Burg Drachenstein!


I’ve managed to get my Deadlines under control this week and take back the night. MW #4 is sent off and Prophet is on schedule (My Walrus sketchbook is taking longer than I planned hmmm) 

Here’s the MW #4 cover if you didn’t see it:


This issue is Snerk sized!– that means I added more pages but but it still costs $2.99.

Here’s a 2 page spread from it that I drew around Xmas. Floating islands. 


This is at the end of the book so I wanted to make sure everything fit. I ended up doing a lot of planning on big butcher paper. Here’s me trying to figure out how to draw the insides of that skull island castle:


The idea for it was like if Skelletor’s Snake Mountain Lair in He-Man was taken over by a gentleman who loved to garden. 


Here’s another butcher page roughed out in sharpie:


and the final–That rock with arms is a garden golem. & all the birds on the island are tied to ropes.


I feel like I’m just getting a good direction going after 4 issues–but I guess that’s also just how I work.

In Prophet stuff, I just got this amazing cover by Fil Barlow for issue #37 (#33 will be out soon): I love that line of light in the sky. (and the hidden skull)


I’m so thrilled to be able to connect my work with artist whose work I’m so excited about. 

Fil’s Devinatart

I’ve been going through a frustration with comics recently, and I never mean the medium just the scene can get to me. Trying to aim high and make ART in the middle of all this action figure bullshit can be rough.”snoot snoot” Here’s a Milo Manara comic called Untitled that I think illustrates it well, where he shows Fellini’s Casanova being interrupted by adult diaper commercials:


Or even:



Twitter is probably bad for me, I’m always trying to remind myself that it’s cool that people like what they like and rather than paying attention to whatever Xmen bullshit is going on I can aim my focus towards the parts of comics that excite me. Part of it is just that by working with Image or anything verging on a wider audience I’m in an end of the pool that I never identified with. But I’m here now and I’m lucky to be here so I might as well take what I like from it and try not to take what I don’t. cool? cool.

I found this Cornel West video really grounding, it helped me feel sane. I really like how he talks about not trying for wholeness and the part 11 minutes in where he says “when you have a romantic project, you’re so obsessed with time as a loss and time as a taker”– but how he sees “time as a gift and time as a giver” and gratitude that you’re able to do as much as you do. –Smart dude. Hearing that, helps me deal with things. 

One thing I was thinking about recently is about how people seem to perceive the speed artists draw comics vs my own ideas of how they work. I saw someone commenting on a Nate “non player”Simpson thread awhile back saying something like “he’s so good I’d be willing to wait 2 months for each issue” –maybe it’s just my own putting people in boxes but I feel like there’s a couple basic types of cartoonists (obviously with many exceptions):

Like Nate or Rafael Grampa– are the kind of artists who you can expect maybeeee a book a year from. at best.

And then there’s the 3 books a year guys, I think I’m a 3 issues a year guy who fights to be a 6 issues a year guy. and I end up around like 4 or 5. Other guys like me would be my pal Farel,or maybe Frank Quitely.

and then slightly faster guys like Simon Roy or Stokoe. Who can do maybe more like 6 to 8 books a year.

and then the fast guys- Giannis, Moritat, Ross Campbell or Erik Larsen. who are the unicorns who can maintain a monthly. .

I think my point here is that none of this is about quality, but just knowing the speed that someone works best at. and it seems strange how many books run 12 issues a year when so few artists can match that. I think it’d be nice to see more books run in seasons and switch up artists less (of maybe figure out some scam like we’re pulling on Prophet) 

Annnyywayy I’ve been slowly reading Nausicca.


I read some Nausicca in the 80’s when it was first translated by Viz and I liked it but at the time it never clicked with me as well as the other manga I was reading. But reading it now I’m getting so much out of it–it’s teaching me stuff.

One thing I like is how his storytelling feels so unique to him, I’d want to say it’s like storyboards but it’s better than just that. A lot of comics feel like tv shows or movies when you read them but this feels like it’s own thing. It’s a comic.

It’s interesting to me what he chooses to show, like at the start of book 1 where Nausicca first casually lands. He skips showing her actually land:


and then later in that scene when she’s in a hurry to take off, he shows it with a lot more panels: “1, 2, 3” 


It’s a cool stylistic choice, you’d think with her being in a hurry he’d want to show it in less panels.Like this—-


Another cool thing is this scene where Princess Kushana cuts Nausicaa’s sword in two. I like how he drew it so you never get a clear look at Kushana’s sword. and how the sound effect cuts across Nausicaa’s face. “Kiiin”


Also, a trick he does in the writing that I like, is how he uses the dialog to emphasize how impressive or important something is. “something special about her” or “the finest swordsman”

it seems to help underline a character’s impact. There’s scenes where Nausicaa will do something cool that might not hit you so hard but then just how he shows the other characters flip out makes it seem so much more “she’s amazing!”

It’s like an argument for — showing and telling. 



I wanted to put up some of the cool MW drawings by other artists I’ve seen. 

Emma Rios drawing Nura:


Emily Carroll drawing Nik and Sexica–


Mmmmmike mcghee drawing Nura & Nik:


Lin Visel Sex&Nik:


annnnd Brahm Revel drawing Nura


and here’s a Brandon Williams Dirty pair drawing he sent me for my B day:


and here’s an Asterix map:




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16 Responses to Burg Drachenstein!

  1. darrylayo says:

    The philosopher Nas said “time is illmatic.”

    My life in comics is a continual struggle to remind myself to ignore what other people are doing and ignore how other people are working. I have to “do me.”


    Another thing that I am continually reminding myself is to enjoy things without telling myself to emulate those things. Every cartoonist doesn’t have to make a graphic novel, every person doesn’t have to make a monthly series, etc. I spend most of my time talking myself out of bad ideas of emulation and talking myself back into making natural me-comics. It’s a heck of a task.

  2. Mike Mcghee says:

    “and nobody will ever know!” ahahaha…

    showing AND telling. …can’t believe i never caught that@~@ …it’s so funny what registers with you consciously and what doesn’t.

    really digging that spread. still can’t quite wrap my head around which pace equals best quality for me…time will out i suppose:p

  3. scott says:

    I think it’s interesting that you talk about work pace and Nausicaa. I just recently discovered Nausicaa and am just finishing it right now.

    Miyazaki talks about his pace with Nausicaa in Starting Point (I wish I had it right in front of me, but I just returned it to the library yesterday!). He would work on Nausicaa between movies and it sounds like he came to dread it. He would set high goals of getting a lot of pages done, then not meet them. I actually made me glad to hear that someone as masterful as him also struggles with how fast he works.

    He also like when he said that he was trying to make something that a reader could not just read while slurping down noodles. Meaning he was purposefully trying to make it dense and even difficult.

  4. These recent Prophet covers have been incredible. They remind me of old sci-fi novels you would see at a used book store.

    The later issues of Nausicaa get even better. I don’t know if you’re buying the books or reading them offline but each issue comes with a decent pull-out. Usually it has a giant watercolored picture of Nausicaa on one side and on the other is a map of the regions where the characters are at and some factoids about the spores or anything he wanted to highlight.

    Lastly, is issue 4 the end of Multiple Warheads ?

  5. I’m interested in what ways it is hard for you to make art in the middle of “all this action figure bullshit.” Is it that, now that you are being published through Image, you feel competitive with the mainstream for some kind of popularity? Are you frustrated with people liking things you don’t think are good? Am I misunderstanding?
    I ask because sometimes I feel like no one working in comics can be more frustrated than I am about the comics scene. And from where I’m sitting, Brandon Graham’s got it figured out. You say you’re in an end of the pool you never identified with? I don’t see you that way. To me it seems you’ve built your own pool.
    If it’s an ego boost you’re looking for, first of all– fuck you. Second– In all of comics, in the history of comics, you’re managing to be something completely unique. There aren’t any other comics that are like Brandon Graham comics. You’re an important comic creator, by my estimation.

    • Brandon says:

      Hey Dustin,

      I mostly talking about how quality is judged. It’s cool that people like batman, but it seems kind of weird that Batman would ever be an artistic goal for adults. I know I sound like a snob with that but it can’t be good for art that it’s tied into lunchboxes and action figures.

      What do you find most frustrating?

      I am in a reallllly nice position these days and Image has been amazingly supportive so I don’t want to sound like I’m complaining about that. I can pretty much do whatever I want. –and also thanks for the nice words. I like what you do too.

      • Quality is judged by time. What’s popular in the moment is almost always not what is quality. That’s obvious I think.

        As for my frustrations: I suppose they probably aren’t to different from your frustrations. Only, I know why I have these frustrations. These things are impacting me very directly. And, since your position in the industry resembles a place I’d like to be, I’m wondering why you have these frustrations. How are these thing impacting you? Are you merely observing them and voicing your disapproval?… Is someone trying to force you to make MW lunchboxes!!!!!

        Anyway, I’ve only got the first issue of MW at this point but I thought it was great. I’m looking forward to hitting floating world up for the rest

  6. Ted says:

    Loving Multiple Warhead. And your blog.

    Cool to see you analyze Nausicaa. I read those and just love Miyzaki’s art and his designs but never looked at how he puts a page together. Probably because I’m not a comic artist but it’s interesting. Like with her taking off, I think that liftoff sequence just intrigued miyazaki so he wanted to show it all, like in the anime. That cool burst to get her aloft, pause, then shoot forward. He shows her landing a bunch of other times so maybe that’s where he investigates that movement.

    And as @Scott mentioned, I read that his pace was insane. At the animation studio till 9 or 10, come home and work on nausicaa till late at night. Almost no sleep. But I don’t think he spent much time with his family. The price one pays.

    Anyway great stuff. I look forward to more posts, comics and art. Really inspiring.


    and here’s a link to my kickstarter that grew out of my fun sideproject.

    • scott says:

      There is an Essay in Starting Point ( a book of his essays) titled “I left the raising of my children to my wife” where he basicaly says exactly that: He didn’t spend much time with his family.

  7. forcomics says:

    The bits of nausicaa you singled out are interesting stuff. Whether true or not, what I i read into them is that miyazakie is choosing what to draw based on the state of mind of the character he is drawing. In this case, the landing is probably such a practiced and natural thing that her mental experience would be more along the lines of deciding she wanted to be on the ground at a specific place, and then, automatically and without hardly taking note of her musclememory-directed movements, playing out the actions to get there. When she was takes off however, she is in a rush, and all of the minor steps of taking off become barriers to being where she wants to be, and pronto!

    Example: normally, when I leave the house I scarcely note the time it takes me to tie my shoes, but if I’m in a rush to catch a bus, every twist of the shoelace represents precious seconds slipping by!

    By contrast, the more direct depiction in your post takes its cues from the external and impersonal point of view of an observer, letting the amount of time passed during an action guide what is drawn.

    At least that’s one way to look at it

    And to what Darryl said: YES

  8. Mike Greene says:

    Great post Brandon, thanks for doing this blog. I have been reading comics for 20 years and I am still constantly exposed to new (old) stuff I have never heard of before, because I was just always into other stuff. I feel like I have a whole new collection of books sitting on my nightstand right now because of you.

  9. Amy says:

    I’m so slow!! I’ve been on and off working on webcomics that I never post. I create the pages and then scan the first bit and then life catches up with me and before I know it, it’s been months before I’ve been able to post anything. I always thought it was just me being a working office grunt and student that made it impossible for me to keep a good pace. It’s nice to know that even people employed in comics struggle with deadlines and pace consistency. Well, not nice to know but comforting I suppose?

  10. Dogman says:

    Mr. Graham, I met you at ECCC last year and after many months of searching I finally got my own copy of King City (signed no less). I loved the book, it was great fun and the ending really stuck with me, I like the message in that.

    I’ve been reading Prophet since the first moment I could get my hands on it and I really think you’re knocking it out of the park with this one. I know you’re a busy man, juggling two comics and an art book, but some of the Prophet lore is completely beyond me especially now that we’re beginning to encounter more of the Image universe heavies and I was wondering if you had knowledge of any good trades/archs that could help me learn about this fantastic and strange new universe.

  11. Eric Mesa says:

    How do you think Nausicaa compares between the anime and the manga?

  12. Pingback: What Makes a (sort of) Perfect Mini-Series? » Comics Bulletin

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