I don’t remember what I was originally going to blargh about today, but whatever it was immediately got sidelined by an email I received early this morning from my buddy Zack Finfrock. You might remember Zack’s work from various Atomic Robo B-Sides, his work on Backyard FX, or his short film Fallout: Nuka Break.
Starting Tuesday, March 15 at 12pm (PST), and running until 12pm (PST) on Wednesday, March 16th, Zack will be hosting a 24hr draw-a-thon to raise money for disaster relief in Japan. I think that’s pretty great.
The show will broadcast live on the web at: http://www.livestream.com/zackdrawsthings
Zack’s a pretty amazing kid. Well, he’s not really a kid anymore. He was when I first met him, so that’s how I think of him. We’ve been talking about doing a weekly sketch-up via Skype or uStream, but I thought I’d be cool if we could make it public -working out how to do that is a bit of a problem. Anyway, its been a week or two since we’ve talked about it, but I need to get on that ball.
I first met Zack because he was a fan of Atomic Robo. His Robo B-Sides have consistently been among my favorites. I stole the Robo eye emotes directly from him. And I’m pretty sure that in a few years it will be me trying to ride the coattails of his success.
In other news, I picked up the TPB collection of the BOX 13 digital comics from Scott Chitwood while I was at Staple!. You can read a short preview of Vol.1 at the link, and I believe you can read all of Vol.2 for FREE on your smartphones. I couldn’t find it on their actual website. Not sure why that is. BOX 13 is sort of the Borne Identity series of comics. The story and art are brought to us by the guys who did the Zuda webcomic HIGH MOON, David Gallaher and Steve Ellis.
Now in general, I thought the whole Zuda thing was a scam on DC’s part to grab ownership of good ideas from creators desperate for exposure. It was also a total popularity contest; if you got more of your friends to vote for you than the other guy, you advanced to the next round and he didn’t. It was the Harvey Awards of webcomic contests.
However, just like the Harvey’s, sometimes comics of exceptional quality came out on top in spite of the way the deck is stacked. High Moon was one such comic. So it was very cool to see David and Steve working together again. (EDIT: I just found this pretty good summary of what BOX 13 is all about on CBR and I guess these guys won a Harvey also. LOL. Irony is humorous.)
While I was readying BOX 13 I kept thinking of how it reminded me of Darwyn Cooke’s adaptation of the PARKER series of books by Richard Stark. Reading that CBR article, I see that it’s based on a radio drama from the 1940′s. So that kind of makes sense. I think the book would have been even more enjoyable if they’d set in in the 1940′s or 1950′s just for the aesthetics, but that’s just me being fussy. Aside from a few minor pacing issues with the story, I really enjoyed this. I LOVED the mostly B&W art, given depth by some fantastic digital ink washes, and provided the occasional punch in the gut by some bold red highlights. Like a modern take on the visually stunning GRENDEL: Black, White, & Red.
I’ve got to say, I really REALLY liked Steve Ellis’s work on Box 13. High Moon looked good, but at times I found it hard to read because of the way it was colored. That could easily be the way it was displayed on Zuda. I don’t know. But in BOX 13 things are very stark and minimal -the visual equivalent of stripping away the bullshit and leaving the raw art and storytelling to stand on their own. And stand on their own they do. You could strip away every word of David’s story and still understand BOX 13 on a basic emotional level. It is really strong work by Ellis.
I would absolutely love to see these guys working on a Batman book, or better yet, bringing me something totally new and creator owned in a pulp/noir flavor.
Outside of comics I had a great weekend with my family. That sounds a little bland, but I haven’t seen much of them since NYCC because of that whole Avengers/Deadly Art of Science thing. So on Friday while the kid was in school, Dorinda and I set off to Manhattan for some retail therapy but instead spend the day at the Schwarzman Building -that branch of the NY Public Library system that we all know from Ghostbusters. The building and the collection are amazing. If yoy ever visit NYC, skip the tourist trap garbage in Time Square and take the free tour of the library and then walk two blocks East to Grand Central Station and take the tour over there. The history and architecture of these two landmarks is impressive beyond description. Here’s a couple of pics I snapped while we were walking around. To get a sense of scale, this one room is roughly the size of a football field. And not a support column in sight.
On Saturday Dee had to work. Emma and I rode the ferry in with her. We walked the length of the High Line. Things are still pretty bare, with winter not quite over yet. but the views were wonderful. We started down in the Meatpacking District and up into Chelsea, then hoofed it up to the Hell’s Kitchen flea market on 39th St. Then back down to 34th nearish the Empire State building to catch our train to the ferry. It was an epic walk.
Lunch was over-priced but very tasty burgers at the NY Burger Co. somewhere around 20th St. We took turns with the camera. Both of us ended up staring into the blinding light of the sun whenever our photos were taken. They’re ugly. Don’t judge us. (Sob!) I look either shit-faced drunk, or like I’m taking a quick power-nap before we continue on.