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Baby explorer - Brandon Graham
Baby explorer

Me and Marian went to a mall yesterday.
Those places are fucking weird.
There was a toy called "Dora the baby explorer" like it was some official title for a pedophile. Then on our way out we saw a woman putting lipstick on an infant baby child.
As we walked past Marian says "woah, baby explorer!"

I haven't interacted with Tokyopop much since the shit went down. King city 2 is an ignored stack of paper. I've been working on other stuff for the last 2 weeks.

--MULTIPLE WARHEADZ: Alphabet to infinity--
And yeah, There's some text and coloring mistakes I gotta fix. but I wanted to show it so far.

Shit yes, this ink on paper is fun.

I was remembering years ago in nyc, I guess it was 2001. I'd been pitching books to Vertigo almost on a weekly basis and the only editor that wanted to see my stuff fly had just left the company. Even with him there It was the catch 22 of telling me I'd be the next Paul Pope but they would'nt give me a book without the kind of name Pope had. (It became a joke for years to be called the next pope--I think half of the artists I know at different times were given that title. You can set your watch by the next pope.)

On top of that NBM had just turned down another pitch and told me to give it some time before I could even do more porn for them.

All this at once. I was cartoon depressed, walking through queens in the rain.
In the months before that I'd felt like I was almost at what I'd been aiming for my entire life. And then that was it. I had no more places to even take my work to.
I had devoted my entire purpose and my self image to this industry that didn't even want me.
And I gave up. Like fuck you comics.

I still made pages after that. But for the first time since I was like 13 It was just for me.
For the most part I kept that. "take the pain--use it"

There's no real money in this. Most of the fame is fake-- McFarline is known because he hired some dudes to make action figures. You only know Stan Lee's name because he spent his life on Kirby's back.

This comic book industry is weighed down with good artists making shit books.
Good companies putting out garbage.
As an artist it kills me to think of the struggle it took to be able to have my stuff in stores.
As a reader, I go to comic stores ready to spend whatever it costs for a good new book.
more times then not I leave with 80's books from the quarter bin.

This stupid livejournal is the only soap box I got. I don't rant like this in my comics.
Like I said, those are for me.

Make some comic books like you fucking mean it.

Comic artists seem to die alot lately. You really want your last work to be a hack job?
Put some weight on that paper.


Anyway, that's my rant this week. The music the moment you own it, and all that.
On the less self rightious bitter side of things stuff's been good.
I'm with Marian out at her cabin again. I brought a foot tall stack of quarter bin comics,
Asterix and Conan books.

Anyone ever read DC comics 1987-- Slash Maraud?
I might have to scan some of it, I just got the first 2 issues.
It looks fucking awesome. Purple snow, shape changing aliens.
Giant Polar bear sized pandas called "Panda-monium"

Check out this Asterix picture I ran into:

I love that Gaulish village until the sky falls on our heads.

Current Location: the cabin
Current Mood: fuck
Current Music: The Coup

36 comments or Leave a comment
From: bluebeetlev3 Date: July 1st, 2008 10:05 am (UTC) (Link)
Make some comic books like you fucking mean it.

Comic artists seem to die alot lately. You really want your last work to be a hack job?
Put some weight on that paper.

Good advice, but I worry that it's because of this my productivity is so freaking low. So much other crap keeps me occupied/distracted it's rare I can sit down and really attack the page like I want to. At the very least my ideas keep coming.
royalboiler From: royalboiler Date: July 2nd, 2008 02:56 am (UTC) (Link)
Maybe not having time to draw is
"putting some wait on the paper."
Either way, qualuity over quantity
there's some artis that I've only seen like 50 pages out of
but I still remember them if it's good.
yfrontninja From: yfrontninja Date: July 1st, 2008 11:13 am (UTC) (Link)
Is it "you don't pick comix, comix picks you"?

It's a strange calling, especially since North America only has a place for comix as a commodity (potential easy screenplays for crappy blockbusters) and not an art form. Even Harvey Pekar (David Letterman and all) had to keep his day job and anyone who doesn't frequent a comic store wont know who he is.

It's funny to read this, because I've been thinking about what you're saying over the last few weeks (or at least tangents of it). What's strange about many of the "famous" comic artists around Vancouver, I notice, is how concerned they are with pretending they are big-shots, really puffy, and you better listen to all of the famous comic douchefuck names they're going to list off at you for being their mentors and bff. You're famous to your peers, so you don't really have to go out of you way to make them feel small "I inked Spiderman remix disco issue #1033.2-a"; what does that even mean? It's all so meaningless. It's the personal work that stands out (I guess to me, anyways).

I'm so wet behind the ears, but all I can think of is getting better at making the stories I want to do, even though I know only five other people are going to ever see them.

Brandon, you're stuff is interesting, your collages blow my mind. I respect your "soapbox".

reyyy From: reyyy Date: July 1st, 2008 11:41 am (UTC) (Link)
This may be unrelated, but: I was hanging out with a guy who draws character designs for Id (Game company that does Quake and all that crap). He technically has a "better" art job than me, makes more money, is stable, probably would get more respect out of the average joe, but when I talked to him, and he listed his heroes (James Jean, etc) I was like "oh ya, I know that guy. he's my homie" or "yeah, he's sleeping on my couch right now." etc. It was apparent that I am rich in friends and "THE ENERGY". The Id guy was blown away, at how many volcanoes of creative I consider my pals. And not through an office connection, or some "project we were both hired on", but just coz we met coz this fucking shit is how you meet.

It's the nature of comics, the indy art form it is, that we mentally unstable & underpaid man-children (or women-children) must band together and be each-other's wealth.

And about "fame" in comics (or outside of comics, general fame) I think using the art of comics, you won't be famous yourself, but your comics should be. If they are awesome. Many people may not know who Corey Lewis is, but some of them may know who Sharknife is. I think pushing your property more than your self is the goal.
yfrontninja From: yfrontninja Date: July 1st, 2008 12:31 pm (UTC) (Link)
Oh yeah, I think that's the difference. It's honoring peers as friends and comrades in creativity rather than currency or leverage for impressing your superiority. But maybe it's just 5 am and I'm off the mark. I think if a person has that sort of support in life, then it's the virtuous wealth of kings (ha ha, I myself feel like a nomad in search of my desert gypsy folk).

rsjr From: rsjr Date: July 1st, 2008 04:03 pm (UTC) (Link)
You're such a fucking anime hero with your "wealth of friends" bullshit, Corey. :)

royalboiler From: royalboiler Date: July 2nd, 2008 03:02 am (UTC) (Link)
yas, Rich in bros.
I'm a bro-ianair.
harveyjames From: harveyjames Date: July 1st, 2008 01:27 pm (UTC) (Link)
Funny, I was looking at that Asterix picture the other day. I love how all the Roman centurions seem to be made from exactly the same parts- pear shaped head, bulbous nose, but they're all distinguishable from each other, too.

I think the background is what I love the most about that picture. His characters all seem a bit squiddly-diddly when you lay them all side by side like this, which is odd because of course they look great in his usual comic panels. It's like there's not enough flow to it, nothing to lead your eye around- as soon as your eye hits the bleachers where they sit, it's met with visual static.

Compare how much 'snap' there is in the picture of the pirates top left, with the whirling miasma of blobby flesh that is the main image. Still, I'm sure it's difficult to manage crowd scenes when you're drawing characters with as much detail and character as he does. The guy is amazing!

That colour thing of yours looks brilliant. It occurs to me I still haven't read any of your comics... is King City the place to start?

As for the comic book industry... man, good luck with that mess. I barely even know who the first Paul Pope is. I wonder when we'll get the next Asterix or Tintin, where the book will sit on the shelves and still sell round the world 50 years later? I don't reckon it'll take a genius. I reckon it's something any one of us could do.
inkstuds From: inkstuds Date: July 1st, 2008 05:46 pm (UTC) (Link)
Alex Toth was Paul Pope before there was Paul Pope.
royalboiler From: royalboiler Date: July 2nd, 2008 03:13 am (UTC) (Link)
Yeah, I like the look of the village.
It reminds me of good smurf houses.

I'm glad yo dug the page.
King city is a decent start.

And yes, the comic industry is a mess we need some new tintin/asterix. we're the ones sitting here with ink on our fingers. With your art you'd do a fine series of books.
From: (Anonymous) Date: July 1st, 2008 05:11 pm (UTC) (Link)
See if some of the legal minds at Oni (or anyone else who hasn't fucked you over) can come up with a way to pry KC free of TP. Things aren't looking bright over Creator Rights Way-- at least, according to the rumor mill:


Trust that shit at your own risk, right?

While you might not have the funds to lawyer up, surely somebody's willing to throw cash your way to make it happen. Maybe set up a paypal or something similar. See who all's willing to pitch in and free your baby.

royalboiler From: royalboiler Date: July 2nd, 2008 03:14 am (UTC) (Link)
I'm kind of hoping they just fall apart and I can take my book but with my contract I wouldn't be able to for like 18 months.
nervousystem From: nervousystem Date: July 2nd, 2008 04:20 am (UTC) (Link)
Ok, I'll set my alarm clock and mark my calendar.
(Deleted comment)
royalboiler From: royalboiler Date: July 2nd, 2008 03:16 am (UTC) (Link)
I'm so thrilled that you're out there making werewolf suits, beltbuckles and rad paintings.

Hopefully KC2 will find someway into print.
_w_o_o_d_ From: _w_o_o_d_ Date: July 1st, 2008 07:19 pm (UTC) (Link)
I will make a sacrifice to the comics gods and pray that you manage to finish King City 2 and get it published, because it's really one of the best comics I've ever read.
royalboiler From: royalboiler Date: July 2nd, 2008 03:17 am (UTC) (Link)
Thank you.

I'll do my damnedest to get it out.
From: paulsakoff Date: July 1st, 2008 10:15 pm (UTC) (Link)
have you ever watched the astrix movies? there good...

your "rant" sounded like when my uncle(who was in the comic, and now in the video game business) was talking to me about how hard it is to get into it....

i still wanna become a comic artist....
royalboiler From: royalboiler Date: July 2nd, 2008 03:19 am (UTC) (Link)
I want to see those, they look good.

And yeah with all my bitching it's still a fine life.
You should tottaly be a comic artist.
From: paulsakoff Date: July 2nd, 2008 07:37 am (UTC) (Link)
i plan too, thanks
From: lanbridge Date: July 1st, 2008 11:24 pm (UTC) (Link)
word brother.

johnchrist From: johnchrist Date: July 1st, 2008 11:31 pm (UTC) (Link)
Heh, you gotta listen to Kevin Smith's rant on 'Dora the Explorer' from his 'Evening Harder' dvd, "Listen kid, this shit is all fine when wer're high, but it doesn;t fly in the real world."

Man, comics is a war, everyone outside is just a civilian. Keep up the good fight!
royalboiler From: royalboiler Date: July 2nd, 2008 03:20 am (UTC) (Link)
Comix feels like a cold war lately.
That Smith shit is funny.
johnchrist From: johnchrist Date: July 2nd, 2008 05:14 am (UTC) (Link)
Well sir, perhaps it's time to extend the "page gap" and rock this world.

Btw, still looking for a letterer on 6 pages and a cover if you're up for the job.
bougieman From: bougieman Date: July 2nd, 2008 12:05 am (UTC) (Link)
Those KELLY GREEN books you reccomended arrived in my mailbox on Friday! I can't waits to read them! They look SOOO fantastic. I have been too busy, but soon I will curl up under a lamp with a fruit smoothie and get it on with those books.

royalboiler From: royalboiler Date: July 2nd, 2008 03:22 am (UTC) (Link)
I need to see the 2nd book. let me know how it reads.
Also I heard a rumor that you've got a copy of the moebius ratman story. I need to see that thing.
bougieman From: bougieman Date: July 2nd, 2008 05:39 am (UTC) (Link)
I do indeed have that. It's pretty beat up, but I have it.
From: tokyoghoststory Date: July 2nd, 2008 03:20 am (UTC) (Link)
your entire ethic on everything makes me really smile.
From: (Anonymous) Date: July 2nd, 2008 01:23 pm (UTC) (Link)
Beautiful post, Mr. Graham.

I just bought the first two Kelly Green's also, based on your earlier post. I just got them last night and they're absolutely beautiful to behold. I haven't had the chance to read them all the way through, but there are some interesting things I noticed.

You can tell Stan Drake felt quite a bit liberated from the content restrictions of the daily newspaper comic strip so it seems like he had a lot of fun with the cheesecake and darker elements of the script. However,
Drake didn't seem to feel as free (or comfortable) bucking the formalism of the daily newspaper comic strip.

Drake's background as a daily strip artist is evident in the layouts. Drake doesn't seem to consider designing a PAGE, and using the freedom of the graphic album format to create unique panel arrangements. Each and every page has 3 distinct newspaper-strip sized tiers. There are no broken panels, open panels or wild Steranko-esque page designs.
The three-tiered format does lead to interesting storytelling, because scene transitions may appear in the middle of the page or in the final panel of a tier, which may be a holdover from Drake's daily strip mindset where he wants to set up a cliffhanger for the next day's comic. Comic book readers are trained to wait for the transition to occur at the top of the next page, so the album reads more like a collection of dailies than a work created as a stand-alone graphic novel.

These aren't criticisms, because the work is absolutely beautiful and well told, but the storytelling choices Drake made are fascinating, because of how closely he stayed to his roots as a newspaper cartoonist.

Sorry for the long post. Thanks!

royalboiler From: royalboiler Date: July 3rd, 2008 09:30 am (UTC) (Link)
I like a long post, next time you should try to out word me.

I never noticed that they kept the newspaper format with the panels. That's interesting.

I'm thrilled that anyone took my advice on a comic to read.
Now I juat want to spend my days recomending books I like.

Thanks for the post Jack.

mechamitzy From: mechamitzy Date: July 2nd, 2008 02:31 pm (UTC) (Link)
i want that 'comic artists die a lot' quote on a tee. or maybe a dirty potato sack that i can wear.

i also want some haunted blue water.
bettyboop_comic From: bettyboop_comic Date: July 3rd, 2008 04:29 pm (UTC) (Link)

The man!

As a Belgian, I guess Tintin & Asterix seem more average to me, having grown up with them & as a young kid, seeing them differently than I perhaps would now, or would if I had artist's eyes. The revelatory experience I had when first seeing Multiple Warheads & KC (in that order) however, make you my Uderzo/Herge/Moebius, all rolled into one man.
I love your art, I love your ideas, I'll follow your work to the ends of the earth & back.
Don't YOU fuckin' die too (at least not until the fucking comics have been MADE!) & people need to shoot some people over at Vertigo for not having you on Multiple SandKing the Manga that pounds your balls or something.
Be seeing you
richmillerart From: richmillerart Date: July 3rd, 2008 05:45 pm (UTC) (Link)
maybe i missed a post but what happened with tokyo pop?
bettyboop_comic From: bettyboop_comic Date: July 3rd, 2008 07:31 pm (UTC) (Link)
Hey Rich miller:
Check the link provided by someone else here: http://www.comicbookresources.com/?page=article&id=17035 check for TOKYOPLOPPED, as well as some of the older LitG columns, and all will be clear.
Basically: they've overextended and now are cutting back way too drastically & potentially vindictively.
bettyboop_comic From: bettyboop_comic Date: July 3rd, 2008 07:29 pm (UTC) (Link)
Slash Maraud= Gulacy + Moench!
I didn't know, now I do! Mine! Want! Will have!
joewilly From: joewilly Date: July 10th, 2008 12:55 am (UTC) (Link)


I needed this. Sometimes comics is maddening. I feel the same way about leaving the shop disappointed and also about trying to get noticed in the industry- sometimes it seems that no one wants you unless everyone wants you. The kind of comics I like don't get ordered by shops so no one can find them and they don't sell.

I have to laugh since I sort of quit trying to get into comics for years because I wanted so much to be the next Paul Pope but figured I just couldn't measure up. I spent years doodling a little bit in my sketchbook but mostly just working and starting a family. Now, I'm trying to get started but it's hard not getting discouraged because it seems like everyone loves comics yet comics don't really sell unless everyone already well known. Oh well, nothing I can do except get to drawin'!
volve From: volve Date: July 19th, 2008 01:42 am (UTC) (Link)
Thank you for creating. What I've read of your work so far is brilliant. I read King City a couple of days ago and am inspired to put down some fresh ink that I'd been neglecting.

I really hope you get King City 2 out to the world. If you need help, I'm sure us fans would be totally willing in whatever way we can.

Thanks again Brandon.

(Incidentally, I found you through io9.com)
36 comments or Leave a comment