Friday, May 29, 2009

Friday!

I know... it's been awhile. I've been busy writing, etc. Nothing too exciting has kept me away, but I haven't been compelled to say anything particularly interesting, either. That's the thing about a blog... you should have something to say, you know?

And, I confess, I don't have a lot to say today, either. Had a decent week writing, especially considering the long weekend that started the week. I'm over 100 pages on Ciudad now, which is unprecedented progress for me. I hope to be done by the end of June. That would also be fairly remarkable.

We're hosting a party for the local comic book folks tonight. I've been smoking meats all week, and we'll break out the hookah. I'm also offering an assortment of delicious cocktails. Ginger/Peach Martini, anyone?

I'll find something to say next week! Enjoy your weekend!

Anj

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Tuesday... Gotta Work!

Disgusting day yesterday, in that I didn't get much work done, and I don't really know why. It was a conspiracy of small bullshits that somehow added up to a near-complete loss of productivity. I need to make up for it today. I've hit the halfway point on Ciudad, which feels great. If I'm going to make my goal of finishing it by July, I need to really get on that thing. Today, I will write some of the quieter moments in the script... a dinner scene in which we get our only real glimpses of the main character's past. Soon after that, really horrific violence!

I can name one of the little bullshits that kept me from working yesterday. While eating lunch, I finished watching Gone Baby Gone. It left me with a sensation I get only after seeing a really great piece of work... a mixture of elation and envy - creative inspiration and creative depression. It made me feel thrilled about telling stories, but a little disgusted that I haven't done it better. Fortunately, I feel like I'm getting better at my craft almost every day, so there's still hope!

While watching Gone Baby Gone, I was really struck by how amazing Casey Affleck is. He blew me away in Jesse James, and he was almost as impressive in GBG. So, I went to IMDB to see what he was up to now. Holy Shit... turns out he's filming The Killer Inside Me, one of the best Jim Thompson novels. The lead role, to be played by Affleck, is one of the most twisted protagonists I've ever encountered, and he is perfect for it. Damn, I hope they don't screw this up! Kate Hudson concerns me.

Finally, watching Gone Baby Gone after attempting to watch Frank Miller's The Spirit (haven't finished it yet), it hit me that Gone Baby Gone is the kind of project Frank should be handling as he moves to Hollywood. That path may not be available to him now, as the guys with the money apparently want him to deliver the stylized Sin City thing. Maybe Frank can't or doesn't want to write crime stories like Gone Baby Gone anymore... I don't know. I do know that Frank once could have written a story like Gone Baby Gone, and he once could have created thrilling visuals to go with that story.

Maybe an artist's path is only half determined by the artist himself. It's easy to sit back and look at someone's career and decree that it should have gone this way or that way. Careers aren't linear, though... they're organic. Things interfere that no one but the artist can really appreciate. Opportunities arise and fall away. Financial situations do the same. Shit, sometimes you watch a movie like Gone Baby Gone, get inspired, and dedicate the next two years to telling a gritty, urban crime story. Sometimes, in the middle of that process, you realize you just don't have that story in you.

In short, it's pointless to guess about what leads an artist one way or another. I hope my career will unfold a certain way, but it may not. As I've said many times: In ten years, I could be a successful screenwriter, or I could be managing a Taco Bell... one is about as likely as the other.

And... I'm off to work. Can't afford another Monday.

Anj

Friday, May 15, 2009

Friday... Goodbye, Shitty Week!

Well, that was a doozy. Lots of school board meetings, lots of stress, lots of poor sleep, and not enough work done or quality time with family spent.

So, I'm behind the eightball today, trying to make up for the lack of production a little bit before heading out to a dinner with the family tonight. Ciudad script is still going well, and I have been able to adhere, thus far, to the outline I spent so much time on.

I gotta get to it, but I do hate to leave you with nothing visual. So, I grabbed a sketchbook and found a page I wasn't ashamed to share. I have to admit, I do very little of this kind of sketching these days. As you know, I'm trying to write more, and the drawing skills just don't seem as pressing right now. Even at the height of my inking career, I didn't do as much drawing as I should have. But, I would go through little spurts of sketching, and it was always relaxing and good for the inking.

Here's a little sample.

Now, go... enjoy your weekend! Oh, and if you're in Kansas, consider coming out to see me and a lot other cool comic cats at the 2009 Free State FreeCon, in Lawrence. http://www.kcfancon.com/freestate4.html

Anj

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Whew

I can't/won't bore you with all the details, but we had another rough school board meeting last night. It ended well, actually. I was able to do what I thought was best, and no one is too pissed off today. Kansas is really cutting school budgets for next year, but we have a plan in place to deal with the shortfall. It's tough, but feels a lot better today than yesterday.

I need to get back to inking a little more. Phil Hester pages for an issue of The Darkness are trickling in. Exciting, and I need the money, but it's hard to break the writing routine and get back to the board.

On the writing front, I will hit the halfway point on Ciudad this week. That feels really good. I wish I was even further along, but this progress is, for me, unprecedented. I hope to be done with the whole thing by the end of June. I think I can do it. That would be pretty amazing for a book I had originally planned to finish in December of '09.

Pretty soon, I'll have to start thinking about the next writing project. I've got four things listed as possibles right now. I need to really spend some time with those ideas, figuring out what would really get me excited. I think any of the four could be good... I want to find the one that can be excellent, if I don't screw it up. That's the foremost concern. Commercial appeal would be a great bonus, but the main thing is nailing something I can really get excited about every morning - something so good that I'm a little scared about living up to the project's potential.

That's all for now. Well... I should leave you with something visual... lemme see what I can find here.

Okay... here's something that makes me laugh. From the desk of the late, great Mike Wieringo.

Later!

Anj

Friday, May 8, 2009

Whew - the end of a busy week. I don't know what to offer about the writing projects that you haven't already heard. I'm hard at work on Ciudad, which will come out next year, I suppose. I hope to be done with it by the end of June, but since the art has not been started yet... well, it'll take some time. And then there's Union Station, which will ship in June with a new cover and intro. Please ask your retailer to score you a copy of that one.

Since I don't have anything too enlightening to say about the writing projects, I'll share some more old inking. This time, I'm offering pencils and inks from Ant-Man. Phil and I did some interesting work on that book, I think. We try to do something a little different on each project. On Ant-Man, we used a lot of white on black line art. Most of this was done by me in Photoshop, following Phil's notes on the effect he wanted.

I think this spread gives you a pretty good idea what I'm talking about. The crashed Hellicarrier was drawn conventionally, and then reversed in Photoshop. The glowing effect on the spotlights was done old-school, using a toothbrush loaded with white paint. Of course, you have to use masking tape to protect the rest of the art when you start slinging the white ink around.

Enjoy, and I'll see you next week!

Best,
Anj



Wednesday, May 6, 2009

I'm under the gun today, trying to get a lot done despite feeling kinda... blech. So, a couple of quick hits:

First, the legendary Steve Rude critique by Alex Toth, now with commentary by The Dude himself!
http://www.illdave.com/comicbooks/history/toth-critiques-rude.htm

On the writing front, I'm finding, to this point, that the tight page-by-page outline for Ciudad is really paying off. The scripting is going well, despite a really challenging week in which to attempt to get work done (sickness in the house). I put a lot of work into the outline, so I'm thrilled that it seems to be paying dividends.

And, finally, a word from Doctor Doom.



Anj