Thursday, December 22

Merry Squirrel Girl

In between inking and digital print stuff, I busted out a Squirrel Girl to try out a new pen brush.

I scanned it and colored in Photoshop. Last I Googled a Central Park image, titled it, and traced the trees and buildings for a quick background.

I love this comic book.



Wednesday, November 16

NCComicon Has Come and Gone


I'll be blunt: My NC Comicon Saturday was only $30 away from surpassing all my 2016 HeroesCon business. I've done conventions for six years, and I haven't seen this consistent eager energy from attendees. And it's not physically a big show. We're in close quarters. But dang if it doesn't act like a much bigger show from special guests and panels and turnout. I recommend it to everyone on both sides of the tables.

The nearby Cupcake Bar made treats with superhero toppers, and it only made me love that shop more. One employee couldn't make the con, so I made her a sketch. We bring the show to you!


It can be hard to find a place to eat in downtown Durham when the convention lets out, so walk a few blocks over to Only Burger and eat that good stuff until your face turns inside out.

Doctor Strange was prominent, of course, as was Harley Quinn, Rey from Force Awakens, Elsa, Negan, and Agent Carter still, bless her heart. I drew everything from Trump to Mr. Robot to Boondock Saints. It's a whirlwind of a show, and I thank everyone who slapped it together and came out for it.






Wednesday, November 9

I'm Going to Blah-Blah About The Election

America elected a celebrity with no military or political experience to protest Washington inefficiency.

As an older, white guy, that's as simple as I can state it. But it's not that simple. We all approached this election for personal reasons.

For some of my friends, the vote was a referendum on their identities. The GOP platform certainly believes so (see page 18). Anyone who can vote for Trump in full awareness of what said about women is giving his comments and actions full approval. There are Trump people who think he will silence Black Lives Matter. Ugly reasons helped him get here.

So as that older, white guy, I have the least to lose from his election, and there's no way to argue differently. Maybe that's why I can look ahead while so many of my friends are still in shock. Maybe I can help them find some footing. Here's what I see:

+ Trump ran against the very Congress he needs to pass any legislation. The GOP retains control, but he ran against that GOP as much as Hillary did. Out of 30 incumbent Senators running last night, 28 won. In 38 House elections, 25 incumbents won. That's 83% retention. This election wasn't a repudiation of the status quo, as he might claim. He won by the skinniest of electoral margins and lost the popular vote. He does not have the political capital (to use George W's expression) to steer Congress toward his platform ...

+ Whatever that platform is. According to his campaign since the convention, he promised to rebuild the VA, recreate the nation's infrastructure, revive the middle class, reinvent domestic manufacturing, replace Obamacare, reboot Washington, banish lobbyists, solve widespread gun violence, deport millions, beat ISIS, fix Syria, build a wall, and imprison Hillary. Basically, he wants to build a new country and apparently thinks he can do it single-handed. He's in for a surprise.

His term of office is shorter than those of the senators elected last night. He'll face re-election based on his batting average before they do, and they've proven for eight years now that they will sit on their hands if they think the president has outgrown his britches. He has to win them over ...

+ Which will require him to be something he has never been before: an effective executive. He leaves in his wake a junkyard of failed ventures. He couldn't sell steaks or vodka. His university is sued for fraud. His first Canadian effort went bankrupt just last week. He claims to support American labor while his clothing line is made overseas. He's so loathe to prove his financial stability that he didn't release his taxes. His election tanked stock futures. As a professional businessman, he's pretty bad at it.

And for the first time, he works for someone else. Us. He gets a performance review in four years. He is now, to quote my wife, The Apprentice, forced to dance for his career. This is a whole new field for him, representing a constituency. During the campaign, he repeatedly and forcefully denied his own words when called to answer for them. Let's see how the angry voter who wants to drain the swamp reacts when he hems and haws away from his manifesto.

Even a year ago, the question arose as to whether he wanted to be president or just win the election. On the campaign trail, he often said he didn't need the trouble. He's got money, he says. He's now the oldest president voted into office, topping Reagan by a year. Does he stick it out for a full term? Can he?

This election affects the perception of the presidency more than it redefines us as a nation. Anyone can successfully run for president now, including a raging misogynist who's also a shabby huckster. That vaunted office is now one degree of separation from Billy Bush and the party bus. But his victory doesn't (yet) change local and state laws. North Carolina seems to have voted out the governor who went to bat for the "bathroom bill" which so horribly rebuffed minority rights. The law cost the state business across the board for years. It's politically dangerous for other states to emulate it, and it faces a judicial smackdown.

Speaking of court desicions, Lawrence v. Texas was struck down a year before George W. was re-elected. Marriage equality and Obamacare were validated with a sitting conservative chief justice. The Supreme Court lost Scalia last year, and he was a philosophical outlier. The court isn't a Puritan tribunal just yet.

But Trump is a gut punch, I ain't gonna lie. I am not dismissing your shock. Two roads diverged in a yellow wood, and a lot of our neighbors took the low road. But this election isn't a revolution. This time, it's a literal popularity contest, and the reality TV star won. He is not an avatar for the masses. We are not Trump, and Trump is not us. He has to deliver -- something he failed to do time and time again -- when he literally promised to "make every dream you ever dreamed for your country come true." He's confidently walking to a political death by a thousand cuts. We may fear what could be, but he has to contend with what can't be. 

Let this pain subside as it will. Remember it. Weaponize it. Then get steely.

Get ready for the 2018 midterms. Get ready for 2020.

Get ready.

Monday, November 7

NCComicon Is This Weekend!

I'll make my second NCComicon appearance Friday through Sunday, Nov. 11-13 at the Durham Convention Center.


I'll be at table A307, right smackdab in the middle of the artist room. I'll have copies of my trades and single issues (see Robot Wonderboy for previews) and original art and trades.

You can commission artwork now and get them at the show.

I am offering inked commissions (4-character limit) in three sizes:
11 x 17 - $30 (Color $35)
9 x 12 - $20 (Color $25)
8.5 X 5.5- $10 (Color $15)

Sizes
4 characters max.


Tuesday, November 1

Halloween 2016

If you live in a county named Transylvania, Halloween is, like, a thing. The annual town costume 5k is called Flight of the Vampire, and it was my first 5k many moons ago. I dressed as Commissioner Gordon fort his year's race.

I did OK.

Mere hours later, I sat in on a Halloween event at Asheville's Comic Envy, offering free sketches while dressed as J Jonah Jameson.


And Monday, after shaving off that despicable mustache, I went trick-or-treating with my guy as Ted Allen from Chopped.

 And much candy was eaten.

Tuesday, October 25

Dr. Strange Charity Fanzine


I am a part of The Strange Zine, coming very soon. Preorders are available. Details here.

17 creators
30+ pages of content
A zine dedicated to our love of Doctor Strange!
(This is non-profit and all extra proceeds will go to the Heroes Initiative)

I made a five-page comic and a pin-up for the cause.* That's my art on the right.


*Cause I like Dr. Strange.

A Spotty Inktober

Busy on a fanzine project, but here's some of what got done this month.









Friday, September 23

... And Introducing Star Trek

My son, The Deputy, is six years old, and he's just discovered Star Trek.

He has seen halves of the first two Abrams movies and went crazy for them. We cranked up Netflix and showed him the series his mom and I grew up on (the original, because we're old), and he went crazy for that too.

Because we only let him watch movies on weekends, he can't do what he really wants every day, which is watch Kirk and Sulu take out the Romulan mining platform over Vulcan. He thinks Sulu is a ninja because he has the sword, and he flip-fights, and I see no reason to correct him.

He didn't care for the original series cartoon, but he does like the live-action version. Loves loves loves "The Cage," the pilot with Captain Pike. We see that a lot. And we're slowly moving through the series when we can convince him to let Pike and Number One and Limping Spock take a break.

Pike is cool because he's smart, and that episode is smart, like a lot of the mid-century sci-fi of the time. And no wonder; the top talents at the time were a murderers row: Bradbury, Asimov, Clarke, Heinlein, and shows like X Minus One and Dimension X. Star Trek could have gone in the opposite direction of, say, Space Patrol. It didn't. It strove for more.

Inspired by all that, I drew Pike, and I'll probably do sketches as we move through the series.



Tuesday, September 6

DragonCon 2016







This was the second year we took The Deputy to DragonCon, and it was our first year with multiple costumes. I dusted off my Littlefinger get-up, and we debuted our Harry Potter outfits. My six-year-old has become a diehard fan since this winter, but he also wanted to be a jedi and clonetrooper.

He was a hit, especially as Harry. We joined a Death Eater photoshoot to meet Rons and Ginnys, and then he got to play dead as the bad guys finally got the upper hand on the Boy Who Used To Live. He was giddy. He got to meet Jason Isaacs, who played Lucius Malfoy and was just wonderful to us. We even won a floor vote for costumes based on books.

Taking kids to the big show takes planning and patience. He could manage it for an hour at a time before needing a break, and I can’t blame him. But he was eager for all four days, and he found lots of costumes from his favorite stories: Star Wars, Lord of the Rings, Potter, Turtles, all the overlapping fandoms that make DragonCon such a fun show.

On the drive down, I finally introduced The Countess to Hamilton, and she loved it, so it meant a little more to find Hamiltons and Schuylers this year. Among the big costumes were Rick and Morty, inflatable T. rexes, Hogwarts students, Stranger Things, Ghostbusters, and movie Harleys.

There are people I see only at DragonCon, and I have no idea who they really are, but we know each other’s costumes, and it’s a thrill to get that annual picture together.

He’s already planning his costumes for next year. So am I.

You can see all my DragonCon pictures here.

Friday, August 26

Let's Catch Up

Been a while since we last talked, dear reader. How you doin?


The summer has been a daily air swamp, making morning runs abysmal. The garden tomatoes are slow to ripen, and the vines popped out a few zucchini before dying quickly. The potatoes continue apace, and as usual the volunteer vines do much better than those we cultivated. We might be growing a pumpkin from seeds put in the compost after Halloween. The sweet potato vines are outright monsters, and I hope we're devouring their french fries until March.

It's a week before DragonCon, and we are ready, he said cautiously. The Countess just needs to sew a patch on a robe, and we'll all three have Hogwarts characters, our first full-group cosplay. It's only The Deputy's second Atlanta show, but he has three costumes for this year. He has ached for this year's since last October and picked up Harry Potter in the meantime. We hope to meet one of the franchise's film actors in Atlanta. My DragonCon to-do list for  the weekend is long, but the items will take no time. Clean out the phone, charge batteries, get some folding money. That kind of stuff.

I feel very much like a lower-tier cosplayer, and only use the term because people have used it to describe me. I don't usually consider myself that, but it applies. Cons are more fun when you're in costume, especially DragonCon. It's a whole different experience when you're dressed up. The interaction is more engaging. It's like going overseas and speaking another language for a weekend. To continue the metaphor, I feel like a tourist among the real cosplayers. I have friends who are outright, gosh-darn wizards with fabrics and materials. I paint cloth and can sew on a remedial level. I have the dumb luck of a face that resembles a few characters. My cosplay is most successful from the neck up, and I marvel at those who go to heroic lengths for costume recreation. That's what I can't wait to see next weekend. I'm going to be a fan and wear my team jersey. It happens that my team jersey requires a wig and velvet vest.

Progress continues on the second issue of the eMMA comic. Response has been great for the first issue, which you can buy from me at robotwonderboy.com or the Comixology link over to your right. The plan to have this new installment out at NC Comicon in November won't work, but it means I have all winter to prep both issues for a nice trade.

I have almost penciled the second issue. Inking, lettering, and the cover remain. But that should all be done by December. You'll see the progress here once I'm ready to post more. 

But I can show you these recent panels as eMMA prepares to smackdown Volcano Jack.




Wednesday, June 29

eMMA is on Comixology!


eMMA 1 is now available on Comixology for 99 cents! Click here!
See how eMMA starts her hero career against an ungodly number of supervillains, treating each fight as a defense of her SCRAP title!

Also!


The 140-page Heroes of Sinclair trade is just $4.99 on Comixology! Six issues of heroines fighting zombies, robots, and bigger robots! Click here!

Or if you prefer, you can get them in print direct from me, the publisher! $15 including shipping for the trade and single issue!


Issue Options

Monday, June 27

eMMA News



Got an email last week from Comixology that eMMA 1 will be available through their site this week. Stay tuned for the official link.

Or if you want to hold an actual copy in your hands, you can order one right now for $5, including shipping.


You can also order eMMA 1 with a copy of the Heroes of Sinclair trade, all for $15, including shipping.


Tuesday, June 21

Someone Went to HeroesCon

This was easily my favorite HeroesCon. No question.

 













































I had two gangs of friends to bounce between starting with Thursday night, and that evening ended by saying hi to DMC as he walked through the Casanova anniversary party. So yeah.

Friday was a bit slow, but it later proved to be a nice way to ease into the weekend, and Saturday was jam-packed from the first half-hour. My local pack of pals cosplayed Friday and Saturday but took a break behind my table, allowing me to try out the Sirius Black costume for a few hours (with my son’s Marauder’s Map). That went really well.

The annual sexy art theme continued as I was handed a Sexy Swamp Thing and responded with Sexy Etrigan. That drawing loosened me up to try a Tom Baker Doctor Who in a style I usually don’t attempt for someone’s sketchbook. I got good reactions on a Han Solo sketch cover, which sold before I could finish it. I ate at Mert’s in full Black regalia and learned how to eat with a wig. Saturday night ended with the discovery that Force Awakens was playing free downtown in absolutely perfect summer weather right outside the Sex Criminals party. That was a day and a half, right there.

I had some unique commissions on Sunday including three Strawberry Shortcake characters, Vanilla Ice (turned out to be someone’s convention sketch theme), and a panda wearing a Wolverine costume. Those were capped with a request for Daredevil with the Infinity Gauntlet among a ruined city.

It was as good a weekend as I could have asked for. My prints got good reactions, my drawing muscles co-operated, I sold copies of my new comic, and I got to talk to people I don’t see nearly enough.

I left Sunday in maybe the best mood after any previous HeroesCons, and on the way home I spotted the divine red light in the Krispy Kreme window, and, lo, we knew each other biblically.

Plans are afoot to grab adjoining tables next year to create a staggeringly talented art Voltron. Plans! AFOOT!