Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Issue 50 is done, woo hoo! Nine to go.

The Comix and Stories con yesterday was fun. I got there late thanks to a bout of tetchy laundry but I managed to meet up with some friends and talk shop for a few hours which was a good boost. Ian and I headed home from the office at about 4am, I brought the remaining 3 pages with me to finish on the couch.

The living room set up is not a favourite of mine but when the deadline looms it's better to be in comfortable surroundings I think. The office is a wonderful working environment, we call it Donkey Island for all the little geeky comforts therein but when faced with that awful pressure, those last few pages and all the half finished panels left to do before the 4 pm Fed Ex run, those brief stabs of panic where you keep asking yourself why the hell you agreed to do this... It's better to deal with it at home. I can put on some crappy TV, pet a cat, take a 20 minute nap and raid the fridge.

Also knowing I'm under the same roof as Ian helps. That's he's right there if I need to go snuggle up to him for a few moments and regain momentum.

Plus, Hedy Lamarr festival on TCM!

Monday, August 28, 2006

7 pages done. I need some sleep. More when I get up.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

We got into the fair at about 7pm which was the perfect time of day for this. The temperature was just right, not a wasp in sight, the crowds were all in a good mood.

We met up with friends at the casino and proceeded on the tried and true route: First stop, the sweet corn stand where we all picked up our butter soaked cobs of Chilliwack corn. After tossing the cobs and smiling wide to check for corn in our teeth we made our way over to the lemonade stand followed by a walk over to Hunky Bill's tent for perogies. Then over to the mini donuts stand for some treats to bring into the Superdogs show. We cheered our throats raw at the super cuteness of dogs racing through tunnels and over little fences.

From there we got tickets for the Prize Home and made our way to the midway were we wacked some moles, shot some skee ball and of course the mandatory round of crossbow. I lost at the crossbow buuut...

I won a giant Bart Man at the ball roll race! Woo hoo!

Tomorrow, back to the office to catch up on pages.

Friday, August 25, 2006

Four pages done. Three to go for issue 50.

Today we're off to the PNE. Sweet corn and lil' donuts, skeeball and the crossbow. Can't wait!

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

All right, I got the code for comments finally figured out! Instead of leaving messages on my very annoying message board you can now post your thoughts directly to the blog. Let's keep it un-crazy though, okay? I will delete flamers and spammers without mercy.

The old message board will be up for a while longer but I'll probably take the link out eventually. I tend to hang out at Bendis and BKV's boards anway.

Page 19 is almost done.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Pages 17 and 18 halfway done.

I'm beginning to seriously dislike my immediate neighbourhood. Mount Pleasant itself is great but this block has become hell on earth thanks to seemingly non stop construction projects. This summer the culprit is a house a few doors over from the corner condo (the perpetrator of auditory tortures past), another Victorian with delusions of grand realty prices. For the last two weeks starting at 9am the day starts with a loud saw followed by hours and hours of hammering. The giant industrial dumpster parked out front doesn't offer much hope of it being a short term thing either.

Before this wasn't much better with the house across the street from our building undergoing extensive renovations over the last three months. In the early spring we saw the development permit sign for that one go up stating that an add-on would be built into the back. We didn't think too much of it since it would be behind the house so we probably wouldn't even notice it. As it turned out the whole house was being gutted, raised and rebuilt. The road had to be ripped up to add in new sewage lines. Total nightmare. And it's still not finished.

And now, the icing on the cake, over on the other end of the block a house there has put up its own development sign. This one for a complete tear down so a three story condo can go up in it's place.

It's all greed. Greedy, inconsiderate fucks cashing in on a hot real estate market, taking perfectly good homes, not even very big ones at that, chopping them up into tiny apartments and selling them for ridiculous prices ($500,000 for a basement suite?!).

It's depressing. On the one hand there's not being able to sleep because of the noise or close the windows because of the heat (making the noise worse) and on the other... We'd love to have a home of our own someday, in the area if possible but with the prices the way they are it just seems so out of reach. And with all the construction going on, finding that perfect little single family dwelling will only be harder won't it?


Monday, August 21, 2006

Ended up going to the Richmond Night Market on Saturday instead. I found a wicked Chairman Mao watch there.

He waves his arm with every tick! Plus it's a wind up which is hard to find these days. I'm digging the irony too.

We hadn't been to the market before and it was pretty overwhelming. A giant Ultraman statue watched over all the flashing lights and tinny Canto-pop. Hundreds of people jostled for looks at the stands displaying everything from Hello Kitty to handbags to electronics. A lot of junk but a few neat finds like a cheap set of speakers for the mp3 player. We ran into some friends and wandered together for a while until hunger started calling and we split for the food stands. We had some fabulous shrimp and dumplings. I loved that this market was in the evening, it saved us from having to deal with swarms of wasps and the midday sun pounding down on the shoulder to shoulder masses.

Today we were at the office, sleepy from an early wake up for a family lunch date. I got page 16 started and then passed out on the couch. Later we met up with Roger and Louise and went to see Snakes on a Plane.

This was a fun film. I was surprised at how much it played like a Hong Kong action film. The pacing, the ridiculous plot and even sillier dialogue... replace the leads with Chow Yun Fat and Anita Mui and you'd have a classic along the lines of Hard Boiled, Tiger on the Beat and High Risk (that last one had a very nutty scene with snakes in a bathroom).

Goofy and worth a trip to the theater.

Friday, August 18, 2006

5 pages done. Garhh. That was a long night. My hand is crazy sore. Vic and Ian want to go to the Richmond night market later today. I hope I can get some decent sleep before then.

There really isn't that much to the movie the Grudge is there?

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Just a bunch of backgrounds left to do and I'm done with this batch. I'll bring them home just in case I get another burst of energy but right now the hand has gotten stiff. Grr. It's frustrating to be so close but needing another day.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Page 15 is halfway there. Fallen a bit behind this weekend. Errands and weird sleep. Stiff muscles. These pages have a lot of action in them and combined with everything else I've been half drawing panels, struggling to get the flow of movement to work without it looking like a Michael Bay film dropped into Waiting for Godot.

Couple more days.

And it's not like I don't like action. Quite the opposite, it's my favourite part, capturing motion in just the right way. One day I'd like to draw an entire issue with one well choreographed fight scene. Just go to town. Pull the martial arts references off the shelf, dig up the Jet Li movies. Graceful moves, proper physics, the right amount of violence. That would be cool.

Added to all this there's a car chase... sort of, can't reveal anything of course. There's been this unwritten rule throughout the series: no car scenes. Too static, or too easy or something like that. But here's this cool car scene and now I find I've gotten rusty with cars, or their motion, getting it to look like a hunk of steel barreling down a street. It's not a big deal really. I do want to get it right though.

Monday, August 14, 2006

I finally got the gallery and resume pages set up. Now you too can share in embrassments past! Just click the Portfolio page for more details!

Lulu is already very missed. What a great cat.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

I'm glad that Michael Walsh didn't take my comments too personally the other day. He sent me a very nice e-mail:

Ms G.,

Just a quick note to thank you again for taking the time to chat with me on the radio. Comics remain one of those wonderful topics that people can agree or disagree about with cordial passion. I once knew a first-generation comics fan named George Henderson, a former Canadian paratrooper who'd served in the Korean war.
He published an early comics "journal" called Captain George's Whizzbang in the late 1960s out of his Memory Lane comics shop in downtown Toronto's Markham St. Village shopping district. He referred to comics, affectionately, as "the toys of the dead."
What he meant, of course, was that comics were artifacts of a time gone by - childhood - and of moments of pleasure buried in the past. I think George would have been pleased to know that comics were no so much dead as comatose and that the thrilling days of yesteryear, when big kids (a.k.a. adults) could enjoy comics (graphic novels?) openly and shamelessly, would return.

Thanks Michael.

Got Pages 13 and 14 roughed out. Tackling a bit of insomnia right now. Tends to happen on deadlines. Lulu heads home today. I'm gonna miss that lil' hellion.

Friday, August 11, 2006

Pages 11 and 12 are started up.

The interview went very well this evening although I have to admit there was some frustration involved due to the use of the term 'graphic novel'. I should have done some more research beforehand so I could have been more clear, I knew we would be talking about graphic novels but not to the extent the host had planned out. Mr. Walsh had brought in the 30th anniversary issue of the Comics Journal that had a special reprinting of what they considered to be the first graphic novel ever made, titled It Rhymes With Lust (predating Eisner's Contract With God). I guess because I drew graphic novels everyone thought I'd be following this story which sadly I haven't, most likely because I'm not a regular reader of the Comics Journal (horrors, I know).

The story was meant to be an important milestone in the evolution of the graphic novel to what it is today. Not comics, graphic novels. And here's where I became frustrated, as I see no distinction between the two aside from how these stories are bound.

So we kept on this for some time until finally I said something along the lines of "People who think comics are for kids and don't want to be caught reading them try to apply this term just so they can feel comfortable reading comics".

Which is really how I feel about this. Bless Frank Miller and his body of work (okay, I'm a bit iffy on DK2) but his current crusade to declare comics a dead medium, graphic novels are the future blah blah blah just tans my hide! Come on, they're comics people! What's the big deal here?

The thing that gets me is when people refer to the well known graphic novels, works like V for Vendetta, Watchmen, Dark Knight Returns, Sandman and okay, Y -The Last Man they tend to forget that all of these books started off as a series of individual comic books. Yet somehow the book form is an elevated medium, a more adult version to the original?

When I was younger and collected comics for fun and profit (*g*) we didn't think of these books so highly. We called them 'trade paperbacks' and they were meant to be used as an alternative to pulling out the oh so valuable comics from their mylars thereby preventing devaluation. So if you wanted to give your buddy a copy of Daredevil: Born Again or the phoenix Saga you could hand over the trade and not worry about getting it back in the same condition because they were essentially worthless.

I have never considered myself a graphic novelist/artist despite the fact that some of my work ends up in the collected format largely regarded as graphic novels. I draw comics. Comic books. Not floppies, not pamphlets as some have called them and god how I hate that usage. If I wanted to make pamphlets all day I'd work at Kinkos thank you very much.

Some stories are longer than the standard comic, not all books are made to be put out on a monthly schedule you see but you can't bind them the same way with staples because the extra pages would cause the book to fall apart. Hence the book binding.

And because it looks like a book it must be better right?

I don't want to be bitter sounding here, really I don't. I just wish people wouldn't assume the format automatically means better or more mature content. I've read some truly beautiful, mature stories in individual issues of comic books and I've read some real dogs in the bound format (and felt ripped off by the price I paid for all the extra production involved).

A crappy movie on a plasma screen is still a crappy movie after all.

So anyway, challenging interview, wish I was more articulate on the matter.

This afternoon: Birthday party for Kat! Happy Birthday Kat!

Wednesday, August 9, 2006

Pages are done and now for some sleep. If I can get up in time there's a life drawing class up on Main I'd like to catch this evening.

Tuesday, August 8, 2006

Almost done with this batch, some backgrounds and it's out.

Just to let anyone know who might be interested, I'll be doing an interview on CFRO, 102.7 FM this coming Thursday evening between 9 and 10 pm PST. We'll be talking comics and graphic novels.

looking forward to the showers predicted over the next day or so. It's been too damn hot and muggy at the office.

Monday, August 7, 2006

Pages 9 and 10 are halfway there, a couple more days and I'll have finishes done on all these pages. It's a strange way to work I know, bouncing from page to page but it's so easy to get bogged down in the details of a single panel sometimes it's better to continue to the next page and go back to the trouble spots later.

It's BC day today, no doubt the pool will be packed.

Sunday, August 6, 2006

Okay, the whole fireworks party and drawing board thing didn't work out. We both woke up way too late and sapped of all our energy to do anything. We tried. Got as far as Bert's for lunch/dinner after which we said "aw crap, let's go buy some real food for later tonight and tidy up around the house".

Which we did. Well, for the most part. The laundry we sorted through is still sitting in piles, one to be set into the closet and the other going to the Sally Ann. We had a lot of clothes we weren't really wearing anymore and it was about time we took care of them.

As the fireworks thudded in the distance I got a little grumpy for not going to the party. I wanted to hang with Riel, show her these cool shoes I bought last month. Not that I'm a big shoe show off, we had a shoe shopping day together before the wedding and I don't know, there's a bond now I guess. And these shoes I found are pretty sweet.

Anyway, I was grumpy and restless and tired and surrounded by laundry. And that's when Ian suggested we watch a movie, the Matador with Pierce Brosnan. And wow, two really great Greg Kinnear movies in as many days. Impressive.

After that I fidgeted with the electrics in the dollhouse. Nothing more satisfying than taking apart a 1/12th scale hanging hurricane lamp, shortening the chain, re-wiring the plate with its impossibly tiny screws and getting it to light again. One day I'll get all these fixtures actually installed.

Saturday, August 5, 2006

Pages 7 and 8 started.

We saw Little Miss Sunshine this evening. Brutally honest, funny as hell, a wonderful ensemble piece.

Back home and Ian let off a sneeze that sent Lulu flying from the couch into the blinds, onto the table and tearing off into another room. She's having a time out now.

Tomorrow we're at a rooftop fireworks party and then back to the drawing table.

Friday, August 4, 2006

We're sitting in front of the tv watching a show on the food channel about salmon fishing when Ian says, "Oh, I had a dream about you this morning where you set Mel Gibson on fire."


"Yeah, and we got into a fight over it too."

"Holy shit!"

"You were an extra on a movie set and there was Mel and you just set him on fire, poof, and he was running around screaming and you were like 'what?' and I couldn't believe you'd just do that."

"Should I be worried that your subconscious sees me as someone capable of burning someone alive?"

"It was weird is all I'm saying."

"I have to blog this."

He's looking over at me right now with the sweetest eyes. I love my crazy husband.
Page 6 almost done.

The cats are doing their best to not looked miffed but their growling continues. Lulu plays a kind of tag where she'll fly onto your lap or chest and fly right off as if you were a trampoline. It's a bit of a shock if you don't see it coming.

How did it get to be Friday already?

Thursday, August 3, 2006

We're going to be a 4 cat household for a few days. Ian's sister asked us to look after little Lulu while her place is undergoing renovations. So far it's a bit like putting North Korea, Japan, Iran and Israel together in the same room with some catnip. Lots of growling and hissing broken by short bursts of chasing each other around but no real violence.

I get to play gunboat diplomacy with the squirt bottle.

After the pages went out I took the evening off to rest the hand and take in some fireworks. We started the night with dinner at the Pacific Culinary Institute. A friend was in town and had a prepaid reservation but couldn't make it so she offered it to us. We'd heard good things about it, inexpensive gourmet meals prepared by students and figured it would be fun to play amateur food critics. It wasn't all that bad. The berries are all in season right now and made for a wonderful dessert.

Afterwards we made our way to another friend's apartment in Kits and watched the show from their balcony. When that was done we sat around talking, oddly enough the conversation was dominated with insect and rodent horror stories. Maybe that's why I'm still up. Visions of Wolf Spiders scuttling in my head. Brr. Think of Randolph Mantooth, think of Randolph Mantooth. Emergency was a fun series. Especially that episode with the... RATTLESNAKE!

Ugh. Hopeless.

Wednesday, August 2, 2006

Stayed up late to finish these five pages so they can go out in the Fed Ex run today.

Augie just climbed into the dollhouse for a nap. One of these days I'll get a picture so that I may share the cuteness.

One note about this whole Mel Gibson crap. Yes his comments were damn douchey but come on people, the guy got into a car drunk. He endangered people's lives. He could have mowed down someone's kid, someone's parents or grandparents and everyone's more concerned about what he said? Fuck him. I've hated his work since his 'flied lice' line in that despicable crap-fest Lethal Weapon 4. His total disregard for human life cements his title as dirtbag in my book.

Yes I need some sleep.

Tuesday, August 1, 2006

5 pages just about done.

A final word on Planetes. I've read all the books and as of yesterday we've seen all the anime series on DVD and couldn't recommend them all more.

First off the manga. The premise is simple, a crew of debris collectors work in orbit to keep space safe from errant junk. The time is about a hundred years from the first Apollo missions and space is now a very crowded and busy place where collisions between said debris and working ships can mean disaster. Which says nothing about how damn beautiful, intelligent and cool these stories are. Balanced between heartbreaking stories examining the meaning of existence against the infinite blackness of space and the need for love and connection are moments of hilarity like walking for miles through a lunar wasteland just to get a smoke.

No warp drives, wormholes or aliens here, just hardcore science and that's my favourite part. The real limitations of space are there not to be sidestepped with a bit of puffy pseudophysics but confronted, sometimes overcome, sometimes not and in both revealing humanity's true fragilities and strengths.

When I saw the first of the series of anime I wasn't sure I was prepared to like it. There were changes made that made it seem like a watered down version of the books. A cutesy office enviroment that included a few wacky characters, a passive but pleasant manager, an assistant manager into magic tricks and office politics, and a temp who never cracks a smile. Add to this some wannabe ninjas on the moon and I began to wonder what the heck they were getting at taking such heavy material and making it so seemingly light.

And then some of the more poignant chapters were adapted, and the kookier characters were fleshed out becoming more real in their motivations. Finally, all of these initial oddities connected, culminating in some amazing stuff and driving home the central themes of the books. Ian and I found ourselves sniffling at the end of many episodes.

And of course the art is fantastic in both.

Definitely worth a look.