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5 Lines 3/30/11

Posted On Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Already, I'm starting to see a lot of improvement in my art from these exercises. One of my biggest challenges was in being able to visualize the image I wanted to draw -- slowly, but surely, I'm getting to the point where I can "see" better at the conceptual stage, which makes illustrating that much easier!

This week's challenge: THE BLOB!

Shape Up 3/29/11

Posted On Tuesday, March 29, 2011

I truly believe this is my favorite of the weekly challenges! Today's piece, is DEFINITELY inspired by my son, Victor Mathieu -- I don't think there's a bigger fan of Tony Stark than Tony himself! Haha! As you can already guess, today's challenge is IRON MAN!!!

If I Were EiC... 3/29/11

Really quickly -- how many movie directors can you name in 20 seconds? Quite a few, right? Now, given that same amount of time, how many screenwriters (predominantly screenwriters, try to leave writer/directors out) can you name -- significantly harder, wasn't it? Possibly, because film (much like comics) is such a visually oriented medium, its easy to overlook the persons who initiated the whole process. But there is one who seems to stand heads above the rest and whether peripherally or head-on, you've definitely heard his name: Charlie Kaufman.

Kaufman has had a sizeable career, spanning two decades interwoven between television and film. And while I'm not that knowledgable about his tv pieces, his screenplays are ALWAYS exercises in cerebral nuances and hyper-intelligent dialogue that borderline bizare like a bookend! One of his most notable is the "how exactly do you catagorize this...?"-dramedy, Being John Malkovich, where a puppeteer (John Cusack) finds a portal into the head of John Malkovich (the real live actor)! Its almost insane to say that concept outloud, but its truly a fascinating film and I have no doubt (and don't mean to take anything away from the other auteurs who contributed) that its predominantly to do with the brilliance of Kaufman.

With that sort brevity towards reality or mischievous annotations to insanity, I think THE WORLD would take note if he took on DC's Clown Prince of Crime, The Joker! Imagine learning that each heinous act was simply the channeling of someone else's bloodlust, or that the Batman is really just a psychodelic-manifestation to "quell" the homicidal urges we all struggle to contain. Though there have been many takes on the Batman arch-nemesis, Kaufman would offer such a unique tone that could make us see the incorrigible, Mr. J in a new light...possibly the moon's light, when it's pale...while dancing with the devil.

Time Sketch 3/28/11

I'm dedicating this edition to my young son, Julian. Yesterday, he asked me to show him how to draw Robin and we sat down for about 15mins doing so. Its a HUGE leap forward in his confidence, as he usually only asks me to draw things FOR him, and this was the first time he seemed eager to try for himself. So excited!

On the Horizon 3/28/11

Posted On Monday, March 28, 2011

It's so good to be getting back to the regular swing of things! Once again, welcome back! Hopefully, we won't need to take such a long break as more starts rolling out the gate! Speaking of which...

It's about time I started talking about The Strongman Legion Plus! I grew up in the era of Voltron and the Power Rangers and try as I might, its really something that I've always found pretty cool! As my love of comics and related cultures have grown, I've come to find that those kinds of characters fit within their own subculture in their native Japan, called Sentai. Always loving an archetypal backdrop, I want to do a homage to those hue-heavy heroes! But here's the fun part -- it will be done ENTIRELY in 8 BIT! While definitely a challenge, this has been a fun exercise in pixel manipulations and structure! Look for more about The SML coming soon!

And since we're in the 8 Bit frame of mind -- check out these awesome Perler Bead renditions done by my friend, Mike Eshelman! He's TRULY gifted with those beads -- I mean, seriously -- he did Kitty Pryde phasing!!!

Say...what are YOU doing this Sunday (April 3rd)?! I'LL be representing V:IP at the 6th annual Gem City Comic Con in Dayton, OH! Come on down to Wright State University's Student Union (3640 Colonel Glenn Hwy, 45435) and check us out! Both the 8 Bits AND The Samaritan will be on hand...and I may surprise you with a few extras (tee-hee). Show your love and support for V:IP and some of the greatest local talents this side of the mainstream!

Getting a little serious for a moment...Ren and I are VERY grateful for the love and support we've received with The Samaritan. This is quickly turning into one our most successful projects and we'd like to pay some of that forward. So, affective immediately, all proceeds from the digital sales of The Samaritan will be donated to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. For only $.99, you too can be a Samaritan to someone who truly needs it!

It's been a long time, since I left you...

Posted On Thursday, March 24, 2011

OMG! The dust is FINALLY settling! The past few weeks have kept us in a perpetual state of AWESOME! I SINCERELY appreciate your patience in our absence, but the time was spent getting everything ready for C2E2 and beyond with some AMAZING results!

First, let me just say that C2E2 was personally, my best show -- EVER! The audience was FANTASTIC, with attendance exceeding last year's by nearing 10K! And boy did they love some Vantage:Inhouse! Teaming up with Mutant Cactus, we had A LOT of love with the 8 Bit buttons! I mean, those things MOVED! We'll definitely be making them a staple of our table setup -- and guess what -- while at the show, I even found time to do a few more! Check 'em out:

The Samaritan made a GREAT DEBUT at the show, already receiving critical praise before the weekend was even over! Both Ren and I did a few interviews (links coming soon) and I really couldn't be more excited for the reception! A big thanks goes out to EVERYONE who took the time to stop by and check it out! And for those of you who weren't at the show, we haven't forgotten you! The Samaritan is now available for digital download through -- and get this -- for the SUPER-LOW PRICE of just $.99!!! What's that? You don't do digital? That's cool (I'm more of a print-guy, myself!) Then keep an eye out at where you can purchase the book for a mere $2!

Over the weekend, I got a few more pages from Harold for The Trouble w/Love -- I can't even TELL YOU how excited seeing his art makes me! He's an all around STELLAR artist and I had the chance to chat up his frequent collaborator, Cary Kelly, and we're both in agreement that you're hard-pressed to find a more talented AND congenial guy!

In the aftermath of the show, I've put in a few pitches for some wider distribution of the collected edition of The Samaritan and we'll see how that fares -- would LOVE to get a big name publisher behind us -- it would DEFINITELY make a huge statement in our creative circle!

I've also inked a deal with another PHENOMENAL artist, Mason Easley (Psychic Soldier Kai -- CHECK IT OUT!) is going to provide illustrations for a new pulp anthology series currently in development! Work begins in about two weeks with a scheduled release this coming July!

As you can see, there's been no thumb-twiddling goin' on 'round here! And now that we're back, we're gonna kick it into high gear and keep that magic flowing!

Thanks again for the patience AND the love!


Posted On Monday, March 14, 2011

Just a little something to say "THANKS FOR THE VIEWS!!!"

Just not enough time in the day...

Posted On Wednesday, March 9, 2011

As much as I hate to admit it, I AM only human, and trying to get things ready for C2E2, I'm going to have to cut back on the daily posts, starting today. Balancing the whole load is just a little too much to manage right now, and I'd rather take the folly of backing down over simply failing! So -- things will resume as soon as everything is all set for Chicago, but stay tuned because things will continue for Vantage:Inhouse!

If I were EIC 3/8/11...

Is there anyone in the comic book world that doesn’t know who Geoff Johns is? I mean, really – he’s only the architect of THE most comprehensive franchise reinvigoration in comic book history! Seriously, what he did with Green Lantern is nothing short of AMAZING, breathing new life apparent into a title that spans more than fifty years of history, through the known universe and beyond. But that’s just a surface review – if you only look a little deeper, you’ll find where the real magic is.

Not to date myself, but MY Green Lantern is Kyle Rayner. You can call it a sign of the times of when I started reading comics (Early 90’s when DC’s focus rested squarely on the shoulders of Superman & Batman) or matter of allegiance (Darryl Banks was the first artist whose work I saw on the raw page, he’s the first industry professional I’d ever met and with him living in my hometown, he’s been a friend and mentor to me for more than a decade), but either way, I just never connected with Hal or the others. That is, until Johns came to play. While others seemed to banter about which Earth-born Lantern was best, Johns found a place for all four not just within the context of the Corps, but within the DC Universe as a whole, despite the deck shuffling of putting Hal back as the figurehead. He gave each character idiosyncrasies, passions, faults and failures that gave each one merit as an individual and a sense of brotherhood when they’re together. (He made me care about Guy Gardner – and I’ve wanted to punch him in the face since Superman died, maybe longer…Go Bucks!)

And then there’s the War of Light. The other lantern corps, the emotional spectrum, prophesies and “Chosen ones”; when you really see what he’s put together, you can see why he’s been given the wheel to steer DC’s future. But where I’d love to see him bring that magic to is another sprawling, space-epic franchise, whose place in comic fandom is rock solid as any bore from a planet called Krypton or a boy named Peter: STAR WARS. Just imagine Johns going in with his little red pen, tweaking and adjusting, leaving the core concept intact, but breathing new life into it all – where the lightsabers are manifestations of a Jedi’s inner self, the hue of their glow giving clue to how they FEEL. The Jedi Council would only be made up of those knights who had MASTERED their emotions, bending it to their WILL and bearing green sabers. The road to the Darkside would be paved in warm hues, culminating in a crimson world of hate or rage that has consumed its bearer until it is all that remains of them. And Anakin, the Chosen One, would’ve gone on a journey through every emotion, letting it mark him, define him, readying him to bring TRUE BALANCE to the force. Just a thought!

Shape Up 3/8/11

Posted On Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Skirting in just in time! This was one of those pieces that I've wanted to get to since I've decided to do the Shape Ups, something about using all the big shapes -- though this one looks a little silly! (Once I get this down, look for some awesome books done like this!) Today's challenge: THE HULK!!

Ire of the Gods/Time Sketch 3/7/11!!!

WHY?!?!?! I was putting the finishing touches on the 20min piece when...BOOM -- the lights go out! Apparently, a transformer (Revenge of the Fallen) blew somewhere and took out my entire block! That's no lights, no net, no nothing! So, please accept my humble apologies as the choice was wait and do the final piece or quickly post when the power came back (which according to my blinking clocks was about 4am!). I went for something's better than nothing -- so Today's Challenge: NIGHTWING!

*Big shout out to Columbus Public Utilities for working as quickly as they did to get me back in the light!

What's On The Horizon 3/7/11

Posted On Monday, March 7, 2011

With C2E2 just around the corner, the main focus of our life right now is getting ready for the show! Like I said in the last post, the letters for The Samaritan have been been finished and I'm putting on the last touches, getting it print-ready! After the show this weekend, I'm definitely in need to re-up on some of the 8 Bit mini-prints, FINALLY having a print run of the second volume -- can't wait to see how those will move. -- Oh and BUTTONS! I'm down to my last dozen or so and they're WAAAAY too popular not to have in stock!

In addition to that, there will be promo prints, some fliers and more! I'm TEMPORARILY suspending the rest of the workload until all the pieces for the show are set -- but that doesn't include the Daily Posts...speaking of which, I owe ya one, don't I...brb!

So sorry...!!

Posted On Sunday, March 6, 2011

I am Jack's, I had such a good run of it, didn't I?! Daily posts, diligent work and then-- WHAM! 2 days gone; no posts, no holla! What can I do to get you to forgive me? What if I say it wasn't my fault (naw...too childsh)-- what if I promise to never do it again (blah -- not realistic). I KNOW -- what if I give you some tastey goodness to make up for it?!

Definitely a little late for the show -- but "Today's" Challenge: LUKE CAGE!
I don't get why he's currently decked out in the CHEAPEST construction-wear motif, but he's an Avenger and should dress accordingly! So, my inspiration is his uniform from Secret Wars (why isn't he wearing THAT ONE?!) mixed with a little "The Hooded Man" from Millar/Hitch's run of the FF!

Hey, guess what?! The first issue of the Samaritan is DONE! I can't even tell you how excited I am for THE WORLD to see this thing. It is truly one of the greatest things I've ever been a part of! The book will debut at C2E2 and will seriously rock the socks off of all who lay hand on it! Check out this amazing cover by Lindsay Rodgers:

Today marks a hallmark for me -- my first appearance at a Jeff Harper Convention! He's a personal legend, been doing local shows for YEARS and it feels like a HUGE step up for me (AND Vantage:Inhouse) to have been there. The crowd was SUPER nice, giving some GREAT feedback on the work showcased, including the U Cre-8 Workbooks (the first trial run is this week!!!)! A few families took a happy gander and it looks like everything is lined up for it to be a SUCCESSFUL division of V:IP -- but the true champion of the show (as they've proven consistently to be!), were the 8 Bits. They were a great ice breaker, drawing in people and keeping them around as we all had great fun in trying to guess which color coupling represented whom! Fanboys and fanbelles, both young and old REALLY got into the magic of the game, so much so, that I'm almost out of custom buttons (Time to re-up with MutantCactus!)!

And that leads me to my BIGGEST NEWS YET -- I've gotten my first Cease and Desist letter! A MAJOR publishing company has issued a warning that my peddling a particular venue for selling the 8 Bits is infringing on their trademark rights and that immediate action MUST be taken to avoid legal action! Now, I don't in any way shirk the law or the my obligation to be a responsible creator -- BUT HOW COOL IS THAT?! While others may feel like the man is stepping on their vibe, I like to look at things from better VANTAGE: They're stepping in because the 8 Bits are THAT GOOD, RIGHT?! Of course -- why waste the effort otherwise! But theirs still some 8 Bit fight left in me and I'm pursuing every avenue to keep bringing more of that old school gaming goodness to a t-shirt near you!

Whew! Does that make up for my lateness? Does that give me a pass? Even if it does, I'll do my best to never warrant the need again! Love, peace and elbow grease!

5 Lines 3/2/11

Posted On Wednesday, March 2, 2011

I got caught up following the lines a bit more with this one that the last time and that REALLY took some of the life out of the cape (specifically) and think I could've turned the position around and still succeeded. Still fun to try though! I may do some of these at cons -- get some interactive sketching going, what do you think?!

8 Mins Presents...3/2/11

Just finished a new 8 Mins, "The Penance of his Recreation!" Its a little darker than the last feature, but the versatility is one of the things I love most about the 8 Mins concept! Here's an excerpt from it -- I hope you enjoy:

The glint from the gun barrel shinned in his eyes and he stopped. A nightly stroll, once veiled in nonchalance, now tarred and feathered with abject fear and humiliation. This is the penance of his recreation. He’s from here, so he should know better – unlike the travelling visitor; unaware that the rousing of danger comes easy in these parts. His is the fault of obliviousness; a careless mind wandering the street makes for a glorious target to urban predator. And here he stands, like so many before him – a victim; prey. Read more...

Shape Up 3-1-11

Posted On Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Haha! Back on schedule and with hours to spare! These Shape Ups are proving WAY more fun that I thought they'd be! I'm seriously considering making a run of prints with a more graphic feel to them for some upcoming conventions. I'll keep ya posted on that -- in the meantime, enjoy today's submission: BATMAN!

If I were EiC 3/1/11...

I’m into horror movies. No – strike that – I LOVE a good horror movie! There’s something incredibly potent about the essence of fear and when a movie is good enough to bring you into an environment and envelope you in it, it’s pure bliss! Especially with loads of gratuitous violence and gore – the more innovative the kill, the better (sorry Nana!)! But strangely enough, that’s NEVER carried over into my love of comics.

To be honest, for a long time, there weren’t many titles of note outside of the small press to prominently feature horror as a theme. But that all changed when Steve Niles and Ben Templesmith released their vampire-opus, “30 Days of Night.”
While a short read (I don’t think it’s even 50pgs, is it?), its concept is brutally brilliant, so much so that entire generations of horror writers before and after slapped themselves for not coming up with it! The legend of its worth only magnified, when the movie rights were sold for a purported, one MILLION dollars – a rare occurrence for comic properties at the time. Still, it didn’t QUITE hook me enough to grab the follow up series or any of the other horror/suspense titles Niles churned out in the years after.

Not even the award-winning and currently applauded, “Walking Dead” could fly my fancy – the first trade paperback, while solid, just didn’t appeal to me. No, it was another Image Comics alum, hailing from the Shadowline side of the family (the house that Jim built) that was my first sincere jump on to the horror comic train! With Dirk Manning’s “Nightmare World,” I found something big, sprawling, epic and just creepy enough to justify the melding of my comic and movie ideals. The vignettes were rich enough to draw you in, but short enough to leave you panting for more – the art teams, though plentiful, suited the stories they were attached to and it all worked to weave this larger tapestry. Simply put, I loved it. And the allure it created made me appreciate what I had once forsaken, drawing me first to the Walking Dead Compendium and soon, back to the world of Barrow, AK and beyond.

The EC Comic’s horror line could use their particular brand of terror-ific innovation! With Niles and Kirkman acting as co-editors, they could corral some of THE BEST talent and stories, hopefully, even taking some time to craft a few entries of their own, into one of the best horror anthologies EVER. They could bring in voices old and new, from comics and beyond (Dirk is in my top 10 of regular contributors, so is Stephen King and Wes Craven!!) – all in an attempt to scare the socks off of each and every one of us! And on the visual side, we’d get the tag-team power of Templesmith and Arthur Suydam, concocting images just shy of PURE EVIL to adorn covers, setting the bar ever so high for the art spectacle inside!

Normally I don't do this...

I'm usually AGAINST previews, but I've gotten pieces from both Ren and Harold and there's NO WAY that I can keep all of it to myself! Just can't do it!

Check these out:

Artwork by Harold Edge

Artwork by Ren McKinzie

I AM the world's LUCKIEST writer!

Time Sketch 2/28/11

I apologize! I'm a few hours late posting this, but here's "today's" daily art post!* While I'm not 100% happy with the outcome, that IS part of the point, right?! I definitely struggle with this, but the only way to get better is to keep pushing and pushing until there is virtually nothing I can't draw!

Today's challenge: Nova (Richard Rider)

In clockwise order, each piece took 10mins, 20mins and 30mins respectively.

*Went to see "I am Number Four" -- YOU NEED TO AS WELL.
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