Thursday, August 28, 2008

A Brief Exchange

Max:  "Why was Jesus as bright as the sun?"

Me:  "Because he had the glory of God all around him."

Max:  "Eyebrows are made of hair."

The End.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Vintage Furniture and Oddities: The Sketches

I got the go ahead from 'Rex' so I'm going to post the sketches he's worked up for Vintage Furniture and Oddities.  It's good stuff, too.  He captures something about the characters so that, even when they diverge from my mental picture of the character, they work perfectly.

As you can see, the above picture features both Dale Stain and Esther Mayo.  Dale will play a large role in the story, but he is not one of the main characters.  He works with Esther, Lucy, Sam the Rook and others in order to prevent the villain, Big Box, from achieving his goals.

The second picture is Esther Mayo, the character through whom the action is perceived, at least in the regular prose version.  Esther is a bit aimless, but she basically wants to do right by people.  She gets dragged into the conflict of the story through now machinations of her own.

This handsome gentleman is Malcolm Gamble.  Gamble has yet to appear in portions of the story I've written, but he will play a big role.  He is an appraiser of fine furniture, but that means a bit more in the Vintage Furniture and Oddities than it does in our world. 

The last picture 'Rex' has sent me is of my favorite character in the whole story.  

Sam the Rook is a pretty cool character and 'Rex' captured him well in the drawing.  He's leaving the Vintage Furniture and Oddities store, looking alert and ready to throw himself into any challenge that comes his way.  That's Sam.

So you can see why I get excited when 'Rex' sends his sketches.  They're a pleasure to look at.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Me and Rex: Graphic Novel Ahoy!

As you may have seen in the comments of my "Are Comic Books Subversive 'By Nature?'" post, Rex Queems (the Phony) and I are working on a graphic novel together.  This 'Queems' fella is actually one of my brothers.  I'll leave his actual name a mysterious SECRET.  Anyway, this brother of mine took a liking to my short Vintage Furniture and Oddities pieces and wanted to work up a graphic novel for it.  I liked the idea, so we've been talking long distance (St. Louis to Athens, OH) about it.  The concepts have shifted a bit since the early stages, especially since I only had half of an idea as to where I was taking the story.

Lately 'Rex' has been sending me some pictures of the characters I wrote into the story, and one who hasn't shown up yet.  I don't want to post the pictures just yet because I want to have a better idea of what direction we're going to take the story.  Plus I haven't asked 'Rex' if it was alright with him.  Let me assure you, his art is infinitely better than mine.  His characters have a cartoonish quality, but also a depth that keeps them from looking a cheap Saturday morning cartoon.  It's exciting to see the pictures because I can get a richer concept of what the characters are like.  Good stuff.

Alright, Rex?

Friday, August 22, 2008

Get the Fountain Flowing

I'm tellin' ya, it's been a frustrating few weeks.  As you can see, I posted nothing on this blog between August 8 and August 22.  What you might not know is that I wrote just about nothing during that time frame.  No blog posts.  No short stories.  No comic book plotting.  I haven't even written a grocery list, but that's usually Mary Ann's domain anyway.

My life was full of work (15-20 hours/week), class (10-12.5 hours/week), church work (a couple o' three hours/week), and family (all the rest of the hours/week).  Add to this the fact that Mary Ann uses the laptop for her job and that reduced the hours even further.  The thing is, I want to be a writer.  I'm planning on pursuing an MFA after seminary.  I'm going to go out on a limb and say that means I need to have some decent stuff written before I apply.  I would do all these things all day and then after the kids went to bed I could barely stay awake, much less sit in front of a laptop and write.  Classes ended last week, but then I had gotten so far out of the writing 'groove' that for the first few days all I could do was stare at the screen, give up, and play Text Twirl on Facebook.  Not good.

I am pleased to report, however, that as of last night I'm back on the right track.  I took a baby step with some writing on The Familiar Game (nee The Brown Sisters) and today I continued on that story as well as doing some more detailed plotting for the first issue of My Zombie Wife Wants Me Dead.  Not only that, but I had yet another concept for a comic.  Right now I'm calling it The Seven Functions of Robot M, but that title could change.  It's fun because I never thought I'd write a book, comic or otherwise, which involved robots.  And this book has a LOT of robots.  I'll tell you more about that later.

So the fountain is flowing once again at the Duncan house.  The Fall semester starts next Thursday, so hopefully I can get some solid hours in before the time comes for me to focus more on academics.  Time is ticking away, and I've got a lot of writing to do!

Are Comic Books Subversive "By Nature?"

I've been on a comic book kick lately.  No, I haven't been snapping them up left and right.  In fact, the last one I bought for myself was Cerebus 300 in 2004, and that was for nostalgia's sake.  I have no idea what the last one I purchased before that was.  A Madman maybe?  I must've bought it before I got married in 2000, so it's been a while.  No, the kick I've been on has to do with following the conversation around comic books.  I've really been enjoying going to websites like iFanboy, Newsarama, and Comic Book Resources just to see what's new and what's been going on with some of my old faves.  Frankly, I like knowing what's going on without having to buy a bunch of comics.

Lately the most interesting talk has been surrounding writer Robert Kirkman's manifesto encouraging creators to work on books they own and not for Marvel and DC.  It's generated a lot of conversation, and yesterday Ron Richards--one of the iFanboy guys--weighed in.  Ron seems to be a laid back guy.  I like listening to the iFanboy podcast in part because of Ron's personality, so I hate to risk offending him by nit-picking about his post ('cause, y'know, he probably reads my blog all the time).  But, nit-pick I must. 

In his post Ron rejects Robert Kirkman's idea that Marvel and DC should focus on attracting younger readers in part because "comics are a subversive medium by nature and we should continue to embrace that."  That's quite a statement to make.  Comics certainly can be subversive, as in the works of Robert Crumb, but are they subversive by nature?  Let's not forget that Archie is a comic book.  So was Little Lulu.  And Casper and Richie Rich and Donald Duck.  Not only that, but if comics are subversive by nature, then the Franklin Richards comics Ron has been enjoying are by nature not comic books because as far as I can tell they are not subversive, unless we stretch the definition of 'subversive' to the breaking point.

I think that what Ron could have said is something like, "Comics have always had a subversive element, and we should continue to embrace that."  That's a less extravagant claim, and one I agree with.  There usually are things in a culture that need subverting and in ours comic books are well suited for that role.  This less extravagant claim does not provide strong support for Ron's conclusion, though.  Marvel and DC could provide kid-oriented content and still be producing comic books that are by nature comic books.

There's a lesson in all this, boys and girls:  be careful what you say on the internet or some goof who's scraping the bottom of the barrel for blog posts will overanalyze any and every phrase you turn.  Thank you and good night.

Friday, August 08, 2008

Zombie Wife Characters

Turn your computer upside down to see three of the chief characters in My Zombie Wife Wants Me Dead.  I have no idea why this picture ALWAYS loads upside down, because it's not upside down on my computer and none of my other pictures load that way (see below).

Anyway, the upside down man is Burt Flipp, the main character.  He runs a video game review website for a living and is a bit aimless otherwise.  He's good hearted, though, and he tries hard 
to make up for his natural carelessness.  He truly loves Becky and wants to keep her happy.

Becky Flipp is the aforementioned Zombie Wife.  She doesn't start as a zombie, but she ends up that way pretty quickly.  She is a medical assistant to Dr. Andy Perch (see below) when the series begins, but once she comes back as a zombie she has a little trouble at work.  She's the more driven and perfectionistic of the pair, and her perfectionism leads her to continually put off her revenge against Burt (who she blames for her death).  Until then, she sticks around to make sure he doesn't make a mess of the home that she strove so hard to maintain while she was alive.  Like many wives, she alternates between loving her husband deeply and wanting to kill him.

The little monster guy is named Mossy, and I'll leave him a bit of mystery at this point.

This character will show up in issue two or so.  This is the Mighty Fyodor, Gentleman Zombie Hunter.  He starts out as an adversary but eventually makes himself comfortable in the Flipp household.

These are some of the background characters from Zombie Wife.  Shelly is Burt's mom.  I'm not sure how much of a role she'll have past the first issue.  Dr. Andy Perch is Becky's boss before she dies.  Once she comes back, who knows?

So that's it for the characters, except for a couple of incidentals I haven't done sheets on yet.  Comments?

Saturday, August 02, 2008

Odd Crap from Blogger

I wanted to put my drawings from My Zombie Wife Wants Me Dead here on my blog, but whenever I try to add my picture it turns upside down.  I even tried to flip it upside down on my own.  No luck.  So you'll have to wait to see it.  Tra la.