Let's pause now to take a stroll down memory lane...
This is a page from Archie's Sonic the Hedgehog #0 (well, it's originally from the "#1/4" ashcan, but never mind), the comic that began my love affair with comics. (As I mentioned earlier, I was 7 years old at the time. :p) It's drawn by the multitalented Scott Shaw! - writer, animator, storyboard artist, comic book artist, collector of "Oddball Comics" and all-around cool guy. I purchased this comic at a bookstore in my hometown - a store that no longer exists. I then sat and read it in the mall while waiting for my mom to finish grocery shopping. I loved that comic so much that I never wanted it to end, and when I was finished reading I knew exactly what I wanted to do for the rest of my life.
I spent years copying the Sonic comics - I sort of wish I had copied something else, but what 7-year -old has the foresight to copy, say, Andrew Loomis figure drawing books (or WANTS to gawk at pictures of nekkid folks, for that matter?! ANYWAY!!!)
Fast-forward TEN YEARS...Here's a page from New Edge, the first comic I drew, in 2002 (which, incidentally, was also the same year I suffered my nervous breakdown, upon which my current project is based). I was 17. And when I say "the first comic I drew" I mean it was the first comic I drew that wasn't copied from another source, and the first one that was a more-or-less complete chapter lasting 18 pages. I sold New Edge #1 as a photocopied fanzine complete with poorly written indie record reviews in the back pages. There was never a #2 - I hadn't planned the story out that far. :/ Nor had I bothered to write any more record reviews.
The storyline of New Edge concerned a punk rock band called The Dead Layaways, who are trapped in a dangerous post-apocalyptic city. I basically ruined this concept and ground the story to a screeching halt by trying to EXPLAIN everything on the second-to-last page, in a huge nonsensical exposition dump...would've been better if I'd left it vague.
The art style of New Edge was heavily influenced by J.Axer - here's an example of one of his older works, from that time period. I would link to one of his comic pages, but he doesn't seem to have any of those online...
Looking back at these pages, and this one in particular, I'm quite amused by my constant desire to create...er...UNUSUAL page layouts, even when the situation doesn't call for it. I still do this, although not as frequently...
I was also inspired by Johnny The Homicidal Maniac, by Jhonen Vasquez (most well-known for creating the cartoon series Invader Zim). It was the first real underground comic I ever read, unless you count a few issues of Usagi Yojimbo that I came across at a hardware store (?!) in my hometown. JtHM was weird, scary, and messed up, incorporating VERY dark humour, yet still managed to have a surprising amount of depth for being a story about a homicidal maniac. It also used lots and lots of black ink and often had very cinematic visuals. It was like no other comic I had read up to that point, and I soon became eager to create my own epic in comic book form.
Er...still haven't done that, yet... :p
Next time: Mark E. Smith and Ian Curtis' ghost have stupid adventures... Wait a minute, WHAT??? ...Also, I discuss my favourite graphic novel ever. Surprise: It's one that you've probably never heard of (although you may be familiar with the artist). And that's a damn shame, it deserves way more attention.