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chris stevens
08-23-2005, 05:11 PM
with out a lot of introduction i thought i'd just jump into things. this is about comics and creating them and the life you live while doing so. i ran this by dj a month or so ago and he thought it was ok, a running journal here in the creator community. i apologize beforehand for any elements of self-promotion but it's hard to seperate the work from the work, if you know what i mean.

so , pictures, thoughts, work...


that's me, my wife merrily snapping away as i realize , reading through email, how much farther i have to go...but i just got off the phone with art adams and now i'm a little bit closer. we talked about nick bradshaw coming in and finishing up our story, about how intimidated arthur was years ago coming in to finish up a kaluta story, about how different styles sometimes make for the best work. regret and wonder usually mingle, or at least i tell myself so.

here's some pure art adams...

i'm going to post here a lot. i miss being an active part of this place. i tried doing this on a blog, on other boards, but somehow here feels best. feels right. so i'll post everyday and try not to be too thin-skinned or thick-headed, and just talk about creating comics and getting by.

08-23-2005, 06:11 PM
Really looking forward to this, Chris. The picture with the piece of art Adams did looks fantastic. The picture with you could use some work. :D

L Jamal
08-24-2005, 09:34 AM
Why is the art unfinished?

08-24-2005, 09:37 AM
Why is the art unfinished?
Because he's not done with it yet?

L Jamal
08-24-2005, 09:48 AM
Fromt he look of the photo the art had been shipped, so the question was why had the art been shipped unfinsihed.

08-24-2005, 10:35 AM
Fromt he look of the photo the art had been shipped, so the question was why had the art been shipped unfinsihed.

Amateur detective? Encyclopedia you never miss a beat.


chris stevens
08-25-2005, 04:18 PM
i've just been commenting on threads here at dw about two different artists:

grendel, or ted wing; the impressionist, moody, super-hero challenging grendel, as talented as anyone, as a young billy the sink, deep as anyone, but seemingly stuck in neutral in terms of advancing in the comics game.

and matt wagner, a master. accused of hacking it out for dc on batman. well, i bet it's safe to say he isn't putting his all into those covers and that he's making a fair piece more for them than the $700 or $800 someone mentioned. so is he hacking it? i'm biased here, i give guys like wagner, who've done great things but still need to be men who make a living, i give guys like him slack. to be honest, i dig the cover in question. it was simple. it 'explained', effortlessly, a batman book. and there's no validity in the 'what if it was done by someone unknown named blank-blank-blank...' if it was it wouldn't be matt wagner, for better or worse.

listening to mars volta. very alive and full of making-music and spirit. good stuff. ambitious and loose. dramatic and personal.

there's a 'post your workspace' thread going on here that i enjoyed and posted in. always interesting to see other folks enviroments. devia's was pure artist. loved that. mine is bare and underway, i'm still getting used to not being poor. and to be married. my wife leaves her stuff all over, her creams and potions on the desk, her shoes upstairs, her candies and math books all around...her mirror on top of my art adams originals...such is life. i'd be worse off without her.

so, art adams. to answer jamal's question, stuff i'm posting from my story with art, 'seven seas', is before nick bradshaw provided finishes over it. when i can i'll post the finished pages, in full color, but for now here's a look at a finished page some people might have seen before. the original, which this is a shot of, is sick. white-out water bubbles, cross-hatching which practically rises off the page in perfectly placed waves, immense detail and care to provide light and shadow, form and movement. it's easily the most impressive original page i've seen and held. there's just a ridiculous sense of workmanship and constructed wonder in it. my prize.

http://img240.imageshack.us/img240/7659/picture0664dq.th.jpg (http://img240.imageshack.us/my.php?image=picture0664dq.jpg)

08-25-2005, 04:25 PM
FINALLY more art adams. I'd almost thought you disappeared. I still really wish I could get his art (even a sketch) or commision him for a story. Lucky dog!

chris stevens
08-29-2005, 11:44 PM
so i start my new post office job in the morning.
6 a.m.

i'm a guy since he was six used to staying up until 2 in the morning. so i'm looking for the little pleasures right now...

last night i talked with my friend farel about the new job and its attendant prospects. 'stability', i said. he said how much it was like bukowski, which is wrong, and to which i answered, 'no, it's like harvey pekar, minus the drinking.' which is to say bukowski, a great writer, drank a lot, and pekar, a great creator also, did not. or does not. now, i do drink a lot, to my wife's dismay and the consternation of my family and best friends and, although i'm divided on the fact of the matter, perhaps to the detriment of my writing. but i don't ever feel like harvey pekar, whose comics i hated as a kid but who now i admire, or bukowski either, who was so brilliant at times yet lived such a purposefully brutal lifestyle there's really no example to be glimpsed except the distant signs of don't-go-there. tantalizing, those.

but what probably put farel in mind, i hope, of bukowski was the kerouac story we did together. here's that story in b+w...also some thoughts on the story and what we're doing with it from a prievious blog attached for the sake of completeness. the below dates to late may 2005...

interesting ten days, as i mention above...i got to talk to ann charters...ann is a professor at the university of connecticut and as sweet a lady, from what i can glimpse, as there is. we came together thru jack kerouac. she's been kerouac's editor/bibliographer/champion and her deft, compassionate delivery of his two books of letters into the marketplace holds a special place in my heart. you could always tell she loved jack, really cared for him, but she never sensationalized her accounts of time spent with him, she was never blindingly sympathetic to the tragic nature of his thirties and forties. it seemed, to me, that she told it how it was.
i contacted ann because i did this kerouac-inspired short story with farel dalrymple and i guess i thought she might be interested. this short, 10 pages long, is a variation on jack's 'dr. sax' material, mainly the 1962 poem. i thought it turned out great, very true and uncomplicated. i hoped she would find in it a spirit familiar enough that there must be some relation to the original source. she did. she pledged her future support for the project(the project being the comic anthology i'm putting together of which the kerouac story is part of), calling the short, titled 'castles', 'wrenching and beautiful'.
that made me happy for a minute.


and hey, greenie, i missed you, too,

http://img323.imageshack.us/img323/6513/cspg82ac.th.jpg (http://img323.imageshack.us/my.php?image=cspg82ac.jpg)

http://img323.imageshack.us/img323/6/picture0503bv.th.jpg (http://img323.imageshack.us/my.php?image=picture0503bv.jpg)

http://img323.imageshack.us/img323/4084/picture0956og.th.jpg (http://img323.imageshack.us/my.php?image=picture0956og.jpg)

08-29-2005, 11:52 PM
Hey, Chris -- you know Dalrymple did the second part of Mignola's JENNY FINN, right?

08-30-2005, 12:13 AM
I'm still in awe of the way you put that story together, Chris. If the rest of the anthology can keep to that level it'll be brilliant.

chris stevens
08-31-2005, 12:51 AM
hey, ed. funny thing about jenny finn, and i don't think farel would mind me talking about this, although he might just happen to, out of boredom, google his name and wind up here and think out loud ' that prick! talking about my business.'
but i doubt that, and anyway, it's in the interest of comics and their lore.
but right before jenny finn farel had come out to visit me and work on the story i posted. he was working on new pop gun war stuff, one very cool and hopefully to-see-the-light-of-day pitch with cartoonist jay sacher, he was, as i think he always is, swimming in visual luxory idea after idea, but there were no 'payoff' type gigs. and this was after dc's caper, and a bizarro story, after lots of acclaim and pro recognition and awards. i think anyone would be frustrated a bit.

i had no phone, no cable, no internet at the time. about ten days into his stay i got 2 out of 3, phone and internet. farel checks his email. there's one from jonathan lethem, author of motherless brooklyn and fortress of solitude and a man set dead-center in the aim of marvel comics. anything you want.
that's what lethem gets. farel and omega. i've seen pencils for the first issue, and it's great, observant, delicate superhero comics without trading in the vim and vigor of the good stuff superhero comics do naturally when they're working.

a week later, after meeting with lethem in nyc and getting that ball rolling, there's mike mignola asking do you want to finish this with me? farel loves mignola and it's mutual. i saw that firsthand last spx. now he's working with him, to finish one of modern comics great unsolved riddles, troy nixey/jenny finn.
http://img208.imageshack.us/img208/2285/photo0015nj.th.jpg (http://img208.imageshack.us/my.php?image=photo0015nj.jpg)

http://img240.imageshack.us/img240/9784/chrisstevensketch124oy.th.jpg (http://img240.imageshack.us/my.php?image=chrisstevensketch124oy.jpg)

glad to know you're checking in, ed. thanks for the forum and for everything you do for comics. here's a few more related pics...a ball-point pen sketch done in preparation for 'caper', and a few shots of farel's room where he worked on the story i posted above. and that above shot of a crazed chris stevens? not my finest moment but a damn good representation of how i felt at the time. farel doodled that in his sketchbook as i sat across from him on the floor, no clue he was drawing me, nervous as christ three days into this guy being here from halfway across the country and i have no script. but i wrote it that night, and it's just a good story now, a lesson learned. but at the time it made my eyes shift, my shoulders fold in, my hair line rise magnetically and pull from my widow's peak and away from the heaviness in my mind. eventually, images formed.

http://img259.imageshack.us/img259/852/20050503image00018ni.th.jpg (http://img259.imageshack.us/my.php?image=20050503image00018ni.jpg)

http://img259.imageshack.us/img259/8673/20050503image00038aj.th.jpg (http://img259.imageshack.us/my.php?image=20050503image00038aj.jpg)

<a href="http://img259.imageshack.us/my.php?image=20050503image00025xz.jpg" target="_blank"><img src="http://img259.imageshack.us/img259/7003/20050503image00025xz.th.jpg" border="0" /></a>

i'm this close to finishing up a script that's my baby and the one to break me. 7 pages left, aimed at tomorrow evening. after that, i'll feel relieved and hopefully be able to post some new art. writing here is a help.

and thanks, mike. but you dance with the girl you came with, and farel was the perfect date. i got lucky. i just bought the corsage. ;)
honestly, the rest of the book is just as good. it's different, for sure. but from max velati and jungle jane's sheer joy in telling a tale in comics for everyone to enjoy to nate powell handling a very personal, raw story of my youth to jae lee and june chung on a myth/poem , art adams and nick bradshaw on an action-packed epic-in-the-making...plus a few surprises and lots of extra material. should be a nice package. thanks for your enthusiasm, mike!

chris stevens
09-07-2005, 09:32 PM
wrote one page in three days. a good, finished page. but at that pace me and jay anacleto could do our own short in dwp just in time for the 75th issue. stretched thin has only one letter of remorse left in it.

spx looms. not sure if i'll go for the weekend or just overnight. last year was awesome, my personal best comics experience on those terms, so i'm leaning to the weekend stay. this show is everything good about comics as an art form, a means of expression.

read lots of comics last month, mostly big two books...exceptions like larry young's well-executed 'black diamond' teaser included. book has a huge hook, should be a decent low budget flick. but that's just hollywood, young really swings through the opening narrative in an offbeat, engrossing manor, disjointed enough to make the most of the potential of the medium but linked as not to lose the thrust. and the twain/tesla book looks super. that's good for comics.

local folks/guys i know whose books i picked up out of respect include 'ant', 'western tales of terror', 'new warriors', 'wildsiderz', 'invincible'.

'ant' has lots of potential starpower but needs refinement. it's fun but needs to get past its obvious influences to actually carve out its own niche. and am i crazy, mario, or was the new image #1 cover by you the same as jeff campbell's from the original? or do i have that wrong? this is a strange, fascinating property...on one hand i think this was poorly executed but on the other i see huge potential for hannah and the book. there's something inherently exciting about the character, the costume, even the half-assed origin. best of luck.

'western tales' had one of the year's finest covers, kieron dwyer's riding the dragon. the kind of cover that bumps a book up a whole other level.

'new warriors' is ridiculous. my hat's off to zeb wells and skottie young. this is one of the funnest books on the stands, and probably the biggest surprise of the season. at least to me. these guys are nailing it, nothing else like this out there...

even 'defenders'. fun book, but it feels worn. and can anyone believe theat surfer bit got through marvel's hellbent-for-hollywood realism editorial gauntlet.

more comics later....

chris stevens
09-12-2005, 07:15 PM
so, of course, like any creator worth his salt, i hide most of the dirty stuff away from here and skirt over the ugly details of doing business with both your heart and head occupying the same space. that's the vast difference between publisher and creator, even when, admittedly, both are just trying to get the job done.

but needless to say, where creation wanders, destruction walks.

there is no rational.

at spx i'll have a color page to show from my story posted above with farel. here's some of his work from the last few months, work that's entranced me, lifted from his live-journal...

<a href="http://img326.imageshack.us/my.php?image=junesketchbook01small0vx.gif" target="_blank"><img src="http://img326.imageshack.us/img326/782/junesketchbook01small0vx.th.gif" border="0" /></a><a href="http://img326.imageshack.us/my.php?image=junesketchbook02small5rd.gif" target="_blank"><img src="http://img326.imageshack.us/img326/4301/junesketchbook02small5rd.th.gif" border="0" /></a>

http://img326.imageshack.us/img326/9669/junesketchbook03small0pq.th.gif (http://img326.imageshack.us/my.php?image=junesketchbook03small0pq.gif)

<a href="http://img326.imageshack.us/my.php?image=junesketchbook044ow.gif" target="_blank"><img src="http://img326.imageshack.us/img326/6030/junesketchbook044ow.th.gif" border="0" /></a>

<a href="http://img326.imageshack.us/my.php?image=junesketchbook060ct.gif" target="_blank"><img src="http://img326.imageshack.us/img326/2281/junesketchbook060ct.th.gif" border="0" /></a>

chris stevens
09-12-2005, 07:26 PM
<a href="http://img326.imageshack.us/my.php?image=junesketchbook060ct.gif" target="_blank"><img src="http://img326.imageshack.us/img326/2281/junesketchbook060ct.th.gif" border="0" /></a>

http://img326.imageshack.us/img326/4818/junesketchbook113ti.th.gif (http://img326.imageshack.us/my.php?image=junesketchbook113ti.gif)

http://img326.imageshack.us/img326/8937/junesketchbook127ly.th.gif (http://img326.imageshack.us/my.php?image=junesketchbook127ly.gif)

http://img326.imageshack.us/img326/1918/junesketchbook130lc.th.gif (http://img326.imageshack.us/my.php?image=junesketchbook130lc.gif)

http://img326.imageshack.us/img326/7290/junesketchbook148up.th.gif (http://img326.imageshack.us/my.php?image=junesketchbook148up.gif)

<a href="http://img326.imageshack.us/my.php?image=junesketchbook153zr.gif" target="_blank"><img src="http://img326.imageshack.us/img326/4763/junesketchbook153zr.th.gif" border="0" /></a>

http://img326.imageshack.us/img326/6584/junesketchbook160at.th.gif (http://img326.imageshack.us/my.php?image=junesketchbook160at.gif)

<a href="http://img117.imageshack.us/my.php?image=picture1191ce.jpg" target="_blank"><img src="http://img117.imageshack.us/img117/7730/picture1191ce.th.jpg" border="0" /></a>

that last one, the colored one, i own. really tugged at my heart and that's the reason i wanted it, its sentimentality and, at the same time, its sense of moving on. all wrapped up in strip form, 6 panel grid...brilliant.

chris stevens
09-26-2005, 06:31 PM
posting in a bit, just didn't want to fall off page three...

chris stevens
09-26-2005, 11:05 PM
just a quick piece of art for now...i've got lots to say about working through crisis and the thrill of the spx show but i'm damned tired and will get into it tomorrow afternoon.

here's a look at the cover to street angel #5. the first piece of original art i've ever paid for....stumbling to type purchased leads to 'pure chase'...if you type like me, that's ironic...

http://img217.imageshack.us/img217/1295/jaeleecolored0314yz.th.jpg (http://img217.imageshack.us/my.php?image=jaeleecolored0314yz.jpg)

Jason Arthur
11-10-2005, 11:02 AM
Hey Chris, this stuff looks amazing.

One of these days I'll be able to say "I worked with Chris Stevens before he was famous." (even if the work I did was amateur at best).

If you ever need a letterer just shoot me a line (though I see you have John Workman lined up, so there's no way I can compete with that, congrats), I've improved immensely since the last Marvel Love Story.


-- J

chris stevens
11-24-2005, 06:50 PM
hey, ja, long time no talk. Happy thanksgiving. you should shoot me an email, man.
anyway, thanks. i guess famous would be a headstart on poor. but comics fame is reserved for the flamboyant, the niche-dwellers, or the truly great. not sure i'll fit in any of those three categories.

and let me tell you, i like your lettering on that story. it was never less than lively, which was important in terms of tone, and i thought you served me and the script and the scenes well. you did a great job bandying that dialogue back and forth and you never crowded the artist. i remember some of the letterers around here cracked on the letter size but i liked the fact it looked human and not just punched in and printed out. for the ease of any new readers here's an example of what we're talking about...

http://img19.imageshack.us/img19/3369/LastLoveStory_06.th.gif (http://img19.imageshack.us/my.php?image=LastLoveStory_06.gif)

http://img27.imageshack.us/img27/4968/LastLoveStory_07.th.gif (http://img27.imageshack.us/my.php?image=LastLoveStory_07.gif)

http://img37.imageshack.us/img37/200/LastLoveStory_08.th.gif (http://img37.imageshack.us/my.php?image=LastLoveStory_08.gif)

imagine that inked and colored? it would work just fine, i think.

i mentioned spx and crisis in my last post, which was well over a month ago.
i'll start with spx...

well, that's not right. it's hard to start there without a trail of facts leading to the planned escape of spx.

i've mentioned crisis. well, for me, that’s encompassed having a new marriage develop alongside this damn book and trying to make them both work set against the backdrop of a strange year tightly wound between a deteriorating family dynamic involving my mother and grandmother and me. that's the book i'll make once i get my footing.

but for the last three months, in a nutshell, it's been nursing homes, mental units, social workers, police, paperwork…constant not knowing what happens next...

things are a bit more calm now. I’d meant for this thread to be far more expansive than it has been, a daily journal, not monthly. Hopefully I’ll be able to post more consistently.


Love the show.
Ate dinner with Jason Rodriguez and josh fialkov the first night, good times, good dinner. Jason’s one of my favorite comics buddies and josh was funny, very active and a good soul kind of chap. Later that night I had fun drinking and talking comics and dw with ron Phillips and his wife, Kelly. Poor ron probably thought I was crazy by the end of the night.

The next day I met up with my friend jasen lex, I caught up with him and jim rugg and bought some art from ‘street angel’, talked with all-around good guy rich henn and picked up a shit load of Carla mcneil’s trades…after that I spent most of the day with my wife, including a funny encounter with Harvey pekar that left me feeling the guy was a lout. he does good comics but Christ he acted like no one would recognize him at an indie comic con…any sense of being a martyr that enters pekar’s realm undermines his particular art. At his best his work quashes those notions easily. Hopefully that continues.

As far as my book, I can say i’m happy to announce james jean will be handling the design for the book. He’ll be pulling it all together, providing title pages for each story, endpapers, a wraparound cover, logo, etc.

Time to baste the turkey.
Yes, we get at it late. But happy thanksgiving to all!

As it’s just about holiday time, the season of wish lists, I’ll leave you with my personal wish list for pin-up/concept pages for my book…

I’ll keep a scorecard as it goes as to who I do and do not get. I’d like to hit 65%.

Anyone familiar with the material or just thinking they’ve got better options, throw them at me. Thanks!

Seven seas

Geoff darrow
Ryan ottley
Jim calafiore
Mike turner
Paul rivoche(the cockpit)


Eddie Campbell
Jim rugg
Tomer hanuka
Teddy Kristiansen
Dave sim


Ed mcguinness
Jeff Campbell
Mark Shultz
Skottie young
Jasen lex

John totleben
John cassaday
Dave gibbons
Tommy lee Edwards
Sean mcmanus


Senk chhour
P craig Russell
David mack
Miguelanxo prado
Mike mignola

chris stevens
11-25-2005, 12:07 PM
comics tattoo...

http://img266.imageshack.us/img266/2285/picture0144vh.th.jpg (http://img266.imageshack.us/my.php?image=picture0144vh.jpg)

i've seen the full-on repros of ff#48 on guy's backs, or girls with kabuki sleeves...this is mine. got it when i was 20. anyone know the artist it's based on? or where it comes from? with age and my yo-yoing weight the once exquisite detailing has blurred a bit, sorry.

when i was younger i kept a journal on comics...not creating them, but little book reports on the titles i read, with each title assigned a score at the end. i did this for years and then i stopped. eventually i started again, 95 or 96, and kept doing it until 2002. the scoring system awards points, up to ten, for story, art, and cover. the top cumulative score is a 20. very few books will ever achieve this number. the books are graded against themselves as much as anything. big creators are expected to bring big results, a great reading experience, a want of more...

anyway, i read a bunch of books lately and figured i'd try my hand at them here...

http://img458.imageshack.us/img458/7984/picture0031wa.th.jpg (http://img458.imageshack.us/my.php?image=picture0031wa.jpg)

"wildsiderz #2"

lots of fun but not as engrossing as the first issue. cute characters like pixel are part of the appeal of a jsc book but hopefully each kid from the 'team' will get some solo time soon, if they're not developed properly the book can't work in the long run. i like campbell's backgrounds here, especially in establishing scenes for the kids. very alive.
story: 5.5 art: 7.5 cover: 6.5 overall: 13

"lost squad #1"

despite losing me at times in terms of recognizing the characters this was a solid read. dw's chris kirby handles everything easily, introducing the cast and establishing the tone of the series in one issue. alan robinson does a lot with b+w for a book obviously better-suited to color. he lost me at times following the cast of the lost squad around but all in all he delivers. i like the major. loads of potential for this book.
story: 6.25 art: 6 cover: 6.75 overall: 12.25

"batman & the monster men #1"

very good bat period piece that should fit right in there with year one and long halloween. i love wagner's bruce wayne, he handles that side of the character as well as anyone has. it's ashame wagner doesn't draw as tightly as he once did, his storytelling is impeccable but there's no denying a loss of finish to the work compared to his original bat classic batman/grendel.
i remember this cover was torn to shreds a few months back here in the creator section. i don't know, i thought it was one of the best on the stands that day. looking very forward to this unfolding...
story: 7 art: 7.5 cover:8 overall: 14. 75

"infinite crisis# 1 & 2:"

when did phil jimenez become such an ugly artist? before his x-men run?
after? he was beautiful with john stokes on 'invisibles', nice on 'titans/jla',...but here, like most of his morrison x-men work, he's just plain ugly. he composes good panels, pulls off a few big shots, yes. but god his women are hideous. in a lot of ways he's become his idol, george perez, just for our generation. i'm being hard on phil here because this guy has all the tools but i can't get into this art, harsh and mean as it is.

as for the story, cool epic in the making. it's entertaining and we'll leave it at that. it's very hard to compare reading something at ten and at 30, but they're trying. although i think i'll wind up enjoying dc one million more in the long run...
story: 6.5 art: 6.75 covers: 7 overall: 13

"all star superman #1"

breezy but still brilliant. somehow superman and all his concepts seem fresh, there's a feeling of possibility here, of seeing new things, of digging deeper into the myth. brilliant opener, a lesson in concision and ummph all at once.
wonderful depiction of clark, quietly nails the christopher reeves body language that is so iconic. the only thing i thought was boring was lex, hopefully morrison's got lots more to do with him. the cover is dazzling, such depth!
story: 8 art: 8.5 cover: 9 overall: 16.75

chris stevens
11-26-2005, 03:05 PM
i've been asked a bunch of times, especially via dw, how i got to work with the artists i work with.
it's tricky to really get into the exact details due to exclusives, contracts, promises, etc...

but the simple answer is i contacted them. i called them or i emailed them and i explained my case and, for good or for bad, we went from there. some guys were paid well, some guys did it at half-price bless their hearts, some actually wound up working for free...james jean, arthur adams, nick bradshaw, nate powell, max velati studios, farel dalrymple, jae lee, june chung, and john workman. one of those guys made fair market price, one wound up working for free? can you guess who?

and i've obviously lost out to guys and girls i wanted, folks i contacted the same as the above. almost any artist you'll contact is super busy. so i knew that, and accepted not being able to get ryan ottley and kevin knowlan or paul pope...

usually i'll ring some one and we have a nice conversation and go from there.
it's worked for me so far.


one particular artist, his wife actually, this took the proverbial cake. it happened wednesday, day before the bird.
i won't name names but man what a huge disapointment, i never heard the word 'fan' used so disparagingly, like i had a black sharpie for a handshake and posters to sign as a hello. this woman talked down to me for about 20 minutes. at a certain point i wasn't angry and just listened...she never relented...

i found it very odd and insulting to be judged as i was; her husband's a beast as far as superheroes go, but he could be so much more. what's worse, given her behavior and my explanations, was the fact i was guided to contact this artist at this time through his agent and fellow cartoonist. i'd sat on this guy's contact info for over a year, until i had something real to offer him...and was basically treated as a fanboy...

no big deal, i'll hit 65% of my dream list for supplementary material and be free..

chris stevens
11-30-2005, 03:10 PM
jack kirby made me cry.

here i am, working through revisions, looking to blow off a little steam by checking out some new-to-me comic sites. my friend and word-machine jason rodriguez mentioned this site, buzzscope, on his blog. i check it out. cool piece on kelley jone's batman run. then there's eric shanower's column. i guess it's a column, i didn't check. but here's sweet, sweet shanower talking from the heart about the life, the comic book life, and he's focusing on the key old timers like siegel and kane and kirby...he's being realistic, not just reverent, which makes it even more engrossing...and then, while putting kirby's later career into relative context, he makes this observation...

"I see the strangeness of Kirby’s 1980s work as the overreaction to a system that so often made him feel worthless behind the scenes while publicly riding his brilliance."

and that, folks, made me cry.

chris stevens
12-06-2005, 01:47 PM
so once or twice a year i get together with my friend farel dalrymple. i look forward to this, especially since i got married a little over a year ago; this is the one occassion my wife will generally tolerate my debauched ways and just accept it as 'business'. so i take advantage of it.

later i'll post some shots of original art and get into yesterdays amusing tidbits.

chris stevens
12-10-2005, 01:05 PM
http://img127.imageshack.us/img127/7096/picture0396dq.th.jpg (http://img127.imageshack.us/my.php?image=picture0396dq.jpg)

thought i'd throw this up real quick before getting into things deeper tomorrow. right now we're off to nyc to see r. kikuo johnson's art show. very excited and i'll be back later with more...

chris stevens
12-14-2005, 02:15 PM
saturday night in nyc was refreshing. giant robot proves just how different a comic store can be from the run-of-the-mill wankfests filled with racks of infinite x-men. this store was a completely seperate animal.

kikuo johnson, whose 'nightfisher' is a knock-the-breath-out-of-your-chest experience if you take making these things seriously, radiated such a sweet and easy exhuberance i couldn't help but imagine being 24 and having my debut book signing in manhattan on a saturday night. i'd be a wreck.
watch this guy in the future, buy his book now.

http://img500.imageshack.us/img500/6506/picture0520bw.th.jpg (http://img500.imageshack.us/my.php?image=picture0520bw.jpg)

so i got to meet david mazzuchelli that night. wow. david mazzuchelli. i tried to act like it was no big deal later on in the night when we were talking about it, but for ****'s -sake this guy drew two of the best comics ever and his own work since is universally acclaimed...in fact, at dinner that night, farel asserted that no one has done what mazzuchelli has done, be great with one style in the mainstream, then develop as a whole new artist and be great on a higher, more complex level, like mazzuchelli's rubber blankets or paul auster work...i don't know, any takers?

also met the cartoonist leland purvis. enjoyed his company immensely, it's a pleasure listening to intelligent, passionate people talk.

more soon...

oh, for any aspiring taskmasters out there, here's how to feed your artists...

http://img276.imageshack.us/img276/6448/picture0498hu.th.jpg (http://img276.imageshack.us/my.php?image=picture0498hu.jpg)

...just be sure to let them out of the cage first... :)

12-15-2005, 09:22 PM
Hey Chris. Wow! I read all your entries so far and enjoy them. Can't wait for your next post.

chris stevens
12-16-2005, 09:53 PM
well thanks, matt. thanks very much.
what a small world it is, i'm thinking, as i see you're from ashville n.carolina.
i am talking to an artist now who's living where you're at. i'd never heard of the place before. but that's twice in a week. this artist, tom herpich, is a flat-out undiscovered country and i'd urge everyone to check him out. i'm buying some original art from him and once i have it i'll post it here for everyone to see. this guy is special.


here's the b+w pg. 1 from my story with farel...
http://img356.imageshack.us/img356/8131/chrisstevens01small2zg.th.gif (http://img356.imageshack.us/my.php?image=chrisstevens01small2zg.gif)

here's a shot of the colored page in close-to-finished form.
http://img488.imageshack.us/img488/6884/picture0287lb.th.jpg (http://img488.imageshack.us/my.php?image=picture0287lb.jpg)

close-up from the last panel of pg. 1, i love what farel did here with color, adding so much with so little, just that drunk-red nose...those are the genius strokes as far as i'm concerned...simple, worldbuilding things like this.
http://img488.imageshack.us/img488/8417/picture0328zp.th.jpg (http://img488.imageshack.us/my.php?image=picture0328zp.jpg)

work area...
http://img488.imageshack.us/img488/8503/picture0353cf.th.jpg (http://img488.imageshack.us/my.php?image=picture0353cf.jpg)

one of my favorite pages...
http://img470.imageshack.us/img470/1186/picture0425av.th.jpg (http://img470.imageshack.us/my.php?image=picture0425av.jpg)

paints, a $3.99 set...great stuff.
http://img470.imageshack.us/img470/9827/picture0380yj.th.jpg (http://img470.imageshack.us/my.php?image=picture0380yj.jpg)

traveling kit. that sketchbook there is packed with the kind of stuff that i've pasted here from farel's website. lovely and pure.
<a href="http://img470.imageshack.us/my.php?image=picture0418cc.jpg" target="_blank"><img src="http://img470.imageshack.us/img470/8696/picture0418cc.th.jpg" border="0" /></a>

the artist...
<a href="http://img470.imageshack.us/my.php?image=picture0500vu.jpg" target="_blank"><img src="http://img470.imageshack.us/img470/1775/picture0500vu.th.jpg" border="0" /></a>

more later...

chris stevens
12-26-2005, 01:57 PM

happy holidays to all!

that there deer is a james jean illustration. i know thumbs are the rule here but i thought maybe just for the holidays this one could hang here in all its glory. anyone who doesn't know james' work, he's one of the finest illustrators working in comics today. i think he's won the last two eisner awards for best cover artist. this reindeer knocked me on my ass and cheered up an otherwise shitty christmas. anyone interested should check out www.jamesjean.com

coolest comic gift you ever got for christmas?

for me, it would be the miracleman vol. 3 hardcover back in 89 or 90. my mom came through like a champion on that one.

richest fictional character?

this was a debate farel and i listened to on npr as we drove to nyc a few weeks ago to see kikuo johnson. santa was the winner as determined by the radio. farel insisted on scrooge mcduck.
i don't know. unless you're discounting santa as a magical creature, he sure as shit would have to have bill gates bucks to pay for labor, materials, transportation...

scrooge had a vault the size of a museum full of gold coins, $1000 bills, and jewelry. santa's got all the gifts to go around the world and he never misses a deadline.

santa wins.

chris stevens
01-02-2006, 02:45 PM
when i can't write i write things like this...

1 /1

first in a tier of three. Small box panel. close on a dead dog. The dog, right side of its head blown-off, is staring directly at the reader.

1 /2
wider panel making up half the tier.
A man and a woman facing each other, the woman with a gun in her hand.

1 /3

the dead dog, staring out its one eye..

1 /4

wide panel fills the tier. we’re pulling into the second panel. The woman, holding the gun aimed at the man, has a lost, go-for-broke look on her face, her eyes are empty, tears making her face wet, anger gathering in the veins in her neck. The man is sad, deflated, reeling from the moment.

****…jesus christ what the ****…

1 /5

close on the woman, pointing the gun at the reader…

you. You were supposed to protect me.

1/ 6

close on the woman again but swing the shot around. She’s in the full fury of her moment…

To protect me, chrissy.

1 /7

the woman in close, gun pulled up eye-level and aimed off-panel at the man.
Her eyes are swelled with tears, her nostrils are black holes in her face, the wrinkles in her forehead filled with roadkill…

Like I protected you.


that's my barebones comic-scripting style.
probably shouldn't publically state that since i've gone with that on actual projects with fine artists.

happy new year.

chris stevens
01-07-2006, 06:01 PM
the new strokes album, with the enviable title 'first impressions of earth', is so good it makes the rest of the scene they helped usher in look like high school cover band equivalents...but they've been doing that for 4 years now...the strokes have made three albums and no bad songs. they've spawned a 'resurgence' in 'rock'n'roll' but have little in common with their contemporaries.

the strokes are like frank miller when he first moved to manhattan...then he first found his feet on dd, then breaking through wiith a masterpiece like ronin...

chris stevens
01-11-2006, 01:22 PM
going crazy today waiting for pages and emails...clicking, clicking, clicking every five ****ing minutes. it's just i'm at a point with this thing i have no rope left, i can't afford one moment's loss of momentum.
and then certain people will disappear on you. not answer the phone. don't respond to email. for weeks.

well, ****, all i can do is relax and wait.

anyone seriously interested in making comics better should check out jason rodriguez and his new 'the hive' column/forum over at buzzscope. i've got high hopes for the place.

colored pages from 'castles', my story with farel dalrymple.
http://img453.imageshack.us/img453/9498/cscsmallpage017lg.th.jpg (http://img453.imageshack.us/my.php?image=cscsmallpage017lg.jpg)
http://img453.imageshack.us/img453/7923/cscsmallpage029yv.th.jpg (http://img453.imageshack.us/my.php?image=cscsmallpage029yv.jpg)

http://img453.imageshack.us/img453/7756/cscsmallpage035lf.th.jpg (http://img453.imageshack.us/my.php?image=cscsmallpage035lf.jpg)
http://img453.imageshack.us/img453/2064/cscsmallpage049ta.th.jpg (http://img453.imageshack.us/my.php?image=cscsmallpage049ta.jpg)
http://img453.imageshack.us/img453/2733/cscsmallpage057ev.th.jpg (http://img453.imageshack.us/my.php?image=cscsmallpage057ev.jpg)

j giar
01-12-2006, 08:37 PM
Chris, I've been following this thread and loved these pages when they were just inked. The washed out colors just add to the piece as a whole. Beautifully done. When is this slated to come out. Best of luck. J.Giar

chris stevens
01-13-2006, 10:18 AM
thanks very much, j.
those pages were beautiful in b+w. several people told me i should just go with that story without color. and then, seeing them all in-person...i thought about it for a minute. but the chance to have farel paint on the boards was too much to pass on. he did some truly sublime work. i'm glad you liked what you saw.


there's a link to jason rodriguez's 'hive'. very encouraging first day yesterday, i'd urge anyone thinking seriously about making comics to join in and participate.


not sure if i ever put that here. there's a link to an interview i did for josh sage and silverbulletcomics.

chris stevens
01-15-2006, 03:42 PM
my best friend and partner in my book is going through, or rather just finishing up, a nasty divorce (is there any other kind?) and as selfish as i feel for saying it, it's nothing but problems. we signed a contract months ago which basically excluded any outside interests(re:wives/side business-partners))of having any rights to the book we are creating and for its extended run...

now, lawyers and bad-feelings and loss pile on blown deadlines, lost time, and frequent changes-of-course...

and i'm caught between the book and my friend. what's best for one might not be the same for the other. and i'm far from free of guilt; my life, whether i try or not, seems to rest between tides, the peaceful moments neither high or low.

01-16-2006, 06:46 PM
i feel for u chris. i have been writing and penciling a book with a friend for the last year (we are seventy pages into it and have ten more to go), my friend became pregnant at the beginging of the fall semester. she has like thirty some pages left to ink last i heard (december) and our deadline is in a couple months.... i still need to letter all those pages too.... needless to say its comming down to the wire. and i really dont want to push her cuz well shes friggin preggers!
i know comparativly this is totally different, my inker is gaining and ur penciler is losing, still its real life competing with comic work. i hope that your friend manages to keep those lawyers away from your babies (your book)

01-17-2006, 12:54 PM
those pages are beautiful!!!

Glad everythig is starting to come together for you.

chris stevens
01-17-2006, 08:23 PM
thanks, carrier. i appreciate that. i hope things work out for you too. drop me a line and let me know how it goes. but my friend, he's my partner, not a penciler. he has nothing, artistically, to do with the book. he's my backbone/benefactor/voice-of-reason.

marco, i sent you a pm but your box is full. contact me here...


i said it in the pm, pal, i'm with you. it's been too long. we'll lock it down this time. get in touch with me there and we'll get the ball rolling.

here's a bunch of layouts for my baby, 'jungle jane'.
these are the visual notes max and i pass back-and-forth...like storyboards. for the benefit of anyone not familiar with the project, i'll post some model shots of the characters so you see what it'll look like in a finished form...

http://img31.imageshack.us/img31/4797/pag01jjwbok4qn.th.jpg (http://img31.imageshack.us/my.php?image=pag01jjwbok4qn.jpg)

http://img59.imageshack.us/img59/2788/webpag02e03jj5ck.th.jpg (http://img59.imageshack.us/my.php?image=webpag02e03jj5ck.jpg)

http://img59.imageshack.us/img59/6154/webpag04jj7fs.th.jpg (http://img59.imageshack.us/my.php?image=webpag04jj7fs.jpg)

http://img59.imageshack.us/img59/747/webpag05jjreinodascobras7qs.th.jpg (http://img59.imageshack.us/my.php?image=webpag05jjreinodascobras7qs.jpg)

http://img59.imageshack.us/img59/7559/jjlayoutpg06a8gv.th.jpg (http://img59.imageshack.us/my.php?image=jjlayoutpg06a8gv.jpg)

chris stevens
01-17-2006, 08:25 PM
http://img59.imageshack.us/img59/3379/jjlayoutpg07wb1xc.th.jpg (http://img59.imageshack.us/my.php?image=jjlayoutpg07wb1xc.jpg)

http://img59.imageshack.us/img59/3722/jjlayoutpg08wb5nt.th.jpg (http://img59.imageshack.us/my.php?image=jjlayoutpg08wb5nt.jpg)

http://img59.imageshack.us/img59/541/jjlayoutpg09wb7sn.th.jpg (http://img59.imageshack.us/my.php?image=jjlayoutpg09wb7sn.jpg)

http://img59.imageshack.us/img59/8820/jjlayoutpg10web4my.th.jpg (http://img59.imageshack.us/my.php?image=jjlayoutpg10web4my.jpg)

http://img59.imageshack.us/img59/3272/jjlayoutpg11web9ow.th.jpg (http://img59.imageshack.us/my.php?image=jjlayoutpg11web9ow.jpg)

http://img59.imageshack.us/img59/9278/jjlayoutpg12web3uo.th.jpg (http://img59.imageshack.us/my.php?image=jjlayoutpg12web3uo.jpg)

chris stevens
01-17-2006, 08:29 PM
http://img80.imageshack.us/img80/7388/rhino_doctor.th.jpg (http://img80.imageshack.us/my.php?image=rhino_doctor.jpg)

http://img115.imageshack.us/img115/5915/FISTWALLABYcopy.th.jpg (http://img115.imageshack.us/my.php?image=FISTWALLABYcopy.jpg)

http://img87.imageshack.us/img87/6770/NEBRIS.th.jpg (http://img87.imageshack.us/my.php?image=NEBRIS.jpg)
http://img22.imageshack.us/img22/5185/THETIGER.th.jpg (http://img22.imageshack.us/my.php?image=THETIGER.jpg)

http://img95.imageshack.us/img95/2449/GRIPLi_WEB.th.jpg (http://img95.imageshack.us/my.php?image=GRIPLi_WEB.jpg)

http://img208.imageshack.us/img208/5167/JANE.th.jpg (http://img208.imageshack.us/my.php?image=JANE.jpg)

and here's the email i wrote max regarding the final three of those pages, for anyone interested in a closer look at this particular process....hi, max.

"hope the rain gods haven't been too harsh today.

i'll jump right into business, my friend;


like this a lot. hopefully we can keep some of the kirby-like power you've given ogun here in these storyboards once helber makes him into our fully-drawn ogun. this layout works great, powerful and precise! again, and don't take it as insult or bossy, just my nerves, remember we'll fill the backgrounds, like most of the previous pages in chimp city, with our various other players, like shep and the rhino mercenary and so-on...just as bustling and real a world as we can imagine, max. forgive me for droning on about it but i like the movement so much so far i'm certain if we get those details in there we'll be on the right path...

i won't ramble so much now, sorry...


really like the changes you made with the 'eye' panels, max. it adds clarity to the situation, nice sequential tension, and, the way you broke it down, you make brad a stronger a character than i was writing him, which isn't a bad thing.

good work my friend, that's a solid change.

and yeah, just adjust that closing angle so it pops more. other than that i will tweak the closing dialogue a bit and that's a sweet page.


again, excellent!
it's fun, isn't it max?
this story will make a lot of people fall in love...

you did a more fluid job of introducing gripli and 'waka into the scene than i did, again, good work. we're co-editors, my friend! and i'm happy to have you.

those are my thoughts on those pages, max. i'll call you tomorrow, earlier in the day, and hopefully i'll catch you.
this is going well, thanks to you, a pure gentleman, and to helber, whom i don't know as well but i imagine he's just as nice :)

let's keep the ball rolling, my friend.



archival footage...

chris stevens
01-18-2006, 06:05 PM
i bought an iguana. why, i have no idea. don't get high and walk on the boardwalk on a rainy day waiting for your wife to wrap-up job interviews and come across these green, pitiful creatures, huddled together in a small cage out in the cold, gypsy hands their only human source of warmth...

nasty little bug i call 'scratch' and my wife calls 'lizzy'. frightful and unfriendly.
my wife wants to feed it crickets. i'd rather feed the lizard to the cat.

which i would never really do. i'm just lacking in how to please the obstinate little bugger. i shred it carrots. i heat its little home with lizard-lights and it has a rock that maintains a balmy 92 degrees, a two-story cage, special lizard nutritional feed, which i guess is crushed bugs and dirt. i 'scoop' instead of 'grab'. yet it lunges out of my grasp like i was a big mexican bird swallowing its back legs...

it has been dreary here in my neck of the woods, grey from dawn to dusk and then just black and cold, for the last two weeks. we've gone from heavy snow to an all-night thunderstorm to days of fog and rain...the temperature's been 60 degrees one day, 22 three days later. strangest winter weather i've seen.

unwinding with a few write-ups of books i read recently...in fact, lately, i've been immersed in comics. just listened to a walter simonson interview from 'word balloon', over an hour long and i hung on every word. walt is as good as it gets. i've also been poring through a couple of 'comic book artist' mags, the darwynn cooke and filipino invasion issues. jon cooke does what he does better than anyone. he's a real service to comics and the long and vast history of the field and its finest practicioners, and, especially, to younger readers like myself, who have very few other places to learn like this.

plus i bought a bunch of books over the last month, some of which i'll talk about now...

all*star batman&robin #3:

here's where most of you jump off.

i liked this issue. a lot.

but, first things first:
is the pacing odd, three issues into this series?
very odd. there's pretty much no regard for pacing at all. it's three issues, 60+ pages of what's still just the very beginning of the story.

this is all*star? what the f%uck?!?
yeah, dc hasn't handled the launch of this premium-intended line as well as they might have. it charts high, but the time was ripe for more. the unavoidable if misguided 'ultimate' comparison has only hurt the line as, so far, since summer, we have four all*star books versus that lines' 4 or 5 year history, output, and impact.
then frank comes in, on this wizard-age holy grail of batbooks, and he's completely irreverent and, in spots, seeming creaky...AND his sensibilty and jim lee's don't really mesh...christ, look how badly lee handles that dynamite motif running in black canary's pages...



i liked it.
lee was in top form here as jim lee, sharp pencils, big splashes, gorgeous bird, and miller managed to marry his 'sin city', frank miller-voice better throughout this narrative, with the seedy dive and intro of bc reading as near-authentic fm...that splash of her on her bike, racing into the dawn after busting up the bar, miller approaches his best wagnerian-tone there, i got a lift from the moment, and her potential meeting-a-happening with bats next issue...

i thought the double-splash underwater scene was fantastic. they nailed that, for me it's the highlight of the run so far...

supes appearance?
iffy. after what miller's done with him historically it's all tainted. and lee's recent hush storyline, which, you could easily argue was just as much and maybe a more appropriate all*star book than this incarnation, makes it even less effective and, even worse, read as a serial at least, more derivative.

weird issue which, ungainly as it seems, gives me hope for the rest of the run.

story: 6:75 art: 8.25 cover(s): 7.5 overall: 14

more in a few minutes...

chris stevens
01-24-2006, 10:00 PM
every now and then you feel like there's no hope.

then guys like nick bradshaw and james jean come around, and , for a moment, you believe in super-heroes again...

:cry: :cry: :slap:

01-24-2006, 11:04 PM
if you get james jean on one of your books.......

..... i hate you

chris stevens
01-25-2006, 10:08 PM
hey, carrier?
i can't figure your name out...
but i hope your book is coming along too.

and don't hate me, but yeah, james is helping me out, handling the design, covers, title-pages...i mentioned it in an earlier post.

all-in-all it should come to about 10-12 pages of james jean.

man, it's funny. dw was like a bar yesterday. i sat down, poured some drinks, and got to talking. i don't even remember making the post prior to this one. i was happy because scheduling/payment dates skimmed past one another, no harm done. and i was nervous as sheet about this, given the schedules of the artists involved.but it's a better feeling , knowing you let the guys know the odds we're up against but they all stand-true. it's invigorating...

01-25-2006, 11:08 PM
hey chris
the name is the carrier#1 the name of my book.
is james jean going to be posting his work for you on his site? he is a big inspiration for me, the way he goes accross the board from magazine illustration to comic book illustration (something i hope to be able to do eventually).

im getting closser to my goals everyday. its tough though cuz of school.... im a bfa in illustration and im taking 19 credits this semester, my school is known for a difficult program but i plan on getting out soon. i have my next book waiting in the wings

i recently read craig thompson's blankets... he is from roughly the same area as i am and his life mirriors mine in many ways. anywho its prompted me to try some new genres namely autobiographical stories

if u havent read it you should!

chris stevens
01-27-2006, 10:26 PM
i've read and admire craig thompson. great communicator, if a bit trite at times. but there're magical, lose-your-place-in-the-world moments in 'blankets'...

chris stevens
01-31-2006, 07:38 PM
from 'seven seas', the lead-off story in 'introductions, endings, and in-between', the book this thread is all about...

http://img50.imageshack.us/img50/4830/anthology1small4hd.th.jpg (http://img50.imageshack.us/my.php?image=anthology1small4hd.jpg)

that's arthur adams and nick bradshaw.

uncle wya
01-31-2006, 09:40 PM
AH! See that?!? Nick Bradshaw was definitely the right choice for finishes on this thing. I hope Arthur is happy, it looks great!


chris stevens
02-01-2006, 09:42 PM
just hung up the phone following an incredibly frustrating conversation with the artist of my boyhood-dreams...nothing worse then hearing your hero suffer and doubting their pain...
i remember telling a dear friend of mine, in an entirely different context, we could all be other people, grief-dependant yet free in the assumptions of ourselves...my assumation is in dire need of cashing-in, so, befitting such, empathy rams it right up my ass...and i've got all the time in the world to whimper...

chris stevens
02-02-2006, 03:44 PM
well, we're making shrimp scampi for lunch/dinner...i'm more of a daily meal and not breakfast/lunch/dinner kind of eater...i'll knosh in-between on a piece of fruit or a hunk of cheese and bread, but i only really eat a meal once a day. which is a contributing factor to my slug-like metabolism...

anyway, before the scampi...

that last post sounds too damn depressing. i apologize, mysterious readers.

and i'm glad you liked it, wya.
for the two people who might not know, ryan ottley, or wya, illustrates 'invincible' for image comics. he's building a heck of a run there and i'm as curious as anyone to see what he does next...

for a lot of reasons, it's not easy finding someone to ink art adams.
the fact that (thankfully!!!) he's inked himself pretty much for the last ten years has only raised the bar. in practical terms, it's a lot of work for an inker. art's tremendously detailed style doesn't work if you're not going to go all-in. in personal terms the fact is arthur intimidates, or rather, has thrilled, a whole generation...you'll be inspired and do the best work of your life or you'll wilt from the challenge and choke on that 'x-men' annual...

so as i thought of guys who could finish over arthur, i thought of guys who were great artists in their own right, but also guys who would LOVE what they were doing, finishing over art adams on an original story. they had to be both. me and art talked about lots of inkers, greats from palmer to townsend, but that wouldn't work...as much pride as those guys take in their work it would be just another job to them...we needed something more, a gleam in the eye that shone through the pages and winked at the reader and said, 'man, ain't we having fun!'

it had to look great, and it had to feel right.

there were only ever three people asked if they were interested. we got it right that quick, lucky for me. there was nick bradshaw, kevin knowlan, and my old uncle wya.

chris stevens
02-04-2006, 03:28 PM
do you ever realize you're stuck-in-a-rut and you need change so you force change down your own throat, you follow through on some crazy notion and see where it takes you...

i'm not sure where it'll wind up taking me but yesterday i made the boldest move i've made in this game, the boldest move i've made as a person,and really, the scariest thing, for me, i could ever do.

see, there's always a 'what are you going to do next?'
any decent creator is always thinking about other things, seeing one thing lead to another...myself, i'll spin 'jane' and 'seven seas' into series; concentrate on the development of this debut book as an on-going vehicle for establishing new worlds, new titles; i'll make a memoir-esque 300 pg graphic novel about making the first book and the years surrounding it, covering 5 years of my life; an anthology, 'corners', where todays best cartoonists tell stories about hiding things, or hiding from something;
and one last pressing project, a collection of the best writers in comics from all over the world, all creating freely and in accordance of one another.

so i took the first, small steps towards seeing one of these into-action.
and it felt good, because it was the most intimidating correspondence i've had, at least the initial apprehension and anxiety in-between e-mails, that modern fear of clicking into new messages...but the reality of it has been so kind and helpful on my 'guide's part and i'm humbled just by that...if the facts, a few months from now, wind up on my side, i'll pinch myself, and dream again...

this is a long post, as posts go. but i wanted to mention 'the name of the game', an ogn by will eisner. i read it a month ago and i dreamed about those characters for a week afterwards. at first i was kind of turned off by the cliches will was creating with the core characters, but as it got going, as life went on in his narrative, i saw they weren't cliches, just people, and that's how people turn out lots of time in life. eisner did an amazing job, effortless really, at showing the rising tides and falling fortunes of three generations of families. characters you initially dismiss you come to feel for. characters you empathize with are shown to be thoughtless themselves...by painting such a black and white portrait eisner somehow manages to reveal all the greys along the way. that he was in his eighties when he did it is , quite frankly, unremarkable given the great master's career; he was just that good.

j giar
02-04-2006, 03:59 PM
Hey Chris, Been readin' this thread since you started it. I grew up on Eisners Spirit books when they were printed by Warren Publ. He along with Miller were my two biggest reasons I got into this game. In fact Miller got me readin' Lone Wolf and Cub. I love the cinematic feel of all three of these artist(Well 4 if you count Koike and Kojima.) If you have'nt checked out the Miller/Eisner book its well worth a read. The man was a genius. Got it for my birthday and I have to say it's one of the best gifts I've ever gotten. Keep pluggin away...I want to see this thing done. Best of luck. JimG

chris stevens
02-06-2006, 10:31 PM
hi, jim.
thanks for your support. it's appreciated. :)

i've read/own the eisner/miller book...i agree, it's essential reading for the comics enthusiast of any level or inclination. i've been lucky enough to spend some time, however brief, with both of those giants;they each left me a changed man...

'warren' i've only read about,but i'm learning as i go...

yeah, i got into 'lone wolf' through miller too, way back in the late 80's/late grade-school years...it's amazing because once you've read it all( lone wolf, moebius, eisner, kirby, colan, toth) once you read all those guys, and i'm missing lots more, once you read all those great artists you see what frank miller has done. how deep he runs, how far he's gone. it's inspiring.

various thoughts...

...for a writer/producer, and one who pays out-of-pocket, waiting for pages is as pure a hell as a long divorce;there was love involved but now you just want to see it through and move on...

...'shaolin cowboy' is a great comic book. it looks great. it SMELLS great. it's a blast to read. books like this, and ladronn's 'hip flask', they make you realize how much the monthly book is just a mind-set...a mind-set i prescribe to, mind you; i like seeing good books out there every month...but a book like this(sc#2) has as much impact as 5 issues of 'new avengers'...

j giar
02-06-2006, 11:00 PM
I've seen Shoalin Cowboy at my retailer. I'll have to check it out. Warren was a publisher back in thelate 70's maybe early 80's. They published books like The Spirit, Creepy, Vampirella ( I think Frazetta was doing early work on that.), Eerie. And my personal favorite, Famous Monsters of Filmland. I dropped out of the business for a while so I've missed alot of things that have gone on in the industry. Books I read prior to dropping out. Sin City, Preacher, Hitman, X from Dark Horse. I've kind of stepped away from the superhero books, although I was readin' Bendis/Maleev's Daredevil. I've sensed alot of negativity surrounding the industry and I'm wondering has it been this way for awhile or what. I'm excited to be back in it and am looking fprward to publishing my own book hopefully by summer of this year. I've seen your posts on this site and I appreciate your passion for your project and this industry. Best of luck!

chris stevens
02-07-2006, 10:00 PM
http://img132.imageshack.us/img132/2278/jjlayoutpg13wbok8qg.th.jpg (http://img132.imageshack.us/my.php?image=jjlayoutpg13wbok8qg.jpg)

storyboards for a particularly fun page from 'jungle jane'...wait'll you see the finished pages!
an homage to walt disney, hopefully that shines through.

thanks, jim.
i guess it's always 90% shit 10% good. comics can't change that because that can't be changed. but it is important to strive for inclusion in that 10%...it's important too, to try to push it as far as you can, however you can.

chris stevens
02-08-2006, 04:09 PM
http://img268.imageshack.us/img268/1274/anthology8smalllarge7ru.th.jpg (http://img268.imageshack.us/my.php?image=anthology8smalllarge7ru.jpg)

more from 'seven seas', illustrated by art adams and nick bradshaw.
(edit: as always with image shack, i suggest clicking on full-page mode)


farel dalrymple has updated his journal. there's the usual batch of brilliant moments there; new characters, grand illustration, and the most illustrative sense of yearning-through-fine-lines i've yet to see. every piece has equal parts fantasy/reality, every image carries narrative momentum, every line is personal...it's been two months since this was updated and these sketchbook pages always knock me out. and at the top, that great color shot is a close-up from farel's story 'castles' in my book.

i realized today how much i miss 'the moose in the closet', jason rodriguez's daily blog. yesterday,story. the day before, no story. today, no story.
the daily dose that jason brought to everyone is gone, discontinued for now.
there's one less interesting region to wander into. one less pleasant diversion, one less emotional-port of recall, one less voice to sympathize with, or laugh at, or scorn.

more later...

chris stevens
02-14-2006, 10:35 PM
something i posted earlier today at jason rodriguez's 'moose'...
jason set the table. he did that for about 3 months before i even noticed, silly me...now he only posts on tuesdays/thursdays and i look forward to it.


i had a buddy , right out of high-school, he was 6'6, olympian build, blonde hair, blue-eyes, local sports star and eldest son of one of the 'big' families in the area; his dad was an ex-jock who owned bars and restaurants and liqour stores and he had five brothers and they all owned bars and restaurants and so-on. no bullshit, on christmas the star on my buddies tree was a photo of his pops getting dunked on by wilt chamberlain. this buddy of mine, he got more pussy from a greater variety of sources than anyone i've ever known. rich, poor, old, young, white, black, conservative chicks, punk girls, you name it, he ****ed it. when we started going to strip clubs, something, honestly, i can't stand doing, he started bringing strippers home. we'd pull up to this cavernous ****ing house on the main street of our little town ventnor, atlantic city's suburb, and we'd pile into his basement, drunk and stoned, with 2 or 3 girls named onyx and raven, poor girls from deep in atlantic city, always half-something, half-spanish half black, half-columbian half-white, and we'd do bong hits and eat mushrooms and the girls would wind up in your lap(and yes, strippers have smoothe skin, like the belly of sea-shells)
and i'm telling you, writing this now, i can smell those ****ing nights. but eventually the morning would come, and a long drive deep into the city, dropping onyx(lisa) off at the lighthouse towers, and heading home, alone.
chris stevens | 02.14.06 - 2:56 pm | #


i post that kind of thing because it could be great comics. it's all written to end in panels, which is to say i see it as it moves through feelings but adhering to the beat, exposition/visual, emotional beat/visual, exposition/beat...it's all just frank miller shit i'm trying to figure out as i go...

christ, i should erase that...

nah, it's true. no shame. i'm sure there've been instances frank caught himself feeling phoney...it's natural.

i've wondered what a real journal , keeping one , would be like;i've chided myself for not doing so...this is a start...

02-14-2006, 11:39 PM
Chris - thanks for the shout out. I should tell you, though, that I needed to hide the four most recent entries, including the one that inspired this story of yours. Yes, it has to do with the new book and believe me when I say sacrificing the stories for a couple of days can turn out to be the best thing to happen to this book - I needed to make sure the warmer stories were front and center for the people who maybe coming by over the next week.

We'll talk, you'll see.

chris stevens
02-15-2006, 02:56 PM
jason's secret project is such a good idea that i'm forced, against my nature, to actually keep it a secret.

and hey, look, james jean won olympic gold...


that's pretty cool.

chris stevens
02-20-2006, 02:01 PM
some more storyboards from 'jungle jane'. the red pen is max's notes to me.

http://img309.imageshack.us/img309/3645/jjlayoutpg14web9fu.th.jpg (http://img309.imageshack.us/my.php?image=jjlayoutpg14web9fu.jpg)

http://img309.imageshack.us/img309/8163/jjlayoutpg15web8ae.th.jpg (http://img309.imageshack.us/my.php?image=jjlayoutpg15web8ae.jpg)

http://img309.imageshack.us/img309/523/jjlayoutpg16web9bi.th.jpg (http://img309.imageshack.us/my.php?image=jjlayoutpg16web9bi.jpg)

http://img309.imageshack.us/img309/3706/jjlayoutpg17web0dh.th.jpg (http://img309.imageshack.us/my.php?image=jjlayoutpg17web0dh.jpg)

http://img309.imageshack.us/img309/2394/jjlayoutpg18web1rx.th.jpg (http://img309.imageshack.us/my.php?image=jjlayoutpg18web1rx.jpg)

http://img309.imageshack.us/img309/6638/jjlayoutpg19web9vv.th.jpg (http://img309.imageshack.us/my.php?image=jjlayoutpg19web9vv.jpg)

working this way is great, it gives you the chance for the best possible finished product, and the smoothest final stages. it's more work for the artist, for everyone, but i believe it's the only way to really create a whole new world, one that spins in its own orbit, where the reader can firmly plant their feet and breathe in...

one book that just had that very effect on me was paul pope's brilliant 'batman year 100' #1...this book had me breathing hard, actually worried about this future batman, a freedom fighter in a shitty world where the government knows everything about everyone and uses teams of marauding super-cops and packs of cybernetic pit-bulls to keep the peace.
pope is just a flat-out master. he puts batman in peril with a variety of stunning shots, dizzying angles, and superb body language...this guy's just a guy, he's being hunted, and there's no guarantee he's going to make it...it's something you don't get out of a batman book, it goes back to when bruce wayne first started fighting crime in gotham and he was getting his ass kicked too often...immediately this batman is the underdog and you're cheering for him. and pope, with jose villarubia, creates an ugly dystopian gotham of 2039. the government presence, the creepy and outlandish group of characters introduced here, is personalized enough that it avoids the rut of dull satire or evil cabal. i won't spoil any moments for anyone, trust me it's a great book.

now, the 'new avengers' #16 on the other hand...wow, talk about filler. those first 8 pages, all splash pages, there's no impact to any of it. and they're not even that great to look at. then there's more snappy banter from tony stark, more snappy banter from shield, a very goofy alpha flight, a phone call from the president which leads over two pages, which is the only decent part, this spread leading into the 'big moment' cliffhanger splash...which felt like it should have been about page 11 of the book.
i like this title, i've read every issue, and i don't mind bendis' stuff when he delivers...this was just too much. and could they come up with a more generic cover for this book? bleh.

chris stevens
02-23-2006, 02:46 PM
sometimes it seems like i invest so much of myself on making comics that i forget to enjoy them, or can't. this is a function of the creative process, sure, but it's a miserly spirit and one i don't want possessing me.
it's been a great joy practically my entire life, coming home once a week or every two weeks with a fat stack of comics...old favorites, new titles, dear friends, old enemies.the occassional oddball, thrown in for good measure. creaky late-seventies/early 80's back-issues that haunted my memory until i held them in my hands, the actual proof and body of their existence never quite enough to dispell the memories which, of course, were always better.

i still enjoy doing that, but damn comics are expensive. when i was a little kid, if you could wrangle a $20 bill, hell, you could get 25-30 comics...you could buy a big goofy variety and dive into the deep-end, be it dc or marvel or the independents(those bastards threw off the curve, with their
$1.50-and-up prices but they made some great books) and it was easy to explore the shelves and thumb through the spinner-racks.
you buy 30 comics now and you're looking at $80/$100.
i'm not a very money-conscious person. in fact, i'm horrible with money.
which is why i'll be sitting at home typing this weekend instead of getting it on in nyc. but that's a big difference over the years. and it makes it harder to sample books, to get new readers. well, it makes it more challenging for the creator to sell and for the reader, who doesn't want to get burned too often at $3 a pop.

and it's not like the prices are ever going back, nor should they. better production, better pay for creators, inflation. the first two are necessary and the third unavoidable.

the solution?
rich parents, or at least very giving ones, if you're a kid.
no other vices, a second job, or a rich spouse if you're not.

chris stevens
02-27-2006, 09:10 PM

just found this site today...great stuff!
these guys are hugely enthusiastic(if not always so well informed!)and they put on a good show.

i listened to paul pope and eric larsen and both shows were full of good stuff.

brian, kevin, shane, peter, jaime: good job, guys!

between these guys, wordballoon, and fanboy radio, there's some real solid comics coverage available right now...it really is a golden age...

chris stevens
03-01-2006, 11:40 PM
this whole thing that's popped up on the net with calling comics 'singles' or 'floppies' or whatever...christ, they're 'COMIC BOOKS'...they always have been, they always will be.

the pretentious trendy shit kills me...

chris stevens
03-04-2006, 08:09 PM

http://img453.imageshack.us/img453/9498/cscsmallpage017lg.th.jpg (http://img453.imageshack.us/my.php?image=cscsmallpage017lg.jpg)

http://img453.imageshack.us/img453/7923/cscsmallpage029yv.th.jpg (http://img453.imageshack.us/my.php?image=cscsmallpage029yv.jpg)

http://img453.imageshack.us/img453/7756/cscsmallpage035lf.th.jpg (http://img453.imageshack.us/my.php?image=cscsmallpage035lf.jpg)

http://img453.imageshack.us/img453/2064/cscsmallpage049ta.th.jpg (http://img453.imageshack.us/my.php?image=cscsmallpage049ta.jpg)

http://img453.imageshack.us/img453/2733/cscsmallpage057ev.th.jpg (http://img453.imageshack.us/my.php?image=cscsmallpage057ev.jpg)

chris stevens
03-04-2006, 08:10 PM
http://img453.imageshack.us/img453/88/cscsmallpage067ke.th.jpg (http://img453.imageshack.us/my.php?image=cscsmallpage067ke.jpg)

http://img453.imageshack.us/img453/1155/cscsmallpage072dc.th.jpg (http://img453.imageshack.us/my.php?image=cscsmallpage072dc.jpg)

http://img453.imageshack.us/img453/1547/cscsmallpage081iv.th.jpg (http://img453.imageshack.us/my.php?image=cscsmallpage081iv.jpg)

http://img445.imageshack.us/img445/5217/cscsmallpage094ms.th.jpg (http://img445.imageshack.us/my.php?image=cscsmallpage094ms.jpg)

http://img131.imageshack.us/img131/8359/cscsmallpage100pf.th.jpg (http://img131.imageshack.us/my.php?image=cscsmallpage100pf.jpg)

chris stevens
03-04-2006, 08:12 PM
some of that i posted before, i know, but i wanted anyone new to the proceedings to be able to easily look at it in one-shot.

really happy with this one, it's personal to me and, farel, well, he did such beautiful work there's nothing for me to say.

Steve Colle
03-05-2006, 02:24 AM
I'm seeing strong hints of Will Eisner in the story and in the pencils/sequential techniques. Wonderful homage to a master. Love to see more.

chris stevens
03-05-2006, 11:04 PM
that's high praise any way you slice it, creativesynergy, so thanks. glad to see you checked in.

in case i didn't make the credits clear on that story, it was written by me, and farel dalrymple penciled, inked, lettered, and painted the story. it's based on jack kerouac's 'dr. sax' material with the necessary inventions along the way...

but...i think will eisner, in his enormity of accomplishment, the hugeness of his craft, his continual refinement and reinvention as an artist, the determination and the desire to see something new into being, i think he's influenced anyone involved in comics who has been exposed to his work...eisner, as very few people will, achieved legendary status while still alive.
greatness is a meritocracy, but eisner, the breadth and scope of his body of work, his seemingly supernatural excellence into his mid-80's, when most folks concede, at best, to memory and the casual care of strangers...he's such a towering figure in comics it's impossible to overstate.

that said, not sure how much of an influence, at least intentionaly, eisner was here...the script was written really lean and for the artist, whose work i have immense appreciation for, and it was a unique situation that seemed to happen all-at-once but really has taken two years to fully develop...the relationship leading into the work delivering the results desired...like i mentioned above, i couldn't be happier with this one.

03-07-2006, 03:42 PM

http://img453.imageshack.us/img453/9498/cscsmallpage017lg.th.jpg (http://img453.imageshack.us/my.php?image=cscsmallpage017lg.jpg)

<images snipped for size/length/etc reasons.

Ok, these are just ridiculously outstanding.

imajica studio
03-07-2006, 05:03 PM
Chris, I just wanted to say you inspire me. Thank you!

chris stevens
03-07-2006, 07:45 PM
hey, metr0man, thanks!
glad you like those pages. i just got a package in the mail yesterday, all the originals, and i meant to take pictures and post them here but my batteries are dead...there are a few wonderful parts where the panels are drawn out into the margins that are just so damn lovely...i'll post them once i get some new AA's for the camera...

don, i appreciate that thought.
i'm inspired all the time, by guys like paul pope, moebius, marlon brando, bob dylan, grant morrison, tomer hanuka, don delilo, rimbaud, and plenty of other people, real and imagined, that i'm forgetting to list.
well, just today i was inspired by a bird outside my window, the one-two-three of his swooping trill so melodic and insistant there was no chance of falling back asleep after the first few runs seeped into my head...my buddy jason rodriguez inspired me later in the day as i glimpsed his plan, now well-thought out and in high-gear, more fully...
oh, i tried checking your site, your name's familiar to me, send me some links/attachments of your stuff...looking forward to it!

thanks guys!

more art and etc. later...

chris stevens
03-10-2006, 11:42 PM
http://img126.imageshack.us/img126/3064/spoilofdogscopy6hx.th.jpg (http://img126.imageshack.us/my.php?image=spoilofdogscopy6hx.jpg)

chris stevens
03-12-2006, 02:27 PM
i should have mentioned that the art directly above, the title-pages for my story with nate powell, was done by james jean.

here's a link to a bunch of alan moore video interviews...great stuff...i sat spellbound for an hour or so...all these years and today is the first time i've ever heard alan moore's voice...


03-12-2006, 05:29 PM
Dude I never saw this thread before but I loved everything I see in it. Thumbs up!

chris stevens
03-14-2006, 12:49 AM
thanks, ram.

what a day today...sat and watched my lizard eat lettuce for 1/2 an hour...strangely satisfying,hell,rewarding even, watching the long green bugger nibble and munch on romaine...

talked to ann charters about the blurb for my story 'castles' (see above) illustrated by farel dalrymple. anyone who doesn't know who ann is should google her. lots to learn there, yes indeed. so ann will contribute to the book in some fashion...

...talked to ann charters...forgive me, i'm humbled...if but for erasing this there was another way to hide it, i would, because for me talking to ann is like talking to astinus of palanthas...

(who's to say which is more real?)

then broke down on the phone crying to my best friend/partner all the woe-is-me shit you imagine success will eventually wash clean...like you can scrub the stains out of yourself like grease or grass...

more art tomorrow...

03-14-2006, 12:54 AM
i can never tell if you are on the verge of greatness or the edge of disaster!
but i know it will be something different and new. everything looks great so far keep it comming and ill be waiting with a buck in my hand to buy ur books

chris stevens
03-14-2006, 01:06 AM
"...the verge of greatness or the edge of disaster!"

they occupy the same space. and that sentence is like some fantastic lost jack kirby book from the mid-70's...

thanks for checking in, carrier. i really appreciate your interest and support.
when the book comes out i think it'll earn that dollar...stick with me!

j giar
03-14-2006, 02:45 PM
Chris, consider this an official pep talk from a fellow artist. (I'll expect one in return when I need one.) They're good days and bad days. It is an unfortunate side effect, I think, of our creative personalities. The goal is to recognize both for what they are and to focus on the good days. Look at where you started with your project and where it stands now. You've got a fantastic book nearly at completion and I along with several other people are waitin for it. Move forward and get that mutha finished. We're all rootin for ya! Jim G.

chris stevens
03-15-2006, 12:19 AM
thanks, guys.

so i've been advised not to post so much art, not to 'give so much away'.
i understand the logic of that but i believe the positives outweigh any negatives. let's be honest, in the grand scheme of things, messageboards mean little in comic shops. my local shop has 200 subscribers and there're a handful who even know what newsarama or dw are... so, in the actual sense of 'giving too much away' or 'for free', that doesn't make sense to me.
not in this situation. the theory, which is sound, doesn't translate into this environment.
i have a splitting headache and can't type straight so i'll have to end my point there, before i actually made it it seems...

here's something that made me smile.
a look at a work-in-progress page from 'jungle jane' closer to the finished version than the storyboards i posted a few weeks ago. and if anyone cares to, the script for what turned into this page...

http://img375.imageshack.us/img375/9108/pag13jj1ab.th.jpg (http://img375.imageshack.us/my.php?image=pag13jj1ab.jpg)

Panel Five

All of a sudden Greybeard, who was having a peaceful day with his adopted daughter, just about to enjoy the cold refreshing banana concoction the orangutan whipped up and handed over, is surrounded by a boisterous, bouncing little monkey jumping up on Jane’s shoulder and a bird twirling around his head.







Flashback splash…the elephant chief, lox, consumes the background of the page, facing the reader. The old beast is accompanied, over shoulder, by the young giraffe girl. At his side is a baby elephant whose trunk is tied in a knot at its end. The baby elephant looks like he’s been crying, very petulant and upset. greybeard stands in the middle-ground, back to us, in an apologetic pose. Behind him, hiding in the foreground, facing the reader, are jane and gripli and waka. They’ve been mischievous and were caught.

a public tip-of-my-hat to max velati and helber soares.

03-15-2006, 03:57 PM
Chris, I'm constantly viewing and re-viewing this thread on an almost daily basis. Your work is always incredible, and the artists you've inspired to work with you is motivating to me. Your posts about maintaining your vision and your passion in the face of hardship and personal grief always help me to push forward with my own work. I think you'll get a mention in my dedications when Four Gunmen sees the light of day.

On a somewhat related note, have you ever read "The Alchemist"? I think the overall theme of that book would be something you (and anybody else trying to make it in this field) could associate with pretty deeply. Keep on keepin' on, man.

chris stevens
03-17-2006, 11:01 PM
hey, mike. thanks. that's appreciated...i try to write honestly here but truth is i usually can't so i try to make it all read nice.

but this journal has immense value to me, and will come into play, its true purpose revealed, when i get this current anchor of a book out of the way and get into my next project, which is the story of making this book and the last 5 years or so of my life leading up to now...so the writing here, at the least, serves as a warm-up for this future material...

glad you enjoy my stuff, mike. i keep up with you, too, and you've got a couple of projects going you better bring home.

as for the alchemist, no, i've never read it, but i get it...if you look at my old, defunct 'homepage' in my profile here it's from a couple of years ago and called 'alchemical inks.com'.

the idea of alchemy, always mythologically and poetically attractive, came into focus for me after a particularly bruising love-affair ended in my mid-20's and i wrote in a notebook...

'my buddhist plans they fell to pieces
these new demands there's no release'

...along with a sort of equation, as i saw it then, an alchemy of words and feeling...

'love into sorrow.
sorrow into anger,
anger into understanding'

sure, i was young and dumb and full-of-shit but i still believe in the basics of it...

j giar
03-18-2006, 11:39 AM
Hey Chris, I was on here yesterday and my 5 year old saw the page for jungle jane. Needless to say she loved it. Who is doing the art for you on this particular story..it's astounding!

chris stevens
03-18-2006, 02:55 PM
oh hey, jim, how sweet!
that's the best compliment 'jane' can get and it makes me smile.

the artists on 'jungle jane' are max velati and helber soares. max, a fine partner, works the script over for helber, providing translation, storyboards, and character reference. we pretty much work together, me and max, as editors. then helber makes it all look magical, providing the line-art and character designs. the production work is handled by max, helber, and the rest of max velati studios. these guys go all out...i mean they make clay busts of the characters to aid the 3-D computer stuff they've got going...

http://img105.imageshack.us/img105/4912/Nebris04.th.jpg (http://img105.imageshack.us/my.php?image=Nebris04.jpg)

fernando, folks. say hello.

hopefully max and i will thrill a lot of kids, entertain some folks, and make enough money to really cut loose. i've got an opportunity this coming week involving the project that would go a long ways to accomplishing all three.

fingers crossed...

chris stevens
03-25-2006, 09:02 PM
this is writers block:
a brick falling on your head
over and over.

haiku. fun sport.

chris stevens
03-29-2006, 09:13 PM
as a few of the faithful readers have noted, i can come off as sad, lost, dark, etc...just a function, i guess, ornamentally at least, of the kind of writers and writing i've been drawn to, and, more deeply, of my own view of life and attempts to bring the beauty of it into focus as i see it...deep down, like most folks willing to feel, it's a mix of sad and silly, meaningful and mundane, exhilaration and drag...

tonight i'm just happy. things have been interesting this past week...there have been elements of validation, the feeling, all-of-a-sudden, things might just work out. this week has been charged; i talked to harvey pekar on the phone last night for almost an hour...that's a chapter in my next book right there; i was up at dc comics last wednesday and again this past monday and nyc is awesome especially if you're aimed there with a goal in mind:the city makes you feel bigger; i've got great guys, gentleman and artists both, in my corner, and more and more they show that to me every day; my stuff, all my shit from the last two years with farel and jae and arthur and nick and nate and james and max and june and john workman, all of that and my scripts are in the hands of my walt disney, mr. alan moore; and there are other things, dollarwise, even more interesting...

who knows what will come of any of it? maybe nothing. maybe just enough to make you regret the whole thing. or, maybe, just maybe, you take a stab at greatness...

i cursed at karma, or more like i bowed my head and chuckled, the past three months. that 'radiohead' song, 'karma police', it would turn up on 'rhapsody' and while i listened i plotted stories in my head where the bastards showed up, sirens blaring, and solved all my problems once the smart one deduced i was a good guy and free to go about my business...

i picture these old hands, sandworn and weathered, holding a ledger, and dark eyes looking down, calculating, saying 'one more chance. after this, no more on trust.'

03-29-2006, 10:03 PM
as a few of the faithful readers have noted, i can come off as sad, lost, dark, etc...just a function, i guess, ornamentally at least, of the kind of writers and writing i've been drawn to, and, more deeply, of my own view of life and attempts to bring the beauty of it into focus as i see it...deep down, like most folks willing to feel, it's a mix of sad and silly, meaningful and mundane, exhilaration and drag...

tonight i'm just happy. things have been interesting this past week...there have been elements of validation, the feeling, all-of-a-sudden, things might just work out. this week has been charged; i talked to harvey pekar on the phone last night for almost an hour...that's a chapter in my next book right there; i was up at dc comics last wednesday and again this past monday and nyc is awesome especially if you're aimed there with a goal in mind:the city makes you feel bigger; i've got great guys, gentleman and artists both, in my corner, and more and more they show that to me every day; my stuff, all my shit from the last two years with farel and jae and arthur and nick and nate and james and max and june and john workman, all of that and my scripts are in the hands of my walt disney, mr. alan moore; and there are other things, dollarwise, even more interesting...

who knows what will come of any of it? maybe nothing. maybe just enough to make you regret the whole thing. or, maybe, just maybe, you take a stab at greatness...

i cursed at karma, or more like i bowed my head and chuckled, the past three months. that 'radiohead' song, 'karma police', it would turn up on 'rhapsody' and while i listened i plotted stories in my head where the bastards showed up, sirens blaring, and solved all my problems once the smart one deduced i was a good guy and free to go about my business...

i picture these old hands, sandworn and weathered, holding a ledger, and dark eyes looking down, calculating, saying 'one more chance. after this, no more on trust.'

It's funny - we talked on the phone the past three nights, several times last week. Getting all the background stuff, understanding why you're talking to who and who I'm talking to and why you're visiting where and how my book is coming together and your book is finishing up. Just so much going on, can't help to think by next month a lot of people are going to be saying, "Where the **** did these guys come from?"

That's a good feeling.

j giar
03-30-2006, 12:17 AM
Man Chris it's good to hear you talk like that. I know sometimes from the inside lookin out it seems like it's going no where. But when I read these posts and see what it is your attempting to put out there. The creative talent that obviously feels the same energy coming off this thing...I have know doubt this is gonna fly. Besides my youngest daughter has made me promise to buy the"jungle girl" Book when it comes out. Hope it's something she'll be able to see...subject matter wise. Shit..Harvey Pekar and THE Alan Moore!!!! Congrats on everything!
Jim G.

chris stevens
03-30-2006, 08:52 PM
thanks jim. and your little girl will be decked-out in 'jj' stuff, trust me.

so one of those things i mentioned just panned-out. and it's a big nugget, boys, showin' all the color and some considerable weight...

great week this week, barring strikes of lightning...

:) :) :)

chris stevens
04-23-2006, 12:46 AM
this is supposed to be a proper journal so i apologize beforehand for this entry...not much about me or my book tonight, maybe monday, but it seems like too long since i wrote here and a few kind folks have asked me about that so...

seven dollars in my pocket but my heart is broke as hell.

jimi hendrix said that. it's the frame of an almost 12 minute blues where it sounds like jimi is crying/explaining over the phone, from a telephone booth, to his loved one what's going on with him at the moment...he echoes whatever he's singing, simultaneously, on the guitar...

at the time of this recording jimi was rich, more money than he ever needed or expected; he was the undisputed master of his field (guys like eric clapton and buddy guy cried when they heard hendrix, and then hid their faces); he had a stream of women color-to-color anxious to please him; he'd broken through creative/technical boundaries that weren't even recognized at the time...for my money, and it is my journal, no one has come close to his level of exploration and expertise playing guitar(or any other instrument) in the 35 years since he died.

it wasn't enough: bless him and mourn his weakness both for all it cost him, and us...lots of people who've lived too long, like our current president, should have died at 27, not jimi hendrix.

something comicky...

--the first two issues of paul pope's 'batman:100' were brilliant. the third sucked. hopefully, expectantly, it wraps up strong.

--'fist of justice' sounded a lot better before there were 10 artists doing the first batch of stories.

--'infinite crisis' is awful. no rhyme, no reason. i've got an i.q. of 136 and i couldn't understand it unless i blinked uncontrollably. i wish i had the office across from geoff john's wife on that studio lot, i could at least write shit that is just as incomprehensible and hackneyed if i had perpetual sunshine and a bank account belching zeroes.

--does anyone else read 'joe friday's' on newsarama and immediately head to the dentist 'cause your teeth hurt so ****ing bad from all that sweetly sickening bullshit. i can't wait until joe q is gone. he's a good superhero artist and (inhumans/mack withstanding) it should have been left at that.

--winsor mccay did this shit 100 years ago and he's still the best. really.

--bryan hitch is the most overrated artist of our time. maybe over-hyped is the more appropriate word. he's good. but did anyone ever see alan davis circa the 80's? maybe i read too much internet but millar's trumpeting him as 'everyone knows he's the best' gets old...i know a few pros of all stripes and none of them have ever mentioned bryan hitch, let alone lofted him up to such a position.

--there's someone out there now, putting together an anthology from whole cloth, that'll blow the socks off conventional 'marketing+ placement' theories in our field.


that's that for tonight.

04-23-2006, 12:55 AM
--there's someone out there now, putting together an anthology from whole cloth, that'll blow the socks off conventional 'marketing+ placement' theories in our field.
You mean, besides Jason Rodriguez's POSTCARDS anthology?

I've got high hopes for that in terms of reaching new comic book readers.

04-23-2006, 02:01 AM
You mean, besides Jason Rodriguez's POSTCARDS anthology?

I've got high hopes for that in terms of reaching new comic book readers.

Besides Jason Rodriguez's POSTCARDS anthology, Chris is putting together his own fascinating anthology.

Both books'll reach new comic readers.

04-23-2006, 10:43 PM
Besides Jason Rodriguez's POSTCARDS anthology, Chris is putting together his own fascinating anthology.

Both books'll reach new comic readers.
Sounds great. Can't wait to learn more!

chris stevens
05-28-2006, 01:18 PM
so alex toth died yesterday. one more constellation to look up to at night.
'space ghost', 'the herculoids', they were treasures of my early childhood, cartoons you cherished for their mystery ...they went head to head with the marvel/dc/disney/dd stuff and, despite their lack of existence outside of the hanna-barbera hour, more than held their own. at least for me.
mr. toth, 77, died in his home at his drawing board after a lengthy hospital stay. i'd like to picture him letting go of the brush with a smile on his face. leave the pain, the doubt, the lack of satisfaction, leave it for us, you provided enough pleasure along the way. chances are that's not how it was. but it should be.
and it strikes me how a man whose work is so simple and elegant was , by most accounts, so contentious and complicated...such is life, i guess, even for the masters.

chris stevens
06-05-2006, 11:13 PM

lucky me. it looks like james jean has made some of our stuff his latest blog/process topic. james is the great synthesizer, the understander...he's as articulate with words as he is elegant on the page. i'm just happy folks like asaf hanuka and kenichi hosine seemed to embrace the turn in direction these drawings inspired james to take. and i hope i didn't butcher their names too bad...

look at my man jason rodriguez, editor of 'elk's run', overseer of a book that clocked 7 SEVEN 7 harvey award nominations. none of you guys even clapped yet, from what i've seen. that's a major achievement, the harvey's, so i tip my proverbial cap. you should too.

jason, james, salutations.

06-06-2006, 10:17 AM
look at my man jason rodriguez, editor of 'elk's run', overseer of a book that clocked 7 SEVEN 7 harvey award nominations. none of you guys even clapped yet, from what i've seen. that's a major achievement, the harvey's, so i tip my proverbial cap. you should too.

jason, james, salutations.

And don't forget that we signed the deal with Random House.

I don't care about folks not clapping, though, I care about results - you know? I'll show off the results when I can because that's how you get more results. But cheering sections aren't needed - look at POSTCARDS - didn't have a cheering section for that and you know the full line-up.

j giar
06-06-2006, 10:29 AM
And don't forget that we signed the deal with Random House.

I don't care about folks not clapping, though, I care about results - you know? I'll show off the results when I can because that's how you get more results. But cheering sections aren't needed - look at POSTCARDS - didn't have a cheering section for that and you know the full line-up.
I don't care what you say.... Accomplishments deserve recognition. Especially in a community such as this. I've been wrapped up in my own project, as I'm sure is the case with alot of folks... I wasn't even aware and I'm some what embarrased. Congratulations Jason! I'm looking forward to both yours and Chris projects. Jim Giar

06-06-2006, 12:21 PM
I second that. I tend to miss lots of the good stuff and comment on tat, so it's no great surprise this slipped by me.

Good for you, Jason. Great news, dude.

chris stevens
06-25-2006, 03:53 PM
my poor journal, look how thin he's gotten. and those bags under the eyes, the nails that need to be cut...the tomato soup caked in his beard at the corners of his mouth, mouth which is either listless smile or bottom-lip pulling over top.

about a month ago i wrote this big entry, well-over a thousand words, detailing my experiences dealing with dc comics. i was shopping my book to them and, for a few weeks there, it was looking like dc would publish my book. then, over the course of a nerve-wracking game of phone-tag one afternoon(i'm not that cool yet that when i check my voice-mail and there are three messages from the guy i consider to be the best editor in comics that i don't instantly need a drink)it became clear that dc wouldn't be publishing my book.

that 1000 word entry was lost to a freeze-up. i wish everyone could have read it. it was a good piece of writing and it gave a pretty no-bullshit account of dealing with the big boys at a high level.

so i've been sitting here and licking my wounds for two months.
then, this weekend, i finally spit that fucking hairball out.
it's funny, you love someone enough sometimes that you want to kill them.
well, writing is the same way. dylan thomas said that a lot better than i just did; buy his 'collected poems' and see words burn and shine like gold mined from the deep blood of the heart. A poet who wasn’t afraid of the mystery of words or rhymes, and one who had no problem, as cryptic as he might have been, wearing his heart on his sleeve. The kind of pure word genius we rarely see. The rimbaud of cwonkin drive, as he fancied himself…

who are the poets of our language? comics?

there might appear to be a bias but I put farel dalrymple at the top of the list. Read his darkhorse ‘happy endings’ story, or ‘centillion’ from
meathaus #6. hell, just checkout his
sketchbook updates.

Paul pope, undoubtedly. I’ve heard pope describe comics done right as haiku, which made me smile.

Paul hornschmeir, whose name I never fail to mangle.

Alan moore

David mack

…it’s a weird, subjective question because there are no easy analogs, which is due mainly to the difference in the mediums.

Ciao for now.

chris stevens
07-07-2006, 10:32 PM
i've often laughed to myself, in chagrin, comparing the struggles a writer/producer faces working with artists to the generally unavoidable bullshit men go through with women. one of my favorite quotes dealing with women/ attraction/sex-as-master, comes from, not surprisingly, one of my favorite people, marlon brando. brando, in his 40's at the time and having bedded 100's of ravishing, beautiful women, offered this pearl of wisdom...

"it's a fine kind of pride women have that lies seperated half an inch from there anus."

which puts me in mind of plenty of artists, their pencils eternally half-an-inch off the drawing board, the promise of potential in the space between.

chris stevens
07-09-2006, 06:19 PM
http://img117.imageshack.us/img117/8733/7seascopy9os.th.jpg (http://img117.imageshack.us/my.php?image=7seascopy9os.jpg)

title spread illustrated by james jean.
james talked about the making of these spreads on his blog at www.jamesjean.com back in june. the originals wound up in a gallery show in oregon. i thought that was cool. but it hurt a bit too, and i don't think james knows this, because besides for those pages, i'm lucky enough to own all the originals from my book...jae, farel, arthur, they've all been kind enough(or so behind on their deadlines)to give me the originals. with james ,who was already doing me a huge favor in terms of commiting himself to a project that pays him a pittance compared to one illustration gig, i knew he commanded such a high price on the open market that there was no way, barring luck in the lottery, that i'd be coming into possession of those paintings.
now, given some success after this current run, believe me i'll be looking to buy them back.

uncle wya
07-09-2006, 11:49 PM
Man that 7 seas cover just looks awesome. Makes ya stop breathing just looking at it. That would be a nice piece to own. Good luck on all this stuff Chris. Can't wait to read this stuff, I hope you find a good publisher.

chris stevens
07-11-2006, 12:10 AM
hey wya, no bullshit, it warms my heart getting this response from you on that particular piece. thanks brother. the below have already been posted, by james and over on newsarama, but i'm posting them here for you (and who) because i know how much stuff i usually wind up missing...here are farel's and jae's spreads...

http://img117.imageshack.us/img117/1482/castlescopy2mf.th.jpg (http://img117.imageshack.us/my.php?image=castlescopy2mf.jpg)

http://img117.imageshack.us/img117/4209/heaven2hz.th.jpg (http://img117.imageshack.us/my.php?image=heaven2hz.jpg)

those buildings in the 'castles' spread, they're hand-drawn. no tricks. when that came to light in one awkward revelatory moment on the phone i was so shocked and delighted with the results that i lost sight of the fact they were ugly apartments meant only for emptying people out; places where you went to die, not to live.

07-11-2006, 01:07 AM
Hey, Chris. I saw this artwork when you pointed out James Jean's website in an earlier post, but I'm glad you posted it again because I never get tired of seeing the work related to this project. Everything looks amazing, and I already know how talented you are as a writer. I have such an admiration for you and all you've been fighting to accomplish. I'm sure I'll see this on the printed page sooner rather than later, my friend. Keep doing what you're doing.

07-11-2006, 07:42 AM
great stuff man

uncle wya
07-11-2006, 10:26 AM
Really nice, that Castles cover is great too. Took me a while of staring at it but I eventually saw that face, kinda wierd how it's not really hidden but other things pull your eyes away for a moment. Kinda cool. Thanks for showing those.

07-12-2006, 09:46 AM
I love that Castles cover. I know I've read a piece on that somewhere and I could swear I bookmarked it but of course now, I can't find it.

Can you give us the lowdown?

JRod said you're doing an anthology but I am totally out of the loop and would like to know about it...


chris stevens
07-14-2006, 01:32 AM
thanks, mike. that's heady praise i hope the work holds up to. i appreciate your support, always.

ted, can you imagine a hero's-quest horror story with a soundtrack by tricky circa 'suffocated love/poems/christian sands/tricky kid'? i bet you can. glad you liked this stuff.

hey wya. i like how you put that about the 'castles' spread. thanks!

elton, thanks for your interest...if you look through this thread you'll find a ton of art and information, including that 'castles' story complete in color...there're 5 stories written by me and the book is illustrated by arthur adams and nick bradshaw, nate powell, jae lee, quixote studios, james jean, and farel dalrymple.
so what's on your bathroom floor? reading-wise?
for me, tonight and much of the past week, it's been
gore vidal's 'palimpsest'...project:superior...jack kerouac's second vol. of letters...epicurus the sage, the old paradox press original...and the ciphers that are 'time' and 'newsweek'. and i'm a habitual reader, for whatever reason, of the 'usa today' sports section.

chris stevens
07-17-2006, 12:16 AM
they're fun, right?
growing up in the eighties, lists were everywhere. i think the 80's are when lists, ranking everything from basketball players to box-office grosses to burgers sold, found their position in current society, rising in regularity among the various media outlets as a cheap and easy way of reporting 'the facts', of capturing a situation in the moment at its essence--at least by the numbers. and then with the millennium approaching it was natural to list and order all these things, many of which(or many of whom)were native to the 20th century and thus in need of classification, for 'history's sake'...which seems to race by faster and faster...

you get a bit deeper into things, what ever your thing might be, and you see how shallow most lists are. especially in the arts. listing the best car of 2005 or the greatest centerfielder of all time, while open to discussion, isn't as subjective an undertaking as evaluating a creative endeavor. i see a list of 'greatest acting jobs ever' and in my mind, marlon brando's wrapped up 5 of the top 10, easy. someone else has deniro, someone else olivier, someone crowe, or pacino, or clift, or penn, or hoffman- all those guys, minus sir laurence, knew/know brando was the best :)

my top 10
comic book artists

1) frank miller
2) jack kirby
3) will eisner
4) winsor mckay
5) milt caniff
6) alex toth
7) paul pope
8) john buscema
9) joe kubert
10) jeff smith

so, lists.
they're fun. a good list, one with thought and consideration behind it, reflects a larger whole and attempts, without bias, to explain in pieces a continuity of worth pieced together from the good, bad, and ugly.
omissions often merit as much scrutiny, inciting an equal if not greater passion, as the included works. lists are partisan by their very nature.
despite their air of finality-- that lock of numbers-- debate and reorganization is near-constant, and organic.

j giar
07-17-2006, 11:56 AM
so what's on your bathroom floor? reading-wise?
for me, tonight and much of the past week, it's been
gore vidal's 'palimpsest'...project:superior...jack kerouac's second vol. of letters...epicurus the sage, the old paradox press original...and the ciphers that are 'time' and 'newsweek'. and i'm a habitual reader, for whatever reason, of the 'usa today' sports section.

Quentin Tarrintino Cinema of Cool
On Writing by Stephen King
Books I picked up while on vacation at this cool place called Psychotronic
Southern Fried Homicide/ an Anthology by Michael H. Price
Spaghetti Nightmares/ a book on Italian horror films by Luca Palmerini

07-17-2006, 01:18 PM
Quentin Tarrintino Cinema of Cool
On Writing by Stephen King
Books I picked up while on vacation at this cool place called Psychotronic
Southern Fried Homicide/ an Anthology by Michael H. Price
Spaghetti Nightmares/ a book on Italian horror films by Luca Palmerini

I'm surprised that people keep books of substance on their bathroom floor. Mine is currently populated by the past two issues of Publishers Weekly, Postcard Collector Magazine, and some of Robin's fashion mags. I’ll occasionally have a new (or, at least, previously unpurchased) collection of one-acts in there.

But we have a fine collection of handheld games. Yahtzee, Connect Four, Uno – plenty of mindless fun to waste the minutes away.

j giar
07-17-2006, 01:48 PM
I'm surprised that people keep books of substance on their bathroom floor.
Not only do I have books of substance in our bathroom Jason, but I also devote time to work on my own inventions. I am currently developing a concept for edible plates and silverware. ;) .... For the single folks on the go.

chris stevens
07-22-2006, 05:28 PM
we'll get back to bathroom reading eventually, but first, congratulations to
james jean on winning his third consecutive eisner award for 'best cover artist'. well deserved, my friend.
for my money, james should have taken home two eisners last night, best cover artist and 'best short story'. as much as i love and admire paul pope, 'teenage sidekick' wasn't even the best story in his issue of 'solo'--i'd give that distinction to 'on this corner', a story only pope could bring to life with such romantic vigor and keen observation.
but james' 'superior', from project: superior, is hauntingly beautiful, and a tantalyzing glimpse of the kind of work he is capable of producing as writer/artist.
james actually colored 'teenage sidekick', so i guess he gets 10% of that eisner, anyway.

congratulations to kikuo johnson as well, winner of the 'russ manning award for best new talent'. this one was easy.

the eisners, like any other major award show, skew towards the mainstream, reward the established, and sometimes generally baffle...alan moore was the best writer in comics in 2005? now, alan moore is the best writer in the history of the medium, with second place so far off you have to squint just to see it, but was he the best in 2005? was john cassaday's work on a few issues of 'x-men' and 'planetary' enough to justify calling him 'best penciler/inker'? geoff darrow is really the 'best writer/artist'?
i love all three of those guys-- moore is a hero to me-- but i think those three selections in particular deserve to be reconsidered.

chris stevens
07-30-2006, 11:00 PM
thoughts on recent comics read:

morry hollowell , colorist of 'civil war', is flat-out phenomenal. he brings as much depth and emotion to each panel at-hand as it's possible to pack on a page. probably the best coloring on a mainstream superhero book ever.

speaking of 'civil war', this series just destroys 'infinite crisis' in terms of a big crossover series. 'crisis' was a disaster of continuity-oriented storytelling... me personally, i've lost most of the connection i had to the the dc universe
with the last couple years worth of stories...you can only start over so many times and eventually you need to simply tell some good stories.
which i think millar is doing in 'civil war'. it's not comics as art, or even great superhero comics at their best, but it does turn the pages, and it looks great, and it makes sense, pitting icons and heroes against each other in a way that makes the reader engage and become invested in the outcome.

just read mignola/nord/stewart on conan #30. lovely. the frog panels made the whole thing more, the patience in those weird panels accenting the battle between conan and the frog monster exponentially...cary nord and dave stewart are in lock-step here, it's a wonderful, haunted look.

looking forward to the grant morrison batbook tonight...

chris stevens
08-16-2006, 01:00 AM
so i last posted a day before my birthday.

interesting since then...

chris stevens
08-20-2006, 05:54 PM
Listening to a live version of ‘crazy mary’, one of the great pearl jam songs.

Some random thoughts…

I miss frank miller. Even though his profile is higher than ever, the last 6 years is the least productive period of his 30 year career in comics. There hasn’t been a new ‘sin city’ story since ‘hell and back’, which, if memory serves, wrapped in early 2000. I’m a huge fan and admirer of dksa, which I acknowledge many people saw as an absolute failure, but that’s all frank’s done in 6 years, not counting a few shorts in dark horse specials and scripting the constantly delayed all star bat book. I remember being in my early teens when he took a break from comics during the Robocop/los angeles years…that was only a couple years, three maybe, but it seemed like forever. Then he came back with sin city and Martha Washington, hard boiled, rusty and the big guy…

I don’t begrudge the guy falling in love with a new way of telling stories, of wanting to grow and do new things and tackle different problems, and I think ‘sin city the movie’ was pretty much a perfect movie. I’ve got nothing but faith in his ‘spirit’ adaptation.
I’d just rather see that jesus graphic novel he’s hinted at in the past, or that tale of young hartigan, or any of the unlimited stories frank miller is capable of giving us with pen and ink and his own two hands.


myspace. Really wonderful networking tool. Totally free. Relatively painless. I got into it about two weeks ago when my buddy Jason Rodriguez started up the ‘postcards’ group.
Since then I’ve talked to a couple of artists I ‘met’ thru the site and we’ve hit it off. I was contacted by a publisher who I’ve been talking to over the course of the last week. i'm moving soon and all my shit is in flux and i actually had this publisher on dw looking through this thread while we talked on the phone because it was the quickest way to see a bunch of material--that was embarrassing, truthfully, but hey, you roll with the punches.Exchanged emails with some creators I’ve been a great admirer of but never had the chance to meet or contact before.
So, yeah, I give myspace a hearty endorsement.


I’m working now with an artist on what will wind up being my first published work.
We’ve been working pretty closely and I have learned a little bit the past week or so…how to listen better, hopefully. And it’s a wonderful thing, full of this total calming effect, listening to your partner, no matter the affair or nature of the endeavor, say the words you had hoped to hear.
On a personal level it’s humbling for me, knowing this will be my first ‘pro’ work, beating my own book, which I’ve been working on for about three years now, to the stores by any number of still-undetermined months. Up until this point I’ve avoided taking small gigs(the only kind I’ve been offered!) for various reasons, not the least of which is 99% of material offered to ‘write’ from is pure shit and the pay is comp copies or $15 bucks a page. Not that I’d work on the same projects if it was $150/page, because I can’t fake it, no matter how hard I try. So I’m lucky this gig came about, and that it’s a project you can be proud to be associated with, and I’m looking forward to seeing it in my hands…


listening to mars volta ‘cicatriz part 3’…omar Rodriguez is a bad motherfucker.


chris stevens
08-22-2006, 12:16 AM
http://img231.imageshack.us/img231/4465/anthology8copy2sa.th.jpg (http://img231.imageshack.us/my.php?image=anthology8copy2sa.jpg)

there's a colorist pay thread running right now that got me thinking about colorists. the above was a color test arranged by nick bradshaw with a studio whose name escapes me at the moment. i showed this to the handful of colorists i know and respect--there are plenty i respect but i only know a few of them--folks like ted wing and june chung and farel dalrymple. their general response, while positive, affirmed my feeling that we hadn't quite found our match. now, originally, june chung was going to color the story...she colored the big whale pic some of you might have seen.
it was an early thrill of the whole process, showing the first art adams pics to jae lee and then having him call the next day asking if june could color them. i was more than happy with the job june did, having only seen it on a computer screen;i was floored when we unfurled the first poster in my partner matt's living room, me and matt and farel and jasen lex all just stunned by the quality. chances are, and i intend on having a long and fruitful run at this thing, i'll never see something of mine come to life like that again. arthur, funny enough, didn't share my enthusiasm. after going back and forth over it for a few minutes i asked him 'well, what don't you like?', to which he replied, completely serious, 'too blue.'
the story takes place entirely underwater.
so when june had to bow out it was practically a relief, despite my own sense of loss not seeing her inhabit the whole 'seven seas' world with me.

now i'm hoping dave stewart will handle the color art on this one. the range of his current work has really been impressive.

chris stevens
09-02-2006, 11:13 PM
farel dalrymple finally updated his journal:


check out that bit, about 3/4 down, with the apple and the 1-2-3...that's what i call genius cartooning, the gift for communication married to a wealth of craft which in turn produces the kind of sublime, real-time movement we usually only catch in brief, forgotten glimpses throughout the course of each of our own everydays.

09-10-2006, 09:34 AM
farel dalrymple finally updated his journal:


check out that bit, about 3/4 down, with the apple and the 1-2-3...that's what i call genius cartooning, the gift for communication married to a wealth of craft which in turn produces the kind of sublime, real-time movement we usually only catch in brief, forgotten glimpses throughout the course of each of our own everydays.

oh i bookmarked the hell out of that site!
thanks chris!

chris stevens
09-12-2006, 01:23 AM
is there a sadder, more hopeful, hopelessly defiant song than john lennon's 'across the universe'? maybe the posies' sprawling 'coming right along' or the devastating 'stupidity tries' by elliot smith. cat steven's 'trouble'? maybe hendrix's 'bold as love'...

anger, she smiles...


glad to be of service, carl. you should go back through all the entries, there's some pretty sweet stuff all throughout.


i'm guessing any faithful reader of this journal already knows about jason rodriguez's upcoming 'postcards' anthology. if not...


i almost dropped out of the book. which is to say, yeah, i'm in it. but back in june i almost picked up the phone to call jason and say 'thanks, but i can't get it done'. i was really demoralized and doubting my abilities after a rough rejection from an editor whose opinion meant a lot to me and i just couldn't see writing anything. the deadline came and went and two days later i picked myself up a little and got on the phone with jason. i bitched and moaned about my life for a minute or two and jason listened and then hit me with something so real, so let's-cut-through-the-shit and get to brass tacks(whatever the fuck that ever meant) that i only had one option afterwards: write the script.
what were these words of wisdom?
'what the fuck does that have to do with 'postcards'?

here's the layout for a spread from 'blue', the lead story in 'postcards'.
gia bao tran is the illustrator;he's someone i think it's safe to say you'll be hearing more from down the line.

http://img167.imageshack.us/img167/7195/sketch89bb9.th.jpg (http://img167.imageshack.us/my.php?image=sketch89bb9.jpg)

09-12-2006, 04:05 AM
is there a sadder, more hopeful, hopelessly defiant song than john lennon's 'across the universe'? maybe the posies' sprawling 'coming right along' or the devastating 'stupidity tries' by elliot smith. cat steven's 'trouble'? maybe hendrix's 'bold as love'...

"Moving Right Along", Kermit and Fozzie

j giar
09-12-2006, 10:54 AM
"Moving Right Along", Kermit and Fozzie

Hatebreeds "I will be heard!"
Slipknots "People = Shit"

chris stevens
09-28-2006, 11:09 PM
on the bathroom floor:

bob dylan's 'chronicles' vol.#1.

'finder:talisman' tpb--my favorite 'finder'! read it if you haven't.

newspapers and toilet paper like 'time' and 'newsweek'(gift subscription, i'm not being a hypocrite, i'm just amazed, as someone who never really read those magazines before, at how completely facile and shallow they are...)

song of the minute: 'morning theft', jeff buckley.

below might be my favorite, like choosing between children, of the title spreads james jean did for the book. this one actually led to new character development, and, by extension, new and unexpected turns in the story.
the artist credits on the story have changed and are not reflected in the copy here.

http://img69.imageshack.us/img69/2931/junglejanecopy9qi.th.jpg (http://img69.imageshack.us/my.php?image=junglejanecopy9qi.jpg)

chris stevens
10-06-2006, 07:19 PM
Sometimes i beat my chest like a mock King Kong to get a laugh out my wife, pulling my bottom lip over the top and casting my eyes down. then i hunch over slightly as i walk away, knees bent in slow stride to shuffle down the stairs into the kitchen to cook dinner...if we're getting on ok there might even be an 'ook, ook' tossed over shoulder towards giggling remonstrations...

why do i mention this? because when i first saw the above, james jean's title spread for 'jungle jane', i kept thinking of the peter jackson 'king kong' movie, which i had been watching on dvd that same week. in particular i thought of the timeless tender quality of eternal, platonic love between beauty and beast which i felt the jackson remake handled so well; the sort of calming love the nature of which allows mothers to bring to babies crying in the night quiet and peace. the wish of everything-is-alright, or could be…

I didn’t like it at first, can’t pinpoint what it was about it reminding me of kong that upset me but it was just that exactly, that it reminded me at all of anything. Kong probably had a lot less to do with it than my own preciousness regarding the project. Thankfully then, as things turned in my head and set-in, i saw it all more clearly, realized whole new movements that set my preconceived notions of the plot on end...there's been a new story to tell since then, and that has thrilled me in a rare way. in previous posts i've called james 'the great understander' or 'synthesizer'. with jane in anti-sillhouette, gently approaching her nemesis, the ape warlord, ogun, the laying on of hands, forgiveness, understanding...all branches we hoped to bend...

sorry, the word 'mock' drifted me into a dostoevesky moment...writers copying that guy are like comic artists copying kirby...you'll never have THAT power.

i'm excited about spx next week. i'm staying with farel dalrymple, stephen gilpin, and jasen lex. farel does 'pop gun war' and is currently working with jonathan lethem on marvel's upcoming 'omega the unknown' ten issue series.
for my money he's the best storyteller in comics.
gilpin has that rare sense of whimsy seuss or mcmanus or waterson have ,he does childrens books for folks like random house.
lex is just about the best guy you ever could meet. just typing about him makes me happy. check out his stuff by googling his name or 'gypsy lounge'.
he makes comics no one else is making.
Same can be said for jason rodriguez, whom I look forward to seeing and plan on spending at least one drunken evening with. jason is the producer/editor of the upcoming anthology ‘postcards’. He also edits the book ‘elk’s run’, a 7 time harvey-award nominee coming from random house I think in march. And I’ll get to meet my ‘postcards’ collaborator, the artist gia bao tran, for the first time.
I hope to see leland purvis and elizabeth genco there, and to get a chance to meet becky cloonan and chris pitzer and to peruse many fine books along the way.
so, that i'm looking forward to.

10-08-2006, 02:37 PM
Same can be said for jason rodriguez, whom I look forward to seeing and plan on spending at least one drunken evening with. jason is the producer/editor of the upcoming anthology ‘postcards’. He also edits the book ‘elk’s run’, a 7 time harvey-award nominee coming from random house I think in march. And I’ll get to meet my ‘postcards’ collaborator, the artist gia bao tran, for the first time.

I hope to have about 75% of Postcards with me, as well. It'll be exciting - look forward to seeing you.

chris stevens
10-17-2006, 01:26 AM
just getting into slippers and settled on pillows, spent from spx and the long, bittersweet week i'll detail in a day or so...meanwhile, here's one read on the con...


chris stevens
10-29-2006, 06:16 PM
two links i think you should take a look at:



the first is farel dalrymple updating his sketchbook stuff. it's stunning.

the second is a link to kenichi hoshine's site, in tandem with james jean, 'process recess'. kenichi is offering prints from his end of the collaboration. they are drop-dead gorgeous.

i mean to write about spx, my best-ever comix time, maybe after dinner...

check out those links, good stuff there.

10-31-2006, 09:35 AM
GOd I should have been at this forum earlier.But the liefeld threads alwasys pushed me away. I hate to involved in anything relating to Liefeld good or bad.And for that I missed out this great thread.I Really like the way you write stuff here.And Yes the art is beautiful too.
Beautiful work sir. And From now on I will regularly check this thread out and also leave my reflections on your posts.

chris stevens
11-02-2006, 01:23 AM
thanks, aghori. i saw your 'bullies' pages. you're on your way. i left my thoughts there....

i meant to write a long, lyrical account of my spx week...ain't happening.
but to do it in quick, punchy lines won't work either. i'll get at it, hopefully soon. but i had a wonderful time. stayed with farel dalrymple, joey belden, stephen gilpin, and jasen lex. spent solid hours with jason rodriguez; we've only met a few times, in-person, but i'm as comfortable with jason as i am with friends i've known since grade-school. met my 'postcards' collaborator, gb tran. saw nate powell for the first time in too long. got to sit and drink alone with paul pope for a long while and that was cool; i guess i should be blase about that but paul's a benevolent master so i can't fake lack of enthusiasm. introduced jason to bob schreck , whom i believe he's well on his way to becoming this generations'...that's a high compliment, in my book, regardless of how poor my punctuation might be in this instance.
lots more, lots and lots, i'm just beat. maybe by next spx i'll have it done. spx rocks. easily my favorite event.

in the next week or so i'd like to post this interesting email exchange between jason, gb, and myself concerning our story 'blue' from the upcoming 'postcards'. it's all about background and feeling and emotional content and i think it's got some value in it for those of you so inclined. it taught me a thing or two about the process of understanding and explaining, something i assumed myself to be expert at but realized, somewhat dumbly, that in the realm of an other, there are no masters.

on the bathroom floor:

meathaus #5: i could fill a page about this, the most underlooked anthology in modern comics history. this one has my personal fave brandon graham story.

the wordsworth dictionary of phrase and fable: indispensable for any reasonable fantasist or curious soul. old mr. brewer should be proud somewhere if pride seeps into bone without muddying dirt.

the portable william blake: 'The good are attracted by Men's perceptions,
And think not for themselves;
Till experience teaches them to catch
And to cage the Fairies & Elves.

And then the Knave begins to snarl
And the hypocrite to howl;
And all his good friends shew their private ends,
And the Eagle is known from the Owl.'

the ocean world of jacques cousteau: a 20 volume hardcover collection from the early-70's that i found on the curb being offered for trash collection when i was parking to vist my mom-mom in the hospital three days ago. fucking people. who throws books away? old people i'll excuse, but anyone else, christ. take them to a library or thrift shop or hospital or whatever, books aren't meant to be collected with the rest of the garbage. something about it is just inherently offensive. anyway. the guy, cousteau, figures in one of my stories and is a man i admire so it was a good score for me. his opening and closing essays in each volume are awesome.

chris stevens
11-04-2006, 02:46 AM
spx highlight#1 in no order and comprising a series of 'x' amount of memories:

sitting in a bath in the hotel, unending hot water flowing over my fat body as i am hung-over near-death on friday morning reading jonathan lethem's script for 'omega the unknown' #4;hammers destoying both sides of your temples, only weed and hot water separating you from miserable death, and reading this script you'd call it even. wow.

11-04-2006, 08:36 AM
Who reads Jonathans script on a Friday morning?
I guess you do .I want to read it too but dont know where to get these darn scripts.
Hehe water fat body funny.

chris stevens
11-11-2006, 07:27 PM
http://img170.imageshack.us/img170/4326/blueinks50001wv4.th.jpg (http://img170.imageshack.us/my.php?image=blueinks50001wv4.jpg)

from jason rodriguez's 'postcards'. this is part of the lead story, 'blue'. i wrote it, gia bao tran illustrated.

more later...

j giar
11-11-2006, 09:44 PM
Beautiful pen and ink work Chris. You must be happier than shit!
Has the artist done any other work I can check out?

chris stevens
11-18-2006, 03:29 PM
"this cruise i took back in 2000, i had the chance to hang out with neil gaiman a few nights and spent as much of those nights as i could talking to him about myth and history and heart, all that jazz...great nights...but i guess the gist of it was we were both people who understood early on all gods were real."

that's from a chat athena rose and i were having earlier, we got into myth and that popped in my head. saved it because i'm in a bit of a rut right now and that might turn out to be the best thing i write all day.

hey, jim. yes, i was happy with the job gb tran did on this story. it's a really personal story that has taken on added relevance and weight for me these last weeks due to real life circumstances and gb didn't let me down. what i posted isn't even the final look, there's more depth and detail and tone in the finished pages. here's gb's site:


he's a sweet guy with a bright future ahead of him in comics. 'blue' is the strongest work of his career and the beginning of a new period for him. i've got stories i'd like to relate in regards to our working relationship on this project but i'll hold off until jason makes some future announcements concerning 'postcards'. but here's a funny little nugget...

spx highlight #2: i knew gb was going to be at the show. we had talked on the phone many times but had never met in person or seen pictures of one another. we had plans to meet and were both looking forward to it.
the night before the show, in the hotel room with farel and my long lost cousin murray, a dc native, i polished off 3/4 of a fifth of johnnie red, had 8-12 rum&cokes, and washed it down with a triple-shot of grand marnier...fun at the time, yes, but living, dying hell the next morning. by early afternoon it was down to living hell, and by 3 i was ready to head off to the show. but i was in no shape to meet new people, especially a collaborator.
so i passed by gb, who was set up at his table, 5 or 6 times. i was glad to see he had people around him each time, buying books, talking, getting sketches. eventually some of us went and grabbed some greek food, and, slowly, got back to drinking. once we returned to the show i made my way over to gb and waited on the outskirts until there was zero traffic around him. i walked up and picked up his book, "contents" #2--a book he had generously sent me a month or so before--and flipped through it. as he was saying 'hi' i cut him off and said 'so, you did this?', to which gb replied ,'yes'.
'all of it?', i asked.
'yes', he answered.
'it sucks, man', i said with a straight-face.
gb kind of laughed, moving backwards almost, and said 'yeah, well, i'm trying...'
i extended my hand, smiling, and said 'hey, brother. chris stevens. nice to meet you.'

we had a good laugh after.

farel dalrymple has updated his journal. check out the kid with the burning hair and those beads of sweat on his forehead.


exciting time for me. i'm getting started on a big graphic novel with one of the artists from my book. have a tuesday deadline to hit. should have some art to share early december. beginning to see that this upcoming year will be the last year i'll have to do anything else besides write.

chris stevens
11-19-2006, 03:24 PM
i've been going through old notebooks, sporadically, mostly when i'm bored and nostalgic and stuck in places i'm trying to get out of. the wisdom of this is questionable, i know, but sometimes you find things that make you feel better and, feeling better, you move forward with less resistance. the past as salve: from proust to kerouac to franzen to craig thompson, a handy tool...

poem from an old notebook, circa 2000, written driving down to virginia to see pearl jam(lousy show)---

'why i don't turn my eyes away from roadkill'

so that someone was there to attest
to their deaths and not let their
tiny souls go unnoticed--so that
the blood that burst out of them
was not painless, and so that all
of God's creatures come to know each other
in passing.'


and here's a lyric from the same notebook...

'love production'

the last straw's just your introduction
nothing she does will drive you away
you know you need a love reduction
but you've built this ceiling of math
out of feelings of clay

all your memories are in a state of flux and
your love's been out all day
you fill the hole but don't feel the suction,
it's just another love production
it's just another love production
just another love production


one more for now, written nov. '00...

'leave warm piss
in a Coke bottle long enough
and it starts to smell
like roasted peanuts
when you open it.'

chris stevens
12-01-2006, 01:05 AM
http://img139.imageshack.us/img139/108/15ze9.th.jpg (http://img139.imageshack.us/my.php?image=15ze9.jpg)

...and a small piece of back-and-forth that went into making this story as strong, true, as it could be...notes from me to the artist with editor/producer jason rodriguez's comprehensive additions...


Smithville was a place you drove out to in the afternoon, the early afternoon, and it just spoke 'country' to you. Driving out on dirt roads, no lights, leading to this old village set against a small lake. Once there, it seemed quaker…cobblestone paths leading through simple gardens, pathways lining their way around through free-ranging geese and ganders to gift shops decorated to resemble old claus' holiday factories. You put a quarter into a feed dispenser, like a gumball machine, and lured the ducks and big geese towards you with a handful of dried-corn, always a little weary-- filled with wonder or not-- of those geese and their nipping off your fingertips.


brigantine was a desolate town, the far end of the island off atlantic city's undeveloped east coast, disconnected enough so that there was only one way in or out, 'the mile stretch', a bridge leading from atlantic city's marshy outskirts onto the shores of brigantine.

there was a famous haunted house, notorious, at least in the local 8 year olds’ imagination, for its horror and fright...truth, is, gb, i was never there...that shit scared the hell out of me until i was about 11, and the infamous brigantine haunted house, built on the beach, burned down before i ever mustered the guts to visit. but in fact, it's become a wonderful phantom of memory.

the north shores of brigantine, stretching north, are still wild and lead from beach into long thistle grass and marsh, with small red foxes darting in and out of sight at night.

Grandmother scene

The residence and relationship of the grandmother and mother:

These two have lived together for 25 years now. Both of their husbands are dead, and have been for 20 years. Both were working women who raised their children with little to no help from their husbands, two men who died young(61 and 40)and basically never found their place in the world, alcoholism and depression walking lock-step with them to the grave.

The scene can be viewed as living in the aftermath, gb. It's this small second floor apartment over a liquor store crammed with 30 years worth of memories and past lives and pieces of junk only mothers keep. The mother and daughter share the deepest of loves, at this point they're symbiotic, but that love, the confined familiarity, skims the surface of hate, skipping like a stone on the water from good moments to bad, from love to lunacy. At this point for the narrator visiting his parents is like stepping through a minefield.
jason’s notes (to gb)

Here’s some to start you off:

A great interactive view of Lucy the Elephant:

Storybook land – the official website has plenty of great images but they’re all embedded in a flash side show (boo flash). http://www.storybookland.com: http://neptune.lunarpages.com/~mindsc1/brig01/storybook_land_shoe.jpg
Park Map: http://www.storybookland.com/images/ParkMap2005_150_9.pdf

Wildwood – little known fact, the first time I felt up a girl was on the plume ride in Wildwood. That same day I threw up after riding one of those spinning rides. To be 13 again.:

Ocean City:


As far as Smithville goes, I’m not finding anything golden, but here’s Smithville’s official website. Maybe there’s some inspiration to be found there: http://www.smithvillenj.com/
Ok, dug a bit more and found:
This one is clutch, it’s so “city boy in the country”: http://www.partydepotusa.com/images/smithville-117.jpg

For these spread I’m seeing more of a composite than a single image – something that captures a feeling. Storybook land is childhood – that cheap amusement park you went to because your parents couldn’t afford to take you to Disney Land. You wanted to go there every-fucking-week. In Brooklyn we had Nellie Bly (which I’m likely spelling wrong). I used to beg my parents to take me there. Mini-golf, the boat ride, feeding the goats. My favorite ride was the big potato-sack slide. Looking back at it now, it’s a dump, but we take our younger cousins there and they think it’s the greatest place in the world. Glorified carnivals, that’s all these places really are. Rigged games with cheap prizes and fried foods. But as a kid, it’s a fucking vacation every weekend.

Smithville is city boy in the country. Country stores and ice cream parlors. Lakes to feed ducks. Everything is easy for the tourist but different enough to feel country.

Boardwalks, to me, were always about the spectacle. The video games, the performers – he haunted houses, of course – buying novelty t-shirts. On one trip to Wildwood I bout a shirt that said, “Hey, Pee-Wee! Button your fly!” I thought it was the greatest shirt of all time. Until the following year when I returned to Wildwood and my parents bought me an airbrushed Wolverine t-shirt. I’ll never forget that – they paid 50 dollars for that mother fucker and we were broke as shit. There were the rides, mostly spinning ones designed to get you to hurl. I actually cried my first time on the Gravitron, this thing you stood in and it spun around and stuck your ass to the wall. I looked over at my cousin Steven and my face got stuck to the side, my tongue was stretching out of my mouth. Scary shit for a kid.

Chris, feel free to jump in and smack me around.

12-01-2006, 04:08 PM
Chris, you can use this link for the image: http://www.eximiouspress.com/Banners/15.jpg

Or the rotating banner:

Just treat it like an image:
It rotates when you hit refresh. Fresh!

I love the way our notes helped form the spread, by the way.

chris stevens
12-24-2006, 02:47 AM
song of the minute: 'little wing/maggot brain'
pearl jam

this ten minute epic from a 1995 concert in wisconsin has become legendary in certain circles. starts off with pearl jam, joined by the red hot chili peppers drummer chad smith, covering jimi hendrix's 'little wing', and majestically flows into a devastating, draining, all-or-nothing shot at the early 70's parliament classic 'maggot brain' by pj's lead guitarist mike mccready. somewhere that day eddie hazel was smiling.
on the bathroom floor: 'letter to an imaginary friend'
thomas mcgrath

huge poem that never, ever loses its lyricism or heart. and the language just slays me. the kind of work that recalls, wholly, periods of time long gone but still breathing as long as you're reading.

some rejected art from my book...

this one was close, but the colors needed to be approached differently.
http://img290.imageshack.us/img290/3329/anthology1copykw4.th.jpg (http://img290.imageshack.us/my.php?image=anthology1copykw4.jpg)

this was the best of a batch of rejected pages from 'jungle jane'.
http://img112.imageshack.us/img112/3083/jane017wc1.th.jpg (http://img112.imageshack.us/my.php?image=jane017wc1.jpg)

12-25-2006, 04:53 PM
The coloring job on the first one isn't bad. I think it needs to capture the crushing depth of the seas first but I'd hold onto the contact info for the guy who did that.

I won't comment on the second one.

chris stevens
12-28-2006, 12:20 AM
killing time between phone calls...time difference, in certain instances, is an opponent of enthusiasm; in others it's an aid. again, the great dichotomy. hard anywhere to look on a thing with only one set of eyes.

farel dalrymple, whom i intend to get drunk with on friday and discuss our next story together, has updated his journal:


everyone should read this.

'...and everyone of
them words rang true and flowed
like burning coal...'


someone in the creator community asked about inspiration...here's the only surviving figment of a longer thought i was in the process of emailing my friend and editor jason rodriguez back around thanksgiving...

'if life was the fire and experience the forge, well, booze was the motherfucking hammer.'

chris stevens
01-01-2007, 05:46 PM
song of the minute: 'ain't no way', aretha franklin...

queen of soul indeed. three or four moments here reach such heights, vocally and emotionally, yet she's always in command and never histrionic.

on the bathroom floor: christmas gift comics...

two "100 bullets' trades, the first 14 issues. my hat's off to brian azzarello. book's awesome. risso's a monster. i'm late to the party but fuck, i'm here having fun.

"ultimates" vol. #2 trade: ultimate valkryie's got a great ass.

this is a strange new year's for me.
my wife is overseas: where i initially thought this time apart would be welcomed, instead i find myself uneasy. the hard-won rhythms of the past two and a half years of near constant togetherness became a sort of internal clock for my own creative life and now it strikes dumbly, sounding off the hours but with no sense of the actual moment taking place, the thrill of minutes diminished without that press of time put forth by nagging and needing-to-do…I see raymond carver winking at me from the grave…

also, my mother just had major surgery and I am her caregiver for the next two weeks or so. I’ve had a very close, very loving, extremely volatile relationship with my mother, especially over the past 5 years, and being back in her orbit on a fulltime basis has proven more difficult than I imagined it would be; I constantly find myself asking for more patience and keep coming up short. This situation is compounded by the fact my grandmother, who spent the last 27 years with my mom or me, is spending her first holiday in a dementia unit at a nursing home. Compassion and reason take you so far in situations such as this, then, the retreat towards alcohol.

…then I got fired from my job day after Christmas. I’ve been working with brain injury folks. It pays shit but was rewarding in more important ways. I got fired for missing days to take family to major doctor appointments/surgeries.

I guess all that doesn’t sound like ‘happy new year’ but hey, that’s just the way it is. Today.
Maybe for a few more days.
But it won’t be like that forever.
2007’s sitting there, waiting to be remembered.

When I come to this day a year from now I hope I can say my family is healthy, that my marriage is sound; that, by any measure, I’ve become a better man.
I hope I can look back and say I worked harder, that I fulfilled my potential; that I paid off old debts and removed the weight of coin from conscience, removed money-folly from friendships…

by the end of this year i'll be able to write full-time. that's my belief, the only thing getting me by on an inner level. i'll be here letting folks see how that goes.

01-01-2007, 08:07 PM
Hard times indeed...

Chris, I'm constantly encouraged by the posts you make in this journal. Your writing is amazing, as it has always been, but you're honest, forthright and sincere every time and I respect you a lot for it. I have a feeling that good things are ahead for you this year, and I'm certain it'll only be a matter of time before your talent is recognized by an ever-widening audience. Take care of yourself, and here's to hoping your life and trials take a turn for the better. I'll be rooting for you, my friend.

01-02-2007, 02:24 AM
Real life has the damndest way of intruding on comic-making life.

I feel you, Chris. Hang in there. The mere thought of writing full-time is so far out of my vision, I can't even picture contemplating that in any realistic sense.

I hope you get it this year. And then, maybe 2008 will be my year ; )


chris stevens
01-11-2007, 07:23 PM
thanks, mike.
thanks, elton.

you're good eggs.

one of the truly human and kindly things about our particular endeavor here--making comics--is that, for all the snipping and sniveling and stone-cold stupidity you might encounter, there are genuinely decent folk who dream as deeply as you do and wish you well along the way. i've met my share of louts and losers in my short time in the comix game and i must say, the few good people i've met outweigh them all.


i'm headed to manhattan tomorrow to have lunch with an editor from 'vertigo'.
it's a no-pressure meeting, more of a chance to shoot the shit and see if anything sticks to the wall. it's fun going up to dc. you run into editors and production people who you've only known as names in the credit box or indices before being introduced with a handshake or smiling nod. you get to see original art and mock-ups of covers, which is my favorite part of things, and you overhear various little gossips. so i'm looking forward to it. i've got one project to pitch that i'm real curious to see the response to. the editor is a big advocate of the artist involved and the story is 'vertigo' enough that it just might click. who knows? not i. but i'm determined to enjoy the finding-out.


ceasar had a slave who, during celebrations of the great man, whispered into his ear..."you are just a man". well, just as the young ceasar cried before an ancient statue of alexander, acknowleding his own lack of accomplishment, i'd cry before a statue of ceasar. never been in front of one, but i would.
instead of those tears, here's a look at an honest failure on my part...a letter i wrote to alan moore, delivered to him personally last may by master colorist jose villarubia...

"Dear Alan,

How are you, sir?

I must admit this is the most difficult thing I have ever written or attempted to write…
I will try to be quick and painless; there is no way around it but to get to the point: I believe in telling stories in comics. I am in love with it and have been my entire life.
A lot of that is because of you.
I want to offer you the opportunity to do what you do best…What you do like no one else can do; Write comics. Create worlds. Thrill generations. Make readers better. And to do it and have fun! Just have fun…you’ve earned it and believe me, Alan, the kids of tomorrow need it!
So in a nutshell I’m asking you to please look at my package that Jose is so kindly providing and to contact me however and whenever it is convenient for you, and to please, Alan, please, consider creating something with me! Hopefully the artists involved in my book prove that I’m capable of putting together a serious cast of collaborators and working well with them…I know you’ve worked with Arthur before…this was my first project, Alan, and it was done, as you could imagine, amidst all the peril and nerves of a young marriage, poorness, and general wanting-to-run that comes at that certain point in your life mid-to-late twenties.

You would own and control, in every aspect, 100% of your creations, Alan, and would suffer zero editorial input outside of whatever we set on in our initial talks…nothing in this would be mutable or with stipulations, it will be as stated here in perpetuity, 100% ownership in any form for you. No backdoor to screwing you over, curse those bastards.

I just want to make great books. I know we’re all bones after a while and then, not even that… I took my shot and I’m happy with my initial effort but that’s just baby-steps…I’m dreaming of comics big and limitless like what Winsor McCay and Jack Kirby dreamed…

I’d like for you to join me, we’ll skip all the rules and conventions, Alan…there are new ways of getting it out there now, whole new audiences who are craving the good stuff, the real stuff, the books that will make them wish and wonder, make them worry, maybe even make them write…

I’ve sent along my contact information, various materials from my book, and, hidden between pages, a big invisible kiss.

Thank you for your time, Alan.

Chris Stevens"

i don't think alan ever read it or saw the materials i'd sent him. i received a polite handwritten note from melinda gebbie, mr. moore's wife(?) and the artist of 'lost girls', saying basically thank you but at this time alan won't be interested in reviewing the material. i thanked jose profusely for the go- between and forgot all about it until recently. looking back on that time, i think what got me up for something so audacious was that i'd just gotten harvey pekar involved in jason rodriguez's 'postcards', coming in june. so i had some momentum and thought fuck it, why not? still feel that way, as my intentions were honest and pure, but i thought i'd share an interesting instance of failure.

j giar
01-11-2007, 08:01 PM
I don't think you could consider that a failure, Chris. Having the balls to write Alan "fuckin" Moore a letter and knowing it, at least, made it's destination...that's an unmeasurable accomplishment. And judging from the sincerity of your letter. I can only feel that he'll remember you for that. Good luck at your lunch!
Glad to see your doing better. Stay cool! Later. Jim

chris stevens
01-11-2007, 08:26 PM
thanks, jim.
do you get the emails i send you? just wanted you to know that, like mike&elton, you, sir, are a good egg. thanks very much.

i'm chuckling at myself reading through what i posted and noticing how i capitalized the letter to alan moore...i never capitalize, be it editors, artists, whomever. not out of some e.e. cummings creative stance but just because for me, as i hear it in the voice i'm trying to bring true to the page, capitals mean nothing.

j giar
01-11-2007, 08:40 PM
Yeah..I tried to give you a shout back...empty out your PM's Misterman.
I still owe you that phone call...someday!

01-11-2007, 11:49 PM
I'm with Jim, Chris. I wouldn't consider that a failure by any definition of the word. The letter was intelligent, sincere and inspiring. It takes brass ones to do something like that, and I've got all the respect in the world for you for trying it. You're not just a good egg, my friend.You're a whole carton.

Hope the meeting goes well. I look forward to hearing about it. Maybe that worm has turned.

01-12-2007, 01:36 AM
Glad to be considered a good egg. That ranks pretty high on the compliment scale in my book.

I am keenly interested in your lunch with Mr. Vertigo Editor for my own nefarious reasons, so I'd love to hear how that goes. Right now I can only dream of getting to New York, but I will be in San Diego this summer so I am already getting stoked about that.

Kudos to you for taking a shot like that with Alan Moore. Postcards inspired me in a similar vein. I emailed Gene Colan to introduce myself and invite him to do a Postcards story with me, should my pitch make the cut.

I never heard back from him. But I'm glad I made the effort.

chris stevens
01-16-2007, 02:59 PM
so i went up to dc comics on friday. i took greyhound from atlantic city to port authority. $31 bucks round-trip. much cheaper than driving. the bus ride is direct, no stops, and i always try to sit in the very last row, three seats to myself. so it's a comfortable little journey.
on these types of trips my book bag becomes a bar. i have a pint of scotch, or a 1/5 depending on the occasion, and a big bottle of rum. liter of pepsi. convenience store cup with a lid and straw. the only problem here is ice. which is where the scotch comes in handy, sipped warm reviving the flashes in your mind dulled by otherwise sleepy rhythm of the road.

once off the bus and out of the station you’re in nyc. The first thing that always hits me is just how many good looking women there are. phew. gorgeous women everywhere, all colors and sizes, different looks and languages, just this huge beauty flowing past you on the street.
then there is the sense of freedom, of life, of the activity around you. very invigorating.

dc is on broadway, right across from the ed sullivan theatre. you enter on the side of the building and check in with security. from there you go to the third floor. from there a dc receptionist greets you, calls ahead, and you’re off to your appropriate floor. in the past it’s been 6, dc’s ‘main’ floor. this time it was 7, the vertigo floor. you meet another receptionist, who’s expecting you, and then an assistant editor comes out and ushers you thru the halls and into the office of the editor.

and that’s where the stuff happens you’re really not supposed to talk about. hell, if you’re lucky enough, you’re not allowed to talk about it.

i’ll relate this great story, though. told to me on friday by bob schreck. It illustrates, at least as I took it, that eternal, elusive question ‘what are editors looking for?’

--alex toth gets a call in the early 70’s from a cartoon company asking him to design ‘shadow’ stuff for a new cartoon. toth, gruff irrepressible master he was, says, ‘you don’t want me, you want this kid kaluta'.
mike kaluta was, at the time, doing seminal work on the revived ‘shadow’ comic. but the company keeps insisting and toth keeps resisting, saying ‘no, dammnit, you want kaluta!’. This goes on to a point and finally toth says ‘fine, I’ll do it. but you’re gonna pay!’
toth does two pages of design work for the company, sends it in. time goes by. he hasn’t been paid. he calls the company. ‘what the hell’s going on?’
the company says ‘well, we’ve been meaning to call you. do you have mike kaluta’s phone number?’—

great story punctuated by this: schreck is in the home of cartoonist matt wagner. wagner owns one of the toth ‘shadow’ pages. it’s framed hanging in the entrance of the house and schreck finds himself staring at it. all it is is the logo, in white, ‘the shadow’. The rest of the page is black. ink. nothing but black. but…
but then you see that he’s in there, in the black, that the shadow’s been there the whole time.
and that, I think, says it all.

02-16-2007, 12:52 PM

I just found this thread...sorry to come to the party late but it's a very interesting read. I didn't even realize you were from Jersey. I'm in Bayville, just south of Toms River.

It's nice to know I'm not the only Jersey neurotic out there. :)

We should talk some time soon.


02-26-2007, 08:36 PM
I am really looking forward to this work. I saw a posting on an Art Adams website and have heard nothing of it since. Whats going on? Were can I get it?

03-04-2007, 12:50 PM
it's time i started contributing to the cause, man. just...uh, give me a few. moving, changing jobs, getting over fiance´- you know, killers of time.

i think i used to go fishing near toms river. i spent a large chunk of time in folsom, which i believe is up to two traffic lights! progress is a bitch.

chris stevens
03-08-2007, 09:26 PM
my grandmother, natalie, passed away last week.
she fell in the fall, breaking her hip, and never recovered. we brought her home for the last few weeks so that she could die with some dignity, among her loved ones, and not with strangers in a nursing home.
we were very close. i was raised by my mother and grandmother, and it was my grandmother who watched me while my mother worked. we read books together, watched scary movies, and walked to the library saturday afternoons. she would have been so proud to see me published, and if she could have made it until june, she would have. my story 'blue', which leads off jason rodriguez's 'postcards' anthology, is due in june from random house books.she would have approved of the fact it's a hardcover and been a bit awkward in her appreciation of the actual story as it is lifted from real life...or real life as it was the last few years.
i wrote something for her service two weeks ago. i knew i was going to be the only speaker and, truth be told, i'd thought about writing this euology for the past ten years, through a series of illnesses and attacks that threatened to take her life but never quite managed. i wound up writing what i could the morning of the service. i read it to my best friend during the drive over to the funeral home to make sure it was ok; to test whether i could make it through the reading.

"natalie was a window into another world for me, and the older i got the more i appreciated the view she afforded.

a man makes of himself what he will but i would not be, for better or worse,
the man i am today without my grandmother's guidance and her love.

there's not much to say except that i loved her dearly, and she loved me.
she loved unconditionally and with a deep reserve of forgiveness.

she loved life, and honored it by living a life of example.
i can't think of a person i know who wouldn't learn something about human nature if they spent some time with natalie.

she was able to admit when she was wrong but she would not compromise when she was not.

she was proud without being vain; the young beauty who in time became a mother and, then, a grandmother.

in an era where it was uncommon, natalie was a provider. she wasn't only wife and mother but with a sick husband at home she was the breadwinner.
she worked for over forty years without complaint, taking care of a family and, in the process, providing an example for her children; her daughter denise and son howard.

denise and howard and i have often joked, teasing my grandmother about 'who was her favorite?' between us. she'd say the same thing everytime 'there are no favorites. i love you all the same.'
and her love was honest enough that just might have been true.

she loved her children completely.
natalie and denise shared a life together and both lives were made better for it. their devotion, the depth and complexities and sheer love of their relationship leaves me in awe at the marvel that life is.
and perhaps no-where was delight more pure in natalie than in her mother's pride in seeing her son, howard, succeed in all ways in becoming the kind of man she'd hoped she would raise.

my grandmother wasn't sentimental about death and i'm going to try not to be, at least for today. today i'm going to sit by that window my grandmother natalie opened so many years ago and see the world through her eyes. it's a kinder, loving world.

natalie wolfson jan. 25th 1926 - feb. 19th 2007

i've got some good comics in the works, a couple of new projects that i'm getting excited about. i love working with artists and the thrill from working with different people, it's intoxicating. i might have a few sketches to post next week.


i found a piece of original art i thought i'd lost during my recent move. that made me happy. one of the painted headshots from the cover of the superb meathaus anthology #8, 'headgames'. farel had given it to me well over a year before the book actually came out last fall, and i thought the damn thing was lost forever and i was bummed about it. turned up, in all places, tucked inside fed x envelopes sent to me from arthur adams that i'd kept in a corner. what can i say, i keep everything, i'm an archivist.
but i'm super-happy to have found the piece and i'm looking forward to hanging it in my new little study.


my book is called 'dream compass'.
seeing as how some different folks have joined in here as of late i figure it's a good a time as any to say thanks to everyone who has been supportive of me and my book along the way. hopefully your interest will be rewarded when it's all said and done. it's a much better book than i ever thought i'd get a chance to make, and it has taken much longer to see it done than i ever thought it would. and the fact that a lot of the readers of this journal have sort of 'hung in there' with me through emails or phone calls has always made a difference for me.

03-09-2007, 12:45 AM
Sorry to hear that man...my condolences.

03-09-2007, 04:24 AM
My condolences as well, Chris. She sounded like a wonderful lady. I never knew my grandparents, you were most fortunate to have her in your life.

03-09-2007, 03:28 PM
I'm sorry for your loss, Chris, but it does sound like you were blessed to know and to be a part of that woman's life. I'm glad to hear that you're still making progress towards your dream, and just know that I'm pulling for you 100%.

03-09-2007, 07:22 PM
Sorry to hear about your grandma.

j giar
03-10-2007, 08:58 AM
I'm sorry Chris!
Stay well and use the memories you've written about to get you through. She sounded like a wonderful lady. Jim

03-11-2007, 06:16 AM
my heartfelt condolence to your loss, Chris...


chris stevens
03-13-2007, 08:36 PM
tommy, hannu, mike, josh, jim, alan: thank you all very much. little bursts of kindness help brighten the day. thanks guys.

here's a sketch from a project i'm just getting started on...

http://img139.imageshack.us/img139/1258/cookesketch1lq6.th.jpg (http://img139.imageshack.us/my.php?image=cookesketch1lq6.jpg)

way too early to say much of anything yet but it's one i'm really excited about.

chris stevens
03-20-2007, 04:24 AM
one more...

http://img263.imageshack.us/img263/3136/cookesketch2rw0.th.jpg (http://img263.imageshack.us/my.php?image=cookesketch2rw0.jpg)

chris stevens
03-21-2007, 11:06 PM
just finished up a session of one of the more thrilling parts of the creative process, what i say to my wife is 'research' but in my mind is more like sleuthing: finding ways to contact people i need to talk to.
these range from artists i want to work with or editors i'd like to talk with to authors and other creators whose work i admire;they can be people i've been interested in all my life or ones i've just come across in the course of working on a project.

that might sound strange, or even creepy, to some people. but like i said, it really is one of my favorite parts of producing stories. it's like putting together a puzzle a lot of times. one piece finally leads, after collecting and placing various others, to that complete image; to that contact info.
and most of the time it's a phone number. that first call ratchets up the thrill and the nerve in the thing. i know i had butterflies in my belly the first time i talked to paul pope, or harvey pekar, or arthur adams.
god, i hope i never lose that feeling.

chris stevens
03-22-2007, 06:14 PM
well i guess this link sheds some light on the sketches i posted recently...


03-23-2007, 12:12 AM
well i guess this link sheds some light on the sketches i posted recently...

When do we get to the part where you dish on the artist?

03-23-2007, 12:36 AM
Elton pretty much took the words right out of my mouth.

chris stevens
04-02-2007, 02:53 PM
there's an interview up at newsarama that i did for jason rodriguez and 'postcards'. 'postcards' is in previews this month and jason's got a lot of balls in the air. hasn't dropped one yet. here's a link to our conversation...


jason and i are working on a new project now. a graphic novel about sam cooke. this project is pretty much taking over my mind. it's a good feeling.
i was going to post a few more sketches but imageshack isn't playing nice with me today. artist rob guillory, who can be found here...


...is bringing sam to life with us. elton wants the dish. well, rob for me is living proof of the collaborative benefits of myspace. we 'met' by exchanging a few mutually complimentary messages. the messages were warm and we decided that 6 months down the line, when we were both free, we'd look to hook up on something. give or take a month or two here we are, twisting the night away.

04-03-2007, 03:58 PM
there's an interview up at newsarama that i did for jason rodriguez and 'postcards'. 'postcards' is in previews this month and jason's got a lot of balls in the air. hasn't dropped one yet. here's a link to our conversation...


jason and i are working on a new project now. a graphic novel about sam cooke. this project is pretty much taking over my mind. it's a good feeling.
i was going to post a few more sketches but imageshack isn't playing nice with me today. artist rob guillory, who can be found here...


...is bringing sam to life with us. elton wants the dish. well, rob for me is living proof of the collaborative benefits of myspace. we 'met' by exchanging a few mutually complimentary messages. the messages were warm and we decided that 6 months down the line, when we were both free, we'd look to hook up on something. give or take a month or two here we are, twisting the night away.

You know, I just yesterday found out I'll likely be sharing a table with Rob at SDCC? Small world, this comics world.

The Newsarama feature did great for the Postcards site yesterday, especially when it was linked to on the main page. Very cool...

chris stevens
04-08-2007, 01:56 AM
i've got to agree with paul pope...


...that's just too much fun.
what a fabulous game!

and i loved this reply to one poster from the game's inventor, cartoonist sam hiti...

"This site asks you to use your imagination.

In a world of high tech stuff- {Which I like most of it} I tried to make this site something fun to day dream about- a time machine blog to transport you back to the days of your innocence. But i guess you can day dream about somebody storyboarding the fight--- there is no harm in that."

chris stevens
04-09-2007, 10:52 PM
i lost $50 tonight in the dw chat.
avoid that nest of vipers.

tonight i type in honor of the miracle of creation: comics creation.
everyone can't do it, ashame as that is, but when it's right it rocks.

chris stevens
04-11-2007, 11:18 PM
voting ends tonight for the second round of the fistacuffs tag team tournament. there are some killer artists and wonderful characters battling here. highly recommended fun!


04-12-2007, 02:12 AM
Ha! Those teams are cool!

chris stevens
04-18-2007, 03:02 PM
yeah, hannu, they are cool.
the whole idea is so simple yet it's so much fun.
i'm surprised to see the favorites, the die-ities, eliminated. a flaming granny might just win the belt! i think voting in this round goes 'till the 20th.


i'm researching this sam cooke book, and i'm realizing it's the first time i've ever really researched something that mattered. yes, i've read books on ancient china to back-up some mythological fantasy noir. i've read book after book about the ocean to help inform me of the backstory for the third lead in my unwritten successor to 'sandman', 'dreamflowers'. and the list goes on.
but now, in researching sam, we're dealing with a real person. this is someone's life you're playing with, and the pressure to get it right is both demanding and refreshing.

http://img259.imageshack.us/img259/1173/cookesketch3uv8.th.jpg (http://img259.imageshack.us/my.php?image=cookesketch3uv8.jpg)

another sketch from rob guillory. rob's liveliness is a real treat to write for.

04-18-2007, 04:07 PM
yeah, hannu, they are cool.
the whole idea is so simple yet it's so much fun.
i'm surprised to see the favorites, the die-ities, eliminated. a flaming granny might just win the belt! i think voting in this round goes 'till the 20th.


i'm researching this sam cooke book, and i'm realizing it's the first time i've ever really researched something that mattered. yes, i've read books on ancient china to back-up some mythological fantasy noir. i've read book after book about the ocean to help inform me of the backstory for the third lead in my unwritten successor to 'sandman', 'dreamflowers'. and the list goes on.
but now, in researching sam, we're dealing with a real person. this is someone's life you're playing with, and the pressure to get it right is both demanding and refreshing.

http://img259.imageshack.us/img259/1173/cookesketch3uv8.th.jpg (http://img259.imageshack.us/my.php?image=cookesketch3uv8.jpg)

another sketch from rob guillory. rob's liveliness is a real treat to write for.
I'm so jealous ; )

I know you guys are gonna make this book special.

chris stevens
04-19-2007, 01:01 PM
we're certainly going to try, elton. thanks!


just saw the eisner nominees for this year.
now, i hold those awards to be almost holy. will eisner was a god in this field.
i have no problem saying i hope to win some down the line.
but how much does it mean if you throw away spots on books like 'young avengers'? how can that book possibly be nominated as 'best continuing series'? forget about issues of quality for a moment, the fucking book came out, what, twice in 2006? the inclusion of picks like that just cheapen the whole thing, meaning and value is bled out.
it's the eisner awards, not the goddamn golden globes.

Jason Copland
04-21-2007, 05:28 PM
just saw the eisner nominees for this year.
now, i hold those awards to be almost holy. will eisner was a god in this field.
i have no problem saying i hope to win some down the line.
but how much does it mean if you throw away spots on books like 'young avengers'? how can that book possibly be nominated as 'best continuing series'? forget about issues of quality for a moment, the fucking book came out, what, twice in 2006? the inclusion of picks like that just cheapen the whole thing, meaning and value is bled out.
it's the eisner awards, not the goddamn golden globes.Totally agree, Chris!

chris stevens
04-30-2007, 04:16 AM

anyone who reads this journal for the occasional arthur adams tidbit, click on that link at your own peril...david mandel, you are a monster of enthusiasm and a man of impeccable taste. 75 pieces!
that pre-publication 'longshot', done in color!?!
in our phone conversations arthur has teased me, telling me that one day, when i really need it, i'll sell the pages he gave me from 'seven seas'...he's sure of it. but he's dead wrong, i wouldn't sell them if they were my only way of paying the rent...to quote(poorly)fellow new jersey poet allen ginsberg, i'd rather die in the gutter screaming. but goddamn would i kill for that longshot piece...

...and those jla ape covers! christ, they look amazing! and arthur's old school repros, which hardly anyone ever even sees! and that doc strange, and the monkeyman spread..!

i was hoping to do a short with arthur for the 2nd volume of jason rodriguez's 'postcards'...the book's going to be called 'california dreaming' and the thought was to use the disneyland experience as a window out to those dreams, with arthur delivering those visuals, but it wasn't a well-thought out idea on my part as disney isn't one to share their experience unless they've stamped your paid ticket...we could get into how sad that is considering the disney empire is constructed upon and reconstitutes the remains of global lore and myth but there's no point in that now, although, as the writer jonathan lethem opines(i wish i knew how to turn sentences into referential links, anyone interested will have to google)those days are here if unheeded.

04-30-2007, 08:32 AM
ya, they are here, but reading pure referential makes me exhausted. with so many possibilities open to me i can't focus on the path i started on.

i had to swipe a few of those AA pics for uh... reference.

i suppose i've seen glimpses of the disney lore, but i never got sucked into it. is it just that disney was the chief representative of a new-ish medium where their image washed out anything else? as new animated movies are automatically taken to be made by disney, despite there being dozens of companies out there, but those who don't have the initiative to differentiate. kinda like band-aids.

or Q-tips.

chris stevens
05-13-2007, 08:05 PM
there's been a lot of talk here at dw lately about paying work and contracts. I read something recently, in the course of researching a sam cooke biography, that stuck this quote in my graw..."a contract is only as good as the relationship you have with the client".

in terms of really getting anything done being the end-game, that about says it all. at least it's proved true for me so far...


f. scott fitzgerald, as smoothe and silky an american writer as there's likely to be, defined personality as 'an unbroken series of successful gestures'.
that's a perfect piece of writing, isn’t it? it put me in mind of creators in comics who really seem to trade on their personality; to play the part, as it were. but that’s a subject for another time…


i read an advance copy of josh gamon’s ‘abigail&rox’. josh, a digital webbing stalwart who goes by the name ‘lovecraft 13’, teamed with artist adrian sibar on this pretty delightful children’s book from digital webbing press. the book’s just dripping with visual flair, as sibar sets scenes where, at their best, there’s a kind of 3-dimensional depth to the panels that’s really effective in establishing setting and drawing you into the fantasy—even though we’ve all traveled through one version of wonderland or another this trip feels fresh. the coloring is important here, too, as there’s a sort of incandescent faerie-tale glow to everything. in places sibar could be slicker—the art loses polish occasionally—but all in all this is a fine looking book. kids, and especially little girls, I think they’ll dig this if they get a chance to see it. check it out.



how’s about a new edition of…

on the bathroom floor:

the great gatsby(you didn’t think that fitzgerald quote fell out of my head from high-school, did you?) i’ve been meaning to re-read this for a long time and i’m glad i am.

eats, shoots&leaves: ehhh, my wife wanted a book on grammar and i remember reading such great reviews of this book. she hated the author’s tone. i read it and yeah, for the most part i agree with my wife(frogs are falling from the sky!), but their were a few useful pages in there.

the mickey mouse comic from fcbd: i really am enjoying the old-fashioned density here, 10-12 panels on every page. it’s a completely different way of telling a story than most modern approaches. it would be interesting, and, i imagine, challenging, to write a story in this fashion. and floyd gottfredson, the classic disney illustrator whose work is featured here, man was he good with motion and movement! i guess that’s no surprise, but there’s this one panel with pluto chasing his tail in a blurring circle of motion lines, swirling papers, and pluto-parts that’s brilliant.


that leads me to last week’s free comic book day. bit of a bummer this year, partly due I guess to heightened expectations after reading so much internet hoohah anticipating the day. my local store had their usual fcbd sale, nothing new, and when i stopped in at 2pm, they had 6 or 7 titles available. nothing interesting, but i snagged a few titles for kids, like ‘sonic the hedgehog’ and the aforementioned mickey mouse book, which i’m actually digging. ken haeser, ‘mad cow menu’ from these boards, was there with his partner.
i would have liked to say ‘hi’ but they were sketching and my wife was pushing me through the door. i enjoyed seeing ken’s ‘eyes of asia’ originals a couple of years ago and i’d have liked to see his new stuff. there’s a guy who’s not afraid of black!
and they had bob petrecca, who does some inking for dc, doing sketches as well. but it was a blah scene all-in-all. next year i want to make it a point to visit a different kind of shop on fcbd.


it was cool to see brett warnock mention my book over on the top shelf blog. those guys put out great books of all stripes.



a new round of fistacuffs begins soon…


should be exciting. i never would have guessed that the flamin’ granny and x-ray ray would walk away with the tag-team title!


i am at the point i was hoping to be in terms of projects to work on by summer...6 scripts to write. two longer, the rest shorts. the sam cooke project, with jason rodriguez and rob guillory, is taking shape. as i've mentioned, there's a proper amount of respect you've got to pay the man before just jumping in the deep end. i'm also cooking up a childrens' ogn with nick bradshaw that we're taking the long-term approach to and we'll finally break ground on that in june(won't we, nick!). i don't really toot my own horn but we've got a shot at crafting a real gem, contemporary and classic, iconic and personal, all at the same time...a kind of meta-fable. obviously, i'm looking forward to getting started on this one!

and the shorts are great too! a challenging assignment for 'postcards 2', a space hero jam, and a cruel and unusual christmas story for a potentially killer anthology.

and once i sell my book i have a list of a dozen projects i need to get to. with any luck, by the time i'm forty, i'll have knocked them all out.

and now the missus needs the computer...

chris stevens
05-18-2007, 05:52 PM
so, if you read this journal(and somebody must!)take a few minutes and think about the following for me:

1. why comics? why not something else...movies, music, sports, wall street, whatever...why comics?

2. what are your favorite comics? ever and now, those are the two categories. and please, no commentary on anyone else's choices...if you choose to participate there'll be time later for discussion.

3. what's your role here in comicbookland? try to be succinct: i write; i draw; i'll publish. again, no commenting on other posters entries until a later date...

viva comix!

05-18-2007, 07:49 PM
1. i don't know, i've tried different things but always seem to come back to it. it's a simpler concept, i think, to grasp in terms of life's 'pressures' and social acceptances towards work ethics. for the most part one can sit at home and do their job. no boss getting in your business, no hierarchies, no drama. just you and your ideas.

2. ever: Akira, The Dark Knight Returns, Give Me Liberty, Stories of the Fantastic (by Shuiten and Peeters), the first half of Bone... i'll have to think of some more. now: none come to mind. i enjoyed BPRD: The Universal Machine.

3. i'll write, i'll draw, i'll publish.

j giar
05-18-2007, 10:53 PM
-Why comics???Hmmm good question. I do it because I've always loved the medium and ..that's it. For pure love and enjoyment...When I start a page from concept to roughs, to pencils, to inks and it turns out how I had invisioned it ...fulfillment.
- Favorite ever...hmmm. Lone Wolf and Cub, Doom Patrol (Grant Morrisons run thanks to Don Thompson), SinCity (the thrill when it first started in Darkhorse Presents) The Spirit, Hitman, Preacher and X (Steven Grants)
-Favorite current..I'm not reading alot of them right now...But Walking Dead, Bendis' run on Daredevil, Loveless.
-Artist, writer..creator..just an all around Comic Dude!

05-19-2007, 03:46 AM
1. I´ve drawn as long as I can remember and I ´ve always loved comics. In comics, only your imagination is the limit. You can create whole new worlds with just pen and paper. It took me seven years in advertising to relize that illustration and comics is what I really want to do. I´m even so bold that I think I have some talent for it.

2. European classics: Tintin, Asterix, Lucky Luke. The best all-ages comics there ever was. American classics: Watchmen, V for Vendetta, From Hell, anything by Kirby, Acme Novelty Library, Maus.
Currently Hellboy, Fables, Lucifer (ended, so I suppose I should move it to all-time favorites), 100 bullets.

3. Artist, some writing.

Jason Copland
05-19-2007, 02:27 PM
1. why comics?
I've been asking myself that very question for a few weeks now. The passion seems to be fading. If I could be a pro hockey goalie, I would give up comics in a heartbeat.

Ever: Ronin, DKR, Cerebus, Lone Wolf and Cub, Akira, Watchmen, Hellboy, Walter Simonson's run on THOR

Now: Exterminators, Criminal, Fear Agent, Walking Dead, BPRD minis, Y: The Last Man

3. I draw, some writing very soon.

05-20-2007, 12:27 PM
1. why comics? why not something else...movies, music, sports, wall street, whatever...why comics?
For me, nothing compares to the feeling of seeing something that used to exist only in my head, now brought to life on paper.
2. what are your favorite comics? ever and now, those are the two categories. and please, no commentary on anyone else's choices...if you choose to participate there'll be time later for discussion.
New Gods (the Kirby original)
Elk's Run
Moench/Sienkiewicz Moon Knight

Scalped (with a bullet)
Y: the Last Man
The Walking Dead
3. what's your role here in comicbookland? try to be succinct: i write; i draw; i'll publish. again, no commenting on other posters entries until a later date...
I write. I like to letter what I write, when possible.

05-23-2007, 02:26 PM
To me comics are just low budget movies and I love movies.
It's in the blood though imo, it seems like you can't get rid of it.
I draw and paint (published by Rebel Studios, LFP and Avatar to start)
and I've been working on a story forever that I'd love to self publish one day.
My favorite comics are the alternative and horror stuff.

05-23-2007, 02:48 PM
1. why comics? why not something else...movies, music, sports, wall street, whatever...why comics?

I sorta drift between screenwriting and the comic book medium. I like the former because you can watch your story unfold through the power of acting. But there's no greater thrill than seeing artwork come in for the first time for a comic book script, which is why I prefer the latter. Those first few pages set the tone for the rest of the production.

2. what are your favorite comics? ever and now, those are the two categories. and please, no commentary on anyone else's choices...if you choose to participate there'll be time later for discussion.

I grew up reading a lot of Eerie and Creepy magazines, which I hold dear even to this day. But, in terms of recent comic books, well, I don't know. The comic book landscape changes so often, it's hard to really take on a book for more than a few issues at a time. I always follow Grant Morrison's work, even with the dismal 52 series. But, like music, I tend to look back in time for good material because most of the stuff coming out now is just garbage.

3. what's your role here in comicbookland? try to be succinct: i write; i draw; i'll publish. again, no commenting on other posters entries until a later date...

I want to write stuff with substance.

05-23-2007, 04:47 PM
1. I don't know. I've never stopped to think about it. To me, that's kinda like asking "why food?". Yeah, yeah, you need food to live but after 20+ years it just becomes something you do. Comics has become that to me.

2. Ever: the old UK Transformers issues. Now: Probably Hero By Night.

3. My role? I'm learning what that is. Used to be, my role was to swoop in and revolutionize the industry with my creative powers (hmmm). Now, I think it's to show that non-superhero art doesn't have to be niche.

chris stevens
05-27-2007, 05:37 PM
hope everyone is having a good memorial day weekend.
godzilla always puts me in mind of barbecues...

http://img175.imageshack.us/img175/8168/tt1cb6.th.jpg (http://img175.imageshack.us/my.php?image=tt1cb6.jpg)

http://img528.imageshack.us/img528/8748/tt23xk0.th.jpg (http://img528.imageshack.us/my.php?image=tt23xk0.jpg)

http://img528.imageshack.us/img528/4282/tt4io1.th.jpg (http://img528.imageshack.us/my.php?image=tt4io1.jpg)

...so i thought i'd post this semi-obscure little gem for the occassion...you've gotta breathe deep charcoal breaths, ignore the gnats and all the horns honking...puts you right there!

when i was a kid that was one of my stay-up-late-at-night-and-dream-about stories, a monster story by alan moore and art adams...this charmingly goofy short wasn't exactly what i had in mind, but hey...
moore and adams have worked together but never on the scale i wished for when i was 11. arthur did go on to produce some monster stuff of his own and he worked in the abc universe with moore, directly and indirectly.

j giar
05-27-2007, 06:09 PM
Funny..kinda reminded me of Lansdales Godzilla's Twelve Step Program.

chris stevens
05-30-2007, 07:51 PM
jim, i have to admit, the only lansdale i'm familiar with is the jonah hex stuff he did with superb storyteller tim truman. those are great western comics.

shit, jim, i have to admit that, with being on dial-up and all, i haven't read 'souldriver' yet! but i am looking forward to it, and it's great to see you stuck to your guns and went out and made a comic. inspiring!


'postcards' has been getting some damn fine reviews. and there's some killer coverage yet to come from the sort of lofty, literate journals that usually spotlight micheal chabon books.
there's a 'postcards' update, along with some of those fine reviews, here...


work on vol. 2, 'postcards: california dreaming', is underway, and i'm a lot more excited about this one then i was the first one. and that's not damning with faint praise. jason's got a great crew of creators and it's going to be interesting to see the book play to the tune of the theme...should be a situation of strength on strength.


there was going to be a big bit about frank miller and jim lee's all star bat book. instead i'll just say i love this book. rock on.

chris stevens
05-31-2007, 01:48 PM
just when i'm about to write steven grant off as a who-gives-a-fuck what you think type of comics columnist he writes this...


which is pretty much truth.

06-01-2007, 03:20 AM
Great article, very agreeable indeed.

06-04-2007, 12:02 PM
I think you should talk about not being able to work at coffee shops or libraries.

After you draft the Popsicle scene, of course.

chris stevens
06-14-2007, 05:45 PM
'postcards' was included in the annual kirkus reviews graphic spotlight.
we're keeping some pretty nice company by the looks of it.
there's a link to the entire spotlight here...


06-14-2007, 06:41 PM
viva comix!


1. In the beginning it was because of the characters. The characters that were already there that fascinated and captivated me. Now I'd have to say because of the mix of freedom and collaboration. I think nothing has more freedom than prose writing, but it's a lonely process. Comic writing has quite a bit of freedom as well, but the sense of community and support you find in this world along with the ability to share your ideas with your partners puts it over the top.

2. Then? Any good Spider-Man tale. Frank Miller Daredevil. Watchmen. 90's greats like Darkhawk, New Warriors, and Sleepwalker. Astro City. Thunderbolts. Preacher. And my guilty fix... the Harras run on Avengers (and other re: Essential Avengers, Mansion Siege, Kree/Skrull War, etc.) Now? Any good Spider-Man tale. Astro City when it comes out. Girls. Ennis' Punisher. Invincible. Runaways. Fell. Y: The Last Man. Digital Webbing Presents. Conan.

Yeah, I'm more of a Marvel guy.

3. I write.

chris stevens
06-22-2007, 04:40 AM
here's a link to a quick video interview with arthur adams...


finally saw this next clip the other day after hearing about it for years...


chris stevens
06-23-2007, 01:21 PM

that link will lead you to an interview jason rodriguez did for publisher weekly.
i thought this was an interesting exchange between jason and interviewer ian brill...

PWCW: One thing I noticed reading such stories as "Blue" and "Send Louis His Underwear" is that the stories don't explain everything. Is that part of the appeal?

JR: Who wants everything explained to them? I think it’s a lower form of storytelling to tell people, “Here’s what’s happening, here’s how they’re feeling, and here’s what they’re going to do about it. Consequently, you should be feeling like this.” It’s kind of sad that a lot of comics have that feel to them, where everything is so rigid and nothing is open to interpretation. We’re working in a medium where we see people’s expressions and their actions very clearly. We see their environment and their tastes one panel at a time. It’s all there for us—we’re supposed to soak it in and try to decipher the story behind the story.


well said.

chris stevens
06-25-2007, 12:39 AM
i no longer believe in karma.

might seem like a trite declaration but i've placed such great faith in that idea over the years that to declare it dead and not just dead but misguided and dumb leaves me left feeling stupid and free, both, like some blissful fool on an errand of no importance.

this is a comics journal so i should talk comics...

in the past two weeks i had the chance to talk to two of the great comics artists, sam kieth and jh williams3. i discovered a young artist who blew me away. sounds great...

in the past two weeks i have spent close to 25 hours in court, had the police at my home 6 times...my wife and i spent 8 days out of those two weeks at a hotel unable to obtain our belongings...

all because my mother is mentally ill and the system, god bless peter kuper, does not allow, in our and most cases, for relief. i've dealt with this since i was 19, i'm 32 now, and i'm at my wits' end...

viva comix!

for mike225...

at family court and, 4 hours after the proceedings began, in strolls my mom with a tubed parcel...in these situations you can only expect the very worst so i'm silently groaning 'oh christ she's dummied up some x-rays or who the fuck knows what...' and it turns out, later, one of the officers hands me the tube and it was your poster and those kkiller magnets.

06-25-2007, 10:44 AM
That's my fault...I put it in the scariest tube I could find. :)

Glad you like the poster and the magnets, man!

chris stevens
07-02-2007, 06:21 PM

link to a review of 'postcards'. i'm of the opinion that any review is a good review, and that's meant to be a touch less cynical than it probably sounds.
i care what people think(can't dodge human nature to that degree quite yet)
but i really only care what the people i care about think--a good word from a creator i admire means more to me than anything any critic has to offer.
so, as in all things, it's a matter of shades of grey, of 'it is what it is'.

that said, this review is all over the place. and, while they liked my story, i'm not sure they really read it. there's no 'father' in my story.


07-02-2007, 09:17 PM
I agree all across the board, Chris. Any publicity is good publicity because at least it means people are talking about what you've done, but I always respect the opinion or thoughts of a fellow creator more than I would a critic or reviewer. I think sometimes it seems as though the people that do it can't be bothered with reading the entire thing because they're trying to get as much content out there as possible. And to me, that's just as bad as anything else where you value quantity over quality.

chris stevens
07-10-2007, 02:52 PM

glowing review from bookslut for 'postcards'.

they call my story '...chris stevens' introspective family drama...'
actually, it's kind of an anti-drama, but i know what they mean.

anyway, it's a great review for the book, check it out.

chris stevens
07-13-2007, 10:37 PM

lobo paramilitary christmas special. anyone else see this before?

i dig lobo. from the classic two-parter in the giffen/dematteis/maguire jla to the killer bisley books to his appearances in the late 80's/early 90's legion series, i'm a fan of the main man.

chris stevens
07-14-2007, 08:44 PM

fought this one about a million times myself. those were the days.
wish this had used the older version of the figures, the 2nd snake-eyes and original storm shadow.

j giar
07-14-2007, 08:48 PM

lobo paramilitary christmas special. anyone else see this before?

i dig lobo.

One of my favorite books of all time....as far as Bisley work..I was a big fan of Trencher as well..not a Bisley book but just as kick ass.

chris stevens
07-16-2007, 05:33 PM

i found that to be really interesting for some reason...probably because i've got shogun warriors on the brain.

and i love people who are so into what they're into like this guy is.

07-16-2007, 11:45 PM

glowing review from bookslut for 'postcards'.

they call my story '...chris stevens' introspective family drama...'
actually, it's kind of an anti-drama, but i know what they mean.

anyway, it's a great review for the book, check it out.

They had nice things to say about you here (http://specfric.blogspot.com/2007/07/sitting-at-big-table-i-dont-know-what.html) , as well. Said you and Tom Beland are a great way to start the book.

Also - CBLDF is auctioning off one of your pages (http://cbldf.safeshopper.com/21/266.htm?766)for their charity auction. Knowing how you started, this seems like a nice little way to get started. Know what I mean? The beginning and the beginning of the beginning and all that good stuff.

07-17-2007, 08:24 AM
Man! You've been on a roll, brother! (http://www.trashotron.com/agony/news/2007/07-16-07.htm#071707)

Or the powerfully conceived and illustrated 'blue' that opens the collection, with a story by Chris Stevens and illustrations by Gia-Bao Tran. It is simply a transcendent look at childhood and packs a punch that will quite likely sell a few copies of this book to those lucky enough to browse through it in the bookstore. Harvey Pekar rounds out the volume with a life told in postcards – his life, naturally.

07-17-2007, 09:20 AM
Tried to edit my old post. Never mind.

chris stevens
07-20-2007, 07:30 PM
jason posted part of this on the excellent http://eximiouspress.com/ blog but here's one disc in what would be a long series...a soundtrack to my book 'dream compass'...it's roughly 50/50 songs tied into the stories and songs i lived with while making the book...

king's crossing

tangled up in blue

i am a patriot

how to disappear completely

wow, i wrote 'heaven' to this, played it on repeat for 3 hours, drank rum and cokes in a sticky attic bedroom summertime after making cheesesteaks all night, and i had my jae lee story afterwards...you should hear it with those pages playing as a slideshow, it's pretty fucking right.

my old addiction

very much part of what i did with farel, or, more precisely, why i did what i did with farel...first heard this when i was 19, it was on some obscure radio station compilation...recently passed this link along to james jean, who is, by all accounts, an amazing horn player.

rid of me

sounds crazy maybe but the raw drive here has captivated me since the early 90's...

kerouac reading 'sax' excerpt

heard this first on some stitched together vcr tape i paid 20 bucks for my 2000 trip to cali, same trip as the cbldf cruise--actually bought it at the henry miller museum, which is a small hut on the pch in big sur...i'd read the sax stuff, and been absorbed into it, several years earlier, so hearing this reading was revelatory, no bs.
having long since lost the tape--why do we lend precious things to friends?--i was thrilled to discover it here on youtube.

all or none

this one hit like a hammer back in the summer of 2002 when it first came out.
i'm a big pearl jam fan and for whatever reason, among an artsy crowd,
that's not cool to be. but, like only the best artists, their music
seems to grow with you, to follow you...at least one song from
wherever they're at , when you hear it, it's where you're at, what
you're dealing with. special gift i think.
i remember jae used them as kind of an equivalent to his position when
we were discussing the whole art/indy/mainstream levels of success and
but the theme here, and those solos, hit close to home as i was
floundering and creating excuses, not really writing, just unhappy in
general...the chinese have this historical definition of
madness--'frustrated ambition'--and this song at that time seemed to
bring it all home. a few months later i wound up getting started on
message boards and dw and whatever. as a pearl jam fan, though, it
fucking kills me how vedder never remembers the words to this
song...but watch mccready nearly lift himself out of that chair at the

diamond sea #1...

part #2

end part

time takes its crazy toll...

winner's blues
should always be playing in the background after reading reviews,
making phonecalls, or reviewing the previous days' work.
five years

patience, and those wonderful mick ronson runs...

that's life

funny, listen to the end, it is not a hopeful song. resilient, yes.
but the common anthemic quality everyone associates with the tune
gives into sinatra's brilliant ability to humanize the grandest
qualities and make familiar to his audience all the twists and turns
one man's heart can take. the way he embodies certain words here, his
catapulting of the chorus into popular fact, reminds me of sam doing
'twisting...', in the sense of WHAT GREAT SINGING.

the past recedes

the existential 'that's life'?
close enough for me.

j giar
07-22-2007, 08:57 PM
I knew I wasn't the only one that did this..although my CD is made up of bands like Radiohead, Muse, NiN, Meat Beat Manifesto, Rammstein...and a couple of others..anything that inspired me lyrically or musically...

07-23-2007, 04:54 AM
Wish I could write to music. I only managed it once, when I wrote a short listening to Radiohead's Kid A on repeat. It actually featured 'Idioteque', too. Otherwise, I'm all about the podcasts when drawing.

Chris, never knew you were a Pearl Jam fan. Lots of emotion in those songs, I can imagine they'd lend themselves to creative atmosphere.

chris stevens
07-24-2007, 12:56 PM



i don't really write to music as much as it is that those songs influenced my stories-- or how the stories formed in my head-- and sum up certain periods i've gone through during these first four years of trying to make comics.
i did write the script i wrote for jae lee listening to radiohead. and the sam cooke stuff i'm working on i usually listen to sam. but that's about it as far as words go because, like many people have said, the lyrics, the words, screw up what needs to be forming in my own head--i don't want that influence there of someone else's words...unless i do, like in the case of sam cooke, where it's helpful, to me at least, to listen to sam's records while attempting to transport myself, and ultimately the reader, into his time. his good songs are perfect little constructs and on the right day, more often than not, they can bring me back to where i need to be.

i'm working on a pet project right now and it's all miles davis and john frucsciante with a sprinkle of cibbo matto and tricky thrown in there.

glad you guys liked seeing that playlist. i'll do more when it's appropriate, or more likely when the mood strikes me.

hope everyone going to the con has a good time and accomplishes at least one thing they set out to. except jason, he better accomplish 3 or 4 or he's in trouble...

by the way, everyone should congratulate jason, as his baby, 'postcards' is in bookstores today!

more on that later...

07-24-2007, 02:10 PM


Super sweet:


07-24-2007, 03:52 PM
Wow. That's no mean feat!

chris stevens
07-29-2007, 11:55 AM
yeah, jamie. at one point it made it to #3.

and i still haven't seen a copy. motherfucker...

chris stevens
08-08-2007, 02:30 PM
'comics should be good' says some nice things about my story 'blue' from 'postcards'. scroll down towards the bottom of the link.


seems the story worked the way it was supposed to.

i'm doing a signing, with my collaborator gb tran, at lucy the elephant on august 29th. looking forward to it.

08-08-2007, 03:05 PM
'comics should be good' says some nice things about my story 'blue' from 'postcards'. scroll down towards the bottom of the link.


seems the story worked the way it was supposed to.

i'm doing a signing, with my collaborator gb tran, at lucy the elephant on august 29th. looking forward to it.

USA Today tomorrow....I'm promoting it so much that I'm basically going to drop out of comics if it comes out bad. Seriously. But...I think they'll have nice things to say about all of us.

chris stevens
08-09-2007, 01:37 PM
usa today has been part of my daily routine for a long time. started in my early teens. and to this day, through what feels like a handful of lives, it remains a bastion of calm, thoughtless being. i was telling jason i've always read it, much to the chagrin of my 'intellectual' friends, and if i can only buy one paper i buy usa today.


for the sports page. nowadays it's no big deal, but for years there, before the long defunct 'the national' or the non-stop espn coverage we're all accustomed to and which we expect, usa today was the only place a kid who loved the san francisco 49'ers but lived in philly-centric south jersey could get the scoop on a daily basis. the wednesday nfl stat report coupled with a grill cheese and chips...peaceful as a morphine drip.

chris stevens
08-10-2007, 07:22 PM
comics destroyer:


man i wish there was more of this stuff floating around. can't wait to see 'simplicity', the alex toth documentary.

and i never noticed pp's backward sig before this--he signs from right to left, spelling out 'paul pope' in reverse. my buddy, totally non-comics, speculates it's so his hand doesn't dredge across the art.

i'm thinking of signatures now because of this 'postcards' signing coming up at the end of the month.

writers are at a loss in comics signing, just by the nature of things. some, like neil gaiman, come up with the perfect tagline--'sweet dreams' or whatever. a few have actual cartooning skills and can craft a quick caricature to go with their john hancock. me, i can't draw squat. i don't have a catchphrase or quirky personal icon. i've got a scribble of a signature, a swooping 'C' trailing off into one line which encapsulates the 'hris' and is punctuated by a lone dot over the end.

i wish i had walt simonson's dinosaur. or even a goofy game like todd mcfarlane and his felix the cat's. anything.

maybe i'll just go with a :) face.

chris stevens
08-10-2007, 09:41 PM
and who can lend me $35 thousand?


chris stevens
08-11-2007, 05:06 PM
damn, jim lee is good at what he does...


love this kind of stuff.

08-11-2007, 06:02 PM
Congrats on all of the exposure! And good luck at the signing :banana:

chris stevens
08-25-2007, 11:08 PM
well thanks, mia.
i was just checking out your stuff, i like the one with the girl leaning back reading with the skull facing her!

the signing is this wednesday at lucy the elephant in margate, nj. i'll be there from 2-4 with artist gb tran, signing copies of 'postcards'. i know there are several south jersey folks on this site so if anyone wants to stop by we'd love to have you.

speaking of 'postcards', i finally saw the book this past week. i received three copies in a random house box with the little 'house' logos running around the sides. i'm not ashamed to admit i'm saving the box. i gave one copy to my best friend and partner on 'dream compass'. i placed one copy at my grandmother natalie's grave--'blue', my story in the book, is dedicated to her.
and i kept the last one for myself.

i'll be back after the signing with thoughts on my first 'event'. and i just might show-off some sweet, sweet art--something from a long-running project and something entirely new.

chris stevens
10-30-2007, 11:34 PM
i'm closing this down on nov. 19th...

dw will be free of me and my journal, after two+ inconsistant years where i feel, stone me, i wrote the most intelligent, hard-fought, honest entries into making comics i could, given the particulars...

no-one noticed. but when they do, i'll be first among equals...hahaha.

what i will be doing, each week, is highlighting in-depth one of the dozen or so folks who stayed here with me, or came in later, and believed...we are better for each other and i'm going to get to it when i talk about the work...

it's been a great journal, over 10k views, even if i account for 1/3 personally, which seems high but not without reason, still cool...more on that these next few days...

10-31-2007, 02:53 AM
One less thread for me to visit, Chris. Sorry to see it go. I'll be happy to read anything you post in the future though, as I'm sure you well know.

Pitch that thing to Vertigo!

10-31-2007, 03:35 AM
i'm closing this down on nov. 19th...

"Never put off till tomorrow what you can do today"


10-31-2007, 05:08 AM
Ack. Sorry to see this thread going the way of the dodo. I think your thread/posts have been refreshingly different from the more generic superhero worship that goes on. True alternative.

Looking forward to your new threads!

j giar
10-31-2007, 08:45 AM
I agree with everyone else. Sad to see this go. As I've told you in the past, I got a lot of inspiration from this thread. And you've been with me on my project from the beginning. In fact you were the first person to go over my script and give me guidance. What ever you may put up in the future, I'll be here readin'. Thanks for the inspiration...Now get that project of yours off the ground. Best of luck, amigo. Jim

chris stevens
01-23-2008, 07:15 PM
gone but not forgotten or forgotten while it's been gone here it is, my comics journal in 2008. in a month or two it will be 5 years since i started out to make comics. i joined this site i think march 2003...a godsend and whirlwind all at once, while it sounds naive now and probably gigglish to anyone reading in recognition of the fact it was something, finding a community... i needed it, nothing to do with wanting or otherwise, it was purely out of need since the act of making a comic was essential to whatever idea of happiness or success i wanted to obtain.

still trying to get there...

song of the minute: django's tiger.

on the bathroom floor: atlas shrugged, maggie cassidy,

a 'jungle jane' sketch from the pitch package...this is a package crafted by agent, not me...it's great to have that narrowing guide.

http://img183.imageshack.us/img183/1017/groupspotuw2.th.jpg (http://img183.imageshack.us/my.php?image=groupspotuw2.jpg)

a philly get together on friday for local creators? sounds good.

j giar
01-23-2008, 07:48 PM
gone but not forgotten or forgotten while it's been gone here it is, my comics journal in 2008. in a month or two it will be 5 years since i started out to make comics. i joined this site i think march 2003...a godsend and whirlwind all at once, while it sounds naive now and probably gigglish to anyone reading in recognition of the fact it was something, finding a community... i needed it, nothing to do with wanting or otherwise, it was purely out of need since the act of making a comic was essential to whatever idea of happiness or success i wanted to obtain.

still trying to get there...

song of the minute: django's tiger.

on the bathroom floor: atlas shrugged, maggie cassidy,

a 'jungle jane' sketch from the pitch package...this is a package crafted by agent, not me...it's great to have that narrowing guide.

http://img183.imageshack.us/img183/1017/groupspotuw2.th.jpg (http://img183.imageshack.us/my.php?image=groupspotuw2.jpg)

a philly get together on friday for local creators? sounds good.

So does this mean you're keeping this going? We've several new folks on board and this was an inspiration for be...back in the day.. ;)
And still is. Love that sketch. Jim

chris stevens
03-08-2008, 08:22 PM
a friend just told me gary gygax died yesterday. he was 69 years old.
for anyone who is unaware, mr. gygax was the driving force behind the creation of 'dungeons&dragons'.
thank you, mr. gygax. you helped launch an untold number of wonderful worlds and inspired so many people to dream and craft and create new realities full of myth and magic and adventure.
godspeed, good sir.


http://img216.imageshack.us/img216/5158/spreadfinishwf3.th.jpg (http://img216.imageshack.us/my.php?image=spreadfinishwf3.jpg)

from my book 'jungle jane'. illustrated from start to finish by stephen gilpin.

'jane' was the least attractive story i had in the eyes of the comic book publishers/editors. i do take a small amount of satisfaction in the fact that it'll be the thing i do that makes me the most money in the 'real' world, the book publishing world. i was urged by artists and editors and whoever else to drop it from the book, to 'edge it up', to make jane a teenager so she could show ass cleavage and pant...

if you've got it, stick to it, kids.

j giar
03-08-2008, 09:15 PM
Glad you stuck by your guns Chris......Zoe would've been devastated.

chris stevens
03-25-2008, 01:37 AM
for the two knuckleheads who i chatted with earlier tonight here in the dw lounge. good guys, both.

i've had this piece of paper in my pocket for three weeks. piece of typing paper i grabbed on the fly to hand scrawl a stream of notes coming over the phone from my agent as he laid out his plan and understandings and vision and got to the facts of what he needed from me--the facts being different than any initial signing urges or affirmation of ideas and looks. this was a well-honed editor asking for the end game that is the price the best agents should know. here's what was asked for...

1. overview

a brief descriptive pitch getting to the heart of the project

2. comparables


the hollywood pitch, 'this meets that', and a bit of how

3. synopsis

the a to b to c, with a consumately complete cliffhanger,hopefully.

4. script sample

1/4 of the overall length

5. sample art

character models
finished pages(color)
lettered pages


i think there was one more thing...paper's in my jacket. if there is i'll post it in tomorrow.

chris stevens
03-26-2008, 02:41 PM
#3 should have been a short bio.

03-28-2008, 02:36 AM
Good to have you back posting on this again, Chris. I missed the Jungle Jane art somehow. Beautiful stuff.

Critters Daddy
03-29-2008, 02:41 PM
Finally found this journal of legend! Now I'm all caught up and ready for more Chris!

chris stevens
04-15-2008, 05:38 PM
first and foremost, with pride and excitement i relate the fact of the matter that 'postcards' has been nominated for this years eisner award for 'best anthology'.

'postcards' was my first published work. it was conceived and produced by my dear friend jason rodriguez. i wrote the lead story and helped get that old fucker harvey pekar involved. it's a big boost for me in terms of giddiness and history but on a much less egotistical level i'm just floored by happiness for jason, who took an idea and turned it into a living, breathing book in no-time.
success can be a lot like that old kurt cobain chestnut 'suck-cess' and there was a fair bit of those fluctuating emotions involved here, the learning curve as rollercoaster. but here it is, the eisners.

hats off, jason.


spent a night in brooklyn last week for my boy farel dalrymple's 'omega' party at rocketship. the place was too cramped and hot. but it was cool talking with jonathan lethem and his partner karl, and after the event the night spilled out into the bars of brooklyn. high times with the ultra-talented esao andrews and the dear, dear jim campbell, who, worried about me making my way back home through the subways and buses of nyc-to-nj, drew me a map of the stops on a cocktail napkin. cherished possesion now, that napkin.



my best friend and partner decided to tape me the other night while i was talking comics...good thing i wasn't drinking...

04-15-2008, 05:51 PM

Can't embed web objects here :)

04-16-2008, 09:05 AM
hats off, jason.

Thanks, Chris - hats off to you, as well.

chris stevens
04-16-2008, 04:23 PM
thanks, bio. i fixed the link.

here are a few pics from that rocketship party i mentioned...i always bring a camera to these things and hardly ever take any pictures. this time was no exception. but here are a few taken late in the evening, as i'm sure you can tell...

the man of the hour, farel dalrymple...

http://img396.imageshack.us/img396/1247/puss007mq8.th.jpg (http://img396.imageshack.us/my.php?image=puss007mq8.jpg)

sweet jim campbell...

http://img396.imageshack.us/img396/4459/puss006hy0.th.jpg (http://img396.imageshack.us/my.php?image=puss006hy0.jpg)


http://img396.imageshack.us/img396/8235/puss004tj4.th.jpg (http://img396.imageshack.us/my.php?image=puss004tj4.jpg)

j giar
04-16-2008, 04:41 PM
Ya bunch of lushes... :D

04-16-2008, 04:47 PM
Was that beer called Porkslap?!

chris stevens
04-16-2008, 05:14 PM
jamie, i believe it was! i don't drink beer but yeah that funny little can caught my eye, too.

jim--guilty as charged. you should have seen me making my way back home from brooklyn subway to south jersey bus terminal at 4 in the morning...

j giar
04-16-2008, 05:42 PM
jamie, i believe it was! i don't drink beer but yeah that funny little can caught my eye, too.

jim--guilty as charged. you should have seen me making my way back home from brooklyn subway to south jersey bus terminal at 4 in the morning...

MMmmmmm porkslap.

Jason Copland
04-16-2008, 08:36 PM
Hey, Chris.... going to any conventions this year?

04-16-2008, 09:41 PM
That a/c power cord doesn't look very safe, either. :)

chris stevens
05-01-2008, 09:27 PM
http://img225.imageshack.us/img225/1048/2426786185d8b52d4802oil5.th.jpg (http://img225.imageshack.us/my.php?image=2426786185d8b52d4802oil5.jpg)

i have a short story in pop gun vol. #2 coming from image comics in july. the above cover gives me great joy in that fact. i never hide my belief in the restorative powers of creating the work whole minus everything except the zeroes and a nod to the plot points and heroes who define the search, which, honestly, is the search through the work itself, if you get it right it's salvation in the history of our form, relief in neverfading inklines black as truth with less bending, when it's right in the true capture of life in linestrewn necessity like today's calendar charlie brown making linus wash his socks while a paul chadwick voiceover reads over panels in perfectly placed captions adding to the then and now...it does give me hope knowing the second story i'll see published(after my 'blue' for jason rodriguez's 'postcards' which is newly eisner-award minted!) will rub your lamps with the crumbs falling out of beards as setting into a bed of stories with no ending or final satisfying bite but the best meal still courses to be served...like all good comics...but the cover is paul pope, who any one breathing comics from '95 or so on 'till now who takes it seriously has to look at with respect minimum. happy as hell to have a story in a book between that cover.

http://img90.imageshack.us/img90/5835/2179645052b0a047d772bxm0.th.jpg (http://img90.imageshack.us/my.php?image=2179645052b0a047d772bxm0.jpg)

from the lone ranger published by dynamite, which is an interesting publisher. i can't wait for this issue to be in my hands and poor as i am i contacted paul about this wolf original, hoping for good business and a happy birthday from someone before this jack london breathing hard in his tracks the forced-to-live glare of the wolf in black and white hangs on someone elses wall...

http://img225.imageshack.us/img225/3922/apacheaq4.th.jpg (http://img225.imageshack.us/my.php?image=apacheaq4.jpg)

apache about says it all. pp's great thing, among all the form and style, is the sure unflinching humanity...cast as petite prince the pretty jack kirby thin and fuckable, whatever amounts to that particular ego artists need to have i'm happy he has it.

http://img171.imageshack.us/img171/248/139470230883e985033abie2.th.jpg (http://img171.imageshack.us/my.php?image=139470230883e985033abie2.jpg)

and norrin rad, the silver surfer. fun, i see him dropping out of racing black holes 40 thousand ft high at the speed of loving ink....

05-02-2008, 03:13 AM
Congrats on Popgun, Chris! I was supposed to have been joining you in that volume but alas, postponed. What's your story called? Is it posted on the creator's forum?

chris stevens
05-02-2008, 05:21 PM
thanks, jamie. sorry your story got bumped but i think i saw a preview of it, right? looked great and lots of fun. look forward to seeing it in living color in pop gun 3.

funny you ask what the title of my story is...i'm not sure it has one! it's something i did with wya when i was just getting started. it was meant to be a supplemental little piece of backstory to a larger fantasy series called 'king and no king' i was planning on doing with wya back then. so i guess we'll call it 'king and no king'! folks from dw and people familiar with this journal probably have seen the b+w pages at some point but now it's all colored up and shiny and it's nice to know it'll have a home as i think it's a solid little piece of work. it's dedicated to mike wieringo, who offered early encouragement and said some really nice things about it, allowing me to use his quote that it was like a neil gaiman tale on the back of a promotional pamphlet i had printed up. so it's dedicated to mike and i think it'll have a certain poignancy for fans of his once they read the story.

i've been looking through a lot of old comics, and i saw a thread here in the creator forum someone started about 'the first comic you read'...the first comic i read is lost to time but i bet it was a spider-man comic as from, like, the age of 4 i was a spider-man nut. but here are two comics i read early on that left a profound stamp on my memory that i doubt'll ever fade...

http://img231.imageshack.us/img231/8374/captain20carrot202ku0.th.jpg (http://img231.imageshack.us/my.php?image=captain20carrot202ku0.jpg)

this issue of captain carrot opened up my child's mind to the multiverse of worlds and characters and planted the early seed of crafting my own alternatives and realities spinning out from the cartoons and books and bedtime stories i was taking in as a child. i still love this comic, the whole series, and look forward to filling in my collection over time and hopefully getting some original art from this issue particularly.

http://img234.imageshack.us/img234/6343/811ma8.th.jpg (http://img234.imageshack.us/my.php?image=811ma8.jpg)

the savage sword of conan seemed so adult to me when i was 7 or 8 reading it...it was magazine-sized and black and white, with painted covers. it was a book you purchased from the local tobacco and liqour store with the authentic wooden cigar store indian standing guard at the entrance, carved out of a deep brown almost red wood with finely crafted sad indian eyes and the broad strong nose of cheifs. my mom would send me down to the store to grab her cigarettes and lottery tickets(always straight and boxed)and when i could i'd finagle the change and buy a savage sword of conan. inside john buscema's muscular work brought conan's world to manly life, as real as any reality of watching conan the movie. conan fought and women were saved, panting, and sometimes great monsters wound up on the edge of conan's sword but not before somehow presenting a kind of existential meaning to conan's existence. i liked the making-his-way conan, i never enjoyed 'king conan'. for me that was a part of the legend fair enough but one i'd rather imagine, not read. there will always be a sense of mystery for me surrounding those old savage sword of conan issues.


out of the past and into the now, or the near-now...i was at the nyc comic con a couple weeks back. it was an atypical con experience, as i went up with my friend/partner and his girlfriend. we were mostly going to get together with farel dalrymple, the con was just background noise. my buddy mistakenly bought three tickets so i didn't even pick up my pro registration, which really only got you free coffee anyway. the con itself was ok. hard to judge off a rushed two hours. the layout seemed shit, but there was a large artist alley. it was kind of cramped though, and not so much because it was so crowded but more that it was just tight. those were my impressions, anyway. i was kind of burnt out from a few long nights preceeding this so i wasn't meeting people the way i normally would be. i avoided my agent, passed on introducing myself to david mack even though we'd recently been having a pleasant email exchange going on, and even tony lee's funny brit smile couldn't get me into it. i did get to say hi to steveo from the boards here. steve probably thinks i'm a dick as i just wasn't in it that day. i walked by the random house booth. random house was my pro provider and they did have 'postcards' in the front row of books they were displaying. but i expected more from a huge publisher like random in terms of the set up they had. i know it's not book expo or anything but it is a big time comic con and to have two tables pushed together with a cheap looking tablecloth thrown over them and some books lined up standing in rows , with a group of obviously apathetic editors and random house representatives sitting in the background bored and completely only engaging with one another...bleh. i walked on after browsing a minute, didn't bother introducing myself.

we met up with farel and grabbed a few drinks. the drinks being sold at the con were surprisingly cheap and correspondingly weak. one of the most relaxing things about nyc if you smoke trees is that you can basically smoke wherever and whenever you want, outside of standing on a streetcorner with a cop. after smoking i watched a great chewbacca putting on a show. it reminded me of being 6 years old in walt disney world getting my picture taken with costumed mickey's and goofy's.

farel introduced me to zach baldus. i knew zach only through the meathaus anthologies and he usually went under 'zach flagg' so i was confused for a few minutes. ha. so my friend and his girl and farel and me and zach, along with a nice guy named joe who is doing a new image book with rick spears but joe buddy i can't for the life of me remember your last name sorry,
went out to eat at a kosher vegetarian indian place called madras mahal. i'll admit i was sceptical, and when i saw there was no bar only beer i was even less excited. but it turned out to be a delightful dinner, we all shared family style and the food was, for me at least, something new and surprisingly satisfying.

later on in a bar zach and i get to talking about the 'jack of fables' covers he's doing, he's telling me #21 just came out and i have to admit i hadn't seen it but i couldn't wait to. i didn't have to wait long, as zach had the original art on him. it was one of those rare times when you're struck by that something new to you that's so good it's almost as if how was there ANYTHING before i knew about this? those kinds of moments i've had with first seeing paul pope and farel and ron wimberly or upon finally 'getting' jack kirby and buscema and moebius. and this was that kind of moment seeing zach's elegant, almost ephemeral pencils for this cover here...while i was gazing into that incredible look on the guy's face looking into the mirror i couldn't help but think of kevin melrose, knowing how much he digs this kind of stuff and wishing he was there at that moment.

http://img231.imageshack.us/img231/1116/jackcv21solicitkj4.th.jpg (http://img231.imageshack.us/my.php?image=jackcv21solicitkj4.jpg)

05-03-2008, 01:05 AM
i walked by the random house booth. random house was my pro provider and they did have 'postcards' in the front row of books they were displaying. but i expected more from a huge publisher like random in terms of the set up they had. i know it's not book expo or anything but it is a big time comic con and to have two tables pushed together with a cheap looking tablecloth thrown over them and some books lined up standing in rows , with a group of obviously apathetic editors and random house representatives sitting in the background bored and completely only engaging with one another

I wasn't there but they may have had more than that one area. They usually group Villard/Ballantine (which is the ones we'd be more familiar with), Pantheon, and Del Rey Manga all in one section. Did they have that this time?

I do know that as far as the editors go they tend to be at meetings all day and organizing back at the hub during off times. The publicists and assistants are the ones that work the booths.