Yo yo yo,
Soooo I’m going to be at a local Vancouver con this sunday along with a bunch of my pals:
It should be fun, show up in you’re around.
Here’s my schedule this week, that I write on giant butcher paper to loom over me and judge me. (that’s Marian’s self portrait on the right–Bad dude!)
I’m always talking about how making the work fun is really important to me , recently I’ve been having to rethink things. I’ve been giving myself more tasks that aren’t necessarily about the work.
I want to get over any guilt of ever not working or working too slow, so this week I added “watch all the (70’s Tom baker Doctor Who) Key of time Episodes!! Woooo” to things I had to get done. I don’t want to make getting the work done that pays my rent anymore important than the other fun stuff I do. Obviously no one ever dies wishing they saw more tv shows but It’s more important to me to just have fun and work because I want to work not because I’ll feel like a jerk if I don’t. there’s no good and bad there’s just setting up an environment that allows for whateverr mannn.
Here’s what I’ve been working on tonight:
It’s a whale restaurant on a whale that serves food made out of the whale it’s on.
I did a choose your own adventure joke with a choice that doesn’t really affect anything more than how much Sexica likes her breakfast.
This page will be in Multiple warheads #5 or #1 of book 2 whatever whatever– It’s interesting to me what a time capsule making comics is. People finding King city now and reading pages that I drew on my lunch break when I just like “fuck I wish I could draw comics all day” –so that’s cool.
Here’s some MW covers– #2 I scanned a page out of a Chinese calendar that I pulled out of a dumpster and then added a bunch of my own drawings to it.
And here’s #3’s cover. I kind of had to rush this one so I might tweak it a bit before it actually goes to print. I scanned the #3 out of a 1990’s issue of Raygun magazine.
Sooooooo Prophet stuff.
The #28 I did with Giannis Milonogiannis drawing and Joseph Bergin III coloring and Ed Brisson Letters comes out on Wednesday. Here’s a preview: http://ghettomanga.blogspot.ca/2012/08/preview-prophet-28-by-brandon-graham.html
And here’s a 2 page spread from #29 following up on the Farel Darymple drawn Prophet with a tail:
It’s a bunch of Prophet’s in space baby armor trying to transport a Brain ball Mother through a space war that’s too big to go around.
And then issue #30 goes back to the Giannis story. Here’s some layouts I did this week showing a new lady lizard assassin that’ll be an ongoing character. Here she sneaks up on a floating palace in her crab house.
She has these color crystals that she can see poison walls in a plant maze. we’re trying to do more stuff with color in Prophet. Seems like a waste to have a color book and not have color as a part of the story.
I showed the layouts to my pal Emily Carrol and she sent me back this rad assassin drawing.
Emily’s site: http://www.emcarroll.com/#3
Also in the Prophet issue that’s out on Wednesday, I got Fil Barlow to put together a thing about the process his old Zoonerse issues were colored in. It’s kind of a sequential article.
And here’s some King city stories.
My pal Chris Eng did one called A girl and her cat.
You can read it here:
And here’s a King city short that my Mom (Vicki Barbosa) wrote.
“Interesting” said the Shadowcat 8/3/12 His fur was black, black that swallowed the starlight, swallowed the moonlight. If there were ever a cat- shaped black hole, he was it. It came in handy for slinking about the dark side of the moon, or between the Pleiades, or in alleys and pool halls in New York. He had no name, or rather, he had so many names it was hard to know his name at any given time. His name depended on his location, at times on the season of the year or the phase of the moon. So in the valleys of Spain he was Gato, the one and only Cat; in the mimsy mountains of the Orion constellation he was Selquo the Magnificent; on the far side of the moon he was Glyboo; and in the tenements of New York he answered to Yodo. For the purposes of this tale we will call him what Janis called him: Meroo. He was a Shadowcat, working under the auspices of the Catmaster General as a recruiter. His job was to shadow potential cat masters, observe them in various situations, and bring them in for training if they agreed. It was he who brought in the catmaster Joe, famous for his rescue work in Seattle, and it's said he recruited Klovharu from Vancouver, a tough nut to crack. The catmasters were people with natural talent, who were brought to the farm outside L.A. and trained to be masters by the best. They learned all the martial arts, but mostly cat techniques, how to use the cats as weapons. What they did with their training later, that was up to them. Some of them saved their city, their continent, or their world. Some of them just prevented burglaries; some lived their lives ready for anything. It was kind of zen, according to Janis. The first time Meroo saw Janis in L.A., she was sliding through a crowd like quicksilver, a skinny tousle-headed 14 year old in tattered jeans, looking for a mark. It was clear that she had worked the streets for years, being bait for older kids, grifting, picking pockets. She had a good scam going now: Meroo crawled to a rooftop and peered over, watching her work. She brushed against an older man, lifted his wallet, then leaned down and pretended to pick it up. “I think you dropped this, mister,” she said, holding it out innocently. The man's mustache jerked in surprise; and his hand flew to his hip. “Looks like I did. Thank you, my dear.” He opened the wallet, pulled out a bill and handed it to the girl. “This is for you.” “Interesting,” said Meroo. He followed along on the rooftops above, observing as she pulled variations on the same stunt four more times. It worked pretty well, and avoided the complication of having to hide from the law. He followed her into an apartment, to a secret meeting with an orange-haired character who held out a handful of bills, and observed the girl shake her head with a sneer, flick the bills aside and walk away. “Interesting,” Meroo said. When she crawled in through a window and curled up in a corner of an abandoned room to sleep, Meroo was there before her. She turned over, brushed against him, and jumped out again in a hurry. Meroo sat up, stretched and yawned. "Relax," he said. "I come in peace." She crouched on the floor, staring. "What?" "I said --" "You're a cat!" "Seriously?" Meroo brushed his whiskers. "My mother will be astonished." "Cats can't talk!" "Is that so?" "Yeah, it's so! Everyone knows that!" "I suppose everyone also knows that spiders are not space travelers marooned on earth, that Cthulhu is not asleep in Massachusetts Bay, and that the world will not end as soon as the nine billion names of God are compiled?" "I don't know about that, but cats can't talk." "Okay." Meroo began grooming himself. "What do you want?" Janis asked. "To offer you a job opportunity. You have some useful skills, it'd be a shame to waste them. In the morning I'd like to take you to meet some people." "Where? What people?" "The Catmaster training farm. Not too far away. Better get some sleep." The next day they went out to the farm, not far from L.A. When Meroo introduced the girl to the Catmaster General, Mudd just stared at her. "No," he said. "What do you mean, no?" Meroo was annoyed. "She's just a kid, wet behind the ears. Bring her back in 3 or 4 years." "Have I ever been wrong about a prospect?" said Meroo. "In 3 or 4 years, she'll be spoiled -- a dedicated lowlife thief, a drug runner, something unsavory. Train her now, she'll be a spectacular catmaster. Guaranteed." Mudd frowned. "There are no cats available at the moment." "Oh really," said Meroo. "Like there isn't a cat born every second." "You know what I mean," said Mudd. "Weaponscats are not your run of the mill random cats." "Little do you know," said Meroo to the leader of the world's most powerful, most secret organization. "Be that as it may, I'll take her on." "You!" "You think I can't do it? I'm unqualified in some way?" "I need you in recruiting. You're a shadowcat." "What's the point of recruiting if you turn my recruits away? Hello?" Mudd cast an exasperated glance at the girl, who was staring open-mouthed at their discussion. "Fine. Bunk her in Three. Good luck, kid. You're going to train with the most egoistical, smart-mouthed, brilliant cat in the known universe. Hope you survive." "T -- thank you," stammered the girl. "But what do catmasters do?" "You'll figure it out." Meroo wanted the kid to succeed very badly, almost as much as he wanted his next mouse, and that was saying a lot. Especially considering how delicious a mouse was, a fur-covered, trembling, savory morsel smelling of . .. never mind. Someone who is not a cat might read this. Anyway, Meroo thought that the Catmasters were a great force in the world – for good, for evil, for comic relief, but certainly a force, and he wanted to see the kid become part of it, because if she didn't make it as a catmaster, she was on a downhill spiral to nowhere. He toyed with the idea of turning her to the dark side, but abandoned the idea – considering that he knew how quickly the compilation of the nine billion names of God was going, he didn't want to run any more risks than he already had. So Janis started her training, along with six other newbies all older than her. In addition to the standard martial arts and nefarious thievery, she learned cat skills: how to throw a cat with deadly force; how to fling the cat and a syringe after it, transforming it into anything from a dervish of terror, to a saw blade, to a net flung over an opponent. The cat could become a periscope, a pillow, a rifle, duplicate a key, mix a mean martini, whip out a passable drawing of a suspect. . . you name it, there was little the cat could not do or become, in the hands of a capable catmaster. And when that cat was the Shadowcat, Meroo himself, he figured they were an unbeatable team. They were only 6 months into the training and Meroo was feeling pretty good about it, when Mudd came to find him where he and Janis were napping under a palm tree. “Got a job for you.” Meroo sat up, pricking his ears. “For us?” “Fine, for both of you. Remember Cthulhu?” “Difficult dude to forget,”said Meroo. “Well, seems he had a fling with one of the mermaids from the Danube, him being a Water Being, and they produced an offspring. Some years ago. That offspring is now a teenager, known in some circles as Tsunami Cyril.” “We're all ears.” Meroo glanced at Janis, who was now sitting up paying attention. “Cyril is more or less a normal being, but has a habit of pulling hissy fits, being a teenager and afflicted with hormones. When he does this, cities tend to founder. He's in a temper now, heading in a straight line for Seattle.” “And where is Joe?” asked Meroo. “Isn't that his favorite hangout?” “One of them, but he's down in the Antarctic right now, on a secret mission with his new girl friend. Incommunicado. The catmaster assigned to Seattle right now is Klovharu. But he's in hiding, not sure why, and isn't answering messages. So I'd appreciate it if you two could sidle up there and see if you can roust him, give him a heads up in case he's missed the news, and maybe be backup for him.” “Backup,” said Meroo. “Why can't we handle it?” piped up Janis. “You're not ready,” said Mudd. “No way. You just go up and find Klovharu, and back him up if he needs any help. Got that?” Janis stuck out her lower lip, but Meroo gave her a glance. “Got it. We'll go tomorrow.” The next morning they hopped a freight train heading for Seattle, and after a night sleeping among crates of cat food and bags of mail, found themselves in at the Union station around noon. They walked out of the station into a cloudy day, Janis looking around nervously. Meroo noticed that all the humans around him were glancing nervously up at the sky, which was a gray purplish color unusual for Seattle. “Let's go,” he said. “We'll plug into the cat grapevine, easiest way to find Klovharu.” “How do we do that?” asked Janis. “Just ask a cat.” But it was not so easy to find a cat. They walked for 20 minutes, up King Street, across to Yesler as far as Fifteenth. Meroo had never gone so far without finding at least one cat to check in with. Finally Janis said, “There! I saw one run behind that recycle bin.” Meroo went over and saw a scrawny tortoiseshell huddled behind the bin. “Hey, what's going on?” he asked. “They've all left town,” muttered the cat. “Or hiding out. Something's up. Something bad's coming.” “Why didn't you leave?” “I'm small, nothing messes with me, and I can hide in Underground Seattle if I need to, But you should head for cover.” “We're looking for Klovharu and Happiness.” “Ooh, the sick catmaster? He's over on Main, near Chinatown. But he hasn't been out for days.” “Can you show us?” “Follow me.” The tortoiseshell led the way, and they followed for several blocks. He stopped at a green door to a basement apartment, whispered, “Seriously, get out of town,” and scuttled away. Meroo scratched at the door, whispered the cat code, and the door opened a crack. Happiness was there, Klovharu's space cat, looking harassed. “Shadowcat, is that you? Come in, quick.” He and Janis slid inside. At Hap's startled expression, Meroo shrugged, “My new catmaster. Where's Klovharu?” Hap pointed a paw at a pile of quilts on the couch. A few strands of greasy blond hair stuck out, otherwise there was no sign of a human. “How sick is he?” “It's some kind of Martian lung parasite, it lasts about a week. He has to drink a lot of orangeade with caviar in it to get rid of it, and he's not doing too well.” Meroo went closer. “Klovharu?” The catmaster stuck a nose out. “Zat you? What ya' want?” “There's a horrendous monster aimed at the city, we kind of need an experienced catmaster on board here.” Klovharu squinted out at them. Janis whispered, “Is he always that color? Like moldy cheese?” “Not usually,” said Meroo. “Klovharu, you know what day it is?” “Somewhere around September? Or possibly Thirteen? Not too sure, really.” Hap shook his head. “Not up to it, Shadowcat, really. He'll be better in a few days, but still wobbly. And I can feel something coming – can't you?” Meroo lifted his head, sniffing. He felt a hint of burning in the air, flavored with danger. “Yeah, I do.” “You've got a catmaster of your own, what's the problem?” “She's still in training. Not quite ready for the real thing.” Hap shrugged. “I'll come along if you want. Backup cat.” Meroo looked at Janis, whose eyes looked huge and terrified. “What do you think, catmaster?” She gritted her teeth. “We got a choice?” “We could catch the next freight back to L.A., and read about it in the papers.” “Right,” she said scornfully. “That's not happening.” “Then let's go,” said Meroo. “West, I think, toward the bay.” They went down toward the ferry docks, but soon met people running the opposite way. “Look out!” yelled a kid pushing a bike. “Earthquake!” They picked up the pace and soon came in sight of the bay, empty of ships. But over the Olympic peninsula came striding a horrific shape, like a whirlwind, like a giant octopus swathed in mist, an amorphous looming shape impossible to make out. “Takes after his father,” said Meroo. He glanced at Janis. “Get out your lethal syringes, numbers 12 and 17 . . .” “I remember,” she said, her voice strained. “Give me space.” The creature splashed into the bay, howling in rage and pain. “What's he saying?”she said. “Who cares!” yelled Hap. “Get ready!” Janis held up her hand. She yelled up at the monster, “What did you say?” Now they could make out words, distorted and high-pitched. “I h—h- hate you! I hate everybody! Get out of my way!” The creature stepped onto the street, dripping gallons of bay water, matted with seaweed, tall as the Space Needle, glaring down at them. No one else was in sight, except for a scattered crowd of cats that had gathered all up and down the street. “Kill it,” they howled, “put it out of its misery!” The creature lifted its fists, pounded on a building. “I hate you, leave me alone!” it shrieked. “I know how you feel,” said Janis calmly. She reached for Meroo, gave him an injection as she had been trained, and flung him straight and true. He felt himself flying, felt the exhilaration of working with a well-trained catmaster, and hit the creature's shoulder, biting. There was a moment of frenzy, wildness, water, air, mud and seaweed flying everywhere. Meroo found himself crouched on the sidewalk beyond the creature, and there where the creature had stood, a teenage boy knelt sobbing. Aside from green hair and fins, there was nothing unusual about him. “Hey,” said Janis. “We all have bad days.” Tsunami Cyril looked up at her, his face streaked with tears and seaweed. He wiped his nose. “Who are you? What did you do to me?” “Janis.” She sat down beside him. “Just gave you a calmer. You're kind of cute, you know?” “You think so?” He smiled at her. Meroo rolled his eyes. “We could get up some beach volleyball. What do you think?” “Okay. Maybe.” He glanced at himself. “But I have no clothes.” “Cat.” She motioned to Meroo, pulling out a syringe. “You can knit?” “Not much I can't do.” Under the potion's power, he knitted a pair of shorts in scant moments, and handed them to the kid. “That's pretty neat,” said Cyril. A couple of days later, Klovharu was back to himself, Hap relaxing happily on a window sill, and Cyril was entrenched in the mysteries of beach volleyball on Alki. If you see a green-haired kid there who's a whiz at spiking the ball, you know where he came from. They sat in the open freight door on the way back to the farm, Janis chewing a strand of hair and smiling to herself. She glanced at Meroo. “He's just a teen, you know. We all have days like that.” “Good call,” said Meroo. “I think I might like being a catmaster,” she said. “Hope so. Because you are,” said the Shadowcat.