Wednesday, June 27, 2007

SUPER REAL NOTES - Special #2 cover evolution 2

Here's the next stage in the cover creation for the sequel to the special, SUPER REAL VS THE MOVIE INDUSTRY (see previous notes HERE for more info)

Here's the main element with colors...
As you can see, it's an homage to Giant-Size X-Men #1, but you'll have to keep tuning in to see how it ties into the theme of the special! (Unless there're any guesses out there...)


Monday, June 25, 2007

SUPER REAL NOTES - Special #2 cover evolution 1

As I mentioned in the last notes, I'm currently putting together the next book, now the sequel to the special, SUPER REAL VS THE MOVIE INDUSTRY (check out the last notes for more info HERE)

I'm in the midst of finishing up the main cover for it, so I thought I'd share the work in progress on that here this week.
Starting with the pencils for the main element...
As you can see, it's an homage to Giant-Size X-Men #1, but you'll have to keep tuning in to see how it ties into the theme of the special! (Unless there're any guesses out there...)


Saturday, June 23, 2007

IN CASE U MISSED IT: Working in comics?

I've linked before to notes from Todd Allen regarding the digitalization of comics, now it appears have given him his own bi-weekly column, PUBLISHING FOLLIES

It started just recently, and there have only been two installments so far. It looks like Todd is shedding some light on what it REALLY means to work in comics, by sharing information on what job openings in the industry pay comparatively to the outside world in the first installment, and looking at some current openings with the bigger companies and what they may mean for digital comics. Very interesting.

The first column can be found HERE
And the second can be found HERE

Also, I caught a column over on called ONE STEP, that features a great primer for how to approach breaking into comics, that was both helpful and very easy to digest.

Check that out HERE

I thought this was a new column, but then I saw the 14 previous versions linked at the bottom, and this is actually just a new installment from one that was started last year by Jim Zubkavich, who worked with Udon Comics.
If I recall correctly, Jim broke down getting into comics via the portfolio process...

Friday, June 22, 2007

SUPER REAL NOTES - Book status

It's been too long since I've updated the website, newsletter, or wrote about the book here. Between the always busy schedule, and not wanting to communicate anything til schedules were firmed up, I've opted to stay silent. Now, with things falling in line, I feel comfortable giving a long overdue update on the status of the book, and specifically the previously solicited issue 4.

First off, issue 4 was solicited via Diamond and via the March released Super Real Special for May (which was updated to May via the website etc). As we all know, May has come and gone, and we're quickly running out of June. Well, there's been a change in schedule. Instead of going from the first special back to the regular series, and the next issue (number 4), issue 4 will be cancelled and resolicited later (more info on that below).

Instead, the next release will be the exciting new Special sequel, Super Real VS The Movie Industry. Same formula as the first special, written by me with guest artists, featuring one or two "name" talents, some friends from, and a section all by myself, but this time instead of the cast facing off against stand-ins for comic book icons they'll be dropped into situations from popular movie franchises! The script is a ton of fun, and the talent here is amazing (more on that later).

So, I've got an awesome new book I'm getting ready to release, and issue 4 to follow that. The only question left now is, when will you see them? Well, here's the schedule:

Super Real Special - Super Real Vs The Movie Industry / 48 pages / full color - November 2007

Super Real issue number 4 / 32 pages / full color - January 2008

I know, time flies.
I could've focused on issue 4 and got it out sooner, but thematically, with the story structure, and where we're at with the series, it makes most sense to hold production on issue 4 to release alongside issue 5 and 6, which will all come out next year, and focus on the next special. You see Super Real is a story with a beginning middle and end, and issue 4-6 tell the conclusion of the first arc, so it makes sense to release them all together.

That leaves one more all out action, fun fest, with the next special, and then the epic conclusion to our first chapter in the saga of five genetically enhanced reality show participants. I can't wait to show you what we have in store, but unfortunately life and reality keep me from getting this crazy cool creation to you as fast as I (and I'm sure you dear readers) would like.

I ask you to please bear with me for a short while longer as we get this all put together. So, as it turns out, 2007 will be a hiatus for the regular series, with a couple oversized specials showcasing the full force of the concept (and also showcasing some amazing up-and-coming talent in the medium) to keep everyone primed for more mind blowing graphic storytelling in 2008!

Keep your eyes peeled for more info as we get the next special and issue 4 back into the distribution cycle (I know November sounds like a long ways away, but it'll be here before you know it), I really appreciate all the fans and friends of the book, and hope to grab many more as we continue. And again, I apologize for the ever changing schedule with the book, it's been a constant battle to balance what I'd like to achieve with what I'm actually able to do on my own, and for that I'm truly sorry. I'd love to bring in some help with the book, on lot's of levels, but I also want to see the first six issues through on my own, to keep things consistent (for our first trade). From there I'll do whatever it takes to get the help I need to get these wild comics I'm dying to create out into the market!!

Thanks again, and please continue to STAY TUNED,
- jason

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

MEANWHILE AT THE MOVIES... Fantastic Four 2 Rise of the... MEH!

Well, mixed reviews abound for the second installment of the lukewarm first family of super heroes franchise, but despite having a love/hate relationship with the first, I still love the Fantastic Four (they're the first superhero comic I ever picked up) and regardless of the dreadful meter peaking on the original installment I still really enjoyed it.
Many a write-ups found the second much better than the first, most agree it was still vapid, mindless, or bad, but better to downright good, so I'd held out hope.
As with the utterly bland Ghost Rider movie, I'll probably get a kick out of it once I've gotten the expectations and hopes off the table, but right now, post viewing, I'm not impressed.
There was stuff to like, the family dynamic, some of the action scenes, the Surfer, but there was plenty that missed, like all but about 3 jokes?
And we just saw X-Men in the woods, did we really need FF in the woods?
The brunt of what's wrong is on the studio, and the director.
For as much that Story gets right, he gets wrong, but I suspect Fox, with their mishandling of comic book franchises is more to blame here. They seem to have a, "It's gonna sell, do it cheap, and get it done" approach...

Lame set pieces, superheroes walking around the forest, crappy music...
And I'll never understand what bean counter numb-nuts approves the craptastic Thing?!?
The hope was with a sequel, they'd at least improve Chiklis' make-up.
Memo to Fox, the Surfer sells, literally and figuratively, and he's pure CG, get the Thing some help on FF3!!!
Oh, and while I'm sending memo's to Fox execs, FUCK!! Quit turning cool mega-sized villains into clouds and severed-head danger-room holograms!!! Go the fuck all out and spend some cash to make this shit off the cool meter and you'll reap bigger stacks of ticket stubs. Don't take the puss-out route, go all out, and make these movies the widescreen orgasms they deserve to be!!!

Oh wait, us comic fans still go and see them don't we?
And buy the DVD's?!?!
They're right, they've got us, they can neuter this shit all they want and still make a bundle.
If only Peter Parker were a Fox exec heeding poor dead ol' Uncle Ben's advice...

7 out of 10
but if I gotta go with a thumb vote, you get nadda!


Tuesday, June 19, 2007


Holy shit!
That was good!!

009-1 is a new series from ADV that blends the early-era James Bond espionage cool with the cutting edge animated action of Aeon Flux, all done up in the old school style of the Cyborg 009 series it's born from.

The series follows agent 009-1, and her team of cyborg female spies, that do battle to maintain the front of a peaceful cold war between Eastern and Western Blocs that exist in an alternate future Earth.

It's sexy, smart, and oh-so-stylish.
The first episode takes off running and doesn't let up til the final frame, as Mylene Hoffman (cyborg Zero Zero agent 9-1) uses herself any way necessary to get the job done, while her cybernetic backups (all with their own surprising abilities) pull out all the stops too, just as the entire production does the same via great design and execution. 009-1 doesn't just look great, it moves, explodes, and kicks you upside the head with pizazz too.

Check this one out on Anime Network starting now, or on DVD...

From the series description:
In a world where the Cold War never ended, East and West continue to battle for technological and political supremacy. Mylene Hoffman, field commander of the elite Zero Zero Organization, exists in this world with her eyes open and her body always ready to do battle. She puts the intelligence into “intelligence agent” and her body into "body of evidence"!

Liberating benevolent scientists, tagging along with would-be monster-slayers, meeting her match in the world’s most hard-boiled assassin and navigating a deadly labyrinth of horrors are all in a day’s work for Mylene. There’s no problem she can’t solve with the proper application of high explosives, fast-talk, deceptive jewelry, make-up and the right moves behind closed doors!

In a world of spy mystery and intrigue… discover who she kisses one minute and kills the next.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007


Hey Super Real friends!
Thought I'd pop in and share some new art from some friends of the book...
cuz that's what ya do when cool people send you cool art just cuz they're so cool right?

The first one, a group shot, is from Stefan Sacara, a cool artist I met at the last (local) Portland Comic Book show.

The second, our 3 female participants, is from the incomparable Dennis Budd (he of Model Operandi and the upcoming Platinum comic Consumed fame).

Thanks guys!

(Don't forget, you can pick up a whole stack of really cool Super Real pinups in the all new Super Real Pinup collection available HERE)

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

INDY SPOTLIGHT: Paradigm Shift

Today's book I'm focusing on is PARADIGM SHIFT Part One: Equilibrium, by Dirk Tiede and from his imprint.

I met and know Dirk from my days on Graphic Smash, when we both used to have comics on that webcomic collective. A couple years ago Modern Tales (the sister website that Graphic Smash was a part of) hosted a booth at San Diego Con, and I spent a little time there, and I remember meeting Dirk especially, because his Paradigm Shift had caught my eye on Graphic Smash, with it's competent old school manga/anime style. Since I'm loathe to actually read comics on the web, my only experience with the title were the catchy art and graphics.

Well, when I did the recent Pittsburgh Comic-Con, I ran into Dirk while out to dinner with a large group of comic people, and after talking a bit later that night, we'd vowed to swap books the next day. So, I was sure to make the rounds on the last day of the show and take him up on the offer. Although he was kind enough to offer both trade collections of Paradigm Shift he's printed to date, I only kept volume one (since I only had 4 comics to offer in return).

On the long flight home from the east coast, I made my way through volume 1 of Sentinels (see yesterday's feature), but since I came into town mid day, and had caught a ride to the airport, I was taking the new light rail train home from the airport (they'd somewhat recently extended the train line to the airport, but I'd never used it). Now, the train is really convenient from the airport (except for all my giant bags packed with books and displays etc), but it does take about twice as long, an hour instead of about 30 minutes. That meant I still had time on my hands to read, and read I did, Paradigm Shift Part one!

The book is about 100 pages, black and white tones, manga trim size, and $9.95. The first 2/3rds of the book are story, with a healthy "bonus" section at the back, which I'll speak of in a bit, but first, the story...

Paradigm Shift is a skilled blend of police procedural and horror/fantasy/sci-fi, that is to say, Dirk creates a detailed real life world, filled with true-to-life characters, but offsets that with a story that takes a turn into the supernatural. The scripting is solid, his characters feel as genuine as his artwork is detailed. PS is set in downtown Chicago, and Dirk doesn't shy away from showing us every nook of the city, from it's gleaming skyscrapers to it's back alleys. His art would fit comfortably with any manga on the bookstore shelf, with it's hallmark stylized characters and ultra real/detailed backgrounds.

As the story unfolds during the course of one day, detectives Kate and Mike slowly realize things are taking them on a bigger journey, and the reader goes along for the ride. Paradigm shift reads well, looks great, and builds towards a large involving story filled with mystery and Chicago PD action. I can't wait to meet up with Dirk again and pick up the second volume.

Now on to the extras, along with character profiles and footnotes, there's a lengthy and very comprehensive process breakdown. Dirk outlines every step of the process in the creation of the comic, which as a fellow creator is always fun to see, but for those looking find their way in the medium, it's an even more beneficial tool.


You can check out the book online via or pick up the books via it's website HERE

Monday, June 11, 2007

INDY SPOTLIGHT: Sentinels Vol 1 and 2

This week I'm going to try and talk about a different cool book each day, the majority of them independently published, and a couple of them manga, but I'm going to start today with a book I'd waited a long time to get my hands on, Sentinels by Rich Bernatovech and Luciano Vecchio.

Sentinels is created and written and published by Rich Bernatovech (via Drumfish Productions), and he collaborates with Argentine artist Lucian Vecchio. At the recent Pittsburgh Comic-con I had the chance to meet and speak with both creators, and after years of hearing and seeing great things, pick up a complete set of all four original graphic novels. The books retail for $14.95 each, are full trim size, contain black and white grayscale artwork, and are quite lengthy, containing around 8 chapters each (about the equivalent of 8 comic book issues). The book itself is Rich's super powered team creation, inspired most prominently by a childhood love of the George Perez era Teen Titans, he was/is also an actor though, so his love of drama shines through as well.

Sentinels is an epic four volume saga, where each book stands alone as a complete tale, but together they tell one large overarching story. The Sentinels themselves are a second generation super team, led by Templar, an energy blade wielding descendant of the Knights Templar, who at the start of this volume, operates on his own via the Sentinels former compound with the help of computer entity Cyprus. Through a series of events the former teammates collide and work together again to fend off escalating threats to the team, from Hell, the government, and even outer space.

The sprawling cast of 10 young powered characters, are familiar, yet unique. Where Sentinels volume 1 really shines, is it's incredible plotting. Characters are introduced and quickly put to the test in imaginative ways that take the reader on a sci-fi/fantasy super powered adventure. Volume 1 is only a little weak in scripting, some of the dialogue is a bit clunky, and some of the characters perhaps a bit too familiar. However, Bernatovech keeps you completely enthralled with the simple concept executed well via the sheer volume of fun pacing.

Where Sentinels also shines, is in the artwork that Vecchio provides. He brings a unique style somewhere between classic John Byrne or 80's independent, and more contemporary manga/cartoony, all styles of which I'm a major fan, but I am painfully aware they have their detractors. I really feel that Vecchio's style is straightforward enough though, to play to any crowd, which is a big plus.

Volume 2 picks up where the first left off, and moves plot points forward, further develops characters (especially the books expansive supporting cast). In addition to the approximately dozen or so Sentinels, there's a new opposing government sponsored team, Squadron 7, and a handful of other players and villains that come and go. That's the nice thing about having the series in the longer form installments, there's always enough room for everything and everyone introduced, and you never feel like too much is offered or lost. Bernatovech really captures the episodic, side-plot driven balancing act that was 80's teen superteam comic book fiction, where there's always a new cool character to shine the spotlight on and learn more about.

Where the first volume had some of the best independent superhero plotting to be found, but was a bit lacking in scripting/dialogue, volume 2 improves in that area, but isn't as ambitious in plot. That's not to say there isn't a ton that happens, or a lot to enjoy. Quite the contrary. Also, Vecchio's art in the second volume shows growth and improvement. Sentinels is a book that has plenty to offer, all around, and I'm really happy to have taken the plunge and begun to immerse myself in it's world.

I'm looking forward to reading volumes 3 and 4 over the summer, and HIGHLY RECOMMEND Sentinels to any fan of super powered team action, and especially fans of independent characters and comics. Bernatovech and Vecchio have taken much time and effort to craft a solid graphic epic worthy of much larger attention than what it's received to date. Please do yourself a favor and pick up the first volume, I'm sure you'll be hooked from there!

You can check out the book more at it's website HERE

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

TALES FROM NETFLIX - Do you believe in fairy tales?

I finally saw Guillermo Del Toro's fairy tale masterpiece.
Pan's mixes dark real-life World War II drama with a marvelous fantasy to masterful result.

Another true work of cinema of the highest order, Del Toro creates a world, both true and imaginative, that is both emotionally, and visually spellbinding. As many others have expressed, Pan's Labyrinth succeeds on many of the same levels as Children of Men, blending expert direction with heady themes and wildly creative story. What makes these films, along with, to a certain extent, 300, even more tremendous is that all three incredible meditative spectacles came so close together. Sure, Hollywood can crank out blockbusters, big action movies, shockers, or comedies that soar, but to have gems like Del Toro's Pan's, pure creative soulful genius, is a work of another order.

Speaking of COM, I haven't talked Netflix in over 2 months, so I never mentioned it (except for above). Since I already went on about how similarly excellent the two films are, I won't waste the time again here. However I will say that COM was more gripping than Pan's, both visually and with the narative, featuring some of the most amazing camera work/direction ever seen. Even when Cuaron wasn't dazzling us with choreographed mayhem, we're treated to daring edge of your seat barefoot getaway's!

I love zombie movies, but had never heard of this biochemical 80's offering.
Turns out Warning Sign is a solid military laboratory meltdown flick, sans any flesh eating corpses. There are however infected employees with out of control rage, and a government cleanup crew with their own agenda, at odds with our local small town sheriff and his wife, who happens to be trapped on the inside.

Get this one if you'd like a tame but engaging pseudo-zombie survival tale (oh, and it stars that dude from Law and Order).


SUPER REAL NOTES - Holly commission

Things have been real quiet on the Super Real front lately, and I know I owe some information (what with issue 4 being solicited for April, and then scheduled for May, and it's June), but until I get things sorted out proper, I don't want to say anything.
That will be resolved shortly though.

In the meantime, here's a commissioned work, with Holly under remote control, zombie style.

You can check out more recent commissions in my DeviantArt gallery.

And again, stay tuned for info on where everything is at with Super Real.
There are some, as always, exciting things going on!


Friday, June 01, 2007

IN CASE U MISSED IT: Star Wars turned 30 a week ago...

I was on the road for the big Memorial Day camp outing (where I obtained a copious dosage of poison oak I'm just now starting to recover from) when the big Star Wars 30th anniversary came about. Not that I needed to do anything to celebrate it, there'll be plenty more anniversaries...

I did catch the History Channel's Legacy Revealed special on Memorial Day though (which was advertised in comics btw), and that was pretty cool. It really examines the story and it's elements and where the themes and ideas came from, which was interesting to see the saga broken down like that.

And although there are no more movies to come from Lucas (insert joke/zinger here), there are TV shows in production, the first of which is the CG animated CLONE WARS, which looks to be a more serious take on the incredibly awesome Genndy Tartakovsky animated shorts (the best Star Wars since the original trilogy IMHO). You can check out the just released preview at the Star Wars website HERE

I'm down with the animated style here, but I know it'll turn off others, too bad for them. I really liked the one scene with the Jedi (Anakin?) hopping from one flying bot to the next... need to see it in full screen though.

I'm all for the TV shows and other media extensions of the property. I remember back in the early 80's when they created a Star Wars radio show, and I got all worked up about it, but it ran during the middle of the day. Well my parents were kind enough to let me out of school the first day (because I was in such a fever over it), and I camped out by the AM radio waiting for the show, only to be woefully disappointed. It was either incredibly short, or didn't have any real content that day (or both). Oh well. I'm sure the TV shows will be much better :)