Wine-Book Wednesdays: Christine Norrie

Christine Norrie is one of those comic creators who I haven’t seen enough of lately, both in her work and in person. (I did run into her last year at MoCCA and that was a real delight, though!) I think a lot of people know her as the artist on the original Hopeless Savages mini-series (which is awesome, incidentally, about the children of two members of a punk band), but she’s got a wide and varied group of material out there.

The last comic from her I read was Breaking Up, and it was a nice reminder of how well she can draw average, ordinary people. I also love that she put my name on the bottle of wine. (Some day, I shall own my own vineyard and retire there… yeah right.)

Christine, if you’re reading this, I need more comics from you! 🙂

Wine-Book Wednesdays: Judd Winick

Ah, Judd Winick. He’ll forever be known as the guy from The Real World: San Francisco no matter what else he does in his life. Of course, he’s done a ton since then; when I got this sketch he was probably best known (comics-wise) for his comic strip Frumpy the Clown, but he’s gone on to a wide variety of comics including Green Lantern, Batman, Caper, and (my favorite) The Adventures of Barry Ween, Boy Genius.

Anyway, Barry’s not old enough for wine, so Judd kindly drew me a Frumpy sketch. He’s a super-nice guy to meet, and it was nice to chat with him for a while.

Toys for (Adult) Boys

There’s always a lot of talk about how comics (or more specifically, superhero comics) aren’t being aimed at children so much these days as they are adults. How true or not is a completely different debate, but I do have to say that one thing that is definitely true? There are a lot of superhero comic toys that are totally being aimed at adults.

Green LanternSinestroFirestorm

I saw DC Comics’s Blammoids! toys a couple of weeks ago and I was entranced, utterly entranced. The ones from the first set are innocent enough, I guess, although really, what little kids want superhero figures where all you can move are their arms and heads? Totally aimed at adults, with their strange proportions and deformed bodies, meant to be perched on a desk or bookshelf.

But then I saw some of the more recent figures, and…


…all I could think was that this was how a toy line envisioned by Kevin O’Neill would appear. (For those unfamiliar with Kevin O’Neill—best known for his work on comics like The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen and Marshall Law—he has a harsh, angular line that disturbed the Comics Code Authority enough that they refuse to approve anything he’s drawn. Which is a plus in my book, but there you go.)

Seriously, look at those three figures. They’re a little twisted and messed up. This is totally not for kids. I cannot stop laughing at these toys.

Fortunately, as my big goal for the next year or so is to wipe out debt, plus having to replace my main computer due to its painful death over the past year, it was easy to justify not buying any of these. Because I don’t need another toy addiction, after all. But I totally had to share the “wow” factor.

(Many, many more pictures of the line are available at DC’s website, for those truly interested.)

Wine-Book Wednesdays: Durwin Talon

Durwin Talon is mostly known in comics as a teacher at the Savannah College of Art and Design, these days, but at the time he’d just created drop-dead gorgeous covers for both the Skinwalker mini-series at Oni Press, and Batman: Officer Down at DC Comics. It was the latter that inspired this cover, with Bruce Wayne reflected in the bottle (and a little Bat Symbol on the cork!), dressed up for a night on the town.

I keep hoping to see some more comics by him—he’s an amazing talent—and with any luck it will be sooner rather than later.

Wine-Book Wednesdays: Arthur Dela Cruz

This sketch is from Arthur Dela Cruz, who was writing and drawing his thriller/conspiracy comic Kissing Chaos at the time. A funny sidenote about Kissing Chaos for me is that I have on my bookshelf a copy of a German translation… complete with a pull quote from me translated into German on the back cover! I can’t possibly keep copies of every book I’ve been quoted on over the years, but that’s one I’ll always hang onto.

The Word of the Week is Sluggish

All around seems to be sluggish, this week. My home computer has been slowly dying, but this week it’s been much worse than normal. Fortunately I saw a good deal on a computer last week and bit the bullet, and I think it might be showing up tomorrow.

So now I’m making a fresh copy of all my documents, pictures, and music (they were all backed up but this is up-to-the-minute) and it’s been quietly doing its business for the past hour or so. Because it’s so temperamental, I’m using my travel netbook to write this, and that means nine zillion updates are running on it while I type. It feels like everything is moving in slow motion or underwater, which is not helped by finally watching the documentary Eleven Minutes, which is just so-so and not as riveting/interesting as I’d hoped.

But in general this week I’ve been feeling wiped out and bleah. I’m hoping it’s not me coming down with a bug. But I’m going to go to bed early and see if that helps. It’s frustrating because this weather right now is probably some of the best “go for a run” conditions all year and I’m just sitting here and thinking, “ugh.”

Of course, once the new computer shows up it’ll be “reinstall everything” and that will be a joy and a half. (Oh wait, no it won’t.) It’ll be nice once it’s done, but that’s going to take some time and then some.

Pot Roast (morning)I am going to break out the crock pot tomorrow though. Trying out a curry recipe that includes some pumpkin. It sounds like it will be delicious. I’ll chop up the potatoes and carrots and onions tonight, then tackle the chicken tomorrow and add in the sauce and spices and turn it on before I head out for the day. That’s the best thing about the autumn, the crock pot weather. I love soups and stews and one-pot dishes that make your entire house smell fantastic. The best. The absolute best.

Maybe this weekend I can take a few photos about autumn awesomeness? That’d be nice.

Wine-Book Wednesdays: Gary Spencer Millidge

Gary Spencer Millidge is one of those great guys in comics who you meet and instantly think to yourself, “I would trust him with anything.” He lives in England so I don’t see him very often, but it’s always a real treat to do so. Millidge’s big series is a book called Strangehaven, about a man who ends up in a mysterious village that seemingly won’t let him leave no matter how hard he tries. A great mix of mystery, drama, and soap opera; there are three collections out right now, and I live in eternal hope that someday we’ll see more issues and a fourth volume.

The character above is one of the Knights of the Golden Light, a secret society that lurks within Strangehaven. And they’re just the tip of the iceberg, to be honest…

Wine-Book Wednesdays: Tony Millionaire

Tony Millionaire is best known for his alternative-paper comic strip Maakies (co-starring Drinky Crow, shown above), as well as his comic book Sock Monkey. He’s a funny, raunchy, high-spirited guy in person, and I remember when he was drawing this that he told me that some snooty friends of his always said, “Come on over and have some ‘zin’!” Clearly, Drinky Crow is a fan of the zin, too.

Wine-Book Wednesdays: Rod Espinosa

Rod Espinosa has drawn a lot of series over the years, but my all time favorite book by him is The Courageous Princess, a fun series about a princess who was kidnapped by a dragon but then fights her way free rather than just rolling over and letting herself be a victim. It’s a cute all-ages series, and well worth checking out.

Which reminds me, I need to catch up on his more recent comics… he’s a talent and a half!

Wine-Book Wednesdays: Peter Gross

When I was in college, my friends Dave and Mark told me about an indy series they loved called Empire Lanes, written and drawn by Peter Gross. And over time, I started seeing him appear on books I read like Doctor Fate, Hellstorm, and Books of Magic. At the time he drew this in my book for me (back in 2002 at San Diego Comic-Con), he was drawing Lucifer, a hugely successful spin-off from Neil Gaiman’s Sandman series, and that is of course the title character himself.

He’s since worked on a lot of other series, but his latest is The Unwritten (reuniting him with author Mike Carey who also wrote Lucifer) which is a fantastic book about the secret world behind books and fans. Love his art.