Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Prince Street News: Four Color Traditions!

Jeez Louise, was I jazzed to do this installment of Prince Street News. BACK ISSUE! #85 is dedicated to Christmas comic books of the Bronze Age, a merging of passions that makes my black little heart (like that of a certain Seussian Scrooge) grow three sizes. I can still remember finding the first DC and Marvel treasuries (and the Archie digest I'm holding in the final panel) at the newsstand that gave this comic strip its name back in 1973-74, and I still pull them out and read them every year. While there have been some collections of holiday comic book stories, I still feel like the definitive anthologies have yet to be compiled. Now THAT would be a dream job.

In the meantime, as the song says, Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas. See you next year.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Prince Street News: The Sartorial Story of the Sundry Supergirls!

It's PSN time again, kidlets, and this one was super-fun to do (SUPER-fun! Get it?). As I posted last, I (along with a gaggle of swell cartoonists) got to provide the cover for BACK ISSUE! #84, spotlighting Kara Zor-El's Bronze Age adventures in the comics and onscreen. This installment of Prince Street News focuses on the outfits that not just Kara, but other Supergirls have worn over the years in DC Comics.

In another case of bad timing (similar to what happened with the installment about The Flash and Green Lantern), I turned this strip in literally one day before CBS released its first image of Melissa Benoist in her Supergirl costume from the new TV show. I quickly drew another panel and tried to figure out a way to insert it into the strip, but it just felt like what it was: a forced add-on. My editor Michael Eury was kind enough to add the panel as a coda in the letters page of this issue.

Next issue features another PSN dealing with a topic near and dear to my little black heart: Christmas comics!

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Adventure Comics 397 Redux!

I love comic book cover redux projects (the late, great COVERED blog was one of my favorites). I also enjoy costume redesigns (see PROJECT: ROOFTOP for many examples, both pro and fan). I wanted to marry the two concepts by doing a version of ADVENTURE COMICS #397 from 1970. The cover (by Mike Sekowsky and Dick Giordano) depicts Superman's cousin, Kara trying to select a new outfit. In that issue, Supergirl's costume (the same one she'd worn since her debut in 1959) was destroyed, and for the next few years, she embarked on a fashion adventure that woulda' made Katy Keene proud, donning new outfits until finally settling on a puffy sleeved hot pants number.

So, here's a project that I undertook over two years ago, but have been waiting to post because it turned into something much bigger than I originally intended. Rather than do all the costume redesigns myself, I enlisted a bunch of artists (some pals, some just people whose work I like) to jam with me on this redux, and I was more than thrilled with the results.

From left to right, the contributing artists are Jon Morris (whose new book, THE LEAGUE OF REGRETTABLE SUPERHEROES is a must for any fanboy's shelf), Dean Haspiel (one of the few cartoonists whose breadth spans Harvey Pekar and the Fantastic Four, among many others), Stephen DeStefano (who bounces between working in animation, comics, and drawing Popeye for licensing), Kristen McCabe (gape in awe here and here), Bob Fingerman (he of MINIMUM WAGE fame, among other great graphic novels), and Jackson Publick (creator of the always genius THE VENTURE BROS.). My huge thanks to all of these talented folks for indulging me in this project.

In fact, I was so happy with the finished product that I offered it to my editor at BACK ISSUE! Magazine, Michael Eury, thinking that maybe he'd squeeze it into an appropriate issue somewhere. Instead, Michael decided to dedicate an entire issue to the Girl of Steel (or Maid of Might, as she's sometimes known), and used the jam piece for the cover of BI! #84 (on sale now)!

And yes, there's a PRINCE STREET NEWS about Supergirl's sartorial history inside the issue as well, which I will post in a few weeks... but for now, here's the ADVENTURE 397 redo, a closer look at my designs (one of which went unused), and the BI! cover alongside Sekowsky's original comic book cover.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Barcade Blackboards III

Yeesh, it's been a long time since I've posted more work from my day job as a bartender at Barcade (Jersey City and Chelsea). This year, I was invited by the owners to redo the blackboards at the Brooklyn and St. Marks locations in addition to the two where I pull the taps (with more to come!). I was quite excited about the expansion of my addition to the brand... too excited, actually. The hanging board near the bottom of the gallery is located at the original Brooklyn Barcade, opened in 2004. The day the bar opened, owner Paul Kermizian climbed up on a ladder and wrote, "Tonight only: Good Times!" on it. And thus it remained, for over a decade. When Paul and I were discussing my redoing the boards, he asked me to leave this particular one untouched, as it was an historical artifact for the Barcade chain.

And then I got to Brooklyn, took out the chalk... and forgot. I grabbed a ladder, climbed up with my trusty wet bar rag, and wiped out the Good Times, replacing it with Pinty's admonitions. The next morning, going through the e-mails with Paul, I re-read his edict, and felt my stomach drop to my ankles. I e-mailed him immediately, and while he wasn't happy, luckily for me, Paul's an accommodating (and forgiving) guy, and we worked out a compromise to bring back the message of the original board (if not the actual writing). 

Please note that all of the events listed below have come and gone! But download that Barcade app and check out the upcoming events at all locations. Mayhaps I'll even be the one filling your glass.

Jersey City sandwich board

light up sign hanging by the kitchen window at our Jersey City location

New Jersey's best brewery, if yez ask me. 

Two different Nosferatu from JC and Chelsea locations

Get it? Wolverine likes DuClaw. Because, claws. 

That's Charlie Brown, and his pal, "Lionel" (according to my boss, Drew)

Another mighty fine New Jersey brewery

This was the board I was asked to leave untouched. It was also the only thing I'd signed up till that point. Whoops.

The "new" version, approximating the original message. I'll still always be the guy who erased "Good Times!"

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Prince Street News: History on the Spinner Rack!

Hey! Back so soon! The new issue of BACK ISSUE! (#81) deals with a topic nearest and dearest to my geeky little heart: DC Comics' giant sized comics of the Bronze era, with a special focus on what is my all-time favorite comic book format: The DC 100 Page Super Spectacular!

For this episode, I redrew (painstakingly, if I may be allowed to add) two of my favorite covers from that format: Neal Adams' iconic wraparound for SUPERMAN #252 and Nick Cardy's somewhat less-iconic (but still keen) cover for BATMAN #254. Now, you may ask, what is the point of doing faithful (or at least as faithful as my talent will allow) recreations when I could just paste the actual cover into the strip? Because I wanted to, that's why! It's my damn comic strip, if I wanna use it as an excuse to do my own take on some of my favorite comic book covers, you can't stop me (and besides, the actual covers are reproduced elsewhere in the issue)!

There is an awful lot of Photoshop placement of actual covers in this strip, however. My rule of thumb for PSN is that if the panel depicts me holding a comic, I'll use the actual book rather than redraw it. In the past, I have actually redrawn covers for this purpose, but it turned out to be WAAAAY more effort than it was worth in the context of the strip. I also used the actual covers for the first two panels (the comics on the spinner rack are all cover dated July 1971, meaning that as a young'un, I perused all of these great old comics at the same time on the same rack! Swoon!).

Editor Michael Eury really outdid himself on this one. Full of historical background on not just the Super-Specs, but other (sadly short-lived) reprint series of the 1970s, BI! 81 had me digging through the longboxes and adding titles to my want list.

The next installment of PSN pops up in BACK ISSUE! #84, which focuses on Supergirl in the '70s. I'm especially excited about this issue because I also (with the fantastic help of a half a dozen great cartoonists) did the COVER for this one... stay tuned!

Actually, you can probably look at other stuff on the web between now and then, it's not out until October. It would be silly for you to keep your browser open to just this page for four months.

Monday, May 4, 2015

Prince Street News: The B and the B

It's been a while, but PRINCE STREET NEWS returns to BACK ISSUE! with Issue 80 (now on sale), a look at Green Lantern and the Flash in the Bronze Age of Comics. The strip deals with the fact that, despite a vast history and numerous media adaptations, neither character has ever quite permeated the general public's consciousness to the extent of the so-called DC Trinity (being Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman).

The long lag-time between the production of these strips and when they see print is unfortunately evident in this installment, as the footnote at the bottom of page one indicates that this was sent off before even an image from the CW's FLASH TV show hit the internet. Now the show's a big hit, and don't I look like an idiot for being cynical about its prospects!

The next PSN will appear in, hey, the next BACK ISSUE! So I'll see you again soon...