Sunday, November 21, 2004

Yeah yeah it's been a while. Lots going on and there never seems to be a moment where my thoughts are all in order enough to pop in here. I did want to post some news of the Y universe:

The fourth Y trade collecting the story arcs Safeword and Widow's Pass is now out! And wouldn't ya know it, Christmas is right around the corner. What an incomprehensible coincidence!

Brian sent along a really neat note yesterday. Turns out his dad was reading Sports Illustrated and came across this lil' blurb about Eagles' linebacker Dhani Jones:

A Linebacker's Library
Here's what's stacked on Dhani Jones's nightstand
*DEMOCRACY MATTERS: Winning the Fight Against Imperialism, by Cornel West
*SCIENCE OF BEING AND ART OF LIVING: Transcendental Meditation, by His Holiness Maharishi Mahesh Yogi
*THE DA VINCI CODE, by Dan Brown
*Y: THE LAST MAN, by Brian K. Vaughan, Pia Guerra and Jose Marzan, Jr.

Wow. That's pretty cool.

Ms. Magazine mentioned us in last week's issue as well. I haven't seen it yet but the next time I'm at the book store I'll have a look see.

In other business, I'll be doing a signing at the Virgin Megastore in downtown Vancouver on December 10th so please come on down and say hi.

Back to the drawing board.

Saturday, July 31, 2004

So last week was the monster con of all monster cons: SAN DIEGO!

Now for those of you who have not gone to one of these monstrously monstrous cons here's a rough idea of what it's like. You have the beautiful convention center designed by none other than Arthur Erickson who realised some damn pretty buildings here in Vancouver, love his stuff. The original center was built in the late 80's early 90's, and just last year received a whole new addition so it's even LONGER than it's usual monstrous length. ONE MILE long from Hall A to Hall H. Now picture that enormous space full of retailers, publishers, Motion Picture pavillions, artist's alley and an art auction. And with that in your head stuff in a hundred thousand people all trying to get to wherever they're going in a big shuffled hurry, toss in a struggling AC system and a lot of B.O. and voila: SDCC.

My first SD con was back in 1990 when it was held in an auditorium downtown. Quaint, very shriners feel about it, had a good time. The following year it was held in the brand spanking new Convention center and only took up Hall A and B (maybe C?) and it just seemed enormous! Every year since the room has grown and grown right into the new wing! Just when you think it can't possibly get any bigger it does. It's mind boggling. The downside of all this growth is the reduction of intimacy this con used to have. San Diego was notorious for it's parties, big official bashes under the sails, cozy get togethers in hotel rooms or dingy basement lounges, raves in empty warehouses and one year a rowdy drink up at a driving range. This was a creator's paradise because it was so easy to approach other writers and artists and talk about anything from industry craft to cool horror movies. The majority of my development as an artist took place here as every year I'd collect feedback and critiques of my portfolio, gathering the advice I would take home to work on until the next year when I'd display the fruits of my labour. And as I gained a name for myself and started working as a professional I would in turn critique the newbies and give advice as it was given to me. For some reason I can hear "the Circle of Life" playing in my head right now. Hmmm.

But with progress comes change. SDCC is just too big now. There isn't a lot of time to talk to people. What parties there are have become too massive and exclusive to really make much of a connection and after the impersonal dinners at long tables all that's left is the loud huddle at the Hyatt that ends too soon with the 2am last call. It's become very frustrating.

Not that there weren't high points. Ian and I got to see Shaun of the Dead and meet Simon Pegg who is one of our favourite comedians. Out of a fantastic fluke I also met Joss Whedon and managed to snag an intro to the upcoming Y trade (the one with the Safeword arc which he had written to Brian saying how much he enjoyed it *beam!*). That was very uplifting!

Plus there's nothing like little toddlers dressed up as Spiderman and Darth Maul to make you feel great about being a working geek.


Friday, July 2, 2004

Crazy busy as per usual bit wanted to stop in after a bit of a long absence to provide y'all with updates in the world of Y.

Unmanned has gone into yet another printing! The Chicago Tribune ran a neat article in their women section in June. Entertainment Weekly put Y on their Must List in the last week of May!

Also, Brian got a 2004 Harvey nom for best Writer. Chester Brown won for his wonderful work on Louis Riel but really, looking at the list of amazing talent, they're all winners! Way to go Brian!

Next week I'm back with Tongues of Flame, which as the title suggests, is a wee bit on the hot side. We really hope you like this one, it was fun to draw.

More soon. Back to the drawing board...

Friday, April 16, 2004

Just heard this morning that Y - The Last Man, One Small Step trade paperback is going into a 2nd printing! Wee! Much thanks to everyone for picking up a copy!

Also, the CBC posted an interesting interview with me on their Radio 3 site. They took images from the book and inserted quotes fom a couple of interviews I did with JJ Lee over the last two months. It looks pretty sharp and there's music... just disregard all the exclamation marks!

Okay, Omarosa wasn't a plant but damn if that woman doesn't come across as someone who thinks the universe revolves around her. Ick. I'm sure a lot of how she was presented was due to heavy handed editing but she didn't help her case much with the few moments she did have to prove herself what with her creepy, fake posturing and outright denial of wrong doing. Ugh! I've known people like that and it just makes me go Grrrr! I'll stop now.

Angel is a good show. *sigh

Saturday, April 10, 2004

Ohhh Photoshop is fun!

Thanks to Kimmy over at Blogger the archive link is now working. Yay!

My friend Den sent me this great link: A Softer World. Picture Jack Handey getting hit by a truck full of Haikus and it still won't do Emily and Joey's site justice.

An interesting theory floating out there now about the Aprentice. Omarosa may very well be a plant intended to test the applicants' ability to deal with problematic employees. I mean, she's a little over the top to be real huh? And the whole tagline of the show is "You're Fired!" so it would make sense that the final round would require the winner to be able to fire someone if necessary. Personally Kawme should have pulled her from the Jessica Simpson transport detail immediately instead of extending the non-confrontation. The fact that he didn't will work against him. The fact that the other "employees" commented on his not dealing with her on the spot suggests that they may already be in on the conspiracy. The real tell will be if the final two applicants get to switch employees so the other guy can handle her. Or if some similar trouble with another employee comes up. It's a reality show after all, gotta have a twist!

Jeez, I'm being sucked into a reality show! I hate those things!

Y #21 is out and Goran's work is lovely. Hope you're out there getting a copy!

Happy Easter!

Sunday, April 4, 2004

I'm having trouble figuring out the archive code so if you hit that link you may end up in nowheresville. Working on it as time allows. Sorry.

Saw Hellboy this week and was pleasantly surprised. Good characters, visually strong and very Mignola-esque. His style translates really well and I have to applaud the production team for taking such big risks. I was a bit disappointed with the end though, very abrupt and kinda run of the mill: big bad, big fight, big mess, wrap up the loose ends fast. It seemed to be building up to something bigger and more resounding but instead resorted to video game boss-round ending number 309. I'm still recomending it though, with the hope that if we are fortunate enough to see a sequel there will be more of the unconventional (pancakes! kittens! talking corpses!) and less of the predictable (grenades down gullets. Overdone CGI *yawn*).

On a Y note, I attended a Women in Film seminar at SFU today that featured David Goyer speaking about adapting films from books and comics. Some neat industry annecdotes including one about a Disney executive stating flat out "There is no mucous in a Disney film! Ever!". Also some good points on the writing process and working with actors. I had the chance to say hello afterwards and he was very pleasant. Also met up with Steve Sadowski!

Later, Vicky and I went to see if Soda's (a small 50's diner with pretty good burgers and milkshakes) was still open. It had been converted to a so-so sushi joint. *sigh*

There's a shop up the street selling these GWEV electric mopeds. I'm sorely tempted.

Friday, April 2, 2004

I've added a couple of sites to the links pages that I hope you check out.

Digital Medusa is an online gallery displaying the personal collection of Steven Gettis. Since 1998 Steven has gotten dozens of literature based illustrations from creators throughout the comics industry. Impressive and worth a look.

Ghost Town is a site showing photographs of Chernobyl taken by a woman named Elena who makes regular trips into the city on the back of her Kawasaki Ninja. This link has been making the rounds on the boards lately and after you had a look you'll know why. Haunting and sad.

Saturday, March 27, 2004

We just heard that the Washington Post reviewed the third Y trade last week and gave it an A+!

So far I haven't been able to find the review online but here's hoping it'll pop up somewhere soon.

*warm glow*

Friday, March 26, 2004

Okay this steams my clams.

GWB laughs it up over WMDs

Every year there's this Press Banquet where the president usually goes up and makes a self-roasting styled speech. Maybe you remember the last one Clinton did that included a video of a day in the white house, complete with a bike ride down the halls, staring at laundry turning in the dryer and making a fake Oscar acceptance speech with a statuette swiped from Kevin Spacey. It was cute. So here comes Bush, not a funny bone in his body making cracks about looking for WMDs under his desk.

I can just see some Operation Freedom widow sitting watching the news one night when this segment comes up and then wondering if she saw correctly.

Will people please vote this jerk out of office? Or at least send him some pretzels?

Wednesday, March 24, 2004

The third Y trade including One Small Step and Comedy & Tragedy hit the stands last week. Go buy one for your girlfriend!

This weekend we saw a cool little movie called Bubba Hotep starring Bruce Campbell. It's no blockbuster but certainly entertaining. Campbell plays Elvis Presley living in a Texas retirement home plagued by an Egyptian mummy bent on eating the souls of the helpless residents. Some really funny moments highlighted by a surprisingly touching performance by Campbell. Recommended!

An interesting bit of news from down south.
Oregon county bans all marriage - period

Grrr. Taxes.

Friday, March 19, 2004

Thursday, March 18, 2004

Frequently Asked Questions

Where can I find copies of Y? Or Doctor Who: The Forgotten?

The collected trades of Y and Doctor Who: The Forgotten are available at comic shops and many bookstores. If you don't see it on their shelves ask them about ordering one in.  You can also find them through Amazon. Hint: they make lovely gifts!

Will you be selling any pages from Y?

We're phasing out The Hellkitty Store but you will be able to purchase pages through Cadence Comic Art. Sorry, we aren't taking requests for specific pages because we don't have them all, some have been sold or some have gone to the inker Jose Marzan Jr. and it takes a while to sift through the boxes to see if what you're looking for is there.  What shows up at Cadence is what we sent over that month. 

Do you do commissions/sketches?

If you send a request to I can give you a commission quote starting around $250 and going up depending on the size and how complicated the request is.  I can still do a quick convention style sketch for you for free (yes, free), though I have to warn you, there's a backlog right now and I'm doing my best to get them all out, all the while trying to work on my regular schedule of work.

Here's what you need to do for a free con style sketch.

Send your backing board and request (example "I would like a picture of Ampersand please") along with a self addressed stamped envelope to the following:

Pia Guerra
#169 - 2416 Main Street
Vancouver, BC
V5T 3E2
If you are from Canada please add a few stamps to the return envelope. People from the US or other countries can send me those international coupon thingies (NO MONEY!) if you can't get those don't worry, it doesn't cost THAT much for me to send boards in the mail. Of course if I suddenly become inundated with requests I may change that policy.

Please, please put a note on your package saying DO NOT BEND. The PO box I get my mail from will sometimes bend envelopes in order to cram it into that little mailbox and this will ruin your backing board. If you can, add a stiff board of cardboard in there that I include with the return art, just to be safe.

I promise to get these requests done as soon as posible. Those who have already sent stuff out I am currently working on them, sorry for the delay. If you've had an address change or need to contact me about your request you can drop me an e-mail at and I'll do my best to get back to you asap. If you're looking to get one for a birthday or special event please write TIME SENSITIVE on the outside of the envelope and I'll do my best to get to them back to you in time.

Oh, and if your request is personalised please don't let me see it turn up on e-bay. It's incredibly tacky considering I've taken the time away from work to give you a free sketch. And those thinking of buying one on e-bay, come on.

What is a backing board anyway?

Backing boards are the acid free pieces of white cardboard you get with bagged comics to keep them from bending. If you don't have one of these you can send a sheet of bristol or art paper. 8x10 or thereabouts is a good size, it keeps postage low and reduces the chances of it getting mangled by the post office. Don't forget to add a piece of stiff cardboard for added security!

I saw an interview with you the other day and I really feel you'd be perfect for this book idea I have.

I'm currently working on a few projects so I won't be available for some time. You're still welcome to e-mail me but just to let you know I may not be able read pitches or proposals.

Can you give me information on submitting work to comic book companies?

The best advice I can offer here is to put together three to six sample pages (photocopies, no originals) of your BEST sequential art. The idea is to show off your range so make the pages interesting. Make certain you put your name and address on the back of each page in case the pages get shuffled about. The last thing you want is an editor discovering a random page, loving your work but having no idea who to contact.

Pick a title you feel best suits your style and look at the credits box, there you will see the name of the editor and possibly an assistant editor. Get the address off the disclaimer bar and send your samples c/o of the editor or assistant editor along with a brief letter stating your interest in submitting work and a self addressed stamped envelope. You won't be guaranteed a response but if they do have an interest the SASE will make sure you hear it. Some editors will look at work via e-mail but avoid clogging their inboxes with huge files. Either keep them under 500 kb or host the files on your own site and send in links.

Conventions are also a good way to get your stuff seen. It's a great place to talk to other creators and hear feedback. You may also run into editors willing to look at work. If you do, keep it short, show only your best work and LISTEN. Take whatever critiques/advice they give you and WALK AWAY. You'll probably be running into these people again and again in the future and you want to be sure you leave them with a consistent, professional impression of yourself. Many newbies get overly defensive of their work and in the process make asses of themselves (believe me, I've done it myself). You can bitch and complain with friends about your interview later.

Remember, there aren't a whole lot of bridges in this business so don't go burning them all willy-nilly and then wonder why you're not getting work.

Good luck!

Wednesday, March 17, 2004

I had a request to fix the blog because the text was a little unreadable on the grey background. I do like the opacity of the frame but it may not be showing up as well on other people's browsers. I adjusted it a bit but I'll have to play with the colours some more to get it just right. Thanks for your patience.

More on Shaun of the Dead. Last year I stumbled across a wicked show on Bravo called Spaced about a writer and comic book artist who pretend to be a couple in order to get a flat. The pacing was sharp with loads of pop culture references, everything from Resident Evil to Lara Croft to Scooby Doo and Evil Dead. Ian and I actually went out and got a universal dvd player just so we could get the season one and two discs from the uk (that and Futurama box sets that wouldn't be out in North America for a a couple of years yet). Anyone who came to the apartment would be subjected to at least a couple of episodes (sorry). We were really hoping season three would get made but it looks like the creators Edgar Wright and Simon Pegg went and got themselves a budget and created this film that seems to have the same lightning pace and quirky humour. If anyone hears anything about a North American release please let me know because I'm squirming with anticipation!

Spring kinda sprung rather suddenly here. It's as if the world (okay the pacific northwest) just up and decided it didn't want to be cold anymore. Cherry blossoms exploded out of nowhere a couple of weeks ago. That frosty nip vanished practically overnight, replaced by the light scent of daffodils. It's so damn nice. Another winter has passed.

Friday, March 12, 2004

Will someone please tell me when this movie hits North America?!
Shaun of the Dead

Wednesday, March 10, 2004

Okay, so here's the thing about insomnia. It sucks. You can be dead exhausted but no matter how long you long you lie there, nothing even remotely resembling sleep occurs. I thought I'd kicked it yesterday when I found a shirt and covered my eyes with it. Passed right out. Today I try the same. It worked for a while, I slept maybe an hour or two but then the scratching started. Kinsey, our cranky orange tabby decided that she HAD to be inside the bedroom and no door was going to stop her. First she scrapes the door, meows a bit. All stuff you can ignore. But then the real alarming sound: that digging, gouging scratching into the carpet that no matter how much you hate for aggravating your allergies with all it's dust and crap, you can't do anything about getting rid of it because it's not yours and if the cats keep at it you'll lose your damage deposit!

So in that heavily altered state that only two hours of sleep can put you in, you drag your screaming muscles to the door and let the little bugger in. Ah, it's over you think, you can get back to sleep now, but no. Now she's pacing around your head and mewling for attention! Sleep is officially out of reach because some part of your brain suddenly clicks into wake mode and starts THINKING.

THIS is the real culprit behind insomnia, not the scratching cats, or the birds outside or the neighbours downstairs who just can't have quiet sex and insist that everyone on the block knows just who the daddy is, no it's that little nagging voice in your head that can't stop babbling to itself like some toddler on a kool-aid high.

How do I network the old computer to the new one so I can transfer information without unhooking the monitor each time? I should go out to that dollhouse shop in North Van and find some crown moulding, maybe some wainscotting and while I'm there I should look into redoing the porch posts. So why DID Martha lie to cover up a crime she didn't commit? I need to install the Wacom software on the new machine because Robin is coming over to learn Photoshop this afternoon. The scanner is so old that it isn't recognised by Windows XP. What the hell do I do if she wants to scan something?! I'll just have to hook everything back into the old machine! So what's the point of hooking up the tablet then?! I need to do buy another pair of jeans. I spilled gingerale on my only pair last night. I need to do laundry so I have something to wear when Robin comes over! Shit! What was the name of that movie with that kid who stops talking to protest nuclear weapons? Something Somone and someone. Why am I thinking there's a flamingo in the title? There was a football guy in it, or was it basketball? And he dies in a plane crash that may have been caused by the CIA... what was the name of that girl who wrote the letter to Gorbachev protesting nuclear weapons? Samantha something. She died in a plane crash too. Or was it Breshnev? Dumb nuclear weapons. Dumb CIA. The Girl Who Owned a City isn't as much fun to read as it was when I was a kid. Was there some weird agenda on part of the author there? Something about private cities and earning values and militias? Dumb seventies social theoreticians corrupting young minds with weird libertarian propaganda disguised as cheesy post apocalyptic fantasy. I don't care if I am mean, Martha Stewart is a bitch. I need to start seeding the Tiny Tim tomatoes. And all that Lobelia needs to get put in. I have to figure out how to keep those fucking squirrels out of the Lobelia this year. Damn, when is the landord going to fix the balcony? It's rotting right through. And then those stupid closet doors. She never came to fix them like she said she would. I didn't push because the place is a mess. I should just yank them out and put in nice Ikea curtains with grommets. Fuck I hate grommets. Damn these shelves! Why do I own so much junk? I'd really like a house. Hardwood floors. No allergies. Lots of room for the cats. Doesn't feel like a damn prison.

Ladies and gentlemen, insomnia.

So I got up and installed the tablet. Whoever thought serial ports work better with tiny screws is just nutty. You THINK you can unscrew them with your fingernail or the edge of a business card but no way. You just end up with ratty looking business cards and dire need for a manicurist. Maybe I need more calcium.

Oh, yes that good news I was mentioning. It's pobably safe now to mention that the contracts from New Line finally came in after months of back and forth between the studio lawyers and the agent. That's what I love about the film industry, everything has to be done right away but regardless of the wonder that is FedEx when someone says you'll have papers to sign next week it still takes eight months to get it.

The producers are all nice people and Brian and I are really looking forward to see what they come up with. Sure there are never any guarantees with these things, it may sit on a shelf forever or have some egomaniac actor type step in and decide that there needs to be a wacky talking dog in there, but here's to hope on this lovely spring-like morning.


Oh yeah, the name of the movie was Amazing Grace and Chuck.

Thursday, February 19, 2004

Hey everyone!
This whole production designer thing is a lot of work! If I'm not standing on a ladder painting sets for 16 hours straight I'm pulling my hair out trying to find costumes, grommets, devil puppets and the theme music to Peter and the Wolf on CD! Now that the show has finally premiered, I can actually get some sleep and boy do I need it. A few hours here, a couple of hours there just doesn't do it for me anymore. I'm a cranky Pia when I've not had enough zz's.

Opening night was great though. A few moments of outright panic beforehand but in the end people laughed and that was the most important thing of all. Awwwww. How Doogie Howser of me.

So anyway, now that the show is up and running I can get back to the nitty gritty of Y. I'm starting a story arc called Tongues of Flame which deals with events that occured in Widow's Pass (drawn by Goran Parlov). I'm thinking you'll dig it. And don't worry, I'll be staying on for the following arc as well. A lot will be happening over the next eight months and I wouldn't miss it for the world.

Also, some interesting news may be coming over the next week. Very happy about it but I also don't want to jinx things. More soon.

And hey, the bright boys at the WB are cancelling Angel. The rat bastards! After tonights episode I really wish they would reconsider. Smile Time was wonderfully devious despite it's jump-the-shark premise. Loved every minute of it. And yay for Wes! Next week looks like a gutwrench. Classic Joss!

I'm a little bummed about not being able to make it out to the Emerald City Comic Con on the 29th. I was all psyched up and then I saw that our final performance night of Sword Play is on the 28th. There are no early trains, and no buses that can get out there in time. And it's such a wonderful con too. I need to learn how to drive. Grrr.

Sun will be up soon. 'Night.

Monday, February 2, 2004

So here it is. Yet another attempt at a blog. Hopefully this time by making this spot the official Y news page instead of just a space to ramble about nothing only to erase it from embarassment the next day means that there will be more for you, dear and gentle readers to enjoy. Also it's a lot easier to update from a remote computer allowing me to drop in whilst at a con or visiting my godson and dish out the latest gossip (Y'know, they say "super Beans" will be the next BIG TOY for Christmas 2004!).

First off, our book Y-The Last Man is doing quite well. The reviews continue to be favourable, Brian K. Vaughan's writing still stuns people with his wonderful cliffhangers (myself included), and no one seems to be getting grumbly over the art yet so "yay!".

In January I did two interviews for CBC Radio which was very neat. One was conducted by J.J. Lee who came over to the apartment to "experience the artist's space" during our chat. Ian and I spent the whole day cleaning of course because goodness knows, ya gotta tidy up... for RADIO!

Right now I'm on a bit of break while Goran Parlov is doing a stint on Y, a three issue arc called Widow's Pass (this follows Safeword). It would have been cool to work on this story but there's so much coming up what with our heroes finally hitting California after nearly two years on the road, that any extra time to make this 6-8 part arc extra special is greatly needed and appreciated. I am so looking forward to seeing what Goran does with these characters.

The first script should be in pretty soon and in the meantime I'm treasuring every moment I have off. Ian is producing a Three Musketeers comedy at the Playwrights Center on Granville Island called Swordplay. Guess who's working as production designer? It's been a blast designing the set, costumes and promotional materials and in just over a couple of weeks I'll be scrambling backstage doing odd jobs like running a DV projector and "improv sketching" on an overhead.

For those of you in Vancouver, I hope you come and see the show. I hear there will be free three musketeers bars handed out at intermission!

More soon!