Thursday, July 31, 2008

Fierce Behaviour

" I am the thing buried deep inside every man, woman, and child... I am the
very thing each of you yearns to embrace throughout your finite existence, yet denies at
the very worst of times... I am the fury that eventually surfaces to wreak untold chaos
upon the masses; the very cunning you swear you could never possess, but do... I am the
Fierce behaviour inside of you all--- quietly awaiting my time to emerge."

-Satyrnus Typhus Bengal

Under the influence

Though I can't really fit FIERCE CREATURES into any set genre (nor do I want to!), I can
speak of my love for movies, where FIERCE gets many of its influences... (John Woo, Ryuhei Kitamura, and Donnie Yen are huge with me) Featured here are my most personal favorites... If you LOVE stuff like this, then I KNOW you'll love FIERCE CREATURES!

When I woke up this Morning...

(Not yet) final draft---

This is one of those images that makes
you think: " Wow... When I woke up this
morning, did I really have any idea that by
the end of the day, I would wind up here?"

I love the idea of the hero being put in life-
threatening situations where there is NO
guarantee that he/she'll make it out--- maybe
they'll make it... Maybe not... Now make that
kind of life or death tension constant thru-out
the story... Ahhhh... Satisfying...

... If you paid any attention to the last entry, you
know how this one ends(?)

Friday, July 25, 2008

Unrestrained & Untamed

' Two fierce creatures.
One unrestrained, the other untamed.
A mirror image of mutual threat.'

-Rodney Blackwell

This is FACE/OFF... A John Woo moment immortalized in print... Comic Cinema by

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Apocalypse Now Pt.1

Putting together a comic series from the ground up can be pretty taxing, whether you enjoy piecing the elements together or not. I feel alot like Martin Sheen, traveling amid unstable conditions and psychological nightmares just to get to his objective, Marlon Brando--- The pressures along the way can almost be described as surreal; forcing yourself to avoid tunnel vision for fear of missing something important along the way... Living within a vacuum devoid of an art community to speak of can do that to you.
Imagine, you're writing , illustrating, inking, and doing market prep on a 6 issue series ( at 36 pages per book) completely on your own. If not for the color wizardry of Myron Macklin, I'd REALLY be stuck... And he's dividing that time between his own projects! That kind of business relationship is super rare to come by--- Thank God he's also my best friend!

I've burned many a late night hour crafting this thing, as well as other projects--- giving 110% each time to ensure satisfaction to those that deserve it the most--- the audience!
To those who have waited for this, hold on a little while longer while I polish this thing down.

I should know--- to do it half-assed means I simply give you the anguish and pain of Martin Sheen's' character. To do it right means I can give you Marlon Brando--- and everybody loves Brando, right?

P.S. Check out ARTNINJA.COM for more of Mr. ImMACKulate Conception himself, Myron Macklin.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Dressing Violence In Silk: Reel time versus Real Life

Every so often I have my own movie night. Whether it's grindhouse triple feature night ( such as Sugar Hill, Corvette Summer, and Detroit 9000, for example), or Samurai Saturday night ( Hanzo the Razor, Zatoichi, and Seven Samurai), or Drama All Nite Live ( Once Were Warriors, Mi Familia, and/or Apocalypse Now...heh), it's a given that whatever night or sub genre I choose will be an interesting night in front of the tube.

The night in question: Directors' night double feature: Sam Peckinpah's Wild Bunch & John Woo's Bullet in the Head.

As I revelled in the climatic ending of Bunch ( where Pike and his remaining brotherhood take on the entire Mexican army for the sake of a fallen friend), and then the heart-rending smash up of Bullet ( two remaining friends, now on extreme opposite sides, battling each other in a hail of bullets over the death of a fallen friend---AHA! See the connection---sort of?), I lost track of all time and moral compass as I thrill to slow motion bullet impacts and great lines of dialogue :

" If they move, Kill'em!"

"When you side with a man, you stick with'em, and if you can't do that, than you're no better than an animal!!"

When it was over, I flipped off the DVD player to CNN. They were covering some the more graphic images of the war in Iraq and clips of other tragedies surrounding it--- kinda like a year in review. I squad of Marines perished in a roadside bomb--- no survivors. A great leader is assassinated by one of her own people amid a Malay outside the capital. A small child is carried by two different people, going in two different directions, after a bomb detonates near a shopping center. Damn... Moral compass kicked in hard.

It's amazing what you revel in fiction that you repel in life.
Sheer violence in real life is kinda like an uncomfortable suit that you hate wearing, only to discover you wear it too well. Action entertainment in general is only pretend no matter how realistic it seems, right? And for a brief moment in time, I feel ashamed of the fact that I've been violence dressed in silk.

Fast forward.

Our next double feature: Fight Club & Sha Po Lang (aka KILLZONE).

Hitmen Don't Blog

To my best friend Adarryl... It's his fault.

The nickname RodBuddah was one of those things that kinda slipped out one night at dinner. Hanging out at an Asian restaurant in Charlotte, one of the owners came out and we made introductions. I was introduced, and some of the female staff began to giggle. Later I learned that many of the kitchen staff thought I was a hitman in town to visit friends.

A hitman... C'mon now... The year was 1994.

Of course, as time went on, some folks (who shall remain nameless ) have thrown in little tidbits to accentuate the joke...(' He's great at making things look like an accident', or 'His assassin characters' are composites of his work', or 'He's an artist all right... Death for profit')

For almost 14 years I have worn the nickname around my neck like a golden albatross, leaving many people with the assumption that I am, in fact, a contract killer for hire. ( One person seriously tried to 'hire' me back in 98' in a Vietnamese diner--- for a group that happened to be four tables over--- you can imagine how quickly I paid the bill and bailed)

I don't kill people for a living, okay? I do write the exploits of an assassin, but it's pulp fiction, not real time! So, I hope I have settled the matter. Granted, to a then struggling artist, the idea of 5,000 a head seemed tempting, but it's that kinda movie mentality that ends only in misfortune and maybe the death penalty. Besides, hitmen don't blog--- not even the narcissistic ones.

Let me know when you get the joke.;)

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Running on Empty

A funny moment.

I'm at a local gas station paying for gas. The man in front of me is struggling with a decision--- Whether to put his remaining cash in his gas tank or buy a pack of somkes. As a joke, I decide to engage in the debate.

I tell him, " Imagine this: Whichever way you go is gonna be a tough call. Say that you decide on the cigarettes. Now considering how much you have, you may or may not make it to your destination. Now, say you're out of gas, sitting on the side of the road, getting laughed at by an old man who's been walking everywhere all his life.... I smoke, yes.... But I also like getting home without incident."

He ponders the thought a minute... And decides on the smokes! He looks at me and says, " I may be on the side of the road, young man, but dammit, I WILL be comfortable in my discomfort". I accept it and we part ways.

Would you believe that I would run into this guy some two hours later on the side of the road with a TOW TRUCK picking up his car! As I drive past the scene, I notice that the guy merely stands there laughing with the tow driver, taking a big pull off a cigarette that he may not have had had he decided otherwise.

Then I thought about what he said: being comfortable in his discomfort.
If he was REALLY smart, he could've sold the scenario to a cigarette company.
You can't buy those kinds of advertising moments, can you?

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

The Long Hard Hello

Talk about a long, long, LONG time coming... To anyone making the attempt to produce their own book will find the task anything but easy. In the ardous journey towards completion, I stopped to look at the one time school project to give you an idea of how I got here.

FIERCE CREATURES ( originally entitled The GRIFFIN) started as a host of character sketches and an outline in June of 89', but I didn't get serious about it until I got hit with a writing assignment in film school... The year was 1995.

I switched from art school to film school as a future storyboard artist. My father had passed away that fall, so you can imagine what it was like to concentrate on anything. The assignment was to create a short shooting script based on an original idea. I used the comic outline as a script outline.

As luck would have it, I got an A for the assignment and even got some attention from a film studio thanks to my counsellor. Because of the interest level, I was convinced the project would be best ticket. From that moment on, I would produce my high school idea using my film school script and put it on the shelf. What the hell was I thinking?

I took a crash course in the school of hard knocks over the next several years... Divorce, cash straped for supplies, thereby working two jobs on top of school--- Hell, the first issue alone got highjacked by a young inker who was told that I would never pay him for his work--- by an inker who turned me down due to his workload of what he considered 'more important work'...

Jesus... Life does come at you fast.

Anyway, after getting my affairs in order, I returned to the project with a retooled script and switching to a full color format. I showed the work around to a couple of publishers to mixed results ( one publisher said it wouldn't pick up the title simply because they didn't know what genre it could fit in. Wow. The Matrix had the same problem, and look what happened.).

Ha. Here I am. Still in this. I've had supporters ranging from Budd Root (Cavewoman), Jason Alexander(Empty Zone), to Andy Lee, who contributed the Sumi-brush piece on this blog.
As I near completion, I look back on all of this as a testament to perseverance. To all the creators out there seeking what I seek, stay in it and never let the pratfalls of life trick you into giving your dream project the long kiss goodnight.

Fight for your introduction as you get your foot in the door... Call it the long hard hello.