One of the things I disliked about Warren Ellis’ “The Engine” forum, and his later “Whitechapel” forum (while he was running it) was the fact that anyone participating had to deal with his carefully crafted online persona as an asshole. It was intended to be a benevolent dictatorship, and a good way of dealing with trolls: Warren’s word was law, and objections would get you banned.
But it tended to get pretty elementary-school. Like the time I had the nerve to disagree with a popular artist about something, and one of the moderators (Warren only hired women for that, supposedly because they had better social skills, but seemed more to appeal to men who enjoy being dominated by assertive women) changed my password to “asshole” as punishment.
In response to yet another cheesecakey fuck-me representation of Wonder Woman, and in the spirit of the parodies that followed, Bleeding Cool ran a challenge for visitors to cosplay in the same pose. I don’t post photos of myself online (so my self-portraits are the closest people can get to identifying me in public), but I wanted to play along.
So I did a drawing of Captain Miracle in the same pose …
… and asked my partner Zlatan to draw me in that pose.
There was a short-lived but fun creative challenge on Whitechapel, in which a short-short story was posted, and artists were invited to create a spot illustration for it. This one was a story called “The Indecisive Backpacker”. (Go ahead and read it: it’s freakin’ short.)
Some of the most fun creative challenges can be the ones where I don’t give a fuck about the subject. Case in point: to remake / remodel Rom the Spaceknight, the star of a comic I never read, based on a toy I never played with.
I can’t find the place this was originally posted (probably Warren Ellis’ The Engine), so I can’t quote the specific instructions. For some reason, I decided that this artificial entity should be hermaphroditic.
Puff, Puff, Pass is a popular ritual among those who smoke pot. You take a hit off a joint, you take another hit, and you pass it along to the next person.
This piece was part of a creative challenge based on that: each contributor’s page begins with a joint being passed into the frame, and ends with it being passed on. In between was to be a story told without any words, pictograms only. The forum that the other entries were posted in is gone now, so I only have access to my own page:
Back when DC was launching their “New 52″ line, sorta-overhauling most of the DC Universe, they did an online survey to gauge reader interest. To flag bogus responses, they included a fake title in the list: Nerak. I decided to have a little fun and designed a character and cover art to go along with it.
The character’s name was totally made-up. One theory was that it was “Karen” (as in “Karen Berger”, increasingly marginalized editor of Vertigo) spelled backwards, so I gave her a sidekick named “Nad” (as in “Dan DiDio”, increasingly powerful co-publisher of the company). I made her a science-fictiony space knight, because it seemed like a genre that DC ought to be doing more of. You may notice a species resemblance to Starfire, who is notorious for wearing exactly the opposite amount of clothing that Nerak wears.
The cover copy is entirely tongue-in-cheek. DC’s “new” characters were almost entirely rehashes of existing ones, sometimes being “updated” to look more like older versions. The new titles were noticeably short on female leads, and DC was in the middle of a typical PR trainwreck because they’d published a redesign of Wonder Woman’s costume which included pants – which was promptly “fixed” to put her back in panties.
One of my writer friends (I won’t drag him into this by saying who) posted a challenge to his artist friends, to draw a homoerotic pin-up of a deity. He received a bunch of great responses (homoerotic Zeus, homoerotic Osirus, etc), but declined to post mine. Which I expected, and respect, because – me being the trouble-maker I am, I’d picked a deity which is totally off-limits for drawing.
Part of the challenge of drawing this particular god comes from the fact that drawing him is so absolutely taboo. Unlike Mohammed, Jesus, and even יהוה, who’ve been depicted countless times, this one has no established likeness. Just a name. So I homoeroticized … just the name.
Please don’t kill me.
Months ago I finagled my way into Anything That Loves, an anthology of comix about life between the poles of “gay” and “straight”. I took one of the more relevant scripts I’d written for my JAQrabbit Tales porn series, changed a few camera angles to de-emphasize the nudity (but not eliminate it entirely), left the sex scene mostly implicit instead of implicit … and got to drawing it.
I was really excited to be participating in this book, and not just because I got to draw a fondly-remembered hook-up (the first of many with the person involved). There were a bunch of great queer cartoonists involved, including names like Leanne Franson, Maurice Vellekoop, and Roberta Gregory (to pick just three). Seeing the PDF previews was a hoot, especially when I saw that I was getting busy just a page-turn before a “Liliane Bi-Dyke” story.
This past weekend, it got real. Not only did I receive the modest-but-generous payment that Northwest Press offered for my contribution (like everyone else involved, I’d submitted it as a donation for the cause), but I also got my two complementary copies of the book.
So there you have it: I’m in print. And I’ve been paid.
Translation: I’m officially a published professional cartoonist.
And if you turn the page, you’ll see my cock, which means I am also a porn star.
(Anything That Loves is listed for retailer orders in the current Previews catalog.)
There’s a discussion going on right now in the WFH Dream Gig thread over the viability of Marvel’s Doctor Strange as a character, with me arguing that he’s a mess of incongruous elements and has been since day one, and @joshhechinger, @JasonFranks and @Owen_Jones disagreeing.
So how about we put our money where our mouths are and say what we would do if we were writing Doctor Strange?
OK, I read up over lunch on this “Doctor Strange” character y’all are talking about. It says here that he suffered nerve damage which affected his manual coordination, and he sought out medical and surgical corrections which failed to fully restore it. Gods on earth, I actually know someone like that! Someone I could use as a touchstone for my version’s characterization.
So basicly he’s me, 15 years from now, after turning to the arcane arts in bitter desperation, growing the mustache he once swore he’d never grow, training tirelessly for years, and finding that with this mystical power comes mystical responsibility. From there it took just a slight alteration to my his appearance….
A remake/remodel challenge that elicited a lot of response back in the day was for The Doctor. Specifically the final one. The instructions were quite simple.
A Time Lord can regenerate twelve times before dying. Thirteen incarnations in all.
Design the thirteenth incarnation of the Doctor.
Brainstorming the words “thirteen” and “doctor”, two images kept coming to mind (once I finally banished DC’s “Dr. Thirteen”). The first is a 13-year-old (riffing on the trend until just now for younger and younger actors in the role). The second is the doctor known as “Thirteen” from House, M.D.. Which of these is the Doctor and which is the Doctor’s companion is an exercise left to the reader.