An extensive review of Proof of Concept
from H over at The Comic Treadmill.
"Larry Young, publisher of AiT-Planet Lar, is the 21st Century's version of Stan Lee." and "Most importantly though, like Stan, Young has the writing skill to back his promotional skills. Don't be scared off by the fact these stories don't have resolutions. This is the kind of stuff you read comics for - imaginative tales that set your mind wandering off in the writer's world even after putting the book down." were particular standouts.
And, yes, for everyone who's sent me an email about this, the story Major Davenport tells in "Zombie Dinosaur" about how he asked his wife to marry him is how I asked Mimi to marry me.
Except, you know, with a little less undead thunder lizards in our story.
#9-12, proving that ol' hybrid format speaks to both trade paperback and
Laura Gjovaag goes Flipping Through Previews
and writes: "The cover didn't make me look twice, but the description looks good. Filler
is about a person who is living in the backgrounds of other lives. It doesn't look quite like my cup of tea, but I suspect a number of bloggers will enjoy it. I also can recommend Astronauts In Trouble,
which looks to be a new edition that's quite affordable. If you haven't tried the series, go for the trade. I don't think you'll be disappointed. There's something in there for everyone."
"Image inventory manager Joe Keatinge and Expatriate flatter Josh Richardson deserve kudos for helping hook up Image and the Isotope... a match made in comic book heaven."
...and in tsunami news, those of you who check in on the Ocean Beach Surfcam
to see what the weather's like in front of the AiT/Planet Lar World Headquarters, please be advised that the camera bent over in the last storm and that that isn't what the horizon line looks like, normally.
This just in: The American Library Association's Booklist
reviews Proof of Concept:
Young, Larry and others.
Proof of Concept. 2004. 136p. illus. AiT/Planet Lar, paper, $12.95 (1-932051-29-5). 741.5. Too busy publishing other graphic novelists to choose which of his own ideas to develop, AiT/Planet Lar's Young pitches a half-dozen uncompleted stories and asks readers to pick for him. Literally pitches, for the conceit binding the six together has Young on the horn describing them to his "superstar entertainment lawyer." "Hemogoblin," about the last vampire, and "Zombie Dinosaur" are as tantalizing as their titles. If the sf scenarios "The Camera" (kids find a time-travel wormhole) and "For the Time Being" (Star Trek
with a mad, naked captain) are less enticing, well, they're also not as funny. The lusciously weird "Emancipating Lincoln," in which everyone looks like Abe, deserves the most positive feedback, but "The Bod," already three times longer than the others, about a curvaceous Hollywood newcomer who leaps to stardom after an accident makes her invisible, is probably the easiest to complete. Young should retain the artists who work with him here. Paul Tucker's Ben Shahn-like style in "The Camera" and John Heebink's Playboyish way with "The Bod" are particularly irreplaceable. --Ray Olson
on Proof of Concept
"...the apparent real purpose of the book is so stunningly simple I expect half the comics-creating world to be doing it imminently: everyone in comics is obsessed these days with selling ideas to Hollywood for the big bucks, but Hollywood isn't interested in anything that hasn't already appeared in comics form.
So Larry, boy genius that he is, packages a bunch of high concept pitches
into a single volume that's easy to show around and establishes - get this - proof of concept!
I love that boy genius
"As usual, this AiT/Planet Lar book does exactly what was promised and manages to make it fun, as well. And hey, it might just be worth the price of admission to read a story about a planet full of Abe Lincoln clones..."
links to the fact I quoted him on the back of Proof of Concept.
Who blogs the bloggers? I do!
Just got this email from my good friend Brian Scot Johnson, of www.khepri.com
"Hey, Tootsiepop, what up? I vote for more KD-illustrated tales of phone calls between you and Ken."
My good pal Augie De Blieck, Jr.
has the inaugural CBR podcast, which consists mostly of Augie rapping about the New Comic Book release list for the week and pronouncing "AiT/Planet Lar" correctly. "Larry Young is splurging on himself" is my favorite quote about the Demo
-like paper stock on Proof of Concept,
If anybodyís looking for me today, Iím riding the counter over at the Isotope,
helping out my pal James Sime because Kirsten and Ian are still on holiday. So if you want to buy Proof of Concept
get your change back from the guy who made it all happen, stop on by.
If you canít make it into San Francisco to listen to me,
enjoy these mini interviews with three of the artists of Proof of Concept:
Steven Sanders, Paul Tucker, and Jeff Johns, the artists on "Zombie Dinosaur," "The Camera," and "For the Time Being," respectively.
AiT: What'd you think when you first read the script? How come no one had done zombies AND dinosaurs before? Or, "what brand of horse tranquilizer is ol' Lar on over there?"
My first thought when I read this script was "HOLY CRAP I GET TO DRAW ROTTING DINOSAURS, MILITARY HARDWARE AND EXPLOSIONS!" My main metric for script excitement is getting to draw tech or things blowing up, so this was definitely win/win.
AiT: Happy with Jeff Johns' inks over your pencils?
Jeff's inks were a completely unexpected, yet highly pleasurable departure from how I would have anticipated my pencils being inked. The man has talent.
AiT: Tell us about the upcoming FIVE FISTS OF SCIENCE with and working with Matt Fraction.
Working with Fraction has been a blast, and I have learned a lot. Matt knows his comics, and I've been able to get a much better handle on the nuts and bolts of page layout and camera angles by working with him. Really picking up an idea of how things are supposed to flow. It's like going to school, but you know, better.
That's the technical part. The fun part is that I'm constantly feeling like a kid with his hand in the cookie jar, because of the monkeywrenching we are doing with history. Nicola Tesla stomping around 1899 New York City in a one hundred foot tall, iron and brass, steam powered, lightning shooting assault robot is so wrong it has to be right, you know? And that's just a small part of what's going on. Marconi and muffins? Edison exploiting Tesla's phobia of hair? Pure. Gold.
If I'm able to get just half of the "Oh, shit, this is awesome!" moments I have while reading the script translated to the finished product, we have a winner on our hands.
AiT: What'd you think when you first read the script for "The Camera"? What the heck is going on in this thing? Or "Finally! I get to draw bickering kids!"?
The first thing I thought was "Iíve never tried drawing something like this before". This was a real 180 from anything Iíve ever worked on. Most writers get me to illustrate dark stories where the only children you see are of the molested variety. So this was a nice change of pace and something I could actually show my grandparents.
AiT: What sort of process do you use to do your art?
Aside from the fact that my work is entirely digital, my process is constantly changing. For "The Camera" I shot a bunch of photo refís of my friends, manipulated and collaged them in Photoshop, then drew over top of them in Corel Painter. I used the photos as a starting point or inspiration for the drawing (especially since my friends arenít little kids Ė I swear) and later incorporated some of the original photo textures into the finished product. My most recent work (while often still photo refíd) has been leaning more towards straight-up drawing.
AiT: What were you thinking, doing all five scripts? Just as an exercise, or what?
I love to draw, and I love to have a deadline. All the scripts appealed to me in different ways and offered me different challenges as an artist. Having to get them done within a specific time frame also kept me from getting stuck over analyzing one specific panel or page. It was a great experience and I actually went through Young withdrawal when the column was over.
AiT: Let us in on what you thought when you started to tackle "For the Time Being."
The very first thing I thought was, "Crap! What the hell is a ramjet scoop?" The second thing I thought was, "Perfect! Repeated scenes mean I can reuse backgrounds!" The third thing I thought was, "Why does every script I draw have naked men in it?" Then, finally, "Wait... time travel... ramjet scoops... full-frontal male nudity... I'M GOING TO BE A STAR!" It was a blast to do.
AiT: How do you do that voodoo that you do, so well?
Well, the first thing I do after reading a script is character sketches. Then panel-by-panel thumbnails of every page (or in the case of a larger book like MOONSHINE, about 25 pages at a time), to avoid accidentally repeating the same layout on too many different pages. Then I take a slew of reference photos, most of which involve my brother posing in ridiculous positions or me making Bill the Cat faces at myself in the mirror.
I do all of my actual pencilling, inking and tones in Photoshop with my nifty Wacom tablet. Being a Graphic Designer, I've become completely addicted to Photoshop layers (I've had pages with several hundred layers before) and the "Undo" feature. I love being able to easily flip, reposition and resize my "pencils". Once I've got the page the way I want it, I turn down the opacity on everything and start to ink over the top of it. It's basically the same process as drawing on paper, but I never have to use whiteout, and I get as many chances as I want to get the line-width right. Oh -- and I never accidentally ink the side of my ruler.
AiT: Tell us about working with Dan Curtis Johnson.
MOONSHINE is crazy fun. It's a big drug-induced-Clint-Eastwood-Lovecraftian-werewolf-reptile-manimatronic- serial-killing casserole. But it's baked with love. Oh, and there's a Fancy Train.
I've always thought that a story really only needs two things to be successful--werewolves and eye patches. This one's got the werewolves, but Dan keeps vetoing the eye patch. I'm a little afraid that my need to draw eye patches is just going to fester until I end up doing something Garth Ennis-like and drawing someone with TWO eye patches.
It's been great working with Dan. He's been very supportive of trying to bring a newbie along. I'm slower than cold tar, so I think he's being just encouraging enough to make sure I keep producing. You know -- like a good pimp. His script for MOONSHINE kicks big man-sized ass, and now it's my job to make sure the book still kicks at least a little toddler-sized ass once it's been subjected to my art. I know it's been billed as a western version of "They Live", but personally, I think it's going to be a lot better. Carpenter should have cast Junk Yard Dog instead of Rowdy Roddy Piper. Or Brutus the Barber Beefcake.
Dan and I are having dinner Saturday, so I guess I'll find out then if I'm fired.
Call the Isotope at 415 753 3037 for My Breakfast With Larry.
Matt Price, from the Daily Oklahoman,
his Number One comic in the year's top ten list: "Brian Wood and Becky Cloonan examine the trials of youth, through the lens of young people with unusual powers. From issue No. 4's blue-collar James McMurray, third-generation factory worker, to No. 5's Kate, a young woman cursed to fulfill other's expectations, to No. 8's Nick, a man dealing with a lost love, Wood has created fully realized characters in 32-page installments."
says, "In a year where comics seemed to be taking a step backward, DEMO was a refreshing leap forward. Every issue of this sang without needing the previous issue to fall back on. It was a series so good that Brian Wood eventually decided to ignore his original 'normal folks with powers' concept... and I didn't notice."
Chris "Lefty" Brown has some kind words for Demo
in his year-end wrap up: "I was thinking about writing a longer piece just on how great Demo was, and I still may do that, but I have to say this about Demo, it's timeless, heartfelt, human, and otherworldly. Becky Cloonan dishes out her talent in each page, each issue finding new nuances to suit the story's message (if there is one to be found). I find myself connecting with a great many of these issues, not that I've ever been a slacker, or a mill-worker, a military man, or a teen with hidden talents. Brian Wood does an exceptional job with finding the humanity of each issues protagonist(s), the characters may only find life in ink and paper, but they resonate with this reader. I was sad to let this series go, and have found myself picking up random issues and reading them. The only issue that must be read in a particular order is issue 12, it's a goodbye, and in my opinion should always come last in one's reading."
...and Dave Carter
names Proof of Concept
his Pick of the Week.
The Fourth Rail's Randy Lander has an advance review of Wednesday's Proof of Concept:
"One thing you have to say about Larry Young is that he has a tendency to think outside the box." and "The art on this sequence is some of the strongest in the book, provided by Kieron Dwyer, although Larry is looking a lot more bald in Dwyer's rendition than I remember him looking in person." were particular faves.
Boston Red Sox fans will no doubt be ecstatic to learn that this
will be out in April, just in time for spring training.
Bonus: Things Ryan Yount Says He Will Chisel On My Headstone: "paid me $300 extra in 2005," "always offered me a drink," "let me win a bet when, technically, HE was right," "offered to beat-up my ex-girlfriend for me..."