Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Coming Soon: Amazing Arizona Comics Free Comic Book Day Special 2014!

For the last few years, I've been happy to release a special story for Free Comic Book Day, and this year is no exception.  In fact, this year kicks things up a notch with a special contest, the results of which will rock the Amazing Arizona Comics universe!  Here's a preview panel -- be sure to come back on Saturday, May 3, for the Free Comic Book Day bonanza!

Amazing Arizona Research

Here's the latest montage of photos from Route 66 -- Twin Arrows Trading Post.

Twin Arrows is one of the most bittersweet stops along Arizona's section of the route, for while the arrows have been delightfully restored, the trading post is in complete shambles.  Clearly the victim of vandals, the old cafe and gift shop is truly a shell of its former shelf, with hints of yesteryear's grandeur apparent in the black and white diner tile, and the wood paneling.  Still, the toilets are smashed, the insulation has been ripped out, every window is shattered, and every wall is scarred with graffiti.  It's a crime, in more ways than one, to see what's come of Twin Arrows -- but ongoing interest in Route 66 might one day help point these arrows in the right direction again!

This Week's Intake

This week's intake includes an awesome CD compilation of TV theme songs from the '70s and '80s!  Thanks in large part of MeTV, I've renewed my love for classic television, and now that I can listen to the themes of Happy DaysLaverne & Shirley, WKRP in Cincinnati, and Three's Company while driving -- my life is that much closer to complete!  Jack Tripper could never have guessed that the future would offer little laser records we could play in our cars!  What this means for the comic, I'm not quite sure -- but an homage is undoubtedly on the horizon.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Thank You, Sun Devil Fan Fair!

This week's post is coming early, mostly to thank the folks that organized and attended the Sun Devil Fan Fair last Sunday at Arizona State University!  It was a great afternoon of geeky goodness, and I hope the event becomes a tradition!

Coming Soon: Amazing Arizona Comics Quarterly #2?  Already?

That's right!  There's no rest for the weary!  Since Amazing Arizona Comics Quarterly #1 is coming out a little later than I hoped (and see last week's post on how to order), I hopped on completing AACQ #2, hopefully in time for Phoenix Comic Con.  So, since this week ends tax season, here's a glimpse of Speed Cameron's encounter with the nefarious Sign Spinner, reappearing in this upcoming, action-packed issue!

Amazing Arizona Research

We'll take a break this week from my collection of Route 66 photos so I can share something more ASU-specific -- namely these scans from the ASU vs. Oregon State Football Program, circa September 1969!  I love the ads in that book -- so much so, some of them appeared in Amazing Arizona Comics Quarterly #1.  There I plug again.

Cool Cosplay

The Sun Devil Fan Fair hosted a lot of great cosplayers, but here's my favorite -- someone donning the armor from last summer's Pacific Rim.

This Week's Intake

I've been devouring Kevin Smith's interview with Denny O'Neil on his podcast Fatman on Batman; not only does Denny offer great insight into the industry of comics, but he discusses the basic nature and necessity of storytelling in a way that makes it a compelling story all by itself.  I found his DC Comics Guide to Writing Comic Books at Bookman's this weekend and already started reading it, so this, coupled with some other thoughts about the importance of superheroes lately, is sure to shape Amazing Arizona Comics for years to come.

My wife, some friends, and I went to the Maricopa County Fair on Sunday night, as well, its last night of the year.  Three words: Deep.  Fried.  Coffee.  Starbucks, the ball is in your court.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

The Sun Devil Fan Fair, The Winter Solider, and More!

What a great month for comics!  First . . .

Upcoming: Sun Devil Fan Fair & Amazing Arizona Comics Quarterly #1!

This weekend, some ASU fan clubs are hosting the first ever Sun Devil Fan Fair, a mini comic con on the Tempe Arizona State University Campus.  They're been gracious enough to squeeze me in, so if you're in town, come on by for a free sketch, or to pick up an issue of Amazing Arizona Comics


Unfortunately, I won't have any issues of Amazing Arizona Comics Quarterly #1 available yet, but pre-order is still available here at the discounted price of $2.50!  Remember, this is the first full-sized issue of Amazing Arizona Comics!  Buy it now!

Coming Soon . . .

Here's a panel from this year's Amazing Arizona Comics: Free Comic Book Day Special, starring the Arizonauts suffering the dog days of summer.  (And colored by my brother, Kyle.)  You gotta read it to believe it!  I hope to send issues to shops in Tucson, Flagstaff, and of course right here in Phoenix, so visit your local comic book store on Saturday, May 3, for this and more free comics!

Amazing Arizona Research

Last month, my wife and I cruised Route 66, and I've been posting pics from the trip -- here's my favorite billboard of all time!

Cool Cosplay

I can't post this without mentioning the release of Captain America: The Winter Soldier last weekend!  The concessions workers at the Westgate AMC Theater in Glendale were just as excited as I was -- and they dressed the part!  The "Winter Soldier's" garb is especially impressive in its effective simplicity!

This Week's Intake

Yes, I was thrilled to see Captain America: The Winter Soldier on its opening night.  I was also thrilled that the plot's driving force was (spoilers?) the current issue of national security versus personal privacy -- making Cap the vehicle for exploring a legitimate issue with the overtones of adventurous escapism.  Replace "S.H.I.E.L.D. Helicarriers" with "unmanned drones" and Cap's plight in The Winter Soldier is practically ripped from the headlines, which, in my opinion, is always when superheroes are at their best.  Captain America: The Winter Soldier may be the best superhero movie to date.

My wife and I also went to the Phoenix Film Festival and caught The Joe Show, a documentary about Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio -- who, as you may know, has inspired many stories in Amazing Arizona Comics.  Considering Arpaio's track record for controversy and unabashed media hounding, as documented persuasively in The Joe Show, is it any wonder he managed to recruit a secret posse of super deputies?  That's perhaps the most believable of Joe's exploits yet!

See you at the Sun Devil Fan Fair!

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Here It Is!

First of all, April is National Poetry Month, and in the past I've participated by writing a poem each of April's 30 days.  I don't feel as ambitious this year; instead, I offer this haiku:

It's no coincidence
National Poetry Month
starts April Fool's Day.

It's Still Here!  Amazing Arizona Comics Quarterly #1!

Amazing Arizona Comics Quarterly is still available here, for a limited time at a reduced price of only $2.50!  This is the first standard comic sized edition of any Amazing Arizona Comics story in print!  See Cupid's attempt to take back February 14th!  Feel the wrath of the Fair Weather Fan!  Know the truth about Arizona's first superhero!  It's all here . . . and it'll keep coming quarterly from KaraokeFanboy Press!


Right now, this issue is print-as-ordered, so please allow 2 weeks for delivery.  The $2.50 sale won't last long -- so act today!

Amazing Arizona Research

Continuing my photographic look at Route 66, here are two simple images of the Jackrabbit of Joseph City.  One of my favorite stops along the route.


This Week's Intake

I'm cutting this week's post short to emphasize the availability of Amazing Arizona Comics Quarterly #1, but I will mention here that I was inspired by a few different media this week.  First was Wes Anderson's The Grand Budapest Hotel; second was Kevin Smith's three-part interview with longtime Batman writer/editor Denny O'Neil.  Both were incredible tutorials on storytelling, which I've already applied to the structure of my next comic, America's Super Secret Service.  You'll see the results soon enough!

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Buy It Now!

Finally . . .

It's Here!  Amazing Arizona Comics Quarterly #1!

Amazing Arizona Comics Quarterly is ready to print and ship!  For a limited time, you can order here, at a reduced price of only $2.50!  This is the first standard comic sized edition of any Amazing Arizona Comics story in print!  See Cupid's attempt to take back February 14th!  Feel the wrath of the Fair Weather Fan!  Know the truth about Arizona's first superhero!  It's all here . . . and it'll keep coming quarterly from KaraokeFanboy Press!

Right now, this issue is print-as-ordered, so please allow 2 weeks for delivery.  The $2.50 sale won't last long -- so act today!

Amazing Arizona Research

Last week, I posted pics from Stewart's Petrified Wood, a trading post just outside of Holbrook on Route 66.  This week, behold the dinosaurs of the Petrified Forest Center!  Two gift shops await you at the entrance of the Petrified Forest/Painted Desert, each with a pair of dinosaurs locked in some sort of perpetual face off!  In the case of the green dino in the third picture below, that face off is literal, as his head is all but gone.  The chipped facade of the fourth image was also visually interesting, as if time has been slowly skinning these poor patriarchs of prehistory.

Cool Cosplay

I get to see a lot of cool cosplay at the cons I attend, and rather than post endless slideshows of fat Batmen, I like to feature one great costume at a time, ideally revealing the wearer's creativity, originality, and most importantly to me practicality.  It doesn't get any more practical than this: a yellow hat + a yellow trench coat = comics' greatest gumshoe, Dick Tracy!  (From last year's WonderCon!)

This Week's Intake

My wife and I saw 300: Rise of an Empire last weekend.  I knew very little about the film -- only that it's spun from Frank Miller's 300 graphic novel (and of course the first flick).  Apparently Frank isn't finished with Xerxes, the comic root of Rise of an Empire, and now that the movie's out, I see no incentive for him to finish.  We know how the story ends, and the character beats along the way, and even if his story takes a different direction, it'll only be supplemental to the movie now at best.  Honestly, whatever Frank has illustrated should simply be included on the DVD as a behind-the-scenes storyboard special.

Fanboy tangent aside, I actually really liked the flick and was impressed with the gravitas of lead protagonist Themistocles, though Artemisia is the beloved dark horse for all of her sensual sneering throughout the film.  Hers is a compelling origin for a villain, much more sympathetic than, say, the Penguin's shunning by society or something.  Truly, the best actor in the movie was the slow motion effect -- freezing the actors in iconic combat poses that look like the moments a comic book panel would capture.  The Marvel movies would benefit from this fanboy service -- rather than lingering on an adapted moment past the point of believable viability, like the panel-capture moment in Daredevil of Elektra's death, a slo-mo pause in the midst of fast-paced action would be more breath-taking and memorable.

Again, knowing very little, I just Googled a few reviews of 300: Rise of an Empire (mostly to get the characters' names spelled right) and apparently the reviews aren't very favorable.  Anybody expecting to see a textbook accurate film inspired by an unfinished comic about a shabbily recorded part of Greek history will definitely be disappointed in this movie.  If you want to be entertained, and behold how potent those stories of Greek lore must've been to survive oral retellings for thousands of years, enduring to this day, check this out.  As a guy self-publishing a comic that boasts subtexts in reality, I appreciated the movie's ties to the ground beneath its characters' feet.  That was, after all, what they were fighting for.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Creature Features!

This week's post focuses on creatures big and small -- from the ankle-biters that plague suburban Phoenix streets to the dinosaurs of Route 66 and beyond!

Coming Soon: Amazing Arizona Comics Quarterly #1 & America's Super Secret Service #1

Amazing Arizona Comics Quarterly is still scheduled to drop this month, but in the meantime here's a detail from the first page of Amazing Arizona Comics #10/America's Super Secret Service #1.  How does a routine chihuahua attack in Phoenix lead to the biggest threat our country has ever faced?  Coming soon!

Amazing Arizona Research

Earlier this month, my wife and I toured the Arizona section of Route 66, and the last leg of our trip unearthed a lot of dinosaurs.  Stewart's Petrified Wood, a trading post just outside of Holbrook, is one of the most famous spots starring Arizona's prehistoric pests, specifically the homemade variety.  While I'm leaning toward not posting all of the pics I took on Route 66, because you really should see it all yourself, consider this comprehensive collage a gift so you won't have to experience the creepy shopkeepers of Stewart's.  Sometimes the beasts of a region are more evolved than the humans in their midst.

Cool Cosplay

I get to see a lot of cool cosplay at the cons I attend, and rather than post endless slideshows of fat Batmen, I like to feature one great costume at a time, ideally revealing the wearer's creativity, originality, and most importantly to me practicality.  Keeping with the creature theme, here's Sharknado, the Sci-Fi Network's most successful passing fad yet.  Thankfully, Sharknado will always live on in cosplay form.

This Week's Intake

This week's intake didn't vary much from previous weeks' intake.  In fact, I read another issue of Kirby's Captain America, which introduced a new bad guy called the Baron (I think), whose core villainy seems centered on recruiting slaves for manual labor, confirming that overarching theme in the King's comics: that the greatest evil is making someone work.  I also picked up Dean Haspiel's The Fox #5, which concluded his excellent Freak Magnet miniseries with a team-up with the Shield.  The tone wasn't as scatterbrained as previous issues, thanks in large part to J.M DeMatteis' script, but I still loved it and am excited for more.

I think the most mind-consuming intake I'm still processing is Eric Stephenson's speech to comic book retailers at a recent industry convention about the importance of brick and mortar stores.  Comic Book Resources posted a transcript of the speech, and I'm still mulling over the subtexts about the importance of superheroes in today's culture.  As I prepare of SPX in September, I accept I might be in the minority of self-publishers still doling out superhero stuff.  I'm definitely comfortable with that -- it's just an interesting phenomenon to experience superheroes become less counter-culture as they become more mainstream . . . at least in perception.  I believe superheroes are still the epitome of counter-culture, despite their new place in pop culture as box office blockbusters.  I won't explore too much further, because I think the subject is worthy of a post all by itself, only to leave it with what would undoubtedly be that post's first sentence:

At its best, the superhero is an all-ages escape fantasy for reality's troubles, shameless in its ethical simplicity, yet daring in the complexity that presents a graphic narrative with such a blurred fourth wall.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

The Mother Road

My wife and I treated ourselves to an amazing three day weekend along Route 66, starting in Kingman, ending in the Petrified Forest, and taking us down through Snowflake, Show Low, and Globe/Miami/Superior back to Phoenix.  I've often heard it explained that artists need to replenish their real world experiences to keep telling stories, and I've spent too much time at the drawing table recently, so doing something was inspirational.  Plenty more stories to come, from the open roads of the Grand Canyon State!

Coming Soon: Amazing Arizona Comics Quarterly #1

It's still coming . . . as is the next issue of Amazing Arizona Comics proper, the mini series that started it all.  In Amazing Arizona Comics #10/America's Super Secret Service #1 (working title), Speed Cameron's adventures outside of Arizona finally hit close to home.  Suddenly, everything makes sense! Preview art available next week!

Amazing Arizona Research

While living in Phoenix is research enough for my superhero-driven political satire Amazing Arizona Comics, I often take pictures or collect memorabilia in, about, or outside of the city to keep the inspiration coming.  Here's some signage from the Arizona Water Company building in Miami, Arizona.  Don't surprised if that droplet dude makes an appearance in a future issue!

Cool Cosplay

I get to see a lot of cool cosplay at the cons I attend, and rather than post endless slideshows of fat Batmen, I like to feature one great costume at a time, ideally revealing the wearer's creativity, originality, and most importantly to me practicality.  The Shadow is perhaps one of the most practical, as his outfit is basically just a classy suit and a cape.  Add a Raven-esque galpal, and you have a gruesome twosome in the best way possible.  I saw this dynamic duo at the Tucson Comic Con back in 2010.  Why I haven't posted the pic until now, only the Shadow knows . . .!  (C'mon, I had to say it.)

This Week's Intake

Much of this week's intake was experiential, thanks to our Route 66 road trip, and I'll be reaping the fruits of those inspirations for months to come, from the abandoned Americana that litters Arizona's northern highways, or the kooky karaoke characters my wife and I encountered in Williams.

As far as media goes, this week I caught an interesting episode of Alfred Hitchcock Presents, starring a young Robert Redford as a burglar that fights (and, spoiler, fails) to change his thieving ways, despite the toil it takes on his new wife.  It doesn't help that their friend Karl, played by Barry Morse, gives Redford fresh leads, secretly hoping Redford will get caught so Karl can have the hot young wife all to himself.

I know Morse best as Lt. Philip Gerard from TV's The Fugitive, which I watch every Sunday night on MeTV.  When you watch old television, primary from the '50s and early '60s, you realize that there weren't a lot of actors back then, and you see a lot of the same faces in multiple roles.  Interestingly, as Karl in this Hitchcock episode, Morse says a line about the law that comes right out of Gerard's rule book.  The connection was palpable.

I also read an issue of Kirby's Captain America run this week, in which a terrorist group deforms SHIELD agents into monsters to work a labor camp.  The theme of "forced labor" in Kirby's work suddenly struck me with that issue, from these SHIELD slaves to Darkseid's minions on Apokolips . . . The theme is clear.  The ultimate evil is making people work.  Thusly, conversely, Kirby tells us that to fight such evil, being a superhero, is simply to do what you love.

Sign me up!