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My Top Ten Favorite Graphic Novels

Ok guys, just wanted to give you one more top ten here, this time focusing on my favorite graphic novels! So here goes…

10. “Trillium” by Jeff Lemire

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I can definitely say I love Jeff Lemire’s writing.  I think he has pulled off some of the most crazy, creative and inventive storytelling in this one that, with the exception of maybe what Matt Fraction has done in Hawkeye, I have never seen done in comics before.  The sci-fi element is there, but it’s also a great love story, and definitely worth the read.

9. “Operation Margarine” by Katie Skelly

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Katie Skelly is one of my favorite cartoonists, and it’s tough to pick a favorite between Operation Margarine, and her other graphic novel Nurse Nurse, because they are both so great.  If pressed though, I guess I would have to go with Margarine simply because it’s newer, and Skelly has only gotten better with time. I respect her greatly as an artist, and as a sheer creative force for putting her stories out as minis first, going to conventions, and really getting her work out there.  I admire and learn from many artists, but few have inspired me more than she has.

8. “The OMAC Project” by Greg Rucka & Jesus Saiz

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I won’t give away any spoilers, but there is a death of a character in this book, and as far as that sort of thing goes in superhero comics, I think it is one of the most powerful ones I’ve ever read.  I grew up loving this character, and was genuinely sad to see them go, but I thought it was handled very well. Definitely one of the most memorable death scenes in comics.

7. “Green Lantern: Rebirth” by Jeff Johns & Ethan Van Sciver

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Like a lot of people, I grew up loving comics but (around the 90’s) just lost interest in the type of stories that were being put out there at the time, and stopped reading all them together…until THIS book.  Haven’t stopped since :)

6. “Joker” by Brian Azzarello & Lee Bermejo

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This book is incredible.  Very cinematic.  You can almost SEE it as a movie in your head as you are reading.  Bermejo’s artwork is top-notch, and Azzarello’s writing is flawless.

5. “Green Arrow: Year One” by Andy Diggle & Jock

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Can’t say I’ve ever read much GA, but this book is a stand alone classic.  It brought a realism to the character I wouldn’t have imagined possible except in the hands of very talented storytellers.

4. “The Wake” by Scott Snyder & Sean Murphy

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Scott Snyder. Seam Murphy. That is all that needs to be said.

3. “Y: The Last Man” by Brian K. Vaughan & Pia Guerra

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At first, being the only man alive on earth in a world populated by solely by females might seem like a dream come true, right?  Oh, but how that dream quickly turns into a nightmare… This is quite an epic tale spanning 10 graphic novels, but it is absolutely worth the journey.  And why, oh Y The Last Man hasn’t been turned into a movie or TV series, I’ll never know. C’mon Hollywood, get your shit together!

2. “Joe The Barbarian” by Grant Morrison & Sean Murphy

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I love this book so much!  Grant Morrison and Sean Murphy at their FINEST!  I would recommend this book to anyone, it’s fantastic.  Trust me.

1. “Stephen King’s THE STAND” by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa & Mike Perkins

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As I have mentioned before, The Stand is one of my favorite books by Stephen King. Maybe even my favorite book PERIOD. And what Marvel, writer Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, and artist Mike Perkins have done here is created a brilliant and faithful adaptation of the novel, in an epic comic book fashion!  It took a couple of years to put the entire run out there (31 issues total, divided into 6 collected story arcs) but it was so worth the wait.  I enjoyed every single issue, and I think you would too.  I just wish they would team up again and tackle another King classic like ‘Salem’s Lot or The Long Walk!  One can always hope, right?

Well, that about wraps up my list here…  I’m sure some people will wonder how can I possibly have a Top Ten graphic novel list and not include books like “Dark Knight Returns” and “Watchmen” and so on, and they would probably be right to do so. Those books belong in any literary hall of fame. But this list here are just the ones that I have personally connected with, and enjoy the most.

Anyway thanks for reading guys!  I may eventually get around to a Top Ten comic artist list one day, but for now stay tuned for more art and comics coming soon!

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My Top Ten Favorite Comics Of 2015

Ever walk into a comic shop and just feel so overwhelmed or turned off by all the covers and capes that you don’t know where to begin? Well, not to worry I’m here to help! Haha! I’ve made a list of my Top Ten favorite comics on the shelves these days to give you a start…

10. “Harley Quinn” by Amanda Conner, Jimmy Palmiotti & Chad Hardin

HarleyQuinnComicEveryone’s favorite lunatic.  It’s a fun book, the art is great, and I think it’s worth the read if you’re a fan of the CRAZY.

9. “Chew” by John Layman & Rob Guillory

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Another really fun book. It’s about a U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) agent who solves crimes by receiving psychic impressions from anything he eats…including people. I mean, c’mon. And if that isn’t enough to perk your taste buds (haha) then check it out for Guillory’s artwork! His cartooning and expressions are amazing!

8. “Hawkeye” by Matt Fraction & David Aja

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A very well written, beautifully drawn, incredibly fun comic with some of the most creative and inventive storytelling I’ve seen in comics today. A great read for anyone who is looking for a slightly more down-to-earth superhero comic.

7. “Batgirl” by Cameron Stewart & Babs Tarr

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Gotta be honest here…the writing is fine, but I buy this book solely because of Babs Tarr’s gorgeous artwork. Her work is amazing, and might be my favorite of anyone working in comics today.

6. “Rat Queens” by Kurtis J. Wiebe & Roc Upchurch

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A fantasy comic series about “four rambunctious, foul mouthed adventurers in a medieval setting.” With all female leads, the main cast consists of “a hipster dwarf, a hippy halfling, a rockabilly elf, and an atheist cleric,” and believe me, they are all just as incredibly fun as they sound! Plus they all drink and cuss like sailors, which only adds to the hilarity. This book is like Lord of the Rings meets Sex in the City meets…I don’t know what, but I highly recommend this series! You will love it!

5. “East of West” by Johnathan Hickman & Nick Dragotta

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A futuristic sci-fi post apocalyptic western that I’ll admit I have to keep re-reading to fully understand what is going on at times. But I’m always impressed with just how INVOLVED the story is.  Not a comic you can flip through in 5 minutes and expect to get the most out of it.  But if you’re a patient reader, this book will reward you.

4. “Wytches” by Scott Snyder & Jock

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Scott Snyder is one of the best writers in comics today. And if you like the horror genre, this is the book for you.  It’s genuinely creepy and never holds back. Jock is amazing as well, and his artwork has a simplicity, but also a realism that makes the story that much more believable. And scary.

*The image above was a Wytches #1 variant cover by Dustin Nguyen.

3. “F.B.P. (Federal Bureau of Physics)” by Simon Oliver & Robbi Rodriquez

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This book is so much fun, I promise you. Tumble down the wormhole where “the impossible is always possible…” and check it out!

2. “Saga” by Brian K. Vaughan & Fionna Staples

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I really can’t say enough good things about this book.  When anyone who isn’t familiar with comics asks me what they should read, I always direct them to Saga.  You will not be disappointed.

1. “American Vampire” by Scott Snyder & Rafael Albuquerque

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My absolute favorite comic. And I seriously don’t even LIKE vampires. There is quite a bit of history here (figuratively and literally) being that there are 34 issues of the first series, 2 spin-offs, a one-shot, an anthology, (and are now well into a SECOND cycle of the series) but believe me, the story of the 2 main characters lives and their journey over the course of American history is nothing short of EPIC. The writing and the artwork are phenomenal. I truly love this book!

Well, there ya go! These are all just my humble opinions of course (and who really cares what I think) but still I hope that I’ve given someone who might be interested in comics a bit of direction if they are looking for a good place to start. I also love “The Walking Dead” by Robert Kirkman & Charlie Adlard, but I didn’t add it to my list because at this point I really don’t think that book needs any help lol. It’s The Walking Dead, OF COURSE you should read it! Anyway thanks for reading! I plan on doing a Top Ten List of current graphic novels as well so stay tuned!

*I have to add one amendment to my list here (having only discovered this comic series AFTER I made my top ten list) but it is definitely worth the addition:

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“Shutter” by Joe Keatinge & Leila Del Duca. It’s almost impossible to describe the series: it’s got urban fantasy, guns, anthropomorphic animal characters running around, dinosaurs, dragons, a talking alarm cat clock, and even a skeleton butler! (and if anyone is familiar with my own comics you already know how much I love skeleton characters, as I have one in my Harlee and the Deadman series!) Anyway this comic is fantastic! I will definitely be keeping up with this series in 2015!

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My dream cast for Stephen King’s The Stand movie…

Ok, I know this has nothing to do with comics, BUT… “The Stand” is my favorite novel by Stephen King. And recently there has been a lot of buzz online about Hollywood taking another shot at bringing the book to life on the big screen. For the record I really enjoyed the ABC mini series from the 90’s directed by Mick Garris. I thought it was a great adaptation of the story, and very well casted. But I’m also really excited about seeing a new version brought to life, and just for fun I thought I would come up with my own dream cast for this movie! So here goes…

Stuart Redman 0909-eric-banaI wish Kevin Costner, but unfortunately I think he’s just a little too old for the part. I hear people say Timothy Olyphant would be great, and I would agree.  But I think I might have to go with Eric Bana on this one.

Frannie Goldsmith

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Lauren Cohan. That is all.

Larry Underwood

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Some of the old school fans of the book may balk at my pick (I know King said he had Bruce Springstein in mind when he wrote the character) but hear me out… JT has got the looks, he can act, sing, and he knows music.  He IS a modern day Larry Underwood.  I “stand”  by my choice ha!

Nadine Cross

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Nadine is a mysterious character in the novel, at least to me anyway. And I think Morena Baccarin could totally pull it off.

Harold Lauder

Alexander Koch

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As far as capturing the dark and twisted spirit of the character, I know Alexander Koch would be perfect for the role.  His character Junior Rennie on CBS’s Under The Dome (another King adaption) has a possessive nature and a darkness in him at times that almost reminds me of Harold Lauder.  But realistically I believe he is simply too good looking for the role.  Maybe that’s superficial, but Harold is supposed to be an outcast who has major problems getting girls (particularly Fran) and I seriously doubt Alexander has any trouble with that. Ultimately I would have to go with Josh Gad.  And I don’t mean that as an insult to either actor, they are both terrific, but I just think Gad might be better suited for the role.

Nick Andros

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Steven Yeun.  Might be a slightly different take on the character? But I know he could do it.

Tom Cullen

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Tough character to cast, but I imagine Tom Cullen to be a big, sweet natured, simple guy, and who could pull that off?  M-O-O-N, that spells John Kransinski!

Glenn Bateman

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I think Ian Holm would certainly fit the part of Glenn Bateman.

Ralph Brentner

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Dennis Quaid.  I think he could pull off the whole mid-western farmer vibe of Ralph’s character nicely.

Dayna Jurgens

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I would love to see Rosario Dawson in this role.  Dayna is a tough chick, afterall, in the book she has to stand toe to toe with Flagg himself!

Judge Farris

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I think Jeffrey DeMunn would make a fine Judge Farris.

Mother Abigail

Phylicia Rashad

  I thought Ruby Dee made a great Mother Abigail in The Stand mini series back in the 90’s, and would love to see her reprise that role again, but sadly she passed away last year. My current pick would be Phylicia Rashad.  Make-up artists might have to do some major work making her look 108 years old, but she has a great voice, and would be great for this character.  I’d listen to Clair Huxtable if she came to me in a dream, wouldn’t you?

Trashcan Man

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Jim Carrey.  Think about it.  If there is any character in The Stand that is over-the-top (besides maybe The Kid) it’s Trash Can Man.  But he is also dangerous, and I think Jim Carrey is a brilliant actor who could walk that line.

Lloyd Henreid

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Lloyd is one of my many favorite characters in the book.  He’s no rocket scientist, but he is fiercely loyal to Flagg to the end.  I think Sam Rockwell would make a great Lloyd.

Julie Lawry

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Olivia Wilde. Done.

The Kid

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Joaquin Phoenix.  I mean, right? You believe that happy crappy?

Randall Flagg aka The Walkin’ Dude

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I have to go with the rumored casting choice on this one.  Matthew McConaughey. And if anyone has any doubts as to whether or not he could play a demon, I suggest watching the movie Frailty. This guy would rock as Flagg, come on!

Well, there ya go folks! Fans of the book feel free to comment below with any of your own choices for the roles.  I’m sure whoever they cast for the real deal will be perfect, but it was fun to dream cast my own version of Stephen King’s The Stand!

By the way, if you’re as big of a fan of the book as I am and can’t wait for this movie, I highly recommend checking out Marvel’s THE STAND comic series in the meantime.  It’s fantastic!

Thanks for reading and stay tuned for more comics and art coming soon!

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Red Sonya & Hellboy

Each year around this time we do a Secret Santa style art swap among members of our group. We all submit a character request of some kind (I asked for Daryl Dixon from the Walking Dead!) and then are randomly assigned to someone else. So this year I was asked to draw Red Sonya and Hellboy for my friend Damon. I had never drawn either character before, but I think it turned out well. I don’t think these 2 characters are drawn together often (or maybe ever?) so that’s kinda cool. I also liked the color theme of red shared between the 2, so I drew them in pencil and used red for the background.  Anyway, Damon, sorry you couldn’t make it to the party last night but hope you like the drawing! Merry Christmas!RedSonyaHellboy and below is my gift from the super talented Phil Back! Daryl Dixon, fuck yeah! Both pieces are going on my wall right next to Rick Grimes (who I got from rockstar artist Steven Bowman last year!) Next year I’m asking for Michonne and Carl haha!!DARYL201DARYL101And here is some other fantastic art from our Secret Santa Art Swap last night! LCSpartyLCSparty2

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Sharp Shooter

Elisabeth2This is a character from a comic book my friends and I have been working on called West of Light.  Her name is Elisabeth, she hunts demons (among other things) and she’s quite good at it.

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Fantasy Story Ideas

So the next anthology book my art group and I are working on will be themed Fantasy. I had an idea about a fairy who gets caught by 2 selfish kids one summer night.  I wanted the fairy to have an attitude, but the problem is that’s already been done (Tinkerbell) so I tried to make my character a bit more of a punk. Also gave her a nose ring, tattoos, color changing hair, ect. I’m not much of a costume designer, some of the ideas I got from the internet and just kinda blended them all together with my own.  Anyway, nothing is set in stone yet, these are just some sketch ideas but here’s what I’ve got so far…FAIRY101FAIRY201      Leesah

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Corpse Bride

CB000101CorpseBrideSomeone told me the other night that they enjoy seeing the rough pencil work more than the actual finished product.  Normally I don’t post my roughs, but I figured if someone out there thinks they’re kinda cool, hey why not? Enjoy!

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Inktober!

For those who may not know, every October artists from all over the world take on the Inktober challenge by doing one ink drawing a day for an entire month.  (For me it’s extra challenging because I usually never take my art past the pencil stage!)  I’m hoping this will push me to try new things and build confidence in inking my own artwork… we’ll see how it goes! Here’s the first 3 days…

INKTBR01inktober3*The Day of the Dead skull was done on a sketch card using a Micron Pigma pen and watercolor, then I changed the background to black in the computer.

Stay tuned for more!

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Mikasa & Rei!

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A sketch I drew for a friend.  It was a little challenging just because I wasn’t familiar with the 2 characters (their costumes were difficult!) and I’m no good at drawing anime/manga style so I just kinda did my usual thing.  But I did try tho!  It was a fun sketch :)

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DCCC Time!

Derby City Comic Con is this weekend! I’ll be there on Saturday with the Louisville Cartoonist Society, rollin’ out our newest anthology “Derby City Stories!” I’ll also have copies of my 2014 sketchbook “STUFF & THANGS,” a brand new short story  “Love Potion # None,” my children’s comic “Princess Allie and Her Royal Guards,” and a few sketch cards for sale! Stop by and join the fun! Photo-0666Photo-0682SKCRDS01Sketch cards available: Dr. Who #11, Alice & Cheshire, and Wonder Woman!