Letters to Holly

Monday, January 24


As I sketch my comic out near the printed size, I realized that the time crunch can be addressed if I alter my drawing style. I grew up as comic art blossomed with detail and camera placement. In particular, I was lucky enough to see one artist, George Perez, drastically improve during his tenure on a book called New Teen Titans. This was one of my favorite titles for years, and it ran at the same time Uncanny X-Men (another favorite) was becoming THE Marvel title with the Phoenix story used in the film trilogy. I imprinted on that '80s style of art, and my comic art is heavily influenced by it. I'd love my art to look like that

However, I now have a bambino, and I can't devote the same amount of time to drawing this year's comic. Last year's comic was a happy experiment, but my struggles with time crimped the artwork. I have to do things differently. I realized Friday that I need a simpler art style, and I was reminded of artist Paul grist who makes a comic called Jack Staff. Now, my favorite artist is Alan Davis, but I have to stop trying to draw like Alan and lean much more toward Paul.

This is Alan Davis artwork. I have to cast this aside.
This is Paul Grist work. I shall look to this.
I picked up a clutch of Jack Staff comics Friday and started sketching the page layouts with this simplified style in mind. It's helped, and I feel more confident about the progress. I have to get the whole comic sketched by the end of the month to give myself almost three months to hammer it out before I print it. Another benefit of the style is that it helps sell the story. It's possible my comic ideas benefit from a more cartoony style versus the super-clean style of mainstream comics.

That night, I almost passed out from joy when our new favorite series, Fringe, made a strong connection to Twin Peaks. This comes about a year after it directly referenced X-Files as part of the show's history. So, these series then exist in the same world. The Peaks reference was fleeting and existed solely to catch the ears of genre fans like me, and it worked. Twin Peaks was an obsession from the first episode. You could tell it was a different kind of show from the initial advertising campaign, but I wasn't prepared for a show that moved and sounded and looked so different from everything else on TV at the time. And it was massively influential. Consider these:
  • The soundtrack introduced my generation to acid jazz/lounge music, which revived the cool and charm of the Rat Pack and Vegas.
  • It brought back noir, right down to conflicted heroes and smoky dames. That last was of crucial importance to me. This was back when girls were still wearing that poof of forehead hair, and the Peaks gals were straight out of the 1950s.
  • The oddball, small-town quirkiness set the stage for Seinfeld, the "show about nothing." The original Seinfeld pilot debuted a year before Peaks, but it was only brought back after Peaks's success as a parade of weird characters acting under their own logics.
  • It set the stage for Silence of the Lambs and the serial killer cultural obsession. Peaks and its serial-killer mystery debuted almost a year before Lambs. Not only do the films share a dark, arboreal tone and federal pursuit of a faceless serial killer, but the film cribs the show's credit font.

We drove to Asheville Saturday to clothes shop and get some time out of the house before Tuesday's predicted snowfall, and Your Sister noticed that morning that the sidekick was teething. We could feel the tips of the lower two teeth at the gumline. That night, the pain started, and we were all miserable. We bought Orajel Sunday afternoon, and it helped him get through last night. Hopefully, this weekend is the worst of it. We understand that the first eruption of teeth is peak of his discomfort. It's supposedly is much smoother with all the later teeth.

Way back in September, Your Sister picked the two teams that will play in the Super Bowl in two weeks, Pittsburgh and Green Bay. I honestly like both teams so much, I can't pick which to root for.

We've discovered a new easy side dish: sweet potato fries. They are ridiculously easy to make. I'm sure Doom will speak on this soon.

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