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MINIMUM WAGE #2

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Cover of MINIMUM WAGE #2 (Image Comics, February 2014)

MINIMUM WAGE RETURNS IN 2014

After a nearly 15-year gap, my comic series Minimum Wage returns with all-new issues in January 2014, from Image Comics! Working on the Maximum Minimum Wage collection really renewed my desire to continue the story, and fortunately Image felt the same way. So, starting in January it returns as a monthly title, running for six-issue “seasons,” with gaps between for me to get the next batch going. It’s very much like television scheduling and makes a lot of sense when you’re a one-man band, like I am. Unlike its original run, which came out sort of sporadically, now fans can count on a regular schedule and get a monthly fix of Rob and the gang. New characters, new situations, all very exciting. Stay tuned. But in the meanwhile, here’s some sweet press from USA Today, Bleeding Cool, Multiversity ComicsCBR and Newsarama.

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Where to Find Me at The Baltimore Comic Con

Reminder that I will be a guest at the Baltimore Comic Con this coming weekend (September 7-8, 2013). I will be at Table 2212D. I will be selling original art, etc., so if you have anything you’re interested in, let me know now so I can bring it (if it’s available for sale). I will also be able to make credit card sales, so no worries about finding an ATM. See you there!

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I WILL BE AT THE BALTIMORE COMIC CON!

Baltimorons, Baltimorovians, Baltimoringians, whatever it is: I will be a guest at this year’s Baltimore Comic Con. Stop by my table and say hi and buy some stuff. I’ll be bringing original art (and capable of making credit card sales thanks to this wondrous age we live in), so if anyone wants to put in some requests, now is the time. Hope to see you there.

http://baltimorecomiccon.com/

MoCCA/Society of Illustrators Event Night Photos

At long (well, not that long) last, here are pix from the opening night event for my exhibition at the MoCCA Gallery at New York’s prestigious Society of Illustrators (up through August 17th, so if you haven’t been yet, please do). The talk was ably moderated with verve and wit by comedian Frank Conniff (Mystery Science Theater 3000′s TV’s Frank, for all you philistines). From where I was seated (uh, right beside him onstage, duh), the audience seemed quite entertained, which was my ultimate goal. I’d rather be funny than informative. I think we managed to be both. It was a really good night. Special thanks to the Society’s Anelle Miller, Richard Berenson, Eric Fowler, Katie Izzo, Kat Bloomfield, Kate Feirtag and Sean, the bartender, for the Manhattans. Those helped, too.

Signing in Annapolis 5/11/2013

I’ll be signing and so on (not sure what “so on” involves, but I’m sure some “so on” will happen) at Third Eye Comics in Annapolis, MD, this coming Saturday.

2027-A West St., Annapolis, Maryland 21401
The info from their website:
MAXIMUM MINIMUM WAGE SIGNING W/ CREATOR BOB FINGERMAN
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11AM-1PM
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First 25 in line receive a FREE limited edition signed & numbered bookplate created JUST FOR THIS EVENT!
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Folks, we are extra excited about this one, as Minimum Wage has been one of our personal favorites for a VERY long time. When IMAGE COMICS decided to collect the entire run of MINIMUM WAGE into one gorgeous, oversized 350+ page hardcover for only $34.99 — we knew we had to do something special to celebrate, and bringing series creator BOB FINGERMAN in for a huge Third Eye signing was exactly the thing to do!

For those of you who may not know, MINIMUM WAGE is one of the best indie comics of all time. Heck, when Third Eye Steve sold off his collection to fund the store way back when — his Minimum Wage comics were one of the few things he couldn’t part with! That should tell you something!

During its original run, MINIMUM WAGE racked up critical acclaim and a devoted following. Why? Because each page of Rob and Sylvia’s workaday saga boasted uncomfortable truths drenched in bleak humor, presaging squirmy shows like LOUIE and GIRLS.

Set in a New York so real you can smell it, this definitive edition collects the entire run, and also features a ton of great guest pin-ups by the likes of Peter Bagge, Dave Cooper, Joe Dator, Guy Davis, Glenn Fabry, Dean Haspiel, Gilbert Hernandez, Peter Kuper, Mike Mignola, and many more.

We can pretty much guarantee that if you dig slice-of-life humor, or autobiographical comics, you’ll love this book.

Imagine the dark everyday humor of Kevin Smith’s CLERKS, mix in a little bit of comic industry insider fun, and a whole lot of interesting characters, and you’ve got MINIMUM WAGE.

We’ll have plenty of copies of MINIMUM WAGE on hand for you to check out at the event!

 

Free Preview of Whole Comic Con Chapter from MAXIMUM MINIMUM WAGE

Call it largesse (go on, I dare you), but here’s the entire comic con chapter from my forthcoming Image Comics collection MAXIMUM MINIMUM WAGE, just to whet (or re-whet) your appetite. 20 pages out of the whopping 384 the book has. Read it, then order it from Amazon or at your local comic book shop. If they don’t have it, demand they order it!

MAXIMUM SIGNING EVENT @ FORBIDDEN PLANET!

Yessiree, I’ll be signing Maximum Minimum Wage at Forbidden Planet, which is practically my alma mater. I’ve been shopping there since the opening day back in ’81. Oh god! That’s a long time ago. But of all its incarnations, this newest is the prettiest and I’m psyched to be having my first FP signing therein! It’s spacious, attractive and welcoming to all (even non-nerds). Come on down and get the book (which will be generously discounted for the event, too!)

Also on deck will be some of the guest artists who contributed all-new pinups to the book.

Plus, debuting their new Image title, Five Ghosts, will be writer Frank Barbiere and artist Chris Mooneyham.

Come on down. Or up. Just be there!

Maximum Ghosts Matt D Edition

Video I made to promote the book, namely a political campaign-style spot for my snazzy new hardcover collection MAXIMUM MINIMUM WAGE. Features ace comic cover artist Dave Johnson, Mystery Science Theater 3000‘s Frank Conniff, the lovely Margaret Cho and the likewise lovely actor/voiceover god Phil LaMarr.

REDDIT/DREADIT AMA WEDNESDAY FEB 13TH

Howdy. I’ve been asked to do one of Reddit’s ASK ME ANYTHING events on Wednesday, February 13th, from 7 – 9PM EST. So, please post questions there and I’ll answer them, within reason. Or without reason. It’s my call. Just do it and keep me from twiddling my thumbs idly.

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MAXIMUM MINIMUM WAGE BLOG LAUNCHED

To support and supplement the upcoming release of MAXIMUM MINIMUM WAGE (Image Comics, March 2013), I have launched a blog that will feature exclusive material, like sketches, photos, Minimum Wage-a-mabilia and more. Check it out!

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Q&A on My Bookish Ways

New horror-centric Halloween-motivated Q&A with Yours Truly on My Bookish Ways.

http://www.mybookishways.com/2012/10/interview-bob-fingerman-author-of-bottomfeeder-and-pariah.html

BIG NEWS ON THE COMICS FRONT

I am thrilled to announce the upcoming publication of Maximum Minimum Wage, a massive 9 X 12 hardcover incorporating Beg the Question, plus the original 72-page “pilot” graphic novel, Minimum Wage: Book One and the first chapter of its serial run (“Realty Gap”), which wasn’t included in BTQ (for stylistic reasons). All that, plus a color section featuring the cover art from the comic books, sketches and a gallery section of pinups, including all-new ones by Gilbert Hernandez, Jaime Hernandez, Roger Langridge, Guy Davis, Dave Johnson, Peter Bagge, Peter Kuper, Hilary Barta, Hunt Emerson, Dean Haspiel and maybe more (including classic pinups by Mike Mignola, Kevin Nowlan, Dave Cooper, Jill Thompson and more). It will also include surprise bonus material (the “DVD extras,” if you will) to be announced later). This will be THE definitive edition, boasting many newly redrawn panels (and some whole pages), bringing the art up to my current standards. Some of the dialogue has been tweaked, too (as I think I have improved as a writer in the intervening years). It will be released early Spring 2013, from Image Comics, under the aegis of longtime MW fan, friend and comics bigwig, Robert (The Walking Dead) Kirkman. The whole package will weigh in at approximately 372 pages! I am currently working on designing the cover. Here’s a tease. Stay tuned!

Video from Book Court Reading of FTA

Michele and I did a reading (I’d say performance, but that seems a little grandiose) of a small section of FROM THE ASHES at Brooklyn’s Book Court, a lovely independent bookshop. I was losing my voice, but did my best.

You can’t see it here, but she wore her TRASH shirt, proving I didn’t make it up.

First Ever PARIAH Reading/Signing Event – Brooklyn, NY

Bob Fingerman & Keith Mayerson

06/30/11 07:30 PM

BookCourt
163 Court Street (between Pacific & Dean)
Brooklyn, NY 11201
(718) 875.3677

THURSDAY, JUNE 30TH,  7:30PM
JOINT READING & PRESENTATION

BOB FINGERMAN: PARIAH and FROM THE ASHES (possibly performing with wife and co-star, Michele)
KEITH MAYERSON: HORROR HOSPITAL UNPLUGGED

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Entertainment Weekly Reviews Pariah!

Pariah leads the pack in this seasonal zombie roundup in the 11/5/2010 issue of Entertainment Weekly! I also have a story in The Living Dead 2, so hooray!

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Suppressing the Urge

In the last few days I’ve been recipient of the Internet phenomenon of instant criticism in the form of user comments. Since Monday (and today is only Wednesday), I’ve incurred the wrath, scorn, sneering derision and hurt feelings of horror and fantasy/Furry folk (though mainly the latter).

In conjunction with the release of Pariah, Entertainment Weekly’s web edition ran an item in which I recommend the work of some of my favorite contemporary horror writers. Now, maybe the title of the article (“Pariah author Bob Fingerman reveals his five favorite tomes of terror”) was a bit inexact. They were five faves that came to mind of authors I like and/or feel don’t get enough notice. So, I knowingly left out people whose work I’ve enjoyed, like Stephen King, because I figured he’s not hurting for readers. The thing is, by not touting King I’d committed the crime of omission and was dubbed a “moron” for such (and for not hyping Poe or Lovecraft, either). Thing is, over the course of my nearly hour conversation with Mr. Collis, I did mention Lovecraft in regard to one of the authors I commended, Ramsey Campbell, who is present day’s closest heir, having even started off as pretty much a Lovecraft imitator. But the article compressed and edited the discussion (of course), so I appeared to some as a culturally illiterate horror dilettante.

The urge to respond is hard to suppress. I want to address my critics and in a reasonable tone explicate what’s what and how, “No, really, I love Lovecraft and Poe! But again, they don’t need the ink (or pixels, as the case may be).”

And always Michele sagaciously instructs me: “Don’t you dare!” Because it’s a slippery slope that leads to a bottomless hole.

Today brought back memories, though. A piece I wrote went up on tor.com, today, about my aversion to Avatar and its elongated blue cat-like native critters, the Na’vi. I wryly posited that I regarded Avatar as a mainstreaming of the Furries, those people for whom dressing up as curvaceous cartoon animals is an erotic experience. I thought it was funny, but clearly I was wrong. I’d offended, big time. The fur flew. It was a dog-pile of censure.

Years ago, when I first got on the ‘Net—back in probably 1993 or ’94—my buddy John introduced me to the Furries. My gateway Furry was called AJ Skunk (you never forget your first). I thought it was a joke, but John assured me, “Oh no, this is a real thing. And he’s not alone.” I was gobsmacked that this was a lifestyle people would pursue (or would that be fursue? And don’t give me shit about the bad pun; they call their gatherings ConFurences.).

So, anyway, my Tor item brought the thunder. I had offended the sensibilities of this not officially classified special interest group. Thing is, that wasn’t my intent. In my own wiseass way I’d been quite naïve. I thought it was just a droll (humor being subjective) puff piece that turned out to be neither droll, nor puffy enough. Seeing the comments (which were, I must say, articulate and mostly fairly reasonable, given the subject matter) part of me thought, “Oh, get over it. Really? Really? This is what sets you people off?” Another part felt genuinely bad about offending. It was like I’d stepped into their clubhouse and taken a shit right in the center of the floor. The third part, the dark side, wanted to egg it on. Throw down.

But I didn’t. This is my response. The response is: never respond. Walk it off. Take a breath. Write a one-off essay about the self-destructive urge to participate and get on with your life.

Publishers Weekly Gives Starred Review to Pariah

It’s kind of a big deal to get a starred review from PW, so I’m pretty thrilled.

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Entertainment Weekly on Me, Pariah & Some of My Favorite Contemporary Horror Writers

Click graphic for link to article.

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PARIAH is FANGORIA’S ‘BOOK OF THE MONTH’ selection!

Fangoria bestows their Book of the Month honor to Pariah! I am thrilled. Back in 2007 they also awarded Bottomfeeder the same honor, so I’m two for two. I loves me some Fango!

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BEHOLD! MANNA FROM… HELL!!!

Tremble before the double-barreled majesty of these fine zombie offerings! Moses’s puny tablets have nothing on the dark delights to be found in not one, but two mighty books, now available for your delectation! Okay, that’s a lotta hyperbole, but I am damned proud of both of these books. Pariah, as you (hopefully) know, is my new novel out now from Tor Books. It’s beginning to garner some sweet reviews (which I’ll be sharing here, soon). The Living Dead 2, edited by ace anthologist John Joseph Adams is a 500-page juggernaut of undead tales, including mine, “The Summer Place.” I am very happy to be included, along with such luminaries as Robert Kirkman, David Wellington, Brian Keene, Walter Greatshell, Jonathan Maberry, Max Brooks, and more (even some who I don’t know personally and haven’t given me blurbs!). These books are must-haves for aficionados of horror and just plain good entertainment, if I do boast so myself. Buy them!

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Cult Pop Video Interview

Michigan-based Jim Hall interviewed me for his web/cable show, Cult Pop. We talked about recent work like Pariah and From the Ashes, as well as (sigh) my salad days working for Cracked (the magazine, not the new, improved, actually funny website). Jim concept is interesting. Via speaker-phone, Jim interviewed me from his studio, while my end of the conversation was recorded on video in my studio. His director/editor, Jerry Jesion, then put ‘em together in post. Very low-tech satellite interview style. Check out his archive in the drop-down menu to see interviews with other creators.

Caustic Cover Critic

I am thrilled to be featured, along with ace cover designer, Peter Lutjen, on James Morrison’s fantastic blog, Caustic Cover Critic. I’ve long featured a link here (and hopefully some of you have taken a gander). It’s a wonderful site filled with great and terrible cover art, exhaustively detailed. It’s great. Check out the interview with Peter and me.

The Saga of Pariah

Getting a book published is always a triumph, but in the case of my forthcoming novel, Pariah, it’s extra sweet. The path from its inception to completion to release was long, convoluted and difficult.

Pariah started off, way back in the mid ’90s, as a pitch to Vertigo, DC Comics’ more adult/alternative imprint. Back then, graphic novels were still a novelty, and Vertigo hadn’t really gotten onboard with GN originals. Sure, they collected serial runs of their comics, but one-off books were still in the offing. Back then that had what were called “Prestige format” releases, which were basically 48- to 72-page original books. They were standard comic book size and printed on slightly better paper with paperback cover stock.

A young, freshly promoted editor named Axel Alonso (who had prior been assistant editor to my late friend, Lou Stathis, at Vertigo), wanted to work with me. I put together the proposal for Pariah to be one of these slim releases. The premise was essentially the same as that of the novel, but lacked the complexity the novel afforded. In spite of Alonso’s enthusiasm for it, Vertigo’s group editor rejected Pariah. I never knew the exact reason, but zombies definitely weren’t en vogue in those days.

In the late ’90s, Dark Horse Comics launched Zombie World, its editor one with whom I’d worked several times: Scott Allie. I submitted Pariah and this time the answer was yes—with a caveat. Scott envisioned ZW with a timeline, and Pariah was set in the advanced stage of a zombie pandemic. He requested I write a prequel to Pariah, and thus was born “Winter’s Dregs.” By the time he was ready for me to begin work on scripting Pariah, the series was canceled. Again, zombies weren’t popular at that time.

I set Pariah aside and worked on other projects, but I always wanted to do it. In 2002 I wrote what was to be my first published novel, Bottomfeeder, a gritty, naturalistic, working class take on vampirism. And it hit me: I should write Pariah as my next. I had gotten comfortable writing prose (Bottomfeeder was my first published novel, but not the first I’d written). In fact, I loved it as much, if not more, than doing comics. And the one thing that always bugged me about doing Pariah as a graphic novel (for either Vertigo or Dark Horse) was that I’d have to neuter it. A lot. In comics form couldn’t push the material as hard as I’d want, nor have the luxury of space to flesh it out. Vertigo still hadn’t started pushing the limits in those days, and Dark Horse had a strict PG-13 edict.

Pariah needed to be a hard R or NC-17.

My first draft of Pariah pushed too far. It was unremittingly bleak and ugly. It was rejected, though never on the basis of it being poorly written. One rejection was from an editor who “loved this book whole-heartedly” but “the Powers that Be … were too repulsed by the graphic narrative to take it on.” I was both proud and heartbroken by that one. Is it really that harsh? I couldn’t be objective, so I had a horror writer friend of mine read it and he came back with the comment, “it’s unpublishable.” Ouch. Still, I took that as a challenge. I hadn’t come this far with my baby to abandon it.

I thought long and hard about how to address the core complaints without compromising my vision. “It’s too claustrophobic.” Okay, I’ll open it up a little. “It’s too bleak.” The original arc was bleak start/bleak middle/bleak ending. Yeah, that’s a bit unrewarding. “It’s too repulsive.” Even I had to admit, on rereading it, I’d gone too far. And not just with gore. There was some deeply unpleasant material in there. I did a big rewrite and preferred the new draft.

And then good stuff started happening.

Out of the blue, an editor from Thomas Dunne contacted me. He’d read Bottomfeeder, loved it, and wondered if I had anything else in the hopper. I pitched Pariah and he said it sounded great. He read the revised draft and wanted it. It didn’t ultimately find a home at Thomas Dunne, but this editor, a saint named John Schoenfelder, passed it along to Eric Raab, my editor at Tor, who made it happen. With his astute notes an even better draft was finished and here we are. It took a while, but Pariah finally got there. And I couldn’t be happier.

I just hope the next two volumes won’t take another thirty years…

Pariah is out now from Tor Books in trade paperback, hardcover, Kindle and iBook editions.

I’m in a Hell Frame of Mind….

So, I’ve started working on my book The Hell of It (working title) as a straight prose novel, having basically abandoned the notion of it being a graphic novel. With Pariah due to hit the shelves (and internet outlets) on August 3rd, 2010 (so order yours now, in either spiffy trade paperback or spiffier hardcover!), I’m just feeling more and more that prose is the way to go. I enjoy writing novels enormously and I think I’m good at it. That said, I am doing some more prep art for The Hell of It, just to get me in that headspace; to help picture it. Here’s a couple of quick sketches I just did. I’ll post more later.

hellscape001-tonedI like this one well enough, but it was more of a warm-up.

hellscape002-tonedThis one I quite like. Done very quickly (whole thing maybe 90 minutes).

FROM THE ASHES Playlist

Oops. I neglected to post this link to a playlist of tunes that either accompanied me as I drew or fueled my process in creating FROM THE ASHES. I was invited to contribute it to the fun blog Largehearted Boy’s ongoing Book Notes series in which authors share their musical inspirations. Check it out.

Milk of Minutia podcast

I spoke with Ken Rodriguez and Justin Paine on their free-form podcast Milk of Minutia. Download and enjoy as we discuss From the Ashes, Pariah and some of my more questionable earlier efforts.

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SKINNY-MAN

Like many budding kid cartoonists of my generation I was enamored of “Mad‘s Maddest Artist,” Don Martin. I loved his work in the magazine, but what really set my mind ablaze were his paperback originals. These were maybe my first taste of graphic novels, and none so enthralled me as The MAD Adventures of Captain Klutz. Skinny-Man was my stab at “funny superhero” comics. The villains, “Super Cool Man” (who really looks more like Super Pimp) in particular, are pretty special. Same vintage as the others posted here (1975).

Portrait of the Artist as a Young Neurotic

This quasi-autobiographical strip is same vintage as Gerry’s Comix and Super-Cat. The “hang-up” (what a knowingly loaded double meaning for something done in the ’70s) in the back is oddly self-pitying. I think this one might predate the others. The art isn’t as good. It’s from ’75, again, though. The Jaws reference was very topical.

Super Cat, anyone?

Here’s another “classic” from my larval stage, same vintage as Gerry’s Comix.

Yes, Gerald Ford

While other budding comics artists were probably practicing their takes on Spidey and Doc Doom, here’s an early example of what I was doing. Presenting my 1975 (I’m guessing) Gerry’s Comix. I was ten. The Gerry caricature is blatantly stolen from Robert Grossman. I was enamored of his comic in New York Magazine. Maybe I’ll scan and post some more of my childhood comics.

And yes, that’s Nixon reading an issue of Playboy.

Frank Frazetta, RIP

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My first summer job was working for a pet supply store called Ruffs Meow on Queens Boulevard. The owner was a guy named Dom who popped in from time to time to use the bathroom to smoke pot. He’d check on sales with the manager, a Jim Belushi-esque guy name Matthew, then disappear. I was fifteen and it was a good experience.

During my lunch breaks I’d usually go home for something to eat, but on payday I’d take the money and run nearly a mile from the store to Walden Books in Forest Hills and my first purchases with my hard-earned money were the Peacock Press/Bantam Books trades of The Fantastic Art of Frank Frazetta and its follow ups. I savored each page of his work. I couldn’t imagine what it would be like to have that much talent. His work had so much power and vitality. His women had big asses and hips and even dimples on their thighs. They were fleshy and hot as hell. I admired his composition and palette.

Many years later the Alexander Gallery on Madison Avenue had an exhibit of Frazetta’s work and seeing many of those canvases in person was mind blowing. As in the case of Norman Rockwell, seeing the originals blew any reproductions away. I was surprised at how small some of Frazetta’s paintings were, but though they were modest in size the art was barely contained in those frames. The colors and textures were unreal.

My own art never aspired to be like Frazetta’s. There was no way I’d ever come close and fantasy wasn’t really my bag, but he was, is and always will be an inspiration. I hope all the matters of his estate are resolved amicably and ethically. His legacy and work should be in museums to be enjoyed and admired for the ages.

30th Anniversary of Tor Books!

Take a little tour of the offices of Tor, publisher of my next novel, Pariah (due out this August). Happy anniversary, Tor. I’m excited to be part of the Tor catalog!

Bob on WTF with Marc Maron!

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I have known, on and off (though mostly off), the brilliant comedian Marc Maron since 1999. Prior to our actual meeting I had been aware of him because I’d enjoyed him as host of Comedy Central’s (or was it still the Comedy Channel at that point?) Short Attention Span Theater. He had a febrile intelligence that popped off the screen. I enjoyed his stand-up specials and whenever I’d see him turn up as a guest on talk shows.

I then saw him in Jonah Kaplan’s very funny short film Stalker Guilt Syndrome. I’d met Jonah through our mutual friend Dean Haspiel and told him how much I enjoyed the short, particularly Maron’s performance. Shortly after that I was having dinner at Olive Tree (not fucking Olive Garden, thank you very much), my favorite eatery downtown. Downstairs at Olive Tree, is the Comedy Cellar, an intimate spot to see stand-up. I spotted Maron seated at the table in the back where the comics who perform get their meals, so I introduced myself, telling him I’d just seen the short. Maron kind of frowned and said something like, “Oh yeah? Whudja think of it?” I told him I’d enjoyed it very much. I even got a copy from Jonah to add to my video library.

I guess Marc felt comfortable that I wasn’t going to stalk him (with or without guilt) because we exchanged info and started getting together from time to time. When I mentioned my burgeoning friendship with Marc to Jonah he said, “Yeah, good luck with that.” Hmmm.

In Marc’s company I got to know some of the ins and outs of the business of stand-up. I’d always been a fan of good stand-up but was now getting an inside look at how tough a career it was. I respected him and the craft even more. Marc was workshopping a one-man show back then (The Jerusalem Syndrome, which also became a great book). Michele and I attended several versions of it at The Westbeth Theater downtown. I think I was always the loudest laugher and the darker the material the heartier I laughed. I think Marc’s always had a soft spot for the guy (I’m guessing it’s almost always a guy) in the audience who is the only one to laugh at one of his uncomfortably truthful observations. Michele would look back and forth between me laughing and Marc performing and she’d afterwards tell me she thought Marc and I might be too alike in worldview. I dunno.

Then 9/11 came along, and swept up in the maelstrom of post-event trauma, our burgeoning friendship took a hiatus. Then a couple of years ago—maybe 2008—I’m at the urinal in the men’s room of the Comedy Cellar. Mid-leak a gravelly voice behind me says, “Is that Bob Fingerman?” I look over my shoulder and it’s Marc. We haven’t seen each other since maybe June or July 2001. I shake off and as I’m washing up—Marc having taken my place at the urinal—we catch up briefly:

Bob: How’ve you been?

Marc: Bad. Bad divorce. You down here or up there?

Bob: I’m up there. Dinner with a friend.

Marc: When I finish my set I’ll stop by.

And he did and we got back on track. None of this comes up in the conversation Marc and I had on the podcast. I don’t want to say any more. This is preamble. Backstory. Since he started the WTF with Marc Maron podcast, Marc has hosted some of the greatest talents in contemporary comedy (not to mention authors, his parents and other interesting characters) and engaged them in something rarely heard these days: bona fide conversation. I was thrilled and honored to be a guest at the Cat Ranch and appear on my favorite podcast. Marc has a genius for keeping it real and real funny. DOWNLOAD AND ENJOY!!!

Marc & Bob in the Cat RanchIn the Cat Ranch

Marc and Bob It had been raining but when the show was over the sun came out. Hallelujah!

Heeb, Meltcast and a WTF Teaser…

Heeb magazine (R.I.P. the print edition, but at least it lives on online) interview, by Stacey Brook.

And the Meltdown Comics’ Meltcast audio interview (interview conducted by Chris Rosa and Caleb Monroe).

Coming soon: my conversation with Marc Maron on his awesome (and popular) podcast, WTF with Marc Maron. I’ll write more about that as the date it goes up nears.

FUTURAMA MEETS FROM THE ASHES

Michele and I had the great good fortune to attend a studio voice record session for one of the forthcoming episodes of the greatest show ever, FUTURAMA, courtesy of being invited by my friend, Phil LaMarr. Phil is an amazingly gifted comic actor who recently filled the very large boots of Laurence Fishburne by stepping into the role of Cowboy Curtis in the recent live run of The Pee-Wee Herman Show in Los Angeles. On FUTURAMA Phil breathes tropical life into Hermes Conrad, Planet Express’s resident bureaucrat (and paperwork enthusiast), among others. Phil was kind enough to provide a blurb for the trade of FROM THE ASHES, and between sessions his mega-talented cast mate Maurice LaMarche (Kif Kroker, Morbo, Hedonismbot, etc.) gifted us with a few spontaneous reads of Phil’s quote in his FUTURAMA announcer voice. I got one of them on tape:

These guys are my heroes. I wouldn’t be exaggerating to say that Bender Bending Rodríguez is my favorite cartoon character of all time, and that is mainly due to the unfathomably great voicework of John DiMaggio, who was also in this session. I can take to the grave that I made him laugh. Plus, as the voice of Marcus Phenix in Gears of War, John gave me tips on how to finally beat the climactic boss battle. How cool is that?

Phil LaMarr, me, Billy West.
Me and John DiMaggio.
Me, Billy West and Maurice LaMarche.

And I’d be remiss if I didn’t cap this by saying I was in the presence of the God of Cartoon Voicedom himself, the great Billy West. Astonishing. Witnessing him seamlessly and without pause slipping from character to character (Philip J. Fry to Professor Hubert Farnsworth to Dr. John Zoidberg in nanoseconds) was a thing of beauty. He’s a genius. I felt like a too-old/too-healthy version of a Make-a-Wish Foundation kid. I was in Heaven. These are my gods, people. And I walked among them.

Billy giving FROM THE ASHES the West Bump!

John DiMaggio giving me gaming tips for the final boss battle in Gears of War (the crossbow and the Lancer… I’ll try that).

Me, Michele and John DiMaggio.

FROM THE ASHES Signing @ Meltdown Comics in L.A.!

I’m very excited to announce that I’ll be doing my first ever signing in Los Angeles at the fantastic Meltdown Comics. Please come join me, buy the book, say “hello,” and all that good stuff.

I’ll be there Saturday, March 6th, from 3 – 6 PM.

Meltdown Comics

7522 Sunset Boulevard

Los Angeles, CA 90046

(323) 851-7223

TWO UPCOMING SIGNINGS: NEW YORK/FLORIDA

I’ll be doing some signings to promote the release of the trade edition of FROM THE ASHES. The first is at ROCKETSHIP, in Brooklyn, NY, and the second is the next day at A Comic Shop, in Winter Park, FL. Please swing by and buy if you can. More to follow.

Friday, February 19th, 2010. 8 – 10 PM @

ROCKETSHIP

208 Smith Street

Brooklyn, New York 11201

718-797-1348

Saturday, February 20th, 2010. 3 – 5 PM @

A Comic Shop

114 South Semoran Blvd.

Winter Park, FL 32792

407-332-9636

MORE HELL

The character Dot works as a registrar in Hell. Impatient demons tap their hooves and expect miracles from her.

dot-workspace-tonal

DEMON SKETCHES FOR THE HELL OF IT

Still working up some sketches to help sell my Hell GN. Going to work on some more, but thought I’d share these of some demon types.

demon-sketches-1

ART BLOG THINGER MAKES TOP 100 LIST

The website Online College has created a “100 Great Blogs for Art Students & Enthusiasts” list and my somewhat redundant (because of this blog) Art Blog Thinger makes the grade. That’s pretty darned cool. Check it out!

MORE THE HELL OF IT

First sketches of 2010, Joe the Half-dog.

joe-sketches

Yo ho huh?

Online piracy is going to be the death of a way to make a living for every creative person, eventually. Remember years ago how the “fans” shit all over Metallica—especially Lars Ulrich—for taking Napster to court over file “sharing?” Didn’t matter how many times he said it was the principle of the thing—that he was in court not just for rich Metallica, but all the poor bands for whom every lost sale of a CD actually matters—the “fans” were like, “Metallica only cares about money!” Well, now everyone’s CD sales are way down (except Susan Boyle, because her fans are clueless old farts who don’t know about file sharing torrents). Lars was right.

I recently experienced the joy of being pirated. Somebody—no doubt some naïve teen or college kid who thinks, like, everything should be free, man—scanned and uploaded issues of From the Ashes onto a torrent site. I saw one issue had been downloaded about 1500 times. I’m not saying all those downloads would have translated to sales, but suffice it to say that if it meant some lost sales on a book doing as modestly as mine, that hurt me. It hurts every creator who’s trying to make a living plying his or her craft.

The book trade has been suffering steadily declining losses of revenue for some time. Between Americans by and large not exactly being readers and a bad economy, book sales are down. But now, with things like the Sony’s E-Reader, Amazon’s Kindle and Barnes & Noble’s Nook (and why such infantile names? Why not the Chaucer or the Tome?), and more and more books being digitally available, well, Publishers Weekly reports “Publishers could be losing out on as much as $3 billion to online book piracy…”

Like books? Love books? Keep buying them or taking them out from the library. Every time you download some creator-owned item that’s *readily available for legitimate purchase, be it a book or song or movie or whatever, just picture yourself taking food from its creator’s mouth.

*Note: This is an important distinction. If you’re downloading stuff that’s out of print or isn’t currently and won’t likely ever be available for purchase, that’s when I think file sharing is not only a-okay, but a commendable way of sharing odd and interesting materials.

NEPHEW ART

Perhaps I’ll try to actually find some of my own, personal, “nephew art,” to which I referred in the post about my uncle’s passing. In the meantime, here’s the B. Kliban cartoon to which I referred. This might be my favorite cartoon of all time. It’s at least in the top five.

nephew-art-klibanAs always, click for larger view. Cartoon ©B. Kliban

BELATED BALTIMORE COMIC-CON CABOOSE

Oops. Found this as an unposted draft, so this is my final post for 2009. I was a guest of the Baltimore Comic-Con (thanks, Marc Nathan!). I manned my table and signed, sold and sketched for two days. One of the attendees commissioned me to draw “a big butt girl,” and this was the result. I like the way it came out, so let’s end the year on a big, shapely, butt. Happy New Year, everyone!

big-butt

THE HELL OF IT

These might be the final sketches of 2009. Maybe not, but they’re probably the final ones I’ll post this year. These are character design sketches for the book I want to do set in Hell. I am hoping to finally find a home for this baby in 2010. I’ve wanted to do this story for many years, though its earlier outlines were quite different. The plot has finally gelled, so let’s hope that I finally set it to paper soon.

merv-sketches

Dot-sketches

FROM THE ASHES TRADE ON AMAZON FOR 32% OFF!

Hey all! Got some extra dosh to spend for Xmas or Hanukkah or Kwanzaa? Then please spend some of it (very little, really) on the spiffy trade of FROM THE ASHES. It boasts over twenty five pages of bonus material (thumbnails, prep art, sketches and character design stuff, cover gallery and more), plus a foreword by comedian Marc Maron (whose podcast, WTF, was #3 comedy podcast of 2009 on iTunes). I’m really proud of this book, so if you were waiting for the trade to finally read it, now’s the time to order it! And if you already bought the comics, this is the sweet-ass edition you’ve really wanted all along. BUY IT!

FTA cover

Irwin Greenberg, Albert Weatherly, R.I.P.

“Do rather than don’t.” — Irwin Greenberg

I really don’t want to start a trend here—especially not this kind of trend—but again I find myself adding another pair of obituaries. My most beloved art teacher, Irwin “Greenie” Greenberg, died yesterday, at the age of 87. He profoundly touched the lives of everyone who knew him.

I was fortunate enough to have had him as a teacher at the High School of Art & Design. Greenie—as his students and colleagues knew him—was a true inspiration. The adage “those who can’t do, teach” might have suited others, but not Greenie, whose work was, is and ever will be breathtakingly assured, graceful and lovely to behold. He was a master watercolorist and his teaching was commensurate with his talent.

Greenie lost an eye in WWII, but you’d never know it to look at his work. Though he often employed a small spyglass to see the models in better detail, his lack of depth perception never showed in his work, as you can see in the examples here.

Greenie was a beautiful person who shared his gift and his life, through stories told in class, with everyone lucky enough to have known him. I always regretted not staying in touch after I graduated. In a way, since I chose the path of cartooning, I always felt I’d somehow let him down. But that was on me. I’m sure he wouldn’t have felt that way. Greenie didn’t judge.

My uncle, Albert Weatherly, Jr., also died, today. He was 85. He was much more of an enigma to me. He was a concert flutist who left the orchestra to pursue fixing and selling flutes. He ran his own business, Albert Weatherly Flutes, in midtown. He brought an unsurpassed level of craft to servicing flutes that garnered him a clientele of all the biggest names in the field. Jean-Pierre Rampal, James Galway and James Moody were among his patrons, and all held him in the highest regard.

I did my first “professional” (ha!) assignments for him, doing art for t-shirts and tote bags for his business. Another late hero of mine, the cartoonist B. Kliban, had a cartoon called “Nephew Art”, which depicted bad art done by nephews. But it, like some of Kliban’s best work, was a metaphor for bigger, deeper things. That said, it might be my favorite Kliban cartoon, and that I am guilty of having created some “Nephew Art” of my own makes me both proud and humbled.

At thirteen I did a bag that boasted an anthropomorphized flute strutting along, à la Crumb’s “Keep on Truckin’”, only in this case it was “Keep on Flutin’”. Yeah, I know. I did many bags and tees for Uncle Al, and he actually paid me money. That meant a lot to me. It made me feel a bit more legit at an early age.

Al was very hard to know. He was quiet and, as I say, a bit of an enigma. But when he did share I always appreciated it. I never really knew him well, but I’ll miss him. I’ll miss them both.

CINEMA SEWER COVER THUMBS

I’ve enjoyed the often filthy Canadian movie ‘zine Cinema Sewer for quite some time (especially issue #16, which was devoted in part to post-apocalypse movies). CS is a treasure trove of exploitainment for the cineast who enjoys some muck in their movie viewing. I was happy to oblige its publisher/writer/creator/cartoonist Robin Bougie with cover art for its “Film Noir” issue (coming sometime in early 2010). Here are some thumbnail sketches I did. I ended up going with a variation on the upper right-hand one (see my gallery page for the final art, or click here).

thumbnails

Detail from final art (click for larger version):CS-detail

Oldie But Rushdie

Usually when I look at my old art I don’t like it (kid stuff not included; that, I love). But I was just going through my flat file, purging some stuff, and came across this cover I did for the Village Voice Literary Supplement. It had to do with the Salman Rushdie fracas (it’s from 1989). Anyway, maybe because I did it in a different style it’s like the work of someone else and I can be a little more objective. I think it’s pretty good.

vls-rushdie

David Aaron Clark, R.I.P.

I just learned that an old friend of mine died last week.

In the late ’80s/early ’90s, David Aaron Clark was an editor of mine at Screw. I wrote my comics review column, “Panel Debasement,” for him (the one that a few posts ago I lamented having written—or at least the way I wrote it). My friend John Walsh—who at the time was also an editor at Screw—suggested I write the column in the first place, but for whatever reason—conflict of interest? No, that sounds too professional—he passed along the actual editing to Dave. Dave and John had a funny working relationship/friendship. Very prickly; lots of insults and verbal sparring.

Dave was the basis for the character Elvis Seward Foucault III (so-named because Dave loved Elvis Presley, William Seward Burroughs II and Michel Foucault) in my comic series Minimum Wage (later Beg the Question).

When Dave first arrived at Screw he was just a portly nerd whose path had led him there. He’d had loftier literary/journalistic ambitions, but such is life. He dressed in jeans and sweaters and was clean-shaven. He found a groove at Screw and fit in. He was a funny guy, but dry of wit. Very dry. Walsh’s humor was broader and he scored laughs easily. Dave’s humor kind of snuck up on you.

Dave and I hung out fairly often in those days. But he metamorphosed during that time period. The sweaters and jeans were replaced by leather pants, full-sleeve tattoos, elaborate facial hair and big leather dusters and cowboy hats. All black. His personal life was often tumultuous and took an irreversibly dark turn with the suicide of Jean, his then girlfriend and band mate (he had a band called the False Virgins). This forever altered him (as such an event would do to anyone with a pulse). Dave always seemed in conflict with his lapsed—but never cured—Catholicism. Though a self-professed agnostic, he took to sporting a large crucifix pendant. Guilt was a big theme with him and after Jean’s death he started a course of both personal and public atonement.

He started performing S&M rituals in videos and onstage. He’d be cut up and pissed on. Later on it provided darkly comic fodder for my cartoon version of him, but at the time and in reality it was disturbing and I wanted nothing to do with it. He often mocked me for my “cloistered” and “safe” approach to life. His humor became more acid. When one goes from being a spectator of porn to a participant, it’s a slippery slope. After some ugly tabloid incidents in his personal life he left Screw and headed west to pursue creating porn full time. We lost touch, though on occasion we’d run into each other. Last I saw him in the flesh was at the San Diego Comic Con. I wasn’t sure why he was there, but I suspect that you could take the boy away from the geek, but you couldn’t remove the geek from the boy. He still liked comics, etc. I hadn’t seen him since before I’d started Minimum Wage and I wasn’t sure if he’d seen it. He had and he told me he thought it was “brilliant.” His word. But it meant a lot to me to have his blessing.

I tried many times over the years to reconnect with Dave, via the Internet. We sometimes would start a correspondence but it always derailed almost immediately. I think maybe my life was just a little too prosaic for him. He’d chosen his path and the two didn’t overlap, even via email. About two months ago I tried again on Facebook. I wrote him and he wrote back and not much was said and that was it.

He was 49. He was never a likely candidate for the Old Pornographers’ Home, but still.

BTQ_104

STAR TREK MEETS NIGHT AT THE (RUBIN) MUSEUM

I’ve been asked to introduce an episode of Star Trek (original, not extra-crispy) with Jungian themes (“The Enemy Within” written by Richard Matheson) for a hoity-toity Jung-based film festival at the Rubin Museum in NYC. I’ll be doing that on Friday. Should be weird.

Rubin

King Con Interview

Here’s the audio of the interview that The Daily Crosshatch‘s Brian Heater conducted with me at the first annual King Con in Brooklyn. Listen to me ramble. Enjoy the very awkward start, where Brian kicks off by having me talk about another panel I’d recently been on. Forty odd minutes of pure listening pleasure! (Photos courtesy Reid Harris Cooper)

heater and bob 1

heater and bob 2

Humbling

One of the functions of youth, I suppose, is that it gives you something to look back on with a mixture of horror and nostalgia, depending. I was just rummaging through/organizing stuff in my mini-storage locker, the goal being winnowing its contents down and moving the rest out, hence relieving Michele and I of what is now a non-essential monthly expense.

Buried amidst the treasures and dross are many examples of my older work, which I just perused with no small horror. I’ve never slacked. I always worked very hard at what I was doing. But, Jesus, so much of it is wretched and ugly. Ugly in style, execution, content. Rigid and overworked. I also read some of my old columns (from 1990) for Screw, in which I was tasked with reviewing “adult” comics. So much vitriol. I guess it was my job, but yeesh. I actually feel a bit ashamed. That’s not to say that most of what I’d reviewed didn’t deserve scorn, but there was such callow self-righteousness, smugness and malice in my words. Some of it is kind of funny, but still. I always tried to find some praise-worthy offering to balance the column, but I dunno. They’re predominantly nasty pieces of work. Much of it is attributable to being at the time 25, recently divorced, resentful and angry. But that doesn’t excuse everything. The first issue of From the Ashes was recently reviewed by some youngster online who seems to take the same relish in trashing stuff as I did at his age. Hopefully he’ll learn. If not, he’ll have plenty to look back on twenty years hence and feel embarrassed about.

And my own offerings in comics. (Deep sigh.) It’s a hazard publicly learning as you go, and I am glad that things go out of print. This summer, at a hippie-ish store upstate, Michele saw a copy of an adult comic I did in ’91. I asked her not to tell the owner it was my handiwork, but she did anyway. He, of course, then wanted me to sign it (to presumably—ha!—make it more salable). I inscribed it “With regrets, Bob Fingerman.” To paraphrase Sinatra, “Regrets, I’ve had a few / And when I do, I have to sign ‘em.”

In the recent years my work is finally getting somewhere close to being almost what I want it to be. But the past. Oh, golly, the miserable past…

Rejected Zombies

Some of the warm-ups I did that didn’t cut the mustard and make it into Pariah.

rectangular-crowd-smallzombie-2-tonedzombie-3-toned

Bookshelf

Quick sketch from a while back of some of my bookcase.

bookshelf

WOTTA CRYBABY

I did this drawing to redress my huge oversight in not including this fucking whining crybaby dipshit in From the Ashes. This drawing wraps up the bonus section to sort of ameliorate my fuck up.

crybaby-beck

MARC MARON

Here’s a drawing I did of my friend, comedian Marc Maron, to accompany the foreword he’s doing for the From the Ashes book. Check out his great podcast, WTF.

maron-final-color

Cover Tease for FTA Collected

In March of next year, all the WFTers (Wait For Trade) will hopefully spring for the book collecting From the Ashes. I hope everyone will buy it, actually. As a creator, I sometimes feel a tingle of guilt when something I do comes out serialized and then I want people who already bought it to buy it again. But as a fan and consumer myself, I say, “Hey, I do it all the time.” So, guilt absolved. Anyway, here are a couple of rough thumbs of the cover, which will be a wraparound. I wanted to pay homage to the great “merry chase” posters that Jack Davis did in the Sixties and Seventies.


The Amazon listing has an incorrect page count (it will be longer, because of the nifty bonus section; details to come) and cover art. I guess this is a place-filler until I deliver the real cover art.

JAZZ AND CT REJECT

I did this drawing for Connective Tissue (which is still highly discounted on Amazon yet nonetheless is languishing, so BUY IT!), but it didn’t fit my narrative. I like it, though.

This was done as part of a panel in an American Splendor thing I illustrated. I think it might make a nice print.

CONNECTIVE TISSUE THUMBNAIL SKETCHES

Most of the interior art in Connective Tissue (if you haven’t gotten your copy yet, for crying out loud, do! It’s now an insanely cheap 45% off on Amazon!) was done spontaneously on that page without advance thumbnail sketching. There were a few that required a bit of planning, though. Here are some thumbs for them.


Zombie

It should come as no surprise to anyone familiar with my work that I am a longtime, died-in-the-wool zombie fanatic.

Recently, I sold my second novel, Pariah, to Tor. I am thrilled (and relieved) beyond belief. It’s a story that I’ve yearned to get out there for many, many years. I first conceived of it as a graphic novel (before my ambitions led me to write the regular kind), back in the mid-’90s. Fortunately (though I didn’t feel that way at the time), it didn’t come to pass in that format. I finally wrote it as a novel and the end result is much better.

The interesting thing is that part of my deal with Tor is to provide the book with some original interior art (I might do the cover, too, but that is pending). My approach is not to do illustrations of any scenes or characters in the book. I prefer to let the readers picture that for themselves. Instead, one of the characters is an artist and he does studies of the undead to pass the time (no more TV or Internet, so one must pass the time doing something). The conceit of the accompanying art will be that these are his drawings. I don’t want any of the art to be typical EC-tinged stuff. The approach is to do sensitive, objective drawings. The zombies didn’t ask to be this way. They’re not evil.

To whet your appetites, here is one of the drawings. I might post some of the rejects here as the months go on, but here’s a sample:

Pariah is due out July 2010.

Darla

Another unused Darla drawing from when I was working on Connective Tissue (which you really need to go buy, now).

Recess Pieces Makes Cameo in Horror Movie!

Canadian indie-cinema horror auteur Brian Clement has featured my book, Recess Pieces, as set dressing in his Lovecraftian mind-fuck flick Dark Paradox. Clement plays an author who needs to get away from the city (where strange things are beginning to happen) to finish a manuscript for his publisher. But when he reaches his bucolic getaway to type in peace, well… the best laid plans of mice and men and so on.

It’s an enjoyable movie. Check it out.

Recess Pieces makes itself comfortable on the main character’s desk:
Auteur/star Clement having a “WTF” moment:

Connective Tissue Video

Fantagraphics has been making these great little videos of paging through their books (all are on Flickr). I think they’re a nifty way to get an idea of the book, especially if you’re going to order online and not be able to see it in person at a store. Check it out (then order it!).

Video store clerk Darla Vogel is fed up — fed up with her job, fed up with her wake-and-bake roommate, fed up with everything. But when one of the customers at Kwok’s Video offers her some of his meat-flavored candies, Darla takes a plunge down the rabbit hole into a surreal world of throbbing, veinous buildings, compulsory public nudity, weird creatures, and more. If William Burroughs, Lewis Carroll, H.P. Lovecraft, and Harvey Kurtzman ever collaborated, the result might resemble Bob Fingerman’s bold confection of words and pictures — the copiously illustrated prose novel Connective Tissue.

“This is a genuinely monstrous book that made me laugh until something burst and now I think I might be dying. You really need to buy one of these.” – Warren Ellis, author of Crooked Little Vein and Transmetropolitan

“Fingerman does it again! He disturbs, entertains, amuses and charms with his unholy Fingermanian mixture of perversion, humor, and pathos.” – Jonathan Ames, author of The Alcoholic and Wake Up, Sir!

134-page duotone 7.25″ x 8.25″ hardcover
ISBN: 978-1-60699-143-5

In stock: April 2009
In stores: May 2009

Mysterioso

Color for a page of a project I just wrapped up. I think I’ll leave it at that.

Not Everything Makes the Cut…

Self-rejected drawing of Byron (from From the Ashes).

BOOKPLATE FEVER

Yes, folks, there’s not one, but two exclusive signed bookplates I’ve done for the upcoming (it’s at the printer!) Connective Tissue. One is for the publisher, Fantagraphics Books, the other for retailer Panel To Panel. If you want one of these bookplates to come with the book, order the one you prefer from Fantagraphics or Panel To Panel directly.

Graphic NYC Takes on Yours Truly

Ace photographer Seth Kushner and journalist Chris Irving are posting sections of their work in progress, Graphic NYC, a book about the New York-based comics community. They just posted my profile. Take a gander. Here’s Seth’s portrait of me. I think it’s pretty sweet.

Bugs & Daffy à la Bergman

A while back I did a two-page segment for the Looney Tunes comic that my friend Joey Cavalieri scripted. The sequence was a parody of Ingmar “Chuckles” Bergman’s The Seventh Seal, starring Bugs as Death and Daffy as Antonius Block (AKA Max Von Whythelongface). I went to town and with filters made it look like aged film. It was fun. Here are a couple of panels which (as they all were) ran cropped and covered with dialogue balloons.

Daily Crosshatch Interview

Brian Heater recently interviewed me on his very fine comics blog The Daily Crosshatch. I was a little less guarded than perhaps I should have been (it was more a conversation than the typical Q&A), so I think I come off a bit sourer than I feel these days, but read it and judge for yourselves. All three parts are now up.

Culled…

This week I’ve been going over the final guts of Connective Tissue with the designer (Jacob Covey) at Fantagraphics. He’s doing a great job and the book’s going to look terrific. Seeing all the art put into a layout with the text highlighted that a couple of the drawings were superfluous, so I cut them and did new ones for the book. I liked the drawings I cut, but they didn’t make the grade. Anyway, waste not want not, here they are.


Cerberus

Not much to say. Three-headed dog. Angry. ‘Nuff said.

My Goon Pages…

For those of you who didn’t want to click over to Dark Horse’s DHP MySpace to see my take on Eric Powell’s The Goon, here are my two concluding pages of the serial that ran there. They make no sense without the preceding pages, so don’t feel bad if you read them and go WTF? They wanted a riff on The Maltese Falcon for the punchline. This thing was done “Exquisite Corpse” style, so I was brought in to deliver the punch line. Several lines of dialogue are directly from The Maltese Falcon. Whee.


Dog

I’m in the final stages of completing Connective Tissue. I don’t want to ruin any of the story, so I won’t explain what the dog is eating here, but I wanted this cartoon pooch to be grotesque and somewhat monstrous (yet still somewhat “cute”). I started off drawing a more realistic dog to work out the anatomy, and then moved on to deforming him.

Normal pooch.

Monster pooch (version in book).

Rejected version. I like the face, but the body is bad, especially the forepaws. It looks like Clifford the Big Red Dog after huffing a snootful of speed.

Final version. (Thanks to my friend Mikey P. for sending me pix of his pit bull, Hiro.)

Tush

Spot illo for Connective Tissue. What can I say? I like tush. Nuff said.

For an Atheist…

…I think about Hell a lot. Not as a reality. I just like the concept. What can I say? I liked the Inferno portion of Dante’s Divine Comedy. Lot of good art’s been inspired by Hell. I still hope that someday I’ll do my epic set there, be it a prose novel, or graphic one. Something. I’d really like to do it. Here’s a drawing I did a while ago, just playing with demons, etc.

Really, though, what kind of “artist” would I be if I didn’t think about demons?

Girls and Demons

Two great tastes that taste great together. Or something like that. I love drawing this stuff. Maybe I’m a bad person.

Connective Tissue: Coming (Relatively) Soon…

It’s been a while since I’ve had any publishing news to announce, but unless the contract stuff goes horribly awry (an unlikelihood), Fantagraphics Books will be publishing my oddball stream of consciousness (or in this case, unconsciousness) epic, Connective Tissue, sometime early spring 2009. What’s more, publisher Gary Groth became aware of and interested in the project because of the previous Connective Tissue drawings I’d posted here. So, this blog has already more than justified its existence (at least to me). Neat.

Connective Tissue is my reverse-engineering experiment in art and prose. Instead of a normal illustrated book, in which the pictures illustrate (duh) the text, this time around I’m doing the art first, then supplying the prose. To ensure it flows well, I’ll likely add some art at the end of the writing stage (the titular connective tissue). Here’s a recent drawing:

Papa Bear

Here’s a quick sketch (about five minutes) I did today of one of my personal Top Ten Most Loathesome People in America: Bill O’Reilly. He came out oddly sweet-faced, which is troubling, considering what a toxic personage he is. More on why I drew him when the opportune moment presents itself.

Michele, My Belle…

Sorry about the gap between posts. I’ve been bedeviled by my computers since early December. Here’s a drawing of my wife, Michele, when she was very sleepy.


¡Feliz Año Nuevo!

Happy New Year, all. Here’s the last piece of art I did in 2007: new cover for the Spanish edition of my graphic novel, Beg the Question. The title will be different, though. BTQ, already idiomatic, doesn’t translate well. It might revert to the original series title, Minimum Wage. We’ll see. At any rate, here’s the drawing and final color version.


MORE CONNECTIVE TISSUE

Here are a few more drawings from my mostly off-again project, Connective Tissue. This is one of those things that may or may not ever be finished, so in the meantime I’ll post selected images.



DUCKY

Drawing of my friend, Ducky.

MONKEYBICYCLE 5

Hey, all. Here’s the thumbnail sketch and final art for the cover of the upcoming “Dirty Humor Issue” of the literary magazine Monkeybicycle. I also have a story inside. Should be out in late December or early January.


LOVECRAFT LOVE

It was that or “Tentaclehead”. I don’t know what to call these entries sometimes and I haven’t really titled this drawing. I just hit the paper with the pencil and this emerged, no game plan, no forethought. It just happened. Go figure. But I like it.

QUICK CROWD SCENE

A quick sketch of city sidewalk traffic. Just for fun.

MICHELE

Here’s a more straightforward portrait of Michele.

NEW PEN

Just a quick sketch to try out a new pen.

CONNECTIVE TISSUE

A few years back (in 2003, to be specific), I started a project called Connective Tissue, which was to be a free form, stream of consciousness, picture novel. I abandoned it after about 15 or so drawings, but waste not want not. Here are a few. I almost resurrected it last year in a revamped style, but once again lost steam (the drawings in my first blog here). Maybe someday I’ll really get serious with it, but then what would the fun be in that?


THE HELL OF IT

These are some prep drawings I did for a graphic novel that I’d proposed, tentatively titled, The Hell of It. I’ve been nursing the idea for many years, and it keeps evolving. I might just write it as a prose novel, as has been my wont of late. Maybe I’ll do an illustrated novel, like Mignola’s latest effort, Baltimore. We’ll see.




RAKOFF

Here’s a drawing I did recently of my acquaintance, the writer David Rakoff. His books are great (as are his articles, should you happen across his byline in some tony periodical).


RECESS PIECES THUMBNAILS, PART 1

Here’s the first of what might be a series of posts featuring some of my prep work. These are the first 20 pages of thumbnails for my graphic novel, Recess Pieces, which came out summer 2006.





INAUGURAL POST

Okay, so this is my inaugural post here.

So, art. Art’s a subjective term. You know, one man’s meat and so forth. I spend a lot of time in modern art museums frowning and being annoyed by what passes for art these days. Hence, letting my membership to MOMA expire. But I also am amazed at how much good stuff is being done currently. Lots of it displayed on this Blogger thing. People like Marlo Meekins, Kristen McCabe, Bill… uh, mean William Wray, and on and on. Superb and varied stuff. Enough to inspire me to join up.

So, enough words. Picture time. These couple are from an on-again/off-again project featuring the girl with the pigtails. I’ll post more later. Figuring out this interface is making my puzzler hurt.