May I Show You My Portfolio?
For anyone keeping track at home, I’m feeling mostly better. You can tell because I made this:
Which is based on one of my all-time favourite comic book panels, one that bothered me as a boy and still troubles me as a “man.”
In other news, famed comic book author Jason Aaron is back at it again, inviting me to his orgies:
(I’m assuming. I’ve never opened his emails.)
The gaming company I worked for did things like pool tables/cues, air hockey tables, playing cards, etc. This was early in my illustration career and I was insanely excited that they were getting me to do Marvel licensed work! A real dream job until the company went bankrupt!
Sadly, the “pooping Wolverine” is lost to the sands of time and hard drive crashes, but I still have the file for the Spider-Man pool cue!
This is my first-ever professional Spider-Man illustration, obviously based off of Mark Bagley’s Ultimate Spider-Man. It’s not as bad as I remember!
My dad bought one of the Spidey pool cues. It’s probably worth a million dollars now!!! Congrats, daddy!!!!!!
Fuck it, since I’m showing early embarrassing work…
When I was in college I briefly wanted to be a comic book artist. I found myself with a year off before my final year thanks to some terrible youthful decisions, and I had enough money saved up that I didn’t have to work for three whole months, so I hunkered down in my terrible apartment with my many roommates and I dedicated myself to creating sample pages for Marvel and DC.
I really need to stress that I had three months. This is plenty of time. Unless it feels like all the time in the world, which means my days looked like this:
11AM: Wake up
NOON: Coffee shop, making sure to read all the daily newspapers so I’m an informed citizen
2PM: Sit at desk, flip through bodybuilding magazines to study anatomy and draw Batman costumes on ripped dudes
2:30PM: Go with roommates to diner and have “breakfast”. Wonder why we didn’t have our own TV show about all our great conversations
4PM: Work time! Draw five lines, erase three of them, stare at own hand where, one day, an iPhone will be, so I won’t have to stare at just my hand
4:30PM: Watch one of my roommates Twin Peaks VHS tapes
5:30PM: Dinner time! Go with roommates to diner again and have “breakfast.”
7PM: Fuck around
9PM: Go to local internet cafe / bar and drink coffee until two in the morning with buddies, wondering why we don’t have our own TV show about all our great conversations
I really need to stress that I gave myself THREE MONTHS. In those three months I drew three pages. Starting with this SUPERMAN one:
Terrible! Those bodybuilding magazines did NOT help me at all! This is wildly embarrassing.
And then there’s this FLASH page:
Good GOD. Ludicrously bad.
The only one that even comes close to being okay is this HELLBLAZER page:
And even still it’s not very good.
THREE MONTHS. THREE PAGES. When I was finally forced to get a job again I felt like an absolute failure. I never sent the pages in.
My inability to actually sit down and do the work was something I had trouble with all through public school as well. It was so bad that halfway through Grade Eight I was pulled out of class and placed in a little room where I could just come up with my own independent projects, since I wasn’t doing any of the ones assigned. Guess what? I decided to make every project a comic book that I would abandon after THREE PAGES.
Honestly it’s a miracle that I do so much now.
RELATED: A couple of years ago I approached IDW about making one of those oversized Artist Editions called “May I Show You My Portfolio?” The cover would look like a classic leather artist’s portfolio and inside would be all the terrible submission pages of now-professional comic book artists, side-by side with their current work. I think we eventually realized what a rights nightmare it would be, getting DC and Marvel, etc. to allow their characters to be printed in such an unflattering light.
But fuck, it would be SO GOOD!!
ELSEWHERE: For anyone interested, I had a really nice conversation with Dan at GATECRASHERS about Public Domain:
Which reminds me! PUBLIC DOMAIN VOL. 1 is now widely available in NON-comic book shops! I was reminded of this when I checked the listing on Amazon. I’m always pleasantly surprised by my author bio there. Still as true today as it ever was!!
And now, for my paid subscribers, a short KAPTARA installment! I’m back drawing Public Domain, so those will start up again real soon too!