Wednesday, November 5, 2008
Wednesday, October 22, 2008
Monday, October 20, 2008
Sunday, October 19, 2008
Great article today in the Record, one of North Jersey's largest newspapers. We had a great time doing the interview at IHOP. It was one of those great opportunities to share our faith without sounding like kooks. Special thanks to Virginia Rohan for going the extra mile with this article. The picture above is Paul Castiglia (left) and me looking at MMBH and the printouts of Colossians. That's John-Marc, our publisher, in profile on the right.
Saturday, October 18, 2008
Sunday, October 12, 2008
The stock market is a gamble - it's people taking their money, dumping it into large companies (with no say in their operations) and hoping to turn it into a landfall.
The housing issue, which has caused the most damage to the stock market recently, is a direct result of a very poor mindset of greed and entitlement that Americans have. Buy furniture we can't afford, buy a house we can't afford, buy a wide screen plasma TV we can't afford, and figure how how, or IF, to pay for it later on. Banks catered to this greed by providing (IMO) criminal opportunities to borrow including ARM's. Retailers provide a new credit card with a $5000 credit limit at the checkout counter - the CASHIER approves it!!! And when it all goes bad, they turn to bankruptcy as the way out - something that used to rightfully carry shame but has almost become a right of passage.
Should we be surprised about the housing market when waitresses are buying up real estate in order to "flip it" for a profit? That's not the American dream. That's greed. Should we feel bad for a couple who gets evicted from their apartment because they're four months behind in the rent, and we watch them move out two computers, a Wii, a PS3, a monster TV and a stack of DVD's that could choke Godzilla? That's not the American dream, that's irresponsibility. It's a poisonous victem mentality.
The problem is that we as Americans are fat and lazy and live too well. We're told on one hand to live by our means, and the next second we're offered "no money down and no payments until 2010."
That's got to end, in the form of responsibility laws. In my plan, Adjustable Rate Mortgages would be outlawed and credit card interest would be capped at 15%. Each individual or family would be able to have a legal debt-to-income & asset ratio (on a sliding scale based on their income and credit rating) that would not exceed their ability to pay off. Once they have that max reached in credit cards and car payments, they're cut off - no more credit issued. Just like a drunk at a bar. Anyone exceeding their limit would be guilty of bank fraud and subject to penalties and prosecution. Any creditor knowingly issuing credit beyond the ratio is also subject to penalty. And as long as my healthcare plan goes through, there would not be a problem with unpaid medical bills (thus eliminating the unfortunate circumstances that might create a credit issue beyond one's control).
It would mean people would buy less - for a time. Believe it or not this is a good thing - it would drive down prices and put a vast number of Americans on a path to debt recovery. We have too much stuff anyway. But my plan also calls for the elimination of income tax on interest and dividend income for a family earning $125,000 or less - encouraging saving. Ain't that a novel idea?
Tune in next time for "It's Still the Economy Stupid" as we start to transition toward foreign policy. Ain't I a little smarty pants? Oh, if anyone has a request for a sketch I'll try to accomodate and post that too.
Saturday, October 11, 2008
Regarding healthcare. I don't believe in universal, government-run general medical insurance (or government-run ANYTHING). Don't agree with me, ask a Canadian family with double our tax rate and a three-week wait to see a doctor.
The reason we buy insurance is that our medical expenses may exceed our premiums - in essence, a gamble. If somehow we manage to get through the year without needing major medical care or surgery, in essence we've "lost" because we paid more into premiums than we really needed to pay for doctors and meds. And for the most part that's true.
It wasn't that long ago that insurance was a rarity and deductibles were huge - it was set aside for the big stuff, not the trip to the local doctor for the sniffles. Insurance became more prevalent and eventually became the main way doctors got paid - so, doctors began to bill based on what a huge corporation could pay, tacking on extra tests "just to be sure", rather than what the local person could pay. Insurance needs to be higher that actual claims to pay its administrative costs (and huge corporate salaries). As both got richer they became the targets of lawsuits - thus malpractice insurance, which made it easier to sue, which drove up costs, etc etc.
In trying to level out medical expenses, we've created an even more expensive middle man.
So, in many ways, the health insurance industry, which was supposed to be a help, became its own problem. And you can't go back, because once you give a person something it's VERY hard to take it back.
No president can fix this - or rather, no president can promise anything other than band-aids and expect to get elected.
The root of the problem is a mentality that we are entitled to health insurance - we are NOT. However, it does seem that we should be entitled to some level of health CARE, and it seems that protection from sudden spikes in our personal health care costs (ie birth of a child, surgery, chemo, etc) can be provided for in the form of high-end insurance, at pennies on the dollar from what it costs now. This would result in the reduction of a massive infrastructure of health insurance administration, and reduce medical costs based on demand, not what a health insurer will pay. The government would continue to protect the elderly and disabled through Medicare, because that is the right thing to do, and offer this high-end protection to the rest of us (insurers would quickly follow suit). To encourage employers to stay involved, businesses would be offered double tax deduction on their employee's health insurance costs. Low-income families with children (based on regional poverty levels) would be eligible for some basic insurance as well, to ensure that Johnny gets to the doctor with the sniffles before it becomes pneumonia.
Incidently - providing universal healthcare for all of America, $150 billion. Compared with the $850 billion Wall Street bailout, one might wonder if we spent our money wisely.
I am strongly considering one VP candidate at the moment, in case anyone is interested.
What will follow are my takes on the problems that face our country and my proposed solutions. I won't be saying what I need to say to get elected. I will, however, propose to offer what I see as the real problems and present some potential solutions. And since I don't want to run a smear campaign, I won't talk about Obama or McCain until election day looms.
I will be looking for a running mate, by the way, and I have a very hot first lady.
Sunday, October 5, 2008
Does the Tribulation come before or after the Rapture?
Should Christians allow their kids to Trick-or-Treat?
How should one dress for church on Sunday?
Was Goliath really from a race of giants?
What happened to the dinosaurs?
Did Jesus really turn the water into wine, or was it just grape juice since it didn't have time to ferment?
Did the Wise Men see a star, a comet or an alignment of planets?
If Jesus died on Friday and rose on Sunday, how can we call that three days?
Who did Adam and Eve's sons take as wives?
I'm sure there are more. But these are just some of the many, many absolutely ridiculous arguments Christians get into that mean a bucket of spit, and cause such massive divisiveness in the family that it can only come from the enemy.
Some might argue that some of these mean something. You have fun with that.
Sunday, September 28, 2008
The question posed is absurd- if God took heaven off the table, would we still love Him? And what might that love look like? Absurd because God promises heaven. But the question begs because it makes me wonder, do we just do the paces for the eternal reward?
What is love? The tough part about defining love is that, in English, the word love covers a lot of ground. But let's take this to a level of the love a man and woman have for each other, for the sake of analogy to get a grasp on the subject.
Some say that love is not something you can control, that it's this weird spritual, emotional and physical magnetic cosmic fate. That's just stupid, although it makes for some watchable Hollywood fare. Some say love is an emotion that you either have or you don't. Some say they fell madly in love. Some say they fell out of love. Again, all indicating there's no choice in the matter.
I say love is proven by action, and that raw emotion without the mature choices made to act upon it is without worth. I say love is not the blushing bride who is worried about her hair and wedding dress, but the 70-year-old woman cleaning up her paralyzed husband of fifty years. I say love is not the starry-eyed young man trying to buy a woman a drink at a bar, but the husband who speaks highly of his wife consistently in public and in private. The wife who signs her husband up for art school. The husband who cheers on his wife as she pursues her masters degree.
Do we work harder at a job that we get paid more for, or one that we love?
Love is the actions of someone who is genuinely interested in the personal growth of the one he loves, even at the cost of potentially high personal sacrifice, and without the condition of return.
That's lofty. But that's how God loves us.
What if we loved God like that? What would that look like? That we would be interested in the growth of God's kingdom simply because we love him? Personal sacrifice? Unconditional? How much would it change our habits, our attitudes, our direction in life?
How much greater can the motivation of love be over reward?
Tuesday, September 23, 2008
In the Old Testament Heaven is mentioned as God's dwelling place several times, but - get this - exactly one time as the future home for the righteous, in II Kings 2:11 when Elijah is called up into heaven. Before that, there's really no indication in the Bible that that's where we're going, and until the New Testament it's not mentioned as such again (except vaguely in connection with the Hebrew concept of Sheol). Without stretching, that's it gang. Hey, naturally, if I'm mistaken about this please clarify, but I think i'm onto something here.
Now again, let me make this VERY clear, I believe that there is an afterlife, and that Heaven is the dwelling of place of God, and that those whose sins are washed by the blood of Jesus at the cross are admitted there. I'm NOT making these statements to question the existence of heaven.
I am, however, very interested in the faith of the Jews who loved God and (for the most part) did their best to obey Him without obsessing about the afterlife. In fact, they seemed a whole lot more interested in what was going on here on the ground. Huh.
So what was their motivation? Was it fear? Guilt? Manipulation? I think nothing so cynical as these, which might cause some to label me as naive, but hey- those same people would probably question the existence of God and heaven anyway, and they'd be wrong, so what care I?
No, I believe they walked the walk because they adored God.
They adored God. They were impressed with His majesty and His creation, and His promises and fulfilment of promises. They were awed by a God that created the world, and the sun and moon and stars, and who took a personal interest in them. They worshipped him like the God that He is.
It wasn't about heaven- it was about God.
I think heaven will be a great place, but the thing that makes it great is that it's where God lives.
So, I wonder, what if we explore that kind of faith? And so my question is this for tonight:
If God took heaven back off the table, would you still love Him?
Ah, but that requires that we define love. And that, I believe, will bring us closer to the core of what God has in mind for us.
Monday, September 22, 2008
John 3:16 reads "For God so loved the world that He sent His only son, that whoever believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life." Nothing wrong with that, of course. But the hang-up I think a lot of us have is that our whole faith has boiled down to this, and while it's an important fact it's really just a piece of the whole pie.
I mean, do we really base our entire purpose for following God on the promise that we're going to avoid hell? Seriously?
Now I'll admit, I believe in heaven and hell. I think hell is someplace you DON'T want to go and heaven is where you DO want to go, particularly when you're talking about existing in wither place forever and ever. And I believe that the only way you get to heaven is by Jesus Christ's admission. Not a thing we can do to be good enough to get into that party, and that's that.
But is that really why we go to church, is that the only reason we pray, is that really all we have to offer someone when we're a witness for God? Is it just the difference between heaven and hell?
For me it is not. And when all of scripture is simply boiled down to the rewards in the afterlife, I believe we've missed the boat.
I'll be exploring this in the next few entries, and I welcome your comments and critique.
Sunday, August 17, 2008
You can grab a copy online here at a steal for $2.25 (don't be fooled by the price- this is a high-gloss, full color, full size comic book). You can also find us at Revelation Generation at the end of August, or the NY Anime Festival in September. More dates to follow.
It is a great feeling when something you've worked on finally arrives in hard copy form. Nice job all around, and special thanks for JMG Studios for showing some faith in the creative team. No doubt it paid off.
Friday, August 1, 2008
In my personal life, I was offered a job at another company, as a controller, so I left my workplace of nearly 10 years for new horizons. So far, what a great gig. I'm finding myself using parts of my brain I'd long thought dead. It's so cool how God brings stuff like this together. Before starting at the new place, my clan and I got away for a week in Disney, once again, and it was the best vacation we'd ever had. On the way home in the plane my daughter and I watched Edward Scissorhands, so I drew him up.
In the comics realm, I'm working with a friend on a cool little online submission, more on that later. And Mecha Manga Bible Heroes is supposed to make its debut sometime around 8/11. I'll keep you posted on that none too.
The big update on Colossians is that the coloring for issue 1 is COMPLETE (thank you Mark Melton), as is the cover art (thank you Jeff Slemons). Now my buddy Joshua Warren is working up a logo, and I'm playing with the letters and editorials. So little stands in the way now to get this puppy out. Also, Dan Barlow has informed me that the pencils for issue 2 are cranking along very quickly- like, nearly DONE already! There are also some neat developments regarding the ongoing story and viability for the entire series.
Sunday, June 29, 2008
Friday, June 27, 2008
Saturday, June 21, 2008
I don't know WHY I'm terrified of heights. Maybe it's vertigo, maybe it's the time I fell from a treehouse when I was kid. Either way, there it is. A paralyzing and annoying fear.
I say it's an annoying fear because fear limits us. It keeps us from experiencing something in life that might actually be good for us. If we allow fear to control us it limits our growth as a person. Fear can be our built-in excuse for NOT doing something. Fear keeps us in a safe, comfortable, boring zone.
As I climbed the four-story tower, the wind whipped past. I could see how much higher I got with every step, with a view of the ground between the grooves of the wood and the open rails. Looking up made me dizzy and made me realize how much further I had to go. Looking down made me nauseous and made me realize how far I had to drop. The entire structure shook with every screaming adventurer takig the plunge. Twice I stopped, assessed the situation, the value versus cost analysis. Twice I strongly considered turning back, and prepared my speech for my family who was waving to me from the ground.
I considered my eldest daughter's parting words: "Daddy, don't die."
And yet I finished the climb, pulling myself up step by step with both hands on the rail for balance and courage. It was me and the lifeguard, alone.
I walked to the rail to see how steep the drop was, and as expected, it was so steep that I could not see the entire slide from my vantage point. It was waaaaay up there.
Finally sitting down in the chilling rushing water, the lifeguard said I could go whenever I was ready. I wasn't. I looked behind me, hoping for an impatient guy standing behind whom I could give up my place in line to. No such luck. It was just me. I inched forward, dangling my feet over the abyss, the water force nearly pushing me through.
And in that final moment, I thought, why not?
I had already probably done the scariest part in the climb itself.
And it would all be over in a few seconds.
And if I allowed a water slide to paralyze me, how would I be able to ever face real situations in life? Like one I'm facing right now (more on that hopefully very shortly).
That last idea gave me the courage I needed to take a deep breath, cross my arms and let go.
Life's not meant to be a list of do's and don'ts, will's and won'ts.
Sometimes, it's just do's and will's.
Even something as trivial as the big waterslide means something bigger, and we all know that deep inside. It means choices: to live or to watch, to fear or to conquer, to jump or to cower, to experience life or read about it.
Which choice do you think would God have us make?
Tuesday, June 10, 2008
Thursday, June 5, 2008
But, since he SAYS he's on a diet, then he MUST be on a diet. Stupid scale. On a diet for a week and he gained three pounds.
Sounds ridiculous and laughable and even... hypocritical.
Now you know where this analogy is going.
Let's say I know a guy who says he's a Christian. He goes to church in his new SUV but can't afford the tithe. He WANTS to do ministry, but life seems too busy. He curses at work and speaks unkindly to people. He belittles a waiter at a restaurant, but then says grace openly and leaves a tract with his tip. When he's at home he opens his eyes, his mind, even his refrigerator to all sorts of inappropriate things, but his Bible is ever-handy, near the door so he doesn't forget it on his way out the door next Sunday.
But he goes to church, so he MUST be a Christian.
Friday, May 30, 2008
On Friday 6/6 you might spot us at Jim Hanley's Universe or Mid-Town Comics among other stops as we do the tourist circuit of New York City.
On Saturday 6/7 we're hitting two comic shows, not as dealers but as fanboys, hobknobbing with the goobersmoochers as it were. Look for the "Suck it Up" Megazeen T-shirts and say "hi" at MOCCA and Big Apple Comic & Toy Expo! And hey, if we get a chance to shave our legs we might even cosplay!
Finally on Sunday 6/8 we've got a table at the Clifton NJ Comic Book Show, thanks to our buddy JP. We'll be selling swag, drawing, reviewing artwork, and talking about a few upcoming projects, including Colossians, Megazeen: The One Page Issue, Megazeen: The Christmas Issue, Eagle All-Star #2, and KING!
In attendace: myself, Jer "Freak Accident" Zehr, Tom "So Blame Him" Hall, Keith "Inkboy" Betancourt, and Jesus "My Thong's Riding Up on Me" Marquez,
Friday, May 23, 2008
So if you want to hear my voice talking about my favorite subject- me- tune in!
Wednesday, May 21, 2008
Monday, May 19, 2008
Sunday, May 18, 2008
Thursday, May 15, 2008
Now that the inks are done I can move onto perhaps the toughest part of the project- believe it or not, there's NO SCRIPT for issue 1. Seriously. Not kidding you. Kneon drew these pages based on a loose plot synopsis that was about 3 pages long (including character descriptions). So in classic backwards Megazeen fashion, draw first write later.
Saturday, May 10, 2008
Sunday, May 4, 2008
Ripping off a little of my pastor's recent series of sermons on Ecclesiastes (my favorite book in the Bible), most of what we do, just for the sake of doing it, is meaningless. We get up, shower, get dressed, eat some food, drive to work, get annoyed, drive home, eat some food, watch TV, go to sleep, lather, rinse, repeat. Yaaaaawwwnnn.
When you look at it this way, that's a pretty meaningless existence. We have a limited amount of time on the planet to live, to make a difference, to affect lives, to use the gifts God's given, to plow a counterculture. How much time can we really devote to the mundane 9-5? How interested is God in this kind of life?
There comes a time when you have to start putting things on the line. Mundane efforts get mundane results- they put food on the table and buy a few creature comforts but little else. Radical risks can result in radical rewards or, of course, radical loss, God willing. Either way, it sure keeps things interesting.
Up until very recently, turning 40 meant resigning myself to comfy, safe and satisfying, which didn't seem SO bad. But now, today, that has changed. I am determined to make the next 10 years a decade of impact and personal transformation. I have been placed in some very unique leadership roles and presented some very unique opportunities. It is time to capitalize on these things. It's time to take some chances and see what God does with it.
I know that many artists and friends read this blog, and I'll let you know, too, that I will not be stopping with myself. I will be extending my personal challenge to those around me, to see what a difference we can make together. We're going to do some crazy things, and then we're going to kick back and watch what God does with it. Lather. Rinse. Repeat.
In a nutshell: I am 40.
Youth is wasted on the young.
So I'm stealing some back.
Saturday, May 3, 2008
For four years running New Moon Comics has welcomed the Megazeen team into their store to do sketches and sell books and talk to people. It is a small store in a new location off the beaten path. I came to the conclusion a few weeks ago that the store would probably not be well-traveled enough to bother this year. That and my wife and I had plans for the past several weekends that sent us down different paths, so I was setting aside some quality time.
But this morning, the weather was crummy, and Marie confessed she needed to do some shopping for my birthday tomorrow (have I mentioned I'm turning 40?), and would I like to join my friends at New Moon for a while?
Dude, I couldn't pack my gear fast enough, and tears of joy literally were rolling down my face as I drove down to Wayne.
A small group of young kids came in early, so I got to draw Spiderman, Wolverine (twice), Luke, Artoo, Boba Fett and a Skrull. Sold a couple books and pins which was sweet. Then my buddies Jesus Marquez, his fiance' Jennifer, and Keith "Inkboy" Betancourt joined us and we all had a blast. The crowd was light as I expected, but it was good because we actually got some time to talk.
Turns out Jesus is preaching for the first time at his church tomorrow. I really wish I could be there for myself to see it. He told me he's preaching about "Transformation," so I was thinking he's got to be using some kind of Optimus Prime references. "Actually," he said, "Part of my sermon deals with you."
Jesus told me about how part of true transformation requires accountability. Someone to mentor you, to push you to be all you can be. For him, he said, that's a lot of what I do for him.
And there I was reminded why I do what I do once again. It's not about volume, about comics, about publicity. It's about friends. And I drove home, again with tears in my eyes.
Then my ultra-cool wife brought me to see Iron Man. I'm not a movie critic, there are professionals for that. I will say great flick. I will also say that, if you wait through all the credits, you'll be very, very happy you did.
I believe that today, my final day of my thirties, is a precursor for what is to come in the next decade. I think I now know what it's shaping up to be and what God has been shaping me to be. I look forward to it now with far less depression, a little more healthy fear, and a lot more hopeful anticipation.
I also bought King Kong at Blockbuster last week. The young whipper snapper of a clerk looked at me and said, "Um, you know this isn't the new one, right?" and I said, "Oh, yeah, know." And he said, "It's also not the original form the 30's," and I said, "Yeah, I know, it's the one from '76." And then, just to try to make his real point, he said, "But, this is the one that, um, sucks!"
What he doesn't know about me is that that's not a warning, dude, that's a sales pitch. Best four bucks I'd spent since lunch!
Comics... Tales from the Farm (Top Shelf) was a great read. It moves quickly for a graphic novel, which is fine because it allows more time to re-read it.
After that, my wife is taking me on a date to see Iron Man, which looks awesome!
Let's see, what else has been happening... I visited the New York Comic Con a couple weeks ago, not as an exhibitor but as a fan, which was simultaneously very depressing and very freeing at the same time. I got copious amounts of time to visit with other artists and vendors and came hoe with some real interesting swag. The hard part, of course, was being there without Megazeen. I'll fix that next year.
Colossians is wrapping up- Mark has broken into coloring the second half of the story and the results are just amazing. I have three pages left that I need to ink the stoopid backgrounds.
I'm also in the midst of reading some scripts and plot synopsis by a very talented writer. Truth be told, I have the attention span of a gnat, so reading scripts usually doesn't work out too well, but this is some good quality stuff, and I'm trying to wrap my brain around drawing one of them if I can.
Thursday, April 17, 2008
Sunday, April 13, 2008
Saturday, April 12, 2008
Saturday, March 22, 2008
God creates the world and sets up a paradise situation. He creates the first couple of people, who basically have three things they're supposed to do- name the animals, eat and have sex. They have one rule- don't eat the fruit. They just HAVE to disobey that one rule to ruin everything. God casts them out but still loves them
The world gets so screwed up that God decides to wipe it out and start over, but has compassion on one family. He instructs them to build an ark to save their lives as well as many animal species they'll need to survive. Seems like a good restarting point, but they start sinning the minute they get off the boat.
Time goes on. The Israelites turn against God and worship a cow, even after he displayed his amazing power and got them out of slavery. Then Moses screwed up, David screwed up, Solomon screwed up. Ninevah, Sodom, Gomorrah. The list goes on and on. Mankind has demonstrated an ongoing penchant for having no respect for God. They have demonstrated that there is no way possible they can even earn their way into his good graces again. And yet he loves them.
He loves them so much, SO MUCH, that he comes up with a last ditch effort, one more desperate plan, to bring them back in. He comes to Earth as a baby. One minute he's in heaven, the next he's in a cold smelly barn. His life is instantly threatened and his family has to disappear for a while. He grows up as a carpenter's son in poor surroundings, likely amidst whisperings of the odd conditions of his miraculous birth. And yet he loves them.
When he decides to start preaching he's rejected more than he's accepted. They try to run him off a cliff. They drive him out of town after town. His disciples demonstrate no faith in him and no understanding of who he is or what he stands for. And yet he loves them.
He arranges a meal to explain his ultimate fate, and during the meal one of his dearest friends leaves to betray him. He's arrested and thrown in prison, and dragged around from one puppet court to another. He's beaten with whips woven with jagged stone and glass designed to rip flesh from bone. His beard is ripped out of his face and a crown of two-inch thorns is pressed into his scalp. And yet he loves them.
The crowd has an opportunity to free him and they choose a hardened criminal over him. And yet he loves them.
In his physically weakened state, he drags a cross through town amidst mockery and beatings. He's stripped naked. He's strapped to the cross, and huge rugged spikes are driven into his hands and feet. He looks down on the people laughing at him through his blood-soaked eyes as he pitifully tries to push himself up to gasp for breath. He asks for water and they give him vinegar. "Forgive them father, they don't know what they're doing." And yet he loves them.
And then he dies, so that all that sinning can be paid for with his blood.
And then he comes BACK and people still don't believe it and keep right on sinning.
And yet he loves us.
Man... I get bent out of shape if someone takes the last bagel at work.
I don't say that to make a joke of it at all. I'm just saying that after ll these years, I STILL can't fathom the unconditional love that God has for us.
Happy Easter all.
Wednesday, March 5, 2008
ALIEN IN THE COMIC SHOP - Tom Hall, Joe Endres, Jesus Marquez, Keith Betancourt (Third Place Winner 2006 Comic Jam War)
ZERO PERCENT SOLUTION - Steve MacDonald & Veli Lopenon
Tuesday, February 26, 2008
Thursday, February 21, 2008
Saturday, February 9, 2008
Personally, I'm just glad I didn't need to endure Hannah Montana.
It brought me back to my first big concert, which was in 1985 at Nassau Collesium: Prince and the Revolution, with opener Sheila E, on the Purple Rain tour.
Sheila E, by the way, was worth the price of admission alone (I believe the tickets were about $85, which was a huge chunk of change for a $3.35 minimum wage part time dishwasher like moi). But as the electric organ held its first note to "Let's Go Crazy", and the lasers and smoke poured fourth, and Wendy and Lisa and the Doctor rocked in sync as the purple one rose up through a trap door in the floor, it was pure magic. They continued through his huge catalog of music for the next three hours, hitting fans with twenty minute renditions of "I Would Die 4U" and others, joined onstage by Jerome and Sheila E toward the end. Say what you want about Prince- he is a master entertainer.
I guess it is one of those "coming of age" things, as you begin to realize how huge the world is and how you can be a part of it, standing in the same (huge) room with the likes of Prince or the Jonas Brothers. It's amazing to see a celeb live and in person for the first time. It's exciting and inspiring. And I look forward to sharing that with my girls.
Thursday, February 7, 2008
I remember staring at a painting in the lobby of some old lady (I later found out it was the person for whom the theater had been named), pretending to be interested in it so she’d be impressed with me when she turned the corner to find me. I don’t know whether it worked or not, but after a while the painting actually did grow on me.
When she emerged from the office she was every bit as lively and lovely as I’d grown to find her in our year of friendship. We made some small talk as we walked to the car, where I announced that we’d be dining at Masen’s Mountainside Inn, a restaurant I had worked in as a kitchen manager (read senior dishwasher) followed by a movie. I had planned on Masen’s not just for the familiarity, but also for the somewhat lengthy drive so we could spend more time talking our way through the transition from friends to couple. She later told me she was impressed that I had made the decision of where the evening would take us.
Dinner was wonderful- Lillian (my favorite waitress, a grandmotherly Edith Bunker type of woman) set us up in a private, dimly-lit corner booth. I don’t recall everything we talked about. I do recall that she mentioned an annoying habit her ex-boyfriend had of tossing wadded-up napkins all over the table, something I was careful never to do from then on. I recall how she told me that she could not tolerate sugar and learned about hypoglycemia that night. I recall laughing a lot and enjoying healthy conversation about family and relationships and college. I recall how fair her skin was in the candlelight, how green her eyes were and how hypnotizing her perfect voice was.
After dinner we headed over to the theater- I had selected some abominable movie like Lair of the Spider Woman, but Marie suggested Moonstruck (a movie she’d already seen, she told me later, but a far better choice for sure). We shared popcorn and held hands.
On the way home I drove her past my high school and house as we continued to talk. At some point, I believe I was turning the final bend on Otterhole Road in Bloomingdale, I found myself asking an unusual question. Since we were both former Catholics, and our families were Catholics, and I was now Baptist and she was a Nazarene, I pondered where/how we would get married.
Finally, back in the parking lot of the college, we kissed an awkward soft kiss somehow amongst my bundled up ski jacket and her dress coat, and we said goodnight.
It remains to this day the best night of my life.
Monday, January 21, 2008
This week Tom and I got together and outlined a script for Dan Barlow's submission to the Sci-Fi issue. Dan's got this weird habit of doing awesome sequentials with no script. I don't know how he does it. Anyway, the piece is called Hair of the Dog and will appear in Megazeen #15. This week I've been fleshing out the script as I've been lettering, and also experimenting with computones to make the artwork pop. I also finally got the hang of lettering using layers on Paint Shop, which has saved loads of time and headaches. So, a little writing, lettering and shading. Sample above.
Speaking of the Sci-Fi issue, I've had to issue apologies to at least three people who believed their work would be in the book. It wasn't that their submissions didn't "make the cut" quality-wise or anything. But so much time had gone by since their submissions- literally two years- that honestly I'd lost track of them. The book will be extra-mongo sized anyway. So, in all liklihood, there will be a spillover into MZ16 this summer.
I've been working on a set of three 9x12 acryllic paintings that I will most likely make available for sale at shows and online. The first one is my character Blam from Colossians, done in the style of Carlos Meglia who's a genius. I'm pondering which other characters I'll tackle- in the running are the Manx (of course) and some mainstream characters. But I'm learning not to be too anal about my selection of subject to draw or paint- there's always time to do more later, right?
Mark Melton's Angeldreams #2 is going to press (as a "Megazeen Presents" book this time around) so I spent some time prepping the files and tweaking the covers for the printer. We're also working with our printer to produce a limited run of lithographs of various cover art from Megazeen, Megazeen Presents and others.
Oh, rumor has it that Megazeen just might be getting a little shout-out in Wizard Magazine, courtesy of an article they're running on Enemi Entertainment, a new, forward-thinking indy distributor that MZ has partnered with. More on Wizard and Enemi in the very near future.
So a slacker I have not been. I've actually had one of the best weeks in a long, long time.
And that's a week in the life of the editor of Megazeen.
Sunday, January 13, 2008
Tuesday, January 8, 2008
Sunday, January 6, 2008
One is to get Megazeen back on a quarterly schedule. The Megazeen Sci-Fi issue will appear this winter, the One-Page issue this spring, an as-yet-undetermined issue for summer and hopefully a Christmas issue by the end of year. That's the plan.
The other is that I will NOT purchase a Marvel or DC comic book this year.
That second one is a lot easier to keep. Frankly, I've barely bought any comics that weren't in a dollar box in many months. Especially regarding the Big Two, the price has discouraged me, the slapped-together artwork looks too often like it's done on a conveyor belt, and the quality of the storylines fails to amuse me. This coming from a collector of over 30 years with well over 5000 books. Wake up guys.
That said, I have become far more convicted about the growing indy lines. There is some really hot stuff out there, made by guys that do it for the love of the medium, not the almighty dollar. So, if I can throw them some of my almighty dollars, instead of Marvel and Deceased, I'll feel a whole lot better and I'll buy them a hamburger.
So whilst in my favorite haunt (New Moon Comics) I picked up a handful of indies at Victoria's recommendation. Good calls all around. I'm going to continue sampling the world of indies and undergrounds this year in earnest, and reviewing what I like. If you have any recommendations please leave them in the comments.
First up is ABYSS from Red 5 Comics, by Rubio and Marangon, the guys that brought us Troops and Tag and Bink. Here's the skinny (as Victoria sold it to me): Imagine your rich dad died and you've inherited everything. Then you find out that your dad was Batman. Then you find out he was really Doctor Doom. This is a pure FUN comic, not too heady or goofy, made for comic fans BY comic fans, and it's great to see these guys doing well. The art and dialogue are simple yet clever, and they WORK. After years of Marvel and Diseased, it's hard for me to invest in another universe, but this is so worthwhile.