Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Two pages of the Treehouse story mostly done and a third started. Bit of a slow start but looking good.

Almost done with series two of Life on Mars. Wow! Loving it! It's also making me antsy to see John Simm show up on Doctor Who.

Monday, May 28, 2007

Five pages out today.

After I get some sleep I'll be spending this evening getting more work done on the Treehouse story.

Just some quick responses to some questions that are becoming more frequently asked lately.

What are you doing after Y?
At present, my only plan is to get this Treehouse of Horror story done. Ian and I wrote it and I'll also pencil it. It's a fun story, I hope you like it when it comes out this fall.

Other than that, I have no solid plans and won't be making any until I've had a little time off to look at what the next step should be. There are ideas percolating in my noodle, many ideas. Plus there have been a couple of juicy offers and tempting openings. Let's leave it at that for now.

Sketches? Commissions?
Please refer to the FAQ for the answer to that. I'm not taking commissions until I'm good and ready. Sorry!

And I sent you a sketch request a few weeks back...
Yep, I'll get to it! They're all safe and sound in the inbox. I really appreciate your patience right now, there's a lot to focus on in this final arc, total brainsuck, but I'll make time soon.

Cons? Doing any?
I have two lined up for the con season, San Diego in July and Dublin in September. That's it. Too busy for others. If that changes I'll post it here.

Thanks again for writing! The kind words are always and very appreciated!

Friday, May 25, 2007

Four pages nearly done with a fifth started. Really wanted to get an early pack out today but my hands are just not cooperating.

Last night we had a mini celebration of the first anniversary of our reception. We dug the cupcakes out of the freezer, the champagne left over from the wedding day, along with the super cheesy flutes that were a part of the ceremony package. We loved the great big KLUNK sound they made when we toasted to a wonderful year past and cybernetically enhanced long life to come.

And the cupcakes tasted hideous, but well worth the laughter, "Oh yeah, you can taste all the other food that's been in the freezer this year. Mmm, chicken wings!"

After a lovely tuna steak dinner we sat down to watch more of the excellent BBC series Life on Mars. The Football episode was very touching, especially Tyler's speech near the end. It's a well done show and I can't wait to see how it all resolves.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Just sent out a pack of 5 pages after another all nighter. Ugh. Rough week. Couldn't work in the office because the washrooms were getting renovated and with the holiday weekend there weren't any nearby businesses open. Kinda makes working the long hours a right hassle. I set up in the living room on the easel. My back, still messed up from the trip was not happy with it. Leg is still bruised too.

With a little luck I'll be able to switch back to a night schedule. The office is ridiculously loud during the day.

Yep, grumpy.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Grr! I've got four pages almost done here but not enough to get out to FedEx. I did end up redoing one of those problem pages, the paper was getting too worn from working it over and would have been a huge pain to ink.

Now making things even more of a hassle is a stupid stat holiday on Monday. I'll get a larger batch ready for Tuesday.

On the bright side, Ian and I received an invite to do a con in Dublin at the end of September. That should be really cool. The book will be done by then, less stress, more time to see the sights.

And now back to work...

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Pages seven and eight laid out. I'd like to get a batch out for Friday but it's looking more realistic that it'll be four pages instead of five. The jet lag is causing us to get up way earlier (starting the day at 6am!? Whaaa?!) so maybe five is possible. Pages four and five are turning into a real pain trying to fix. I don't know why I didn't just start over from scratch.

Off to face this day. I'll have some more trip pictures up once this set is done.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Started the day with a trip to Aoki Sushi to make up for the week away from raw fish. Yummy!

From there we went to the office to get on work. I started fixing up the two pages I couldn't get done before we headed out, almost finished with those. Page six is started and I got a few panels done for the Treehouse story.

Sometime in the afternoon we heard a very loud bang outside. Turns out the front tire of a bus exploded as it pulled into the stop outside the ballet school. No one was hurt, except when I drove my bare foot into the kickstand of my bike when I hurried over to see what all the commotion was. Perrier is really good at cleaning up bloody wounds. Don't worry, it was only a tiny gash. The bus tilted at an alarming angle towards the sidewalk as bewildered passengers disembarked.

My stack of sketch requests is getting big again. For those still waiting, I'll get to them very soon and thank you for your patience!

So it turns out the Doctor Who twelve inch figure I found in London is a perfect fit to the Barbie Vespa I picked up a few months ago. See Idiot's Lantern if you have no idea what I'm on about. The sticker book is a fun distraction, very zen. I'll need to find more stickers.

Tomorrow, more work and then dinner and DVD watching with Riel!

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Holy crap we're home!

Monday started early (again), we packed all our travel swag and with a few hours before our train was set to leave we got in a cab to visit the Bristol Forbidden Planet where we bought even more Doctor Who stuff (yes, I'm a sad, sad example of geekhood). Really nice store too, packed with stuff and very people friendly which isn't always easy to find in North America.

We walked around the neighbourhood, enjoying the sunshine and getting more of a look at the town we've had so little chance to check out this weekend. Ian was reminded of Halifax with the styles of buildings and bridges. I loved he canal boats.

Then back to the hotel, check out and off to the train station. It was a lengthy ride through some gorgeous countryside, and I think I saw one of those old chalk carvings on a hillside, the Whitehorse? The picture I took was really fuzzy but neat all the same.

Gatwick was a nightmarish two hours of standing in poorly executed lines followed by what can only be described as an excruciatingly harrowing nine and a half hour flight. Air Transat is the WORST airline in existence, so much so that I'm going to say it again, this time in bold caps: AIR TRANSAT IS THE WORST AIRLINE IN EXISTENCE. I can't recommend anyone fly with them as we will never fly with them ever again. Ever.

They pack their planes to bursting, nine insanely small seats to a row. Even if you can squeeze into them you're then faced with the fact that shoulders tend to be slightly wider than most hips and if three adults are sharing a row then your only option is to cross your arms or overlap shoulders with warm, sweaty strangers, or try your best to tuck in to avoid getting slammed by the trolley or just about anyone trying to pass to get to the washrooms.

The food was barely edible looking less like "Chicken Coco Vin" than a Hungry Man Stew with the ingredients not mixed together. I was splashed with tea by the attendant, and whenever one kid stopped screaming another one a few rows over was more than happy to take up the slack.

And then they played Dreamgirls. Again.

Exhausted, bruised legs, sore back and very, very happy to be home. And really charged to get into the office to do some work. Woo hoo!

Sunday, May 13, 2007

The Bristol Comic Expo wrapped up on a very rainy, pretty day. Had a great chat with Rich Johnston about must see television from both sides of the Atlantic (got ourselves a huge list of items to hunt down). Attended the infamous Hypotheticals Panel and had a good laugh. And then closed the day back at the show doing some final sketches.

On the way back to the hotel we stopped by St. Mary's to have a look inside. It's an ancient church that was absolutely fascinating. By the South entrance is the grave of the "celebrated church cat" and the very notion made us smile. Inside we were greeted by some very pleasant Stewards who invited us into the upcoming service. They let us wander about while the choir and the enormous pipe organ warmed up.

In the North Transept there was a "Chaotic Pendulum". A sign told visitors how the pendulum was a part of "St. Mary Redcliffe's Journey Into Science Project, challenging us to think about our universe." This pendulum would swing either way depending on how a drop of water landed on a bar, basically demonstrating chaos theory and in turn how the universe is filled with marvelous mysteries. Loved it. So much better than the stuffiness of Westminster Abbey.

(Oh and speaking of that one priest who insisted we not listen in on his tour, after talking with Brian the other night there came an opportunity to use a bit of trivia learned from that day in an upcoming issue! Take that mister you're-not-allowed-to-learn-anything-without-special-permission-guy! Nyah nyah!)

Back at the hotel we decided to have dinner at the Phoenix (Ian wanted a chance at the food after I went on about it). During our meal a man at a nearby table with a stateside accent started loudly complaining to the waiter about his starter. We were stunned listening to this jerk who thought paying "six bucks for four pieces of asparagus was ridiculous!" He kept going on and on and then demanded that a manager be called. The staff were very diplomatic and polite, offering to give him the starter for free but he kept at it, booming about how this place wasn't the Plaza Hotel in New York, and how he'd been all around the world and what was so special about this asparagus that it would cost that much?

We marveled at his gall, and then came the final straw: as he got louder and louder he claimed that he had lived in the UK for a year and then asked the waiter, who's accent was European, how long he had been here. And that's when Ian jumped in and called him on his rudeness.

The guy turned and yelled at Ian asking him to stay out of their business and Ian snapped back saying he was the one being rude to everyone in the restaurant with his uncalled for comments.

He continued stupidly and Ian stood his ground (so proud of him). And finally, when the staff appeared looking nervous Ian made his statement "We're done" to which the asswipe responded "I'LL SAY WHEN WE'RE DONE!" in true Marlboro-Man fashion.

We just grinned at this incredibly retarded git. All he could do was turn back to the waiter and yell for his bill. He and his very timid girlfriend got up and left for the door and we really couldn't help but snicker at his outfit, stained t-shirt, bad fitting track pants and the grungiest plastic flip flops ever.

Holy shit, that's real world class traveller attire all right.

We thanked the staff for a very nice dinner and headed over to the Ramada to see if friends were in the lobby. There was a comment card on the table and I just had to commemorate the evening's happenings:

Just a reminder to all, it's always a good idea to be nice to people because you never know when you'll be in the vicinity of a cartoonist with a photographic memory.

And heyyy! Spaced is on channel Four! All right!

Saturday, May 12, 2007

The Bristol expo is so much fun. The attendance is a couple of thousand or so with makes it very cozy. It's one of the most polite shows I've ever been to, very refreshing. The signings went well and we have a few more set for tomorrow, an 11am spot at the American Dreams booth and another one in the autograph area, possibly at noon.

The day's only marked negative was taking a break outside for some air and while resting on a bus stop bench we witnessed (or rather heard) a pigeon run over by a car. Gah! A young girl on a bench nearby with her mum was badly traumatised by this. If her group had been the ones tossing bread for the birds to eat then I'm sure that only added to the shock. I don't think I'll get that out of my head very soon.

The rest of the day went better. We had dinner with Shelly Bond and a whole bunch of local creators. Mark and Irma were there and we had a great time chatting over pasta.

After Ian split off to get some work done at the hotel and the rest of us sat in on the Eagle Awards and cheered Brian as Pride of Baghdad won a statue for Favourite Graphic Novel. Good on 'im! The host of the awards was Norman Lovett and he was very funny.

Once the awards came to a rowdy conclusion it was off to the bar where everyone struggled to be heard over the even rowdier partiers done with their Eurovision viewing (I think Serbia won). Got to speak (yell) with Duncan Fegredo who was very pleasant.

Once it was obvious that I was starting to lose my voice I excused myself and headed back to the hotel. Oh man I'm pooped.

Friday, May 11, 2007

We arrived in Bristol yesterday afternoon and shortly after settling in we decided to go for a bit of a wander to have a look at the city. We only got as far as Queen Square when the heavens opened up and let loose with a downpour of pretty biblical proportions. By the time we got back we were soaked through even depite Ian's water resistant wind breaker and my little hotel umbrella.

We retreated under some dry covers and then the phone rang... Brian was in town and was interested in dinner. Ian stayed in to sleep off the chills and I met Brian in the hotel restaurant, the Phoenix, where we finally discussed the last few issues. All the details, exactly how it ends.

Ohh, you kids are in for a ride.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Thursday, Tower of London and an overview of London's truly horrific and gore-ridden history. The ravens were cool. The crown jewels were sparkly.

Then a trip by ferry to Westminster Abbey and the resting place of some three thousand notables. Someone had lain a rose on Shakespeare's monument (aww). Saw Darwin's marker, noted that it didn't have very much to say about the man *g*. We (along with a couple of others) were asked by a priest conducting a tour to not listen in since it was a private event, which seemed silly since it was right there in the open and we were hanging towards the back. Ian had some Catholic School flashbacks as a result. We left a bit irked, especially since we paid ten bloody pounds to get in.

We walked over to the London Eye where I finally started to fade from all the activity. I really wanted to hang at the arcade and play some skeeball but there just wasn't any energy left.

We headed back to the hotel where the latest Y script was waiting in my e-mail inbox. After reading it I felt as if I'd been kicked in the gut. Holy shit.

A grim yet interesting day overall. After a long sleep I woke up at around 2am. Feel much better now. Might get a few more hours before tackling Friday.

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Wednesday was a combination of sheer delight and abject terror.

We picked up days passes for the Tube and headed out for the Tower of London. We got off at Bank and while trying to get our bearings wandering through tiny streets Ian was nearly hit by a truck. Scared the crap out of us both and we spent a few shivery moments under the Great Fire Monument trying to collect ourselves. Thankfully the lorry drivers in this town are used to having pedestrians jump out at them all the time (jaywalking is almost mandatory here) and as a result have the reflexes of a cat.

Christ! That almost turned into a cheesy David Tennant made for tv movie. Two days before our anniversary no less.

We decided to chuck the Tower and hiked on over to the Globe instead. And there was one of the many delightful moments of the trip, sitting in the Globe Theater during rehearsals. Amazing! The sad part was that we couldn't take pictures while the actors were onstage. Maybe we'll get out to see a show there Thursday night, grab some shots then. It's such a beautiful theater and yeah, the Shakespeare geek in me went nuts for it.

After that we went to the Tate Modern and breezed through a few of the exhibits. I was more interested in the building really, just wasn't in the mood to take in the art. Plus the 4th floor had a Dali show and after being quite severely traumatised by one of his movies when I was twelve I had to steer clear of it. Just too emotionally raw for it that day. Some great food at the top floor restaurant though.

From there we walked over to St. Pauls and saw they were charging nine pounds to get in. A bit much so we spent some time people watching on the steps and resting our feet. From there we went to Leicester Square and found a great discount on a pair of Spamalot tickets, then over to Piccadilly Circus where we bought the dozen or so CDs and DVDs we looked at the other day. A lot of great stuff in that pile, Bill Bailey, Life on Mars, Dylan Moran, Ricky Gervais, IQ and others that we won't be able to view until we get to the multi region back home.

After a couple of hours resting our feet at the hotel we saw Spamalot, fabulous! It reminded us both of Swordplay and inspired us to get working on the sequel already.

This morning the news was abuzz with Blair announcing that he's stepping down. The oddest moment: an interview in front of the Parliament buildings with the drummer from Blur. The anchor asked him how he thought Tony Blair would be remembered to which he responded, "How should I know? I'm a drummer! It's 7am, this is my going to bed time!"

Sweet moment: Peppa Pig is on right now, and our friend Lilly does the voice for her. "I love tomato soup!" Dead cute! What a nice way to start another busy day.

Tuesday, May 8, 2007


After a very refreshing full night of sleep we hit the 8am (still on Vancouver time). We walked through Bloomsbury, over to Picadilly where we staked out some DVDs and comedy CDs at Virgin and then hiked over to Buckingham Palace to see the Changing of the Guard.

A lot has been said about the over-ratedness of this event, how the crowds piled up against the gates can be a really uncomfortable chunk of time spent just to see guards troop about.

But it was fun! For two people still adjusting to being halfway around the world it was good, mindless milling watching bright colours on a beautiful sunny morning. Added to the surrealness, we met a couple from the train out of Gatwick yesterday (we had a moment re-arranging bags on the rack), and it turns out that not only were they on the same plane as us, but they live a few blocks away on Oak and 14th!

And then to make it even weirder, the marching band took center yard during the change and fully expecting to hear Sousa-esque bombast we were completely surprised when they broke out in a medley of pop hits starting with Thriller, then Cindy Lauper's Time after Time, Up Where We Belong (sang that at our high school graduation!), Eye of the Tiger from Rocky and finally You Give Love a Bad Name. Wha-huh?

As we made our way to Trafalgar Square the wind picked up sending a viscious weed/pollen cloud into the air that put everyone into wheezes and sneezes. It was almost funny except the little barbed fiends made our skin itch like crazy, and kept blinding us with every gust.

Naturally we had to pay a visit to Forbidden Planet for even more Doctor Who junk. A stop in Russel Square was very pleasant.

We got back to the hotel mid afternoon and were so tuckered we decided a nap was in order. It was only supposed to be a couple of hours but we passed out until just before midnight. Ugh. Can't win with the sleep. We missed out on trying for Spamalot tickets but there's always tomorrow.

Had some dinner, checked some e-mails, read a cool Alan Moore interview in Mustard and now it's back to sleep. I think the plan for Wednesday is the Tower of London and the Globe Theater. Fingers crossed.

Monday, May 7, 2007

After nine hellish hours in the world's most uncomfortable airplane seats, getting on the wrong express train from Gatwick (again!) and dealing with some hotel room swapping when the first room we got was situated next to an industrial air conditioner... we're finally settled in.

And it's so nice to be here. The weather is amazing and there are throngs of people out and about. I want to go and start exploring right away but I am so tapped out after such an exhausting week getting ready for the trip (errands, deadlines, insomnia and neighbours with power tools). I need sleep like crazy.

I think we both need this break more than we realised.

Friday, May 4, 2007

So we saw Spider-man 3 tonight and despite being loaded with flaws I had a good time watching it. There were some really hokey moments with cringe-worthy dialogue but still, Raimi made it a fun flick.

My hair stylist has an unnerving resemblance to Markie Post. I need some sleep.

Thursday, May 3, 2007

On the way to the office today I looked up and saw this huge eagle floating majestically above the neighbourhood, circling slowly, all alone in a sky full of puffy clouds. I began to wonder what thoughts would be running through its head...

Yeah that's about right.

(Ooh, I wonder if Stephen Colbert's eagle is still hanging around Vancouver?)
In my brief moment of bumitude I totally forgot to relay events of earlier this evening! Namely, the Anza-Bonanza pub quiz!

This somewhat monthly event at the Anza club brings in all the local geeks for booze and trivia and the occasional near brawl.

Tonight our four person team (the Judoon Platoon) conquered such questions as "what are the primary colours of light?" (red blue and green), "Whose birthday is celebrated around the world on January 25th?" (Robbie Burns) and "what is the name of Doctor Who's Time machine?" (well that one's obvious!).

We were also laid low by this quiz night's infamous trick questions, or rather questions that appeared to be trick questions but weren't: "What US state has the highest population?" (thinking it was a trick we answered Colorado. It was California after all *sigh*).

But hey, we took 2nd place! Woo hoo! We won a lil' trophy (actually an old softball trophy) and a copy of American Psycho (as seen in one of the 4 video questions and probably just an excuse for the quiz master to clear his old video collection).

Fun night. And now I feel much better about that rejection. Phew.
Page two almost done, remaining three pages laid out and getting there.

I'd been working on an outline submission recently and you know how you think you've nailed it, figured out where a story should have been going only to find a big ol' rejection in your e-mail inbox complete with a painfully obvious highlighting of all the points you missed?

Ugh. Hard.

A bit bummed but I'll come back to it after all the work and travel craziness has settled.

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Page one done, page two halfway there.

How about some mind boggling medical news found on the Bendis Board this morning? The new science of resuscitation

As recently as 1993, when Dr. Sherwin Nuland wrote the best seller "How We Die," the conventional answer was that it was his cells that had died. The patient couldn't be revived because the tissues of his brain and heart had suffered irreversible damage from lack of oxygen. This process was understood to begin after just four or five minutes. If the patient doesn't receive cardiopulmonary resuscitation within that time, and if his heart can't be restarted soon thereafter, he is unlikely to recover. That dogma went unquestioned until researchers actually looked at oxygen-starved heart cells under a microscope. What they saw amazed them, according to Dr. Lance Becker, an authority on emergency medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. "After one hour," he says, "we couldn't see evidence the cells had died. We thought we'd done something wrong." In fact, cells cut off from their blood supply died only hours later.
These researchers figured out it was the sudden reintroduction of oxygen that killed the otherwise healthy cells and now it looks like new methods of resuscitation could be developed to revive people who have been dead for up to an hour after cardiac arrest. Maybe even longer.

Sweet googly moogly!