Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Zombie Night

Suze and I just got back from vacation. I used to announce such things here until I realized it probably wasn't a good idea to announce on the internet that my house was going to be unoccupied for a week. We had a good time but got rained out the last few days. I took some drawing stuff with me along with some big plans for finishing the layouts for the PERHAPANAUTS story but no such look. I think I've mentioned that Harker's Island in summer is extremely humid and windy (as we leave the windows open for fresh air.) This makes drawing with pencil on paper like scratching with chalk on a wet towel. Pretty much useless.

A few days before we left, I invited some friends over (Christian and Don) for "Zombie Night." One of the local theaters, a historic landmark called The Byrd Theater, was going to be showing Lucio Fulci's pseudo-sequel to DAWN OF THE DEAD, ZOMBI. Don emailed me and asked if I'd like to go see it. I was astonished because I've been trying to get Don to watch zombie flicks with me for years. He's as obsessed with them as I am but he would never go. (I was under the impression that he didn't feel like he could sit through them because of the whole "family turning on you" angle. Boy was I wrong.) I got pretty excited but realized that I couldn't make it because we'd be out of town by then. Besides, as much as I love The Byrd in principle, I just can's sit in those tiny seats they've got in there. My knees end up under my chin and my ass is asleep in five minutes. So we agreed to have a viewing at my place with beer and popcorn supplied by the lovely Suzanne.

It was a hoot. And boy, was I mistaken about Don and zombie movies. Don was pointing out to Christian and me all the instances of foreshadowing and literary references and all that poof. Christian and I (having seen ZOMBI about a dozen times each) just made faces and hooted at the boob shots. After a few Legend beers, ZOMBI becomes a prime candidate for MST3K-style shenanigans.

Christian went home after the first movie was over and Don and I sat through one of my current horror faves, QUARANTINE (the remake of the Spanish film [•REC]. I thought this one would give Don some problems because I'd seen it several times and had jumped out of my seat at a particular spot each time. No worries. At the point that firemen start falling from the sky, Don burst out laughing, clapped his hands and shouted, "AWESOME!"

After the movie, we chatted about horror movies, comics and the frustrations of advertising until the far side of 1:00 a.m. (on a school night no less.) It wasn't until after he left and I was washing the dishes that I realized it had been almost 20 years since Don and I had sat on the couch watching movies together in college. Time certainly does fly. I'd had a rough few days and had been a little down. But hanging out with Don again after such a long time put me in a very cheerful, nostalgic state of mind for several days. So, thanks Don. That was, as you put it, "Awesome." We have got to do that again. Soon.


Adam Hutch asked me a question in the comments of my last post, specifically, if working on the Perhapanauts short story for Todd and Craig has inspired me to work on my own stuff. I wouldn't use the word "inspired" but I think it has given me the confidence to treat the story I'm working on as a piece I actually intend to publish. Until Todd and Craig gave me this chance, I'd never done more than two or three pages of finished samples at a time (excluding the TORG piece.) Once I gave up hope of breaking into comics as an artist and concentrated on writing, I completely lost any confidence I had in myself as an illustrator. The practice afforded me by this blog and the work I've done for Todd and Craig has given me some of that confidence back and has proved to me that I can tell a story clearly and with at least a little...pizzazz?

That's not to say I think I'm really any good. I just think I can produce something publishable and worth somebody's three bucks or so. And I feel like I'm improving and can actually feel myself digging up all those art school lessons in my head to use. I desperately wish I could go back and redo the first part of the story because I was so nervous that I over-did everything and kept forgetting things and would have to go back and shoehorn them in. Part 2 is turning out much more to my satisfaction.

So, no. I'm not feeling inspired by my Perhapanauts stuff. I've already been raring to work on this story for a couple of years. But now I think I can actually finish it, work permitting. And I want to finish it very badly. I think it's a cool story and I've seen too many of the stories I've come up with done first by better folk. If I don't want that to happen again, I have to get crackin'.



DonsSword said...

Good times, good times ;-)

Cloverfield and the remake of Dawn of the Dead next. After that we need a Hammer film with Caroline Munroe or some other incredibly hot silicone-free 70's babe.

Warren said...

Matt, I think you kick ass. Those ads you won your award for had mores story in each one than some comic books have in an entire issue. And to me, that's the most important thing in drawing a comic book -- getting the story across.

Too many times I've brought a book home, flipped through it, marvelled at the fine lines and photorealistic detail, but realized I can't tell what's going on story-wise. And these days, when the use of expository captions is frowned upon, sequential storytelling is *everything*.

todd said...


just got done with (most of) the mountain of stuff that pil;ed up over the past two weeks of reunioning to check out --and finally comment on--your blog.
dude--your stuff is kicking ass and, though every artist i know takes issue with their own stuff, you, my brother, belong up in those ranks. yes, it's fun and exciting, and i totally understand that urge to wanna go back and tweek the earlier pages from part one--but then you'd wanna go back and tweek the second half again--and back and forth and back and forth.
this way, you are not only an artist, but an instructor. how many new artists look at the early work of great artists and learn from SEEING that growth on paper?! i remember looking at early stuff by marshall rogers, john romita jr, paul smith, and yes, mike wieringo, and seeing them "get it". watching them evolve right there in front of me from month to month, issue to issue. so don't hide it, man--be a teacher! : )
the stuff looks absolutely phenomenal and you have brought SO MUCH MORE to the story than what i was seeing in my tiny little mind! i can't wait for people to see it!

oh, yeah, and welcome home! can't wait to see ya next week!