accept the fact that anything in the public eye is free game. It's important that constructive criticism and viewer feedback exists in all media. We live in a forward thinking democracy after all, right?

However, though I support and am thankful for the kind words I, and others, received from people in the lead up and aftermath of the show, some of the comments directed at the host, the cast and the cast's immediate family and friends has been downright disgusting. And I'm not dramatizing either. In much of the commenting, this isn't simply a case of the old "fake Geek Girl" vs the "Perceived Gatekeepers of Pop culture" (an absurdity in itself. Who are you to judge a person on what they like and HOW they like it?). This went far beyond that.

(I'm not going to repeat the comments, taking into consideration the wide age of readership the Soldier has. And, any more attention to the perpetrators is undeserved.)

It takes a hell of a lot to make me care what people think in this fashion- I deal with enough confrontation and, frankly, "****", to let silly stuff bother me. But what I've read was different. Potent, venomous, hurtful and crude. Some things I read bordered on pathological hatred. And for what? A mass murderer? A rapist? No. Actually, a guest on a volunteer community television channel. If I've missed the mark here, and there's more to this story, then I apologize in that respect only. If they've wronged you in some way, fine. Venting in public is not the way to deal with it. Judging by your barrage, let me assure you too, Adolf Hitler wasn't on the program that night.
It absolutely boggles the mind that a small handful of people could dredge up that much hatred and negativity over something so minor in the grand scheme of things. Seriously, if you're a "proud" internet troll, take a look at yourself. Ask yourself while you're patting yourself on the back after that last message: Would your mother/wife/girlfriend/partner be proud of the comments you wrote directly to a young lady and her family and friends? Honestly, it takes a lot to shock me. I was blown away. Personally attacking someone's appearance, your perception of their personality, your perception of their sexuality and insulting them and their family and friends in such an aggressive manner is not on at all, let alone doing it in such a cowardly fashion: anonymously via the internet. Considering the media and public furor over insensitive comments made by celebrities, media personalities and politicians in recent months, I would have though more common sense would have prevailed. I am sadly mistaken. The comments I read were absolutely terrible, and I questioned the motivation behind simply "not liking the choice a program made".

Again, I'm not one for confrontations and threats. One of my jobs, I get paid to have confrontations. My chosen sport IS confrontation. I'd rather a decent reason to have one, rather than pettiness. If I sense someone is going to do the wrong thing by me, I simply minimise the time I have to spend having them in my existence. Life's too short to suffer fools. I deal with enough headaches simply trying to get all my commitments accomplished over the course of months, leaving me with very little free time, or patience for fools. But, as thankful as I am for the lovely feedback I receive in my uphill endeavours to be relevant in comics, and for all the help, love and support I receive from the people around me and those who give a damn, I would risk my reputation to deadset uppercut any person who deemed it appropriate to berate, bully, name call, sexually harass or verbally assault a friend or professional colleague for no given reason.

Don't get me wrong here, folks: I am willing to discuss this in person at any time with trolls; please feel free to bring your concerns to me- I'm visiting almost every capital city in Australia this year; there's no excuse. I don't threaten. I simply give an opportunity for offended parties of my particular opinions stated here to give their reasons why they deem it appropriate to taunt and torment a young lady and her friends with horrible comments. I am willing to listen. And at least you'll gain a speck of respect from me for doing it in person for a change.

I think I've been reasonable and respective, yes? It's about time people learnt the meanings of those words.

It's 2013. Put your manners back in.

We Soldier on. 

Dear Diary: SLQ, Late Nite Show 2013, Other asleep yet?

Random bits and pieces this week, bear with me :)
WIP pencil panel from the upcoming Part 3 of the Doctor Nikola back up feature in 'Dark Detective: Sherlock Holmes #9, and the upcoming 'Soldier Legacy's Strange Tales'
  • Wrapped up my Comics workshops at the State Library of Queensland last week. It was part of their Annual Cartoons, Animation and Manga workshop series, and I was very proud to have been aboard. The 2 groups (12-16 year olds and 9-12 year olds) gave great feedback over the experience, and I see there were quite a few faces blown away by some of the comic page examples I talked about. Plenty of Jack Kirby appreciation from the new generation of budding storytellers ;D
Tim McEwen's Brisbane Supanova reading pile. Photo copyright 2013 Tim McEwen.
  • Australian comics creator and co-founder of 'Supanova Pop Culture Expo' Tim McEwen posted a photo blog of the November Supanova convention in Brisbane (2012), which features some cool comics-related highlights of his show, including my boof head, apparently giving the "Oh-No- You -Did-nt" finger to the audience during the "Domestic Drawing Dynamos" panel James "The Deep" Brouwer and I spoke at (with my main man 'Q-Dog' conducting). Great memories and loads of fun. Check out the many faces of Howard Chaykin during a fantastic MasterClass given on the Friday night, and the local comics haul Tim managed to score, including the latest Soldier in the top right.
  • A Title and Cover mock up seems to have been given the seal of approval for the new issue release from me, and Writer collaborator Christopher Sequeira, entitled "The Soldier Legacy's Strange Tales"- featuring The Diabolical Doctor Nikola. This will be a 20 page story, plus a extra story in the back discussed earlier- the "Dirty Harry of Exorcists : Lazarus "Larry" Burne. I'm very much looking forward to bringing this out at Oz Comic-Con Perth and Adelaide in March. I'm told the webmaster will be back soon to retinker with an updated bio, but in the meantime: . More news soon for reader who give a damn, I might be catching you Melbourians earlier than first thought ;)
Late Nite Host Scott Black, new "sick kick" Amanda Bacchi, and Bozo the Clown.
Photo copyright 2013, 31 Digital.
"The Action film you didn't want...". Photo copyright 2013, 31 Digital
Or, you can jump straight to the terrible bits with me in it below ;P

In among the nonsense, I got a chance to name check good mate and frequent collaborator Christopher Sequeira, good mate and Australia comic illustrator Paul Abstruse, the good guys at 'Gifts for the Geek' in Geelong, Vic, and the wonderful Oz Comic-Con.
Thank you again to Scott Black for asking me back- I have heaps of fun being on the show, and getting to hang out a little with the Kris and the crew, Little James etc. It was lovely to meet Alana and sad to see she won't be a regular on the show this year, but alternatively, my friend Amanda Bacchi will be filling in as the new Late Nite Show companion. Congratulations all, and all the best for the new season!

Thursday, January 10, 2013

'The Deep' OzComic sketch

Ordinarily, there's two things I don't do:
> Warm-up sketches/colours. Why screw about when there's work to do?
> Random sketches. Again, why screw about when there's work to do? ;)

However, this week's OzComic sketch theme was 'The Deep' by Tom Taylor and James Brouwer. I'm fortunate enough to call these two gents friends, but was a fan of their creator-owned, Australian Graphic Novel beforehand. And I'm not the only one :D

The 'Gestalt'-published title won an Aurelius Award in 2011 for Best Graphic Novel, and the recently released volume 2 has a foreword and high praise from Joe Kelly, the co-creator of 'Ben-10'. There's more, but I'm tired :P- check this:

Anyways, I always wanted to do an image, and although I'm super-strapped for time, I made an attempt on the underwater family of 4. The image was inspired by Jack Kirby's exploring 4...and no, I don't mean 'The Fantastic Four'. As much as I dig the guy and enjoy his writing work (and had the pleasure of meeting and chatting to him), whenever people point to Stan Lee's typed synopsis of the FF as the earliest inspiration for the Marvel adventurers, I point to this series Kirby created for DC comics years before as pretty good evidence the ideas had been bouncing around before the early 60's.

Anyways, off topic. Here's the image, inspiration etc. If I had more time, I'd finish it. Basically, it needs at least colour holds on the lines, but as it's time consuming and fiddly, I have to abandon the pic and move on with the pile of nonsense that faces me right now.

Gotta run, more soon.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Lazarus Burne, Best of show, & Bits and Pieces from the Week

  • Tonight at 9:30pm Queensland (or 10:30pm daylight savings time), the Late Nite show have kindly including my interview from November in their 'Best of' episode. Watch online by going to and click on the WATCH LIVE banner. "Get to da Choppaarh!"
  • Still have a handful of 'Soldier Legacy' packs left on the Big cartel store- I have to thank those that are getting on-board with this little offer of mine, and I hope the new readers enjoy the series. All orders, including print orders, have been sent out. Keep an eye on the mail box.
  • Colouring *finally* complete on the back up story in the upcoming untitled 'Dr.Nikola/Soldier Legacy' one-shot. The story seems to now have a title, thanks to writer and co-plotter Chris Sequeira 'Lazarus Burne's Maleficent Seven'. Awesome :D Think: "The 'Dirty Harry' of Exorcists" and you'll get the idea.

That's it from me. Swamped with work to do, no richer or well off for it, just a misplaced hope that you readers will like this nonsense when I emerge, and not the usual social media silence I'm slowly getting use to. Just goes to show the lovely audience for the Soldier books are a very "face to face" or traditional brick and mortar comic shop type. I dig that :)
Also hoping the long-battling uni thesis actually takes some sort of shape- Frankenstein's monster of sorts, but a shape nevertheless.  Frantically putting together the slides for next week's SLQ comics workshops, and of course stressing about things that are out of my hands, including the suspected injured foot which is preventing my training for the World titles. 

Well, that and the computer/drawing board tag team of course. It would be weird to jog after work at 3am, right? :P Wouldn't even consider the notion. 

Anyways, back to the lonely coal mine.

p.s: Oh, hey! Congratulations to Tristan Jones, Greg Mclean, Gestalt, DiezelPunk and the whole team for 'Sebastian Hawks' getting to their crowd funding goal. All the best :D I believe you still have a day to place orders

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Some Soldier Legacy Pack head sketches

Some free requested head scribbles as part of the current sale of the "Paul Mason" online shop front- clearing out the last sets of 'The Soldier Legacy' issues to help raise funds for my World Titles trip to Korea later in the year. I have to get new sparring gear, plan squad trips etc. and the problem with my sport is, to represent Australia once selected, we have to pay for the lot. Easier to fund raise if part of a big club contingent, a little harder when you're the virtual nomad I happen to be. So, as they say, every little bit counts, folks :D

(If you're a company and you're reading this, sponsor me, and I'll be a human billboard for you ;P)

If you feel like chipping in, suss it out here: Head sketches in front of the TV have been a fun time-out away from the deadlines- and nice to see People actually  requesting my Aussie character over the anything else- kind of neat :)

Take care, folks :D

Oh! Was just watching a 'Best of' The Late Nite Show on Channel 44 (Briz31 Digital) and seems my November interview is to be part of the Repeat madness next week (10th Jan). Thanks, Mr. Black! That's all sorts of cool. Thank you to everyone here who watched the video- those Youtube views inadvertently cemented the "watch this idiot again" status ;D
If you're not in Brisbane to watch at 9:30pm next week (10:30 EDST), you can watch it live stream via the magic of the internet here:
Thanks again, Soldiers!

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Something minor for an upcoming issue of something

Coloured image of a sketch gift for Black House Comics publisher Baden Kirgan earlier in 2012. Features the two characters I have had the pleasure drawing for Black House- My 1940's 'Soldier' character from 'The Soldier Legacy, and the occultist anti-hero Dr. Nikola, from Chris Sequeira's 'Dark Detective: Sherlock Holmes' series.

The character first appeared in 'DD:SH' issue 4, in a story written by Chirs Sequeira, and drawn by series illustrator Phil Cornell. My first published work for Black House was a Nikola pin-up in issue 6 back in 2010, and when 'Soldier Legacy' was picked up by the publisher in mid 2011, Chris pitched an idea for a back up story in 'DD:SH', featuring Dr. Nikola, in a "Marvel team-up" style story with an 1880's version of my Soldier character. Loads of fun, with the last part of that story due out soon, and talks of a one-shot in the very near future. Details soon. Could be something new for Oz Comic-Con Perth and Adelaide...

Dr. Nikola is a Victorian-era character created in the late 1890's by Australian pulp novelist Guy Boothby.