Sunday, November 28, 2010

Early Christmas

We had a great Thanksgiving. I admit I was a little down on the holidays this year and frankly couldn't wait for them to be over. With it looking like I'll be working every weekend between now and January and Toonces' condition, I'd had it. But then something terrific happened.

When Toonces' vet came over about ten days ago to examine him, she determined that he had detached retinas from his renal failure (a condition he's had for a couple of years) and that his blindness was permanent. But she also diagnosed him with one of the worst cases of high blood pressure she'd ever seen in a cat. She prescribed something for it and that was that. We watched him over the next week-and-a-half as he learned to deal with no vision and very little hearing. He bumped into things a lot, missed his litter box several times spent a lot of time sleeping in one spot, usually on the heating pad Suzanne set up for him. But he was getting around. We started him on his hypertension meds and the weird thing with his eyes being completely black stopped. The pupils contracted and we could see the amber-green color return around the edges.

Then, on Black Friday, I got the weird feeling that Toonces could see me. He was following me around the room with his eyes. We'd already determined he could tell when the lights were on or off and that the positions of various lights throughout the house were helping him navigate. We took to leaving them all on for him. (Not looking forward to the power bill this month.) But this was different. I walked up to him and waved my hand slowly in front of his face and he followed it. And suddenly we realized he wasn't bumping into things anymore. His vision had returned!

I don't think he can see as well as before but he can see enough to run up and down the stairs now and not bounce around like a billiard ball from wall to wall. It must have been the hypertension. Suze and I are so relieved we don't know what to do. He really is our little miracle cat. Every time we think the little guy is down and out, he rebounds. It's given me a new outlook on the holidays and I don't think I'll be such a grinch this year after all. And for that, I am truly thankful.

I hope your Thanksgiving was just as wonderful.


Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Brief Hiatus

I'll probably be away from the blog for a while. With Thanksgiving coming up, a crazy work schedule and the VA COMICON coming this weekend, my plate is pretty full.

And, unfortunately, we just discovered that our little buddy Toonces is not only stone deaf, he's now completely blind as well. It's breaking our hearts and we're still figuring out how to make life easier for a cat that's effectively cut off from the world. The little guy has gotten us through some of the toughest times we've had. He was living with me before Suzanne and I even got married. So this is hitting me a little hard.

Hopefully, I'll find time to post a con report after the VA COMICON. If not, have a great Thanksgiving and try not to get trampled on Black Friday. Me? I'm avoiding that this year.


Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Scott Pilgrim

So, instead of picking up this weeks new comics, I’m trapped here at work waiting on the proofing department (yawn) and I thought I’d knock out a quick post.

Just a quick heads up that we’ll be setting up for the ‘Ringo Scholarship at the VIRGINIA COMICON here in Richmond on November 20th and 21st. The show is really growing and has had to move to a larger venue up the street. I’m really looking forward to it. It’s a great show and I’m very grateful to Brett for letting us set up. If you can make it, stop by and say “hi.”

Suze and I have reeeally been enjoying the new AMC show THE WALKING DEAD, based on Robert Kirkman’s comic book. It’s the kind of must-see TV we haven’t seen since LOST ended. I even skipped the second half of the Packers game last Sunday to catch it. Not that it was much of a game. I caught Suzanne watching part of the show last week with her hands over her eyes, peeking between the fingers. Awesome.

I’ve also blazed through the last 4 volumes of SCOTT PILGRIM, the inspiration for the above sketch. I’d told Christian that I didn’t want to borrow his because I already have a two-feet-tall stack of his stuff. Plus, I had the first two volumes and wanted to buy the whole run. But then my friend Don offered the same thing and I figured it would be the only way I could manage to read them all before the movie hit Blu-ray this week without dropping 40 or 50 bucks all at once. I couldn’t read them fast enough. I’m not much of an indie comics guy but this series really struck a chord with me. I’m not even sure why. Scott Pilgrim is the kind of guy I would want to choke the life out of if I actually knew him. But Bryan Lee O’Malley manages to make him an endearing character. And, not being much of a gamer or anime fan, I figured most of the jokes would fly over my head. Not so. I laughed out loud quite often. O’Malley’s artwork started off a little weak in the first volume but, by volume 2, he was already improving by leaps and bounds. By the final volume, the art was sublime. I love his clever storytelling tricks like showing Scott’s brain cracking in two and a baby chick emerging to illustrate that Scott has grasped a concept. I loved the scene in which Scott asks why Ramona corrects him with “Evil EXES” every time he refers to her “evil ex-boyfriends.” (“You had a sexy phase?”) My only complaints with the series were that it was difficult to tell some of the characters apart sometimes and the ending was a little hard to follow. But the series on the whole was a LOT of fun. If you haven’t read it, I highly recommend it. (And, yes, I realize I’m REALLY late to this particular bandwagon but what can I say?) I can hardly wait to watch the movie.

I’m itching to start the second drafts of my HMDH scripts and do some real drawing for a change but I guess all that will have to wait until this crunch at work is over. I just hope it’s not TOO long. Jeez.



Oh, and I don't do this often but please click on this link to Jackson (VENTURE BROS.) Publick's blog. He has a link to a bunch of eBay auctions. The proceeds go to help pay for some much-needed medical attention for a really cute kitty named Lola. Lola lives with two artists that work on the show and she has pancreatic cancer. I love the show and I love kitties so I thought I'd do my tiny little part and help steer any interested parties their way.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Done and Done

Before I bore my three readers with my progress on HAND ME DOWN HORROR, I thought I'd post some cool sketches Mike did for one of his fans. I'm not sure when they were done but I was glad to see them. When I was in Baltimore this past August, I was given copies of the above sketches by that fan. (Thanks again, John!) Mike did tons of headshots for folks (just check out eBay if you don't believe me) and the Thor/Orion sketch seemed like something you could easily see someone asking for. The son of Darkseid and the son of Odin. Cool but standard. Then I saw the second sketch and laughed out loud. What an awesome request. You really don't see that every day. Space Ghost and A.L.F.

A couple of weeks ago, a high school buddy of mine told me about his love for the' 80s sitcom A.L.F. That reminded me of these sketches and I brought them into work to scan them. Mike really nailed both characters, don't you think? (Though I'm surprised he agreed to draw A.L.F., considering Mike's love of cats. A.L.F. had a taste for them, you see.)


Okay, here it is. I've actually finished the first draft of all 8 scripts for HAND ME DOWN HORROR. With my work schedule ballooning out of control (I'm typing this at work on a Sunday, actually) I'm frankly shocked I managed it. It has a lot to do with Jason Aaron's dialogue-first approach. But mostly it was panic. I saw my free time dwindling to nothing and figured it was now or never. Issue 8 is with Todd, Christian and Suzanne and I'll take their comments into the rewriting stage. Again, I hope to be done with that part by the end of the year and start page layouts in January. We'll see.

This morning, I decided to read issue three of COMPANY OF MONSTERS, Kurt Busiek's Dracula comic. I'd been putting it off for "plausible deniability" but now that I'm finished with HMDH, I took a chance. Sorry I did. There were so many similarities (right down to lines of dialogue) that I almost threw the book across the room. But I'm not changing anything. I'll risk the cries of plagiarism. I know better as do my three "editors". I think what it boils down to is that Busiek and I read all the same history books. At the same time. And he's a faster (and published) writer. So, eff it. I'll worry about that shit when it hits the fan...assuming I manage to get my book published at all. In the meantime, I'm done reading that book. With my workload, I don't need the added stress.

My story is more or less finished and that feels pretty good. For now, I'm going to enjoy it. Until I have to start drawing it...