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how deep it gets - Brandon Graham
how deep it gets


My schedule has been pushed to that crazy point where I'm waking up
at 10 pm. So good morning/night.

I'll do more inkstuds.com stuff soon but tonight I wanted to get into it here.

Stokoe let me do a cover for his Orc masterbatory masterpiece:

I'm excited to do a back up story for it sooon.
I think after me he's going to have his misses, Marley and Marian, Mr Sheldon Vella etc etc. all doing covers.
It should be cool to see.

Here's a sketchbook drawing i did of my lady.

and a less classy sketch--some girl wearing an Ozma hat and that might be Aslan she's hanging with.

I think this is the awfuk thing that hapens when you raise a kid on Oz and Narnia and
they grow up to be sleeazy comic artists --sorry mom.

I've been thinking a lot about the culture of comic books.
Comic book ethics.

There's a good talk between my old Meathaus homie Dash Shaw and Paul Pope up on inkstuds:

Somthing that Pope brought up got me thinking. Basicly he was saying that one reason he did his Batman 100 was in order to get the DC readers. Kind of hits a sour note with me --i mean I have mixed feelings about it-- I fully believe that living off of your art is a hustle and you have to pull some scams and do shit to get by but then there's the idea that I think it kind of hurts the culture of comics that so many good creators live in the shadow of DC/Marvel

And there's so many Garcia-Lopez, Warren Ellis guys who do amazing work at DC/Marvel
These are guys I respect making books I enjoy so I'm not trying to shit on anyone. But I'd like to talk about this.

I do like the above page without the colors.

And even if I'm less hyped on Popes batman than his other work, maybe it was something he really wanted to do and I'm sure it payed better than self publishing. I just think Pope is a lot better than Batman and where a lot of dudes can do a decent batman comic he's the only can do that specific mix of cool enough for girls thick black batter ink comix that I miss on the shelves. That's a big part of this rant, I wish Batman 100 was years more THB or another Buzz buzz.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that I think creators have a lot more power than waiting for DC/Marvel to call. I always joke that if I needed them to cosign my career I'd still be waiting.

There's this KRS-one song Health, Wealth, Self that I take a lot from
it says:
"MC's should have OTHER WAYS of gettin money
That's to say learn other things beside music
Make money elsewhere, Hip-Hop you won't abuse it
Too many MC's, just emcee
so their longevity, is based on an Uncle Tom
at the record company"

On a simmular kick I saw Frank Santoro, on Comics comics bring up the idea of cartoonists who have let the industry crush them--

"the creators who have done amazing work for the “industry” – literally created masterpieces and future corporate properties – who as employees of said “industry” were then cast aside, CRUSHED. Oh, y’know, Siegel, Shuster, Simon, Kirby, Ditko, Whitney, Rude, and then all the freelancers who were popular once, or just “got work” forever but now haven’t worked for years – like Tom Grindberg who can’t get work these days because his Neal Adams-like style is just out of style…"

The great thing about the internet and comics is it gives a place where we can talk (in between looking at ninja high school porn) I think about this a lot, my whole life has been comics and I want to be still doing this evey day when I'm an old man.


So I've been looking at some books this week that make me want to draw more.

This Katsuya Terada car book written by Dave Shigihara:

This stuf is so exciting to me. It's just a whole book of car comic/diagrams. Terada is one of those dudes that I din't even want to
like but he's just so fucking good and clearly having so much fun that it turns that cold stone in my chest to a living breathing heart.

"lub dub"

And I also got this Otomo book that I hadn't seen before.
I'm always amazed how something like this can slip by my radar with how
much Akira and Domu is loved you'd think everything he did would be
next to Bone in librarys.

It's Kibun wa mo senso--the Otomo Kaba art book describes it as 330 page documentry style , about the battle experience of young japanese caught in a Sino-solviet war-- writen by the novelist toshihiko yahagi.1982

It's a cool book, it seems to jump all over the planet, I thought it was short stories at first. Here's some Akira style action--I like the covert takedown of this
tank solder "sleeep"

and a good sex scene and hippy van

My favorite parts are the scenes set in NYC. Like these panels where he's showing
the characters in their reflections on the bar.

I like how he pulls off this page--with you only seeing the cops hand in reflection.
And then when he's stabbed how Otomo tones just the skin.

Going through this I was thinking about how a lot of what Otomo does isn't specific to comic book storytelling. then I got to this scene where to show how fast shit is going down he puts the panels close-withnogutters.


And Mr harvey James sent me a bunch of files of this old Akira Toriyama comic he did between Dr Slump and Dragon ball-- The Adventures of Tongpoo.

I love this shit--ass wiping machine

And he's got the same capsule from DB but youhave to boil them in this.
and I like how he has these underwater birds to show how alien the planet is.

Something I like a lot about Toriyama is how he makes kids comics but doesn't seem to
censor his work at all. So you never feel like you'e missing out or it's been dumbed down.
also naked ladies.

I've been getting back into looking at the old Oz books that I grew up on.
My mom has a whole shelf of the old Oz hardcovers.

I think I was seriously influened by how baum would put just a ton of weird fun ideas in his books. I'm all about the John R. Neill blonde Dorthy. She's like a flapper.

And here's a drawing Neill did of the Oz characters playing fucking hoop stick.
"23 skidoo!"

This stuff is getting me hyped about the idea of doing something with magic set in the 20's.

You can read all of Glinda of Oz here:

And here's some manga I thought were cool--nice tat bra!

And an old Appeseed photoshoot book. I remember a friend of mine having this years ago
i don't think we ever figurs out why they did this-but I'm glad they did.
more nerdy comic book photoshoots please.

Current Location: comics

67 comments or Leave a comment
From: blueteamgo Date: June 27th, 2010 02:00 pm (UTC) (Link)
Look forward to the guest Orc Stain covers, great news to hear! You're doing a great job repping for James haha

I figured Pope did Batman Year 100 to keep the cash flowing in while he worked on Battling Boy. When it dropped, the only people buying it at the shop I work at were the people who usually pick up Pope's stuff. So around these parts he gained no new readers, just put more money in DC's pockets. I have no beef with Batman Year 100, I enjoyed it for what it was, but all Pope succeeded in doing was putting another Batman book on the shelves for DC, thus pushing off a lesser known, most likely independent book.

If he wanted new readers he should have gunned for a Batman ongoing, but DC are stuck so far up their own ass there is no chance of that happening.

Its cool that guys like him dabble with the Marvel and DC sandbox, but it seems like a waste of time and talent. They're just cannon fodder for the big two, tools, talent they can use to put another mini series on the shelf that doesn't need to be there.

Personally, they're just characters I draw for shits and giggles when I'm bored or colour if someone like Rey is drawing them.


Are those Otomo pages from Kaba? Recently acquired SOS and Kaba is next on my list alongside Viva Il Ciclissimo.

Also, what volume are those Giuseppe Bergman pages you posted on Inkstuds taken from? Those pages blew me away, some how never seen those Manara pages.
rsjr From: rsjr Date: June 27th, 2010 03:09 pm (UTC) (Link)
A Paul Pope ongoing Batman title would have been even LESS Paul Pope like. And eventually, Pope would have gotten replaced with some other, thirstier creative team ape-ing Pope's style and that's more harm than good.

You can't change the nature of the beast.

Sometimes, people just want to draw a Marvel or DC character. Legitimately. Without looking for lawyers over your shoulder.
From: (Anonymous) Date: June 27th, 2010 02:15 pm (UTC) (Link)

Roaring Boiler

I encourage you to do something with magic set in the 20's. That would be awesome. Beyond awesome. It'd be like driving a Scion XAwesome; full of win.

What am I drawing today?
rsjr From: rsjr Date: June 27th, 2010 02:45 pm (UTC) (Link)
I've never really dug Katsuya Terada's work, either... but I'm loving that car manga. I have to make a confession tho. In one of my sketchbooks I have a story idea about a planet filled with tiny little warring robot people that fight each other riding normal-sized yet comparatively giant human warriors. That page with the monk-car is alot like that.

Such sexy cars...

My only OZ-perience is my mother's ritual viewing of the movie every year. Clearly, judging by these pages, everything I've ever known is a lie.

You cut me to my core, you KRS-ONE of comics you.

ehh... that artist integrity talk doesn't interest me anymore. It did when Maximo and Boorman used to rattle on forever on GBX... But then you said something one time about working for Tokyopop and making moves that allow you to do what you want to do that gave me a different perspective on thing than... say, Robert DeJesus' Tokyopop experience.

What Pope did just strikes me as a Robin Hood type move. Rescuing unwary comic fans from DC's mind-control empire and leading them to the far larger world of comics. And if that isn't necessarily why he did it, that's why I'd do it.

There's nothing Marvel or DC has to offer that some other evil corporate giant can't offer more of so that's a moot point if you aren't already a mainstream comic zombie to begin with.
royalboiler From: royalboiler Date: June 27th, 2010 03:12 pm (UTC) (Link)
dude! scan that waring robot comic stuff.
I'd like to see that.

Yeah, after writing that artist integrity I'm really going back and forth on a lot of points. If Pope had done something like Millers dark knight, I'd be happy he did batman. It just seemed like comics done for loot when it was looking like he didnt need the money. There's so many factors--really i just want to read more good comics.

it feels like robin hood if he stole from the rich and gave the poor something not too far from what the rich were already giving them. Taxes I'd assume.
From: thousandsofowls Date: June 27th, 2010 02:55 pm (UTC) (Link)
Loving the cat car and... Everything else. I really need to nab my sister's copies of Orc Stain some tiiiime.

As for the Appleseed thing, I think they did it just for the sake of making the robo-bunny suit. I know I would.
apeville From: apeville Date: June 27th, 2010 03:11 pm (UTC) (Link)
I've always loved how Otomo uses panels to alter the speed of his pages - Shirow uses speed lines and rapid cuts, Toriyama uses whole chapters for a couple of movements. Otomo's draughtsman skills are awesome. Have you seen his short story Farewell to Weapons, that features early power suits? Awesome stuff.
royalboiler From: royalboiler Date: June 28th, 2010 12:36 pm (UTC) (Link)
I really like how Otomo switches up the style in farewell--from fuill color to 2 tone to that animation looking stuff.
oroko_saki From: oroko_saki Date: June 27th, 2010 03:30 pm (UTC) (Link)
i like how he thought out batmans design in a more DIY kind of way.. he drew him really cool. but the books pretty average right? i guesse you only seem surprised cus you thought his own books were good to ;)

for me this issue never came up!
From: (Anonymous) Date: June 27th, 2010 03:42 pm (UTC) (Link)
Batman 100 was the first thing that got me into Paul Pope, actually. I was like, "why does Batman have pointy teeth?"

I think the whole Marvel/DC thing keeps people from realizing that comics are actually pretty cool. Scott McCloud makes that point pretty well in Understanding Comics when he explains that even though the contents of the media may be awful, the container can still be good and used for good things. To illustrate this, he drew a pitcher labelled 'comics' filled with black shit. He took a sip from it and immediately spat it out. Then, he drew the empty pitcher lookin' sassy and cool on its own. I'd like to think that black swill is anything drawn by Rob Liefeld.

Anyway, I think that's been the appeal of people like you, Brandon. I was excited to stumble upon your Deviantart page and then finding Reyyy, Marian, Stokoe, Marley, Sheldon, and all of this little circle of people making the craziest, most fun stories they can. Also, Vertigo may have its own cliches that get old and repetitive, but that label has put out a lot of good mainstream comics. Oni and Dark Horse and Image may still be the minority, but that is changing. Shit, I'll bet that this upcoming Scott Pilgrim movie wins over a whole slew of new comic readers.

I'm convinced of this: When the Silver Age kids all get old and die, the only people left in comics will be the people that should be in every medium... the people who give a shit about working hard and creating new things. Keep it up.

- Dorian
royalboiler From: royalboiler Date: June 28th, 2010 12:48 pm (UTC) (Link)
Thanks much Dorian.

Yeah Vertigo has had some great books, I'm big into Transmet and Heavy liquid. With Vertigio I get more frustrated that they dont have more books I want to read.

And I'm not against Silver Age at all, there's a ton of great comics of every era. I just want the books whatever they are to be awesome.
(Deleted comment)
royalboiler From: royalboiler Date: June 28th, 2010 12:52 pm (UTC) (Link)
I think if you listen enough you migh hear Robin make jabs at every cartoonist.

I don't know about YMA. i suppose anything is possible.
harveyjames From: harveyjames Date: June 27th, 2010 05:12 pm (UTC) (Link)
I like that water-boiling scene in Tongpoo. Miyazaki was talking about how he put the match-striking, burner-lighting scene in Ponyo because kids these days don't have enough tactile experiences like that- everything happens at the touch of a button. Kids today can grow up never having struck a match, he says!

You can see that change happen in Toriyama's work- he goes from a story where a kid spends a page just boiling water, to stories where people fly and fling energy balls and shout statistics at each other. It's like his comics went from being influenced by life, to influencing videogames, to being influenced by videogames. In his later comics it's hard to imagine his characters even going to the bathroom.

It's important we keep this sense of tactility and real-life experiences, I think.
_w_o_o_d_ From: _w_o_o_d_ Date: June 27th, 2010 05:58 pm (UTC) (Link)
I thought kids weren't supposed to play with matches ?

(okay, okay, I'm out...)
hamburgerclub From: hamburgerclub Date: June 27th, 2010 05:56 pm (UTC) (Link)
Man, I need to read more of Toriyama's comics - I always assume they will be exactly like the DB comics and just kind of ignore them. :C TONGPOO HAS SHOWN ME MY ERROR.
royalboiler From: royalboiler Date: June 28th, 2010 12:57 pm (UTC) (Link)
I really dig Dr slump.
and his Sandland is fun too if you havent read it.
_w_o_o_d_ From: _w_o_o_d_ Date: June 27th, 2010 06:33 pm (UTC) (Link)
Yeah, I also wonder why more of Otomo's stuff isn't translated.

I mean, I don't know about the US, but here in France Akira was the first manga ever translated in the early 90's and it was a huge success... Lots of people of my generation discovered manga through Akira, and Otomo has pretty much gained legend status, we'd buy anything with Otomo's name on it...

And only last year did they publish this anthology of short stories from the 70's and 80's...

What were they waiting for ?
breakbot From: breakbot Date: June 27th, 2010 10:45 pm (UTC) (Link)
Ahhhhh... epic.
shatterstripes From: shatterstripes Date: June 28th, 2010 03:14 am (UTC) (Link)
Oooh, magic set in the twenties. Influenced by Neill's wacky drawings of Baum's crazy concepts. Do it, that would be awesome. Are you thinking you'd try to draw it all Noveau here and there?
royalboiler From: royalboiler Date: June 28th, 2010 12:59 pm (UTC) (Link)
the more i think about it the more exciting the idea is to me.
I'm not sure how it would turn out, but i think it'd be fun to make.
theresomewhere From: theresomewhere Date: June 28th, 2010 04:18 am (UTC) (Link)
hey brandon you ever collect anime figurines?

i got some neat dragonball vehicles with their drivers from capsules!

i like how in the manga the girls actually shoot the guys and it shows bullet wounds! i guess they use their kung fu to patch up afterwards!
royalboiler From: royalboiler Date: June 28th, 2010 01:01 pm (UTC) (Link)
I did get one of those DB ones--they are petty rad.
All i own these days is a K-9 toy and a panda on the toilet.

its weird when a punch does more damage than a bullet in comix.
idiotsynchratic From: idiotsynchratic Date: June 28th, 2010 05:24 am (UTC) (Link)
I am in awe of you outlook on comic making. If more creators had thoughts like ours, I would be buying a much higher quantity of comics. It's quite refreshing.

How much thought have you put into self-publishing? You have a big enough fan base now (it seems) that you could probably upload your own books/collections of sketches via Lulu or similar means and sell whatever you see fit to print.

Single issues probably wouldn't work too well in that format, cost-wise, but maybe, just maybe, you could be the one to change it all.

It'll remove some of the joy of new comic day for folks, unless you published two different titles through separate means.

Just an idea. Either way, keep on making what you love. Apparently, a lot of people love it, too.
royalboiler From: royalboiler Date: June 28th, 2010 01:08 pm (UTC) (Link)
Thank you.

I do like working with the publishers I do-- for the most part it feels like self publishing with help and funding.
They pretty much leave me alone.
From: parkas_4_kids Date: June 28th, 2010 12:44 pm (UTC) (Link)
No one should have to dream about writing/drawing for Marvel/DC, especially since the majority of the books they put out are utter crap. Sure, Vertigo's a huge step above the regular DC line, but I honestly can't read pretty much everything either of those publishers puts on the shelf. And it's a shame the stranglehold they have on the industry as a whole.

You posting all those Otomo pages makes me want to re-read Akira, which I haven't read in a while. Been a few years, actually. Also, I've been meaning to ask you this: Can you read Japanese? I'm assuming you can what with all the manga books from which you scan so many pages, but I prefer to ask instead of just assuming.
royalboiler From: royalboiler Date: June 28th, 2010 09:53 pm (UTC) (Link)
man that first book of Akira is hard to beat.

and no I cant read japanese at all but theres something fun about reading the stuff when you can't--- keeps the mystery of comics going.
mcgheeeee From: mcgheeeee Date: June 28th, 2010 03:00 pm (UTC) (Link)
This is some serious ish you dropped here. serious ish.

i listened to that popeshaw talk up there, and i gotta admit i'm torn. as far as actual product is concerned, i totally agree with you that i'd rather have another 200 pages of THB, or another issue of Buzz Buzz, than that Batman stuff, but I can also sympathize with Pope's outlook on growing the readership...

i mean, in direct comparison, BY100 is kind of crap. even that page you posted looks like total junk compared to his THB pages. It sincerely makes me hope that all of the time he made it he was making pages of his other stuff too. BUT, it's also got this fascinating quality where it really feels like a door to another world, not as a story unto itself, but in that the closest bits of style i can feel to it are, like ikegami, and shirow's Dominion, where that whole series is just the first two chapters of an ongoing in that style, published in a larger anthology of awesome comics, and not just DC ones, you know? In that sense, it's kind of revelatory, and makes me wanna strive to build a market where a publication like that is the norm. In that sense, I find it very important. kinda ties back into that whole erik larsen/anthology discussion from a from a couple months back. does that make any sense?

beyond that, yes, the dearth of Otomo available in English is f'ing scandalous. SCANDALOUS.

man, I want a killer photo shoot like that appleseed one. guess I need to make some worth doing that with!

royalboiler From: royalboiler Date: June 28th, 2010 09:49 pm (UTC) (Link)
I keep going back to the idea that if it was as good as dark knight i would be happy he did it--but it does seem weird that with the budget of Timewarner at its back its still not near as rad as his Buzzbuzz book.

plus it just reminds me of that duck tails episode where they go to the future and everyones great grandkids look just like them--why is gordons grandson have the same job and face and coat? but yeah, an anthology of what could be comics would be cool. I'm a big fan of the idea of the larsen/anthology I just dont think its likey to happen with DC/M

You could just make some crazy photoshoots yourself-- I have ideas that photo comics can be really cool too.
nervousystem From: nervousystem Date: June 28th, 2010 04:39 pm (UTC) (Link)
Why is there Otomo material that hasn't been translated? Heresy!

About DC and Marvel:

I'm caught between recently actually enjoying DC and Marvel comic books (who have thought) and that souring feeling that you described with the way it has historically bogged down the industry creatively AND financially. TRICKY MORAL QUESTIONS.

I used to think that I had all of the answers, but now I'm certain that I don't have any of them!
royalboiler From: royalboiler Date: June 28th, 2010 09:42 pm (UTC) (Link)

yeah, its fucking complex.

also I really like the photo comics and comic rants you've got on your LJ this week.
spectator_sport From: spectator_sport Date: June 28th, 2010 07:49 pm (UTC) (Link)
That Otomo bus is damn inspired, it's like a pared-down double decker, brings back mad memories of riding the old routemasters...

I think you need to organise a raid on the Dark Horse offices (they probably own the rights, right?) and hold them at gunpoint until they agree to publish all the Otomo they can.

And maybe get in some Matsumoto too...
royalboiler From: royalboiler Date: June 28th, 2010 09:40 pm (UTC) (Link)
Kodansha has the rights I'd guess.
The strange thing to me is that there doesnt seem to be any onemanga fan traslations of it.
fatetwister From: fatetwister Date: June 28th, 2010 10:21 pm (UTC) (Link)

wormulus From: wormulus Date: June 29th, 2010 04:01 pm (UTC) (Link)
I woke up thinking about King City, so I decided to draw this for a warm-up today.

royalboiler From: royalboiler Date: July 2nd, 2010 05:58 am (UTC) (Link)
Awesome Max drawing!
Thanks for doing that.
I like the combat snarl on his face.
From: (Anonymous) Date: June 29th, 2010 04:49 pm (UTC) (Link)

Your points about Pope's reason for doing Batman Year 100 coincide with my own thoughts. I'd much rather have some new THB, 100% or Heavy Liquid. I'm a Pope fan through and through. He is definitely at his best when it is his singular vision with his own characters. I also prefer black and white Pope, or at the very least, Heavy Liquid colors.

I've heard this rational of going mainstream for fans and it may be a viable short term solution, but I think anyone new he picks up will do so for the characters, not the creator. I follow creators. Mainly for the fact that creators make finite stories that I can get to know the characters and have closure on. Beginning, middle and end. I can’t care about super heroes that are immortal, literally and figuratively. This ‘superhero style change’ model does not really work in any other media besides comics. But then, we do have reality tv…

Also, Brandon, I love your work. People like you and the THB Paul Pope keep me inspired to do my own work instead of being a page-rater.

From: (Anonymous) Date: July 2nd, 2010 06:30 pm (UTC) (Link)
Haha. Sweet selection there. I didn't even know about that toriyama comic so I'm going to have to check it out. I'm guessing you already know about this, but Osamu Tezuka did work on an 1970's hentai Called " Cleopatra queen of sex"
It's the most batshit insane I've seen in a long time. But it's totally worth a look.
From: (Anonymous) Date: July 5th, 2010 07:02 pm (UTC) (Link)



Could you please cover more of Stephen Platt's work? Specifically the end of his Moon Knight run up through Prophet and Soul Saga?

- Totally Robin McConnell, Purveyor of Inkstuds
eplus From: eplus Date: December 2nd, 2010 09:12 am (UTC) (Link)
What up pimpin...
Figured you'd might get a kick out of these sculpts. http://seman99.blog.me/150098134050 some of the links at the top will take you to other WIPs
royalboiler From: royalboiler Date: December 5th, 2010 08:59 pm (UTC) (Link)

that is rad tintin heads.
thanks for the heads up.
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