January, 2012 Monthly archive

Study Group Comics reader Nate Marsh sent us an email regarding the site and linked to his own unique effort in the webcomics arena, Alphabet Horror Vacui. I found it quite charming – whimsical, alliterative almost-narratives float in and about lovingly crosshatched drawings. So far, “F” is the only traditional comics page, as Marsh tends to favor jam-packed single images over panels and gutters and so on.

He is apparently averaging a letter a month, up to “M” so far, with prints of each image available for sale. Add Alphabet Horror Vacui to your bookmarks and see what’s next.


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Dylan Horrocks is one of our favorites here at Study Group HQ, and we’re always happy to hear what he’s up to. While we anxiously awaiting the next page of his sexy John Carter: Warlord of Mars homage, Sam Zabel and the Magic Pen, we see he’s now offering fancy prints. You may remember this image from the cover of ATLAS #2. Quoth Dylan:

It’s a high quality giclée print on 320gsm German etching paper, 297mm x 420mm (A3) (i.e. 11.7 x 16.5 inches). Each print is signed and numbered by me, and the edition is limited to 50.

Click the link or the image above to learn how to get a copy.

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Getting an artist’s professional-life story down on tape can sometimes be quick work; documenting the evolution of that artist’s creative process across that career always takes a hideously long amount of time. This is probably why most journalists don’t do craft/process interviews.

Even at its final, mammoth size in Study Group Magazine #1, my “Where It’s Done” feature on Craig Thompson omitted a lot of interesting/amusing comments and conversations that he and I had over the course of our marathon interview session and subsequent followups. I plan to periodically stitch together some of the deleted material from the raw tapes and share them here. – milo

 CRAIG THOMPSON: I went to the Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design [Wisconsin] for one semester because that was all I could afford. I paid for it out-of-pocket and then spent six months paying off my loans. I never ended up back in school. All you end up doing in your first semester is toothpick sculptures. I felt like I was in kindergarten. We also spent a lot of time in wood shop too, so it felt like we were in a white-trash high school. You’re in White-trash high-school wood shop or you’re in kindergarten; that’s art school. Appropriately, my favorite class and favorite instructor was English. I went to a community college for a year, where the art classes were my favorite; when I went to art school, English was where I thrived. I didn’t fit in either context.

MILO GEORGE: Did you work during your time in college?

THOMPSON: When I was at community college I got a job driving a delivery van for the Wausau Daily Herald newspaper, like dispatch for all the missed papers, for a year and a half; you’d drive out to deliver a paper to a house that didn’t get theirs and called in to complain. I used to draw these elaborate cartoons on the dispatch board and someone in the design department saw them and encouraged me to apply for a low-end ad-stylist job for the paper. So I applied and got promoted from low-end delivery-truck driver to doing graphic design at a newspaper. I was there for over a year full-time; at one point, I phased out my schooling and just became a worker. I think everything I learned about computers and graphic design, I got there. They were still doing paste-up back then — this is like 1994, ’95. It was cool to have daily deadlines too; it’s a great exercise for any cartoonist. You could walk downstairs into the gigantic pressroom with these massive presses running, it was all very tangible; if you made a mistake, you’d see how it turned out off the press. I still use all that information; it’s probably a little outdated.

GEORGE: So you’ve been drawing with final printing in mind from the beginning?

THOMPSON: Yeah. They had two presses: One was a small offset, small-run digital press — I made my first minicomic on that press. I wasn’t stealing copies; since I was an employee, I just had to pay for the materials. The only thing I did on the professional press was 2-Way Cartoon Machine. That’s actually my first minicomic is actually a flipbook, with myself on one side and Kurt Halsey on the other. He’s fairly well known in the indie painting world in Indiana. He went from being a cartoonist — he was the one of the people who convinced me to start drawing comics — to being a painter, but he has a cartoony style still.

I worked a bunch of shitty jobs in Milwaukee. I was there for another year, a full year after dropping out of art school. The biggest stepping-stone jobs I had back then were jobs animating laser-light shows for a children’s museum, Discovery World, and later drawing stuff for a small advertising agency.

For the museum, I was a one-man lackey for these two stuffy theater guys who ran the theater department at the museum. It was actually pretty cool; the actors were really good and they did a lot of things with Tesla coils and big gimmicks, semi-explosive things going off on stage. The museum acquired these lasers, and I got hired at seven bucks an hour to animate laser-light shows; they would give me a theme and a song, like, “Use ‘I Am The Walrus’ by the Beatles and the theme is ‘Alice in Wonderland,’ now run with that!” and I would have to create a storyboard, a narrative, and draw all the cells for the laser animation by myself. They were drawn with the mouse or a WACOM tablet, 20 plates or so per second, with a lot of loops. It took an insane amount of work and then they took all the credit for it; I think they’re still showing these laser shows that I did 20 years ago! That was a great best-worst job, because I was finally getting paid to make art, and at that point in my life, $7 an hour was amazing pay because I was doing telemarketing and working in bagel shops before that, but the museum job totally destroyed me; it was a lot of all-nighters and I didn’t get to see my friends.

Then I worked at an advertising agency. I had moved back home for three months before moving to Portland — my lease was up, my job was up and I was in no-man’s-land. I was 21 at that point, living with my parents and working in a small-town advertising agency, which was an awesome job. They had one copywriting guy who wrote slogans and jingles, two designers, two fancy-pants business people and a secretary — a really small agency. Probably the most fun job I’ve ever had; the energy was really funny, the stakes are so low because you’re just doing graphic design for small-town Wisconsin companies. That led to me eventually getting a job at Dark Horse.

I mentioned the children’s museum earlier as probably my best-worst job ever, but Dark Horse was definitely my best-worst job ever — I was in comics for the first time in my life, but so far away from actually making the kind of comics I wanted to do.

I lucked out; very early on, they singled me out as the designer for all the quirky, indie-style books, which made me so happy and I got to work with guys like Dave Land and Phil Amara. I remember the first time I got to talk to and work with Jay Stevens, on Land Of Nod, being a huge fanboy moment. I worked on Mike Allred’s Madman when it was still at Dark Horse — across the board, if they had a fun, quirky project, I was assigned to do the graphic design and that was the best part of the job, although still it was just graphic design. But I also had to do design for stuff like action figures for the character Ghost, very buxom, and “Aliens Versus the Vikings” when they put out books like that. [I thought Craig was joking or exaggerating but no, this really is a thing that exists.- milo] When I was working on projects like that, it was the worst thing in the world. Just in general — I was working on a computer all day long, making lunchboxes and logos when I wanted to be making comics, so it was both really exciting and yet super-frustrating but still a high point.

Anyone who’s been to Dark Horse knows it has a sort of dungeon-like quality; you have this perception that it’s going to be, ah …

GEORGE: You’re literally in Richardson’s fiefdom; it seems like there’s some Dark Horse department on almost every block of that town’s center –

THOMPSON: Yeah, but it’s very oppressive when you’re in there — or at least the design department was. It was like, “Shhh, no talking” like a library. Just working, no talking. I don’t know, maybe that’s how most of those jobs are. I visited LAIKA a few times; that place seems dynamic and fun but maybe, if you’re working there, it’s not. Maybe it’s oppressive there, too.

GEORGE: Was the design department upstairs when you were working there?

THOMPSON: Yeah, but I don’t think it was different from editorial, which wasn’t a playground either. There’s no windows in that area, everything’s very closed off. At least there are windows upstairs!

GEORGE: No windows, no wall clocks except one in the meeting room—

THOMPSON: There was a big clock right where I was working; I kept an eye on it.

GEORGE: Maybe they uninstalled the clocks recently; some corporate-productivity consultants come into an office and the first thing they do is get rid of the wall clocks, take them out of general-use areas like hallways. It’s the same theory behind why Las Vegas casinos never have clocks.


GEORGE: That people are more focused and can stay focused on whatever’s in front of them for much longer-than-normal amounts of time if they have no reminders or indicators in their field of vision that time is passing.

THOMPSON: Man — that Life is passing.

GEORGE: Did you pick up a lot of knowledge about production for comics there?

THOMPSON: I learned Photoshop coloring at Dark Horse, and I still use that method, basically. There’s so much that they teach you about production methods that are outdated because they haven’t necessarily shifted as the technology has gotten so much better in terms of what printers can output; they’re still outputting at a pretty low resolution, so most of what I learned about production that has been most valuable and still useful I’ve gotten from my friendship with Jordan Crane, who is one of my first buddies in comics. We used to nerd out on the phone a lot.

I learned how to trap at Dark Horse, which was handy recently. Actually, that was one of my interview questions. I was interviewed by a couple people there, but one of them was Cary Grazzini; I brought in all these samples of work I had done at the advertising agency and he asked “Did you trap this?” And I said yeah, not kind of knowing what he meant; it was nothing I had to worry about before. Then he asked “How did you trap it?” and I finally asked “What’s trapping?”

I was just in New York to give final approval on the Habibi cover and I said, “Wait, these are trapped! I didn’t prepare these to be trapped,” because it originally was going to be clothbound. We spent six months working on a clothbound design and then at the very last moment Pantheon said it was too expensive for clothbound, it has to be paperstock. They took the same files that were designed to be almost like a screenprint on cloth and, at the last minute, I pointed out that they weren’t trapped. I had completely designed for cloth, but now I’m OK with paper — the front cover was supposed to have a tip-in, which would’ve been glued and that would be something could peel off, and sometimes when you’re stamping gold foil on cloth it can look shitty. The cool thing about this is that it’s going to be very crisp. I’m 100% fine with it not being cloth, but I was really worried that it would have that look, like I was trying to make it look like cloth.

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As nominally animated adaptations of classic comics go, America has The Marvel Superheroes …

… while Japan has Osamu Tezuka’s Astro Boy

and Yoshiharu Tsuge’s “Nejishiki.”

Japan wins.

Do Europe or South America have some similar productions? Not a recent, fan-made video; something that was clearly made with film and by hand, which seems to demand that the finished result has a beginning, middle and an end. I’m too old to watch fanboy trailers for books I’ve already read.

This Tac Au Tac segment featuring Moebius and Jijé drawing cowboys & injuns somewhat scratches my itch for a limited-animation bande dessinée cartoon, but I’d love to see more.

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Studygroup12/Study Group Magazine contributor and jet-setter Aidan Koch is on one of her periodic walkabouts away from Portland, but she’s sharing pieces of her travels in the form of observational drawings made at each of her stops. For just $20 postpaid, you can own a lovely pencil study sent from wherever Aidan happens to be resting her head.



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Even when saddled with a pretty half-assed story [by Bill Mantlo] and a far lesser artist to ink his pencils [Steve Gan], Frank Robbins was still the man. Here are my favorite panels from “There’s a Mountain On Sunset Boulevard!” the first [until recently, only] appearance of the Legion of Monsters, a bad idea whose time had clearly come.

I clipped these panels last July, so here’s what I remember of the actual plot: The monsters come together by coincidence and freak each other out, “Ay-ay-ay-ay-ay” Lou Costello-style, because they’re fucking monsters and only the headliner of a monster comic can encounter another monster and not be completely freaked out. — See: Any contemporary issue of Tomb Of Dracula, Ghost Rider, Fear, Man-Thing, or Werewolf by Night. — but this is a team book, so everyone but Man-Thing has at least one “Ugh, where is that smell coming from? It stinks so– OH MY GAWD WHAT IS THAT?!?!?!” moment.

The monsters fight.

Then a gold-skinned, sorta-Christy figure called The Starseed appears to them and says he’ll cure all of Earth’s problems, including the monsters’ monsterousness. But Morbius and Werewolf-By-Night skipped breakfast so, instead of eating each other, they want a chunk of Gold-Plated Alien Jesus ass to eat right now.

The monsters fight.

Gold-Plated Jesus is scared, so of course he’s accidentally burned to death by Man-Thing, which I think speaks to what a crummy messiah he probably would have been.

The monsters feel bad, then walk away from each other — you can’t really say “break up” because that implies they were actually once a team. The End. Next Month in Marvel Premiere: The Liberty Legion, for both of you True Believers who wished The Invaders featured a lot more of Bucky calling the shots.

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Taken as a comics anthology to be read, The Sunday Funnies isn’t worth your $39; as a stealth portfolio of frame-worthy classic comics art, it would still be almost obscenely cheap at twice the price.

Russ Cochran is back with a quarterly newspaper-style anthology of classic Sunday comic strips, selected from the late Bill Blackbeard’s massive, world-class archive: Ninety-six 16×22″ pages of Gasoline Alley, Alley Oop, Krazy Kat, Stumble Inn, Wee Willie Winkie’s World, and other pre-WWII-ish Sunday pages in full color on archival paperstock. What’s not to love? That depends entirely on how much of a hater/nitpicker you are; I am both, but I’m delighted that Funnies exists despite some unfortunate editorial choices. Think of it as an issue of Comics Revue with much better production values.

Funnies suffers from the same fundamental problem that plagues Revue; by choosing to jump around chronologically to select material, Cochran saps the power of seeing these strips in their original newspaper context, as they were obviously created to be read once a week alongside a mix of other features in the actual Sunday funnies. But these reprint anthologies rarely have the room to run a complete story or two, which single-strip collections can easily accommodate, and, by selecting material for a more balanced or satisfying read, the editors of these magazines can’t give readers the historical charge of seeing exactly what a Sunday section from September 9, 1906 was like or July 10, 1938 or December 30, 1934 or April 26, 1936 was like. [Again, I am a hater, but should I win the lottery, I will blow most of my fortune assembling and publishing a super-Sunday of all the best strips across all the syndicates that were published on a given day. Don't tell me that wouldn't be exciting to see.]

All three Sections lead off with Crazy Quilt, the original jam comic from 1914. We don’t need to rewrite the Greatest Comics Ever list to accommodate this semi-lost strip, but it’s better than the footnote or paragraph it’s rated in biographies of its best-known participants, Frank King and Dean Cornwell, would imply. It’s a daring but successful feature to run on the cover, and you receive just enough of the strip to want to read more.

After that, each section presents us with the first seven months of Gasoline Alley Sundays [Dec 1920-May 1921] in ten-page chunks. It’s historically valuable work, with the serendipity that the Sunday launched just a few months before the transformative introduction of Skeezix — although I would happily read another 90 years of Walt Wallet as a solo act who avoids marriage and drives his jalopy, it still strikes me as an unfortunate choice to devote a third of the issue to material that’s almost guaranteed to get a more satisfying and sustainable repackaging from Walt & Skeezix publisher Drawn & Quarterly.

I love V. T. Hamlin’s Alley Oop art, so even just a handful of gorgeous Sundays in chronological sequence was a pleasure to see at all, but printed in full color at nearly the original printed size was a true delight. Once again, Cochran treats us to the first few months of the strip’s Sundays.

Bronc Peeler is an interesting case, if not a particularly enjoyable read; a Western strip that mixes of humorous daring-do adventure with sensitive, beautifully drawn full-color vignettes [that sometimes feature poetry, no less] in the center of the page and a colorless “Uncle Bill” gag strip at the bottom. If Peeler rings no bells; it limped along for four years before transforming into the much more popular Red Ryder. Again, these are its first Sundays.

Another standout and treasure to be found here is the four pages of color Stumble Inn strips, one of George Herriman’s more underrated efforts, which ran concurrently with Krazy Kat. Speaking of Kat, the short selection of four color Sundays from February 1922 are most welcome, even if there are at least two other books readily available that present this material in color, albeit significantly smaller.

I couldn’t find a biographical/contextual monograph for Dudley Fisher’s Right Around Home in the issue, but my reference says Home ran from 1938 to 1965, with Fisher handling the astounding Sunday page-sized vignettes and the spinoff Myrtle daily until his death in 1951. [Bob Vittur and later Stan Randall continued the strip.] This is definitely a strip that would need to be reprinted large to make any sense; anything less would be like trying to get all of Playtime‘s gags in a pan & scan print. Nearly any one of the Right Around Homes would look fantastic framed and mounted on the wall.

It’s a strange case all the way around; judging by his website, Cochran originally intended Funnies to be a 32-page monthly but the plan changed and, instead of being issues 1, 2 and 3, the three 32-page packages being reviewed here are titled Sections A, B and C of issue one. No worries but if that’s the new plan, why not collate all of the Gasoline Alley strips into one section and do the same for the other strips, which undoubtedly would make the reading experience a bit more filling?

By the way: One can gauge the health of every new distribution channel for comics based on how quickly Krazy Kat and the Hal Foster run of Tarzan in particular are once again repackaged and published — from the niche bookstore publishing of the 1960s to the direct-market boom of the ’80s to the resurgent bookstore market of the last 10 years. I hate to say it, but I think the appearance of my beloved Alley Oop beneath an ISBN is the sign that a given new market has been saturated, the classic-comic-reprint party is over and the entire market is about to retract violently; he’s the Kell Mossa of American comics publishing.

It’s curious to [quite rightly] celebrate Blackbeard’s legacy of preservation in a publication that features so much redundant material that could have been spent preserving and sharing lesser-known or rarely seen treasures. That said, Sunday Funnies #2 is slated to have more Gasoline Alley, Alley Oop, Bronc Peeler, Krazy Kat and Tarzan, but also include Buck Rogers, Frank Goodwin’s Connie, Frank King’s Bobby Make-Believe from 1915, Winsor McCay’s Tales of the Jungle Imps and Billy Ireland’s The Passing Show.

It’s understandable to mix some well-known strips like Krazy, Tarzan and Gasoline Alley in with the lesser-known strips, but it doesn’t seem to do either group much of a favor. Would people shell out $30 for Quilt, Home or Peeler? Probably not, but if preservation of the newspaper strip’s vanishing heritage is this publication’s mission — Cochran’s essay “The Vanishing Newspaper” does a yeoman’s job of praising Blackbeard’s vital work in saving and preserving comics’ heritage as libraries began dumping their newspapers for microfilm — why devote so much real estate to strips that are all but guaranteed to be packaged and kept in print far longer than Sunday Funnies‘ limited print run and distribution range will reach? In an age when it barely takes ten minutes to track down and buy a copy of every edition/variation of a book ever printed, do we really need another reprinting of Wee Willy Winky’s World?

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Study Group: When did you start reading comics? Did you come to comics from manga, American cape comics, the sunday funnies, or what?

Maré Odomo: As a kid, most of my friends read Calvin & Hobbes, Garfield, Foxtrot. My exposure to superheroes came mostly from shows like Batman: The Animated Series, X-Men, and Spider-Man. Comic book shops freaked me out when I was younger.

But I started getting more into comics when I was in high school. I would stop by the Barnes & Noble on my walks home. I loved that most trade paperbacks could be finished in one sitting. That’s where I first read stuff like Blankets, Black Hole, Ghost World, Optic Nerve, Jimmy Corrigan, the bigger standalone superhero titles like Dark Knight Returns, and then post-manga whatever-you-want-to-call-it stuff which is pretty much just Sharknife and Scott Pilgrim.

And at home, I would read Achewood, Scary-Go-Round, Diesel Sweeties, Wigu, Exploding Dog, Penny Arcade, Derek Kirk Kim, Hellen Jo, Vera Brosgol, Kazu Kibuishi, Enrico Casarosa, Ronnie Del Carmen. It was pretty evenly split between the Dumbrella webcomics crew and the contributors to Flight. I’m probably forgetting a bunch of people.

Study Group: At what point did you actually decide  you wanted to make them?

At some point, I got into James Kochalka’s American Elf and started making daily comics, almost immediately. I made dailies for six years, on-and-off. There’s probably only about three years’ worth of content in those sketchbooks.

Study Group: Can you talk about your influences? I see the obvious stamp of video games and manga, but your comics are often quite poetic regardless of subject matter, bringing to mind the work of someone like Dave Kiersh or John Porcellino. Do you read much poetry? Do you even think about your work like that?

Maré Odomo: When I was in high school, I was really into this writer named Kevin Fanning. He wrote really simple, sweet stories about ghosts and secret doors, or reviews of beverages. I think this was before people decided to call any kind internet writing a “blog”. It was, as far as I know, a personal passion. There were no editors or audiences to please. It seemed so pure. He made me want to write.

Kevin still writes (, and I really love his mythological interpretations of the Internet. He gets it, man. It’s like Das Racist, it’s like Sword & Sworcery. It’s just really smart stuff. Post-ironic, self-aware, and genuine. I know that sounds like an oxymoron, but you know what I mean.

I love John P, but I only got into him a few years ago, when King-Cat Classix came out. And I’ve only read a little Dave Kiersh, but I can tell that I like him.

But no, I don’t read much poetry and don’t know much about that world. The internet is poetry, though. Twitter is poetry. But I do think of my comic scripts as poems. I’ve been trying to come up with some gimmicky name to call them, like POMICS or COEMS, but those both sound really stupid.

Study Group: You teach children- is that a comics class specifically, or just a general art class? How has that affected the way you make art?

Maré Odomo: It’s specifically a comics class, but I’m still figuring out what to teach them and what they’re willing to learn. It’s only an hour long, and we only meet once a week, so it’s not a lot of time to spend together.

Kids treat drawing as a form of play, and they’re so positive and wonderful about it. I love drawing with these kids, and I try to hold onto that feeling, but it’s difficult. I come home, and I’m hungry and tired, and can’t be productive.


Study Group: I came across your work via the internet, and like many young artists today, you have a strong presence on the web – you are on flickr, twitter, tumblr, and probably some other websites I don’t even know about. How do you feel about art and the internet? I’ve been having a personal struggle with what I love about sites like Tumblr, in that I’m exposed to so much new art and information every day, but I feel like the constant feed of art and imagery as RAW DATA can devalue the actual work in question. You see this a lot on Tumblr in particular, where a thousand people might reblog something without ever crediting or researching who actually made an image. This might just be completely off topic, so you can ignore me if you want, but I guess I was curious if you had any opinions on this.

Maré Odomo: If someone wanted to figure out the source, they could easily do a reverse image search, but most people don’t know that that’s a thing. Google Images can do it, and there’s also Tumblr is relatively new, and I hope all this crediting stuff will sort itself out eventually.

Removing watermarks/signatures or plagiarizing is different, though. That shit is awful.

Study Group: Video games are a re-ocurring motif in your work, and I’m wondering how much time you actually spend playing them, and how you manage to get any work done. I recently got Skyrim, and I am trying very hard not to get to immersed in it. Do you just manage your time really well, or have you had to put aside your DS?

Maré Odomo: The only current gen console I have is a 3DS (it was a very generous gift), and the only game I have is Mario Kart 7. Oh, but I’ve also been spending a decent amount of time playing iOS games. Most of my favorite video games are the ones I played as a teenager, though.

I’m terrible at managing my time. I get lost in Parks & Rec marathons and spend hours just to catch up with the internet. I’m actually trying to play *more* video games. That’s how bad I am at managing my time. I go through phases of trying out different productivity apps and reading old lifehacker posts.

Study Group: What kind of tools do you use when you’re drawing? Lots of pencil, but what else?

Maré Odomo: I really like brush pen, but I can’t control it very well. I’m trying to get better with ink washes and watercolors. And I like playing with color pencils, but they just scan so horribly. And gouache is fun! I’m experimenting with all these supplies I have leftover from art school, but I like pencil right now.

And everything gets scanned and edited in Photoshop. My originals are never dark enough.

Study Group: You seem to do a lot of design work, and much of it in collaboration with Cory Schmitz. How is the work you do for hire different than your webcomics or zine work? What is it like collaborating on work like this?

Maré Odomo: Cory and I went to the same school, and we have the same degree, but we’re different people and focus on different things. Working together adds depth. He does things that I can’t.

A lot of my illustration work feels flat to me. I’m still figuring out how to make backgrounds. In comics, it’s more about the story and I can get away with really sparse panels.

Study Group: You gained a lot of fans for your Pokemon comics. I still sell copies of that mini at Floating World all the time. Do you feel pigeon-holed as “the Pokemon Guy”?

Maré Odomo: There’s no other game that I have such a strong emotional connection to, but I don’t think that Pokémon defines me as much as it defines other people. After I made those comics, a few of my friends said they had never seen that side of me. I think most people know that I keep up with the games, but I’m not the kind of person who tries to catch every single Pokémon or build the perfect team. I log about 40 hours per game.

Study Group:  It seems like you’ve mostly moved on from that style of drawing, what brought that on?

Maré Odomo: Part of why I moved away from that style was because drawing with a tablet was ruining my shoulder. I used to get these jolts of pain, right at the joint. Sometimes it happened while I was drawing, sometimes I would just be sitting or trying to sleep. It wasn’t ideal.

And I didn’t want to depend on my computer and tablet to draw something. I didn’t want people to *expect* that style from me. That was killing my shoulder too. Carrying all that stuff, everywhere I went. It’s so much easier to just have a sketchbook and a pen or pencil.

Around that time, I had read “Young Lions” by Blaise Larmee, which looks like it was done completely in pencil(?) and has this really romantic, fleeting feeling throughout the whole thing. And I found Aidan Koch’s work somewhere, probably through Blaise, and it had that same vibe. I had always felt like I had lost something in my inking, so it made sense to go straight to pencil.

I’m still figuring things out, and I’m really conscious of ripping off my influences (like Blaise and Aidan and John P), but I’m finding my voice and whatever.


visit: and for more.

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Wow, what a week!


New comics every day from some of the most talented cartoonists I’ve had the pleasure of meeting. I think you’ll agree, everyone came out guns blazing. Let’s recap, shall we?

Monday was the opening shot across the bow, and brought us the sublimely colored, epic fantasy of Levon’s Danger Country. We also lead with short stories from myself, Tom and Malachi.

Tuesday was the long awaited return of Kaz’ Mourning Star, with 6 color pages of prologue to this new MS side story about the bandit Klive.

On Wednesday, The Yankee by Jason and Ian let people know that they might sometimes find some blowjobs and thoughtcrime lurking around the site here and there.

Thursday was a double barrel of comics, with the New Wave Sci Fi stylings of  Francois’ TITAN, and the dream logic and hazy wanderings of Jen’s The Lone Wolf .

We wrapped up the week on an apocalyptic note with Farel’s It Will All Hurt. If you have been waiting patiently for his magnum opus The Wrenchies, maybe this will tide you over.

What a week! Now it’s all over!

Oh, wait, no it’s not! Today we’ve got a new short story from one of the first people who signed on to be a part of Study Group, Simon Roy! Simon caught my eye as the artist behind the excellent Jan’s Atomic Heart. In the time it took the site to get going, Simon got the sweet gig drawing the all new PROPHET comic from Image, and got too busy to do a weekly serial, but he’s going to be posting short comics every month or so in the meantime. If you haven’t checked out PROPHET by Simon and King City’s Brandon Graham yet, get to your local comic shop and see if they happen to have a copy. If they don’t, I wouldn’t be surprised, as it’s already sold out from the distributor, meaning stores might have copies but they can’t get new ones! Crazy. Check out a preview here, and get excited for real-deal science fiction coming out from Image monthly. Oh yeah, our very own Farel Dalrymple will be drawing some issues down the road, so there’s even more synchronicity.


It’s safe to say, I’m not the only one – people are excited about the site. We were noted on news sites TCJ, Robot 6 & The Beat, as well as blog posts from Sean T. Collins, Panel Patter, and Fleen. We also got a lot of response from various message boards, Tumblr, and crazy tweet action from all our associates. Thank you, friends. There were seriously too many awesome people tweeting about the site this week to list everyone (though the tweets from Warren Ellis made our Google Analytics melt).

Speaking for everyone involved, we are humbled and gratified by your attention. Get ready for week two.

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I first became aware of Noah Butkus as “that guy with the great taste”, aka the curator of the NEW FEELINGS  tumblr. At some point after re-blogging each other’s Brendan McCarthy and Corben posts for the 100th time, Noah and I started talking and realized we’re both probably two of the rare older dudes on the site (ie: in our mid-30′s, not 19). Shortly after that, I realized Noah is also a talented artist.

Upon meeting Noah at the Brooklyn Comics and Graphics Fest this December, I found that he’s a super-modest dude for someone who’s art is so bad-assed. From this interview, it seems Noah spends a lot of time in the gallery world doing single images and installations, but recently he’s completed his first comic, a 4 pager titled FORCES for the recently released anthology Happiness. FORCES – while short – is super exciting, and I hope he continues making comics. While there are definitely some people following up on the trail Moebius has blazed, I don’t see a lot of folks that are so influenced by Guy Peellaert.

Noah’s art site:


Interview: Made You Look: Noah Butkus | Matthew Newton

You can buy Happiness here:

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