Lantz (of Radix Media) sent me these glamour shots of THE SOLAR GRID #1 before sending my copies out just to fuck with my emotions.
Although I finished this chapter back in 2016—and it's been available as digital since—seeing it in its physical form makes it that much more real (also, a couple tweaks in there separate it from the digital version).
Upon finishing any work of mine, I tend to only see the mistakes, but even I must admit that new cover art is looking damn hawt!
Woke up today without any 2nd-dose side effects. Thank goodness it only lasted some 24 hours. Which means: that's the end of binge-watching INVINCIBLE for me que sad music.
Why do I do this to myself?
BECAUSE IT'S GONNA LOOK DOPE, THAT'S WHY!
Cover art for the print edition of THE SOLAR GRID #5 underway. Excited for how it's turning out.
Second dose acquired today though, so maybe noooot the best day to decide to indulge in drawing intricate patterns. Feeling fine, mind you. Arm is a little sore is all, and possibly burning on the inside.
I think I will sleep now.
Just finished what may be may favorite THE SOLAR GRID cover-art to date and feeling:
Wake up every morning to the sound of baby and—as cute and lovable as he is—would love to know what its like to wake up to birdsong again. Doubt this would be much of an issue to people who are used to waking up to alarm clocks (which I'm discovering is a lot of people!), I've hardly ever fucked with alarm clocks tbh, so this is all very new to me.
One more cover to do next week before returning to interiors on the chapter at hand (Ch.6 for digital editions but Ch.7 for print. Confusing I know, but had to do some restructuring for print editions).
I recall sometime in the early 2000's, a bunch of people were giving Grant Morrison shit for claiming he had managed to travel to Katmandu or some shit in a matter of seconds without leaving his house. They said he was clearly high off his fucking mind (which, granted he probably was). This was on his short-lived forum which I lurked for a bit without ever posting, but in my mind I was definitely in the Grant-has-lost-his-shit camp.
Lately though, I've come to notice how I seem to be increasingly absent when the wife addresses me. My body can be right there on the chair across from her, but my mind is usually wandering in the world of the book I'm reading, or lost in the world of my graphic novel or past memories or future scenarios and conversations that have not yet happened (and possibly never will).
So it's occurred to me that we all travel to places in our minds without our bodies ever making a move. But like sports or mathematics or singing... some of us just so happen to be more proficient at it than the rest of us.
Pictured is the back-cover from the galley of THE SOLAR GRID #1, coming for the first time in print on April 21st. Now available for pre-order (and subscription!) from Radix Media.
The way I arrived at my post on “The Ultimate Art” (which as mentioned in the original post, is less a statement and more of an exploration), was quite odd and unexpected. It's all the fault, believe it or not, of my longtime work-in-progress graphic novel, THE SOLAR GRID
I knew from the get-go that I wanted to have a festival scene in this future post-eco-disaster version of Earth. It wasn't until I got to the chapter at hand, which is about 70% into the book that I knew it had to be a summer solstice festival (June 20 to be precise), because that would be the longest day of the year and thus, the day with the shortest Solar Grid hours (which is only activated come sundown). What with the Grid's blinding lights and harsh effects, it makes sense that the day you'd have to deal with it the least would be cause for celebration.
However, as is the case with cultures today, mythological fictions are created around most of our festivities (Think Christmas, Ramadan, or Holi), so I had to come up with a mythology around the cause of this summer solstice celebration that would make sense to the fictional characters who inhabit the world of THE SOLAR GRID. And that mythology had to be based on historical events that would have taken place in that world's history in addition to a kind of bastardization of the popular faiths and mythologies of old (because if you read about faith and mythology long enough you realize that's exactly how this sort of thing works).
I also know that it's important not to bang the reader over the head with this stuff, because none of it is really all that integral to story. It's sort of like... if you have a funeral scene in a [Western] movie or comicbook, you're gonna have the usual things: a tombstone with a cross on it, friends and family looking somber and dressed in black, a priest reading something from the Bible maybe or I dunno, just saying some wise shit (significantly different to what I witnessed of funerary rituals in, say, Vietnam for example). But basically, all of these rituals are part of a religious belief that has its own history and development. So, y'know, you wouldn't have a cross on a tombstone if Jesus was never crucified, nor would you have a priest reading the Bible without the Codex Vaticanus, or heck, Gutenberg much later.
Now of course as an author, you don't really need to go into that history when drafting your [Christian] funerary scene because everyone already knows the rituals and what they relate to. If, on the other hand, you're creating a story that takes place in the far off future after everything we know has been destroyed and the dating system itself restarted, then it makes sense that the people of that world would have a different religion(s) to go with their very different reality. And in constructing what their summer solstice celebration might look like, it occurred to me that everything involved in it (costumes, songs, dance moves, decoration, etc.) couldn't just be arbitrary, but would have to relate entirely to their “religion”, which meeeeant... I had to actually construct the entire religion and its historical development.
Even if I'm in actuality only showing a tiny glimpse of that religion in the graphic novel (think your typical Christian funeral scene in relation to the entire history of Christianity), I knew every little thing in that tiny glimpse had to be based on some kind of history for it to ring true, even if I never reveal said history in the book.
So basically, I had to create a fictional religion and I had to do it as earnestly as possible. Which sent me down a rabbit hole that somehow lead to the “Ultimate Art” post, which doesn't even cover half of what's going on in my head right now.
Yes, I think this cursed graphic novel will drive me mad too.
Pictured above is the print edition of THE SOLAR GRID #1, essentially the first chapter, forthcoming from Radix Media and Mythomatic on April 21st (coincidentally: Astronomy Day! And one day shy of Lyrids Meteor Shower).
Having added this “murder wall” on a whim inside the lunar police captain's office (THE SOLAR GRID, Ch. 6), some function in the back of my head is now tinkering with the thought of a serial killer on the moon. This has no place in THE SOLAR GRID proper and there will be no mention of it, but if in the future I ever want to mess around with a detective procedural type thing, I may be enticed to set it on the moon in the world of THE SOLAR GRID. I wouldn't want the setting to be pointless dressing of a run-of-the-mill detective story though; it would have to be an integral part of the concept and tie in closely to notions of trade, migration, and imperialism (what with the Moon acting as a kind of port city in space within this particular world). One thing I hate about most detective stories is that they (knowingly or not) act vehicles of police propaganda, so I imagine I'd want to turn my story around and make it an indictment of policing instead.
Simple though, and not overly elaborate; a tight slim graphic novella. Then again, I've littered THE SOLAR GRID with so many little easter eggs that could all very easily warrant their own little graphic novella spanwlings.
This is perhaps where a regular magazine might come in.
There's a bit in the introduction to KALILA & DIMNA that does not mince words as to the work's approach, an approach that very much speaks to my own philosophy of Concept Pop: Wisdom enveloped within entertainment. The wise come unto it for the wisdom, and idiots come unto it for the fun.
And there's a bit in Thomas Mann's DEATH IN VENICE speaking to me in equal measure. The bit that describes Gustave Aschenbach's epic on the life of Frederick the Great (wherein both Gustave and his work are of course fictitious): “Outsiders might be pardoned for believing that his Maia world and the epic amplitude revealed by the life of Frederick were a manifestation of great power working under high pressure, that they came forth, as it were, all in one breath. It was more the triumph for his morale; for the truth was that they were heaped up to greatness in layer after layer, in long days of work, out of hundreds and hundreds of single inspirations; they owed their excellence, both of mass and detail, to one thing and one alone; that their creator could hold out for years under the strain of the same piece of work.”
It's been 5 years of THE SOLAR GRID to date. Hopefully not more than 1 more year to go. After which, I may need to indulge in a perverted masquerade or two.
Not in Venice necessarily.
For the past couple of weeks now, I end my days without completely ticking off everything on my deck because my assessment of what I can handle has been a bit off. Today however is the first day in a while where I got all the things done and even added a couple more since I had the time. Squeezed in a short workout too, and whipped up a mean chicken fajita bowl for dinner. Life is good.
Pencils for THE SOLAR GRID Ch.6 are getting looser by the day (see above) as a result of having taken on multiple work-for-hire stuff this month. Which may not be a bad thing. It just leaves more room to actually draw stuff in the inking stage. Something I'm gonna need to account for when allotting time for it. Keeping inks till after I'm done with these other projects.
Finally done thumbnailing Chapter 6, clocking in at 34 pages (not including backmatter to be provided by Elliott Colla) despite my initial estimate of it coming in at 18!
That's okay though; you discover things in the thumbnail process that aren't absolutely evident when you're just writing/plotting the thing. Sequences that you feel ought to be handled as such:
That's from Koike and Kojima's LONE WOLF AND CUB.
You can certainly show someone leaving a scene in one single panel, but that difference in pacing results in a different emotional impact. And you need to oscillate between various approaches to pacing as per the needs of each scene. I've certainly applied the fast-cut-exit approach a couple times already.
To the left is a flashback sequence from Chapter 4, and to the right is a scene from Chapter 5 set in Japan (hence, that sort-of manga vibe).
Earlier in Chapter 3, I had a scene that required a much slower exit, just to give a sense of the scope of the place being exited from.
As it turns out, Chapter 6 needed a few slow moments. But then again, I'm not awfully religious about sticking to my thumbs, and will often change things up when I work on the actual pages (as is evident when comparing thumbs for Chapter 4 with what actually became of the chapter).
Radix Media's kickstarter (which includes a serialized edition of THE SOLAR GRID) is now 90% funded. A couple thousand (and a few hours) to go and their entire Graphic Narrative series will be greenlit!