Saturday, October 10, 2009

Baltimore Comic-Con

Hi everyone. Been awhile, I know. I want to thank everyone for the incredible outpouring of support and the condolences over the past month... well, really, over the past several months. As anyone who's been reading knows, this has not been an easy year. However, with all of your thoughts and encouragement, it has made it all that much more bearable. Thank you all. Now it's time to move forward.

With that in mind, I'm exhibiting at the Baltimore Comic-Con this weekend. I wish I could have posted about this sooner, but life has been a bit crazy for me lately, as I'm sure you can imagine. Anyway, I'll be with the usual gang of Kids Love Comics creators at booth 2409. You can't miss it... this year it's the KLC Carnival, and we have a big tent! It should be tons of fun... which I really need now. I'll have my usual array of original comics art, t-shirts, prints, and comic books, so come on out to the show, and stop by to see me.

Also, the Harvey Awards dinner is tonight, where the winners will be announced. As a nominee, I'll be attending, and while I don't expect to win, I do know it will be a lot of fun to spend time with my friends. Please feel free to wish me luck anyway! I guess you never know...

I'm looking forward to today and tomorrow, so I hope you'll come by to say hello if you're in town. It's a great show, and the people are terrific. It should be a lot of fun.

And oh yeah... today's my birthday! In case you wanted to bring me a cupcake or something... ;-)

I'll be back posting soon. I have some new projects on the table, and I'll be able to show some new artwork in the near future. Thanks again for all of the interest and support. I'll talk to you all again soon!


Tuesday, September 15, 2009

A Moving Tribute To Traci

Hi everyone. I'd like to thank all of you who have been sending along your kind thoughts. I really appreciate all of the sentiments.

I also would like to call your attention to a tribute to Traci that my good friend Steve Goldman wrote about her in his column on Monday. Here is the link: I'd urge you to go read it. He has some wonderful things to say about Traci, and equates her with my hero, Lou Gehrig. Very insightful, particularly since he only met Traci once. Thank you very much, Steve. You've earned my utmost gratitude for your kindness and friendship.

Traci's funeral is today. Her clergy call the service a celebration of her life, and I know that's what Traci would want. Please think of our family today, and make sure you give those you love a little extra attention today. Thanks.


Thursday, September 10, 2009

Traci Wagner - May 23, 1967 - September 10, 2009

Hi everyone. I know many of you have been wondering how we've been faring here at home, so I wanted you all to know that my wife Traci died peacefully at home this morning at around 10:45AM. The past few days had been extremely difficult, filled with pain and discomfort, so this is a blessing we have been waiting for.

Thanks to all of you who have been calling and writing. It's meant so much to me to know how much you all care. I know a lot of you out there didn't know Traci personally, so I thought it might be nice for you to see a couple of pictures of her.

I'll be taking some family time for a little while, and then figure out the rest of my life from here. I'll be back at some point in the near future with some art again. This has been a really long, difficult year, and I need to get back to the reason I started this blog: showing my artwork.

I hope my delving into the personal hasn't been too much here, but there's been very little work to speak of, and my fulltime job over this past year has essentially been taking care of Traci and our son. I appreciate your indulgence during this difficult time.

I'll talk to you all soon.


Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Please Help John Ostrander

Back in 1998, I worked on a comic book called Quicksilver, for Marvel Comics. One of the writers on the book was a man named John Ostrander. John is a fantastic guy, and always treated me with respect. He's a terribly nice man, and deserves nothing but the best. Unfortunately, he's now going through some difficult times. John has glaucoma, which is an awful eye disease. My own grandfather had it, and as a result of it (and a few other complications) lost his eyesight. He was fortunate to regain it in one of his eyes, but the damage was permanent in his left eye (incidentally, this was the same grandfather who died of melanoma, the same disease my wife has. Sad coincidence).

In order to save John's eyesight, something that is necessary for him to maintain and continue his career as a comic book writer, he will need an operation. John's insurance will only cover a small percentage of the cost of the operation, so some of his industry friends are trying to raise money to help defray the cost. My family are no strangers to the high cost of medical bills, and we've received a lot of help from people and organizations within the industry. It's only right for me to try to help someone else in difficult circumstances too. To that end, I'm going to be donating some of my original art to try to help the cause. I'd like to ask anyone reading this to give a little something too, if possible. I'm sure any donation would help. For more information, you can click here. Heidi MacDonald also linked to this, but I thought you might like to see the comments section on her post on The Beat, to see what other industry people have to say about John.

So many of you have been so generous to us. I hope you'll do the same for John Ostrander. Thanks.


Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Bittersweet Harvey Nominee

Earlier today (or technically, yesterday, as I'm writing this somewhat after midnight), the Harvey Awards, one of two of the more prestigious awards in the comics industry, announced this year's nominees. Shockingly, I was among them, in the Best Inker category, for my work on Buzzboy: Sidekicks Rule. I've been working in this industry for over fifteen years, and this is the first time I've ever been in the running for any award, much less one of the most respected in the business. One would think that today would have been a particularly proud one for me, and any other year it would have been. However, as I sit here in my bed typing this on my laptop, my wife Traci is beside me, in a hospital bed. She signed herself out of hospice yesterday, in one last ditch effort to prolong her life.

Many of you who know me, or who have been reading my posts here, know that Traci is battling metastatic melanoma. It is well documented on this blog, as well as other places online, how tough a disease this is to beat. Traci was diagnosed in August of last year, in fact, a year later, to the very day that I discovered my good friend Mike Wieringo had died. Less than a year later, the doctors have told us that she needs to prepare for the end of her life. We don't know how much longer that might be, but time is certainly short.

So, dear friends, while it is indeed a great honor to be nominated, this is not something I can enjoy or savor. Not right now anyway. I hold no illusions that I might win, with such distinguished talent in my category. However, I do recognize how incredible it is to be in such esteemed company. I would like to wish all the luck in the world to all the nominees. I would also like to thank all of you have written or called to congratulate me.

For my part though, I don't deserve any award. That honor belongs to my wife. If anyone should get an award it is Traci, for her tenacity, courage, and grace in the face of the disease that will soon take her life. For that reason, I'd like to do something completely unconventional. I know many people who win awards dedicate them to someone, but even if I were to win, I'm not certain if Traci will be here to see it. So, I'd like to dedicate this nomination to my beautiful, brave bride. Nobody should have to go through what she's dealing with, and the least I can do is allow her one more moment in the spotlight.

Trace, I love you with all my heart, and this one goes out to you, PMK.

All my love,

Friday, May 29, 2009

The Right Formula (1) - Yes, More Cars

Hey, I'm back, and it hasn't even been a month! How about that? Seriously, I hate that it takes me so long between posts now. What's going on here at home is so exhausting that it takes me a while to be able to clear my head enough to post something coherent.

In any event, thank you all for the messages and the notes of support. As I said in a recent post, cancer sucks, but it's much easier knowing how many of you are out there thinking of us.

As my title states, I'm still working, albeit infrequently. A recent job called for me to draw cars, yet again. As it's something I love to do, it's always a fun time for me when I can. This particular job was pretty challenging though. The client is actually a colleague of mine who was working with a major Formula One sponsor on a comic book featuring the new F1 car design. This particular design is not something that is intuitive to draw. It's unlike any cars I've drawn before. The lines on the car are very curvy, almost abstract, and it took a while for me to be able to master the flow of the design. I see a few flaws in it myself, but my colleague and the client were happy. I wouldn't mind doing more of this type of work. Anyway, here are the images:

This image was used for the comic book cover.

This one was the double page spread.

I think I might post some of the rough versions of these at a later time to give some insight into my process.

I'll have to get to that later though. For now, I hope you all have a great weekend! I'll be back here soon.


Tuesday, May 19, 2009

For Mike (And Todd. And Matt. And Suzanne...)

Thanks to everyone who has written with encouraging words about my wife's cancer. We both appreciate all of the sentiments. Quick update on Traci, and then I'll move on to the latest piece. She's now begun a new clinical trial at the University of Pennsylvania, and we're hopeful that the success they've had with this combination of chemo and another drug will also apply to her. Although her cancer has advanced quite a bit since the time I mentioned it here, she's hanging in, and with the support of family and friends, we're managing to keep things afloat, and stay relatively sane throughout this difficult time.

As to the aforementioned friends, Matt and Suzanne Wieringo are a couple of very good ones. Many of you know about my friendship with Matt's brother Mike. Since Mike died, Matt and Suzanne and Traci and I have become good friends. They are actually a part of our (ever-growing) network of support, and have been incredibly kind to us in the face of Traci's illness. They recently came to see us for a visit, as detailed on Matt's blog, and we had a wonderful time seeing them. They also did a lot to help out around here, even though they were only with us for a little over a day. I'd had a little surprise waiting for them for a few months, and was so glad I could give it to them in person.

First, the background. Last summer, I attended Heroes Con in Charlotte for the first time. I'd brought copies of my NASCAR Heroes comics, and gave one to my good pal, Todd Dezago, who also happens to have been Mike's best friend. Todd was flipping through it at my table, and asked me something that I still feel honored by to this day. Looking at the portraits of the drivers I had done for the comic, he asked me if I'd be willing to do a portrait of Mike for him. I was floored, as I had actually intended to do just that for him as a birthday present (we share a birthday, October 10th) that fall. It's nothing new for Todd and I to be thinking of something at the same time. It's happened many times before. We attribute it to the common birthday, but really, it's probably just that we have the crazy gene in common! Anyway, this was one time that I was actually surprised by what he asked me, and of course, I told him I'd be honored to do the illustration for him.

Todd sent me a bunch of reference photos of Mike, and I went to work. I finished up the following piece in November, and now have permission to share it here:

Todd told me I could mention where he's using it, so it's for the upcoming Mike Wieringo Tellos tribute book. That's all I know about it at the moment, but Todd will be issuing a press release at the appropriate time. As for Matt and Suzanne, when they visited, I gave them two card stock copies of the portrait, one for them, and one for Matt's parents. It's probably one of the most meaningful pieces of art that I've ever had the privilege to create, and Matt told me it's now hanging in a particularly appropriate place of pride for me, the guest room where Mike stayed when he visited Matt and Suzanne. I can't think of a more touching place, and I'm so pleased that it means so much to them, my very good friends. Thanks guys!

I'll be back soon with more new art. In the meantime, in light of the previous, hug your loved ones, and make sure they know what they mean to you.


Friday, May 01, 2009

Free Comic Book Day 2009

Hi everyone. Sorry I've been away so long again. Once again, it's due to my wife's illness. I'll detail things a bit more in my next post. In the meantime, I need to let all of you know about Free Comic Book Day. For those unfamiliar, tomorrow, Saturday, May 2nd is FCBD. Many comic book shops around the United States will be participating. The event is designed to bring new readers into the hobby of comic books. To this end, many publishers print up FCBD versions of some of their books to give away at the event.

This year, like in previous ones, I'll be at my pal Joe Murray's store, Captain Blue Hen Comics, in Newark, Delaware, along with my friends Jamar (Detective Boogaloo, Grosse Adventures) Nicholas, Franco (Tiny Titans) Aureliani, Scott (Scooby Doo) Neely, Neil (Superman Adventures, MANY others!)Vokes, and a few others. Joe's store is a beautiful family friendly place, and the event usually brings in a LOT of kids! It's always a fun time, and I'll be there sketching for kids all day. In years past, we've done Buzzboy, Roboy Red, and NASCAR Comics for FCBD, but the economy being what it currently is, we have no new books for this year's event. However, I will be bringing my own personal copies of past years' books to have on hand. I'll give those away for as long as I have copies.

In addition, I'll have many of my comic books for sale, including Buzzboy, NASCAR Comics, Impulse, Bug, and a bunch more of my DC and Marvel Comics work. I'll also have my Roboy Red and Drama Queen t-shirts for sale. Pictures of the shirt designs below:

Last, I'm going to dig out some posters I've had from previous conventions and FCBD events. I'll give those away as long as I have them too.

I hope you'll come by to see me and the others this Saturday! Click here for all the Captain Blue Hen FCBD news. Should be a fun day!

I'll be back soon with new art, and some other news soon.


Sunday, March 29, 2009

Back To Work

Wow, it's been nearly two months since I last posted! I'd feel guilty about that, if I didn't have good reason. Many of you know that my wife Traci is in the battle of her life, fighting metastatic melanoma. Stage 4. Sucks. Truly. However, she's a battler, and although the odds are stacked, she and I are maintaining a positive attitude. She's mostly stable for now, and stable in this type of cancer is a good thing. We continue to fight, hope, pray, whatever works.

Immediately following the New York Comic-Con, Traci was admitted to the hospital for a scheduled treatment. I won't go into the details, but it was to be a very intense and difficult one, and she was scheduled to be there for 5 days. Unfortunately, there were some major complications, and it was very dicey for a while. She wound up being in the hospital for a total of 13 days, and nearly 4 of them were spent in the Medical Intensive Care Unit. You can imagine how scary that was. Once she was released, it was a long road back to relative good health. She's still working on it, actually, so I've been heavily involved with my family for the better part of the past two months. Work has been a low priority, and in fact, I haven't even thought about it much since January. Taking care of my wife and son has been my full time job, of late.

However, before all of that, I did have a few projects that I completed, and it's my intention to show them here in the next few weeks. Also, I plan to gear up for a new work push beginning next week. As my wife is recovering, I'm trying to get back to my normal routine, as much as I can. So hopefully (or tragically, depending on your point of view!), you'll be hearing more from me again on a regular basis.

So, to get the ball rolling, here is an illustration I recently completed:

It's the second assignment I've had from WWE Kids Magazine, and as with the first, working on it was an absolute pleasure. The Art Director I work with there is fantastic, and I hope to continue working with him. Anyway, the gist is that it's a quiz, and the kids are supposed to guess who the wrestlers are, based on their boots. I thought it was kind of a funny thing, with the bathroom stalls, and the interesting designs. It was certainly a challenge to not only get each of the designs for the boots down, but to make them all distinctive, as well as recognizable. No easy feat (no pun intended) when so many of them are black! The issue is on the stands now. For more info, you can check the WWE website, here.

One other note: I've sold a number of my illustration prints, but I still have quite a few available, if you're interested. Just scroll down to the post below this one for pictures of what's available, as well as for details, and info about how you can order. As a bonus, just to show me you're a loyal reader, if you contact me with the subject line, "Print Sale," I'll give you my convention deal pricing, plus shipping! Have to pay for those medical bills somehow! I will be creating a specific section of my website soon, where all of my for sale items will be available, but for now, I'm doing this the low-tech way. Contacting me from my website via email is the best way to do this right now, so please bear with me, as I get everything set up. Thanks.

I'll be back soon with more art. I hope you'll be here with me!


Wednesday, February 04, 2009

New York Comic-Con 2009

Hi everyone. Sorry it's been so long since my last post. work has been keeping me busy, but more importantly, life has too. My wife Traci has had a few medical issues since last time, all of which have been mostly resolved (sort of), but when dealing with cancer, it's never simple. Anyway, she's doing relatively ok, under the circumstances, and is embarking on a new course of treatment next week. Thanks to all of you who have been writing and commenting. I appreciate all of the moral support.

Now, as for the title of the post, the NYCC is this coming weekend, from February 6-8th, and I will be there. Thanks to the generosity of my colleagues at Kids Love Comics, I will have a table with them at booth #1930, and will be selling all of my various wares, to help raise money for my wife's medical bills, as well as a lot of other related expenses we've been incurring. My hope is to come up with enough to keep things stable for another month or two, and I'm hoping you guys that will be there can help. Below are pics of most of the things I'll have for sale. I hope you'll drop by to see me, and maybe pick up a little something. In addition to what I'm showing here, I'll have 15 years of original comics art for sale, including Green Lantern, Steel, Titans, and many others. I will also probably be doing some character head shot sketches, for those interested. The main goal is to raise money, so I'll be there for the entire weekend, and try to stay at the table as much as possible, so I am able meet as many of you as I can. Please stop by to say hi. Thanks!

Now, here are the images (they've all been posted before, but never in one place!):

The above are each 8 1/2" x 11" prints, signed and numbered. I'll have them on sale for $30 each, or any two for $50.

The two baseball prints above are 11" x 14" prints, also signed and numbered, and will be $50 each, or both for $80.

I'll have the two t-shirts above for $15 each ($17 for 2XL), and I have virtually every size. The Drama Queen shirt also comes in a periwinkle color as well as the dark purple shown. The periwinkle version is just in a few limited sizes, for the same price. All of my shirts also come in kids sizes.

In addition, I'll be selling signed copies of a lot of my past DC and Marvel Comics, and since it's Kids Love Comics, it'll only be the all ages material, but that includes, The Bug One Shot, Legends of the DCU #40-41, which I co-wrote with my buddy Todd Dezago, featuring The Atom (Ray Palmer version), JSA: Sins Of Youth, featuring the Junior JSA, and a couple of copies of Impulse. All of these will be $3 each, or any two for $5.

Sorry for this detailed shilling, but I thought it would be best if you knew ahead of time what to expect. I'll have more for sale at this show than I ever have had in the past, so I want to make sure there's something for everyone. Again, I want to raise as much money for our cancer-related expenses as possible. Thanks, as always for all of the support! I hope to see you in New York!

Once I return, I'll begin establishing a way to purchase my stuff from here on the blog, as well as my website. Thanks for your patience.


Friday, January 09, 2009

Someday, My Prints Will Come

Or rather, yours will. But not quite yet. I know I promised to have ordering info for my new prints (see here and here) this week, but work got in the way. Which is good for business, but meant a slight delay in me figuring out how to create the Paypal ordering buttons. I'll have them both here and on my website soon, once I'm out from under my deadlines. In the meantime, I do actually have the prints in my possession, so if you just can't wait, and you absolutely have to have one, or better still, all of them, NOW, please feel free to email me (my email is in the above links), or leave me a comment with your email address, and I'll get back to you. Either way, they are available now, just not quite "officially" yet.

Now, I'll leave you for the weekend with a baseball tie-in. The below image was part of a series of ads I did a couple of years ago, featuring this little mouse as the main character in various scenarios. I'll share more at some point, but with spring training only a month away, here's the little guy swinging away!

(pencils by John Gallagher, inks and colors by me)

Hope you all have a great weekend!


Friday, January 02, 2009

Happy New Year!

(pencils by John Gallagher, inks and colors by me)

What a strange year it's been. I can't help but feel this was the worst year we've ever had (my family, that is). However, I also have to appreciate the wonderful things that have happened to us this year too. I've come to appreciate how incredible people can be, and have learned how lucky we are to have supportive and encouraging family, friends, and colleagues. Despite all of the bad stuff we've gone through this year, my wife Traci and I both feel extremely fortunate. We never expected our lives to turn out the way they now are, but life is funny like that. It'll continue to throw us curves, and we'll continue to try to make things better.

We're still living two months at a time, and next week is Traci's off week from chemo. She had her treatment this week, and it was probably the easiest she's had. No nausea, and she's been feeling pretty decent since then, so it's good for now. In two weeks, we'll find out the status of her cancer, with some new scans. In the meantime, we're going to just try to relax, and hope for a great new year. We're trying to remain optimistic.

So, again forgive me for "going personal," and thanks to all of you. Thank you for being here, and reading this. Thank you for stopping by to look at my art, and for taking the time to say hi (and I'll say it again, please DO use the "comments" feature. I want to hear from YOU too!). Thanks in advance for continuing to check in throughout 2009 (and beyond!).

May it be a terrific, happy, and HEALTHY New Year for all of us.

It'll sure beat 2008...


PS: The prints are in! I'll share ordering info next week!