28 May 2011

The next Melbourne Comics Meet...

On the first Saturday afternoon of every month, a few of us comic book nuts get together at a quiet inner city pub for a casual drink and chat. So, if you're into comics, come on down.

Prince Alfred Hotel
191 Grattan St, Carlton,

4th June 2011
2pm - 6pm


27 May 2011

Inking - pt.2

Two posts ago I was stating how important it was to be careful not to over-ink a page... and wouldn't you know it, I freakin did it. What a moron.

I got carried away with the reflection in the puddles of water on the bathroom floor in the 3rd panel, and now it might look like blood to readers. Part of me says, "Relax, it kinda still looks like water... it's not THAT bad... learn from it and just get on with the next page."... but the other part of me is a sissy looking for perfection. (Don't roll your eyes at me Colin!)

I'll tell you one thing I've learnt... its that I'm tempted to just use the computer to fill in areas of black from now on so that I can avoid crap like this in the future.

UPDATE: Following Matt Emery's point in the comments section (below)... I've done the obvious thing (to everyone but me), and just erased the over-use of black via computer and got on with the next page. Yeah, ok... shut yer face.

Oh...! and I fixed the hole that the tentacle was coming out from. It was all warped.


25 May 2011

REVIEW: 'Paying for it'

By: Chester Brown
Publisher: Drawn & Quarterly
Pages: 272

I've been waiting for this book to come out for a while. And geez... the wait was definitely worth it.

Along with fellow Canadian cartoonists, Seth, Joe Matt and Dave Sim... Chester Brown has been at the top of my tree when I think of great comic book authors. His latest book PAYING FOR IT (With an introduction by the legendary, R.Crumb no less) is Chester Brown's manifesto on the subject of 'paying prostitutes for sex' by conveying his experiences of being a 'John' (a paying client).

The book's first chapter is called 'My last girlfriend' (a great setup), and shows us how Brown begins a journey that will finally culminate in the book you're holding. It's quite (as R.Crumb puts it) a cogent argument that he presents in these pages.

: If you're a hopeless romantic, then this book probably won't move you at all.

Chester's first experience with a prostitiute.

There are one or two points in the book that drag just a little (where he's chatting to his friends about a socio-political topic that is close to his heart), and the drawings within these panels look identical to the one that preceded it. The whole page is made up of the same image repeated 8 times (sometimes more). Don't get me wrong, I don't think he needed to edit himself from the points he wanted to convey, but perhaps changing camera-angles (visually) throughout these panels would have made the reading experience easier. It was kind of like reading a paragraph-long sentence in prose that didn't contain any punctuation. A little exhausting, and makes you want to put a bookmark between the pages and come back to it a little later.

Personally, I don't see the point of paying prostitutes for sex in todays online age where you can simply bang chicks from the internet for free (oh I love the fruits of Feminism :)... but I suppose prostitution gives one the pick of the most beautiful girls. Money is really the only factor. As long as you pay, you can ball a Victoria Secret model.

If the voyeur in you gets tickled by subjects that are behind closed doors, and lets face it, who doesn't...? then read PAYING FOR IT. Not because it's simply risque, but because at the heart of this story are powerful questions. Is prostitution really that aweful? What is wrong with an honest and up-front exchange between two consenting adults? What of Brown's very astute observation that, apart from the positive things we all associate romantic love with, it also has (at it's centre) an inherent code of ownership and jealousy?

Chester Brown also doesn't come at you in a didactic manner from the begining, but rather, lets you observe the very human circumstances in a person's life that may lead them to consider paying for sex. Initially, Brown thinks of prostitution as a curious option, but once he tentatively explores it, he finds there is more to it than just the sex act itself. It's the way it all makes sense to Brown's libertarian views. There seem to be no more games. No jealousy. Freud has left the building. A very edifying book.

I don't know what it is about Canadian cartoonists, but they sure know how to hit the nail on the head when it comes to stories about reality. Maybe it's the French/European comics influence? Not quite sure... Anyway, if you like comics about reality, then this is definitely one to grab. It's a gem of a big 272 page book...! beautifully illustrated, funny in moments, and a solidly put together hard cover.

One of the best graphic novels I've read this year.


24 May 2011

Inking - pt.1

This is just a quick scan of the first stage of an inked page (Oxygen: pg-7, from the next issue of DIGESTED.05). I finish all the inking on the page to a stage that I could hand it over to a colourist if I wanted to... which I don't... but you get the idea.

While I'm not precious with my inking (I don't ink perfectly like some Yoda-like 'Marvel' artist)... I'm mindful to spend time on the drawing and get to every nook & cranny making sure I've 'chipped' away at the illustration enough so I don't cross a point I can't come back from. (You know the feeling... when you over-do a drawing when you look at the finished page and think, "Geez, why did I do all those extra lines" or "Why did I fill in that area?")

I ink in a way an ice skater might when carving up the ice... Shwick! Shwick! Shwick!

(Next stage of inking is to fill in all the blacks and give the page some final 'weight'...)