Many cartoonists create beautiful little pages of preparatory drawings for their comics called "thumbnail" pages. My friend Bishakh Som, who is a wonderful cartoonist (you can see his work here) posted some of his thumbnail pages on Facebook last week that were just gorgeous, and suggested to me that I post some for The Moon Prince.
I'm sort of torn about this, because my thumbnail pages are very loose and scribbly. I use them to write the dialogue and plan the sequence, design and layout of the drawings, but the drawings themselves sure aren't much to look at. On the other hand, I guess it's sort of fun to see to see the process that goes into making comics like these, and I like to give visitors to this site something to look at while they're waiting for new pages of comics (stay tuned for more piracy and warfare on the Moon this Friday!).
So, without further ado, here are some of my ugly thumbnails, followed by the finished black and white drawings for the page they're from and the final colored page, with all the water and spooky fog.
Since we've announced that pood will be ceasing publication, I'm going to stop posting the Moon Prince updates on this blog after today. If you've been following it here, please drop by themoonprince.comto keep up with the story (there's an RSS feed you can subscribe to there if you like).
don't know why this post is suddenly so hard to write. I've been
writing it in my head for a couple of months now, ever since it became
clear that there wasn't going to be a pood #5. Yet suddenly I
find I'm a bit overcome, and the words that have floated around my head
as I made the four hour drive week-after-week from my home in upstate
NY to my job in Long Island escape me now.
There are so many mixed emotions. I realize now that I'd invested a good deal more of my heart than I'd thought-well, pood
was always a labor of love, I mean, it's never about money in this
game, is it? But that the loss of it might hit me this hard is not
something I was prepared for. Deb and I have lost a lot these past few
months, the flood in September took away her store, and so many other
things; one would think the loss of pood, in the scope of things, wouldn't be quite so difficult. But...
I'm not a publisher. I'm an artist. and pood
was an art project. The difference -obviously, is that artists aren't
business people. I've never written up a business plan in my life, it's
always been on a wing and a prayer-with just enough money to produce the
thing, and no more. From an artist's point of view-that's
enough. To me-the format was the inspiration; newsprint, man! I love the
stuff! And I love great art that comes cheaply--found in the most
innocuous places; 12 cents for a masterwork, right? Well, pood was that-and more---it was about the page;
the single, canvas scale page-in the tradition of the great comic
strips of that Golden Era long gone- there's still no better format than
that great, wonderful page.What can we do with that format? Where can
we go with all this space?
Well, the results are there. Four
issues. The idea made manifest. And what's great about comics,the
"comics world" as it were, is that you can make that happen. Anyone with
the idea and a couple of bucks can go out there and make a comic book,
can put their vision out in the world, right up there on the comics shop
shelves with the books and characters that you've grown up with and
dreamed about your entire life.
Of course, in the "marketplace of ideas"-- the thing
isn't enough. "....Build it and they will come...." Well, only in the
movies. Advice to those just entering the game, put three times as much
dough into promotion as you do the book--and bring on somebody to do PR
who isn't embarrassed by the process and has no qualms about shamelessly
peppering all the news outlets with info, endlessly. I could only do so
much before I began to feel ashamed for being so rude. It's just not in
me. And it's necessary- if you're gonna survive.
That was the dream- to create a self-sustaining
vehicle for continuous exploration and experimentation, a place for
comics of all kinds and comic creators of all stripes--that would
entertain as much as it played around with form. In many ways, like the
Sunday funnies in the first few decades of the 20th century. But---in
the 21st century---the vehicle wasn't self-sustaining.
I suppose one might be tempted to draw all kinds of conclusions from the end of pood,
regarding alternative comics and the state of the market,unique
formats, the retail business, etc.etc. But for now, that's for others
to do if they wish. Like I said, I'm not a business person. So....if I
ever publish a paper comic book again, will I take these lessons to
heart before I send the money to the printer?
I have to laugh. Are you kidding? What am I in this for? For the buzz,
man! The buzz of a good idea, an interesting formal play-a twist on an
old format! Look at the stuff I've done the past few years, "Monsters", "fandancer","pood" not a viable format among them! Retailers hate that shit! But artists love it. (I'll never forget the reaction to "fandancer" from one owner at a very famous comic shop--famous for their support of alternative comics---"oh christ, we hate oversize". )
the stuff that motivates me is antithetical to good comics business! So
where do ya go from there? Well, you probably don't print more
comics--at least not for distribution to comics shops. Maybe
mini-comics-or hand made stuff. I don't know--somehow I've never been
torqued by the mini-comics thing. I'm a little guy, but I like my comics
BIG! Napoleon thing, I guess. And I don't find enough variation to play
with at Kinko's or POD. And when I've tried to be conventional("Nice
Work") well, let's just say that I chafe at the restrictions after
awhile and find my attention diverted elsewhere. At the moment, I'm all
consumed by this damn website. And trying to produce enough content, in
enough variety, to make it an interesting...space. I'm enjoying the
simple, repetitive nature of the webcomic strip. As much as I love comic
books, maybe more, I love comic strips-(pood, again!)-and it
was a dream as a kid to do a comic strip. "Babyheads" seems very
conventional in format, but from an artist's POV the process of writing
in short bursts has a mantra-like characteristic that's very interesting
,almost like minimalist music, in the way one note grows out of the
last note, etc. So, "Babyheads"is not only a challenge, in many ways,
but it continues a play with form that's essential to keep my interest
active. As far as my future is concerned, I think it will-- for a time
anyway--- revolve around lookoutmonsters.com more than print. That's the world we live in.
Reading the responses from the "pood artists" to my "farewell pood" letter of last night has been a humbling, emotional and joyful experience. The pood
artists were hand-picked by Kevin, Alex and myself to be a part of this
project, and each and every one of them did it for the love of art and
newsprint and the challenge of the big page. To compete with Herriman, Crane, Foster and Raymond!
That was enough for them-not a single one of them asked about money,
not a single one did it for pay-other than copies. It has been an honor
to work with each and every one of them-these are among the best comics
artists in the field today--and they worked from their hearts and it
shows. Pood was theirs as much as mine-and its because of them it is such an enjoyable package to behold.
I've said this privately many times, and I'm proud to say it publicly now. The best part of pood
was working with Kevin Mutch and Alex Rader. They are two of the
smartest, nicest guys you'd ever want to meet, and I feel blessed to
have become partners and friends with them both. They are the best, and
I've enjoyed every minute of our collaboration. We're still buds, but
I'll use the opportunity to wish them the best of luck, and love. (read "The Moon Prince"!)
morning was hard. After reading some of the kind and thoughtful replies
to last night's letter, and then Skyping from work to my wife back
home, I found myself involuntarily breaking down. Crazy, huh? It's just
comics. But that's the point--there's no "just" about it.
My graphic novel Fantastic Life (which won a Xeric Award and was included in TheBest American Comics 2011) is in the November 11 issue of Diamond Distribution's Previews catalog, so if you'd like to see it in your comic shop now's the time!
OK--if this in-progress photo of Jim Rugg's knock-out double-page centerfold spread for the upcoming pood no.4 doesn't knock your socks off then call a doctor! Get somebody to check your pulse--because, brother you must be gone, GONE from this world! I say-Cold! cold as a stone! Pood no.4 in July Previews! JUL110903 F POOD #4(MR).) Featuring Jim Rugg's 2-page centerfold MASTERPIECE--"RAMPAGE"! CALL YOUR RETAILER! ORDER TODAY--before they're all gone!
42 big heavy boxes of Fantastic Life arrived today from the printer in Quebec while I was at work, so my stalwart wife had to load 'em into the basement (see below) with the help of some chivalrous neighborhood boys.
Tired of all the noise about DC's re-launch and the machinations of multi-million dollar media empires? Looking for an indie-alt alternative to
endless re-boots of corporate media properties?
Look no further, POOD is the answer! Pood no. 4 is definitely not DC and definitely not part of the relaunch of 52 different magazines in September--
but it is in the July Previews! (page 246 under the BIG IF COMICS imprint, order code: JUL110903 F POOD #4(MR).)
Pood is not audience -tested, created by committee comics, it is not part of a grand strategy to dominate all media, it will not generate blockbuster hollywood movies, video-games or multi-media tie-ins; pood will not be licensed to produce pood products or pood merchandise-pood toothpaste or pood soap or pood beach towels--but-----it is some of the most exciting independent creators around doing what they do best--COMICS--on a BIG Canvas!
SO--if you just want comics, big comics, newspaper comics, BIG-like they were when the Sunday comics were great; if you want to support challenging, entertaining alternatives to the industrialized product of the major corporations, then we offer you pood no.4--comics from the heart, comics that need to be!
here are some details:
Pood no.4 has a number exciting new faces added to the mix!
Eisner nominee Jim Rugg has something in special in mind for pood no.4.--special enough that he's got the entire centerfold to work it out on!
and -pood 4 continues to feature the work of some of comicdom's brightest lights!
creators such as:
Andres Vera Martinez
and-- an additional treat: The legendary Mr. JOE STATON--he of the beloved E-Man, Scooby-Doo, Green Lantern and now one half of the heralded team in charge of revitalizing the legendary-DICK TRACY--- will be joining the pood crew for issue no. 4 of the world's biggest comics newspaper!
Pood no. 4 can be ordered in the July issue of Previews; page 246 under the BIG IF COMICS imprint,
order code: JUL110903 F POOD #4(MR).
July's Previews is available at your local comic shop now!!