Thursday, December 28, 2006


So I got an Ipod for Christmas. Actually, my wife and I got each other Ipods for Christmas, neither one of us knowing what the other one was buying. So I think we are officially the last two people in the world to finally get Ipods.

Anyway, I've been having a lot of fun with it so far. One of the things I've been enjoying are podcasts, a bunch of which I've subscribed to over the past few days. My favorite of the bunch, one that I plugged here on my blog long ago, is Indie Spinner Rack, produced each week by Charlito and Mr. Phil.

In the interest of full disclosure, I'll admit that I went to the Kubert School with Charlito and he's one of my best friends that I almost never talk to. So even though he and I only bump into each other on an infrequent basis these days, I'm still kind of biased.

Biased or not, Charlito and Mr. Phil put together a very funny and entertaining show every week. They have good chemistry together and you can tell they're having a lot of fun. Their show is very popular--they even have their own forum-- and they often have big name independent artists on as guests. It makes me rue the fact that I'm a mainstream superhero guy. I don't think I'm quite interesting enough to be interviewed on the Spinner Rack.

Anyway, I had forgotten how good their podcast was because I had fallen out of the habit of listening. Now that it's being delivered to my shiny new Ipod, I'm glad to be able to catch up on all the episodes I missed. You can find it at if you're interested.

And if anyone has any interesting podcasts that they listen to, feel free to share. I'm looking for good material to listen to.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas, everybody! Wishing you all, friends and anonymous readers alike, a happy holiday.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

The Aftermath

Well, my first issue of Green Lantern Corps has been out for about a week now and I think it's safe to say that the reaction has been overwhelmingly positive. I've yet to read a single negative comment online and I spent a good chunk of time reading different message boards and reviews the other night, seeing what people had to say.

Here are a few links that are demonstrative of the voices of the fans...

If anyone runs across a review online, feel free to post a link in the comments section.

It's very gratifying and good for the ego to see something I worked so hard on received so well by the people who plunk down their hard earned money to read. One point I would like to make, however...

A lot of people, after enjoying my first issue, seem to be jumping on the Champagne bandwagon and suggesting that DC replace the regular writer, Dave Gibbons, in favor of me.

That's insanely flattering but you guys are CRAZY!! Dave Gibbons is comic book ROYALTY and we're all lucky to be getting the guy to write (and sometimes draw) the book on a monthly basis. Believe me, it's much easier to jump into the mix for a few issues, throw everything at the wall, and walk off stage hopefully having made a big splash instead of a big mess.

Mr. Gibbons is in the trenches, month in and month out, patiently developing a longer term plan for the book. Sit back, relax, and enjoy the story that he's weaving. I think when he's finished his tenure on the book, you'll be glad I was only interrupting things for a few issues.

Seriously. I'm not even in his league! At least not yet...

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

United 93

I saw the movie UNITED 93 last night.

Probably the most powerful film I've ever seen. I had tears rolling down my cheeks for the last half an hour.

It gets my highest possible recommendation but I wouldn't watch it unless you have some time afterwards to digest it.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Big day

Big day for me and my little writing career Wednesday as the first issue of my Green Lantern Corps story--along with my Green Lantern Xmas story--hit the stands. If you check it out, I hope that you'll enjoy them both.

When I got my comps last week, it was interesting to note that DC changed the title of it's Christmas special from "Infinite Christmas" to "Infinite Holiday." Since when did the word 'Christmas' become such a landmine that it's considered offensive to use it in the title of a comic? The world is ridiculous.

Anyway, if I can just figure out what's going on with the Xena annual I wrote, my December will be complete. I have no idea when it's getting released at this point and I can't get a straight answer out of Dynamite.

By the way, don't be surprised to see me take on my first monthly writing assignment at DC in 2007. It's going to be a fun year.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

The test of time

Emmet Otter's Jugband Christmas.

Dungeons and Dragons: The Cartoon.

Swamp Thing: The Movie.

Disco Duck, as performed by Rick Dees.

Question: What do those five things have in common?

Answer: They're all things I loved when I was a kid that I cringe at when seeing/hearing now. Too often, our childhood memories don't stand the test of time. I could go on and on almost endlessly, listing examples, but instead I'm going to point out one that I still think is just as good as ever.

Popeye: The Movie. Directed by Robert Altman, with Robin Williams and Shelly Duvall.

Although I didn't know it when it was first released, Popeye was a critical and commercial failure. It got horrible reviews and did lousy business. I remember seeing it with my father and two brothers at the Cinema Six in Groton and then watching it an infinite number of times on HBO the following summer. I still watch it every now and again if I catch it while channel flipping. I caught the second half of it tonight while inking backgrounds before bed and, like a visit with an old friend, it just made me warm and happy.

I thought--and still think--that Robin Williams is terrific as Popeye and Shelly Duvall is an absolutely perfect Olive Oil. She steals the whole movie. The songs are great, the entire cast is terrific, from Wimpy to Brutus to Oxblood freakin' Oxheart and his crooked old mom. The entire movie is filled with character and charm. I still buy into it, even after all these years and to me, that's the ultimate test of time.

Out of all of Robert Altman's movies, how bizarre that this one is my favorite. I would never be taken seriously as a movie critic but... I yam what I yam and that's all that I yam.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Jesus Antonio

Jesus Antonio, are you still out there? I can't find your email address but if you see this, please drop me a line. I'd like to see some of your latest samples.


Monday, November 27, 2006

GL Xmas story

Here's a page of art from the upcoming GL Xmas story written and inked by yours truly and pencilled by the great John Byrne. For the record, this is page one.

I wonder who Green Lantern could be visiting at Andrews Air Force Base on Christmas day?

It was a great thrill to work with Mr. Byrne on a project, even if it was only a ten page story. I hope to work with him again as soon as possible but I think I'll let him get a 'real' inker next time.

The DC Infinite Christmas special drops (check out my super-hip lingo!) on 12/6 or 12/13.

Monday, November 20, 2006

This time, it's Nightwing...

I did a quick interview with Jen Contino today regarding my upcoming run on Nightwing with Jamal Igle. She beat out Vaneta from Newsarama for the fastest posting of an interview by about...8 hours so, give or take a few minutes.

Take a bow, Jen. You get the trophy!

Here's the link:

Don't ask why I insisted on the pic of the shirtless Chuck Norris to be included. In lieu of any Nightwing art to post, I just thought it would be funny to include something that made no sense whatsoever. And what makes no sense more than a shirtless pic of the legendary Walker: Texas Ranger?

That's rhetorical, by the way.

How's everybody doing out there these days?

Monday, November 13, 2006

What's going on?

Having one of those weeks where there aren't enough days, nor are there anywhere close to enough hours in each day. But then again, that's pretty much every week so it's nothing new.

Om my plate right now, I've got the last four pages of 52 #36 to finish by Friday. I didn't realize I was also inking the two-page character origin in the back until the pages arrived this morning. All of Jamal's and my lead time as we start Nightwing has basically been eaten up waiting for Marv to turn in a script so now we need to start cranking on that.

I also need to turn in written plots for editorial approval, one for an issue of ROBIN that I'm writing and another for the second part of my BATMAN story. I'm putting a lot of pressure on myself to get them turned in by Friday but, realistically, I'll be happy to get one or the other done. On top of that, a few months back I was invited to pitch some Scooby Doo stories which were all approved last week. Four stories in all, two six-pagers and two eight-pagers, something else to finish up by the end of the year. Turns out Scooby Doo and crew will be paying for my Christmas shopping this year...thanks, gang!!

Anyway, DC released their solicitations for February 07 today, here's what I'll have out that month. Seems so far away but by the time one blinks...

Written by Keith Champagne
Art and cover by Patrick Gleason & Prentis Rollins

Concluding the suspenseful three-part tale “The Dark Side of Green.” The being known as The Dominator arrives on Earth with murderous intent! Halfway across the universe, only the rogue group of Green Lanterns known as The Corpse have the means to stop his destructive rampage...if only they weren’t already dead. Can anything stop The Dominator from destroying the planet? On sale February 14 • 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US

The cover posted above for this issue of GLC. Again, I believe those are the flat colors. I would expect the final colored version to kick much more ass.

Written by Marv Wolfman
Art by Jamal Igle & Keith Champagne

Cover by Michael Golden

Introducing Bride and Groom — a marriage made in hell! Two new metas plague New York as an eerie competition begins: Who can achieve the most “kills” before their wedding day? But nothing is as it seems as Bride and Groom’s citywide war affects those closest to Nightwing! On sale February 7 • 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US

This is Jamal and my first issue of the book. I was under the impression we were starting with a new issue #1 but I guess not. Also, I had no idea that Michael Golden was doing the covers. That's pretty freaking cool.

Back to the drawing board on this end...

Friday, November 03, 2006

Script to art comparison

As I mentioned in my last post, here's the page of script I wrote for this page of art, which has been released by DC.

It's a very benign page in that it doesn't give away ANYTHING in terms of the larger story, nothing that hasn't been revealed in interviews so far, anyway. But it's a good example of the type of thought that Pat Gleason puts into his art.

Aside from the dynamic composition, I like the fact that he didn't feel bound to what I was asking for specifically. He gave me what I wanted but wasn't afraid to do it his way and, personally, I like to see an artist make their own choices and use their own imaginations instead of being a slave to mine. I want to work with people who think independently, not who approach the job as robots. If I want something interepreted exactly the way I see it, I make a point to ask for it that way. Otherwise, I hope to be surprised when I see the pages come in.

Prentis Rollins also added a lot with his inks on this page, really solidifying the art. It's a great looking book, I'm lucky to be working with these guys.

Anyway, enough rambling from me, here's the script...


We’re in a large holding cell. The Dominators are looking down from inside the open partition set high up in the wall. They’re all shielding their eyes. Below them--

A Khund warrior, Uruk, is strapped to a futuristic medical table, bound at his hands, feet, and neck by chains composed of pure energy. His body is bowed outwards as he strains with all his might, every muscle about to rupture, struggling in vain to free himself from his bonds. He’s screaming, his eyes clenched tightly shut, straining to look away.

Uruk has been deliberately positioned to face a large, glowing asteroid held in position by a crane like device directly over him. Swirling, rainbow-colored waves of radiation emanate from the space rock and buffet the Khund in an unrelenting storm of cosmic energy.

It looks like it really hurts.

1- CASTE LEADER #1: Your work shows potential.


Billions of years ago, the oldest and most powerful beings in existence, the Guardians of the Universe, created a police force to serve and protect every sector of space. Recruited for their bravery and courage, from planets across the universe, the best and brightest serve proudly as members of the intergalactic peacekeepers known as THE GREEN LANTERN CORPS!



Writer: Keith Champagne
Penciller: Patrick Gleason
Inker: Prentis Rollins
Colorist:Moose Baumann
Associate editor: Michael Siglain
Dominator: Peter Tomasi

Monday, October 30, 2006

Yet another interview

In the fastest turnaround EVER, my latest interview to promote the Green Lantern Corps stuff has been posted today--in spite of the fact that I just finished forwarding the answers to the questions last night. I wasn't expecting it to be posted until December when the book ships yet, nonetheless, here it is for the world to read and make fun of...

One thing I noticed while looking through the art is that the colored pieces (the covers for issues #7 and #8) aren't the final colored versions. I think those are temps that were rushed through to have something to advertise in solicitations. I've seen the finished colored covers and the difference between the two versions is staggering.

The art pictured here is page three from issue #7 by the great Patrick Gleason and Prentis Rollins. I was thinking of posting the script for this page and comparing it to what they drew, maybe I'll do that later this week.

Hope you enjoy the interview if you take a few minutes to read it!

Tuesday, October 24, 2006


Long delayed in the telling but I had a fun time at Fallcon earlier this month.

This was the first show I've attended where I've been flown out and put up on the convention's dime and, somehow, in some strange way, it makes the whole convention process much more...pleasant. The people behind the convention treated me like gold the entire weekend and I left having had a good time at a show, probably the first time that's happened in about five years. I would chalk up that rare experience to the first class treatment from the convention people, meeting some nice fans, and getting to spend some time with The Minnesota Wrecking Crew, consisting of artists Doug Mahnke, Pat Gleason, and Shawn Moll. Aside from being more talented than I am, they're all much nicer than me.

Pat is currently drawing my Green Lantern Corps arc so it was nice to get to sit down with him and talk about the work a bit. I've been honestly blown away by his interpretation of my scripts and can't wait for the rest of the world to see how great this stuff looks.

Shawn Moll is an artist on the rise and I was glad to meet him in person after being aquainted over the Internet for a couple of years. He's breaking big right now with his work on DC's 52 and I'd be surprised if he doesn't pop up working for Marvel soon. Even though I wussed out of rolling with him and flew home a little early to get back and see my son, I'm still 100% confident I'll tap him out numerous times the next chance I get. Tremble in fear, Shawn. I did you a favor leaving early, you'd be a crippled shell of a man if I had stayed.

And Doug is...Doug. You'd be hard pressed to find a more solid guy and a better artist in this business. Plus he has the strength of ten men and lesser men tremble beneath his gaze. My next goal as a writer is to snare Doug and work together on something. I've already started weaving an intricate web to lure him in.

I also spent a little time with Gordon Purcell, who I'm planning on pitching a project with. For whatever reason, while talking to him, I got the urge to do a giant, Godzilla-like monster book together so when my schedule calms down, it's something I'll try to put together, together.

Most importantly, I got to spend some time with my friend, none other than the legendary Tom Nguyen. If it wasn't for Tom, I would have never gotten out to the show in the first place; it was due to his networking that I made the trip so...thanks, Tom.

Tom is an interesting guy. Aside from being a competetive bodybuilder, he's been inking professionally for about ten years, I'd guess. Maybe more, I'm not exactly sure. But he unabashedly HATES inking, he only does it to pay the bills until something better comes along.

'Something better' meaning pencilling (which he's very qualified to do), which is right around the corner for him. His stuff is all there; in fact, he's better than a great deal of the pencillers working right now. All it's going to take is the right editor at the right time and he'll be rocking and rolling. Check out his work and gorgeous cheesecake paintings at If you're a beauty pageant winner or have posed for Playboy, you're qualified to pose for Tom so feel free to fill out his model application.

Tom also has superhuman endurance. He literally did not sleep for two straight days, Friday through Sunday night, spending his days at the convention and his nights working feverishly to finish a painting of the model who was working his booth on Sunday. I forget her name but I know it wasn't Shannon which, ignorantly, is what I called her all day.

Two days with no sleep would ruin me but Tom didn't even seem that grouchy. If he was, he kept it on the inside.

All in all, a good time and, luckily, I was in the right place at the right time and saved a little girl from drowning in my hotel's jacuzzi the first night I was there. Anyone would have done the same thing, no big deal, but I'm thankful I happened to be there when someone was needed.

Tune in next time for some topic I haven't thought up yet.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Halloween sneak peek

Somebody got his costume in the mail today. Yes, as you can tell, this year for Halloween, I've decided to dress up like a rapidly-approaching-middle age father/artist/writer.

Jack? Oh, that's just his casual, everyday, around the house apparel. I'm happy to report that my household is crime free since he rocketed to Earth from a distant, dying planet.

Friday, October 13, 2006

check it

A story worth reading...

Back soon with a full write up of Fallcon last weekend...I've been so swamped I'm going to change my name to Okeefenokee.

Easy reference for you comic geeks!

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Twin City Tango

For the millions of twin city Champagne fanatics out there, I will be appearing at Fallcon in Minnesota this weekend, Oct 7th and 8th. I should be easy to find; I'll be the insanely handsome and ruggedly charming man sitting next to the misogynistic, miniature Vietnamese inker known only as Tom Nguyen.

Stop by and make fun of Tom with me. It never gets old!

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Favorite list

Because blogs are basically narcissistic and self indulgent by nature of their very existence, herewith I present to you the five best movies ever seen by MY eyes. I'm not a critic (although I have written six or seven screenplays which really means nothing but I wanted to mention it) but I am narcissistic and self indulgent and this is my blog so my opinion is the only one that matters.

#5: Aliens.

#4: Big Trouble in Little China

#3: Forrest Gump

#2: The Empire Strikes Back

#1: The Natural

Are there technically better or more popular movies out there? Of course there are. But these are my five favorites, in order.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Wizard Interview

What? Three posts on the blog in as many days? Who is this masked blogger??

I did a quick interview (through email) with the Wizard Magazine website to start promoting the Green Lantern Corps comics. Here's the link:

It's always interesting to me how these things are edited together. Not for good or bad, they just always read differently when compared to the original questions and answers. Kind of like a diet version.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Green Lantern Corps

DC Comics has released their solicitation info for the month of December and it's a busy month for Patricia Champagne's middle son. First up, we've got...


Written by Greg Rucka, Judd Winick, Bill Willingham, Joe Kelly, Kelley Puckett, Keith Champagne and Ian Boothby

Art by Joe Bennett, John Byrne, Jerry Ordway, Ale Garza, Giuseppe Camuncoli and David Lopez.

Cover by Howard Porter.

Time to celebrate the holidays with the greatest heroes and rising stars of the DCU! Join Superman, Supergirl, Batwoman, Shazam, Green Lantern, Flash and Shadowpact as they spread the joy of the new season in their own special ways.This giant sized 80-page Special features stories by Greg Rucka, Judd Winick, Bill Willingham, Joe Kelly, Kelley Puckett, Keith Champagne and Ian Boothby and art by Joe Bennett, John Byrne, Jerry Ordway, Ale Garza, Giuseppe Camuncoli and David Lopez.On sale December 6 • 80 pg, FC, $4.99 US

Next on the list, my very last issue of...


Written by Stuart MooreArt by Jamal Igle & Keith Champagne.

Cover by Brian Stelfreeze.

The epic story “In My Father's House" concludes as Jason Rusch must deal with the catastrophic fallout from his own actions against the mystery villain. It's an ending and a new beginning for DC's Nuclear Man!On sale December 13 • 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US

And finally, the one that I'm most excited about, my very first issue of...


Written by Keith Champagne.

Art by Patrick Gleason & Prentis Rollins.

Cover by Gleason & Wayne Faucher.

Part 1 of the 3-part “Dark Side of the Green,” written by Keith Champagne with art by Patrick Gleason & Prentis Rollins! What begins as a routine mission quickly spirals out of control for Guy Gardner and new recruit R’amey Holl, leading the duo to discover a secret that could shake the Corps to the core. Meanwhile, a lone Dominator has found the key to great power and plans to unleash it against the Earth!On sale December 13 • 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US

This is one of the writing gigs that I've been patiently waiting to be announced so I could talk about it. And I will when it gets closer to the shipping date, both here and in interviews at various websites. I'm very proud of this 3-part story, they're the best comics I've written to date (which may not say much) and, so far, Pat Gleason and Prentis Rollins have blown my mind with the art. This storyline introduces a new, much more bad ass division of the Green Lantern Corps that will, knock on wood, be spinning off into its own title next year.

It's going to be a fun month for me and will hopefully lead into a very exciting 2007.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Saturday the 14th

Sorry for the lack of updates. Lack of time and lack of anything to blog about, really. No wonder the reader tally for my blog is skydiving by the month. This blog sucks!

Anyone remember a movie called Saturday the 14th? It was a horror/comedy spoof that came out in the early 80's. I remember it being the funniest movie when I was a kid and was thinking of trying to track it down. I doubt it would hold up, most things don't after all these years. But sometimes, one is pleasantly surprised.

Friday, September 08, 2006


The finals of the PRIDE FC Absolute Grand Prix is this Sunday night and it's going to be a fantastic night of MMA fighting. As far as the main (tournament) fights go, these are my quick picks...

I’m picking Crocop over Silva. Wanderlei hasn’t been the same fighter since his loss to Mark Hunt, he’s been less aggressive and half a step slower. He looked great against Fujita but Iron Chin is a B-level fighter at best and, I think, was an opponent made for Silva to look good against.

I’ll take Nog over Barnett. This is a fight that could go either way, it really could. My heart is rooting for Barnett, I think he’s great and also very fun to watch and I love that he’s dedicated himself and gotten into top shape instead of relying on natural skill. My head picks Nog though, he’s a legend in his prime and it’s hard to bet against him.

Crocop versus Nog in the finals and I’m picking…Crocop. He killed Nog the first fight until he was taken down and tapped. I see this fight as more of the same with the exception that Mirko has improved his submission defense enough to get back to his feet and start kicking again. Plus, I’d rather see Crocop VS Fedor a second time as opposed to Nog VS Fedor the fourth.

No matter who wins any of these fights, this is going to be a great card. Aside from the tourny finals, the undercard has a few great fights, including Sergei Kharitinov VS Aleksander Emelianenko and Ricardo Arona VS Alistaire Overeem.

Can’t wait for it. I'll be glued to the TV on Sunday night.

Friday, September 01, 2006

Xena: Strange Visitor

While poking around the Dynamite Entertainment website, I noticed that they had posted about the upcoming super-sized Xena one-shot that I wrote for them. Here's the link...

The book is called Xena: Strange Visitor and focuses on Xena facing off with a warrior from another planet. Think of it as Xena Versus Predator and you're on the right track. My intent was to put together a different kind of Xena story. The character lends itself well to all different kinds of situations so sometimes it's fun to explore something off the beaten path.

I've yet to see any artwork from the book but I know it's being drawn by a young artist named Noah Salonga. Attached is the black and white of the cover which I lifted from the Dynamite website. I'm not sure what the shipping date is. The website has it listed as October 2006 but that seems too early to me. I'll have to do some digging and find out what's what.

I usually learn something from every assignment I write and on this one, I learned that writing for a licensor (Universal holds the rights to Xena) can be...interesting, to say the least.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Dave Gibbons and John Byrne

Things have been more hectic than usual here at Champagne Central and the newer, more-frenzied pace of my daily existence doesn't look like it's going to let up anytime soon. Nonetheless, I've got a couple of bits of comic news to share.

Pretty much any comics fan knows of the work of Dave (Watchmen) Gibbons, one of my artistic 'heroes' in the comics biz. The guy is a legend, plain and simple. Personally, I've loooooong admired Mr. Gibbons' storytelling, composition, and clean drawing style. In fact, almost twenty years ago, a friend of mine wrote in my senior yearbook in high school that I should never give up my dreams because maybe, one day, I might reach the level of someone like Dave Gibbons.

This week, the stars have aligned nicely and an unexpected hole in my inking schedule has been filled with the opportunity to ink his work as I pitch in on a Green Lantern Corps issue that Mr. Gibbons is writing and drawing.

It's really, really hard work.

Not only is it intimidating as hell to try to translate and enhance the work of someone whom I admire so much, but his clean and precise drawing style leaves very little room for error. Artists who noodle more and throw in tons of detail give you plenty of room to hide mistakes. With Mr. Gibbons', the inks are either going to work or they're going to fail miserably. So it's been a painstaking few days and I expect the next week will be equally so as I try to do his work justice. I haven't been very happy with anything I've done over him so far but it always takes me about 10 or 11 pages of working with a penciller before I begin to feel comfortable and able to contribute something to the art. Hopefully this will be the same. I'd hate to only have one chance to ink his work and blow it miserably.

On the other side of things, I found out today that John Byrne, another of my comic book heroes, is pencilling a ten-page Green Lantern Christmas story that I wrote a month or so back. I've been campaigning for about the last year or so to get a chance to work with the brilliant Mr. Byrne and finally, all my begging and pleading to Peter Tomasi has paid off. To say that I'm thrilled is a huge understatement. There's only one other person in comics whose work has been as influential to me as Mr. Byrne's has and, off the top of my head, I can't think of anyone who has produced more quality comics for as long and as consistently as John has. X-Men, Superman, Fantastic Four...there's literally nothing he hasn't OWNED at one time or another. In the list of all-time great artists, Mr. Byrne is easily in the top five with plenty of room to spare.

And now he's drawing something I wrote. It's literally a dream come true and, on top of everything else, I'm inking it too.

What a great week in my little comics world, that's all I can say.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Fanboy Planet

The fine folks over at thought it would be a good idea for me to fill in for one of their regular columnists this week and write a report for WWE's RAW on Monday.

So I did.

Feel free to click the link above and check it out.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Snakes on a Plane

OK, I crazy or was Snakes On A Plane actually really good?

I caught a matinee yesterday which I had been advised against, mainly because I was told that the way to see the movie was with an enthusiastic crowd, not just a few random people scattered throughout the theater in the middle of an afternoon. I don't see what the difference would have been though, because I loved it anyway.

Is it a silly B-movie? Absolutely. But I thought it was pretty much the king of silly B-movies. People have been saying it's so bad, it's good but I actually thought it was goodgood.It's a solid movie that hits all the right notes. It got me cringing in my seat a few times.

It followed the basic rule for these types of action/thriller movies: Whenever you think things can't get worse, they get worse. Starting to get a handle on the six million snakes slithering around the plane? Too bad because here comes the giant 30 foot python, baby! Think you're out of the woods once and for all? Too bad, your pilot just died. And so on and so on.

All in all, a really entertaining way to spend a couple of hours. Anyone else see it?

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Ed Brubaker

Not much to blog about. I still can't publicly talk about any of my upcoming writing gigs, probably not for another month or so until solicitations begin to filter out. Come to think of it, I still can't seem to spell 'publicly', either. In the meantime, I thought I'd recommend Daredevil for anyone looking for a good comic to read.

I lost interest in Daredevil about halfway through Bendis' run; not that it was bad, it just wasn't floating my cup of tea anymore. I buy very few comics, I can't keep up with my comps as it is and I'm sort of spoiled that way. But, based on Ed Brubaker's work on Gotham Central and Captain America, I made a note to pick up Daredevil when he started writing it.

So I'd say it's currently my favorite book. I'm probably an issue or two behind everyone else because I don't get to the comic shop very often, either. But I'm finding the current storyline, with Matt Murdock and the Kingpin in jail, to be very enjoyable. It's just a well written comic with solid art and storytelling by Michael Lark and his inker, who's name I can't think of. Stefano, I think?

Plus, although I haven't read the issue yet, I've heard through the grapevine that Iron Fist starts to play a major role in the story. The Fist is my favorite Marvel Comics character so I'm excited to see him used in important fashion and am even more looking forward to the upcoming Iron Fist series...written by Ed Brubaker.

Good stuff, check it out.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

more art

I started doing a right-handed version of the below sketch but got tired of using a pencil. So I just started inking and this is what came out.

Interesting time to work in comics right now. Lots of changes on the horizon, long term plans being made, political manuevering behind the scenes. I'm sort of a bystander watching things change on what seems to be almost a daily basis.

Vague but interesting nonetheless.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

The inks

And here are the inks.

I ended up inking this straight on the piece of copy paper with a brush because my printer is dry. I probably would have noodled and detailed more with a nib but the paper is flimsy and would get torn to shreds by the penpoint. So I stuck soley to brush and it is what it is.

I can't say it's a great drawing but hey, I give myself credit for finishing it. I try to get away from my drawing board as much as possible when I'm not working. That's why I look forward to the day when (knock on wood) I can write full-time. It'll be nice to be able to get back to producing artwork for fun again, as a hobby. As it is now, it just feels like more work.

Hope you liked this little experiment. Don't know what it really proves, except that I suck equally at drawing with either one of my hands.


Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Left Handed Sketch

And here's the sketch. Altogether, it took about 8 minutes to rough it out.

I drew it on a piece of copy paper so the next step will be bluelining it in photoshop and printing it out on a sturdier piece of bristol board for inking.

I definitely don't have the fine motor control with my left hand that I do with my right, meaning this is even more loosely drawn than usual. So it seems like I can hit the broad strokes but I don't think I could actually finish this drawing in pencil, not with my left hand. At least not yet.

The akward thing about trying to draw with my opposite hand is approaching the paper from the opposite angle. It takes a little getting used to as everything in my office is configured to a right hand. Even my drawing table lamp casts a shadow on the paper from my hand.

It's a fun little experiment though even though it looks rather crapadelic.

Tune in shortly for the finished inks.


Monday, July 31, 2006


I haven't forgotten to conduct my little experiment in ambidexterity.

In fact, I've conducted it. I did a generic head shot today with my left hand. Not really sure what I think of it but I never usually like the way things look when I draw with my right hand either.

I should have time tomorrow to scan and post it and I'll try to ink it this week, too. It's tempting to go back in and start tweaking things and correcting the drawing in right-handed fashion but I'm planning on inking it right handed anyway so...I'll just do it in ink. I also suspect that I'll transform this generic sketch into a Superman drawing while I ink it because I'm gay for Superman.

I have noticed that because I do work primarily in brush and ink that I no longer have any patience with pencil. I crave the bold, final line that ink supplies and have lost the ability to pencil tightly somewhere along the way. Now, in those rare times when I actually draw something, I pencil as quickly as possible to get it over with and jump right into inking, where I feel the most comfortable.

Any other comic artists have that same tendency?

Monday, July 24, 2006


What? I have a blog?? Crikey, I guess I'd better update it.

A little known Keith Champagne factoid is that I'm naturally left-handed, although my mother raised me to be right-handed. I'm not sure why it was important to her and it's not important to me at all but regardless, I have a pretty high level of dexterity with my opposite hand. Growing up, I've always unconsciously done things with my opposite side. I eat left-handed. I'm much more comfortable boxing southpaw. Even playing kickball growing up, I always kicked with my left leg.

I'm goofy, what can I say?

When I was in the Kubert School, I had a teacher named Tex Blaisdell. Tex was a grizzled old cartoonist, equally kind and crusty. Everyone loved him. He had spent most of his career inking, everything from Green Lantern to Superman to Batman during the 60's, 70's, and 80's. He also did a lot of newspaper strips, Little Orphan Annie being one that comes immediately to mind. Tex passed away about six or seven years ago after a lifetime of good, hard living.

Tex was famous for being able to draw equally well with both hands. If I remember the story correctly, he drank his way through a deadline and passed out at his drawing board, his drawing arm pinned underneath his torso. When he woke up however many hours later, his right arm was useless. He had damaged it somehow and it took literally months for his arm to regain its mobility.

So Tex didn't skip a beat. He just taught himself to draw and ink with his left hand and honed his dexterity to such a high level that he was equally skilled with either hand. He used to joke that once his right arm healed, he could work twice as fast. Who knows, maybe he wasn't joking?

This is my long-winded way of saying that, inspired by Tex, this past weekend I started
sketching with my left hand. The end results seem pretty much the same to me, a little looser and sketchier but the information is all there. I think I'm going to continue working this way. I have some wacky theory that drawing with my opposite hand taps into the opposite side of brain and somehow makes me more creative or something weird like that.

So my plan here is to draw something left handed and then ink it with my right and post it up when I'm finished. I don't have a lot of free time to produce artwork when I'm not getting paid for it but hopefully, the experimental nature of this piece will inspire me to see it all the way through.

So stay tuned and let's see what happens.

Monday, July 10, 2006

This means WAR!!

By far, the best thing about the boring UFC 61 fight card on Saturday night was the announcement that PRIDE middleweight champion Wanderlei "The Ax Murderer" Silva would be invading the octagon in November to fight UFC Middleweight champion Chuck Lidell.

The hardcore MMA fan has been drooling for years at the thought of an interpromotional dream match like this. Hopefully, it's just the tip of the iceberg. My head would probably explode if Fedor Emelianenko, pound for pound the universally agreed upon greatest fighter in the world today, decided to crash the UFC's party and show them how it's really done.

I was going to write about some of the possibilities and ramifications of the Silva/Lidell match until I came across the following post by Zach Arnold at He's much smarter and more well spoken than I am so if this kind of topic interests you, hit the link below.

Exciting times to be an MMA fan. It's gratifying to see the public catch up with the most exciting sport in the world.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Absolute Watchmen

I haven't posted anything comic-related in a while so...

I recently received the ABSOLUTE WATCHMEN collection that I ordered from the fine folks at Earth 2 Comics ( Earth 2 is located in Sherman Oaks, CA and Carr and Judd run a great store. I can't recommend their services highly enough so there's a little plug for Earth 2.

I've been slowly rereading WATCHMEN, really enjoying seeing the artwork printed oversized, and have been reminded just how much ass this comic kicks. For a story that I've read fifteen times in the past fifteen years, I'm still seeing new things in the backgrounds or uncovering new subtext in the story. In fact, before I die, I'll probably someday really figure out the pirate comic within the comic.

Much smarter people than me have written about the groundbreaking technical achievements contained between the pages and every word is true. The Rorschach issue, for example, that is laid out so that the second half of the story mirrors the first the way the two halves of a rorschach blot mirror each other is a truly remarkable bit of storytelling. It makes my brain hurt just thinking about trying to plan something like that out. Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons threw in everything and the kitchen sink and in spite of all the groundbreaking they were doing, they wisely never forget to center the story around the characters. To me, character should always dictate plot, not vice versa. I think I learned that on a subconscious level from this book when I was a teenager.

Reading it with fresh eyes, I'm also surprised to see how influential Watchmen is. A show like LOST is a great example of this. Take a look at the way they continue to explore the flashback stuff from different perspectives and then see how Watchmen did it, almost twenty years earlier. I'm planning on ripping it off myself in a Green Lantern Christmas story I'll be writing soon, in abbreviated fashion.

For the record, the Dr. Manhattan on Mars issue is my favorite of the series, followed by the Rorschach origin. In fact, those are probably my two favorite single issues of any comic book ever. And I've read a LOT of comics over the years.

I could ramble on all day and not make much sense so I guess what I'm saying is I truly LOVE this book. I remember loving it to death when I was a junior in high school, picking up each issue as they arrived in the stores and I love it even more now. If you're a comic fan and you've never read it, treat yourself. And if you have, go read it again because it's well worth the time.


Monday, July 03, 2006

Critical Countdown

I've been biding my time before, like the rest of the world, I post my thoughts on the new Superman movie so as not to spoil it. Suffice to say, I liked it quite a bit. It's not a perfect film and I don't agree with every choice Bryan Singer made but it's a worthy restart to the franchise and I'm looking forward to the sequel.

In the meantime, PRIDE FC, the world's largest mixed martial arts organization, held the second round of their open weight grand prix over the weekend in Japan and it was a fantastic card. Anyone that has gotten into MMA with the recent success and rise of the UFC should do themselves a favor and check out a PRIDE card. It's where the big boys play.

I was particularly impressed with Wanderlei Silva's destruction of Japanese heavyweight Kazuyuki Fujita. It was an intriquing match up due to the weight difference (Silva fights at 205 while Fujita is about 40 pounds heavier) and also because Fujita's incredibly thick skull (medically proven in Japan to be thicker than an average human skull) has shown it's almost impossible to knock him out.

Silva didn't manage to knock him out but he did stagger him pretty well late in the first round, unleashing a hurricane of punches, hammerfists, and soccer kicks. Fujita took enough unanswered damage that the referee wisely stopped the fight. Silva moves on to the semi's.

Joining him there will be Josh Barnett, who used the same strategy he tried in his first fight against CroCop to take Mark Hunt down as quickly as possible. He quickly and easily submitted Hunt with a kimura in about two minutes. Barnett looked great physically, in much better shape than he's been in years. He actually almost had abs and considering that his waistline always looks like three spare tires competing for dominance, that's saying something. It looks like he's pretty serious about fighting.

Noguiera and Fabricio Werdum had what I felt was the best fight of the night, a back and forth battle between two world class jiu jitsu fighters. Nog took the decision because, while the fight was standing, his boxing technique was more polished. Their brief exchanges of BJJ technique on the ground were beautiful while they lasted.

Finally, Cro Cop kicked the hell out of Yoshida's leg until he couldn't stand up any longer. Shades of Marco Ruas against Paul Varelens in early UFC. Those leg kicks hurt. I've been hit with a few delivered at half speed in training and couldn't help but wince. I can't imagine what a kick delivered with full CroCrop power must have felt like. Probably a sledgehammer hitting in the exact same spot over and over and over until the leg finally gives out.

It's a fantastic final four. I'm hoping for Silva/Crocop and Barnett/Nogueira in the semi's, mainly because I don't want to see Crocop/Barnett for the third time unless they have to meet in the finals.

The undercard also impressed. I was glad to see Pawel Nastula (Olympic Gold Medalist in Judo) pick up his first win in the Pride ring. He's a tough fighter who's been thrown to the wolves so far. Also good to see Vitor Belfort pick up a win although with Vitor, who knows what will happen next. He's the world's most confusing fighter.

Pride rocks. Check it out sometime.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

The Final Cut and other thoughts

I haven't had much of interest to write about lately and haven't had a lot of time to devote to coming up with semi-interesting topics to write about anyway. So, in lieu (spelling?) of anything which is actually interesting, here are some bullet points of random things running through my mind.

I've heard through the rumor mill that my childhood favorite soap opera couple, Patch and Kayla, have returned to the town of Salem on Days Of Our Lives. Yes, I admit that I used to watch Days religiously in my late teens/early college years and still maintain a loose knowledge of the goings on in Salem. I might have to start tuning in again, especially since the rebroadcast on SOAP makes it more convenient to watch at different times.

I'm going to see SUPERMAN RETURNS tomorrow night and am keeping an open mind. Early word from industry friends who have seen advance screenings is that they like but don't love it. Honestly, I'm most jazzed about Marlon Brando's return to the silver screen. I was fascinated by Brando for years and years and years and this is probably the last time I'll ever see a 'new', albeit manufactured, performance from him on the big screen. Being dead will do that to a fellow.

I'm also the world's most faithful Superman fan and I don't need the film to be perfect in order to love it. I just want it to be good and respectful to the characters. I will say before going in that I really wish Lois Lane had been cast older. Even in the previews, she looks like a kid next to everybody else and I already don't buy that she's a single mother of a five-year old. But like I said, I'm keeping an open mind and have my fingers X'ed.

Never in all my life did I imagine there would be so many mixed martial arts cards to watch in such a short span of time. Between the UFC running three full cards in two weeks as well as Pride's fantastic card taking place in Japan this weekend, it's almost an MMA overload. It's a golden age for fans of this little sport.

Finally, I watched a film called The Final Cut with Robin Williams (currently the leading choice to play The Joker in the next Batman film) the other day. I remember when it came out in theaters, taking note of what I felt was an intriguing premise: That a biological camera installed in our heads would record our lives from start to finish and that those memories would be assembled into something like a film for our loved ones to keep for generations on down the line.

The movie itself was a jumbled mess but there was one small scene tucked into it that genuinely touched me. Early on, Robin Williams' character shows his girlfriend a short 'film' he's assembled (he's what's known as a CUTTER, basically an editor of these life films) of an old man at the end of his life, shaving in his bathroom mirror. The film then flashes back 10 or 12 years and we see that same man, younger, in the mirror. These flashbacks continue and the man progressively gets younger until we finally see him at the age of nine, still a boy, trying to shave for the very first time.

I'm not sure what exactly touched me about that sequence except that getting older is one of the main themes I constantly play with in the back of my mind and in my writing. I'm simultaneously fascinated and scared by the idea of aging, losing my youth, and becoming an old man. Seeing an entire life, even a fictional one, condensed into a thirty second span somehow spoke to me. To see where and how a person ends up in life and then flashing back to the beginning of that life, where every door is still open and the future is me that's powerful stuff. Poignant even.

Or maybe it was just the sentimental music playing over the scene. What do I know?

That's all for now.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Wizard Awards

Do you like me? I mean...really, really like me? Then go vote for me in the Wizard Fan Award Nominations. Here's the link:

I'm listed under the category of "Favorite Inker" for my work on JSA. Also, my Image series Armor X can be voted for under "Favorite mini-series." It's not hard to find, it's the first book on the list because it's all alphabetical. If you're feeling particularly warm and fuzzy towards me lately, you can also write me in under the category "Favorite break out talent."

From how this process was explained to me, this nomination ballot is put out there to cull the herd, so to speak. The top vote getters in each category then move on to the actual awards ballot later this summer. I don't realistically expect to win in any category but I would consider it a victory just to be listed on the final ballot along with some really amazingly talented people.


Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Late to the party

OK, I'm coming into this one a couple of months late (and if you don't know what this means, you're even more behind the times than I am so get with it, people) but can I just say...

There's motherfuckin' snakes on the motherfuckin' plane!!

I'm there opening night and every friend I have in the world better motherfuckin' be with me.

Monday, June 12, 2006

RIP Tim Hildebrandt

Well, twice in as many weeks, it's eulogy time again.

I found out this afternoon that Tim Hildebrandt passed away at the relatively young age of 67 due to complications from diabetes.

Tim and his twin brother Greg are both internationally renowned fantasy artists. Their most famous works are the original Star Wars poster and the hugely popular series of J.R.R Tolkien calendars they produced in the 70's. Technically, they worked side by side, easel next to easel for most of their professional lives. Occasionally, one would finish whatever painting the other was working on.

On a personal level, I didn't know Tim well but he was my painting teacher in my third year at The Kubert School. I remember him as an easy going fellow, very laid back in his approach to teaching. If you approached him for information, he would gladly share from the reservoir of knowledge he had accumulated over a lifetime of work. If you didn't want to learn, he wasn't going to force it on you. He didn't waste his time with people who weren't interested.

Tim would often come into class and set up 10 or 15 original paintings in the front of the room at the beginning of class, usually whatever he and his brother were working on at the time. They were always gorgeous. Being broke at the time, I used to half-heartedly wish that I could steal one and sell it.

The last time I saw Tim was at the San Diego convention in, I believe, 1994 or 1995. He was signing autographs at the Topps booth next to the Barbi Twins of all people. He graciously pretended to remember me and smiled, shook my hand, and listened politely as I updated him on what I was doing at that time.

I always found the way Tim described his relationship with his brother to be...charming? Beautiful? I don't know the word. They were best friends, creative partners...and they had that psychic twin bond thing you hear about from time to time. It was sort of fantastic and otherwordly and it seemed to fit their roles as fantasy artists.

My heart goes out to his brother most of all.

Rest in Peace, Mr. Hildebrandt.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

My friend Dave Baldy(the fellow who is not Burt Reynolds in this picture) recently paid a visit to the set of a film he did some quick rewrite work on. Appearing in this fine motion picture is none other than the legendary Bandit himself. Luckily, there was a camera on set to capture the big moment for all posterity. What are the odds of finding a camera on a movie set? It's almost a miracle.

Not only did Baldy meet Mr. Reynolds, he also lost $200 in poker to Shannon Elizabeth, best known as 'the girl with no shirt on' in several fine feature films, including the first American Pie. Why he didn't charm her into playing strip poker, I'll never know each their own.

I'm pretty sure Baldy is in six foot territory (that's 72 inches for those of you who subscribe to the Metric system), I know he's a couple of inches taller than I am. I was surprised that he absolutely towers over Burt Reynolds in this picture. While it's common knowledge that the magic of movies can make people seem taller than they are, I would also assume that The Bandit has withered with age.

I got a kick out of this picture because let's face will always be cool to meet Burt Reynolds. The only thing that could make Burt Reynolds cooler is if he had made a buddy movie with a monkey at some point.Burt Reynolds + Monkeys = MONEY!

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Keeping the pimp hand strong

Because I have this strange compulsion to try and pay my bills in somewhat of a timely fashion, I put up a large auction of JSA artwork on Ebay last night.

OK, I admit I'm just raising extra money to feed my addiction to gambling, pills, and whores. But don't let that stop you from from bidding often and generously.


Monday, June 05, 2006

Royce Gracie

So Royce Gracie returned to the Octagon and fought Matt Hughes a little over a week ago.

The fight was stopped late in the first round after Hughes took Gracie's back and started raining down punches. The referee stepped in and called a halt to the action in order to save the basically defenseless Royce from taking any permanent damage.

In the aftermath of the fight, many critics now have validation that the newer breed of martial artist is superior to the old guard represented by the fighters of Royce's generation. The almost unanimous consensus going into the fight was that Hughes would dominate, that Royce was behind the curve, that the fight game has changed in the eleven years since Gracie won the first 3 of 4 UFC's.

I still don't know if I agree with that. It's true that father time catches up to all fighters eventually, boxing is riddled with examples that prove that. For whatever reason though, I sort of feel like Royce chose a poor strategy going into this fight. It seemed like he wanted to start slow and wear Hughes down before going for a submission in the later rounds and was caught off guard and overwhelmed early. In a rematch...not that there will ever be one...I might consider putting money on Royce.

I don't have any specific reason why I would still bet on him except that I spent a few hours on Saturday at a jiu jitsu seminar with Royce and about 49 other Gracie Jiu Jitsu students. I'm just awed by the sheer amount of technical knowedge he has locked up in his head, and how clearly and easily he can explain the finer points of different takedowns and submission holds to achieve maximum results. The guy knows his shit, plain and simple. I would speculate that a fighting style founded in Jiu Jitsu, which relies on technique and leverage more than anything else, is something that won't cease to be effective the older the fighter gets.

Youth, speed, strength...these are all things that fade in time. Knowledge though...that never goes out of style and technique can always be refined and built upon, no matter how old we get.

I just realized that I have no real point here. I'm just trying to post something up here to keep the masses placated.

Talk to you soon,

Sunday, May 28, 2006

Alex Toth

I was going to write something about the destruction of legendary MMA fighter Royce Gracie at the hands of Matt Hughes (and I probably still will) but then I learned that Alex Toth passed away yesterday and that's much more important to me.

I'm not one to eulogize, especially someone that I didn't know personally, but I was deeply saddened to hear about the death of Mr. Toth, who passed away yesterday at his drawing table at the age of 78.

You'd be hard pressed to find anyone currently working in the comics field who isn't influenced, directly or indirectly, by the work of Mr. Toth. He's probably best known for his design work on too many classic Hanna Barbera cartoons to name. Some of the more notable ones are Johnny Quest, Space Ghost, Herculoids (my personal favorite cartoon of all time) and Challenge Of The Superfriends (my second favorite). He also had a long career in comics. His last published work (that I've seen) was a Batman: Black and White cover a few years back. Like the best Toth work, the composition was simple, subtle, and perfect. The drawing was refined to the point of being minimalist, which was what made his artwork so great. He drew so much by drawing so little.

Anyway, like I wrote above, you'd be hard pressed to find an artist working in comics today that hasn't either studied Mr. Toth's work or studied the work of an artist who studied Mr. Toth's work. His influence over the last few generations is quiet, yet staggeringly far-reaching. I would list names but's everybody that will ever draw comics, in one way or another.

He was one of the geniuses of our little field and I loved his work. It's sad to lose yet another legendary artist but, in a strange way, I find it comforting that he passed away at his drawing table, doing what he loved. Not to be melodramatic but I can think of a few million worse ways to go and none quite so appropriate.

Thanks for reading,

Wednesday, May 24, 2006


My son likes to do impressions. He's a fantastic dinosaur, a kitty cat, a dog...

Oh, yeah. And Jack Nicholson.

Monday, May 22, 2006

The Bandit is shrinking

My friend Dave Baldy(the fellow who is not Burt Reynolds in this picture) recently paid a visit to the set of a film he did some quick rewrite work on. Appearing in this fine motion picture is none other than the legendary Bandit himself. Luckily, there was a camera on set to capture the big moment for all posterity. What are the odds of finding a camera on a movie set? It's almost a miracle.

Not only did Baldy meet Mr. Reynolds, he also lost $200 in poker to Shannon Elizabeth, best known as 'the girl with no shirt on' in several fine feature films, including the first American Pie. Why he didn't charm her into playing strip poker, I'll never know each their own.

I'm pretty sure Baldy is in six foot territory (that's 72 inches for those of you who subscribe to the Metric system), I know he's a couple of inches taller than I am. I was surprised that he absolutely towers over Burt Reynolds in this picture. While it's common knowledge that the magic of movies can make people seem taller than they are, I would also assume that The Bandit has withered with age.

I got a kick out of this picture because let's face will always be cool to meet Burt Reynolds. The only thing that could make Burt Reynolds cooler is if he had made a buddy movie with a monkey at some point.

Burt Reynolds + Monkeys = MONEY!

Saturday, May 20, 2006

DaVinci Code...RED.

I saw The DaVinci Code tonight.

Anyone who's been paying attention the past week has heard the various film critics panning the film but I'm here to tell you all, brother...

That they're absolutely right. This might have been one of the more boring movies I've ever seen.

I liked the book, didn't love it but it wasn't what I would consider a waste of time. I thought it was very cleverly constructed and admired the way the author wove his fictional tale through all the real world historical Christian conspiracy stuff. The Knights Templar, the Holy Grail, the secret history of's all pretty interesting stuff.

Anyway, the movie has all of that in it but still manages to just feel flat. It's a suspense thriller without any suspense or thrills. I like the lady that played Amelie and Magneto is always good. Tom Hanks ( who's gotten awfully chubby since Forrest Gump ran across America) sort of drifted through the movie. His character wasn't much of a protagonist. He just sort of got drawn into this adventure then reacted most of the time. Jean Reno (so great in the Professional) was one of the dumbest cops I've ever seen in a movie. The guy that played Doctor Octopus (Alfred Molina, I'm not an idiot) wasn't very creepy and neither was Paul Bettany (although he does have A Beautiful Mind)...but if you like seeing a skinny naked albino whip himself, this is the flick for you, my friend.

If going to a movie and watching actors try really hard to make two and a half hours of expository dialogue sound interesting is your cup of tea, by all means check this one out. If you're interested in all the secret Christian Conspiracy stuff (which I do think is fascinating in its own right), then I guess you might enjoy seeing all the dots connected onscreen. But if you like good movies, go back to that last paragraph where I listed the cast and rent those. This one, you can skip.

Talk to you soon,

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Bear eats Monkey

This is the strangest news story I've read in quite some time. I believe in my heart that the rest of the monkeys will form a gang and, not to long from now, I'll be posting another link entitled "Monkey gang takes revenge!"

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

And now, some reviews

While I was at the comics shop for Free Comic Book Day, I picked up a few titles I was interested in. I don't usually do reviews but after posting shorter versions of my thoughts to an email discussion group I belong to, I figured I'd flesh them out a bit and post them here. Just for a change of pace. Anyway, here's what I read...


I don't know jack about what's going on in the Marvel Universe these days but I picked this up out of curiosity over all the hype. When did Namorita get all blue? When did the New Warriors become morons? I've missed out on all these developments since Marvel stopped sending me free comics. Anyway, I liked the total art package in this book, I thought the sum was superior to the individual pencils or inks or colors. It all worked well together somehow and the coloring in particular gave the book a very distinct look. I like Mark Millar as a writer although I've read very little of his Marvel stuff, just a few issues of Ultimates and his Wolverine run. However, his Superman Tangent book from DC years ago was stellar. So I consider myself a fan of his work.

So without knowing much of what's happening at Marvel lately, I still enjoyed this book for what it was. It wasn't the next Watchmen (although it does crib a major plot point) and I don't necessarily feel like I've got to rush out for the next issue but this was solid stuff. It was paced well and had that big event feel it needs for this giant crossover attempt to connect with readers.

For what it's worth, I'm on Captain America's side. How anyone can not take Cap's side in any sort of conflict is beyond me. He's the most principled and trustworthy character in the Marvel Universe. You know if Captain America is fighting for something, he's fighting the good fight. So fall in line, ya bunch of yahoos. I give this comic a B-.

Speaking of Captain America, I picked up the Winter Soldier trade because I like Ed Brubaker, I like Steve Epting's art, and I've heard really good things about it. I read it in three sittings and am glad to say I really enjoyed it. It was more plot heavy than I thought it would be, meaning it seemed less decompressed than I assumed it would be. Which is a good thing, I like to feel like I'm getting some bang for my comics buck!

It seems to me that writing Captain America is a pretty tricky beast. He doesn't really have a lot of internal conflict to play off of and it's not like a writer can dig in and deconstruct the character himself or do anything subversive with him. At the end of the day, Cap is going to be the same solid, decent icon that he was when he woke up, still fighting the good fight. Luckily for Brubaker, the plot he's set in motion around Cap makes up for it. It's one of the best Captain America stories to come along in a long time and Brubaker has been given a lot of latitude to play with the classic elements of Cap's world in some pretty surprising ways. Killing the Red Skull and bringing back Bucky...those are HUGE changes he's been allowed to make and as a result, it feels like anything can happen. It's as good as Cap has ever been in my opinion. I'm looking forward to picking up the next collection and seeing what happens next. I'll give this one a grade of 'A'.

Lastly, I grabbed issues 13 and 14 of Astonishing X-men. I wasn't too impressed. I read most of the first twelve issues of this book and loved it in the beginning, mainly because for the first time in years, it 'felt' like the X-Men I grew up reading. The longer it's gone, the less engaging I've found it to be. Maybe it's because it takes so long for anything important in terms of plot to happen.

The Kitty and Colossus stuff is the most interesting to me. Both characters are better when they're playing off of each other and they were long overdue to get back together. Also, I'm curious to see which mutant will be revealed as the one that will destroy the alien world. Most of it felt pretty flat to me, though. Also, I think John Cassaday is great but he's phoning this stuff in. Maybe he's got too much on his plate these days but it looks rushed and there are even less backgrounds than you usually find in a Cassaday book. Disappointingly, I give this a grade of 'C'. Considering the talent involved in putting it out, that's kind of a shame.

So that's what I'm reading lately. Anyone else?


Monday, May 08, 2006

Free Comic Book Day report

Well, Free Comic Book Day has once again come and gone. Like drug dealers, comic shops across the nation handed out free samples of their wares in the hopes of hooking new, steady customers. And I was once again there to witness the scene firsthand.

I've been sick the past three or four days and I had some serious internal debate as to whether I should just cancel my appearance at Sarge's Comics, stay home, and enjoy a combination of work and rest for the day. I don't really enjoy doing signings and wasn't feeling at my most social. The people at Sarge's are very nice though and I would have felt guilty if I had stood them up, especially at the last I stopped feeling bad for myself, jumped in my car, and made the 45 minute trek down to New London. I did get there about a half an hour late though, sorry. I was waiting for my underwear to finish drying.

The staff had laid things out differently this year although to describe the layout would be too hard for me so I'm going to skip it. I was seated next to a fellow named Ben from Wizard Magazine and a guy named Steve who published a comic called the OZ Squad. I already know Ben a little bit but Steve was new (to me) and seemed to be a nice guy.

It looked like a decent turnout, lots of families bringing their kids in for free swag. The stormtroopers were there. Even Lord Vader himself made an appearance. No one really seemed to know who I was or what I did, which was fine because I was kind of low energy anyway. All told, I think I signed maybe fifteen comics over the two hours I was there.

Giant mosquito and former pro wrestler Ox Baker, whom I used to know fairly well, made a point to say hi and instantly started harassing me in his Ox Baker way about doing a comic with him as the star. After over ten years of my saying "NO," Ox is nothing if not eternally optimistic. Armed with the experience gained from years of handling Ox, I subtly passed him off to Ox-handling rookie Ben from Wizard. Seeing him helpless in the Ox-slaught, I stepped back in and directed the conversation away from Ox's dream comic and towards which wrestlers could have kicked Ox's ass back in the day if they really fought. Lou Thesz was the one he seemed to respect the most for his real life ass kicking ways. When the free pizza arrived, Ox vanished to get his share. If it's free, the Ox is there.

I gave a page of artwork to a fellow named Murray who was back from Iraq and figuring out his next move in life. Store employee and friend Malinda threw me a couple of pieces of pizza and made sure I was alive every once in a while until my time was up. Brotherhood of the Whooping Stick member Brad popped in towards the end and we grabbed a quick bite of Thai food, at which point my FCBD '06 experience came to an end.

I decided on the drive home that this will be my last FCBD signing. It's a good cause and I genuinely like the Sarge's people but these signings, both in stores and at conventions, are something I enjoy less and less each time I do them. I'm not sure why except that it doesn't feel natural to my personality.

Of course, when they ask me next year, enough time will have gone by that I'll probably forget I decided I don't want to do signings anymore. So I'll probably say yes and write something just like this after FCBD 07. In fact, I guarantee I can just cut and paste the Ox Baker paragraph and save myself the typing time.

Thanks for reading,

Tuesday, May 02, 2006


This Saturday is the third or fourth annual Free Comic Book Day, I've lost track of how many there have been so far. I'll be appearing from 12:30-3:00 at Sarge's Comics in New London to support the cause. If you're in the area, come on down and pick up some free comics. If you happen to be a friend of mine, you can buy me lunch afterwards.

No matter where you live, if you have a comic shop in your town, stop in on Saturday. FCBD is a nationwide event. While you may see many people dressed as Stormtroopers, don't let that deter you. FCBD is a big day for the closet Stormtroopers; it's their chance to wear that insanely expensive armor and let their geek flags fly high. So don't throw things at them, just join the celebration.

BTW, thanks to Chris for the help w/ the links. I followed those instructions to the letter but my links haven't appeared. So here's a few websites I enjoy if anyone wants to check them out:

Take care, thanks for reading.

Sunday, April 30, 2006

Technical assistance

If anyone out there can explain to me how to post links in that section on the side of the page, I'd appreciate the help. I have the computer IQ of a monkey.

A retarded monkey.

A retarded monkey that almost drowned and suffered brain damage due to oxygen deprivation.


Thursday, April 27, 2006

An actual review

In the aftermath of Hurricane Sailor Man, Dev sent me a link tonight to an actual online review of the story. I thought that was kind of cool, especially because the reviewer liked it.

Monday, April 24, 2006

Team Pisano

My friend Randy has started a blog chronicling the adventures of his friend Jay who, in spite of the fact that he's in a wheelchair and can't move his arms, has completed like a trillion marathons by pushing himself backwards 26 miles at a time.

The address is

Check it out and keep it in mind the next time you're stressed because you're having a bad hair day or a coworker is annoying you or any of the other thousands of silly reasons that we all easily get upset by. I know I will.

Saturday, April 15, 2006

SAILOR MAN (the end)

Here's the last page.

Thanks to Dev for doing such a great job with this story-- just for fun. Twelve pages is a hell of a lot of work to do, especially for free. It's a lot easier and less time consuming to write a twelve-pager than it is to draw one. Take a bow, pal. You brought this to life and I love what you did with it.

Thanks to everyone for reading. There are a little over a thousand unique visitors to my blog and while the majority of you are silent, I'm going to assume you had a good time with this. If I'm wrong, feel free to kick my ass if you ever see me...if you can!

If this was your first time reading anything that I've written, please keep a look out later this year. I'm currently writing a three-issue arc and a two-issue story for a couple of different DC titles. One is an outer space book and the other is set in the nitty, gritty city. I'm also writing a one-shot for a licensed property for a different company. Those will all be officially announced and out in stores at some point or another, hopefully followed by more work because it's what pays the mortgage. If not, I'll be the shifty looking fellow on the street corner turning tricks for cash.

As for Dev, I wouldn't be surprised to see him make a triumphant return to the world of comics in the very near future. But his plans aren't mine to say.

Thanks for reading, I'm going to go figure out what to post on this blog next. Maybe a nice break from comic related material for a bit is in order.


Friday, April 14, 2006

SAILOR MAN (page eleven)

And so we reach the eleventh hour of this small sequential adventure.

One last page to post as we wrap things up, plus some commentary from behind the scenes.

Thanks for reading,

Thursday, April 13, 2006

SAILOR MAN (page 10)

And then there were two...two pages left, that is.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

SAILOR MAN (page nine)

Ummm...ignore the word "mismatched" on this page. It was better the first time I used it, four or five pages ago, in the exact same context.

I think I need an editor...

Monday, April 10, 2006

SAILOR MAN (page eight)

And more Sailor Man goodness as we begin to wind our way down to the conclusion...

Friday, April 07, 2006

SAILOR MAN (page the seventh)

Rolling right along with things...

I've realized the best part of this Sailor Man story is that I don't have to think of a ton to say. Just pop in, post a page, and get back fuss, no muss.

Enjoy! More in 24.

Thanks for reading,

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

SAILOR MAN (page six)

My personal favorite page of this story for a variety of reasons. Hope you guys like it as much as I do.

Back tomorrow with more.

Thanks for reading,

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

SAILOR MAN (page five)

And sticking with the new page a day motif of the week, here's page five. Let the deconstruction begin...

A friend of mine read the whole story in one sitting the other day and asked me where the idea came from. I like those stories that look at a character in a new light, that kind of take the myth and turn it on its head. Alan Moore wrote a story called 'Pictopia' years ago that always stayed with me so I guess that's the inspiration here.

Anyway, enough rambling from this end. Back tomorrow with page six.

Thanks for reading,

ps- Isn't Dev great?

Monday, April 03, 2006

SAILOR MAN (page four)

Sorry for the delay in posting this. I had some technical issues with uploading files and a crazy weekend that left me no time to solve it. But now we're good to go.

Here's page four. I'm going to post a new page every day this week so check back soon.

Thanks for reading,

Thursday, March 30, 2006

SAILOR MAN (Page three)

And with this, the third page of Sailor Man, the plot officially begins.

Not much to read here so I'll post another page tomorrow. Judging from comments and emails I've gotten, everyone seems to like this so maybe I'll speed things up a bit in general.

Thanks for reading,

a big day

Two years ago today, at 5:03 AM after the craziest all-nighter of my life, I became a father for the first time.

In the past two years, I have been peed on. I have been pooped on. My son has thrown up (twice) while I was flying him around the living room, once directly into my open mouth--on my brithday, no less. I don't think I've slept past 6:15 once in the last 730 days. My level of debt has slowly climbed as I try to support my family on one income instead of two. I work out less, I work more, I've started getting gray hair, and very rarely can I stay awake through a whole movie anymore.

In other words, it's been--BY FAR--the best two years of my entire life.

Happy birthday, Jack! You taught Daddy what love really means.

Monday, March 27, 2006

SAILOR MAN page two

I can feel my week already slipping away from me--deadline wise--which is kind of scary considering it's only Monday. So while I have a second, here's page two.

This is where Dev started surprising me, still following the script to the word but kicking in with the characterization, acting, and body language he does so well.

For anyone joining us late, scroll down for page one first.

Thanks for reading,

Saturday, March 25, 2006

THE SAILOR MAN (page one)

It took a few extra days to get this story finished up but Dev and I are fully locked and loaded.

My plan here is to post a new page every few days. I have to say, it's going to be a loooooong six days because I literally can't wait to post up page three. This is a story I've literally had in my head since I was in college about fifteen years ago. I changed it up a little to include our Frankenstein character but it's essentially the same and to see it finally brought to life so beautifully by Dev...I actually got misted eyed for a second.

Enough from me. Sit back and enjoy the awesomeness that is Dev Madan with a little something that we call...

The Sailor Man.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Original blog content

I'm going to try to do something a little different here over the next few weeks and post up some original work in a serialized form on the mighty blog.

My friend Dev and I, over the last couple of years, have produced a few short comic stories just for the fun of it. They're written by me with all the art and lettering (and sometimes gray tones) being done by Dev. Like I said, we do these off and on for fun. It's not commissioned work, it's not published work. It's just two friends who love comics being goofy.

The leading man of all of our little comics is Frankenstein. But for whatever reason (and I don't think either of us remember why anymore), Frankenstein is a private detective in these stories. He lives in a city called Monster Town, nursing a heart that was shattered when Bride of Frankenstein left him for the Wolf Man, and shambles around falling into adventures with other famous fictional characters. It's a strange little recipe for a comic but we like it--even if it doesn't always make a ton of sense.

At the moment, we're finishing up a new 12-page story, our personal Watchmen of Frankenstein stories. I should be writing the last two pages of that right now instead of sitting here blogging. Anyway, I think next week I'll start to serialize this new story and maybe post a new page every few days or so. Collect 'em all, kids!

Speaking of, after this one, we're going to produce an 8-pager and collect all the Frankenstein stories into one self-published comic. It'll be something cool to sell or give away at conventions and it'll be fun to have everything printed up in one book.

So if that sounds like your cup of tea, check back soon. And tell a friend!

Thanks for reading,

Monday, March 13, 2006

Woke up this morning

I woke up this morning having seen the season premiere of the Soprano's on HBO last night. It's been a long time since Tony and the crew have popped up fresh out of the oven and I was looking forward to catching up with the gang. I love the Soprano's to the point where I actually did quite a bit of clock watching yesterday, mentally counting down until the new episode aired.

I don't think it was great but I liked it quite a bit.

First of all, I like the way that the same amount of time passes in the Sopranos' Universe as does in ours. It's been a couple of years since the last season ended and that same amount of time has passed in the context of the show. I thought the show did a great job of very quickly and nimbly bringing the viewer up to speed on the major developments in the character's lives. Tony and Carmella are back together, having a pretty good time. Janice and Bobby have a fifteen month old baby. A.J. is in college. Meadow has abs now. The Feds are still closing in on Tony and it almost seems like every other mobster is now wearing a wire.

The main narrative thread of the episode was a mobster (Was his name Gino?) inheriting a couple of million dollars from his aunt and wanting to retire from the 'life' and move his wife and family down to Florida. Tony, who doesn't even care enough to tell the guy directly, passes on through Silvio that his request is denied and he isn't going anywhere.

The mobster, who is also an informant for the feds (and they won't let him leave either), being caught between a rock, a hard place, and his shrew of a wife, hangs himself to death in the garage.

Then the increasingly mentally diminished Uncle Junior mistakes Tony for a burglar and shoots him in the gut. Tony spends a few minutes trying to crawl across the floor to a phone, manages to call 911, then seemingly...dies. Pretty unexpected twist ending there, I liked it.

Of course, I don't think Tony is really dead. Maybe he'll be in a coma or something but I've already seen clips of him flirting with Julianna Margulies in a later episode so I'm sure he'll wake up eventually.

The show spent quite a bit of time on Gino and his desire to get out and start fresh. My suspicion is that when Tony gets out of the hospital, his brush with death will do the same for him. And even though the rules (Gino took a blood oath) prevented Gino from leaving, I wonder if those same rules will apply to Tony. Normally, Tony seems to hold himself to a different standard than everyone else so it would be an interesting avenue to explore.

Also, Janice totally has no love for her new baby. She's the reincarnation of she and Tony's mother, who didn't love her own kids. The cycle of abuse continues in the Soprano family.

I'm looking forward to watching this season unfold. It's off to a good start.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Dream analysis please

Now only partially remembered, it was a strange dream nonetheless.

I was in Japan, a member of an elite task force designed to fight to their deaths against...something. I can't remember what anymore but I know they were bad. And deadly. And they probably didn't smell so good either.

There was a drill sergeant attached to my group, a cantankerous old Clint Eastwood type except he had no eyes or, if he did, he kept them closed so tight that they might have fused shut. Every word out of his mouth was barked in stereotypical R. Lee Ermey, Full Metal Jacket style.

He and I, we didn't get along.

While the rest of the squad was out doing cool, elite task force stuff, I was confined to a small, cramped Japanese apartment and forced to engage my drill sergeant in a philosophical debate about life and violence and even love. I can't remember our verbal exchanges word for word but I was surprised at how smart and perceptive he was, in spite of his R. Lee Ermey exterior.

When the task force was finished task forcing for the day, they all returned to the apartment to take a load off and treat their wounds etc. Once they returned, I was ordered by my drill sergeant to leave. When I refused, he grabbed my collar and pushed me out the door.

I remember asking what was going on and why I had to leave.

His response? "Get out of here so we can watch the Soprano's."

Make of that what you will.

Monday, February 27, 2006

New York Comic Con...DISASTER!!

I hated the New York Comic Convention this past weekend.

Absolutely hated it.

I had high hopes for the show. I really would love to have a quality convention once a year within a few hours of home. It would be much more convenient and much less expensive than the airfare and a hotel room in San Diego, Chicago et al.

This show though...this show sucked.

I arrived at the Javitz Center around 4:00 on Friday afternoon to get my badge and walk the floor for a bit to get the lay of the land. There were a couple of impressive lines of people waiting to pick up their badges or register, depending on the line they happened to be standing in. As a professional appearing at the show, I'm accustomed to being able to find the professional booth, show my ID, and get my credentials with no fuss or no muss. Not so at the NYCC, where after asking around I quickly learned that professionals had been grouped in with online preregistrations. Annoyed, I waited in line for over an hour for a badge that at any other show in the world would have taken no more than five minutes to obtain.

Note to the convention staff: A great part of the reason people come to these shows is to meet the professional writers and artists. Most of us don't get paid to appear at your show, we do it as a way to network with other professionals and, more importantly, to provide a thank you to fans for shelling out their money for our work. You might want to put a little more thought into making our presence feel a little more appreciated. You are making money off of us, after all.

Once on the convention floor, I was quickly struck by how claustrophobic and cramped the hall was. The room was built to be long and narrow and the booths were not widely spaced apart, leaving thin 'halls' between them that already felt crowded, even with the room being only filled to about half capacity. It took all of fifteen minutes to get up and down every aisle, there was little to see.

Nonetheless, I enjoyed catching up with many aquaintances in the few hours I was there. Saturday though...Saturday was the nightmare.

When I arrived on Saturday, even though I already had my badge, I wasn't allowed into the hall. Instead, I was shunted into an enormous line of several thousand people waiting to get into the hall, all of them with their badges too. I tried to explain to the security guard that I was already late to my first signing of the day at the DC Comics booth fifteen feet behind him but he, obviously following orders and unable to think for himself, insisted that I go to the far end of the building to the end of the line with everybody else. The convention staff seemed to be unprepared for the fact that people actually showed up to their show and didn't know how to handle the turn out.

What started out as chaotic quickly got worse when, a couple of hours later the NYC fire marshall shut the show down because it was filled beyond capacity. No one was allowed in to the convention hall. If you left the floor, you weren't allowed back in. At one point, there was a line of seven thousand people waiting up to six hours to actually get into the show. It was ridiculous.

Meanwhile, on the inside of things, moving around was much like trying to swim through a can of sardines, complete with that delicious smell. Comic fans can be a gamey, sweaty lot at times. The narrow halls were basically shoulder to shoulder with people trying to move around. Foot traffic was slow and by mid afternoon, frustrated and annoyed, I basically decided I no longer wanted to be there. I packed up my things, grabbed my coat, and hit the door, tossing my badge into the trash as I went. Enough was enough, at least for me. I have better things to do and, after a three hour drive, made it home in time to put my son to bed.

Not that the weekend was a total waste. Friday evening, I enjoyed a fine meal with Firestorm editor Mike Siglain, writer Stuart Moore, and fellow artist Jamal Igle. I had never met Stuart of Jamal before and had a good time talking and getting to know both of them a little bit. It's always fun to trade war stories and hear different perspectives on this little business.

On Saturday, I also took a big step towards solidifying some writing work with another company. That should all get firmed up and started over the next couple of weeks. And I do enjoy meeting many of the fans who just want to say hi, chat about comics, and grab a sketch. That's what makes the show fun.

The rest of it though...what a waste.

Monday, February 20, 2006

New York Comic Con...assemble!

For anyone interested, I'll be appearing at the NY Comic Con this weekend (Well...part of Friday and all day Saturday) at the Javitz Center.

I don't know my exact signing schedule but the way things look, I'll be sketching and signing at the DC booth with the rest of the Firestorm creative team and I'll also be sitting at the ACROSS THE POND COMICS booth. ATP is the company that published Armor X and they're a fine group of people and a lot of fun at conventions. They've become sort of my own little convention family. Awww...ain't that sweet? Anyway, exact times are a mystery but that's where I'll be.

The strangest thing (to me) about the convention experience are the people who, for whatever reason, want to get their picture taken together. It doesn't happen super frequently but it always happens a couple of times at these shows. I think most of the time, they're not even aware of who I am or what I do. They just see a person behind a table and go from there.

Or maybe I just really am that darn pretty.

I have many aquaintances in New York that I suspect might be bopping around the convention. It will be interesting to see who I run into and should be fun to get up to date with friends that I've lost touch with, as well as get a chance to see closer friends I've kept in touch with.

For anyone reading the blog, hit me up with a secret handshake or something.