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the lightning's bad but at least it's not loud

Just a catch up
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d_morris
So the big news in comics last month is that Wizard Magazine is ending publication.  I've read plenty of places where people are pretty much going "Ding Dong the witch is dead".  I'm not going to disagree with those sentiments.  The management apparently didn't tell anyone that they were ending the print publication to move to web operations.  I worked for a certain comic book store whose convention they tried on numerous occasions to put out of business.  This all goes without talking about a lot of the frat boy attitudes and negative stereotypes that the magazine had perpetuated.

Yet I will say that if it weren't for Wizard, I wouldn't be the creator I am today.  I learned a lot about the history of the industry from the magazine.  It was more skewed towards Superhero publishing history with occasional nods to underground comics and newspaper books but it got me interested in the history of the medium.  I can also safely say that my interest in alternative comics and books from publishers like Dark Horse and Slave Labor came from reading Wizard.  In the early years, there was a section called Palmer's Picks which featured a spotlight on a  particular alternative and small press book each month.  When it came time to do my high school senior project, my years of reading Palmer's Picks became invaluable writing that classic gem of the early millenium "Comics aren't for Kids and why!" type paper.  It exposed me to Jason Lutes' Jar of Fools, the work of the Hernandez Brothers, and many others. It also helped that I had a great local store in Heroes Aren't Hard to Find but I was fortunate in that respect.  Wizard also had a really well written anime and manga section for a few years written by former Carl Gustav Horn, who has worked for both Viz and Dark Horse's manga departments, as well as other individuals.  I discovered a lot of great manga through this column including one of my all time favorite comics, Katsuhiro Otomo's Domu.  If it wasn't for this section, I would never have watched Evangelion, Giant Robo, and even some shoujo stuff when I was younger.  Like I said, it if wasn't for Wizard I don't think I would have ever discovered this kind of stuff.

Yeah Wizard was a pretty awful magazine and it's been a blight on the comics industry for awhile.  Yet I can safely say that despite it's efforts to do so, I became a pretty well rounded comic book reader because of it.

In more positive news, I'm currently working on something with my friend Laur Uy (psychoe ).  I am not drawing anything for it but I am doing the writing.  However, I'm making suggestions for some of the visuals and storytelling.  Still I trust Laur as a storyteller and I'm leaving the lion's share of those decisions to her.  I'm not going to say much because well I am sure we'll post something soon but know that I'm really excited for it.

As for projects I'm doing solo, things are going slowly.  Like I said last entry, December and January were tough months for me confidence wise.  I put down my pencil and pens just to figure things out.  I haven't entirely sorted things out but I'm a lot more confident than I was then.  I'm doing a lot of writing and trying to come up with shorter pieces to do so I can get my confidence back up.  I have something I'm thinking of right now but I want to write it out so I can get the feel while doing character designs.  I remember a quote by Kim Dietch and I know I'm paraphrasing here where he talks about how if you can write, you can make great comics.  I agree with this sentiment.  There are a lot of empty comics that have slick visuals but I think the best comics are ones that clearly were well thought out at the writing stage. 

Of course this doesn't mean I don't think visuals are unimportant in a comic.  If anything my current attitude has only reinforced my opinion that visuals need to reinforce the story.  It's been really reinforced by watching the movies I've been watching lately.  I'm trying to take some inspiration from them not so much in trying to make my comics more "film like" which I think is a bad idea, but seeing if there are visual ideas and techniques I can try to translate into comics.  Comics is it's own medium and trying to make comics more like a movie or any other medium isn't what cartoonists should be aspiring to towards.

I promise next post, I'll have some sketch book stuff.

10 Reasons I like the Criterion Collection...
Robocop
d_morris
Hello world, I'm not dead.  I've been sort of hiding for awhile a little because I've been in a funk but mostly because I've been busy at my job.  I've sort of fallen out of reading comics.  Not because I hate them (though there was a period I wanted nothing to do with them), but right now my interests and focuses lie elsewhere.  I'm sure I'll come back and I've heard of plenty of artists who have detached themselves from comics before coming back.  It's all part of life. 

Lately I've been watching a lot of movies and in fact, I've sort of become addicted to buying DVDs from the Criterion Collection.  The Criterion Collection for those not in the know is basically high editions of a variety of films ranging from art house to cult to foreign movies.  They come with booklets that contain essays, loaded with great extras, and well worth owning.  It's thanks to the Criterion Collection that I've been able to explore world, classic, and cult cinema.  On their fantastic website, they get artists, film makers, musicians, etc. to talk about ten movies from the Collection that they really enjoy.  Since I've been watching them lately, here's a list of 10 films from the Criterion Collection that I enjoy and I hope if you haven't seen them, you check them out too.
Here's ten movies I'm glad that someone has put out in really awesome editions...Collapse )

GAZE INTO THE FIST OF DREDD!
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d_morris


This is my all time favorite panel in comics.  Seriously if you ever had to explain comics theory to someone on how words and pictures worked together this panel is perfect for that.  In fact, I'm sure I've showed this panel before saying this.  I can't wait to show it to my students.

Commissions
I draw awesome
d_morris

Hey folks,
I've been thinking about this and I'm going to open up for commissions.  I need some money so I can pay bills and repair my computer.  Here's what I'm willing to do

  • Ladies
  • Guys
  • Robots
  • Fight scenes
  • Superheroes
  • Fan Art
  • Landscapes
If you have an original character you want me to draw, please provide reference for them so I can draw them.  However here's things I'm not willing to do
  • Anything sexually explicit
  • Furries
Other than that I'm pretty fair game. For now I'm only doing pen and ink, with some grey marker tones. Price is negotiable based on what you're looking for me to do.  I will ship it to anyone in the US.  I'm not shipping outside the US.  If you're curious about what you would be getting please refer to my deviantart account to see some of my work.

http://danmorris.deviantart.com/

If interested please contact me at d.morris82 @ gmail.com

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d_morris
So am I am sure some of you have heard, I'll be teaching a continuing education class at Central Piedmont Community College starting this fall involving comics.  I'll be teaching the first two classes going towards a Visual Narrative certificate.


Art by Richard Thompson

It will be strange being on the other end of that desk.  I know I'm ready for it though and I've been making lessons plans for the class.  Since I've been told that these classes are part of the continuing education classes at CPCC, classes designed for adults who want to learn new skills versus classes that go towards a degree, the classes won't be as strenuous as the ones I took at SCAD. 

However, the head of my department wants these classes to work towards creating a 2 associates degree for comics so I'm basically laying the groundwork for this program.  The first two classes will be what were Intro to Comics and Vis 1 on the same day.  I'm not wild about doing that but it's how the program is set up for now which I don't have a whole lot of control over it.  Next time we do these classes, I will probably talk to my boss to get a Materials and Techniques kind of class set up before the Vis 1 kind of class.  It's going to be a tough road for these students especially if some of them have not drawn comics before but I will do my best to get them through it.

We'll be using two books, one in each class.  I'll be using Jessica Abel and Matt Madden's Drawing Words and Writing Pictures for my intro type class.  I haven't read this book but I will in the coming weeks.  I've been to the website and looked through it (I'll be getting my copy soon) and it seems really geared towards the variety of approaches in comics.  Knowing both Abel and Madden's skills as cartoonists I trust that the book will be fine. 

For my Visual Narrative class, we'll picking apart Jim Rugg's Street Angel.  I've been a big fan of this book ever since I read it and I think it's the perfect book for a young cartoonist to pick apart.  Rugg is a pretty inventive and savvy cartoonist.  I really want students by the end of the class to be able to pick apart comics and think of how to actively engage the medium.  There's alot you can do with the medium and I want students to really understand the potential of it.

I'll also be posting over at blogspot for the class.  I'm going to start interviewing a variety of cartoonists about topics related to the subjects I'll be teaching in class.  I want students to hear from other cartoonists about process and craft.  While I know alot about comics, there are areas where my knowledge and skill sets are limited.  Thankfully, I'm not the only person making comics and I want my students to be able to get inside people's heads.  I'll also post excerpts from my lectures on there so that people who can't take the class can see what will be going on in the class.

I'm really excited to start the class.  They begin in a few weeks but I have a lot of work still left to do.  However, I'm sure it will get done and things will be okay.

R.I.P. Harvey Pekar 1939-2010
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d_morris

Harvey Pekar passed away last night.  I'm not the biggest fan of his in the world but I would be out of place if I said the work he did had no impact on comics.  Pekar, along with Robert Crumb, invented an approach to autobiographgical comics still being used to this day, for better or worse.  Again while not a huge fan, I always liked the short story "Hypothetical Quandary" which is simply Harvey thinking about the possibilities of life while buying a loaf of bread.


Image by Robert Crumb

Harvey once said "Ordinary life is pretty complex stuff" and he captured it pretty well in the 70 years he lived.  My sympathies go out to not just his wife and daughter but the many people that were fortunate enough to collaborate with him over the years.



Just a brief announcement.
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d_morris
Folks just want to let people know that I probably won't be online as much for the next few weeks.  The power cord for my laptop is more or less useless.  For the last few weeks, my cord will power my computer but it won't charge the battery.   I know it's not the battery as I used the power cord from my brother and uncle's laptops and it charged just fine.  At this point, the power just cuts out randomly and keeps restarting my computer everytime it cuts out.  That can't be good for my computer so I've just decided to not use it so I don't mess it up more.

I'm pretty annoyed, not at the computer but more at myself. This is the second cord I've had to get in the last three months for my laptop.  Instead of figuring out which model laptop I had, I got a generic brand replacement cord that had removeable adaptors (so that the plug could work with a variety of laptops) and a really short cord.  I paid way too much for the replacement and that's what I get for being impatient.  After about 3 months of use where I overestimated how far the cord would reach or accidentally pull the adaptor out, the cord is pretty much dead. 

Luckily two things have happened that makes my feel slightly better.  One, I know which model laptop I have and I can get a replacement cord that is much, much cheaper.  Two, I start my new job next week and I'll be able to get a new one as soon as I get paid.  Until then I'm on my folks computer which is pretty old.  It works great for check e-mail but that's about it.  So my time online will be limited. 

This shouldn't affect my submitting things to certain people but I thought I would give people a heads up.

Moebius is pretty awesome
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d_morris
Hey folks, it has been a while.  Actually it's been since I've talked about anything since I graduated.  Things have had their ups and down here.   I honestly can't complain other than I've been broke for the last few weeks.  Even then, I just got hired at a job in a mail room so that is easily fixed though I need a second job because that one is only part time.

A few weeks ago was Heroes Con here in Charlotte and this year I volunteered at the last minute (and roped in Christa who was here while it happened).  We both had a lot of fun and I got to meet Mike Mignola.  This was a huge moment for me.  Hellboy was the first comic I really bought outside of Marvel, DC, or Image.  Seeing Mignola's art the first time for me was like hearing Sonic Youth for the first time.  It literally changed my world.  It was after I discovered Hellboy that it led me to Matt Wagner's Grendel which then sent me off on a bazillion other directions in reading comics.  I am not going to lie, I let Mike Mignola know this and he was really gracious and humble.  Honestly, a man of this caliber shouldn't be this nice but Mignola was and it made me love his comics more.


Photo by Christa Newman

This photo goes well with this one of me and Chester Brown in 2004 from when I was in New York.  Anyways, Christa took many more photos that definitely need to be looked at if you missed Heroes Con.  It was a blast this year and I'm really eager for next year.  You know it's an amazing show when you barely see half of the artists and know you missed out on some great stuff.

Anyways, I haven't written about comics in awhile so today I'm going to write about Moebius.Collapse )

(no subject)
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d_morris
Hey folks, I have updated in forever but I thought I would participate in this meme that yawmin  posted because I like inflicting my taste in music on everyone.  So here we go!





Day 01; Your Favorite Song: Issac Hayes "Theme from Shaft"
This should surprise no one who knows me.  Ever since someone told me about this song in like 6th grade, I was hooked.  Everything about this song is perfect.  The strings, the background singers, and Issac Hayes deep soul voice just makes for this amazing song.  Also it's really, really awesome.

This is what's coming soon!Collapse )

Hey folks!
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d_morris
Hey there!  As I stated in my last post, I have just graduated from college.  I'm back at my folks place for the moment as I look for jobs involving a) illustration, b) publishing, c) printing, or d) all of the above.  It's weird coming back to Charlote and both recognizing it and seeing everything that's changed in the last few years.  It's really grown as a city and while I don't want to live here permanently, it's not the worst place to make a detour.  It's still a town but there's so much more to do here for a young person than there is in Savannah. 

However, I am seriously considering moving to Boston.  It's closer to New York (the traditional center of any kind of publishing), Christa lives there, it's home to my favorite sports team (GO RED SOX), and it's somewhere new.  As much as I like Charlotte, I fear that because it's so comfortable to be somewhere so familar I might not want to leave.  It's easy to stay in one place but if you're going to grow as an individual you have have to get accustomed to change.  The idea of setting up shop in somewhere new and different is both exciting and frightening.  I know in the end I'll make the right decision.

To that end and to let some people know, I will be in Massachusetts in Mid-April (after Christa is done with Anime Boston madness and I'm done with Editor's Day madness).  Christa and I haven't seen each other for a serious length of time since November and the last time we did get together it was seriously for a little less than 2 hours.  I will be glad  to see her again and get to visit future in-laws and possibly my own relatives while I'm up there.  We are thinking about taking a train to New York so that maybe I can see some comics editors (as well as meet up with New York based friends).  It's gearing up to be an exciting trip.

Right now I'm gearing up for Editor's Day back in Savannah.  There are a lot of pages that I need to get working on at the moment!  I need to tighten up my Bowling Alley WWII story I did for Environments.  The WWII story shouldn't take me too long as one page is done already (I will need to correct one panel) and the others really only need tighter backgrounds and some minor figure corrections.

I did a pretty hefty project for Vis II but unfortunately the pages look very, very rushed.  However, I am glad that I hand lettered them and that I was very careful about my hand lettering.  It's given me the confidence to continue hand lettering.  It just looks better.  I have thought about restarting from these pages from the ground up but I don't know if that's a good use of my time reworking pages.  On the other hand, it's a really solid story and I think that it wouldn't hurt me to make more professional looking pages.  I'm sure I'll come to the right decision.

Now that I'm back there are few things I need to get once I start getting a steady paycheck

- new AC Adaptor for my laptop (I sort of manhandled my old one)
- 11 x 17 Scanner (necessity in today's comics working world!)
 
I would post something about comics (I have a huge appreciation of Naoki Urasawa I want to do) but unfortunately until I get the money, I will not be able to use my laptop since it no lonber has any way of getting power.  The computer I'm on I am pretty sure I would kill it if I to make a long image filled post involving comics. 

I'm considering doing commissions to get money for a new cord but I don't know how I should go about doing this.  Anyone who's done this sort of thing involving comic art have any recommendations?

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