Thursday, November 15, 2012

SUCKERS launches today!

 From the department of "I'm lousy at self-promotion": my new webcomic series, SUCKERS, with my friend and amazing talent Jorge Coehlo, launched today at Trip City and I pretty much neglected to mention it to anyone before today. Despite what that might imply, we're actually extremely proud of this series! Quick pitch: When Corey White was eight years old, his mother told him his father had died and left them with nothing. When he was eighteen, his father told him different. But then, his dad’s a con man, so who’s he supposed to believe?

It'll be serialized monthly at Trip City. Jorge and I are both in this for the long haul, we hope some of you will join us for the ride...

And hey, while you there, you should check out some of the other consistently excellent content up at Trip City, like Jennifer Hayden's S'Crapbook, or Seth Kushner & George Schall's new Schmuck, or Jef UK & Zee's Just Super, or the sure-to-be-excellent (haven't had a chance to listen myself yet) new Trip City Podcast featuring Bryan Lee O'Malley and Sean Howe. Happy first anniversary, Trip City!

(Also, I just noticed my GLARING typo on the credits on that "cover" above... sigh. Hopefully I can get that fixed tonight...)

Friday, April 27, 2012

MoCCA 2012

Apparently it's been so long between updates here that blogger has a whole new back end interface. Huh.

Anyway, as anyone following me on Twitter just heard, MoCCA is this weekend. Here's the same information I just tweeted, but in the more long-winded format we blog-readering dinosaurs are accustomed to:

Personal obligations prevent me from attending on Saturday, but I'll be hanging out at the Top Shelf table on Sunday, giving away FREE minicomix by me and Connor Willumsen to promote the upcoming launch of EGG: Hard Boiled Stories as a "Top Shelf Digital Exclusive" series, which means it'll be available on on Comixology, iVerse, the Top Shelf iOS app, etc. Here's a look at the cover to the promo (which will probably be similar to the cover of the first issue):

(Full disclosure for any of the few fine human beings who've purchased any issues of EGG in it's original self-published print format: we will be re-publishing those stories, but we'll be shuffling things around so every digital issue will have some never-before-seen content, too.)

Also debuting at MoCCA is the Trip City Visitor's Guide, the first ever print publication from the fine folks at Trip City. Not only is it designed by me (blatantly ripping off Massimo Vignelli): also includes a new story by me and Jorge Coelho that serves as a preview of our new series that should be launching very soon at Trip City. It's going to be called "SUCKERS," and it's the story of a father-son team of con artists. I'm really excited about this one--it's broken up into easily digestible, readable-on-their-own chunks, but the overall story has a larger scope than anything I've yet written, and I can't wait to see Jorge bring it to life. And Jorge's work on the pages I've seen so far is next level stuff: even if the story's lousy, it'll be gorgeous to look at. ;)  

Plus, MoCCA is also an early opportunity to pick up your copy of Seth Kushner and Christopher Irving's Leaping Tall Buildings, which I was proud to design. And of course Top Shelf should have some copies of Liar's Kiss for sale which I'll happily sign on Sunday, or if you're one of those future people who reads their comics on the computer machine, Top Shelf is doing a crazy digital sale right now where you can get Liar's Kiss (and a bunch of other fantastic books) for only $4.99! Talk about value!

So... if you're in NYC, hope to see you at MoCCA on Sunday! If you're elsewhere, hope to see you on the interwebs in the near future!

Sunday, January 1, 2012

2011: Year in Review

Looks like I forgot to do one of these last year. Oops. Anyway, here's pretty much everything I designed, art directed, illustrated, or wrote in 2011 (apart from stuff that hasn't been announced yet.) In no particular order:

Liar's Kiss by me and Jhomar Soriano

Sweet Smell of Success / art direction by me, illustration by Sean Phillips

Le Havre / art direction by me, illustration by Manule Fior

Three Outlaw Samurai / art direction by me, illustration by Greg Ruth

Godzilla / art direction by me, illustration by Bill Sienkiewicz

A Night to Remember / art direction by me, illustration by Gregory Manchess

The Killing / art direction by me, illustration by Connor Willumsen

Senso / art direction by me, illustration by Glen Orbik, type design by F. Ron Miller

12 Angry Men / art direction by me, illustration by Sean Phillips

Shock Corridor / art direction by me, illustration by Daniel Clowes

The Naked Kiss / art direction by me, illustration by Daniel Clowes

Jim Henson's Tale of Sand / design by me, illustration by Ramón K. Pérez

The Phantom Carriage / art direction by me, design & illustration by Christopher King

Four Feathers / art direction by me, illustration by Gregory Manchess

Diabolique / art direction by me, design & illustration by Dave Plunkert

Topsy-Turvy / art direction by me, illustration by Yuko Shimizo, type design by F. Ron Miller

The Mikado / art direction by me, illustration by Yuko Shimizo, type design by F. Ron Miller

Island of Lost Souls / art direction by me, design & illustration by Aesthetic Apparatus

EGG # 3 / stories written by me and drawn by Jorge Coelho, Robert Goodin, and (kind of) Leonard Starr. Cover by me.

Here's to a great 2012!!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Branded to Kill / Tokyo Drifter

I believe these hit stores tomorrow, so now seems like a good time for a process post on these two Seijun Suzuki classics!

The backstory of these films is that Suzuki was working as a “director for hire” for Nikkatsu in the ‘60s, cranking out genre picture after genre picture, getting progressively more and more stylized and “out there,” until culminating with his masterpiece, Branded to Kill, which was so shocking to the suits at Nikkatsu that he got fired and subsequently blacklisted. I had been told that before watching the films and thought, “oh, those provincial businessmen! How shocking can it be?” But I think you’ll agree after watching it, that if you were expecting a simple noir picture and got that, you’d be pretty shocked, too.

Tokyo Drifter is the best (or one of the best, at least) of Suzuki’s genre pictures: a noir story executed in the most stylish way possible. Branded to Kill, by contrast, takes the bare bones of a genre film and builds something completely new and different. Both totally fantastic films, but Branded in particular is in a class all its own. HIGHLY recommended if you haven't seen it before.

In our previous editions (before my time) we had treated them very much as a matched pair, but this time around we wanted to emphasize the differences. We toyed with the idea of giving the two projects to two different designers, but ultimately decided that they should go to the same designer, more to avoid unintentional overlap than anything else.

(We actually first went to an outside designer, who did some fine work that unfortunately just didn't click with how we were hoping to present the films. So we then brought them in house and the project fell to me to design. If that previous designer would like to share his own comps, he's more than welcome to, I just didn't want to presume on his behalf.)

So, taking the films separately, starting with Tokyo Drifter: this one doesn't need to be too overly deep. The movie is slick and just plain cool, so that’s really the main thing we wanted to get across in the design. The way the film uses color and composition is certainly bold and striking, and we definitely wanted to capture something of that feel. There’s also something interesting about the way it encorporates city signage and advertisting (that hair dryer!). Producer Jason Altman really loved the scene early in the film where star Tetsuya Watari is spotlighted against a black background in his bright yellow suit, so we soon narrowed in on that scene and it really became a question of how best to execute it:

The first one was a early favorite, and Bob's your uncle.

For Branded to Kill, we came up with the idea of starting with a base of something relatively straightforward: the kind of thing that could be the cover to the film Nikkatsu might have imagined they were getting, simple genre stuff. Then we take that image and violate it with some seemingly incongruous element, probably the butterflies in the film. Some kind of strong transgressive action in what would otherwise be a very simple cover.

The butterflies are a perfect encapsulation of this idea, because their function in the plot (a butterfly--representing Joe Shishito's growing obsession with the mysterious woman--lands on the barrel of his rifle, upsetting his aim), mirrors their function formally (the butterfly motif keeps recurring, getting more and more abstracted and disruptive), which in turn mirrors what Suzuki is achieving with this film: the ultimate triumph of style over "substance," his own vision as a filmmaker making the otherwise cookie-cutter noir plot almost irrelevant. I was VERY pleased with this idea… I just needed to find a way to execute it!

My first attempt was pretty close, though I probably let myself get carried away with the patterning and such… the rain, in particular, makes the whole thing look a bit like Eurythmics album cover…

I had the idea of including Japanese type on the "underlayer" to suggest a complete Japanese poster that was then being "violated" by the butterfly… but the overall effect was maybe a bit too simple:

A few more variations on those themes…

…but the choice was obviously between the first two. The first was definitely my favorite, but was seen as a bit too "out there," so I tried some tweaks:

Thankfully, everyone agreed those were too tame, and after a little more tweaking, wound up here:

Which I was thrilled with! Definitely my favorite cover (of mine) in a while!