Tuesday, June 29, 2010

JUNE post, {which actually WAS written in June this time!}

REAL JUNE (not Mock this time; I really am writing this in June, honest!) June—whew! Just made it in under the deadline here, didn't I?

If you waste time on Google, you may’ve come across this. If not, I was part of an art project that my pal, Carl Wyckaert, put together for an art book/gallery showing in Paris and Belgium in May. Here's a link to my friend Carl who organized it the gallery show, and is putting out a book of all the cards in the tarot deck.

My old buddy Josh Hagler was there, David Mack, Baron Storey, Mike Dringenberg and a bunch of other artists i haven't met in person so i won't feel to guilty if i flake on mentioning them here. I couldn't BE there for the show, but I asked to have my art burned at the show, and to my surprise and delight, they happily obliged!

(note sinister lighter in Carl's left hand as he smiles down at them!)

Now, before this freaks any of you out (IF it does), please read this, which i wrote for the show and was printed on the back of some prints of the art they sold at the show:

Still horrified? Then just hear me out: Lots of artists often throw out or otherwise destroy stuff they don't like. It's fact. Nothing personal. It's our right. Or stupidity. (If it helps, I don't burn everything I do; some I give away, some I burn, some I keep or sell in galleries for more than my comic book art goes for.

I have not sold any comic book art in about three years and have discontinued doing so. Why? Because much of my art is so digital, there IS no art to speak of TO sell anymore. I never have or will look down on comic art, but I also don't wish to hide my respect for illustrators and contemporary art— which I don't talk about much publicly, only because I hate the elitist baggage that often accompanies it. I don't mean the artists, I mean the fine folks who speculate and profit off it like crabs feasting off rotting fish. Not to seem bitter…

I still remain friends with my old comic art dealer, Albert Moy, a true pal. But as I've told him, my focus now is increasingly gallery-focused, meaning, for lack of a better word, the art I do outside of comics is what my old pal Alex Pardee calls;

'...personal art ',

Like weird crap i build or sculpt by hand, like this Box i made. dozens of magic boxes made of clay, toilet seats, feathers, something that makes ZERO sense at all...

Like this big-ass panting of yet another asian woman, which dwarfs my usual original art size and stimulates different parts of my brain to work so BIG and use mixed media so DIFFERENTLY than i do in comics.

So i make crap, so what right? Lots of people do. If i use rope, cords, fur, rusty old crap and cobble together.. i'd not be the first one to do it -- so why call it personal art?

I just mean as opposed to work for hire, meaning art I do for ME.

To keep me Happy and Stupid. Foolish fun. This is the kinda stuff that pollutes more and more of my sketchbooks, unapologetically so. My feeling is, if only ONE person wants to buy a piece of this art, cool. If not, that's fine too. I know that fewer fans 'per square inch' will like, or follow, or care about this stuff and most will pine away for Maxx and Julie, little bitty hairs on Wolverine's arms, or Batman looking his usual melodramatic self or… (insert favorite mindless superhero's name here). That's cool too. I STILL love that stuff or I wouldn't be doing comics anymore, would I?

An imaginary friend of mine (who doesn't exist except as an excuse to ask me something in the third person) asked me, "Hey Sam, why should us fans buy a gallery painting for thousand of bucks, if he can get a comic page for so much less?"

No reason, and I say, if you’re looking for a deal, or a Zero Girl or Wolverine comic page inspires you, GO for it. I drew it for you to enjoy. But just respect my right to ALSO paint things of a personal nature too. Stuff that may take more time and sweat, as well as inspire me on a personal level. If such work takes more out of me, then yes, I AM willing to either ask more for it or, in some cases, give it away, or, yes—sometimes burn it and give it back to the earth.

So I ask your patience and support as I branch out into this, for lack of a better word 'gallery' or 'personal art' side of stuff. And I bet most of my fans are already open to this, given how I mix styles and media, even in my superhero work nowadays.

Remember as R. Crumb once said, "It's only lines on paper, folks."


"MAY" post, hey -- better late than never!


it's MOCK MAY . . .

Gad-zooks—it doesn't feel like May! Only one more month left before I am all caught up in posts, huh?

Much small stuff this time:

these are very SKINNY thumbs . . .

...from an unused gallery from my non-existent web page (which i'll probably never get too). You may recognize some of this art from the first Sketchbook. Others haven't been published yet.

BTW, I've another 48-page sketchbook out from IDW, and now we’re moving on to the BIG sucker. Yeah, the long-overdue art book everybody always asks about—the one that WASN'T canceled, but I can see why you'd think it was! I only had a small fit about this sketchbook:

The cover isn't as crisp as I'd like, but i didn't toss in in the garbage this time. When you go non-gloss which i like, that's the trade off, so I’m somewhat to blame for this one seems less crips in the blacks. Bitch bitch bitch… here's the raw hand drawn cover for comparrison.

Notice the moss is made with modeling paste with sand? The 3D texture doesn't show as well in print. i love the texture of moss, however it's made. Stippling, sand, or even real moss pasted on canvas. There's something almost organic and sensual about moss for me. As i said, a lot of moss contrast gets lost when you don't use a gloss cover. - ENOUGH, it's what it is...

Now, what's next?

Here's the THREE-PHASE PLAN for all my art books, that will eventually be published down the road. Before you bring up my tendency to procrastinate, take heart: were already DONE with phase one, see? The two 48 pagers should give you some faith i will get off my ass and do the later ones! I describe the three of them in detail the intro to the second Sketchbook, so i won't repeat all that here.

Phase Three is these BIG THREE VOLs. which all add up to 600 pages of sketchbook material. These will be super-rare, limited print run, dipped in plates and art, signed/numbered, the whole bit, blah blah. Why so rare on these? Mostly because frankly, who the heck WANTS much sam crap right? Not everyone. So why not make it collectable, and special for the sam addicts who just HAVE to have it? Right?

I'm probably more proud of these goofy sketchbooks than anything else I've drawn for the last two years for the big two. And I have all of YOU fans to thank for checking these first two sketchbooks out. No offense to DC, but we all know they’ll move plenty of Batman and Arkham books without my plugging it. But these little sketchbooks are PURE labors of love.

From the subtle and evocative to the silly and grotesque, these pretty much shows the full range of perversity i can't always get to in sequential mainstream stories.

At the risk of seeming full of myself, these art books are really my way of saying THANKS to my fans who put up with me over years, and STILL check out my weird wonky stuff. YOU guys n' gals are what keeps me alive and kicking, creatively.

Until next month, (which is five minutes from right now..)

Missing ARPIL post!


Wow, is it April already? Here's two versions of an unpublished cover for my friend Vassilis's "Mr. Universe " comic that Image published a while back. I painted one darker to hide the girls face which i felt i kinda botched. Still not sure which i like better...

I'd like to eat up server space bragging about three people in my life who I've been talking to, who YOU may or may not have heard of. They will be drawing some of the Oni Trout books I'll be writing, laying out and trying NOT to draw (otherwise they will never get finished as I'm too swamped to draw more than two books a month. Tried to on Bimbo, almost killed me. Never again!).

Tim Kelly: This guy has a sweet organic style that really blows me away. He says he gets compared to me a lot in his style, but I got compared to Frazetta and Bernie Wrightson—which is who both of our true lineage comes from, and no matter how we pale in comparison, it's still a cool place to try for. Besides, by now Tim's got his own style. He can pencil, color, ink, paint like a demon. He's a compulsive creator too. He always makes me WANT to draw, because he makes it look so damned FUN to create stuff. And it IS, when he does it.

Leigh Dragoon: I met Leigh years ago. Out of the blue I asked a friend if she knew any women cartoonists; she gave me Leigh’s name, and when we spoke on the phone I was stunned to find out she lives in the same town I do! She's multi-faceted too—writes, draws, paints, all of it. She's getting so much writing work, it's crazy. She doesn't just draw, she 'acts' her characters, often much better than I do. If Lynn Johnston (from “For Better or For Worse”) had a long-lost daughter who drew comics, Leigh would be it. I'm lucky to be working with her. Leigh just finished a story she wrote for Fraggle Rock #2.

Vassilis Gogtzilas: I only put Vassilis last because I threw him into my second sketchbook FIRST. He's someone else I felt like I've always known. He lives in Greece, teaches art and does his own comics, advertising, has directed animated music videos, has his own art books too. Insanely prolific. VERY talented, and can draw even more wild cartoony stuff than I can, yet can shift to drawing much more realistically than I can. Basically he kicks my ass, but in a good way. He's humble too. I like working with folks who make me look better than I am. He's got his own comic series called “Misery City” from blacklinecomics.

All three are tirelessly helping me on my goofy little trout-a-verse, and in turn I tell them to exploit whatever attention that gives them towards their OWN books, because they have lives beyond me. Check their stuff out when you can. It's creators like these who are the future of comics,seriously. I wasn't doing half the crap they are when I was their ages.

end of plug.

Missing March post shows up in June!

MOCK "MARCH" post.

I know, been a while hasn't it?

And now, because we need some eye-candy, here's a drawing i did for my mom. She likes Bisons. duh. Now back to why i've not posted in so long..

Lost some work, took a few personal and professional bullets in my hide, but I'm still kicking and thrashing about, more or less back on track is the Cliffs Notes version. Still here. In an effort to make up for the 5 months’ of posts I FLAKED on, this is my solution:

Mock MARCH post: (Ignore the dates, just pretend this came out in March, kay? Thanks.) Wow—is it March already? Feels like it, huh?

Yep, you gotta suffer through really bad jokes about it too. anyhoo... I guess i'll take a Vonegut-like leap into the future to ... whoosh—June! Looks like June is when DC's just published my “Arkham Asylum 96” hardcover..

..as you can see, a box of copies from the printer sadly sit on my bedroom floor unread and unwrapped.


Because, I always find SOME goof-up in the printing that causes a juvenile tantrum on my part; thus I throw them away and my wife later digs them out of the garbage behind my back; then later, another saner Sam is eventually able to look at them and NOT have a hissy fit.


But not right now. Plus, a box of hardcover books are heavier to throw into (and dig out) of the garbage than a comic, so here they remain, for now. Lurking. Staring back at me. Ominously.

I know this sounds like a cute little story, but what's REALLY disturbing is that every word is true. Sad, but true. So let's not wait for me to look at it; could be a while.

In the meantime, here are a few 'behind the scene' pages that didn't make it into the hardcover, just for fun.

How we made the book, and all these dumb little fake antique cardboard boxes I made for the Joker to collect in the story.

Alternate versions of pages. Most of these are NOT in the comic, so consider this a continuation of the pages that are already in the hard cover.

Hey, since i haven't LOOKED at it yet, these might be in there already for all i know...

I'd like to thank editor Mike Siglain for babysitting me for the better part of nine months, being a midwife to this sucker. Artists are indulgent, spoiled sons of a bitches; just ask my wife. It's a thankless job dealing with freelancers. Don't do it editors, get a REAL job, find some shred of an actual LIFE. Escape us writer/artists types while there's still time!

Okay, I'll catch up with you NEXT month in APRIL, which golly...will seem like it's just minutes after March. Funny, that.