Wednesday, September 26

And Here's the Cover!

Behold the finished cover for Sue Tonium, debuting Oct. 13 at the Asheville Comic Expo! See previous blog posts for details. we'll post preview panels between now and the show. Can't make the Expo? You can buy the comic (with all my others) starting Oct. 13 at Robot Wonderboy. We'll offer a new five-pack deal then or you can buy single issues.

Why, yes, I did give a nod to a classic logo of my youth for another superheroine.


Friday, September 7

Cover Progress

Making headway on the cover for the October roller derby minicomic, The Ballad of Sue Tonium.

First up, the reference shot.

Then it's opened in Illustrator, and I draw Sue Tonium on top of it. I changed the expression and hair, add the uniform, alter the arm, add another arm, and add a lifted knee.

This line art is actually the outlines of the color fields I create on the reference picture. I removed the color from the above art to show how involved this can be. I paint with the marquee tools. Live Trace in Illustrator can only recreate a photo into what's called vector art (what you see here). But it can't create new accessories; it can only trace. I learned to make drawings this way in Illustrator before Live Trace came along. It's a digital version of painting, and I like it. It's easy to lose days doing this. I get into a trance, flipping back and forth between layers.

And then we move that to the cover template. But that's for a later post.

Tuesday, September 4

DragonCon 2012

Pat Loika photo
You never know how a costume will come together.

We were maybe 15 minutes out of Atlanta in 2011, fresh from DragonCon, driving back home to fetch our deputy when we batted around costume ideas for 2012. This is me last year, on the left.

Amid the brainstorming she said "I could be Batgirl." And I said "hey, that lady in Target one time thought I was Gary Oldman. I could be Gordon." Yeah, we said. Let's do that. And we came up with a handful of other names as we zoomed back home.

(The Target story is this: About five years ago, I stood outside a Target dressing room as the missus changed clothes. The dressing room attendant yelled "I love your movies!" in my direction. I ignored it. She said it again, and I turned. She sheepishly apologized and said she thought I was Gary Oldman. I smiled and said I wasn't, which was probably obvious the first word I said. A few months later, a friend saw my drivers license and said "My God, it's Gary Oldman." And when watching certain movies, I'd see the resemblance -- The Professional and Lost in Space -- but I wouldn't have thought of it except for their comments.)

Months later, after we had nailed down our hotel and membership for the 2012 show, I asked her about our costume ideas. "Aren't we doing Batgirl and Gordon?" she asked. "Well, sure. Right. Let's do that."

I had it easy. I owned a black suit. I could get props through Amazon, and I bought a cheap blue dress shirt from the mall. That was pretty much it. She had to find an affordable Batgirl suit and order it, hoping it would be the right size, and make the mask work with her glasses and get decent boots and better gloves and adjust the cape, and it was one damn thing after another.

All I had to do was shave. Not that it was guaranteed to work. I put on my outfit the Thursday before, and I still had to imagine the face. I was glad to have made an ID badge just in case.

Turns out I kinda didn't need it a lot. Saturday morning, I shaved and put on the outfit, and the missus was floored. I thought she was being nice until I walked past a mirror. Yeah, I thought. This will work. And off we went to the parade. You can see my Flickr set here.

We had arrived Friday night, checked in, picked up our badges, and stopped for Mediterranean food for supper. We sat outside and watched costumes drift by for an hour (when we weren't watching the belly dancer, of course). We went back to the hotel room so she could fix her mask. We called it a night.

The weather was perfect for the Saturday parade, and so were the crowds. But the Batgirl boots killed her feet, and she had to ditch the costume. That done, we ate at Pitty Pat's Porch (best chicken in Atlanta) before diving into the convention. And everyone was wonderful.

The Gordon costume went over like crazy. People also reacted to Gary Oldman. We would talk about what a great actor he is, and all the other costumes I could do from his work. Some already had; I saw an Oldman Dracula and his villain from Fifth Element. Women asked to hug me (a first). People would stop me to ask about Oldman and then see the badge and realize I was dressed as Gordon. Many was the time I would hear people I just passed realize what my costume was. The rule was about five steps: Say hello, pass by, take five steps, and hear "That was Gordon." I'd turn to say hi, and that would usually end up with photos.

I made sure to approach all the Batpeople to get pictures with them. There were a great number of Batman and Banes and villains, and we got out pictures and complimented each other and had a grand Bat-time. I walked up to one group of Batvillains, and they froze for a second before screaming nonstop for a minute.

The missus crashed for an afternoon nap, and I went back out to the crowds. I went back to buy her supper at the Hyatt, and we charged into the Marriott to mingle and photograph. I walked her back around 9:30 and told her I'd be back before too long. I'd try not to wake her up. I needn't worry because she's out like a light that late. How late? 3 a.m., and I'd only quit the party because my eyes were going numb from the contacts. I didn't sleep for a long time though. I was drunk from convention camaraderie.

I got many great pictures, and there are lots more of me floating out there. But this is my favorite so far. 

So what do for next year? Let me think about that for a while.