The market for comics is arguably more crowded than ever, with thousands of products from publishers ranging from multinational conglomerates to lone self-publishers. You really need a compelling cover design conveying an exciting concept to break through the chatter and grab the reader’s attention. Something like the debut issue of Skyward:
What we have here is a boy and his dog, evidently landing? Because the book’s called ‘Skyward’ I guess they can fly. Is that the hook? If so, obviously the best way to depict that is to have the characters slightly above the ground in such a way that it’s not clear whether they are landing or just jumped up in an awkward manner, or in the dog’s case whether he’s lifting his leg to urinate on his master once the boy returns to the embrace of gravity’s bonds. Assuming flight is the hook though they’ve got a goldmine here, as it’s well known audiences have been waiting for decades to finally get a comic book about mammals with flight capability.
And what better hook to grab the reader’s imagination than the mystery invoked by having both characters stare dully off-panel? What are they looking at? IT COULD LITERALLY BE ANYTHING! BOOK OF THE YEAR!
Other valuable marketing information conveyed by this cover: the world Skyward takes place in has trees and mushrooms. Great for budding environmentalists/vegetarians! Also, just like in the real world, buccaneer boots with matching gloves over taped-up forearms are what all the kids are into and huge belts are also a thing. Why, just the other day at the hypothetical mall I saw a kid rocking that exact combination tunic/jumpsuit the boy’s wearing. Sharp!
Finally, there is a sun in the world of Skyward as well. Good hook for sun-loving comics fans! At least the tagline gives us fair warning as to Skyward’s future prospects with a callback to basically the only 80s property never to spawn either sequel or reboot.
@aaronpoehler: Full-length feature film Scavenger Hunt is officially in the can: https://t.co/94jzNCBIpU
June 21st, 2013 — pictures
Well, maybe not so much ‘dancing’ as ‘lunging’ but any activity is better than just lying on the floor like a big slug. (Cat Dancer)
In 2006 I was still working on getting out of debt and keeping all my expenses as close to the bone as possible, but I’d always wanted to check out San Diego Comic-Con, 2006 was the 50th anniversary of the Barry Allen Flash character first drawn by Carmine Infantino in 1956, and Infantino was making an appearance. As a San Diego resident I was able to make the trip a lot less expensive than anyone having to secure lodging, but splurging on collectibles and reading material was still pretty much out of the question.
Wandering around Comic Con can be an incredible experience in itself, but just seeing Infantino sitting at his table in Artists’ Alley was overwhelming to me: here was someone whose work I’d admired — no, loved — literally as long as I can remember, before I even had the language to express such emotions. The first time I saw him, there were other fans at his table and I didn’t want to bother him just to babble out some words of admiration, since I didn’t expect to be able to afford a sketch and I wouldn’t be able to wait around for his table to clear. Buying the reduced-admission Sunday-only ticket had already pushed my budget, and if I wanted to buy anything else at all commissioning a sketch from anyone — let alone one of the most legendary and admired comic book artists of the 20th century — was pretty much out of the question.
The rest of the day wandering around, I didn’t see anything else I wanted to buy. Or to put it more specifically, everything I saw that I wanted to buy I thought “Do I want this more than an original sketch?” and the answer was uniformly no. Fortunately, on the final pass through the hall I saw Carmine’s table was clear of other admirers and I decided I just couldn’t let the opportunity pass me by to meet the man and have him draw the Flash for me. He offered both head sketches and full body sketches and he asked me which I wanted–the head sketches were cheaper, but I said that I had to go for the full-body sketch. I got the feeling Carmine would have just as soon done the head sketch even though it’d be less money because it’d be less work for him, but he shook his head as if to say “It’s your money, kid” and started penciling while chatting with me.
Seeing this image take form under his pencil was one of the most magical experiences I’ve ever had; the flowing lines of his best design work were still evident even at 81. When he was finished penciling he picked up a pen and delineated the image in such a way that brought it into focus while still maintaining the freedom and expression of the pencil work. When he turned it around and showed the finished work to me it was not an echo of an atrophied talent or a memory of what used to be–it was a Carmine Infantino Flash, and I loved it. I thanked him profusely, paid him my $100 and carefully secured my treasure for the trip home.
Since then it’s been on my wall in a place of prominence. It makes me happy whenever I see it, even yesterday when I was sad that the man passed away. I’ve been meaning to do a high-res scan for archival purposes for quite some time but this finally prompted me to get it done: even though it’s a black and white sketch, I scanned in color at 600dpi to preserve as much of the detail and fine pencil work as possible. The below jpg isn’t quite the full glory of the uncompressed TIFF file, but it’s pretty close when viewed at full size on a good screen.
Thanks again for all the great comics, Carmine.
January 17th, 2013 — uncategorized
I updated the blog navigation links up top, as I finally realized the stopgap measure I put in place years ago really didn’t make any sense and quick, obvious links for ‘music’ and ‘writing’ are about 1000 times more helpful for anyone actually trying to find something for whatever reason. Still a little kludgy but I still don’t care enough to do anything about it (like a ground-up redesign, which I’d highly recommend were I advising a client with a site like this) because 1. I’m not getting paid to do so and 2. it’s no fun for me. One of those things needs to not be the case for me to be spurred to action.
Everything should be good but drop me a line if something looks broken, I’ll probably get around to fixing it in another three or four years.
October 8th, 2012 — uncategorized
August 13th, 2012 — uncategorized
I finally got around to updating the main music page of this website with current, accurate information, so for the first time this year it’s not hideously out of date. At some point I should also get around to adding links to relevant blog posts, music videos, and so forth, but for now at least I’ll settle for ‘accurate and updated’ and aim for ‘expansive’ later. (All that stuff can be found by paging back through this blog anyway, if you’re curious.)
As it turns out, maintaining a website seems to be one of those things I do a lot better when I’m getting paid for it so please don’t be too terribly surprised if I fail to keep the music page 100% current with my musical activities in the future, but I’ll try to do better. If at some point in the future the information therein seems particularly aged and suspect, a quick check of this blog should catch you up to speed with anything not yet covered there.