Posts tagged ‘JB Winter’

September 30, 2016

Hot off the press: Watusi and the Emerald Serpent!

emeraldserpentprintset

Well, maybe more “warm out of the oven,” since I’ve taken this collection to my last two events (with two more on the horizon: the Memphis Comic Expo, Oct. 22-23 and Wichita’s Air Capital Comiccon, Nov. 12-13) . But with the print copies now in hand, and my shipping costs figured out, I’m happy to share these comics with those of you who aren’t able to catch me at one of my appearances!

Watusi and the Emerald Serpent is the story of an ordinary talking dog thrown out of his comfort zone into a crime-ridden island paradise! Watusi finds himself pitted against an outlaw gang and its lunatic leader in his most epic adventure yet! Inspired by the Kenneth Robeson Doc Savage novels and Floyd Gottfredson’s “Mickey Mouse” strips, this story may be my favorite project so far. Certainly my favorite Watusi story.

As I wrote a couple of months ago, I’ve been working on a print edition of this story, and I’m very pleased with how it turned out. This print edition has been edited and expanded from the story as it was first published online (46 of its 84 pages have new &/or updated content), and I think the changes help the story flow much better. And look better, too! In addition to interior art improvements, I’m also really happy with the full-color covers– I think it’s my best color work to date– and the full-color guest art from JB Winter, Billy McKay, Mike Sullivan, and Tom Cherry really rounds out the package in a classy way. As you can tell, I’m trying hard not to overdo the hyperbole, but I’m really proud of these comics, and hope everyone who reads these issues enjoys them as much as I did making them!

You can order all seven 16-page issues (b&w interiors with full-color covers) as a set from my online store & have them delivered right to your mailbox.

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June 1, 2016

It really was “The World’s Finest APA”!

APA-5logoThis month marks the tenth anniversary of my last “Larry’s Kitchen” zine as a part of APA-5, the world’s finest APA!

An APA (or Amateur Press Association, for those of you who don’t know) is a group where individual members create their own zine, send it to a central mailer who assembles them all into a single publication and redistributes it to the members for comment and enjoyment. APA-5 was a great environment for me at a time when I felt disconnected from other cartoonists, and wanted feedback on my work. For over seven years I was an active part of this group of amazing creators, including Drew Boynton, JB Winter, Larned Justin, Mike Leuszler, Michael Munshaw, Brien Wayne Powell, Dan Lauer, Tom Davidson, Steve Willhite, and others.

I was happy with much of the work I created while in APA-5, and enjoyed it as a venue to share work in progress with other creators for feedback. In the years before social media posts and “likes” became the accepted way to interact online, we were able to get into meaty discussions and give thoughtful critiques of work in the pages of APA-5. As it became easier to communicate virtually it took its toll on that level of discussion, and it soon felt like the writing was on the wall for not only APA-5, but a few years later to the Small Press Syndicate’s Rap Sheet as well. While I was only able to get in on the tail end of the storied histories of both APA-5 and the SPS, I treasure the time I was able to spend as part of those groups. Not only for the improvement it brought to my work and my work ethic, but for its sense of camaraderie with fellow creators, many of whom I still collaborate with from time to time today.

The work in my 77 “Larry’s Kitchen” zines (+ assorted jams and other projects) remains largely unscanned, and unshared beyond the active membership at the time. In fact, that was one of the reasons that I moved Larry’s Kitchen into its own freestanding digest format comic in 2006– so I could share it more widely, to creators and readers not part of the group. Unfortunately, my situation at work changed, and after two more issues I didn’t have the time to commit to both Larry’s Kitchen and my Watusi projects. One had to go, but I think I chose wisely.

Of course, APA-5 had been going strong for over a quarter of a century before I joined and it went on for a number of issues without me. Among its storied roster of past members are names familiar to fans of comics and television: Mark Verheiden (who founded the group in 1972), Paul Chadwick, Frank Miller, Chris Warner, Randy Emberlin, Cliff Biggers (Comic Shop News), Mike Richardson, Tak Toyoshima (“Secret Asian Man”), Bill Nichols, Sheila Wilding, Robin Ator, Brad Kurtz, Mark Badger, Michael Monasmith, and many, many more.

While APA-5 as I knew it may be gone, it exists online here and here, and carries on in spirit in the pages of T. Davidson’s Fiver Fun Comics. Below are glimpses from a few of my favorite APA-5 moments from 1998-2006…

August 18, 2015

Watusi: 15 years and hasn’t stopped talking yet!

It was 15 years ago this August that Watusi made his first print appearance, inside my Larry’s Kitchen zine in APA-5 #308! Little did I know what impact that tossed-off concept would have on my career, becoming not only the character I’m most associated with, but one that has helped me make collaborative connections with artists all over the country, some that go well beyond one panel in one of my jam comics. Best of all, Watusi is a character that I’ve not grown bored with, and I feel like there are a lot more stories I can tell using Watusi and the cast of characters that have developed around him! Here is the very first Watusi one-pager I ever did:

Watusi1stStrip

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July 19, 2014

Why create anything?

whyIn a recent USA Weekend essay by Michael Wolff, he posed an interesting– and as a creator, a somewhat daunting– vision of the near future as more content becomes more freely available:

This is, curiously, a crisis for the media business– a business that, even as we felt it encroach on our lives, actually thrived on scarcity. We wanted it more because there was relatively little of it. … Now everything is available at any time– there is not only more media, but soon all media that ever was will be instantly servable– vastly diluting the attention for, and value of, any one media experience. Supply has overwhelmed demand.

So in a world where my humble Watusi comics must compete with not only other currently active web cartoonists … where the $1.00 outlay for a physical issue must measure up to two great fifty-cent bin comics … but where even the time it takes to read my comics must compete with more widely available classics from Kirby, Toth, Aparo, Buscema, Gottfredson, and so many others … why should I work so hard making my own comics? Why create anything?

I asked this question of my fellow Dime Bag Comics creators, and here’s what they had to share:

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June 24, 2014

Gallery-worthy comics

DimeBag2014When I saw the flyer for the Percolator Artspace‘s “Dime Bag Show”, a joint fundraiser for the gallery and Lawrence’s Social Service League, my interest was certainly piqued. The challenge: purchase a bag of thrift store items for $10, and make artwork out of it. Of course, I’m not the kind of artist who would make a “collage, assemblage, fabric, poem, video, a song or a dance” out of the items … but I am the kind of artist who can make comics inspired from them!

And thus Dime Bag Comics was born.

When the realization of the short timeline (about 5 weeks) sank in, I knew I couldn’t fill up a book with my own new stories in that time, so I asked if some of the other artists I know would be interested in taking on the challenge, too. Fortunately for me (and Dime Bag Comics readers), a number of them were, and the comic is so much better for the variety of styles they brought to the project. Dime Bag Comics features all-new short drawn stories by J.B. Winter, Tom Cherry, Greg Smallwood (soon to be of Moon Knight fame), Drew Boynton, Matt Levin, Keith O’Brien, and Dale. Signed and numbered limited edition (of 50) 28-page black & white standard comic w/hand-cut accent on the outer wrapper for $7.00.

Since it was initially produced for the gallery fundraiser, I’m giving them first crack at selling copies, after which I will make them available from other retail outlets and direct from the publisher. The “Dime Bag Show” opens Final Friday, June 27th.