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Books

Picking up the (digital) brush again

Posted in Art, Books, Illustration

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I spent a good part of the weekend getting back to the book. This is a revised first page, which will now be split into two pages, as opposed to being on two-page spread.

I managed to get four pages done this weekend, with another four pages sketched out and ready for coloring. My hope is to have at least a third of it completed before December 1, with a rough finished copy ready by Christmas. I’d love to be able to show it to friends and family at that time.

November 21, 2016
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Binary Storm

Posted in Books, Science Fiction

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Binary Storm finally has a cover! Christopher Hinz is (finally) returning to the Paratwa universe. I am super stoked. Barnes and Noble revealed the cover and first chapter this morning.

As a cover, eh, I’m not a huge fan of using real people over painting/illustration. That said, it’s miles better than most of the other covers that have come out over the years for the original trilogy. Nothing will ever beat the original cover to Liege Killer though. Then again, it’s not the 80s anymore, so what do I know. I do like Binary Storm’s cover the more I look at it though, so I’m okay with it overall.

I’m so excited to get Binary Storm in my hands!

September 15, 2016
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The Girl With The Atomic Sneezes

Posted in Art, Books, Illustration

Page 1

About a month ago, M emailed me a copy of her picture book, The Girl With The Atomic Sneezes in hopes that I would take a stab at illustrating it. It was a scary thought. I was never very good at drawing from scratch. Copying, yes. From scratch, no. The prospect of jumping into illustration was incredibly intimidating, but I’m glad I did.

Above is the first page of my version of The Girl With The Atomic Sneezes. It took a few tries to nail down the style and general composition, but I’m thrilled with how it came out. I posted it to Facebook yesterday and have been getting great feedback.

Though there’s no real schedule in place, I’d like to have it done by Halloween, if not before. It seems really simple, until I actually dig in to a page. The loose plan is to release it as a PDF with donation links. I’m nowhere near thinking about that for sure though, but enough people have expressed an interest in buying a copy. We shall see!

August 23, 2016
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The Black Eagles

Posted in Books, My Life

The Black Eagles

Way back in the early 80s, there was a little bookstore in a small indoor mall by my house. I’d go in there mainly to look at the comic books while my mom shopped at the craft store across the hall or when we’d eat at the pizza place next door. I remember it being a pretty poorly lit, cramped store. The comic books were up front, so I rarely ever went deep into it. I think there was even an adult section toward the back too.

Anyway, one of things I remember most about the bookstore was browsing the paperback section and seeing the series The Black Eagles by John Lansing. What little boy wouldn’t be attracted to the skulls that adorned every cover? My cousin and I quickly became a fan of the series, though I know he read more of them than I ever did.

If memory serves, the Black Eagles told the story of a rough and tumble suicide squad of misfits and hard heads who blasted their way through Vietnam Rambo style. Completely 80s and completely over the top. Don’t quote me on that though.

The point is, every so often those covers pop in my head for whatever reason and I spend the next day wracking my brain trying to remember what the series was called. I always remember it having to do with “lost” or “suicide” squads or platoons so it figures I’d never find them given they’re actually called The Black Eagles. I had to write to my cousin this morning and ask him if he remembered. Sure enough, he knew both series title and the author.

So now I’m searching for them and quickly realizing they are fairly hard to find. Amazon seems to offer the majority of them from various sellers, but there’s next to nothing on the net about either the series or John Lansing. I suppose you could attribute it to the spirit of 80s oversaturation. I’ll have to pick one or two of them up, see if they really are that ode to 80s action I remember them being.

January 25, 2013
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Book of the Year – Every Man Dies Alone

Posted in Books

Every Man Dies Alone

I wasn’t quite sure what to expect when I began Every Man Dies Alone by Hans Fallada. Having read an enormous wealth of WWII related stories via Heinrich Böll and Günter Grass, I didn’t know if I had yet another war era story in me. I couldn’t have been more wrong.

From Publishers Weekly (via Amazon): This disturbing novel, written in 24 days by a German writer who died in 1947, is inspired by the true story of Otto and Elise Hampel, who scattered postcards advocating civil disobedience throughout war-time Nazi-controlled Berlin. Their fictional counterparts, Otto and Anna Quangel, distribute cards during the war bearing antifascist exhortations and daydream that their work is being passed from person to person, stirring rebellion, but, in fact, almost every card is immediately turned over to authorities. Fallada aptly depicts the paralyzing fear that dominated Hitler’s Germany, when decisions that previously would have seemed insignificant—whether to utter a complaint or mourn one’s deceased child publicly—can lead to torture and death at the hands of the Gestapo. From the Quangels to a postal worker who quits the Nazi party when she learns that her son committed atrocities and a prison chaplain who smuggles messages to inmates, resistance is measured in subtle but dangerous individual stands. This isn’t a novel about bold cells of defiant guerrillas but about a world in which heroism is defined as personal refusal to be corrupted. (Mar.) Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

For me, Every Man Dies Alone had that special quality I find so little of in most other books I read, namely emotion. That’s not to say I never experience emotion while reading, but it’s very rare that I experience emotion so profoundly as in Every Man Dies Alone.

I felt the hate toward the Gestapo agents as they set about their tasks in the most ruthless ways imaginable. I felt the frustration of their suspects as they desperately tried to defend their innocence. I felt sad knowing all along that the cards weren’t doing a bit of good. I was crushed when the Quangels finally realized it but didn’t want to admit it. There’s a definite sense of hopelessness that permeates the entire story. There’s very little hope in the quite obvious outcome.

I’ve already bought Fallada’s other translated works released via Melville House who, oddly enough, reissued quite a few of Böll’s novels over the last few years. I can’t wait to get them and dig in.

Hans Fallada

December 28, 2012
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