To create a complete 24 page comic book in 24 continuous hours.
That means everything: Story, finished art, lettering, color (if applicable), paste-up, everything. Once pen hits paper, the clock starts ticking. 24 hours later, the pen lifts off the paper, never to descend again. Even proofreading has to occur in the 24 hour period. (Computer-generated comics are fine of course, same principles apply).
Although one can do a 24-hour comic any day of the year, it’s more fun to do it in tandem, hence 24 Hour Comics Day. Yesterday, at the studio where I work, myself, Jake Richmond, Ben Lehman, and Alan Ward all did 24 hour comics.
So here’s mine. It’s silly and not enormously well written or drawn, but perhaps you’ll enjoy it anyway. And it not, at least it won’t take more than a few minutes to read.
My friend, the brilliant cartoonist Jenn Lee, is self-publishing the first book of her sci-fi webcomic Dicebox. Last week she posted the flip-through:
Jenn let me contribute a blurb to Dicebox. Here’s what I wrote:
Molly and Griffen are blue-collar workers in space looking for work and avoiding past mistakes. Jenn Manley Lee’s unique brand of science fiction — part slice of life, part travelogue — is daring, refreshing, whip-smart, and gloriously entertaining.
In Jenn Manley Lee’s elegant pages, the mysteries of the universe are matched by the mysteries of the human mind. Dicebox is science fiction done right.
The book also includes a short Dicebox story written and drawn by me, years ago. (I’m kind of embarrassed by my old artwork, to be honest, but Jenn says she likes it.)
Dicebox is available as a hardcover, a softcover, and a very affordable pdf — all three versions are for sale at Jenn’s store. A warning, though: The book does have a little sex and a little swearing, so probably for grown-ups only.
Ongoing work-in-progress for a drawing that will be auctioned off as part of this year’s “Women of Wonder Day.” The woman in the drawing is Rochelle Wayne, who was Robin in an “Elseworlds” Batman comic set during the French Revolution. Rochelle Wayne was designed by the wonderful José Luis García-López; my attempt to draw García-López hair looks pretty silly, but it was fun to try!
The completed drawing will include 4 female Robins, 5 Batgirls, 2 Batwomen, 2 female Black Bats, Huntress, Spoiler, Oracle, and Ace the Bat-Hound.
Jake Richmond, the cartoonist who (among a zillion other things) colors “Hereville,” has started a new webcomic, called “Modest Medusa,” which is genuinely funny, charming and nice to look at. The first strip is here, but I’ll post a sample:
For my money, few comic books has been as thrilling and interesting as Dave Sim’s Cerebus – and no other comic has been as infuriating and disappointing in the end. Here are some of my favorite covers, drawn by Sim and Gerhard. (Sim does the figures and lettering, Gerhard does backgrounds, objects and colors).
Issue 87. The cover, depicting two characters falling off a cliff during a blizzard, is lovely in its own right. I liked it even better once I realized that it was a parody of Frank Miller’s Dark Knight cover — but Sim and Gerhard’s version looks better.
Issue 123. I love this cover portrait of a character who seemed simple, but turned out to have many sides, some of them quite ugly.
Issue 140, one of many nice Cerebus covers in this period featuring small figures in front of amazing Gerhard drawings of architecture. This cover stands out to me because of the subtle but perfect body language; Sebastian sick and exhausted and facing a long climb still to go, and Robbie so worried for his friend and eager to help.
Issue 206. I wanted to include a cover from “Guys,” because I really liked the way that the covers were just additional pages in the comic, and fit into the paperbook book collection seamlessly — but are still lovely cover designs in and of themselves. Also, these covers feature Sim drawing in his Drucker-influenced caricature style, my favorite of Sim’s drawing styles.
Issue 96, probably my favorite of any cover to an individual Cerebus issue. This was the second of a series of five covers featuring tight close-ups of Cerebus, all drawn in a rough cross-hatched style. It’s a powerful image, and a great use of cropping to create drama.
Then there are my two favorite phone book covers:
High Society. A stunning pen-and-ink drawing of a small Cerebus climbing the steps to an enormous hotel. Click on the image to see it larger, or see a huge, high-quality scan on Cerebusfangirl’s Flickr page.
Click on it to see it bigger! As I said, I love Dave Sim in his Mort Drucker influenced mode, and the huge crowd scene on this cover certainly gives me a lot of that. A zillion elements — the insane crowd, the overwhelming mountain and architecture, and the little tiny Cerebus making huge gestures on top of the building — are held together by Sim’s solid design sense, and form a perfect illustration for the story inside.
This is a wrap-around cover, by the way. I couldn’t find a really great scan of the whole wrap-around, but here’s the best I did find (click on it to see it larger).
I don’t think this is a cover, but while looking for Cerebus covers, I came across this impressive painting by Sim and Gerhard of Cerebus having a nightmare. And I have no idea where the painting came from! So if you know, please leave a comment.
Scott McCloud very nicely mentions Hereville on his blog. (I’d urge y’all to read Scott’s comics, but I assume you already have, right? Right?)
One reader emailed me from a Therapy Center simply because she’d heard there was a comic explaining Crohn’s Disease (there is; it was a 24-hour comic by Tom Humberstone who suffers from the condition). Crohn’s disease affects between 400,000 and 600,000 people in North America alone (thanks, Wikipedia). Why the Hell WASN’T there a comic about Crohn’s disease until now??
Whole markets can be created out of thin air when the right subject strikes. [...] The beauty of this kind of outreach is that it only adds to the base of comics readers, and rarely do these efforts cannibalize each other. Barry Deutsch’s fantastic orthodox Jewish adventure Hereville isn’t competing for readers with the Bertrand Russell stories in Logicomix, or with XKCD, or with Persepolis. Each one is its own little community of readers, some of whom may have never read a comic before, but ALL of whom are now one comic deeper into this medium we’d all like to see grow.
Interestingly enough, it turns out there are at least two comics about Crohn’s disease, as someone immediately pointed out in Scott’s comments. As Scott and everyone else knows, there are a number of famous Jewish-themed graphic novels. But I was surprised to discover that there are four five new Jewish graphic novels just in Fall 2010!
A reporter from The Jewish Journal emailed me about my appearance at the Miami Book Fair later this month, and one of his questions was what makes Hereville distinct from the dozen or so other Jewish books also being presented at the Miami Book Fair this year.
I was all set to answer “well, as the only graphic novel blah blah blah,” but fortunately I checked what the other books were first. Turns out Hereville is just one of three Jewish-themed graphic novels at the Miami Book Fair! The other two are Vanessa Davis’Make Me A Woman (haven’t read it yet, but the sample pages I’ve seen are beyond fabulous, and I can’t wait to read it) and Anne Frank: The Authorized Anne Frank House Graphic Biography (haven’t heard much about it yet).
A year ago, I would have agreed with Scott that a Jewish-themed graphic novel would appeal to an under-served market. But four five Jewish-themed graphic novels, all coming out not just in the same year but in the same season of the same year — that seems like a lot, doesn’t it?
Or are there always this many coming out, and I’m only noticing it now because one of the books is my own?
In the end, Scott is right. All four five of these graphic novels are very different, and have the potential to bring new readers to the medium. Although I hope there’s some crossover (i.e., I’d love it if their readers would check Hereville out, and vice versa), I very much doubt we’re poaching each other’s readers.
Still, I’m kind of surprised that no one’s organized a panel at some con featuring all four books. Sarah, Vanessa, Ernie, Aaron, Sharon, are you folks coming to Stumptown in April? Let me know, I’ll see if I can organize a panel for us.
UPDATE: When I first posted this, I forgot about The Comic Torah! Sorry about that, Aaron and Sharon. So there are five Jewish-themed graphic novels out this season, not “only” four as I had thought.