Thursday, December 19, 2013

From the Trenches: Trying to remember the rollercoaster that was 2013

At ease, soldiers.
A quick recap just to "reset the stop clock" and wish everyone, including you who is reading this, a big, big thank you.

This year in hindsight was a big year. Though it feels like all I have is tired bags under the eyes, an empty bank account, a shallow husk of a social life, and a crushed spirit, I scrolled back through a few posts and pics to figure out that I did manage to get a few things done, with a promising 2014 ahead.

Ok, the recap of things I can remember. I would also check out Matt Emery Pikitia Press's annual '2013 in review' post, if you're not bored already:
That's all this in a nutshell. My version crosses the line between "friendly, self-blogging review of events" and "narcissism" probably. I'm sorry :( I'll try and keep it brief, non-mushy and to the point. If I miss anyone/anything, I'm sorry, it's purely accidental, and a product of the headache; I really should be typing my thesis. I look forward to your abusive messages :P (Plus, you can always just suss out the 'archives' section- I jibber about most things during the year.


January was my first stint teaching kids Comic books at the State Library of Queensland's School Holiday program. I'm looking forward to doing it again first up in 2014 :D

I also appeared on the first 2013 episode of 'The Late Nite Show' on Bris 31 Digital - and again later in the year (October!): Cheers to Scott Black, Amanda, Little James, Steve, Kris, Richard, Biggy P and the rest of the great crew of 31 Digital for always making me feel welcome, and coming by the Qld conventions too.  A 'Vlog' of some clips from 2013:

The multi award-winning 'Geek Speak' crew of Todd, Wade, Steve, Brendan, Anna, Mel, Russell, Dan, Jason and the rest of the crew, thank you again for your cotinual support this year. The 'Man Cave' episode was great fun to do, and I still get people interstate saying they saw it on TV randomly. Appreciate the Soldier support, and showing genuine interest in what I'm trying to do, Human Fly and everything.

Kaboom! Comics in Toowoomba are super supportive of Australian Comics;
and touched they kindly filled a shelf with 'Soldier Legacy' books.
I hope it empties for them.

Published 'The Soldier Legacy's Strange Tales #1', with script and co-plotting with Chris Sequeira (oh, and the SDCC folio below). Debut of back up story 'the Maleficus Seven', starring the "Dirty Harry of exorcists", Lazarus Burne. We scored a new home for him in 2014 while we were in San Diego for Comic-Con in July, but we can't say where yet. I'm really eager to start though. Watch this space.

The folio book from July/August 2013

Ronald  McDonald, Alan Brewer, Chris Sequeira
 and Michael Aushenker

Speaking of which, 'The New Adventures of the Human Fly #1'; my first US published work which was released at SDCC, was not possible without the faith and support of people like brother, friend, mentor, collaborator, travel mate and optimistic spirit animal Chris Sequeira, editor Michael Aushenker, Film makers and producers Steve Goldmann and Alan Brewer, and scriptwriter Tony Babinski. Thank you, gents!

The wonderful crew of OZ Comic-Con; friends, and professional in every facet. An absolute pleasure and humbled to be involved; plus all the fun of hanging with friends I never get to see. Thank you for inviting me to attend Perth and Adelaide for the first time in March (thank you Perth and Adelaide Soldiers! Wonderful to reach readers and my comic scribble diggers there :D), and Melbourne in July. I am very much looking forward to being a part of next year's tour, including the new addition of Sydney and Brisbane; very excited!
Stewart McKenny, some poindexter, Justin Randall, Tom Taylor. Gents.

Pics from Perth and Adelaide:
Many thanks to Supanova Pop Culture Expo; A warm and friendly crew who took care of me while I was guest with some other Black House Comics crew members Chris, Chewie Chan and Jason Franks. We were down in Melbourne and then back up closer to home on the Gold Coast in April, and then I was back on pseudo-home turf in Brisbane in November recently, where I got to catch up with another friend and mentor, John Higgins, and his lovely wife Sally. I can't speak highly enough of the great time I had, with a great dinner on Sunday night to wrap up (wait, where's Colin Wilson in this pic?? Another gentleman). The readers and Soldier supporters though, you guys make it worthwhile. I would have lost my drive for comics long ago without your kind words, feedback and enthusiasm at each show.

 Melb/Gold Coast:

L to R: David Yardin, this jerk, Tim McEwen, John Higgins,
 Ken Jones and Son, Royd Burgoyne, Tom Taylor, Lenil Francis Yu
and Yai Maniquis Yu. Photo courtesy of David.

Many humble thanks to the organisers of the Brisbane Writer's Festival for having me down to chat about Creator-Owned comics at the beginning of September with fantastic creators Eddie Campbell, Dylan Horrocks, and fellow Brisbanite Zachary Smith-Cameron. Plus, the people who actually appreciated the two cents I had to add too! Was blown away to be on that stage as a relative novice, and to actually be acknowledged for 'writing'...believe it or not, I also wrote a short story this year for an upcoming anthology too! 'The Small Dragons' : Cheers Kris, and more details on that one too, soon.

L tor R: Zac Smith-Cameron, Some idiot, Eddie Campbell,
Dylan Horrocks,  moderator Luke Humphris

Another 2013 highlight was being invited down to the GRAPHIC festival at the Sydney Opera House to research and host a 1hr Creator Focus panel with the Co-creator of Wolverine and Swamp Thing, Len Wein. A great writer and a fantastic person to talk to, I was blown away with his and his lovely wife Christine's kind words of the panel questions afterwards. Thanks again GRAPHIC- the day was so professionally run, the staff were so helpful and I was treated like a guest. Amazing day, capped off with the International Fleet review on the balcony of the Opera House.

Congratulations and thank you to the organisers of very first ZICS!  Especially too for inviting me along to join in with the fun, and panels talking at the end of August. A great initiative and I'm sure it will be even more epic in 2014. Well done!

Many thanks to Gifts for the Geek for having good buddy Paul Abstruse and I down for an in-store appearance in Geelong for "Free Comic Book Day" in May! Darren the crew down there were great! And always helpful, particularly looking after my stock between shows, and their range of T-Shirts ;D Cheers Gents!

October-November was the 'Shadow of the Mouse' Exhibition, where some of my comic scribble was considered "art" enough to be part of the Royal Queensland Art society showing. Very happy and pleased with the original print sales too. I have 1 of 1 A1 poster size prints left of 'The Human Fly' pages, and 1 page of Larry Burne Concept art if anyone is interested...more details soon.

Many thanks to Aussie Ex-Pat author Andrez Bergen for all the shout outs and kudos across the internet re: my humble little pinup for the book 'Who is Killing the Great Capes of Heropa?' Much appreciated, big congratulations on your publishing year, including your comics foray with Matt Kyme. Cheers!

2013 saw me get back into active tournament and squad training participation, and the occasional Muay Thai/Kickboxing class down south of the border; which added to the plane flights, but was a lot of fun spending time with my TKD family. I can't remember the tournaments, but all golds in the leadup to the Worlds so I was happy. Thanks to Senior Master Jamie Moore and Sabum Gary King (pictured), I was "peer pressured" into doing my very long overdue 3rd degree Blackbelt Grading in April, and after a long day, passed. My 2nd Degree Black Belt was so old it was grey, so they were probably right ;P

After 6 years, and an almost there in 2010 moment, I competed at a World level again at the Open World ITF Taekwon-do Championships in UK, July/August; my 4th championship overseas in my 10th year of competition Taekwon-do, and my 5th Australian team. Though apparently close, the result didn't go my way on the day, but at least I re-affirmed to myself that I'm only a smidgen off the top, and that fast KO in team sparring  made me feel better at least :P Too bad the guy was such a nice guy afterwards, I could have walked away without the guilt. *Sigh...  Anyways, to the Australia team, coaches, support crew, parents, friendly competitiors (especially the Irish team), God bless you. Thank you.
Scribbling comics pics with the Irish team junior competitors and supporters during weigh-in at the Hotel in the UK. 
Anyways, to be asked to be an Assistant Coach/Sparring coach for the 2014 Australian team for Korea next year was a thrill and a privilege (particularly with "big brother" and "big sister", Gary and Penny) its been a long, tough road to get back in the game, since strapping the gloves on again late last year. I look forward to the new challenge.

The gentleman Klaus Janson.
Mark Waid, LAPD, and Chris Samnee.
Oh, brain failing. Ok, I did San Diego Comic-Con 2013 in July, and met and/or caught up with some inspirations of mine (Capullo, Mignola, Waid, Samnee, Janson, Romita Jr, Snyder, Abernathy, Igle, Higgins, Bendis, Gibbons etc.), some old friends, cool folks (Keith Dallas and his new book 'American Comic Book Chronicles: the 1980's, the Twomorrows publications booth, and the Jack Kirby Museum with Rand is a highlight too) and spend some time with the Gestalt boys and the Fillbach bros. An awesome 'pre-tournament' trip, and great to pretend I was an international jet-setter...though UK customs were wondering how a student could get from Australia to Los Angeles to London...mind your own business, that's how ;P Many thanks to my partner in crime, Christopher Sequeira for a great and successful trip! More on that soon.

As soon as I got back, I hit the ground running with lecturing and teaching again at the Queensland College of Art for the Bachelor of Animation program. A fantastic bunch of 2nd years again for 'Visual Story' in semester 2, thank you all! I'm still hoping to knock over the bulk of my Doctorate thesis before the year is done, making it one bust year by scanning through this recap....

Commission for Todd (will be in the mail soon!) using Mepxy Markers.
Oh, let's not forget the awesome folks at Canson Australia and their Mepxy Markers which I came across in November. They have been a revelation! And, at the time of writing this, a competition gift box full of stuff has just arrived, so I'll be making a mess this afternoon no doubt :P

I also want to thank Platinum 'Team Australia' sponsor Soundcom, and Worldwide Taekwon-do for their support in an upcoming 'Soldier Legacy'-related offer. More info soon.

I want to send a big thank you to publisher Black House Comics, helmed by Baden Kirgan, my parents, my sister Julia, my close  family and friends and colleagues (especially those who inspired me,  fed me and gave me a place to sleep interstate/international, provided me with an ear or words of advice and wisdom., or for the laughs and chaos. It's never forgotten and always close to my heart, despite my anti-social, buried in work tendencies, or online pimping...hell, if I don't, who else will? ;D) QCA, and all the readers who pick up the books.  Thank you too to those who plugged and sort out a word or two from me; you make me feel legit and like I'm not wasting my time scribbling: 'Whatcha' podcast, 'NerdCulture' Podcast, 'Geek Speak' TV and Podcast,  Oz Comic-Con, 31 Digital/the Late Nite Show, 'The Comic Spot' podcast, 'DeathRocket', the readers who gave up kind words on the 'Beardy and the Geek' podcast special, and any article that bother to mention my name in some capacity. 


2013. So, it wasn't all rainbows and sunshine. Far from it. But, we march on. 2014 has some real promise, and between you and me, I hope I at least edge closer in my 'Pursuit of Happiness'. Or at least be content. More time to work on the projects, get that piece of paper that says "Dr Paul Mason", maybe give away one of the day jobs that's aggravating the soul. And stop and smell the roses for a change. Soldier Legacy, a few other projects, Squad training, conventions 2014, oh, an awesome Master Dalton seminar in March, and 3 GrandMaster TKD pioneers seminar at the end of the year... Korea maybe...all up in the air, but one thing at a time, right?

(oh, and I'm sorry to those waiting on long outstanding to-be-posted items...I will rectify this! when I have mastered the ability to have breakfast during daylight hours, I will sort this injustice asap.)

At any rate, if you got this far, why aren't you doing something more productive? (said the guy who updates a blog) ;P

I wish you and your friends and family a very safe and happy holidays, always march on, whatever happens in life, and I will look forward to seeing you all in some capacity in 2014. 

As you were.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

If you're gonna die...

Something I hinted at on The Late Nite Show recently, which made 3 people (and my Mum) concerned.

Either way, we'll see where the journey goes.

Sunday Afternoon Concept Art scribble WIP, for something writer Chris Sequeira and I and working on in 2014. Went a bit 1980's on it. Though I'm blowing off vital Thesis work time, I really needed to pick up a pencil and pen. It was driving me crazy. I find the majority of stuff I throw online is met with silence, so I guess it's just an exercise in exorcising some demons, really. I'm attempting inks, albeit, mainly cheapo markers, but I'm somewhat enjoying it. Though I find I lose my way when I'm tired. Especially in the next attempted image I'm posting. Started midnight-ish, was probably a stupid idea, and haven't drawn Soldier in a very long time. Two mistakes. Anyway, March on.

Oz Comic -Con tour guest 2014

Many thanks OCC, the supporting readers and Australian comic drawing fans! Very touched for the invite :D

You guys!-Brisbane Supanova November 2013 Photo Dump

Cheers Soldiers! For a great weekend in November ;D