Monday, April 24, 2006

Hello Norway!

Just a quick hello to the person from Norway who's been reading the blog regularly for the past few days!


I've always had a strange fondness for Norway, dating from well before I first got the idea for "Elephants." I've never been but I would love to go. My best friend at school's dad, apparently, once played football for a Norweigan football team in the Champions League (although, looking back, it's entirely possible that this was a lie...although it would have been a very odd one). Of course being an A-Ha fan in my formative years probably fueled my fondness for the place.

Ah, Norway...

You know the best thing about Norway? It has absolutely nothing to do with Skander Keynes...

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Vote for ME!

Of Bitter Souls and Smoke & Mirror creator, Chuck Satterlee, is currently running some polls on the Markosia forum to see which pin ups and covers from his books are people's favourites. Which means that all you lovely people actually have a chance to vote for my colouring! Yay!

First off, you can vote for pin-ups from Of Bitter Souls here. I coloured the pin-ups by Scott Beaderstadt, G. Gerald Garcia and Kevin Breyfogle (right). To be honest, I think the Dave Murdoch pin-up is probably the best, but don't let that stop you from voting for the ones I've worked on! At the time of writing, the Kevin Breyfogle pin-up is topping the poll, which is cool!

You can also click here to vote for your favourite cover from volume two of Smoke & Mirror. My contribution here was in the form of colours on the Norm Breyfogle cover for #2. Again, that's currently topping the poll, but I somehow doubt that my colours have much to do with that!

While you're there please check out the other polls that Chuck is running and vote for your favourites.

Friday, April 21, 2006

Movie Reviews: Scary Movie 4 and Ice Age 2

Wow, the hits are really racking up...looks like we'llsoon be celebrating another milestone. There's a new link on the right, to my Artzone Profile. Artzone seems to be Daz's answer to Myspace, with an emphasis on 3D art. It's in open Beta mode at the moment, and membership is by invitation only, so I don't know if non-members can even view my profile. If you're intersted in joining, I've got seven invites left to send out, so drop me a line and I'll send you an invitation to join.

Okay, just two short reviews as the Easter weekend saw as catching two so-so sequels.

Scary Movie 4

The scary movie series holds a strange place in mine and my wife's hearts. She was working at a local cinema when Scary Movie 2 was doing the rounds, so she saw that film about a hundred times. The first film was good, the second was fairly bad, and the third was probably the best so far.

The fourth film doesn't plumb the depths of the second one, but it's also hardly essential viewing. It is funny though, and entertaining, but I wouldn't recommend paying to see it. It focuses its lampooning on four recent hits, Saw, The Grudge, The Village and War of the Worlds. Now, I've only seen the last two but it really didn't spoil my enjoyment of the film (it's been fairly hard to avoid seeing enough of the other two to get the jokes). Of course, the film scores points for taking the mick out of Tom Cruise, although they avoid sending up his obcession with Scientology, which is a shame.

Anna Faris is as cute as ever as Cindy Campbell, and the usual supporting characters return much the same as they did in the last film. The director obviously felt it was enough of a coup to get James Earl Jones to do the voice over that they feel the need to bring him onscreen at the end of the movie as if to say, yes, it really is him!

In general, an ok movie, worth seeing when it comes on TV.

Rating: 6/10

Ice Age 2

The first Ice Age was a surprise hit, with it's witty script, perfect voice acting and stylish CG visuals. My kids loved the original and my eldest has been desperate to see the second film since he started spotting posters all over the place.

All the elements that made the first film so geat are back, with one crucial omission - a plot. The first film hung together so well because the plot , three animals with nothing in common trying to return a lost human baby to his parents, provided such a great spine to hang all the amusing comic capers onto. The plot of this film is far simpler - the valley is going to flood so they have to leave before it does - and it suffers because of it. It seems that rather than coming up with a great idea for a second film, the creators came up with a string of amusing situations for our heroes, and then came up with a story to string them all together.

That said, if you ignore the wafer thin plot, the movie is extremely funny at times, with Scrat getting most of the best laughs this time round, as he continues his quest to get that darn acorn. pre-school kids (like mine) will LOVE it, and our enjoyment of the film was only spoiled by a pooing incident involving the yougest.

Definitely worth watching, but, again, not necessarily worth paying to see (unless you have small kids).

Rating: 6/10

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Slighty surreal....

There's currently an interview with me on the Visionary Comics blog, which you can find here.


Monday, April 17, 2006

A Kiss....?

Well, this cover probably doesn't belong on #1 as the actual scene doesn't happen 'till much later in the series, but I thought it would make a great cover so, what the hey!

My reasoning was more that it shows a kind of scene that isn't in the five preview's a more intimate, gentle moment. I have left it deliberately slightly ambiguous though. Are they about to kiss? Or is he about to throttle her? Heh...

Also, Derek thought that Paladin's pose on the original cover was slightly off, and I had to agree with him, so I've redone that too. It's good to read on Derek's blog that he's starting to get some relevant hits through Google. The CHC is starting to show up on Google seraches for comics done with Poser, which
is cool (and, of course, the Skander Keynes fans keep flooding in). I also got a hit the other day from someone searching Google for "Chuck Sellner" - Creative Director at Visionary Comics, and there's a fairly steady flow of people searching for the Hellfire Club.

So, there's very little left to do before the search for a publisher begins. I now have the nerve wracking job of putting the submission package together, which is never fun. I'm always worried that it's too long, or it's too short, or I've said the wrong things.

On an unrelated note - I think I've been watching too much Power Rangers with my kids. I've actually found myself thinking about setting up a "Rate My Ranger" site where people could vote on which is the best looking Pink Ranger. The really sad thing is that I've also found myself thinking that Kat Manx from Power Rangers S.P.D. is cuter than any of the Pink Rangers - and she's a cat woman. I worry about myself, I really do....

Happy Easter!

Just a quick one today to wish everyone a Happy Easter and to show off this cover art for The Young Gods. I'm really happy with how the logo's turned out. This means that apart from a few tweaks to the lettering, we're pretty much ready to start submitting the book to publishers. I'll be printing off some submission packages and stuffing them in large manilla envelopes this week. Wish us luck!

Also, check out this article over at Microfilmmaker Magazine about comics and films, and Visionary, for another media sighting of my Project HERO art. At least it's being used for something! At some point I'm going to set up a gallery for all my published and unpublished work, and the five never to be published pages from Project HERO will find a permanent home there.

Friday, April 14, 2006

Catching the Vision… Visionary Comics Studio Goes Live!

Think there’s nothing new under the sun in the world of comics? Well, one new studio plans to challenge that mindset. Visionary Comics Studio is proud to announce its public debut as they have officially hung their virtual shingle.

So, what’s the big deal? One more comic studio, you say? Well…not exactly. “VCS is not the typical comic book studio. It’s actually something pretty radically different” said C. Edward Sellner, Creative Director for the fledgling outfit. “It’s a Teaching Studio. We’re not a school, we’re a working studio that hones the skills of aspiring professionals to get their work to a level that can stand on its own next to any comic on the racks. All the while we’re doing this, we actually work with them on producing that first actual comic to compete on those racks.”

What exactly does that mean? Sellner explains: “First a creator submits a portfolio. The ones that show some real talent then get the VCS treatment. That means a thorough editorial review that goes over every word or stroke. Once the review is complete on the submission we return it and extend an invitation to join us. If they think working under such guidance will be helpful to them in honing their skills then they become a New Visionary.”

Once in the studio, creators actually have three types of opportunities they can pursue. First and foremost they can network with other talented folks to develop a creator-owned project. Some actually receive their first professional paying comic work and are hired to develop a property owned by Visionary for one of its in-house books. Third, all creators, essentially, also become talent represented by the studio for outside work-for-hire projects. “Our mission is to give our creators every opportunity to make it in the industry. Whether we’re helping them develop a property they fully own, give them actual, honest to gosh paid comic related work, or help rep them to every publisher every creator dreams of working with, it’s about giving them the tools, direction and opportunity to break into the world of comics!” Sellner adds, “with our Senior Editor Brian Augustyn, who has over 20 years in the industry, and who broke half the movers and shakers in the market today into that market to begin with, there really aren’t too many places VCS can’t get its foot in the door.” Then, as each project develops, VCS packages and represents it to publishers and then helps in marketing it. VCS has an entire production and marketing strategy which is designed to address many of the major concerns in the market today and to maximize a project’s exposure and sales. After all, a successful book means a successful creator!

What do the powers in the world of comics think of this? “Well,” said Sellner, “in the last six months we’ve been laying the groundwork for VCS I’ve had long conversations, lunches, office meetings, and personal contact with folks who are literal legends in the industry, to those who are primary shakers in every single major publisher in North American comics.” In the next few months as you see the growing list of developments coming out of VCS and some of the names joining the studio, the response from within the industry will become more and more clear.

What does the rest of the world think? “Well, seeing as how I’m uttering those four little major words to every comic fan: ‘We Are Taking Submissions’, let me get back to you after I dig out once more!” To learn more about Visionary Comics Studio check out our website at - CES

Studio Staff:
Creative Director:
C. Edward Sellner

Senior Editor:
Brian Augustyn

Business Manager:
Charlie Hall

Web Master:
Sean Routt

Creators / Studio Members:
Joe Button, Writer
Amy Clark, Artist
Paul DeBerry, Letterer
Raymond Francis, Artist
Bill Jackson, Writer/Artist
Michael Kingston, Writer
Brian Koscienski, Writer
Kirk Kugel, Artist
A. David Lewis, Writer
Chris McCay, Writer
Rob Meier, Artist
Chris Pisano, Writer
Ian Sharman, Artist
Robert Spencer, Artist
Jennifer Tanner, Writer/Artist

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Movie Review: She's The Man

Okay, before I get into this review can I just say to the many, many Skander Keynes fans who have reached this site after searching on Google for such phrases as "Does Skander Keynes have a girlfriend?" that I really don't know if he does and I'm not likely to ever find out. That said, given the fact that he's, like, twelve years old, and also that none of you are ever likely to meet him anyway, I really doubt that it matters. All I ever did was say that I thougth he was good as Edmund in The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe! Still, thanks for the hits girls....

Now that's out of the way, I have a quick observation - either the Internet Movie Database ( is the greatest single resource for movie fans the world has ever known, or it is the main repository for all the inane drivel in the world. Possibly, it's both. I say this simply because when I write my movie reviews I always check IMDB for the actor's and director's filmographies (and names!) and there is ALWAYS, ALWAYS a post titled "Worst Movie Ever." This usually sits next to a post speculating that the film will be the end of the leading lady or leading man's movie career. It's just a bit sad, really.

Okay, finally, on with the review. Now, who honestly thought that when I posted the words "I saw a great movie at the cinema tonight, so I'll try to get a review up sometime this weekend" the other night that I could possibly be referring to this Amanda Bynes starring adaptation of Shakespeare's Twelfth Night? As I suspected...none of you....

This is Hollywood.....doing football (soccer for you yanks) a teen comedy....based on Shakespeare. Okay, Hollywood's track record when it comes to football is that should have us worried....but the track record when it comes to teen comedies based on Shakespeare isn't so bad. The most notable success that springs to mind here is "Ten Things I Hate About You"....a film which I personally love (yes, I am odd, thank you), which is based on The Taming of the Shrew. Trying to think of a good Hollywood film that includes football is pretty much impossible...even the British find it hard to make good movies about the beautiful game, with Bend It Like Beckham being one of the few films to actually stand out. Of course, Bend It Like Backham and She's The Man have two important things in common - they're about girls playing football.

Oh, if you were hoping for a plot summary, you're not going to get one - go see the film instead! This film succeeds in the football area for a number of very simple reasons. Firstly, it portrays the game as being physical and played with passion. Secondly, the score lines are realistic, with the big game at the end being a simple 2-1 affair. Thirdly, it references David Beckham, and one character has a pin-up of Frank Lampard, showing that someone working on the film actually put in some effort to learn something about football. Lastly, it has Vinnie Jones in it. I can't make up my mind if Vinnie's acting in this is awful or if it's him deliberately trying to be funny. But the presence of at least one actual, former top flight football player just lends this film a bit of credibility that it otherwise wouldn't have had.

Amanda Bynes is great in this too. If, like me, you're British, you've probably heard of her but won't actually know who she is. She's best known for doing TV stuff in the US, and her biggest movie role was as the voice of Piper in the CG animated film, Robots (ah, how we mourn the loss of the funny Robin Williams....maybe we'll find him somewhere, someday, with the funny Steve Martin who's also left us...). I heard one reviewer say that Amanda Bynes is the actress you call after Lindsay Lohan and Hillary Duff have turned you down, but neither of those actresses would have been able to play the role of Viola in this movie. First off, I don't think either of them could have been as convincing prentending to be Viola's brother, Sebastian. Lohan paid too much for those breasts to strap them down, and Duff is just too much of a girl. Secondly, I'd be afraid that either of them would simply snap under the weight of some of the football tackles in this movie. Bynes is incredibly cute, but she hasn't slipped into that unreal "Stupid Girl" world that both Lohan and Duff seem to inhabit these days.

This movie is genuinely funny, as well, which is always an important factor in any comedy. The cast is largely fairly unknown (I think that Vinnie Jones is technically the biggest movie star in the whole film!) but that certianly doesn't hurt the film. I would warn anyone going to see it that during the first ten to fifteen minutes you'll probably find yourself slightly uneasy and wondering if this is, in fact, going to suck. It won't, believe me.

Oh, the only other thing I want to say about this is that the film includes one of the best cat fights in the history of cinema, worth the admission price alone!

Rating: 7.5/10

Sunday, April 09, 2006


Tonight I produced two really cool pages of comic book art. One is a totally original CG rendered piece, the other is a page of colouring. They both look really, really good...but I can't actually show you either of them. You'll just have to imagine that this post is accompanied by two amazingly stunning pictures.

So....yes...I finally got my own Wacom tablet...a Graphire 4 Classic. Which is cool because I only have a Graphire 3 at work. This new model is a big improvement over the old one.

One of my colouring projects has fallen through though, but it's not the end of the world because I still have a ton of colouring work to do. What it does mean is that maybe, just maybe I'm going to get everything done on time without having to lose out on too much sleep.

That said, it's 3am and I'm still sitting here typing.

Oh, the Flaming Pear plug-ins worked a treat. I'd show you I said...I can't!

I think some things are worth waiting for though.

Oh, go on then, here's a sneak's just a low-res corner of the page, but hopefully it'll whet your appetite.......

Saturday, April 08, 2006

You wait for ages for a page of The Young Gods...

...and then two of them come along at once.

Well, we have my forgetfulness to thank for the speedy completion of page 5. Simply put, it's Friday and I forgot to bring my Wacom tablet home with me from work. No Wacom tablet, no colouring...which is a problem as I have a lot of colouring work that needs to be done ASAP. I guess I'm going to have to seek permission from on high (ie. my wife) to finally buy my very own Wacom may have to involve me caving on the new mobile phone front...

So, that aside, five complete pages puts us very close to being able to submit this comic to some publishers. All I need to do now is to letter the pages and do a cover. Hopefully I can get both of those done this week...and if my significant other digs her heels in regarding the Wacom, I'll be getting them done this weekend.

Oddly, before I started working on this page, I expected the final panel, featuring Juice charging herself up, to be the weakest panel on the page, but I actually think it's ended up being the strongest. I'm pleased with the head shot of Impact too.

In other news, a certain other project I'm working on right now requires me to produce several images set in space, including star fields, planets, moons and suns. Now, I found some great tutorials on the web and managed to produce a pretty good starfield in Photoshop (you can see the results in my Silver Surfer pic' that I previously posted) but it took an age. Sequential pages set in space are going to require me to create multiple space backgrounds and it's simply not going to work if they all have to be laboriously created by hand in Photoshop. So, I remembered using a demo of a plug-in for Photoshop from Flaming Pear called Lunar Cell, which enables you to create really good loking planets with just a few clicks, that I tried out years ago when I was still working for the church (now there's a long story...). A quick search revealed that Lunar Cell is now part of a suite of plug-ins alongside two others, one for creating star fields, the other for creating suns! I've downloaded the demo versions and I'll try them out this weekend, and if they work ok I'll be purchasing the full versions. One of my junior school teachers once said of me that if there's an easy way to do something, I'll find it.

Well, that's all for now, I saw a great movie at the cinema tonight, so I'll try to get a review up sometime this weekend.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

At long last....The Young Gods Page 4....

Well, I finally got page four done. Persoanlly, I think it was worth the wait, I'm really pleased with how it's turned out.

Page 5 is already about 50% done, and once it's complete...and all five pages have been lettered...and I've done a cover (heh), we'll be submitting the book to some publishers. So...nearly there.

I'm also hard at work colouring Smoke & Mirror #5, which is coming along really well.

Well, back to the grind.....

Sunday, April 02, 2006

It's Not Easy Being Green

Marvel's jolly green giantess needs no introduction.

I think this work's a little better,m though, don't you?

Not much else to say right now except that the colouring work is going great.

I'm a bit typed out after writing up a long interview for Visionary's blog.

I'll post more later.

Saturday, April 01, 2006

Stand up! Stand up!

At last, some action! Page 4 sees the Young Gods get their first taste of conflict as they take on some nasty spider-bots!

Sadly, progress has been slowed a bit as I'm battling with a virus, and I also now have a ton of colouring work to do. I've just started work on colouring Smoke & Mirror #5 and it looks like I'll also be colouring another book from Markosia.

Today's big news is that my art's been featured in an interview with Visionary boss, Chuck Sellner, on Comicon's The Pulse.

It's a great interview, go check it out. It's a little sad that some idiot felt the need to respond to it with a mean spirited and childish post, but, hey, that's the internet for you.

Hopefully I'll have the completed page 4 done very soon...hopefully I can shake this virus off soon too.

In the mean time, enjoy these pics and enjoy the interview!