Posts tagged ‘Watusi’

December 7, 2016

Hot off the press: Festive Funnies!

Festive Funnies No. 1 cover art by Dale MartinInspired by my parent’s traditional Christmas letter, in 1985 I began a holiday tradition of my own, creating original holiday pieces to share with my friends and family. Sometimes these have been woodcuts or poems or die cut cards … but my favorite pieces (not surprisingly) have been comics!

For most of the past decade, these pieces have centered around Watusi the talking dog and his supporting cast from my weekly adventure strip (new each Wednesday at www.watusithetalkingdog.com), often tying into the storyline then running in it:

  • “Watusi’s White Christmas” (2003) was originally published as a minicomic.
  • “Wrapping up Christmas” (2008) came with a customized gift tag as part of its cover.
  • “The Most Wonderful Time of the Year” (2006) was the first solo Professor Harvey and Mitchell comic.
  • “The Green Line” (2005) had a hand-stencilled cover. It’s been fully colored for this collection. (And I laughed when I read it, in spite of myself)

Hapless hot dog vendor “Flamin’ Frank” (1999) was a character I used frequently before Watusi came along. Sadly, much of what would have been his supporting cast has been co-oped by Watusi, too! The original version of this comic came singed as my way of wishing readers “all the warmth of this holiday season.”

Likely my favorite holiday comic– certainly the most elaborate– is 2000’s “Three Wise Men”. Adapting my favorite part of the Nativity story, I did research into King Herod and the historical period, gaining new respect for the Magi in the process. Kings in their own right, they were crossing into the kingdom of a ruler beset with illness (Jewish historian Josephus described him as “suffering from uncontrollable itching, coughing, fever and worms”), haunted by the spirits of the wife and children he’d already murdered, and allied with the powerful Roman Empire. These men put their own lives on the line, all to pay homage to a newborn baby. It certainly gave me a new sense of their bravery and what a powerful effect that star had for them.

I hope you enjoy these comics with my best wishes for the season; they’re available in two formats:

  • A .pdf version is available in my online store for $2.00.
  • A print edition is available for $3.00 postpaid in the US (see address in footer of this page).

But, for those of you who read to the end of this post, you can get a .pdf copy for FREE! As 2016 winds down, I’m conducting a survey to better understand my readers, their reading habits and interests, and their thoughts on my comic. I hope you’ll take a moment to share your thoughts (survey starts here); complete the survey before the end of the year, and you get a code for a FREE copy of Festive Funnies. Thanks for your help!

November 8, 2016

Hot off the press: Smeary Soapbox Press-ents 100-Page Inventory Closeout Super Spectacular

ssp100pageI’m gearing up for my appearance this weekend at Wichita’s Air Capital Comiccon and I’ll be bringing a new comic (in addition to my “Watusi and the Emerald Serpent” roadshow) along with me. Well, maybe “new” isn’t quite the right word; here’s the story behind it…

The Smeary Soapbox Press-ents 100-Page Inventory Closeout Super Spectacular is my way of thinning out my backstock in a way that also pays homage to DC’s 100 Page Super Spectaculars of the early 1970s. Assembled from extra copies of my one-shot comics, each copy has its own unique mix of content (although I did make sure they each contained the characters mentioned on the cover: Watusi, Flamin’ Frank, FooF!, Professor Harvey, and the Guy with a Hammer!), as well as an original convention sketch. Given that nature of this collection, the material included varies, ranging from just a few years ago back to my earliest days as a self-publisher in the 1980s! The mix could include a sampling of my earliest superhero parody comics, a smattering of the annual holiday comics I’ve made since 1985, one-off comic “singles”, and/or comics featuring Watusi and his costars. The drawings may be rough, the stories may be silly, and they may even take me down a path I ultimately decided not to follow. But many of these comics are work I’m still proud of, if for no other reason than they led me to become the creator I am today.

I had fun “curating” the material that went into these copies, and I think my binding comes pretty close to capturing the feel of those great old 100-pagers. Check it out if you’re able to make it to the Air Capital Comiccon– I hope to see you there! But if you can’t make it, here’s a selection of some of the better sketches that ended up in the copies…

July 20, 2016

Taking a break

I’ve been sticking to a twice-monthly schedule of posts here for a full year now, and it’s been a good exercise for me. I’ve been happy with the range of content I’ve included, finally devoting time to topics I’ve meant to write about for quite some time (such as APA-5, my stencil coloring method, my interview with Tom Cherry, and even SpongeBob Comics). As with my webcomic, I appreciate those of you who take the time to read (and even comment on) my ramblings here. Some posts turned out to be meatier than others, of course, which was part of the variety I was aiming for. But I’ve decided to step back from that frequency for the foreseeable future…

It’s time for me to rein extraneous activities in for a bit, and buckle down to my drawing table. I’ve got big plans for my fall convention schedule (confirmed: Memphis Comic Expo, Oct. 22-23 and Air Capital Comiccon, Nov. 12-13) and holiday market events that will I feel will be a better use of my time than posting just to keep on a set schedule. I’ll continue to pop in from time to time with some art or an update on my project, but it will be on a less rigid– and more infrequent– schedule.

What project is so important, you may ask? Well, I’ve never really gone back and revisited or edited past work before, but it’s high time (past time, actually) I collected my Watusi webcomics in a print edition. It’s been an interesting challenge so far: looking at the work as a completed project, but giving it a final edit separate from its original creation, and adding new scenes or tidier drawings where needed. I’m excited about the form it’s taking and feel it will be worth the effort. Here’s a teaser image to tide you over until release (which I plan to have ready for this fall’s events):

WebTeaser0716

Thanks for reading and enjoy the rest of your summer!

November 4, 2015

“InkTober” 2015: my month of model sheets

When my friend (and Watusi jam participant) JB Winter first pitched me “InkTober”, a drawing challenge to do one ink drawing a day for the entire month, I wasn’t initially interested in participating. After all, I figured, since I draw in ink all the time, it’s really not that big of a challenge to me. After checking out Inktober instigator Jake Parker‘s website on the project (including his review of his go-to inking tools), and seeing some of the amazing drawings that participants produced during the first few days, I figured I could at least do the “5K” option of posting once a week. So I decided to indulge my general love of model sheets and draw up some decent ones for four members of my Watusi cast. If nothing else, having that reference should help me be able to keep my characters in proportion to each other! For those of you who missed them on my twitter feed, I’ve collected them here for your enjoyment.!

The first choice was a no-brainer:ModelSheetWatusi

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September 19, 2015

It’s “Draw Crabby Day”!

DrawCrabby

When Tom Cherry declared today “Draw Crabby Day”, I was excited by his choice. I’ve long loved Patrick McDonnell‘s expressive ink line in his daily “Mutts” comic strip, and this was a great chance to study his technique more closely. While I tried to turn it into a “Draw like Patrick McDonnell Day”, too, my character designs just don’t yield the same charm as Patrick gets with Earl and Mooch!  Thanks for a fun challenge, Tom!

(While you’re here, be sure to check out my “20 questions” interview with Tom Cherry)

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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December 25, 2014

Holiday piece No. 27

xmas2014

At the end of every year I send out a holiday piece to friends and family who have had an impact on my life that year (although it’s usually at the start of the new year by the time I complete them). This year I made just a plain ol’ greeting card, and thought I’d share it with my virtual audience, too. Thanks for taking the time to visit this blog or follow my weekly Watusi webcomic. It’s much appreciated!

May 12, 2014

Anthologized

While it seems my bill-paying job uses up too many of my waking hours to do much more than keep on top of my weekly Watusi deadline, I have managed to complete stories this year for two anthology books that have recently seen print:

OhComics2014Oh, Comics! #22, the “Time” issue features a new four-page Watusi comic. One of the things I want to do this year is take advantage of anthology opportunities and local art shows, so publisher Bob Corby’s deadline reminder came at just the right time, since it gave me a chance to see how my work measures up in context to that of my peers, including Pam Bliss, Matt Feazell, Kel Crum, and Matt Levin … and I was happy to see I’m holding my own! You can get more info about– and order– this classy trade paperback from Back Porch Comics here. I may not have been able to attend SPACE, but it felt good to be connected to it vicariously thanks to this book!

Keith O’Brien released his latest Samurai Slate collection, “Pungent, or, Starting With a Clean Slate”, on Free Comic Book Day, and it features a one-page story of his I drew. Keith’s writing on this character packs as many puns as possible into a minicomic page, and I find them challenging (in a good way) to draw. Once again I find myself in stellar company, including Batton Lash, Brad Foster, and cover artist Tom Cherry. Find out how to get your own copy from Keith at The Forbidden Falls Kourier.

December 21, 2013

It’s “Draw Dollar Bill Day”!

DrawDollarBill

The one-and-0nly Tom Cherry has designated today as “Draw Dollar Bill Day”! Dollar Bill was a mainstay supporting character in Marvel’s The Defenders comic, and I remember him fondly from his “Defender for a Day!” scheme from issues #62-64. Since I’ve been reading through– and enjoying immensely– Jack Kirby’s Fourth World Omnibus recently, I couldn’t help but notice the similarities between these two bearded hucksters! I broke out my brush to ink this one since I’ve got a project on tap that I want to ink with a brush; looks like I could use the practice!

As always, thanks  for the challenge, Tom! (And, no, I haven’t forgotten about Tom’s “20 questions” interview– it’s still on the way, I promise here!)

May 7, 2013

Free Comic Book Day sketch-o-rama!

I was lucky enough to get a chance to draw as many sketches as time allowed during Saturday’s Free Comic Book Day event at Lawrence’s Astrokitty Comics & MoreYellow writer Bobby Bierley shared a table with me drawing for comic and Star Wars fans– it was a blast! Thanks, guys!

Here are a few of my favorites from the day…

FCBD13sketchAFCBD13sketchB
FCBD13sketchCFCBD13sketchDFCBD13sketchE