Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Best Comics of 2013

It is important to emphasize that not all of these books are 2013 releases. This list reflects when I read these books. I am also going to make a point of not talking about close friends books. Integrity and all that. Here we go.

Memories- Katsuhiro Otomo- 
This year I finally tracked down this long out of print collection of some of Otomo’s short stories. Spoilers, it is really good. Highlights are Magnetic Rose and the spiritual predecessor to Akira and Domu called Fireball. You can find these occasionally on EBAY for about 60-80 bones. Well worth the investment.

Supermag- JimRugg
Jim Rugg is one of my absolute faves on the comic’s scene.  His sense of humour and incredible drawing ability combine to make some of the most potent comic works out there. This most recent magazine is a collection of short strips that Rugg has collected alongside a bunch of one sheet advertisements and pinups. This is not exactly a comic book as it is an anthology of Rugg. Super mag is a place that allows Rugg’s ample design chops a chance to shine all the while showing off great little strips like US Ape and Duke Armstrong that work as shorts but might not be able to sustain their own full length book. 

Battling Boy- PaulPope
This book was a long wait but well worth it. Creating a book that appeals to kids while still appealing to his legions of adult fans is quite the trick. Pope accomplishes this with aplomb by mashing in influences any long time comic fan can recognize while covering each page in his trademark rich inks and style.  One major drawback to this book is its size. Pope draws his originals larger than most and the transition to a child friendly size hurts the work. A teaser of the first 24 pages of the book that was released in a single floppy issue format further emphasises this weakness. Compared side by side with the finished book it is hard to not regret the format decision. 

Slam Dunk- Takehiko Inoue.
This is the first sports comic I ever really got into. It is all about a newbie with a lot of potential learning to play BBall with his high-school team. There is a lot of HS drama, which I love, and some over the top fight stuff, which is okay. The vast majority of it though is hard-core realistic basketball games. The first game, which is a scrimmage, takes three 200 page volumes to finish. It is very thorough. Dribbling, passing, boxing out, shooting, rebounding. We learn as the main character learns and we get invested. The stakes of these games combined with all the motivations for the characters all really make the results matter. PS the drawing is first rate and the games scenes really move. I wish there was a hockey comic like this. I might have to try my hand at one. 

I love this long running strip. It is ramping up, it seems, for some big status quo shifts in 2014. Eve and the Gang are all getting out of the cute messing up your life section of your 20’s and are, it seems, about to get a bit more serious. The revelations and quiet moments have all been really impactful this year. Gran keeps getting better and better and I am really dreading/looking forward to what she puts these characters through next.  

Jupiter’s Legacy- Frank Quietly and Mark Millar. 
After one issue it was crystal clear where this story was going and how it was going to get there. Three issues in all my guesses were right, despite that though the ride has been very entertaining in large part due to Frank Quietly’s art which is worth the price of admission alone. In a year where supporting a questionable artist’s art (Orson Scott Card) became a big issue, Mark Millar is a bit of lightning rod in the comics scene. This story is thus far my favorite of Millar’s since Authority, which I guess unsurprisingly also featured Quietly on art.  So yeah, story is okay, predictable but fun and violent, the art is an 11 out of 10.

Friday, November 29, 2013

True Patriot 2 and some Drawings I have done lately.

This is a very cool anthology in which I am lucky enough to be a part of alongside Fred Kennedy and Adam Gorham. Our strip is a follow up to break out star of Vol.1 Gull Girl! Other names in this book include three of my faves Faith Erin Hicks, Andy Belanger and J. Bone! Two days left in the campaign. Check it out here!

These are the stars of my next comic. Christine 2.

This is part of a interesting book project I'm doing where I am reworking the meanings of my comics into new compositions..more on this next month. 
An example of an artists edition drawing I did on the inside cover of a copy of MONSTROSITY that was ordered from my website..you can too!
 I have been reading a lot about the Genocide in Herero. There is a theory that it along with the genocide at Maji-Maji are the start of a continuity of genocides by Germany in the 20th century. I had never heard any of this before. I wasn't even aware of these two genocides! Here is Cap punching Hitler. I drew this at the Stadium free comic book day event around halloween.

 I drew this in class when working on designs for a character I am working on.

Tuesday, October 01, 2013

I missed a month!

BIG NEWS! The book, MONSTROSITY will be released in comic stores this Wednesday! That's tomorrow! Holy shit! Go grab one!

 Since we last spoke, dearest blog, MONSTROSITY launched to great fanfare and success at FanExpo. Phil and I sold the crap out of the book and even managed to line up some exciting new creators for MONSTROSITY II; THE RECKONING (title not finalized). Here is Friendly Phil McClorey and I at our table captured at an inopportune time! Pizza anger face! Note I am rocking an awesome Corey Lewis shirt made for the Comic Book Legal Defence Fund, available here.

So all in all, FanExpo was a good time. Since then we have had a signing at Paradise Comics and another show at Word on the Street. Here below is my table being manned by superman Marvin Law joined by super star table neighbor Willow Dawson to our left.

 So far response to the book has been great. Check out these reviews.

I myself also did a bit of media for the book..

 If you missed out on the indiegogo you can still get the book through my website or the Alterna Website as well as at these fine comic stores..

The Beguiling – Toronto, Ontario
The Dragon – Guelph, Ontario
Future Pastimes – Sarnia, Ontario
Happy Harbor Comics – Edomonton, Alberta
LA Mood Comics and Games – London, Ontario
Paradise Comics – Toronto, Ontario
Stadium Comics – Missisauga, Ontario

Also a couple more events coming up, 

Canzine- October 20th
Stadium Comics Free Comic Day- Oct 26th

 Anyhow I am a little tired and delirious from lack of sleep. Who knew that working, going to school, making comics and organizing an anthology would take so much energy..
You guys are awesome. Have some drawings...the bottom threee are all examples of what you will get FREE on the inside of your cover if you buy MONSTROSITY from my website.
Tuff Stuff
Astro Jaq!

Astro Jaq!

Some monster VS Astro Jaq!

Thursday, August 15, 2013


MONSTROSITY arrived at my door this past Friday! I am happy and relieved to say it looks awesome. Alterna, our publisher, did a great job of printing it. The blacks are black and the cover really pops. The book weighs in at 200 pages and includes stories from over thirty different creators. I want to thank all the indiegogo contributors again for helping this book happen. Phil (my co-editor) and I are still overwhelmed at the incredible response. We are officially releasing the book next Thursday at Fan expo and starting to send the books out the following Monday. If you are interested in picking up your book and various other contribution rewards at Fan expo just swing buy our table, A357.  If you missed out on the indie-gogo but still want the book and can't make it to Fan expo, it is currently available in this months Previews, the order code is AUG13 0934. I will have all my usual books at the show, swing on by!
If you can't make it to Fanexpo, FEAR NOT! We will be having a number of signings to celebrate the release of the book including events at Paradise Comics and Stadium Comics.

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

July Round Up! True Patriot and Blue Noser!

A couple months back I got the opportunity to be a part of J.Torres excellent anthology True Patriot! My pals Adam Gorham and Fred Kennedy created a story but needed a colorist and approached me! I was very happy to do it! Inspired by the Nao of Brown I water colored the comic. Here is the second page above. There is going to be a release party for the book at many locations coming up including the Dragon and The Comic Book Lounge. Swing on by and pick up a copy. It is balling.
So the last month I have been pretty busy working on my next mini, tentatively called Tuff Stuff. As with the Jim & Jenn to Psychic Drama and the Space Cops to Sassy Mavericks transition this hardly means the name is set in stone. So far I am 28 pages into the book and it is looking like it is going to hit the fifty page range which will make it my biggest single story since Psychic Drama. Really the book is a prologue for a much larger work, but I don't know if I will ever get that far. Here is what 28 pages look like so far.

In other news, the anthology I co-edited with Friendly Phil McClorey is in Diamond Previews this month! Diamond is the magazine comic stores order their books from. If you guys want a copy of the book and missed the indiegogo now is your next chance! Ask you comic store to order it for you. It is under Alterna, page 241 order # STK620744!
Brian Mclachlan decided to wrap up him long running and beloved strip, Princess Planet, and wanted to get some friends to do some strips to send it out in style. I was super flattered to be asked to contribute one and above you can see my effort as well as here on the site. As a thank you Brian did strips that featured all the guest artists..here is the one w me in it! Guest starring Jules Faulkner and Jason Loo! Princess Planet was a really great strip and I strongly urge you all to go read some of its almost 10 year long run. Brian is a really talented guy and I am looking forward to his next efforts. Thanks for letting me take part Brian!

Sunday, June 30, 2013

Thing I have been doing!

Hey Guys, so the last couple months have been pretty hectic..I went to a couple cons..
This is Friendly Phil McClorey and mines table setup at C2E2! We had a great time and a pretty great show. I would love to go back. Chicago is a nice city that I didn't see nearly enough of. We did see a Blackhawks game which was pretty awesome. 

 I also did TCAF! That was a nice surprise, I got hooked up w a table by good pal Adam Gorham. I tabled just the Saturday but had a fantastic show. This is the view from my seat. I love TCAF.
 This is my most awesome grab from TCAF, an amazing ink and watercolor piece by the amazing Sam Hiti. That call is a baller. Check out his work.
 MONSTROSITY is the followup anthology to the successful Horror in the West. I co-edited this one. I am super happy with it. Currently it is at the printers, looking forward to getting it back and getting em' into your hands.
 Our indie go-go was a succcess as well. Thanks to everyone who contributed in everyway. I love you all. We got a bit over our goal and that allowed us to get a slightly thicker cardstock for the cover. Its going to be bad ass.
 I drew a Jon Snow!
 This is Astro Jaq Johnson in casual attire!
 Tuff Stuff!

Monday, May 27, 2013


 Ahhhh!!! So, for the last year about I have been working with my good pal Friendly Phil McClorey to get together this little Anthology called MONSTROSITY! It is all done now and we are into our last week of our Indiegogo campaign to get the book out to the people! We are 95% funded! Incredible! Thanks so much if you have contributed yourself or are planning to. I love you so much. 
  The theme of this book is monsters and features about 20 short stories from all sorts of indy creators from all over! Below you can see a couple image from the book. We have a ton of awesome perks on the site. If you want to contribute, please do, perk levels start as low as 5 bucks for a digital pdf and 20bucks gets you the physical book. We would love to get this book in your hands!

Monster Mash Up- Michael Walsh, Adam Gorham and Nolan Woodard- Print available w book..$35 and the original drawing plus book and print is $250!
Astro Jaq Johnson, Phil McClorey and ME!

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

New Fight Song Cover!

 Whoa! What a nice cover! That is way nicer than the old one!..is what I hope you think. So, how did I get to this amazing final version...well..it is a little story that goes a little something like this.
I had a rough doodle that I scanned and brought into Photoshop. I cleaned up this one after working on a bunch of variations on this final pose. Then I printed the final red version very lightly onto some large paper. I inked that up with my brush pen, scanned it and brought it back into Photoshop where I pulled the reds out leaving me with this pristine B&W. 
A little bit of photoshop magic is next and I do this final mock-up of my design. I am happy so I then fill all the green with black, and print two sheets of paper. One for each color on bond paper. Going into the print studio, I soak those sheets in vegetable oil, dry them and then shoot the images onto my silkscreen. Then I tear a shit ton of paper to the proper dimensions and get to printing. 
Layer one! Each color is one layer. For my comic covers I always go for two layers. One color and then black for the line art. Since I print a ton of these each time any more layers would be too time intensive.
 The magic happens with layer two! Look at those blacks! I had problems with the registration on this run and registered them all up by hand. The results were fantastic. Looks like I will be going that route for-eva-eva now.
 Done! Here is a detail!
I get home assemble the 48 new Fight Songs and then compare them to the weakling previous version. What a shitty old cover that was. I bet it feels shame.

So I will be premiering these bad boys at C2E2 in Chicago this coming weekend. Swing on by, I will be sitting with good pals Phil McClorey, Adam Gorham and Fred Kennedy.

Also this Friday Phil and I will be launching an indie gogo campaign for our next Anthology called Monstrosity! This thing is going to be awesome. We lined up a bunch of great talent and are looking forward to showing it off. Check out the blog for details..and I will update soon with the indie go-go site when it goes live.

Wednesday, March 06, 2013

This Weekend in Comics!

If you are looking for something to do this weekend I will be at Toronto Comic-Con alongside my Friendly Phil McClorey at table A157, come check us out! The show is at the Metro Convention Center Saturday and Sunday and...it features the full cast of TNG! THE StarTrek in my humble opinion. In honour of those excellent space-farers I thought I would do up a Sassy Mavericks watercolor!

Sunday, February 03, 2013

Hourly Comic Day 2013

Hourly comic day was this past Friday, it was my third year taking part. Lots of fun, hope you enjoy em!