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Archive for the ‘DORIS DANGER!’ Category

Doris Danger (vol. 1, Chpt. 1), page 022 BILL SIENKIEWICZ – Commentary

Tuesday, October 16th, 2018

 

COMMENTARY:

Since Mike Allred was the first pin-up I commissioned for Doris Danger, you can read about why I wanted pin-ups in my books, and how I set about trying to get them, on page 020 MIKE ALLRED – Commentary

BILL SIENKIEWICZ

(This photo is of Bill and me at Wondercon 2011 in San Francisco.)

Bill is a character.  He “feels” like a true artist.  He’s always buzzing around trying to get a bunch of things done all at once, coming and going, and not always easy to find. Piles of art and art supplies spread out everywhere.

I met and spent a little time with him at San Diego Comic-Con 2003, and he agreed to contribute a giant monster pin-up. I was at his booth for a fair amount of time, and watched him draw sketches for a few people. He would use pictures he drew in his own book as reference for sketches he would draw in the books. He had ink, brushes, pens, and weird dental tools that he dipped in the ink. He had a pinwheel-type device that he would roll over the art to leave scratchy lines. Really fascinating working style, how he gets all his textures and line qualities.  How he just experiments and goes for it.

When I asked about a pin-up, he said he was doing commissions right then, at that very moment. I went to a bank teller and got some cash, and then I tried to write up a little hand receipt/waiver. I’ve always had everyone I get a pin-up from sign it, unless they don’t charge me for the pin-up. I always ask that I have permission to publish it, permission to keep it (if I can afford it), permission to use their name for advertising or marketing or press releases, and that they don’t expect any royalties or additional payments. I’m sure some artists have thought I’m an asshole to make them sign something, but in twenty years it will cover them as well as me, because we both know how I intend to use their pin-up.

By the time I got the money together, and had my contract/waiver/receipt, it was getting later in the day, and he said he might not be able to get to it today, but to check back in with him later. We checked later in the day, and he was gone. We went the next day, and never managed to find him at his table again.

Over the next few months, I emailed Bill, and finally called him. I was honestly beginning to feel a little nervous, knowing I’d given him a sizeable wad of cash. While leaving a message on his answering machine like this, “Bill, I’m beginning to get a little concerned, because I haven’t heard from you,” he picked up, and assured me he would have it to me within a week or two. Maybe a month later he contacted me to say it was finished, and he’d send it to me priority, and I’d get it in a few days. Maybe a few weeks after that it actually, finally did come in the mail. What a crazy monster pin-up he sent me! I published it in my second issue, Tabloia #573.  I liked it so much, I commissioned him for a second pin-up at Wizard World L.A. in 2007, which is where the photo above was taken, with him and my first son.  Then he inked a short Doris Danger story!

(Photo of Bill, my wife and oldest son, at Chicago’s Wizard World 2007.)

Bill has been so sweet and kind to me about my monster comics, and truly has come to be a best friend of mine!  I believe he does genuinely enjoy my work.  Bill gave me a kind quote of endorsement for promotion, which was actually just something he wrote me in an email, and I asked for permission to use it in print.   We tried to collaborate on a project in 2014, first with him as cover artist, and then as inker for the eight issue series, but we were unable to find a publisher to take the project on.  Most recently, he inked my story in the Where We Live: Las Vegas Shooting Benefit Anthology.



Chpt. 2   CHPT. 3   Chpt. 4
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Doris Danger (vol. 1, Chpt. 1), page 021 MIKE MIGNOLA – Published

Tuesday, October 16th, 2018

My best friend, Mike Mignola, makes gorgeous comics!  Look at those compositions!  Look at that velvety use of blacks to define volume in his forms, and depth and space!  Pick up all his HELLBOY comics at your local comics shop!This fantastic pin-up was published in “Tabloia #572” , “Doris Danger Seeks… Where Giant Monsters Creep and Stomp” , and “Doris Danger Giant Monster Adventures” !



Chpt. 2   CHPT. 3   Chpt. 4
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Doris Danger (vol. 1, Chpt. 1), page 021 MIKE MIGNOLA – Commentary

Tuesday, October 16th, 2018

 

COMMENTARY:

Since Mike Allred was the first pin-up I commissioned for Doris Danger, you can read about why I wanted pin-ups in my books, and how I set about trying to get them, on page 020 MIKE ALLRED – Commentary

MIKE MIGNOLA

 This photo is of Mike and I sitting at side-by-side tables, at San Francisco’s Wondercon 2008.  Doesn’t Mike look like he’s thinking, “Great, they sat me next to THIS guy.”  And I’M thinking, “Wow, it’s great to be best friends with Mike!”

I’d seen Mr. Mignola signing at San Diego’s Comic-Cons before, usually for limited hour or so slots, at the Darkhorse booth. He always had long, long lines.

The previous year, I’d happened upon him coincidentally, held a comic out in front of him with a pen, and asked if he could take one and a half seconds to sign it for me, and he’d said no. (He’d actually just finished one of these signing blocks, and was leaving to move on to other things – so I recognize looking back that it wasn’t a rude a gesture, it was a practical one.) So I felt like he must be such a big wig, he’s pretty unapproachable. Now, in 2003 at San Diego’s Comic-Con, I constantly poked around at the Darkhorse booth, hoping he might pop by to talk to editors or something. I never saw him, and finally asked if there were any autograph times he had scheduled. They told me I had just missed him (GODDAMN THE LUCK!). They said they thought he did have a signing the next day. But then they let me in on a shocking secret. They said he had a table all week, and I could just go over and meet him there any time. I was shocked. He wasn’t listed in the catalogue. (Not that I could find – but Comic-Con’s listings take some serious studying to really figure out, becaue they’re so BIG.)  You mean he’s not unapproachable? I had him all wrong. So all this time that I thought he’d been totally unapproachable, he’d actually been TOTALLY approachable. He’s just been approachable in SECRET. On the sly. Only to those in the know.  Which was ME – STARING  NOW.

I went directly over to where they said, and there he was, just sitting there by himself, and no one even knew he was there. There was maybe one person in line. I walked right up and had the opportunity to tell him how I loved his stories. I sputtered how great I thought his art is, and how much I enjoyed his stories’ subject matter. I showed him the photocopies of my Doris Danger stuff, and he took a copy, but didn’t really look over it. I asked if he did any sketches, and he said he usually brings some nice sketches that cost money, but he’d do a quick Hellboy sketch. I was so shocked, I immediately found Elizabeth (She was waiting in line for me to meet Bruce Timm), and asked her to go meet him and try to get another sketch for me.  What an under-handed trick!

So now, at San Diego’s Comic-Con 2004 – Basically my first stop was to find him at his booth. My first issue of Tabloia had just come out (with the first Doris Danger story in it), and I had a stack of Dick Ayers inked pages and pin-ups of giant monsters that I had so far commissioned from other artists. I suspected it would be like my experience at Comic-Con in 2003, where Mike Mignola would be somewhere accessible, and I just had to figure out where. Sure enough, I was able to hunt down his table. I waited in a moderate line, then quickly showed him a binder with the copies of all my Ayers-inked monster stories, followed by all the pin-ups I’d amassed by then. As he flipped through, I could tell he was impressed with my roll call. Mike Allred, Thomas Yeates, Gene Colan, Bill Sienkiewicz, Sam Kieth, Irwin Hasen, all three Hernandez Brothers (but I hadn’t received Jaime’s yet), Ryan Sook (who I’d asked to please butter me up when he spoke with Mike, since I knew Ryan had drawn some of Mike’s books at that time), Steve Rude and Russ Heath (whose pin-ups I also hadn’t yet received), and JH Williams III (whose pin-up was completed and I would be picking up at this con). Suddenly he said, “How can I be a part of this?”

Wow. I almost fell over. I was speechless. I couldn’t believe it. One of my favorite artists, whom I’d always assumed would be fairly untouchable, asking me what HE can do to be a part of my monster comics. Every year, my work must be looking better and better, and people are getting more and more impressed, and more willing to contribute pin-ups. The year before, he had glanced over a lot of the same work I was showing him now, but he didn’t seem so interested.

He gave me his business card, and I continued to bluster about my comic, and tell him about Dr. DeBunko. Then I gave him a copy of the first issue of Tabloia, and asked to buy one of his sketchbooks (and he even drew a quick Hellboy sketch in it). I babbled I’d taken up too much of his time, and he said he agreed that I had, and I realized I’d better make my exit. Later I went back and gave him one of my Spluhh giant monster t-shirts.

This happened back in the days when artists were still sending artwork in the mail, and then publishers had to return it.  A package came in the mail and it contained Mike’s pin-up.  He would not charge me for it, but he also said he liked the piece too much and wouldn’t let me buy the original.  So I took a scan of it, and returned it in the mail to him.  It was sweet sorrow letting the piece go. I published it in Tabloia #576 – the final issue.

Here’s Mike kindly standing behind my table with me, at Wondercon San Francisco 2006.  Judging by what’s on the table, all five issues of Tabloia had been released, as well as the first Doris Danger treasury, Where Giant Monsters Creep and Stomp.

Mike gave me a kind quote of endorsement for promotion, which I wrote about on page 000a Back Cover – Commentary.

 



Chpt. 2   CHPT. 3   Chpt. 4
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Doris Danger (vol. 1, Chpt. 1), page 020 MIKE ALLRED – Commentary

Tuesday, October 16th, 2018

COMMENTARY:

WANTING TO GET PIN-UPS FROM OTHER COMICS ARTISTS

Planning to self-publish a comic book series (which would soon become “Tabloia”), I went to San Diego’s Comic-Con in 2002, (two years before I published “Tabloia’s” first issue, which included the first appearance of Doris Danger). This was the year I thought it might be a nice feature of my book if I could convince some artists to draw pin-ups of my characters and let me publish them in my books. And this was the con I began trying to meet artists and ask about this possibility. I thought it would give potential readers a reason to flip through the book of an unknown creator and maybe give it a try, but also I wanted to show a connection with comics and creators who had influenced my work, and a sort of respect for comics history. Many books have done this. Frank Miller’s Sin City. Old issues of Wolverine. Neil Gaiman did about three issues of JUST pin-ups of Sandman, and his character Death, or whoever. But it was Mike Allred’s Madman book that was a key inspiration of this for me. All his comics just bulge with his love of the medium, in my opinion, and I wanted to emulate THAT.

MEETING DICK AYERS

I made only a few contacts on this trip, and the only one that panned out was from Dick Ayers, who wound up inking the Doris Danger stories as a result (Chpt. 1Chpt. 5.  He also – later – did two pin-ups and pencils for a story!). But when I managed to get Dick on board, I started fantasizing, because it didn’t seem achievable, about all the artists I thought it would be just impossibly cool to somehow find at other conventions or contact and get pin-ups from.

My wife is a runner, and during this time, we would go out, and she would run with the dog on a leash with her, and I would bike alongside them for company and (moderate) exercise and fresh air and all that, and it would be time for an hour to be alone with my thoughts.  And we were on a run at this reservoir in Sacramento. I just started getting so excited about the thought of trying to see if Mike Allred might do a pin-up for me.

EXCITING NEW PIN-UP COMPOSITIONS?

There are only so many ways you can draw a pin-up or cover for a particular character (Batman, Spider-Man).  They can be on a building, or on the street, or against a brick wall, or in a spotlight – but eventually you’re in danger of just doing the same thing over and over, right?  That’s the trick of cover artists, coming up with a nice, new-feeling image.  But giant monsters … everyone I asked to do pin-ups could draw any kind of giant monster they wanted, in any setting… and who doesn’t love drawing giant monsters? I thought this would be a fun pin-up project.

MIKE ALLRED

(This photo is of Mike, me, and Laura Allred at Seattle’s Emerald City Comic-Con 2013.)

After I’d met Mike Allred at the San Diego Comic-Con of 2001 (my first San Diego Con – He was sitting at a Marvel booth signing for X-Force, and I got a quick minute with him after waiting in line), I sent him a letter printed on paper and sent in the mail c/o Marvel Comics, and told him what a great artist I thought he was. At that time, Joe Quesada had brought all these great indie artists onto Marvel’s mainstream books, and Mike was now on an X-book, shaking things up in the industry. I wrote him in the old-fashioned style, by typing a letter and mailing it to the Marvel offices. I wrote that I thought it was great that he was riling up mainstream comics fans, and good for him. I wrote about how impressive I thought it was, that he could use such simple, thick lines, and convey so much. I was thinking specifically of his Red Rocket Seven books, where he would draw crowds of people, and each one was so distinct, and had so much personality, even though they were all just simple, thick lines. I never heard back.

A year later, after finding him and speaking with him at San Diego 2002, I mentioned writing him, and he said that Marvel forwards any emails they receive about X-Force, but they never mail him any mailed letters. That explained it, I thought.

My confidence was up after visiting with him at the 2001 con, because he was so friendly. Soon, I was searching the internet. I found a Mike Allred Message Board online, and saw he would even occasionally answer people who wrote in. I finally got up the nerve to write to him publicly there, and said a lot of the same stuff I’d said in my original mailed letter. I appreciated that he was approachable and friendly. I appreciated how much variety and character he could convey with his simple lines, and how it almost seems more difficult to convey so much, as opposed to cross-hatching any potential blemishes until they’re hidden. He posted a reply to my email right away, and was as friendly and welcoming as ever. His reply was also sent to me as an email, so I responded to the email, but learned it had been sent computer-generated, through his webmaster at the website. The webmaster told me to post on the message board.  I wrote another post, listing my email and asking him to get in touch with me, but he never did. Of course, the reason I was trying to get in touch with him was that he was first on my list to try and get a pin-up from.

Because I’m persistent (bordering on stalking?) and I didn’t know how else to get in touch, I put together a package and physically sent it to the PO Box that Mike had listed inside his Atomics comics, which I knew he self-pubished. I sent him copies of I think the first three Ayers-inked monster stories I’d done, and gushed what a fan I was, and if there were any way I could negotiate to get a pin-up from him, that would be the greatest. This package returned me the honor of a personal email from Mike.

He wrote that he really loved the monsters, but that his schedule was just too busy to do commissions. I didn’t really expect that he would do a pin-up, so I wasn’t too disappointed about that. He had told me at San Diego that he didn’t do commissions. Mostly, I just felt so cool that I had just gotten a personal email from one of my very favorite comics artists.

I wrote back and told him I hoped he would think of me if his schedule ever lightened up. I also wrote that if he ever decided to sell any of his original art, I hoped he would let me know, because I would be interested in buying some of his art. I was excited about the thought of getting some up-close looks at his line-work. I didn’t expect he would be up for selling any art any time soon, however, because at the last San Diego Con, when I had asked about his original art, he had said with a laugh that he kept it all, because he liked it too much.

So imagine my surprise when he wrote right back to tell me that he was just talking with his wife about selling some of his original art, for the first time in quite a while. There were a few Madman issues he decided he was willing to part with, but the catch was that he didn’t want to break any of the art up, so he decided he would only sell full issues as a set. He listed a price, which was of course way more than I could afford. After all, it was twenty-four pages AND a cover.

And that’s when I started getting crazy ideas in my head. I started pacing, as I am wont to do when I get crazy ideas in my head, or just when I’m concentrating and my mind is racing too much to sit still. I had just gotten a credit card that had a zero percent interest for nine months, and a few no-fee checks. I knew, realistically, it would take me at least nine months to pay off a purchase like this. What in the hell was I thinking? Why was I even considering this??!

I called my wife and told her Allred emailed me that he was selling his art, and how expensive it would be. And I told her I wanted to see, if I offered to pay the amount he was talking about, if he would maybe throw in a pin-up of a giant monster that I could publish. A crazy, daring, completely idiotic scheme. But then I would own a full issue of original art by one of my favorite comics artists, and I would have a pin-up, to publish in my very own comic, by one of my favorite comics artists. I bit my nails and waited for a reply, and he went for it. If I bought a full issue of Madman original art, he would draw me a giant monster.

This really got me pacing. Was I this stupid, that I was actually going to do this? It was crazy. I sent him another email, asking if I would need to pay any extra for the pin-up, or shipping, or taxes. Or anything. I also wanted to make sure I could announce my comic would contain his pin-up, and make sure he didn’t expect any royalties.

As all this frenzied concern was going through my mind and body, it was getting to be the time of day that I had to go to work, and when I got there, I started thinking…

You’re f!&%$#?!!ing crazy! What in the hell is the matter with you???!! This was completely idiotic!! What have you done!?! What have you gotten yourself into??! I realized, my only chance to get out of this was if he disagreed with any of my requests, like wanting extra money for shipping. I almost hoped he would add shipping, just so I could say, “I’m really sorry, but I’m stretching myself too thin.” I was sweating and pacing all day at work. I couldn’t concentrate on anything else. But when I got home, there was an email from him, and he was so sweet about everything. He said, of course everything I asked for would be included in the price. I had no excuses, no recourse. I grabbed my no-fee, no-interest credit card checks, and sent him the payment.

His pin-up was published in my first issue, Tabloia #572, alongside pin-ups by Gene Colan and Thomas Yeates.

I wasn’t able to hunt him down for a photo after that, until San Diego Comic-Con 2009.

Since then, we’ve become best friends!

He wrote me a kind quote of endorsement for promotion, and made a second pin-up for me (and I didn’t have to buy another full issue of original published comics art!), and then he inked a short Doris Danger story.  Mike truly has been supportive of my comics work, and in 2017 he and Ryan Sook and I tried to pitch a creator-owned comics project together, but we were unable to find a publisher.

 



Chpt. 2   CHPT. 3   Chpt. 4
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Doris Danger (vol. 1, Chpt. 1), page 018-019 double-page spread – Script

Monday, October 15th, 2018
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Doris Danger (vol. 1, Chpt. 1), page 018-019 double-page spread – Commentary

Monday, October 15th, 2018
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Doris Danger (vol. 1, Chpt. 1), page 018-019 double-page spread – Pre-Edits

Monday, October 15th, 2018
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Doris Danger (vol. 1, Chpt. 1), page 0012 – Published

Friday, October 12th, 2018
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Doris Danger (vol. 1, Chpt. 1), page 007 – Published

Friday, October 12th, 2018
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Doris Danger (vol. 1, Chpt. 1), page 017 – Commentary

Thursday, October 11th, 2018
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