It was meant to be a gag gift. Little did she know I'd love it. Look what one of my coworkers got for me…..
Wonder Woman socks! I felt obligated to show her how they looked, so I wore them to work one day under my slacks (good thing she didn't buy me WW underwear). "I feel stronger already," I joked. Thanks Raquel! These are too cute!
"Remember those words… remember these letters… and they can protect you." -Dodola to Zam I was saddened when I finished reading it. I didn't want the story to end. That's the sign of a good writer. I'm referring to the magical tale, "Habibi" by Craig Thompson. It's about love, God, survival, transformation, hope and just about everything in between. The book follows the lives of the Dodola and Zam and all the hardship and torment they endure along the way.
Dodola and Zam as adults
Dodola taken as a young girl
I wasn't expecting such strong displays of sexual abuse and aggression throughout the book but Thompson handled it as tenderly as one could. He also did a great job showing Dodola and Zam age, from vulnerable children into capable adults, and all of their physical changes along the way. And just about every page was beautifully illustrated with intricate patterns and Arabic symbols.
Dodola outsmarting the Sultan of Wanatolia
Equally impressive was Thompson's use of scripture. Growing up Catholic, I didn't realize the similarities between the Quran and the Bible until reading this graphic novel. I found it all to be quite fascinating and now I want to learn more about Islam. Habibi proves that comic books--at their best--can be more than quick reads with flat stories. This one moved and intrigued me and I love it for that. Just incredible. So go on and read it!
When I heard the news my heart dropped. The unthinkable has happened! After 35 years of being in the same area, my local comic shop decided to move across state to Indiana. Yesterday was their last day at the old location.
I was told the new store is three times bigger, the neighborhood much safer, and yet it'll be about an hour drive to get there. Not sure how I'll be able to do that working two jobs. Those of you who are passionate about comic books and where you buy them, know we are a very loyal bunch that always supports our local shops first. I've known the owners since childhood. A part of me wants to go where they go. Going to that comic shop for over 20 years represented my dream of working in the comic book industry as well. Every time I'd pick up my books and see what else came out that week, it fueled the fire. Losing this location feels like a part of that died. But I mustn't let that happen. Nothing stays the same. I need to redouble my efforts and find a way to make it all work. God willing, I do believe it'll happen. Onto bigger and better things for them...and me!
It may seem like it but I have NOT forgotten about this blog. I had high hopes for things here. A fun, creative place to nurture my love of comic books and aspirations of working in the comic book industry. Those dreams are still there, it's just, life got in the way...again. So to those of you who'd often check my comic book blog for any updates, I apologize for the lack of posts this year. I hope to pump new life back into Suffering Sappho! soon. My God, if the Avengers can save the earth from total annihilation countless times over, the least I could do is post post more often.
May the coming year be an inspiring, productive one for all!
I can't believe I'm going to say this but I'm still not done with this painting!
In this step, I inked the ENTIRE illustration--or rather--laid down the initial inkwork.
It may appear finished to you but I assure you it's not.
For one thing, it's all looking rather flat still. Some stronger shadows should do the trick.
Ah, and her hair. Ororo's lovely locks have been ruined ever-so-slightly in my attempt to add "interest". By varying the lines in her hair, there's too many thick and thin areas now and it looks off IMHO.
So the next and last step (*fingers crossed*) will be to bring on the dramatic darks, smooth out the hair, and add any finishing details.
Playing around inside the house, I grabbed onto the doorframe and did a high-kick into the air.
"See," I said to my oldest brother, "I'm like Batgirl!" (Yvonne Craig used to do ballet-type kicks when fighting bad guys on the Batman TV show).
(How FABULOUS is this costume!)
To which my brother meanly replied, "What, do you want to get a sex change?"
It was at that moment of being shamed that I learned it was "uncool" and unacceptable for boys to want to emulate girls. A lesson that would be repeatedly taught by other males while growing up.
While I never had the desire to play with dolls as a kid (it was typically Legos and action figures for me), I always found myself being drawn to female characters on TV. I watched G.I. Joe, Transformers, and He-Man but She-Ra too.
These were strong, capable women that made the world a better place and I wanted to be like them!
It almost became an obsession of sorts. Maybe it was because growing up closeted and gay that I identified more with women than men. After all, I was attracted to guys and wanted them to want me, just like a heterosexual woman would.
Even now as an adult I still carry some of that childhood shame. Careful not to mention too much She-Ra and Sailor Moon stuff around certain people for fear of being called "gay".
And yet, there are times when my Wonder Woman notebook used for work isn't hidden under my arm but proudly held in my hand for everyone to see.
One of these days I'm going to say, "See, I'm like Batgirl!" and be as proud as can be.
How appropriate that it rained this entire weekend in Chicago! It ties in perfectly to my latest comic book portrait.....Storm of the X-Men! The mutant able to manipulate the weather!
When I finished my Cyclops painting, a potential buyer requested I do Storm next, specifically wearing her original costume. Though this is mostly a head shot, you know it's the original outfit by the headband and the yellow-rimmed collar on her neck.
Storm's first and best costume!
Out of all her costume changes I prefer the original as well. God forbid I do a painting of her punk look as seen below:
Uggh! What was she thinking?!
This was a pure joy to draw! It took just a few hours and was relatively effortless. I was totally in the zone for this one.
And I needed this BAD. Lately I've been disconnected with my comic book blog, debating whether to delete it altogether. Feeling defeated, like I wasn't really doing much to foster the goal of becoming a comic book illustrator.
But this drawing turned out so well it sort of re-energized the dream. It gave me hope again!
The concept really excited me too. Normally you always see Storm behind streaks of lightning. *yawn*
I wanted something a bit more subtle and harder to capture. So wind seemed like the best choice. I had so much fun penciling in all that hair! When this is done she's going to look F-A-B-U-L-O-U-S!
Things are off to a great start! The next step is to add paint and lay in the color!
Watercolor with ink on watercolor paper - 8" x 10" (NFS)
This was my first real comic book commission. Even though I didn't get paid for it, it was an honor to do.
I used to write comic book fan-fiction and another writer from the site I belonged to asked me to do a cover for his series at the time.
It was titled, "10 Days".
The story was about a man who had done terrible things in his lifetime and was on the verge of death. An angel appeared and offered him the ability to not die from his wounds. In essence, a chance for him to right his wrongs before dying. The catch was his "invulnerability" would only last a set amount of time. The series chronicled his last 10 days on earth.
Looking back over my writing a few years later, I do cringe at some of those stories yet I was proud of all I had written. I went from writing every once in a while to churning out a new full-length story every month! And I met some AMAZING people along the way.
Unfortunately the fan-fiction site disbanded shortly after that, much like the Avengers(I'm a dork, I know!). A newer, more condensed site was started last year and the administrator asked me to continue writing again. But I declined. I guess my heart wasn't into it or maybe I was resisting too much. *shrugs shoulders*
Perhaps I'll go back and start writing fan-fiction again. Who knows. It was terribly FUN and the closest thing I'd ever gotten to writing actual comic books!
Watercolors and ink on bristol board - 8" x 10" (SOLD)
So some noticeable changes took place in this last step.
I went over the entire painting with a light pink wash to create a "glowing effect" from the optic blast. That was the main draw (no pun intended) for this piece. I wanted to do a painting that conveyed a subtle light.
I'm forever a perfectionist. I don't know if this is my strongest comic book work but I certainly love the colors in this one. Normally I'm NOT a fan a pink tones but they work so well here!
The entire figure was meticulously inked and I splattered black on the background for added depth and that dramatic finishing touch!
The colors have all been laid down with watercolor washes, though some will have to be dulled a bit so as not to take away from the optic blast.
Unfortunately I made Cyclops' eye beam a bit too pink. I'd like it redder still. So much to tweak!
I was toying around with the idea of coloring with markers instead of watercolors for my comic book art in the future. It seems like the natural choice. I've been using the marker/ink combination a lot recently for my Mail Art on my other blog.
Ink tends to sit on top of the paint (which sits on top of the paper) and can easily run and smear while drying. But markers absorb deep into the paper so the ink is much easier to control when applied IMHO.
The next and last step is the most labor-intensive one. Inking the entire illustration and adding any last minute details.
Before you know it, that optic blast will be doing some serious damage!
I thought things were off to a smooth start on this until I had to draw Cyclops' optic blast.
Given the angle of the face, the beam would have to obscure part of the figure and I had to decide which part!
You see Cyclops doesn't shoot laser beams out of his eyes, he emits concussive force blasts! Ahh, see the difference?
Every single comic representation of Cyclops' optic beams have all been shown to be solid NOT transparent (as seen below). So it's inevitable that the blast would cover something.
Not wanting it to look puny, I made the beam as wide as possible and then had to make a decision. Either obscure the nose, mouth, and shoulder or hide part of the hand and forearm.
The profile of the face and bulge of the trapezius muscle really appealed to me and I didn't want to lose either one, so I went ahead and had Cyclops shooting off to the side instead of down the middle.
I hope I made the right choice!
With that settled and the shadows penciled in, the next step is the fun part.....laying down the paint!
Mid-30's. Gay. Artist. X-Man.
"Exploding Doughnut" represents working uninspired jobs while creating a career in art and "Suffering Sappho!" is all about my passion for comic books (read my first posts for full details!).
Thanks to everyone for reading and seeing what I've posted.
Feel free to comment and/or e-mail me.