Don't know why I thought I could ink this double-page opener in a single day. Here I am 3 days later. The lighting is a bit tricky, because I have three sources in an otherwise very dark location, and I'm just figuring it out in inks as I go. Here's hoping I finally nail it today.
In other THE SOLAR GRID related news, I did a Twitter video-thread on TSG #2 which came out in print last month.
Also also, I'm doing a live video thing today on Booklyn's Youtube Channel called “My Favorite Book”. 5:50pm CST.
#journal #work #comix #TheSolarGrid
AC has been out for 5 days now. In Houston. It is lethally hot. Afternoon temperatures hover around 34C/91F these days.
A lot of people's AC units must be breaking down, given that it's taking the insurance company multiple days just to send someone to look at the damn thing!
At least one good development has come out of this: I've gotten into the habit of kicking off my days by spraying water in front of the house and setting out a couple chairs for the wife and me and our coffees. The water cools off the surrounding air before the hot hot son peeks out from behind downtown Houston's skyscrapers. A ritual I nicked off of Cairo's old shop owners who almost always start their hot summer mornings this way.
In somewhat related news, gave a studio tour over at Radix Media's Instagram Stories yesterday, some of which may still be up there.
There was one day in London I had designated as the comicbook day, whereby I'd get a crew together and we'd do a bit of pub and comicshop hopping. Due to scheduling difficulties, the crew however was narrowed down to Ahmed Raafat, James Harvey, and Isteshhad and the day became a couple hours. Nevertheless, it was still a highlight!
Got one pub in and two comix joints; Notting Hill Comics Exchange and Gosh!. Also made a little trade with James Harvey and got his latest, LUIGI MODE, which—judging by the first issue—is so very good in true James Harvey fashion. Nobody makes comix likes James, not visually, in tone, story, or anything. Such a unique, masterful, and most of all odd voice he is.
Only other thing I managed to read is one of those SPEAKEASYs, a British rag about the comicbook industry from the 80's and one that I'd never heard of before. The one I read, dated June 88, is evidently an important one! It reports the formation of the Eisner and Harvey awards after the dissolution of the Kirby Awards, the establishment of Alan Moore's Mad Love publishing outfit, and even newcomer Rob Liefeld's HAWK & DOVE debut (Rob Liefeld who within less than 10 years would be paying Alan Moore $10k a script for his stellar yet seldomly talked about work on SUPREME and others). The way history unfolds will never cease to amaze me.
Plenty of other gems in the issue, including an interview with even then obnoxious Howard Chaykin and a review of Bryan Talbot's ADVENTURES OF LUTHER ARKWRIGHT which I haven't seen in a good 20 years and probably need to restock on and reread but I have too many books as it is and need to remedy the situation by either unloading books first or moving into a bigger space but I'll be damned if I move anywhere else ever again goddammit.
Not sure when I'll even get a chance to properly go through them, but here are some of the wonderous finds I made in London's bookshops, [absolutely essential!] research material for Chapter 7 (issue #8) of THE SOLAR GRID.
Those in addition to REBELS AGAINS THE FUTURE by Kirkpatrick Sale make up the research for that single chapter! (and a bit of Ch.8/Iss.#9). Probably not entirely necessary. Could've cheated my way through the thing, but I do believe all this research material will add much authenticity to the installment.
Sale's book is in fact wholly essential to THE SOLAR GRID's development in a weird very indirect way. You wouldn't know it if you've read both, but I know it and I like to wear my influences on my sleeve. I hadn't heard of Sale prior to picking up the book some 3 years ago, but I was interested in his subject matter. Interestingly enough, Sale's name came up a few months ago in a pretty fascinating story in Wired. Truth be told, he comes off as a bit of a dick, but I will nevertheless owe him a great deal for writing that book.
In related news, today sees the print release of THE SOLAR GRID #3!
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The short comic I mentioned having to script a few days ago? Well, as a visual person, I had to lay it all out first in thumbnails, and now I'm finally getting around to scripting based on those. I wish I could just go right in and draw the thing, but it's for a publication that involves editors and publishers other than myself and so approval is first required.
I actually wasn't required to script, they just need an idea of what it's about, but it's a weird essay comic that isn't quite synopsable (is that even a word?). Maybe it would be in a more skilled writer's hands, but it seems to me the best way to communicate the thing is by full script. Will probably include the thumbnails in the script as well, since the people looking at this are more typically involved in fine and contemporary art than comix.
Hope I nail this script today. Already a bit behind and have much other work to catch up on (and I really would love to write that damn newsletter).
Will attempt to script a 15-page comic today for an art-centric publication. Have a few formal experiments in mind I'd like to try, and I'd also like to squeeze in a bit of history, autobiography, and social commentary in the mix. For it to work, it's gotta look smooth and effortless, but there's a bit of figuring out to do that isn't quite so effortless.
That in addition to a couple extensive zoom meets are probably all I'll manage to muster today.
When did I become so terrible at newslettering?
Back in Houston since Friday night. I've been meaning to post more about the UK trip but have not had the time, and as of yet still don't have the time. A few work things I need to get into motion today, in addition to tidying around the garage and re-setting up the home-gym again. And maybe even putting it to use! (After a 3-week hiatus, blurgh.)
Responded to all emails, reducing inbox to 0. Overcame FOMO and emptied RSS Reader. Also, deleted Facebook account (which I hardly ever used anyway).
Also scheduled to look after Moony for a couple hours. Best carry on before he awakens again.
First moment of peace since arriving in the UK some 2 weeks ago if you can believe it. For reasons I'd rather not really get into, the place we were meant to stay at upon arrival could no longer be stayed at, and we had to scramble to find a new place to crash. Not an ideal scenario in general but especially not ideal if you're also expected to quarantine for 10 days.
We found ourselves holed up in a tiny hotel room in High Wycombe, while trying to coordinate all kinds of NHS and test things over the phone. I gotta say, I'm thoroughly impressed by the NHS. They're so meticulous they had an NHS agent show up at our hotel and interrogate the front desk about our quarantine practices!
Also, I now realize that whatever “lockdown” we might've experienced in the U.S. at any point was so not lockdown at all!
Anyway, did our day 5 Test-To-Release thing (which is so worth it), tested negative, and moved to an excellent AirBnB in Acton (West London). Which, whenever I mention to anyone, the response is always “Why Acton?!”.
I don't get it, it's a great neighborhood, and it's on the Piccadilly line!!
In all seriousness, it's just a strategic enough location to be within reach of central London and easy to get to for family members living in High Wycombe. It is a little funny because as it turns out there's a big Arabic-speaking community in Acton, complete with a mosque and all the scrumptious food.
Truth be told though, wherever I go in London I always hear at least one person speaking in some form of Arabic. Not to mention other languages in general. I really like how multicultural the city is, a true cosmopolitan hub. And although it sometimes feels like I've made the trek across the ocean just to get tested a bajillion times (still one more test to do before boarding plane back to America), I'm really enjoying walking down its streets, and sheltering from the recurring rain in pubs and bookshops. This despite the jam-packed schedule that leaves little room for a care-free snooze.
Pencils down on the last page of THE SOLAR GRID, CH. 6 (issue #7) with just one day to spare for travel prep.
Couldda swore I wrote and posted this already but I may have just forgotten to hit the “publish” button. Anyway, chapter has clocked in at 34 pages, not including backmatter. Further work on the thing (inking, lettering, etc.) will have to be put on hold until I return (downside of doing everything yourself), with my time abroad better put towards things that can better be done on the move. Namely:
- Thumbnailing next chapter.
- Scripting a short comix thing (let's codename this one PROJECT ELLISON).
- Sketching out ideas for a poster project (codenamed PROJECT MORROW).
- Accounting, eugh.
As per the UK's requirements, had to get tested today and booked London-based tests for day 2 and 8 from arrival. I think I'm supposed to do another one before my return flight to the states. It feels like the entire trip will revolve around a bunch of lab tests.
Not complaining though! It's not like I've been anywhere in, oh I dunno, 12,000 years.
Question is: Do I bring my camera? Do I bring a book? Too ambitious? Clearly very rusty when it comes to this whole travel thing. First time with child too.
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Cover reveal!! Issue #2 of my epic science fiction exploration, THE SOLAR GRID, drops in just a week!
First person to tell me what classic sci-fi cover inspired this one wins a free copy delivered right to their doorstep (U.S. only though, international postal fees don't come cheap). Feel free to hit me up on either Twitter or Instagram.
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